FOXBOROUGH — For all the football knowledge Bill Belichick has amassed in his NFL coaching career — he made his debut in 1975 — one thing he’s steered clear of is publicly predicting the outcome of games.
A pair of AFC playoff games this weekend will determine which team faces the Patriots on Jan. 11 at Gillette Stadium in the divisional round. But Belichick sure won’t go out on a limb and say whom he thinks that will be.
“No, how can you?” said the coach. “Look at last weekend. I saw something where Pittsburgh had like a 1 percent chance of being in the playoffs, or whatever it was, some ridiculously low number, and yet they were within however close you want to call it to being in the playoffs — a missed field goal, however much that field goal missed by, I don’t know, a foot?”
Belichick was referencing the end of the Chargers-Chiefs game, when Kansas City missed a field goal.
“I mean, nobody knows, the league is so competitive that, look, it isn’t even who has the better team, it’s just who plays better, who plays better on that day, how those two teams match up, and who plays better in that one competitive situation.
“It’s not four out of seven, or two out of three, or anything else. You get one opportunity to do it, and whatever team can perform better on that day moves on. Who knows who that’s going to be?”
As the No. 1 seed, the Broncos are guaranteed to play the worst remaining seed after the wild-card round. If the sixth-seeded Chargers beat the No. 3 Bengals on Sunday, San Diego travels to Denver, and the Patriots will play the winner of Saturday’s Colts-Chiefs game. If the Bengals beat the Chargers, the Patriots will face Cincinnati.
With the opponent unknown, the Patriots will use practices on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday to sharpen things in-house.
“We’re working on things that we need to work on relative to just the Patriots, no matter who we play,” Belichick said.