FOXBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — For the first time in their respective careers, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers will go head-to-head at Gillette Stadium.
Sunday night, the desperate 3-3-1 Packers enter Foxboro to face the red-hot 6-2 Patriots. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:20 p.m.
The Patriots’ defense is coming off their best performance of the season, holding the Bills to just six points in Monday night’s 25-6 victory.
Below are some notes and quotes from this past week to get you ready for the game:
Since 2001, the Patriots are 142-12 when they win the turnover battle.
With 219 yards against the Packers – passing, rushing or receiving – Tom Brady will surpass 80,000 total yards (regular and postseason) for his career, becoming the first player in NFL history to reach that mark. He’s also just three yards shy of 1,000 career rushing yards.
If Tom Brady throws four touchdowns, he will tie Brett Favre for second-most regular season passes all-time with 508. Peyton Manning has 539.
Devin McCourty on facing Aaron Rodgers: “Playing Aaron is like playing Tom [Brady]. You’ve got to try to make it tough. There’s going to be times you’re going to play perfect and it’s going to be a first down or it’s going to be a tough catch on third. It’s just some balls you can’t get to. We see it every day in practice and it’s going to be the same – and then you can add in his mobility. Not to knock Tom, who’s closing in on 1,000 yards, but Aaron might move a little bit better than him.”
Aaron Rodgers on Tom Brady: “As a young player, I watched a ton of his film. I had a great guy to watch every single day in Brett Favre but Tommy’s been at the top of his game for a long, long time. So, I watched most of the snaps from the ‘07 season and I’ve always been a big fan of his. Just the stuff he does on the field is phenomenal and then to see him, as he’s gotten older in his career, continue to reinvent himself year after year and play at a high level every single season, obviously winning the championships, he’s a phenomenal player. But he’s a pioneer as far as taking care of his body and rewriting the longevity books for players of his caliber. It’s been really impressive to watch, and any time I get a chance when he’s on Thursday night, Sunday night, Monday night, I’m for sure tuning in.”
Bill Belichick on facing a tricky Packers defense: “Yeah, well, they do a good job mixing it up. Certainly, if you’re not picking it up, they’re going to keep blitzing you. So, I mean, I’d say that’s the message. If you can’t handle it, then Coach [Mike] Pettine will just keep firing them in there.”
“They give you a lot of different looks,” he continued. “There’s a lot of different combinations that they use to pressure, and the ones that we’re working on this week, we may not even see those. We might see something else or could be different guys, different players in different spots, so it’s not quite the same identification that you had on film from another game, and sometimes that’s confusing. You know, a guy’s a safety and now he’s a linebacker, he was a nickel and now he’s a corner, and he was a corner and now he’s a dime and so forth. So, making sure that we have the right guy – you know, make sure that we know who we have, that we have a hat on a hat. Then you have to block them. I mean, that’s the other part of it. Blocking [Kenny] Clark, blocking [Mike] Daniels, blocking [Clay] Matthews – blocking those guys, that’s an issue, too. But, you’ve got to pick them up. If they run free, then that’s obviously a bigger problem. But, it’s definitely a challenge. They do a good job of it and they give you a lot of different looks. I mean, it’s similar to what we saw in Buffalo. That’s part of Rex’s [Ryan] defenses, too.”