The MANning is coming…

In some quarters there appears to be an eagerness to declare the Patriots run over. Could be just the desire to have something new to write about instead of all of this boring winning stuff, or perhaps it’s a anticipation of failure. After pushing for three seasons for Charlie Weis and Romeo Crennel to get the chance to be head coaches, Nick Cafardo today says the Patriots might be in major trouble without them in the future. After saying all that, he advises fans to only worry about Sunday. Tom E Curran says that this Sunday could be the end of the Patriots as we’ve come to know them. Lenny Megliola though, says that as long as Bill Belichick is at the helm, Patriots fans will have confidence, especially against the Colts. Alan Greenberg looks at the challenge facing Belichick and his staff with their depleted secondary going against the high scoring Colts. Chris Kennedy also looks at what the Patriots are facing this Sunday. Fluto Shinzawa has Belichick’s thoughts on the high flying Colts offense. Kevin Mannix also has a look at the tall task facing the Patriot defense this Sunday. Bill Burt attempts to calm the masses who are worried about facing the Colts.

The Patriots have their bulletin board material, thanks to the ever-reliable Mike Vanderjagt. Michael Felger looks at the comments from the Colts kicker. It was interesting to hear Bill Belichick acknowledge and even inquire about Vanderjagt’s comments during his appearance on WEEI’s Big Show yesterday afternoon. Tim Weisberg says that the comments by Vanderjagt were not necessary to get the Patriots fired up, a notion that D&C would disagree with. They were firmly in the camp that the comments were exactly what Belichick and the Patriots hoped for and wanted. In fact Gerry Callahan (subscription only) says that the Patriots should look back at the end of this season and thank Vanderjagt for all that he has done for them. Jon Couture says that most talk and hype leading up to big games is empty, but this matchup Sunday will be well worth waiting for. A couple interesting columns from PatsFans.com, Kevin Rousseau says that the Colts are getting what they wanted, while Bob George looks at the Patriots history of home field dominance in the playoffs.

Kevin Paul Dupont again draws the assignment of covering the opposing team and he looks at Peyton Manning winning the MVP. George Kimball also looks at the award for Manning. Garry Brown however, says that Foxboro just isn’t Peyton’s place. Bill Reynolds writes that this is the biggest game of Peyton’s career, and for a guy who hasn’t had too much success in big games, that’s a concern. Kimball has a subscription column saying that Tony Dungy isn’t worrying about past failures of his team against the Patriots. Dupont’s notebook has Dungy paying respect to the Patriots.

Felger’s notebook looks at the Patriots choice to take Ty Law’s spot on the active roster, cornerback Hank Poteat. Shinzawa’s notebook has Patriots and Colts players giving their thoughts on the game Sunday. Curran’s notebook has more on Vanderjagt’s comments. Weisberg’s notebook has some items from a fairly quiet day in the lockerroom.

After certain members of the Boston media have taken shots the last few years at Bill Belichick for not allowing the media access to his assistant coaches, (even though Bill Parcells followed the same practice) it’s interesting to note that Charlie Weis plans to follow the same blueprint as well, informing reporters who cover Notre Dame that they are not to speak to his assistants and players without his permission. Mark Schlabach of the Washington Post has the story. Will the term “muted underlings” be tossed around?

The Celtics got themselves an easy win against the Magic last night, winning 119-101. Peter May, Steve Bulpett and Carolyn Thornton have the game stories. Paul Harber and Rich Thompson have a look at rookie guard Tony Allen, who had 16 points in the win and is gaining a bigger role with the club as the season goes on. Harber also looks at the comeback of Grant Hill, and Thompson has a piece on Johnny Davis speaking about former teammate Doc Rivers. Thornton’s notebook has details on the trade that the Magic made prior to the game. Bulpett’s notebook has Doc Rivers defending his comments about his starters from Saturday night’s loss to Chicago. May’s notebook has more on the trade made by the Magic.

Tony Massarotti says that Derek Lowe’s departure from the Red Sox is not personal, it’s all about money.

Bill Griffith has a look at Bull Riding (!?) and some other media notes including comments from media people on Norm Resha. From Friday, Dave Scott had a piece on the Globe, the Metro, Chris Snow and other items from the Boston media scene.