“It was a big win for our season; it was a big win at that time,” he said during his weekly radio appearance on WEEI. “But this game is going to be entirely different, and I think we’ve got to be able to put just as much preparation into the game as we did before.”
Brady said Belichick is sure to bring up the 2010 season, when the Patriots beat the Jets 45-3 in December in Foxborough but — despite having the NFL’s best record — lost to them in the playoffs. The Patriots weren’t overconfident; they just played badly, Brady said.
“I’m sure Coach will talk about that this week,” he said. “I think that’s a great example. The reason we lost that game wasn’t because we beat them, whatever, four weeks before. It was because we (stunk) in the game.”
Mankins said the loss to the Jets was a learning experience that should eliminate any danger of the Patriots becoming overconfident.
“We’re definitely not taking this team lightly,” he said. “We know they’re very good.
“If you’ve been around long enough and played enough teams multiple times in a season, you know the second time is always tough. They know you and you know them. They’re going to know you’re tendencies, you know theirs. The second time around is usually a dogfight. It’s always a lot closer than the first game.”
The Patriots missed tight end Rob Gronkowski for the December game. But the Texans were also depleted by injuries: starting tackle Derek Newton, tight end Garrett Graham and linebacker Brooks Reed all sat out. But they played in the postseason win against the Bengals, and should be ready for this weekend.
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