They just wrapped another Jets week, and now, they're in the middle of preparing for the Chiefs, who they haven't seen in three years. Since then, Kansas City's roster has almost completely turned over, and they've hired a new coaching staff. To compound the level of unfamiliarity, some of the Chiefs' biggest stars have been lost to injury this season.
When the week starts, each member of the Patriots receives a new copy of the playbook that is equipped with biographies and scouting reports on each opposing player. Some of it is as rudimentary as the player's height, weight and college. Other parts detail a player's tendencies in certain situations.
So, the Patriots can typically gloss over the introductions when they start a week against the Jets, whom they've played five times in their last 25 games. This week, the Patriots will gladly take the extra day of work to figure out what they're going up against with the Chiefs.
"You have to do a lot because we haven't played them in three years," Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich said. "Obviously, there's a lot of turnover as far as personnel and coaching. You've got to do a lot of studying of the last few games they've played, their tendencies and what they like to do.
"You've got to watch tape. Obviously, the tape is going to be the biggest thing as far as learning what they do. Watching tape is going to help you see what they do."
It starts at the top, too. The Chiefs lost quarterback Matt Cassel last game, so Tyler Palko — who was cut by the California Redwoods of the United Football League just two years ago — will get his first career NFL start. Kansas City has also placed safety Eric Berry, running back Jamaal Charles and tight end Tony Moeaki on injured reserve.
It's been a tough season for the Chiefs, who started 0-3 before winning four consecutive games, but they've lost their last two contests to fall back below .500. Just two weeks ago, they looked like one of the better stories of the NFL season, but the array of injuries might have become too much for them to overcome.
The Patriots, meanwhile, aren't planning to send any "Get Well" cards to the facility at Arrowhead Stadium. While they'll be a decisive favorite in Monday night's home clash with the Chiefs, the Patriots know they've still got to be diligent to learn about a very unfamiliar opponent.
"There's a lot of new faces, so we have to do our best with the video and personnel tips that we do have," Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington said. "Study it and prepare the best we can."
The Patriots had Monday and Tuesday off before returning to Gillette Stadium on Wednesday. They conducted a typical day of meetings and film sessions, and their first practice of the week was a walkthrough. They're planning to hold three more full practices in their next three days of preparation.
"We have the extra day, so we will do a lot more film work on those guys," linebacker Jerod Mayo said. "There are a lot of guys that we're not familiar with, and we have to get to know them quick."