Dan Shaughnessy tries again to peddle his fatalistic crap. We’re not buying. Sure, the Patriots might not make the playoffs. Would it represent a “colossal fall”? Well considering it’s not unheard of that defending Super Bowl champion teams miss the playoffs the next year, (The NY Giants did it twice) Dan’s argument here is nothing more than misleading vividness. (Or could it be an appeal to fear) These appear to be Dan’s favorite techniques to fall back on. I’m no expert on fallacies of logic, but it would be interesting to match writers in town with their favorite crutches. Sounds like a future project/column there. Shaughnessy uses several. In any event, the vast majority of New England fans are not eagerly awaiting the day they can declare the Patriots season over, nor do they love to do the same thing with the Red Sox. He indicates that all the signs point to a collapse. The Globe has a box in which it compares key stats from this year and last at the same juncture. They’re almost identical across the board, with most of the small advantages going in favor of this years team. The huge difference though, in which last years team had the big advantage is Red Zone defense. They can solve that, they’re in fine shape.

Michael Felger has a look at the recovered Bob Kraft. Michael Smith has a look at the suddenly dangerous and scary Vikings. Felger’s notebook follows Antowain Smith to a Roxbury school visit. That’s about it for Patriots articles this morning. Light day.

Despite a rash of injuries, the Bruins hadn’t lost since Halloween. Last night, they finally tasted defeat for the first time since then. Kevin Paul Dupont has the game, in which a defenseman ( Jonathan Girard) was forced into duty at forward. Stephen Harris observed that for the first two periods, the Bruins were clearly the better team on the ice. Dan Hickling also has a very thorough account of the game. Dupont’s notebook has Dafoe thrilled to be joining the Atlanta Thrashers, and notes wryly that Ray Bourque’s son Chris is “penciled in” to play for BU starting in 2005. Steve Conroy also has word and reaction on Dafoe. Hickling’s notebook has a Nick Boynton jersey headed to the hall of fame. Harris’ notebook has more injury news.

Gus Martins looks at the Celtics preparing for Jason Kidd and the Nets tonight. Shira Springer says the team is trying to downplay the significance of the game. Martins’ notebook looks at the Celtics strategy of drawing Dikembe Mutombo away from the basket. Tim Weisberg writes that tonight is a chance for the new look Celtics to prove themselves. Christopher Price says Paul Gaston might be the worst owner in the history of Boston sports.

Hope springs eternal for Butch Stearns. Sean McAdam reports that it’s looking more and more like Theo is the man. Gordon Edes says that Tom Glavine is a no-go for the Sox. I expected more uproar in the media over the Sox lack of interest in the hometown kid. Tony Massarotti has details of a snag in the Sox attempts to bring in Charlie Manuel as their hitting instructor. Alex Speier notes that the Bill James hiring brings the Sox a step closer to their new organizational blueprint.

FSNE has Celtics/Nets at 7:00. NESN has a replay of the Red Sox 2002 Hall of Fame Ceremony at 8:00. ESPN has continuing coverage of the Preseason NIT at 7:00 and Sixers/Grizzlies NBA action at 9:00. ESPN2 has West Virginia/Virginia Tech college football at 7:00 and Preseason NIT action at 10:30.