BOSTON (CBS) — The Patriots can clinch their sixth straight AFC East title with a win on Sunday, and though Bill Belichick said he won’t focus on it, Tom Brady said winning a division crown never gets old.
“Absolutely not. We’re trying to win every time we take the field. Winning never gets old, I know that,” Brady told reporters at his press conference Wednesday morning. “That feeling that we had the other night was a great feeling, and that’s what motivates you to win because you know the opposite side of that. We’ve got to do the things that help us win as opposed to do the things that make us lose games. It should be a fun week.
“You’re playing for a division championship, so it’s a very important game. We’ve worked really hard to get to this point. The guys have put a lot of work in over the whole offseason and to put ourselves in this position has been a lot of fun, but we’ve got to go out there and capitalize,” said Brady.
Brady, who has won 11 AFC East titles in his time with the Patriots, and his teammates are getting ready for their second meeting of the season with the Miami Dolphins, who got the best of New England in Week 1. In that game, New England jumped out to a 20-10 lead at halftime, but were shut out by Miami’s defense the rest of the way en route to a 33-20 loss.
While Week 1 may feel ages ago, the game is still fresh in the Patriots’ minds as they get ready for Sunday’s game at Gillette.
“Our execution was really poor,” Brady recalled of their second half performance. “I’m sure this game will be a little bit different, however it goes. We’ve got to be prepared to play for 60 minutes. I don’t think you can play 30 good minutes against this team and expect to win, so you’re going to have to go out there and play really well for the entire game.”
While the Patriots just went 5-1 on their recent stretch against some of the better teams in the league, putting together a complete game has been a problem. In Sunday night’s win over the San Diego Chargers, the New England defense picked up the slack for a lackluster offense.
Neither the offense or defense played well back in Week 1 in Miami, but Brady says a lot has changed for both teams since the season kicked off. The Patriots’ defense has become one of the best units in the NFL, and the offense now features a much more balanced attack. Brady threw the ball 56 times in Week 1, which you won’t see come Sunday afternoon.
Still, there are some valuable lessons to be learned from the game tape of their loss.
“We’re definitely watching that game. You end up watching all the games just because all of them can provide some insight. Certainly, that game can provide a lot of insight,” said Brady. “But our team is a little bit different now. There are going to be some new things that we do. I’m sure they’re going to have some new things. Ultimately, it comes down to how well we execute.
“They force you to do a lot of things really well, so it tests everything,” Brady said of Miami. “I think they blitz a lot, they cover well, they rush [well], they score points offensively, so we know we’re going to have to score a lot of points. But this team makes it tough. They’ve got some great edge rushers. They’ve got some great inside guys to stop the run, [they’re] good at safety. I know they’ve been banged up this year, but it looks like they’re all healthy now. We’re preparing for their best, and I’m sure we’ll get it, so we have to be prepared.”
Sunday’s game against the Dolphins is no rematch in the Patriots’ mind, just another opportunity against an AFC East foe.
“This is a division opponent, so I think there is always a great rivalry. I know we’ve had a lot of great games against them, and then losing to them earlier, that was a tough way to start the year. But this is a different game,” said Brady. “I think we have a lot of motivation for us. We’ve got to have a great week and that starts today, getting off to a good start in practice. There will be a lot of emotion and energy there. It’s a very competitive game. It’s a very competitive division. They’re a division rival, so everything is on the line.”
Tune in to Sunday’s Patriots-Dolphins game on WBZ-TV and 98.5 The Sports Hub — the flagship stations of the New England Patriots! Pregame coverage begins on 98.5FM at 10am, with coverage on WBZ-TV kicking off at 11:30am with Patriots GameDay. Following the game, stay tuned for three full hours of postgame coverage on the Hub, and for Patriots 5th Quarter on WBZ-TV!
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