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Behind Enemy Lines: New England Patriots

The New England Patriots have won nine straight regular season games.

They hope to extend that streak to ten Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.

In Week 1, Running back Steven Ridley ran for 125 yards and a touchdown in his first career start and New England’s young defense looked strong in a 34-13 beat down of the Tennessee Titans.

After a 20-16 win against the Seattle Seahawks, the Cardinals are 8-2 in the past 10 regular season games.The only team with a better record over that time is the Patriots (9-1).

Friday, September 14

Wilfork says Patriots run defense is a work in progress (WEEI)

Last Sunday, Vince Wilfork was the anchor of a defensive that shutdown one of the most explosive running backs in the game. Chris Johnson had just four yards on 11 carries. But, the Patriots defensive lineman says there is still room for improvement.

Patriots guard Connolly returns to practice (ESPN Boston)

The Patriots starting right guard returned to practice after being held out of Wednesday’s practice with a head injury.

Gronkowski ready for home opener (ESPN Boston)

The Patriots tight end is eager to put the Cardinals defense to the test in his teams home opener.

New England not taking Kolb lightly (NFL)

The Cardinals might not know who their starting quarterback will be this weekend against the New England Patriots. But to the Patriots, it doesn’t much who’s under center.

Patriots look to stop Patrick Peterson (Boston Herald)

When a team like the Patriots is perceived as a heavy favorite against a team like the Cardinals, who visit Gillette Stadium on Sunday, it’s crucial to make sure they don’t give away any free, momentum-turning points.

That’s where Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson comes in.

Thursday, September 13

Interior of O-line a focus in locker room? (ESPN Boston)

The Patriots’ offensive line paved the way for a 162-yard season-opening rushing performance on Sunday, but may be without starting right guard Dan Connolly in Week 2, as he was held out of Wednesday’s practice with a head injury.

Stevan Ridley ready for more (Boston Herald)

Stevan Ridley was fully immersed into the life of a 100-yard running back this week. The second-year Patriot broke out for 125 rushing yards and one touchdown Sunday against the Titans, yielding a mighty high after the game, which was attended by a number of friends and family.

Aaron Hernandez: The Patriots’ Flexible Flyer (

They’ve picked up where they left off.

It’s only taken one game of the 2012 regular season, but it’s clear Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski aren’t ready to give up their title as the NFL’s best tight end duo. In the opener Sunday against the Titans, they were targeted a combined 13 times (almost half of quarterback Tom Brady’s 31 pass attempts) and each came away with six catches and a touchdown.

IN FOCUS: Patriots 3rd Down Defense Through Week 1 (

Coming into last Sunday’s win over the Titans we touched on how the Patriots’ defense struggled on 3rd down with their pass defense last season, and taking a closer look they started off strong with a solid performance in Week 1.

Wednesday, September 12

What’s up with Wes Welker? (Boston Herald)

One game doesn’t tell the story about Wes Welker. His three catches in Sunday’s 34-13 win shouldn’t set the bar. Nor should his reduction in playing time against the Titans necessarily set the tone for what lies ahead for this season.

Stevan Ridley off and running (ESPN Boston)

Have the New England Patriots finally found their big-play threat at running back?

Arizona Cardinals sport Steely look (Boston Herald)

While it would seem like the Patriots [team stats] won’t have much familiarity with the Arizona Cardinals, who they play Sunday in the home opener at Gillette Stadium, they actually might have more than you’d think.

Cardinals Key Matchups (

The New England Patriots return to Foxboro after an excellent Week 1 road win in Tennessee to face the Arizona Cardinals in their home opener in Gillette Stadium. The Cardinals at home last week, won a big game over rival Seattle and travel east where they’ve struggled in early games.

Tuesday, September 11

Tom Brady’s nose gets treatment (Boston Herald)

“He’s such a good-looking guy,” receiver Wes Welker said. “Obviously, he gets banged up, and he’s probably the toughest metrosexual I’ve ever come across.”

Belichick lauds Cards’ WR Fitzgerald (ESPN Boston)

“He does everything well. Great, great receiver. He’ll go down as one of the all-time greats, and might end up being the best one ever, I don’t know,” Belichick said. “Size, quickness, ability to separate and get open, exceptional hands. He’s good short, deep, with the ball in his hands, after the catch, strong, very smart, sets up his routes well. They move him around, they put him in a lot of different spots, it’s hard to even find him, you have no idea where he’s going to line up from play-to-play, and he has a very big route tree.”

Lloyd offers scouting report on Cardinals (ESPN Boston)

Veteran receiver Brandon Lloyd, who has recent experience playing against the Cardinals, offered an introductory scouting report on Arizona in a chat with reporters on Monday afternoon.

Monday, September 10

For New England Patriots defense, it’s a new day (

With two new rookie playmakers on defense, linebacker Dont’a Hightower and defensive end Chandler Jones, the Patriots defense appears to have improved. The blend of new young talent with veterans like defensive tackle Vince Wilfork might finally provide the New England defense some stability.

Ridley: “Better than I envisioned” (

Not even Ridley expected himself to have such an excellent start to the 2012.

Ridley’s 21 carries and 125 yards rushing were both career highs for the second year running back, and his touchdown was just the second of his career.

Patriots Vs. Titans: Is New England Trying to Phase Out Wes Welker” (

Over the past five seasons, Wes Welker has averaged 110.8 receptions and 1,221 yards per season. But Week 1 against the Titans, Welker had just three catches for 14 yards and was only targeted five times.

Welker has being looking for a big contract extension but was given the franchise tag this off-season instead.

With a 21-3 lead at halftime, the Patriots could have been trying to protect Welker. However, it also could be a sign that New England is prepared to let Welker walk at the end of the season.

Cardinals Interviews and Podcasts