Patriots players comment on their upcoming AFC Conference Championship game against the Baltimore Ravens during locker room media access on Monday, January 16, 2012.
PATRIOTS WR MATTHEW SLATER
(On the importance of home-field advantage)
"It's huge. Our fans really got loud. That's the loudest I've heard them since I have been here and they really rallied behind us and it enables us to do some things that we normally wouldn't be able to do on the road with the cadence and things like that. Just having that 12th man is huge."
(On how closely he watched yesterday's game knowing the winner would be their opponent)
"I think everybody had an eye on it, just looking and preparing to see what our matchup was going to be and who we were going to have to go against as individuals. It was a good game. Baltimore came out victorious and obviously there are reasons for that. They do a lot of things well and we are going to have our hands full preparing for those guys this week."
(On if he thinks about his first playoff experience against Baltimore in 2009)
"We really haven't given it much thought because it is a different season and a different team. They have different players and we have different players. We do remember the sting of getting embarrassed at home and like I said earlier those guys beat us from the opening snap all the way through. We have to try to avoid that."
(On if getting the first playoff victory makes him hungrier for another one)
"Definitely. You are definitely not satisfied and you won't be satisfied until you achieve that ultimate goal, but we realize it is about preparing now this week. We have to have a good week of preparation for us to give ourselves a chance to have success again this week."
(On how focused the team is with just four teams remaining)
"It has to be even higher than it was last week, and it was high last week, but it has to be high. It has to be a one-day-at-a-time thing. You don't win the game on Sunday, you win it throughout the course of the week and it starts today by how you prepare and then obviously you have to go play well on Sunday. Giving ourselves a chance to have success starts today."
PATRIOTS T NATE SOLDER
(On how he felt the Denver game went personally and for the team)
"It was good, but we have to keep moving on. There is no time to really think about that one too much, it is on to the next one."
(On his first impressions of Baltimore and their front seven)
"They are known to be a good, tough defense. I have a lot of studying to do and that is the next thing on my list to get to know them really well."
(On what today was like for the team)
"It was exactly that, we are moving on to the next thing and that was the message, so that is where we are headed."
(On facing the Baltimore defense and their pressure)
"It is going to be a matter of how prepared we are. We have to get ready and we have a lot of work ahead of us."
(On treating the playoff games like any other game)
"I think during the season the way that they do it here is you are getting into a system and getting into a routine all season, so you just continue to win. It is a routine machine almost and I like going about it that way. That is how we are doing it."
(On how preparing for Baltimore is different compared to Denver because the team hasn't faced the Ravens this season)
"I have a lot to learn and that is why we have to hit the film really hard."
PATRIOTS S JAMES IHEDIGBO
(On having experience playing in the AFC Championship Game)
"It is an exciting game. It is the top two teams in the conference playing for a chance to go to the Super Bowl. I came up short the last two years but that is in the past and we are focusing on this one and we are focusing on beating the Baltimore Ravens and going to the Super Bowl."
(On the importance of having this game at home)
"You can see how loud the fans were Saturday night, they were rocking. The building was great and we thrived off that energy, so playing here at home is going to be unbelievable. It is going to be a great atmosphere and I'm already excited about it."
(On if that is the loudest he has heard it at Gillette Stadium)
"Definitely, by far. It was loud. We were making checks defensively and we had to double-check with each other because it was loud. We are looking for that and more come game day."
(On if there has been any talk internally about the Ravens playoff loss from 2009)
"Not so much. That game didn't turn out in our favor in the past, but right now it is focusing on the present and we control how we play and how we prepare. In this game we are going against a great football team. They have playmakers all across the board over there and some of best guys that have played their position are on that team. We have to out-prepare them and get ready to play a physical football game."
(On if the intensity gets even bigger in the AFC Championship Game)
"Each level of it definitely increases because you are that much closer to your ultimate goal. Your preparation has to increase; your level of intensity has to increase. You are playing for something huge here, an opportunity to go to the Super Bowl and be a Super Bowl champ. Nothing else matters at this point."
(On how easy it is to focus on that goal of a championship)
"It is putting everything else aside. That is where your focus is. It shouldn't be hard for any of us to dedicate everything you've got for this time period to get this job done. It is not hard at all, it is what we want."