Well, the media has their wish. It’s Patriots/Jets next Sunday, 1:00pm. They get all the stoooorylines that they so fervently hoped for. The Patriots beat the chippy Titans 40-23 and the Jets rolled over the Raiders 23-3 while the Broncos lost at home to the 49ers in OT to find themselves on the outside of the playoff picture. The Broncos’ loss opened the door for Ty Law and the Kansas City Chiefs, who will play the Colts next Saturday in the other AFC Wildcard game.

Brace yourselves for a full week of hearing the terms “border war” and “handshake” and “soured relationship” as well as about the “man-genius.” We’ll hear about how the Patriots couldn’t handle the Jets defense the last time the teams met and what films and boxing matches Mangini will be showing his team this week in preparation. You’ll come to the end of the week convinced that the Patriots don’t have a shot against Mangini and the Jets.

Couldn’t help but lift this from the BSMW Message board:

Here come the “STOOOOOOOORYYYYLINES”

  • “Handshake Bowl III” (from Felger)
  • “Will Belichick’s ‘arrogance’ cost the Pats?” (Callahan and/or Massarotti)
  • “Man-Genius brings Jets to the playoffs” (Longo)
  • “Mangini will make Belichick sorry he disrespected him. Belichick doesn’t care though, that’s just what he does down there” (Borges)
  • “Jets have Pennington. The Pats this year were pennywise, pound foolish” (Shaughnessy)
  • “That’s not what I said” (Ordway)
  • “Mangini is happier than a puppy with 2 peter’s to be facing Belichick in the playoffs” (Moe Gresh)
  • “Guys, I’m EXTREMELY WORRIED about this game” (Tanguay)

(Thanks, “BOSsportsfan34”)
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Getting back to yesterday’s win, we’ve got Tim Jordan filling in for Scott Benson on the Patriots Game Day Rear View column this week, as Benson actually decided to spend his first wedding anniversary with his wife instead of pounding out a post-game column.

Check the rest of the coverage on the Patriots News Mashup and from The Tennessean.

Get all the New York Jets coverage from the New Yorks Sports Pages.

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When Corey Dillon came out of the game near the end of the fourth quarter and retrieved the ball that had been used for his final run of the afternoon, the CBS team of Dick Enberg and Randy Cross were confused about the moment. They had no idea about what had happened and went to a break. When they came back, they promised to share information, but then called the play and then went back to the network studios to update another game, forcing many Patriots fans to wait with bated breath for the information.

As soon as Dillon got the ball and the announcers started to wonder about the significance of his actions, I went to the CHFF page linked here on Thursday to retrieve the Patriots PR release for the game…information that is given to the press before each game. It took me about 30 seconds to figure out that Dillon had just passed OJ Simpson for 14th place on the all-time NFL rushing list. Very little work. Instead of speculating for some time about what it could’ve meant, the announcers should’ve just said they would find out for us, and then when they got the information, given it to us instead of teasing the viewer.

Then, I heard part of WEEI’s “Real Postgame Show” following the game and a caller asked why Corey Dillon went and got the ball when he left the game. Pete Sheppard and Fred Smerlas didn’t know. Sheppard even went as far as to speculate that perhaps Dillon got the ball he used at the end of every season to collect them. Apparently they didn’t see the explanation from Enberg when it finally came, and even though they had noted Dillon’s actions, didn’t bother to follow up and find out the reason why.

Heard Michael Felger on “5th Quarter” telling us that if Reche Caldwell is your # 1 receiver, then your team is in “deep trouble.” If 12-4 means “deep trouble” then I’m a little confused.

I can only take the WBCN post game show in small doses and today was no exception. In the few minutes I tuned in, I heard Andy Gresh and Gary Tanguay telling us all about the Patriots shortcomings and how they won’t be able to play this way in the playoffs and win. Gresh also told us how both the Broncos and Jets know that they can win in Foxboro, so basically the Patriots are screwed either way.

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And so it begins. Michel Felger today:

Think we can get Bill Belichick to actually say the words, “Eric Mangini” this week?

Mike Reiss’s notebook:

"We're back in the AFC East for our biggest challenge of the year," Belichick said. "Eric Mangini, his staff, and entire team are doing a phenomenal job. The Jets are playing extremely well, as we are well aware based on the last time we faced them."

I guess Felger wasn’t around for that part.

John Tomase has the best account of the Harrison injury and has the Patriots safety saying “I’m all right” in the locker room after the game.

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On Friday’s Mike Felger Show on ESPN Boston, FOX Sports NFL Insider John Czarnecki said that he feels the Giants will go after Scott Pioli, but that Bill Belichick isn’t going anywhere. He said he believes that Belichick’s contract with the Patriots has two years to go.

Len Pasquarelli’s Tip Sheet Insider (Subscription Required) on ESPN.com Insider says the following about Belichick:

There was a spate of reports in New York this week that the Giants might lure New England coach Bill Belichick, assuming incumbent Tom Coughlin doesn’t survive. Forget about it. While the details of Belichick’s contract remain murky — no one guards the terms and financial aspects of his deal better than the Pats’ coach and owner Bob Kraft — reports that the contract expired after this season were erroneous. A league official who has access to coaches’ contracts confirmed Belichick is under contract through at least the 2007 season.

He goes on to say that the Giants might well go after Pioli, but adds:

New England officials privately have suggested, though, they can make a compelling case for why the Giants should not be allowed to interview Pioli if they seek permission. Hard to say what the Pats’ strategy would be in such a case, but two years ago New England held off Cleveland owner Randy Lerner when he wanted to meet with Pioli about the Browns’ general manager position.

It’s my belief that if Scott Pioli really wanted to go somewhere else, the Krafts would not stand in his way. That’s a big IF. He has the same motivations for staying that Belichick would have.

Going down the IF route some more, I would guess that IF Pioli wanted to go, he might allow the Patriots to at least put up the front of resistance in an effort to get some compensation, but when push came to shove, they would not block him from taking another job if that is what he really wanted.

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After posting the email on the coverage that Boston College gets in town, I received this email from another observer:

Things to also consider with BC coverage in the area-

  1. Check the records over the years, if you have time, but Vega always predicts BC to win in the Friday Globe. It is a joke!
  2. The continual mention of Flutie in regards to everything BC is embarrassing. Lets not forgot the mention of Flutie as a possible candidate to replace O’Brien in a earlier Globe article.
  3. The ongoing hyperbole by Teddy for every BC opponent.
  4. The lack of coverage of the BC basketball program suspensions (see Williams- multiple suspensions)
  5. The HUGE mistake of going to the ACC. I’m still waiting to see how the partnerships between BC and other ACC universities are doing for academic research (as BC trustees were quoted as saying one of the pluses was for the move)

Thanks

Rob from Andover

I think I might have to keep a closer eye on the BC coverage…

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We’ve got some surprises and disappointments from the Celtics season thus far on the FSN Nothing But Net blog.

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College Bowl Games Today:

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