It’s as if Tom Brady was waiting for the question to be asked just so he could deliver a roundhouse kick to the idea the Patriots think Saturday night’s game will be a romp.
Asked by Houston media on a Wednesday conference call about the perception the game will be a blowout and how the Patriots avoid a letdown, Brady said, “I view it as the biggest game that we’ve played all season against the best defense that we’ve played all season. I don’t see any letdown from us.
“That’s ridiculous to think that,” he added. “I’m preparing like this is the hardest game we’ve faced all season, which it will be, and it means the most. There’s only one priority for all of us this week, and that’s to be at our best mentally, physically, emotionally for three hours on Saturday night starting at 8:00 p.m. All of my attention is focused on those three hours and getting prepared for that moment so that we can go out and play with anticipation and confidence against the best defense we’ve played all season. There’s nothing easy about it.”
The Patriots beat Houston 27-0 in Week 3 while Brady was suspended. They did so with third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett in for Jimmy Garoppolo who was in for Brady. Even though it was played almost four months ago, that game and all the takedowns of Houston prior to that feed the perception that the Patriots are impervious to anything the Texans do.
Which has to absolutely freak out Brady and head coach Bill Belichick because the Patriots thrive on the belief that preparation is everything and disaster looms around every corner.
During the bye week, Belichick stressed repeatedly to his team the importance of every player from the practice squad on up believing their role would be critical.
“Every player that’s on our roster, including the practice squad players … they’re all important,” said Belichick on Thursday morning. “Their role and their development is critical. They’ve been told that plenty of times and we spend a lot of time with those players.
“You don’t know,” Belichick continued. “You never know which guy it’s gonna be. We can go back and look at a lot of examples of players who have impacted our team who were in that role. We’ve talked about that ad nauseum. I’m sure they’re sick of hearing about it but it’s the truth.”
The likelihood is that this game won’t be as simply secured as we all believe it to be. And if that’s the case, Belichick and Brady will have another arrow to add to their quiver of why you never anticipate a cakewalk.