The Patriots have a tough road ahead but they appear eager to embrace the challenge.
New England didn’t do itself any favors by falling to the lowly Miami Dolphins in Week 17, which cost the reigning Super Bowl champions a first-round playoff bye. The Patriots now will have to play on Wild Card Weekend for the first time in a decade, and their opponent Saturday, the Tennesse Titans, just might have the right build to pull off an upset in Foxboro.
Still, Bill Belichick’s crew seems to be maintaining the attitude necessary to make a deep playoff run. Patriots veterans have helped put the opportunity in perspective, including Kyle Van Noy, who noted New England has a chance to go on a “revenge tour.” Nate Burleson isn’t putting it past the Patriots to do just that.
“Yes, definitely. Listen, even though they are the former champs and they’re the New England Patriots with Tom Brady as the GOAT, the greatest coach of all time, I feel like this is one of the most scrutinized successful teams of all time,” Burleson said on NFL Network’s “Good Morning Football.” “You gotta think about it. Week in and week out we were picking them apart. If it wasn’t their offense, it was their defense. If it wasn’t there defense, it was their coaching staff. If it wasn’t the coaching staff, it was Tom Brady being old. If it wasn’t Tom Brady, who are the receivers? They got Antonio Brown, Josh Gordon didn’t work out. What are they going to do with the running backs? There’s no Gronk (Rob Gronkowski). Every single week it’s something. So I guarantee, just like Bill Belichick always does, he used all of those quotes and just started posting them, bulletin-board material. So I feel like these guys are disrespected and they feel disrespected. That’s why Kyle Van Noy is saying one, ‘I’m a former Lion. I’m just happy to be in the playoffs.’ Two, ‘There are so many people who thought we wouldn’t be here, so let’s go out and show them.’ What better way to prove us all wrong than do it the hard way?”
"What better way for them to prove us all wrong than to do it the hard way." – @nateburleson
The @Patriots start their pursuit for their 7th ? on Wild Card Weekend ??
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) December 31, 2019
Should the revenge tour be completed and New England goes on to hoist a seventh Lombardi Trophy, the case can be made it would be the most impressive postseason run in franchise history. That’s saying quite a bit given how much Brady, Belichick and Co. have accomplished over the past two decades.