Sox Playoff Picture is Much Clearer

Submitted by Guest Blogger Dave)

Tim Wakefield tied his career high of 17 wins last night, and JD Drew had three hits including a triple and the game winning 3-run homer in the 7th pushing the Sox to a 6-4 win over the Minnesota Twins. Steve Krasner over at the ProJo has more on Drew. With Cleveland’s loss last night the Red Sox can finish no worse than tied for the best record in the American League. As Gordon Edes> writes, manager Terry Francona didn’t wait around for the results before determining that Curt Schilling would skip his Sunday scheduled start. Jeff Horrigan says that none of the Sox players hung around after last nights win.

With the Sox’s playoff scenarios solidified, and the Sox not announcing the 25-man roster until Tuesday, let the playoff roster speculation begin. Horrigan chimes in with his 10 active pitchers for the ALDS. What we also learned over the past two days is that we can guarantee that Clay Buchholz will not be one of the ten as Amalie Benjamin writes. Rob Bradford has more on Clay and Mike Reinhold the Red Sox assistant trainer who has worked with many of the Sox pitchers, and is now responsible for providing Buchholz with an offseason strength program. Within the Globe’s notebook we learn who Tom Werner chooses as Red Sox MVP.

Tony Massarotti provides us with a rehash of A-Rod’s October woes. Tony also checks in with a preview of the Sox match up with the Angels. We’re sure to hear plenty about the Angels aggressive style of baseball over the next few days.

In case you missed Remy or Orsillo over the past few weeks here’s where you can pick up your NESN bobble desk, once that’s all set, be sure to place your order for your very own genuine Fenway Park bleacher seat. These are going for the bargain basement price of $495, not bad. I think I’ll set mine down right on top of the outfield grass I bought in ’04.

Patriots

(Also be sure sure to check out Patriots Daily this morning for news and links as well.)

The Pats finished up preparations for their trip to Cincinnati for Monday Night Football. With Cincy running back Rudi Johnson sidelined for Monday’s game, many believe the Bengals will have no other option than to air it out, Pats defensive coordinator Dean Pees believes otherwise. In this Rich Thompson piece we hear Belichick give some praise to Ben Watson.

Mr. Old Time Baseball sits down with Pats LB Rosevelt Colvin to discuss last year’s loss to the Colts, and Colvin’s desire not to look into the past. While many NFL teams continue to struggle in free agency and salary cap management, the Patriots as an organization continue to excel. Within this piece, Christopher Gasper looks at just that, essentially the team building year after year.

After last week’s match up between the Lugo family, we might just have a match up between the Green family on Monday.

This may come as a disappointment to some, but Ocho Cinco has released a statement that there are no TD celebrations scheduled for Monday, also within the same notebook we hear from Bengal’s coach Marvin Lewis who expresses his desire to implement coach-to-player communication on the defensive side of the ball.

A New York Jets season ticket holder has filed a class-action lawsuit Friday against the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick for “deceiving customers.” This lawsuit really has traction. The Patriots have released a statement, which can be heard here (audio needed). We can just hope Gregg Easterbrook isn’t on the jury or they just might have a case.

The Pats Picks

With the Pats playing Monday, it’s always fun to see what the nation thinks will be the outcome. All but one of HBO’s Inside the NFL host’s picked the Pats this week. Surprisingly it wasn’t Marino picking against the Pats either. It’s none other than Moss’ former teammate Chris Carter.

Bill Simmons is back with his usual Sunday picks column.

Also, the all of the “experts” at ESPN have the Pats remaining undefeated on Sunday.

I’m still awaiting the results from Pete “The Meat” Shepherd’s X-Box simulation

BC Eagles

It certainly wasn’t pretty, but the BC Eagles were able to stave off the Minutemen 24-14 and go 5-0 for the first time since 1954. Bob Ryan has Minutemen coach Don Brown saying there are no moral victories here. Buckley’s back with a look at the dangers of team’s looking ahead on their schedules.

Sunday TV

With the Patriots playing on Monday Night Football we get a chance to check out some of the other AFC competition. Its Bills and Jets on CBS at 1PM, as well as, the Rams and Cowboys on Fox. The 4:15 game is the game the national pundits have termed “The Game of the Week”. We’ll get to see if Indy can remain undefeated as they head home to take on Denver, this is also on CBS.

Julian Tavarez will toe the rubber for the Sox as they finish up their season with their final game vs. the Twins at 2PM on NESN.

The rest of the day’s sports listings can be found here.

Weekend Watch – Sox Playing for AL East Title

By Monday we’ll know if the Red Sox were able to capture their first AL East crown since 1995 and will know for sure who they will be playing in the first round of the playoffs next week.

A two game lead with three to go sounds like good odds to me. We’ll see how it turns out. Keep up with the coverage on RedSoxLinks.com.

The Patriots play on Monday night, so this Sunday we get to sample of the other action from around the country. Locally, we’ll be watching Bills/Jets on CBS and Rams/Cowboys on FOX for the early game, and the late CBS game is the intriguing Colts/Broncos matchup NBC has Eagles/Giants on Sunday night. If you’re outside the New England area, you can see what you’ll get for games on the coverage maps: CBS Game 1, CBS Game 2 and FOX Single Game.

Patriots Daily will keep you covered with College Scout on Saturday and the Sunday Links. You can also check in at PatriotsLinks.com.

For your college football viewing this weekend, there is the invaluable College Football TV Schedule.

While we’re at it, we might as well point out CelticsLinks.com and BruinsLinks.com.

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Guest Bloggers Needed

You probably have noticed the frequency of the afternoon posts has again been on the decline. I’ve been completely swamped with a number of items recently and haven’t been able to create those posts regularly. In addition, I’m going to be needing to take some days off here and there over the next few months. Therefore, I’m putting a call out for anyone who might be interested in contributing some afternoon posts during the week, (Mostly links, TV schedule, maybe a sports radio or media update from that day) and the occasional morning post when I’m away.

I’d also be open to anyone who’d like to contribute on the weekends. There’s plenty of Boston sports media items to discuss, and I’m not able to do it all by myself at the moment. There’s no pay involved at the moment, but it’s a great chance to get some exposure on a nationally recognized sports blog.

If interested, drop me an email.

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The Media Circus checks out Sean Salisbury’s rather odd web site.

Tom Danyluk looks at how NFL broadcasters continue to spew clichés.

John Clayton has his first and 10 heading into the weekend.

Don Banks looks at the NFL’s most competitive division, and guess what? It’s not the AFC East.

Tom Curran was sick of Brett Favre back in 2002, but he’s starting to enjoy him again.

Dr. Z tries to figure where Favre fits among the all time greats.

Jason Whitlock says that now that he has Randy Moss, Tom Brady might be able to prove that he is a better quarterback than Peyton Manning.

One I missed from earlier this month, Tony Massarotti looks at Carlos Pena enjoying a second life in baseball with the Rays.

Mike Dunshee on the BSMW Power Play compares Martin Brodeur and Dominick Hasek.

Bruce Allen thinks that the Patriots Town/Red Sox Town argument isn’t worth the debate.

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National Sports Media Columns

New England
David Scott checks in with a weekly edition of Scott’s Shots. He’s suggests once again that it just might be time for the Patriots radio duo of Gil Santos and Geno Cappelletti to hang it up. He also however, has a number of other media notes today, including a new Sunday night show for channel 5. Susan Bickelhaupt has more on WCVB channel 5 launching a new Sunday night sports show. She also looks at NESN continuing Red Sox pre and post game shows in the postseason, even though they will not be broadcasting the games as they’re all national. Bill Doyle has Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs launching a commercial career.

New York
Phil Mushnick looks at the Mets slide, and has shots at Chris Russo, John Sterling, and others. Neil Best says that the Mets TV crew has been doing a fine job calling the Mets collapse this month. Bob Raissman says that Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca has become the voice of the fan. Justin Terranova has five questions with MSG Ranger analyst Joe Micheletti.

More East Coast
Michael Hiestand checks out Fox Sports Net’s Sport Science. Chris Zelkovich has Bill Clement, Craig Simpson and Jeff Marek playing musical chairs. Leonard Shapiro says that Comcast SportsNet dropped the ball in its recent interview of Redskins owner Daniel Snyder.

South
Barry Jackson has sports radio 790 The Ticket owner Joel Feinberg displaying some decidedly weird behavior. After his station lost the rights to the Dolphins games to WQAM for this season, Feinberg has apparently been sending emails to the GM of WQAM, gloating about the Dolphins 0-3 start to the season. Dave Darling has the Braves signing off of TBS after 31 years of national broadcasts. David Barron notes that there will be no HD for Texans fans this weekend, and they won’t be able to see the Cowboys at all in Houston. Barry Horn looks at why we see the Cowboys so much on Sunday Night Football.

Midwest
Bob Wolfley says that if Brett Favre sets the career touchdown passing record on Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, there won’t be any elaborate celebrations, even though its is the equivalent of Barry Bonds passing Hank Aaron on the all time home run list. Judd Zulgad looks at the mayor proclaiming today “Minnesota Big Ten Network Day” in Minneapolis – even though most people in the city do not have access to the channel. Jeffrey Flanagan wonders if there will be room for Fred White when the Royals TV and Radio teams are shuffled this offseason.

West Coast
Tom Hoffarth has more on Sport Science, as well has a look at the crazy travel schedule of Kirk Herbstreit for ESPN. Jay Posner and John Maffei has Tony Gwynn getting ready for a busy three weeks of postseason work for TBS. Christine Daniels has a review of what’s on this weekend. Jim Carlisle also looks at TBS taking over the MLB Divisional Series, and also has a notebook leading of with a look at the Presidents Cup coverage this weekend.

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NFL games were the top ranked program in 28 of 30 national markets last week. Here’s a look at the numbers:

NFL_Ratings_week_3.jpg

Still Sitting At Two

The Red Sox were unable to move their magic number, which still sits at two, with three games left to play. Josh Beckett suffered the loss last night, giving up 5 runs in 6 innings to the Twins in the 5-4 Red Sox loss at Fenway Park.

Just abbreviated links this morning, so I’ll send you to RedSoxLinks.com to get your baseball coverage.

Over at Patriots Daily, we’ve got our weekly Roundtable discussion, looking ahead to Monday night’s matchup with the Cincinnati Bengals.

David Scott checks in with a weekly edition of Scott’s Shots. He’s no doubt going to anger some fans with his suggestion that it just might be time for Gil Santos and Gino Cappelletti to hang it up. He also however, has a number of other media notes today, including a new Sunday night show for channel 5.

Susan Bickelhaupt has more on WCVB channel 5 launching a new Sunday night sports show.

Meanwhile, if you pick up Patriots Football Weekly this week, you can read my monthly Media Watch column. This week I have a chat with Yahoo! Sports Michael Silver, who talks about making the transition from a print magazine with a web presence in Sports Illustrated, to the web-only world of Yahoo!

With Celtics media day set for today, WEEI will be broadcasting live there on the Big Show this afternoon. Get your basketball fix at CelticsLinks.com.

Red Sox Just Two Away

The Red Sox dropped another game off their magic number with a 11-6 win over the Oakland A’s at Fenway Park yesterday. The number for clinching the AL East now sits at two.

Gordon Edes says that champagne showers are in the short term forecast down at Fenway. Michael Silverman says that the Red Sox are in the perfect spot for clinching their first AL East title since 1995. Joe McDonald has the top of the Red Sox order having a field day against the A’s yesterday. Garry Brown has Mike Lowell leading the charge for the Sox. Paul Jarvey has Sox fans ready to celebrate.

Bob Ryan says that we should “savor the quiet professionalism of Mike Lowell,” who he calls the Red Sox Most Valuable Player this season. Steven Krasner has Lowell breaking the Red Sox RBI record for a third baseman. Rob Bradford has a look at Lowell and Dustin Pedroia, who have both spent the season proving the doubters wrong. Jeff Goldberg has Lowell doing his recent damage in the cleanup hole that was vacated by Manny Ramirez. Kevin Gray has Lowell raising his free-agent price tag even higher. Jon Couture says that Lowell’s price is getting higher by the hour.

Sean McAdam says that it looks like Red Sox/Angels next week. Bradford has a look at “Christmas Day Hitter” Manny Ramirez, who notched three more hits last night. Michael Vega has a look at last night’s starter, Jon Lester, who will likely find himself squeezed off the postseason roster. Lenny Megliola tries to figure out the postseason chances for the Red Sox. Bradford says that the A’s are open to a Japan trip to start next season. Joe Haggerty has J.D. Drew springing to life at the plate in the last week or so.

Silverman’s notebook has Terry Francona still mum on his postseason plans. Edes’ notebook checks in with Johnny Pesky, who turns 88 today. The Projo notebook has a look at the postseason rotation possibilities. Goldberg’s notebook looks at a strange night for Jon Lester in his final start of the season. Brown’s notebook has Mike Timlin saying that he’d prefer to play the Indians in the first round. Jarvey’s notebook has more on Lester being erratic in his outing last night.

Patriots

Karen Guregian has the Patriots defense facing a big challenge in the Bengal offense. Michael Parente says that Monday Night’s Patriots/Bengals game could be an offensive shootout. Shalise Manza Young has a look at the offensive line, who have stepped up their game thus far this season.

Robert Lee has a piece on Sammy Morris, who has been a positive addition to the club. David Heuschkel has Morris finally getting the chance to play on a winner after stints with the Bills and Dolphins. Douglas Flynn says that Morris has been a perfect fit for the Patriots offense. Ian M. Clark says that Morris has been a real find for the offense. Rich Garven says that Morris has surprised even the Patriots with how effective he has been early on. Christopher Price adds that Morris is on pace for 150 carries, making him almost a co-starter next to Laurence Maroney in the backfield.

Mike Reiss has Laurence Maroney returning to the scene of his best game as a pro this Monday night. Jeff Horrigan has Brady still looking for ways that he and his team can improve. Chris Kennedy looks at Brady and the Patriots really airing it out this season. Mark Farinella cites Russ Hochstein as the perfect example of a team player. Dan Pires has Chad Jackson eager to get back and make a contribution.

Reiss’s notebook has a look at Tom Brady continuing to fine-tune his throwing mechanics. Guregian’s notebook has Kelley Washington reflecting on his time in Cincinnati. Farinella’s notebook has more on Brady and the offense. Lee’s notebook has Brady being named AFC offensive player of the week.

Bill Doyle has Ellis Hobbs getting into a commercial.

Celtics/Bruins

Mark Murphy looks at Danny Ainge’s master plan finally coming together this offseason. Scott Souza has Doc Rivers hoping he can finally put together a set rotation for this season. Marc J. Spears has Esteban Batista and Dahntay Jones signing with the Celtics, bringing the preseason roster size to 17.

Keith Reed has the Celtics looking for a season sponsor. Bill Doyle says that the Celtics are close to selling out of home games at the Garden this year. Murphy’s notebook has more on the signings of Batista and Jones.

Stephen Harris has a look at Bruins hopeful Matt Hunwick. Fluto Shinzawa has a look at defensive coach Craig Ramsay, brought in to shore up that unit for the Bruins. Harris’ notebook has a disappointed Matt Lashoff heading to the minors.

Sox Putting Things Back Together

It was a good night all around for the Red Sox at Fenway Park has night as Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis both saw action, Curt Schilling was impressive in the 7-3 Boston win, and the Yankees also lost in extra innings down in Tampa. This means the magic number for the AL East is now at three.

Michael Silverman has the story of a “thrilling night at Fenway” which saw Eric Gagne befuddled by a huge cheer after he delivered a strike. The crowd wasn’t being sarcastic towards Gagne, but rather the scoreboard had just been changed to reflect the Devil Rays taking the lead on the Yankees. Amalie Benjamin has more on a night in which things couldn’t have gone much better for the Red Sox. Steven Krasner says that last night was another step in the transformation of Schilling as a pitcher. Jeff Goldberg says that the Sox got a boost from Manny’s bat, but also from how the A’s bats did against Schilling. Garry Brown has Schilling stepping up for the Sox. Paul Jarvey says that Schilling’s return to form was the big story for Boston last night.

Tony Massarotti says that Schilling’s performance last night should’ve earned him the number two slot in the postseason rotation behind Josh Beckett. Dan Shaughnessy has a look at the return of Ramirez, who he says could fall out of bed and go up and get a hit. Sean McAdam says that everything seems to be rounding into shape for the Red Sox. Massarotti also has a piece on Manny getting back to work last night at Fenway. Lenny Megliola looks at Schilling entering a new world. Mark Farinella remembers back 40 years to the impossible dream season.

Jon Couture has no interest in the Red Sox off the field, he doesn’t watch Sox Appeal, and is turned off by the “President of Red Sox Nation” campaign. Alex Speier says that the Red Sox still have a lot to settle this week as they prepare for the postseason. Joe Haggerty has Theo Epstein hoping that Eric Gagne can replicate what Scott Williamson did in 2003. Silverman has the Lugo brothers facing off in the big leagues for the first time. Kevin Gray looks at New Hampshire native Neal Huntington being named GM of the Pirates. Sarah Green plays Star Trek with the Sox entering the final week of the season.

Silverman’s notebook has a look at Kevin Youkilis, who made a pinch hitting appearance in the fifth inning last night. Benjamin’s notebook says that there is room to flip Schilling and Daisuke Matsuzaka in the postseason rotation. Krasner’s notebook has John Farrell reporting that Hideki Okajima looked “crisp” in a bullpen session yesterday. Goldberg’s notebook has a look at Lugo vs Lugo last night. Brown’s notebook looks at the return of Manny to the lineup. Jarvey has more on Manny getting into the lineup, hitting 2nd last night.

Patriots

Dan Snapp on Patriots Daily has a look at Randy Moss’ hot start with the Patriots, and looks at what Bill Belichick had tried to do in the past to defend against him.

Mike Reiss has a look at the Patriots inside linebacker rotation of Tedy Bruschi and Junior Seau, a situation that is getting the best out of both players. The other insider linebacker, Adalius Thomas, is the subject of a Karen Guregian piece this morning, as she examines the impact that the free agent prize has had on the defense thus far. She also writes about the time Thomas took on Bengals wideout Chad Johnson in single coverage.

Mark Farinella reports that the Patriots might be playing a “home” game in Edmonton against the Broncos next season. Shalise Manza Young has Bill Belichick attempting to calm the masses about the success of his team thus far. Megliola says that Brady and Moss are in perfect synchronicity thus far this season. Rich Garven says that the Patriots are a potent team, but not a perfect one.

Reiss’s notebook has more on the chemistry between Randy Moss and Tom Brady.

Other

Kevin Paul Dupont and Stephen Harris look at the Bruins naming Cam Neely a vice president and with the move, Neely becoming the face of the organization. Douglas Flynn looks at the club bringing the biggest and baddest Bruin of them all back to a leadership role with the team. Mick Colageo has Neely ready to get started, and noting that he hasn’t been happy with the results that the Bruins have put up over the last several years.

Rich Thompson looks at the potent combo of left winger Marco Sturm and center Patrice Bergeron, which could get even better this season. Bud Barth has a look at Phil Kessel, who seems to have grown up and matured overnight.

Thompson’s notebook has Jeremy Jacobs saying that he is done making changes to the front office. Dupont’s notebook has prized goaltending prospect Tuukka Rask being sent down to Providence. Barth’s notebook has more on the demotions to Providence.

Mark Murphy and Marc J. Spears have Paul Pierce talking about his new teammates as they get ready to fly to Europe this weekend for exhibition games in Italy and England.

Grading Day

Christopher Price on Patriots Daily has the Patriots offensive line getting its due recognition after Sunday’s 38-7 win over Buffalo. He also has five things to watch for heading into this week’s game with the Bengals.

With “B+” and “B” grades respectively, the defensive line and defensive backs finish at the bottom of the class in Michael Felger‘s Patriots Report Card this week. Searching for an area in which the team is struggling, Christopher L. Gasper points to Bill Belichick’s 0-3 record in challenges thus far this season. Shalise Manza Young looks to the red zone defense as an area where the club has been underperforming. David Heuschkel has more on the red zone defense being an area of concern.

Gerry Callahan looks at Tom Brady, at age 30, finally knowing what it feels like to be Peyton Manning. Bill Reynolds says that we are watching greatness with this New England Patriots squad. Ian M. Clark has his version of the Patriots report card, and hands out three “B” grades. David Brown has the Patriots not pretending to be perfect.

Rich Thompson has a look at the Patriots ground game, which churned out 177 yards against Buffalo. Young talks to the Goldstein family, whose 7-year-old son Alex was given the ball by Randy Moss after his fourth quarter TD catch. Douglas Flynn says that the Bengals will have plenty to worry about this week.

Thompson’s notebook has Vince Wilfork expecting a fine for his late hit on J.P. Losman. The Globe notebook has punter Chris Hanson just doing what the coaches ask him to do. Lee’s notebook has the newly-married Russ Hochstein showing his versatility on Sunday by making his first start at right guard.

Red Sox

Gordon Edes has Curt Schilling talking about the postseason, and how he is eager to try his new style and stuff in that environment. Steve Buckley has more on Schilling and whether he’ll be able to ratchet things up in October. Sean McAdam has five questions facing the Red Sox as they enter the last homestand of the regular season. Rob Bradford looks at Terry Francona’s achievement of becoming the first Red Sox manager to take the club to the postseason three times. Joe Haggerty looks at the final push to the season, which starts tonight at Fenway.

Dan Shaughnessy says that the Red Sox need to do what it takes to win the division. Mike Fine agrees that the Red Sox need to win the AL East. Jeff Goldberg has the Red Sox walking a fine line between their health and the division title. Garry Brown has more on the Red Sox chase for the division crown. Paul Jarvey says that the Red Sox could get a chance to reenact the final days of the 1967 season with his division chase.

Maureen Mullen has Fred Lynn comparing Jacoby Ellsbury to himself. Stan Grossfeld looks at what impact the ever-present fans have on the lives of Red Sox players. Joe Haggerty says that Coco Crisp has been Golden in centerfield this year for the Red Sox, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be honored after the season with the Gold Glove. Mike Petraglia looks at a disappointing season for tonight’s opponent, the Oakland A’s.

Bradford’s notebook looks at the Red Sox holding tie-breakers over the Indians and Angels, but not the Yankees. Edes’ notebook looks back to 1996 when many of the Red Sox current front office staff were involved in a division hunt in San Diego.

Mark Murphy and Marc J. Spears have the Celtics working out a few veteran big men, among them is former first round pick and two-time Celtic Eric Williams.

Fluto Shinzawa has second year man David Krejci making an impact in Bruins camp with his playmaking ability. Stephen Harris notes that since after the first preseason game, the Bruins results haven’t been as encouraging.

Sox Inch Closer

The Red Sox managed to reduce their magic number for clinching the AL East this afternoon without stepping foot on the field. The Blue Jay defeated the Yankees to bring the magic number down to five games. The Red Sox are off tonight and start a quick two game series with Oakland tomorrow night.

With the Sox off tonight, it means Monday Night Football (8:30, ESPN) is the only game in town. Tonight’s matchup is Tennessee at New Orleans, and since the Patriots are playing in this time slot next week, you might as well get used to Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Tony Kornheiser.

Here are a few national football columns from today:

Peter King has his weekly edition of Monday Morning Quarterback, with plenty of Favre love.

Michael Silver in Morning Rush has San Diego GM A.J. Smith running out of scapegoats.

Tom Curran also takes a look around the NFL.

Larry Weisman looks at Randy Moss’ historic start in New England.

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Here is some Patriots-related chatter from around the pre-game shows yesterday:

ESPN

On Randy Moss as a Leader with the Patriots …

Analyst Emmitt Smith: “It’s easy to be a leader when you’re winning. The winning teams have a bunch of leaders, as a matter of fact. Everybody’s standing up and saying, ‘This is great. Yeah, this is fun.’ When things get tough, that’s when you’re looking for your leader to step up.”

Tom Jackson: “The question was not how he’s playing. The question was, ‘Is he a leader or not.’ (Citing Moss quote from his days with Minnesota Vikings) ‘I’ll play when I want to.’ I will not forget it.”

Sunday Headlines with ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen:

‘Spygate’ Fallout“This week, the NFL said the Patriots complied with Commissioner Roger Goodell’s orders to turn over requested videotapes and other materials. Those were destroyed to ensure the Patriots don’t utilize past espionage work for future games. For Goodell, it was also essential the Patriots certified by letter that they had complied and had not made any copies of the materials. If it’s proven otherwise, the certified letter will be used against them and the penalties will be severe. As for alleged radio communication shenanigans by the Patriots, the league found no hard evidence to support those claims but beginning this weekend, NFL security will be equipped with monitoring devices allowing them to listen in on such communications…not just for the Pats, but all teams.”

Man-Genius Under Fire?
“Jets coach Eric Mangini also has come under fire from a few in his coaching fraternity who claim he broke a code by blowing the whistle on the Patriots. But there were three or four teams not named the Jets last year who alleged the Patriots were cheating – this time, NFL security was able to secure the videotape. Then again, sources say the Pats suspect the Jets had tipped off other teams last year about their videotaping practices.”

CBS

(On concussions):

Charlie Casserly: I think the NFL coaches and the teams have gotten a bad rap in this off-season about sending players back into games when they’ve had head injuries before they should. I had 29 years in the league. My experience with doctors, trainers and coaches was the opposite. In fact, they were extra cautious about sending players back into the game with head injuries.

(On Patriots going undefeated this season):

Dan Marino: With Moss and Brady and the talent and Belichick and everything, I want to say yes, but I’m going to say no. Let me tell you why I say no because they’re probably going to clinch their division early. There’s always a chance of injuries. Belichick will shut it down if they clinch and have home-field advantage. But they also have to play Indianapolis at Indianapolis…They do have the talent to do it and they just might.

FOX

Co-Host Terry Bradshaw on whether the Patriots can go undefeated: “The Patriots can absolutely go undefeated. The worst thing that could have happened to the rest of the league was ‘Spygate’ because now they are so focused.”

Patriots Handle Bills With Ease

The Patriots actually trailed for a short time in yesterday’s game, as the Buffalo Bills took a 7-3 lead behind rookies Marshawn Lynch and Trent Edwards, the Patriots then answered by running off 35 unanswered points in a 38-7 win at Gillette Stadium.

Scott Benson says it took just a little while, but the Patriots eventually dragged themselves out of bed and went to work yesterday. Christopher L. Gasper says that the Patriots are making football look like child’s play. Karen Guregian says that the Patriots were once again the proverbial men amongst boys yesterday. Mark Farinella says that the Patriots are stealing the number 38 from Curt Schilling. Shalise Manza Young notes that while the Patriots seemed to ease up on the Bills for a while in the second half, they took control quickly. Douglas Flynn says that the Patriots proved that even when they’re bad, they’re still really good. Chris Kennedy has the Patriots overcoming early mistakes to rout the Bills. Michael Parente has the Patriots turning a brief nail-biter into another one-sided laugher. Mike Lowe has the Patriots offering up a repeat performance of the first two weeks of the season.

Christopher Price has his 10 Things We Learned Yesterday. Jackie MacMullan is gushing over Randy Moss and his third straight 100-yard receiving day. Michael Felger says that the scary thing is that the Patriots didn’t even really play that well yesterday. Jim Donaldson says that you might as well hand the AFC East crown to the Patriots right now. Lenny Megliola has the Patriots claiming that they’ve still got a ways to go, even if they’re all impressed with the gifts of Moss. Ian M. Clark says that the Patriots are every bit as good as people thought they were on paper.

Even Tony Massarotti can’t find anything negative to write about, noting that the “Patriots currently have so many weapons its borderline perverse.” Jennifer Toland has Tom Brady raising his game another notch thus far this season. David Heuschkel notes that the headline combination of Brady and Moss was unstoppable once again. Robert Lee has his Patriots teammates in awe of Randy Moss and what he is capable of on the field.
Dan Ventura looks at just another day at the office for grizzled veteran Tom Brady. Donaldson has Bill Belichick seeing room for improvement in Brady’s play. Dan Pires has Moss rolling on in his stint with the Patriots.

Mike Reiss focuses on Wes Welker, who was the Patriots sparkplug yesterday, both on offense and returning punts. David Brown says that Welker’s work yesterday was special for the Patriots. Guregian has more on what Welker is doing for this team, particularly on special teams, where he had 72 yards in punt returns. Farinella notes that the extra work that the Patriots put into their punt return teams this week in practice paid off yesterday. Robert Lee has Welker shining on both offense and special teams yesterday. Toland looks at the versatile receiver proving his value yesterday. Heuschkel looks at a risky play by Welker working out this time, though his coach wasn’t all that impressed with it. Flynn says that Welker will be taken to the woodshed this week for that play.

Massarotti says that even though the players continue to harp on their failures in the red zone, there is little room for improvement in the Patriots defense, which has allowed the fourth fewest points in the NFL. Farinella has the defense making some quick adjustments after Edwards came in. Rich Garven says that the Patriots had a little bit of a lull, but no letdown yesterday. Tim Weisberg says that the Patriots at least showed they were human for a short time yesterday. Steve Solloway says that we’re watching a Patriots team like you’ve never seen before.

Felger has the best & the worst from yesterday. Art Martone offers game analysis from both sides of the ball. Heuschkel’s sidelines report looks at what went right and wrong for the Patriots yesterday. Garven notes that this was another 38 special for the Patriots.

Ventura has J.P. Losman talking about his short day, in which he was hit hard twice by the Patriots. One might wonder if his comments from this week gave the Patriots any extra incentive to put a hit on him. (Losman noted how he has never beaten the Patriots, and wondered if the camera stuff had something to do with it. No, J.P., you’re just not very good.) Michael Vega has Aaron Schobel being held mostly in check by the Patriots offensive line. Reiss notes that injuries really hurt the Bills yesterday, and in all three games thus far this season. Farinella has Edwards getting a baptism of fire with his NFL debut yesterday.

Guregian’s notebook has Asante Samuel celebrating his return to the starting lineup with an interception. Gasper’s notebook has more on the return of Samuel. Young’s notebook has a look at the running game, where Laurence Maroney had his second career 100 yard rushing game and Sammy Morris was impressive once again as well. Kennedy’s notebook has more on the potent Brady/Moss combination. Weisberg’s notebook has punter Chris Hanson not getting a whole lot of work thus far this season. Lowe’s notebook has the Patriots special teams answering a challenge this week.

Cold, Hard Football Facts has a new-look with their re-designed website, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. John Molori says that FOX’s analysts yesterday were ignorant in their criticism of Donovan McNabb’s comments from earlier this week.

Red Sox

The Red Sox did clinch a post season berth over the weekend, and now, enter the final week of the regular season still fighting to hang onto the division lead. Yesterday didn’t help, as Tim Wakefield’s magic against the Devil Rays wore off in a 5-4 loss in Tampa. The AL East lead sits at 1.5 games.

Rob Bradford has Tampa starter Edwin Jackson shutting down the Red Sox for five innings yesterday. Gordon Edes has more on the Sox falling in Tampa, a day after clinching at least a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Sean McAdam says that the Red Sox face some tough multi-tasking in the final six games of the season. Bill Ballou notes just how bad the Red Sox rotation has been in September. Jeff Goldberg looks at Wakefield falling to the Devil Rays for the first time in Tampa.

Steve Buckley says that the Red Sox might want to win the AL East, but they don’t need to do it. Mike Underwood says that the fans want the Red Sox to take the division. Nick Cafardo says that Bryan Corey could be in the mix for a postseason roster spot. Buckley looks at Tim Wakefield struggling once again yesterday in the loss.

Bradford’s notebook has Tampa’s Delmon Young challenging Dustin Pedroia for the rookie of the year award. Edes’ notebook has Manny Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis taking batting practice today at Fenway to see how close they are to returning. McAdam’s notebook examines Wakefield’s struggles of late. Ballou’s notebook says that Terry Francona has some tough decisions to make in the final week of the regular season. Goldberg’s notebook has more on Pedroia vs Young for AL Rookie of the Year.

Other

Stephen Harris says that the Bruins hope to be deeper up front this season. Fluto Shinzawa looks at Bobby Allen, who finds himself on the bubble of making the Bruins club. Harris’ notebook has the Bruins dropping a preseason game to Montreal yesterday.

John Connolly has Taylor Twellman feeling sore after suffering a groin injury in Saturday night’s tie with the New York Red Bulls. Frank Dell’Apa has the Revolution struggling with possession in that game.

Mark Blaudschun has a look around the world of college football this week. Steve Conroy has Boston College staying focused after their 4-0 start to the season.

Weekend Watch – Sox Look To Clinch Postseason

The Red Sox hope to at least clinch a playoff spot this weekend in Tampa as they got back on the winning track Friday night behind Josh Beckett’s 20th win of the season. The Sox throw Daisuke Matsuzaka on Saturday and Tim Wakefield on Sunday in their efforts to try and clinch a postseason berth.

Keep up with the coverage on RedSoxLinks.com

The Patriots entertain the Buffalo Bills on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon handle the broadcast for CBS. Patriots Daily is your home for football coverage this weekend, as Saturday Greg Doyle looks at some of the top college games with an eye to the Patriots draft, focusing in on Northwestern/Ohio State and Purdue/Minnesota, with a few others to watch as well. For a full college football TV schedule click here.

Over on the Patriots Buffet Table, the staff eschews the traditional Buffalo Wings for this week’s menu choosing instead another specialty from the Buffalo area, Beef on Weck. There is also a selection of beers to choose from to go with the sandwich.

Here are your NFL TV maps for the weekend. CBS Single Game, Fox Game One, Fox Game Two.

Chad Finn has a nine innings national column for FoxSports. He also goes local with Notes on a scandal.

Larry Mahoney has the original “Big O” – Oscar Robertson – talking about the new-look Celtics.

Ian Thomsen says that Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown was offered the job as an assistant to Doc Rivers this offseason, and he was 90% sure he was coming at one point.

Mark Murphy has more from Ray Allen on his move to the Celtics.

Marc J. Spears talks to some Eastern Conference stars about how the Celtics stack up in the East.

Bill Simmons has his weekend NFL picks.

Tom Curran has a look at who are the frauds and who are the real McCoy’s early on in the NFL season.

Michael Silver has The Gameface for the weekend, and notes that last year’s darlings, the Saints, are already old news.

The Media Circus examines two old targets this week, Chris Berman and John Madden. They also have a new feature Headliners Ball looking at various sports headlines from the week.

National Media Columns

New England

David Scott reports that Glenn Geffner’s role with the Red Sox radio network will be greatly reduced (if not eliminated) next season. Susan Bickelhaupt has a look at Tommy Heinsohn reducing his role slightly on the Celtics TV telecasts this season and has more on the FSN/Comcast SportsNet move. Bill Doyle looks at how several TV commentators really took it to Bill Belichick last weekend. John Molori says that Belichick’s punishment is a beginning and an end.

New York
Phil Mushnick says that thus far, Ron Jaworski, sounds like an imitation of Joe Theismann on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Neil Best has a look at WFAN’s new morning show with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton. Bob Raissman examines the NFL’s efforts to track down how the Patriots tape got leaked to FOX last weekend. Justin Terranova has five questions with Steve Phillips.

More East Coast
Laura Nachman has Ron Jaworski and Suzy Kolber enjoying their homecoming to Philadelphia for Monday Night Football this week. Bob Smizik says that WPKI has the best Steelers coverage on the 11:00pm news. Leonard Shapiro has Pete Medhurst living a dream in his role with CSTV. Michael Hiestand has TBS getting it’s baseball postseason roster in order. Chris Zelkovich says that Hockey Night in Canada will sport a revamped look this season. Jim Williams says that Bob Carpenter will be missed on Nationals broadcasts next season.

South
Barry Horn has 77-year old Pat Summerall enjoying his weekly internet radio show. Dave Darling examines FSN’s new series Sport Science. David Barron has Solomon Wilcots and Ian Eagle looking forward to calling this Sunday’s Colts/Texans matchup.

Midwest
Judd Zulgad says that Charles Barkley gave the ESPN telecast a breath of fresh air on Monday night. Dan Caesar has KSDK throwing golf fans a bone by dropping a Cardinals postgame show to go directly to the final round of the PGA Tour’s Playoffs. Bob Wolfley has ABC’s Brent Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit coming and going for Saturday night’s Wisconsin/Iowa matchup. Jeffrey Flanagan has the Royals pondering a return to the powder-blue uniforms.

West Coast
Christine Daniels takes over Larry Stewart’s sports media column in the Los Angeles Times. Actually, it’s reclaiming old territory in a way, as Daniels had this role in a previous incarnation. Jay Posner has Phil Simms urging Chargers fans not to panic. John Maffei takes a look at every baseball TV broadcast team around baseball in his column. Jim Carlisle says that the hype is not quite as strong this year for the high school football game between Oaks Christian and St. Bonaventure which was shown on FSN last year. Tom Hoffarth has DodgerTalk host coming under fire in Los Angeles. He also has media overtime in his blog.

Pats In The Clear

Mike Reiss reports that the NFL has decided there will be no further sanctions against the Patriots for the spying incident. The Herald says that the league has received and destroyed all intelligence gathered by the Patriots in this matter.

Patriots Daily has your weekly roundtable discussion on the team, and a look at this weekend’s game with the Bills. As always, your comments and thoughts are encouraged on the page.

Michael Felger says that once again, the AFC East will be no contest…and it appears it will be that way for some time to come. Christopher Price says that no team is better at playing with a lead than the Patriots. Shalise Manza Young has Bill Belichick praising the Bills. Eric McHugh has the Patriots looking to improve their red zone defense. Chris Kennedy says not to expect this as the week that the Bills come due.

Karen Guregian and Christopher L. Gasper each look at second year running back Laurence Maroney, who talks about his upright running style, and doesn’t plan to change it. Jennifer Toland has the Patriots leading the league in rushing defense after two games. Mark Farinella has Rosevelt Colvin talking about his preparation and his development as a linebacker here in New England.

Guregian has Asante Samuel getting his legs under him after sitting out most of training camp. Robert Lee has a piece on Wes Welker, and how the receiver is fitting in nicely with the Patriots. David Heuschkel looks at the timing of Rodney Harrison’s HGH buys. Hector Longo comes up with some stray shots to take.

Guregian’s notebook has the Patriots defense vowing to improve its red zone play, where the first two opponents are 4-4 thus far this season. Gasper’s notebook says that Samuel has made up ground quickly, like any good cornerback. Lee’s notebook has Samuel approaching top form once again. Toland’s notebook tabs Welker as a guy who already makes things happen.

Jim McCabe and Jim Lazar have their weekend picks, while Double D and I.M. Bettor check the action.

Red Sox

If the Red Sox make the playoffs, it appears that they will be facing either the Angels or the Indians. Michael Silverman takes a look at each club and why the Sox would want to face them. Bob Ryan says that if the Red Sox would be the weakest of the AL playoff teams if it turns out to be the Angels, Yankees, Indians and Boston in the postseason. Sean McAdam makes the case that how the team plays in September will have no bearing on how they play in October. Jeff Goldberg notes that by tinkering with their rotation and roster, the Red Sox have gotten themselves in some hot water in the AL East race.

Jim Donaldson goes after Theo Epstein, saying that the Red Sox GM might want to keep his gorilla suit handy. Rob Bradford says that there is still time to get things turned around in the final nine games of the season. Joe Haggerty notes that an oblique strain, like what Manny Ramirez is suffering from, can be a tricky injury to properly come back from. Lenny Megliola says that the Red Sox need Jonathan Papelbon to put his last two poor outings behind him and be dominant again.

Amalie Benjamin has Sox ace Josh Beckett looking to get his 20th win of the season tonight, but more importantly, to stop the Red Sox losing streak. Bradford has more on Josh Beckett going for win number 20 tonight, and notes the hard work that Beckett has put in to get to this point. Garry Brown has more on Beckett going for win number 20.

Benjamin’s notebook has Gabe Kapler putting his managerial career on hold and hoping to come back as a player next season. Bradford has more on Kapler itching to play next season.

Other

Marc J. Spears talks to new Celtic Ray Allen, who has no problem being a co-star here in Boston after years of being the top dog on mediocre NBA teams.

FSN had their Celtics media luncheon yesterday, and will become part of Comcast SportsNet on October 1st. They are building a new studio for the network, and programming will include a full half hour pre and post game show for the Celtics, for each game, (including weekends, which they didn’t do in the past) and a weekly Celtics magazine show, slated for Tuesdays at 7:30. Greg Dickerson will now also be the sideline reporter for away games as well as home games, and Tommy Heinsohn will sit out some of the longer road trips, with Donny Marshall taking his place. In those games, Heinsohn will be part of the pre-game show instead. There was also talk down the road of Comcast creating an extensive sports news organization for New England.

Susan Bickelhaupt has more on Heinsohn and the Comcast SportsNet move. In the Herald, The Inside Track has the news from the luncheon.

David Scott reports that Glenn Geffner’s role with the Red Sox radio network will be greatly reduced (if not eliminated) next season.