Today, the Patriots’ face their toughest opponent yet when the Saints come marching in to Foxboro!.
The meeting will be the 13th game between the two teams and the first since 2009 when the Patriots traveled to the Superdome for a Monday Night Football game and lost, 38-17, on Nov. 30, 2009. That win snapped a three- game winning streak by the Patriots over the Saints and also ended a streak of 17 straight wins against NFC opponents for New England.
The Patriots lead the all-time regular-season series with an 8-4 record against New Orleans, including a 4-3 record in home games.
The Saints are 5-0 for the second time in four years after defeating the Chicago Bears 26-18, last Sunday at Soldier Field. The only other two times the Saints have won their first six contests are 2009 (13-0) and 1991 (7-0). The Saints are now one of only three unbeaten teams remain- ing on the eve of week six in the NFL. A win at Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots have posted a 44-6 record since 2007, would send New Orleans off to their week seven bye on a good note.
Last week, the Saints put together one of their most balanced victories of the season on Sunday at the Bears, as they con- trolled the line of scrimmage by holding onto the ball for 36 minutes and were fueled by their first turnover-free performance of the season, against a team that went into the game leading the NFL in takeaways. Displaying that efficiency through the season, the Saints are now tied for fourth in the league in turnover ratio (+6).
To help you get ready for the game, here is what you need to know:
TV and Radio Information
TV: This week’s game will be broadcast by FOX and can be seen in Boston on WFXT-TV Channel 25. Thom Brennaman will handle play-by-play duties with Troy Aikman providing color. Pam Oliver will serve as the sideline reporter. The game will be produced by Richie Zyontz and directed by Rich Russo.
RADIO: 98.5 FM, The Sports Hub, is the flagship station for the Patriots Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Bob Socci will call the action along with former Patriots quarterback Scott Zolak, who will provide color analysis.
Parking Lot Information
The stadium lots will open at noon. Parking at Gillette Stadium is $40 for cars and motorcycles and $150 for busses, RVs, and limos.
In addition, the following vehicles will not be allowed in the lots:
- Any vehicle towing a trailer (this includes fifth-wheel RV units).
- Professional catering trucks and or services without prior written approval from Stadium Management.
- Excessive tailgate setups that impede on customers parked around your vehicles, emergency access or deemed to be unsafe or inappropriate by Stadium Management.
- Any type of swimming pool, portable pool, hot tubs, water filled pickup trucks, or the like.
Allow Plenty of Time for Traffic Around the Stadium
With a capacity crowd expected, drivers are advised to allow themselves plenty of time when traveling near the stadium on game day. Traffic restrictions will be in place on local roads before and after the game. Fans must use I-95, I-495 or Route 140 to access Gillette Stadium.
Those not going to the game should seek alternate routes to their destination.
- Bill Belichick needs one win to pass Chuck Noll and take sole possession of fifth place on the NFL’s all-time wins list. Belichick and Noll are tied with 209 career wins.
- Tom Brady (46,017) needs 217 passing yards to move past Vinny Testaverde (46,233) into 8th place on the NFL’s all-time passing list.
- Brady (341) needs one touchdown against the Saints to move into a tie with Fran Tarkenton (342) for fourth place all-time and two to take sole possession of fourth place on the NFL’s all-time list.
- Julian Edelman has the highest punt return average in NFL history at 12.9 (87-1119) and is one of seven NFL players with a punt return average of 12.0 or above.
- Edelman needs one more punt return for a touchdown to set the team mark with his fourth punt returned for a touchdown. He is tied with Irving Fryar and Troy Brown with three returns for a touchdown.
- Edelman needs two receptions against the Saints to surpass his career high of 37 receptions that he had as a rookie in 2009.
- Edelman (354) needs six receiving yards to surpass his career high of 359 yards set as a rookie in 2009.
- Stephen Gostkowski is tied with Adam Vinatieri for the team lead with eight career 50-yard field goals and needs one more to break the tie and become the team’s all-time leader.
- Rob Ninkovich has the most fumble recoveries of any NFL player over the last four years (2010-13) with 10 and can add on to that total with a fumble recovery against the Saints.
- Stevan Ridley has a career average of 4.42 yards (424- 1,878) and needs 26 carries against the Saints to meet the team qualification of 450 attempts to have the highest rushing average in team history.
- The Patriots have forced a turnover in 32 straight games dating back to 2011, the longest active streak in the NFL. The last time that the Patriots did not register at least one takeaway was on Oct. 9, 2011 vs. the NY Jets.
New England Ties
- Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael is a native of Framingham, Mass., and attended Medway High School before going on to graduate from Boston College, where he was a four-year letterman on the baseball team. Carmichael began his coaching career as the assistant offensive line coach at the University of New Hampshire in 1994.
- Saints Tight Ends Coach Terry Malone graduated from Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., where he played four seasons at tight end. Malone coached the tight ends at his alma mater during the 1985 season and also served as the offensive line coach at Boston College in 1996.
- Saints Running Backs Coach Dan Roushar spent the 1993 football season as an assistant at the University of Rhode Island.
- Saints DT John Jenkins is a native of Meriden, Conn. and attended Francis T. Maloney High School.
New Orleans Ties
- Patriots Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Harold Nash is a New Orleans native and graduated from Southwestern Louisiana in Lafayette, La.
- Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan won two Super Bowl rings with the Patriots during his four-year stint as linebackers coach from 2000 to 2003. Ryan sent two of his linebackers to the Pro Bowl in Tedy Bruschi and Willie McGinest and contributed to a defense that allowed the fewest points in the NFL in 2003.
- Saints Wide Receivers Coach Henry Ellard played in five games for the Patriots during his final season as a player in the NFL in 1998.
- Saints TE Benjamin Watson was selected by the Patriots in the first round of the 2004 NFL Draft and won a Super Bowl in his first year with the team in 2004. Watson compiled 2,102 yards and 20 touchdowns in six seasons with New England before signing with the Cleveland Browns in March 2010.
- Patriots DL Rob Ninkovich was drafted by the Saints in the fifth round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He was waived twice by New Orleans and tried to make the team in 2009 as a long snapper before landing in New England on Aug. 2, 2009.
- Patriots Area Scout Tim Heffelfinger spent seven years as an area scout for the Saints from 1998-2004.
Former College Teammates
- Patriots LB Dont’a Hightower teamed up with Saints RB Mark Ingram for three seasons from 2008-2010 at the University of Alabama. The pair won a national championship in 2009, the same season that Ingram won the Heisman Trophy.
- Patriots RB Leon Washington and Saints DT Brodrick Bunkley were teammates for four seasons from 2002- 2005 at Florida State University.
- Patriots DB Kyle Arrington was teammates with WR Marques Colston for two seasons from 2004-2005 at Hofstra University.
- Patriots T Nate Solder and Saints LS Justin Drescher were teammates for three seasons from 2007-2009 at the University of Colorado.
- Saints DE Glenn Foster was teammates with Patriots DE Michael Buchanan for four seasons (2009-2012), DB Tavon Wilson for three seasons (2009-2011), and TE Michael Hoomanawanui for one season (2009) at the University of Illinois.
- Hoomanawanui was also teammates with Saints RB Pierre Thomas during the 2006 season at Illinois.
What to Look for
- Could Rob Gronkowski finally return today? Apparently the outlooks is not as optimistic as it was only a few days ago. While reports earlier in the week had him playing today, media reports are now saying that the tight end has not been medically cleared to play. According to the official injury report, Gronkowski is listed as questionable.
- The Patriots defense will have their hands full with two of the most dangerous offensive players in the game. Saints QB Drew Brees ranks second in the leauge iwht 1,722 passing yards with 12 touchdown while tight end Jimmy Graham has a league best 593 receiving yards and six touchdowns.
- The Saints know how to control the clock and can maintain possession. Last week against the Bears, New Orleans held on to the ball for 36 minutes.
- The Patriots may give up the 17th most yards on defense but good luck getting points. The Pats go on lockdown once the ball goes inside their own 20-yard line, only giving up a touchdown on 35.71 percent of all red zone visits by their opponents. Giving up only 70 points through the first five games, New England has given up the third least points so far this season.