It doesn’t matter if the New England Patriots win or lose Sunday in Miami.

Yes, the game has home-field playoff implications. If the Patriots win, they are assured that any playoff game they play will be at Gillette Stadium, where they are 13-3 in the playoffs since it opened in 2002.

But even if they lose to the underachieving Dolphins and are relegated to the AFC’s No. 2 seed, the Patriots already have earned a first-round bye.

That’s what matters. The extra week off is another week for their injured stars to heal.

When this team is healthy, there is none better in the AFC. They can beat anyone in the AFC playoffs, no matter where the game is played. But they can only do it with a healthy roster.

The Patriots can win in Denver, which is the only team that can supplant New England as the top seed.

Yeah, they lost at Denver on Nov. 29, but the Patriots were missing wide receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman, and linebacker Jamie Collins. Then they lost linebacker Dont’a Hightower and tight end Rob Gronkowski during the game. The Patriots had the lead late, but a fumbled punt by an undrafted rookie free agent swung the game in the Broncos’ momentum.

The gap between the unstoppable Patriots of September and October and the rest of the AFC narrowed significantly in the last month because of New England’s injuries. The offense sputtered, the defense bent and bent and bent.

The Patriots are still a formidable team, averaging 30.3 points per game (third in the NFL) and giving up just 19.7 (eighth). And they’re playing a Dolphins team that has trouble scoring (19.3 points per game) and stopping teams (allowing 25.3 points a game).

But do you risk having Gronkowski go down with another injury in Miami? Do you risk Tom Brady getting body-slammed because a makeshift offensive line can’t handle Ndamukong Suh or Olivier Vernon?

Do you risk adding to an injured list that has grown steadily since training camp?

The Patriots have 14 players on the season-ending injured reserve list: running backs LeGarrette Blount, Dion Lewis, Tyler Gaffney and James Develin; wide receivers Brandon Gibson, Aaron Dobson and Brian Tyms; offensive linemen Ryan Wendell and Nate Solder; defensive linemen Dominique Easley and Trey Flowers; tight end A.J. Derby; and defensive backs Tarell Brown and Darryl Roberts. In addition, linebacker Dane Fletcher and defensive tackle Chris Jones are on the reserve/physically unable to perform list. And linebacker Rufus Johnson is on the reserve/non-football-injury list.

That’s just the start of it.

Edelman (broken foot) will miss his seventh game Sunday. Amendola (knee) has missed two of the last five. Safety Devin McCourty (ankle) has missed the last two while safety Patrick Chung (foot) missed last week’s overtime loss to the Jets and has been hobbled for a couple of weeks. Hightower is battling a knee injury and it was conformed Saturday he will not play against Miami.

Defensive end Rob Ninkovich got nicked last week and was seen hobbling around the locker room. Tight end Scott Chandler has been hampered by a knee injury.

Starting guard Josh Kline has missed two of the last three games with a shoulder injury. Linebacker Jonathan Freeny has his hand in a cast.

And then there’s left tackle Sebastian Vollmer, certainly the most important player on the offensive line because he blocks Brady’s blind side. He suffered an ankle injury in the Jets game. The good news is it apparently isn’t as bad as feared and he’ll return for the playoffs.

In the meantime, his replacement, LaAdrian Waddle, also was injured in the Jets game, leaving Cam Fleming to protect Brady’s backside.

Get the picture?

Yes, you can understand that they’d want to have all their playoff games at home. They have lost the last two AFC championship games they’ve played on the road: 2006 at Indianapolis and 2013 at Denver.

That’s why you have Tom Brady saying Wednesday: “I think it’s better to win this game than to lose this game because you obviously love to always play at home because of communication and so forth.”

Then, in the next breath, he added, “Whoever wins in the playoffs is the team that plays the best on that day, not whether home or away.”

Bill Belichick is not tipping his hand. He’s never been a fan of resting players in the regular season. Even last year, when the Patriots had clinched the top seed the week before, he started Brady and the regular defense, replacing them as the game progressed, though he did rest Gronkowski.

But if the Patriots want to retain their Super Bowl championship, they cannot afford to lose anyone else.

So rest Brady and Gronkowski, or play them minimally if you feel the need to maintain their game edge.

One quarter, no more. Quick passes, nothing risky.

Keep Ninkovich off the field and in an air-conditioned room watching the game with a cool drink. Same with McCourty, Chung and Amendola.

Let guys like Jimmy Garoppolo and Keshawn Martin, and Jonathan Bostic and Duron Harmon determine the outcome.

Just get out of the game healthy.