Foxboro - The last thing Pats players want to hear about is the cold. Bill Belichick said he is honored to play in the AFC Championship Game. Tom Brady said there is something wrong with a player if he needs extra motivation for Sunday's game against the Chiefs. C David Andrews said he will not wear sleeves. The point is surely the cold is a factor, but the Pats don't want to use it as an excuse.
There is an old expression that complainers are contagious. If one player starts complaining about the cold the rest might follow suit. The Pats have played in cold weather games before in the playoffs like their victory over the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday or the victory over the Tennessee Titans in 2004 when the game time temperature was two degrees.
The Pats beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2004 AFC Championship Game when the weather was 11 degrees. The latest forecast on Sunday is a high of 28 degrees and a low of 21 degrees. Kickoff is 5:40 local time so the game will be played without any sunlight. Not the single digit temperatures expected earlier in the week. Bill Belichick summed up the team's mentality on Wednesday.
"Love to play in a championship game. Schedule it wherever you want. We’ll be there," Belichick said.
Patrick Chung Said the Pats Victory over the Chiefs in October Doesn't Matter
Chung said if the Pats think they can or will beat the Chiefs because of what happened three months ago then the Pats could be defeated handily.
"They'll kick our ass," Chung said.
The Chiefs, though, struggled late in the season with losses to the Seattle Seahawks, Los Angeles Chargers and in November to the Los Angeles Rams. The offense usually played well enough to win, but the defense struggled to stop elite offenses.
Rob Gronkowski Has High Praise for Travis Kelce
When the Pats played the Chiefs in October, there was a debate about who is the best tight end in football - Kelce or Gronkowski. Kelce answered that question in his favor with a great season (103 catches, 1136 yards) and he was far more effective than Rob Gronkowski in the passing game. Gronkowski, however, blocked well Sunday in the running game in the Pats win over the Chargers. On Thursday, Gronkowski called Kelce a "very excellent" player. Gronk had only one catch last Sunday and drew a pass interference penalty that led to a Pats touchdown. His biggest contribution this coming Sunday might be in the running game where the Pats hope to exploit the Chiefs weak run defense.
"The way he can move, the savviness he has is second to none. The way he can go up on a defender and plant one way and go the other, his size, his speed; that’s what makes tight ends special in this league, a top tight end special, is when they can plant, go the other way at our size, with his speed and stuff like that. He’s a great player. You’ve got to give it to him and it’s going to be fun to watch," Gronkowski said.
Notes: Deatrich Wise was removed from the injury report Thursday and the Pats have no one on the injury report.