FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) The New England Patriots wore pads as they practiced hard in the rain inside their stadium Wednesday.
No light workout on the adjacent field where they usually prepare even though Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills has no impact on either team's playoff status.
Not from coach Bill Belichick, who has plenty of experience preparing his teams for the postseason.
''We'll do the same thing we always do,'' he 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 it's been any other year. We'll do what we feel is best for our football team, period.''
He's just not saying what that is.
Having clinched the top seed in the AFC and home-field advantage throughout the conference playoffs, the Patriots (12-3) could limit the playing time of quarterback Tom Brady, tight end Rob Gronkowski and other key starters.
No sense exposing them to injury against the Bills (8-7), who missed the playoffs for the 15th straight season, the longest current drought.
Whatever Belichick plans, his players aren't saying even if they know.
''We're players,'' safety Devin McCourty said. ''We don't decide who plays or what plays are called. We can only do one thing and that's to be ready to play.''
They may be more motivated after squeaking out a 17-16 win over the lowly New York Jets last Sunday. They'd like to go into their first-round bye with a solid performance.
''When you win a bunch of games, you string a bunch together, you can build some momentum,'' Brady said. ''We've worked pretty hard to get to this point. I think this is the time to put the pedal to the metal and not really go the other direction.''
For the fourth time in Belichick's 15 years as coach of the Patriots, they clinched their playoff spot before their last game. In three of those years, starters sat out or played less than usual. In the other, 2007, the Patriots were trying to finish 16-0 and did it with a 38-35 win over the New York Giants.
''That was really out of our control,'' Brady said. ''We did our best to do our part on Sunday, which was good, but still the season is not over for us. There is plenty of time to think about things down the road. This isn't the time for it.''
The Bills are coming off a 26-24 upset by the Oakland Raiders but have a formidable defense that has allowed the fourth fewest yards and fifth fewest points.
But their running game is weak and the Patriots haven't allowed a second-half touchdown in their last five games.
''I don't think Buffalo cares much if we're the No. 1 seed,'' McCourty said. ''We talk about how after Thanksgiving it's important for us to get better each time we step on the field. So I think getting the No. 1 seed doesn't change that. We still want to play good football every time we go out there.''
Belichick's constant message to his players is not to look beyond the next game. But there's one game that five of them would love to miss - the Pro Bowl.
That's scheduled for the weekend before the Super Bowl and those players hope to be preparing for that.
Special teams captain Matthew Slater was ''humbled'' to be chosen for the fourth straight season but said, ''I have no desire to play in it. What goes on in this locker room is more important to me.''
But this week they're focused on beating the Bills at home for the 14th straight time.
''We have to stay in tune,'' Revis said. ''We have to keep that level of energy that we had throughout the course of the year.''
No matter who plays.
''We're going to do what's best for the New England Patriots,'' Belichick said. ''That's what I've always done. I can't imagine ever doing anything different.''
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