The New England Patriots are the AFC East Champions for the eighth consecutive season and also secure a first-round bye in the postseason after trampling over the Denver Broncos 16-3.
Running back LeGarrette Blount gave Denver a piece of some Blount force trauma as he scored the only touchdown of the afternoon. He extended his total to 15 setting a new single-season record previously held by Curtis Martin.
With a record of 12-2, they still remain the first seed for the playoffs. After the Oakland Raiders won a close one over the San Diego Chargers, 19-16, their record stands as 11-3. If both teams win their remaining games in the regular season, the Patriots will come out ending with a record of 14-2 which could clinch a home-field advantage as well.
No game or opponent is easy unless it’s the Cleveland Browns. New England’s remaining opponents are familiar as they’re both in the AFC East: New York Jets (4-10) and the Miami Dolphins (9-5). The Patriots have beaten both earlier in the season, but it’s still not safe to secure wins against them just yet.
The Patriots were in a similar predicament before last season where all they had to do was beat the Jets and Dolphins to clinch home-field advantage. New England ended up eventually losing to Denver in Mile High for the AFC Championship.
A huge difference this tear however is the Broncos may not make the playoffs this year. To have a shot, the Broncos needed to win this game and their remaining two in their division. With the loss this afternoon, Denver went from a seventh seed to a ninth seed behind the Baltimore Ravens and the Tennessee Titans.
Newly acquired wide receiver Michael Floyd didn’t play against Denver this week. The Arizona Cardinals released him after a recent DUI. Hopefully, his presence will be shown when facing the Jets in Foxborough. New England can only become more dangerous if Brady has another big play threat.