FOXBOROUGH, MASS. – After making the acrobatic touchdown catch that sealed the latest AFC Championship Game triumph for New England, Danny Amendola gave a knowing smile when thoughts turned to the team's upcoming trip to Minnesota for Super Bowl LII.
"We know what to expect," said Amendola, who keyed Patriots comeback victories in Super Bowl XLIX and LI. "We know what it's going to take to get the work done. We know what the media are going to be like. We'll be ready."
The Patriots were 5 ½-point favorites over the Eagles on Monday, as preparations started in earnest for the Feb. 4 showdown at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick called a Monday afternoon meeting to review Sunday's game film — specifically, the items that need correcting. Belichick also reminded players to handle all ticket requests early this week.
"Belichick told us, 'The word 'no' is going to be your No. 1 word these next two weeks," defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois said. "Get it all squared away now, so when it comes to Wednesday, we can start paying attention to Philadelphia."
The NFL allots each player up to 15 tickets, but only the first two are free. After that, the price has been $1,800 per ticket — even for players — at recent Super Bowls.
"A lot of people hit me up, 'Like, can I go to the game?' " Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe said. "Well, it's not cheap. It's not cheap on my end; it's not going to be cheap on your end.' "
The Patriots still were finalizing their travel itinerary. They arrived in Houston last year on the Monday before the Super Bowl. They'll be staying at a Mall of America hotel and will hold their first Minnesota news conference Monday night.
As the game's "home team," the Patriots will practice at the Vikings facility at Winter Park, while the Eagles use the Gophers facility in Dinkytown. The "home team" also gets first pick of jersey colors — white or navy for the Patriots. As the Boston Globe noted, the Patriots two Super Bowl losses under Belichick and Tom Brady have come in navy, so they might want to go with white.
Beyond all the logistics, the bigger concern is the Eagles, who thrashed the Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship Game while the Patriots were celebrating.
"Saw some of it," Belichick said. "The coaches and I kind of watched the game on TV a little bit [Sunday]. That was a pretty impressive performance by Philadelphia."
Rowe has followed the Eagles closely all season after coming to the Patriots in a 2016 trade from Philadelphia. He took note of Nick Foles' performance.
"He's out there ballin'," Rowe said. "What did he have, like 300-plus [yards] against the Vikings defense that's obviously been really stout all year? That just doesn't happen by luck."
Having an extra week between games favors New England with All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski going through concussion protocol.
"He was in pretty good spirits [Monday] when I spoke to him," special teams captain Matthew Slater said.
Brady credited offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels for adjusting the game plan after Gronkowski got injured, as the Patriots put together three touchdown drives against Jacksonville's stout defense without him.
The Colts reportedly have requested a second interview with McDaniels for their head coaching job, and that would need to take place this week if they're going to make the expected hire after the Super Bowl. The Lions are expected to hire Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia for their head coaching job.
So big changes are coming for the Patriots. But for now it's status quo, which means it must be time for another Super Bowl trip. Belichick and Brady are 5-2 in Super Bowls, including last year's epic comeback against Atlanta.
As Francois said, "It's just another game for them."