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Patriots.com News Blitz - 12/28/2009

QB Tom Brady expressed relief in winning the AFC East title and clinching a playoff berth according to the Providence Journal, especially after missing out on postseason play a season ago. "You start out in the beginning of January not making the playoffs, and then how are you going to prepare the team through the offseason program and the mini-camps and training camp to have this opportunity to play for this, where last year we were hoping for people to lose to have an opportunity to make the playoffs? There's no greater opportunity for us as athletes, with two games remaining, to cinch up the division with a win."

Yesterday's victory over the Jaguars guaranteed the Patriots' 12th division title and 17th playoff berth.

Although the Patriots would like to prepare for their first-round playoff game, it will have to wait. The Boston Herald says no playoff scenario will be complete until late Sunday night when the Bengals visit the Jets in a nationally televised game. The Bengals have already clinched the AFC North while the Jets control their own destiny.

Will the Patriots rest their starters in the regular season finale against the Houston Texans? A *Boston Globe *story believes that is the best option. According to the story, the team should rest key players with nagging injuries, namely QB Tom Brady, NT Vince Wilforkand DL Ty Warren. "We could definitely benefit from some rest this coming week," Warren said. "We just have to see what's in the coach's plans and what way he wants to go with it."

Boston Globe: QB Tom Bradypassed the 4,000-yard passing mark for the third time in his career.

WR Wes Welkershined once again yesterday against the Jaguars, collecting 13 passes for 138 yards. According to the Boson Herald, Welker's 122 receptions surpassed his own team record for catches in a season. Currently, he leads the league in catches and has accomplished this feat despite missing two games due to a knee injury.

Feel like looking ahead to next season? If so, here is a list of 2010 opponents according to ESPN Boston.

The Patriots run game solidified a balanced offensive attack Sunday in a convincing victory. The combination of Laurence Maroney, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk and Fred Taylor totaled 197 yards good for a season high. Morris was quick to offer credit to the offensive line, which also yielded no sacks to QB Tom Brady. "It always starts up front," Morris said according to ESPN Boston. "We have a lot of ability up front, some talent, some big guys, some agile guys. Tom [Brady] made the alert [to change the play] and we were able to get in the right position to make a good play."

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