Patriots

Patriots hold top seed in AFC prior to Monday Night game vs. Bills

The Ravens fell to the Steelers on Sunday, leaving the Patriots in first.

Patriots AFC
Mac Jones of the New England Patriots reacts during a game against the Tennessee Titans. Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The NFL’s national nightmare continues: The Patriots officially hold the top seed in the AFC prior to their Monday Night Football showdown against the Bills.

The Ravens appeared poised to hold on to the top seed late in their game against the Steelers on Sunday evening. With just 12 seconds remaining, they scored a touchdown to draw within one of the Steelers, and they opted to go for two and the win. Ravens tight end Mark Andrews appeared to find a little room, but he and Lamar Jackson couldn’t connect, and the ball bounced off his fingers in a wild finish.

The Ravens’ loss dropped them to 8-4. They now share that record with the Patriots and Titans. The Patriots claim first based on their head-to-head victory over the Titans, as well as their 6-1 record against AFC opponents. The Ravens are 5-4 against AFC teams.

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The Patriots could solidify their lead (albeit by just a half-game) with a win on Monday. A loss, however, would drop them to fifth … and would move the Bills into a tie for the AFC’s best record with the Ravens and Titans. For the Bills, a loss would drop them out of the playoff picture right before they face an old nemesis: Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Suffice it to say a lot rides on Monday’s game.

“I think people who love football want to get a chance to play in games like these,” Mac Jones said last week. “I know all the guys on both teams want to play in games like this. It’ll be a great experience. I know they have a bunch of great fans, and it’s football, so you’ve just got to go out there and play the game that we’ve all played since we were little kids.”

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