With the bye week over and the Houston Texans on their way to New England, quarterback Tom Brady knows the Patriots have their work cut out for them this week.
“It’s a great time of the year for football players to watch the best teams in the league compete and we’re going to be out there next weekend,” Brady said during his weekly appearance on WEEI’s Dennis and Callahan program. “I watched the Houston game … Once they won on Saturday, all the focus was on them.”
Brady said that although the Patriots beat the Texans 42-14 in December, this weekend will be a completely different game.
“I don’t think that game is going to have any bearing on what happens next week,” Brady said. “That was a big win for our season, it was a big win at that time, but this game is going to be entirely different and I think we need to put just as much preparation into the game as we did before … We know these guys. I think that’s the part that I enjoy, that I’ve already spent a lot of time preparing for them, so to have another week to do it, you feel like you’re going to know them that much better, so we still have to go out and execute against it.
“I know they felt like they didn’t play their best game against us, which they didn’t, and in a lot of ways, I think we can play better too and we need to play better, it needs to be our best week.”
The last time the Patriots played the Texans, tight end Rob Gronkowski was out because of a broken forearm. Brady said the team hopes Gronkowski is able to play.
“He’s working hard,” Brady said. “Nobody wants to be out there more than him on a full-time basis. He’s never really missed any games for us, so it’s been really hard for him to sit on the sideline. He’s working hard to do his rehab and get back out there. That’s what we’re all hoping. Whether that’s the case, who knows? Regardless, we still have to go out there and play great. We’ve won a lot of game with him not out there too, so we have to be prepared to do whatever it is we need to do.”
Brady said that with all the intensity that comes with the playoffs, the postseason is the most fun.
“This is what we play for,” Brady said. “This is what its all about. This is why you work hard. It’s more fun when you’re challenged more and when there’s more at stake and there’s definitely more at stake than there was two weeks ago.”
The Patriots will take on the Texans at Gillette Stadium on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. for a chance to advance to the AFC Championship game on Jan. 20.