The Patriots continue their preparation for their Sunday night matchup with Drew Bledsoe and the Buffalo Bills. Michael Felger says that the Patriots expect the Buffalo defense to have learned from their last meeting and provide the Patriots with a stiff test. Eric McHugh says that the Bills are starting to gain an identity. Glen Farley observes that Bledsoe and Lawyer Milloy have both have big roles in the resurgence of the Bills. Tom King says there will be a lot of questions answered Sunday night about these Bills. A lot of player profiles today, Frank Dell’Apa slides over from the Revolution beat, and becomes the 24621st writer from the Globe to cover the Patriots this season. He looks at rookie cornerback Randall Gay, who has been thrust into the fire in his first year in the league. Paul Kenyon and Chris Kennedy have pieces on the development and improvement of Stephen Neal this season. Ian M Clark has a look at the breakout year that David Givens is having, just in time for his contract to be up at the end of the season. Alan Greenberg and Kennedy also file articles on Patriots tackle Brandon Gorin.

With most things, balance is the key to success, Christopher Price notes that this is also true of the Patriots, who have shown this quality on the offensive side of the football. Felger also has a look at the Patriots success in opening and closing football games. Tom King looks at the Patriots ability to keep their offense going despite the plethora of injuries suffered thus far this season. Did you know that the Patriots prohibit their assistant coaches from speaking to the media? Mark Farinella says that these guys, though you’re not allowed to hear from them, have a huge role in the success of the Patriots. David Pevear looks at the flexibility of the Patriot roster. The Herald has another excerpt from Felger’s book, this one looks at Raymond Berry.

Dell’Apa’s notebook has a look at Milloy and Bledsoe. Felger’s notebook looks at the Patriots thin offensive line. Kenyon’s notebook examines the 2-way players on the Patriots.

Michael Silverman looks at the Red Sox free agents hitting the open market last night. Art Martone writes that the 2004 season ended at midnight last year, the World Series season is over, and now we’re into 2005. He looks at the status of the team’s top free agents. Bob Hohler’s notebook says that the Sox continue to talk with Pedro’s agent, and also have resumed talks with Scott Boras, though they remain far apart on the value of Jason Varitek. John Tomase writes that all the Sox top free agents could end up going elsewhere. Joe Haggerty talks to former members of the Red Sox, who advise the current group to stay right here if at all possible. Jim Donaldson says that Theo Epstein shouldn’t cave in to the demands of the agents, and overpay anyone. Nick Taveras looks at the top free agents on the market. Silverman’s notebook looks at the Sox interest in Troy Glaus.

Bob Hohler, Jeff Horrigan and Steve Buckley look at Johan Santana winning the AL Cy Young Award yesterday, in unanimous fashion.

Bob Ryan looks at Ron Artest’s ridiculous situation in which he requested a month off from the Pacers because he wore himself out on his rap album. Mark Murphy looks at Jiri Welsch, who might be a tad frustrated with his role on the Celtics at the moment, but wouldn’t complain publicly on the matter. Shira Springer has a similar article on Welsch. Murphy’s notebook looks at Gary Payton’s thumb, which continues to bother the veteran point guard.

Bill Griffith looks at the ouster of Gary Gillis from WHDH Channel 7, a move that seems typical of the way they do things down there. Jim Baker looks at the big bucks TV extension signed by the NFL, CBS and Fox. Andrew Neff looks at Giants fans getting their wish on the Bangor Fox affiliate.

FSN has Celtics/Bobcats at 7:30. ESPN has Heat/Spurs at 8:00.