Pats, Brady heat up in December
New England hasn’t lost a home game to Minnesota since 2000
Foxborough, Mass. The month of December has been a special time for the New England Patriots during the Bill Belichick and Tom Brady era.
Since the pair arrived in 2000, the Patriots are 64-13 during the final month of the regular season. Brady has been the starter for all but six of those victories — four during his rookie season in 2000 and two in 2008 when he suffered a seasonending knee injury in the opener.
Still, the 41-year-old quarterback’s 58 December wins are the most in NFL history. His .843 winning percentage is secondbest among quarterbacks in the Super Bowl era. Roger Staubach (17-3, .850) is first.
Patriots special teams captain Matt Slater is one of the few players left on New England’s roster with enough tenure to appreciate that run and the emphasis Belichick puts on this portion of the season.
“As coach says, ‘Football season starts after Thanksgiving,’ ” Slater said.
Just for good measure, Brady is 75-18 in regular-season games played on or after Thanksgiving.
Three of their final five games are at home, beginning with Sunday’s matchup with Minnesota.
But even after the Patriots (83) earned their latest post-turkey Day win last week over the Jets, Slater said the message coming from Belichick and Brady is far from a state of being content.
“I don’t think we’ve played our best football yet,” Slater said.
That’s not good news for a Vikings team that is in position to make the playoffs, but is also a few losses away from peering in from the outside. Minnesota (6-4-1) has lost four straight against New England, though they haven’t met since 2014. The Vikings’ last victory win in New England was in 2000 — Belichick’s first year.
Running back Dalvin Cook said the Vikings are trying to concentrate on themselves and not the Patriots’ mystique .
“We respect Tom, we respect the Patriots, we respect everything they’ve got going. But it’s more about us at this point,” he said.
Matt Slater, left, says the Patriots haven’t played their best football yet this season. New England is 64-13 in December since Tom Brady, right, arrived.