FOXBORO, Mass. (AP) — New England’s Bill Belichick will get his second chance to join Don Shula and George Halas as the only coaches in NFL history with 300 career regular-season wins when the Patriots host the Saints this weekend.
The Patriots are coming off the worst loss in Belichick’s coaching career and are 1-3 for the third consecutive season.
New Orleans enters the games losers of its past two games, but won its most recent visit to New England in 2021.
The Saints also come to town with one of the league’s top rushing defenses, having allowed just one touchdown on the ground this season.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m./ Sunday.
Patriots Player to Watch
CB Myles Bryant. With rookie CB Christian Gonzalez likely sidelined and it unclear whether trade acquisition J.C. Jackson will be on the field, look for Bryant to get a lot of snaps this week. Bryant had a career-high 10 tackles last week and two forced fumbles last week at Dallas.
Saints Player to Watch
Saints rookie defensive tackle Bryan Bresee had a sack among three tackles for loss last week as he continues to demonstrate an ability to make a quick transition from the college game at Clemson to the pros.
Saints RB Alvin Kamara vs. Patriots linebackers. Kamara had 24 touches last week on 11 carries and 13 receptions. The primary duty of trying to keep track of him will fall on New England linebackers Ja’Whaun Bentley and Jahlani Tavai.
Saints tight end Juwan Johnson missed practice time this week after injuring his calf during pregame warmups in Week 4. Guard Andrus Peat has been sidelined by a concussion. Safety Lonnie Johnson (hamstring) has sat out practice this week and cornerback Paulson Adebo returned to practice after missing two games with a hamstring injury.
Patriots edge rusher Matt Judon is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery on his biceps. Also beginning the practice week as a non-participant was rookie CB Christian Gonazlez, who is dealing with a shoulder injury. CB Jonathan Jones began the week as a limited participant after sitting out the past three games with an ankle injury.
This marks the tenth meeting in New England, where the Patriots have won five of the previous nine, and three of the past four. New Orleans’ past three losses in New England (2001, 2005 and 2013) came during the Tom Brady era.
It’s a good time to start Saints WR Michael Thomas. He led the team with 53 receiving yards last week and has 50 or more receiving yards in 10 of his past 11 games. He’s also looking to get his seventh game in a row on the road with five-plus catches. He had five catches for 89 yards in his only game against New England in 2017.
Stats and Stuff
- The Saints have allowed just one rushing touchdown this season.
- Saints QB Derek Carr passed for three TDs and threw one interception in his previous game against the Patriots last December, when Carr was with Las Vegas. Carr has passed for just two TDs in four starts with the Saints and the Saints offense is averaging just one TD per game. Change-of-pace QB and utility player Taysom Hill had a TD rushing in the previous meeting.
- RB Alvin Kamara had 84 scrimmage yards (51 rushing, 33 receiving) in his season debut in Week 4 after serving a three-game suspension. Kamara had 13 receptions last week, his sixth game with 10-plus receptions, tied for third most all time by a running back. Amara has at least 80 scrimmage yards in five straight games and had 118 scrimmage yards (89 rushing, 29 receiving) and a TD reception in the previous meeting.
- WR Chris Olave has at least six catches for 85 or more yards in three of four games this season, with last week being the exception (one catch for 4 yards).
- WR Michael Thomas led the Saints with 53 yards receiving last week and has at least 50 yards receiving in 10 of his past 11 games.
- DT Bryan Bresee last week became the NFL’s second rookie this season with three tackles for loss in one game.
- LB Pete Werner tied for the team lead with eight tackles last week and has seven-plus tackles in four straight games.
- CB Marshon Lattimore had 10 tackles and an interception in the previous meeting. He’s tied for third in the NFL with six passes defensed this season.
- Rookie kicker Blake Grupe has made nine of 10 field- goal attempts and has scored 32 of the Saints’ 62 total points. Patriots coach Bill Belichick (299) will try again to join Don Shula (328) and George Halas (318) as the only NFL coaches with 300 regular-season wins. Belichick is 5-2 against the Saints.
- The Patriots extended their streak to 23 consecutive games with a sack last week at Dallas. The most recent time New England didn’t have a sack was Dec. 21, 2021, against Buffalo. It is the third-longest streak in the NFL behind Baltimore (25) and Kansas City (24).
- QB Mac Jones passed for 270 yards in the previous meeting with New Orleans. He has 10 TDs, two INTs and a 93.9 rating in his past seven home starts.
- RB Ezekiel Elliott has a TD in two of his three games against the Saints.
- WR Kendrick Bourne had six catches for 96 yards and a TD in the previous meeting. He has three receiving TDs in three games against New Orleans.
- TE Hunter Henry had five catches in the previous meeting and has a TD catch in two of three games against the Saints.
- S Kyle Dugger had a career-high 15 tackles last week.
- P Bryce Baringer is leading the NFL with 11 punts inside the 20-yard line