Patriots

Old Bowl: Brady-Rivers record oldest QB matchup "pretty cool," says TB12

Old Bowl: Brady-Rivers record oldest QB matchup "pretty cool," says TB12

When he takes the field in the AFC Divisional Playoff game Sunday at Gillette Stadium, Tom Brady will set another in a long list of his NFL records.

And so will Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.

It'll be the oldest combined age for QBs in an NFL playoff game. Brady, 41, and Rivers, 37, add up to 78 years, 198 days old, surpassing the AFC Championship Game against at the Broncos when a then 39-year-old Peyton Manning bested a 38-year-old TB12.

Asked about it Friday, Brady's reaction?

"Nice," he said. "Nice and old."

Brady added it was "pretty cool" and he wasn't talking about the weather, though he did mention it.

"That’s a pretty good one right there. That’s pretty cool. It’s just fun to be around – I’m out there today practicing and it’s whatever degrees out – 10 degrees, 15 degrees and I’m sitting here just playing with my friends, throwing the football around. I think it’s just a great blessing to be able to do it and do it here for this team, which I’ve loved to do. Philip’s been on the same team – it means a lot. We all work hard to get to this point. These things aren’t guaranteed, very tough to get to this point in the season. Every team four months ago thought they’d be playing in these games. The reality is, that’s not the way the NFL is, so we’re very fortunate and we’ve got to go out and try to take advantage of it."

As for the cold, it's expected to be in the 20s at 1:05 Sunday at kickoff. After 19 years in Foxboro and "probably a couple thousand practices" there, Brady's used to it and that's where he says an advantage comes in. 

"I just think the ability to practice in it like today," he said. "It’s very similar to what we’re going to get on Sunday so just knowing again, how many layers you’ve got to put on and how you’re going to feel. Again, how many layers you have to put on and how you’re going to feel. We didn’t have the heated benches out there like we will on Sunday. It’s cold and that is part of this time of year, but it is good to be playing when it’s cold out. It is good to be playing this time of year in Foxboro."

Rivers is 1-4 when the temperature is below freezing in his 15 years with the San Diego-now-Los Angeles Chargers. Brady is 27-7 in that same time frame.

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Cam Newton sets record straight on Patriots contract in Instagram post

Cam Newton sets record straight on Patriots contract in Instagram post

Cam Newton might get paid like a backup NFL quarterback in New England -- and he could care less.

The three-time Pro Bowler and 2015 NFL MVP reportedly signed a meager contract with the Patriots on Sunday that includes a $1.05 million base salary and just $550,000 in guaranteed money.

But in an Instagram post Thursday, Newton insisted he's not concerned about his light paycheck.

"This is not about money for me; It's about respect," Newton wrote in the caption, which included the hashtag #ImBettingItAllOnMe.

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Newton was an elite QB before shoulder and foot injuries derailed his career, forcing him to miss a total of 16 games between 2018 and 2019. Those injuries led the Carolina Panthers to release Newton in March and seemingly scared away 30 other teams that viewed the 31-year-old as damaged goods.

But Newton has a great opportunity to revive his career in New England, where he can help the Patriots continue their success in the post-Tom Brady era if he's able to stay healthy.

By regaining that respect, Newton also can help himself get paid: His contract reportedly doesn't prevent New England from franchise tagging him in 2021, which would vault the QB's salary well north of $20 million.

Newton made more than $121 million during his nine seasons in Carolina, so it appears he was willing to take a bargain deal with the Patriots if it meant showing the NFL he can still bring it. 

Will Patriots go over or under oddsmakers' new season win total with Cam Newton?

Will Patriots go over or under oddsmakers' new season win total with Cam Newton?

Oddsmakers decreased the New England Patriots' win total prop for the 2020 NFL season to a new low just a few weeks ago.

The Patriots were set at 8.5 wins -- a notable difference from the 10 or 10.5 win totals we've been accustomed to seeing over the last 20 years. But this Patriots team is quite different. Six-time Super Bowl champion quarterback Tom Brady left in free agency, along with several important veteran players on defense. 

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The reported addition of Cam Newton has changed the Patriots' outlook, however.

The Patriots reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with Newton that could be worth up to $7.5 million if he hits all the incentives in the deal. Newton struggled with injuries in 2019 and played in only two of the Carolina Panthers' 16 games. He's healthy now, though, and also the favorite to win the Patriots' starting quarterback job over 2019 fourth-round draft pick Jarrett Stidham.

Oddsmakers at DraftKings Sportsbook have increased the Patriots' win total to nine. Here are the latest odds for that prop bet:

Over nine wins: -125
Under nine wins: +103

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It should be noted the Patriots' odds of reaching the 2020 NFL playoffs also have improved to -200. Both conferences will have an extra wild card playoff team beginning next season, and nine wins would have been enough to secure the No. 7 seed in the AFC last season.

Newton, if healthy, should give the Patriots above-average (or better) play at the sport's most important position. His dual-threat skill set would bring a dynamic to the Patriots offense that we've rarely seen during Bill Belichick's 20-year run as the team's head coach.

There are plenty of challenges standing in New England's way of winning more than nine games next season. For starters, they have a difficult schedule that includes matchups versus the best teams in the AFC and several of the top contenders in the NFC. The team also had lots of veteran players, including Brady and its two sack leaders from last season (linebackers Jamie Collins and Kyle Van Noy) leave in the offseason. Adjusting to this kind of roster turnover is a challenge. The offseason as a whole has been difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing all team activities to be held virtually. Neither the Patriots nor any other team have been able to hold on-field workouts.

The Patriots are no doubt a better team with Newton now in the fold, but he'll need to be healthy and play at a high level in 2020 for New England to extend its playoff appearance streak to 12 seasons.