The New England Patriots keep describing their Week 17 matchup against the New York Jets as a playoff game. That seems to be going a bit overboard.

Sure, the Patriots are playing for a first-round bye, but those aren’t exactly playoff implications unless they believe they can’t advance in the postseason without a first-round bye.

Regardless, if the Patriots can’t beat the Jets at Gillette Stadium, then a first-round bye is the least of their worries.

Let’s get into this week’s mailbag.

Why is hollister on this roster?
— @NEPatsJD52
With tight end Jacob Hollister back on the injury report and nursing another hamstring injury, I like an idea the Providence Journal’s Mark Daniels threw out in the locker room Thursday: What if the Patriots placed Hollister on injured reserve and signed Stephen Anderson off the practice squad?

The Patriots need more receiving production from the tight end position. Anderson is roughly the same size as Hollister. He caught 25 passes for 342 yards with a touchdown last season with the Houston Texans.

Anderson has been on the practice squad for most of the season, so the Patriots must like him, and they could use all the receiving threats they can get right now.

They also have shown a recent willingness to sign a player off their practice squad and make him an immediate contributor. They signed defensive end Ufomba Kamalu off their practice squad last week and made him active in their win over the Buffalo Bills.

Is the defense/run game capable of carrying Brady to the Super Bowl like Denver in Peyton Manning’s last season?
— @AndrewMalky
No, I don’t think so. Both the Patriots’ rushing attack and their defense as a whole have just been too inconsistent this season. I don’t trust that both will perform well enough in the postseason to carry the Patriots to a Super Bowl win.

Therefore, Tom Brady needs to pick up his play over the next month-plus. Brady is definitely dealing with some type of injury. The key for Patriots postseason success is to beat the New York Jets on Sunday and get that first-round bye. I’ll bet Brady looks like a different player after a week off.

If the Patriots can’t beat the Jets this weekend, then any hope for postseason success is lost.

With Brady and DMC both entering the last years of their deals, what would possible extensions look like? Easy way to free up cap space. Are you worried Tom might not get an extension? #maildoug
— @thepaulswanson
Brady’s cap hit in 2019 is $27 million, while Devin McCourty’s is $13.435 million. Ideally, the Patriots would work out an extension with Brady to lower that cap hit while also keeping him under contract past 2019, assuming he still wants to play.

The McCourty situation is a bit messier. I think he’ll have to agree to a pay cut to stick around. He’s set to be the third-highest paid safety in the NFL next season. I can’t imagine the Patriots would want to pay him like that, though he has had a solid season.

Do you load up in 2019 or restock with younger players?
— @JBoss_
I think Bill Belichick does what he tries to do every year — a combination of both. The Patriots will try their luck in the draft, but if he can find useful veterans on rookie contracts through trades or as middle-class free-agent signings, then he’ll add them too.

The Patriots can’t do a full re-build until Brady is no longer quarterback.

What’s the future at the TE position? Gronk is slowing down, Allen is ok but big cap hit, Hollister cant get/stay on the field. Looks like a double dip in the draft or free agency is coming up…..any targets or predictions
— @CynicalPatsFan
If Rob Gronkowski retires, then I might try to sign Jared Cook and select a tight end high in the 2019 NFL Draft. It seems like a good year to draft a tight end.

If Gronkowski doesn’t retire, then they could probably get by with just drafting a tight end.

In his limited action, what’s your take on Derek Rivers? Young player going through tough first year off of injury, or just a slower developmental track than others? #MailDoug
— @BryanThiel_88
First off, I think the expectations for Rivers were always going to be too high. He was a third-round pick, but he was treated like a first- or second-round pick because he was the first player chosen by the Patriots in the 2017 NFL Draft.

That being said, he’s been a disappointment. That the Patriots signed Kamalu off their practice squad last week and he was immediately active over Rivers is not a good sign. The Patriots have to hope Rivers progresses in his third season. He’ll definitely be on the roster bubble next summer.

Let’s go rapid fire.

Doug can you add me on PS4? #MailDoug
— @PatPokemon
I can’t. I don’t have a PS4. I’m not a big gamer.

Do you think Tom Brady is any good?
— @DeeepThreat
Over the last 10 quarters? Not really. Overall this season, yes.

The Patriots have to hope Brady is a. injured, and b. can get healthy by the divisional round.

#FIREMARVINLEWIS ?
— @TWhiteguy2
Yes but five years ago.

Will the Patriots draft a qb or trade for Carson Wentz/Nick Foles?
— @arturoelnegro_
I don’t think the Eagles will trade Wentz, and Nick Foles is going to cost too much.

are you the successor to tom brady
— @michaelis4real
You don’t want that.

What did Harambe get for Christmas?
— @itsbeccawolf
A scratching pad, some treats and some toys. He was a good boy this year.

BB usually doesn’t make same mistake twice. People can say whatever they wish but I do feel there has been a slight downtick in Brady’s performance this year. SLIGHT. BB made a mistake w Gronk, could have gotten a 1st. any scenario he dumps Brady for a windfall? #maildoug
— @LemeryATC
I don’t think Bill Belichick made a mistake with Rob Gronkowski. Gronkowski threatened to retire if he was traded. Belichick’s hands were tied.

It wouldn’t make sense to trade Brady for anything less than two first-round picks, and I can’t see any team giving up that much.

Is it always actually good to see ya?
— @_AndrewCallahan
Always.

Pineapple on pizza? #MailDoug
— @Mpls_Scott
Yes. Sorry to those who think that’s blasphemy.

@DougKyed Do you think there is a chance pats will wait for Justin Herbert in 2020 or they will sign TB12 ‘s successor in the 2019 draft ???#MailDoug
— @Proudred_devil
I think the Patriots need to draft a quarterback high in this upcoming draft. I thought that nine months ago, though too.

When are we getting our first snowstorm? We’re almost into January. #MailDoug
— @Kid_From_Quincy
I had a staircase built from the street up to my house to help us navigate the snow this year. If that’s the cost of getting no snow all winter, I’ll take it.

What is more of a Christmas food? Spiral ham or lasagna? #MailDoug
— @ejlinehan
Spiral ham.

What is your opinion on the Pats going after a Tyrell Williams or Chris Conley in free agency? Both guys are falling out of favor / underperforming and might be somewhat cheap. Both guys are 6’3″ + and could be a decent 3rd/4th option. How would you address the WR need?
— @PatriotPrice
I think they’ll both be more expensive than they’re worth. I like both players, but wide receivers get paid on the open market.

My dad wants to know if you think that Patriots are one and done this postseason?
— @pereira_report
Only if they lose to the Jets this weekend.

Why are you the GOAT
— @JaylenSZN
I was born this way.

I’d really like to know how often the McCourtys try to fool the various regulars seeking interviews with one of them. Follow up: How do you know?
— @TinyFezzik
We’re too smart for that. They just look different.

@DougKyed While you’d love to never leave Foxboro, is the 2 seed a blessing in disguise as you are highly unlikely to need to beat both the Chargers and the Chiefs? #MailDoug
— @FetzerValves
Eh, the Patriots have been so bad on the road, it’s not worth the risk. No. 1 seed is better, but the Patriots aren’t getting it anyway.

Po-tay-to or po-tah-to
— @bruinsgirl33
The former. Who says the latter?

Which WR from the free agent class would you most like to see in a pats uniform?
— @trent_abshirexx

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Thumbnail photo via Shanna Lockwood/USA TODAY Sports Images