FOXBOROUGH -- Patriots coach Bill Belichick met the media for the final time before his team flies to Florida for Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. With the game plan installed, Friday is typically a lighter day, both at practice and in Belichick's mood.
He cracked a few jokes, talked about the importance of playing well at the most important times, and said Sunday's game, while important, isn't a playoff game, the way other teams fighting for postseason spots likely view these late-season matchups.
"Glad to see everyone's still here," Belichick opened with, in recognition that the Mayan prediction of the world ending on Friday was, fortunately, inaccurate.
When asked about longtime Jaguars center Brad Meester, Belichick said, "It’s a critical position, not because I played it, but because of just the structure of the game. Communication offensively starts from the inside and works its way out. There’s a line of communication between the quarterback and the center, the center to the offensive line, the quarterback to the skill players."
The 10-4 Patriots have already locked up the AFC East title, and are currently projected as the No. 3 seed in the AFC playoffs. It takes any pressure off because a playoff spot is already secured, but seeding is still to be determined, with the Patriots challenging for a first-round bye.
"If you have to win a game to get into the playoffs, then you’re really playing a playoff game. I think it’d be a stretch to call this a playoff game," Belichick said. "It’s a big game for us, but it’s not a playoff game.
"I think the most important thing for a team is to be playing well for the most important games of the season, and they’re ahead for all of us. Hopefully we’ll be able to do that when the time comes. The season is going to come down to a game, a quarter, a series, a play, and the team that’s able to execute at a high level at that particular point in time, that’s going to decide which team moves on, which teams are the champions, and which teams aren’t."