by Scott Benson
In the NFL, you never know, because shit happens.
Not too long ago, today’s game with the St. Louis Rams was considered a sure win for Tom Brady and the defending AFC champs. After all, the Rams lost almost as many games as New England won in 2007, and the jury remained out on whether Scott Linehan could ever reverse the slide that first began when favored St. Louis was upended in Super Bowl XXXVI.
Um, so much for that.
Now, it’s a big game for both teams, and it will be imperative that the Patriots continue their vigorous play from last Monday night. They’ll never make the playoffs if they’re up one week and down the next, as they’ve been over the last month.
As David Puddy likes to say, though – it’s gonna’ be rough. The Rams are streaking after firing Linehan, promoting Jim Haslett, and beating the Redskins and Cowboys in consecutive weeks. Talk about shit happening.
There is one thing you can count on in this rapidly changing world – the Sunday Links.
In Gasper’s Pats notebook, Brandon Meriweather is ready to stand in for the missing Rodney Harrison.
In his weekly scouting report, Jim McBride has the Pats in a tight one.
Kerry Collins has gotten a new lease on life in Tennessee, and Mike Reiss catches up with the undefeated Titan quarterback in his weekly Football Notes. Look at the ‘Performances You Can Count On’ section. Guess which quarterback leads the AFC in third down passer rating?
In the Herald, John Tomase says the Patriots can’t take anything for granted today. Tomase adds five things for us to watch for.
Karen Guregian says the Pats ground game is the key against the Rams, ranked 30th in the league against the run.
Ron Borges has Richard Seymour drawing inspiration from new Hall of Famer Andre Tippett. Seymour’s talking to the right guy if he wants to get to Canton, evidently.
Speaking of Canton, Tomase polls voters on whether Rodney Harrison could one day be enshrined there.
This week, Jim Donaldson said to himself, “the Rams? The St. Louis Rams? Then I’ve got an idea for a column!” Oh, it’s a romp through the history books all right. Yeah, he even goes there – the Jackson’s Victory tour.
SMY closes out with an Up Close with Antwain Spann, who got a promotion this week.
I don’t know whether there’s a clogged Internet pipe somewhere in Attleboro, but the Sun Chronicle’s Pats page is frozen on the San Diego loss. Hey, try to keep up, Men of Farinella. Everything’s cool now, didn’t you hear? Bunch of quitters.
In the MetroWest, Andy Vogt says the Pats offense has taken some hits this season, but they may be getting back on track anyway. In Worcester, Rich Garven says the Pats, like Brett Favre, are just havin’ fun out there.
On the South Coast, David Brown says two of the quietest Pats, Meriweather and James Sanders, will try to fill the void left by the chirpy Harrison. Tim Weisberg notes that both the Pats and Rams are working through backfield injuries that could leave them both without their leading runners today.
In Brockton, Glen Farley has the Great Gil Santos reminiscing about 36, a game call that will always hold a special place in his heart. Mine too. Will Gil ever have the chance to say “the Patriots……are Super Bowl champions!” again?
Up in the Granite State, Brian MacPherson likes the Pats by ten in his weekly scouting report.
Hey, I hope you’re remembering to check in regularly with our pal Eric McHugh’s new Pats blog. The Ledger beat guy is staying on top of it and updating frequently, including a post from yesterday that has the NFL voiding the clause in Jim Haslett’s contract that would have guaranteed him the head job next year if he leads the Rams to six or more wins in 2008.