With the New England Patriots' 42-14 dismantling of the Houston Texans on Monday night, the Texans now stand at 11-2 with the Patriots right behind them at 10-3. The Patriots now hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Texans, with both Houston and New England holding the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Broncos. In the scenario of a three-way tie between Denver, Houston and New England, the Patriots would win the tiebreaker.
So what exactly would the Broncos need in order to clinch home-field advantage? First of all, Denver would need to likely win all three of their remaining games to have a legit shot at clinching home-field. The Broncos play at Baltimore in Week 15, vs. the Browns at home in Week 16 and close out the season vs. the Chiefs at home.
Houston would have to lose at least two of their final three games for the Broncos to have a shot at the No. 1 seed in the AFC. The Texans play the Colts in Houston in Week 15, at home versus the Vikings in Week 16 and close out the season in Indianapolis for Week 17. The Colts stand at 9-4 and would win the AFC South if they can win their remaining three games. The Vikings currently stand at 7-6 and are competing for a wild card spot in the NFC.
The Patriots would have to lose at least one of their last three games. The Patriots play the Niners in Foxboro in Week 15, then travel to Jacksonville in Week 16 to take on the Jaguars while finally closing out the season in Week 17 at home vs. the Dolphins.
So basically, the Broncos have a realistic shot at clinching the No. 1 seed, but at the same time, it's a bit of a longshot. That sounds a bit contradictory, but it's true in a weird sense. It's realistic for the Broncos to win their final three remaining games to close out the season 13-3. It is somewhat realistic for New England to lose one of their final three remaining games. They could lose to San Francisco and the Dolphins normally give New England a hard time no matter who they have at quarterback. The Texans face a tough three-game stretch, and with Indianapolis playing the way they have, it wouldn't be out of the equation for the Colts to to defeat the Texans. The question is, could they do it not once, but twice?
Either way, it should be interesting to see how the last three weeks develop and who ends up where in the seeding for the AFC playoffs.
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