Wednesday is the biggest day for the media at Gillette Stadium and today was no exception. Bill Belichick's morning press conference was well attended as the hype begins to build steam towards this Sunday's game in Buffalo against the Bills.
The Brady-Bledsoe debate never really fell from popular culture in New England, but as the 3-4 Patriots prepare for the 5-3 Bills in Bledsoe Bowl I the debate has been pushed back to the forefront. While the media looks to push the topic on the game-week preparations, most around the team and the locker room agree that right now the most important thing for the Patriots is not who the opposing quarterback is, but more importantly to get a win.
"Historically the games with Buffalo have been tough, hard-fought games and that is what we are expecting this week," Belichick said. "We know they are playing well. They are on a little bit of a roll and the only thing we can do to improve the outlook around here is to beat somebody. So that is what our opportunity is this week and we know they are a good football team."
Belichick went on to acknowledge that the Bledsoe factor is going to be a part of the theatre surrounding this game, but that it is important for his team to focus on beating the Bills team as a team.
"I'm certainly not going to deny that that's a big story in the game, but I think the biggest focus for us has got to be the Buffalo Bills football team, that is more consuming than one individual player," Belichick said. "We had a similar situation a couple of weeks ago with the Packers, but I think our team needs to be mature enough and understand that this is totally a team effort and totally a team confrontation with the Bills and that's all it is. Hopefully we're experienced enough to understand that and deal with it appropriately because that's what it is. No one player on either team is going to be able to win this game by himself, it's going to take a lot more than that."
For his part, Bledsoe admitted that this game will be a very emotional one for him and that it will be a unique feeling playing against his old teammates.
"To say that this is just another game, I'd be laying and you guys would know I was lying," Bledsoe said. "So yeah, it's a special game for me. I'm playing against a bunch of guys that I went to war with for a long time and a lot of guys that I have tremendous respect for. I've used the analogy for a while now that it's like playing against your brother. You go out and play against somebody that you respect and somebody that you're friends with and you want to win that one bad because you're going to have to hear about it for the of the year if you don't win."
The game is still four days away, but the drama is already building at an exponential rate for Bledsoe Bowl I. Both sides know the importance of the game on many levels and the media will strive to inflate the game to epic proportions. For the Patriots though, a win against anybody has to be the most important thing right now. It may be just Week Nine of the NFL season but any playoff hopes rely heavily on the Patriots ending the current four game losing streak, immediately.
Two new faces, Larry Izzo and Otis Smith, made their way on to the injury report on Wednesday as three others that were on the report last week, Joe Andruzzi, Troy Brown and Rick Lyle, were removed. On the report tight end Daniel Graham (shoulder), linebacker Izzo (leg), defensive end Anthony Pleasant (shoulder), center Grey Ruegamer (foot) and cornerback Smith (arm) are all listed as Questionable.
Buffalo listed four players on its injury report as Questionable. Safety Tony Driver (hip), linebacker Keith Newman (knee), tackle Mike Williams and cornerback Antoine Winfield (knee) all have a 50 percent chance of playing.