FOXBORO -- Despite having the division clinched and a first-round bye secured, the Patriots enter Sunday's game with Buffalo as a team still motivated to reach their regular-season goals.
With recent Tom Brady injury concerns growing -- outside of the locker room at least -- some would argue there's little to play for on Sunday against a team that's already been eliminated from postseason contention.
After Friday's practice at Gillette Stadium the Patriots made it clear: there won't be any rest for the starters on Sunday -- not even for Brady.
When asked if he expected Brady to play the entire game, wide receiver Wes Welker said, "Absolutely. I mean, this is for the No. 1 seed, fellas. So we're going out there and giving it everything we got for four quarters."
Welker -- and the rest of the team -- remembers that last season the Patriots were the No. 1 seed and had home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. He also knows that it didn't guarantee a win, as the Patriots lost to the New York Jets in the Divisional round.
Still, they'd rather have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, than not.
"That's the whole key, trying to get home-field advantage this weekend, and being the number one seed," said Welker on Friday. "So that's definitely something that's on our minds and something that we're playing for. We understand that we've got to come out there and play really well from start to finish . . . It's huge, and being able to know you're going to be at home, no matter what, is a key thing."
"Any time you can play at home -- and we're always tough to play here at home -- it's a great thing for us," said linebacker Jerod Mayo. "That is a goal, and hopefully we can get it done this week."
If the No. 1 seed wasn't motivation enough for the Patriots on Sunday, then payback for a Week 3 loss to the Bills will be.
"We're not trying to get ahead of ourselves or anything," said Welker. "We're just understanding that Buffalo's a good team and they beat us last time we played them. So that's motivation out there as well. We've got plenty of factors coming into this game, and we've got to use them all to try and come away with a victory.
"Anytime you come away from a team that beat us the last time out, Belichick's definitely going to let you know about it," added Welker. "And I think we're already tired of hearing about it, and we pony lost to them one time in a long time. That's enough for us. We need to come away with a victory this Sunday."