Brady: Momentum doesn't carry over in NFL

968875.jpg

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."

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

falcons_devonta_freeman_092616.jpg

Freeman, Coleman lift Falcons past Saints, 45-32

NEW ORLEANS - Devonta Freeman practically wore out the Superdome turf with one long gain after another, Tevin Coleman wouldn't be denied near the goal line and the New Orleans Saints hardly looked like the team that made an emotional homecoming nearly 10 years ago to the day.

Cheers turned to boos, and many fans filed out early.

Coleman rushed for three touchdowns, Matt Ryan passed for two TDs and Deion Jones returned an interception 90 yards for a score to help the Atlanta Falcons beat the winless New Orleans Saints 45-32 on Monday night.

"It was real fun. Everybody was doing their job and everybody was playing for each other," Coleman said. "Everything clicked, and we got it done. It's a real big win for us to beat this team here."

The game coincided with New Orleans' celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the Saints' memorable return to the Superdome on Sept. 25, 2006, 13 months after Hurricane Katrina. But there would be no reprise of New Orleans' dominant and emotional 23-3 triumph over Atlanta a decade ago.

The Saints' depleted defense struggled to slow Freeman, who rushed for 152 yards and caught five passes for 55 yards. Coleman also was effective in the passing game out of the backfield, with three receptions for 47 yards to go with his 42 yards rushing.

"We have to stop the run better," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They were over 200 yards in situations where you knew the run was coming, even at the end of the game."

Ryan finished with 240 yards passing for Atlanta (2-1), which did not turn the ball over and moved into sole possession of first place in the NFC South.

Drew Brees put up his usual big numbers - 376 yards and three TDs passing - and hit tight end Coby Fleener seven times for 109 yards and a TD. But Brees' tipped pass that resulted in Jones' TD return early in the fourth quarter gave the Falcons a 45-25 lead that proved too much for New Orleans to overcome.