Patriots clinch top seed in AFC with win over Jets

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick center speaking to quarterback Tom Brady left during a timeout in the first half of an NFL football game in Foxborough Mass. Belichick has long said he feels

The Super Bowl champion New England Patriots locked up home field advantage throughout the playoffs Sunday with a 26-6 victory over the New York Jets on the final day of the National Football League regular season.

The New York Jets should be no different.

New England's victory over the lowly Jets, in frigid weather at their Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts, meant the Pittsburgh Steelers settled for the second seed in the American Football Conference, despite a 28-24 victory over the hapless Cleveland Browns. With White, Burkhead and Gillislee all inactive Sunday, it's just Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden and FB James Develin available at the position in a game that the Patriots must win to secure home field throughout the playoffs. Linebacker James Harrison, just signed after being released by the Patriots, had two sacks in his Patriots debut. Juston Burris, who had a bad game, was flagged for defensive holding on third down. Safety Marcus Maye was called for a 39-yard pass interference penalty early in the second quarter that set up a 5-yard TD pass from Brady to Cooks that made it 14-3.

Lewis spearheaded the rushing attack against the Jets, finding the end zone once through the air and once on the ground.


The Jets' offense was anemic throughout with Bryce Petty playing the entire game at quarterback after it appeared Christian Hackenberg might see his first regular-season action at some point in the finale. The Patriots will retain the No. 1 seed based on head-to-head tiebreaker. He was the best player on the field for the Pats. He finished the regular season with 4,577 passing yards and 32 touchdown passes with eight interceptions.

It was the coldest regular-season home game in Patriots history.

The Patriots opened up the game with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that made it look as if the Jets defense was in for a long day.

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