FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots have piled up points and big victory margins against NFL division leaders. Now they're preparing to face another one and leaving all those routs behind.
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots have piled up points and big victory margins against NFL division leaders.
Now they're preparing to face another one and leaving all those routs behind.
"Nobody is happier than I am when we win, but right now all that doesn't really mean anything going into Green Bay," coach Bill Belichick said Monday. "They're playing real good football now."
The Patriots will be playing in Lambeau Field, where the Packers are 5-0 this season with their own string of runaways — against Minnesota (42-10), Carolina (38-17), Chicago (55-14) and Philadelphia (53-20) in their past four home games.
New England (9-2) can match that with the last four games in its current seven-game winning streak — against Chicago (51-23), Denver (43-21), Indianapolis (42-20) and Detroit (34-9).
So why not call Sunday's game The Blowout Bowl?
Patriots special teams captain Matthew Slater is reluctant to use that word.
"It's not realistic for us to expect to continue to blow teams out like that, or, I don't want to say blow out, but win by a large margin," he said. "I can't really put my finger on what it is. I think it's a culmination of things and preparation, I think, is at the forefront of that.
"But you've got to have some breaks along the way and we've certainly had our fair share of those."
More importantly, the Patriots have simply dominated most opponents during their winning streak. Starting with a 43-17 win over Cincinnati, four of those seven wins have been by at least 22 points against teams that were in first place entering the games.
In the latest, they picked apart the team that had allowed the fewest points in the NFL, scoring 34 on Sunday, the most against the Lions (7-4) all season.
After the Patriots scored a touchdown with just under two minutes to go on a 1-yard run by LeGarrette Blount, Lions center Dominic Raiola retaliated on the last play of the game.
He tried a low cut block at the knees of rookie defensive lineman Zach Moore as quarterback Matthew Stafford was taking a knee.
"I cut him," Raiola told the Detroit Free Press. "We took a knee, so I cut the nose (tackle). They went for six (a touchdown). They went for a touchdown at two minutes. They could have took three knees and the game could have been over. It's football. He wants to keep playing football, let's play football. Not a big deal. It's football."
Moore was barely hit on the block and kept cool.
"Just being professional, keeping my composure, something I've had my entire football career," he said Monday. "When you look at the score, I'd probably be mad, too."
The NFL plans to review that play and an earlier one where Raiola appeared to punch Moore in the back of the helmet for a possible fine, but no suspension, Michael Signora, vice president of football communications for the NFL, said in an email Monday.
"I don't want to really get into how the situation works itself out," Moore said. "You've got to turn the page and start today on our opponent this Sunday."
The Patriots and Packers (8-3) are one-two in the NFL in both points per game and average margin of victory.
In Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers (ranked first) and New England's Tom Brady (sixth), they have two of the best quarterbacks.
Patriots tight end Tim Wright caught two touchdown passes from Brady on Sunday and has contributed to the blowouts by scoring on six of his 23 receptions.
"I would just say taking it one play at a time, not looking at the scoreboard" keeps the offense rolling, Wright said. "It all builds up at the end of the game when you look at the scoreboard at the points that we're beating teams by."
The more they score, the more the momentum and confidence grow.
"When you're able to string together a few scoring drives or, defensively, have a big stop, or special teams score a touchdown, it gives you a lot of confidence," Slater said, "and confidence is contagious. So when our group is showing confidence and we're rolling, we've been fortunate enough to continue to be able to do that."