With two of the league's top quarterbacks preparing for the divisional round of the NFL playoffs, Tom Brady expressed high praise for the Chargers' Philip Rivers ahead of their Sunday matchup.
The Patriots quarterback said he saw a lot of himself in the 37-year-old Rivers.
"He's kind of like me," Brady said earlier this week (per the Chargers' official website). "He wants the ball out of his hands. He kind of wants to be able to anticipate coverages. He's got really a great group of skill players — backs, tight ends, receivers. They're playing as well as any offense that's played all season. He's had an incredible year.”
Brady went on to say he has admired Rivers since the Chargers quarterback joined the league with the fourth overall pick in the 2004 draft.
"I think he's an incredible player and has been since he came in the league," Brady said of Rivers. "I don't know him that well. I've known a lot of guys that've played with him, and they all say great things. He's a great leader, he's a great passer of the football, he's incredibly tough and has just been a prolific passer."
Rivers led Los Angeles to a 12-4 regular-season record, completing 347 of 508 passes for 4,308 yards and 32 touchdowns. He paced a team that ranked 11th in total offense, 10th in passing and sixth in scoring.
The feeling of admiration and respect between the two quarterbacks is mutual, though, as Rivers told reporters Brady is "arguably the best quarterback ever to play."
Brady and Rivers face each other for just the seventh time in their careers (including twice in the postseason), NFL.com notes. Sunday's playoff game will feature just the third matchup in playoff history between two quarterbacks with 50,000-plus career passing yards. Brady has thrown for 70,514 yards, while Rivers has passed for 54,656 yards.
The Patriots will host the Chargers at Gillette Stadium with kickoff set for 1:05 ET Sunday.