By Danny Picard
FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick said Wednesday that he doesn't worry about "the standings and the records and all that" when entering a game.
He doesn't have to this week. Not only has New England clinched the division and the top seed in the AFC playoffs, but Miami -- the team that Pats are playing -- is eliminated from the playoff race. The game is the textbook definition of "meaningless," at least as far as the standings are concerned.
There are some things that matter. Retaining health, staying in-sync, and achieving personal milestones all come to mind. (Among the personal milestones: BenJarvus Green-Ellis is 72 yards shy of his first career 1,000-yard rushing season.)
Still, Belichick says -- publicly at least -- that none of it matters, that they just get ready to "go out and compete" every Sunday.
And so, Dolphins coach Tony Sparano thinks he'll see a lot of Tom Brady on Sunday.
"I would expect to see a great deal of him," said Sparano in Wednesday's conference call. "I mean, from my end, I think that, I'm sure the Patriots, they want to win their 14th football game. So, I would expect that they're going to go out there and do everything in their power to be able to do that. Most teams going into the playoffs, the way they're going into the playoffs, want to go in as hot as they can be."
At 7-8, Miami isn't postseason bound. But if the Dolphins were going to the playoffs, and they had achieved everything the Patriots have, what would they do?
"I would do whatever's in the best interest of my football team," said Sparano, doing his best Belichick impression. "I don't think there's an obligation one way or the other. I just think you've got to do what you feel is best for your football team. I'm sure that's part of the philosophy in New England."
Danny Picard is on Twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard. You can listen to Danny on his streaming radio show I'm Just Sayin' Monday-Friday from 9-10 a.m. on CSNNE.com.