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Patriots.com News Blitz - 11/21/2006

The Boston Globe's Mike Reiss reports on the outstanding play of safety James Sanders, who was filling in for the injured Rodney Harrison against the Packers. He said he made sure to get prepared for the start by studying hard all week. "It was almost overwhelming, almost too much studying," Sanders said yesterday. "I sort of stopped and said to myself, 'You've been playing this game since you were 9.' I felt like I knew what I had to do, and it was just a matter of going out and playing football."

Tony Massarotti of the Boston Herald wonders just how meaningful last Sunday's win for the Patriots was. Massarotti argues that "it was the ultimate show about nothing. At this stage, we know the Pats can take the little kid's milk money. In their past five games against teams currently .500 or worse, the Pats have won all five by an average of more than 23 points. We pretty much have established the Patriots can play poor-to-mediocre opponents and beat the feathers out of them." Massarotti concludes that this weekend's game against the Bears will undoubtedly be a test for the Pats.

The Boston Globe's Patriots Notebook reports that the Patriots are the first team in NFL history to win four straight road games by 22 points or more in the same season. The streak started with a 38-13 victory at Cincinnati Oct. 1, and includes wins over Buffalo (28-6), Minnesota (31-7), and Sunday's 35-0 decision over the Packers. Also included are short pieces on Tom Brady, Doug Flutie and a correction on yesterday's story about Ty Warren.

The Boston Herald's Patriots Notebook explains that the Patriots have been ousted by the two championship-caliber teams they've played this season. There one chance to reverse that trend arrives this weekend when the Bears get off their bus. "We're looking at this as our toughest challenge to date," running back Kevin Faulk said last night after handing out turkeys for Goodwill in Roxbury. "Besides the Colts, they're probably the best team in the NFL. That's how we're approaching the game."

The Providence Journal's Patriots Notebook reports that if the playoffs began this week, the Patriots would be the fourth seed in the AFC, playing the fifth-seed Broncos at Gillette Stadium. Also included are analyst Mike Ditka's thoughts on coach Belichick's sideline attire.

Steve Conroy of the Boston Herald offers an interview with former Patriots quarterback Doug Flutie, who decided he was done playing in the NFL before the Patriots signed Vinny Testaverde last week. "Bill (Belichick) and I talked about it in the offseason, and I told him I was done. Stick a fork in me. I told him I'd signed a three-year deal with ESPN," Flutie said yesterday.

Michael Felger of the Boston Herald offers his Patriots report card on the Green Bay game. Felger plays the part of the nice teacher, even dishing out an A-plus to the secondary. Hopefully the Pats don't skip their homework this week after getting such high marks from Felger.

[Ian Clark ](http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?headline=Patriots Report Card: Bear of a test awaits Pats&articleId=53643546-3e2c-46ca-a786-0562f0f98151)of The Union Leader offers his Patriots report card as well. He's pretty kind to the Patriots, who were unkind to the Packers on Sunday.

The Providence Journal's Shalise Manza Young offers thoughts and analysis on the Patriots and where they sit with 10 games behind them. "Call it the five-eighths season report," she insists. Included are pluses, minuses and incompletes for the Pats.

In a similar piece, Tom King of The Telegraph takes stock of the Patriots and looks around the AFC to find its elite teams. King explains why Patriots fans might want to keep an eye on the Ravens from here on out.

Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant takes a look ahead at the Patriots-Bears game, which goes down Sunday at Gillette Stadium. The Bears are fresh off a 10-0 victory against the Jets, and though they aren't quite the 1985 team that beat the Patriots 46-10 in Super Bowl XX, these Bears, led by middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, are mighty ornery. The Bears and the Pats enter this game with the No. 1 and 2 ranked defenses in the league, respectively.

Michael Parente of the Woonsocket Call reports that the Patriots had all their ducks in a row at Lambeau Field on Sunday. The Pats defense shut out the Pack, and after the game Green Bay's top receiver had some thoughts for Parente. "It's tough for us to take because that's what we do. We always put points on the board," said Packers wide receiver Donald Driver, who finished with a season-low two catches for 42 yards. "I can't believe we embarrassed ourselves at Lambeau Field."

USA Today offers its Inside Slant on the Patriots, which was updated yesterday.

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