With the AFC East crown locked up for the New England Patriots thanks to a victory over Tim Tebow and the Broncos in Denver yesterday. The Patriots will now have their sights set on the overall number one seed in the AFC.
The Patriots will have had a bitter sweet feeling watching the Baltimore Ravens falter to the San Diego Chargers last night.
The Ravens were the second seed behind the Patriots but shared the same 10-3 record entering the weekend. It's nice to have less traffic at the top but the Ravens loss could in fact hurt the Patriots.
With the Ravens falling in San Diego, the door is open for the Pittsburgh Steelers to claim a lead in the AFC North. Should the Steelers win tonight against the San Francisco 49ers then the Pennsylvania based outfit will take a lead in the AFC North.
More importantly for the Patriots, the Steelers will move to 11-3. At 11-3 the Steelers would own the tiebreaker over the Patriots thanks to their victory in Heinz Field earlier this season. Without being protected by their status as a division winner, the Patriots will move to the second seed in the conference.
Being the second seed in the conference isn't a huge issue, however if the Patriots do indeed advance to the AFC title game, and play the Steelers, a trip to Heinz Field in January would be less than desirable for Tom Brady's passing attack.
The Patriots will of course claim that they are solely focused on what they can control, but it is only natural for one eye to be wary of the important actions that are occurring around them.