Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/3/14
After the Patriots lost to the 49ers in Week 16, it seemed that all hope was lost for a first-round bye. New England is still alive to grab that all-important rest heading into the playoffs though, thanks to a Texans Week 16 loss to the Vikings. But, do the Patriots really need the bye to succeed in the playoffs? If the Patriots win on Sunday, and the Texans and Broncos lose, New England would grab the No. 1 seed, a first-round bye and home-field advantage through the playoffs. If the Patriots win and only one of the Texans or Broncos lose, New England will get the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye. If the Patriots lose, they could be at risk of getting passed by the Ravens, and being left with the No. 4 seed. The Patriots’ best chance for a first-round bye would come through a Houston loss. The Texans face the challenge of meeting the Colts in Indianapolis with head coach Chuck Pagano coming back from leukemia. The Colts are locked into a No. 5 seed, but it’s doubtful they’ll rest starters with Pagano coming back while facing a division foe. The Broncos are playing the 2-13 Chiefs in Denver, so it would take a huge upset for the Broncos to lose their first-round bye. All three years the Patriots won the Super Bowl, they had a first-round bye. In 2001 they were the No. 2 seed, in 2003 they were the No. 1 seed and in 2004 they were the No. 2 seed again. The Patriots also had first-round byes in 2007 and 2011 as No. 1 seeds when they lost the Super Bowl. In the years they Patriots they did not make the Super Bowl, they were No. 4 seeds in 2005 and 2006, a No. 3 seed in 2009 and a No. 1 seed in 2010. So, as far as recent history suggests, outside of 2010, the Patriots are definitely better off when they’re playing with a first-round bye. But, other Super Bowl-winning teams have succeeded despite having to play four playoff games. Both the 2010 Packers and 2011 Giants did not receive first-round byes, nor did the 2005 Steelers, 2006 Colts or 2007 Giants. The Patriots could afford to get healthy before they play their first playoff game. They had 21 players listed on Friday’s injury report, including starters Dan Connolly, Alfonzo Dennard, Rob Gronkowski, Aaron Hernandez, Dont’a Hightower, Chandler Jones, Brandon Lloyd, Logan Mankins, Jerod Mayo, Nate Solder, Brandon Spikes, Aqib Talib, Sebastian Vollmer and Wes Welker. That’s 14 of the team’s 22 starters. So how important do you think the first-round bye is for the Patriots? Do you think they need it to stay healthy? Or are they better off keeping their momentum alive if they beat the Dolphins? Take Our Poll

Eric Decker: It's tough watching Emmanuel Sanders, Broncos

Semaje Perine breaks Melvin Gordon's rushing record

Report: Chip Kelly, Eagles GM not seeing eye-to-eye

Pete Carroll open to playing Richard Sherman at WR

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled for so long'

Red Sox have best offer on table for Pablo Sandoval?


LeBron: Kevin Love will get the ball 'if he demands it'

76ers fans can get free tickets with a box of Mac & Cheese

Grizzlies players battling team-wide stomach virus

Cut day: Three finalists named for Rays' manager job

ESPN suspends analyst from Twitter for defending evolution

Randy Moss thought call about trade to Patriots was prank

WATCH: Jameis Winston gets away with shoving an official

WATCH: Georgia's Chris Conley makes diving TD catch

WATCH: Nebraska blocks field goal, returns it for TD

Florida DL shows support for Will Muschamp with eye black

WATCH: Javale McGee kisses elderly fan sitting courtside

WATCH: Tim Tebow busts out a brief Steve Spurrier impression

WATCH: Nerlens Noel gets flagrant for foul on Eric Bledsoe

Video: Deron Williams destroys Jeremy Lamb with crossover

Jets-Bills game in Detroit will be free admission

New Yorker unveils powerful Redskins Thanksgiving cover

Biggest disappointments of the 2014 NFL Draft class

FSU will wear special #FSUnited ribbon decal on helmets

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

WATCH: Jameis Winston shoves ref

Florida DL supports Will Muschamp with eye black

Jay Gruden: RG3 has been 'coddled'

LeBron: Love needs to 'demand' the ball

Bills-Jets game will be free admission

Pete Carroll: Lynch is 'our guy'

Which NFL team will get the #1 pick?

Game of the week: Patriots vs. Lions

Report: Padres join hunt for Sandoval

Golic recreates Kardashian butt pic

Adrian Peterson speaks out

NFLPA appeals Peterson suspension

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.