Ron Borges has a full matchup comparison of the Colts and Patriots in today’s Globe. In his breakdown, he gives four matchup edges to the Patriots and three to the Colts, calling the coaching and secondary matchups even. After saying Belichick should’ve been named coach of the year, he says:
Dungy led the Buccaneers for six years, building a team that reached the NFC Championship game and fundamentally the team that won the Super Bowl the year after his departure.
Did Dungy “build” that team, or was it Buccaneers GM Rich McKay? And to praise Dungy for a team that won the Super Bowl after he was fired sure seems like reaching to praise Dungy and put him on the same level as Belichick. Besides, having failed to win it all with the Bucs and then having John Gruden come in and win the Super Bowl with essentially the same cast doesn’t speak well for Dungy. By the way Ron, the game isn’t tonight. (Read the Colts special teams section.) Doesn’t anyone check these things? In another note, Ron picks the Patriots in the Globe Staff Picks, but on WWZN this afternoon he says that isn’t his pick, someone did it for him, and that he’s picking the Colts. It’s probably more like if the Patriots win, he can says “I picked them…look in the paper.” Borges also has an article on MSNBC looking at the game and praising Belichick. Michael Felger and Glen Farley look at the challenge facing the Patriots corners. Jeff Jacobs has a really good column on Rodney Harrison, who is planning on bringing the fog Sunday. Tom E Curran has a further look at how the Patriots plan to attack Manning. One problem with Curran’s piece, he has him listed as a Heisman trophy winner. Manning never won that award, only finishing as high as second. Nick Cafardo talks to Pete Carroll among others about how the best way to defend Manning and the Colts. Alan Greenberg has a look at Adam Vinatieri’s postseason record.
Gerry Callahan (subscription only) looks at Tom Brady’s record of coming up big in big games. He ends the column by predicting a 35-34 Patriots win. Amalie Benjamin has a look at special teams Pro Bowler Larry Izzo. Fluto Shinzawa looks at Je’Rod Cherry and a couple other players who were on and off the Patriots roster over the course of the season. Kevin Paul Dupont cranks out 3,150 words on Stephen Neal. Christopher Price says the playoffs are a whole different game for Bill Belichick and his crew. Glen Farley looks at how the field will be wet and cold on Sunday and how that factors into the game. Mike Reiss looks at the relationship between Belichick and BC coach Tom O’Brien and how the Colts factor into that. Chris Kennedy looks at how the Patriots feel at home in Gillette, regardless of the weather and field conditions. Steve Buckley (subscription only) looks at what might be going on in Corey Dillon’s head this week, as the Patriots running back has really not been heard from during this week prior to his first ever playoff game.
Felger’s notebook looks at punter Josh Miller. The Projo notebook looks at how new Pats CB Hank Poteat is adapting to his new club. Ian M Clark’s notebook looks at Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri and how they’re no slouches despite the attention given to Peyton Manning and Mike Vanderjagt. Greenberg’s notebook has a look at Antwan Harris, back in the fold. Jonathan Comey has a notebook style column which starts with a look at pranks in the Patriot locker room. Cafardo’s notebook has the Gillette Stadium playing surface getting the OK from the league. Cafardo’s Mailbag from late yesterday afternoon has a few interesting takes from the Globe writer, as he comments on media access to assistant coaches, updates on injuries and other hotbutton topics. Kennedy’s notebook has Troy Brown expecting to be tested on Sunday as a cornerback.
Kevin Paul Dupont has a feature style piece on Peyton Manning. George Kimball (subscription only) writes that the Colts aren’t paying much attention to the potential field conditions, saying that the Patriots will have to play on the same field. Shalise Manza Young has a look at the Colts defense and what challenges they will provide to the Patriot offense. Mark Blaudschun looks at Tony Dungy hoping to finally break through and get a Super Bowl appearance this year. Hector Longo has a piece on Colts DE Dwight Freeney. Tom King says Peyton Manning isn’t worried about going into Foxboro to face the Patriots, despite his lack of success against him. Blaudschun’s notebook has the Colts downplaying the field and weather conditions at Gillette.
From the Indy Star
Phil Richards says that the Patriots are the Colts nemesis, having beaten them 13 out of 15 times. He says though, that this is a different Colts team. He has a sidebar on the article listing six of the times in history a team had to break through and beat their nemesis, including the Red Sox beating the Yankees. He also lists five reasons the Colts can beat the Patriots. Bob Kravitz says the Colts cannot complain about the field at Gillette. The Patriots earned home field advantage. If the Colts want to play at home in the playoffs, they need to win the homefield race.
Baseball Writers Dinner/New Steroid Policy
Dan Shaughnessy looks at the star of the Baseball Writers dinner last night – the World Series Trophy. Joe McDonald and David Heuschkel talk to Terry Francona and Tony Larussa about the World Series and looking ahead to next season. Gordon Edes looks at what Marvin Miller has to say about the state of the game and steroid use. Chris Snow’s notebook has an update on Curt Schilling, while the Herald notebook says Schilling is still shooting to be ready for opening day. McDonald’s notebook has more on the steroid policy and a list of honorees from last night. Nick Tavares grades offseason acquisitions.
Chris Snow, Paul Doyle and Jeff Horrigan report on the new steroid testing policy adopted by MLB. Tony Massarotti says the new policy was sorely needed. Michael Silverman says the policy received a mixed reaction last night.
Mark Murphy looks at Atlanta Hawks owner Steve Belkin, a Bostonian who has wanted to own an NBA franchise for years. Marvin Pave looks at adjustments the Celtics are trying to make in an effort to be more consistent. Murphy’s notebook looks at the Celtics pretty much keeping pace in the Atlantic Division despite their struggles.
Paul Kenyon has a piece on Bryan Morry, the editor of Patriots Football Weekly about what it is like to work for the Krafts and Patriots organization. David Scott has a Friday edition of Scott’s Shots. In the Globe, Bill Griffith looks at Chris Collins remaining at NECN and being named Primary sports anchor for the station. Later on in the piece he has some harsh words for Duke Castiglione and his actions twice this week involving Randy Johnson. He also has a notebook looking at NFL coverage and Joe Buck getting knocked by the owner of the Vikings. Andrew Neff has a look at a Brunswick native who plays the Johnny Damon character in the movie “Fever Pitch”.
FSN has Celtics/Hawks at 7:30. ESPN has Timberwolves/Nuggets at 10:30. ESPN2 has Mavericks/Spurs at 8:00.