Patriots

Patriots win Super Bowl LIII and set several NFL playoff records

Patriots win Super Bowl LIII and set several NFL playoff records

The New England Patriots are Super Bowl champions for the sixth time, and they have set and tied many NFL records as a result.

The Patriots beat the Los Angeles Rams 13-3 in Sunday night's Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta to claim their second Lombardi Trophy in three seasons. It also marks the second time the Patriots have beaten the Rams franchise in a Super Bowl (XXXVI during 2001 season).

New England's historic win will re-write the history books for NFL playoff history. 

Here's a recap of some of the history made by the Patriots in Super Bowl LIII. 

--Six Super Bowl titles ties the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most all-time.

--The Patriots' 37th playoff win in franchise history is a new record, passing the Pittsburgh Steelers (36).

--The Pats extended their own NFL record for most postseason wins in a decade to 16. They set the new record with their 15th win of the decade in the AFC Championship Game two weeks ago. Before that, the record was held by New England (2000s), Dallas (1970s) and Pittsburgh (1970s), with 14 postseason wins in a decade.

--The Patriots improved their all-time franchise mark in the playoffs to 37-20 (.649), which is the best playoff winning percentage in NFL history among teams that have played at least 15 playoff games.

Here are the current standings (minimum 15 games):
New England Patriots 37-20 .649 
Baltimore Ravens 15-9 .625*
Green Bay Packers 34-22 .607
San Francisco 49ers 30-20 .600
Pittsburgh Steelers 36-25 .590
* -- does not include team's postseason record when located in Cleveland

--Patriots head coach Bill Belichick ties George Halas and Curly Lambeau for the most NFL championships by a head coach.

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New NFL schedule study finds Patriots have easiest road to Super Bowl LIV

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New NFL schedule study finds Patriots have easiest road to Super Bowl LIV

There hasn't been a repeat Super Bowl champion since the New England Patriots accomplished the feat in 2003 and 2004.

Fifteen years later, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are hoping to become the second head coach/quarterback duo to win back-to-back titles twice. The only duo to do it was Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Chuck Noll and quarterback Terry Bradshaw. Noll and Bradshaw both are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and Brady and Belichick will one day join them.

Just getting to the Super Bowl again would be a historic accomplishment for the Patriots. It would make them the second team ever to reach the Super Bowl four consecutive seasons, joining the Buffalo Bills of the early 1990s.

What are the chances of the Patriots advancing to another Super Bowl?

John Breech of CBS Sports recently did a ranking assessing the difficulty of each team's path to Super Bowl LIV in Miami. The formula used three main factors: schedule difficulty, Super Bowl odds and the first three games of the season. Breech found that teams starting worse than 2-1 over the first three weeks rarely wind up in either the AFC or NFC Championship Game.

The Patriots actually have the easiest road. Here's what CBS Sports had to say about the Patriots' path.

32. New England Patriots

Based on our formula, the team with the easiest road to Super Bowl LIV is the New England Patriots, which probably won't come as a surprise to anyone, because the Patriots seem to have the easiest road every year. Although it seems like a vast NFL conspiracy to keep the Patriots on top, the fact of the matter is that we really just need to blame the Jets, Bills and Dolphins for not being competitive at all over the past 20 years. Anyway, we should probably just all save ourselves some time and go ahead and pencil them the Patriots in for the Super Bowl. 

Schedule difficulty rating: 84.375

The team with the toughest path to Super Bowl LIV is the Chicago Bears.

In case you forgot, here's the Patriots' 2019 regular season schedule.

Week 1: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (Sunday, Sept. 8 at 8:20 p.m.)
Week 2: at Miami Dolphins (Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m.)
Week 3: vs. New York Jets (Sunday, Sept. 22 at 1 p.m.)
Week 4: at Buffalo Bills (Sunday, Sept. 29 at 1 p.m.)
Week 5: at Washington Redskins (Sunday, Oct. 6 at 1 p.m.)
Week 6: vs. New York Giants (Thursday, Oct. 10 at 8:20 p.m.)
Week 7: at New York Jets (Monday, Oct. 21 at 8:15 p.m.)
Week 8: vs. Cleveland Browns (Sunday, Oct. 27 at 4:25 p.m.)
Week 9: at Baltimore Ravens (Sunday, Nov. 3 at 8:20 p.m.)
Week 10 Bye
Week 11: at Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday, Nov. 17 at 4:25 p.m.)
Week 12: vs. Dallas Cowboys (Sunday, Nov. 24 at 4:25 p.m.)
Week 13: at Houston Texans (Sunday, Dec. 1 at 8:20 p.m.)
Week 14: vs. Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, Dec. 8 at 4:25 p.m.)
Week 15: at Cincinnati Bengals (Sunday, Dec. 15 at 1 p.m.)
Week 16: vs. Buffalo Bills (Saturday, Dec. 21 or Sunday, Dec. 22, time TBD)
Week 17: vs. Miami Dolphins (Sunday, Dec. 29 at 1 p.m.)

If you go by a strict strength of schedule ranking, which CBS did not do in its study, the Patriots have the second-easiest schedule in 2019 based on their opponents' win percentage (.473) from 2018. 

The Patriots went 11-5 last season, and it was their worst record since 2009. They did not secure homefield throughout the AFC playoffs, but they overcame it by defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime at Arrowhead Stadium to win the AFC Championship Game.

New England's schedule for 2019 has the defending champs well-positioned to earn the conference's top seed and ensure the road to Super Bowl LIV again goes down Route 1 in Foxboro. 

Click for where Patriots stand in latest Super Bowl LIV odds>>>

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Adam Schefter finds Tom Brady's contract situation with Patriots 'odd'

Adam Schefter finds Tom Brady's contract situation with Patriots 'odd'

In theory, Tom Brady's contract extension was supposed to quell speculation about his future with the New England Patriots. Instead, the events of this summer have done the opposite.

Brady signed a two-year, $70 million contract extension with the Patriots earlier this month that in practice makes him a free agent following the 2019 season. He also happened to put his Brookline, Mass., home on the market days later.

So, is that a sign the 42-year-old quarterback may consider leaving the only team he's ever played for? In an interview Wednesday on WEEI's "The Greg Hill Show," ESPN's Adam Schefter suggested that's at least a possibility.

"If it's me just looking at it from the outside -- I'm just reading the signs, right?" Schefter said. "His home is for sale. He's on a contract that voids. It's just saying that this has the potential, one way or another, for this to be his last season in New England."

Schefter insisted he was just speculating and added he wasn't aware of any "discord" between Brady and the Patriots in contract negotiations. But if Adam Schefter the NFL Fan is reading the tea leaves, Brady's future is worth monitoring.

"Let me repeat that: His home is for sale. His contract voids," Schefter added. " ... I'm just telling you, the elements are in place for it to be (his last season in New England). I'm not saying it will be. But isn't that odd, all those things? Doesn't it make you go, 'Hmm, that's interesting?' It makes me go, 'Hmm, that's interesting.' "

Schefter then made an interesting analogy to LeBron James' initial exit from Cleveland to join the Miami Heat in 2010, noting that there were several signs that hinted James may leave the Cavaliers.

"Sometimes it's just these little things that you just look at, right?" Schefter said. "I don't know anything more than we all know right now. But you just look at it sometimes, and you say, 'Well, something is afoot here.'

" ... I'm not telling you I'm right. I'm just telling you, look at the signs. The signs suggest something is going on. That's all."

The noise about Brady's future should quiet down once real football begins in Week 1. But after his 20th season ends? It sounds like all bets are off.

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