So much for next Sunday's regular-season finale in Foxborough being a meaningless game.
The NFL has decided to flex next Sunday's Patriots-Dolphins regular season finale at Gillette Stadium from 1 p.m. to 4:25 p.m. because seeding in the AFC playoffs is still very much up in the air, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.
With the Patriots beating the Jacksonville Jaguars, 23-16 and the Houston Texans falling to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, the Pats still have a chance to secure a top-two seed in the AFC playoffs and earn a first-round bye. However, a Patriots loss next Sunday against the Dolphins coupled with a win by the Baltimore Ravens would drop the Pats to the fourth seed in the AFC. New England currently holds the third seed, meaning the AFC's top four seeds could change next Sunday.
Currently, here's a look at the AFC playoff picture.
- Houston Texans (12-3)
- Denver Broncos (12-3)
- New England Patriots (11-4)
- Baltimore Ravens (10-5)
- Indianapolis Colts (10-5)
- Cincinnati Bengals (9-6)
Here's a look at the Week 17 schedule following the felx announcement:
- Baltimore Ravens at Cincinnati Bengals (1 p.m.)
- Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts (1 p.m.)
- Miami Dolphins at New England Patriots (4:25 p.m.)
- Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos (4:25 p.m.)
Schefter told ESPN the NFL's decision was made to make sure the AFC's top four seeds won't be completely locked in following the 1 p.m. games.