1. AFC CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW:

* Brady has played against 14 different teams in the playoffs and is 3-1 vs Colts

* Brady has 46 passing and 5 rushing TD’s in 27 playoff games

* Colts leading rusher dressing Sunday – Daniel Herron 351 yards (Luck was second 273)

* Colts defense – Freeman looks fast, they are hitting hard and Vontae Davis has turned into a star in the secondary

* Only thing I’m not looking forward to is fans who mis-remember and boo Adam Vinatieri

* I see a big punt return by Edelman

* When I think of Indianapolis I think of yahoo’s, piped in crowd noise, Chuck Person and people who have never seen the ocean

* Patriots points in the last five playoff losses: 14 / 21 / 17 / 13 / 16

* Brady is 5-6 last 11 playoff games – his, and Bill’s, legacy is desperate for this win Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Brady Closer to 4th Ring, But Don’t Sleep on Colts »

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Broncos-Peyton-Manning-Patriots-Akeem-Ayers-001

One area that the Patriots struggled with Saturday night against Baltimore that will need to be improved upon for Sunday’s AFC Championship game against the Colts is their pass rush. For most of the night against the Ravens, their pass rush was non-existent and Joe Flacco had plenty of time to find open receivers. In the Colts Divisional Playoff win against Denver, one of the key stories was the amount of time Andrew Luck had in the pocket to throw and that when the rush did get to him, he was able to escape for the most part.

In their previous win over the Colts this season, the Patriots dominated time of possession and their pass rush was not as a big a factor because they scored 43 points and held the ball the majority of the game. Although that result could happen again, it is not guaranteed and the Patriots could find themselves in a close game needing defensive stops. If that becomes the case, the Patriots pass rush could be the deciding factor. Continue reading Patriots Pass Rush Faces Tough Task with Luck »

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Jameer Nelson, Channing Frye

There was little doubt, after the Celtics sent Jeff Green to Memphis in a three-team trade on Monday, that Danny Ainge was far from done making deals. What we did not see coming was the trade he pulled off on Tuesday night, shipping little-used point guard Jameer Nelson to Denver in exchange for one-time Celtic fan favorite Nate Robinson.

The deal is also notable because it’s a straight PG-for-PG exchange, featuring no draft picks, which Ainge has been stockpiling at a record rate in recent times. Nelson arrived last month from Dallas in the Rajon Rondo trade, and it looked briefly like he may take over the starting spot, but he fell out of the rotation after just six games in which he averaged 4.8 points, 5.5 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals. Continue reading Welcome Back, Donkey: Nate Robinson Returns to Boston »

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Duron Harmon was as surprised as we were when his "game-ending" interception still left Joe Flacco and the Ravens with one last chance. (ESPN)

Duron Harmon closed the gap quickly, ranging in from center field to position himself perfectly to intercept Joe Flacco’s deep pass looking for Torrey Smith in the end zone and close out a nerve-wracking, come-from-behind win for the New England Patriots.

Or so it seemed.

Instead of running out the clock with the two minute warning passed and the Baltimore Ravens down to one timeout, Tom Brady kneeled three times and turned it over to the punting unit with 14 seconds left. That gave Flacco and company one last gasp and Patriots fans one final heart attack.

The question is, could the Patriots have handled that clock management better?

Continue reading Belichick Says Clock Management Goes Exactly to Plan to Beat Ravens; Wait, What? »

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Jeff Green (Boston.com)

On Monday, Danny Ainge officially took the next step in his rebuilding plan for the Celtics, completing a three-team deal with the Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans. In the trade, Boston’s leading scorer, Jeff Green, went to Memphis, with the C’s receiving veteran small forward Tayshaun Prince and a future first-round pick from the Grizzlies and point guard Austin Rivers from the Pelicans.

The trade of Green, who has averaged 17.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in his seventh NBA season, comes as no surprise, especially after Ainge finally put years of rumors to rest by shipping Rajon Rondo to Dallas. It leaves Jared Sullinger as the Celtics’ new top scorer with just 13.4 ppg and Jae Crowder as the starter at small forward for the foreseeable future. Continue reading Celtics Officially Send Green to Memphis in Three-Team Trade »

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amendola ravens

Ever since signing in New England, wide receiver Danny Amendola has faced heavy criticism. Much of it was related to the size of his contract and the lack of production and his missing significant time with injuries. This criticism for the most part was warranted and up until mid-December Amendola looked like another failed receiver investment for the Patriots. His last few weeks have seen an uptick in which production which culminated in a magnificent performance against Baltimore in the divisional playoff game.

On the surface Amendola’s numbers Saturday night speak for themselves. He caught five passes for 81 yards and two touchdowns including one of the biggest plays of the game where Tom Brady lateralled the ball to fellow receiver who then hit Amendola for a 51 yard touchdown pass. The Play tied the game at 28 for the Patriots and was one of the most memorable plays of the Patriots season. But his performance goes beyond the numbers. Continue reading Much Maligned Danny Amendola Comes Through for Patriots »

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1. PATRIOTS ADVANCE TO AFC CHAMPIONSHIP:

MISC

* I haven’t been that nervous viewing a sporting event since Game 4, 2004 – Red Sox vs. Yankees extra innings

* Second greatest Patriot game behind the Snow Bowl

* The Blue hoodie has always been a dangerous choice – 7-4 record

* I can’t believe the Patriots made that insane mistake of mis calculating the clock at the end of the game – I would have the punter Allen take a safety and run around the end zone and then kicked off – I know it would have made it a field goal game (would have been the biggest coaching blunder in Boston sports history, see #6)

* Goddell shouldn’t be wearing a hat with a B on it at a Baltimore – Pats game

* Matter of time before Gronk’s pants get pulled down from behind on national TV and his second career gets a kick start

* Brady might be one of the toughest players to ever play in New England

* Patriots 16-4 at home in the playoffs Continue reading Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots win THRILLER »

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