Patriots Prepare to Face Tough Texans Team

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They weren't just filling in.

Brady said that he has confidence in his wide receiver corps, one that many have labeled suspect and one that's been weakened by Julian Edelman's four-game suspension at the season's outset, his punishment for violating the National Football League policy on performance-enhancing substances.

"I think what you saw a year ago, you'll just see better", McCourty said.

"Good execution wins games", said Brady of the play, per ESPN. "Phillip (Dorsett) and Chris (Hogan) obviously I played a lot with them a year ago, Cordarrelle (Patterson) is new and he's done some good things, obviously, the reason why he's here. They have a very good defensive front". The team will be relying on Cordarrelle Patterson, Chris Hogan, and Phillip Dorsett to make plays in the passing game.

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That will see call-ups for either Danny Rose or the recalled Luke Shaw at left-wing back with Marcus Rashford or Fabian Delph replacing Sterling.

But the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, who has played in just eight games over the past two seasons, said he's not anxious about what other people are saying about him.

"I think I can do it", he said. "It will be a challenge for me".

"If I'm going to do something at this point, it's going to be because I enjoy it", said Brady. I think it's going to be very hard to do.

"Once you stop, you're done. And I think I'm not ready to say I'm done, because I don't feel like I am".

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"The last couple years, a lot of parts about football weren't enjoyable when they should've been", the 41-year-old Brady admitted in an interview documented for the epilogue. "I mean, this guy had beaten Alabama in a national championship game in front of 100,000 people on national television and nearly did it the year before".

Star receiver DeAndre Hopkins has dealt with a revolving door at quarterback, including playing with four different ones last season, since he was drafted in 2013. "I'm sure there are a lot of people who are cautiously optimistic". Maybe I'm just caring about certain things that really matter, like my family, like people's health, like life and death. With everybody back this year the sky's the limit for this defense and myself.

"I actually didn't wear a knee brace back then", said Brady. Houston, on the other hand, has some lofty expectations to live up to following Deshaun Watson's play last season. The Patriots are 5-0 against Baltimore, 4-0 against Chicago and 4-0 against Jacksonville.

The Watson-DeAndre Hopkins connection was electric last season, and Hopkins is talented enough to dominate anything the Patriots throw at him coverage wise. There were rumblings when backup/presumed heir apparent Jimmy Garoppolo was traded and, clearly, there was disgruntlement of some sort between Brady and Belichick, with owner Robert Kraft intervening after the season.

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He shined in a 36-33 loss to the Patriots in Week 3, going 22 of 33 for 301 yards and two touchdowns with two picks, and rushing for 41 yards on eight carries. Hightower said putting pressure on Watson early will be key to trying to slow him down. They lost Marcus Peters, who's now with the Rams, and I think Keenan Allen will be too much for Kansas City.