Things are not looking good for the Patriots. They have no chance of winning their final two games and making the playoffs. Start making your plans for those weekends in January. Why? Aren’t they 8-6 and have their two remaining games at home? Well, yeah, but Ron Borges tells us that they can’t win them. The Jets are suddenly formidable, and the Dolphins look the the unstoppable ’72 edition. Pats have no chance. Unlike others who say the Patriots didn’t come to play Monday night, Borges indicts them more harshly by saying they did come to play, and played hard. They just stink. Even Gerry Callahan, who has been a Patriots supporter in his columns this year, is down on them. Do you get the feeling that Nick Cafardo is mocking Bill Belichick in his article today? Alan Greenberg also reminds us of all the bad things about the Patriots. Tom Curran paints a picture of a team in denial. The report card Kevin Mannix files today is predictable. Michael Felger attempts to put things into perspective, but even he can’t deny the warts. Kevin McNamara says the Patriots have already put the Titans game behind and have full focus on the Jets. Steve Buckley says the border war with the Jets is still alive and kicking. Ian Clark says the Patriots don’t fit the definition of a good team. Cafardo’s notebook has J.R. Redmond asking for his release after the season. Felger’s notebook has the Jets looking for revenge.

I love how it was reported as fact that Theo Epstein broke a chair in his hotel room in anger over losing out on signing Edgardo Alfonzo. In fact, David Heuschkel reports that today. However, Michael Silverman has a little note at the end of his article today on Cliff Floyd stating that the chair was “already a bit damaged when Epstein’s assistant, Craig Shipley, rendered it useless merely by sitting on it.” Which is the real story? Silverman’s article has another confusing pair of sentences. In one he writes that “The Red Sox were cautiously optimistic last night that Floyd would wind up signing a three-year deal with the Dodgers”, then later he writes that “The Red Sox will not consider it a catastrophe if Floyd does wind up with them, although indications point toward them preferring it does not happen that way.” So are they cautiously optimistic that he’ll sign with the Dodgers, or do they not want that to happen? Gordon Edes & Bob Hohler report on the Sox holding serious talks with Jeff Kent. Tony Massarotti says that the owners have finally figured out that they can save themselves a lot of grief by not signing the huge free agent deals that have marked the Winter Meetings for years. Dan Shaughnessy kidnaps Theo on-board the flight home from Nashville.

As reported by Peter Vecsey last week, (and mentioned here and in my Metro column) the Charlotte NBA expansion team went to the Bob Johnson group. Peter May has the story of the “heartbroken” Belkin/Bird group. May doesn’t feel there is room with the Celtics for Bird, but the speculation will begin. Gus Martins says that Antoine is not happy with the Celtics 16-8 record. May also reports on Jim O’Brien’s thoughts on getting ejected last week and Pat Riley’s recent comments on the officiating.

FSNE has Celtics/Heat at 7:00. NESN has Bruins/Sabres at 7:00. ESPN has Pacers/Rockets at 8:00. ESPN2 has the GMAC Bowl at 8:00, Louisville vs Marshall. Those interested in painful Boston hockey memories can tune into ESPN Classic at 9:00 for the 1979 Bruins/Canadiens game 7.