FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- When the Patriots played the Broncos on Dec. 18, tight end Aaron Hernandez reeled in a career-best nine passes for 129 yards and a touchdown, helping New England jolt Denver, 41-23.
Saturday night the teams will meet again, this time in Gillette Stadium in a playoff game.
Hernandez has no idea if he’ll be able to approach those gaudy Dec. 18 numbers, especially given the fact that the Patriots’ receiving corps features Wes Welker, who led the league in receptions this season, and Rob Gronkowski, who set a league record for yards and touchdowns catches by a tight end.
“There were plays called for me. Obviously (the Broncos) focused on Gronk and Wes. That left me with opportunities to make plays,” said Hernandez on Wednesday of the first meeting with Denver.
“I honestly don’t think about (personal contributions). I don’t care about what they do. They have to pick their poison. We have so many weapons,” said Hernandez of the Broncos’ defensive plan for Saturday night.
Hernandez, a second-year pro, finished the year with 79 catches for 910 yards, including seven touchdown grabs.