FOXBOROUGH – Between questions about Chandler Jones and whether the defensive end's trip to the police station and hospital on Sunday will be a distraction to his team or impact Jones's playing time, Patriots coach Bill Belichick had an opportunity to discuss Saturday's playoff opponent.
But he needed to prod a little.
"Are there any more questions about the Chiefs here?" Belichick said on Thursday morning, following a series of Jones-related questions.
There were questions about the Chiefs, who face the Patriots at 4:35 p.m. at Gillette Stadium, with a spot in the AFC Championship Game going to the winner.
Kansas City has won 11 straight games, so Belichick was asked if it's tough to study film and pinpoint areas where the Patriots might have success since their opponent has played so well the past few months.
"We prepare the same. We prepare to face the team that we face, OK? We can't control what their record was or wasn't: 0-12, 12-0, 15-0, we don't have any control over that. All we can control is the team that we play, and our performance against that team," Belichick said. "So that's what we try to do, we try to prepare our team to play against our opponent. We don't worry about their record and what it was or wasn't, don't worry about how many yards they gained or didn't gain.
"We try to prepare our team to play the opponent that we're playing. This week it's Kansas City. Same way we do against every other team that we face. It's really not that hard."
The Patriots are seeking their fifth straight appearance in the AFC title game, which would match the NFL record held by the Oakland Raiders (1973-77). They are expected to get back a number of players who skipped the regular-season finale with an assortment of injuries, including Jones. Wide receiver Julian Edelman, tackle Sebastian Vollmer, and linebacker Dont'a Hightower are also expected back, which would certainly improve the Patriots' chance of advancing.
"The team is excited about getting ready for the game, it's obviously a big game against a great team who's playing very well," Belichick said. "Everything is pointing toward us being at our best and an optimum performance on Saturday afternoon. That's what we're all working toward, and where we hope to be."