Denver’s home loss to San Diego on Thursday night has opened the door for the Patriots to potentially grab the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed, but tread lightly when asking Bill Belichick or any of his players about the opportunity the team has now been given.
If the Patriots beat the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami, they’ll join Denver with the best record in the AFC at 11-3. By virtue of their 34-31 win over the Broncos on Nov. 24, the Patriots hold the head-to-head tiebreak. Three wins in their final three games, then, would guarantee the Patriots the AFC’s top playoff seed, and homefield advantage until the Super Bowl, no matter what the Broncos do. So the Patriots control their playoff fate. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.