Patriots Confident As Week Winds Down Before AFC Championship

Patriots Confident As Week Winds Down Before AFC ChampionshipFOXBORO, Mass. — The Patriots feel they've wrapped up another productive week of preparation, and as such, they've got a confident vibe heading into Sunday's AFC Championship against the Ravens.

"We came out and worked hard, and that's the goal — coming out here and working hard all week at practice and give yourself a chance to just play well on Sunday," cornerback Devin McCourty said Friday. "We feel like we came out here and worked hard, and now it's time to execute on Sunday."

"We feel confident going into the game. We feel we practiced hard and got some things done, improved in practice, so we're going in there with confidence on Sunday, and now we've just got to execute."

There was a similar vibe in the locker room Friday as last week, when the Patriots gave off an extremely confident air about them. While the Ravens are a much more formidable opponent than the Broncos, the Patriots' feeling about their own preparation seems to be on the same level as last week.

"We're confident in each other," safety James Ihedigbo said. "We're confident in knowing and trusting each other and getting the job done. That's where our confidence stems from, and really just understanding the importance of this game, the level of play that you have to bring to this game and just playing and leaning on each other is going to carry us through. It's going to be a tough, tough, physical battle, and we're mentally getting ready for it."

The Patriots finished the week with two straight practices with full attendance, and they departed from Gillette Stadium early Friday afternoon. From there, they'll hold a closed walkthrough Saturday morning before another set of meetings at night at the team hotel.

At this point in the week, they're feeling strong about their preparation for Baltimore.

"You always want to be confident, and you want to be humble," tight end Rob Gronkowski said. "You've just got to be working hard at practice, just preparing as hard as you can, so when you go into game time, you know you prepared yourself to the fullest so you're ready for the game. Make sure you compete out there, and always go [with] 100 percent speed to give yourself the best chance for your team to win."

Have a question for Jeff Howe? Send it to him via Twitter at @jeffphowe or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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