Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Devin McCourty: Patriots know they can win AFC East this week

Ryan Hannable
December 07, 2017 - 10:37 am

FOXBORO -- With a win Monday against the Dolphins, the Patriots will clinch their ninth straight AFC East title.

Speaking Wednesday at Gillette Stadium, Devin McCourty acknowledged the team is aware what is at stake.

"I think you understand that. You know what's at stake," he said. "You'd be lying if you say you don't know what's there. That's the reason we play games, to try to win championships. So I never take that for granted. The opportunity to get to play for a championship is tough. We talk about winning in December but obviously you've got to do some things right throughout the whole season to have that opportunity. It won't be –– it's not something we're going to talk about every day but we know it's there but we know the only way we get that is by being prepared and going out there and winning a football game."

A win would also be the Patriots' 15th straight road win -- a pretty remarkable accomplishment -- but McCourty knows it will be tough to win in Miami, as the Patriots have had their fair share of issues there over the years.

"Miami is tough, just like [the weather], that's something that you always say it's not a factor but I mean it's tough to go –– sometimes we play out there or we play in December when we're out here practicing," McCourty said. "We've had some decent weather this year but there's times it's 20 degrees outside every day and then we go down there Sunday at 1 p.m. and it's 75 [and] sunny. So that's tough and then they're usually a good football team. The division is tough. They play really well at home. Going down there I think you saw that this past week. Denver goes down there. Miami is tough at home. They come out [with a] 35–9 win where they just play well and I think we've got to kind of expect the same thing, especially Monday night. They'll be ready to go. We're going to get their best shot I think in every phase of the game. So we have to be well–prepared in everything we do."

Following Monday night, the Patriots will have their biggest game of the regular season in Pittsburgh against the Steelers, which will likely determine the No. 1 seed in the AFC.


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