Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork said he and the other veterans made it clear last week to the rookies how important the Buffalo game was.
Appearing on WEEI on Monday morning, Wilfork said that it's rare for the Patriots to place special significance on a certain game -- maintaining that they're all important -- but that last week in practice "we needed to get it through to players what it means to win this game."
Walking in the locker room after the game to find AFC East Champions hats and T-shirts helped capture the significance of the victory, he said.
And now that the Patriots are AFC East champions and can look ahead to having home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs, the veterans may need to explain to the rookies the difference between regular-season and playoff football.
Wilfork said it's simple: Now's the time the team definitely has to play "60 minutes of football."
His main advice to the young players?
"Every game is like a championship game."