Next week at this time the Patriots will either be Super Bowl XLVI champions or losers of their second Super Bowl in a row.

You’ll either be running to the newsstands and your laptop or avoiding them altogether.

But right now, it’s a week’s worth of preparation for the Pats — physical and mental — as they touched down in Indianapolis yesterday.

No, Indianapolis isn’t “the place to be” on a Friday night. It’s not New Orleans during Mardi Gras, or Miami during, well, anytime. But an extra week leading up to the Super Bowl is not only an extra week of preparation, it’s also an extra week of potential distractions.

 

Although the majority of players on this season’s team have never been to a Super Bowl, they don’t seem too worried about it.

“I say you just have to stay focused,” Aaron Hernandez said. “When you’ve been playing this game as long as some of the other players and as long as I’ve been playing it’s kind of easy to put everything else aside and focus on your next obstacle. It’s not that hard to stay focused for a Super Bowl because if you ain’t ready for a game like this then you probably shouldn’t be playing ball.”

Deion Branch, a two-time Super Bowl champ and one-time MVP (SB XXIX) has proven to be very focused for the Super Bowl. He took advice from teammates who played in the big game during the 2001 season, and now passes on some knowledge of his own.

“Just to take it all and just try not to do anything special [or] spectacular,” he said. “Just do what we’ve been doing all year and embrace the moment ... Go out and just do your job and we’ll be OK.”

Doing one’s job has been the unofficial theme of the season for the Patriots, and it’s gotten them this far. But the goal isn’t to get to the Super Bowl – it’s to win it. The Pats have come up short as of late, but they’ll be ready Sunday.

“It is going to be a big challenge,” Logan Mankins said. “We’re going to have to play our best game of the year, probably the best game of some of our careers. That’s when you want to play your best game, is in the Super Bowl.”

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