Patriots

Pats trade up to take Troy LT Garcia

Pats trade up to take Troy LT Garcia

FOXBORO -- It took long enough for them to make their first selection of the draft Friday night, but the Patriots didn’t wait long before striking again. 

After selecting pass-rusher Derek Rivers at No. 83 following a trade with the Titans, the Pats traded up from No. 96 to No. 85 in order to select Troy left tackle Antonio Garcia.

MORE ON GARCIA: New Pats tackle criticized Solder during Super Bowl 

A projected second-round pick, Garcia is viewed as being very athletic for an offensive lineman, though there are questions about the 6-foot-6 tackle’s frame. His NFL.com scouting report refers to him as “stringy” and notes that he has regularly played at under 300 pounds. 

The Pats traded a fourth-round pick (No. 124, which they had just acquired from the Titans) to the Lions in order to move up from No. 96. So instead of picking at Nos. 72 and 96 as schedules, the Pats traded down and then up to pick at Nos. 83 and 85.

Interestingly enough, the 96th pick was the Patriots’ only original pick of the draft remaining, meaning they will go the entire 2017 draft without making one of their own selections. 

NFL odds: Updated spread, betting total for Patriots vs. Steelers Week 1 game

NFL odds: Updated spread, betting total for Patriots vs. Steelers Week 1 game

New England Patriots training camp starts next week at Gillette Stadium, but the defending Super Bowl champs already are favorites to win their Week 1 matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Here's a look at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas' latest spreads and totals for every Week 1 game. The Patriots are 6-point favorites over the Steelers, and the game's total is 51.5 points.

The Patriots have won five of their last six games against the Steelers, including the 2016 AFC Championship Game, and their average margin of victory in those matchups is 12.8 points. Pittsburgh did beat New England at home last season, but the Steelers haven't beaten the Patriots in Foxboro since the 2008 season when Matt Cassel was starting at quarterback in place of an injured Tom Brady. The Steelers have never beaten Tom Brady in Gillette Stadium. 

Vegas clearly isn't high on the Steelers' chances of ending that trend in Week 1, and it's hard to blame the oddsmakers. Pittsburgh lost wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Le'Veon Bell, arguably the two best players at their respective positions, in the offseason. Pittsburgh's once-feared defense also didn't look great for much of last season as the Steelers missed the playoffs for the first time since 2013.

The Patriots lost legendary tight end Rob Gronkowski to retirement and a few other notable players in free agency, but Brady is still the quarterback, Bill Belichick is still the head coach and the team's offense was bolstered in the draft with the selections of Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry and Alabama running back Damien Harris.

It's hard to envision the Patriots losing their season opener versus the Steelers, especially when the crowd is fired up after the pre-game ceremony where the Super Bowl LIII banner will be unveiled.

Tom Brady, Kyle Van Noy react to their "Madden NFL 20" player ratings>>>

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Tom Brady had a great retort for 'Madden NFL 20' over high-five snub

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USA TODAY Sports

Tom Brady had a great retort for 'Madden NFL 20' over high-five snub

Tom Brady's social media game hasn't lost a step this offseason.

EA Sports released a teaser video for its "Madden NFL 20" video game that incredibly featured footage of the New England Patriots quarterback getting snubbed on a high-five attempt.

That's a pretty savage move ... and one that didn't go unnoticed by Brady, who fired back the perfect retort on his Instagram story.

Well played, Tom.

The "Madden Curse" used to be a real thing, as players like Rob Gronkowski and Peyton Hillis either got hurt or fell into obscurity after gracing the "Madden" cover. (Yes, Peyton Hillis was on a "Madden" cover.)

But Brady smashed the curse in 2017, winning NFL MVP honors after landing on the "Madden NFL 18" cover.

The 41-year-old QB also left a zinger for EA Sports in the Instagram comment section, where teammate Julian Edelman came to his defense, as well.

This is the second day in a row Brady has fired off a Madden-related barb on social media, so if you're going to take a shot at the GOAT, be prepared for battle.

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