Although Tom Brady and Drew Brees have a combined 41 years of NFL experience, Sunday’s Bucs-Saints matchup will be just the eighth time they have faced off, and first time in the postseason.
And given Brady and the Patriots’ success over the years, it may come as a surprise that Brees’ teams have dominated the matchups.
Brees is 5-2 in seven career games against Brady, including 2-0 this year.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Brady, 43, noted he’s only a little older than Brees, who will turn 42 Friday.
“He’s a lot younger than me. He’s 18 months younger — 18 months ago I felt pretty good,” Brady said. “I’ve got a little advanced age on him and experience, but I’m hanging in there. He’s had a terrific year and he’s a great player.
"I’ve known him for a long time. I’ve always had a ton of respect for him going all the way back to his Purdue days and my roommate when I first got to the Patriots was from Purdue and was really good friends with Drew. Always kept up with him and got to know him somewhat well over the years and just think so much of him as a person, as a player. I know what it takes to do what he’s doing and he knows what it takes to do what I’m doing and I think there’s a lot of mutual respect there.”
New Orleans has won the two meetings this season, including blowing Tampa Bay out 38-3 on Sunday Night Football in Week 9.
“We’re going to keep trying to make improvements," Brady said. "We’ve got a big test this weekend - one of the great teams in the NFL and consistently been one of the great teams for a long time. And we’re going to have to go play great football.”
Kickoff is set for 6:40 p.m. Sunday in New Orleans.