(CBS Boston)- After a stunning 27-24 loss to the Miami Dolphins on Sunday afternoon, Tom Brady and the Patriots find themselves in the unfamiliar situation of having to play a game on Wild Card weekend. It’s the first time since 2009 that the team has not earned a bye into the divisional round and they have not reached the Super Bowl in any year where they haven’t had a bye.
That is the question that now faces this year’s team. With a home date looming against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, how much of a difference will it make that the team doesn’t have that extra week to prepare?
“That’s big. If nothing else, just from the mental standpoint, they will hear that all week that the only times they have gotten to the Super Bowl is when they have had that bye. They don’t have that bye now,” said Hall of Fame wide receiver and Inside The NFL analyst Michael Irvin. “You have to overcome the deficiencies you have on the team and then overcome that mentally. It is big from that standpoint.”
However, Irvin is quick to point out that overcoming those types of mental obstacles is exactly what has made the Patriots organization the success it has been over the last 20 years.
“But, also, this kind of greatness has been accomplished because they spend their days overcoming obstacles. You don’t get this kind of greatness without overcoming obstacles,” said Irvin. “So it’s not something that I believe is insurmountable. It will be a tough task, but not insurmountable.”
As the matchup against the Tennessee Titans looms on Saturday night, the Pats sit with the sixth-best probability of winning the Super Bowl. They are only being given a five percent probability of making it to Miami. But, if we have learned anything over the years, doubting the Patriots seems to only make them stronger.
Kickoff for Saturday night’s Wild Card matchup against the Titans is set for 8:15 p.m. EST.
You can catch Michael Irvin along with Phil Simms, Brandon Marshall, Ray Lewis, and host James Brown on Inside The NFL every Tuesday night at 9 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime.