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January 4, 2014

Even with bye week, Pats prepare for playoffs

FOXBOROUGH (AP) — Devin McCourty knows the 14 rookies on the New England roster will be facing a different game when the Patriots return from their first-round bye to play in the divisional playoff Jan. 11.

It’s the sense of urgency that comes with the win-or-go-home aspect of each game.

“I think that’s really it — urgency,” McCourty said. “You talk about each week could be your last week of playing for the season. I think it’s just urgency, but (I would) just tell those guys it’s football, though.

“Just keep doing what you’re doing, keep preparing and get ready to go,” the safety said.

Having clinched their fifth straight AFC East title and the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoffs, the Patriots are attempting to reach the sixth Super Bowl of the Bill Belichick era.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL

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