The Patriots need a win against the Dolphins to have any chance of earning a first round bye. Tom E. Curran checks in with his three keys to making sure the Patriots uphold their end of the bargain.
1) Keep Cameron Wake off Tom Brady. Tom Terrific is a little banged up after taking some tough shots the last couple weeks. The Patriots can do their QB a solid by keeping Cameron Wake off his case. It's important for the Patriots to win this game, and to do that, Brady must remain upright.
2) Hold down Reggie Bush. The Miami offense flows through Bush and if the Patriots can disrupt that, they will force the Dolphins to go to some of their less impressive options. It won't be easy, Bush has been on a roll recently.
3) Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Pats must manage their key players. Yes, they need to win the game, but it's more important their big weapons remain healthy and come out of the game healthy for the playoffs.
The Bruins look like they’ll be without gritty veteran forward David Backes for at least the next couple of games, and probably more like the next couple of weeks.
It was announced that the gritty Bruins forward underwent a procedure on Monday remove the olecranon bursa from his elbow, and that “his condition will be updated after the weekend.” The procedure is commonly performed when bursitis in the elbow becomes an untenable, and seems more like an injury that worsens over time rather than anything that happened in a particular game this season.
Backes’ effectiveness did seem to be impacted after he got into a fight with Nazem Kadri in the second game of the season in Toronto, but it’s unknown if there’s any connection between that sequence and the forward’s elbow issues. According to the AAOS (American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons) website, it may take “10-14 days” for the skin to heal following the procedure, and three-to-four weeks before a doctor would clear the average person to resume normal activity.
The 32-year-old Backes is off to a good start for the Bruins with two goals and four points in five games prior to missing Tuesday night’s loss to the Minnesota Wild, and his absence makes an already-thin Bruins forward group smaller, softer and much less dangerous. With Backes on the shelf for at least the next two games against the Rangers and Detroit Red Wings, the Bruins have recalled young center Austin Czarnik after his short stint with the Providence Bruins.