Week 17 milestones in sight

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Week 17 milestones in sight

The Patriots need a win against the Dolphins on Sunday. They also need the Broncos andor Texans to lose, in which case the Pats will earn a first round bye and maybe JUST MAYBE home field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.

Of course, chances are that this won't happen, and the Pats will host either the Colts or Bengals in the Wild Card round, but you never know. Either way, here are a few milestones that the Pats will be playing for in Game No. 16.

Thomas Edward Brady:
Brady needs 11 pass attempts to set a new career high with 612 for the season.

He needs 23 completions to set a new career high with 402 for the season.

He needs 90 passing yards to pass Drew Bledsoe for ninth on the all-time list and a much less realistic 478 to become the ninth QB in NFL history to throw for 45,000 yards in his career.

Wesley Carter Welker:Welker needs 14 catches to set a career high with 124. That would be the second best reception total in NFL history, behind Marvin Harrison's ridiculous 143 in 2002.

With 10 catches, Welker will finish with 120 and own three of the top eight reception seasons in NFL history.

Brandon Matthew Lloyd:
For all the drama and criticism surrounding Lloyd's season, he needs only five catches to set a new career high with 78.

He needs 98 yards to break 1000 in a season for only the second time in his career.

In that case, Lloyd will become the 10th receiver in Patriots history to break 1000 yards, and the fifth to do so with Brady (Troy Brown, Randy Moss, Welker and Gronk are the others; Deion Branch missed by two yards in 2005).

Also, Welker and Lloyd could become the fourth set of Patriot teammates to surpass 1,000 yards in the same season, along with Welker and Gronk (last year), Welker and Moss (2007-2009), and Stanley Morgan and Harold Jackson (1979).

Stevan Todd Ridley:Ridley needs 39 yards for 1228 on the year, and that would be the fourth best single season rushing total in Pats history behind Corey Dillon (1635 in 2004), Curtis Martin (1487 in 1995) and Jim Nance (1458 in 1966).

Dillon and Martin both fumbled five times during their big seasons. Nance fumbled seven times. Heading into Sunday, Ridley has only four fumbles.

And let's wrap this up with a guy on the other side of the ball, one . . .

Vincent Lamar Wilfork:Vincent has already set career highs this season with six passes deflected, four fumble recoveries and three fumbles forced. That's a pretty solid trifecta. With two sacks on Sunday, he'll set a another career high with four on the season. Obviously, that's unlikely but at the end of the day none of this really matters.

Not as much as a win.

Which in turn, probably doesn't matter as much as a Texans andor Broncos loss.

But hey, good times.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

Patriots release a pair from end of roster

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Patriots release a pair from end of roster

After importing a fleet of corners over the weekend, the Patriots released veteran Rashaan Melvin on Monday.

Melvin was claimed off waivers in October of last season as the Patriots were combing the league for cornerback depth. He’d been with the Ravens previously and was targeted repeatedly by Tom Brady in the 2014 AFC Divisional Playoff win. Soon after joining the Patriots, he was on the field against the Giants in Week 9 when Justin Coleman got injured. It didn’t go well as Eli Manning sought Melvin out and chewed him up.

The Patriots released Melvin in mid-December and then signed him back to their practice squad.

The Patriots drafted Cyrus Jones on Friday and reportedly added four more undrafted corners (the team hasn’t confirmed those agreements yet) so Melvin became expendable.

The Patriots also released linebacker James Vaughters, who they signed to a futures contract in January.