Patriots Get Back To Work, So Does BSMW

I apologize for the lack of an update yesterday, I needed to take a sick day. I appreciate all the angry emails. I really do.

The Patriots return from their break today to begin preparation in earnest for the huge game with the New York Jets on Monday night. Even if Tony Massarotti doesn’t know the first thing about the NFL tiebreakers, even he knows this is a huge game for the Patriots.

Pats vs. Jets hits a whole new level - Mike Reiss has these AFC rivals hitting an all-time high in terms of anticipation for their next meeting.

Patriots begin key stretch drive against the Jets - Ian Rapoport says that the real story of the 2010 Patriots will begin on Monday night. Danny Picard has Tom Brady with a similar sentiment.

Block to be tackled - Monique Walker has the Patriots rookies looking to avoid hitting the rookie wall, with the help of the veterans on the team.

Pass it on: From front to back, Pats’ pass defense a liability - Glen Farley says that the Patriots pass defense is pathetic.

It’s defense that will tell if they stand a chance - Greg A Bedard says that the poor defense is what is going to determine the Patriots fate this season.

Coaches see Jets team that hasn’t changed all that much- Paul Kenyon’s Patriots Journal has the Patriots seeing much the same from the Jets. The Globe notebook from Shalise Manza Young has Bill Belichick focused on the Jets rather than the Denver taping scandal. A CSNNE.com notebook from Tom E. Curran has Belichick praising Rex Ryan. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has Darrelle Revis confident of a Jets win, but not revealing who he will be covering on Monday night.

KG, Shaq have found fountain of youth - Tim Weisberg has the old-timers keeping each other young.

Keep it simple, Glen ‘Big Baby’ Davis - Mark Murphy has the Celtics reserve big man making big contributions. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has more on Davis.

Breaking down what the Matt Hunwick trade means for the Bruins - DJ Bean lets us know what impact of the Bruins trade yesterday will ultimately be for the team. Fluto Shinzawa has more on the trade, which clears up cap space for the return of Marc Savard.

How Mike Cameron has suddenly become very important to the Red Sox - Rob Bradford looks at why the outfielder could be big in 2011 for the Red Sox.

We’ll avoid the Derek Jeter talk, except for some thoughts from Chad Finn on why the Sox should stay far away from the Yankees captain.

Check Out PFW This Week

Just a quick note and bit of shameless self-promotion…

If you see Patriots Football Weekly on the newsstands this week, be sure to pick up a copy and check out my media column for the month, entitled   For Pats, Nantz and Simms part of the family.

The column is a look at how CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms have become almost the “official” TV broadcast team of the New England Patriots. No duo since 2000 has called more Patriots games, and no analyst has covered the Patriots more in franchise history – tomorrow will be the 82nd Patriots game that Phil Simms has done on network television – 62 since the year 2000. Nantz will call his 42nd Patriots game since 2000 tomorrow.

The column also looks at some other interesting Patriots broadcast tidbits over the decades, such as who is second on the list of announcers who have called the most Patriots games on network televsion? What was the worst decade for announcers? Who were some of the names who called only one Patriots game in their career? What year did Al Michaels call his first Patriots game?

The data for this column was compiled largely by the crew on the forum at The506.com and in particular, a 24-year Patriots season ticket holder.

V-Mart Gone, What’s The Next Move?

The news that Victor Martinez would be signing with the Detroit Tigers set off Red Sox everywhere yesterday, as suddenly they wanted to call into sports radio and vent about the lack of action by Theo Epstein and company this offseason. Both sports radio stations took calls from frustrated fans, many of whom are of the opinion that the Red Sox are not interested in competing or winning in 2011, are too in love with their prospects, and that the ownership is too distracted with their shiny new English soccer team to pay attention to the baseball team.

While I can empathize with the frustrations of fans, part of it reminds me of the cry this Patriots offseason, prior to the draft that “They have no tight ends!!!!” Sometimes you need to wait things out before making a judgement on a club’s decisions.  If the Red Sox lose Martinez and Adrian Beltre this offseason (which is expected) but pick up Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez, fans might feel different.

Risky Business: Breaking down the Red Sox decision on Victor Martinez - Alex Speier dives into the subject, looking at the team’s decision to gamble on the unproven, disappointing, and injury-prone Jarrod Saltalamacchia as their everyday catcher.

Don’t judge Red Sox on one loss - Gordon Edes says that Epstein is placing the same kind of bet on Saltalamacchia that Dan Duquette made on Jason Varitek.

What to watch for Thursday against the Lions - Christopher Price has some things to look for from the Patriots tomorrow. Tom E. Curran has a preview as well.

Turkey Wart – Game Eleven At Detroit - Chris Warner is more thankful than worried…but he’s still worried.

Plenty of Patriots throwbacks on display at Ford Field on Thursday - Glen Farley has a couple of Patriots from the 1990′s on the Lions coaching staff.

Injured players try to kick in - Shalise Manza Young’s notebook has Stephen Gostkowski and Leigh Bodden around to offer moral support to their teammates. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport and Karen Guregian has Gostkowski expecting to be ready for 2011. The Patriots Journal from Robert Lee has the Patriots focusing on rookie Ndamukong Suh.

Garnett, Shaq tandem provides punch at both ends - A. Sherrod Blakley has the big man duo enjoying being on the same side after so many battles over the years. Mark Murphy has KG comparing Shaq to fresh laundry.

Growth spurt for guard - Julian Benbow has Nate Robinson’s game maturing.

Evaluating the Horton-Wideman deal - Joe Haggerty thinks that both teams won.

Bruins rally around idea of better starts - Stephen Harris has the Bruins looking to dominate games from the opening face off.

Patriots/Colts – Third Highest Regular Season Ratings In NE History

The Patriots victory over the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday garnered the third highest regular season ratings in franchise history, with a 42.04 household rating (67 share)  in the Boston market. Over one million people tuned in to WBZ to watch New England improve to 8-2 on the season.

The Patriots-Colts game was the highest-rated game of the season in the local market and the third-highest all time, surpassed by New England’s Dec. 29, 2007 win over the New York Giants that completed the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history and a Dec. 7, 2003 victory over the Dolphins. The Dec. 29, 2007 Patriots-Giants game earned a 50.1 HH rating in the Boston market, a rating that represents an unprecedented four-way telecast in which the game was seen in Boston on NFL Network, WBZ-TV Channel 4 (CBS), WCVB-TV Channel 5 (ABC) and WHDH-TV Channel 7 (NBC).

Here are the game-by-game ratings for the Patriots this season:

Angry Celtics Pound Hawks

Coming off back-to-back losses, and playing on the second night of a back-to-back against a team that swept them in the regular season last year, and has given them fits for the last three years, you might think that the Boston Celtics were in for a tough night down in Atlanta.

Instead, the Celtics were the aggressors, pounding the Hawks 99-76, in a game that wasn’t even as close as the score would indicate.

Celtics: Perfect storm - Julian Benbow has a ticked-off Celtics team taking out their frustrations on the Hawks.

No letdown for angry Celtics - Paul Flannery has three key points from last night, while Peter May has Five from afar.

This night, better focus clearly seen - Gary Washburn says that we learned last night that this season is not last season.

Point made with Rajon Rondo treatment - Mark Murphy’s notebook has the Celtics playing it safe with Rondo’s hamstring. The Globe notebook from Julian Benbow has Shaq proving to be a benefit to Kevin Garnett. A. Sherrod Blakely has Shaq feeling he made the right decision in choosing Boston over Atlanta.

It is report card Tuesday for the Patriots, with the grades coming out today for their win over Indianapolis on Sunday.

Making The Grades – Patriots vs Colts - Jeremy Gottlieb has the extensive Patriots Daily report card. Check out the other grades from: Ron Borges | Kirk Minihane | Mike Reiss | Michael Felger | Jeff Howe

Not a report card, (or a link) but Gerry Callahan sees a repeat of 2009 in the cards for this Patriots team.

Patriots have cut cord to past - Tom E Curran with a very good article on why we should let this team forge its own identity, and enjoy the ride.

Patriots tackle a tough job - Ian Rapoport looks at what the Patriots did to neutralize the Colts pass rush.

No resting on their laurels for Patriots - Mark Farinella says that the Patriots have no time to sit back and savor the win over the Colts.

The Patriots talk turkey - Glen Farley talks to Patriots players about their Thanksgiving traditions.

Count Brady as ticked off - Monique Walker’s notebook has Tom Brady upset at the Colts defensive line. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport looks at the challenges the short week poses. The Patriots Journal from Brian MacPherson examines the impact that Logan Mankins has made in his return.

Lightning strikes the Bruins in 3-1 loss - Joe Haggerty has the Bruins falling flat in Tampa.

Savard set for next hurdle - Fluto Shinzawa’s notebook has the Bruins’ center ready for the next step.

Martinez leaving Red Sox for Tigers - It appears that the Red Sox have lost Victor Martinez to the Tigers. Peter Abraham is tracking the story.

Patriots Hold Off Manning, Colts This Time

The difference between the 2009 Patriots and 2010 Patriots was again clearly on display yesterday. While last year’s club simply could not close out games, this year’s version has shown the ability to make that one big play and hold on for the win.

Yesterday, it seemed like a complete repeat of last season’s Patriots/Colts game, as New England  held a 31-14 fourth quarter lead, only to seem Peyton Manning lead two touchdown drives to pull to within 3 at 31-28. Then, with the Colts already in range of a tying field goal, Peyton Manning was picked off by James Sanders with 37 seconds left to end the Indianapolis drive, and the game. Afterward, Manning said that this game felt more like this game instead of last season’s game, probably because of the end result.

A lot of people will be talking about the Patriots defense, which as noted by CBS yesterday is statistically the worst in franchise history in many categories, but they picked off Manning three times yesterday, the last of which sealed the game. They did just enough.

There’s a ton of coverage out there, let’s get to the best:

Ten Things We Learned Sunday: Patriots-Colts never disappoints - Christopher Price lines up what we should take away from the game yesterday. Tom E. Curran has five thoughts.

Patriots defense bends, but comes up big in clutch - Karen Guregian says that there’s also something to be said for finding a way through the highwire act, and making plays that ultimately get the job done. Monique Walker has the Patriots defense saving their best for last. Brian MacPherson has the young secondary playing beyond its years. He also has Ryan Westmoreland attending the game.

James Sanders’ adjustment pays off - Mike Reiss has the veteran safety reading the situation that led to his game-sealing interception.

Belichick has Pats edging closer to utopia - Bill Burt notes that the last two weeks have looked a lot like January of 2005.

Poor Decision By Peyton To Get Greedy - Jeff Jacobs says that Manning pulled a Brett Favre yesterday.

Pats survive the siege - Ron Borges has James Sanders knowing that Manning would want one more shot at victory, something perhaps his younger teammates wouldn’t realize.

Rivalry once again meets expectations - Rich Garven says that it is time to start believing the hype.

Precise offense a sight to behold - Greg A Bedard says that if you get past the final 10 minutes of yesterday’s game, you’ll see that the Patriots offense has been dominant in the last two games. Michael Felger would’ve blamed the offense if the Patriots had lost this game.

Patriots keep on winning - Tim Weisberg says that it’s getting harder and harder to come up with grand explanations as to why the 8-2 New England Patriots just keep on winning.

Where have we seen these Pats before? - Rich Levine says that while there comparisons to 2001 here, (polarizing midseason decision, lack of star power, unproven defense) this is a different situation because of history.

Woodhead shows versatility - Monique Walker’s notebook has the diminutive back with another big outing. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has more on Sanders’ pick. The ProJo notebook has Dan Connolly making big plays in the running game. The two-minute drill from Hector Longo covers a lot of ground, including the obligatory Jerod Mayo-bashing. The notebook from Glen Farley has more on Woodhead, while the Sun Chronicle notebook from Peter Gobis leads with the secondary play. The Herald has the best and worst from yesterday.

Here is Peter King’s follow up this morning to his Friday item about the Colts thinking that the Gillette locker room was bugged:

I think, just to make it clear from my Friday item on Peyton Manning and Tom Moore holding substantive conversations outside the locker room the last time they played in Foxboro, I don’t believe there’s any way the Gillette Stadium locker room was bugged. I just think in this hugely intense rivalry, the paranoia antennae are raised pretty high whenever they play.

I think, because he felt the need to clarify today, it means he realizes he was dumb to include it in the first place.

Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2010/writers/peter_king/11/21/monday-morning-qb-week-11/5.html#ixzz161um3jyi

The Celtics lost their second-straight game, falling to the Toronto Raptors 102-101, despite having held a three point lead with 20 seconds left.

Losses expose veteran traits - Gary Washburn notes that once again, athletic teams give the Celtics fits.

Back-to-back beatings - Mark Murphy has poor defense leading to the Celtics demise.

Bad trend continues for Celtics - Paul Flannery has another laid-back first half doing in the Celtics.

Back to the Friday Megalinks

It’s been a while since I could give you the Friday megalinks. You’re owed them. Let’s give them to you now.

There’s the Weekend Viewing Picks which has your sports and entertainment viewing choices.

National

USA Today’s Michael Hiestand reports that Fox rookie NFL rules analyst Mike Pereira will be in the broadcast booth for Super Bowl XLV in case there’s a controversial call or booth review.

Mike McCarthy of USA Today notes that in his 2nd stint in the NFL, Michael Vick has become a ratings magnet.

Nat Worden of the Wall Street Journal notes that Time Warner Cable is offering a cheaper package to subscribers without ESPN. 

Milton Kent of Fanhouse is amused by the NFL ratings claims by CBS, Fox and NBC.

Milton talks about Michael Wilbon leaving the Washington Post after three decades for a full-time position with ESPN.

Carolyn Giardina of the Hollywood Reporter writes that ESPN is launching a new research and development lab with a Florida university.

Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News reports that the new NBC Sports/Comcast will have a new man heading up the cable side of the division.

Mike looks at ESPN research showing that 3-D TV had a “presence” during its coverage of the World Cup this past summer.

Mike says NFL Network’s Thursday Night Football won the cable primetime ratings once again.

Anthony Crupi of Mediaweek discusses Fox Sports becoming the home of the Big Ten Football Championship Game starting next year.

CNBC’s Darren Rovell says Reebok sees its future in selling its products through vending machines.

Darren looks at the future of notifying sports fans when something special is in progress.

Marcus Vanderberg of SportsNewser notes that ESPN was not allowed to air an Activision ad before an Outside the Lines segment today.

Glenn Davis from SportsGrid has the time lapse video of transforming Yankee Stadium from a baseball diamond to a football field.

I’ll have more on this story in the megalinks. Here’s Greg Wyshynski’s story in Yahoo’s Puck Daddy about the New York Islanders pulling a media credential from noted NHL blogger Chris Botta.

Joe Favorito talks about Botta and Scott Raab who had their credentials pulled.

Spots Media Watch notes that ESPN’s college football ratings got a rise from South Carolina-Florida last week.

SMW talks with WNBA star Candice Wiggins.

Steve Lepore of Puck The Media says Versus’ ratings for NHL Overtime rose over its predecessor, The Daily Line.

East and Mid-Atlantic

Chad Finn of the Boston Globe looks at the first NESN simulcasts of WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan radio show.

In the Springfield Republican, the lovely Amanda Bruno profiles the blogger who blew the lid off the NHL’s Colin Campbell’s bias towards the Bruins’ Marc Savard.

In her blog, Batter-up with Bruno, Amanda tells younger sports media consumers that they should care if newspapers fall by the wayside.

Richard Sandomir of the New York Times looks at the Islanders revoking Chris Botta’s media credential over a very silly issue.

Richard profiles CBS’ James Brown who is the face of a government contractor. 

Newsday’s Neil Best talks with NBC’s Al Michaels.

Neil wonders why SNY keeps replacing its female hosts for “Beer Money”.

Neil talks with Giants QB Eli Manning about hosting “Saturday Night Live”.

The New York Daily News’ Bob Raissman says ESPN Radio’s Mike and Mike refrained from asking tough questions to Tiger Woods.

Phil Mushnick at the New York Post can’t stand live ad reads during live game action.

The Post’s Justin Terranova talks with ESPN’s NBA analyst Jeff Van Gundy.

Pete Dougherty of the Albany Times Union lists whom he thinks are among the best in hosting and calling NFL games.

Pete also conducts a poll on the same subject in his blog.

Dave Hughes of DCRTV.com gives a sports media roundup of the Baltimore-DC area in Press Box.

Dan Steinberg in the Washington Post’s DC Sports Bog has Michael Wilbon’s thoughts on leaving the WaPo.

Jim Williams in the Washington Examiner has Alexander Ovechkin’s thoughts on his new NHL DVD.

South

Dustin Long of the Virginian-Pilot has NASCAR Chairman Brian France backing ESPN despite lower ratings this year. 

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald notes that the Heat’s ratings are up.

Ray Buck at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram looks at three new NFL Films documentaries.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle also looks at the NFL Films coaching docs.

The Daily Oklahoman wonders if ESPN’s College Gameday is headed to the Sooner State next Saturday.

Midwest

John Kiesewetter of the Cincinnati Enquirer notes what happened since the last time the Bengals were blacked out locally.

Mike Zuidema of the Grand Rapids (MI) Press says Fox Sports Detroit is beefing up its high school football coverage. 

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob Wolfley doesn’t want to watch NBA TV’s airing of Allen Iverson playing in Turkey.

Crain’s Chicago Business’ Ed Sherman has his winners and losers in sports business and media.

Ed has the Chicago Cubs’ statement on the Big Ten’s decision to use only one endzone at Wrigley Field for tomorrow’s Illinois-Northwestern game.

Dan Caesar at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch takes a gander at the local sports radio ratings.

Dan has a closer look at the ratings.

West

Jay Posner at the San Diego Union-Tribune notes that the Chargers narrowly avoided a blackout on Monday night.

Jay talks with ESPN’s Ron Jaworski about Monday night’s Broncos-Chargers game.

John Maffei from the North County Times also talks with Jaws about Broncos-Chargers.

Jim Carlisle of the Ventura County Star discusses the NFL Films trilogy on coaches that began Friday.

Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times says Manny Pacquaio would have fascinated the writers of yesteryear.

Tom Hoffarth of the Los Angeles Daily News looks at the difference of sports reporting now and then.

Tom has his extensive media notes in his blog.

Stacy Brownhill of Willamette (OR) Week reports that Portland Trail Blazers fans protested Comcast SportsNet’s failure to gain widespread access for the team’s games.

Canada

Bruce Dowbiggin of the Toronto Globe and Mail wonders if the local media is treating Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke with kid gloves in the wake of him losing his son earlier this year.

Burke’s daughter, Katie, has written a reply to some of the comments in Dowbiggin’s column.

We’ll end it there.

And Peter King Wonders Why Bill Belichick Won’t Talk To Him…

From his Game Plan column today:

I’ve always heard, reliably, that the Colts never trusted that they were totally alone in the Colts’ locker room in Foxboro, and that when Manning had something of strategic significance to say to offensive coordinator Tom Moore, they both stepped outside into the concourse outside the locker room. So if you’re outside the locker room Sunday, don’t be surprised to see Manning and his first-year coordinator, Christensen, huddling for a few minutes.

To me, this isn’t all that different from John Tomase saying that he was told, reliably, that the Patriots taped the Rams walkthrough prior to Super Bowl XXXVI.

Peter thinks Bill Belichick won’t speak to him because of this (Tweeted earlier this week):

RT @ehose2110: What’d you do to ruin your relationship with Belichick? …Wrote, broadcast my opinion about Spygate, I guess. He never said.less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

Lucic, Rask Lead Bruins Over Panthers

Milan Lucic had a had trick, and Tuukka Rask pitched a shutout as the Bruins beat the Florida Panthers 4-0 at TD Garden last night.

Rask, Lucic share the spotlight - Mick Colageo says that Lucic may have stole the final act, but this was Tuukka’s show last night.

Hats off to Lucic after three-goal performance - Joe Haggerty looks at the big night for Lucic.

Tuukka Rask: Win ‘feels good’ - Rich Thompson has Rask enjoying his first win of the season.

The story of why it didn’t work out for Nathan Horton in Florida - DJ Bean examines why Horton was a bad fit in Florida.

Krejci not ready, but getting closer - Kevin Paul Dupont’s notebook has David Krejci and Marc Savard getting closer to a return. The Herald notebook from Stephen Harris has Claude Julian with praise for Lucic. The CSNNE.com notebook by Joe Haggerty has Johnny Boychuk feeling rusty in his first game back.

Sterling safety measures - Shalise Manza Young has Patrick Chung reminding those around him of Rodney Harrison and Lawyer Milloy.

Impacting the future of Patriots-Colts - Chung is one of the young players cited by Mike Reiss as a big player in the future of this rivalry.

Patriots defensive front set to play anywhere - Ian R Rapoport looks at the versatility of the Patriots D-Line.

Around The League – Week 10 - Jeremy Gottlieb goes around the league.

Pats defense needs to do 3 things to beat Colts - Robert Lee looks at what needs to happen for the Patriots defense on Sunday. Tom E. Curran thinks the Patriots have the advantage here.

Tully Banta-Cain thrown a changeup - Rapoport’s notebook has the linebacker trying to adjust to whatever the coaches ask of him. The Globe notebook from Shalise Manza Young has Tom Brady returning to practice yesterday. The notebook from Glen Farley has Javarris James returning to Foxborough. Lee’s Patriots Journal has Brady preferring Super Bowl rings to MVP trophies.

Shaquille O’Neal exceeds expectations - Dan Duggan has Shaq and the Celtics satisfied with their union.

Turkish rookie Semih Erden thankful for Shaq - Mark Murphy with a very good piece on how Shaq has helped rookie Semih Erden with his transition to the United States and NBA.

Celtics face task of stopping scoring machine Durant - Jim Fenton has the Celtics with the challenge of facing Kevin Durant at the Garden tonight.

Oden’s injury saga painful to hear about - Julian Benbow’s notebook has the news that Greg Oden will miss another season due to injury being taken hard by some of the Celtics.

Get Justin Upton to Boston - Michael Silverman says that the Diamondbacks outfielder is exactly the type of player the Red Sox should be trying to acquire.

What the GM Meetings taught us about the Red Sox - Rob Bradford with some thoughts from Florida.

He still gets a kick out of ’75 winner - Bob Ryan has WCVB sports anchor Mike Lynch still proud of his game winning kick for Harvard against Yale in 1975.

Where Is Deserved Outcry For The Colin Campbell Situation? My SBNation Boston media column looks at the lack of media outcry over the Colin Campbell situation.

Radio show looks good on NESN - Chad Finn thinks Dennis and Callahan look good on television.

Celtics Wipe Out Wizards

April 9th, 2010 might have been the low point of the Celtics season. On that night, the Washington Wizards came into the TD Garden and waxed the Celtics 106-96. In that game, Wizards forward Andray Blatche scored 31 points while embarrassing Kevin Garnett and making him look very bad.

That night might’ve been on the Celtics minds heading into last night, as Garnett and the Celtics extracted revenge with a 114-83 waxing of the Wizards. Blatche was limited to 10 points, while KG scored 18 points in 23 minutes.

Celtics blow away the Wizards, 114-83 - A. Sherrod Blakely anchors the CSNNE.com coverage.

A night of redemption for the Celtics - Paul Flannery has more on the Celtics getting back at Blatche and the Wizards.

Delonte West debut a winner - Steve Bulpett notes that the guard had an easy game in which to ease back into the Boston lineup. More on West from: Gary Washburn | Peter May | Jessica Camerato 

Kevin Garnett on Flip side - Dan Duggan has KG’s former coach saying that he looks like the player he once coached.

Home improvement - Julian Benbow’s notebook has Shaq getting an education in “Gino time.” The Herald notebook from Mark Murphy has more on KG getting revenge. The Celtics Journal from Daniel Barbarisi leads with West’s return, as does the notebook from Jim Fenton.

The Bruins held on against the Rangers, 3-2  in New York last night.

Tyler Seguin gives everyone a reminder in New York - DJ Bean has the Bruins rookie showing a flash of his skills in a tiebreaking goal last night. Joe Haggerty has more on Seguin.

B’s penalty kill takes the day - Haggerty’s notebook has the Bruins holding down the fort in the final period. The notebooks from Fluto Shinzawa and Stephen Harris each lead with Seguin.

It’s Colts week, which hasn’t quite cranked up around here just yet. That should change as we get closer to Sunday afternoon.

A duel of QBs? Hold your horses - Greg A Bedard says that the real rivalry here isn’t Manning/Brady, it is Patriots/Colts.

Brady, Manning won’t tell it like it is - Tom E Curran says that the two QB’s are in each other’s heads a lot more than either will admit.

After all these years, Belichick and Manning still at center of Patriots-Colts rivalry - Christopher Price says that while much has changed over the years on these two teams, the constants are at QB.

Manning’s modesty aside, the Colts will challenge Patriots - Mary Paoletti says that the banged-up Colts are still going to present a huge challenge for the Patriots.

Woods a keeper after all - Monique Walker’s notebook has Pierre Woods returning to the team that cut him at the end of training camp. The Herald notebook from Ian R. Rapoport has more on Woods, as does the Patriots Journal from Robert Lee and Mark Farinella.

Talk cheap now but Red Sox promise to step to plate soon - Michael Silverman has Tom Warner promising a big free agent signing and a big trade.

McAdam at the GM Meetings: Market prices rising - Sean McAdam reports from Florida.

Hot corner could be hot topic - Peter Abraham looks at the third base possibilities.