Bledsoe Bowl II finds Bills in thick of race [9:28 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Buffalo's playoff hopes are flickering, but a loss to the Pats would probably snuff the flame.'
Bills need to scheme like last year to stop Brady [9:27 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'Whether the Bills' coaches can throw a few kinks in the Patriots' game plan will be a key factor in "Bledsoe Bowl II." New England has a distinct edge in defensive talent. But the Bills' defense needs to find some way to contain Brady better than in the first meeting.'
Shaken, not stirred [9:27 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"I'm being consistent, but I'm not making enough of the big plays," Robinson said.'
Call the Patriots' attack the East Coast offense [9:26 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'He has Pats quarterback Tom Brady attacking the defense horizontally, with high-percentage, rhythm throws, many within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage.'
Ex-Bill Covington's demise followed death of his NFL dream [9:25 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'It was no surprise that Covington went down fighting. He wasn't one to back away from a challenge, a party or a fight. People who knew him in Buffalo weren't surprised by the news of his death, either. Since his career ended, there were whispers he had fallen into a bad crowd.'
Is Patriotism divided in New England? [5:47 AM]
D and C reports: '“I do know I have a lot of fans there and there are a lot of people who appreciate what I did,” Bledsoe said earlier in the week. “I expect a little bit of a mixed reaction. There will be some people who cheer for me. But during the course of the game, I expect the New England fans to do exactly what they did when I was there which was support their team.”'
Question and answer with Kendrick Office [5:46 AM]
D and C reports: '’’The people are friendlier in the south. People in New York, they just walk past you. You say something and they just keep walking.’''
Bills win Super Bowl? Only in Hollywood [5:45 AM]
D and C reports: 'The winningest coach in Bills history wasn’t even aware of Second String until a reporter mentioned it to him the other day. When apprised of the film’s plot, his interest was piqued. “I’ll probably take a look at it, just out of curiosity, and who knows, maybe I’ll enjoy it,” he said of the dramatic comedy that airs at 8 p.m. Dec. 18 on TNT.'
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."'
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