Patriots

Ex-NFL star explains why he likes Patriots' chances of beating Chiefs

Ex-NFL star explains why he likes Patriots' chances of beating Chiefs

The New England Patriots are betting favorites for Sunday's Week 14 matchup versus the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium, but that hasn't stopped a ton of people from picking against the defending Super Bowl champions.

One person who likes the Patriots' chances this weekend is former NFL star Brian Westbrook, who spent much of his career with the Philadelphia Eagles and lost to New England in Super Bowl XXXIX.

“This is what I know about the New England Patriots at home -- they’ve won 21 straight, including the playoffs, going back to last year," Westbrook said Wednesday on FOX Sports 1 show "First Things First." "They’re really good at home. This year, that defense has only given up two touchdowns with seven interceptions, so they get at the quarterback. They attack the football. The last three quarterbacks that have played there in New England have only averaged 189 yards passing in the football game. That’s how good that defense is at home, in particular.

"When you talk about Mahomes-Brady, you certainly have to factor in the defense they’re playing. I have no faith in Kansas City and this new defense that has produced a bunch of turnovers. Tyrann Mathieu has been great. However, I’m not sure they can do that going on the road, going into Foxboro and winning there. That’s a different thing for that football team. I’m not so sure that I would take Mahomes over Brady. In fact, I would take Brady over Mahomes in this matchup ... based on the defense.”

The Patriots haven't lost at Gillette Stadium since Week 4 of the 2017 campaign. This run of 21 consecutive home wins includes a 43-40 win over the Chiefs in Week 6 of last season. The Patriots also beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in last season's AFC Championship Game before winning Super Bowl LIII two weeks later.

For the Patriots to improve to 3-0 against Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs teams, they need Tom Brady and his offense to play a lot better than we've seen over the last several weeks. The Patriots scored 30-plus points in six of their first seven games. However, they haven't crossed the 30-point mark since a Week 7 win over the New York Jets. New England has averaged only 18 points scored over the last four games.

The schedule got a lot tougher and the Patriots offense has seen its production and execution suffer. Injuries and new additions still learning the offense have been factors in the offense's decline, but New England's margin for error is razor thin right now.

The Patriots already have lost control of the race for the AFC's No. 1 seed, and they only lead the Buffalo Bills by a single game for first place in the AFC East. A loss to the Chiefs would put the Patriots in a situation where they're in real danger of not earning a first-round playoff bye. The Chiefs would not earn a first-round bye if the season ended today, but a victory over the Patriots would move Kansas City to within a game of a top-two seed.

With so much at stake in Foxboro on Sunday, this Patriots-Chiefs matchup could be the most intense game of the 2019 season so far.

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Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Eminem name-drops Tom Brady on his just-released album

Tom Brady appears to have a kindred spirit as his career continues into his 40s.

Eminem name-drops TB12 on the track "Premonition" off the album "Music To Be Murdered By" which he released on Friday.

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The song takes on the critics of the 47-year-old rapper from Detroit and compares the critiques he gets to ones leveled at LeBron James, 35, and the Patriots quarterback, who'll turn 43 in August. 

Here's part of the song:

“Revival flopped, came back and I scared the crap out ‘em

But Rolling Stone stars, I get two and a half outta

Five, and I’ll laugh out loud

‘Cause that’s what they gave BAD back in the day

Which actually made me not feel as bad now, ‘cause

If it happened to James

It can happen to Shady

They do the same [expletive] to Brady

More people hate me than love me

This game will make you go crazy.”

It's not Eminem's first reference to Brady in one of his songs. In 2013's "Baby", he raps, "I'm what Tom Brady is to the Patriots of rap. Not a man, a weapon."

And it's just the latest Brady reference that has dotted hip-hop and rap since the mid-2000s when the QB led the Pats to the second and third of the six Super Bowl titles they've won. Other artists such as Drake, Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and Kanye West have referenced him as a symbol of excellence. 

Brady told the Boston Globe last year before the Super Bowl he appreciates it.

 “That’s always really cool,” Brady said. “I’m a big fan of so many of those guys. I have a lot of friends [in music] that I’ve met over the years that are fans of what we do, too...I think that mutual appreciation or admiration is really flattering.”

Aaron Rodgers describes how 'Belichick effect' has impacted the NFL

Aaron Rodgers describes how 'Belichick effect' has impacted the NFL

The Green Bay Packers are preparing for a battle the San Francisco 49ers on the NFL's championship Sunday. The two will square off in the NFC Championship for the right to advance to the Super Bowl.

While Aaron Rodgers and his teammates are doing what they can to be ready for the game, they still aren't exactly sure what to expect from the 49ers.

And Rodgers credited Bill Belichick's influence for that.

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Rodgers explained in a post-practice interview that not knowing what to expect from opposing defenses is something that has been popularized over the course of the past five years. And he called the defense's ability to change up week to week "the Belichick effect".

"I think that’s the NFL in the last five years, especially, it’s kind of the Belichick effect where teams are more reluctant to really try and scheme up opponents instead of relying on their base defense," Rodgers said to reporters.

"There’s less and less teams like the Lovie Smith Bears defenses over the years that say ‘Hey, screw it, we’re going to play four-man front, play Tampa-2 the entire game and make you go the whole field, and strip the ball and tackle securely and stop the run with a six-man, seven-man front.’

"There’s more teams that are scheming specifically up for teams. I think the tough part is it might be different than you saw on film. The drawback from that is a lot of these teams are used to playing coverages they’re not used to playing, they’re not super-comfortable playing, they don’t have a lot of reps in and that can cause some confusion at times."

Rodgers hit the nail on the head as the NFL's best defenses have become more versatile and game plan-dependent in recent seasons. Having multiple defensive looks is essential to success in the modern NFL and Belichick's ability to adjust week in and week out played a big role in kicking off the trend.

Though the Patriots won't have a chance to out scheme anyone on the defensive side of the ball until next season, they can be thankful that they have a forward-thinking coach at the helm. His ability to adjust on defense as well as Josh McDaniels' ability to change the Patriots offense look to match their best weapons have helped to make the team difficult to figure out.

And that's a big part of the reason that they have been able to make multiple deep postseason runs in recent seasons.

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