He’s on the cover of Sports Illustrated after helping to lead the Patriots to another shot at an AFC championship with his punishing running game. But this is the first time LeGarrette Blount, has ever played in a game this big.

“This determines if you go all the way or if you go home so there’s a lot of emphasis on this game. Everybody is doing a lot more, staying a lot later, doing more studying,” he said.

Other Patriots who’ve been here before know what’s important to remember when they hit the field Sunday.

“It’s a one game season, everybody knows that. A couple teams left and there’s nothing to save anything for. There’s no next week, obviously, if you lose,” Michael Hoomanawanui, who’s playing in his second conference championship game, said

This is Defensive back Devin McCourty’s third time playing for the championship.

“I’m just telling them to keep preparing and making sure they give it everything they have during the week, and on Sunday just go out there and play football,” McCourty said.

As for the Sports Illustrated cover, Blount said he’s not worried about it because he doesn’t believe in jinxes.

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