Having played potential foes is a plus, thinks Ridley

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Having played potential foes is a plus, thinks Ridley

FOXBORO -- The Patriots played four of the other five AFC playoff teams this season, and went 3-1 in those games, losing only to Baltimore.

They didn't play Cincinnati, but the only way the Patriots would have to play the Bengals, would be in the AFC Championship, if the Bengals defeated both Houston and Denver.

So it's a longshot.

As for the other four teams, having the experience of already playing them this season is certainly a positive, according to at least one Patriots player.

"Absolutely, the more film that we have on whoever we play, the better," said running back Stevan Ridley on Monday. "So, they're going to look at it and put us in a position to go out there and be successful, and we have to execute."

The Patriots have Tuesday off, and will practice Wednesday and Thursday before having Friday through Sunday off.

Ridley was one of the few Patriots players who spoke to the media after meetings on Monday at Gillette Stadium, a day after their 28-0 win over Miami in the regular-season finale.

He said he won't be watching next weekend's Wild Card round.

"I'll be hunting," he said. "I'm going down South, man. So probably not."

But before and after that, the Patriots have work to do. Even Ridley -- who ran for over 1,200 yards this season -- knows that.

"Yeah, coach Bill Belichick's going to have something to say," said Ridley. "But if he didn't, it wouldn't be Coach.

"We're trying to play perfect football," added Ridley. "And that's impossible, of course, but when you make a mistake, you best believe that this is one place that it's not going to slide. He's going to mention it. He's going to try to critique it, correct it, and we'll move forward."

As good as he's been, Ridley still hasn't played perfect football this year. Just look at his four fumbles.

But he didn't lose the football on Sunday. And he scored two touchdowns, helping himself and his team to a first-round bye.

The Patriots will need more of that in two weeks.

"I'm thankful," said Ridley. "The offensive line is doing a tremendous job. I'm blessed. For us to be rolling into the playoffs right now, coming off a game like that, that's what we needed. So we're just going to keep working.

"It's a great feeling when the offense is clicking. And it was clicking on the ground, it was clicking in the air. We had things going. It was just a good day for us, and that only comes through hard work and preparation throughout the week. And that's what we did."

Brady makes 'The Hangover' reference, calls QB group his wolf pack

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Brady makes 'The Hangover' reference, calls QB group his wolf pack

Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett are starting to make a habit of this.

After clinching the AFC East title during the regular season, they made sure to grab a picture together that they could throw on their respective social-media pages. They did the same again on Sunday night. 

Sporting their brand new AFC Championship hats -- and Brissett, who didn't dress for the game, in a championship t-shirt -- the trio posed in front of their lockers like the three best friends that anyone could have.

When Brady posted the shot on his Instagram page Monday morning, he captioned it with a speech from the movie "The Hangover," calling Garoppolo and Brissett part of his "wolf pack."

Belichick on Bon Jovi moment during AFC title game: 'He had the place rocking'

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Belichick on Bon Jovi moment during AFC title game: 'He had the place rocking'

After LeGarrette Blount plunged into the end zone from one yard away, giving the Patriots a 27-9 lead over the Steelers in the third quarter of the AFC title game, the Gillette Stadium crowd partied like it was 1989. 

While fans celebrated, the massive in-stadium video board showed Rob Gronkowski, Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Bon Jovi all sharing a booth while Bon Jovi's hit from 30 years ago, "Livin' on a Prayer," blasted over the public-address system. The crowd belted out the words while the man who made them famous orchestrated from his perch.

Of course it caught Bill Belichick's attention.

"I was definitely aware of it," said Belichick, who calls Bon Jovi a friend. "Jon, I've heard him play that song dozens of times. But he had the place rocking . . . Maybe a little more than we did. Pretty impressive."

Belichick and Bon Jovi met while Belichick was coaching with the Giants, where he spent 12 years as an assistant. Bon Jovi's style of music wasn't exactly Giants head coach Bill Parcells' cup of tea, but for some of the younger coaches on the Giants staff, one of the perks of the job was that there was a rock star from Jersey to wanted to hang around the team. 

Thus, a friendship was born. Once last night's game ended with Belichick making his record seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, Bon Jovi came down from his box to celebrate with his pal on the field. 

"He's a great friend," Belichick said. "He's been a great friend for a long time, all the way back into the 80s and we shared a lot of great moments together, including the 1990 Super Bowl in Tampa, when he was in the locker room after the game, taking crazy pictures and stuff like that. Great memories from there. It was great to have Jon here. Always appreciate his great support. It was quite a moment. One you usually don't see at a professional football game so it was special."