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BOSTON (CBS) – It will be hard for the Patriots to top their Monday night performance against the Houston Texans this weekend, but one thing they are not concerned about is having a let-down.
“Each week we get back to work, win or lose. That’s our job,” nose tackle Vince Wilfork said on Thursday. “Let the past be the past and move forward; especially when you’re dealing with another really good football team.”
That really good football team is the 9-3-1 San Francisco 49ers, who invade Gillette Stadium for Sunday night match-up with the Patriots.
San Francisco makes the trek across the country with a very balanced offensive attack that will keep Wilfork and the rest of the New England defense guessing.
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“I’ve never seen an offense like this. They can do so many different things,” said Wilfork. “It’s not an offense where they line up and you can say they’re going to do this, or this guy is going to do this, because it seems whoever touches the ball is very dangerous; from the receivers to the quarterback. We have to get back to fundamentals and play good football, learn as we go.”
The 49ers are led by quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who claimed the starting QB job from Alex Smith last month. The second-year quarterback has thrown just three touchdowns in his four games as the starter, but can also hurt teams with his feet — rushing for 174 yards and three touchdowns. He has a big-time tight end to throw to in Vernon Davis, and receiving threats like Michael Crabtree (66 catches for 761 yards and five TDs), Mario Manningham (who will likely from a shoulder injury), and Randy Moss. Toss in a running back like Frank Gore — who unlike many running backs in the NFL is not afraid to run straight at a player like Wilfork — and the Patriots defense will be on their heels on Sunday night.
Wilfork says in-game adjustments between drives will be at a premium.
“This week it’s going to be very crucial for us to get back to the sidelines and go over things that they’re doing differently. It’s impossible to cover everything they do,” he said. “We have to prepare well, and being able to make the sideline adjustment will be crucial.”
But one thing the Patriots have working in their favor is their growing confidence. They’ve allowed an average of just 18 points over their last four games — which includes holding the high-powered Houston offense to just 14 points on Monday night.
“When you’re playing with confidence you can have fun,” said Wilfork. “When you’re playing stuck up it’s not fun because you’re scared to make a mistake and you’re not sure if you’re doing the right thing or not. Every week, each guy has come in and done a hell of a job making sure they have their things together, whatever they have to have together. We’ve been playing with a lot of confidence as a unit and as a team.”
“The more confidence we play with the better this team will be,” he said.
Tune in to Patriots-49ers Sunday night on 98.5 The Sports Hub! Pregame coverage begins at 5pm with Patriots Preview, with three hours of coverage following the game. WBZ-TV’s coverage kicks off with Patriots GameDay at 11:30am, with Patriots 5th Quarter after the game.