From FBGratings.com: New England Patriots Team Analysis: INSIDE SLANT Don't expect the Patriots to throw it into cruise control over the final two games of the regular season. Having clinched their third straight AFC East title and with no chance of earning a first-round playoff bye, the Patriots (9-5) don't seem to have much left to play for. Just don't try selling coach Bill Belichick or his players on that approach. Asked about striking a balance between trying to beat the Jets on the road next Monday night and trying to avoid any more significant injuries, Belichick said, "It's a regular week. Put it in the headline, bold type. It's a regular week. The players know that, the staff knows it. That's the balance. It's just like any other week." Without a bye, which the Patriots had in each of their three Super Bowl-winning seasons, there is a chance that New England could alter its focus for the Jan. 1 regular-season finale against the Dolphins at home. Asked if not having the usual week off could impact his plans, Belichick said, "This week it doesn't. Maybe I'll feel differently next week, I don't know. Right now it's the Jets." The Patriots certainly have had their fill of injuries. They lost strong safety Rodney Harrison and five other defensive backs for the season, and have played long stretches without their top two running backs (Corey Dillon and Kevin Faulk) and two key members of the offensive line (Matt Light and Dan Koppen, the latter out for the season with a separated shoulder). Even quarterback Tom Brady has had health concerns - a bruised leg made him questionable on last week's injury report. But as much as the Patriots want to stay healthy for the playoffs, they also want to maintain the momentum they have built up in winning five of six games since a disheartening loss to the Colts on Nov. 7. That goal figures to override any play-it-safe attitudes, at least for Week 16. "Hey, we don't want to just throw it out there and get beat just because you're in the playoffs," said receiver Troy Brown, the Patriots' longest-tenured player. "That's my attitude toward it. You play to win. Nobody wants to lose, no matter what the circumstances are." The Patriots faced a similar situation in last year's meaningless regular-season finale against San Francisco, and the starters, including Brady, played at least three quarters in a 21-7 win. NOTES, QUOTES --Tackle Tom Ashworth has had a lot on his plate lately. The starting right tackle for the first eight games until a knee injury put him on the shelf, Ashworth has filled in for injured rookie left tackle Nick Kaczur the last two games. Against the Bucs, he also doubled as goal-line fullback and provided one of the highlights of game by catching a 1-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tom Brady on the Patriots' opening possession. The Patriots have had great success using linebacker Mike Vrabel as a goal-line tight end (he has six career TDs on as many catches), but this was the first time Ashworth has turned receiver. "I wouldn't say I was the primary receiver" on the play, said Ashworth, who was a tight end at Colorado before switching to the offensive line to make room for current Patriots tight end Dan Graham. "I wasn't expecting the ball to come to me. I knew there was a chance and I was hoping, but you never know." Belichick said Ashworth has been practicing at fullback for about a month. "He's a pretty versatile player and he has some experience in our system," Belichick said. "He played tight end in college and all that." --With his sense of humor and deadpan delivery, punter Josh Miller could become a standup comic after his playing days are over. On Sunday his acting skills were on display as he embellished a roughing-the-kicker penalty against Tampa Bay's Ryan Nece. The 15-yard infraction was a momentum-turner, extending a Patriots' scoring drive late in the second quarter. Six plays later, Corey Dillon ran in from 3 yards out for a 14-0 lead. Miller joked that his flop was the product of "Navy SEAL training at its finest." Asked if he knew he hadn't really been hit (or at least hit hard enough to be knocked down), Miller said, "I mean, by definition I was. They hit you, you've got to do that. If you get the ball back, great; if not, you gave it a shot. Every punter in the league, you learn that, right along with the drop. Anything close, you go down." --Brady showed no ill effects from the shin injury he suffered in Buffalo the previous week. However, he said he had been "limited" in practice, although he would not elaborate on how much time he had missed. "Well, I certainly had better weeks," said Brady, who was 20-of-31 for 258 yards and three touchdowns. "You know, it was a long week and I wasn't able to prepare on the practice field as many days as I would have wanted to ... You just try to prepare mentally, but it's hard because you love to be able to take the snaps, and I am a person that loves to practice and I like taking the reps. When you are not able to do that, it just becomes a little more challenging."