Pa­tri­ots’ Brady ready for cold weather, Charg­ers

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - NFL - By Mike Shalin Mike Shalin is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

FOXBOR­OUGH, Mass. — His coach down­plays it. Tom Brady does not.

Brady knows the cold­weather New Eng­land Pa­tri­ots should have an ad­van­tage when they host the warmweather Los An­ge­les Charg­ers in Sun­day’s AFC di­vi­sion­al­round game.

Hours be­fore, Pa­tri­ots coach Bill Belichick said, “We’re play­ing the Charg­ers. We’re not play­ing the weather — what­ever it is, it is. We’re go­ing to be on the same field” when asked about hav­ing no ad­van­tage. His quar­ter­back made it clear this team is quite com­fort­able in the ex­pected chilly con­di­tions.

New Eng­land will ap­par­ently dodge the snow­storm that’s mak­ing its way to the East Coast, but it will be cold. It’s the kind of cold the Pa­tri­ots, who are seek­ing their eighth straight trip to the AFC ti­tle game and a sixth Su­per Bowl ti­tle in the Brady era, know well.

“I just think the abil­ity to prac­tice in it,” Brady told his reg­u­lar Fri­day me­dia ses­sion. “Like to­day, it’s very sim­i­lar to what we’re go­ing to get on Sun­day, so just know­ing how many lay­ers you have to put on, and kind of how you’re go­ing to feel when you have the nice, warm, heated benches out there like we will on Sun­day.

“It’s cold and that’s just this part of this time of year. But it’s good to be play­ing when it’s cold out, it’s good to be play­ing this time of year in Foxbor­ough.”

Thurs­day pro­vided the home team with much of what this area has to of­fer in early Jan­uary.

“The weather changed a lit­tle L.A. Charg­ers at New Eng­land, 10 a.m. /95.7 bit yes­ter­day,” Brady said. “It snowed at the start, then got sunny, then got cloudy, then got windy, then got sunny and it was just a bunch of dif­fer­ent things. Just to prac­tice in it, we’re pre­pared for it, and hope­fully we can use some of the things that we’ve learned to our ad­van­tage.”

Brady has reached the AFC ti­tle game 12 times in 16 sea­sons as a starter. He will play in his record 38th post­sea­son game and comes in 27-10. He’s 41 years old and hasn’t had the great­est sea­son of his stel­lar ca­reer, but still gets, well, chills think­ing about play­ing in the cold.

“It’s a good time of year,” he said. “I think ev­ery­one’s ex­cited to be out there. It’s just a great en­vi­ron­ment of foot­ball.”

Brady and coun­ter­part Philip Rivers (37) com­bine to be the old­est quar­ter­backs to face each other in a post­sea­son game, break­ing the mark Brady had with Pey­ton Man­ning.

“That’s pretty cool,” Brady said of the age record. “It’s just fun to be around; I’m out there to­day prac­tic­ing and it’s what­ever de­grees out: 10 de­grees, 15 de­grees with the real feel. And I’m sit­ting here just play­ing with my friends, throw­ing the foot­ball around. So it’s just a great bless­ing to be able to do it, do it here for this team, which I have loved to do. Philip’s been on the same team — it means a lot.

“We all work hard to get to this point. These things aren’t guar­an­teed, very tough to get to this point in the sea­son. Ev­ery team four months ago thought they’d be play­ing in these games. The re­al­ity is that’s not the way the NFL is. We’re very for­tu­nate and we have to go out and try and take ad­van­tage of it.”

Brady is 7-0 head to head with Rivers. The only time Rivers has beaten New Eng­land was in 2008 when Brady was in­jured and Matt Cas­sel was at QB.

But Rivers has had a ter­rific sea­son, and the Charg­ers won at Bal­ti­more in the wild-card round. This sea­son, Los An­ge­les was 7-1 on the road, while New Eng­land was 8-0 at home.

“He’s a great player,” Brady said. “They’ve had a lot of great teams in San Diego over the years, led by him. He’s a great passer, tough, very ac­cu­rate. He’s a great leader. So when I think of that team it’s just he’s an emo­tional leader and he al­ways gets those guys go­ing. They al­ways have a good of­fense. It’s a good team, ob­vi­ously they’re good in all three phases, they’ve won a lot of games this year, gone on the road a bunch, so they’re very men­tally tough. It’s go­ing to take our best to win.”

Led by Rivers, Brady notes the Charg­ers’ abil­ity to come back in games, some­thing that has been a Brady trade­mark.

“They were down 14 to K.C. with four min­utes left, down a bunch to the Steel­ers,” Brady said. “You just can’t count them out.”

Steven Senne / As­so­ci­ated Press

Pa­tri­ots quar­ter­back Tom Brady warms up in the cold at prac­tice the week. With a high tem­per­a­ture of 29 fore­cast for Sun­day, New Eng­land will host the Los An­ge­les Charg­ers.

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