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Five questions with Patriots correspondent Ian Rapoport

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Posted Nov. 24, 2010 @ 1:18 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Each week throughout the season we'll ask our Patriots correspondent and Boston Herald writer Ian Rapoport five questions about the Pats. This week, he explained how the Patriots' secondary confused Colts QB Peyton Manning and how Dan Connolly has filled in for ORG Stephen Neal the past two games.

1. What was secondary doing to confuse Peyton Manning last week, allowing them to get three picks?

Rapoport: What they were doing better than what I've seen is disguise at the line. It's a rare thing to see Peyton Manning not know what he was doing, to see him fooled. For instance, on (Devin) McCourty's interception, the corners showed at the line they are going to be pressing. Manning thinks cover-2 with two deep safeties — very simple. He throws it like it's going to be cover-2, (Pierre) Garcon correctly reads it that it's going to be quarters defense and runs a comeback. Manning threw it like he was going to go, he misread it because of the disguise at the line.

2. How has Dan Connolly looked playing for injured veteran ORG Stephen Neal?

Rapoport: I think he's looked good, it's almost like they haven't missed Stephen Neal at all. Connolly impressed when he filled in for (OLG Logan) Mankins. Neal is injured and it didn't seem to be major at the time, but it sounds like this team is absolutely fine with Connolly in there. They signed him to keep him around for a while and this is great for the future.

3. How do the players feel about playing on Thanksgiving?

Rapoport: They appreciate the tradition. They grew up playing and watching Thanksgiving games, watching Barry Sanders on TV like everyone else. They have had a bunch of showcase games this season but will reach more people than usual watching this week. Matt Light called it an honor. It's difficult preparation-wise, but they have confidence in knowing the Lions have to do it, too, unlike the Browns who had an extra week.

4. How has Tom Brady been able to improve the last two games after struggling following the Randy Moss trade?

Rapoport: Karen (Guregian) talked to Brady's guru and mechanic after the Browns game. He was very serious saying that Brady was struggling with fundamentals and mechanics. I wouldn't be surprised if they talked and the past couple games he's been absolutely on point and as sound as ever.

5. What's your prediction for Thursday's game vs. the Lions?

Rapoport: It will be a little rag-tag on both sides with the lack of preparation, but I think the Patriots will win. Patriots 27, Lions 17

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