Since the New England Patriots moved into Gillette Stadium, no team in the NFL has compiled more wins at home than New England.
The Patriots are 67-13 in the regular season there and 8-2 in the postseason. Wintry conditions in the months of December and January and a raucous fan base have helped turn that stadium in Foxborough, Mass., into one of the more imposing venue in which to play.
But running back Ricky Williams said the New England mystique is blown out of proportion.
"If you hit them in the mouth and you stand up to them, that's the way you play it," said Williams, who is quite familiar with the Patriots after spending the previous eight seasons with the Miami Dolphins. "I think when you're as good as they are, you get used to people kind of being intimidated. And I think when you show them that you're not, it automatically makes them have to change the way they're used to playing, and that automatically gives us an advantage."
Wide receiver Lee Evans – who played the first seven years of his NFL career for the Buffalo Bills, another AFC East rival of New England's – agreed with Williams.
"Regardless of what happened in the first three quarters, they're going to play for four quarters," Evans said. "You've got to stand your ground and keep doing what you do and do what you can do to come out with the win."
Both Evans and Williams said they have not sensed an underlying current of fear from their current teammates about making the trip to Gillette Stadium and competing for the right to go to Super Bowl XLVI.
"No, there's no intimidation," Evans said. "With everything on the line, it's just all about playing well. The team that plays the best is going to win. We understand that it has to come on the road, and when you go on the road, everybody has to be together as a unit. So if we can stay together as a unit, then we have a good, solid foundation for trying to win this game."