The New England Patriots currently sit as the third seed in the AFC with one game remaining in the regular season. They are one game behind the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans with which they own the tiebreakers. While the Broncos are likely to win Sunday, the Texans may give the Patriots a chance at a bye.
On Sunday the Texans will travel to the Midwest to take on the Indianapolis Colts. The young Colts this season have taken the NFL by storm behind rookie phenom Andrew Luck. The Colts currently sit in the fifth seed of the AFC one game behind the fourth seeded Baltimore Ravens. The Ravens have the tiebreaker over the Colts but will have their own tough task as they play at the Cincinnati Bengals.
The fact that the Colts are still playing for home field in the first round is the best news for the Patriots. The Colts will likely be taking this game very seriously in hope of hosting that game. More inspiration beat the Texans is that this is the return of head coach Chuck Pagano. Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia at the beginning of the season and hasn’t been able to coach all year. He rejoined the team Monday and will be on the sidelines for the first time for Sunday’s game.
More good news is the currently poor run by the Texans. After starting 11-1 the Texans have lost two of their last three games. The first of those two losses was the Monday night affair in Foxborough and the second was last week against the Minnesota Vikings at home. The Texans, still fighting for home field advantage, looked mediocre against the Vikings which is troublesome for them as they head into Indianapolis.
It looked as though the Patriots had lost their chance at a bye when they lost to the San Francisco 49ers. But they now sit in a position where they could end up with that bye. The week 17 schedule benefits the Patriots because the number one seeded Texans are struggling and travel to Indianapolis to take on a tough Colts team. If the result in Indiana goes their way, it could go a long way to helping them reach their second consecutive Super Bowl.