Stan Grossfeld/Globe Staff
Once again, the Patriots were given the Saturday night divisional game slot (Jan. 13, 8:15 p.m.), as opposed to the Sunday afternoon kickoff.
That means if the Patriots win, they’ll have an additional 17 hours between that game and the AFC Championship game than their opponent. That was the case last year, when the Patriots beat the Texans on a Saturday night in the divisional round and the Steelers beat the Chiefs on Sunday night after the game was postponed from that afternoon because of weather.
That set up an AFC Championship game between New England and Pittsburgh a week after the Steelers played and eight days after the Patriots had.
“I think you’re talking about a few hours of difference between 8 o’clock Saturday night and whatever it is, 1 o’clock Sunday afternoon,” Belichick said. “So, it’s a few hours. I don’t think it makes a whole lot of difference going forward.
“I mean, if you win — which is a big if — I mean, if you win, it gives you a few more hours than a team that played a little bit later. But, I guess that’s about it.”
Last year, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was shown on a Facebook video posted by receiver Antonio Brown after the Chiefs game noting that the schedule had “spotted those [expletive] a day and a half,” referring to the Patriots with colorful language.
Belichick said Monday that playing a wild-card game obviously affects preparations, but other than that, the scheduling differences are slight.
“Preparation-wise, the bye teams have a different schedule than the teams that are playing,” Belichick said. “We all know that. But I think at this time of year, a few hours of preparation one way or the other, as we saw when we played Pittsburgh, I certainly don’t think those things are insurmountable ever, but definitely not at this time of year.”
Tickets for the Jan. 13 game will go on sale via Ticketmaster on Friday.
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