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There is an easy trap to fall into this week, namely being swayed by the way the Patriots steamrolled the Denver Broncos and how the Ravens just hung on to top the Texans. Because of that, the Patriots should roll, right?
Not. At. All.
If we haven't learned over the years that one week seldom carries over into the next, just ask the New Orleans Saints how that worked out for them. Or the NFL's best team in the regular season, the Green Bay Packers.
This is going to be close. It's going to be hard-hitting. And for those who appreciate the top-level, hard-core competition the NFL has to offer, it should be a treat, the type of contest that could come down to one play. When the margin for error is that thin, the focus must be razor-sharp and every little detail in preparation takes on added importance.
Here is what it comes down to if you're a Patriots follower: Given the toughness the team has shown in various situations over the course of the 2011 season, with the defining moment coming Nov. 13 in the Meadowlands against the New York Jets to snap a two-game losing streak with a shorthanded roster, what's not to like about your team in that kind of high-stakes game?