Spike-tacular

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Spike-tacular

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (0-11) at NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (8-3)Gillette Stadium

The facts and figures for today's game:

KICKOFF: 1 p.m.

WEATHER: Partly cloudy, temperature in the low 50s. Winds out of the south southwest between 4-8 mph. Click here for NECN's complete weather forecast.

NETWORK TELEVISION COVERAGE: CBS

TV ANNOUNCERS: Marv Albert and Rich Gannon.

RADIO COVERAGE: 98.5 The Sports Hub, the flagship for the 37-station Patriots Radio Network.

RADIO ANNOUNCERS: Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti and Scott Zolak.

COMCAST SPORTSNET COVERAGE

CSNNE.com STAFF: Tom E. Curran, Mary Paoletti, Art Martone and Danny Picard.

CSN TELEVISION: Mike Giardi and Kevin Walsh.

SPORTS SUNDAY (7:30 P.M.): Michael Felger, Troy Brown and Ty Law in Burlington; Tom E. Curran, Mike Giardi and Ron Borges in Foxboro.

DAYS OF BUCKNER: The Colts are 0-11 for the first time since 1986, when they started 0-13 before winning the final three games of that season.

SMOOTH ROAD AHEAD: The Patriots overcame an early 10-0 deficit to defeat the Eagles, 38-20 last week, moving to 8-3 on the season. New England has the easiest remaining strength of schedule in the NFL (18-37, .327).

HOW MUCH YOU WANT TO BET THIS STREAK ENDS TODAY? Including the playoffs, each of the last six games between these clubs has been decided by seven points or less, with the Colts winning four of these six contests.

DAYS OF CHANGE: The Colts fired their defensive coordinator Larry Coyer and benched starting quarterback Curtis Painter on Tuesday. Coyer will be replaced by linebackers coach Mike Murphy, while Dan Orlovsky becomes Indianapolis' third starting QB this season. Like Painter, Orlovsky is 0-7 as a NFL starter -- his only career starts coming with the 2008 Detroit Lions, who finished that season 0-16.
ACCURATE AGAIN: Tom Brady had not thrown an interception in his last 166 pass attempts in the month of December. That is the longest active streak in the NFL.

EIGHT IS GREAT: Wes Welker has eight touchdown catches this season, tying his career high, which was set back in the 2007 season. Welker had two touchdown catches in last week's win over the Eagles, his third multi-TD game on the season.

Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

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Report: 3 owners unhappy with Kraft's amicus brief on behalf of Brady

Three NFL owners have expressed “extreme disappointment” in Robert Kraft and the Patriots filing an amicus brief on behalf of Tom Brady in the quarterback’s appeal of the Second Circuit Court’s reinstatement of his Deflategate suspension, according to Jason Cole of Bleacher Report. 

The Patriots filed the brief on Wednesday. 

The owners see the move as a publicity stunt done to appease Brady and the Patriots fans, Cole said, and they don’t believe Kraft did it any seriousness because the issue speaks to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s ability to punish players and undermines the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players.

If Kraft thought it mattered, he wouldn't have done it, Cole said one owner told him. 
 

Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks

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Collins, Hightower mum on contract talks

FOXBORO – A fleet of Patriots have expiring contracts after this season but Dont'a Hightower and Jamie Collins are the two most prominent on that list.

With the sport being the way it is – a nearly 100-percent casualty rate every season – it’s never comfortable for a player to enter a contract year without knowing his long-term future. And it’s especially uncomfortable for players whose first contracts are expiring because the second NFL contract is usually the bonanza.

Both Hightower and Collins can entertain thoughts of contracts worth more than $50M if good fortune sticks with them.

The question as it pertains to both of these players is whether they get contract extensions this summer or whether they go into the year with contract pressure bearing down and ultimately become free agents.

Neither player was very forthcoming after their OTA practice Thursday.

With Collins, that’s often the case. He’s never been expansive with media. It was very uncharacteristic for Hightower to be so clipped in his answers, though.

Every question posed to Hightower was met with a variation of, “I’m just trying to get better.”

Asked about his contract, Hightower replied, “I ain’t got nothing to do with none of that. I’m just out here trying to get better with my teammates.”

When it was pointed out that Hightower does indeed have say on his contract, he answered, “That might be. But there’s a time and place for everything and I’m just out here trying to get better.

“If I get better I feel like that’ll take care of everything else,” he added. “If I get better each and every day that’s all I can ask for.”

Asked whether he’s at all focused on his deal, Collins replied, “No, I come out here and I handle my business and I let the rest speak for itself … My first priority is me. So I’m gonna handle me."