Smith knows going 'home' is not easy [5:36 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'Besides, Smith knows if he is running the ball well, it means the offensive line is controlling the line of scimmage, which means the Patriots offense will be able to keep the ball out of the hands of Bledsoe and the Bills' explosive offense. Getting the ball to Smith is likely to be a big part of New England's game plan, as it was in Buffalo, when he carried a season-high 29 times.'
Izzo proving he's a special player [5:35 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'The Patriots had huge success with screen passes against the Bills in the first meeting. But Antowain Smith expects Buffalo to make adjustments. "They know what plays we ran hurt them," said Smith. "We'll just have to study them and see what things might work well against them this week."'
Bledsoe Won't Miss Bruschi [5:34 AM]
Hartford Courant reports: 'Unless the Patriots choose to deploy six or seven defensive backs, a risky strategy that could leave them more vulnerable to the runs of Travis Henry (4.7 yards a carry), a linebacker will have to shadow Centers. And with his teammates facing the pressing problem of keeping Moulds and Price in check, that linebacker won't be getting much help.'
Welcome back Bledsoe [5:33 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'What Belichick did wasn’t ground-breaking. He didn’t exactly invent a defense. In fact, the scheme was similar to what his current defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel used when the two were in Cleveland in the mid-90s. It just caught Bledsoe off guard.'
Last year is over [5:32 AM]
Woonsocket Call reports: 'Drew Bledsoe is one of only two players along with Lawyer Milloy to sign the final steel beam put in place during the construction for Gillette Stadium last year, but Sunday will be his first appearance in the new venue.'
Smith still puts bullseye on Buffalo [5:31 AM]
Manchester Union Leader reports: '“There is such a thing as getting a little bit too hyped. You don’t want to go out there and try and do too much. You want to play within yourself,” Smith said. “(Drew’s) going to be on an emotional high. He’s going to be geared up to come in here and do what he can to put his team in a position to win.”'
Slain ex-football player involved in shooting in '01 [5:29 AM]
Cherry Hill Courier Post reports: 'According to The Buffalo News, Covington survived a drive-by shooting last year in Buffalo, N.Y.'
Police look at whether drugs had played role [5:28 AM]
Philadelphia Inquirer reports: 'Authorities say they are investigating whether drugs played a role in the Friday night shooting death of Damien Covington, a star football player at Overbrook High School in Pine Hill whose professional football career was cut short by a knee injury.'
Brady, Bledsoe enjoy importance of game [10:01 PM]
Patriots.com reports: '"It's a homecoming and I get to come back and play against my old team, and play in front of my old fans, and it'll be an interesting game," Bledsoe said. "The big deal for us is that we've got to play a lot better than we did last time, that was really a disappointment to us, and a big setback for us to come out and play as poorly as we did in that game."'
New England faces shaky Bills run defense [9:35 PM]
AP reports: 'The Patriots had their second-best running game of the season in their 38-7 win at Buffalo on Nov. 3 with 159 yards on 36 carries. Antowain Smith rushed 29 times for 111 yards, both season highs and the only time he has surpassed 100 this year.'
His house may be for sale, but Bledsoe's coming home [1:46 PM]
Portland Press Herald reports: '"I know he definitely has a lot of supporters among the fans," said Seymour, the defensive tackle. "He's a guy with a lot of character and a class act. The fans have always recognized that."'
Updated Listing of Bills Backer Bars [1:41 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: Where do you watch the Bills games?
Drew Bledsoe Quotebook: Patriots Preview [1:40 PM]
BuffaloBills.com reports: "That's their defensive style. They change up week-to-week, team-to-team. We expect something different out of them this week. They change it up, give you different looks and make things hard on you. We expect them to do the same. They are going to do some stuff that we have seen and they are probably going to throw stuff in there that we haven't seen before. We just have to be able to adjust to what they throw at us during the game."
It's the most desperate time of year [1:40 PM]
Nashua Telegraph reports: 'Luckily, this Sunday’s forecast is for sunshine and temperatures in the high 30s, low 40s.'
Johnson can't wait to take on Buffalo [1:34 PM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'Even though he has fewer catches than Henry, Centers may be the No. 1 concern.'
Bledsoe a footnote this time [1:33 PM]
Quincy Patriot Ledger reports: 'Perhaps because Bledsoe Bowl I was such a media circus and because this game has wide-ranging playoff implications, the Bledsoe angle seems a bit muted this time, even though he is coming back home.'
Patriots enter home stretch hosting the Bills [1:31 PM]
Patriots.com reports: 'The Patriots are 5-0 when Smith has rushed for 100 yards or more over the past two seasons.'
Bills' deep thinkers may need other ideas [9:05 AM]
Buffalo News reports: 'They actually moved the ball with some success in the first meeting with New England. Bledsoe threw for 302 yards. They got within field-goal range on five of their first seven drives. But their marches kept stalling. They scored on just 1 of 5 trips inside the Pats' 20.'
Bledsoe just gives his opinion on controversial game [9:04 AM]
Buffalo News reports: '"First of all, Shawn Jefferson made a spectacular catch on the sidelines and got both feet down and got the first down for us, and Terry Glenn was obviously interfered with in the end zone, and then Ben Coates made a great catch," Bledsoe said Wednesday with a mischievous tone in his voice.'
A great run for Henry [5:27 AM]
D and C reports: 'With a work ethic and spirituality passed on by mom. Not worrying where people rank him. On Henry’s right biceps is a tattoo of a cross with his No. 20 in the middle and on his forearm is inscribed: “Only God Can Judge Me.”'
Belichick trusts his players [5:26 AM]
D and C reports: 'Williams was happy with the way defensive end Kendrick Office and cornerback Jason Bostic played against the Dolphins and said both would be used in similar fashion Sunday against New England.'
Bills bracing for schemes of Belichick [5:25 AM]
Toronto Star reports: 'Because of their poor record head-to-head versus conference opponents (3-6) the Bills are not in good standing for a wild-card playoff spot, which means their best shot at the post-season is by winning the division title.'
In throes once again [5:24 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'This is no time to downplay the Bledsoe-Brady matchup - more than ever, the hype is truly warranted.'
Jones getting closer [5:23 AM]
Boston Globe reports: 'Middle linebacker Tedy Bruschi is listed as doubtful on the injury report. Bruschi does have strong recuperative powers, though he may not have enough time to return from a sprained right knee suffered in the first quarter of the Lions game on Thanksgiving. Drew Bledsoe said of Bruschi, ''From a personal standpoint, I feel bad for Tedy, but professionally, I'd be real happy to see him in street clothes.'''
A chance for redemption [5:22 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Bledsoe still has a score to settle against his former coach and point to prove to his critics in New England. The Pats' 38-7 drubbing of Bledsoe and the Bills Nov. 3 only reinforced the notion that Belichick has Bledsoe's number. And Tom Brady's huge statistical performance that day only piled more evidence on the still-simmering Bledsoe-Brady debate.'
Brady's a real Weis guy [5:21 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'As for Brady, he's still the same guy who started last season as Bledsoe's backup. In between all the so-called jet-setting and celebrity parties, we still hear stories that remind everyone what a good guy he is. Only now, the legend just keeps growing.'
Turf war shifts to new stadium [5:20 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Bledsoe doesn't expect the Patriots to use as much one-on-one coverage as the Dolphins did. ``I just don't think they will take that chance very often,'' he said.'
Players look to 12th man for help [5:19 AM]
Boston Herald reports: 'Since the season-opening win over Pittsburgh, Gillette Stadium has had disappointingly few moments of noise and bedlam. Part of the problem has been some poor performances at home (where the Pats are 3-2), part of it has to do with the distant location of many seats and part of it has to do with the coziness of the indoor club areas.'
For Patriots, it's all in the plan [5:18 AM]
Metro West Daily News reports: '"I don't want to give away our game-plan, but we have something unique for them," promised linebacker Roman Phifer. "We try to keep it mixed up, try to keep the guys off balance and show them a different look."'
Johnson the man in the middle [5:17 AM]
Providence Journal reports: 'With middle linebacker Tedy Bruschi listed as doubtful for Sunday's game against the explosive Bills, Johnson will be featured prominently in the middle of the Patriots defense. He'll be there to squish the run, as he's always done. And he'll be there in pass coverage, a supposed weak spot in his game that he's been actively debunking with his play in recent weeks. He'll be there on blitzes, as he was during the first Bills game when he helped set the tone with a key 14-yard sack of Drew Bledsoe in the first quarter. He'll be there. Even though three months ago, it was easy to wonder if he'd even be around.'
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