John Tomase, who had the best report following the game on Rodney Harrison’s injury, has more today as he reports that it is a sprained MCL in his right knee which will sideline the Patriots safety for 2-4 weeks.

Michael Felger’s Report Card says that Patriots Pride was on full display in this one, he says to give the squad an “A+” for the game, though he does hand out an “F” to special teams for their inability to handle Pacman Jones. Ian Clark also gives the Patriots high marks in his version of the Report Card. Shalise Manza Young takes a look back at the best and the worst from the regular season for the Patriots.

Amalie Benjamin writes about the Patriots and Jets getting set for the rubber match on Sunday. Albert Breer notes that the Patriots need to shore up a few problems that the Jets exposed the last time these two clubs met. Tomase says that the Jets have been on the Patriots’ minds all season long. He also recaps the two earlier meetings this season between the clubs. Rich Garven notes that Tom Brady is what separates the Patriots from the Jets and most other playoff squads. Michael Parente has the region bracing itself for Mangini Bowl III.

Alan Greenberg looks at a new chapter in the rivalry between the mentor and the student. David Brown has Eric Mangini already dodging questions about his relationship with Belichick. Christopher L Gasper has the Jets careful not to throw any fuel on the fire when it comes to the rivalry between the coaches and the teams. Tom King says the Border War is back. Hector Longo has more on Belichick/Mangini III and also slaps Belichick for “rubbing it in” against the Titans with the Vinny Testaverde TD pass. Dan Shaughnessy takes a predictably New York slanted view to the Belichick/Mangini feud.

There’s plenty of coverage in the New York Sports Pages about the upcoming Patriots/Jets playoff game, with New York Newsday having it as the cover to their sports section with the headline “Ice Bowl III.”

Tomase’s notebook has more leftover grousing from the Titans. Benjamin’s notebook has rookie Chad Jackson finally getting the chance to contribute a bit more on the field and taking advantage of the opportunity. Young’s notebook has more on the Harrison injury.

Celtics

The Celtics avoided getting swept on their West coast road trip with an 89-81 win over the Trailblazers in Portland. Tony Allen led the Celtics with 22 points and Ryan Gomes added 18 points and 10 rebounds as well as tough defense on Portland’s Zach Randolph, who was held to 9 points.

Steve Bulpett says that since the Celtics roster resembles the New Year’s baby, it is fitting that they start off 2007 with a victory. Shira Springer looks at the Celtics getting their first win without Paul Pierce and has Doc Rivers singling out Gomes for praise.

Bulpett’s notebook observes that the Celtics don’t just miss Paul Pierce’s 26.6 points per game, they miss his defense as well. Springer’s notebook has Sebastian Telfair adjusting to life coming off the Boston bench after being removed from the starting lineup on this trip.

Bruins

Fluto Shinzawa and Stephen Harris report on the Bruins lifeless 5-1 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs last night.

Shinzawa’s notebook has the Bruins hard work and extra effort in recent games perhaps catching up with them last night. Harris’ notebook has Tim Thomas getting some recognition around the league for his play for the Bruins this season.

Misc

Bill Reynolds has a mini-feature on Rhode Island’s own Rocco Baldelli, who he says is one of the most unassuming professional athletes that you could imagine. Until recently he lived at his parents house in the offseason, and spends much of his free time hanging out in the back of his father’s store, and drives his father’s old truck. Brendan McGair also has a piece on Baldelli, including a Q&A session with the Tampa Bay outfielder.

Mark Blaudschun reports on Boise State’s thrilling win in the Fiesta Bowl last night, with the last few minutes of the game going back and forth.

David Scott previews five days of NE/NY venom, has more on the Fiesta Bowl, and also knocks Belichick for the Vinny TD at the end of the Titans game, calling it “bush league” – a stance I really don’t agree with.

Keith Bullock was shown on TV before the game talking about Laurence Maroney’s sore ribs and suggesting that he not finish the game. He was typically obnoxious during the game, and he made stupid comments after the Patriots beat the Titans in the playoffs in ’03 as well. After all the stuff he and his teammates did on Sunday, the last TD was nothing more than rough justice.

Both the Vinny TD and the Flutie dropkick were great morale boosters for the Patriots team…which is the only team Belichick should be caring about. If the other squad doesn’t want to be humiliated maybe they should do something about it. Such as either not be in the position to be humilated, or how about stopping the play…

FOX has the Orange Bowl with Louisville taking on Wake Forest at 8:15. ESPN has Indiana/Ohio State at 8:00. ESPN2 has Temple/Duke at 7:00. Versus has Blackhawks/Blues at 8:00.

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