FOXBORO -- Take a stroll through the New England Patriots locker room and you'll find that nobody's very interested to the Houston Texans' 1 p.m. game against the Indianapolis Colts.
On one hand it makes sense. If Houston actually loses, the Patriots don't automatically receive a first-round bye. They still have to do their job at home against the Miami Dolphins. So there's no sense in wasting your time worrying about a game that's going on while you're preparing for an important game of your own.
And even if Houston wins, there's still the possibility -- though not a very realistic one -- of the Kansas City Chiefs catching the Denver Broncos off-guard in their final regular-season game before the playoffs. And that game, like the Patriots' is at 4 p.m. So the Pats will still have something to play for even if the Texans win.
On the other hand, it would be naive to think that the Patriots don't know -- or actually care -- about what's at stake in the game before theirs. So if they care, and they should, then it also makes sense to at least pay attention to the outcome of the Texans' visit to Indianapolis.
Still, when you take that stroll up and down their Gillette locker room, you'll be hard-pressed to find anyone expressing the latter.
"Whatever happens in those games, happens, man," said cornerback Aqib Talib after Thursday's practice. "All we can do is control what we can control. So we're going to go out and handle our business, do our best to handle our business."
"I think the biggest thing is, we know we've got to go out and play well Sunday and we've got to win," said safety Devin McCourty. "No matter what happens in any situation, we've got to win. I think that's what we're focused on right now, going out there and playing well and trying to win."
The Patriots will need more than just a win over the Dolphins on Sunday to get a first-round bye. They'll also need either a Texans or Broncos loss.
But while they prepare for their 4:25 kickoff, one would think it would be easy for someone to get the urge to check out what's going on in the 1 p.m. game.
"Not at all," said Vince Wilfork. "Our goal is to win, plain and simple. We can't control anything else. We won't be watching other games because we have a game to play ourselves. So our main goal is to win, and everything will work itself out. However that may be, it's going to be. We're not going to dwell over it. At the same time, we can control what we can control. That's playing a good football game and winning. It's going to be tough. Division game. We're playing at home, but Miami is a team that knows us. This is a team that's going to come in here and play their tails off in their last regular-season game, so we have to be ready for anything."