Patriots

Decker may get benefit of the doubt early on as he transitions to Patriots offense

Decker may get benefit of the doubt early on as he transitions to Patriots offense

FOXBORO -- It's been well-documented. Eric Decker had a rough early portion of practice on Monday. He dropped a pass in one-on-ones. He dropped two more in a side session with Tom Brady. 

He wasn't thrilled with himself. He punched his own helmet. He hung his head briefly. 

During the session, in response to a tweet from NESN's Doug Kyed, former NFL receiver Andrew Hawkins (who had a brief stay with the Patriots last year) tried to shed some light on what exactly Decker is going through at the moment as the new guy in town. 

Some players never fully grasp what they're being told and never get the chance to play at full speed. Decker, who has some background in the offense thanks to his time under Josh McDaniels in Denver, says he's getting close. But Monday's start was a sign he was still a ways off.

Bill Belichick said on Tuesday that it's his job to properly assess the mistakes made by a player in transition.

"I think you always have to account for the transition of a player who joins your team at some point during the season, training camp, midseason, whatever it is," he explained. "I don't think there's any set formula on that. Just evaluate it, engage it. The more time you have, the easier it is to make the right decision."

Decker finished Monday with a handful of catches in the 11-on-11 period, including one deep down the sideline with corner Jonathan Jones on him tight. That sort of bounce-back didn't surprise Decker, but both he and the team know that there's only a limited number of opportunities for him left before they have to make a decision as to whether or not he deserves a roster spot. 

"The more you know about the player and his fit on the team, his role, so forth, how well he can do, sometimes that takes time," Belichick said. "We only have the time we have. Whatever it is, it is. Just have to make the most of it. [We] would like to have more in all situations, but that's not always possible. Sometimes you have to make a decision with less information than you'd like to have."

The subject of Decker came up when Brady met the media at camp later Tuesday.

"I've watched him play a lot of football over the years," Brady said. "He's always been on great offenses. He's got to use his skill set, the one he's learned and used for a long time. He knows how to get open. Now, it's just about learning about what we do and how we do it. 

"He's worked hard. He's been out here every day. You can tell he's a real pro and hopefully he can add something to the group." 

Decker should be able to provide the Patriots with more information on Thursday night against the Eagles. He played just six snaps against Washington last week but could be in line for more in preseason game No. 2. That may mean more reps with Brady. The quarterback told reporters at camp Tuesday that he plans to play in that game.

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Patriots vs. Chiefs weather: Latest forecast for AFC Championship Game

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Patriots vs. Chiefs weather: Latest forecast for AFC Championship Game

The temperatures at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City for Sunday night's AFC Championship Game between the Chiefs and New England Patriots are expected to be in the 20s, which is actually a bit warmer than some of the projections from earlier in the week.

Here's the latest weather forecast for Patriots-Chiefs:

So, according to the data above, we're probably not going to see the arctic blast or single digit temperatures that were projected on Monday, but it's still going to be quite cold.

The Patriots, of course, are no strangers to playing in cold weather. In fact, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is 24-4 in games where the temperature is below 30 degrees, as it will be Sunday. Brady also is 5-1 in games where the temperature is less than 20 degrees. 

The coldest game of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' career was 27 degrees against the Baltimore Ravens earlier in the season. KC won in dramatic fashion in overtime. Mahomes and the Chiefs played very well in snowy conditions last Saturday during their AFC Divisional Round win over the Indianapolis Colts at home.

The Patriots will be battling the cold and history Sunday. Only two teams in NFL history have won a conference championship game on the road despite having a losing record away from home during the regular season, and no team has won a conference title game on the road since 2012.

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Rams vs. Saints live stream: Watch NFC Championship Game online

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Rams vs. Saints live stream: Watch NFC Championship Game online

The first team to clinch a berth to Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta will be the winner of Sunday's NFC Championship Game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Rams.

These teams were the top two seeds in the NFC playoffs, and the Saints are hoping homefield advantage helps them beat the Rams and clinch their first conference title since 2009. The Rams are in the NFC Championship Game for the first time since moving to Los Angeles and last made the Super Bowl during the 2001 season as the St. Louis Rams.

We could see a rematch of that 2001 Super Bowl if the New England Patriots beat the Kansas City Chiefs on the road in the AFC Championship Game. It would provide another thrilling chapter in the Boston vs. Los Angeles sports rivalry, and give Rams fans an opportunity for revenge after a crushing Super Bowl XXXVI defeat. A Patriots-Saints Super Bowl would give fans a legendary battle between two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history: Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees. These quarterbacks have never met in the Super Bowl, but have defied the odds by playing at an elite level into their 40s.

The Patriots and Chiefs already will know who they would play in the Super Bowl by the time the AFC title game gets underway at Arrowhead Stadium.

Here's how to watch Saints vs. Rams online.

When: Sunday, Jan. 20 at 3:05 p.m. ET
TV Channel: FOX
Live Stream: FOX Sports GO

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