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How will Belichick manage the roster?

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Patriots To Rest Players Next Week? (0:55)

Mike Reiss wonders if the Patriots will rest most of their starters next week at Houston (0:55)

One storyline to monitor this week will be Bill Belichick’s approach in the season finale at Houston.

With the division title clinched, it seems clear that injured players such as nose tackle Vince Wilfork (foot) and Ty Warren (ankle) won’t play, so they can take another week to rest.

Less clear is how Belichick will manage quarterback Tom Brady and other starters.

“I’m sure he’ll have his own ideas, and really down in Foxborough, it’s not like it’s a democracy anyway. We don’t sit around and take votes of what we’re going to do. It’s a one-man show,” Brady said during his weekly appearance on sports radio WEEI, while interviewed on the Dennis & Callahan show by Butch Stearns and Christian Fauria.

“There is a lot at stake for us. The first and second seed are figured out, but the 3, 4, 5 and 6, no one really knows about those. You don’t really play for position when you really don’t know who your opponent is going to be, nor does it really matter who the opponent is going to be. We’re going to have to beat a good team.”

Brady was asked if players talk about how much they’ll play in situations like these.

“The way our team is, we had a good week this week. We had probably our best week in a long time, and I think it was for a lot of reasons. I think it would be great to see if we can carry that over again, if we can kind of put together another good week,” Brady answered.

“You don’t want to make it seem like one week we’re a team that looks like we did yesterday, and the next week we’re a team that looks like we played against the Bills. I said after the game, it was probably our best week of practice all season. It was probably one of our best games all season. If we can go out and put together another great week of practice, that’s only going to help us for what’s ahead.

“Obviously, we’re not playing the playoff game this week. We’re playing the Texans, who are definitely a playoff-caliber team. Whether they make it or not, it’s going to be a great test for us. I’d love to see us go down there and put together the same type of effort.”

At the same time, Brady acknowledged that clinching the division gives Belichick important flexibility in his decision-making process.

"Whether it's a break mentally or physically, obviously if there are guys that are banged up, I don't think guys coming back from injuries, you're not going to put guys out there that really aren't capable of playing, which you probably would do if it were a playoff game. But I think it's great for us players to go prepare and be ready to go play a team that presents some different challenges.

"You can get hurt at any point. Everyone always says 'injuries, injuries' but the reality is you can be hurt the first play of a playoff game. That's just the way it is. Hopefully you have enough depth to overcome one injury, two injuries. It's just a matter of us doing that. Who knows what Coach is going to do? I think we're all preparing [to play the whole game]. I think that's what I'd prefer to do."