Adam Kilgore reports Steelers' LB LaMarr Woodley told reporters in Pittsburgh he expects the Patriots and Bengals to "lay down" in order to keep the Steelers out of the playoffs.
On this topic, Logan Mankins had some thoughts. "I don’t think we owe them anything," Mankins said. "We put ourselves in this position, and that was by winning games throughout the year. If they didn’t want to have to count on us to win games, they shouldn’t have lost games. I think we were in the same position last year, where we needed a team to lose. That was no one’s fault but our own. Whenever you’re counting on other teams to lose, you’re in a bad situation."
Bill Belichick responds to a question about the offensive line not giving up a sack in four games, and if they're doing anything different.
No, not really. We try to protect well in every game. A lot of that has to do with the receiver's being open. The quarterback needs somebody to throw the ball to. If you protect long enough to be able to get the ball to whatever the designed route is, whether it be drop back, play action, empty, closed formation or whatever it happens to be. It gets back to team execution. It's not just the line. It's the backs. It's the tight ends. It's the receivers. It's the overall timing of it and, of course, being able to run the ball always helps the pass protection. I'd say it's a team thing.
"That just tells you the great player that he is, what the game means to him and how hard he's worked to get back. I have the utmost respect for him. I obviously saw him many, many times when I was in Denver and we played against him a great deal.
I'll tell you the way it is: as I'm raising Matt [Schaub], I'm showing him a lot of Tom [Brady]'s film and how he handles things, how he plays the game – foot work wise, poise wise. I mean, he's the model guy; he's the model player and handles himself with a great deal of class. Those are the guys that play a long time in this league and are successful. There's nobody better for Matt to keep an eye on week in and week out, year to year. But, I'm very impressed by what Tom's done and obviously he's been exceptional. Last week, apparently, he was just incredible. So he's gearing himself up for January. That's what he does best."
- Erik Scalavino reports the Pats Pro Bowlers appreciate recognition; plus news and practice notes from Gillette.
- Patriots-Texans Wednesday Injury Report.
- Locker room quotes: New England Patriots players comment on their upcoming game against the Houston Texans during locker room access at Gillette Stadium on Wednesday.
- Wednesday Press Conferences: Bill Belichick (22:45 min.), Wes Welker (8 min.), Logan Mankins (8:22 min.), Vince Wilfork (15:07 min.)
- Patriots Today - Pro Bowl talk; Heading to Houston. (12:50 min. video)
- Belichick Breakdown: Patriots vs. Jaguars. (3:39 min. video)
- Karen Guregian looks at the focused, united Patriots locker room of today, compared with just a month ago when Brady was calling out his team's lack of fight.
- Mike Reiss presents Laurence Maroney's thoughts on last week's goal-line fumble, and wonders if his playing time will be diminished because of it.
- Albert Breer notes Texans receiver Andre Johnson talks about the athletic freak that Vince Wilfork is.
- Ian Rapoport focuses on Vince Wilfork - his indomitable spirit, work ethic, and how he feels about being voted to the Pro Bowl. Where's my "Pay Vince!" T-shirt?
- Adam Kilgore offers a closer look at why Logan Mankins doesn't have a contract extension.
- Karen Guregian notes Logan Mankins was pleased to be voted to a starting Pro Bowl position, but doesn't like the uncertainty of his contract situation.
- Mike Reiss finds the Patriots’ three-game winning streak has coincided with a decline in penalties.
- Mark Farinella recalls the last time the Patriots faced Matt Schaub, when he subbed in for an injured Michael Vick in Atlanta four seasons ago and came close to beating them.
- Albert Breer reports that Gary Kubiak uses Brady as a 'model' in teaching Matt Schaub.
- Shalise Manza Young notes Andre Johnson is big, fast and a nightmare for every defense that has faced him in recent years.
- Ian Rapoport reports that Bernard Pollard, the safety that took out Tom Brady's knee, is now a starter for the Texans. Pollard says the hit was not intentional and he has moved on.
- Christopher Price looks back and says the legacy of the 2009 Patriots is still to be determined.
Boston Herald Patriots Notebook: Wes Welker wishes Randy Moss had been voted to the Pro Bowl; Tom Brady was named as the AFC’s Offensive Player of the Week and his team’s Ed Block Courage Award winner; Belichick only thinking about Houston this week, not the playoffs; Las Vegas oddsmakers put the Patriots as 8 point underdogs betting that the starters will sit.
- "At least the '07 Patriots had the guts to go for it." You tell 'em Tedy !!! (ESPNBoston)
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Uncapped year affects 19 from AFC East.
- Mark Maske (Washington Post) NFL appears headed toward a season without a salary cap. Nice explanation of the issues.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) An AFC East mea culpa.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Can Colts afford to relax versus Bills now?
- Vic Carucci (NFL.com) Buffalo's T.O. experiment a business success, football failure.
- Dennis Dillon (Sporting News) Scouts' views: Rivers takes charge, Pats step back.
- Michael Lombardi (Nat'l Football Post) Pro Bowl misses.
- Pat Kirwan (NFL.com) Watch out for more Wildcat, 'radar defense' in upcoming playoffs.
- Dom Bonvissuto (SI) Playoff projections, week 17.
- Alex Marvez (Fox Sports) All-Decade team: 2000-2009.
- Joe Posnanski (SI) Colts' decision to rest starters may cost them more than perfection.
- Charles Robinson (Yahoo! Sports) History snub could forever taint the '09 Colts.
- AP (Fox Sports) Colts' owner Jim Irsay: Decision to bench players 'courageous'. Puh-leeeeze.
VIEW FROM HOUSTON
- John McClain (Houston Chronicle) Belichick remains coy about starters playing vs. Texans.
- Nick Scurfield (HoustonTexans.com) Practice report: LB DeMeco Ryans hopes Pats play starters.
- HoustonTexans.com Scouting Report: New England Patriots.
- Wednesday Conference Calls: Gary Kubiak Transcript. Andre Johnson (9 min. audio)
- AP (Houston Chronicle) Patriots starters say they want to face the Texans.
- John McClain (Houston Chronicle) Colts' decision a touchy subject.