The New England Patriots will be three players short when they take on the New York Jets in their Week 17 clash on Sunday, where the AFC home field edge in the playoffs is at stake for head coach Bill Belichick and his men. The Patriots (12-3) need a win to secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC and home field advantage throughout the playoffs while the Jets (5-10) look to spoil things for Belichick.

Based on the Patriots’ final injury report, defensive lineman Alan Branch and running backs Rex Burkhead and Mike Gillislee are out, all suffering from knee injuries.

Branch is out for the rest of the regular season, but the Patriots expect him to return in the postseason. The Patriots are also hoping that Burkhead and Gillislee will also make their respective returns to the lineup in time for the postseason.

Brady, Gronkowski to play

Quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski both did not practice on Wednesday, due to ankle/shoulder issues and illness, respectively. However, both were removed from the injury report and are expected to play against the Jets. Listed as questionable for the Patriots are wide receivers Chris Hogan and Matthew Slater, defensive lineman Eric Lee, safety Devin McCourty, linebacker Kyle Van Noy, offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle and rusher James White.

Hogan and McCourty are dealing with shoulder issues while Lee, Waddle and White are suffering from knee injuries. Slater has a hamstring problem while Van Noy is dealing with a calf problem.

For the Jets, offensive lineman Brandon Shell will not play due to a concussion while tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins is doubtful due to a ribs and foot problem.

Running backs Matt Forte and Akeem Judd, and defensive lineman Kony Ealy are listed as questionable. Forte and Ealy are dealing with knee problems while Judd has an ankle injury.

Patriots expect Jets to make changes

According to Patriots’ defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, they expect the Jets to make some changes on offense from their squad that lost to New England, 24-17, in Week 6.

Patricia said the Jets will run a different offense, with new quarterback Bryce Petty leading the way and with the return of running back Bilal Powell, who’s coming off a 145-yard performance against the Los Angeles Chargers. Also, Jets wide receivers Robbie Anderson and Jermaine Kearse have both settled into their starting roles, making the Jets a dangerous squad on offense. “I think the biggest thing is, again, Petty comes in and he's obviously a guy that they trust to put in place here to run the system that they have,” said Patricia.