How Patriots’ Short Week Affects Preparations For Must-Win Steelers Game

FOXBORO, Mass. — If the New England Patriots want the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs, they have to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday afternoon on the road. And they must do so on an abbreviated schedule.

The Patriots lost Monday night to the Miami Dolphins, and then players were off Tuesday, as is typical. So the Patriots must do their normal post-game film review, which occurs Monday on a normal week, and attempt to conduct a typical Wednesday schedule, which includes practice and preparing for the next opponent, all on the same day. That has the Patriots practicing at 2:45 p.m. Wednesday rather than their normal 12:15 p.m. schedule.

“We’re going to get as much done as we can today and then practice at a higher tempo tomorrow,” Belichick said Wednesday morning.

He dove a little deeper into the topic Tuesday during a conference call.

“We have to spend a little bit of time on the things that we need to make sure that we correct and address or we’ll see them again and they’ll be a problem again and also, as you said, turn the page and move on to Pittsburgh,” Belichick said. “Pittsburgh is schematically quite a bit different than Miami, so we can’t dwell on the Miami game. Pittsburgh is a great team. They have their way of doing things and their schemes that they run and we’ll have to start preparing for those, but there could be, as always, some carryover if you show them that you’re vulnerable to a certain type of play or problem that if you don’t get that fixed you’ll see again the following week.

“We’ll have to move quickly on that Wednesday. If it’s a situational play, that could come later in the week when we go over those specific situations. We’ll have to try and balance that this week; particularly (Wednesday).”

The Steelers beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday night, so they had another full day to prepare for the Patriots. Sunday’s game also is in Pittsburgh, giving the Steelers home-field advantage.

Thumbnail photo via Jasen Vinlove/USA TODAY Sports Images

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