Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Gillette Stadium. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — Tis the season for giving.

Since starting 2-2, the Patriots have given their fans lots to cheer about, winning eight of nine and shooting to the top of the AFC once again. With a win on Sunday, the Patriots will give their fans something else: a sixth straight AFC East title.

Now, the Patriots are asking for fans to return the favor to help out the needy kids throughout the region they represent.

Prior to Sunday’s game against the Dolphins at Gillette Stadium, the team will be counting on arriving fans to support another important drive, the annual Holiday Toy Drive, benefitting New England children in need this holiday season.

Fans are encouraged to bring new and unwrapped toy donations to the collection bins outside the entry gates at Gillette Stadium or to the Patriots ProShop prior to the game. All who donate will receive a $5 voucher to the Patriots ProShop. All toys donated by fans will be delivered by Patriots players at upcoming holiday events. Toys will serve children ranging from newborn to 18 years old.

A few suggested items to donate are listed below:
· Action figures
· Art supplies including markers, washable paints, colored pencils and drawing pads
· Board games
· Books
· Building toys (blocks, etc.)
· Dolls
· Educational toys (science, math, reading)
· Footballs, soccer balls and assorted sporting goods
· Jewelry kits
· Musical toys
· School supplies
· Stuffed animals
· Toy cars and trucks
· Winter clothing ‘€“ gloves, hats, jackets and mittens

The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’€™s Celebrate Volunteerism campaign encourages fans to personally go out into the community and make a difference by pledging volunteer hours. For more information about the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, including resources and information about volunteering, the ‘€œPatriots Difference Maker’€ award and to join the Celebrate Volunteerism movement by pledging volunteer hours, visit www.patriots.com/community.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley will miss his third game of the season Sunday after being ruled out on Friday’s injury report released by the team. Easley has been dealing with a nagging knee injury.

Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

FOXBORO — Rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley will miss his third game of the season Sunday after being ruled out on Friday’s injury report released by the team. Easley has been dealing with a nagging knee injury.

Rob Ninkovich (heel) continues to headline the limited players, as this is the first time he’s appeared on the injury report this season. Chandler Jones (hip) and Dont’a Hightower (shoulder), who both missed Sunday’s game, were limited. Offensive lineman Cameron Fleming (ankle), who has missed the last three games, was also limited. Julian Edelman (thigh) was again limited, as has been the case in recent weeks.

Edelman, Ninkovich, Chandler Jones and Dont’a Hightower are among those listed officially as questionable. Hightower missed last Sunday’s game with a shoulder injury while Jones has missed the last six with a hip issue.

The Patriots did get some good news as Danny Aiken, who suffered a concussion against the Lions on Nov. 23, was removed from the injury report altogether and is expected to play Sunday.

Here is Friday’s complete practice report:

Did not practice

DL Dominique Easley (knee) OUT

Limited participation

OL Dan Connolly (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
WR Julian Edelman (thigh) QUESTIONABLE
OL Cameron Fleming (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
LB Dont’a Hightower (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
DE Chandler Jones (hip) QUESTIONABLE
WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) QUESTIONABLE
DE Rob Ninkovich (heel) QUESTIONABLE
RB Shane Vereen (ankle) QUESTIONABLE
LB Chris White (ankle) QUESTIONABLE

Full participation

QB Tom Brady (ankle) PROBABLE

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Patriots Safety Devin McCourty previews the upcoming game against the Dolphins.

[0:00:08] ... are in route. In what you hope insurers to be yet another AFC east divisional championship your big story but the Jon Lester story has been the story in Boston over the last 72 hours. As ...
[0:00:42] ... non guaranteed contract or football. Hey Devin you guys playing the in Miami Dolphins this Sunday means opportunity for another AFC east titles were talking about before Christian and I at the outset of the program were wondering. About division titles in the grand scheme of what you guys are shooting for when it comes to a Super Bowl at this point is it's still something special for your team particularly the veterans who've been around for a long time now been to Super Bowls won Super Bowls or does it seem like small potatoes by comparison. Not going to retain. Or the NFL Carolina with a certain goals not the winner deserves. So well you know the automobile market and Andre. While home you know that got to give us the division title won't bring you learn as a process in this really you gotta do that you have control which controller. You know we're almost one of 100 there's an article that the debt under. How desperate is this Miami Dolphins team right I mean there are sit with a decent record but it if they loser basically. Out of AFC east contention Polly Walker wild card spot. I think there on reaching about an event like at all here or you don't motorcade ...
[0:05:11] ... want to point out there's this really big a cover story and Tom Brady and Sports Illustrated in in the piece Christian is quoted. Yes one quote after a two. Our interview with the guy who ...





Schefter joins the show to talk about the Patriots, Rodger Goodell, and the rest of the NFL.

[0:02:10] ... the latest on this and you know how does this thing end. President Obama was our history and the patient. That does apple really try to cheat on beautiful spot got chrome on domestic ball in ...
[0:03:05] ... in the AT&T hotline and a more action play that bite from President Obama. A little bit we were down speaking with you here and I wanna get back on the field because I want to ...
[0:05:21] ... to be tough assignment to bill that they can beat dunk situation Baltimore Ravens do it. Like it can get up beside somebody come in there in January beat patriots team that seemed to be improved. By solar isn't a lot of eyes on this site Cleveland Cincinnati game rate and if I feel like there's two different sides to people who were watching this document they'll situation there's a people religious Adelman wanted to bail. And and the other ones who just who can't wait for him to do the whole money side like when you're walking the halls over there at Bristol mean if you find. To be the case. Heart. Attack. In the early surveyed people who can and sold shut him and I did did you see universal. Intrigued about everything warm ...
[0:08:35] ... bill before. In that last question for me just look at the New York Jets everybody up here. And patron lands always try to figure out how the jets can state terrible for the longest possible. Looks ...






ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB and talked about the Patriots’ prospects in the AFC as they head into the home stretch of the regular season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Adam Schefter

Adam Schefter

ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB and talked about the Patriots’ prospects in the AFC as they head into the home stretch of the regular season. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.

Schefter said it clear the Patriots are “the favorites in the AFC, for whatever’s that worth.”

“I think this team is rounding into form,” Schefter said. “It’s getting better. It’s adding parts like Akeem Ayers and Jonathan Casillas and Alan Branch and LeGarrette Blount — guys that were essentially on the scrap heap that they’re pulling off, utilizing, making them shine in roles they did not have with other teams. it has enabled this team to get better. Chandler Jones come back at some point here, they should obviously benefit tremendously from that. I certainly would not pick them to lose a game from this point on.

“They’ve lost two straight games to the Miami Dolphins. Does anybody think that the Miami Dolphins are going to beat New England for a third straight time in Foxboro on Sunday? I don’t. I don’t. And so if this team just continues to take care of its business and do what it’s been doing, I don’t mean to sound like a coach, but good things will happen.”

Added Schefter: “Good luck to the team that has to come into New England and try win there in January when the winds are whipping and the fans are yelling and temperatures are dipping. That’s going to be a tough assignment to do — not that it can’t be done, because we’ve seen the Baltimore Ravens do it — but it’s going to be a tough assignment for somebody to come in there in January and beat a Patriot team that seems to be improving.”

Offensive lineman Marcus Cannon agreed to a reported two-year, $9 million extension Thursday. This raised some eyebrows because of how it might affect the team’s other linemen.

“It gives New England options,” Schefter said. “You’ve got a situation where Nate Solder‘s deal’s coming up, [Sebastian] Vollmer‘s in a situation. Interestingly enough, Vollmer and Solder have the same agent as Wes Welker and as Shane Vereen. I could be wrong here, but I don’t know if they’ve had any negotiations of any players and any deals since the Wes Welker experience. So these would be the first.

“Now, obviously you’d have to think both sides are going to be smart enough to put previous differences behind them and move forward and do what’s best for both. … But there is a history there. And it will be interesting to see if that history plays into these deals at all and impacts the negotiations on the clients that these two sides have dealt with before.”

Looking at the situation in New York with the Jets, Schefter said he expects owner Woody Johnson to clean house after the season, firing coach Rex Ryan and general manager John Idzik.

“I don’t think that they’re related in any way,” Schefter said. “I don’t think Rex Ryan will be back in New York, I don’t think John Idzik will be back in New York. I think both will be released at the end of the season and I think the Jets will chart a new course and a new direction. That’s the direction it certainly sounds like the franchise is heading. They’ve got to make decisions and make things official, but based on everything I’ve heard, I would be surprised if either guy was back.”

For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots. For more from Schefter, including his thoughts on Rob Gronkowski‘s kitten photos, Johnny Manziel and the Ray Rice situation, listen to the interview at the MFB audio on demand page.

Blog Author: 
Jerry Spar

FOXBORO — In a sign that he could miss Sunday’s game, rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley missed his third practice of the week Friday with a lingering knee injury. Easley has played through the knee issue for most of the season, serving as a backup in each of the last two games. Easley has missed just two of New England’s 13 games this season.

Dominique Easley

Dominique Easley

FOXBORO — In a sign that he could miss Sunday’s game, rookie defensive lineman Dominique Easley missed his third practice of the week Friday with a lingering knee injury. Easley has played through the knee issue for most of the season, serving as a backup in each of the last two games. Easley has missed just two of New England’s 13 games this season.

He is the only player to miss the entire week as the Patriots prepare to host the Dolphins Sunday at Gillette Stadium.

Also missing was practice squad defensive lineman Joe Vellano.

The team worked out in sweats and shells in the brisk conditions, with a wind out of the north making it feel much colder than the temperature in the upper 30s. The only player wearing shorts in the biting cold was defensive lineman Chris Jones.

The team will conduct a walkthrough on Saturday before taking on the Miami Dolphins Sunday. The Patriots will clinch their sixth straight AFC East title with a win.

For more Patriots news, check out weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

A judge in the Aaron Hernandez case ruled Friday that text messages sent by the victim on the night of his murder are inadmissible and will not be seen by a jury.