Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe writes about the mental toughness of this year's New England Patriots. "I think that the tougher the game gets, the more, I don't know, settled we get,'' nose tackle Vince Wilfork said. "Never lose our poise. You know you get frustrated at times, but at the same time, you go out there and everybody has their poise and everyone is calm, and I think once we're calm, we make more plays, we make more plays, we make more plays.'' In four of their last six games, the Patriots found themselves in an early hole: 10-0 in Philadelphia, 6-0 in Denver, 17-0 against the Dolphins, and 21-0 to Buffalo.
Ian Rapoport of the* Boston Herald* looks at the recent playoff record of Tom Brady. After starting his career 10-0 in the playoffs, Brady is just 4-5 in his last nine playoff games. In his 14 career playoff wins Brady has only thrown nine interceptions. In his five losses he has thrown seven, including at least on in each of his last three playoff starts. All losses.
Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com looks at the "under the radar" players who he believes will impact each of this weekend's games. For the Patriots, Kyle Love is noted as that player. "You might be familiar with Vince Wilfork, the Patriots' best interior player. But when the Patriots go to a 3-4 defense, it is Love who plays on the nose. He is a wide body who has one of those bellies, like Wilfork, that hangs over the belt. But he has made some nice improvements this season. If the Broncos are going to be shut down running Willis McGahee inside, Love has to be stout."
Jeff Howe of NESN.com writes about recent comments from Broncos quarterback about his college teammate and current Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes. "That will be a lot of fun," Tebow said. "It will be fun. I've gone against him enough times in practice, so all those spring practices we had, we had some fun going against each other. You'd like him on your team, but it will still be fun going against him. He's a great player, and I wish him nothing but the best. I look forward to giving him a hug." Spikes was inactive due to injury when the Patriots and Broncos played on Dec. 18.
Anna Clemmons of ESPN the Magazine and ESPN.com writes a profile on Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington. Arrington finished the regular season tied for the NFL lead in interceptions and was second on the Patriots, behind Jerod Mayo, in tackles with 88. Arrington also outpaced fellow cornerback Devin McCourty with 13 pass deflections to McCourty's 12. "I've seen that guy go from a practice squad guy to a nickel back guy to a starting corner and now he leads the league in interceptions," Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork told CSNNE in late November. "I'm not surprised. I'm pretty sure he's not surprised, because I'm not surprised, and my teammates aren't surprised, because we put so much into this game." Arrington was undrafted out of Hofstra. He was picked up by the eagles before joining the Patriots as a member of the practice squad before playing his way into the Patriots starting lineup this season.
Danny Piccard of CSNNE.com writes about the Patriots expectations for this weekend's game with Denver. Even though it was less than a month ago that these two teams met, the Patriots know that this Broncos team is not the same. "This is the postseason now," said Vince Wilfork. "I'm expecting everything. I'm expecting them to throw the kitchen sink. Because if you lose now, you go home."
Paul Kenyon of the Providence Journal writes about the lack of playoff wins on both the Patriots and Broncos rosters. Only Kevin Faulk, Tom Brady, Deion Branch, Matt Light, Stephen Gostkowski, Vince Wilfork, Logan Mankins and Wes Welker have experienced a playoff win in a Patriots uniform. For Denver only Champ Bailey and DJ Williams have won a playoff game in a Broncos uniform before last Sunday's win over Pittsburgh. Players like Shaun Ellis and James Ihedigbo have joined the Patriots with playoff wins on other teams. While Denver has players like Brian Dawkins, Willis McGahee, Broderick Bunkley and former Patriots Russ Hochstein and Lonnie Paxton join their roster with previous playoff wins.
Steve Krasner of ESPNBoston.com writes about recent comments from Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow about Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. "It's how he handles himself. The emotion he plays with. The calmness he plays with. His accuracy, his leadership. As a young quarterback he's someone I can learn from. He's one of the best in the business. He'll go down as one of the (all-time) best. My hat is off to him. He's a great QB and has been his whole career," said Tebow.