Nick Cafardo of The Boston Globe discusses Corey Dillon's impending playoff debut. Much has been made of the fact Dillon needs but 81 rushing yards this weekend to reach his final contract incentive, leading some to assume that the issue is a big one in the Dillon camp. However, as Cafardo reports, that could not be further from the truth. Dillon seems to have no interest in the financial bonus, and as Cafardo points out, the bonus for Dillon will come when he takes to the field in the playoffs for the first time in his stellar career.
Dan Shaughnessey of the Globe examines the Tom Brady-49ers story line. Brady, a California native, was passed over by San Francisco on draft day in 2000. Brady fell to the sixth round, while the 49ers burned a third-round pick on a quarterback named Giovanni Carmazzi.
In his notebook, Cafardo tells of Bill Belichick's weekly caution report, in which he described the 2-13 49ers as skilled. Also in the notebook, Joe Andruzzi remembers his former Green Bay Packers teammate Reggie White, who passed away suddenly on Sunday morning.
In The Boston Herald, Michael Felger looks at Brady's showdown with the team he rooted for as a kid. As Felger reports, Brady intends to play on Sunday, against one of the teams that snubbed him four years ago.
In his notebook, Felger discusses the chances for a Richard Seymour playoff return.
Also in the Herald, George Kimball contributes the third part of a five part series on the dual championship seasons of the Red Sox and Patriots. Today's part compares the differing, but steady styles of coaches Terry Francona and Bill Belichick.
In The Providence Journal, Bill Reynolds attempts to define what makes a great quarterback. The quarterback position, perhaps more so than any other on the field, has a success factor made up of a number of intangibles. Some have it and some don't, and Reynolds looks at what "it" is.
Tom Curran of the Journal praises the Patriots red zone offense and defense. The Patriots offense has scored touchdowns on nearly 59% of its trips inside the 20, while the defense has allowed touchdowns only 42% of thr time.
In his notebook, Curran writes on Brady and the 49ers.
Alan Greenberg of The Hartford Courant takes the line that there is nothing to be gained in this weekend's game against San Francisco. The Patriots are locked into their playoff seed, so many wonder what would be the point of trotting out star players, thus running the risk of an avoidable injury.
Michael Parente of The Woonsocket Call talks about Seymour's chances for playing in the playoffs. Parente also looks at the entire injury list for this week, which is remarkably lengthy.
Finally, Mike Reiss of The MetroWest Daily News reports on a well-deserved honor for Pats do-it-all man Troy Brown. Brown was voted the recipient of the 2004 12th Player Award, given to the Patriots player who has most gone above the call of duty and done more than expected of him. To say Brown did that this year, by playing offense, defense, and special teams, is a tremendous understatement.