FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) – Don’t call it a revenge game.
“I don’t see it like that,” said Patriots linebacker and captain Dont’a Hightower. “It’s about us wanting to go out and play well and win.”
The Patriots (10-6) head to Miami (8-8) for the regular season finale with the AFC East title still on the line. The Patriots have already clinched a playoff berth after their 50-10 victory over the Jaguars in Week 17, paired with a Miami loss to Tennessee. In order to clinch the division, the Patriots will need to beat the Dolphins and the Bills will need to lose to the Jets on Sunday.
The Patriots lost to Miami 17-16 in the first week of the season, but these are two different teams.
“We have grown together as a team and want to continue on the road that we’re on,” Hightower said.
“You can’t really look at the past or be too focused on the future, you just have to be right where your feet are, come in with the right mindset and try to do that every week. It’s definitely a grind in the first year, but you’ve got to just keep pushing and figure it out,” said Patriots quarterback Mac Jones.
“The biggest thing from the first game is that we have to do a better job, obviously, in the red area. We have to do a better job of ball security, offensively,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
The Patriots returned to their normal outdoor practices on Thursday.
The Patriots practiced inside Wednesday, where they can crank up the heat and simulate the conditions they expect to experience on Sunday afternoon in Miami. The temperature at kickoff is forecasted to be near 80 degrees.
“Guys got to be hydrated, guys got to have the right mindset to play 60 minutes in a hot climate we haven’t played in all season,” said defensive tackle and former Dolphin Davon Godchaux.
Belichick was asked Wednesday morning about the benefit of practicing indoors.
“There were a number of factors involved. We’ll be in there today and we’ll see what tomorrow brings,” he said.
Belichick was also asked how hot the fieldhouse can get.
“I don’t know. Not as hot as it’ll be in Miami,” he said.
Even with the playoffs on the horizon, the Patriots are focused in on Miami.
“That culture and that feeling that winning gives you, as athletes, it gives you a high that nothing else can give you in this sport, so when you win, you can kind of ride that wave and your body kind of heals faster after you win,” said linebacker Matthew Judon.
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