The Patriots played poorly, but with an eye to the future on Sunday.
New England had already locked up home-field advantage through the playoffs before dropping the final game of the regular season to Buffalo by a 17-9 margin, with each New England point coming via Stephen Gostkowski field goals.
Finishing the season 12-4, the Pats got the tiebreaker for the first seed in the AFC by beating the Denver Broncos earlier this year.
In limited playing time, Tom Brady completed eight passes in 16 attempts, throwing for just 80 yards. Rookie Jimmy Garoppolo fared a bit better, completing 10 of 17 passes and managing 90 yards.
Garoppolo, however, was sacked three times in his half.
Running back LeGarrette Blount was a bright spot in an ugly offense Sunday, rushing for 62 yards on 10 carries.
Brandon LaFell led Patriots receivers with 70 yards. However, he also shared the team's lead in catches - he, Brian Tyms and Danny Amendola each made four.
New England Patriots
Bills quarterback Kyle Orton performed better than the Brady-Garoppolo tandem, completing 16 passes but missing just seven throws. He threw for 176 yards while Patriots quarterbacks threw for 170.
Defensively, New England held Fred Jackson to 58 yards on 18 carries. No Buffalo receiver caught more than 57 yards or four passes. Linebacker Jonathan Casillas made a career-high nine combined tackles.
Having earned a first-round bye, the Patriots will have some time to recuperate. They can get to the Super Bowl with just two wins at Gillette Stadium.