Belichick: Competition is going to get stiffer

Belichick: Competition is going to get stiffer
January 12, 2014, 11:45 am
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The Patriots are back to waiting.

New England advanced to the AFC title game after taking care of business against Indianapolis in Saturday's divisional playoff headliner. But the team's next opponent, either the Broncos or Bolts, won't enter the ring until late Sunday afternoon.

But that doesn't mean Bill Belichick and his staff haven't started their homework.

"We've already broken down the Denver and San Diego film," he said via conference call. "We'll definitely watch the game [tonight]."

Seeding suggests a matchup against the Chargers would be more advantageous, and history backs it up.

Since 2001, the Patriots have gone 5-2 in the postseason against teams they've beaten during the regular season. New England beat Denver this year in Week 12.

Belichick's teams have gone 9-0 against teams seen for the first time. Teams like San Diego.

Unsurprisingly, the coach dismissed the idea of any advantage either way.

"Whoever we play -- these are the two best teams in the AFC -- and in order to play next week, you've got to play well this week," Belichick said. "So whichever team that is today that plays the best will deserve to play next week. We played well enough last night to deserve to be playing next week. We're going to have to play well, better than we played last night. Competition is going to get stiffer.

"I think we've seen in the playoffs it's really about that game, that matchup, and what happens that day; whatever happened during the regular season or some other year or some other time -- whatever reference point you want to take -- is really not that significant," he continued. "What it's about is how things go on that particular day. And that means just being at our best in the biggest game of the year. All the players, coaches, making good decisions, good execution, good communication, playing good situational football, being consistent with the ball. That'll be our challenge this week with whoever it is we play."