You’ll read all about it in the newspapers, hear about it on the radio, and watch the coverage on television.
But inside Gillette Stadium — home of the No. 1 seed Patriots — it’s just the next game on the schedule. Another day at the office.
“Every single week we prepare the same,” Rob Gronkowski said. “That’s how we always did it the whole year and nothing is going to change. “
Surprised? Don’t be. It’s not to say the Patriots are taking this game lightly, rather quite the opposite. The point is that they take every game seriously. While the last handful of games has been against relatively weak opponents (aside from Denver), there’s been meaning to each of them.
“It’s just another game, because Coach Bill puts such an emphasis on each week,” rookie running back Stevan Ridley said. “We don’t look ahead or behind, we look on the upcoming game, so it’s another game to us. That’s how we’re treating it.
“It’s going to be a playoff atmosphere, it’s going to be a big-time game, but we’re going to go out there and just play football, you know, just stay calm and try to go out there and play a sound football game.”
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That would be a welcome change. The last Patriots postseason win was in the 2007 AFC championship game.
“It’s a mindset. You go into a game, you have to have a certain mindset,” Vince Wilfork said. “You have to be able to perform … if you can’t perform well, a lot won’t go right for you.”
A look at the Patriots last four playoff games:
1. Jets at Pats, Jan. 16, 2011 New York’s Mark Sanchez tossed three TDs as the Jets stunned the Pats
2. Ravens at Pats, Jan. 10, 2010 Ray Rice ran for 159 yards on 22 carries as Baltimore bashed the Pats 33-14.
3. Super Bowl XLII, Feb. 3, 2008 David Tyree’s helmet catch ultimately did-in the previously undefeated Pats in a 17-14 Giants win.
4. Chargers at Pats, Jan. 20, 2008 Laurence Maroney galloped for 122 yards on 25 carries in the last Pats playoff win, 21-12.