The New England Patriots are very much involved in the race for the number one playoff seed in the AFC, and their Week 12 victory over the Tennessee Titans just confirmed their status as one of the best teams in the league. New England beat the Titans with a final score of 36-13, pulling away late to win its sixth straight game.
Now at 8-4, things are looking good for the Patriots. Head coach Bill Belichick, however, made sure to let the world know that there are still plenty of challenges awaiting his team.
“Eight games isn’t enough to clinch anything or to win anything,” Belichick said during his postgame press conference. “We have a long way to go.”
Belichick is setting the tone for the entire organization, and his players are following along regardless of how long they have been in the system. Defensive tackle Davon Godchaux and linebacker Matthew Judon, who both arrived in New England as free agents earlier this year, echoed Belichick’s remark.
Along the way, they went back to a familiar phrase that was already mentioned earlier during the team’s current winning streak.
“We may have won six but we’re still ready to go. We can’t get relaxed,” said Godchaux. “We have to keep that 2-4 mindset. That’s definitely this team’s mindset right now. Keeping that same 2-4 [mindset], when everybody was writing us off. Just because we’ve won six games, they don’t mean anything because you’re not going to win the Super Bowl now. You’re going to win the Super Bowl in February. So, we just have to keep that same mindset.”
The 2-4 mindset — an homage to the Patriots’ record six games into the season — was also mentioned by Judon.
“We didn’t change, we won’t waver and it is the same confidence we had when we were 2-4,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if it is a tight game or a blowout, our confidence won’t change and we won’t waver as a team, as a unit and as players. We come in this building to work every day and we are only going to continue to get better”
Following their disappointing start into the season, the Patriots have impressively turned the ship around. During their six-game winning streak they defeated three AFC playoff hopefuls — the Los Angeles Chargers, Cleveland Browns, and now the Titans — and beat teams by an average of 27 points per game.
The focus, however, is not on past accomplishments as cornerback J.C. Jackson pointed out.
“It’s just keep getting better. Stay motivated. The record or the outside, we just have to ignore that as a team and just keep focused on getting better each and every week. That’s how you build confidence,” he said.
New England has plenty of reason to feel confident after its recent wins, and will need to keep it up with a big game against the Buffalo Bills on the horizon. For a short moment, however, the Patriots can certainly feel good about themselves.