The Bears are in the rear-view mirror and now it's time for the Patriots to focus on the game of the year.
"Hopefully we can do it again this week," Patriots quarterback Brady said Monday morning in his weekly appearance on WEEI's Dennis and Callahan show. "This team will test us in a lot of ways. They got a very skilled offense. They got a lot of guys on defense and they're pretty tough so we'll see where we match up against against the NFL's best.
Brady wasted no time in preparing for next Sunday's game as he started his preparation after the win over the Bears.
"I did [begin preparing] last night," Brady said. "And right now I'm sitting in front of my computer with the some of their games on my little laptop here."
Last year's regular-season showdown with the Broncos at Gillette Stadium was an all-time classic. The Patriots stormed back from a 24-0 halftime deficit and rallied back to beat the Broncos 34-31 in overtime. It was the biggest comeback of Brady's career. Brady said that this year's Broncos defense bears little resemblance to the team he faced in Foxborough, or the one that faced the Patriots in Denver in last year's AFC championship game.
"I look at everything, but they're pretty different," Brady said. "They have a whole new secondary. They got three new linebackers, so the whole back-7 is different basically and I know they got eight or nine new guys on defense so it's a different defense and coach [Jack] Del Rio, he's always kind of run the same system. It's a real good, kind of schematic defense that he puts together, so we'll see everything. They'll be a lot to watch, they'll be a lot to see and we'll be ready to go when it comes 4 o'clock next week...
"We have a great opportunity ahead of us and our team. You work all year round for moments like this. It's going to be a great game."
Brady reflected on the long rivalry with Manning and how often their teams battle for supremacy in the AFC.
ďAs you mature a little bit and realize this could always be the last one, then you do [think about it]," Brady said. "Itís pretty special. Heís been one of the greatest players to ever play. Iíve been fortunate to share a field with one of the best players that ever has played the game and every time we play a Peyton Manning-led team it comes down to the wire and everythingís usually at stake.
ďWe had a few opportunities last year, we won the first one, lost the second one. This year we got to be at our best. Fortunately I donít have to go up against him, our defense does. Iíve got to go up against Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller and T.J. Ward. They got a whole challenge they present in and of itself. Theyíre a really well-balanced team. They do a lot of things well. It means weíre going to have to be at our best. Hopefully we can go out and give our fans something to cheer about. It will be a fun day.Ē
With Manning having more notable weapons than the Patriots do on offense, Brady was asked if he was satisfied with his supporting cast.
ďAbsolutely, I love the guys that I play with," he said. "I wouldnít change any of them for anybody. The group that Iíve been lucky enough to play with ó and Iíve had some great ones over the years. As a quarterback, you work all offseason with the group of guys and you develop a chemistry and a camaraderie with each other, and itís great when it all pays off.
ďI donít pick the players, I donít do any of those things. Thatís not my job. My jobís just to try to make the best of what I can try to help our team do. We brought in some great players to our offense over the last few years, and weíre trying to do the best we can do. Other teams are doing that, too. What can you say more about what Peyton Manning has been able to accomplish? Itís been the greatest season-and-a-half stretch in the history of the NFL. Nobodyís really matched what heís been able to do, and what that offense has been able to do, most importantly. So when we play this weekend weíre going to have to try to match it, because thatís what itís going to take. Theyíve got a great team. Weíre going to have to be at our best.Ē