The New England Patriots’ 1 p.m. game next weekend will not be flexed to 4:25 p.m. A pass intended for Demaryius Thomas finalized it.
Quarterback Peyton Manning was picked off four times as the Denver Broncos fell to the Cincinnati Bengals, 37-28, at Paul Brown Stadium on Monday night. And in turn, the Patriots have fallen into the No. 1 seed in the AFC, securing home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
New England secured a first-round bye and a 12-3 record in defeating the New York Jets by a score of 17-16 on Sunday. Cincinnati’s win over the No. 2 seeded Denver secured the rest, as the Bengals will be joining the Patriots in the playoffs by improving to 10-4-1 on the season.
The Bengals could also improve to No. 2 in the conference and earn a bye with a win and a Broncos – now 11-4 – loss in Week 17.
But for the Patriots, the results of the regular-season finale hold little playoff significance. New England will host the 8-7 Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m. at Gillette Stadium next Sunday.
And they could very well remain there.