"I think we’ve been pretty competitive all season, and even our losses have been competitive right up to the end. We feel like if we go in there and play the way we’re capable of, then we’ve got a chance to win," Brady said, following Tuesday's walk-through workout in the field house. "We haven’t really done that for 60 minutes in all three phases.
"You can’t expect to play 20 minutes of football and win games, not at important times of the year and not against the best teams, the best defenses. This is a team that really challenges us in a lot of ways, and it’s going to have to be the same type of effort, it can’t be anything less than that."
Like coach Bill Belichick before him, Brady pointed out the Bills' strengths on defense: They have 22 interceptions (second-most in the NFL) and 56 sacks (most). They might only be 6-9, but the Bills can cause some disruption with their defense. They held Miami scoreless Sunday in a 19-0 win, their second straight.
"They give us a lot of coverage looks, a lot of front looks, a lot of blitzes, so they put pressure on a lot of areas," Brady said. "We’ve got to study what they do, kind of like we do every week. It’s the holiday season, but at the same time it’s the most important game of the year, so I think when we’re here we’ve really got to focus on what we need to do to play our best game and be on top of things right from the [opening] kickoff."
Brady might be talking the Bills up, but he's had his way with Buffalo over the years. In the 23 games he's started against the Bills, the Patriots are 21-2. They've won four straight games against Buffalo, and had a six-game streak of at least 30 points scored snapped in the Sept. 8 season opener, won by the Patriots, 23-21.
Another victory over the Bills would guarantee the Patriots a first-round bye. Depending on what Denver does against Oakland, it could also mean the No. 1 playoff seed in the AFC and home-field advantage in the playoffs.