Brady: First Texans game has no bearing

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady isn't resting on the fact that the first time his team played the Houston Texans this season, they handily defeated the AFC’s top team at the time, 42-14.

"I don't think that game is going to have any bearing on what happens next week," he said Monday morning during his weekly appearance on the "Dennis & Callahan show" on Boston sports radio station WEEI (click HERE to listen). "It was a big win for our season, it was a big win at that time, but this game is going to be entirely different, and we've got to be able to put just as much preparation into this game as we did before."

It was just two years ago that the Patriots easily took care of an opponent during a Monday Night Football matchup in December and then later faced them in the playoffs. After thrashing the Jets 45-3, the Patriots later lost to their division foe at home in the divisional round by a score of 28-21.

Brady said his team expects coach Bill Belichick to bring that up this week.

"No we haven't talked about it at all," he said. "I'm sure coach will talk about this week though. I think that's a great example, the reason why we lost that game wasn't because we beat them whatever four weeks before, it's because we sucked in the game, and we just didn't play the way we were capable of. I think the important part is to play up to our level of expectation, and that's from myself to the receivers to the tight ends to the running backs to the offensive line (and) to go out and play the way we're capable of playing. We have a lot of confidence when we do that."

In facing the Texans for the second time in a single season, Brady is expecting some changes from what they do schematically.

"We deal with that every year with our division opponents and sometimes it's somewhat similar, it's never exactly the same," he said. "I don't think any team would lose by three or four touchdowns and go 'man that was the way to play them.' But at the same time, everything that you've done over the course of the year -- we always joke when coach says we really don't want any bad plays to start the game -- well you don't know they're going to be bad plays until they're actually bad plays. If you thought it was going to be a bad play going into it, you wouldn't do it, so that's game-planning."

He expressed confidence in the Patriots coaching staff in its ability to adjust to the new wrinkles they'll likely see.

"Our coaches do a better job, I feel, than anybody at making adjustments," Brady said. "And we had a great bye week last week to really improve, get better, to really understand how we've been successful at certain things this year and how we're going to need to continue to do things well in order to be successful here in the postseason."

Sunday will mark Brady's 23rd playoff start, and reaching the postseason always raises the stakes and gets the veteran quarterback fired up to play.

"Oh yeah, this is what we play for. This is what it's all about," Brady continued. "This is why we work hard, this is what mental toughness is all about, this is what it's all about. It's more fun when you're challenged more and there's more at stake, and there is more this week than there was two weeks."

Brady also touched on some other notable items during the interview:

* On tight end Rob Gronkowski's continued progress in his return from a broken forearm. "He's working hard. Nobody wants to be out there more than him on a full-time basis. I think sometimes -- he's never really missed any games for us. It's been really hard for him to sit on the sideline and he wants to get out there, and I think sometimes you get out there and think everything is going to be perfect, but he's working hard to do his rehab to get back out there and be as full speed as he can possibly be."

* On whether the Patriots will once again use rackets to simulate the length of Texans DE J.J. Watt during practice. "Oh I'm sure, yeah. They might be taller this time. (coach Belichick) might get five or six of them out there. Last time we had four. And they just tried to mirror where I was looking, it's actually very helpful. I'm always excited to see what Coach Belichick can pull out of his hat."

* On whether he would have kept himself in the game yesterday if he were in the position of Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, who played through a knee injury for much of his team's 24-14 loss to Seattle. "I think that you have to just determine what's best for the team, to tell you the truth. It's nothing about the selfishness of a player. If you feel like you can help the team win, to me that's what you've got to do. What an incredible player, year [Griffin] had."