Will he or won't he?
Now that the New England Patriots have locked up a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, will coach Bill Belichick play quarterback Tom Brady or sit him out of Sunday's regular-season finale at home against the Miami Dolphins to guard against an injury in a game that has no meaning in terms of the standings?
Remember, it was only last year when, with a playoff berth already secured, receiver Wes Welker suffered a season-ending knee injury in the team's final regular-season game. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Patriots were smoked -- at home -- by the Baltimore Ravens in a first-round playoff game.
If Belichick has come to a decision on Brady's playing status for Sunday, he wasn't sharing it with the media during a conference call Monday afternoon.
"The decision will be what we feel is in the best interests of our football team," Belichick said moments after arriving at Gillette Stadium. The Patriots had been forced to spend Sunday night in Rochester, N.Y., following the team's 34-3 cakewalk in Buffalo, because of the blizzard that shut down Logan Airport.
"Some players are a little different than other guys, but we will do what's best for our football team both individually and collectively and make our decision this week," said Belichick.
Brady, meanwhile, added an NFL record to his already impressive resume during New England's seventh straight win, which raised the Patriots' record to 13-2. Brady surpassed Bernie Kosar's mark of 308 passes without an interception. Brady, who was 15-of-27 for 140 yards and three touchdowns, has made 319 passes without a pick.
Kosar set the record as a member of the Cleveland Browns, and his coach was none other than Bill Belichick. But Belichick was taking no credit for the success of Kosar and Brady in crafting those streaks.
"I was fortunate to have been the coach who had two people who were my starting quarterbacks who didn't turn the ball over. That's more a reflection and a compliment to the players throwing the ball than the coach," Belichick said. "They had to see defenses, make the throws."
Belichick said that several qualities link Kosar and Brady, namely their meticulous and tireless preparation, their intelligence and their adaptability when a play breaks down. That ability in particular allowed them to escape subpar execution without throwing an interception and making things worse.
And while Belichick prefers to look ahead rather than look back, he did have some kind words for his team and its performance against the Bills.
"Mission accomplished," said Belichick. "It was not perfect, but we did enough to come out on top. We had a lot of guys with flu symptoms and bumps and bruises, which every team in the league has, but we did a real good job of pushing through it and taking advantage of our opportunities."
Veteran tight end Alge Crumpler took advantage of an opportunity to get into the end zone. Crumpler, who has been used more as a blocker than a receiver this season, his first in New England, hauled in a four-yard scoring strike from Brady with 33 seconds left in the first half, putting the Patriots in control at 24-3. It was only the fifth reception of the year for Crumpler, and his first touchdown.
"Alge has made some good contributions to this team all year," said Belichick. "He's one of our captains, the first year on the team. That's a testament to the amount of respect he has from his teammates. He's a hard-working guy, he's smart and he's very team-oriented. His personal rewards come in the final score. He does everything he can to help us win."
While the Patriots have accomplished all they need to during the regular season, Belichick said they will turn their attention to the Dolphins, though they are well aware that future postseason challenges await.
"Every week there is a huge challenge from the other side of the field," said Belichick. "I take satisfaction in the team's achievement every week if we win and I'm disappointed if we don't."
Steven Krasner is a contributor to ESPNBoston.com.