McCourty expects to be challenged by Rivers

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McCourty expects to be challenged by Rivers

By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- Philip Rivers threw one interception last year when the SanDiego Chargers hosted the New England Patriots in Week 7.

That interception was made by then-rookie cornerback DevinMcCourty. It was McCourtys first career interception.

Six more picks later, McCourty finished his standout rookiecampaign with seven total interceptions, and most certainly opened the eyes ofall quarterbacks and offensive coordinators around the league.

Now in his second season, McCourty is preparing to faceRivers and the high-powered Chargers offense for a second time, this Sunday atGillette Stadium.

Youve got to just compete, said McCourty on Thursday.This week, with Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd both being the receivers,theyre guys that can get vertical down the field as well. So weve got ourhands full again.

Thats what you kind of expect. In the NFL, you have morereceivers that are bigger guys and still can run very well and run good routes.So each week, youve got to be ready to go against top guys.

The Chargers are presumably saying the same thing aboutMcCourty, after the game he played against them last year, and the strongseason he finished with.

Still, McCourty believes teams are going to take theirchances, even if hes put himself on the map.

Last year I came in and I was a rookie, and I was asked thesame question as a rookie, Do you think theyll challenge you deep? And Isaid, Yea and they did, said McCourty. This year, with the guys we have upfront, I mean, of course, still, Im only in my second year, and we got Ras-IDowling out there with Kyle Arrington and me. Teams are going to take theirchances.

They have good receivers. They believe in their receivers.So theyre always going to take those chances down the field.

I dont believe in those kind of things, added McCourty.I dont think offenses or players look at what youve done before and say,You know what, were going to leave that guy alone today. As a corner, Iexpect each week to go out there and be challenged, because this week weregoing out there, and weve got Malcom Floyd and Vincent Jackson, with PhilipRivers. I dont think theyre going to look at me and say, Were not throwingover there.

Danny Picard is on twitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

Patriots-Steelers game notes: Pats shooting for record ninth Super Bowl berth

A quick look at the information you need to know about tonight's Patriots-Steelers game:

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

TEAM RECORDS: Patriots 15-2, Steelers 13- 5

GAME TIME: 6:40 p.m. EST

TV: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms and Tracy Wolfson

NATIONAL RADIO NETWORKS: Westwood One

NATIONAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Kevin Harlan, Dan Fouts and Ross Tucker

LOCAL RADIO NETWORK: Anchored by WBZ-FM (98.5 The Sports Hub)

LOCAL RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Bob Socci and Scott Zolak

ALL-TIME SERIES BETWEEN THE TEAMS: Steelers lead, 15-14

LAST MEETING: Patriots 27, Steelers 16 on Oct. 23, 2016 at Heinz Field

* * * *
QUICK FACTS
-- Bill Belichick is coaching in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game. Tom Brady is playing in his NFL-record 11th conference championship game.

-- The Patriots are 8-4 in AFC Championship Games, including 5-1 in games played in Foxboro and 4-1 at Gillette Stadium.

-- The Patriots are 30-19 in postseason games, including 19-4 at home (3-1 at Schaefer/Sullivan/Foxboro Stadium, 16-3 at Gillette).

-- The Patriots' 30 postseason victories are tied with the 49ers for fourth-most in NFL history, behind the Cowboys (34), Steelers (34) and Packers (32).

-- The Patriots' .612 winning percentage in postseason games is third-best in NFL history, behind the Ravens (15-8, .652) and Packers (34-21, .618).

* * * *
MILESTONES
-- If the Patriots win today they will qualify for their ninth Super Bowl, most in NFL history. They are currently tied with the Cowboys, Broncos and Steelers at eight.

-- If the Patriots win today, Robert Kraft will set an NFL record for most conference championships by an owner (8) in the Super Bowl era. He is currently tied with the Denver Broncos' Pat Bowler at seven.

-- If the Patriots win today, Bill Belichick will move into a tie with Bill Walsh for third place on the NFL list of best postseason coaching winning percentage. Belichick (who would be 25-10 with a victory) and Walsh (10-4) would have .714 winning percentage. Belichick is currently in fifth place, two percentage points behind Joe Gibbs (17-7, .708). Vince Lombardi (9-1, .900) is in first place and Tom Flores (8-3. .727) is second.

-- If the Patriots win today, Belichick will advance to his seventh Super Bowl as a head coach, which would be most in NFL history. He is currently tied with Don Shula at six.

-- Tom Brady (8) needs one more playoff game with three or more touchdown passes to tie Joe Montana (9) for most three-plus TD playoff games since the 1970 NFL merger.

-- Stephen Gostkowski (142) needs 11 points to tie Gary Anderson for third place on the NFL's all-time list of kicking points in the postseason. Adam Vinatieri (234) is first and David Akers (175) is second.

-- Julian Edelman (76) needs nine receptions to tie Andre Reed (85) for sixth place on the NFL's all-time list of postseason receptions. Michael Irvin is fifth at 88, and Hines Ward and Wes Welker are tied for third at 88.

* * * *
TONIGHT'S OFFICIALS
-- REFEREE: Terry McAulay. UMPIRE: Rich Hall. HEAD LINESMAN: Wayne Mackie. LINE JUDGE: Mark Perlman. FIELD JUDGE: Scott Edwards. SIDE JUDGE: Boris Cheek. BACK JUDGE: Tony Steratore. ALTERNATES: John Parry, Mark Steinkerchner, Rich Martinez. REPLAY OFFICIAL: Mike Wimmer. SUPERVISOR: Gary Slaughter.

Brady goes back to high school for pregame social media post

Brady goes back to high school for pregame social media post

Tom Brady's pregame Facebook and Instagram post Sunday shows him wearing a different No. 12 uniform, that of Serra High School in San Mateo, Calif.

PATRIOTS-STEELERS PREGAME

The Patriots quarterback, looking for his seventh Super Bowl trip Sunday night when he faces the Pittsburgh Steelers at Gillette Stadium in his and his team's sixth consecutive AFC Championship Game, posted the old photo and message on both his Facebook and newly opened Instagram accounts.

My family, my friends, my teammates, my coaches, Pats nation, my schools, our fans... I'm playing for you today. LET'S GO

Posted by Tom Brady on Sunday, January 22, 2017