Bye week "definitely helps" injured Patriots

Julian Edelman catching a pass at practice.
Photo by Eric Adler of

Their hard work has paid off so far. The Patriots pushed all season to get to a 12-4 record which earned them the second seed in the AFC and a first-round bye.

Many teams that played in a Wild Card game this year suffered injuries including Jeremy Maclin for the Chiefs, Antonio Brown/Ben Roethlisberger for the Steelers and Davante Adams for the Packers. Instead of battling for a spot in the Divisional Round, the Patriots were able to rest the starters who have been unable to play recently.

According to Rich Hill of Pats Pulpit, several missing Patriots have been cleared to play:
Wide receiver Julian Edelman, offensive tackle Sebastian Vollmer, and linebacker Dont'a Hightower have been cleared to play against the Chiefs, per reporter Doug Moore.

These three players should return to the field, while others like wide receiver Danny Amendola, offensive guard Josh Kline, defensive end Rob Ninkovich, and safeties Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty should be healthier than they were during week 17.

The status of defensive end Chandler Jones (toe/abdomen) is still up in the air, but we will know more when practice reports are released this week.

Dont'a Hightower also believes the bye week has helped the team get ready.

Since the opponent was mostly unknown, the Patriots likely went through some self-scouting and got their athletes the necessary attention to get ready for the playoffs. With all of these men ready to go, the Patriots will have their weapons set for Saturday at 4:35pm at Gillette Stadium.