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Patriots move back to No. 2 seed, giving themselves discernible Super Bowl path

Alex Reimer
December 23, 2018 - 4:50 pm

There is still a good chance the road to the Super Bowl will go through Foxboro. 

In addition to clinching their hapless division for the 10th straight season, the Patriots also propelled themselves back to the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs with their ho-hum 24-12 win over the Bills Sunday. The Texans, who entered the day holding the second seed, fell to the Eagles in Philadelphia after erasing a 13-point fourth quarter deficit.

Deshaun Watson found little-used wideout Vyncint Smith for an incredible 35-yard touchdown that gave Houston a 30-29 lead with 2:04 remaining in regulation. But Nick Foles ran a tidy two-minute drill and led the Eagles into field goal territory on their next drive. Jake Elliott nailed the game-winner from 35 yards out. 

The Patriots' locker room erupted when Elliott's kick sailed through the uprights. It was a nod to the importance of the game for them, and an example of odd bedfellows. 

With Houston’s loss, the only thing that stands between the Patriots and another first-round bye is a victory over the Jets at home next week. The AFC remains wide open, and New England is undefeated in Foxboro. 

There's still reason to be optimistic, even as Tom Brady continues to bail on throws and start to look more like an aging quarterback on a weekly basis.