Belichick: 'Toughest game' of year

Patriots coach Bill Belichick held a conference call with reporters today, and he opened with the following remarks:

“It’s certainly a great honor to be representing the AFC in this game. We’re looking forward to the opportunity. Of course, the Giants are a great team. They’ve had a great year. This is going to be our toughest game. We’ve had two tough ones and we know this is going to be on a higher level. So we have a lot of work cut out for us ahead, but it’s exciting to be able to have the opportunity to meet that challenge.

“Yesterday, in particular, was a big organizational day, getting a lot of logistics, the process started. Maybe not all completed, but at least get things started that come with playing in the game. That’s just part of the process and coaches and the rest of us are really now just starting to work full steam ahead on the Giants. We still have a little more, a few logistics to iron out until we can put all that behind us. Again, it’s a great opportunity and thrill to be in the game. We’re looking forward to the challenge.

“As I said after the game, I think our players did a great job of stepping up, competing. It wasn’t perfect but they played hard, they played with great effort. I’m glad things worked out for them, we made a few more plays than the Ravens did, and we were able to win and move on.”

Some of the topics Belichick touched on included:

1. Importance of the left tackle position and Matt Light’s strong year and career.

2. Thoughts on Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who he says has "stood the test of time."

3. Patriots defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and his impact.

4. Having Josh McDaniels back on staff and how quickly things have come together.