NESN.com

Brandon BoldenThe Patriots pulled out maybe their ugliest win of the season on Sunday, but style points weren’t a concern, as they managed to keep pace for a first-round bye in the AFC playoff picture.

Tom Brady led the Patriots to a gut-wrenching 23-16 win in Jacksonville on Sunday afternoon, maintaining their place as the No. 3 team in the AFC. While taking care of their own business against the Jaguars, the Patriots also received some help from an unexpected source in respect to their playoff seeding.

The Minnesota Vikings, who are fighting for their own playoff lives, defeated the AFC-leading Houston Texans 23-6 on Sunday afternoon. The Texans’ loss had no effect on their playoff hopes, as they’ve already clinched the AFC South, but it did impact their potential seeding, keeping hope alive for New England to claim one of the top two playoff spots and a first-round bye.

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