Tuesday December 23rd, 2014

When the Denver Broncos lost to the Cincinnati Bengals on Monday night, the New England Patriots clinched the No. 1 seed in the AFC, but coach Bill Belichick said it won't impact their gameplan for Week 17, NESN's Doug Kyed reports.

The Patriots earned a bye for the fifth straight season with a win over the New York Jets on Sunday. Even though they have sewn up the top seed in the AFC, Belichick said it will be business as usual in Week 17 against the Buffalo Bills.

“I don’t think it really has a big effect on what we’ve been doing — just keep getting ready for Buffalo,” Belichick said Tuesday. “That’s what our challenge is here. Whatever our position is, it is. That will all take care of itself in due course. It doesn’t really have anything to do with right now.”
“We’ll do the same thing we always do,” Belichick said. “It won’t be any different this week than it’s been any other week. It won’t be any different this year than any other year. We’ll do what we feel is best for our football team. Period. Whatever’s best for our team, that’s what we’ll try to do.”

• BURKE: Bengals pick off Peyton four times, clinch playoff spot

A number of key players on the Patriots offense have been dealing with injuries so the additional rest could prove beneficial entering the playoffs. Whether Belichick decides to rest the likes of Tom Brady or Rob Gronkowski remains to be seen until the inactives are announced. 

The Patriots and Bills play on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

• BEDARD: The Good, the bad, the ugly of drafting Jameis Winston

- Josh Sanchez

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide - from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Seth Davis, and more - delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.