NOT THEM AGAIN!Sorry America — at least outside of New England — but the team you love to hate is headed back to the Super
Bowl.Sure Nate Davis Jersey
, there are negatives to point out with these Patriots. They haven’t looked much more than mediocre on the road. Their defense is vulnerable,
especially against dynamic passers, and Kansas City certainly has one of those
in Patrick Mahomes.New England’s coaching staff tends to take away an opponent’s
biggest threat. Who is that with the Chiefs, though? Mahomes has Tyreek Hill,
Travis Kelce and Sammy Watkins as dangerous targets. He has a running game that
hasn’t really missed Kareem Hunt since he was released.Oh yeah, Tom Brady also
is 41. At times, he’s looked it this season.And there are so many positives to
list, especially when the Patriots (12-5) get this far. Such as being to eight
Super Bowls with Brady at quarterback, winning five. Such as their superb
demolition of the Chargers, an opponent many thought was the most balanced team
in the postseason; though the Chargers’ defense looked from the outset as if it
wanted no part of frigid Foxborough.Oh yeah, Brady is 41. He’s seen pretty much
everything Tytus Howard Jersey
, and will particularly like the looks of the spotty pass coverage Kansas City (13-4) provides.The entire environment seems to work for
New England.“Yeah, I think this team thrives on it,” receiver Phillip Dorsett
says. “Obviously, there’s no elephant in the room, we’re 3-5 on the road and
everybody is going to criticize us for that. We’ve got our backs against the
wall and we’ve just got to go out there and play our best game. That’s the only
thing that really matters.”It also matters that Chiefs coach Andy Reid rarely
outsmarts the Patriots. Indeed, Reid’s only Super Bowl trip was spoiled by New
England when it beat Reid’s Eagles for the 2004 title. Reid is 2-6 vs. the
Patriots, and lost 43-40 on Oct. 14 at Gillette Stadium.The Chiefs are 3-point
favorites, which accounts for the home-field edge. Except in the upcoming arctic
conditions, and with the pedigree of the Patriots, this is a matchup Kansas City
won’t win.UPSET SPECIAL: PATRIOTS,27-23Los Angeles Rams (plus 3) at New Orleans
SaintsA 45-35 shootout victory for Drew Brees and the Saints on Nov. 4 came in
the Superdome. These two have a return matchup Sunday to get to the Super
Bowl Gary Jennings Jr. Jersey
, and with all their firepower, this one could come down to one factor: experience.That edge clearly falls to the hosts. New
Orleans (14-3) has been a postseason regular since coach Sean Payton and Brees
hooked up in 2006. This is the Saints’ third NFC championship appearance — a
loss at Chicago in January 2007, an overtime win over Minnesota at home three
years later. The Saints won the Super Bowl that season, as well.Los Angeles
(14-3) had the only unanimous member of the All-Pro team, defensive tackle Aaron
Donald. And the Saints lost key DT Sheldon Rankins to a torn Achilles tendon
last weekend. Still, this side of the ball looks like a wash.The site of this
game is more critical than in the AFC. The way the Superdome rocks can be
disruptive to opponents, and uplifting to the homies. Just look at the Saints’
win against defending champion Philadelphia last Sunday.So give us Brees’
calmness and creativity over Jared Goff’s relative newness.BEST BET: SAINTS,
34-26 Jed Lowrie and Khris Davis gave the Athletics an opportunity for another
come-from-behind win. Stephen Piscotty completed the job.
Piscotty belted a go-ahead, two-run homer in the 11th inning as Oakland rallied for a 6-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians on Saturday afternoon.
It was the Athletics’ 22nd comeback win of the season, six of them occurring in extra innings. The Indians carried a 3-0 lead into the eighth before reliever
Neil Ramirez gave up back-to-back home runs to Lowrie — a two-run blast — and
Davis to tie it.
”You can’t sleep on our offense because we can vaporize the lead really quick,” Piscotty said. ”We know that and that’s why we keep grinding and keep
Matt Chapman Ugo Amadi Jersey
, who had a career-high four hits and stole his first base in the majors, scored later in the frame on Jonathan Lucroy’s grounder to make a
winner out of A’s closer Blake Treinen (5-1).
Nine of Oakland’s last 19 victories have occurred via runs in the eighth inning or later, including its last two. The A’s scored twice in the eighth
Wednesday to beat San Diego 4-2.
”Just knowing that we’re not out of the game, no matter how late it is, definitely builds confidence,” said Davis, who has a team-high 21 homers. ”We’ll
just keep learning from them and hold onto the momentum.”
Cleveland had its home winning streak snapped at eight and fell to 1-6 in extra-inning contests. Josh Tomlin (0-5), the Indians’ sixth pitcher, allowed
all three runs after entering to start the 11th.
Right-hander Corey Kluber tossed seven shutout innings, but was denied in his bid to become the first Indians pitcher with 13 wins before the All-Star break
since Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry had 15 in 1974.
The two-time AL Cy Young winner allowed only one runner to reach third base, scattering five hits and striking out three before exiting after 102 pitches.
Kluber is 7-1 with a 1.43 ERA at Progressive Field this season.
”Even though we didn’t beat him Devin White Jersey
, to get a win with a guy like Kluber on the mound to start, that might be worth two for us,” Lowrie said. ”It never seems like we’re
out of a game.”
Oakland righty Edwin Jackson went 5 2/3 innings in his third big league start of the year, allowing single runs in the first, second and sixth. Ryan Buchter,
Lou Trevino and Treinen combined to blank Cleveland the rest of the way.
Ramirez hadn’t allowed a run in his previous 17 appearances, but manager Terry Francona didn’t second-guess his decision to pull his ace.
”Corey is such a good pitcher and he’s smart, and he gave us seven really good innings,” Francona said. ”We lean on him so hard, I thought we’d go to
Neil. And it didn’t work. Neil has been good, but today L.J. Collier Jersey
, not so much.”
Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor scored his major league-leading 79th run and had an RBI, while Greg Allen doubled home Yan Gomes. Lindor committed the
error that scored Chapman with the game’s final run.
The Indians played the final three innings without a designated hitter after Francona made a flurry of strategic moves that forced RHP Zach McAllister into
the batting order. The former Phillies skipper also pulled off a rare AL
double-switch in the 11th to avoid having Tomlin bat.
”We didn’t want to play a National League game for obvious reasons,” Francona said. ”I didn’t want to do it, but I thought that was our best way to win.”
Athletics: OF Matt Joyce (lumbar strain) was placed on the 10-day disabled list. He missed 15 games in June with the same ailment. OF Nick Martini was
recalled from Triple-A Nashville, where he has a 65-game on-base streak.
Indians: OF Lonnie Chisenhall (left calf strain), who was hurt Monday in Kansas City, will travel to Washington for a second opinion on his oft-injured
lower legs. This marks his third DL stint with calf problems in a calendar
Athletics LHP Brett Anderson (0-2, 7.63 ERA) will be activated to face Indians RHP Shane Bieber (4-0, 2.97 ERA) in the three-game series finale.
Anderson has not pitched for Oakland since May 18 because of a strained right