The AFC Championship trophy is in the House and the New England Patriots have tunnel vision focus for this Sunday’s AFC Championship conference game.
All but two Patriots, tight end Rob Gronkowski, (left forearm), and cornerback, Alfonzo Dennard, (not injury related), were present for Wednesday’s practice at the Gillette Stadium game field despite a few inches of fresh snow and a persistent rain all the way through the day.
Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo, Brandon Lloyd, Sebastian Vollmer and others addressed the media during the AFC Championship media day press conference at the Gillette Stadium on Wednesday. Preparations are at full speed and everyone in the team knows the importance of this game as Coach Bill Belichick cannot stress enough – “Do Your Job” and do it better!
As the team gets a step closer to a possible sixth Super Bowl appearance under Coach Bill Belichick tenure, the pressure increases; but everyone understands the Patriot Way, do your job and work as a team. However, it all comes down to execution as Vince Wilfork says: “At the end of the day the game is won between the lines. That is where the game is won.” That is exactly what it is, especially, when playing against the Baltimore Ravens.
As we all learned from Belichick, every game and every opponent has its own uniqueness. It does not matter if it is a rematch or a first encounter during the regular season or playoffs. The Patriot Way message about the Baltimore Ravens for this next rematch is loud and clear – they are a good football team, they are very well coached, they have very good players, good specialist, they are all good – from players such as Ray Rice, Torrey Smith, Anquan Boldin, Dennis Pitta, Ed Dickson, Tandon Doss, Bernard Pierce, Ed Reed, Terrell Suggs; and of course, Ray Lewis and Joe Flacco.
On the other side of the coin, the New England Patriots are also a team of players that possess mental and physical toughness; making their adjustments accordingly in any given situation. And let’s hope that previous mistakes have turned out to be an opportunity to perfect the game. Adding some statistics along the way, it is well documented that the Patriots must put some big numbers on the score board. In the last AFC Championship meeting, the Patriots won a struggling battle by a difference of a field goal, 23-20. In Week 3, the Patriots suffered an agonizing loss in Ravens territory as Justin Tucker’s debatable field goal (on the eyes of many) was declared “good”, finalizing the game Patriots 30 – Ravens 31.
When all is said and done, it will come down to execution and creating opportunities. Creating advantages for the team and playing as a team is the Patriot Way.
“It does not matter what is being said or what is not being said. You have to be able to execute well.”- Vince Wilfork
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