Patriots expect to make in-game adjustments vs. Jets

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Patriots expect to make in-game adjustments vs. Jets

FOXBORO -- The New York Jets will give the Patriots some new looks on Sunday. "New" as in, something the Jets have yet to use this season. Not "new" as in, something the sport has never seen before.

Because of that, Patriots coach Bill Belichick still believes that Sunday's game against the Jets will come down to one thing.

"I think it really comes down to execution," said Belichick. "I'd be surprised if this game is won by a team that comes out running something that's never been seen in the history of football before. I think this is going to be a game of execution."

Many times, execution is helped by in-game adjustments. That's nothing new to the Patriots.

And while they don't expect the Jets to re-invent the wheel on Sunday, they do expect Rex Ryan to throw some different things at the Patriots than what Belichick may see on film.

"As it always is with the Jets, the in-game adjustments will be important, to see what the match-ups are, and where the emphasis is, and kind of what they're trying to do," said Belichick on Wednesday. "And that's true with the Jets, offensively, as well. They do a good job with their different personnel groups and formations. So, a lot of the things that you work on this week, that they ran against Indianapolis or Houston or San Francisco, you're not going to see. You're going to see something that's a little different, based on what they think you're going to do."

And the Patriots coach wasn't just talking about halftime adjustments.

"I'm sure the game will start to unfold after the first series," said Belichick. "There will be some elements of the game that we'll say, 'OK, this is going to be more important in this game than it has been in some other games.' I don't have any doubt about that. I'm sure once we play a quarter of this game, there will probably be a good percentage of what we're going to see in the remaining three quarters."

Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

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Patriots-Steelers injury report: Seven Pats listed as questionable

FOXBORO -- The Patriots will head into Sunday's AFC title game with seven players listed as questionable, including three receivers. 

Danny Amendola, Malcolm Mitchell and Chris Hogan have all been limited in practices this week due to their injuries. Amendola has been dealing with an ankle issue since a Week 13 win over the Rams, while Mitchell has not played since injuring his knee in Week 16 against the Jets. Hogan suffered a thigh injury against the Texans and left the game in the third quarter.

Both Hogan and Mitchell indicated this week that they were moving in the right direction in terms of their recoveries. One would think that the Patriots would need at least one, if not both, to help stress the back end of the Steelers secondary this weekend.

Hogan has been the team's most consistent down-the-field threat this season, averaging a whopping 17.9 yards per catch during the regular season. Against the Texans, before his injury, he reeled in four passes for 95 yards. 

Mitchell, meanwhile, had a very productive second half of his rookie season before he was hurt. He compiled 25 catches for 306 yards between Weeks 11 and 16, establishing himself as one of Tom Brady's go-to targets. 

The overall health of the Patriots receiving corps -- which will also include Julian Edelman and Michael Floyd -- will bear watching when the Patriots and Steelers kick off in two days.

The injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Steelers game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

QUESTIONABLE
WR Danny Amendola (ankle)
TE Martellus Bennett (knee)
RB Brandon Bolden (knee)
LB Dont'a Hightower (shoulder)
WR Chris Hogan (thigh)
WR Malcolm Mitchell (knee)
DL Jabaal Sheard (knee)

PITTSBURGH STEELERS

QUESTIONABLE
TE Ladarius Green (concussion/illness)
LB James Harrison (shoulder/triceps)
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint (concussion)

NOT LISTED
RB Le'Veon Bell (not injury related)
K Chris Boswell (illness)
LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle)
S Sean Davis (shoulder)
C B.J. Finney (illness)
WR Darrius Heyward-Bay (illness)
DE Ricardo Mathews (ankle)
QB Zach Mettenberger (illness)
S Michael Mitchell (not injury related)
QB Ben Roethlisberger (not injury related)
LB Vince Williams (shoulder)