The Hype Builds

TheInsiders look at the building hype around the upcoming game against the Cowboys...

The week, with all its hype surrounding the anticipated meeting between Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick, is underway. The Patriots will do all they can this week to avoid the distraction created by the media furor and instead use the extra time created by the bye week to get ready for a battle of first place 7-2 teams.

"It's a challenge," linebacker Tedy Bruschi said. "Not many teams have seven wins so you know the Cowboys are a good team. But it's a challenge because it's the next team. We have plenty of time to get ready. It's Monday and we're here so you'd think we'll be prepared."

Belichick worked his team out just once last week following its Monday night win in Denver that extended its winning streak to five games before rewarding it with four days off.

The team reconvened this Monday and will work straight through the week as it looks to clean up some of its problems over the first nine games while also spending some extra time readying for a Cowboys team that has won seven of its last eight just as the Patriots have.

"We've worked on self-scouting and analyzed what we haven't done as well as some things we've been OK with," Belichick said. "There are a couple things we need to work on that will carry over to Dallas so we'll work on those things (Monday).

"They're impressive," he continued. "They certainly deserve to be 7-2. Bill (Parcells) has them playing error-free football and they're fast; they blitz a lot, they have big-hitting safeties and they can cover you. They don't have a lot of bad plays."

The way these two 7-2 teams match up, the team with the fewest bad plays might be the team that comes out on top.

ROOM TO OPERATE: The Patriots have only 51 players on the roster and while coach Bill Belichick said the team has had some players in for workouts, he didn't anticipate signing any of them nor did he discuss who they were. With David Patten on injured reserve, an intriguing prospect is former Dolphins receiver Oronde Gadsden, but he has not been in and any move to sign him appears unlikely. The Patriots have cap room to sign a player if one comes along since they are about $3 million under.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "No. But I wouldn't have been surprised if he stayed out of coaching. It really doesn't matter to me. I'm not keeping tabs on him." -- Linebacker Tedy Bruschi on if he was surprised to see Bill Parcells get back into coaching.

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