NFL Playoff Schedule: Clinching AFC Top Seed Has Patriots as Super Bowl Lock

Luis Batlle@lbatll1Contributor IJanuary 1, 2012

FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 01:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots looks on in the second half against the Buffalo Bills on January 1, 2012 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

In a league that is know for defense winning football games, a defense that ranks dead last against the pass and just No. 17 against the has earned the top spot in the AFC entering the 2012 NFL playoffs.

The New England Patriots have one of the weaker defenses in the NFL, allowing teams at least 20 points in 12 of their 16 games.

Yet in spite of their inconsistent play on the defensive end, the Pats are the team that came out on top in the conference and look to ride on the play of their top-notch offense going into the playoffs.

The win has put the Patriots' record at 13-3 to finish the season as the AFC's top seed that comes with a first-round bye as well as clinching home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Given that the Patriots are guaranteed to play in Foxboro in their first two games of the AFC playoffs, the team is expected to run away with the AFC championship.


Playing in Foxboro is easily more than just an advantage for this experienced, polished team at home, as the Patriots have gone 7-1 this season there. The Patriots also have a history of dominating in Foxboro in years past. 

Since 2009, the Patriots have gone a whopping 23-1 in the regular season when playing in their home stadium.

The loss came to the New York Giants this season, in what was a game that came down the final minutes. A few plays from having a 24-0 record makes this team all the more significant of a threat playing in Foxboro for the entirety of the AFC playoffs.

Not to mention, this is a team led by QB Tom Brady, who has three Super Bowls to his name and an impressive second half of the 2011-2012 season. In his last eight outings, Brady has posted 19 of his 36 touchdowns while throwing for over 300 yards in his last four outings and just throwing two interceptions.

Talk about a mouthful.

With an experienced QB destined to enter the Hall of Fame given the benefit of playing at home for the majority of the playoffs, the Patriots will undoubtedly represent the AFC in the Super Bowl.