Mayo not hoping for Honolulu

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Mayo not hoping for Honolulu

Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Patriots are the worst team in the NFL for total defense.

I know, I know.

But would you believe Jerod Mayo if he told you he doesn't lose sleep over those 409.8 yards surrendered per game? That's what he told Tom Curran during the pair's weekly Quick Slants interview.

"At the end of the day it's all about wins and losses," he said. "The key stat for us is points per game. That's the biggest thing that we go after.

One reason Mayo might not just be blustering? There's a defensive statistic that's actually looking up, and that's red zone touchdowns allowed. The Patriots are ranked fourth in that category, holding offenses without a score on more than 22-percent of trips within the 20.

"Obviously, keeping the opponent out of the end zone is always going to work in our favor -- and on third down. We always try to be good on third down and we've done that the last couple weeks," he said.

Ever the (succinct) captain, that Mayo.

But he did go off-script when Curran asked about the Pro Bowl. After giving a nod to the hard work of cornerback -- and NFL interceptions leader -- Kyle Arrington, Mayo admitted he hopes to join his teammate at the Aloha Stadium all-star game.

Then he thought about it for a second.

"Cut that! We're going to the Super Bowl! Cut that one out. Cut that out," Mayo said. "Neither one of us is going to Honolulu. We're trying to win "

Uh-oh. Really dare he move off of Belichick's philosophical island and over to Rex Ryan's?

No.

"Nope, matter of fact. Cut all that out One game at a time."

Goodell or Trump? Kraft fields question on who will visit Gillette next

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Goodell or Trump? Kraft fields question on who will visit Gillette next

FOXBORO -- With NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in Atlanta for the NFC Championship game, his second visit to Atlanta in the last month, Patriots president Jonathan Kraft was posed an interesting question during his pre-game interview on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Who would make it to a game at Gillette Stadium next: Goodell or Donald Trump?

The newly-elected president, of course, is a friend of the Krafts and a Patriots fan who has visited Foxboro for games on more than one occasion over the years. 

"I'm gonna let you," Kraft said, "place the over-under on that . . . We're happy. Whoever wants to come can come. Donald has done this [radio] show before . . . He was great. He's a big Patriot fan."

Here are a few more quotes of note from Kraft during his interview with The Sports Hub's Marc Bertrand and Chris Gasper . . . 

On the Colts firing general manager Ryan Grigson, who helped spark Deflategate: "Who? Yeah. You'd have to ask Jim Irsay about it. He'd be the one to ask. That game might've been Ryan's pinnacle, I don't know. Jimmy can talk about what's going on with the Colts. We're fortunately playing football today."

On Rob Gronkowski, who was a guest at Robert Kraft's home for a pre-AFC title game party Saturday: "He's doing great. He was funny. He was engaging with the crowd . . . He looks great . . . He didn't look like a guy who was hurting."

On if the Steelers called to apologize for Mike Tomlin's comments last weekend, calling the Patriots a-holes: "No, but we wouldn't have expected them. There was nothing to apologize for."

On his memories of the Kraft family's first postseason game (Sunday's is their 40th) as owners of the Patriots: "We went to Cleveland. It was Bill [Belichick]. Bill eviscerated us. It's nice to have him on our side this time."

Patriots make Floyd a healthy scratch for AFC title game

Patriots make Floyd a healthy scratch for AFC title game

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will go with four receivers against the Steelers as Michael Floyd has been listed as a healthy scratch for the AFC title game. 

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

The Patriots had all five of their wideouts -- Floyd, Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell and Danny Amendola -- available to them for Sunday's matchup, but they're opted to use the four who are most experienced in the team's offense. 

Hogan (thigh), Mitchell (knee) and Amendola (ankle) were all listed as questionable going into the weekend, but all have been deemed physically ready to play as their team vies for a Super Bowl berth. 

Floyd had his worst game as a member of the Patriots last week in the Divisional Round against the Texans. On two routes, both slants, Floyd ran the pattern in such a way that there appeared to be some miscommunication between him and quarterback Tom Brady. One was picked off and the other was almost picked. 

Floyd admitted as much last week, saying that there are still intricacies to the Patriots offense that he needs to pick up -- including exactly how Brady wants certain routes run.

Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans last week but felt optimistic soon thereafter that he'd be good to go for the conference championship. Mitchell hasn't played since suffering a knee injury against the Jets in Week 16. 

Other Patriots inactives for Sunday include quarterback Jacoby Brissett, running back DJ Foster, offensive lineman LaAdrian Waddle, safety Jordan Richards and corners Justin Coleman and Cyrus Jones.