With an extra day until Monday night's kickoff, there is extra time to build the hype for the Patriots and Ravens AFC battle.
As such, there have been a few more stories this week looking at New England's situation at various positions heading into MNF, rather than tradiational breakdowns of Baltimore.
The Boston Globe notes that a rookie guard is the only Patriots player to play every snap this season. The Globe says that the week prepping for the Ravens is off to a weird Yoda-related start. The Globe has rookie Cyrus Jones talking about his troubles with punt returns and his current level of confidence. The Globe looks at how Stephen Gostkowski responded to a midseason slump and rebounded of late as the the AFC POW.
The Boston Herald writes about the spark that Jabaal Sheard has shown since serving as a healthy scratch and remaining in New England while the Patriots played the 49ers a few weeks ago. The Herald notebook has cornerback Eric Rowe talking about his hamstring injury. Despite turning 30 on Monday, the Herald says running back LeGarrette Blount is showing no signs of slowing down in his career year. The Herald also looks at Jones’ punt return role.
The Providence Journal *takes a look at how Shea McClellin is adjusting to a new role on defense. The *ProJo has Chris Long preparing for an “elite quarterback” in Ravens passer Joe Flacco. The ProJo also has its stories on Jones’ punt return situation and Rowe’s injury.
ESPNBoston.com says the Patriots need Martellus Bennett more than ever, but that his ankle injury bears watching. ESPNBoston.com notes that Julian Edelman posted a picture on social media of his newborn daughter. ESPNBoston.com passes along Bill Belichick talking about the anniversary of the bombings of Pearl Harbor, while Long talks about his coach’s history lessons for the team. With depth issues right now at wide receiver, ESPNBoston.com wonders of running back D.J. Foster could be an option in a time of need.
ESPN writes that Dallas' Jason Garrett is the favorite for coach of the year, but that Belichick is looming in the race. ESPN has John Harbaugh talking about his “good relationship” with Belichick, while the site notes Terrell Suggs still won’t say Tom Brady’s name.
WEEI.com declares that the Patriots offense now belongs to Edelman. WEEI.com notes that Steve Smith Sr. doesn’t want to talk about when New England showed interest in the veteran receiver in free agency.
CSNNE.com says that veteran Brandon Pettigrew could be a tight end option for the Patriots. CSNNE.com offers a complete breakdown of the Ravens. CSNNE.com wonders what could/would have been if Belichick had moved with the Browns/Ravens franchise from Cleveland to Baltimore.
NFL.com says that Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels is the top candidate to fill upcoming head coaching jobs this offseason, though New England defensive coordinator Matt Patricia is also pretty high on the list. NFL.com ranks Joe Thuney as the 21st-best rookie this season.
NESN.com addresses how the Raiders game against the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football could affect the Patriots.
MassLive.com also looks at how Foster might fit into the Patriots plans to deal with Danny Amendola's ankle injury.