As I remember Denver has a pretty good history vs the Pats but you are probably right. However Houston appears to be floundering a bit while Denver is playing probably the best football of any team right now. Pretty much a no brainer that NE will not go crazy tring t beat Miami if it means playing Cinn and Denver rather the INd - HTN. They also have the perfect out as they have been hurt recently with injuries. Probably they win the SB last year with a healthy Gronk.
Historically Denver has given them trouble, just not recently. The Patriots have won the last three (all played since December 2011) in fairly convincing fashion, and Brady has had his way with Fox's defense. For whatever reason the Broncos don't match up as well, defensively, with the Patriots these days.
I never paid attention to that. Hmmm....I always thought Belichick played the last game of the week hard all the time.
But then, if the Texans stay pat at #1, could the Bengals become the Pittsburgh of 2005? Beating an AFC North team as a #6 seed on the road, and then beating an AFC South team that is a #1 seed, it could be Pats going to Denver in a #2 vs #4 matchup anyway.
Belichick usually does have them play through to the end, but there's just that one example of where they clearly played it out to get the more favorable matchup. Almost worked, too! LOL...
The seedings that year in the AFC were:
The Patriots slid into the 4th spot by losing a game to Miami in Week 17. They then manhandled the Jags before falling in Denver. Pittsburgh beat Indy in the divisional round. I remember thinking, wow... if they had pulled that game out they'd be hosting the Steelers for the AFCCG. And in those days, the Patriots had Pittsburgh's number.