PATRIOTS(10-2) atBEARS* (9-3)
*Sun., Dec. 12, 2010 at 4:15 p.m. EST
Soldier Field (61,500)
The New England Patriots improved to a 10-2 record and claimed first place in the AFC east with a 45-3 victory over the New York Jets on Monday Night Football. This week, the Patriots will begin the first of two consecutive contests against the NFC North when they travel to Chicago to face the 9-3 first place Bears. Following the Chicago game, the Patriots will return to Gillette Stadium for a Sunday Night Football game against the Green Bay Packers. The Patriots improved to an NFL-best 30-5 record in December since 2002 with the win over the Jets.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by CBS and can be seen in Boston on WBZ-TV Channel 4. Jim Nantz will handle play-by-play duties with Phil Simms providing color. The game will be produced by Lance Barrow and directed by Mike Arnold.
NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast to a national audience by Sports Radio USA. Larry Kahn and John Robinson will call the game.Troy West will work the sidelines.
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 Santosis 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.
The Patriots and Bears will meet for the 11th time in regular-season play as Chicago as the Patriots make their 7th trip to Soldier Field since 1970 and first trip to Soldier Field since it was remodeled prior to the 2003 season. The Patriots last traveled to play the Bears in 2002 when the Bears played all of their home games at Memorial Stadium on the campus of the University of Illinois in Champaign while the new Soldier Field was being constructed.
The Patriots hold a 7-3 overall lead in the regular-season series, but Chicago claimed a victory in the teams' only postseason matchup, taking a 46-10 decision in Super Bowl XX following the 1985 season. Since Super Bowl XX, the Patriots have recorded a 5-1 record against Chicago and held the Bears to a touchdown or less in three straight games from 1988-97.
The Patriots own a 4-3 record in games played in Chicago. In New England's last road game against Chicago in 2002, the Patriots staged one of the most memorable comebacks in team history, rallying from a 27-6 deficit late in the third quarter to pull out for a 33-30 win that was clinched on a 20-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to David Patten with 21 seconds left in the game.
PATRIOTS VS. NFC NORTH
This season, the Patriots will play each of the four teams from the NFC North (Green Bay, Minnesota, Detroit and Chicago) as part of the NFL's scheduling rotation. New England is 2-0 against the NFC North so far this year, following a 28-14 victory at home against Minnesota (10/31) and a 45-24 Thanksgiving Day win at Detroit (11/15). This week's game marks the first of two straight contests against NFC North foes. Following the Chicago game, the Patriots will return to Gillette Stadium to face Green Bay on Sunday Night.
The Patriots are 9-1 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 hold an all-time regular-season record of 21-15 (.583) against the four NFC North teams. Two of the teams to which New England has lost the Super Bowl reside in the NFC North - Green Bay (XXXI) and Chicago (XX).
PATRIOTS VS. NFC
The Patriots have been successful against NFC teams in recent seasons, compiling a 33-5 (.868) regular-season record against the conference since 2001. Including the postseason, the Patriots are 36-6 (.857) 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 last season. The Patriots were 3-1 against the NFC in 2009.
BRADY VS. CHICAGO
This week's game will mark Tom Bray's third start against the Chicago Bears and his first in the new Soldier Field. In his only other road game against the Bears (11/10/02), he rallied the Patriots from a 27-6 third quarter deficit to a 33-30 victory. Brady completed 36-of-55 passes for 328 yards and three touchdowns in that game. The comeback in that game was highlighted by a 20-yard touchdown pass from Brady to WR David Patten followed by a successful 2-point play from Brady to WR Troy Brown with 21 seconds left to play.
BRADY VS. THE NFC
Brady is 29-6 overall in the regular season against NFC opponents, including 14-4 against the NFC on the road.
NEW ENGLAND TIES
- Chicago Bears President & CEO Ted Phillips grew up in Nashua, N.H.
- Bears Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub played football at Springfield (Mass.) College from 1980-81.
- Bears backup QB Todd Collins claims Walpole, Mass. as his hometown.
- Bears CB Corey Graham played his college football at New Hampshire from 2003-06.
- New England Patriots TE Alge Crumpler and Chicago Bears OLs Roberto Garzaand Kevin Shaffer were teammates on the Atlanta Falcons from 2002-04.
- Crumpler was also a member of the Falcons with Bears OL Frank Omiyale from 2005-06.
- Patriots K Shayne Graham and Bears DE Julius Peppers both played for the Carolina Panthers in 2002.
- Pats LS Matt Katula and Bears RB Chester Taylorboth played for the Baltimore Ravens in 2005.
FORMER COLLEGE TEAMMATES
- New England Patriots rookies - LBs Jermaine Cunninghman and Brandon Spikesand TE Aaron Hernandezwere teammates with Chicago Bears S Major Wrightfrom 2007-09.
- Patriots DL Vince Wilfork and S Brandon Meriweather played at the University of Miami with Bears WR Devin Hester in 2003.
- Meriweather was also teammates at Miami with Bears TE Greg Olsen from 2004-06.
- New England S Jarrad Page and WR Matthew Slaterwere on the 2005 UCLA football team with Chicago RB Kahlil Bell.
- Pats DB Jonathan Wilhite and Bears WR Devin Aromashodu played together at Auburn from 2005-06.
- Patriots QB Brian Hoyer threw passes to Bears TE Kellen Davis at Michigan State from 2005-07.
- New England TE Alge Crumpler and Chicago DE Julius Peppers played opposite one another at practice at North Carolina from 1999-2000.
- Patriots S Patrick Chung and Bears DT Matt Toeaina were teammates at Oregon from 2005-06.
MAYO ON HIGH TACKLE PACE
The day-of-game stats crew credited Jerod Mayo with 12 tackles against the Jets, raising his total to 157 total tackles in 2010. Mayo is on pace for a career-high 209 total tackles. That number will be the highest since LB Clayton Weishuhn had 229 tackles in 1984. Mayo can become just the third Patriots player ever to reach 200 tackles.
PATRIOTS ALL-TIME SINGLE-SEASON TACKLE LEADERS
LB Clayton Weishuhn (1983) - 229
LB Steve Nelson (1984) - 207
LB Steve Nelson (1980) - 186
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).
MOST SEASONS OF 9 WINS SINCE 2001
New England - 10
Pittsburgh - 8
Indianapolis - 8
Philadelphia - 7
BRADY WINS 26th STRAIGHT START AT GILLETTE
Tom Brady set an NFL record for most consecutive home wins as a starting quarterback after leading the Patriots to a 45-3 win on Monday night against the Jets. The win over the Jets was Brady's 26th straight win in a regular-season home start, passing Brett Favre's previous record of 25 straight wins (1995-98) for the NFL record. The last time the Patriots lost a regular-season home game in which Brady started was on Nov. 12, 2006 against the New York Jets.
NFL'S TOP DECEMBER RECORD SINCE 2002
The Patriots improved their NFL-best record to 30-5 in the month of December since the 2002 season.
- New England Patriots - 30-5
- Philadelphia Eagles - 27-9
- San Diego Chargers - 26-11
- Indianapolis Colts - 25-11
- Pittsburgh Steelers - 25-11
HOME RECORD IN DECEMBER SINCE 2002
With a 17-1 record, the New England Patriots have the best home record in December since 2002.
DIVISION DOMINANCEThe New England Patriots own a 46-14 (.767) record in regular season AFC East games since the beginning of the 2001 season,
STRONG IN THE SECOND HALFSince 2001, New England has done a remarkable job of finishing the season strong, compiling an NFL-best 57-14 (.803) 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
The 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.
2The 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.
The 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).
The number of interceptions by CB Devin McCourty in 2010. It is the second most interceptions by a rookie in Patriots history.
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 old mark was 4 by Russ Francis in 1975 and Don Hasselbeck in 1977. Rookie TE Aaron Hernandez also tied the old mark with his 4 touchdowns in 2010.
The number of touchdown receptions by Wes Welker in 2010, his highest total since he registered a career-high eight in 2007.
The 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.
The number of points the Patriots are averaging in 2010, the highest in the NFL. The Patriots are on pace to finish with 505 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
157The number of total tackles by LB Jerod Mayo. He is on pace to finish the season with 209 tackles. That number would be the highest since LB Clayton Weishuhn had 229 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 27 touchdown passes. He is the sixth QB in NFL history to have 25 or more touchdown passes in at least six different seasons.
8The number of times Tom Brady has passed for 3,000 or more yards in a season after reaching 3,029 passing yards in 2010.
The number of times Tom Brady has earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. He earned the award following the Patriots' victory at Detroit on Nov. 25.
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 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.
78The number of times that Brady has thrown two or more touchdowns in a game. The Patriots are 66-12 when he throws for two or more touchdowns.
107The 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
The 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 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
4Bill 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.
173Bill Belichick has 173 career victory as a head coach, including playoff games. Belichick is 11th in NFL history with 173 career victories.