Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe discusses the opinions of coaches and GM's around the league regarding the upcoming AFC playoffs. The consensus seems the AFC playoff picture is wide open, and each of the top four teams is capable of doing damage.
Cafardo also reports on the looming presence of the Cleveland Browns, who are eyeing, among others, Pats defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel as a candidate to be their next head coach.
Michael Felger of The Boston Herald projects some of the decisions that will face the Patriots organization over the next few years. As Felger points out, the Patriots will have to deal with the expiring contracts of Bill Belichick, Vice President of Player Personnel Scott Pioli, Tom Brady, and Richard Seymour.
In his notebook, Felger reports the signing of backup quarterback Chris Redman. Redman, who was formerly a starter for the Baltimore Ravens, is recovering from shoulder surgery. The contract he has agreed to with the Pats will not begin until next season.
Jim Donaldson of The Providence Journal contends Belichick dodged a bullet this past weekend, when he left his starters on the field for three quarters, or more in some cases. While Donaldson acknowledges it is Belichick's decision, and the game was still in doubt for more than a half, he does point out that most of the other playoff-guaranteed teams employed a far more conservative lineup.
Shalize Manza Young of the Journal covers the Crennel situation, and notes that the defensive coordinator is available and taking all calls.
Michael Parente looks ahead to this weekend's playoff matchups, as the Patriots wait to identify their next foe. Parente forecasts the different possibilities facing the team in round 2. Parente also discusses the team's health, and reports Eugene Wilson was named to ESPN.com's all-Pro team.
Parente also features the Browns pursuit of Crennel, which is expected to take place later this week.
The Standard Times runs an AP article by Mike Valeri contending Belichick is once again worthy of Coach of the Year honors. Also in Valeri's notebook, is a set of playoff predictions and a comparison of Brady and Colts QB Peyton Manning.