National perspective on Patriots

January, 11, 2013
1/11/13
5:00
AM ET
A few Patriots-based links from around the Web that caught the eye:

1. Brady & Belichick respect the moment. In contrast to some of the buzz generated by a Boston-based columnist this week, Yahoo! Sports columnist Dan Wetzel looks closer at how the Patriots are approaching this week. "There isn't just respect for the opponent coming out of Foxborough, there is respect for the moment, the precious moment when another year's worth of work is again on the brink," he writes.

2. Ridley & running game the difference for Patriots. Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated writes on how a new-look running game has the Patriots looking more like the 2004 version than the clubs of recent years. "This year's Patriots ran the ball 523 times, more than they had in any season since '04 and more than any other team in the league save the Seahawks, and they again ranked seventh in rushing offense," he notes. "... They did it, more than anything, thanks to Stevan Ridley."

3. Rematches not always kind to Patriots. In highlighting some of the top storylines in the NFL's divisional-round playoff games, Don Banks of SI.com points out this statistic: "In the Belichick era, the Patriots are 8-0 in the playoffs against teams they didn't face in the regular season that year. Against teams they did face (like Houston), they're just 8-6, and just 3-6 from 2005 on. Baltimore (2009), the Jets (2010) and the Giants (2007) are teams that have recently beaten New England in the playoffs after losing to them in the regular season."

4. Video -- King talks Patriots-Texans. In a video posted on SI.com, Peter King touches on the "very difficult task" facing the Texans. King highlights running back Arian Foster as the key.

5. Double coverage on matchup. ESPN.com AFC East reporter James Walker and ESPN.com AFC South reporter Paul Kuharsky go back and forth on some of the big issues.

6. Insider -- how the teams match up. Gary Horton of Scouts Inc. gets deep into the matchup and notes the areas in which each team has the advantage (Insider content).

7. Five storylines on rematch. Nate Davis of USA Today highlights five top storylines in the matchup, while calling Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib an "X-Factor."

8. Clean sweep for Patriots. All of CBSSports.com's "experts" pick the Patriots to beat the Texans. Ditto for NFL Network.

9. Bring on Brady vs. Manning. Clark Judge, the senior NFL writer for CBSSports.com, says the best-case scenario for the NFL is a Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning matchup in the AFC Championship Game.

10. Patriots' defense could cost them. In ranking the defenses of the eight remaining playoff teams, Gil Brandt of NFL.com puts the Patriots seventh.

Mike Reiss

ESPN New England Patriots reporter

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