December 02, 2015

Tom Brady addressed everything he could about the New England Patriots' first loss of the season and the challenges they'll face Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles in Foxboro.

Brady, nor coach Bill Belichick, had any desire to discuss Rob Gronkowski's personal media release and Twitter video explaining his sprained right knee that will keep him out of this contest.

Chip Kelly did his own damage control fending off questions about a reported meeting with USC and a digging into how his players spend their time at the practice facility during the week.

All the Patriots and Eagles wanted to do was talk about football.

How does New England (10-1) bounce back after blowing a 14-point fourth-quarter lead in Sunday night's 30-24 overtime loss at Denver?

"As soon as that game's over with, we try to turn the page as quickly as possible," said Brady, who threw three touchdown passes to give him a league-high 28. "We have to move on with different challenges, whether that's personnel-related or scheme-related. Every week you just have to start out with a fresh slate."

What did Kelly tell his team about the possibility of him leaving for another job?

"I've never been leaving, and that's my point," Kelly said. "It's perception versus reality. The reality is the New England Patriots, and let's prepare to go against a really good football team."

The reality also is that the Eagles (4-7) have lost three straight. The last two - a 45-17 loss to Tampa Bay and 45-14 drubbing at the hands of Detroit on Thanksgiving - have come without Sam Bradford, who suffered a concussion and an injury to the AC joint in his left shoulder in a loss to Miami on Nov. 15.

Bradford has participated in practice this week and said he expects to play, but Mark Sanchez would get the call again if any unforeseen issues arise before kickoff.

"I feel much better than I did at this point last week," Bradford said. "I'm much more comfortable out there with what I've been able to do on the field. It's starting to feel good."

Despite the slump, Philadelphia remains very much alive in the weak NFC East with co-leaders Washington and the New York Giants sitting at 5-6.

"The good news is we're only a game back in our division," Bradford said. Obviously, the season hasn't gone the way we hoped for. That being said, we're still in a position to get on a roll here and make the playoffs. Every game from here on out is important."

It's all but certain the Patriots will head to the postseason and need a victory and a Jets loss to clinch the AFC East for the seventh consecutive year this week. A victory and some help would secure a playoff spot if the Jets win.

New England's main concerns revolve around health, though. Gronkowski will be evaluated on a week-to-week basis, and Brady's other favorite target, receiver Julian Edelman, is out after having surgery on his broken left foot.

Scott Chandler and Brandon Bolden caught touchdown passes against Denver, and Danny Amendola hopes to return after sitting out last week with a knee injury.

"Danny tells me (he's ready) every week," Brady said. "Danny's a tough guy. He's a warrior."

Brady could be directing most of his passes toward Eagles rookie cornerback Eric Rowe, who will get the start with Nolan Carroll out with an ankle injury. Rowe didn't have much success Thanksgiving against Calvin Johnson, who burned him for a pair of touchdowns.

''I don't know how I'm going to feel out there this week,'' Rowe said. ''I know (Brady's) going to come at me. I'm a rookie cornerback. I know he's going to look my way first and I've got to be ready for it.''

Despite the fact that Philadelphia hasn't reached the 20-point mark during its skid, Belichick is prepared for the Eagles' up-tempo style to give the Patriots trouble.

"Offensively it's probably as good a group of skill players as I've seen," Belichick said. "They're at least two-deep and more really at some positions on the skill positions - quarterback, running back, tight end, receiver. They have a lot of good players at all those spots. The play multiple guys, they have great depth there and they keep bringing them at you."

The Patriots have won all four of Brady's starts against the Eagles, including Super Bowl XXXIX. He's thrown for nine touchdowns and hasn't thrown a pick in 165 attempts against them.

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