Dan Guttenplan evaluates the potential areas of concern leading up to the pats' toughest stretch of the season.
Watching a Patriots game this season has become similar to the morning commute to work. You have a good idea how it’s going to play out before it starts, and you’re really just hoping to avoid any accidents on the way there.
The Patriots completed the predictable portion of their schedule yesterday. After struggling with Miami’s Wildcat offense for about 40 minutes (when the Pats only led 17-16), the Patriots countered with a 71-yard touchdown pass from Tom Brady to Randy Moss. A two-point conversion from Brady to Moss made it 24-17. The Patriots defense then switched to a 4-4-3, crowding the line of scrimmage to slow down the Wildcat. The final score — Patriots 27, Dolphins 17 — was just an afterthought on an afternoon when New England fans never really had a feeling their team would lose.
Ian Rapoport focuses on the admirable play of Sebastian Vollmer.
What happens when Matt Light returns?
"We’ll deal with the situation when he comes back," coach Bill Belichick told the Herald. "I don’t know when that’s going to be. Both guys have shown they can play that position very competitively, and we’ll deal with it when it’s an option. The last couple weeks, it hasn’t been an option."
Christopher Price offers some players thoughts on preparing for Peyton.
Outside linebacker Adalius Thomas says that one of the best ways to prepare to face Manning is to engage in a little self-scouting.
"I think that he knows so much and he’s such a student of the game and he studies so much that any little thing or clue that you give him, he’ll pick up on," Thomas said. "So you have to be very mindful of what you’re doing and showing beforehand. You have to study yourself like Peyton would study you a little bit in order to understand what it is he sees and what you might be giving away."
"You can show him 13 players on the field," Thomas said with a laugh, "but other than that, I don’t think you can give him anything new."
- Erik Scalavino dissects the Moss TD and 2-point conversion, plus Monday news and notes from Gillette Stadium.
- Bill Belichick Monday Presser (23 min. video) Plus Transcript.
- WEEI Patriots Monday: Tom Brady (23:40 min.), Chris Baker (10:25 min.), Vince Wilfork (15:38 min.), Ty Warren (14:10 min.), Bill Belichick (34 min.)
Patriots Today: Pats hit midpoint with big division win over Fins. (12:15 min. video)
- Gerry Callahan reminds us that we're lucky: We get to see the two best quarterbacks, head-to-head, under pressure, in their primes. And you just know they will meet again in January, which is the way it should be. Manning vs. Brady, twice a season.
- Albert Breer points out that in the Patriots offense, the "primary receiver" doesn't exist.
- Ian Rapoport notes the friendship and similarities between Brady and Manning.
- Dan Duggan looks at how Brady and Manning have fared in their previous 10 head-to-head matchups, including three playoff games.
- Eric Wilbur notes a win over the Colts would be sweeter than a victory over the Saints.
Tony Massarotti feels the ultimate question this week is whether the Pats can contain Manning enough to pull out a win on the road.
- Shalise Manza Young focuses on hard-hitting safety Brandon McGowan.
- Mike Reiss notes TE Stuffer Brandon McGowan's tough assignment this week is Dallas Clark.
- Steve Buckley says the biggest game is always the next game for Bill Belichick.
- Mike Reiss looks at and analyzes the snaps played by Patriots defenders, the snaps played by offensive skill position players and the Patriots' positional groupings in the team's 27-17 win over the Dolphins.
- Christopher Price offers highlights from WEEI's Patriots Monday interviews: Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, Ty Warren, Bill Belichick.
- Steve DeOssie presents the Patriots' Week 9 Report Card.
- Ron Borges grades the Patriots in his Week 9 Report Card.
- Mark Farinella lists his Miami-Pats Hots and Nots and game notes. He also points out the Wildcat vs. the Pistol formations and how the Sports Hub host ranting about it got it wrong.
- Monique Walker reports the Patriots are waiting on center Dan Koppen's status.
Boston Herald Patriots Notebook: Shawn Springs is wary of Peyton Manning; Leigh Bodden says this is one reason he signed with the Patriots, to be a part of stellar competition like this; Dan Koppen was walking around without a limp; and Sammy Morris made his first locker room appearance since he was injured.
- Five observations from Sunday's win over the Fins: Once responsibilities were defined, Patriots handled everything Miami threw at them. (ESPNBoston)
- Mike Reiss (ESPNBoston) History shows Colts-Patriots will be worth watching.
- Dan Shaughnessy (SI) Patriots-Colts has become the Ali-Frazier of NFL rivalries.
- Charles Robinson (Yahoo! Sports) Are the Patriots as good as their record? (4:18 min. video)
- Tiki Barber & Jason Cole (Yahoo! Sports) Saints or Colts finish undefeated? (4.46 min. video)
- Judy Battista (NY Times) Patriots find answer to Dolphins offensive tricks.
- Nolan Nawrocki (Pro Football Weekly) "Bill"ding a winner. The rebuilding styles of Parcells, Belichick and Polian.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Keep an eye on the AFC wild-card race.
- KC Joyner (ESPN) Pat's short pass attack key versus Colts. (50 second video)
- Michael Lombardi (NFL.com) Separation among top contenders starting to crystallize.
- Michael Lombardi (Nat'l Football Post) Sunday Best. The Wildcat is dying a slow death (10 plays, 7 yards against the Patriots.)
- Vinnie Iyer (Sporting News) Week 9 Checkdown: Defining each division race.
- NFL.com Week 9 Can't Miss Play: Davis gets Mossed. (40 second video clip.)
VIEW FROM INDIANAPOLIS
- Indianapolis Star Manning vs. Brady: Who has the edge?
- Phil B. Wilson (Indy Star) Colts-Pats Matchup: Sunday preview and analysis.
- Mike Chappell (Indy Star) Colts, Patriots love their epic showdowns.
- Indianapolis Star Colts vs. Patriots: A classic NFL rivalry.
- Tom Spalding (Indy Star) High-flying Indianapolis Colts get their own airplane to match.