Brady: Pats excited for 'great challenge'
The Patriots don't often lose back-to-back games,
so you can imagine the feeling in the locker room with the chance of
losing three in a row seeming like a realistic possibility.
Believe it or not, it's not all doom and gloom in
Foxboro following back-to-back losses to the Steelers and Giants.
"We're excited," said quarterback Tom Brady.
"We've got a great challenge. (When) you play a division team on the
road, I think everyone is very excited about the challenge and guys
came in ready to work and hopefully we get off to a good start."
Despite what Brady says, there has to be a bit of
trepidation as the Patriots to travel to New York, where they haven't
won in three years.
The Jets have been hot of late and these two teams
always seem to split the season series, which, by the law of averages,
means New York is due for a win on its home turf Sunday night.
Yet this road seems all too familiar. Whenever it
seems like the odds are stacked against New England, the team tends to
play its best. The only problem is that familiar script played out
primarily during the championship era. This is a different team with
different players, new attitudes and an entirely different ideology.
There aren't as many players in the locker room
these days with championship experience. Most of the Super Bowl
veterans have retired or moved on to another city. This year's team
needs to find its own source of motivation, not a borrowed storyline
from the past.
Can this team find it in time to salvage the
season? Three consecutive losses wouldn't be the nail in the coffin,
but it would create some space between them and the Jets. Don't forget,
too, that the Bills already have a game in hand in the season series,
which means the Patriots will need to beat them as well in order to
avoid a messy tiebreaker scenario.
Suffice to say, Sunday's primetime showdown with
the Jets is yet another big game, mostly because of playoff
implications, not just for standard rivalry purposes.
"I just think we need to do a better job at
everything," head coach Bill Belichick said. "There are a lot of
positive things but we just need to do better all the way around, in
phases of the game; there's room for improvement everywhere. Each
player, each coach, everything we do -- we just all have to do it a
That must start this weekend in New York, or else
the wheels could fall off what was once a promising season sooner than
expected. Thankfully, a familiar opponent looms on the horizon.
"I think we've played them a bunch of times over
the last few years and we know them probably better than anybody else
in the league," Brady said. "They kind of do what they do. There is
some game plan-type elements to each game. I'm sure they'll have some
for us this week. They're a tough team to prepare for. They've got a
lot of stuff, they've got a lot of really good players, good scheme.
They play well at home. It's a great challenge."
SERIES HISTORY: 103rd regular-season meeting. Jets
lead series, 51-50-1. The overall series, including playoffs, is now
even at 52-52-1 following the Patriots' win at Gillette Stadium earlier
this season. As New England travels to New York on Sunday night, it
hopes to snap a two-game losing streak on the road against the Jets.
The teams have split the season series in each of the last two
Patriots in New York state of mind
--Sunday's game against the Jets is the second of
two consecutive games against New York opponents after the Patriots
faced the Giants last Sunday.
It also marks the second time in franchise history
the Patriots will face the New York teams in consecutive weeks. In
1990, the Patriots closed out the season with games at the Jets and
home against the Giants. It is the ninth time since 2000 that a team
has played both New York teams in consecutive weeks and first since the
2009 Saints hosted the New York teams in back-to-back weeks.
--Head coach Bill Belichick used Wednesday's daily
press briefing as a forum for discussing recently-released DL Albert Haynesworth, who never really made an impact in his short stint with
"I'll just say this on the Albert situation --
both he and myself, speaking for the (coaching) staff -- we really
tried to make it work," Belichick said.
"He had a few physical limitations to overcome
when he got here, but I thought he really tried to do what we asked him
to do. We tried to work with him. In the end, it just didn't work out.
I think the best thing we could do was just move on."
--LB Niko Koutouvides, one of two players
re-signed this week after getting cut during training camp, has a lot
of catching up to do in order to have a chance at contributing Sunday
night in New York.
"I think the foundations are usually put in during
training camp and you kind of go off of that," Koutouvides said. "It's
been eight weeks since I've seen this playbook. It's just basically
refreshing my mind and getting back to the terminology and the new
stuff that was added."
--Not surprisingly, the Patriots' Dec. 4 home game
has been flexed to a 1 p.m. start by the NFL.
The game was originally scheduled for primetime,
but the winless Colts have fallen apart without QB Peyton Manning, so
the league decided to move what figures to be a lopsided game into a
more manageable 1 p.m. time slot.
--Patriots' offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien
spoke last week about wanting to get WR Taylor Price more involved with
the offense, but Price wound up missing Sunday's game due to a
"I was disappointed for him, but you can't control
injuries," O'Brien said, "and as it was related to that question last
week, I really would like to get a lot of people involved.
"We play a lot of guys and each game go into it
with that thought process and we take what the defense gives us. Like
in this past game, Wes (Welker) and Rob (Gronkowski) had a bunch of
catches, but hopefully in the next game, we can get some more involved.
It's not just one guy -- it's trying to get a lot of guys involved."
--WR Deion Branch is preparing to see a lot of
different looks from the Jets this week, which is part of what head
coach Rex Ryan does best in confusing opposing quarterbacks.
"The thing is, we know the depth and we know
exactly who they have on the roster and what guys may be available for
the game," Branch said. "As far as what it does to us, that stuff
varies during the course of the game. It's all about adjusting to
whatever they're throwing at us.
"I think so far we've been doing a pretty good job
at it, but at the same time they've been doing a good job of mixing a
lot of different looks and causing a little confusion here and there
for us as well. Like I said, mainly that stuff varies during the course
of the game."
--QB Tom Brady has thrown 10 interceptions this
season, which is more than twice as many as he threw all of last year.
Brady acknowledged that some of those interceptions have come on
deflections at the line of scrimmage.
"Some teams have gotten their hands on some balls
and tipped some balls," he said. "Every team does that. Every team
tries to bat balls down, especially when they feel like they're engaged
and they see the quarterback. You throw the ball and they get their
hand on it and make a play. It's just part of the game and part of
"You try to not have it happen as an offense; when it does, you just
BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- The number of times this
season the Patriots have had two players with 100 or more receiving
yards in the same game (at Miami in Week 1 and last weekend at home
against the Giants).
QUOTE TO NOTE: "One of these days it really is
going to click for all of us." -- Patriots QB Tom Brady on whether or
not WR Chad Ochocinco will make an impact this season.
Patriots Excited For Big Challenge
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