PATRIOTS(11-2) vs.PACKERS* (8-5)
*Sun., Dec. 19, 2010 at 8:20 p.m. EST
Gillette Stadium (68,756)
The New England Patriots clinched a playoff berth with their 36-7 victory against Chicago last week. This week, the Patriots will return to Gillette Stadium for the second of two straight games against the NFC North when they host the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night Football. The Patriots improved to an NFL-best 31-5 record in December since 2002 with the win over the Bears.
TELEVISION:This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by NBC and can be seen in Boston on WHDH-TV Channel 7. Al Michaels will handle play-by-play duties with Cris Collinsworth providing color. Andrea Kremer will be the sideline reporter.
NATIONAL RADIO:This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by Westwood One. Dave Sims and James Lofton will call the game. Hub Arkush will work the sidelines.
LOCAL RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. A complete listing of the network's 36 stations can be found here. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 34th season as the voice of the Patriots and will call the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. Santos and Cappelletti are celebrating their 27th season as a broadcasting tandem.
PATRIOTS CLINCH PLAYOFF BERTH FOR 12th TIME IN KRAFT'S 17 YEARS OF OWNERSHIPNew England has now qualified for the playoffs 18 times in its 51-year history. The Patriots have earned 12 playoff berths in the 17 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994, a dramatic contrast to the six total playoff berths that the team earned in its first 34 years of existence. New England has won 12 division crowns and has qualified as a Wild Card team on four occasions (1998, 1994, 1985 and 1976). The Patriots also qualified for the playoffs in 1982 as part of a 16-team tournament following a players' strike.
PATRIOTS HAVE MOST 9-PLUS WIN SEASONS SINCE 2001
The Patriots are the only team in the NFL to have recorded nine or more wins in each of the last 10 seasons. The Patriots claimed their 9th win of the year with a 45-24 win over the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day (11/25).
HOME RECORD IN DECEMBER SINCE 2002
With a 17-1 record, the New England Patriots have the best home record in December since 2002.
PATRIOTS RECORD AGAINST THE NFC AT HOME SINCE 2002
The Patriots have won 16 straight games at Gillette Stadium against NFC opponents. The only loss was the very first game against an NFC opponent at the new stadium in 2002 when the visiting Green Bay Packers beat the Patriots, 28-10, on Oct. 13.
The Patriots will face the Packers for just the 10th time overall and the ninth time in the regular season. The regular season series is tied at 4-4. Green Bay beat the Patriots in the one postseason meeting between the two teams, a 35-21 Packers victory in Super Bowl XXXI at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans on Jan. 26, 1997.
The Patriots beat Green Bay, 35-0, in the last meeting on Nov. 19, 2006 at Lambeau Field. That game was New England's second visit ever to Green Bay in a regular season game.
Green Bay will be making its sixth visit to Foxborough and its second visit to Gillette Stadium. Green Bay beat New England 28-10 at Gillette Stadium on Oct. 13, 2002. That is the only game the Patriots have ever lost to an NFC team at Gillette Stadium.
The Patriots first regular-season home victory under Robert Kraft was on Oct. 2, 1994 in a 17-16 win against Green Bay.
- The Packers were the first team to defeat the Patriots at Gillette Stadium, claiming a 28-10 victory on Oct. 13, 2002, in New England's first season in its new home.
- Since that loss, the Patriots have won 16 straight home games against the NFC.
- Brady is 15-2 at home against the NFC overall, and 14-1 at Gillette Stadium against the NFC. His only loss at Gillette Stadium was the 28-10 loss on Oct. 13, 2002 to Green Bay.
- Brady is 30-5 against the NFC overall in the regular season.
NEW ENGLAND TIES
- Green Bay Packers Director of College Scouting John Dorsey was a four-year starter on defense at the University of Connecticut from 1980-83.
- Packers Offensive Coordinator Joe Philbin was born in Springfield, Mass. and has had three different stints as a college coach in the New England area: offensive line coach at Worcester Tech (1986-87), offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Northeastern (1995-96) and offensive coordinator/offensive line coach at Harvard (1997-98).
- Green Bay Tight Ends Coach Ben McAdoo served as the offensive line/tight ends coach at Fairfield University in 2002.
- New England Patriots RB Thomas Clayton and Green Bay Packers LBs Diyral Briggs and Matt Wilhelm were all teammates on the San Francisco 49ers in 2009.
- Patriots RB Sammy Morris and WR Wes Welker played with Packers TE Donald Lee on the Miami Dolphins in 2004.
- Patriots WR Deion Branch and Packers NT Howard Green played together with the Seattle Seahawks for two seasons, from 2007-08.
- New England OL Quinn Ojinnaka and Green Bay S Charlie Peprah were teammates on the Atlanta Falcons in 2009.
- New England Patriots LB Tracy White played for the Green Bay Packers from 2006-08.
- Green Bay Packers Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers coached the Patriots secondary in 2008.
FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES
- New England Patriots QB Tom Brady and Green Bay Packers CB Charles Woodson played together at the University of Michigan from 1996-97.
- New England DL Ron Brace and Green Bay LB Robert Francois and NT B.J. Raji were all teammates for four years at Boston College, from 2005-08.
- Patriots S Brandon Meriweather and Packers CB Sam Shields played together at the University of Miami in 2006.
- Pats DB Jonathan Wilhite and Packers CB Pat Lee played together at Auburn for three years, from 2005-07.
- New England DL Myron Pryor and Green Bay P Tim Masthay both played their college football at Kentucky from 2005-08.
- Patriots OL Rich Ohrnberger and Packers TE Andrew Quarless played for Penn State from 2006-08.
- Pats OL Quinn Ojinnaka and Packers S Anthony Smith were teammates at Syracuse from 2003-05.
PATRIOTS IN SUNDAY NIGHT GAMESThe Patriots are 16-14 all-time on Sunday Night Football.
PATRIOTS VS. NFC
The Patriots have been successful against NFC teams in recent seasons, compiling a 34-5 (.872) regular-season record against the conference since 2001. Including the postseason, the Patriots are 37-6 (.860) against the NFC with a 3-1 Super Bowl record since 2001.
The Patriots ended a 17-game winning streak against the NFC last season following a loss at New Orleans on Monday Night Football. The Patriots were 3-1 against the NFC last season.
The Patriots are 10-1 all-time against the NFC North since realignment in 2002. The Patriots have squared off against the NFC North in two seasons, finishing 3-1 in 2002 and 4-0 in 2006. The only loss was a 28-10 defeat vs. Green Bay on Oct. 13, 2002. The Patriots are 3-0 so far against the NFC North in 2010 following a 28-18 win over Minnesota on Oct. 31, a 45-24 win on Thanksgiving at Detroit on Nov. 25 and last week's 36-7 win at Chicago.
NFL'S TOP DECEMBER RECORD SINCE 2002
The Patriots improved their NFL-best record to 31-5 in the month of December since the 2002 season.
The New England Patriots own a 46-14 (.767) record in regular season AFC East games since the beginning of the 2001 season, compiling the best intra-division record of any team in the NFL over the last nine seasons.
STRONG IN THE SECOND HALF
Since 2001, New England has done a remarkable job of finishing the season strong, compiling an NFL-best 58-14 (.806) in games on or after Thanksgiving.
TOUGH AT HOME
The Patriots own an overall record of 65-13 (.833) at Gillette Stadium. Since their state-of-the-art facility opened at the beginning of the 2002 season, the Patriots own the NFL's best record at home.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
BY THE NUMBERS
2The number of kickoff returns that WR Brandon Tate has returned for a touchdown in 2010 after he returned a 97-yard kickoff for a touchdown vs. Cincinnati (9/12) and a 103-yard kickoff for a touchdown at Miami (10/4). Tate is the first Patriots' player to return two kicks for a touchdown in a season since Kevin Faulk returned two for a touchdown in 2002. The Patriots' record for most returns in a single season is three by Raymond Clayborn in 1977.
The number of blocked kicks recorded by S Patrick Chung in 2010 after he blocked a punt and a field goal in the Patriots win at Miami (10/4). He is the first NFL player to block a field goal and a punt in the same game since CB Ramon Walker of Houston blocked a field goal and a punt vs. New England on Nov. 23, 2003.
3The number of interceptions that the Patriots have returned for a touchdown in 2010 after LB Gary Guyton returned an interception 59 yards for a score vs. Cincinnati (9/12), S Patrick Chung returned an interception 51 yards for a score at Miami (10/4) and S James Sanders returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown at Pittsburgh (11/14).
6The number of interceptions by CB Devin McCourty in 2010. It is the second most interceptions by a rookie in Patriots history to Mike Haynes (8) in 1976.
The number of touchdown receptions by rookie TE Rob Gronkowski in 2010, a record for most touchdown catches by a rookie tight end in Patriots history. The only other rookie tight ends in NFL history to have more touchdowns were Mike Ditka (12) and Junior Miller (9).
7The number of touchdown receptions by Wes Welker in 2010, his highest total since he registered a career-high eight in 2007.
10The number of consecutive seasons in which the Patriots have posted a winning record.
The number of rushing touchdowns in 2010 by BenJarvus Green-Ellis, establishing a career high. His previous best was the five he had as a rookie in 2008. He is the first Patriots player with 10-plus rushing touchdowns since Corey Dillon had 13 in 2006.
31.9The number of points the Patriots are averaging in 2010, the highest in the NFL. The Patriots are on pace to finish with 511 points, which would be second in team history to the 589 scored in 2007.
The number of consecutive regular-season games that Welker has caught at least one pass. He has caught at least one pass in all 61 games as a member of the Patriots, including three postseason games.
JEROD MAYO BY THE NUMBERS
162The number of total tackles by LB Jerod Mayo. He is on pace to finish the season with 199 tackles. That number would be the highest since LB Steve nelson had 207 tackles in 1984.
TOM BRADY NUMBERS
The number of times that Brady has finished a season with 25 or more touchdown after he raised his 2010 total to 29 touchdown passes. He is the sixth QB in NFL history to have 25 or more touchdown passes in at least six different seasons.
The number of times Tom Brady has passed for 3,000 or more yards in a season. He currently has 3,398 passing yards in 2010.
The number of times Tom Brady has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He earned the award in back-to-back weeks in 2010: at Detroit (11/25) and vs. NY Jets (12/6).
The number of consecutive regular season starts that Tom Brady has won at Gillette Stadium, setting an NFL record for most consecutive home wins by a starting quarterback in the regular-season.
The number of touchdown passes thrown by Brady in 2010 to lead the NFL. He needs one more touchdown pass for his second season with 30 or more touchdown passes. He can become just the 12th player since the 1970 merger to have at least two 30 touchdown seasons.
The number of regular season 300-yard passing games by Tom Brady, a team record. Brady's seven 300-yard games in 2009 moved him past Drew Bledsoe (26) for the team record.
79The number of times that Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game. The Patriots are 67-12 when he throws for two or more touchdowns.
The number of wins that Brady has as a starting quarterback. He reached the 100-win milestone in the fewest number of starts (131) among all quarterbacks in the modern era.
THE KRAFT ERA
3The number of Super Bowl championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Only Denver (2; 1997 and 1998) and Pittsburgh (2; 2005 and 2008) have won multiple Super Bowl titles since 1994.
The number of conference championships the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh is second with three conference titles since 1994.
The number of playoff seasons earned by the Patriots in the 17 seasons since Robert Kraft purchased the team.
The number of playoff games the Patriots have won since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. That mark is the highest total in the NFL over that span. Pittsburgh ranks second with 15 playoff wins over that span.
The number of playoff games the Patriots have appeared in since 1994. The mark is the highest in the NFL, ahead of the 23 games played by Pittsburgh.
The number of consecutive home games the Patriots have sold out, a streak that includes every preseason, regular season and playoff game since the 1994 regular season opener.
THE BELICHICK ERA
Bill Belichick is one of just four coaches to win three championships since the Super Bowl era began. Belichick joins three members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in the exclusive club (Chuck Noll 4, Joe Gibbs 3 and Bill Walsh 3). Belichick is the only coach to win three Super Bowls in the post-1993 salary cap era and the only one to ever win three in four years.
174Bill Belichick has 174 career victory as a head coach, including playoff games. Belichick is tied for 10th with Mike Holmgren in NFL history with 174 career victories.