The New England Patriots have secured a first-round playoff bye, but much more could be secured depending on how the Denver Broncos and Cincinnati Bengals fare Monday night.
“Yeah, I’m going to stay up and watch at least through the first half unless it gets too late,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said during appearance on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan Monday morning. “But this is an important one for us so I will definitely be glued to this one.”
The Patriots earned a 12-3 record and a bye for the fifth consecutive year on Sunday, defeating the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium, 17-16. The team would earn the AFC’s No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs should the 9-4-1 Bengals defeat 11-3 Broncos under the lights at Paul Brown Stadium Monday.
“Everything is ahead of us. It’s amazing you can play 15 games and still nothing is decided and everything is ahead of you,” Brady said. “But that’s the way the NFL is.”
Should the Broncos defeat the Bengals, the Patriots would still get a chance to have the final say. And that chance would come against the 8-7 Buffalo Bills at Gillette Stadium in Week 17.
It’s a game Brady doesn’t plan to sit for, regardless of how postseason picture falls into place, having played in all 16 regular-season games dating back to 2009.
“I hope not. I’d love to go out there,” Brady said. “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’ve put together in a long time. We’ve been up and down as of late. We’ve got to start really putting some great football together in these next [weeks]. We’ve got the bye. We’ve got to be able to win this week.”
New England’s imperfect win over New York arrived without contributions from running back LeGarrette Blount, wideout Julian Edelman, left guard Dan Connolly and cornerback Kyle Arrington. A week of recovery will be arriving at the perfect time for them, Brady acknowledged. But he also acknowledged that much of it is out of their hands.
“There’s a lot of guys that could probably use a little time off,” Brady said. “But you know, 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.”