A quick look at the New England Patriots possible playoff opponents

PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Rob Gronkowski
PITTSBURGH, PA - DECEMBER 17: Rob Gronkowski /
1 of 8
New England Patriots

The New England Patriots are a win away from the top seed in the AFC, and their path to the Super Bowl could have them facing off against some tough opponents.

The New England Patriots will be in the playoffs and they’ll have a first-round bye once again. The #1 seed in the AFC though is still up for grabs. The only competition for that coveted top seed is the Pittsburgh Steelers, but the Patriots can handle business all on their own.

With a week 17 win over the New York Jets, New England will secure the #1 seed in the conference. With that on the line, expect to see starters in this final game of the regular season, unless the Patriots get up by 20 or more in the 4th quarter.

Since the playoff picture is becoming clearer as the final slate of games approaches, it’s appropriate to look at all of the teams that the New England Patriots could face at some point in the AFC playoffs as they look to make a push towards an appearance in Super Bowl LII.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Record: 12-3

Week 17 Opponent: Cleveland Browns

Week 17 Scenarios: Can clinch #1 seed in AFC with a win AND a Patriots loss/tie

The Steelers need some help from the New York Jets if they have any chance of claiming the #1 seed. Both the Patriots-Jets and the Steelers-Browns games will take place at 1 PM, so Pittsburgh will also be playing starters and looking for a win. They should get one over Cleveland, but if New England handles their business at home it won’t even matter.

Still, the Steelers will likely end up as the #2 seed in the AFC, and the Patriots could meet them in the AFC Championship Game. These two teams met in week 15, and New England walked away with a (somewhat controversial) win. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski led a spectacular game-winning drive, and after a Steelers touchdown was overturned, the defense sealed things with an interception. Antonio Brown left the game early, and it’s still not known when he will be ready to go again, but an appearance in the AFCCG would not be surprising. The New England Patriots defense would surely have their hands full with both a healthy AB and LeVeon Bell. New Patriots addition James Harrison will also add some intrigue to this matchup if it happens.