FOXBORO, Mass. — As far as the Patriots are concerned, their league-best eight consecutive wins won't be as impressive next week as their divisional-round opponent's one-game streak.
It's such a simple and obvious concept, but regardless of who the Patriots play Jan. 16, that team will be coming off of its own playoff victory. That undetermined team will have known what it takes to play and win in the postseason.
"These teams are the best in the league," Tom Brady said Wednesday. "Whoever it is, it's going to be a damn good team, and we are going to have to go out there and play our best game of the year to beat them. I think that’s really what we’re focused on."
The Patriots' plan was to practice Wednesday and Thursday — Friday is still up in the air — to work on some in-house maintenance, and they hoped to improve at a similar pace to the teams that are playing this weekend. After all, Brady said the most important thing about playing in Sunday's regular-season finale was their chance to get better as a team.
"There are teams that are practicing [Wednesday] and that do have games this weekend," Brady said. "They are going to have made improvements and I sure hope we can make improvements, too."
Then the Pats will watch the wild-card games this weekend. Actually, to be fair, not everyone admitted they'll be watching the games Saturday and Sunday, but wide receiver Deion Branch said anyone who wouldn’t admit it was a liar.
If the Jets beat the Colts on Saturday night, the Jets will visit Gillette Stadium next week. Otherwise, the winner of Sunday's Chiefs-Ravens game will visit New England in the next round. Still, no one in that locker room will tip their hand as to who they'd prefer hosting.
"I don’t think we have a pool in there or anything like that of who we want to play or anything," Brady laughed.