BOSTON (CBS) — As expected, the Patriots aren’t providing their AFC Championship Game counterparts with any bulletin board material.
Tom Brady knows he’s going up against one of the NFL’s toughest defenses, so as has been the case for the last 16 years, he won’t be giving his upcoming foe any added motivation. He already knows the Jaguars defense will be sending plenty of pressure his way Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium, and with it, the biggest test of the year for the Patriots.
“This is the biggest challenge we’ve faced all year,” Brady told WEEI’s Kirk & Callahan on Tuesday. “We’ve had a good offense, they’ve had the best defense, and that’s always a challenge when you go up against those guys. When you watch them play over the course of a whole season, you can see why. There’s not a lot of time for the quarterback to throw and I think the whole secondary knows it, linebackers know it and they’re aggressive. They take chances, they get a lot of turnovers, they’ve got a really good scheme. The quarterback is just under pressure all day. Unless you can get open quickly, it’s been a lot of sacks and the sacks turn into long yardage and long yardage turns into punts.
“There is a reason why they’re in this game,” Brady continued. “They’re the best team we played all season and if we don’t play our best we wont advance.”
Jacksonville corner Jalen Ramsey has already predicted that his team will not only beat the Patriots, but beat whoever they face in Super Bowl LII a few weeks later. It’s a bold statement, one the Patriots wouldn’t really touch on Monday.
This will be Brady’s 12th AFC Championship Game, so he’s heard opponents say a lot over the years. But he’s wise enough to know someone’s words won’t dictate how Sunday’s matchup goes come kickoff.
“It’s how you play and not what you say. Everyone has a different way of handling things. We do what works best for us,” he said. “The game is going to be decided on who plays the best, not who hypes the best or speaks the best.”