Sean McAdam notes that even though the lead is gone, the Red Sox will be in a fight for the playoffs all the way to the end this season. Kevin Gray looks at the schedules of the three teams fighting for two playoffs spots, noting the difference in the difficulty of competition that each team faces. A Tale of the Tape page in the Herald also looks at the schedules. Dan Shaughnessy addresses his “Red Sox are going to run away with the Division” column from June. Garry Brown and Jeff Horrigan look at the Red Sox heading down the stretch with everything at stake.

Gerry Callahan (Subscription only) writes what he’s been saying on the radio the last few days – PLAY THE KIDS. He writes:

Unfortunately, the manager seems to be thinking like so many Sox managers of the past, like Grady Little and Jimy Williams not so long ago. He's worried about what might go wrong rather than what could go right.

Gordon Edes looks at how the season is shaping up to all come down to the final weekend at Fenway Park. David Heuschkel looks at Keith Foulke being shut down for the season and how the Red Sox have bigger things to worry about at this stage. Horrigan however, reports that the team didn’t shut Foulke down, he made the call himself, and the team doesn’t necessarily agree, still expecting him to be in Baltimore tonight. Edes and Chris Snow talk to Foulke’s agent who says his client isn’t healthy enough to continue the season. McAdam also has a report on Foulke returning to Boston. This situation seems a bit ugly under the surface. Jon Couture says that Sox should already be looking ahead to next year. Peter J Howe reports on discount airline Song naming a plane after Big Papi David Ortiz. Snow’s notebook looks at Terry Francona backing Ortiz for MVP, and also has the Devil Rays grousing over how Jason Varitek blocks the plate. Horrigan’s notebook reports that the Pittsburgh Pirates might be interested in Dale Sveum as a candidate to be their new manager.

Karen Guregian looks at the Patriots secondary, once again riddled with injuries, an area that has coach Bill Belichick concerned. Chris Kennedy also looks at the injuries in the secondary, which are once again a problem for the Patriots. Ian M Clark looks at the issues with Special Teams for the Patriots, who find themselves giving up big plays in that area. Glen Farley has more on the Special Teams. Jerome Solomon notes that the Patriots are doing their best to put last week out on their minds and put all their focus on the Steelers. Guregian has a sidebar on Rodney Harrison welcoming the noise of the Pittsburgh crowd. Kennedy also looks at Chad Brown returning the Pittsburgh, where his career began. Tom King says things don’t change often in Pittsburgh under Bill Cowher.

Eric McHugh says that Sunday could be a battle of top kickers in the NFL.Christopher Price looks at preparation for the Steelers…a team that doesn’t change all that much. Bill Burt says that we can expect Tom Brady to be at his best this Sunday. Tom Curran’s notebook looks at rookie Nick Kaczur, who has been seeing significant time at a couple positions on the offensive line. Michael Parente’s notebook looks at the injuries to the secondary, as well as a number of other items. Solomon’s notebook has Bill Belichick ignoring the past when it comes to Pittsburgh.

Tom E Curran examines which Ben Roethlisberger we’ll see, the nearly perfect QB from the first two games of the season, or the one that the Patriots rattled in the AFC Title game. Michael Parente looks at how Big Ben is out for revenge against the Pats. Ron Hobson has more on the Steelers QB. Jeff Goldberg looks at Steelers running back Willie Parker, who is leading the NFL in rushing after two games. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review each look at the Patriots/Steelers matchup this Sunday.

It’s a little interesting to me that the Herald has more articles on betting and picking the NFL (3) then it does on the Patriots themselves (1.5) Jim Lazar makes his bets around the NFL. Double D also makes his picks, and I.M. Bettor also looks at the numbers for this weekend. Jim McCabe makes his picks in the Globe. Patrick Hanrahan looks at the Fantasy Football scene this week in the Herald.

Steve Conroy has a look at Bruins rookie defenseman Andrew Alberts from B.C., who has made his presence felt during the preseason. Nancy Marrapese-Burrell notes that the Bruins have had trouble with penalties in their first two games this preseason. James Murphy looks at GM Mike O’Connell helping out with the younger players in camp. Win Bates has an article on young Bruins phenom Patrice Bergeron.

John Powers looks at the conditions at Clemson, where the Boston College football team will find itself tomorrow night. Steve Conroy says that the Eagles have not ruled out Quinton Porter for tomorrow. Mark Murphy looks at BC wide receiver Tony Gonzalez, who turned down the Red Sox, when they drafted him out of high school as a centerfielder. Mark Blaudschun reports on a couple voters in the Harris Poll, who go against the grain. Double D makes his college picks for the weekend. Michael Vega’s notebook looks at the progress of Porter.

Bill Griffith and Jim Baker report on CBS4 bringing former Patriots linebacker Ted Johnson on board for their Patriots pre and post game programming. John Howell reviews “Viva Baseball” a documentary on the history of Latino players in baseball. Scott’s Shots takes a look at the WEEI/Globe feud, as well as a sneak peek at an upcoming interview with Bill Simmons.

Glenn Ordway and WEEI did not take home awards for the categories they were entered in for last night’s Marconi Awards.

A few items that have been whispered to BSMW in the last few days:

  • Prior to Glenn Ordway’s diatribe on the Globe the other day, Jason Wolfe and WEEI management had gone to the Globe in an effort to work something out so that certain Globe writers could again appear on the station. They were rebuffed, and next thing you know, Ordway is going off on the Globe on the air.
  • Carolyn Hughes, who was caught in the infamous scandal with Derek Lowe out in Los Angeles, was a one-time intern at Channel 7 here in Boston back in the day. All evidence however, says that the two did not ever meet until Lowe went out and signed with the Dodgers this past offseason. In fact, I believe she was here and gone before Lowe came to the Red Sox.
  • The hue and outcry over the lack of Patriots coverage in the Globe prompted a little self-examination by the newspaper. They went back and examined inch for inch all the Patriots coverage since the Patriots rookies reported in July and according to their findings, came out with seven more pages of coverage than the Herald.

    If true, that still sets off my skeptic alert. Which stories counted as “Patriots” coverage? Did the stories about the Saints, Cowboys and Raiders count as “Patriots” coverage? What were the parameters of this measuring? It’s simply interesting enough for me that they went in and examined this issue themselves.

  • A few people have wanted to know what Richard Seymour was referring to when he got on with Dale & Holley on Patriots Monday this week. The Patriots lineman mentioned that he was disappointed to hear them making jokes about the evacuees from the south coast being sent to Cape Cod. They quickly moved on, but the original comments were not addressed. What happened was this, towards the end o the Dennis and Callahan show, Jon Meterparel brought up the topic of Laveranues Coles, who had talked over the weekend about this step father sexually abusing him and being sent to prison. Meterparel mentioned that while in prison, the step father was convicted of another crime and thus is still in prison for some time. Gerry Callahan’s answer to this was: