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Patriots.com News Blitz - 12/5/2007

Following their disasterous meltdown against New England Monday night, several Baltimore Ravens players are saying the Patriots had help winning the game.

"It's hard to go out there and play the Patriots and the refs at the same time," Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister said. He went on to say he thinks there's a larger conspiracy in the NFL to help the Pats.

"They put the crown on top and they want them to win."

A number of other players -- including LB Bart Scott, who threw a ref's flag into the stands -- had run-ins with the officials on the field.

A column in USA TODAY seems to suggest that perhaps there is something to the conspiracy theories out there.

"A lot is riding on whether the Patriots are unbeaten going into the Dec. 29 game against the New York Giants," the piece says.

"The NFL wants it to be must-see TV, but to see it you must watch the league's own NFL Network. It's one of eight games the league kept for itself this year, and one which some 70 million households won't be able to see because of a bitter dispute the NFL is having with cable companies.

"The more valuable the game, the more leverage the NFL figures it will have to force cable operators to carry the network on the lucrative basic cable tier. By far the most valuable game left this year will almost surely be Pats/Giants."

However, not all the coverage -- particularly in the Baltimore area -- is negative toward the Pats. It's favorable, in fact. Here's a sample from one column in the Washington Post today:

"The game brought honor to the Patriots because they survived a real test by trading punches with somebody their own size ... if the Patriots put together the perfect regular season, if they can do what no NFL team has done and finish 16-0, they'll undoubtedly tell the story of the one they stole in Baltimore Monday night.

"They'll smile at the memory of surviving on a cold, blustery confrontational evening when the outcome was in doubt, right down to the final unlikely catch-and-struggle 72 inches or so from the goal line."

SI.com agrees. Their senior NFL writer broke down each controversial call late in the game and concluded that nothing was fishy.

"The Patriots might be lucky to be 12-0 right now," he wrote, "but none of the vital calls in the final minute of the game incorrectly helped them win.

QUICK HITS

At least one writer at FOXSports.com thinks the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to knock off the Pats this Sunday in Foxborough.

The Boston Globe has a snapshot of the NFL playoff picture as of today.

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