Miami is typically a difficult place for the Patriots to play as Denver is, but this year the Pats beat the Broncos in Denver and did the same to the Dolphins in Miami. The game started out well for the Patriots, and it looked like the game was going to be a blow-out. The Dolphins did creep to within one possession, but the Pats pulled away and were off to the races despite stalling more than once in the red zone and settling for field goals, otherwise the score would have been far greater for New England.
Tom Brady was sharp, and new pick-up Michael Floyd scored a touchdown in which he dragged four defenders with him over the goal line, and threw a crushing block to spring Julian Edelman for a 77-yard TD run. LeGarrett Blount scored his 18th rushing touchdown, and Tom Brady finished with 28 TDs to 2 INTs, a ratio that set a record. There were other outstanding plays and the offense and defense did their jobs, including the defense creating turnovers (one fumble scoop-and-run went for 69 yards, a franchise record). Special teams did well with the exception of a 55-yard field goal attempt going awry, but in Gostkowski's defense, the field in Miami was simply awful. Players were losing their footing throughout the game. It was a miracle no one got hurt!
The Pats ended up 14-2 for the 2016 season and clinching the No. 1 seed in the playoffs. This means that they have Home Field Advantage (HFA) throughout the playoffs.
The NFL's system is fairly simple: 12 of 32 teams get into the playoffs. The NFL is divided into two conferences: the National Football Conference and the American Football Conference. Four divisions are in each conference. Each conference sends the 4 division winners and 2 wild card teams to the 'Tournament'. Wild Card Weekend features all wild card teams versus division winners, with 2 division winners from each conference sitting out that weekend (best records prevail). Then Divisional Weekend sees the WC survivors meet the top division winners, and Championship Weekend sees 2 teams from each conference compete for the right to go to the Super Bowl. The Pats, if they survive Divisional Weekend, host the AFC Championship Game in Foxboro. Whoo hoo! :)
The Pats will play Miami if they beat Pittsburgh, otherwise they have to play whoever wins in the Oakland/Houston game.
The division ended up with the Pats winning in Week 17 over the Dolphins and the Jets winning over the Bills.
AFC EAST DIVISION
NE 14-2 (Division Winner & No. 1 Seed)
Miami 10-6 (Wild Card Team & No. 6 Seed)