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Consecutive wins for Celtics, who post 92-88 win over Warriors on Thursday

The first team looks terrific in building a 17-point first-half lead during a 31-21 preseason win over the visiting Steelers. But the Eagles receive injury scares regarding LeSean McCoy and Jeremy Maclin.

Gordon Glantz finds a lot to like about Carson Wentz. But, for Wentz to earn Gordon’s all-out devotion, he will need to win a championship.

The Greek God of Wrestling illustrates how Kevin Owens’ attack on Vince McMahon was just the latest example of Owens making a major impact during his relatively short time in WWE. Achilles Heel also previews Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor” pay-per-view, WWE’s card for “No Mercy” and tells us who won the Mae Young Classic.

Archive for September, 2017

Who will make the cut at Dover?

Posted by Eric Fisher On September - 30 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Sixteen drivers enter the Monster Mile in the playoffs.

Only 12 will leave as part of the playoff field.

Sunday is cutdown day for the NASCAR playoffs. Four members of the 16-driver playoff field will be eliminated after the Apache Warrior 400 (1 p.m.) presented by Lucas Oil, the third and final race of the first stage of the playoffs, at Dover International Speedway.

Four drivers have already assured themselves of advancing to the Round of 12. Points leader Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch won the first two races in this stage, and Kyle Larson and Brad Keselowski have clinched a spot in the next round through their points totals.

There is always intrigue about who will win, but the bigger drama at The Monster Mile on Sunday will come from the back end of the playoff field.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Austin Dillon enter Sunday’s race tied for the 12th and final berth in the next round of the playoffs. Ryan Newman is just one point behind them.

Kurt Busch and Kasey Kahne are in more dire straits. Kurt Busch is 17 points behind Stenhouse and Dillon. It would take an unusual set of circumstances for him to pass Senhouse, Dillon and Newman, so he probably needs a win Sunday to advance. The same is true of Kasey Kahne, who is four points behind Kurt Busch.

Jamie McMurray isn’t out of the woods, either. He’s in 11th place, just nine points ahead of Stenhouse and Dillon and 10 ahead of Newman. Having been eliminated in the first round the last two years, there is little chance that McMurray will be complacent at Dover.

Only a disaster, such as a race-ending wreck or engine trouble, could knock Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick out of the playoffs Sunday, but they certainly are aware of that possibility.

Complicating matters is NASCAR’s new scoring system, which awards stage points during the race. There are three stages in each race, so drivers toward the back of the playoff field could pick up crucial points by doing well during the first two portions of the race. For Stenhouse, Dillon and Newman, points in the first or second stage of Sunday’s race could be the differences between remaining alive in the playoff race or being relegated to being irrelevant for the final seven playoff races.

Eagles-Chargers: Stopping Rivers a key

Posted by Eric Fisher On September - 29 - 2017 ADD COMMENTS

Coming off the euphoria of sending the Giants to 0-3, the Eagles have the pleasure of facing the 0-3 Chargers. But Sunday’s game (4 p.m.) won’t necessarily be an easy victory.

The Eagles will be without defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and running back Darren Sproles, the latter of whom is done for the rest of the season. Both were injured during the win over the Giants

A key for the Eagles on Sunday will be how effectively they pressure Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. If they can generate pressure without Cox, the Eagles could force Rivers into mistakes, as the Chiefs did last Sunday. If not, though, he could pick the Eagles apart.

The Eagles (2-1) need a victory to make sure they keep pace with Cowboys and Redskins, who also are 2-1, in NFC East.

Here are 10 questions to consider prior to and during Sunday’s game.

1. How much will Eagles miss Darren Sproles?

The answer could come Sunday during a punt return. With Sproles out for the rest of this season after breaking his forearm and tearing his ACL during last Sunday’s 27-24 win over the Giants, the Eagles have lost a game-breaking punt returner. They can live without that, but they can’t make a run at the playoffs without a sure-handed punt returner. It appears that Kenjon Barner, signed by the Eagles to replace Sproles, will get a shot at replacing him on punt returns against the Chargers.

2. How much will the Eagles miss Fletcher Cox?

As much as the Eagles may miss Sproles, the loss of Cox this week due to a calf injury will likely have a greater impact on Sunday’s game. Cox is their best defensive player, so, of course, they will miss him. By drawing extra blockers, Cox opens up lanes through which his teammates can reach the quarterback. With Cox and Destiny Vaeao (wrist) sidelined, Tim Jernigan, Beau Allen and rookie Elijah Qualls are the Eagles’ only defensive tackles. Expect Vinny Curry to bump inside from defensive end at times.

3. Will Doug Pederson run ball two weeks in a row?

I have no idea. It’s possible that the Giants game was a sign that Pederson will continue to see a more balanced offense. It’s equally possible that the Giants game was an aberration, and that Pederson will return to calling far more passing plays than running plays, as he did during the first two games of the season.

4. Will the downfield passing game be more effective?

The Eagles’ longest passing play during Sunday’s win over the Giants was a 19-yarder to Alshon Jeffery on the final throw from scrimmage, setting up Jake Elliott’s game-winning 61-yard field goal as time expired. Carson Wentz has not been accurate throwing deep passes. Will Wentz connect on some deep routes against the Chargers?.

5. Is Philip Rivers a bad quarterback?

Rivers has thrown four interceptions and four touchdowns this season. He has completed 73 of 112 passes for 760 yards. Before jumping on the “Rivers is a bum” bandwagon, consider that two of the Chargers’ three loss were against the Broncos and the Chiefs, both of whom can put pressure on the quarterback. Also remember that people were ripping Eli Manning before the Giants game, yet Manning led the Giants to 24 fourth-quarter points. Like Manning, Rivers can be pressured into mistakes. If the Eagles’ defensive line can pressure Rivers, it will make the defensive backs’ jobs much easier.

6. Did the Eagles get any injured players back this week?

Safety Rodney McLeod is likely to return after missing the Giants game with a hamstring injury. McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins form a solid safety tandem. This also allows Chris Maragos to concentrate more on special teams, although backup safety Corey Graham and safety/cornerback Jaylen Watkins remain sidelined by hamstring injuries.

7. Who will start at left guard?

Chance Warmack started at left guard last Sunday instead of Isaac Seumalo. By the time the game was over, Stefen Wisniewski had played more snaps at left guard than Warmack. Wisniewski appeared to be more effective on running plays, which is supposed to be Warmack’s strength. Head coach Doug Pederson has not yet revealed who will start on Sunday.

8. Will success go to Jake Elliott’s head?

Elliott became an instant hero by kicking the game-winning 61-yarder, the longest field goal in Eagles history, against the Giants. But, despite his “one-minute to think about it” rule, Elliott also remembers that he missed a 52-yard field goal earlier in the Giants game. He also remembers that he missed a 30-yard field goal just before halftime of the Eagles’ loss to the Chiefs. Last week’s success should not go to his head.

9. Can the Eagles take advantage of the Chargers’ offensive line?

The Chargers have given up 11 sacks and running back Melvin Gordon has only averaged 3.3 yards per carry. Both of those numbers suggest that the Chargers’ offensive line could be a weakness the Eagles can exploit. How effectively they exploit the line could defend on how much they miss Fletcher Cox. Gordon

10. How much should the Eagles worry about Melvin Gordon?

Gordon missed practice Wednesday due to a knee injury. He was limited in practice Thursday and then was a full participant on Friday. If he is still hobbled by the injury, the Chargers may have difficulty achieving a balanced attack, which should enable the Eagles to rush the quarterback without being overly concerned with the play-action pass.

Prediction: The Chargers are winless, but they’ve only been outscored by 19 points. Two of their losses, against the Dolphins and Broncos, have been by three points or fewer. The Eagles need the longest field goal in franchise history and a generous extra second from the timekeeper at Lincoln Financial Field to pull off Sunday’s win over the Giants. The Eagles’ passing game seems out of synch. If they don’t get pressure on Philip Rivers, he can pick a defense apart. Prediction: Chargers 23, Eagles 20

Every out of Roy Halladay's playoff no-hitter