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Patriots Clinch Playoff Spot, Reaching Postseason For 18th Time Under Bill Belichick

BOSTON (CBS) -- After a one-year absence, the New England Patriots are back in the postseason.

Bill Belichick's team clinched that spot on Sunday by beating the Jaguars 50-10 and getting some help from the Titans, who defeated the Dolphins.

The Patriots' win improved them to 10-6 on the year, while the Dolphins dropped to 8-8.

For the Patriots, it's their 18th playoff appearance since 2001, when they won the first Super Bowl in franchise history. The team made the playoffs for 11 straight years from 2009-19, but broke that streak with a 7-9 finish in 2020 -- the first year in the post-Tom Brady era.

This year, with rookie Mac Jones starting all 16 games thus far, the Patriots have earned at least a Wild Card spot in the 2021 postseason field.

With one week to go, the exact spot for the Patriots is yet to be determined. They can win the AFC East if they beat the Dolphins next week and if the Jets turn in an unlikely upset over the Bills. Short of that scenario, the Patriots will be one of the three Wild Card teams in the AFC.

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