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Now, onto the links for this morning. The Patriots and Colts kick off tonight on Monday Night Football, and each team comes into the game with something to prove. The Patriots are looking to re-establish themselves as a top team in the league, while the Colts aim is to remain undefeated and to finally vanquish the Patriots, something they’ve been unable to do for the last few years.
Jerome Solomon provides a preview for tonight, noting that things might be different for the Patriots and Colts this time around, but it remains to be seen if the results will be. Michael Felger says that the key to the game for the Patriots is to be physical and to force the Colts into making mistakes. Alan Greenberg bounces around a little in his article on tonight’s game, but I think his point is that this time seems different. Dan Pires notes that the Patriots have always seemed to come up with the big plays when they needed them against the Colts. To have success tonight, they’re going to need even more of those big plays. Michael Parente says that this may only be a regular season game in early November, but there is a lot at stake for both teams. Chris Kennedy looks ahead to tonight’s game, and notes that even Tom Brady feels a little extra excitement in facing off against Peyton Manning and the Colts. Bill Reynolds says that tonight is the Patriots chance to finally eclipse the Red Sox for the first time this season and have the spotlight to themselves. John Tomase’s notebook looks at some numbers for tonight and the need for the Patriots to be physical.
Ron Borges says that even if Payton Manning and the Colts don’t win tonight, eventually they will break through, and eventually they will win a Super Bowl. Borges calls it absurd that people get on Tony Dungy and Manning because they haven’t yet won “the big one”. He goes on to criticize those who only believe you are successful if you win a championship. I’ll remember that when the day comes that the Patriots don’t win a Super Bowl, and Borges calls them a failure. Albert Breer says that the running game is key for the Colts this season, as they have relied on it more than that the pass thus far. Ian M Clark wonders if it is finally Manning’s time to shine in Foxboro. Tim Weisberg says that defense is the difference for this year’s Colts team. Bill Burt looks at Colts President Bill Polian, who is still chasing that elusive Super Bowl title. Nick Cafardo has an article on Colts linebacker Gary Brackett, who has overcome a number of family tragedies in his short time in the NFL.
Game Previews: Jim McBride in the Globe has as usual, the most complete game breakdown of the bunch. (Other than the BSMW Game Day preview, of course.) The Boston Herald says that the Patriots need to control the clock and get a big effort from their front seven on defense. Alan Greenberg in the Harford Courant says that the Patriots need a running game on offense and to not be shredded in the defensive secondary to have a chance. The Standard Times lists out five keys to the game for the Patriots, which include press coverage and breaking the wedge on special teams. Tom E Curran in the Providence Journal says that the Patriots need to control the ball on offense for as long as they can, and introduce a new wrinkle to Peyton Manning on defense. He also says they need to watch out for Dwight Freeney and Brandon Stokley. Felger says that the Patriots need a hands on approach to defense tonight.
Yesterday, Rob Bradford made his Lawrence Eagle-Tribune debut with a column entitled “The not so private life of Theo Epstein”. Gordon Edes reports that Red Sox manager Terry Francona will be ungoing knee replacement surgery this coming Friday. Jeff Horrigan reports that the Red Sox managerial search may end up being from among internal candidates. David Borges reports that Providence native Jeremy Kapstein, who currently serves as a Red Sox senior advisor on baseball matters could be a leading candidate for the job. His name did not appear in Horrigan’s list of possible internal candidates. Horrigan also speaks to free agent Kevin Millar, who seems resigned to the fact that he won’t be returning to the Red Sox next season.
The Herald Business section chimes in with a pair of articles on the Red Sox (and the Globe). Scott Van Voorhis says that the Red Sox media power play by top management backfired big time last week, costing them their General Manager. Brett Arends says that for John Henry and the Red Sox, it’s always about the number$. Also worthy of note is the Globe Ombudsman piece from yesterday, looking at the challenges faced by the Globe in covering the Red Sox.
Cam Neely joins the ranks of NHL Hall of Famers tonight as he is inducted into the Toronto shrine. Kevin Paul Dupont looks at Neely’s moment of glory and notes that Boston fans should embrace this as there is no telling when the next Bruin will be honored in this way. Karen Guregian looks at how Neely’s power game got him into the hall. Mick Colageo says that Neely was truly the last of his kind in the NHL, the prototypical power forward. Mike Loftus also looks at Neely, who connected with the average guy because of his style. Yeterday, Guregian had a nice piece about Neely’s favorite place…home with his family.
Joe McDonald looks at the Bruins trading disgruntled forward Andy Hilbert to the Blackhawks for a fifth-round draft choice. Stephen Harris says that some feel that the NHL is like playing the All Star game every night – no defense. On the BSMW Power Play, Lance uses some interesting statistical analysis to make “The Case for Hannu Toivonen”.
Shira Springer looks at the Celtics as they regroup after a pair of weekend losses by a total of three points. The Celtics don’t play again until Wednesday and are hoping that the extra work will pay off as the team faces a tough schedule this week, with Memphis, San Antonio and Houston coming into town. Steve Bulpett reports on Dan Dickau getting some time on Saturday night, and seemingly moving into the backup point guard slot. Yesterday, Peter May had an extensive NBA notebook, which included closing the door on the Antoine Walker trade(s). Bulpett’s notebook looks at the Celtics licking their wounds after the weekend, lamenting the fact that they could easily be 3-0 instead of 1-2 right now.
The New England Revolution made it the MLS finals with a 1-0 win over the Chicago Fire at Gillette Stadium yesterday. (And perhaps making the field more torn up and muddy for Manning and the Colts tonight.) Frank Dell’Apa and Mike Biglin report on the Revolution earning their second trip to the MLS championship. Shalise Manza Young also contributes a game story. Fluto Shinzawa says that the Fire only made one mistake on the afternoon, but it was enough to end their season. Biglin reports on Chicago goalie Zack Thornton looking to cause trouble after the game. Dell’Apa’s notebook looks at the moves that helped get the Revs to where they are now. Biglin’s notebook reports some lineup changes that helped the Revolution yesterday. Young’s notebook looks at the effort of New England goalkeeper Matt Reis.
Michael Vega and Steve Conroy report on BC coach Tom O’Brien making a QB change for this weekend’s game against NC State. Matt Ryan will get the call in place of Quinton Porter. Alan Lessels reports that UNH will likely regain the number ranking in division 1-AA football again this week. Nationally, Mark Blaudschun says that Alabama’s title hopes are virtually null thanks to the juggernauts at USC and Texas. Zach Rocha looks at the hopes of local colleges as the basketball season rolls around.
ABC has Patriots/Colts at 9:00. OLN has Penguins/Rangers at 7:00.