BY THE NUMBERS Belichick’s victory total (299)
The stadium is new, and he’ll be on the other sideline this time, but Bill Belichick has a chance to win his 300th game on the same piece of land where he won his first game 28 years ago.
The Patriots coach, whose win total includes 268 in the regular season and 31 in the postseason, plays host to the Browns. As a rookie coach back in 1991, Belichick took the Browns into New England and won 20-0, giving him a 1-1 career record.
Belichick won 37 games in five years with Cleveland. The rest, including a record-tying six championships, have come with the Patriots since 2000.
“The things he has been able to do over the last 20 years will never be done again,” former Patriot and current ESPN analyst Rob Ninkovich said. “Never. He’s one of the last old-school guys. All those old-school coaches from back in the day, they’re gone. His ability to have guys buy in every single year — there’s nobody else that can do that, especially today.”
Belichick, who has records for division titles (16) and 10-win seasons (16), trails only Don Shula (347) and George Halas (324). Shula and Halas won 328 and 319 regular-season games, respectively.
“As a coach, I know how hard it is to win 10 games in a year,” Tony Dungy, NBC’s “Football Night in America” analyst, told ESPN. “That was always kind of a milestone, to say, ‘We’ll get in the playoffs if we win 10.’ When you think of 10 for 30 years, it’s hard to believe. Just a fantastic accomplishment.”
Did you know stats of the week
Patriots’ point differential is keeping pace with ’62 Packers
The Patriots lead the league in scoring (31.9 points per game) and points allowed (6.9). If they make it through the Browns game with the first number above 30 and the second number below 10, they will become the first team since the 1962 Packers to make it through eight weeks while averaging at least 30 points and fewer than 10 allowed. New England’s league-leading point differential of plus-175 is the second-highest through seven weeks in NFL history. Only the 1920 Buffalo All-Americans (plus-218) did better.
49ers continue to be stingy on defense
The undefeated 49ers have held three consecutive opponents to 200 or fewer yards. The NFL record is five straight, set by the 1974-75 Steelers. If the 49ers hold the Panthers to 200 or fewer yards on Sunday, they’ll join four other teams with four straight: 1972 Dolphins, 1973-74 Cowboys, 1977 Cowboys and 2005 Patriots.MARK CRAIG