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Patriots looking to win confidence game heading into the weekend

01.20.12 at 5:39 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The hay is in the barn.

With the game plan installed and a week’€™s worth of practices behind them, it’€™s an oft-repeated phrase that’€™s heard around Gillette Stadium late in the week. And with the AFC championship game looming on Sunday, the Patriots are now essentially done with the majority of the prep work in advance of their contest with the Ravens.

Over the course of the last few years, inevitably after a big victory, one of the first things the players (and coaches) usually say is that the groundwork for the win was laid with a solid week of practice. If New England comes away with the win over Baltimore, expect to hear a lot of talk about how the foundation for the victory came after a good week of work.

‘€œIt’€™s been a good week of practice and preparation,’€ wide receiver Wes Welker said after practice on Friday. ‘€œI think we have a lot of confidence. We’€™re a confident-type team. We have a lot of good players and we feed off each other knowing that somebody is going to make a play. We all have to step up to that challenge to make a play.’€

The singular word that was repeated by several players was confidence. That confidence was borne out of several aspects, not the least of which they ended the week with back-to-back practices where they was perfect attendance from everyone on the 53-man roster. (The only player missing on Friday was practice squadder Dorin Dickerson.)

‘€œWe came out and worked hard, and that’€™s the goal — coming out here and working hard all week at practice and give yourself a chance to just play well on Sunday,’€ cornerback Devin McCourty said Friday. ‘€œWe feel like we came out here and worked hard, and now it’€™s time to execute on Sunday.

‘€œWe feel confident going into the game. We feel we practiced hard and got some things done, improved in practice, so we’€™re going in there with confidence on Sunday, and now we’€™ve just got to execute.’€

‘€œWe’€™re confident in each other and knowing that and (trusting) in each other to get the job done. That’€™s where our confidence stems from,’€ said safety James Ihedigbo. ‘€œJust understanding the importance of this game and the level of play you have to bring to this game, and just playing and leaning on each other. That’€™s really going to carry us through. It’€™s going to be a physical battle, and we’€™re mentally getting ready for it.’€

Read More: Devin McCourty, Dorin Dickerson, James Ihedigbo, Wes Welker
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