FOXBORO -- By now, Bill Belichick is sick and tired of the question.
You know, the whole, "What are the advantages and disadvantages of playing the same team a second time in the same season?"
Belichick tried to respond in simple fashion early on in Wednesday's pre-practice press conference.
"We play teams in the division twice every year, so, it's not really that big of a deal," he said.
But make no mistake about it. This "rematch" isn't against the Miami Dolphins. It's not as if the Patriots are preparing for the New York Jets. Or the Buffalo Bills.
Sure, they play AFC East teams twice a year. But the Houston Texans are no AFC East scrub. And this isn't necessarily the "same" season.
This is the postseason. The NFL Playoffs. Win or go home.
Whether the Texans are a different team from the last time they got smacked around in New England remains to be seen.
But regardless, Belichick isn't preparing to "replicate" the last game in which the Patriots won 42-14. He doesn't think that's even possible.
"I think, gameplan-wise, you can fundamentally take a similar approach if you think a certain type of player or a certain scheme or a certain style would be successful," said Belichick. "That doesn't mean you can't continue to do that. Maybe it's formatted a little bit differently, or there are some modifications to it or whatever it is. But as far as specific plays, and 'this game's going to go the way that game went,' I think that's ridiculous. Show me one example where that's happened. I can't think of one."
As usual, Belichick is going to do whatever he feels is necessary to defeat the Texans on Sunday. If that means changing some things up, then he'll do so.
He won't stand in front of the podium and give us his strategy. But on Wednesday, Belichick did describe why his defensive schemes changed from game-to-game in the 1990 playoffs when he was with the New York Giants.
And it didn't have much to do with replicating previous games against these teams.
"We played Chicago in the first playoff game and we played a 4-3 defense," said Belichick. "They had a certain style of play that we felt was more conducive to that. The next week we played San Francisco and we played a 3-4 defense. And that was predicated on what we thought would be best for us to play the 49ers that week. And then the following week, we played Buffalo, we played a 2-4 Nickel, 3-3 Nickel, whatever you want to call it, depending on what part of the game you were in. And I would say that was a different style of defense.
"Is it trying to be creative? I don't know. It's trying to win the game. It's trying to do what you felt like you had to do to match up against those particular teams: Chicago, San Francisco, and Buffalo in that particular year, that were very, very different. Playing Chicago wasn't like playing San Francisco, and playing San Francisco wasn't like playing Buffalo. They were just different match ups, different style offense, different personnel groups on the field.
"At this time of the season, you do what you need to do to win one game," said Belichick. "You don't worry about your system. You don't worry about playing time, or how many guys do this or this guy does that. You worry about what you need to do to win the game. That's what we're here for."
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Boston sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.