Even if numbers occasionally lie Christian McCaffrey Jersey , most of them indicate the New England Patriots are in great position to hoist a sixth Lombardi Trophy.
The reasons begin in the only place they could: with Tom Brady.
Yes, at 40 years old Brady would be the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl if the Patriots beat the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. He would dethrone Peyton Manning, who won at age 39 with the Denver Broncos to cap the 2015 season.
Brady has put up numbers in his 18th season unmatched by any player in NFL history. He led the league with 4,577 yards passing during the regular season and his five touchdown passes are tied for the most in the playoffs.
Brady’s seven Super Bowl appearances are as many as the entire Eagles roster. He’s faced a myriad of difficult scenarios in the championship game, including last year’s 25-point hole the Patriots dug out of to beat the Falcons.
Brady won that one without tight end Rob Gronkowski, who will be in uniform after being cleared late this week.
Close games have been no problem , for Brady and coach Bill Belichick either. The total difference in scoring in those seven games is 12 points: Patriots 169, opponents 157.
You want to talk about comebacks? No player in the Super Bowl era has more fourth-quarter comebacks in the playoffs in his career than Brady’s eight. It’s probably why Brady chuckled this week when he was again asked about how long he wanted to keep playing.
”Why does everyone want me to retire so bad?” Brady said. ”I don’t get it. I’m having fun. The team’s doing good. I know I’m a little bit older than most of the guys, but I’m really enjoying it. … I’m not thinking about retirement. I’m thinking about the Super Bowl and trying to win the most important game of the year.”
As big as the Brady factor is, he’s not the only advantage New England has.
The Patriots lost go-to receiver Julian Edelman in the preseason to a knee injury and linebacker Dont’a Hightower to a season-ending shoulder injury in October. After some early-season struggles, Belichick found a way to plug the holes, with contributions from several previously unheralded players like Trey Flowers, Kyle Van Noy, Lawrence Guy and Ricky Jean Francois .
New England has also gotten a strong season from receiver Brandin Cook after acquiring him from New Orleans this offseason. He posted his third straight 1,000-yard receiving season (1,082) and was second on the team in receiving yards behind only Gronkowski (1,084). Running back Dion Lewis has also found new life just two seasons removed from a knee injury. He led the team with 896 yards rushing and six rushing touchdowns.
It’s underlined the football savvy of Belichick, who with a sixth Super Bowl victory would pass Vince Lombardi and tie George Halas and Curly Lambeau for most NFL championships by a coach.
Belichick will be taking part in his 11th Super Bowl as a head coach or assistant, the most among any coach in NFL history. That amounts to 21.2 percent of all Super Bowls in league history and 34.4 percent of all Super Bowls since his first appearance as the Giants defensive coordinator in 1986.
Though there have been reports of alleged friction this season between Belichick, Brady and team owner Robert Kraft, it’s clear they are on the same page when it comes to the pursuit of championships.
”It changes every year. The venues are different Curtis Samuel Jersey , the teams are different, the matchups are different, and the road the team has traveled to get here is different, as is the road your opponent has traveled,” Belichick said. ”Each one is unique. Each one’s special.”
BOSTON — Their five-game losing streak over, the Seattle Mariners send seven-game winner Marco Gonzales to the mound against Red Sox ace Chris Sale in the deciding game of a three-game series at Fenway Park Sunday.
The Mariners handed Boston left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez only his second loss in 11 decisions with Saturday night’s 7-2 victory and now ask Gonzales to shake off his last start and butt heads with Sale in the finale.
After allowing just six runs in 38 1/3 innings in his previous six starts, Gonzales yielded six and was reached for three home runs in losing to the New York Yankees in the Bronx Tuesday night.
Sale has struck out 30 in 21 innings over his last three starts but is just 1-1 over that span. His team is just 8-8 in his 16 starts and he is 6-4 with a 2.74 ERA and 140 strikeouts in 102 innings in 2018.
The skinny left-hander is 5-1 with a 2.09 ERA in 10 games, eight starts, lifetime against the Mariners.
Gonzales will face the Red Sox for the first time. Boston is just 9-9 in games started by lefties this season.
Mike Leake pitched eight shutout innings to avenge last Sunday’s loss to the Red Sox and defeat Boston for the first time in his career. Closer Edwin Diaz, who hadn’t pitched in a week, worked a shaky ninth and allowed two runs, but that couldn’t taint the evening for the visitors, who took a 14-10 loss in the opener Friday.
“Unbelievable and really big for our ballclub for him to step up tonight,” Seattle manager Scott Servais said. “Exactly what we needed for someone to shut it down and steady it.”
Said Leake: “When you have a five-game losing streak, yeah, you want to end it.”
The Red Sox, who remained a game behind the losing New York Yankees atop the American League East, fell to 13-2 in Rodriguez’s 5 starts.
While Mookie Betts (illness) was out of the Boston lineup, both teams were without their shortstops Saturday night.
Seattle’s Jean Segura missed his third straight game with an arm infection, had it drained by a Boston doctor Friday and hopes to play Sunday.
“It was bad,” Segura said before Saturday’s game. “It was hurting me Antonio Morrison Jersey , especially when I was swinging. I couldn’t extend my arm. It doesn’t feel right when you swing and feel pinching, like somebody is trying to grab your bat. As a player, you don’t want that feeling.
“If it feels good, I’ll play. But you can’t play around with an infection. I have to wait til it recovers.”
Boston’s Xander Bogaerts, suffered a sprained left index finger diving into second base Friday night and sat out Saturday. He was due for a game off Saturday, anyway, and the hope and Betts will both play Sunday.
“How’s Xander? He’s day to day,” manager Alex Cora said. “We’ll see. (We’ll) probably stay away from him tomorrow. We were looking for an off-day, and it just came up now. Hopefully he’ll be ready to play on Sunday.”
After the game, Cora said he hoped both would be ready to play
“They’re going to show up early tomorrow, see where they at,” Cora said. “So, we’ll go from there.”
The Mariners, 3-4 against Boston in the last 10 days, remained three games behind the Houston Astros in the AL West.
The current Seattle roster is hitting a combined .200 against Sale.
Nelson Cruz is 8-for-26 (.308) with two homers and four RBIs against Sale, but Mike Zunino is 0-for-7. Kyle Seager is 1-for-16 (.063), Ryon Healy and Guillermo Heredia both 1-for-6 (.167) and Andrew Romine 3-for-14 (.214).
Triston Casas, the Red Sox top pick in the recent draft, took batting practice in the same group of J.D. Martinez before Saturday night’s game.