Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe writes that defensive lineman Richard Seymour had zero tackles against the Jets. Those type of statistics often tell that a player played poorly, but according to Belichick that was not the case. Belichick pointed to the rushing yardage gained by the Jets as an indicator of how well the defensive line in all is performing. The Patriots held the Jets to 41 yards rushing, the fewest New England has allowed since Sept. 15, 2002, when they held the Jets to 32 yards. (Coincidentally, Seymour had but one tackle in that contest, as well.) "If the back is gaining 2, 3 yards an attempt, then that means really, probably all seven guys on the front ... are playing pretty good, because if any one of them isn't, Curtis is going to find [the hole]," Belichick said. Seymour had a similar take, noting that in the Patriots' 3-4 two-gap scheme, often his job is to hold his own up front to free up the linebackers. Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant also offers a similar article on Seymour.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that in the last meeting between the Patriots and the Bills, the Bills dominated the clock, winning the time of possession battle by almost 20 minutes. They ground out four drives of 10 plays or longer, kept the Patriots defense on the field and made Tom Brady and Co. stagnate on the sidelines. The Bills ran 78 plays to the Patriots' 47 and converted 7-of-14 third downs. Sunday at Buffalo, the Pats get to see how far they've progressed. They face a Bills squad that plays surprisingly well at home and will likely try to duplicate what worked so well in Foxboro. "From a defensive standpoint, we know they're going to try to run the ball and throw the long ball," linebacker Monty Beisel said. "Especially in their house. Those are things we're going to have to defend."
Jerome Solomon of the Boston Globe offers a story on Patriots cornerback Ellis Hobbs. Hobbs has gotten some notice for being somewhat demonstrative when he makes big plays. Some fans have even questioned whether his style fits the Patriots' reputation -- slightly overblown and inaccurate though it may be -- of being a team that shows little individual flair. Hobbs said his celebrating is not meant to bring attention to himself, or put down opponents. ''Especially in the beginning, throughout the team and maybe people outside the team, [some] took it as arrogance and cockiness, but the way I see this game, my mom and dad told me a long time ago, 'You're not going to play this game forever. Appreciate every moment you go out there,' " he said. ''In high school, I was hurt numerous times. I broke my collarbone three times. It really made me appreciate being out there. Sometimes, when I would get tired at practice, I felt like I didn't want to be out there, it was too much. But then when I wasn't out there, it made me appreciate it. ''So, when I go out there, I play every play like it's my last. If people get it mixed up as being cocky, then that's their problem."
John Tomase of the Boston Herald reports that the Bills yesterday suspended their star receiver because of a sideline dispute in last week's 24-23 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Moulds was excused from practice this week and will miss Sunday's game without pay. "Eric hasn't practiced this week so he won't be ready to play Sunday," Bills owner Ralph Wilson told reporters in Buffalo. "From there on, he'll be back and will play the final three games of the season, which I hope we'll do better than we have so far." The news of Moulds' suspension was music to the ears of the Patriots, particularly because he torched them for season highs of nine catches, 125 yards and a touchdown Oct. 30.
John Tomase of the Boston Herald writes that the Buffalo Bills might not seem intimidating at 4-8, but they're a different team at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Owners of one of the most pronounced home-field advantages in the NFL, the Bills are 4-2 in Orchard Park, N.Y. They held a Kansas City offense that scored 26 points on the Patriots to just three in a 14-3 win. "It's kind of interesting to see a team that has played so well at home," Patriots coach Bill Belichick said. "They're really good statistically, and even looking at the tape, I'm not saying it's a different team, but they just look so much at a higher level at home. Let's put it that way."
Chris Kennedy of The Republican explores Artell Hawkins transition from cornerback to safety. Kennedy writes that Hawkins always felt that he played better at corner when he depended more on his instincts, and relied mostly on adjusting to what a receiver was doing. Hawkins developed an immediate and insatiable hunger for information when he became the sixth player to play strong safety alongside free safety Eugene Wilson in the injury-ravaged New England secondary. He played as a reserve corner against the Saints Nov.20, five days after he signed, but then played safety against the Chiefs and the Jets. "It's a challenge, I kind of regained my love for the game," he said. "I have to sit down, I have to study, I have to be prepared. I've got guys asking me questions, and that's good," said Hawkins.
Jim McCabe of the Boston Globe takes a look at this weeks NFL matchups and offers his picks.
Alan Greenberg of the Hartford Courant writes that the Patriots haven't played in Buffalo in December since 2001. They also played in Buffalo in December 2000. Both those games were low scoring (13-10, 12-9) because of cold, wind and snow, and both were won by the Patriots in overtime on an Adam Vinatieri field goal. The long-range forecast calls for temperatures in the low 30s and snow showers Sunday. If the Patriots (7-5) beat the Bills (4-8) Sunday and the Dolphins (5-7) lose to the Chargers (8-4) in San Diego, the Patriots would clinch the AFC East title for the third consecutive season. The Patriots will more than likely be the conference's No. 4 playoff seed and host a wild card game the weekend of Jan. 7-8.
Chris Kennedy of The Republican offers a candid look at Bills quarterback J.P. Losman. Losman, a struggling second-year quarterback who is expected to start for the Buffalo Bills Sunday against the visiting New England Patriots, was raised along with six other children by his single mother in a two-bedroom apartment in the famed beach locale of Venice, which is not exactly Ozzie and Harriet territory. "No, it is not typical at all," Losman said yesterday via conference call. "It is very strange compared to the normal beaches in California. It's eclectic, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic. "That is kind of what I am. I'm from two opposite cultures myself, from my parents. I think everyone's culture is accepted. It's pretty cool to grow up like that. You get a little bit of everything."
Tom Curran of the Providence Journal offers his daily sports blog with Patriots notes and commentary.