Sports

Tom Brady hopeful for positive tuneup in regular-season finale

FOXBOROUGH – Tom Brady knows the Patriots have just one chance left to generate consistency before the one-and-done urgency of the playoffs kicks in.

“You’d love for it to go well. Sometimes it doesn’t always go very well,” Brady said during his weekly press conference, referring to Sunday’s 23-16 win over Jacksonville. “But you put as much into it the following week as well. I think that’s what you can afford during the regular season when you know there’s a game the next week like we have this week against the Dolphins. Hopefully guys used the rest a little bit to their advantage so we can go into this week with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. There’s a lot at stake.”

The Patriots will close out the regular season on Sunday against Miami (4:25 p.m., Gillette Stadium). Brady would prefer his team to enter the playoffs with a better rhythm than it showed against the Jaguars.

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“Our goals are ahead of us,” Brady said. “That’s where we’re looking. That’s the direction we’re heading in.”

* Depending on Sunday’s results, the Patriots could clinch the No. 1 seed. The Patriots would have to beat the Dolphins, while Houston and Denver would have to lose. New England could also slip to the No. 4 seed – and lose the first-round bye – depending on Sunday’s results. “I’m sure we’ll all be aware of that. Yeah, no question,” Brady said of the postseason scenarios. “But I don’t think that changes what our goal is for the weekend. We’re trying to win this game regardless. It could be different if some other teams win. But that’s really out of our control. We’re just going to go out and try to win.”

* On Dec. 2, the Patriots beat the Dolphins on the road, 23-16. Brady said he hasn’t noticed much difference in Miami’s scheme since their last meeting. “It’s the last game of the year. It’s our last opportunity to make improvements before the playoffs,” Brady said. “Hopefully we can get some guys back. We’ve been battling through little injuries over the course of the season. This is the time to be at our best.”

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