Now, the Patriots have an opportunity to seize sole possession of the AFC's second-best record if they can pull off the win against the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football. Four wins to close out the season would assure the Patriots the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs.
If only it were all so simple. The Indianapolis Colts are also hot on New England's trail, sitting at 9-4 and riding a three-game winning streak. With two of the team's final three games against the Texans, though, a top seed in the playoffs seems like a stretch for them, especially since they would need to do better than the Patriots' final record by at least one game to negate the tiebreaker.
The Denver Broncos also picked up a win on Thursday to launch themselves to 10-3 on the season. They will be watching tonight's game very closely, as New England also holds a tiebreaker over them.
There are plenty of teams still in the hunt for a top seed in the playoffs, but the Patriots are the only team that controls its own destiny. With the right game plan and proper execution, they can get the wheels moving in the right direction tonight.
Here's some more news from around the AFC East.
New England Patriots
Bleacher Report Patriots featured columnist James Ermilio breaks down the best third-down play-calls for the Patriots this season.
According to Jeff Elliot of the Newark (N.J.) Star-Ledger, Jets guard Brandon Moore delivered a halftime speech that got the Jets offensive linemen going.
Paul Hamilton of WGR 550 Sportsradio writes that the Bills have suffered through 12 years of incompetent game-day coaching.
Tim Graham of The Buffalo News explains why the Bills went from a field goal to a timeout to a punt to a loss.
Armando Salguero of The Miami Herald hands out grades for the Dolphins' 27-13 loss to the 49ers.
Erik Frenz is the AFC East lead blogger for Bleacher Report. Be sure to follow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless specified otherwise, all quotes are obtained firsthand or via team press releases.