Many fans of sports teams look to their record against previous opponents as a sort of comfort of false confidence when facing that same opponent in the playoffs. The reality is that might almost hurt your chances of beating a team you’ve already played in the regular season.
“I think when you play a team twice during the season, the games are totally different,” Belichick said. “They never go the same way. We’ll be able to certainly look at some of the matchups individually, guys that faced each [other] in the game. As far as plays and calls and things like that matching up, I’m sure they’ll have some new wrinkles. I’m sure we’ll have some, too.”
When the Texans made their first trip to New England they were a hot 11-1 and favored to finish with the top seed in the AFC. New England handed them an embarrassing 42-14 loss that was the beginning of a 1-3 skid to finish the season. That skid cost the Texans a first round bye and had them playing in the Wild Card round this past weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals.
“I think there’s certainly a lesson there about the game that we play now doesn’t have much to do with the game we played before,” Belichick said. “It’s another example of that. We’ve talked about that many, many times here, before and after the 2010 season. I don’t think it’s anything that wasn’t mentioned until that situation occurred, but it’s an example we can point out.”
The Texans just squeaked by and are looking to build upon that victory by having a more successful trip to New England. The Patriots are aware that they are facing a different team. Like Ray Lewis said in his speech to the Stanford men’s basketball team in the NIT tournament last year, “I’m a different creature then I was yesterday.”
Belichick echoes that sentiment.
“We talked about that many times before, how other games don’t have anything to do with this game,” Belichick said. “It stands on its own. That is and always will be the case.”