Patriots getting ready for an emotional setting Sunday in Buffalo – New England Patriots Blog

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – Fast-hit ideas and notes across the New England Patriots and NFL:

1. Making ready for an emotional setting: Patriots captain Deatrich Sensible Jr. summed up the distinctive state of affairs the group finds itself in Sunday on the highway in opposition to the Buffalo Payments (1 p.m. ET, CBS).

Everybody within the NFL neighborhood has been pulling for the Payments and injured security Damar Hamlin — the Patriots included — and now New England faces Buffalo as an opponent in a recreation with postseason implications, as a win secures a spot within the playoffs for the Patriots.

“We know it’s going to be a very emotional game. We know going into this environment what’s going to come. We have a heart towards what they experienced,” Sensible mentioned.

“It’s a balance between being empathetic and also playing football. I believe with our leaders on our team, they’re keeping that balance right where it needs to be to go out there with full hearts and clear eyes and play the game.”

Sensible and fellow captains made it clear all week that their main ideas have been that Hamlin makes a full restoration.

“It kind of shook our team watching the game,” he mentioned, acknowledging the distinction between seeing it on TV and Payments gamers experiencing it in particular person.

Gamers have envisioned how they may react to the pregame scene at New Period Area, which is able to embrace a “moment of support and love” for Hamlin. Payments gamers can have Hamlin’s No. 3 as a patch on their jerseys, and all gamers throughout the league have the choice to put on black T-shirts that say “Love for Damar 3” on them.

There is a component of unknown for a lot of when it comes to how they’ll reply to what veteran security Adrian Phillips expects to be a “super emotional environment.”

“I wish I had an answer,” Phillips mentioned. “You just try to go through it the best you can, talk to the players on the other side, let them know you’re praying for them, then you just go out there and have the mindset to win the game.

“That’s pretty much all you can do. Just be in the moment at the time, just understand that we all have a desire to be in the playoffs, and we have to do what we have to do to get to the playoffs.”

Added captain Matthew Slater: “I’m sure it will be something that none of us have ever experienced. We’ll cross that road when we get to it.”

By the top of the week, gamers had mentioned the significance of a quick begin.

“I think once we get into the flow of the game, it will settle down a little bit,” tight finish Hunter Henry added. “But you have to be ready for that first wave at the beginning.”

2. Foes for 2023 to be solidified: The Patriots’ closing three opponents for 2023 might be finalized Sunday, as they’re based mostly on what place the group finishes within the AFC East standings. The items to lock in are:

  • Residence recreation vs. NFC South group that finishes in the identical spot within the standings

  • Residence recreation vs. AFC South group that finishes in the identical spot within the standings

  • Highway recreation vs. AFC North group that finishes in the identical spot within the standings

As a refresher, listed below are the Patriots’ 2023 opponents:

Residence: Commanders, Eagles, Chargers, Chiefs, Payments, Dolphins, Jets, AFC South, NFC South

Highway: Cowboys, Giants, Broncos, Raiders, Payments, Dolphins, Jets, AFC North

3. Allen’s excellence: Patriots’ defensive deal with Davon Godchaux compares defending the Payments to coping with a snake, with quarterback Josh Allen as the pinnacle. That’s his method of claiming Allen is the place their focus must be. However it’s simpler mentioned than carried out when contemplating that in his final 5 video games in opposition to the Patriots (together with playoffs), Allen has thrown 15 landing passes and no interceptions. That’s the longest streak of touchdowns with out an interception in opposition to the Patriots prior to now 45 seasons, based on Elias. Drew Brees (9, 2002-2013), Alex Smith (8, 2014-2017) and Brett Favre (8, 1997-2002) are subsequent on the listing.

4. Time not on their aspect: One approach to sluggish Allen is to attempt to maintain the ball away from him. However right here’s the issue for the Patriots: They’ve misplaced the time-of-possession battle in six consecutive video games. That’s the longest streak in coach Invoice Belichick’s tenure (2000-present) and one shy of matching the longest streak within the NFL this season (Rams, 7).

5. Slater’s future: Matthew Slater’s contract expires after the season, and after 15 campaigns, he acknowledged that the thought crossed his thoughts final week’s win over Miami may have been his final time taking part in at Gillette Stadium. He has mentioned any resolution about retirement will come after the season, in session along with his household, amongst others. Some teammates are satisfied he isn’t able to cease taking part in, and as Belichick mentioned Friday, Slater continues to be drawing double groups and making a distinction on particular groups (12 tackles).

6. Peppers proves level: Patriots security Jabrill Peppers enters Sunday’s regular-season finale having performed 36.5% of the defensive snaps, totaling 52 tackles. He has additionally notched eight tackles on particular groups, which is tied for third most on the membership. After rupturing his ACL final 12 months with the Giants, Peppers mentioned coming to New England on a one-year deal has “been a great experience” and he’s open to see the place issues leads sooner or later.

“I haven’t really been focused on that. I’ve been focused on showing everyone I’m back healthy and haven’t really missed a step,” he mentioned. “If you do that, everything else takes care of itself.”

7. Patriots punting: The Patriots moved four-year veteran punter Jake Bailey from injured reserve (again) to the reserve/suspended listing Friday. Based on a supply, the group suspension is due, partly, to differing viewpoints on whether or not Bailey was able to return to recreation motion. It’s onerous to think about him taking part in for the group once more. Touchdown on the reserve/suspended listing voids the assured cash in his contract and units up a possible monetary battle between him and the Patriots. ESPN Senior Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. charges Iowa’s Tory Taylor, Michigan State’s Bryce Baringer, Rutgers’ Adam Korsak, Memphis’ Joe Doyle and Michigan’s Brad Robbins among the many prime draft-eligible punters.

8. Assistants featured: It was a pleasant contact by NFL Movies to focus on retired Patriots assistant coaches Dante Scarnecchia and Ivan Fears in a not too long ago launched characteristic. Fears continues to be an everyday on the group’s facility at instances after handing over the operating again reins to his former assistant Vinnie Sunseri, who charges Fears alongside his father, Nick Saban and Invoice Belichick as having the best influence on his teaching profession.

9. Did You Know: Allen is 5-4 in his profession in opposition to the Patriots (together with playoffs) and may be part of Peyton Manning as the one beginning quarterbacks with at the very least six wins vs. New England since Belichick grew to become head coach in 2000.

10. They mentioned it: “It definitely is hard to separate the human side from the sports side. Because at the end of the day, we all want to play the game as hard as we can, but we all want to go home.” — Patriots security Adrian Phillips, reacting to Hamlin’s damage