By Danny Picard
BOSTON — Mark it on your calendar. Sunday, Jan. 22, the AFC Championship Game, at Gillette Stadium.
If the playoffs began today, the New England Patriots would be the No. 1 seed in the conference. That’s entering Week 8, with a 6-1 record, and just one more game before their bye in Week 9.
With nine games left to play, it’s hard not to look at the rest of the Patriots’ schedule to see who — if anyone — has a chance to spoil their plans of hosting the AFC title game. There will be a few tests along the way, but at this point, nothing dangerous enough to change what’s already been settled: New England is the best team in the AFC, if not the entire NFL.