FOXBORO, Mass. — A couple of weeks ago, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick discussed the difference between good and bad weeks of practice, but he also noted an incalculable variable: He could never account for his opponent's week of practice, relative to the performance of his own team.
This week is different for the Patriots, who came off the bye and started their full-on Pittsburgh preparation Tuesday, which gave them an opportunity for four full practices prior to Sunday.
"I think having the extra day is always a good thing," Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich said. "You get the extra day of preparation and that jump start on them. It definitely helps you. Having that extra day is always going to help you."
There's no certainty that the extra day of practice will lead to results Sunday, but it's at least given the Patriots a good start to the week. Quarterback Tom Brady said they were ahead of schedule Wednesday, but it's important to stay on that path throughout the week.
Because of that, the Patriots said they've been working hard to make sure they can use that extra day to their advantage. It won't help them unless they use it the right way.
"I don't think you can tell until you get out there on game day, and you can kind of feel if you really did gain an advantage with the extra day of preparation," Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty said. "As a team, that's what we're all attacking — to see how much we can prepare and how much we can do to make it so we can feel like there's a difference on game day on Sunday."