FOXBORO (CBS) — The Patriots won their sixth consecutive game on Sunday, turning a nail-biter at halftime into a laugher by the final whistle. The 36-13 win over the Titans was the sixth consecutive win for Bill Belichick’s team, moving them back into first place in the division with a chance to slide up to the top spot in the conference before the end of the week.
It’s an outstanding place for the Patriots to be, especially considering they started the year with a 2-4 record overall and an 0-4 record at home.READ MORE: Massachusetts To Provide Weekly At-Home COVID Tests For Students, Staff At Schools
While excitement is sure to build in the region, many of the Patriots have been through the marathon that is the regular season many times before. As such, they’re not exactly planning their Super Bowl parades just yet.
“Yeah, I don’t know,” Belichick said when asked if his team is coming together to play its best football down the final stretch of the season. “Play Buffalo on Monday night. We’ll see. Eight [wins] — look, eight games isn’t enough to clinch anything or win anything. We have a long way to go.”
Matthew Judon, who’s in his first year as a Patriot but sixth year as a pro, was asked if Sunday’s victory was a “statement win” for the team.
“I think somebody asked me that a couple weeks ago and the statement — or whatever you want to call it — is we gotta come out here and win every game,” said Judon, who increased his career-high sack total to 11.5 on Sunday. “It’s one week at a time. … Every week we’ve gotta have a statement win. So if you want to call it a statement, or if you just want to call it the next game, because that’s what we do.”
Judon explained how even though the Patriots’ six-game winning streak may be an impressive feat, it won’t help them one lick when they next take the field.READ MORE: Massachusetts 'Very Much On The Back Side' Of Omicron Surge, Baker Says
“Our opponents really are not going to care,” Judon said. “Our next opponent is gonna watch the film and watch what we did, and they’re not gonna be like, ‘Oh man, they beat ’em by so much. We can’t go there.’ That’s never gonna happen. They’re gonna game plan and they’re gonna practice and they’re gonna come out there and try to beat us. So the statement for us is onto the next week.”
J.C. Jackson, who recorded his seventh interception of the season on Sunday, stressed the need for the team to not get distracted by their own record.
“Don’t let the record and the outsiders — we’ve just gotta ignore that as a team,” Jackson said. “Just keep focusing on getting better each and every week. That’s how you build confidence.”
Those of us on the outside can note that it’s kind of an ideal scenario for the Patriots to prove their worthiness in the AFC East next week, when they visit Buffalo for a Monday night matchup with the whole football world watching.
It is, obviously, a huge test for a team on the rise. And veteran captain Devin McCourty knows what the Patriots need to do in order to play their best in that game. The road map to victory has nothing to do with relishing the wins of recent weeks.MORE NEWS: Local Animal Shelter 'Blown Away' By Donation Haul From Betty White Challenge: 'I Am So Thankful For Her'
“I always say, confidence builds each week. You play in this league and you try to carry confidence because of the way you played last week, it’s not gonna turn out the way you want the next week. You gotta build that confidence up through the week — studying your opponent, coming out practicing well, going over the game plan, preparation,” McCourty said. “I think that’s where confidence comes from. Beating Atlanta then beating Tennessee, that doesn’t give us confidence to go and play Buffalo next week. It’s gonna be what we do this week leading up to the Buffalo game that gives us confidence. We know that and we’ve gotta practice and play to that.”