Game notes: Patriots vs. Cardinals


Game notes: Patriots vs. Cardinals

A quick look at the information you need to know about tonight's Patriots-Cardinals game:

GAME TIME: 8:30 p.m. EST


TV ANNOUNCERS: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya.


NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Kulger and James Lofton

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak


LAST MEETING: Cardinals 20, Patriots 18 on Sept. 16, 2012 at Gillette Stadium

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-- This will be the Patriots' third game at the University of Phoenix Stadium, but their first there against the Cardinals. Their two previous appearances were in Super Bowls: A 17-14 loss to the Giants in Super Bowl XLII on Feb. 3, 2008, and a 28-24 victory over the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX on Feb. 1, 2015.

-- Jimmy Garoppolo will be just the fifth quarterback in the last 30 years to make his first regular-season start in a season-opening night game. The others were the Packers' Aaron Rodgers (win over Minnesota in 2008), the Chargers' Philip Rivers (win over Oakland in 2006), the Texans' David Carr (win over Dallas in 2002) and the Broncos' Brian Griese (loss to Miami in 1999).

-- The Patriots are a league-best 45-11 (.804) against NFC opponents since 2002.

-- The Patriots have the best road record (55-25, .688) in the NFL since 2006.

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-- The Patriots are opening their season against an NFC opponent for the fifth time in team history and the first since 2000, when they lost to the Bucs, 21-16, at Foxboro Stadium in Bill Belichick's first game as New England coach. Overall, the Pats are 1-3 against NFC teams in season openers.

-- The Patriots are 31-25 in season openers.

-- Bill Belichick is 14-7 in season openers as a head coach overall, and 12-4 as Patriots head coach.

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-- The Patriots are 25-17 on Sunday Night Football, including a 13-8 record in games televised on NBC. They are also 9-6 on ESPN, 2-3 on TNT and 1-0 on ABC.

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-- If the Patriots have a winning record in 2016, they will tie the 1983-98 49ers and the 1970-85 Cowboys for most consecutive winning seasons (16). The Pats have not had a losing season since going 5-11 in 2000.

-- If the Patriots win the AFC East in 2016, they will set an NFL record for consecutive division championships (8). They are currently tied with 1973-79 Rams, with seven.

-- If the Patriots advance to the AFC Championship Game in 2016, they will set an NFL record for consecutive appearances in conference championhip games (6). They are currently tied with the 1973-77 Raiders, with five.

-- If the Patriots win at least one playoff game in 2016, Bill Belichick will set an NFL coaching record for consecutive seasons with a playoff victory (6). He is currently tied at five with John Madden (1973-77), Mike Holmgren (1993-97), Andy Reid (2000-04), himself (2003-07) and John Harbaugh (2008-12).

-- If the Patriots win at least 12 games in 2016, they will tie the 2003-09 Colts for consecutive seasons with 12 or more wins (7).

Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

USA TODAY Sports Photo

Eric Ebron signs two-year deal with Colts

Former Lions tight end Eric Ebron is signing a two-year deal worth $15 million with the Colts, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Ebron was rumored to be a potential target for the Patriots, especially after new Pats running back Jeremy Hill tried recruiting him to the team.

The 24-year-old had 53 receptions for 574 yards and four touchdowns a season ago with Detroit. 


Patriots release Shea McClellin

File Photo

Patriots release Shea McClellin

Shea McClellin will be blocking kicks for somebody else next season. 

The Patriots announced Monday they've released the veteran linebacker, ending his tenure with the team after two seasons.  ESPN's Field Yates broke the news.

The Pats signed McClellin to a three-year deal prior to the 2016 season, but that was the only season in which he played for the team. McClellin missed all of last season due to injury. Prior to coming to New England, McClellin played four seasons with the Bears, who chose him 19th overall in 2012. 

McClellin's biggest contribution with the Pats came when he blocked a Justin Tucker kick in Week 14 of the 2016 season against the Ravens.