FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — For the first time since the 2009-10 season, the defending Super Bowl champions won’t have a first-round bye in the playoffs.
In a short week, the New England Patriots had perfect attendance practicing on New Year’s Day as they prepare to face the Tennessee Titans on wild-card weekend.
The Patriots haven’t lost a home playoff game since 2013 and they look to continue that streak on Saturday.
The players are saying they can’t just rely on reputation and all of the statistics, they know they need to be the better team regardless of the venue or their success in Foxboro.
Safety Devin McCourty said that for 10 years, he has been hearing head coach Bill Belichick say that home-field advantage doesn’t matter in the playoffs and that it comes down to who played the best football.
“Everyone’s going to tell them ‘we have no shot, the Patriots don’t lose at home’ but they don’t care about that,” McCourty said. “They’re preparing to come in here and play us tough and I think that’s what we have to match.”
As the Patriots try to get back to the divisional round for the 10th straight year, they know the Titans will be tough since they’re playing their best coming into Foxboro.
Ever since quarterback Ryan Tannehill took over in Week 7, along with running back Derrick Henry, they’ve been one of the most explosive offenses in the league.
The Patriots are familiar with Tannehill after he spent seven years with the Miami Dolphins in their division, but the team says he’s different playing with the Titans.
If the Patriots defeat the Titans, they would travel to Kansas City to face the Chiefs on Jan. 12 at 3:05 p.m.
Outside of this game, the Patriots have reportedly allowed Josh McDaniels to interview with other teams including the Browns, Giants, and Panthers.