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Brady and the Patriots aren’t likely to leave anything on the field today

The recipe for the Admiral Ackbar special is there. Two prime-time games in a row followed by a much lesser performance. A Patriots team coming off playing their hearts out the previous Sunday night in a comeback attempt coming up short. Having little to play for as long as conference rivals take care of their own business. Honestly, if it was any other team besides the New England Patriots, I would be circling Sunday’s game in Jacksonville as a trap game of epic proportions.

But the New England Patriots are not any other team. They are a smart and veteran team that treats every week importantly and looks down on no opponent. They are a well-coached team with a head-coach who openly believes that anyone can beat anyone on any given weekend, even if Bill Belichick silently goes back to the death-star and laughs at his lesser opponents. Their quarterback, Tom Brady, who is likely pissed an feels as if he didn’t play well enough to win last Sunday night against his childhood team on Sunday, even though the fifteen minutes he played when he led the Patriots to 28 unanswered points may be the greatest that anyone has ever seen Tom Brady play.

To put it in layman terms, this Patriots team is likely pissed off and very, very angry. You wouldn’t like them when they are angry. When they are angry, they drop fifty points on lesser opponents and laugh in their face. They throw the ball while up in the fourth quarter just because they are chasing some record like 800 points in a season. If anything, the Patriots don’t have trap games. Their trap games are just an excuse to run drop kicks and to put up 500 yards of total offense and this week it’s the poor Jacksonville Jaguars who have to suffer.

The line is 14.5 points, but honestly, it can’t be high enough. The Patriots are going to come out angry and ready to put up point-after-point and maybe even run the score up a bit.

I don’t think Patriots fans expect anything else.

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Red Sox acquire Joel Hanrahan

Posted 2012/12/22 By Benti

Unexpected news from the Boston Red Sox on Saturday as the Red Sox and the Pirates have agreed to a deal to send Pirates closer Joel Hanrahan to the Boston Red Sox.

Via MLB Trade Rumors.

The Red Sox and Pirates have agreed to a deal that will send Joel  Hanrahan to Boston, according to Jim Bowden  of ESPN.com (on Twitter).  Jerry  Sands and Stolmy  Pimentel will go to Pittsburgh in the swap  and there will be more players involved in the deal.  There will be two  more players headed to the Bucs in the deal, according to Jon Heyman of  CBSSports.com

It was unexpected for Red Sox fans because there seemed to be no need for Joel Hanrahan. They traded for a closer last year in Andrew Bailey. Even though Bailey pitched poorly in his limited outings last year, he was hurt during that year. I still thought he would be the closer in 2013. I guess the Sox thought otherwise but I still file this under “why bother”.

On the other hand, Hanrahan is really good and a team can never really have enough relif pitchers. If Daniel Bard comes back to the bull-pen in 2013 (like is expected) the Red Sox have a bullpen of the previously mentioned Hanrahan, Miller and Bard in addition to Franklin Morales, Alfredo Aceves and Koji Uehara. Not bad at all for the Boston Red Sox.

Plus, the Boston Red Sox didn’t give up any big name prospects in order to get Joel Hanrahan. Overall, good move for the Boston Red Sox.

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Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics aren’t very good right now

Celtics fans everywhere keep waiting for the Boston Celtics run, the run that will take them back to the top of the Atlantic Division and into the higher seeds in the Eastern Conference. They did it last year just after the all-star break. It seems as if they should be able to do it this year.

These Boston Celtics, however, are not last year’s Boston Celtics. Last year’s was a desperate team, running on the fumes of an eight to nine man rotation and zero practice choosing “flight” in their flight or fight response. In 2012, the Celtics have a “deep” bench that they can’t figure out a rotation for. Night in and night out, the Celtics have no idea who is going to play well if anyone. In 2011-12, they were streaky. This year, they are Inconsistent. There is a big difference there. Where they would streak last year but sometimes still play well enough to win, they no longer do that this year.

What is consistent is the type of teams and players that beat this team. Take last night’s winner Milwaukee. They have Larry Sanders, a long, athletic big man who works hard on the blocks and creates second chance buckets. He has been a huge part in their three wins over the Celtics this year, as well as volume scorer’s Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis. The Boston Celtics currently have no answer to those type of players. Those last few players will be slowed down when Avery Bradley returns to the Celtics lineup as the Boston Celtics have yet to decide who should play in the back-court with Rajon Rondo. Courtney Lee hasn’t played as well as advertised and Jason Terry was supposed to the sixth man considering he doesn’t understand the meaning of the word “defense”. I guess that is part of the inconsistency.

They can’t decide a front-court and pivot either. Brandon Bass hasn’t played well this season, especially considering how good he was in the playoffs last year. It has forced Doc Rivers to start rookie Jared Sullinger at the four spot, move Kevin Garnett back to the four and start Jason Collins and tinker and tinker until he finds something that clicks. It hasn’t. More inconsistency from the Celtics.

And that’s why this team isn’t very good and keeps slugging along. They are inconsistent. When Paul Pierce put up 40 points on Wednesday night against the Chicago Bulls, it was a nice surprise and also a needed one. The extra scoring from the rest of the team wasn’t coming like it should have and Paul Pierce put the team on his back. That shouldn’t have to happen. On paper, this is the deepest team the Boston Celtics have had since their championship season in 2007-2008. When healthy, they have a tenacious back court of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley who can disrupt any offensive player. They have a veteran pivot in Kevin Garnett as well as intelligent post-scorers in Brandon Bass and Jarred Sullinger. Looking for scoring? This team should have enough in some combination of Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Jeff Green and even Courtney Lee in spurts. Maybe they do need another rim protector, but big men are hard to come by in the NBA. This team should work. So far it isn’t.

Maybe we just have to wait for Bradley to come back for everything to click. Then Doc Rivers can play the rotation that he wants to play and not have to juggle it around. For now, the Celtics aren’t a good basketball team and they have to become a good one before something drastic has to be done.

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Tom Brady and the New England Patriots had a learning experience Sunday night against the 49ers.

There are two main takeaways from this football game, a game that saw the New England Patriots fall down by a score of 31-3, only to tie the game in 15 minutes and then let the game slip-away once again. It was a wild one to say the least.

The first thing is that the New England Patriots simply proved what happens when teams mistakes against good teams. The San Francisco 49ers are a good football team with a physical defense and suddenly a few playmakers on the offensive side of the football. The Patriots turned the ball over four times, failed to convert a third down in the first half and found themselves down 17-3 at halftime. Against lesser opponents, the Patriots can turn it around quickly, get back into the football game and even sometimes turn it into a rout. That’s what happened against Buffalo earlier this year, but Buffalo isn’t San Francisco, and even though the Patriots’ defense did enough to keep them in the football game in the first half, it’s hard to win when an offense continually turns the ball over and pushes its defense into a short-field.

Basically, all sides deserve some blame for the loss tonight. If the Patriots offense does something in the first half, maybe the Patriots aren’t down by 28 points and scrambling to make plays. If their defense makes one more stop, the Patriots just might have won the game, and if certain decisions had panned out in a different way, maybe the Patriots’ don’t have to even attempt a desperation onside kick for a punchers chance of winning the game. In a way, there is no finger pointing to be done. One week after having their greatest team win of the season, they had arguably their greatest team loss this week.

What we also discovered tonight, and ultimately might be more important down the stretch is that this Patriots’ football team has some fight to it led by Tom Brady himself. In all honesty, we should have known this. It is what has separated the New England Patriots over the year from the others in the NFL. No matter the situation, they never believe that they are out of a football game and this Patriots team is no different than the others. More importantly, this is one of the youngest Patriots teams in a long time. Sure, mainstays like Tom Brady and Vince Wilfork remain who carry that belief, but the young guys, Jerrod Mayo, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez, all those guys haven’t had that test. Tonight was that test and while they came up short, they now know that feeling. Tonight taught them that in the NFL every minute is important and mistakes have to be limited. Come playoff time against the best the NFL has to offer, there is nothing to be left in the locker room and games are never over. Coming back from so far down and losing in the final minutes hurts, but its a learning experience.

Tonight was a learning experience, and the Patriots’ will be better for it.

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