Cam Newton is returning to the New England Patriots on a one-year contract.

The former NFL MVP spent the 2020 season with New England, who went 7-9 in a disappointing first year after the departure of Tom Brady.

Quarterback Newton often struggled in a new offense with a poor supporting cast that had also hindered Brady in his last season with the Pats.

However, he will get the chance to improve in 2021 after agreeing a new deal with the team ahead of free agency, according to reports from NFL Network and ESPN.

Newton's deal is reportedly to be worth up to $14million, having surprisingly agreed to a $1m contract last year.

At that price he still represents a more affordable option after a flurry of QB moves earlier in the offseason saw Matthew Stafford, Jared Goff and Carson Wentz find new teams.

The renewal of Newton ends speculation he will link up with the Washington Football Team, who are led by his former coach at the Carolina Panthers, Ron Rivera.

With the Buffalo Bills reaching the AFC Championship Game and the Miami Dolphins rebuilding quickly with extensive draft capital, New England are suddenly under pressure in the AFC East.

And the scrutiny on their performances in 2021 will intensify after Brady won the Super Bowl with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This move sees the Pats secure a starting QB ahead of free agency but will not preclude them from exploring other options at the position, according to reports.

Newton, 31, played 15 games (7-8) for New England – missing just one due to coronavirus - after injuries restricted him to playing only twice in his last of nine seasons with Carolina.

He threw for eight touchdowns to 10 interceptions with 2,657 yards through the air, though he did add 592 yards and 12 scores on the ground.

Newton also caught a TD pass from his leading receiver Jakobi Meyers in a win over the New York Jets.

After a painful year, the Patriots go into the offseason with Newton signed, one of the best salary cap situations in the league and the number 15 pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.

A month on from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' triumph in Super Bowl LV, teams across the NFL are preparing to make moves they hope will propel them towards glory.

This year's free agency period is unlikely to see a move as decisive as Tom Brady's decision to swap the New England Patriots for the Buccaneers.

However, with franchises dealing with a likely declining salary cap because of the impact of playing a season largely without fans, the chaos of the league's open market should still be fascinating to watch.

But which teams will be the most active when the NFL opens the window for teams to begin negotiating with free agents next Monday?

Here we look at those likeliest to be busy and the signings they could make.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Cap Space: $85.7million

From having the number one pick in the draft, which they will almost certainly use on Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, to having the most salary cap space in the league, the Jaguars are the franchise that holds the keys to the offseason.

New general manager Trent Baalke and first-time NFL head coach Urban Meyer have no shortage of needs to address following a one-win 2020 season.

Lawrence will require much-improved pass protection if he is to thrive and lead Jacksonville to contention. With that in mind, they should be in on the sweepstakes for All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams, who cannot be franchise-tagged by the San Francisco 49ers and is likely to command over $20m a year.

Given the money at their disposal, the Jags will be among the leading candidates to lure edge rusher Shaquil Barrett from the Buccaneers. He could form a formidable tandem with Jacksonville's 2019 first-round pick Josh Allen.

New York Jets

Cap Space: $72.4million

The Jets' offseason will be defined by whether they stick with Sam Darnold at quarterback or use their second overall pick to select one of the top four signal-callers in the draft class.

But beyond that pivotal decision, Jets GM Joe Douglas and Robert Saleh have an arduous task of turning one of the worst rosters in football into one primed to contend in the AFC.

Saleh may look to his old team, the 49ers, for whom he was defensive coordinator from 2017 to 2020, to build up his secondary in New York.

Richard Sherman could be tempted cross country to stay with Saleh, while slot cornerback K'Waun Williams is a New Jersey native who could offer the Jets a dependable presence familiar with the defense.

New England Patriots

Cap Space: $72.6million

Bill Belichick has rarely been one to spend big in his storied tenure as head coach and de-facto GM of the Patriots.

However, possessing a talent-poor roster and in danger of being left behind in the AFC East, this could be the year where he changes course, and Belichick has already made a significant move, bringing back offensive tackle Trent Brown in a trade with the Las Vegas Raiders.

New England must make a decision at quarterback after an unconvincing season from Cam Newton as Tom Brady's successor.

Regardless of who is under center, the Patriots will not compete if their quarterback does not have dynamic weapons among their pass-catchers.

Belichick has typically had a blindspot for wide receivers in the draft, so more experienced options with playmaking upside like Corey Davis and Marvin Jones could find a home in New England. Hunter Henry may also be a target if the Los Angeles Chargers decide not to pay the tight end who was franchise-tagged last year.

Indianapolis Colts

Cap Space: $50.5million

The Colts have the man they hope will be the answer at quarterback following Philip Rivers' retirement, backing Carson Wentz to rehabilitate his career under Frank Reich and acquiring him from the Philadelphia Eagles.

In terms of a support system, Wentz is heading into a team with a strong one in place, yet it could still be improved and the Colts have the wiggle room to be aggressive.

They may be an attractive destination for the aforementioned Williams, who would be an upgrade on the retired Anthony Castonzo at left tackle.

Veteran wide receiver T.Y. Hilton could leave in free agency and it would not be wise for the Colts to rely too heavily on Michael Pittman Jr at wideout despite a strong end to his rookie season.

As they look to maximise Wentz's chances of being successful, a move for a high-profile receiver like Allen Robinson could make a great deal of sense for a team looking to challenge the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Cap Space: $18.1million

The outlier here in terms of cap space but, having blown out the Chiefs in Super Bowl LV, the Buccaneers will surely not be short of players wanting to join them on short-term deals to link up with Brady and make another push for a Lombardi Trophy.

Tampa will be busy enough trying to hold on to as many in-house free agents as possible, but the Bucs will find intriguing potential temporary options in areas of need on the open market.

Reinforcements may well be required on the defensive line given the possibility of Barrett going elsewhere.

The Bucs have seen one veteran, Jason Pierre-Paul, thrive on the edge. Perhaps Justin Houston, who has 19 sacks over his last two seasons with the Colts, could be tempted by the chance to chase a ring in Tampa.

On the interior, the Buccaneers have a monstrous presence in Vita Vea, and their strength in that area could allow them to take a swing on a former first-rounder in Sheldon Rankins, who has seen his career with the New Orleans Saints stall because of injuries but had eight sacks back in 2018.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick will not accept the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Donald Trump.

Belichick – widely considered the greatest coach in NFL history – was set to be awarded the medal by United States president Trump on Thursday.

However, Belichick has spurned the offer after supporters of Trump – whose presidential term will end on January 20 – stormed the United States Capitol last week.

"Recently I was offered the opportunity to receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which I was flattered by out of respect for what the honour represents and admiration for prior recipients," Belichick said in a statement on Monday.

"Subsequently, the tragic events of last week occurred and the decision has been made not to move forward with the award.

"Above all, I am an American citizen with great reverence for our nation's values, freedom and democracy. I know I also represent my family and the New England Patriots team.

"One of the most rewarding things in my professional career took place in 2020 when, through the great leadership within our team, conversations about social justice, equality and human rights moved to the forefront and became actions.

"Continuing those efforts while remaining true to the people, team and country I love outweigh the benefits of any individual award."

The Presidential Medal of Freedom is awarded by the United States president "for especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavours".

Past recipients of the award include Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, Babe Ruth and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Belichick, who just concluded his 46th season in the NFL and 21st in New England – has enjoyed great success since taking charge of the Patriots in 2000.

The 68-year-old has won six Super Bowls, joining George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only coaches with six championships since the league began postseason play in 1933.

Belichick (280) sits third on the NFL's all-time list for regular-season wins, behind Don Shula (328) and Halas (318).

He is also third for regular and postseason victories with 311, adrift of Shula (347) and Halas (324), while Belichick tops the list for playoff triumphs (31).

Cam Newton remains the man Bill Belichick wants at quarterback for the New England Patriots, but defeat to the Los Angeles Rams told the coach an all-round improvement is required. 

Thursday's 24-3 road loss for the Patriots came amid a disappointing showing for Newton, the former Carolina Panthers star who was NFL MVP five years ago. 

He finished nine of 16 for 119 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception – a pick six – to go with seven carries and 16 yards. 

Collectively, New England were far from the level Belichick expects as they had their two-game winning run halted and slid to 6-7 for the season. 

An 18th consecutive year with a double-digit haul of regular-season wins is now beyond them, while Newton can only point to five touchdown passes in 2020 and he sits 23rd in passing yards (2,172 yards). 

The first question in Belichick's post-game news conference saw him asked whether he would continue to start with Newton. 

Cutting in, Belichick said: "Great question. I'm really glad you asked that. Cam's our quarterback." 

Asked to explain what Newton has done to deserve such support, Belichick again put it bluntly, saying: “He's our quarterback." 

Across the team, however, there must be improvements to meet the coach's demands. 

“We didn't do well enough to win tonight. We've all got to do a better job," Belichick added. 

"The Rams were the better team tonight, they deserve a lot of credit. We were out-coached, out-played, out-everything really. 

"They did a good job in all areas. We weren't really able to stay with them here. They're a good football team. They played well and they deserved to win. 

"We have to all do a better job, starting with me. it just wasn't our night tonight." 

Rams coach Sean McVay, who at 34 is half Belichick's age, was praised for his strategy by the Patriots coach. 

"They had a good running game. They've run the game well all year. Sean had a good plan and the players executed it well," Belichick said. 

"[Cam] Akers ran well. They did a better job than we did." 

The result saw the Rams (9-4) end a run of six losses to the Patriots. 

Newton, who was eventually withdrawn as Jarrett Stidham was introduced under center, took his share of responsibility for the defeat. 

He said: "We've just got to be better and it starts with me personally. Just have to make more plays, that's what it comes down to. 

"I think we didn't play a good style or brand of football tonight and they did and they made more plays than us. So, it led to them winning."

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton provided a unique description of his running style after making history in the NFL.

Newton inspired Sunday's 45-0 humiliation of the hapless Los Angeles Chargers in Inglewood, California, where the Patriots kept their postseason hopes alive.

Former MVP Newton ran for two touchdowns to become the only NFL quarterback with double-digit rushing TDs in three different seasons, while he also set the league record for most multiple-touchdown games in a season by a QB with four in 2020.

Newton finished 12-of-19 passing for 69 yards and a touchdown, while he carried for 48 yards and a pair of TDs as the Patriots claimed back-to-back wins to improve to 6-6.

"Just be the hammer, not the nail," Newton told reporters when asked about his mentality of being a physical runner.

"God has blessed me with the stature that I have and anytime that I have an opportunity to create some type of force or momentum, then I'm going to do it.

"But at the same time I have to be cognisant of the position that I play and when I need to get down I have to get down."

It was the 29th shutout in New England's history and 12th under head coach Bill Belichick, who moved past Tom Landry for third-most games coached with 455.

According to Stats Perform, New England's win was the largest road shut-out victory in NFL history by a team that entered the game with a losing record.

Los Angeles (3-9) were condemned to their worst loss in franchise history, eclipsing a 49-6 demolition against Kansas City in 1964.

"We still have a long way to go," Newton said. "There are still some things that I could have been better at and I need to be better at, but each and every day for me - and I've always said it - is just learning.

"Learning in this offense and gaining the trust of the coaching staff to be able to go for it on fourth down - to be able to put the ball in the air - to be able to gain confidence in calling plays. From trick plays to regulars plays, run plays, pass plays, no plays. That's what the standard is for me and I just need to keep growing from it."

Newton added: "We just have to understand that we have to take it one game at a time. We understand what position we are in, and everything is pretty much in front of us.

"We just have to really hone in a focus on the opponents that we have to face that week and maximise each and every opportunity that we do get. If we keep that going on, we'll be in good graces."

Belichick said: "Just really proud of our football team today. Coming across the country, the guys really worked hard. Had a good week of preparation, really put a lot into it. We got a lot of great leadership from, as always, our captains, but from many of our veteran players.

"Some of our younger players have really stepped up their preparation levels, as well. It was nice to see it all come together today. I thought we had a game where all three units contributed. It was a complimentary game. We had plays on offense, defense, and special teams. We played at a good level for 60 minutes and had more consistency than we probably had in most other games. Really proud of the way the team competed."

"I'm not going to apologise for our record over the last 20 years. I've seen a lot worse."

Even in the midst of the New England Patriots' worst season for two decades, Bill Belichick has earned the right to be defiant.

Six Super Bowl titles, nine AFC championships and 17 AFC East crowns make for an unmatched resume for a coach widely considered the greatest of all time.

But his prickly response to a question about the Patriots' record in the draft likely came because he knows it is an area where they have not lived up to their lofty standards of late.

Belichick has been an excellent drafter for the majority of his time with the Patriots and he set New England up for the second leg of their dynasty by consistently hitting on premium picks in the first half of the last decade.

The 2010 draft saw the Patriots land Hall of Fame tight end Rob Gronkowski, 2012 netted them Chandler Jones and Dont'a Hightower while an offensive line pivotal to their success in the second half of the decade was built partially by the selections of Shaq Mason in 2015 and Joe Thuney in 2016.

However, since 2017 there has been a notable decline in production from Patriots draftees.

None of the players selected in that time have been named to a Pro Bowl, with the inability to add young talent to the roster reflected in their 3-5 record this year.

So while Belichick is in no mood to apologise, there will be picks he reflects on with regret.

Here we examine such selections by looking at his five biggest misses from the past four drafts.

Antonio Garcia - 2017: Round 3, Pick 85

Coming off their remarkable Super Bowl LI comeback against the Atlanta Falcons, there was hardly any pressure on the Patriots ahead of the 2017 draft.

Few will have therefore lost any sleep over the pick of offensive tackle Garcia, however. He was New England's second selection of a draft in which they made only four picks and proved a waste.

He was released in May 2018 having not played a game for the Patriots due to blood clots in his lungs.

Garcia is now out of the league following spells with the New York Jets, Indianapolis Colts and Miami Dolphins.

While his medical troubles were unfortunate, the selection of Garcia is one New England would surely like to have back.

Isaiah Wynn - 2018: Round 1, Pick 23

Wynn has finally cemented himself as a key member of the Patriots' offensive line after losing his rookie season to a torn Achilles and suffering further injury issues in 2019.

Patriots fans still may not be overly impressed with Wynn given Cam Newton has been the ninth-most pressured quarterback in the league this season.

Yet this pick is a miss not because of Wynn, but because of who New England passed over, with the Patriots wasting the first of two opportunities to pick the reigning MVP.

Sony Michel - 2018: Round, 1 Pick 31

After electing not to select Lamar Jackson nine picks earlier, the Patriots passed on the dual-threat quarterback again with the penultimate choice of the first round.

He went to the Baltimore Ravens one pick later, the pain of New England missing out on a successor to Tom Brady whom Bill Belichick could have reinvented his offense around furthered by his success with Baltimore and Michel's struggles.

Michel lacks the explosiveness he demonstrated at Georgia, with the injury-prone running back limited to just three games this year with a quad issue.

A back who struggles to find additional yardage, Michel averaged 1.8 yards after first contact per attempt in his first two seasons.

Given the elusiveness Jackson has continued to show as a runner, the pick of Michel over the league MVP looks worse with each passing week.

N'Keal Harry - 2019: Round 1, Pick 32

Belichick's blind spot when it comes to the draft has long been considered to be the wide receiver position.

Harry has done nothing to dispel that notion, his inability to hit the ground running as a rookie likely a contributing factor in Brady's decision to leave in search of better weapons in Tampa Bay.

He has 31 catches for 277 yards and three touchdowns since entering the league, averaging a disappointing 4.9 yards per target.

Jarrett Stidham - 2019: Round 4, Pick 133

Not much was made of the acquisition of Stidham in the draft immediately after the Patriots' sixth Super Bowl success, with a Brady departure looking unlikely at that point.

But a disappointing 2019 and Brady's subsequent divorce from the Patriots thrust him into the spotlight as his potential successor.

Yet the fact New England chose to sign Newton to be their quarterback rather than give Stidham a shot said everything about Belichick's opinion of the former Auburn star.

Stidham has attempted 27 passes in his NFL career, completing 13 for one touchdown and four interceptions.

The limited action Stidham has seen suggests Belichick's assessment of his quarterback room this offseason was correct.

However, that begs the question of what Belichick saw in Stidham in the first place. For all his success over his time in New England, the tough questions will continue if Belichick cannot improve his draft record and set the Patriots up for future glory.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick described his decision to leave the New York Jets in 2000 as one of the greatest moments of his illustrious career.

Belichick has enjoyed a remarkable career in the NFL, leading the Patriots to six Super Bowl titles since his appointment two decades ago.

The most successful head coach in NFL history, Belichick resigned on the day he was due to front the media as the Jets' new coach 20 years ago.

After the Patriots (3-5) topped the winless Jets (0-9) 30-27 on Monday, Belichick recalled his stunning departure from New York.

"That was one of the not only most defining, but one of the great moments of my career," Belichick WEEI in Boston on Tuesday.

"That combined with Robert [Kraft] giving me the opportunity to come here, I couldn't have asked for anything more."

Belichick had joined the Jets in 1997 and served as the team's assistant head coach and defensive co-ordinator before Bill Parcells stepped down at the end of the 1999 season.

Parcells had arranged for Belichick to succeed him in New York however, the latter went on to take charge of the Patriots in a bizarre turn of events – New England giving up a first-round draft pick to prise the former Cleveland Browns coach.

Belichick added: "That wasn't a good situation for me and I didn't want to be a part of it, so I wasn't. The other half was Robert giving me the opportunity to come [to New England].

"Trading, he gave up quite a bit for me to come here, that was a big trade. I'm very thankful that it worked out.

"I appreciate all the support from Robert, the Kraft family, the Patriots' organisation and all the New England fans. I'll keep trying to do my best for this team, and this organisation, giving the very best that I can.

"I'm very thankful for the opportunity to come here and I just wasn't going to stay there in that situation."

Nick Folks' 51-yard field goal was the longest game-winning field goal with no time remaining in the fourth quarter in Patriots history as New England snapped a four-game losing streak, per Stats Perform.

Patriots quarterback Cam Newton completed 18 passes to undrafted wide receivers in the victory over the Jets (Jakobi Meyers 12, Damiere Byrd five and Gunner Olszewski one). It was the most completions to undrafted wide receivers by any QB in a win during the Super Bowl era.

Bill Belichick said the New England Patriots are paying the price after the famed NFL franchise "sold out" and won three Super Bowl titles.

The Patriots have struggled since Tom Brady's departure for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason, 2-5 in 2020 with Cam Newton under center following Sunday's 24-21 loss to the Buffalo Bills.

New England entered the season having won Super Bowls in 2014, 2016 and 2018, while they also featured in the 2017 showpiece.

As the Patriots try to arrest a four-game losing streak, head coach Belichick said New England's situation is a result of how they approached the previous five seasons.

"We sold out and won three Super Bowls, played in a fourth, and played in an AFC Championship Game," Belichick – a six-time Super Bowl-winning coach – told WEEI.

"This year we have less to work with. It's not an excuse. It's just the facts."

Patriots quarterback Newton fumbled late as it cost New England the chance at a game-tying field goal and possibly a chance to win away to the Bills on Sunday.

Bills defensive tackle Justin Zimmer stripped Newton of the ball with 31 seconds remaining.

While it was Newton's only turnover, it came after the former MVP threw three interceptions and was withdrawn in a blow-out loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 7.

Newton, who joined the Patriots on a one-year deal following his Carolina Panthers exit to replace legendary QB Brady, was 15-of-25 for 174 yards and no touchdowns, while he rushed for one TD in Buffalo.

The three-time Pro Bowler has tallied 103 completions from 156 attempts for 1,143 yards, two touchdowns and seven interceptions this season.

Belichick added: "I didn't say it as an excuse. I never said that. Look, we paid Cam Newton a million dollars [on July 8].

"It's obvious we didn't have any money. It's nobody's fault. That's what we did the last five years."

New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton acknowledged his starting role could be in jeopardy after he was pulled out of Sunday's forgettable loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Newton was withdrawn in the fourth quarter of New England's 33-6 NFL defeat to San Francisco, having thrown three interceptions for the slumping Patriots.

A three-time Pro Bowler, former MVP Newton joined the Patriots on a one-year deal following his Carolina Panthers exit to replace legendary quarterback Tom Brady – who left for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

After finishing nine-of-15 for 98 yards as the Patriots fell to 2-4 following a third consecutive defeat, Newton told Boston sports radio station WEEI on Monday: "The first thing I said to myself coming home was, 'You keep playing games like that, bro, and it's going to be a permanent change'.

"You don't need to tell me that for me to understand that. I get it loud and clear."

In five appearances this season, Newton has completed 88 of 131 passes for 969 yards, two touchdowns, seven interceptions and 10 sacks.

Newton added: "For any type of competitor, do you feel embarrassed? Yeah. I don't feel offended by what was done. I don't feel offended having this type of conversation. I'm a realist.

"I don't fear my position stability more so than controlling the locker room. Performances like yesterday jeopardises [that]. It's like, 'Oh my God!' Players talk, and that's what's most important to me.

"Knowing you have your coaches' belief [is good], but my belief is that I want to have the whole facility. ... It doesn't start with no miraculous play. It's a whole body of work that goes into performing on Sunday."

Newton spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Panthers after he was chosen first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft – throwing for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions.

The 31-year-old was named the 2015 NFL MVP after leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and an appearance in the Super Bowl before losing to the Denver Broncos.

The Panthers made the playoffs in four of Newton's nine seasons with the team.

However, in recent years, Newton has been hindered by injuries.

Newton battled a shoulder injury in 2018, with a once-promising campaign derailed as the Panthers lost seven of their last eight games to finish 7-9.

He played only two games in 2019, losing both, with Lisfranc fracture forcing him to watch the rest of a 5-11 season from the sideline.

The New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks were among the most impressive teams in Week 1 - now they meet at CenturyLink Field on Sunday Night Football.

Cam Newton, Tom Brady's replacement at quarterback, led New England to a 21-11 victory over the Miami Dolphins, while Russell Wilson put on a passing clinic when completing 31 of his 35 attempts in Seattle's 38-25 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

A repeat of Super Bowl XLIX is the standout game of Sunday's slate, though there are plenty more mouth-watering encounters, including the Baltimore Ravens facing the Houston Texans.

Here we break down the big matchups using Stats Perform data.

 

FEATURE GAME

Patriots at Seahawks - Sunday, 8.20pm (all times Eastern)

- This will be the first game in NFL history in which both teams will have a head coach aged 68 or older. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll is 69, while Patriots coach Bill Belichick is 68.

- Newton led the Patriots with 75 yards rushing on a game-high 15 carries in his Pats debut last week. Should he finish as New England's leading rusher again in Seattle, Newton will be his team's leading rusher for a 37th time - a new record for the most such games by a quarterback in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).

- New England have won eight straight games against NFC opponents, including their Super Bowl LIII win over the Los Angeles Rams, dating back to a loss to the Detroit Lions in Week 3 of the 2018 season.

OTHER KEY GAMES

Rams at Eagles - Sunday, 1pm

- The Eagles have won the last six meetings between these teams, including one-score wins in Los Angeles in 2017 (43-35) and 2018 (30-23). They have averaged 32.2 points during the win streak, with at least 30 points in each of the last five meetings.

Broncos at Steelers - Sunday, 1pm

- The Broncos have won four of the last five games against the Steelers, including two playoff wins. Four of those five games were decided by seven points or fewer.

Chiefs at Chargers - Sunday, 4.25pm

- After starting last season 6-4, Kansas City have won 10 straight games - regular season and playoffs. The streak began last November with a win over the Chargers in Mexico City. Each of the last seven victories have come by a double-digit margin; since 2000, only the 2007 Patriots (eight games) have had a longer streak of wins by 10 or more points.

Ravens at Texans - Sunday, 4.25pm

- The Ravens have gone 12 straight regular-season games without trailing in the second half, the longest streak by any NFL team since the Chicago Bears had a 12-game streak from 1933-34. The last team to have a streak longer than 12 games was the Green Bay Packers from 1929-30 (18).

Saints at Raiders - Monday, 4.15pm

- Josh Jacobs had three rushing touchdowns in Week 1, becoming the first Raider to do so since Latavius Murray, who is now with New Orleans, had three in Week 9 of 2016. Only two Raiders have rushed for three touchdowns more than once – Marcus Allen (five times) and Pete Banaszak (twice).

ELSEWHERE...

Falcons at Cowboys - Sunday, 1pm

- Dak Prescott has not been intercepted in his last 223 pass attempts going back to last November, the longest streak in Cowboys history. Troy Aikman held the previous mark at 216 passes in 1999.

Lions at Packers - Sunday, 1pm

- Green Bay have won seven straight home openers since a 30-22 loss against the San Francisco 49ers in 2012. That is the second-longest active streak of its kind, behind the Seahawks (11 straight).

Cam Newton said he is embracing life with the New England Patriots after the former NFL MVP impressed on debut against the Miami Dolphins.

Newton had two rushing touchdowns as the Patriots ushered in the post-Tom Brady era with a 21-11 win over the Dolphins in their season opener on Sunday.

A three-time Pro Bowler, Newton joined the Patriots on a one-year deal following his Carolina Panthers exit to replace legendary quarterback Brady in New England.

Reflecting on his first appearance for the Patriots, which consisted of 75 rushing yards on 15 carries, Newton told reporters: "It was different. It was great for the team to find a way – well, things showed up that we would not have expected, as we knew and things showed up that we did kind of expect.

"So one of the coaching points for the game was to be accessible to in-game adjustments and that's what it pretty much came down to. Getting a win like that, that's not necessarily pretty at times. That's good for the overall team character and I think we've just got to keep building from this."

Newton, who finished 15-of-19 for 155 yards and no interceptions, added: "This is the new normal and I think it's time for everybody, including myself, to realise this is what it's like.

"I think it came full circle today and – for me to just kind of realise that I'm a New England Patriot and I'm just going to embrace this whole moment."

"I'm just so blessed to have this opportunity, man, to, number one, be affiliated with an organisation," he continued. "Knowing that in itself is a blessing. To get a win, that's another added plus.

"But, yet through it all, this has been a strenuous, long process for me, and yet through it all, it's just been gratifying, and I just had such a sense of gratitude to the New England Patriots and to this team, just to give all that I could possibly give and hell or high water, finish today at this particular time with us having, going home with a win."

Patriots head coach Bill Belichick added: "Well Cam's been great for us… he's a very, very unselfish player. He's a great team-mate. He's earned everybody's respect, really, daily. He just continues to do everything that he can to help our team and that's really all you can ask from anyone and he continually does that, puts himself last and puts the team first.

"I think he's done a tremendous job there and I thought he played well today. He hit a lot of passes. He ran the ball well. He led the team. He made some good checks and adjustments, so I thought that he did a good job. There's room for improvement from all of us, so I'm not saying it was the best executed game in the history of football, but we did some good things today in all three phases of the game.

"We're proud of that and we'll go back and work on the things that we need to do to get better, but I thought he did a good job for us."

Bill Belichick refused to rule out the possibility of the New England Patriots using a platoon system at quarterback in the opening weeks of the new NFL season.

Following the departure of Tom Brady to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Patriots have signed Brian Hoyer and Cam Newton to join Jarrett Stidham on the depth chart at the position.

The trio have been sharing reps during training camp but the cancellation of the preseason amid the coronavirus pandemic has denied them the chance to play before Week 1 of the 2020 campaign.

Head coach Belichick has a decision to make over who starts, though made clear during a media call on Wednesday that he will do whatever gives his team the best chance of winning - including using more than one option in games.

"It might [be a benefit]," Belichick told the media when asked about the possibility of utilising multiple quarterbacks.

"Look, I always say, I'll do what I think is best for the team, what gives us the best chance to win. So, whatever that is, I would certainly consider that.

"If it's run unbalanced line, or double unbalanced line, or 23 personnel. Whatever it is. If it helps us win, then I would consider anything."

Former NFL MVP Newton signed with New England on July 8 after being released by the Carolina Panthers.

Hoyer is in his third stint with the franchise, while Stidham was a fourth-round pick in the 2019 draft who completed just two passes last season while serving as Brady's back-up.

"Right now, we want to try and give everybody an opportunity to work out the basics. We are really doing that at all the positions," Belichick said of the quarterback situation.

"Everybody is rotating through, we're trying to give everybody an opportunity to run the basic plays and get the fundamentals down.

"Of course, at some point we will have to not equalise the reps, that's obvious, but we're not there now."

The Patriots open the campaign against the Miami Dolphins on September 13.

New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said Cam Newton is a "hard-working kid" as the star quarterback impresses at the NFL powerhouse.

Newton will play for the Patriots in 2020 after signing a one-year deal following his Carolina Panthers release in March, filling the void left by legendary QB Tom Brady.

Asked about the former NFL MVP, Belichick said on Friday: "Cam's a hard-working kid. He really is. He's worked very hard, I'd say, as all of our players have.

"I'd say that certainly for all the quarterbacks, at that position, those guys have been locked in, focused and confident in what they're able to do and the information they have to give to the team -- playcalling, adjustments, audibles, protection adjustments, things like that. That's all going pretty well."

Newton spent the first nine seasons of his career with the Panthers after he was chosen first overall in the 2011 NFL Draft – throwing for 29,041 yards, 182 touchdowns and 108 interceptions.

He is a three-time Pro Bowl selection and was named the 2015 NFL MVP after leading the Panthers to a 15-1 record and an appearance in the Super Bowl before losing to the Denver Broncos.

The Panthers made the playoffs in four of Newton's nine seasons with the team.

However, in recent years, Newton has been hindered by injuries.

Newton battled a shoulder injury in 2018, with a once-promising campaign derailed as the Panthers lost seven of their last eight games to finish 7-9.

He played only two games in 2019, losing both, with Lisfranc fracture forcing him to watch the rest of a 5-11 season from the sideline.

Patriots running back Rex Burkhead added: "He's a big guy, that's for sure -- just his physical presence. He's always been a great player, just [with] his versatility -- his ability to run the ball and pass as well. He's been able to do that at a high level for many years.

"He's come in right away, head down, and tried to pick it up as quick as possible. ... His first impact has been great. He's just trying to learn as much as he can and mesh and jell with the rest of the guys."

Peyton Manning went one up on Tom Brady with quick-witted jibes before the first tee shot was struck ahead of "The Match".

The start of the all-star charity contest – arranged to raise funds for COVID-19 relief efforts – in which Manning has teamed up with Tiger Woods to face Brady and Phil Mickelson was delayed due to the wet weather in South Florida on Sunday.

When the quartet took to the range it was Manning who fired an early blow when asked who his caddie might have been if the quartet had someone to carry their bags at Medalist Golf Club.

With Tampa Bay Buccaneers new boy Brady in earshot lining up a practice shot, Manning replied to a reporter: "Do you bring Eli [Manning, his brother]? Could do that.

"Do you bring Nick Foles? Maybe."

Brady turned out and replied: "That's a cheap shot."

Manning was not finished yet, adding: "I was thinking maybe Bill Belichick ... just to see how that kind of would have worked."

Woods, wearing his famous Sunday red, and Mickelson ensured the first hole was halved after their legendary quarterback team-mates were wayward from the tee in the rain with concerns that a storm may be on the way.

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