By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) -- Playing in the NFL playoffs is a different animal. But to Bill Belichick, the message to players to help them prepare for the postseason is a rather simple one.
Belichick spoke to the media over Zoom on Monday morning, in the wake of Sunday's unpleasant loss in Miami but also in preparation for Saturday night's playoff game vs. the Bills. With the short turnaround before the biggest game of the year, Belichick was asked what he'll tell players who will be playing in the playoffs for the first time of their careers.
"Try to play and coach well. It's a one-game season," Belichick said. "It's no big mystery."
Belichick will be on the sideline in Buffalo on Saturday night for his 44th playoff game as a head coach. His 31 playoff wins are by far most in NFL history, 11 more than Tom Landry and 12 more than Don Shula. Among active coaches, Andy Reid is closest to Belichick with 17 wins, followed by Pete Carroll and John Harbaugh, who each have won 11 playoff games.
Clearly, the moment of the playoffs won't be overwhelming for the 69-year-old Belichick.
But several players -- including quarterback Mac Jones, running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson, safety Kyle Dugger (if healthy) -- will be making their playoff debuts. Other Patriots -- like Hunter Henry, Kendrick Bourne, Adrian Phillips, Jakobi Meyers, and Ja'Whaun Bentley -- have limited experience in the postseason.
What might help the Patriots is that they'll be facing a familiar opponent in the Bills, a team they faced twice in the final six weeks of the season. Though the Bills won the second matchup to even the season series at one game apiece, Belichick put forth a rather strong message when asked if his team has some added confidence, based on the win in Buffalo in Week 13.
"Yeah," Belichick said, "I don't think we lack confidence."
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