November 6, 2018 at 1:21 pm #37169
Much of the NFL season seemed like a Hollywood sequel without the leading actors from the original as injuries claimed so many superstars [url=http://www.minnesotavikingsteamonline.com]Vikings Authentic Jerseys[/url] , leaving the playoff field awash in postseason party crashers .
Among them are the Buffalo Bills, who just might have to go into their first playoff game in 17 seasons with a running back who had never gained a single yard before last week.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are thankful they don’t have a game this weekend, giving receiver Antonio Brown another week to heal from his torn left calf that has sidelined him for three weeks.
Brown is the only consensus All-Pro in the season of the injured superstar, a year that had such a devastating effect on many of the usual championship contenders such as Green Bay and Seattle and helped usher eight new teams into this year’s playoff field.
The Packers’ playoff hopes were crushed when Minnesota’s Anthony Barr squashed Aaron Rodgers, breaking the quarterback’s collarbone. The Seahawks turned into the ”Legion of Whom? ” with season-ending injuries to Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor.
The Texans missed the playoffs after injuries to defenders J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus and sensational rookie Deshaun Watson, who was leading the league with 19 touchdown throws before he tore his right ACL in practice two days after Halloween.
Bills running back LeSean McCoy is hopeful he can play on a sprained ankle in Sunday’s AFC wild-card game at Jacksonville, the franchise’s first postseason kickoff since the ”Music City Miracle” in 2000.
”I don’t want to make any promises,” said McCoy.
Nobody can this year, it seems.
Brown was a leading MVP candidate when he collided with Patriots DB Eric Rowe on Dec. 17 and hobbled off with a torn calf, then watched Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski rally in the fourth quarter for a crucial 24-21 win that gave New England the top seed in the AFC again despite losing Julian Edelman in the preseason.
The NFC’s top seed is also missing a big name: second-year QB Carson Wentz, whose knee injury thrust backup Nick Foles into the starting job for the playoffs.
The Bills have no established running back behind McCoy on the depth chart. Marcus Murphy was promoted from the practice squad ahead of the Week 17 win over the Dolphins, rushing for 41 yards on seven carries. Buffalo also has veteran fullback/running back Mike Tolbert.
”I think we’re moving in the right direction,” Bills coach Sean McDermott said of McCoy. ”Will we be able to get there in time? We’ll see.”
If not [url=http://www.newenglandpatriotsteamonline.com]Patriots Authentic Jerseys[/url] , they’ll be without their most explosive and most consistent playmaker, one who finished the year with 1,138 rushing yards and six touchdowns. His absence would leave a hole in Buffalo’s offensive attack; the Bills finished the regular season with the 31st-ranked passing attack in the league.
Other teams overcame big injuries to reach the playoffs, including the Vikings after rookie running back Dalvin Cook tore an ACL on Oct. 1 against the Lions, and the Panthers, who overcame the loss of longtime tight end Greg Olsen, who broke a foot against the Bills in September.
In addition to Edelman, the Patriots lost linebacker Dont’a Hightower to a torn chest muscle and the Chiefs lost Eric Berry to a ruptured left Achilles tendon.
The Rams lost All-Pro kicker Greg Zuerlein last month to a back injury and the Steelers lost linebacker Ryan Shazier to a spine injury last month that could end his career.
The Eagles were all the rage in the topsy-turvy NFL this season until Wentz tore his left ACL against the Rams on Dec. 10.
Wentz was a leading MVP candidate when he got hurt. The Eagles’ passing game has struggled since Nick Foles took over. He’s spending Philadelphia’s bye week trying to develop more chemistry and consistency with his receivers.
”We’ve got some good work the last couple of weeks with Nick,” coach Doug Pederson said. ”We have to get better in the run game. That helps any quarterback obviously.”
Wentz’s injury continued a trend in which it seemed like a superstar would suffer a season-ending injury just about every weekend.
Even Joe Thomas, the Cleveland Browns’ ironman left tackle, got hurt in 2017.
Thomas suffered a torn triceps on Oct. 22 against Tennessee and underwent season-ending surgery.
Before he got hurt, the 10-time Pro Bowler had played every snap of his career, reaching 10 [url=http://www.neworleanssaintsteamonline.com]Saints Authentic Jerseys[/url] ,363 consecutive plays, believed to be a record.
OAKLAND, Calif. — Two teams that began heading in opposite directions at just about the time they saw each other last month hook up again when the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics open a two-game interleague series Tuesday night.
The Padres were within arm’s length of .500 at 34-40, having won nine of 15, when the A’s ventured into San Diego and used a ninth-inning, two-out, two-strike, game-tying home run from Stephen Piscotty off relief ace Brad Hand to trigger a two-game sweep, winning 4-2 and 12-4.
The Padres now head north well out of contention in the National League West, having lost 11 of 14.
The A’s, meanwhile, have won 12 of 15 to surge well above .500 at 46-39 and into contention in the American League wild-card race.
Oakland has made much of its recent run without standout third baseman Matt Chapman, who has taken time off to allow pain in his right hand to subside.
Two cortisone shots later [url=http://www.newyorkgiantsteamonline.com]Giants Authentic Jerseys[/url] , Chapman had a pain-free hitting session Sunday and was sent to Class A for an injury-rehab game Monday.
It’s possible he could be reinstated from the disabled list during this series.
“He hit a few off the back wall in center field, so that tells me enough,” A’s manager Bob Melvin observed Sunday. “Getting him back in the lineup will be a nice little kick for us.”
The A’s need no such boost in their pitching. They have allowed two or fewer runs in four of their last five games.
Right-hander Chris Bassitt (1-3, 2.82 ERA) will look to extend that impressive run while at the same time taste his first career success in interleague play.
The 29-year-old began the A’s recent pitching showcase with six innings of two-hit, scoreless ball in a 3-0 win at Detroit last Wednesday.
He has never faced the Padres in his career, and has lost both interleague starts despite a 2.45 ERA.
One intriguing potential matchup in the series is A’s closer Blake Treinen against Padres slugger Eric Hosmer, a pairing that carried a bit of history into a game-ending showdown in the A’s earlier 4-2 win in San Diego.
Then a member of the Kansas City Royals, Hosmer bombed a two-run, go-ahead homer off Treinen in the eighth inning of their first career head-to-head last August.
Treinen then extracted a measure of revenge in the June 19 rematch in San Diego, closing out the 10-inning game by striking out Hosmer as he represented the potential tying run.
Bassitt will be opposed by left-hander Clayton Richard (7-7, 4.29), who had a four-game winning streak stopped in a 5-2 loss at Texas last Wednesday.
He retains a good interleague record (9-5, 3.50) despite not having beaten an American League opponent since 2015.
You have to go back three years before that to find his last appearance against the A’s in Oakland [url=http://www.newyorkjetsteamonline.com]Jets Authentic Jerseys[/url] , but it was a memorable one. He shut out a playoff-bound A’s team for 7 2/3 innings in 2012, allowing five hits in a 2-1 win.
He has faced the A’s three times in his career, twice as a starter, and gone 1-1 with a 3.21 ERA.
One A’s hitter that Richard will have to deal with is the aforementioned Piscotty, who played last season for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Piscotty has dominated the head-to-heads, going 3-for-4 with a home run and a flyout to deep center field in the only non-hit of the matchup.
A’s catcher Jonathan Lucroy, another former National Leaguer, also has a successful history against Richard, going 7-for-18 (.389) with two doubles and a homer.
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