It wasn't pretty -- it rarely is against a Rex Ryan-coached team -- but the Patriots outlasted the Jets on Sunday, 17-16, which guarantees them a first-round playoff bye. But there's still work to be done.
Namely, beating the Bills in Week 17 to ensure homefield advantage. Unless, of course, the Broncos lose on Monday night in Cincinnati, which would also give New England homefield advantage. And that possibility is why quarterback Tom Brady might break his 8 p.m. bedtime to watch some of the action.
“Yeah, I’m going to stay up and watch at least through the first half [unless] it gets too late,” Brady told Boston radio station WEEI on Monday morning. “This is an important one for us, so I will definitely be glued to this one.”
Whatever happens, Brady says he wants to play next Sunday, even if the playoff seedings are decided late Monday night.
“I hope [I don’t sit]. I’d love to go out there,” he admitted. “After the last few weeks of football, I’d love to go out there and see if our offense can put together the best 60 minutes of football that we have put together in a long time. We’ve been up and down as of late. We really need to start putting some great football together in these next [games].”
Coach Bill Belichick has never been one to rest healthy starters, and it's hard to imagine that he'll suddenly change tactics now. Especially since the Patriots will have a week off, meaning that if the starters should sit in Week 17, they could go two weeks without seeing live game action.
That said, we're four months into one long grind.
“There’s a lot of guys that could probably use a little time off,” Brady said. “But at the same time, this is football season and you play through whatever you’ve got and deal with those things when the season ends. All of those things are coaches’ decisions.
“I want us to go out and win. That’s what I want. I don’t care about resting. I want to go out there and try to kick some butt. That’s what I want to do.”