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America loves comeback stories Avonte Maddox Color Rush Jersey , the last-to-first variety that features new stars, big plays and a monumental triumph at the end.
That would be the tale of the Philadelphia Eagles if they win Sunday’s Super Bowl.
The oddsmakers don’t see it happening and have installed the New England Patriots – yes, them again – as 4+-point favorites.
Give Philly its due, however: The Eagles have a strong chance of winning their first NFL crown since 1960 and their first Lombardi Trophy.
Will they? Read on.
Doug Pederson’s bunch has shown the resilience of a champion, losing such key players as quarterback Carson Wentz, a strong MVP contender, left tackle Jason Peters, linebacker Jordan Hicks and running back Darren Sproles to injuries.
”It’s the next-man-up mentality,” Pederson says. ”It also means that you have some veteran players that keep things together, and good coaching staffs. I think it’s a tribute to the players and everyone involved that they can keep things going even through that adversity.”
Philadelphia has not yielded a point in the second half of either playoff game. It put 31 on the stingiest scoring defense in the league, and threw in a defensive TD in routing Minnesota for the NFC championship. Its backup quarterback Joseph Noteboom Color Rush Jersey , Nick Foles, has been everything from solid to spectacular in his career playoff games.
The Eagles can disrupt Tom Brady with a fierce pass rush up front, led by Fletcher Cox, who has been the best defensive player in the entire postseason. They have threats on offense in the passing game and at running back.
And they are facing a New England squad that has not been as powerful as some of the teams Brady has led in seven previous Super Bowls, going 5-2.
Yet, don’t be misled. These are still the Patriots, probably the most resourceful group of athletes on the planet. They make big plays, not only thanks to Brady’s arm but on a defense that only recently began getting the praise it warrants.
Plus, they have all that experience in the big game, bringing 31 players back from last year’s championship roster.
”We know what to expect, but at the end of the day Jonathan Cooper Color Rush Jersey , you’ve got to perform,” linebacker Kyle Van Noy said. ”So there’s really no upper hand. You’ve got to just play the game and get ready for it and play at a high level.”
New England doesn’t always do that in the Super Bowl. Recall last February’s first 40 minutes or so, when it was down 28-3 to Atlanta before the Falcons stopped charging and Brady led an historic rally.
The one consistency about the Patriots is that they play close Super Bowls. The total difference in scoring in those seven games is 12 points: Patriots 169, opponents 157.
So do they pull out another close one, or does Philly complete its uplifting saga?
It all comes down to one thing: which team has Brady.
PATRIOTS 24, EAGLES 23
Last week: Against spread (1-1). Straight up (2-0)
Season Totals: Against spread (123-125-10). Straight up: (167-97)
Best Bet: 10-9 against spread, 11-8 straight up.
Upset special: 10-8 against spread, 9-9 straight up
With just a handful of games remaining for the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach John Tortorella believes the team is in a good place even as its late push to secure a playoff spot has gotten tougher.
With Nick Foligno out of the lineup, the Blue Jackets open a three-game swing across western Canada on Tuesday night against NHL scoring leader Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers.
Columbus (42-29-5) is in third place in the Metropolitan Division, three points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Blue Jackets are also tied in points with the Philadelphia Flyers for the first wild card http://www.redskinsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-jonathan-allen-jersey , and Columbus has a three-point edge on the New Jersey Devils for the second wild card.
“We have six left and we’ve got some nicks along the way here … you just go play. We don’t talk about it. We just do it. That’s part of our job,” Tortorella said Monday.
The Blue Jackets surged into contention thanks to 10-game winning streak that ended with a 2-1 loss to St. Louis Blues on Saturday. Foligno, who has collected 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in the last 30 games, suffered a lower-body injury and will be sidelined from two to four weeks.
But for Tortorella, it’s business as usual.
“I just don’t want us to lose our swagger,” he said. “I think we’re in a good spot. I think the guys are feeling good about themselves. You get banged up; you just go about your business. Nick has been very good for us, so we have to fill that hole.”
Brandon Dubinsky (15 points in 56 games) is expected to fill in for Foligno.
Columbus also still has Artemi Panarin, who leads the club in scoring (25 goals, 44 assists), and needs one point to reach 70 for the third straight season. The Russian winger has six goals and three assists in a four-game points streak on the road.
The Blue Jackets have won four straight away from home and seek their third victory in four games in Edmonton. Columbus is also looking for a split of the season series after a 7-2 loss on Dec. 12 in Ohio’s capital city.
To no one’s surprise Authentic Sampo Ranta Jersey , McDavid was the driving force in that rout, collecting a goal and three assists.
The Oilers captain solidified his hold as the league’s top scorer after collecting a goal and two assists in Sunday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Anaheim Ducks that eliminated Edmonton (34-36-6) from postseason consideration.
With six games to play, McDavid has 99 points — two from a career high, and three in front of Nikita Kucherov of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
McDavid, who is looking to be the first player to win consecutive Art Ross trophies since Jaromir Jagr won four straight from 1998 to 2001 with the Pittsburgh Penguins, was named the league’s First Star of the Week after collecting five goals and five assists in four games last week.
The biggest difference in No. 97 this season compared with last season?
“I see him around the net a bit more. He wanted to do that this year. His sense of timing, arriving on rebounds, having the ability to tap things in,” Oilers coach Todd McLellan said recently.
Most likely, McDavid will try to pad his total against Blue Jackets goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. Since losing three straight starts in early February, the two-time Vezina Trophy winner is 12-4-1 with a 2.01 goals-against average and one shutout. Bobrovsky would also be looking for his fourth straight road win during that span.
Backup Joonas Korpisalo has won three straight starts Daniel Kilgore Color Rush Jersey , allowing a total of nine goals. He is 2-5-0 with a 4.15 GAA on the road in 2017-18.
Edmonton’s Cam Talbot needs one win to reach 30 for the second straight season. He has surrendered 14 goals in his last five games, posting a 4-0-1 record.
Al Montoya (2-2-2, 3.24 GAA with the Oilers) missed Sunday’s game with an undisclosed injury. If Montoya can’t go, Laurent Brossoit (3-7-1, 3.22 GAA) would back up Talbot.