The Patriots have been here many times before; January is playoff time in New England. As the years go, so goes the chances for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady to grab the ever elusive fourth Super Bowl.
The road starts with the Houston Texans, a team the Patriots beat like a drum in December. A sharp performance against the Miami Dolphins in the season finale seemed to rest Patriots fans minds.
While fans get the week off, and players do light work, Belichick and the coaches are hunkered down in a bunker in Foxboro.
"We're full-speed ahead here on Houston," Belichick said according to Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald. "It really gives us a little bit of a jump on the situation, so we can spend today and every other day now going forward totally focusing our attention on them.
Obviously, they had a terrific year, a big win yesterday against Cincinnati. We're pretty familiar with them because we played them a month ago, but we still have to go through the whole process again of just going back over (everything)."