Pa­tri­ots re­main in Colorado to pre­pare for Mex­ico game

Woonsocket Call - - Sports - By JIMMY GOLEN

The New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots are en­joy­ing the road so much that they've packed their suit­cases for some ex­tended time away.

The de­fend­ing Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons didn't re­turn home af­ter Sun­day night's vic­tory over the Den­ver Bron­cos — their 13th straight win away from Foxbor­ough, Mas­sachusetts — stay­ing in Colorado for the week in­stead. The team will prac­tice this week at the Air Force Academy near Colorado Springs, then head to Mex­ico City on Satur­day for Sun­day's game against the Raiders.

“That's the crit­i­cal thing for this team is to get as much re­cov­ery in as pos­si­ble be­fore we head down to Mex­ico,” run­ning back Rex Burk­head said on Mon­day, about 13 hours af­ter the Pa­tri­ots beat the Bron­cos 41-16. “It's dif­fer­ent be­ing out here all week pre­par­ing, but I think def­i­nitely ben­e­fi­cial for the team and some­thing that will help us out for the week in prepa­ra­tion for Oak­land.”

The Pa­tri­ots went 8-0 on the road in the reg­u­lar sea­son last year, then won the Su­per Bowl on a neu­tral field in Hous­ton. They have won their first four road games this year, in­clud­ing Sun­day night in Den­ver, a sta­dium that has been one of the rare weak spots on Tom Brady's re­sume.

“We just want to be road war­riors,” line­backer Kyle Van Noy said. “And it shows we're ready to play and we're fo­cused, and it's al­ways fun to win in some­one else's home.”

Of course, the five-time Su­per Bowl cham­pi­ons have been pretty good at home, too: They were 8-2 last year at Gil­lette Sta­dium (in­clud­ing postseason), and in the pre­vi­ous three sea­sons their only losses at home were in a cou­ple of sea­son fi­nales af­ter their play­off berth was locked up.

But the ex­tra week on the road will get them at least one more de­cent night's sleep.

Safety Duron Har­mon did the math and fig­ured that af­ter a Sun­day night game that ended around 11:30 p.m. EST the play­ers would have needed to bus to the air­port, board a four-hour flight back to Bos­ton and then get them­selves home from the air­port by 5 or 6 a.m.

In­stead, they took an hour-long bus ride to Colorado Springs.

“No­body would have got­ten any good sleep,” Har­mon said. “It would have made the week a lit­tle bit harder be­cause you would've just been try­ing to catch up on sleep since you weren't able to sleep af­ter the game.”

The trip also helps them re­main ac­cli­mated to the al­ti­tude — a smooth tran­si­tion from the 6,000 feet in Colorado Springs to the 7,300 feet in Mex­ico City, with­out com­ing back to vir­tual sea level in the Bos­ton area.

The trip also gives the play­ers a chance to bond that they don't usu­ally get on the NFL's up-and-back, one-night road trips.

“It draws the team closer,” Van Noy said. “You're spend­ing all day with them, you're eat­ing ev­ery meal with them and so you get to know team­mates bet­ter and have a bet­ter time.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.