Who knew being the favorite could be so insufferable? Two years ago during the Super Bowl run as underdogs, all talk on the airwaves was how the Patriots could win these games…what could they do to pull the upset? After a day plus of sports radio and TV discussions, I see that this year’s theme is different. Now the majority of the talk on the local airwaves is how the Patriots can/will lose this game and what the Titans can/will do to beat them. It was definitely more fun to be the underdog. Maybe we’re just not used to being favorites.

Yesterday Bob Neumeier said the Titans have no weaknesses. Today Gerry Callahan, (and Meter of course) says the Titans have the mental and physical toughness and great coaching to come into Gillette and whip the Patriots.

Maybe this will make people feel better. (Thanks Mark)

Against the spread this year New England is:
10-1 after consecutive wins
10-2 against the AFC
9-1 as a favorite
14-2 overall
13-1 on grass fields
8-0 at home
5-1 off a division game
7-0 when playing a team with a winning record.

No one knows what is going to happen Saturday night, but most people seem to agree that it will not be a repeat of the high scoring affair that happened earlier in the season at Gillette. Michael Smith says the game won’t be a replay, but one thing you can count on is Steve McNair and Eddie George playing. Tom Curran says the score if likely to be much lower in this contest. The Titans went up and down the field against the Patriots like no other team has this year. Plus, the Titans defense was injured that game and has been shored up since. Rich Thompson notes that Bill Belichick can’t help but be impressed with the toughness and effort of George and McNair. Lenny Megliola says to Belichick, every team he prepares for is the ’72 Dolphins. Alan Greenberg says that Belichick lost a battle with the NFL over a turf at Gillette. Mike Reiss has a mini-feature on Tedy Bruschi, and speaks to his brother, college coordinator, and Tedy himself to learn how much Bruschi loves football, and that New England is his home. Dan Shaughnessy says unlike baseball, history doesn’t mean anything in football. Michael Holley looks at the Titans 44 year old kicker, Gary Anderson, who made his first Pro Bowl in 1983. Smith’s notebook has the “Michael Vick of groundskeepers”, Dennis Brolin saying that the new turf will actually be an advantage to the Patriots. Thompson’s notebook looks at All Pro honors for Rodney Harrison, Ty Law and Richard Seymour. Curran’s notebook has more on the turf.

Bob Hohler and Jeff Horrigan look at a nervous Dennis Eckersley as he prepares for the 2004 Hall of Fame election results today. A former crony of Pete Rose tells Jack Sullivan that the former baseball star still isn’t telling the whole story about his betting on baseball. Mike Port says that when he interviewed for the Reds GM job recently, he was asked about Rose. Jon Couture wonders if anyone cares that Pete Rose supposedly came clean.

The Celtics shot a dreadful 29% last night in a 78-68 loss to the Piston. Links are at Fox Sports New New England.

Coach Mike Sullivan put his team through a double session at practice yesterday. Steve Conroy and Nancy Marrapese-Burrell update us on the reasons for the elongated session. Mick Colageo wonders if Patrice Bergeron could become another Joe Thornton. Conroy’s notebook gives us an update on the injury to Shaone Morrisonn.

Bill Griffith looks at the buildup to this Saturday’s Patriots/Titans playoff game.

Bob Ryan says the Sugar Bowl victory was sweet for Nick Saban, even if it didn’t appear that way.

ESPN and ESPN2 have college hoops tonight.