Here are this morning’s top stories:

Wes Welker on record pace – Ian Rapoport
Ian Rapoport has quotes fromformer NFL receiver Jerry Rice, who at the rate Wes Welker is going may eclipse his single season record yardage total.

“If he should break my record, I’ll be the first to congratulate him,’ Rice told the Herald from Los Angeles, prior to taping “Audibles,” one of several ESPN shows for which he serves as an analyst. “I have met him. I know how hard he works, fighting his way back from a (torn ACL) injury. I’m happy to see him have a lot of success on the football field.”

Mark Sanchez must make a connection – Ron Borges
Borges has a good article this morning spotlighting Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez, who has struggled mightily after getting poor protection and getting knocked around recently.

Hernandez, Haynesworth, Wright practice – Ian Rapoport
Ian Rapoport files his “Notebook” for this morning, which leads off with the fact the Patriots saw Aaron Hernandez, Albert Haynesworth, and Mike Wright all participate in practice Thursday.

Returns in: Kicks key – Ron Borges
Borges files his “notebook” from a Jets perspective, and writes that Rex Ryan’s team is coming off a game in which Joe McKnight replaced the banged-up Antonio Cromartie and had an emphatic 107-return for a touchdown against the Baltimore Ravens.  Borges also points out that McKnight is averaging 53 yards on his four returns, which is obviously a startling number.

BOSTON GLOBE:

Jets provide Patriots with moment of truth – Christopher Gasper
Gasper writes that Playing the Jets is not just another game, and says that saying that is “like claiming the Berlin Wall was just another wall or Alcatraz was just another prison.”

Hernandez back on practice field – Michael Vega
Vega files his “notebook” for this morning, which leads off with the fact Aaron Hernandez was back at practice yesterday.  The second-year tight end told the media he feels “pretty good”, and it’s been frustrating being sidelined.

“It’s always frustrating [to be injured] when you love the game,’’ he said. “But I’ll say again, I’m just taking it day by day and can’t wait to get back.’’

Jets-Patriots prediction roundup – Eric Wilbur
Wilbur goes over the predictions from all the different media outlets for this weekend’s game.

Making himself useful - Monique Walker
Walker has an article this morning on Dane Fletcher, who is doing his best to fill in for the injured Jerod Mayo.

“In New England, there aren’t too many pats on the back,’’ said Fletcher. “When you do your job right, that’s what you’re getting paid for. When you’re not doing it right, you’re not going to be around, I guess.

“When I’m not being told what to do, I feel pretty good about myself. No news is great news. You worry every day coming into that door whether you still have a job or not.’’

Still riding New England’s wave – Ed Ryan
Ryan has an article on the point spreads for this weekend in today’s “Bettor’s Edge”.

Jets’ Burress is catching up to redemption – Julian Benbow
Benbow writes that after spending 20 months in jail, Jets receiver Plaxico Burress has written about how little he understood or valued the things he had at the time, about how much he lost – not just in money but in time.

ESPNBoston.com

Patriots get injured players back – Mike Rodak
Rodak writes about the return of Hernandez, Wright, and Haynesworth, but also notes that running back Danny Woodhead (ankle), receiver Julian Edelman (ankle), linebacker Jerod Mayo (knee) and offensive lineman Sebastian Vollmer (back) were not spotted at the media-access portion of practice.

Video: Reiss’ PAT on Pats-Jets - Mike Reiss
Reiss has a video report with comments from some of the players leading up to Sunday’s game.

Base defense helped stop run – Mike Reiss
Reiss takes a look at the fact the Patriots were in a base defense against Oakland for more snaps than they were in any of the previous weeks, and it was effective in shutting down the Raiders running game.

WEEI.COM

In Focus: Charting the offensive opportunities for the Patriots – Christopher Price
Price breaks down the offensive performance of each Patriots player in this entry.

Hernandez on possibly facing Revis: ‘I think that would be a good match-up’ – Mike Petraglia
Aaron Hernandez
told reporters this week that he feels being matched up with New York’s Derrelle Revis would be a good match-up for him.

HOMETOWNANNAPOLIS.COM

Kettani Ordered Back To Ship – Staff
The publication has an article on Patriots practice squad runningback Erik Kettani, who was notified that he’s being ordered back into active duty by the Navy, and leaves today after being denied an appeal to remain with the team.

MASSLIVE.COM

Bad defense of New England Patriots matched up with inept offense – Howard Ulman
MassLive.com has an article from the Associated Press about Sunday’s match-up between New England’s 32nd ranked defense and the Jets struggling offense.

WORCESTER TELEGRAM:

Rex Ryan: Jets grounded by meager running game – Jennifer Toland
Toland writes that the Jets have struggled offensively, largely in part because they haven’t been able to run the ball.

ATTELBORO SUN CHRONICLE:

Wilfork, defense all business for Jets - Mark Farinella
Farinella writes that one indication of how seriously the Patriots are taking Sunday’s game at home against the New York Jets has been the absolute absence of happy banter in their comments this week.

METROWEST DAILY NEWS:

Jets expected to run against Patriots - Glen Farley
Farley writes that the Jets “Ground-and-pound” has been grounded and is getting pounded.

NASHUA TELEGRAPH:

Jets have fizzled but Pats are wary – Tom King
King writes that Patriots fans shouldn’t look too much into the fact that the Jets offense has been anemic so far heading into Sunday’s game at Gillette Stadium.

That’s it for this morning.  We have an additional entry that will follow in a few minutes with links from the New York media.