Patriots

AFC Playoff Picture: Patriots' path to No. 1 seed becoming clearer

AFC Playoff Picture: Patriots' path to No. 1 seed becoming clearer

The New England Patriots didn't play this past weekend, but they still managed to pick up a win.

That's because the Kansas City Chiefs -- one of two teams ahead of the Patriots in the AFC -- lost an epic shootout to the Los Angeles Rams on Monday night to drop to 9-2. The defeat means Kansas City technically has just a one-game lead on New England, who owns the tiebreaker by virtue of its head-to-head win in Week 6.

Of course, the Patriots still will need help from both the Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers to secure the AFC's No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. But if they win out (which admittedly is a big "if"), they need Kansas City to lose just one more game to capture the AFC's top spot.

Let's reset the AFC playoff picture entering Week 12.

AFC Overall Standings

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)*

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (7-2-1)*

3. New England Patriots (7-3)*

4. Houston Texans (7-3)*

5. Los Angeles Chargers (7-3)

6. Baltimore Ravens (5-5)

In the hunt: Cincinnati Bengals (5-5), Miami Dolphins (5-5), Indianapolis Colts (5-5), Tennessee Titans (5-5) 

AFC Wild-Card Round Matchups (as of Nov. 20)

No. 3 Patriots vs. No. 6 Ravens

No. 4 Texans vs. No. 5 Chargers

Key Week 12 Matchups

- Patriots at New York Jets

- Steelers at Denver Broncos

- Texans at Titans

With the Chiefs on a bye this week, the Patriots must take care of business on the road against New York if they want to remain in striking distance. Kansas City returns from the bye with an easy matchup against the Oakland Raiders, so the pressure will be on Bill Belcihick and Co. to take care of business.

Pittsburgh will be favored against Denver, but it is a late afternoon road game with a three-hour time difference, so there's a slight chance of a Broncos upset. New England also should keep an eye on Houston, which boasts an identical record after winning seven straight. The Patriots do own the tiebreaker over the Texans, though.

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Tom Brady is taking notes from Raptors' massive championship parade

Tom Brady is taking notes from Raptors' massive championship parade

The Raptors saw an estimated 1.5 million people flood the streets of Toronto on Wednesday for the team's first NBA championship parade.

Tom Brady's reaction? Challenge accepted.

Here's the New England Patriots quarterback's simple yet effective tweet upon seeing the massive turnout in Toronto:

Brady knows a thing or two about highly-attended championship parades: Roughly 1.5 million people came out in Boston just four months ago to watch the Patriots celebrate their sixth Super Bowl title.

That attendance number was a record for the city's many Patriots title parades, but it appears the Raptors matched that Monday.

So, Brady and Co. will just have to win a seventh championship to raise the bar yet again next February.

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Tom Brady led NFL in royalties last season with 'staggering' number

Tom Brady led NFL in royalties last season with 'staggering' number

Tom Brady is far from the NFL's highest-paid quarterback. But he has other means to make a decent living.

The New England Patriots quarterback took home $2.35 million in "group licensing" endorsements last season, defined by the NFL Players' Association as earnings from the sale of "jerseys, video games and trading cards" with his likeness, according to Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic.

Brady's $2.35 million in earnings led all NFL players, a remarkable feat considering he's the NFL's oldest position player and has played for one team his entire career.

"(It's) just truly staggering, because he’s been in the same market, selling the same jersey for 17 years,” Russ Spielman, president of sports marketing at GSE Worldwide, told Kaplan. “You see, Peyton Manning moves markets when he did (from Indianapolis to Denver), and you understand when his jersey goes to the top of the sales. But for Tom, I mean, how many more Patriot fans are there that don’t own his jersey at this point, but it keeps going. It’s awesome to watch."

Brady actually earned less in endorsements (which don't include his solo sponsorships with companies like Under Armour) than the $2.5 million he earned the previous season. It's testament to the 41-year-old's enduring popularity -- and the Patriots' success -- over his 19-year career that fans are still coming out in droves to buy the same No. 12 jersey he wore as a rookie in 2000.

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott ($2 million) and former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown ($1.5 million) rounded out the top three, but Brady remains the de facto "face of the NFL" as he approaches two full decades in the league.

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