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When the Ravens travel to New England on Saturday for a Divisional Playoff matchup, there will be several key battles the Patriots will have to win. One of the most critical will be the Patriots offensive line versus the Baltimore defensive line. In the past, the Ravens have shown a unique ability to harass Tom Brady and force him into mistakes or short offensive series. They have also consistently been able to get pressure against any team. This season has been no different for the Ravens and Saturday will be tough for the Patriots up front.

In 17 games (16 regular season, one playoff) this season, the Ravens have accumulated 54 sacks total which comes out to roughly three per game. In an eight game stretch in the middle of the season, the Patriots only gave up four sacks total. However, they gave up that many in the first half of their week 16 game against the Jets and had some issues in week 17 against Buffalo before resting their starters. Dan Connolly has missed time late in the season which has caused reshuffling and the Patriots will hope that he is fully healthy for Saturday. Nate Solder also struggled the last two games and Sebastian Vollmer was inactive for the final game although that seemed more precautionary than anything else. Continue reading Baltimore Defensive Front Could Sabotage Patriots »

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* Ravens Kicker Justin Tucker 4 for 9 from 50 yards out

* Dumervil and Suggs combined for 29 sacks

* 350 pound Haloti Ngata leads the Ravens with 2 interceptions

* 2014 Regular season – Ravens are 1-4 when a team throws for 300 yards / Ravens are 1-5 when they have at least 2 turnovers / Ravens are 2-3 when a team runs for 100 yards

* Patriots are favored by 7 – they have not covered in the last three Baltimore playoff games being favored by 7.5 / 7.0 / 4

* Last three playoff games with Ravens: Patriots 10 turnovers to 3 for Baltimore

* Patriots are 7-1 against Baltimore regular season and 1-2 playoffs (got lucky on the win)

* Ray Rice and Aaron Hernandez will not be playing in this game Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Like Christmas Eve! »

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Donte Clark develops as UMass improves (Photo courtesy of UMass Athletics)

The 2014 calendar year was one of ups (a thrilling ride to the NCAA Tournament) and downs (a mediocre start to the 2014–15 season) for the UMass Minutemen basketball team. However, a new year means new year’s resolutions, and while most of you are probably saying things like “I’m going to eat healthier!”or “I’m going to the gym more!”, the Minutemen seem to have made a resolution to play better and try to right the ship. Let’s throw out the loss to St. Bonaventure and concentrate on everything else that has happened since the season’s low point.

On December 20, UMass hit the road to finish off the New England portion of its non-conference schedule against the Providence Friars, a team they defeated in a thriller at the Mullins Center a season ago. Without going into too much detail, UMass was anything but thrilling as Ladontae Henton and the rest of the Friars embarrassed UMass in an 85–65 beatdown. Since then, the Minutemen have played very, going 2–2. Continue reading New Year’s Resolution in Full Swing for Minutemen »

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Pedro Martinez was a Red Sox Legend, providing absolute dominance at the top of the rotation for years. He was rewarded for his effort by being inducted into the MLB Hall of Fame.

But in an even bigger honor, Martinez, along with fellow 2015 inductees Randy Johnson, Craig Biggio and John Smoltz, were invited onto “The Late Show With David Letterman” to do a famous Top Ten List. Their topic was, “Things I Said When I Learned I Made the Baseball Hall of Fame.”
Continue reading VIDEO: Pedro Martinez Does Top Ten List on Letterman »

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Several times this season I have written about the impact that a healthy Rob Gronkowski can make in a game. It is no secret that he is the league’s most dominant tight end and one of the premier offensive weapons in football. He is virtually uncoverable and will provide the Patriots with a distinct advantage this weekend. The Patriots have played the Ravens three times in the postseason since 2009. In those three games, they have had Gronkowski for a total of less than three quarters. He was not on the roster for the 2009 game, injured in the third quarter of the 2011 game, and missed the entirety of the 2012 game due to injury.

If Gronkowski can be healthy for the entire game Saturday, he can dramatically affect the outcome. Continue reading Rob Gronkowski Could Prove a Nightmare for Ravens »

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Remembering Stuart Scott

January 6, 2015 at 8:20pm in Featured, News, Opinion

The loss of Stuart Scott at age 49 has touched us all. His voice as a sportscaster on ESPN’s flagship show SportsCenter was unparalleled. Scott, along with Keith Olbermann and longtime co-host Rich Eisen, changed sportscasting for the better, nay the best, as they searched for the “cool side of the pillow.”

Continue reading Remembering Stuart Scott »

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The Bruins recalled rookie forward David Pastrnak from the Providence Bruins of the AHL Tuesday morning. Pastrnak had spent the previous few weeks shining at the World Juniors Tournament for the Czech Republic. Pastrnak, the 25th overall pick for the Bruins in the 2014 draft, played in five games earlier this season for the Bruins registering one assist and 14 shots.

Boston has been mired in a season long offensive slump and shaky play from top line forward Milan Lucic as well as shaky healthy from top line center David Krejci have exasperated the Bruins problems. Putting Pastrnak on the top line with both Lucic and Krejci could provide an offensive shot in the arm for the black and gold. He leads Providence with 10 goals this season and had one of the best goals of the tournament for the Czech Republic to win an overtime game at the World Juniors.

Pastrnak is young and inexperienced but he makes up for that inexperience in raw offensive talent. When in training camp with the Bruins he looked like the best young player to debut since Tyler Seguin. He is fast, smart, and has a deadly accurate shot from anywhere on the ice. He has a knack for finding open holes in the defense and making plays happen. Surely he will have growing pains but Pastrnak is the best in house option for the Bruins and would provide an instant upgrade over the solid but less talented Seth Griffith.

One concern for the Bruins is that if Pastrnak plays ten games in the NHL this season he would become a free agent one year earlier than if he did not. However, at this point the Bruins should be thinking about what moves give them the best chance to be  a Stanley Cup Contender in 2015 and 2016. Bringing Pastrnak up and pairing him with elite offensive talent such as Krejci’s would do just that.

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