Thanks to two straight loses by the Houston Texans, the Patriots were able to secure the second seed in the AFC and a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Pats will have the chance to rest and get healthy before they take on either the Texans, Colts or Ravens at Gillette a week from Sunday.

Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich to discuss the importance of the bye week and the health of players on the roster.

First off though, the guys discussed what player will win the vote for MVP, who will win coach of the year and who will be the rookie of the year.

The guys then went on to talk about how important it was for the Patriots to secure the first round bye heading into the playoffs.

“I think going into it I was saying I thought the Patriots were going to be able to get to the Super Bowl without the bye week. Obviously this makes the road a lot easier, especially with the injuries,” Howe said. “Rob Ninkovich’s injury is another one here, the bye week is going to help with that, but you’ve got [Logan] Mankins, [Rob] Gronkowski’s obviously coming back, [Aaron] Hernandez could use the extra rest, [Aqib] Talib, [Alfonzo] Dennard, I mean so on and so forth.”

The guys also talked about the three teams the Patriots could meet up with in the divisional round of the playoffs. Who scares Howe the most: Texans, Colts or Ravens?

“The Ravens, if they show up to New England they’re not going to be afraid, they’re not going to be intimidated,” Howe said. “They always play well against the Patriots, so I think you probably fear them a little more even though they’ve gone really in the wrong direction over the last month and a half. So I don’t think you really want to play the Ravens even though they’re a team that the Patriots should beat. Any of those three teams the Patriots should beat, but I think if you had to fear one? Yeah, I’d go with Baltimore.”


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