Bill Belichick and the Patriots will have their hands full Sunday in Green Bay against the Packers. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO — It is no secret the Packers are dominant at home this season.
They are a perfect 5-0 on the year and in their last four games they have have routed opponents 66-0 in the first quarter and an improbable 128-9 in the first half.
Coach Bill Belichick was asked what makes it so difficult to win on the road in the NFL, and Belichick responded with a quote from friend, and fellow legendary coach Bobby Knight.
“I think I’d go back to Coach [Bobby] Knight’s comment of, ‘Winning favors the team that makes the fewest mistakes.’ I’d start with that,” said Belichick. “I’d rather play well and make fewer mistakes and play anywhere than not play well and make a lot of mistakes, put it wherever you want to put it — at home, neutral field. I’ll go with Coach Knight on that one.”
The differences between playing at home and on the road are pretty obvious, but playing at the historic Lambeau Field, they will be major factors come Sunday afternoon.
“All the obvious things — schedule, field conditions, crowd noise on offense and when you handle the ball — punt team, field goal team, all those things,” Belichick said. “Those crowd noise situations are just in reverse when you play at home – field conditions and weather, schedule, routine — whatever. It’s always a little bit easier when you’re familiar with what the norm is. You’re into a routine, the home routine. Going on the road, it’s always a little bit different. Every team has the same number of home and away games in this league, so it all evens out.”
The Patriots are 3-2 on the road this season and 7-7 the past two seasons, including the postseason, but are coming off an impressive 22-point win in their last road game — two Sunday’s ago against the Colts on Sunday Night Football.
With the Packers getting off to fast starts this season, Belichick was asked if that might change his thought process of always deferring to the second half if they win the opening coin toss, to take the ball and try and get off to a quick start themselves. Belichick didn’t seem like he would be changing his thinking.
“I mean look, they’re going to get the ball, we’re going to get it. I don’t think that’s as important as what you do with it when they have or we have it or when it’s being kicked,” Belichick said. “It’s going to be the execution more than ‘ if we have the wind, they’re going to have it in the second quarter or vice-versa, whatever it is. I’m really more focused on what our execution level is and being able to put ourselves, from a coaching standpoint, strategically in a decent position so that we can be competitive and not be in some bad, bad play that that would just totally get out-schemed on. Hopefully we can do that ‘ give the players a chance to play and play well.”