Pats plan to keep busy during bye

Pats plan to keep busy during bye
December 30, 2013, 5:45 pm
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(AP Photo)

FOXBORO -- The Patriots may be entering a bye week, but they aren't about to kick back and relax. The team's first playoff game is on the horizon.

"We were talking about it today," receiver Danny Amendola said after Monday meetings. "It's a new season for us. We're trying to start fresh and play as hard as we can. We'll go from there."

New England earned the No. 2 seed and week off with a win over Buffalo last Sunday. The team will play again Saturday night, January 11 at Gillette Stadium.

Said defensive end Chandler Jones: "My biggest thing is, I'm going to work on what I need to work on, as far as my strengths and weaknesses [go]. I feel like I can play better in the running game and that's where I can help myself get better."

"I didn't get to play much in the [2012] postseason because of injuries. But we're just trying to move forward. That's the biggest thing."

Jones injured his left ankle in last season's divisional-round playoff win over the Texans. Thus hobbled, he played just two snaps against Baltimore in the AFC Championship game.

He understands how the ante gets upped in January and is hungry to contribute this time.

"Mistakes can't just be limited, they have to be eliminated," he explained. "I'm going to be doing a lot of self-scouting. I'm going to be going over a lot of film, back to Game 1, going over a lot of film to get myself better. Just try to get better so I can be more of an elite player going into the postseason."

For Amendola, this playoff push is the first of his five-year NFL career. Yet he allowed himself only the slightest personal satisfaction when asked about what's ahead.

"I'm excited," he admitted. "That's what we've been working on all year. We're going to continue to work hard and give us the best opportunity to play well."

He and his teammates are trying to stave off the restlessness of not knowing who their next opponent is. The Chargers and Bengals kick off Wild Card weekend at 1:05 p.m. and the Chiefs and Colts play at 4:35 p.m.

And so the Patriots wait. 

"You just work, and get your body right," Amendola said, "and be ready when the time comes to start preparing for whoever we play."