FOXBORO, Mass. — Some members of the New England Patriots organization will spend time scouting the team’s three potential divisional-round playoff opponents ahead of this weekend’s wild-card round.
The main focus this week, however, will be on self-improvement.
“We have an opportunity this week to work on things that’ll help us,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said in his Wednesday afternoon news conference at Gillette Stadium. “Obviously, we don’t know who we’re going to play, so once that clears up, we’ll turn our attention to that team.
“But right now, hopefully we can find some things that we can improve on that’ll help us the next time we do get to play. That’s pretty much where we’re at today.”
As the No. 2 seed in the AFC, the Patriots earned a first-round playoff bye for the ninth consecutive season. They’ll host the Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens or Los Angeles Chargers next Sunday for the right to advance to the AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots have faced Houston four times over the last three seasons — including a Week 1 matchup this past September — and won all four games. They have played the Chargers just once since 2014 — a 21-13 home victory midway through the 2017 season — and haven’t squared off against the Ravens — a frequent playoff rival throughout the Belichick era — since 2016.
Belichick sidestepped a question about whether the Patriots will spend more time this week preparing for a potential matchup with L.A. or Baltimore due to their lack of familiarity with both teams.
“Again, once we find out who we play, we’ll turn all our attention to that team,” the coach said. “In the meantime, we’ll prepare to be ready for whoever it is and most importantly try to work on things that’ll benefit the New England Patriots no matter who we play.”
The No. 3 seed Texans will host the No. 6 seed Indianapolis Colts this Saturday in the first game of wild-card weekend. The fifth-seeded Chargers will visit the fourth-seeded Ravens on Sunday.
The Patriots will host the highest remaining seed, with the other wild-card winner traveling to Kansas City next Saturday to take on the top-seeded Chiefs.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images