Patriots

Patriots have the NFL's toughest schedule next season

Patriots have the NFL's toughest schedule next season

With or without Tom Brady at quarterback, those traditional complaints about the Patriots having an easy schedule will likely die down a bit next season.

Yes, there's still the AFC East for the Pats to feast on, but based on their opponents' records in 2019, New England has the NFL's toughest schedule in 2020. 

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Patriots opponents had a .537 winning percentage in 2019. Dates and times will be released as usual in mid-April, but the opponents have been known for a while and they include the two Super Bowl teams (the champion Kansas City Chiefs on the road and the runner-up San Francisco 49ers at home) and five other games against teams that made the playoffs (the Buffalo Bills home and away, at the Seattle Seahawks, at the Houston Texans and home vs. the Baltimore Ravens).

The Pats are matched up with the AFC West and NFC West for non-division opponents, which throws some coast-to-coast trips in the mix. It also puts New England's AFC East rivals right up there with the toughest schedules, as well, with the Jets second, the Miami Dolphins third and the Bills the fifth-toughest. 

The team with the easiest schedule next season? It's the one that won the most regular-season games (14) last season and earned the AFC's No. 1 seed in the playoffs: the Baltimore Ravens. Their opponents had a combined .437 winning percentage last season. 

Tom Brady's heartfelt thank you video is sure to give Patriots fans chills

Tom Brady's heartfelt thank you video is sure to give Patriots fans chills

It appears that Tom Brady has finally found the words to officially say goodbye to the New England Patriots and their fans.

Brady signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers earlier in the offseason, ending a 20-year run with the Patriots that saw the team make it to nine Super Bowls and win six. But as Brady explained in a piece on The Players' Tribune, he's ready for a new challenge. And there were rumors that after the magnificent two-decade run, he was simply "Belichick'd out".

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And in addition to all this buzz, Brady was finally able to put together a video goodbye addressed to the Patriots and their fans. Here's a look at the heartfelt farewell, per his official Twitter account.

Surely, that will give fans chills and afford them a chance to relive some of the best moments of Brady's time with the team. And it was nice that Brady officially gave credit and thanks to Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft as well, including a clip saying the following:

It's really just about the relationships, you know? It's about the people that I play for. The people that I play with. I think I came into a great situation here. I think there's been a great coach, a great owner, and great teammates.

And not to mention, great success. The Patriots put together one of the greatest dynasties of all time with Brady and Belichick at the helm. And Brady's video brings back the amazing memories and championships that came over the course of those 20 years.

But now, they'll go their separate ways. Belichick will try to rebuild without Brady. And Brady will give Tampa Bay his all as the 42-year-old continues to provide further evidence that he's the greatest player to ever play the game of football.

Pete Carroll gives candid comments on pain of Super Bowl XLIX loss to Patriots

Pete Carroll gives candid comments on pain of Super Bowl XLIX loss to Patriots

It's difficult to find a more heartbreaking way to lose a championship than what happened to the Seattle Seahawks at the end of Super Bowl XLIX.

The Lombardi Trophy seemed firmly in their grasp as running back Marshawn Lynch drove the ball to the 1-yard line with less than a minute to play in the fourth quarter. The Seahawks were in complete control, and it looked like their opponent, the New England Patriots, could do nothing to stop the inevitable. But instead of giving the ball to Lynch to finish the job, Seattle ran a pass play and quarterback Russell Wilson was intercepted by Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler. Butler's game-saving play secured New England's fourth championship and crushed Seattle's hopes of back-to-back titles.

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The loss was absolutely excruciating for Carroll, and in a recent interview with NFL Media's Mike Silver, he talked about the difficulties Seattle faced in recovering from that defeat.

"It was such an emotional way to lose for everybody, and we had to rebuild everybody's brain," Carroll said, per Silver. "We just bludgeoned our way through that. I tried to just make sure that I was unwavering. So, that was the challenge: To allow for the grieving and all of that, and then see what the issues were, and then put it back together. Yeah, that was hard. It was a hard challenge. It was really hard on some players. And some of us will never get over it."

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It's hard to blame any Seahawks player, coach or employee who will never get over the pain of Super Bowl XLIX. The Atlanta Falcons players who blew a 25-point lead and lost to the Patriots in Super Bowl LI two years later probably will feel the same way the rest of their lives.

But unlike the Falcons, who are still searching for their first championship, Carroll and the Seahawks have the joyous memories of Super Bowl XLVIII and a shiny Lombardi Trophy to help forget about their painful loss to the Patriots. 

There are few challenges in sports quite like rebounding from a horrific loss in a championship setting. Carroll has done about as well as the Seahawks could've hoped over the last five years, while Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has overcome plenty of adversity (and two Super Bowl losses) himself over the last decade.

So it was hardly a surprise when it was announced Monday that Belichick and Carroll were the two head coaches named to the NFL's All-Decade Team for the 2010s.