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Patriots star linebacker Jamie Collins has missed the past two games with an undisclosed illness. The illness could also keep Collins out of this Monday night’s game against Buffalo.

Although there have been reports that Collins is over the illness, he has not practiced this week. It has also been reported that the illness prevented Collins from eating and caused him to lose weight. It would make sense for the Patriots to wait until Collins is back to his pre-injury strength before sending him back out on the field.

The Patriots have been using a mix of players including Jonathan Freeny in place of Collins. Freeny has not made any major mistakes but his talent is nowhere near that of Collins and the absence of Collins has made things more difficult for the Patriots. The Giants attacked Freeny on several occasions and showed a vulnerability that the Patriots had. It did not kill them in that game, but going forward the Bills (and possibly Broncos) will try to attack that part of the field is Collins isn’t back.

At this point, all the Patriots can do is hope Collins comes back soon. He is over the illness and working his way back to playing shape. It doesn’t look like he will be back for Monday night, but the following Sunday night in Denver looks like a reasonable target.

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1. Edelman vs. Brady in College:

Edelman….4,997 yards passing / 30 TD / 2,483 yards rushing

Brady………4,773 yards passing / 30 TD / NEGATIVE 150 yards rushing

2. Best local team player of all time:

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Bobby Orr
  3. Ted Williams
  4. Bill Russell
  5. Larry Bird
  6. Pedro
  7. Phil Esposito
  8. John Hannah
  9. David Ortiz
  10. Cam Neely

Honorable Mention – Gary Doak Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Another Sunday With No Patriots – UGH »

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Doug Flutie confirmed Thursday, as reported by Chad Finn of the Boston Globe, that he will serve as color commentator for the Boston College vs. Notre Dame game to take place at Fenway Park on Saturday.

Continue reading Doug Flutie Commits to Broadcast Shamrock Series »

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Isaiah Thomas had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds, but fumbled the ball much like the Celtics fumbled an early 18-point lead to the Dallas Mavericks. (USA Today)

Do you remember those Kevin Garnett commercials after the Boston Celtics won the NBA title in Year One of the Big Three era? “It’s all about eighteen.”

The 2015-16 Celtics may not be quite ready to contend for the franchise’s 18th championship, but Wednesday’s loss was all about the number 18: the first quarter lead the Celtics held over the Dallas Mavericks before blowing it all in a 106-102 loss at home in the TD Garden.

A blown early lead isn’t particularly shocking in the NBA, as the tide almost always turns. (The Celtics could hardly be over .500 otherwise.) But what was frustrating was that the 31-13 advantage was just one of many sizable leads the Celtics held throughout the night. They led by 15 after one, 9 at halftime, 8 after three quarters, and another double digit lead early in the fourth. With less than eight minutes to play, Brad Stevens’s squad was still holding on to a seven point lead.

But alas, all good things must come to an end, and the Mavericks went on a run to take their first lead of the game (!) with 4:31 remaining. Behind Dirk Nowitzki’s ageless (and game high) 23 points, and Deron Williams’s improbable resurgence after escaping Brooklyn Nets purgatory, the Mavs surged ahead to a seven point lead of their own late in the game, and it seemed that the tide had irrevocably turned, with no winds to fill the Celtics’ sails.

But these overachieving Celtics, as Stevens has always had them do, scrapped their way back into the game by forcing some timely turnovers, making some big shots, and getting some help from Raymond Felton at the charity stripe. That left the Celtics with the ball in Isaiah Thomas’s hands, trailing by two with the clock winding down. The script was on schedule.

But Thomas lost his handle as he tried to drive into the lane, the Mavs’ Williams upped his streak of consecutive free throws to 30 to start the season, and Mark Cuban got some measure of revenge for the ill fated Rajon Rondo trade last year by celebrating a Mavericks win on he parquet floor.

Not only did the loss drop the Celtics to 6-5, it represented a missed opportunity to capitalize on a doubly meaningful win. No, it wouldn’t have counted twice in the win column, but the Celtics own the Mavericks top-seven protected pick in the upcoming NBA draft. Adding to the Dallas loss total while also walking away with a win would have helped the Celtics cause both this year and next year by perhaps inching the Mavericks that much closer to the back-end of the NBA lottery. Blast!

Luckily, the Celtics are going to have two more chances to help their own cause in more than one way with a home-and-home against the one and only Brooklyn Nets. The Nets, of course, owe the Celtics their unprotected first round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft thanks to their trade for Paul Pierce and “all about eighteen” star Kevin Garnett. And with just two wins on the season (really, Rockets and Hawks??) are poised to deliver a prime pick at the top of the lottery. A couple of wins over their divisional counterparts will only push those lottery odds higher (can you say Ben Simmons??).

Hopefully the Celtics can do a better job of improving their playoff odds for both this season and next against the Nets than they did against the Mavericks. That way the next “all about eighteen” is actually about another Celtics championship, not a lost opportunity in November.

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Edelman catches pass, tackled by Jasper Brinkley

In the Sunday afternoon thriller at Metlife Stadium where the New York Giants hosted the New England Patriots, fans for both teams were on the edge of their seats. The Patriots ultimately defeated the Giants 27-26 on a last second, 54-yard field goal off the foot of Stephen Gostkowski. Tom Brady led the Pats into range by completing a 4th and 10 pass on their way down the field to victory.

Unfortunately the Pats lost wide receiver Julian Edelman in the first half when it appeared he was rolled up on by Giants Linebacker Jasper Brinkley. Edelman limped off under his own power but tossed his helmet down when getting to the sidelines indicating that the injury may be more than just a tweaked ankle. He did not return to the game and afterwards was diagnosed with a broken foot, specifically a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone in the mid-foot commonly known as the Jones fracture.

Fans may remember earlier this year when Dez Bryant suffered a similar injury, it does require surgery which Edelman underwent on Monday. Bryant was able to come back five weeks after going under the knife. Another Pro Bowl receiver, Julio Jones had the same injury and it took him a bit longer to recover. Like most foot problems if not given the proper time to heal they can lead to continued pain and possibly even recurrent fracture, but if anyone is likely to press getting back on the field it would be Julian Edelman. Not only is Edelman as tough as a bag of hammers, repeatedly taking big shots going over the middle and as a return man, but he is also a fierce competitor who wears his emotions on his sleeve. Continue reading Julian Edelman Breaks Foot, Return This Season Questionable »

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Stephen Gostkowski stands tall among fallen Giants after kicking the game winning 54-yard field goal. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

There is nothing quite like a good old fashioned nail biter to get the blood pumping on a Sunday afternoon in November. The Giants have been the one team to have the Patriots figured out. For most of the game on Sunday it appeared like it was going to be more of the same. We were going to be subjected from a perfect performance from Eli Manning, while Tom Brady looked as mortal as he has all season. Luckily for the Patriots and their fans they were the recipient of the lucky break at the right time.

– No doubt about the fact that Danny Amendola was the savior of that game. His punt return sparked some much needed life into a team that was dragging. I, like everyone else I imagine, have zero idea what Duron Harmon was trying to accomplish. Amendola walks into the end zone if Harmon stays far, far away from him. On the last drive he was right where he had to be to haul in a laser of a pass to keep the drive going on 4th and 10. His awareness produced the necessary yardage on his catch setting up Stephen Gostkowski for the game winner. If Amendola goes down right where he catches that pass there’s a real chance Gostkowski doesn’t make that kick.  Continue reading Notes and Observations Week 10: Gostkowski’s Game-Winning Field Goal Sends Patriots Past Giants 27-26 »

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1. Pats vs. Giants:


* One of the great Patriots regular season wins evah’

* Who threw up when the kick went through – Mercury Morris, Don Shula, Mike Felger, Goodell

* The Giants couldn’t beat the Patriots without Collins, Lewis, Edelman, Vollmer, Solder, Wendell, Jackson, Cannon, Flowers

* Biggest play of the game was Ninkovich sack of Eli taking them out of field goal range

* Excellent national anthem (surprised they didn’t sing the French national anthem)

* Bad timing – With Edelman hurt – too bad Welker just signed with St. Louis

* How tough is field goal kicking with the two kickers are a combined 46-46 this year

* Ugh – Phil Simms with Giants pajamas on and CBS pushing the theme of Giants victories over Pats

* Patriots injuries reminding me of that tough 1987 Celtics who fought to the Finals with injuries to everyone

* Ed Hoculi means penalties and conferences (two of those interference calls Butler and Chung – disgraceful)

* That’s what Mara gets for siding against Patriots and with the league

* Thought Brady’s disposition switched to pouty after Edelman injury

* Landon Collins meet Asante Samuel

* Great use of timeouts surrounding 2:00 warning Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Treat Us Again! »

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