Tick…Tick…Tick…

Um, is it Sunday yet? The anticipation and hype continues as we get closer to Sunday and the rematch of the Colts and Patriots. There is still a lot of concern out there, and Gerry Callahan is still in fear of the “greatest offense of all time.” However the following exchange this morning seemed to deflate Gerry a bit:

Caller: Who has the better offense in these weather conditions?
D&C: Patriots
Caller: Who has the better quarterback to execute that offense?
D&C: Patriots
Caller: Who has the better defense?
D&C: Patriots
Caller: Who has the better kicker for outdoors, the last game was decided by three points
D&C: Patriots
Caller:Who has the better coach?
D&C: Patriots
Caller: Thanks guys. *click*

There was a moment of silence, followed by Callahan asserting that the Colts have a better defensive backfield.

While Peyton Manning gets the regular season awards and accolades, some might think that Tom Brady could feel overshadowed. Nick Cafardo and Michael Felger look at the Patriots quarterback, who doesn’t feel that way at all, being very satisfied with the attention and success he and his team has had the last three years. Dan Shaughnessy compares Manning to Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Belichick to Red Auerbach in a column that though we all know exactly what it says without reading it, it’s still pretty fun to read. Just one note…how does Dan figure that Peyton can take credit for 6,475 yards of total offense? He’s allowed to take credit for all the rushing yards too? His numbers are impressive enough without doing that…

Tom E Curran says that the Patriots aren’t going to merely be content sitting on the ball and trying to keep it away from the Colts offense. Mike Reiss says the Patriots will attempt to play a complete game, using all three aspects of football to beat the Colts – offense, defense and special teams. Chris Kennedy notes that it is important that the Patriots get out to an early lead. Michael Gee (subscription only) writes that this game may not be as we all expect, it could be the Patriots who are slinging the ball around the field, and he notes that if the Colts end up running the ball 42 as times they did in the season open, they will win the game. Alan Greenberg looks at the much maligned Colt defense, which he says is getting better.

Michael Felger’s Patriots Insider is interesting because of the information he provides about the officiating crew assigned to the game Sunday. The crew selected is not one known for throwing a lot of flags, a choice that he says will likely outrage the Colts. He also looks at Belichick’s success against Manning, and the theory that the Pats desperately need Richard Seymour on the field Sunday, a theory he calls “overrated”. Christopher L Gaspar has a piece on Jarvis Green, who had three sacks in the AFC Title game last year, and could have a big role this weekend too. Michael Parente has Rodney Harrison responding to the comments by Mike Vanderjagt. George Kimball (subscription only) says that Vanderjagt’s comments might actually have merit, and that the Colts could very well be headed to the AFC Championship game. Chris Kennedy has more on Vanderjagt. Hector Longo has a look at Bethel Johnson this season and wonders if the return man can have a big impact on this game. Jonathan Comey says it’s hard to be a Randy Moss fan these days.

Parente’s notebook looks at what the Patriots concerns over stopping the Colts passing attack. Curran’s notebook, Cafardo’s notebook and Felger’s notebook all have the Patriots dismissing the comments from Mike Vanderjagt.

View from the opposition

Stories from the Indianapolis Star include: Why the Colts (supposedly) can’t win Sunday – Manning struggles in Foxboro and ‘Dome’ teams toast in cold of January, as well as Vanderjagt takes it 1 small step too far. There is also a Colts notebook and a Patriots notebook.

Celtics in Toronto, Pierce unhappy

The Celtics will be in Toronto tonight, and Peter May and Steve Bulpett write about the new-look Raptors, who are no longer built around Air Canada. The guys on the BSMW Full Court Press take a look at the state of the Celtics now that we’re into the new year. Mike Fine says that Doc Rivers has done a fine job this season, and likes his my-way-or-the-highway approach. Michael Muldoon has a look back at the benching in Chicago and how it has affected the team. Bulpett’s notebook looks at Paul Pierce whining about the benching and generally behaving like Nomar Garciaparra did in his last year here.

See ya D-Lowe, Hello Randy and Carlos

David Heuschkel has a final look at Derek Lowe as the right hander signs with the Dodgers, Heuschkel notes what the “big goofball” accomplished here in Boston and that he went out a champion. Chris Snow and Mike Shalin look at the Yankees and Mets rolling out their new superstar additions. Shalin also has Randy Johnson looking forward to participating in the Red Sox/Yankees rivalry.

What’s on

FSN has Celtics/Raptors at 7:00. NESN is playing game six of the 1975 World Series at 7:00. ESPN has Georgia Tech/North Carolina at 7:00 and Rockets/Mavericks at 9:00. ESPN2 has Kansas/Iowa State at 8:00 and Texas El-Paso/Nevada at 10:00.