As we move closer to Sunday’s showdown of the unbeatens, the anticipation and tension continues to grow.

John Tomase says that the hype machine requires every ounce of horsepower it can muster for this Patriots/Colts matchup on Sunday. Jeff Jacobs looks at a game that Colts coach Tony Dungy has likened to an Ali/Frazier fight. Mark Farinella has Kevin Faulk downplaying the significance of the game, letting the media have their “soap opera.” Robert Lee looks at how the Patriots and Colts have made all the right moves over the last several years. David Heuschkel has more on the Patriots and Colts resuming their rivalry this Sunday.

Perhaps you saw Steve Young and Mark Schlereth on ESPN this week being harshly critical of the Patriots for their 4th quarter actions in recent games. In the Metro today, I put together a piece entitled Runupthescoregate exposes further media idiocy, which notes that Young especially has no leg to stand on in judgment of the Patriots on this issue.

Mike Reiss has Tom Brady talking about his admiration for Peyton Manning. Karen Guregian has Brady finally possessing the weapons on offense comparable to what Manning has had for years. Douglas Flynn looks at whether this game can live up to the hype. Chris Kennedy notes that the Colts have been shoved into the background this season, something they don’t seem to mind. Ian M. Clark has the Patriots trying to use the underdog card, since after all, they are going up against the defending Super Bowl Champs, who are undefeated and playing at home. Jeff Howe says that the Patriots need to come up with a better plan to stop Dallas Clark this time around.

Jim Donaldson says that the Patriots foes should start tackling and stop whining. Rich Garven says that this game is still to early in the season to be billed “Game of the year.” Guregian has Brady saying he’s not worried about an opponent coming to take him out in retaliation for the Patriots keeping him in the game late in a blowout. Bob Hohler approaches things from the Colts point of view, leading off with Peyton Manning talking about how Bill Belichick tried to get information from him at the Pro Bowl. David Brown notes that offense isn’t the only area where the Patriots have some new weapons. Eric McHugh notes that the loser of Sunday’s game will be behind the 8-ball going forward. Christopher Price notes that the extreme makeover of Randy Moss has been a rousing success thus far.

Reiss’s notebook has Benjamin Watson returning to practice yesterday. Guregian’s notebook has Tony Dungy clarifying the remarks he made when the spygate scandal broke. Farinella’s notebook has Mike Vrabel being named AFC Defensive Player of the week for his performance against the Redskins. The Projo notebook has more on Dungy slightly backing away from his earlier comments. Garven’s notebook has Ellis Hobbs shrugging off the pass interference call on him during last January’s AFC title game – a penalty the league later said shouldn’t have been called.

Celtics

Check out the Celtics Season Preview from the BSMW Full Court Press.

Mark Murphy has the original Big Three of Bird, McHale and Parish skeptical that the trio of Pierce, Allen and Garnett can lead the Celtics to an NBA championship. Of course, two of them are working for opposing NBA clubs, so what do you expect them to say? Peter May looks at the Celtics new “minister of defense” assistant coach Tom Thibodeau. Steve Bulpett looks at this new trio, which will be ushering in their own era of Celtics basketball starting tomorrow night. Jessica Camerato has the Celtics trying to focus on winning and not the hype surrounding them.

Jeff Horrigan looks at second year point guard Rajon Rondo, who is drawing comparisons from some to Tony Parker, and has a big load on his shoulders this season. Bill Doyle has Cedric Maxwell comparing Paul Pierce’s situation to his own when Larry Bird, and then McHale and Parish came to a Celtics club he was already on. Murphy’s notebook has Kendrick Perkins taking Glen Davis under his wing, especially in the weight room.

Red Sox

Tony Massarotti puts together a postseason report card for the Red Sox. Joe Haggerty says that the days of AAA are certainly over for Jacoby Ellsbury after his postseason success. Bill Reynolds notes that the Red Sox are now the gold standard for baseball, and he also looks at the ARod situation.

Amalie Benjamin looks at Manny Delcarmen as a hometown champion, who realized a life-long dream this season. Rob Bradford has Josh Beckett in a comfort zone as the postseason ace and World Champion for the second time. Alex Speier looks at the unrelenting calls to the Red Sox to re-sign Mike Lowell. Jeff Goldberg has Jason Varitek putting himself in Lowell’s corner without putting down ARod.

Bradford’s notebook has Jason Varitek endorsing Mike Lowell. Cafardo’s notebook has the ball from the last out of the World Series missing.

Other

Eric Avidon has the Boston College Eagles fully focused on the task at hand this week. Steve Conroy notes that the Florida State receivers are going to be a big challenge for 5-9 BC cornerback DeJuan Tribble. Julian Benbow says that the BC wideouts are getting some attention of their own this week. Mark Blaudschun has the Eagles scrambling for a kicker this week.

Fluto Shinzawa has the Bruins waiting for Marc Savard to break out. Stephen Harris has Tim Thomas putting on a spectacular show in practice yesterday. Shinzawa’s notebook has Thomas ready for extended duty with the injury to Manny Fernandez.

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