The watch is on to see if Pro-Bowl defensive lineman Richard Seymour will be healthy enough to take to the field on Sunday against the Colts. Seymour injured his knee on December 26th in New York, and has not played since. He also has not been seen in the locker room since addressing the media last Wednesday, leading some to worry about his availability. Seymour is key to both the Patriots pass defense and rush defense. It can be said that the attention paid to Seymour in last year's AFC Championship game is what freed the unheralded Jarvis Green up enough to sack Peyton Manning three times. The defensive line needs to be able to both get to Manning to disrupt his timing, as well as shut down the Colts formidable running attack. They will need Seymour to do these things. Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe, Tom Curran of The Providence Journal, and Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant discuss.
One thing working in the Patriots favor is the weather in New England this week. Rain and snow have saturated the uncovered playing field at Gillette Stadium, which will likely slow the Colts down somewhat. Curran, Greenberg, and Michael Felger of The Boston Herald report the potential home-field advantage.
Mark Blaudschun of the Globe reports from the Colts locker room, regarding some player reactions to the inflammatory comments of kicker Mike Vanderjagt.
Jim Donaldson of the Journal takes an interesting line on the Vanderjagt comments. Vanderjagt stated the Patriots are not as good as they were on opening night and, in a way, he is correct. Since September 9th, as Donaldson points out, the Patriots have lost both starting cornerbacks, and possibly Richard Seymour. Also, as Donaldson asks, should Vanderjagt have predicted his team would lose?
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call reports on one Patriot who has responded to Vanderjagt's comments. Veteran safety Rodney Harrison fired back at the kicker, calling him "Vanderjerk," and recalled the idiotic statements Vanderjagt made two years ago criticizing Manning and Colts coach Tony Dungy.
Jarrett Bell of USA Today recounts Indianapolis' tragic history playing big games in Foxboro, and contends it would be only fitting should the Colts win their big game here this weekend.
John Altavilla of The Hartford Courant also examines Indy's New England struggles.
Jackie MacMullen of the Globe features one kicker who is worth listening to: Pats punter Josh Miller. Miller has exhibited a refreshing sense of humor since arriving in Foxboro before this season, and as MacMullen writes, is a pleasure to cover.
Cafardo reports in the Globe that Ty Law will undergo surgery at some point in the near future. It had been widely reported at the time of the injury that it would not require surgery, but it seems now such is not the case.
Blaudschun features Colts weapon Edgerrin James. James led the league in yards from scrimmage, and can hurt teams both on the run or catching the ball in the flat.
In his notebook, Felger reports the banged-up members of the Pats secondary, Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel, Randall Gay, and Dexter Reid, have all been cleared to play on Sunday.
George Kimball of the Herald reports from Indianapolis that dangerous Colts pass rusher Robert Mathis is unlikely to play this weekend. The defensive end that made 10 sacks this season injured his knee last week against the Broncos. His absence would allow the Patriots offensive line to key more on the Colts other end, Dwight Freeney, who led the NFL with 16 sacks.
Bill Reynolds of the Journal discusses Bill Belichick's ability to keep his secrets closely vested, and gives away virtually nothing in his daily press conferences.
Parente covers the Colts devastating pass attack, and notes the defense will have to pay close attention to Manning, who likes to change the play at the line of scrimmage if he sees an opening.
USA Today provides a full preview of the Colts.