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Dolphins not expected to rest starters vs. Patriots

DAVIE, Fla. -- The Miami Dolphins, who won nine of their last 10, are not expected to take their foot off the pedal this week. Dolphins head coach Adam Gase said the team is expected to play its starters Sunday against AFC East champion New England, despite clinching a playoff spot over the weekend.

"We have an opportunity to play after Week 17, but our main focus is this week," Gase said. "We’re going to stick to our plan that we’ve had this entire season of not looking past the opponent that we’ve had ahead."

The Dolphins have several banged-up players down the stretch, including left tackle Branden Albert (hand), cornerback Byron Maxwell (ankle) and linebacker Kiko Alonso (thumb, hamstring), who could use a couple of weeks to rest. However, Gase said the Patriots can "embarrass you" if a team looks past them, and that Miami must bring its "A game" this week.

Miami lost to New England, 31-24, in Week 2 with Jimmy Garoppolo as the Patriots' quarterback. This time MVP favorite Tom Brady will be under center against the Dolphins. But Brady has struggled on the road recently against the Dolphins and is 0-3 in Miami since 2013.

The Dolphins (10-5) are the sixth seed and scheduled to play AFC North champion Pittsburgh in the wild-card round of the playoffs. Miami could climb to the No. 5 seed with a win against New England and a loss by Kansas City (11-4).