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News Blitz 12/29: All the experts are picking the Patriots

Posted Dec 29, 2013

In this game day edition of the Patriots.com News Blitz, we preview today's Bills vs. Patriots match-up.

The Pro Bowl rosters were announced Friday night and according to Doug Kyed of NESN.com, there were a number of Patriots players that got "snubbed."  He claims that Devin McCourty is the biggest snub of the year this season and deserved a spot on the Pro Bowl roster.  Kyed argues that McCourty was much more deserving than Steelers safety, Troy Polamalu.  Other Patriots players that Kyed believes were deserving of the honor is Rob Ninkovich and Julian Edelman.

This morning, Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston posted his "Quick-hit thoughts" on the NFL and the Patriots.  In it he mentions that Patriots offensive line coach, Dante Scarnecchia will turn 66 in February.  Scarnecchia has been with the team for 44 seasons and is one of the most important pieces in Belichick's coaching team.  Although Reiss doesn't say that he expects Scarnecchia to retire, he does mention that, "his 66th birthday obviously puts him closer to the end of his career than the beginning."  Reiss says that Brian Daboll could be Scarnecchia's successor if and when he chooses to retire.

Further down in the article, Reiss talks a little bit about the possiblity of former Patriots offensive coordinator, Bill O'Brien, going to the Houston Texans.  Reiss mentions that O'Brien is the favorite to receive the head coaching job in Houston, but he believes that something it doesn't seem right if he were to leave Penn State.

"He asked for the players' loyalty in the face of tough times.  The feeling here is that, even if it's a dream job for the likeable O'Brien, that loyalty should be a two-way streat for a bit longer than two years," said Reiss of the possible ending of O'Briens tenure in Penn State.

In another post, Reiss listed his projected Patriots inactives for today's game against the Buffalo Bills.  Reiss believes that Devin McCourty, Nate Solder, Dane Fletcher, Shane Vereen, D.J. Williams, Jake Bequette, and Josh Boyce will all be out for this week's game.  That would mean that WR, Kenbrell Thomkins would be his first game back since he got hurt in Houston on the first of December.

Boston.com's Chadd Finn posted an "unconventional preview" of today's Bills-Patriots matchup.  In it he listed three players to watch, which included Julian Edelman, Fred Jackson, and the Bill's third-year quarterback out of Duke, Thad Lewis.  In the article, Finn also brings us back to the "olden days" with some old United Way commericials that featured Bills QB Jim Kelly in one and Patriots WR Troy Brown in another.  He concluded the article with a prediction:  Patriots 24, Bills 13

"Only one team has something to play for, and the Patriots know that first-round bye is particularly crucial this year.  Belichick and Tom Brady won't let it slip.  They'll have bingo.  The Patriots will win again," writes Finn.

All four of CBS Boston's experts picked the Patriots to win today in their weekly Patriots Predictions.  All four also expect Brady and the offense to put up at least 27 points on the board.  However, only one expects a true blowout.  Rob "Hardy" Poole of 98.5 The Sports Hub believes New England will win 34-2.

"So, Tom Brady is the man! There is going to be unicorns! Show ponies! Where's the beef?!?!  It's at Gillette, the division is wraped up! Home Field! The Bills got nothing!" claims Poole.  Bold words if I do say so myself.

In addition to the local guys, all seven experts on USA Today's panel picked the Patriots to win as well as all four NFL Game Day experts, all thirteen ESPN experts, and all eight CBS Sports experts.  In fact, it would be fairly difficult to find a single "expert" who's picking Buffalo to win today.  We'll see if New England can live up to these high expectations from around the country.