FOXBORO -- Bill Belichick has a saying quarterback Tom Brady has repeated at press conferences before.
"The season doesn't really start until Thanksgiving," it goes.
If that's the case, New England's real work begins in just two days. The Patriots will play New York on the road Thanksgiving night. A divisional game is no easy way to start grinding out a playoff run, let alone on short rest.
"It feels different than any game you really play," Brady said Tuesday. "We're just trying to put as much as you can into it. These three or four days -- there's just no time for anything other than the Jets. You just try to watch as much film as you can. We're fortunate to have played them three weeks ago, so there's some recall from that previous game and preparation that we put in before that game, but . . . it's definitely a challenge.
"I think we're at that point where every game is bigger than the last one. It was a good win for us against Indianapolis the other night, but now we need to put together another one. This team makes it tough on you, they do quite a few things defensively and they really played us well last time."
Brady believes his teammates will manage fine -- if they stay smart.
"We're just trying to prioritize our time. We don't have much of it; we have to leave tomorrow. Hopefully, everyone is spending it wisely -- not playing video games and stuff like that -- trying to understand our plan and what we need to do," the quarterback smiled. "It's a very tough place to play -- we've always played this team very tough."
New England barely escaped the Jets' last effort, winning 29-26 in overtime. Brady has only had two games this season with a worse completion percentage (61.9) than he did in that Week 7 game. The 6.2 yards per pass is tied for his lowest of the year.
The Patriots quarterback remembers it well, and he's expecting another fight.
"Obviously we didn't execute very well. We had some opportunities that we just didn't take advantage of. And they play really well. They always seem to play us well. There's one game where we beat 'em up pretty good a few years ago, but other than that they've been tight games. That's just the way it always is against the Jets."
Rex Ryan's defense can cause problems even in the worst of times. Brady noted the array of blitz schemes and personnel groupings New York likes to throw at opponents to create chaos.
Of course, many of them are familiar to the Patriots; these two teams have faced off 21 times during Brady's tenure. But any advantage gained must be balanced against the danger of complacency -- exactly why Brady stressed the importance of this short week's work.
"I think you can maybe get lulled into a sense of confidence where, 'Oh, yeah, we know this team -- it's the Jets.' But you've got to prepare just as hard," he said. "You may know the players and some of the scheme stuff, but at the same time you have to put as much as you can into it in the short amount of time that we have.
"You just can't take anything for granted against this team. They'll have something new for us. They always do."