The Patriots’ coach seemed aware of that fact while speaking to reporters on Friday, explaining the feeling in the team’s locker room in advance of the divisional round matchup.
“I think thereâs an anxiousness whenever you play,” Belichick said. “You always have that unknown of going up against a new opponent. Who knows how the game will go — what theyâll do, how things will match up, what adjustments youâll have to make and how the game will unfold.”
It’s the nature of those adjustments that spell out the biggest challenge for New England this week. Despite having their way with the Texans back in Week 14, the Pats know that things will be different this time, the same way they always are in the playoffs. No matter what preparations the team takes, there’s going to be something waiting for them that they aren’t expecting.
“Itâs like when you talk to the Navy SEALs and those guys about when they go on a mission, how they talk about, ‘All right, so we get there and we practiced going over a 6-foot wall and the wall is 30-feet high.’ ” Belichick continued. “Well, thatâs the way it is in the NFL. You practice for whatever — you think youâre going to swim across a 200-yard lake and the lake is 800 yards across. You have to get across it.”
So despite the 42-14 thrashing that Tom Brady and Co. put on Houston a few short weeks ago, Belichick knows that the team will need to be ready for any and all surprises.
“Theyâll come up with something that will cause us to make an adjustment,” the coach said. “Iâm sure weâll do the same thing to them somewhere along the line. Everybody has to figure it out and make the best of it. Thatâs what makes this a great game.”