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What does the top seed in the playoffs mean?

Posted by Zuri Berry, Boston.com Staff  January 1, 2012 06:59 PM

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FOXBOROUGH -- At 13-3, the Patriots are once again atop the AFC playoff picture. But much like last season's 14-2 finish and No. 1 seed, it doesn't mean anything unless the Patriots play well come the playoffs. Bill Belichick said as much in his postgame press conference.

"What’s important is how the teams play next week and then the following week," Belichick said. "We’ve seen the No. 6 [seeded] team win the Super Bowl, we’ve seen first-seeded team win the Super Bowl, and we’ve seen teams in between win. I think what’s more important than where your seeded is how you play in the playoffs. We’ll try to play the best we can. That’s what we’ll do."

Quarterback Tom Brady was similarly wary of the benefits that come with being the No. 1 seed.

"It depends how well we play," Brady said. "I think that’s going to be the determining factor on whether we win or lose is how well we execute. It’s great playing at home. It’s great to have a bye, but I think we have to concentrate here this week on what we need to do to play our best football in a couple weeks."

News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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