Lining up some optimism [5:05 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'Remember the 2002 season when they used their "Dollar" package successfully against the Bills? That was when New England had its defensive front seven standing upright near the offensive line, forcing Bills blockers to identify who was rushing and who was dropping back. It made for a long day for Bledsoe and that page in the playbook might be dusted off and put into action today.'
Patriots - 4 downs [5:04 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: 'New England has nine interceptions in the last three games, and 27 overall. Bledsoe has 11 INTs, and the Bills as a whole have turned the ball over 30 times this season. Opportunities should present themselves today.'
Bills Might End Up Paying The Balance [5:03 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'Belichick is making it sound as if his team's first goal today is to avoid another humiliation.'
Bills (6-9) Vs. Patriots (13-2) [5:02 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'Led by LB Takeo Spikes, DE Aaron Schobel (11.5 sacks) and an excellent pair of CBs in Nate Clements and Antoine Winfield, the Bills rank second in the NFL in total defense, seventh against the run and third against the pass. But they haven't forced many turnovers (they have only 10 interceptions, the Patriots 27), and because of their turnover-prone offense, are tied with the Giants for the next-to-worst takeaway/giveaway ratio (minus 13).'
Teams a study in contrasts [5:01 AM]
Springfield Republican reports: '"Every year you start out the year wanting to make the playoffs," Williams said. "That was our focus this year, too, but we weren't that good to get there. We are what we are right now. Record-wise, we earned (6-9)."'
It’s an unexpected ending [5:00 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'It’s unlikely the Bills will repeat their performance from the first game.'
No place like home [4:59 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'Motivation won’t be a problem for Bill Belichick’s Patriots. They’ve openly denied it, but getting home-field advantage would be the perfect Christmas gift. They’ve won all seven of their games at The Blade entering this weekend and have been dominant in the process. During a five-game stretch at home, they did not allow a touchdown in 19 consecutive quarters. Other teams have been tough to beat at home, but none of them have been as impenetrable as the Patriots.'
No one’s been sacked more than Bledsoe [4:58 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'Chew on these numbers: The Patriots are tied for second in the league with 37.0 sacks. Bledsoe has been sacked 46 times -- the most by any quarterback in the NFL. This could get ugly.'
Today, Patriots look to end regular season with a bang [4:57 AM]
Attleboro Sun Chronicle reports: '``We thought they were a very good football team when we played them and even after we played them,'' Bills' coach Gregg Williams said last week. ``I watched them grow throughout the course of the year. Those guys have played well, they are playing very confidently. They do a very good job defensively on taking the ball away and setting their offense up. Their offense protects the ball. They do a good job of protecting the football and taking the high-percentage play.'''
Pats have risen, Bills flop [4:56 AM]
ESPN reports: 'The Patriots have been low-key this week regarding the first game against Buffalo. The players won't say it publicly, but they can't wait for an opportunity to pay back those Bills. Mostly, it's because head coach Bill Belichick has been using that loss all season long as an example of the Patriots' supposed vulnerability.'
Bills OG Brown excused from season finale [4:55 AM]
AP reports: 'Brown has three years left on a seven-year, $32 million contract, and is due to count $4 million against the salary cap next season whether or not he's on the roster.'
Brown Excused From Game, Not In NE [4:54 AM]
WGR-AM reports: 'Brown did not practice with the team all week and did not make the trip with the team to Boston on Friday. Bills Head Coach Gregg Williams is quoted as saying that Brown is, "not playing for personal reasons." Williams was quick to point out that Brown was not suspended.'
Living on the Edge [6:14 PM]
Lawrence Eagle Tribune reports: 'New England's defense, in addition to racking up a whopping 37 takeaways, is holding opponents to just 90.1 yards rushing and just 15.9 points a game. The number that leaps off the page is 37 -- as in 37 sacks.'
Return trip [4:06 PM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'The Bills' bookend visit to Foxboro for the season finale will be the sad final chapter in a season that began on center stage, but is ending in irrelevancy.'
Critics should run the Pats' numbers again [11:59 AM]
Portland Press Herald reports: '"It's what the team produces and what you do in situations to win or lose the game, that's what it comes down to," said Belichick. "If one guy has 1,300 yards, or two guys have 1,300 yards . . . the perception is in one case you have got a great running game and the other case that these guys can't run the ball because they each have half of that . . .I just can't buy into that."'
Patriots sneak out to 13-2 [11:58 AM]
Nashua Telegraph reports: 'I think the Bills are going to be smeared like a bug on a windshield.'
Deeper than desire [11:57 AM]
Nashua Telegraph reports: '“It’s the same thing through the course of a football season. Sixteen regular season games is a long time – that’s a lot of snaps. Sooner or later, you’re going to need more than what it looks like you have in September when the season starts. You don’t always know where or what combinations, but sooner or later you’re going to need them, so you just try to prepare your team as best you can and react to the situations as they come.”'
Bledsoe takes stock of a season gone awry [9:20 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'The Bills need to determine whether they want to pay him $6 million in base salary next season and whether they want to pick up the final three years on his contract. If they decide he's not worth the money, he can become a free agent. They also could restructure the deal. One way or another, Bledsoe expects to be back next season.'
Last call [5:55 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'If you’re a loyal Bills fan, you’ll turn down the sound on the boob tube and jack up the volume on the radio broadcast because we will not hear his likes again.'
His first game near end of Ike's term [5:54 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: 'The top song in the country for the second straight week was I’m Sorry by Brenda Lee.'
Miller seeks Murphy as his successor [5:53 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '“I think it makes all the sense in the world,” Miller said. “You’d replace one familiar voice with another familiar voice, and I know that Murph will do a fantastic job."'
Calls of the wild [5:52 AM]
Rochester D&C reports: '"It is bedlam. It is pandemonium. It is fandemonium."'
Team was able to right itself [5:51 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'How many people are surprised to learn that the Bills aren't going to the Super Bowl, Tom Donahoe is not the NFL's version of Red Auerbach, Drew Bledsoe is not a better quarterback than Tom Brady, and Bill Belichick is not an idiot? Come on, now. Honestly.'
Not much headway [5:50 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'The Bills said Bledsoe passed all neurological tests, including National Football League baseline testing. "The pros are paid incredible amounts of money to do what they do, and the quarterback is the team leader, but the brain is a bit unique compared to the knees and back," said Cantu. "There's just no question you should not be playing with a brain injury."'
Tough trade-off [5:49 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Patriots fans frequently heard how Bledsoe's problems were the result of a shaky offensive line, or the loss of Curtis Martin, or the decline of Ben Coates, or the play-calling of Perkins/Kennan/Zampese. The excuse-making isn't nearly as pronounced in Buffalo, where the fans and media are mostly amazed at how long Bledsoe holds on to the ball and how much trouble he has against the blitz.'
A song in his lion heart [5:48 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"He's a true professional," head coach Bill Belichick said. Nobody works harder or is more diligent or puts more into it than he does. He throws himself across the tracks and he does everything he possibly can for himself to be a good player."'
Team unity drives Pats' remarkable run [5:47 AM]
Providence Journal reports: '"We all show leadership in one way or another every single day," Belichick said earlier this week, while getting his 13-2 team ready for the regular-season finale against Buffalo. "You don't just stand in front of the team and be a leader. The way you go about your job and the way you contribute to the team provides some degree of leadership. I think every single person falls into that category."'
Patriots Vs. Patriots [5:46 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'But with the final game of the regular season and the postseason still ahead, having the NFL's best record is small comfort unless they can do what the 2001 team did.'
'D' truly teamwork [5:45 AM]
Springfield Republican reports: '"When I say team defense, it is that confidence both by the players and the coaching staff of knowing that pretty much everything is under control. I am not saying every play is a 5-yard loss, but every play is relatively under control, and you are not just holding on by your fingernails."'
Happy trails for Bills' classy voice [5:44 AM]
USA Today reports: 'Most lasting memory: "You'd have to go back to the '64-65 AFL championship teams," he says. "That's the last time a major league team from Western New York or Buffalo ever won the last game of the season."'
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|01/01||@ New York Jets||1:00 pm|