DID YOU KNOW?
The Patriots and Giants have finished the preseason and regular season against each other, and will now finish the postseason together. The Patriots beat the Giants 27-20 in the preseason finale Aug. 30 at Gillette Stadium and 38-35 in the regular-season finale Dec. 30 at Giants Stadium.
CITY OF TRI-UMPH?
For a city with an inveterate inferiority complex, Boston has been feeling awfully superior lately. The Red Sox just won a second World Series in four years after an 86-season drought. The Patriots, already winners of three Super Bowls this decade, are storming into Sunday's game on an unprecedented 18-0 rampage. And the Celtics, only months after being accused of trying to finish with the NBA's worst record, have the league's top mark at 34-8.
No city has ever fielded a threesome in the most popular national team sports as dominant as the current Patriots, Red Sox and Celtics. The closest – fittingly – was New York from 1969 through 1970, when the Jets won Super Bowl III, the Mets won the 1969 World Series and the Knicks won the 1970 basketball title.
But New York had multiple baseball and football teams, which Boston does not. That inspired Carl Morris, a statistics professor across the Charles River at Harvard, to calculate the chances of a monofranchised city having the three best teams in one year: about 1 in 29,000.
“I'm not sure if people here realize how unlikely this thing really is,” Morris said. “No city is ever going to see anything like this again.”
MEET A PATRIOT
Mike Vrabel, a 6-foot-4, 261-pound linebacker, was one of the free-agent signings that helped the Patriots to their first of three Super Bowl rings this decade back in 2001. He has been on both of the franchise's Super Bowl-winning teams since.
Vrabel, 32, moved from inside to outside linebacker in 2007 and had one of his best seasons. He tied a career high with four forced fumbles and was named to his first Pro Bowl. He frequently lines up as an eligible receiver in goal-line situations and is more than a decoy. He has caught eight career passes, all for touchdowns.
The pre-med major at Ohio State, now considered one of the league's more physical players, is interested in coaching after his playing career.
STAT OF THE DAY
The Patriots' 4.1-yard rushing average this season was their highest since 1985. They have averaged 4.9 yards in their two playoff games.
DAILY INJURY REPORT
Tom Brady participated in his first practice since injuring his ankle in the AFC Championship Game, though to what extent was not revealed. He did have his right ankle heavily wrapped.