Can Patriots secondary stop Peyton Manning?

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Can Patriots secondary stop Peyton Manning?

Michael Felger and Tony Massarotti are looking ahead to the this Sunday, when Peyton Manning returns to Foxboro, this time as a Denver Bronco.

Despite the victory in Buffalo on Sunday, the Patriots secondary still had some problems. They allowed 350 yards passing against Ryan Fitzpatrick after being torched for more than 400 against the Ravens' Joe Flacco the week before.

How does Massarotti feel about them defending Manning, who joins the Broncos after years of celebrated duels with the Bill Belichick-coached Patriots when Manning was the face of the Indianapolis Colts franchise.

"Not great," said Massarotti. "Manning is 5-2 in his last seven games against Bill Belichinck defenses, but he has throw five picks in the past two games."

Perhaps, though, Belichick should challenge Manning to throw the ball downfield, Massarotti said.

"I don't think he can throw downfield the way he used to," Massarotti said, noting that Manning, returning after missing a year following neck surgery, hasn't looked good in Denver's losses the Steelers and Broncos.

Said Felger: "I still think he's a good quarterback. He's an elite quarterback. When's the last time the Patriots beat an elite quarterback?"

Felger answered his own question by saying it was last season when the Pats beat Phillip Rivers and the Chargers.

Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

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Francona, Epstein receive grand ovations at BBWAA dinner

BOSTON -- “I didn’t feel that love after I made a pitching change in the sixth inning,” Terry Francona said after a 45-second standing ovation from Boston fans upon receiving the MLB Manager of the Year award from the BBWAA Thursday.

It’s without question the love for Francona runs deep in the city. Why wouldn’t it? He was the leader in breaking the 86-year old curse, and wound up winning another World Series title for Boston three years later.

Actually, he was more of a co-leader, working alongside the same person who won the MLB Executive of the Year honors from the BBWAA for 2016.

Theo Epstein -- who received an ovation 17 seconds shorter than Francona, but who’s counting -- reminisced about the Red Sox ownership group that took a chance on a young kid who wasn’t necessarily the ideal candidate to take over as GM of a team, but now that’s helped him build the Chicago Cubs into a winning franchise and establish a great working environment.

This October marks 13 years since the ’04 championship, 10 years since ’07 and six years since the pair left Boston. Without question they’ve left their mark on the city and forever changed Red Sox baseball.

And while the fans showed their undying gratitude for Francona with an ovation almost as long as his acceptance speech, the Indians manager recognized the favor the current Red Sox brass has done for him.

“I’d like to thank Dave Dombrowski and the Red Sox for getting Chris Sale the hell out of the Central Division,” Francona said.