Patriots will fly to Denver on Friday

As has been customary for the Patriots in the past when traveling west for a game that will be played two time zones behind East Coast time, the team will fly to Denver later today, coach Bill Belichick confirmed Friday morning.

The Patriots conducted their media availability before practice this morning rather than after so as to expedite the departure process as they head out for the AFC Championship Game versus the Denver Broncos (Sunday, 3 p.m. ET).

"I think everybody's excited. Obviously, it's a great opportunity," Belichick said. "It's what we've worked all year for, to play in games like this."

There are a variety of reasons for the team to travel a day early, led by the extra night to acclimate to the time change, as Denver is two hours behind East Coast time.

Team in good health: The Patriots will take the field briefly on Friday for their final practice of the week, and the team is largely healthy, with just five players limited during Thursday's session.

Earlier in the week, quarterback Tom Brady and long-snapper Danny Aiken came down with a bug that resulted in each being sent home Wednesday morning.

The two returned Thursday -- and, based on his news conferences, Brady seems to be fully past it -- and Belichick was asked if there were any lingering concerns about the bug leading up to the game.

"We'll do all we can on that," he said. "I don't know, I can't see the germs; if I could, we'd stamp them out. We've got to do the best we can to take preventative measures and just in general take good care of our health."