The New England Patriots will soon get a chance to catch their breath and take a much-earned step back for once. Their bye, after all, will be coming up in Week 10. Before their weekend off, however, they still need to play one more game.
And that game will be a big one for several reasons. Not only will the contest against the visiting Indianapolis Colts give the Patriots a chance to move to 5-4 on the year and stay very much alive in the race for playoff spots, a win would additionally allow them to carry some much needed momentum into their bye.
A loss, meanwhile, would be a tough pill to swallow for a prolonged period of time as cornerback Jonathan Jones explained on Thursday.
“It becomes a long week after that to get that bitter taste out of your mouth,” the veteran defender said. “So, you definitely want to head into the bye week with a win.”
While the bye is on the horizon, the Patriots themselves are obviously focused on the task at hand. And it will not be an easy one. While the Colts are entering Week 9 in a state of turmoil after benching their starting quarterback and firing their offensive coordinator, they are still 3-4-1 and fielding one of the NFL’s better defensive units.
Looking ahead would be a recipe for disaster. It was therefore no surprise to see players such as Jones or linebacker Matthew Judon stress the importance on staying in the here and now.
“We can’t really think about next week or the week after that. We have to live and die this week,” Judon told reporters on Thursday. “We have to prepare for this game. We have to prepare for the Colts. They’re a good team; great defense, great offense, great rushing attack. Switched up at quarterback, he’s now running the ball. So, we have to live and die this week.”
Jones echoed those remarks, pointing to the Patriots’ record to make his point: winning is crucial, and the team needs to have its head in the right place to add to its fifth W of the season.
“This game is what’s important. We have to have that mentality right now,” Jones said. “We’re 4-4. We need a win. So, to head into the next week with a win would be crucial. That’s kind of the key to moving forward.”
The Patriots will host the Colts at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, Nov. 6 for a 1 p.m. ET kickoff. They will then have their bye the following week.