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Best of Radio Wed Dec 06 - 04:00 PM | Thu Dec 07 - 05:55 PM News Blitz - 12/20/2011

Andre Carter lands on injured reserve. The Texans, Ravens and Steelers help the Patriots. It’s all inside today’s edition of the News Blitz.

Shalise Manza Young of the Boston Globe writes about the Patriots rise to the top of the AFC standings. After winning in Denver, the Patriots were catapulted to the top of the AFC after Houston, Baltimore and Pittsburgh lost their respective games. The Patriots also won the AFC East with the win, their ninth division crown in 11 years. "That's one of our goals at the start of the season: to meet the challenge of our division, and our players have done that,'' coach Bill Belichick said Sunday night. "We are 6-2 on the road. They've done a good job; they've met a lot of challenges, and this was a big one. Those guys did a great job. We got contributions from everybody. Really, you've got to give the whole team credit.''

Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald writes about the Patriots transition from the new 4-3 defensive look back to the 3-4 defense of old after defensive end Andre Carter was injured early in Sunday's win. After giving up 167 rushing yards in the first quarter in the 4-3, the Patriots only gave up just 85 in the final three quarters. "We just had to settle down and get in our groove, that's all it was," defensive end Brandon Deaderick said. "The game slowed down, and we played our game."

Jeff Howe of writes about the Patriots ability to control their own destiny for the number one seed in the AFC. With wins over Miami and Buffalo, the Patriots will lock up the number one seed. Consider this: Since 2001, the Patriots are 25-3 against teams with losing records in December and January (however, the three losses came to the Dolphins in 2004, 2006 and 2009).

Christopher Price of writes about the increased role that Mark Anderson will play with Andre Carter going on injured reserve. Anderson sat second on the team in sacks (nine) and quarterback hits (11) behind Carter. Possible replacements for Carter in the pass rush department include: Rob Ninkovich, Eric Moore, Brandon Deaderick, Shaun Ellis, practice squad player Markell Carter, and former Patriot Tully Banta-Cain.

Mike Reiss of takes his weekly look at defensive snaps for the Patriots game in Denver. Devin McCourty was the only defender to play in all 60 snaps with Kyle Arrington, James Ihedigbo and Jerod Mayo playing in 59. Sergio Brown played an increased role for the second straight week after Matthew Slater was benched in the first quarter. writes about the official announcement of Andre Carter being placed on injured reserve and defensive end Cedric McKinley signed to the practice squad. Carter has started all 14 games for the Patriots and led the team with 10 sacks. McKinley was originally signed by the Minnesota Vikings as a rookie free agent out of Minnesota in the spring of 2010, but he was released prior to the start of training camp. He was re-signed by the Vikings last summer and spent part of this season on the Vikings' practice squad. 

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