With another AFC East title clinched -- their 10th in the past 12 years after a 23-16 victory over the Dolphins -- it's time for the Patriots to look ahead to bigger goals, such as their playoff seeding.
The Patriots (9-3) currently have the No. 2 spot in the AFC. The team at No. 3, the Baltimore Ravens (9-3) lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-20 on Sunday. The Steelers (7-5) were playing without quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and behind No. 3 quarterback Charlie Batch, ended a two-game losing streak.
Despite identical records, and the Ravens' 31-30 victory over New England back in Week 3, Baltimore is now behind the Pats in the AFC because of the three-way tie at 9-3 with the Denver Broncos.
The three-way tie means that head-to-head is no longer the first tiebreaker. In the event of a three-way tie, conference record becomes the tiebreaker and the Patriots (8-1 in the AFC) have a leg up on the Broncos (6-2) and Ravens (8-2).
The team with the top spot in the AFC, the Houston Texans (11-1), come into Foxborough next Monday night to face the Patriots. Houston had an easy time with the Tennessee Titans, winning 24-10 and clinching a playoff spot.
Houston will try to earn home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. They are tied with the Atlanta Falcons for the best record in the NFL as they head into Gillette Stadium for a "Monday Night Football" matchup with the Patriots.
Just behind the Ravens, also at 9-3, are the Denver Broncos, who clinched the AFC West title behind Peyton Manning with a 31-23 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Patriots defeated Broncos 31-21 in Week 5.