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Julian Edelman On Tom Brady-Bill Belichick Matchup: 'They Definitely Want To Beat Each Other'

BOSTON (CBS) -- Everybody's got feelings and opinions about the upcoming meeting between Tom Brady's Buccaneers with Bill Belichick's New England Patriots. Few of them have the inside knowledge of Julian Edelman.

The retired receiver spoke on "Inside The NFL" on Paramount+ on Tuesday night, though at first he had trouble breaking out of his Patriot media training.

"I think it's just two opponents," Edelman said flatly. "Um ... it's just habitual! I see [Belichick] in the background, he's scaring me."

Edelman then got into the matchup, and with his deep knowledge of both Belichick and Brady on professional and personal levels, Edelman said that both men will be highly motivated to beat the other.

"This is gonna be a barn burner here, this is gonna be a great matchup. They definitely want to win -- both of 'em. They definitely want to beat each other," Edelman said. "They know and understand the perspective of this game, and it's a Week 4 game and the situations of the teams are completely different."

Edelman continued: "But you have one GOAT against another GOAT. This is a GOAT Bowl. This is the GOAT Bowl if you think about it."

Edelman -- who played with the Patriots from 2009-20 -- went deep into the dynamics of the Brady-Belichick relationship, and how that will impact Sunday night's game.

"It's like a marriage. I keep on telling everyone," Edelman said. "It's not always sunshine and rainbows. So you adjust. That's relationships. That's how relationships are. When you're with someone for 20 years, and especially with these two guys. These guys are the ultimate competitors. If Tom Brady, you walk by him in the locker room, and you're playing trashketball, he's gonna want to beat you. Even if you beat him, he's not letting you leave until [he beats you]. Coach Belichick, from the day I got in there, to the day I left, he was the same exact person throughout the whole thing. Like not one bit of complacency kicked in. He had three Super Bowls at the time; by the time I left, he had six.

"Like these guys are ultra competitive guys," he continued. "You'd be ignorant to think that they didn't want to win this game, because they're playing each other. Do I think they respect each other? Of course. They respect each other."

Edelman also shared a small story from his time working with the Patriots, shining some light on the way that Belichick and Brady interacted off the field.

"I played a long time with Tommy and Coach Belichick, and when you get to a level of success that these two have gotten to -- and with Brady, he's had seven Super Bowls. It's just like Michael Jordan -- these guys have to fabricate things in their head to go out and motivate them. They have to take things personal, they have to go out there, because, 'Hey, I need the motivation.' And I think that's the case here," Edelman said. "With everything that everyone's talking about -- I mean, I walked by Bill and Tom walking by each other once. I mean, they gave a head nod to each other. A head nod -- that's a lot from Coach Belichick!"

Edelman said he's picking the Bucs to win, but he likes the Patriots to cover the 6.5-point spread.

"Tampa Bay is going to win the game, I think. This is a different transition, they're in different parts of their seasons and teams. This is a building team for the Patriots," Edelman said. "I think the Pats are gonna cover. It's gonna be closer than what you think."

While much of the focus on game-plan strategy focuses on Belichick knowing Brady inside and out, Edelman said the opposite can apply, too.

"It's gonna be interesting. You know, Coach Belichick's a defensive-minded coach. Tom's on the offense. They practiced a lot against each other. So I bet you there's gonna be some wrinkles on both sides," Edelman said. "You know, I bet you Tom's going in to [Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles] and saying, 'Hey, this is what Josh McDaniels is gonna do. This is what they're gonna do. If you do this, they're gonna do that.' There's gonna be some wrinkles for sure."

As for watching the game? That's going to be an emotional experience for Edelman.

"I think I'm going to just go into a dark room," he said regarding his Sunday night plans.


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