Patriots

Hard Truths: Brady's historic mastery over Bills is likely to continue

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NBC Sports Boston illustration

Hard Truths: Brady's historic mastery over Bills is likely to continue

If the Patriots beat the Bills on Monday night, it will be Tom Brady’s 16th career win at Buffalo.

That will make him the third-winningest quarterback in the history of that stadium trailing just Jim Kelly, who was the Bills’ starter for 11 seasons, and Joe Ferguson, a Bill for 16 seasons.

The Bills’ ineptitude against the Patriots when Brady starts and finishes is astonishing. They beat him fair-and-square twice -- in 2003 in the wake of the Lawyer Milloy release and in 2011 in a 34-31 shootout. The other two wins against New England came in the 2014 season finale when the Patriots mailed it in and in 2016 when Brady was suspended.

Monday night will be his 32nd start against Buffalo. So far, he’s thrown for 7,798 yards with 68 touchdowns and 22 picks while completing 65 percent of his passes.

Will it be any different this time? Unlikely.

Even though the Bills have played pretty well on defense, they’ve had so much adversity heaped on them by Buffalo’s inefficient offense (31 points in the last four games) that they’ve just been worn down.

Last week against the Colts was by far Buffalo’s worst performance. The Colts put up 220 yards on the ground (5.9 yards per carry) and went 7-for-13 on third down conversions in a 37-5 loss. The Bills had four turnovers from quarterback Derek Anderson. Twenty-four point came off of those turnovers.

There will be no Sony Michel for this game (knee) and La’Adrian Waddle will make another start at right tackle in place of Marcus Cannon. With just two healthy running backs -- James White and Kenjon Barner -- and neither of them the kind of back that carries the ball more than a dozen times a game.

So look for the Patriots to spread it out and take advantage of their complement of mismatch-making offensive weaponry.

MORE HARD TRUTHS

Getting the ball out quickly will also help neutralize a defense that likes to blitz.

“They blitz everybody,” said Brady. “They keep it moving. They've got a lot of defensive calls. I think they have a lot of good players. If you have your eyes in the wrong place, they take advantage. I think Coach [Sean] McDermott just does a great job with his guys, utilizing them all to the best of their ability. He doesn't put them in a bad positon. I have a lot of respect for this defense. I’m impressed by the way that they play, how hard they play. Everyone’s trying to get the ball off of the offensive player, stripping, punching. They're in a good position to succeed and when they get to the ball and they get a chance, they've forced I think 17 or 20 fumbles this year at this point. Last year they had a ton of interceptions. It's a really good defense. They challenge you in a lot of ways.”

Ball security is paramount in this game because turnovers may be the only way to invigorate the Bills sleepy offense. And the Bills defense has to be looking at the way the Patriots have turned it over offensively so far this season and feel like there will be a chance to get some.

New England has 13 turnovers so far this season. Their six fumbles were tied with several teams for the second-highest in the NFL entering this week.

It was a point of emphasis this week in Foxboro.

What hasn’t been emphasized?  History.

When Brady was asked about his Bills mastery, he said, “I don't think anyone really cares about those records. They're a good team. They always play us tough. It's always a battle up there. I know we've had success but I think it's because we’ve never thought that, ‘Oh man, this one's going to be [easy]. We should just win this one.’ They're all tough and these guys play as hard as anybody we face. It always seems to come down to some big momentum play at some point.

“It's a Monday night game for them,” Brady added. “I think it’s just a huge game for us, a division game on the road and we don’t take anyone lightly, certainly not this team; a team that’s playing really well defensively.”

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NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

NFL Rumors: Patriots free up millions in cap space from Antonio Brown, Aaron Hernandez grievances

The New England Patriots just got whole lot of financial breathing room.

The Patriots have earned a total of $6.25 million in settlements from compensation grievances involving former wide receiver Antonio Brown and ex-tight end Aaron Hernandez, ESPN's Mike Reiss and Field Yates reported Saturday.

New England now has $7.79 million in cap space, per Reiss and Yates, a huge bump from the less than $500,000 in spending money the team had earlier this week.

Brown, who spent less than two weeks with the Patriots last September, filed a grievance against the team in October 2019 following his release seeking to receive his unpaid Week 1 salary, his $1.025 million guaranteed base salary and his $9 million signing bonus.

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The Patriots will pay Brown $5 million as part of the settlement, per Reiss and Yates.

The NFL Players Association filed a grievance against the Patriots on Hernandez's behalf in October 2013 seeking over $6 million in guaranteed salary. Hernandez was arrested and later convicted for the 2013 murder of Odin Lloyd and died in prison in April 2017.

New England was up against the cap after squeezing free-agent quarterback Cam Newton in on a one-year contract and inking all of its 2020 NFL Draft picks to rookie deals. With nearly $8 million in cap space, however, the Patriots have more flexibility to bolster their roster via free agency or trade.

Our Patriots Insider Tom E. Curran suggested tight end David Njoku could be a strong fit in New England after requesting a trade from the Cleveland Browns, and there are a number of quality free agents still on the market, as well.

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Patriots TE Devin Asiasi joins Cam Newton, N'Keal Harry for workouts

Twelve days ago, Cam Newton was still a free agent looking for work.

But ever since he agreed to a one-year contract with the Patriots, he's been very busy trying to get ready for the 2020 season, learning the playbook and developing chemistry with his new receivers.

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In addition to N'Keal Harry, whose workout with Newton was captured on video, rookie tight end Devin Asiasi was also catching passes from New England's new quarterback. Twitter user amirmehrtash15 took pictures with both Asiasi and Newton at the UCLA practice session and posted them in reponse to the Providence Journal's Mark Daniels.

The workout wasn't limited to Patriots, as Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr. was also in attendance.

Newton trying to fast-track a relationship with his new teammates makes perfect sense. He set up his first practice with Mohamed Sanu on the day he signed his Patriots contract, and in less than two weeks, he's already connected with three of the guys who will be among his top receiving options in 2020.

The Patriots certainly hope all that extra work pays off, as training camps could open as soon as the end of this month once the NFL and NFLPA can finalize preseason dates.