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New England Patriots Links 10/23/09 - New England Meets Jolly Old England

<em>Tom Brady and teammates wait to board charter flight Thursday afternoon.</em>
Tom Brady and teammates wait to board charter flight Thursday afternoon.

Christopher Price offers his Five Things to watch for Sunday afternoon, including whether Laurence Maroney can repeat his solid rushing performance from last week.

Everyone’s favorite comedian (each Maroney press gathering should come ready made with one of these), the running back snapped out of a year-long malaise last week against the Titans, rushing for 123 yards in the win. More important than the yards was how he got them: Instead of juking and dancing, he waited for the holes on the offensive line to develop, and when they did appear, he hit them decisively. It was a terrific performance for the much-maligned back, who deserves to take a bow for his effort.

Now comes the hard part — putting solid back-to-back outings together. There is no reason to think Maroney could not follow up his effort against Tennessee with a similar performance this week against the Bucs. He will get plenty of touches (Sammy Morris isn’t expected to play), and Tampa Bay is miserable at stopping the run (they allow an average of 172 rushing yards per game, the 31st in the league). If everything works out, this week should provide his first back-to-back 100-yard efforts since the end of the 2007 season.

Martin Fennelly (Tampa Tribune) says this will be a 'Tour de farce' awaiting the Bucs in London.

Pay no attention to New England coach Bill Belichick, who was either being very kind or was drugged with horse sedatives before he was asked about the Bucs on a Wednesday conference call.

"The Bucs can hurt you in a lot of ways," Belichick said. "They're explosive and they're dangerous. ... I hope we're able to be competitive against them."

Then the alien popped out of his chest ...

Mike Reiss notes the Patriots schedule for Friday

The Patriots arrived at London's Heathrow Airport at 5:15 a.m. Friday, and then headed to their team hotel before their scheduled practice at 1:30 p.m. (London time).

The practice will be held at The Brit Oval Cricket Ground.

Offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer, defensive lineman Vince Wilfork and linebackers Jerod Mayo and Junior Seau are among the players scheduled to speak with media members before practice. Coach Bill Belichick will also answer questions from reporters.