NFL Playoff Picture: Patriots are AFC's No. 1 seed entering bye week


The New England Patriots' position in the NFL playoff race improved in Week 13.

UPDATE: (Monday, Dec. 6 at 11:10 p.m. ET): The Patriots maintained their position atop the AFC standings by beating the Buffalo Bills 14-10 at Highmark Stadium on "Monday Night Football". New England enters its bye week as the No. 1 seed in the conference and the first-place team in the AFC East division.

--End of Update--

The Patriots are the new No. 1 seed in the AFC after the previous top seed, the Baltimore Ravens, lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13. The Ravens and Patriots both have identical 8-4 records, but New England has the tiebreaker because of a strong record in conference games (6-1 over 5-4).

Even if the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Denver Broncos on Sunday night, they won't leapfrog the Patriots because New England also has the conference record tiebreaker over Kansas City.

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The Patriots need to beat the Buffalo Bills on the road Monday night to remain the No. 1 seed entering their Week 14 bye. A loss would not only knock the Patriots out of the top spot in the conference, it also would drop them to the No. 5 seed as the second-place team in the AFC East.

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Another team to keep an eye on is the Miami Dolphins. They beat the New York Giants on Sunday for their fifth straight win, the second-longest active win streak behind the Patriots.

Here's an updated look at the AFC playoff picture after the Week 13 games. This story will be updated through Monday night's game.

In a Playoff Spot

1. New England Patriots, 9-4 (AFC East leader)

2. Tennessee Titans, 8-4 (AFC South leader)

3. Baltimore Ravens, 8-4 (AFC North leader)

4. Kansas City Chiefs, 8-4 (AFC West leader)

5. Los Angeles Chargers, 7-5 (First wild card)

6. Cincinnati Bengals, 7-5 (Second wild card)

7. Buffalo Bills, 7-5 (Third wild card)

On the Bubble

8. Indianapolis Colts, 7-6

9. Las Vegas Raiders, 6-6

10. Pittsburgh Steelers, 6-6-1

11. Cleveland Browns, 6-6

12. Denver Broncos, 6-6

13. Miami Dolphins, 6-7