Brady: Momentum doesn't carry over in NFL

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Brady: Momentum doesn't carry over in NFL

FOXBORO -- The New York Giants lost five of their final eight regular-season games in 2011. And they won the Super Bowl.

The Packers went 3-3 in their final six regular-season games in 2010. And they won the Super Bowl.

The Saints lost their final three regular-season games in 2009. And they won the Super Bowl.

The Cardinals went 2-4 in their final six regular-season games in 2008. And lost the Super Bowl on a miraculous last-minute drive by the Steelers.

The Giants lost two of their last three regular-season games in 2007. And they won the Super Bowl.

The Colts lost three of their final five regular-season games in 2006. They allowed 219, 275, 133, 191 and 150 yards on the ground in those games. And they won the Super Bowl.

Momentum? History says it starts when the regular-season ends and not before.

"I think you want to be playing well so you have confidence going into the playoffs, theres no question about that, but like I said, whatever we do this weekend isnt going to have any bearing on what happens in the playoff game the following week," said Tom Brady. "Whats going to have a bearing on the playoff game is how we prepare for that week and the opponent and our scheme and our execution. Were trying to build some confidence this week in what were doing, go out and have good practices, and go out and see if we can execute better than we have been."

This week's opponent is the Miami Dolphins. By the time they kick off at 4:25 pm, the Patriots should know their chances of earning a first-round bye. A Texans loss to the Colts earlier in the afternoon would open the door for New England to get a bye with a win. If the Texans win, the Patriots would need an improbable win by the Chiefs over Denver later in the evening to have the same shot.

Brady said the team will be up-to-date on what the scenarios are.

"I'm sure well all be aware of that, yeah. No question," he said. "But I dont think that changes what our goal is for the weekend. I think were trying to win this game regardless. It could be different if some other teams win, but thats really out of our control. Were just going to go out and try to win."

Report: NFL paid Goodell over $31 million in 2015

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Report: NFL paid Goodell over $31 million in 2015

Roger Goodell's salary has reportedly fallen in recent years, but he's still paid handsomely for his work as NFL commissioner.

According to the Associated Press, Goodell earned just over $31 million for 2015. That's a seven percent decrease from the $34 million he received for 2014. 

The NFL's last tax return served as an indicator of Goodell's 2015 salary. The league's tax returns no longer have to be made public since it has changed its status from exempt to taxable, per the AP.

The next-highest paid executive at the NFL offices on Park Avenue? General counsel Jeff Pash, one of the most prominent players in the Deflategate sage, who earned $6.5 million in 2015, down from $7.5 million in 2014. 

Richardson suspended one game for violating personal conduct policy

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Richardson suspended one game for violating personal conduct policy

The NFL announced this week that Jets defensive lineman Sheldon Richardson has been suspended without pay for Week 1 of the 2016 regular season for violating the league's personal conduct policy. 

Richardson will miss his team's season-opener against the Bengals and will be eligible to return to the Jets active roster on Sep. 12. The Jets and the Patriots meet for the first of their two division games on Nov. 27. 

Richardson responded to the news of suspension on Thursday. 

In July of 2015, Richardson led police on a high-speed chase -- hitting speeds as high as 143 miles per hour -- in suburban St. Louis. Police reported a strong odor of marijuana in the car and inside found a loaded, semiautomatic handgun that was possessed legally. Richardson had a 12-year-old relative riding with him in his Bentley at the time of the incident.

In January, Richardson pleaded guilty to resisting arrest. Though he avoided jail time, he was sentenced to two years probation and 100 hours of community service. 

Richardson has been one of the league's best defensive linemen since entering the league as a first-rounder in 2013. He served a four-game suspension to start last season after violating the league's substance abuse policy.

PFF: Collins is 'the best linebacker in the AFC'

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PFF: Collins is 'the best linebacker in the AFC'

He may have been left off of the NFL Network's Top 100 list, but Jamie Collins isn't flying under the radar at Pro Football Focus.

On PFF's list of the top 10 defensive players in the AFC, the Patriots linebacker came in at No. 8 and was given the description as the top linebacker in the conference.

Collins' versatility within the confines of the Patriots defense is what makes him so valuable, PFF's John Kosko explains: 

"He doesn’t dominate in any one role like Luke Kuechly does in pass coverage and run defense, but he is very good at all facets of the game. Collins has the athleticism to cover TEs and HBs effectively, the explosiveness to rush the passer, and the size and strength to defend the run. 

"The former Southern Mississippi linebacker is arguably the most versatile player in the NFL, and allows Bill Belichick to employ a defense that confuses opposing quarterbacks. With the only knock against Collins being his 34 missed tackles the past two seasons, the Patriot is the best linebacker in the AFC."

Collins graded out as the No. 5 linebacker in football last year, per PFF's numbers. He ranked behind only Carolina's Luke Kuechly, Minnesota's Anthony Barr, Indianapolis' Jerrell Freeman and Seattle's KJ Wright. 

Fellow Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower earned the 10th-highest grade for linebackers last season, according to PFF -- a grade that likely would have been higher had his snap-count (602 in 2015) approached that of Collins (792).

While Collins is a rare physical talent, the argument could be made that it's Hightower who is the more important player to the Patriots defense given his prowess as a pass-rusher and run-defender. He also has myriad responsibilities as the extension of the team's coaching staff in the defensive huddle. 

In order to slow down opposing passing games, many Patriots defensive packages employ either five or six defensive backs and just two linebackers. Lucky for them, they have two of the best in the conference.

Both Collins and Hightower are entering contract years this year, and finding a way to keep them in-house figures to be near the top of the list of priorities for the Patriots front office.