Like the rest of us, Bill Belichick will be watching Sunday afternoon’s AFC Divisional round game between the Broncos and Chargers with great interest, as he and the rest of his New England Patriots want to see who they will be facing in the AFC Championship game next week.
The Patriots stamped their ticket to the conference title game after Saturday night’s 43-22 win over the Colts, putting them in the AFC Championship game for the third straight year and remarkably, the eighth time in 13 years of the Belichick and Tom Brady era.
“Whoever we play, these are the two best teams in the AFC and in order to play next week, you have to play well this week,” Belichick said during a morning conference call. “We played well enough last night to deserve to play next week and whoever we play, we’re playing the other best team in the AFC. I think we’ve all seen in the playoffs it’s all about that game, that matchup, whatever happens that day.”
Belichick and his staff have already done advance work breaking down game film from both Denver and San Diego, sequences from recent games they believe will be relevant, and putting together a preliminary scouting report on each.
“We’ll definitely watch the game, I’ll watch it,” Belichick said. “Once it’s over, we’ll put one (report) in a file for next year and start getting to work on the other one. We’ve done preliminary work for both teams.”
Though there were heavy rains at Gillette Stadium in the hours leading up to kickoff and expected wind gusts of up to 30 MPH, Belichick said weather did not really play a factor in the game against the Colts, unlike other games this season when Mother Nature had a bigger role.
“I thought it was really a minimal factor. We as a staff had talked about the different possibilities, rain like we had last week, wind maybe more like we had in Denver game, a combination of both, and in the end we really got neither,” Belichick said. “Wind was minimal factor, the kickers hit ball in both ends, both punters (did well).
“Even though there was some light rain, there wasn’t the soaking that we had in Buffalo game – the field and the players weren’t just soaked out there. Overall I thought it was a clean game relative to the conditions, especially given what the forecasts were during the week.”