Wes Welker: Pats ‘giving everything we’ve got for four quarters’ to get No. 1 seed
|12.30.11 at 3:27 pm ET|
FOXBORO — You can forget about all the talk about Sunday against the Bills being just another throwaway game and playoff tuneup against a lowly AFC East rival to close out the regular season at Gillette Stadium. And you can forget about looking ahead to resting starters and taking them out if the game is close.
The Patriots head in at 12-3 and can simply wrap up the top seed and home field throughout the AFC playoffs for a second straight season with a win.
Last season, the finale was meaningless in the standings as the Patriots had already wrapped up the No. 1 seed before they pummeled the Dolphins at Gillette to improve to 14-2.
This year, with the 11-4 Ravens and 11-4 Steelers both holding tiebreakers over the Patriots, the situation is more pressing.
“That’s the whole key, trying to get home field advantage this weekend, being the No. 1 seed,” Wes Welker said. “That’s definitely something that’s on our minds and something we’re playing for, and understand we have to come out and play really well from start to finish.”
So he expects to play 60 minutes Sunday?
“Absolutely, absolutely, this is a big game for us,” Welker said. “We understand that and know we have to play real well to win.”
And your quarterback Tom Brady and his left shoulder? You expect him to start and play, as well?
“Absolutely,” Welker repeated. “This is for a No. 1 seed, fellas so we’re going out there and giving everything we’ve got for four quarters.”
Asked what significance he attaches to the No. 1 seed, Welker played coy and had some fun.
“Well, you get home field advantage if you win, so that’s kind of the key,” he explained with a grin, before turning all serious. “But it’s huge and being able to know you’re going to be at home, no matter what, is a key thing.”
As for last season, something Vince Wilfork referenced after the win against the Dolphins last Saturday, the Patriots remember they finished last year with the top spot and were beaten in a shocking loss to the Jets.
“Last season was last season but we’re not trying to get ahead of ourselves or anything,” Welker said. “We’re just understanding Buffalo is a good team and they beat us the last time we played them, so that’s motivation enough there as well. We have plenty of [motivation] factors coming into this game and we have to use them all to try and come away with the victory.”