Here’s a look at this morning’s top stories:
Initial Thoughts: Patriots Ready For Tall Task Versus Broncos – Derek Havens – Havens has his thoughts on this week’s match-up, and expects the Patriots to be ready for the challenges Denver presents.
Five New Impressions of the Denver Broncos – Steve Balestrieri – Balestrieri takes a closer look a the Broncos, and talks about some of the things that are different from their first match-up.
Patriots rewarded for staying with run game – Ben Volin – Volin writes that one mark of a good coaching staff is a willingness to trust your game plan, even if it isn’t working out too well at first and that’s what happened in the Patriots’ 43-22 win over the Colts Saturday night.
Brandon Spikes didn’t want to go on IR, agent says – Michael Whitmer – Whitmer files his notebook this morning and writes that Spikes didn’t want to go to injured reserve, and that contrary to the ESPN report over the weekend the linebacker wasn’t placed on IR for disciplinary reasons.
Patriots OK with being underdogs against Broncos – Shalise Manza Young – Manza Young has comments from several players who talked about the fact they’re underdogs heading into Denver this weekend.
Patriots’ Blount says Broncos are ‘a different team now’ – Zuri Berry – Berry has comments from Blount who said that this Broncos team is different from the one they battled earlier this season.
Patriots Notebook: Torn ACL shelves Broncos CB Chris Harris – Jeff Howe – Howe files his notebook this morning which leads off with a bit on Broncos defensive back Chris Harris, who was lost to a torn ACL.
Brandon Spikes’ agent: No IR threats – Jeff Howe – Howe has comments from Spikes’ agent, who said last night that the trip for his client to injured reserve was not a mutual decision, nor was it done for disciplinary reasons.
Callahan: Legacies on line in Brady vs. Manning – Gerry Callahan – Callahan writes that there’s a lot on the line for both quarterbacks this weekend out in Denver.
Changes to Patriots, Broncos make this different than Week 12 tilt – Jeff Howe – Howe writes the AFC Championship Game will feature two of the NFL’s A-list celebrities, but plenty of big names will be left out of the ads and promotions during this week of hype.
Patriots blocking out negatives – Mark Daniels – Daniels writes that despite the fact the Broncos present problems, the Patriots are confident heading into this weekend.
Patriots report card: Run on good grades – Ron Borges – Borges has his report card for this week, and writes that while Andrew Luck may be the future, the future is not now after the Patriots knocked them out of the playoffs.
Clean-up from win over Colts – Mike Reiss – Reiss has some interesting remaining notes from Saturday night’s game, including how the Patriots mixed up their coverages in dealing with Colts reciever T.Y. Hilton.
What’s different for Patriots this time? – Mike Reiss – Reiss has notes looking back at the team’s overtime win over Denver back on November 24th, including the differences in the personnel groupings between then and now.
Quick hits from Patriots locker room – Mike Reiss and Field Yates – Yates and Reiss have notes from the locker room session yesterday, which still has punter Ryan Allen missing in action after suffering a shoulder injury Saturday night.
Tom Brady’s Patriots forge new identity on the run – Mike Salk – Salk writes that championship teams know who they are and how they want to win and this Patriots team is one we haven’t seen in a while, they’re a physical football team.
LeGarrette Blount: ‘We could play better’ – Christopher Price – Price has comments from Blount, who talked about additional plays he still could have made despite his big performance Saturday night.
Julian Edelman Doesn’t Have Wes Welker’s ‘Ability or Quickness,’ Says Broncos’ Mike Adams – Doug Kyed – Kyed has comments from Broncos safety Mike Adams, who said Welker is a special player, and that Edelman doesn’t have the same ability or quickness in the slot.
New England Patriots injury update: Bill Belichick says no decision has been made on punter Ryan Allen – Nick Underhill – Underhill writes that the team is still weighing their options at punter and that no decision has been made yet on him.
A peek into Belichick’s magic – Pual Klee – Klee writes the greatest trick Bill Belichick ever pulled was convincing the football world to lower expectations for the Patriots, and wonders how he’s done it.
ATTLEBORO SUN CHRONICLE:
Patriots fans upbeat about chances in Denver – Emily O’Donnell – O’Donnell has comments from several fans who like New England’s chances against the Broncos this weekend.
Patriots out to beat odds, Broncos – Jennifer Toland – Toland writes that for the first time since 2006 they’ll play an AFC Championship game away from Gillette Stadium, and they’re also a playoff underdog.