Denver’s loss on Thursday night has opened the door for the Patriots to grab the AFC’s No. 1 playoff seed, but tread lightly when asking coach Bill Belichick about the opportunity his team has now been given.

If the Patriots beat the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami, they’ll join Denver with the best record in the AFC at 11-3. By virtue of their 34-31 win over the Broncos on Nov. 24, the Patriots hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.

Three wins in their final three games, then, would guarantee the Patriots the AFC’s top playoff seed. So the Patriots control their playoff fate.

Asked about Thursday’s development, Belichick cut the questioner off before he could even finish.