When select members of the Texans agreed their previous meeting with the Patriots was the biggest game in team history, how many eyebrows do you figure went arching in the Patriots locker room?
Even though the Patriots are littered with young players, anybody who's been in New England longer than three seasons has already played in five playoff games, including a Super Bowl. Tom Brady alone has quarterbacked 1.75 seasons worth of playoff football and the Patriots are 17-7 in those games.
On Monday, Bill Belichick acknowledged that the experience could help New England. With, of course, the requisite caveats attached.
"I think (experience) has some (relevance) but I dont think it is overriding by any means," said Belichick. "You can find plenty of examples of teams and players with limited experience that have done very well and plenty of those same examples where it hasnt gone so well.
"But I think like anything else, if youve been through it once you have a little more knowledge and a little more confidence and understanding of whats going to happen than if youve never been through it before," Belichick added. "I think there is some advantage to it but I think the advantage goes to the team that plays well, that executes well, makes good decisions. I think thats more of an advantage than experience or no experience."
Matt Schaub has quarterbacked one playoff game in his nine-year career, Saturday's win over the Bengals. For the Texans, that was indeed their quarterback's first rodeo. If he can't hold up on the road, in the cold at Gillette Stadium less than a month after coming out somnambulant in December, the Texans have no chance.
Football is coming.
The Patriots announced on Thursday that veterans will report to training camp on Wednesday, July 26 and that the first public practice will take place the following day.
Each of the team's first four practices -- from July 27-30 -- are scheduled to take place on the practice fields behind Gillette Stadium "in the nine o'clock hour," according to the Patriots. Updates to the training camp schedule, including more specific start times for practices, can be found at patriots.com/trainingcamp.
The Patriots Hall of Fame will hold its induction ceremony for former corner Raymond Clayborn on Saturday, July 29 around midday following that morning's training camp practice. Held on the plaza outside the Hall at Patriot Place, the ceremony will be free and open to the public.
The Patriots will host the Jaguars for two days of joint practices open to the public on Monday, Aug. 7 and Tuesday, Aug. 8. The preseason opener for both clubs will take place at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 10.
Tom Brady's off-the-field workout habits are the subject of serious curiosity for those in New England and beyond. Thanks to Under Armour's Instagram account, followers got a brief glimpse of what Brady does to stay in shape.
OK. It was more like a glimpse at what he did one day in Tokyo.
The video of Brady in the dohyo ring was shot at the Sakaigawa sumo stable in Tokyo on Thursday. According to Kyodo News, leading the training session was ozeki Goeido, who won last year's Autumn Grand Sumo Tournament.
"For them to welcome me means very much to me. It's hard to describe in words how special that was," Brady said.
Brady bounced around China before heading to Japan to continue to help promote Under Armour and in particular its "recovery sleepwear" line. He threw a pass on the Great Wall, and he explained that it was his "dream" to play a game on the continent.