Pats' 'bye' fate in their own hands

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Pats' 'bye' fate in their own hands

DENVER -- The once-muddled AFC playoff picture became a lot clearer Sunday.In the Patriots' favor, too.The Pats not only clinched the AFC East title with their 41-23 victory over Denver, but the Texans' 28-13 home loss to Carolina cleared the path for a New England march to a first-round bye.Houston had been the No. 1 seed in the AFC but, at 10-4, the Texans now trail the 11-3 Patriots. If the Pats win out -- their final two games are both at home, against the Dolphins on Christmas Eve and the Bills on New Year's Day -- they will be guaranteed no worse than second seed.
But wait. There's more.
Baltimore's loss Sunday night drops the Ravens to 10-4 and allowed Pittsburgh (10-3) to move into first place, at least temporarily, in the AFC Central. The Pats lose the tiebreaker to the Steelers because of their head-to-head loss -- they would also lose a tiebreaker with the Ravens, in the "strength of victory"category, but they now have a better record than Baltimore -- but the Steelers play the 49ers in San Francisco tonight. If Pittsburgh loses, the Pats will be able to clinch the No. 1 overall seed by winning out.

Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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Biggest Red Sox busts in recent memory

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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What we learned in Bruins' 4-1 win over Kings: Back on track

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