FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — After ripping off seven straight wins, the New England Patriots staggered across the finish line, losing three out of their last four games.
While they still managed to make it into the playoffs, they’ll have to move past the mistakes and slow starts that plagued the end of their season if they want to keep playing past Saturday.
“You never want to start the game from behind,” RB Damien Harris said Thursday. “Every opportunity you get to go out on the field, you’ve got to go take the lead to get ahead, because it gives you a better flow and rhythm.”
The Patriots hit the practice field one last time on Thursday before they head west to Buffalo to take on the Bills during Wild Card Weekend.
The seventh and final game of New England’s win streak was a hard-earned 14-10 victory on a blustery night in Buffalo. But just three weeks later, the Bills got their revenge with a 33-21 win at Gillette Stadium.
Efficiency on critical downs was a big factor in that game. The Patriots converted just 1 of 10 third downs, compared to 6 of 12 for the Bills.
“They’re hard to stop,” head coach Bill Belichick said. “I think the key for us is, when we get them in third down, we’ve got to be able to convert on third down. If they convert on third down, then literally, you’re out there all day. That’s pretty much what happened in the second game.”
Cornerback J.C. Jackson said it simply comes down to them getting back to playing New England football.
“It’s all about us. It’s not nothing about the Bills,” he said. “I mean, they’ve got a good team, but we’re good too, and we’ll see Saturday night.”
Kickoff for Saturday’s game is scheduled for 8:15 p.m.