FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Shortly after the New England Patriots recorded their 13th win of the season on Saturday night, quarterback Tom Brady shared a developing theme with the team that picked up momentum after clinching the AFC East Dec. 18 in Denver.
"We got on [the] airplane and said, 'Look, we're finishing strong. We're putting the pedal to the metal.' Last year we didn't finish strong and we didn't' like the way that things ended," Brady relayed. "We need to keep playing well down the stretch. We've got to try to finish strong through next week."
With a road win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, the Patriots will clinch the No. 1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
While Brady continues to manage a thigh injury, which is likely the reason his weekly news conference has already been scheduled for Friday after practice instead of Wednesday morning, he is pushing forward.
"Everybody wants to be prepared to go out there and finish the season as strong as ever," he said Monday night during his Westwood One Radio interview.
The Dolphins are expected to take a similar approach.
As for what earning the No. 1 seed would mean for the Patriots, consider the following, via ESPN's Stats & Information:
They have reached the Super Bowl in four of the previous five seasons in which they had home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, winning it all twice.
Brady is 4-1 in AFC title games at home and 2-3 on the road. He has lost each of his last three AFC title games on the road.
Overall, Brady is 15-3 at home in the playoffs, with two of the losses coming to the Ravens, who are eliminated from the playoffs. Brady's career road record in the playoffs is 3-4.
As for Brady himself, he said Christmas was a "restful" day as he made breakfast for his family.
His best gift?
"Coach Belichick gave us the day off, so that was probably the best thing," he said on Westwood One.
Meanwhile, Brady gave a signed jersey to running back LeGarrette Blount after Saturday's victory in which he reminded Blount they were "brothers for life."
"He asked and I was in a giving mood. It was Christmas," Brady said with a laugh.