Now that Wild Card Weekend is complete, the Patriots are preparing to host the Jacksonville Jaguars on Saturday night.
The Jags disposed of Pittsburgh, while San Diego took care of business over Tennessee. So, the lowest remaining seed, Jacksonville, will travel to top-seeded New England for the Divisional Playoffs.
Despite some missteps in the fourth quarter, the Jags looked good in their win over the Steelers, according to Pats head coach Bill Belichick.
"When Jacksonville had to have it, they produced," the Pats head coach said in a late-Sunday conference call. "They stopped [Pittsburgh], then they took it down and put themselves in position to win."
New England beat the Jags down in Jacksonville last season, but Belichick insists that Jaguar team doesn't resemble the 2007 variation.
"I think they're a different team than we played down there last year, starting with Fred Taylor. We didn't see him last year," he noted.
"I think Fred Taylor's one of the best backs in the league. He's a tremendous football player. He's got big speed and, like [fellow RB Maurice] Jones-Drew, can take it the distance as well as pound out the tough yardage."
As the Patriots sat and watched the Wild Card games this past weekend, New England's coaching staff was busy watching film on all three possible opponents: Jacksonville, San Diego, and Tennessee. But Belichick revealed that his coaches spent most of their time on the Jags, though not because they predicted a Jacksonville victory.
"We spent, of the three possible opponents, most of our time on Jacksonville, given the fact that we played Pittsburgh a month ago and we played Tennessee earlier in the (preseason)."
Sports Illustrated, on the magazine's website, chronicles how the biggest play in the Jacksonville-Pittsburgh game unfolded on the Jaguars sideline. QB David Garrard lobbied his coaches to call a QB draw on 4th and 2 late in the fourth quarter.
"So happy,'' the 245-pound Garrard said from the Jags' bus, almost two hours after their 31-29 victory. "To hear the draw called with the game, and our season, on the line was the greatest thing I could have heard.''
And now, the Jags get called up to New England.
The Boston Herald analyzes the best way for New England to beat Jacksonville.
The Boston Globe, meantime, offers five key points to know about the Jacksonville Jaguars.
And a Washington Post columnist offers a somewhat humorous apology for writing earlier this season that the Patriots wouldn't go undefeated. He then predicts the team's fortunes in the playoffs.