Bills out to win back respect [5:44 AM]
Olean Times Herald reports: 'A loss by Buffalo will effectively eliminate it from the congested conference race due to its poor AFC (3-6) and division (2-6) records, dooming the Bills in any tiebreaker among 9-7 teams.'
Not just another game for Bledsoe [5:43 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: 'Classy and reserved by nature, Bledsoe never has been one to provide billboard material for the opposition. But if his pride was hurt when he got traded, it may have been trampled in that debacle five weeks ago. He may be quiet about it, but Bledsoe has plenty to prove today.'
Who will Pats pick on today? [5:42 AM]
Toronto Sun reports: '"In that game, the Patriots played with the formula they used to win the championship last year," Bills quarterback Drew Bledsoe said. "They allowed us to make some plays coming down the field but really tightened up when we got into the red zone. We didn't put the ball in the end zone and that's what we need to do."'
No lie: Smith keeps Patriots in running [5:41 AM]
Boston Globe reports: '''I wouldn't say I'm running better this year,'' he said. ''I look at myself, and I'm a little bit hesitant on certain plays. I look at the film and I see I could have hit the hole a little harder instead of stutter-stepping.'''
He gives them a healthy chance [5:40 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Since Brady took over on Sept. 23, 2001, vs. the New York Jets in relief of the injured Bledsoe, the former Michigan star has played in 30 consecutive games (including the playoffs).'
Homeward bound [5:39 AM]
Boston Herald reports: '``At a certain level I was disappointed that I didn't get to play as a Patriot in the new stadium,'' said Bledsoe. ``But I am proud of the fact that I was part of the teams that were there when the stadium was approved, and when it started to be built. It's a little bit disappointing that the thing didn't get done before I left, but at least I get a chance to come and see it now.'''
Bills get `O' back on the go [5:38 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The Bills are certain to be ready for that approach if the Patriots try to repeat it, so it's up to the Pats coaching staff to come up with another way to keep Bledsoe out of his rhythm. You can be sure it involves pressure up the middle of the field, because it's suicide to let Bledsoe step up into the pocket with clean looks into the secondary.'
The long arm of the Law [5:37 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Quarterbacks, quite simply, don't throw at Law as much as they used to.'
Deep trouble for Bills [5:36 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Said Moulds: ``(Ty Law's) a pretty good corner, but they play so much cover-two, I mean, everybody says, `He shut you down,' but it's pretty simple when a guy has safety help over the top. It's difficult to get open against that.'''
A tough feat to repeat [5:35 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'The pick: Patriots by 3.'
Hearts racing [5:34 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'While the Patriots may be tied for first after rebounding from a four-game losing streak to win four of their last five, they haven't looked like a team ready to assume command.'
With Bledsoe's return comes a buzz [5:33 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'One of the keys for Bledsoe today will be avoiding the big mistake. When the teams met on Nov. 3 in a 38-7 Patriots victory, New England attacked him. Today, they're more likely to rush three linemen and drop eight men in coverage. That will force Bledsoe to throw into tighter spots, with the Patriots gambling he'll make a mistake.'
C Damien Woody vs. NT Pat Williams [5:32 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'Williams serves as more than a space-eater in front of superb linebacker London Fletcher. He collapses pockets and greets running backs in the backfield on a regular basis. Even without penetration, he makes it very difficult for offensive linemen to get blocks on the mobile Fletcher.'
Pats' fans too smart to bombard Bledsoe with boos today [5:31 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Boo Drew? Who? Why?'
Some games worth more than others [5:30 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'This is a premium game; a first-rate, top-drawer -- and top-dollar -- attraction.'
Tight ends give offense a boost over last year [5:29 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The biggest bump in production has been tight end. Through 12 games last season, Jermaine Wiggins and Rod Rutledge had combined for 14 catches, 99 yards and 3 scores. Fauria, Cleeland and Graham have racked up 49 catches for 440 yards and 8 scores. That's a bump of 35 catches, 341 yards and 5 TDs.'
Tackling New Role [5:28 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'A 6-foot, 210-pound strong safety who likes to remind you that he fears no one, Milloy, 29, loves to play close to the line of scrimmage, in the box, where he can smash running backs and attack quarterbacks. But because the Patriots pass defense was being beaten deep too often earlier this season, Milloy was dispatched to play far off the line, in a deep zone, as a last line of defense.'
Bledsoe talk is minimal [5:27 AM]
Springfield Union News reports: '"It's Buffalo against New England for us," Belichick said.'
Plenty of storylines — and incentives — in crucial AFC showdown [5:26 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'Today will be a homecoming of sorts for the Patriots’ former prodigal son, but outside of the obvious subplot, this game will have a significant impact on the division standings, which makes it even that much more interesting.'
Crowd awaits the Drew they knew [5:25 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'The boos and cat-calls will be divided today. This one is bound to break up a few households. Brother vs. Sister. Husband vs. Wife. Father vs. Son. Brady-backers vs. Drew’s Disciples.'
Homecoming to a home Bledsoe has never seen [5:24 AM]
Lowell Sun reports: '"It's the same old thing as when I was there, though," said Bledsoe. "You never know whether they're saying 'Drew' or they're booing."'
Donahoe is making most of new home with Buffalo [5:23 AM]
Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports: '"It's a lot different," Donahoe said. "It's certainly more challenging. I'm fortunate here in Buffalo where we have a very good structure. I have a series of vice presidents who handle a lot of different areas for me. I sort of oversee it. I've gotten much more involved in the ticket area of the business, the marketing, overseeing public relations and overseeing the business aspect of it. Really the frustrating thing for me is I seem to get less and less time to do football."'
At crucial moment, Wannstedt left script [5:22 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'Dave Wannstedt's game-altering, go-for-it decision last weekend at Buffalo was the wrong one, period. Why? Because we know how it turned out.'
It's easy to question 4th-down call now [5:21 AM]
Miami Herald reports: 'You say Wannstedt gift-wrapped the game's turning point for Buffalo? No, he didn't. Buffalo took the lead into halftime, but Miami immediately took it back in the third quarter. Wannstedt's decision briefly swung momentum, giving Buffalo a field-goal lead, but Miami was playing for an 11-point lead there. Question the play call if you like, especially on a day Ricky Williams was rushing for more yards than any Dolphin ever, but not the decision to go for it.'
Bledsoe expects mixed reaction in Foxboro [5:20 AM]
Indianapolis Star reports: '"I do know I have a lot of fans there and a lot of people who appreciate what I did while I was there," said Bledsoe, dealt to the Bills in the off-season. "So it will probably be a mixed reaction."'
Patriots Mailbag - Ask Nick [11:33 PM]
Boston.com reports: The more you watch Tedy Bruschi, the more you realize how important he is to the Patriots defense. In the Kansas City game that he missed, the Chiefs were able to score at will and part of the reason is because the Patriots were lacking Bruschi's fire in the middle of the field.
Bruschi was scheduled to be out of this weekend's Buffalo game, and this is a huge loss for the Patriots. Bruschi makes up in pure desire and adrenaline wheat he lacks in physical size. That adrenaline is contagious to the rest of his defensive teammates. It will be interesting to see whether the Patriots defense struggles without that presence in the middle.
Bledsoe returns with Bills needing win [7:15 PM]
AP reports: '''I'd hoped all along that when we got to these games that they'd be important games from the standpoint of the playoff race,'' Bledsoe said. ''That's really turned out to be the case.'''
Bills' Robertson tests positive again [4:20 PM]
ESPN reports: Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Tyrone Robertson, who earlier this year served a four-game suspension for a repeat violation of the NFL substance abuse policy, has tested positive again and now will be banned for a year from the league.
For Pats, this is best time of the year [9:53 AM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: '‘‘The intensity goes up in December,'' said linebacker Roman Phifer, who played in his first playoff series last year after 13 years in the NFL. ‘‘There are so many teams in contention in our conference it's going to be like a playoff atmosphere. We must step up like we did a year ago.'''
Moulds, Law know each other all too well [9:37 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"We're two competitive guys, competitive on the field but friends off the field," Law said. "We're both looking to push our teams to the next level. Every time we compete, hey, it's war out there but afterward, all said and done, may the best man and best team win."'
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