Danny Amendola is hoping a ‘chip on our shoulder’ will help him and Patriots overcome Mile High odds
|01.13.14 at 6:53 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The odds are not overwhelming.
The 14-3 Broncos are favored by just 4 1/2 points heading into Sunday’s AFC championship against the 13-4 Patriots at Sports Authority Field in Denver. Take out the home field advantage and that’s less than a field goal separation according to the odds makers.
The Patriots under Bill Belichick and Tom Brady have advanced to the Super Bowl twice by winning the AFC championship on the road, both times in Pittsburgh. Those experiences are stored deep in the memory banks of the brain trust.
But that won’t keep the Patriots from playing the underdog role to the hilt, at least in public. Brady already told Dennis and Callahan Monday morning that “no one” expects the Patriots to win. Danny Amendola reiterated that mantra Monday afternoon as the team began their preparations for the Broncos.
“I like to think that way,” Amendola said. “In our room, I can speak for our room, we play with a chip on our shoulder and we like to play that way, so just looking to have a good week of preparation so far and go about it that way.
“[We] go about it like every other week and just prepare as hard as we can and get ready to play.”
How different might the Broncos look from their Nov. 24 match-up at Gillette?
“We still have to break down a lot of film,” Amendola said. “They are a good team, obviously, playing this deep in the playoffs. We’re really excited to play them.
“They’ve had some moving parts since then [but] still a quality ball club so we got to prepare well.”
The biggest moving part is Monday’s announcement that cornerback Chris Harris is lost for the season with a torn ACL. But the Broncos should have veterans Champ Bailey and Quentin Jammer in their secondary. Bailey did not play in the Nov. 24 Patriots’ win.
“You know, Champ has been in the league for a very long time, playing at a very high level, Quentin Jammer too, so we have a task on our hands and we’ll definitely be preparing well for them this week,” Amendola said.
As for the 74,000 screaming fans at Mile High that will be cheering for the Broncos, Amendola said he’s ready to embrace that challenge.
“I’ve played there a couple of times,” Amendola said. “It’s a great stadium to play in and it will be a live atmosphere and it will be fun.
“You win you go on, you lose you go home. That’s the name of the playoffs, so we’re definitely going to do our part and prepare hard this week.’
The key, says Amendola, is not to get overwhelmed with any aspect of Sunday’s game.
“It’s a big game,” he said. “At the end of the day it’s football and you’ve got a job to do when you’re playing so that’s what we focus on. It’s just our mentality. We don’t think any differently, like I said, playing with that chip on our shoulders. That’s how we are.”