Patriots Begin Prep For The Bayou

The Patriots now begin their preparations to face the unbeaten New Orleans Saints down at the Superdome next Monday night, still seeking their first* road victory of the season.

Gerry Callahan says that the Patriots have a whole lot to prove in this game. Bill Burt gives us 10 reasons to feel good about the Patriots. Monique Walker says that the Patriots are rightly focused on themselves and not on the playoffs. Projo Sports Editor Shalise ManzaYoung has the Patriots similarly focused.

Jeremy Gottlieb checks in on Patriots Daily with an exhaustive edition of Making the Grades, while Ron Borges has pretty high grades across the board on this one in his report card.

Karen Guregian says that the Patriots defense can make a name for themselves with a good showing against the high-powered Saints. Mike Reiss claims that this is the Patriots last chance at a signature win this season. Glen Farley says that the Saints have benefited from a very easy schedule.  Rich Garven says that the Patriots need to start winning on the road. Tom E. Curran has the Patriots saying good-bye to the Jets and moving on to the Saints.

Ian R. Rapoport looks at the path to Foxborough for Wes Welker. Lenny Megliola has more on Welker, who seems put on Earth to be a football player. Rapoport has Brady and the Patriots set for the real season, which according to their coach, starts after Thanksgiving.

Rapoport’s notebook has Rex Ryan feeling “disrespected” by the Patriots late in the game. Adam Kilgore’s notebook says that it’s been a rough year with the challenge flag for Bill Belichick. Young’s Patriots journal has Belichick making sure he didn’t miss out on Welker the second time around. Garven’s notebook has Brady turning to Welker when Moss is bottled up. Farley’s notebook has Brady one game shy of tying the NFL record for consecutive 300-yard passing games.

*everyone I hear tells me that the London game against Tampa doesn’t really count as a road game

Red Sox

Gordon Edes says that the Red Sox are in the running to land Roy Halladay, but face plenty of competition. John Tomase looks at what the offseason may hold for teams in the AL East.

Peter Abraham has Terry Francona moving DeMarlo Hale up to the position of bench coach, while shifting Tim Bogar over to third base and bringing Pawtucket manager Ron Johnson in to coach first. Joe McDonald has Johnson’s devotion to the organization paying off with his promotion. Sean McAdam says that the coaching shuffle provides new opportunities for all three men. Mike Fine says that these promotions were more than just about rewarding friendships. Tomase’s notebook also looks at the moves.

Bruins

The Bruins scored a 4-2 win in St. Louis last night, giving them their first three-game winning streak on the season. Marc Savard returned to the lineup for the Bruins, but Fluto Shinzawa says that Patrice Bergeron was the one who stole the show for Boston. Stephen Harris has the Bruins power-play units connecting twice in the win. Joe Haggerty has the Bruins finally back to full strength. Graig Woodburn has Bergeron with another game-winning performance. Matt Kalman has the Bruins showing signs of life.

Shinzawa’s notebook has Byron Bitz using his size and hockey sense to play a straightforward game. Harris’ notebook has Savard assessing his peformance as “not bad.”

Celtics

Scott Souza has the Celtics working on turning their recent struggles around. Gary Washburn and Steve Bulpett have Glen Davis getting closer to a return, but will face a fight for minutes when he does get on the court. Rich Levine looks at another new free throw routine for Rajon Rondo. Mike Fine has the Celtics talking about their team-wide shooting woes. Jessica Camerato looks at Kendrick Perkins’ mindset as a shot blocker.

Mark Blaudschun and John Connolly have more on Northeastern’s decision to drop football.