FOXBORO -- The record says the Patriots are 3-3 and a mediocre team.
Reality is that their journey to 3-3 is a lot different than, say the Jets'. New England's lost its three games by a total of four points; the Jets lost their three by a combined 57.
Which team's fanbase has more cause to be optimistic that postseason games await? It should be the Patriots. But the tenor right now is reflective of what happened most recently. The Patriots lost 24-23 on the road Sunday in Seattle. The Jets won 35-9 at home against the Colts.
So, despite the identical record and -- for the Patriots -- more impressive resume, things are hairier here as the Patriots and Jets get ready for Sunday.
"There's seven teams in the AFC that are 3-3," Tom Brady said today. "There's seven that are below 3-3, and there's two that are better than us, and we played one of those (Baltimore) and we were up nine points with (7:29) to go and the other team (Houston) got beat by a bunch of points the other night (42-24 against the Packers). So who are you? It's week to week. It all depends on how well you play.
"Every week is gonna be something different so you can sit here and say, 'We're the greatest team ever; we're the worst team of all-time...' or compare this year with last year," Brady added. "We're 3-3. We haven't earned a better record than that. We haven't played well enough or consistently enough to be better than that. I don't think six games defines a season. What will define our season is what we do over the next 10 weeks."
Brady doesn't rejoice in the fact the Patriots have been "in" each of their three losses. But he acknowledged he takes solace in knowing a better record is just a few plays away.
"We battled pretty much to the end in every one of those games," he said. "We've had some tight ones that we haven't come up with. But the nice part -- not that you feel great about losing a game -- but you think if we'd have just done a few things better, we'd have been winning those games. That's really where our concentration's at. Find ways to be better."
Brady said he understands that's not where everyone's focus is. Especially on the outside.
"We only play once a week and there's a lot to talk about over the course of those seven days," Brady agreed. "I think it's important for us players not to ride the roller coaster of emotions that your family may have, that your friends may have or the questions that we get. I think the important thing is to keep trying to improve and focus on the opponent and not what's being said or what you hear or when everyone tells you you're great or when everyone tells you you suck. You just try to say, 'This is where we're at, this is what coach thinks, this is what we're gonna try to do, this is how we're gonna try to win this game.' "