Patriots

Belichick: Playoff experience can help some

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Belichick: Playoff experience can help some

When select members of the Texans agreed their previous meeting with the Patriots was the biggest game in team history, how many eyebrows do you figure went arching in the Patriots locker room?

Even though the Patriots are littered with young players, anybody who's been in New England longer than three seasons has already played in five playoff games, including a Super Bowl. Tom Brady alone has quarterbacked 1.75 seasons worth of playoff football and the Patriots are 17-7 in those games.

On Monday, Bill Belichick acknowledged that the experience could help New England. With, of course, the requisite caveats attached.

"I think (experience) has some (relevance) but I dont think it is overriding by any means," said Belichick. "You can find plenty of examples of teams and players with limited experience that have done very well and plenty of those same examples where it hasnt gone so well.

"But I think like anything else, if youve been through it once you have a little more knowledge and a little more confidence and understanding of whats going to happen than if youve never been through it before," Belichick added. "I think there is some advantage to it but I think the advantage goes to the team that plays well, that executes well, makes good decisions. I think thats more of an advantage than experience or no experience."

Matt Schaub has quarterbacked one playoff game in his nine-year career, Saturday's win over the Bengals. For the Texans, that was indeed their quarterback's first rodeo. If he can't hold up on the road, in the cold at Gillette Stadium less than a month after coming out somnambulant in December, the Texans have no chance.

Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

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Brady enjoying "unique experience" of road trip

While being away from home isn’t uncommon for the Patriots - just think about all those Super Bowl trips - Tom Brady believes each excursion takes on its own feel, its own flavor and - eventually - its own meaning.

Back in 2014, the Pats went from playing in Green Bay and losing to the Packers straight to San Diego for a week on the West Coast prior to a rousing victory over the Chargers. That week, many players said in the aftermath, helped propel the team to great heights,.  You’ll recall, that season ended in grand fashion, a triumph in Super Bowl 49 over Seattle, at the time - and maybe still - the greatest Super Bowl ever played.

“I think all these experiences are pretty unique,” Brady said Friday from Falcon Stadium at the Air Force Academy. “That was a very unique experience. This is different.”

Brady spoke about the number of stops the Pats have and will have to make on this trip - from Denver to Colorado Springs then on to Mexico City Saturday before a Sunday night return to Foxboro and their own beds for the first time in 10 nights.

“When you’re on the road like this, there’s less to do,” he said. “You know my family is not here, my kids aren’t here. There’s nobody telling me what I did wrong in the house. It’s just being at home and now it’s being here and trying to figure out a way to win a game.”

Brady quickly smoothed over any possible ill-will at home - why make Gisele mad? - smiling and saying “I didn’t mean that so I’ll take it back.”

Kidding aside, the 40-year old signal caller seemed pleased with the work the Patriots have put in during this long trip. A week of team-bonding can’t be a bad thing, especially for a group that seems to be hitting it’s stride both on and off the field. There’s the five wins in a row and also a locker room that has a better understanding of one another than it did during the first month of the season. But Brady is not ready to make any grand proclamations. That just wouldn’t be his style.

“I think it’s still work in progress,” he said of team chemistry. “You look at still adding a player like Marty (Bennett) last week. Things are always changing and evolving. We’re still trying to figure out what we’re doing well and after 8 or 9 weeks, you start to figure those things out. Now we have to work hard at those things, try to really own them, and use them going forward to try and win the most important games. We have a lot of important games coming up, starting with this one. Hopefully we can play our best football going forward.”

Brady said he’s been fired up for this game with the Raiders south of the border ever since the schedule was released all those months ago.

“I’ve never been to Mexico City,” he said. “It’s been a game you kind of look forward to. We’re playing against a really good football team in a pretty cool environment. It will be very memorable. I think everyone is excited.”

Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

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Patriots’ injury report: Center Andrews, WR Hogan out

The Patriots will be without center David Andrews on Sunday when they play the Raiders in Mexico City. Andrews, who hasn’t all practice all week with an illness, is one of four Pats listed as out on the injury report released Friday.

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Offensive tackle Marcus Cannon, who didn’t play last week against the Broncos is also out, along with wide receiver Chris Hogan and special teams captain Matthew Slater. Offensive linemen Ted Karras and Joe Thuney each took reps at center so one of them will likely start in Andrews’ absence. LaAdrian Waddle filled in for Cannon and performed well last week vs. Denver. 

Here’s the full injury report for the Patriots and Raiders: