This is a big mismatch heading into Saturday's tilt.
"Throughout my years here I've seen a lot of negative, a lot of positive", Gronkowski said Tuesday as the Patriots prepared for Saturday night's divisional playoff game against the Tennessee Titans. He doesn't have the same Hall of Fame presence as Brees, but that doesn't mean the Patriots aren't anxious. "It's a very unique skill because a lot of guys, once they get scrambling, they're not even looking downfield anymore". But just as the Patriots have done when those and other debates have flared, Belichick has managed to put a lid on the emotions, and the Patriots have responded with brilliant seasons - majority ending with Super Bowl rings.
"I've played against his defense a number of times, and they're always well-coached", Amendola said.
Roethlisberger is terrific at keeping his options open, and so is Brees. And if that Titans' pass rush leads to a turnover in Patriots territory, the visitors will create added scoring chances. The Titans haven't won at New England since 1993 and have covered just one of their past five there. They're not good enough yet.
Quarterback Tom Brady said to be at the heart of a split involving Patriots coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft as well. So what does Mariota have in store for everyone on Saturday night? Tomlin's Pittsburgh Steelers will play at home, along with Belichick's Patriots, but Payton has to take the New Orleans Saints north to face the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium - the site of Super Bowl LII.
New England will be rested and probably annoyed by the widely disputed report of turmoil within the organisation.
Take last weekend, for example, when Mariota threw a pass, had it blocked and had the awareness and athleticism to gather the loose ball in his hands and run it in for the score. And it caught the attention of the Patriots.
"Coach Belichick has been such a great coach and mentor and I certainly could never accomplish anything in this sport without everything that he has taught me", Brady said. Rex Burkhead had eight receiving touchdowns, which was the best in the National Football League for a running back, before he went down with an injury in Week 15. It's when he's on the move, with a multitude of threats to potentially exploit, when he is at his most deadly. Last week, he made two tackles against the Chiefs. "But when he escapes outside the pocket and he has the ability to run and throw, you honestly really don't have a shot to stop him".
Defensive captain Devin McCourty was asked about the ESPN article. "They've got a bunch of good players in their secondary, some names that we're familiar with, and then some new guys". This is going to be one of the first times ever that fans will be able to get such a deep look into Brady's private life on and off the field.
All the numbers favor the Patriots extending their record of consecutive title games reached to seven. But they'll need more. Henry will be starting his third straight game with DeMarco Murray already out (right knee).
There's an element of, "Well he would say that" to Belichick's words.
Get all of that, and who knows? They find a way to make you kick field goals.