Pats turn topsy-turvy, for the better [9:18 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Brady-for-Bledsoe switch is the most stunning of many strange turns the Patriots' season has taken. And it's the biggest reason New England takes the field in Ralph Wilson Stadium today as one of the most surprising success stories in the NFL this year.'
Building blocks [9:17 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'So why aren't Riemersma's numbers up? Part of the reason is that the Bills' offensive line has been decimated by injury and Riemersma had to be used more as a blocker than a pass receiver.'
Younger quarterbacks showing salary isn't everything [9:16 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Tom Brady, who entered the 2001 season anonymously and is likely to leave it a millionaire, will be the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots. The startling aspect is that he may be the Pats' starter next season and in the foreseeable future.'
Veteran Patriots face youthful Bills [6:46 AM]
D and C reports: 'The New England Patriots are streaking and the Buffalo Bills are reeking.'
Bills Experience is free for today's game [6:45 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Bills Experience, which takes place in the Bills Fieldhouse prior to every home game, will be free to attend prior to today's game against the New England Patriots.'
Q & A with Leif Larsen [6:44 AM]
D and C reports: '[Q:] Where is it colder, Buffalo or Norway? [A:] ''Oh, Norway. I lived in the warmest part of Norway and it's still colder than it is here. There's a lot of snow. When I lived in the north we'd have 10 feet of snow and it could be minus-40 there. This is summer for me right now.'''
Smerlas hasn't mellowed, not one bit [6:43 AM]
D and C reports: 'Of course, Smerlas' strong views aren't what made him one of the most popular Bills of all time. It was his play -- he gobbled up blockers as if they were buckets of chicken wings -- and his regular Joe, lunch-bucket approach that endeared him to Buffaloanians. Though raised in the Boston 'burbs, Smerlas was and is a Buffalo guy. There has always been a mutual empathy between player and town. A feeling that they've both had to scratch and claw to receive their just due.'
Scouting report [6:42 AM]
D and C reports: 'The Patriots are clearly the better team, but it would not be a shock if the Bills pulled off an upset.'
Patriots will need to be close-minded [6:41 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''It doesn't matter whether the quarterback was [Drew] Bledsoe, [John] Friesz, [Tom] Brady,'' Belichick said Monday. ''It didn't matter whether their quarterback was [Doug] Flutie, [Rob] Johnson. It doesn't matter who the coach was. I mean, Buffalo and New England have played tight, competitive games whether they were early in the season [or] late in the season. Whether the weather was sunny, snowy, windy, in between. They have been tight games; they have come down to the wire. They have been tough, physical, hard-hitting games."'
On the go, he's back for more [6:40 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'When Vrabel was paying his dues as a backup in Pittsburgh for four seasons, the Patriots saw enough to take a chance - and give him one. Thirteen games into his second career, the Patriots aren't second-guessing themselves.'
Tedy Bruschi is the Patriots' do-it-all player [6:39 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '...Bruschi is slated to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, and is having what many experts consider the best football season of his life while playing a variety of positions.'
Buffalo also plays better with backup [6:38 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Whatever problems Buffalo has had this season, the change in quarterbacks is not one of them.'
Pats fans missing out thanks to distractions [6:36 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'This is the classic example of what Bill Parcells used to call a "trap" game.'
QB Brady finds mental challenges can be a grind [6:35 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"People have talked a lot about Kendrick Bell from Pittsburgh as a potential rookie-of-the-year, but Nate Clements' stats can rank against any defensive rookie," said Bills coach Gregg Williams . "He has had a very good season. He was thrown into heavy duty maybe a little bit sooner than we were ready for him to do, but he has played very well."'
Pushing the right buttons [6:34 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'So far this season, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has used anchors, shovels, movies, horse races, newspaper clippings, poems and handouts to get his weekly point across to his team.'
Smerlas' number is up [6:32 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'Then in Buffalo he gained notoriety for both his personality and his prowess on the defensive line. Known as one of the NFL's great characters in an era when the homogenization of the league was starting to filter out many of those true characters, Smerlas carved a niche in upstate New York that he still occupies to this day.'
Crunch time [6:31 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'In 11 weeks, Brady appears to have supplanted Drew Bledsoe - an in-his-prime, franchise quarterback - while the ink was still wet on Bledsoe's 10-year contract extension. Has that ever happened before?'
Playoff road hazardous [6:29 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: '"Buffalo and New England have played tight, competitive games whether they were early in the season or late in the season. Whether the weather was sunny, windy or in between, they have been tight games. They have come down to the wire."'
Patriots - Bills Preview [6:28 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'The Bills are a respectable seventh in the AFC in total defense, but they have allowed about 28 points per game — second worst in the conference. Simply put, they do not force any turnovers or make big plays.'
Buffalo's gone in new direction [6:27 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'The result is a team in better salary cap shape, but one that is not ready to win consistently.'
Veterans execute at the ends [6:25 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: 'Bobby Hamilton, who plays on the left side, and Anthony Pleasant, who plays on the right, have combined for 10 sacks this season with Pleasant throwing in a couple of interceptions.'
Patriots playing with poise, Bills playing [3:37 PM]
AP reports: 'Whereas the rebuilding and banged-up Bills have continually failed to overcome their deficiencies, the Patriots almost appear to revel in theirs.'
A nose for the game [9:10 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"The guys on our team played together, fought together and drank together," Smerlas said. "It was kind of a "North Dallas Forty' lifestyle. We joked around, pulled pranks on people and did a lot of wild stuff. Most of them I can't tell you."'
Fighting for fans [9:09 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'In fact, the last-place Bills (2-10) currently stand 17th in average home attendance in the 31-team league.'
Criqui's on top of his game for Bills broadcasts [9:07 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I haven't done this many Bills games since I was partnered with John Brodie in the early 1980s," said Criqui in a telephone interview from his New Jersey home.'
Hansen just keeps working [6:41 AM]
D and C reports: '"You won't find a more down-to-earth, honest, hard-working guy than Phil Hansen. He's a credit to any team. He's from the old school."'
Mental grind surprises Brady [6:40 AM]
D and C reports: '"There is a lot of stuff going on right now, needless to say," Brady said. "I mean it's easy to get distracted, but everyone owes it to the team and their teammates to prepare as best as possible."'
Smith needed a change of scenery [6:38 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'Sometimes the only way a professional athlete is going to salvage his career is by moving on. And Smith is a perfect example.'
Will Bills eat crow? [6:37 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"It was hard because I felt things were being blamed on me that I felt weren't my fault," Smith said. "This league is a business and it's all about what you have done for me lately. If you're not performing, teams give up on you."'
Comic relief: Silence [6:34 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'For the first time in some time, there was no controversy, only comic relief at Foxboro Stadium.'
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