The New England Patriots have the weekend off after securing a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs for the ninth consecutive season, but while most teams might use the bye week to heal their ailing players, the Patriots appear to be pretty healthy as the postseason begins.
Only wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) and tight end Jacob Hollister (hamstring) missed New England’s Week 17 win over the New York Jets. Safety Devin McCourty suffered a concussion during the third quarter of the regular-season finale and did not return.
Missing Patterson and/or McCourty for the AFC Division Round matchup on Jan. 13 would be a huge blow to the Patriots, but it appears New England will be relatively healthy for its playoff opener. Head coach Bill Belichick discussed his team’s health Wednesday on WEEI’s “Ordway, Merloni and Fauria” and it sounds like New England is just about fully operational as the playoffs begin.
“I think right now we’re in pretty good shape,” Belichick said, as transcribed by WEEI. “(Cordarrelle) Patterson wasn’t able to play against the Jets, but hopefully we’ll be able to get him back. I think our overall continuity the last few weeks, of not only the injury report for games but just being able to practice consecutively with players that are going to play in the game gives you better timing and execution, and has helped us that way. We’ll see, but so far, I think we’ll have a full group out there this week at practice.”
New England had three players absent at practice Wednesday, including McCourty who is continuing to recover from his concussion.
The No. 2 seed Patriots will play either the No. 3 seed Houston Texans, No. 4 seed Baltimore Ravens or No. 5 seed Los Angeles Chargers in the divisional round. If the No. 6 seed Indianapolis Colts defeat the Texans on Saturday then they will visit the No. 1 seed Kansas City Chiefs while the Pats would face the winner of Sunday’s tilt between the Ravens and Chargers.