FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — The New England Patriots can clinch the top seed in the AFC by winning their remaining two games against teams currently with 5-9 records.
However, they saw last weekend that favorites can have rough days. Houston and Baltimore began last Sunday tied with New England at 10-3, but were beaten. The other AFC team that had been 10-3, Pittsburgh, lost Monday night to San Francisco.
So that leaves the Patriots as the only team in the conference with an 11-3 record. They face the Miami Dolphins on Saturday before finishing the regular season against the Buffalo Bills on New Year's Day.
But cornerback Devin McCourty said Tuesday the upsets last Sunday are more reason for the favored Patriots to be ready for those remaining games.