Rest on their laurels? Not this Patriots team.
Some NFL observers might think New England would take these final two regular season games easy, now that the Pats have clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Think again.
"I hope I play every snap," QB Tom Brady said after Sunday's win over the Jets. "That's the most exciting part of my job is playing, not practicing."
They've been in this spot before, as USA TODAY notes today. Like in 2004 - en route to another Super Bowl victory - when they played hapless San Francisco in the season finale, after going 13-2 up to that point.
LB Tedy Bruschi remembers.
"We had everything wrapped up and we said, 'Let's play to win,' " he recalled in the Pats post-game locker room this past weekend. "We don't play 162 games the way they do in baseball. We only have 16 games."
"We play each week to win the game — no matter who we're playing, no matter what the situation is," RB Kevin Faulk echoed in a similar story in the Hartford Courant.
"Our journey is a lot bigger than just the steppingstones that we're taking right now," Patriots LB Junior Seau said. "We have a journey in which if we don't finish it, it doesn't mean anything. We're going to take it one day at a time like we've been saying. I know it sounds like a broken record, but we have to take it that way or else we're going to get complacent."
And, oh, by the way, in case you haven't heard, eight Patriots were named to this year's Pro Bowl in Hawaii. On offense: Brady, O-linemen Matt Light, Logan Mankins, and Dan Koppen, and WR Randy Moss. On defense: LB Mike Vrabel, NT Vince Wilfork, and CB Asante Samuel.
"I'm so excited for a guy like Vrabel, for the simple fact that I feel like he's a guy who has been overlooked in this league for so many years," S Rodney Harrison told The Boston Globe.
"Best corner in the league in my opinion," he said of Samuel. "I think week in and week out, people are starting to understand this guy is something special. He's a guy I've seen come from the bottom, who has worked his tail off in the offseason to get to where he's at. He's a guy with tremendous instincts who makes plays everywhere."
And what about Brady?
"Best in the game," Harrison declared.
Hard to argue with that. Harrison went on to laud his other teammates who were named to the NFL's All-Star game.
While we're in the handing-out-accolades mood, Brady has been named 2007 Sportsman of the Year by The Sporting News.
And what about Bill Belichick? Should he get Coach of the Year in the NFL, especially if his team goes undefeated? That's the topic of an interesting column on Sports Illustrated's website.
"If he goes 16-0, I don't see how you don't give it to Belichick,'' one longtime NFL writer is quoted in the story. Opposing views can be found in the piece as well.
And what about those Miami Dolphins, who come to Foxborough this weekend with a 1-13 record? The New York Times has a feature on them today.
"There would be something special about the Dolphins, especially this team, finding a way to knock off the New England Patriots," kicker Jay Feely said.