Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans isn't quite visible on the horizon yet. Still, it only takes one rogue gust of wind to send a faint whiff of gumbo and catfish our way.
The temptation of that sweet whiff must be resisted.
Forget the Super Bowl right now. Keep focused on the Texans, because they're coming to win. The Patriots need to be ready to steal the momentum, thwart Houston's plans, dictate the pace of the game and play on their own terms.
It's important that the Patriots stay fearless in the face of this brutal opponent, but it's equally important that they accept the fear that comes with an elimination game. Fear of going home is why the great teams stick around and keep playing. Champions only go home when there's nobody left to beat.
On Sunday, the Patriots will go to war.
But until then, here's a little treat to tide you over. The Patriots' 2013 schedule hasn't been released yet, but we already know the teams they'll be playing.
Here are game-by-game predictions for New England's 2013 season.