Patriots ready for bye week

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- With the top seed in the AFC heading into the playoffs, the Patriots had already earned a first-round bye week, even before Sunday’s 38-7 win over the Dolphins.

How will Patriots players spend their second bye week of the season?

“I’m going to relax a few days,” linebacker Jerod Mayo said. “Coach [Belichick] gave us the day off, but I’m sure we’ll be back to work early [next week].”

The Patriots’ injuries have mounted in past weeks, and Sunday was no different as both running back Danny Woodhead (head) and Myron Pryor (eye) left the game with injuries.

“Everyone wants to get healthy. Everyone has dings and bumps on them,” tight end Rob Gronkowski said. “Definitely get healthy, get stronger, keep on preparing, keep on staying in shape for the bye week, and just have a longer time to study film and get better overall.”

The Patriots will learn their opponent next weekend for their home Divisional Playoff game on Jan. 15-16. Over the course of their 14-win season, the Patriots have played, and defeated every potential AFC playoff opponent except for the Chiefs.

“I know from watching the NFL for years, [the playoffs] are a big thing,” cornerback Devin McCourty said. “I just want to be ready to play when we step out there.”

The bye week will also give players a chance to reflect on their NFL-best 14-win regular season before they gear up for the playoffs.

“14-2, that’s not a bad year,” linebacker Rob Ninkovich said. “So I’m excited for us. It was nice to keep the momentum from what we’ve had the last month, two months. I’m ready to roll.”