Boston.com* posted a timeline that break's down each game the Patriots played this year. The goal was to explain how people's perception of the team changed with each week. The interactive timeline also includes in-game tweets that highlights a story from each week.
With the Patriots on the bye this week, many local reporters have been looking into New England's potential opponents and highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, posted an article listing some 'quick hits' on the three possible foes for the Patriots. One thing he noted was that all three teams (Bengals, Chiefs, Colts) have quarterbacks who can make plays with their feet. Reiss says the Patriots defensive ends will need to be very disciplined on the edge. He also notes that the Bengals defense is the most pressure-based of the three, while the Chiefs offensive line seems to be the weakest of the three.
Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald writes how LeGarrette Blount revived his career with the Patriots, much like how Rodney Harrison, Corey Dillon, and Randy Moss did in the past. The past two weeks have been Blount's best of the season, in fact his 189-yard performance against the Bills earned him the FedEx Ground Player of the Week award. Next Saturday will be Blount's first playoff game of his career, and Howe hints that if Blount can continue to run as well as he did against the Ravens and Bills, he could get a lot of attention in free agency this offseason.
"If Blount continues this pace in his playoff debut, when the league will watch a player who was once widely written off, it will bring more attention to the latest player to re-spark his career in Belichick's program," writes Howe.
On the topic of Patriot 2014 free agents, Sterling Xie posted a slideshow article on the Bleacher Report that listed the 5 contracts that New England must reevaluate in the offseason. Xie believes the top two concerns should be resiging Julian Edelman and Aqib Talib. In addition to that he says that the Patriots should extend Devin McCourty's contract and restructure Vince Wilfork's as he is coming off surgery to his Achilles.
"There is obviously no way the Pats would cut the foundation of their defensive line and one of the most respected voices in the locker room," says Xie. "But Wilfork's cap hit next year is $11.6 million, the secon-highest on the team behind Tom Brady."
Michael Whitmer wrote a feature on Patriots special teams coach, Scott O'Brien, in today's edition of the Boston Globe. Whitmer points out that the Patriots had the edge over their opponents in almost every statistical category on special teams. Whitmer quotes, Stephen Gostkowski, Matthew Slater, and Nate Ebner who all had great things to say of O'Brien.
"Across the board, the Patriots have had their moments on special teams this season, one of many reasons they went 12-4, won the AFC East, and earned the No. 2 seed in the conference playoffs," explains Whitmer.