Patriots secure first-round bye for eighth straight year

The New England Patriots will be skipping Wild Card Weekend for the eighth straight year.

Three hours after beating the Buffalo Bills and moving to 12-3, the Patriots clinched yet another first-round bye, thanks to a Jacksonville Jaguars loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.

The Patriots can clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs if the Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3) lose Monday to the Houston Texans. If Pittsburgh wins, New England can still clinch home-field next week with a win over the New York Jets.

New England is 10-1 under Bill Belichick in Divisional Round games at home with the one loss coming in the 2010 playoffs to the New York Jets.

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