BOSTON (CBS) - According to Chris Harris Jr. of the Broncos, it would be a different story if the Patriots played Sunday's game in Denver. In fact, Harris even predicted the two teams will face again, only this time it'll be in the Mile High city.
"When they come to Denver, it's going to be a different game. Plain and simple," Harris said in the locker room following his team's 43-21 loss.
On the surface it comes off as sour grapes and excuse making from a cornerback whose secondary allowed Tom Brady to throw for 333 yards and four touchdowns. But dig a little deeper and what Harris is saying is actually true -- the Patriots are a much different team at home than on the road.
You also have to acknowledge that Denver's schedule softens while New England's only gets tougher in the coming weeks, so who gets that first round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs could prove imperative in determining the AFC representative in the Super Bowl.
This begs the obvious question posed by 98.5 The Sports Hub's Andy Gresh and Scott Zolak to open their show Tuesday morning: do the Patriots absolutely need home-field advantage to make the Super Bowl?
"I'm not saying New England is a great team on the road because they're not. Two losses have come on the road, Miami and Kansas City where they've turned the ball over. This [Colts] game in two weeks [on the road] is gonna be a big one," said Zolak, who needs to see more.
Andy Gresh on the other hand isn't convinced playing on the road is as big of a deal. Health is also a big factor.
"You've tweaked your defense a little bit [because of injuries]. You don't have Chandler Jones at the moment. That's the thing, I don't think home field matters that much," said Gresh. "Isn't the real thing getting a bye? That's what really matters. People are going nuts over home-field advantage, but at the end of the day it's to get the bye. You have two weeks to prepare for whoever comes through that door in the Divisional round, you feel confident you can get a win and then you're right there in the AFC Championship."
The Patriots are 42-3 in their last 45 games at home.
MORE PATRIOTS COVERAGE FROM CBS BOSTON
for more features.