FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The New England Patriots were unbeaten at home the past two regular seasons. Then the playoffs began.

Records of 8-0 at Gillette Stadium meant nothing when they went 0-1 in the postseason both years. Now, after going 7-1 this season, they have another chance to satisfy a full house of fans.

The losing streak sticks in the back of linebacker Jerod Mayo’s mind.

“I definitely think about it,” he said. “I’ve been in the league, this is my fourth year … haven’t won a playoff game yet. That’s not the norm around here, so we have to get it done.”

The Patriots actually have dropped their last three postseason games, starting with a 17-14 Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants that ended the 2008 season. It’s a dramatic slide for a club that won Super Bowls in 2002, 2004 and 2005. But those playoff losses may not provide any motivation this time.

“A playoff game in itself is motivation,” Mayo said.

Players aren’t spending their bye week trying to figure out why they suddenly faltered in Foxborough. What happened then won’t affect the outcome of their divisional playoff game on Jan. 14, they say. What matters most is studying hard, practicing intensely and then getting off to a good start.

And if they win, they’ll be home again for the AFC championship game on Jan. 22.

The Patriots started poorly in their last three games, trailing Denver 16-7, Miami 17-0 and Buffalo 21-0, and won all three. They know they can’t keep doing that in the playoffs.

“We know if we do, we’ll be done,” special teams captain Matthew Slater said. “The teams that we’re going to be playing now, they’re all good. And if we put ourselves in that position, we can’t expect to continue to win games like that.”

History backs him up.

Two years ago, the Baltimore Ravens visited Foxborough for a wild-card game and dominated from the very first offensive play — an 83-yard touchdown run by Ray Rice. By the end of the first quarter, the Ravens led 24-0 after Tom Brady threw two interceptions and lost a fumble, and they rolled to a 33-14 win behind a strong defense.

And their defense now is much stronger than most of those that the Patriots faced most of the season.

“The urgency and the way we prepare have to be there,” Slater said, “not to say it wasn’t there last year, but we have to make sure we have urgency and attention to details because, in the end, that’s the difference between winning and losing.”

Last year, the Patriots were the top-seeded team in the AFC — just as they are now — when their fierce rival, the New York Jets, came to town. But the home team trailed 14-3 at halftime and never led after that as its season ended with a 28-21 loss.

“It’s like you’re on the treadmill running at 10 miles an hour and then someone just hits the stop button,” Brady said after the game. “I think we’re a pretty good football team, but not when we play like today.”

So which Patriots team will show up for their next game against Denver, Pittsburgh or Cincinnati?

The team that allowed the Bills to score touchdowns on their first three possessions last Sunday? Or the one that scored the final 49 points of that game?

“Each week we know we get off to a slow start, but eventually it can catch up with you also and we understand that,” defensive tackle Vince Wilfork said. “I don’t think there’s anyone in this locker room saying, ‘We’re going to get away with a 24-point deficit or a 28-point deficit now.’

“I think it’s more about, ‘Let us be on the other end. Let us be up 14 or 17 points and see where the game takes us.’ With this team I love the odds. I love them.”

There’s no doubt that the Brady-led offense can score a lot. The Patriots topped the AFC with 32.1 points per game and Brady threw for 5,235 yards, second most in NFL history. With receivers like Wes Welker (an NFL high 122 receptions), Rob Gronkowski (90) and Aaron Hernandez (79), it can be tough for defenses to double-team them.

Tight ends Gronkowski and Hernandez were still in college when the Ravens dominated that playoff game and have improved from their rookie season, when the Jets eliminated the Patriots.

So any comparison between those playoff games and the next one is shaky.

“Last year, the year before that (we were a) different team, different players,” Slater said. “We’re going to be playing different teams here in this first week than we did. We’re definitely not going to be playing Baltimore and we’re definitely not going to be playing the Jets here. So there’s no real carryover.”

In their 10 years at Gillette Stadium, the Patriots are 67-13 there in the regular season. They also won their first seven postseason games there before dropping the last two.

Cornerback Devin McCourty, a rookie last year, doesn’t think those losses will have any effect on the next game.

“Those games don’t dictate anything that’s going to happen now, the same way when they won the championship a couple of years ago,” he said. “That season has nothing to do with this season, so, whether good or bad, it’s not going to have anything to do with this season.”

It would help to have a loud, passionate crowd behind the Patriots, but that hasn’t been the norm at Gillette. The fans booed last Sunday when the Bills went out to their big lead, and they booed two years ago when the Ravens rolled in the first quarter.

Guard Brian Waters played in front of boisterous fans during his 11 years with the Kansas City Chiefs before joining the Patriots this season.

How do the Patriots fans compare?

“Good question,” he said, pausing and laughing. “I have played in some loud places and this place can be loud at times.”

Then, he added, “I’m not going to get into that one.”

The fans would be more supportive if they had more to cheer about. There wasn’t much in the Patriots last two playoff games.

“I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t think about it,” Mayo said. “I think about it all the time. But at the end of the day, what can you do? After you lose a playoff game, you have to wait a whole other year. So now the opportunity is here. You just have to take advantage of it.”

Slater, in his third season, doesn’t care much where the Patriots win.

“I’d love to win a playoff game,” he said. “I haven’t in my career so I just want to win, simple as that. The past is the past. But I just want to win.”