The New England Patriots haven’t just lost back-to-back games. They’ve also lost their stranglehold on the No. 1 seed in the AFC and a first-round bye in the NFL playoffs, for the time being.
The Patriots, owners of the conference’s No. 3 seed behind the Cincinnati Bengals (No. 1) and the Denver Broncos (No. 2), would square off with the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on wild-card weekend if the postseason started this week, which is neither here nor there for New England quarterback Tom Brady.
“I think when you start thinking about those scenarios — I think it is so far beyond what we’re thinking about at this point,” Brady said Monday night on Westwood One Radio. “All of those things take care of themselves. What our players need to be thinking about is the things we need to do as individuals to help our team win this game. This is the only game that matters. This is the only game that is played this week and we can’t do anything about any game beyond this point, whether that is the next three after this or anything beyond that.
“I could really care less of any of that — standings and who would play who if the season ended. I think that is all for the websites and the blogs and so forth. I think as a player I am in here studying Houston and thinking about what I need to do to help us win.”
The Patriots looked invincible just two weeks ago, when they carried a 10-0 record into Denver. Injuries to Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski have hurt New England’s offense, though. And after losses to the Denver Broncos and Philadelphia Eagles, the Pats suddenly look vulnerable going into their Week 14 matchup with the Houston Texans.
“There is no one that feels sorry for the New England Patriots, believe me,” Brady said. “We’re the only people that can dig our way out of it. Like I said, we’re in a decent position still. We’re 10-2. There are a lot of teams that would love to have our record.
“We just have an important game in Houston this week that we have to figure out how to win and it may be different than the way we have won we when won the first 10. We’re going to have to dig deep, all of us as individuals, and do a better job so, collectively as a team, our margin of error can grow a little bit.”
The Broncos and Bengals play each other Week 16 in Cincinnati, which could be advantageous to the Patriots. But like Brady said, that’s for the websites and the blogs.
New England needs to take care of its own business over the final four weeks.
Thumbnail photo via Ron Chenoy/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady