by Scott Benson

Maybe I’ll go to a renaissance fair.

Maybe I’ll take the kids to an apple orchard, or a corn maze. Quality time with a capital Q!

Maybe I’ll really focus on getting some yard work done. Some raking, some winterizing, some fresh air.

I’m just trying to figure out what I’m going to do with my Patriots-less Sunday.

Maybe we’ll go to a flea market and look for priceless antiques.

Maybe we’ll stroll to the library, and comb the racks for undiscovered treasures.

Maybe we’ll volunteer for something, somewhere. A bottle drive, a church yard sale, anything where I can feel like I’m GIVING SOMETHING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY. Because that’s important stuff, this GIVING SOMETHING BACK. Everybody says so. So I want a piece of that action. I don’t care who I have to step on to get it, either.

Maybe I’ll just take in a playoff baseball game. You know, to reconnect to our National Pastime. I’ll watch the game, and it will be as if I had dipped myself in magic waters. The memories will be so thick I’ll have to brush them from my face. It will remind me of all that once was good, and could be again. For its money I have, and peace I lack…….

Just kidding. Also gagging.

Maybe we’ll head to the park for a picnic. We’ll take a bottle of wine, an FM radio (for NPR, of course), tie bandannas on the dogs, the whole nine yards……

Nine yards? Hmmm. Screw it. I’m going to watch the Dolphins and the Jets. Who the hell am I kidding?

Chad Jackson has been taking some guff lately for his minimal contributions to date. The theories range from soft in the hamstring to soft in the head. Is this criticism fair?

Greg: Not really. The guy is a rookie who has had a lingering injury. And he still managed to contribute to at least one win. Its five games in and rumors are running rampant amongst the irresponsible press. Figures. He’ll have a big game some week and they’ll probably shut up for a few weeks with their unprofessional innuendo and uneducated guesses.

Bruce: I think Patriots fans are a bit frustrated at not being able to see more out of this kid. We’ve heard a lot about his talent, but haven’t been able to see it on a consistent basis. It’s hard to tell if the criticism is fair or not…no one seems to know the extent of his injury and the rumors about his preparation and maturity are often vague, without any hard examples. I’m going say that the media is being unfair, because that’s what they do. Their track record speaks for itself, unlike young Mr Jackson’s.

Scott: David Givens took the money and ran to Tennessee, and Deion Branch forced a trade to Seattle. In five whole weeks, Jackson hasn’t made us completely forget about either of them, much less both of them, which, as a second-round pick, he has the obligation to do. And frankly, based on the things we’re hearing, Jackson doesn’t seem to be our kind of people anyway. So he’s got to pay, plain and simple.

The Patriots released Johnathan Sullivan and Hank Poteat this week, and signed veteran receiver Jabar Gaffney. This leaves the team with one vacant roster spot. It seems likely that it will be filled by Patrick Pass, who is eligible and apparently ready to return from the PUP list. What can Pass bring to the Patriots that they don’t already have?

Bruce: His versatility is a trait that is always welcome on a Bill Belichick coached team. He gives Tom Brady another guy to dump the ball off to in a pinch, or to hand off to on a draw play. I suspect that special teams is where he’s going to impact the most for the Patriots and add some depth to that unit.

Greg: Pass is a versatile back that has contributed a lot to three Super Bowl winners. He is good at special teams, he can block. He can catch. He can fill in at halfback in a pinch. It’s funny a stray comment by Charlie Weis about him in a book defines some people’s perception of him. It’s probably the type of thing Weis said all the time, knowing what I know about him and the general nature of football coaches. Yet ridiculously short-sighted fans hear one thing because its one comment out of a million they happen to know about and think they have some inside information. It’s pathetic. The bottom line is the Patriots have kept him around for a long time because he is valuable and has contributed a lot. I assume they think he can continue to do so.

Scott: I have no idea what the plan is, but I say Patrick Pass is a better kickoff returner than anybody the Patriots have now, and he should be back there next weekend. At least Pass runs it straight ahead with authority. They haven’t had that.

Any thoughts on Gaffney?

Greg: He’s average. He can probably help a bit. Not overly fast, but decent hands and size. I think he’ll certainly be an upgrade over Jonathan Smith and can actually get on the field and play solidly. But I wouldn’t expect miracles.

Bruce: I haven’t seen a whole lot of the guy, but I think he’ll be a good addition. Last year David Carr spent most of his time on the field on his back, yet he still managed to complete 55 passes to Gaffney over the course of the season. I think a receiving unit of Gabriel, Jackson, Gaffney, Caldwell and Brown is solid, if unspectacular. I’m ok with that group.

Scott: I figure they have room for a guy that’s averaged 40 catches a season since 2002. It’s not like they have already have too many. He’s probably an average player, but at this point, kids, that’s an upgrade.

Back to the Big Board of Predictions for another week. In Week Five, Bruce ‘The Greek’ Allen went 6-0, running his overall record to 24-6. Honestly, we’re already sick of him. Greg Doyle had a big week too, also going 6-0, and he’s finally eclipsed the .500 mark for the first time this season (17-13). I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I was 3-3 again, picking the Jets to beat Jacksonville (near miss), the Steelers to beat San Diego, and the Cowboys to beat the Eagles. That’s right, I bet on Drew Bledsoe. No wonder I’m 18-12, six games out of first and sinking like a stone. This week, let’s try Miami at the Jets, Carolina at Baltimore, Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, Kansas City at Pittsburgh, and Oakland at Denver.

Greg: I have to go with Miami, though they are bad. Their defense should lead them to a close victory. I’ll also go with Baltimore, the Bengals, Pittsburgh to get untracked and Denver to beat up the hapless Raiders. Not many great games this week.

Scott: I’m going to take the Jets. I had pretty good luck with them last week. Let’s see how Joey does when the other team has a week to prepare for him and only him. Will Steve McNair turn it around against the Panthers defense? I’ll take Carolina, even on the road. I’ll take the Bengals over Tampa, the most written about 0-4 team in history, thanks to Peter King. I’m going to take the Steelers and of course the Broncos.

Bruce: I’m just thankful we’re not picking spreads here. I’d be lost. The Jets/Dolphins game is the toughest of the week to pick. I’m going to take the Dolphins, thinking that Harrington is better than Culpepper at this point and the defense is pretty solid. I’m going to take the Ravens at home, the Bengals on the road, the Steelers at home and the Broncos.

I’m sure they’re not paying attention, so let’s get a good shot in at the Mediot of the Week.

Bruce: You know, maybe it’s the bye week or something, but I don’t recall too many stupid, idiotic things being written or said this week that I recall. Of course it is entirely possible that I’m just becoming numb to all of it. The stupidest thing I read all week didn’t come from a media person, but from a “fan” of the team who sent the following letter to Patriots Football Weekly:

I asked the Sports Guy from ESPN the same question. I’m a diehard Patriots fan, but at this point, some of my loyalties lie to our former players (Law, Vinatieri, Bledsoe, McGinest, etc.) Now lets say the Colts are trailing the Patriots by two, and Vinatieri is about to kick the game-winning field goal. I would without question want Vinatieri to nail the kick, and send our beloved Patriots home losers. Am I wrong? Can you give me some thoughts on the matter? Thanks, you guys are awesome.

I withheld the guy’s name for his own safety. Doesn’t what he just wrote go against the very definition of “diehard Patriots fan” which he claims to be? I just don’t get some people. It’s one thing to want former players to do well. It’s another to want them to come back and beat your team.

Greg: Tomase for repeating the idiotic Patriots Football Weekly Inside Track level stuff about Chad Jackson being “immature” at a Patriots function. This is something I have yet to hear one media member describe in coherent fashion or in any manner that resembles the slightest facsimile of responsible journalism.

Scott: My mediot of the week is anybody who’s taking about Randy Moss coming to the Patriots, whether they’re media or not.