Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that Patriots running back Corey Dillon, who rushed for 72 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries Sunday, would appear to be a great weapon for the Patriots against a fast Colts defense. Dillon isn't going to outrun some of the Colts' skilled defensive players, but he's going to wear them down physically if he's in there. Dillon's inclusion in the lineup also is good for blitz pick up. Because of his physical nature, Dillon can take on the blitzing safeties and linebackers and keep them away from Brady.
Michael Felger of the Boston Herald writes that the Indianapolis Colts are 1-7 against the Patriots since Bill Belichick took over in 2000 and have been bounced out of the playoffs at Gillette Stadium in each of the last two years. This season, the Colts have their defense in order (they're tops in the NFL in points allowed) and will be facing a Patriots team with problems across the board. The conventional wisdom says that if Peyton Manning and Tony Dungy can't get over the hump this time, they never will.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that Monday night's matchup between the Patriots and Colts is being billed as one of the top games of the season. The Patriots will be facing a much improved Colts defense and an offense that has more balance than in previous years. Through seven games, the Colts have run 223 times and passed 204 times. "It's going to be big hype because of what's happened in the playoff games the last couple of years, and the fact that we're undefeated and Monday night," said Colts head coach Tony Dungy yesterday.
Chris Kennedy of The Republican offers an analysis of the Patriots 21-16 win over the Buffalo Bills. Kennedy writes that the Patriots let a weak offensive team control the ball for almost the entire night. Much of that was due to some terrible work on third down, with the Bills converting a healthy of 7 of 14 chances and the Patriots a dismal 1 of 7. Kennedy adds that there were also the type of defensive breakdowns that have proved all too common this season, with poor tackling helping Willis McGahee pile up 136 yards on 31 carries and a confused secondary allowing Eric Moulds to score easily on an 55-yard touchdown pass. "Buffalo was a good team; they were undefeated in our division (at 2-0)," linebacker Willie McGinest said. "They have a great defense, and an offense that can the ball. It was a tough game. We're happy we won, but we can definitely play better."
Eric McHugh of the* Patriot Ledger* writes that Bruschi's return to the NFL was the dominant story leading into the Patriots' game against the Buffalo Bills. As the dust settled on a 21-16 victory that solidified the Pats' hold on first place in the AFC East, the linebacker position continued to draw interest, for a variety of reasons - from Chad Brown's diminished role, to Mike Vrabel's position switch, to Rosevelt Colvin's increased face time, to Bruschi's prospects for improvement. McHugh takes a look at all the drama and storelines that are unfolding from the linebacker position.
Eric McHugh of the* Patriot Ledger* writes that the New England is running out of running backs. With fullback Patrick Pass going down with an unspecified leg injury during the Bills game and the release of running back Amos Zereoue, the Patriots are left with a less than 100% Corey Dillon, who is still recovering from an ankle injury. Losing Pass would further compromise the Patriots' running back depth. Belichick said Faulk is ''getting better,'' but there is no timetable for his return.
Glen Farley of The Enterprise speculates that linebacker Chad Brown may be transitioning back to the outside linebacker position. Since Vrabel has moved from the outside to the inside, might Brown now be shifted from the inside back to the outside where he could be part of a three-man rotation with Willie McGinest and Rosevelt Colvin?
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.