You might not think the New England Patriots haven’t heard the talk about their impending demise, but they most certainly have.
Following New England’s 41-28 destruction of the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in the AFC Divisional Round, multiple Patriots, including Tom Brady and Devin McCourty, alluded to the season-long talk that the Patriots were on their last leg.
“It’ll be a good game. They’re a good team. I know everyone thinks we suck and can’t win any games, so we’ll see,” Brady told CBS’ Tracy Wolfson of the Patriots’ upcoming matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game.
What’s that? Brady straying from the Patriots Way and acknowledging the outside noise? McCourty followed suit later in an interview with ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt.
“I think people always hear it,” the veteran safety said. “I think for us as a group, you lose, I think we lost five out of eight games on the road, you know, each time, each week we lose, people tell us we’re too old, we’re not good, we’re not good enough on defense, offense. That builds up. And we block the noise out as far as preparing, but you still hear that. It still motivates you. And this team follows Tom, and I thought he’s done a great job of just leading us throughout the year.”
The Rutgers product had something similar to say postgame.
“We see it,” McCourty said, per the Patriots. “We see our quarterback’s too old, we’re not good enough on defense, the skill players aren’t good. We see it, but it doesn’t affect how we prepare. We love practicing and we love playing with each other, preparing. We’re going to take advantage of that and come out ready to go no matter what.”
New England undoubtedly will have its fair share of bulletin board material this week.
As McCourty noted, the Patriots were a disappointing 3-5 on the road this season and now must go to Arrowhead Stadium to face the top-seeded Chiefs in the AFC Championship Game, so expect the Patriots’ doubters to bloviate all week about how Bill Belichick’s club won’t be able to win away from Gillette Stadium.
The Chiefs probably would like media pundits to take the week off from planning New England’s funeral, but we don’t see that happening, so expect the “scrappy, nobody believes in us” Patriots to be even more motivated come Sunday.