Brady’s Pats seek to rebound against Brees, Saints

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots calls a play during the game against the ...
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots calls a play during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium on September 7, 2017 in Foxboro, Massachusetts (AFP Photo/Maddie Meyer)

The smart money is on Super Bowl Champions New England to bounce back from a shocking season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs when the Patriots visit the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Superstar quarterback Tom Brady was sacked three times and finished without throwing a touchdown as the Pats were humbled 42-27 by the Chiefs on their home field last week.

Brady said the extra days off after the Thursday night game didn’t make it any easier to move on.

“It actually kind of sucked having three extra days to think about it and rewatch the game,” he said.

But the Patriots don’t often lose two in a row. In games following a defeat they are 42-6 dating back to 2003 – and New England haven’t opened a season 0-2 since 2001 – before Brady took over from Drew Bledsoe at quarterback.

Those stats, encouraging as they are, were of no interest to coach Bill Belichick as he prepared to take on a Saints side also trying to avoid an 0-2 start.

In the third career meeting between sure-fire Hall of Famers Brady and Brees, it’s the Saints who are in the more desperate straits.

New Orleans finished 7-9 and failed to make the playoffs in each of the past three seasons. The Saints started 0-2 in 2014, 0-3 in 2015 and 0-3 last season and can’t afford another slow start.

“A sense of urgency has been created,” said Brees. “It’s very important. It’s our home opener and we want to get back on track.”

While Brees failed to produce a touchdown in four red-zone chances against the Minnesota Vikings on Monday, Belichick warned that the Saints offense is always dangerous.

“They do everything well,” he said. “Good quarterback, good skill players, good running backs, good receivers, tight ends, offensive line. They have a lot of explosive weapons with a great scheme.”

“That’s why they lead the league in offense every year, third down, make a lot of big plays. They’re hard to stop.”

To do it, Brady said, New England will have to be a lot better than they were against the Chiefs.

“Obviously, what we did the other night is not good enough by any means for any particular phase of the game and any position,” Brady said.

– Chiefs v Eagles –

A Chiefs team trying to build on their upset of the Pats faces another stern test when they host the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Eagles’ tough, physical defense will test the Chiefs’ athletic offensive front, which put pressure on quarterback Alex Smith.

Adding intrigue, it’s the first time Chiefs coach Andy Reid and Eagles coach Doug Pederson face each other as adversaries after a lengthy working relationship that started during Pederson’s playing days under Reid at Green Bay and Philadelphia and continued with Pederson on Reid’s coaching staffs with the Eagles and the Chiefs.

The Vikings, trying to follow up their win over the Saints, face a tough task against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Other potentially explosive contests include Green Bay at Atlanta and Detroit at the New York Giants.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Chicago Bears, trying to get back normal as Florida continues to grapple with the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

The Bucs and cross-state rivals Miami saw their scheduled season opening clash postponed as the storm bore down.

The Dolphins open their season on Sunday at the Los Angeles Chargers, having spent the week working out at a Dallas Cowboys training facility in Southern California.

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