The Patriots may say they only worry about what they can control, but Bill Belichick had this to say about the playoffs last season: "You can’t be totally oblivious to the possibilities that exist out there."
The same thought applies to this season and, during the bye, New England was only as idle as it had to be. So with a Saturday game and no opponent yet set, how did they approach Wild Card weekend?
"We kind of broke some of the people on our staff up on all three potential opponents last week, so we had all the film work broken down and had the information categorized and all that," Belichick explained Monday afternoon. "After the Colts won Saturday night we spent all day Sunday on the Colts, pending then the outcome of the Cincinnati game. Once we saw [the Bengals lost] then we just continued on the Colts, so today is really like a normal Tuesday for us. We're as caught up as we would normally be at this point on a normal week."
While assistants started in on possible matchups, Patriots players did self-scouting and tried to tackle personal goals. Belichick said a good deal of time was also spent on third-down, red area, short-yardage, and two-minute scenarios.
"Really we worked on everything; we worked on the running game, the passing game. We worked on situational football, same thing in the kicking game. The things that, with the three opponents we could have faced, some things they had in common but probably, more importantly, things that we've had trouble with, things we had to do better in anticipation of teams looking at our last few games and seeing things on film our opponents had had some success with against us that we wanted to make sure we had those things tightened up."
The team returns to the practice field Tuesday.