How far will the Patriots go in the playoffs? It's the question everyone's asking and to which no one knows the answer.
They could be eliminated in their first game, as they have been the previous two years. Or they could make it to the Super Bowl, maybe even win it.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King has made his prediction, that being his job and all. He has the Patriots getting to the big game, then losing to New Orleans, 34-24.
One of the numbers SI uses to determine the Patriots are Super Bowl-worthy?
169 Combined receptions by New Englands Rob Gronkowski (90) and Aaron Hernandez (79) in 2011, most by a pair of tight ends on the same team in a single season in NFL history.
But then there's this, likely the No. 1 reason why King would pick the Patriots to lose to the Saints and their dangerous passing attack:
4,703 Passing yards allowed by the Patriots defense, second most in NFL history behind the Packers 4,796, also this year. New England allowed nine quarterbacks to pass for 300 or more yards in 2011.
Cue the Drew Brees drool (if it ever gets to that point).
Now THIS is old-time hockey!
There's bad blood between the Bruins' David Backes and the Stars' Jamie Benn that goes back a long way, most recently in last spring's Dallas-St. Louis playoff series when Backes was still with the Blues. They met again today -- and the ungodly (hockey) hour of 11:30 a.m. Dallas time -- for a nationally televised game between Backes' new team, the Bruins, and the Stars.
And it didn't take long for the two to renew acquaintances . . .
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- The Detroit Pistons will retire the jersey number of former UConn star Rip Hamilton tonight, an instrumental figure in the Pistons’ success in the early 2000s that included an NBA title in 2004.
Although Hamilton never played for Boston, his impact can be felt within the Celtics locker room.
Boston’s Amir Johnson spent his first four NBA seasons as a teammate of Hamilton's in Detroit.
In that time, Johnson acknowledges how many of the positive things folks associate with him come from lessons he learned from Hamilton.
“He was so relentless when he ran,” Johnson told CSNNE.com. “I remember working out with him one summer. For him to even get his shot off, he sprints full court, goes back down shooting shots, and he just kept doing this over and over and over again, full court sprinting . . . To see that as a young kid, and at his age, just working hard like that, it was great to see.”
James Young grew up in nearby Rochester Hills, Mich., so he watched Hamilton’s scoring prowess up close and personal.
And as he continued to evolve as a player, Young would see Hamilton during the summer months while attending Hamilton’s basketball camps.
“I was there every year, won MVP a few times,” Young told CSNNE.com. “He’s a great guy, a great player.”
And, like Hamilton, Young has a lanky frame for an NBA player, which was among the many reasons Young acknowledged Hamilton as being one of his first significant basketball influences as a youth.
“For sure,” Young said. “His mid-range game was crazy, great shooter. He was always consistent.”
And that consistency has paid off in the highest honor an NBA franchise can bestow upon a player.
“That’s big time,” Johnson said. “He’s a champion, great father, great baller. To have his jersey retired is an honor. To see the success he had in the league, and to see his jersey retired with the greats, it's definitely an honor. I’m glad I’ll be there to see that. Kudos to him. He’s a hard worker. Had a great career. I had my high school jersey retired, but to get your NBA jersey retired, that’s great.”
Hamilton played 14 seasons in the NBA, nine of which were with the Pistons. A career 17.1 points per game score, he averaged 18.4 with Detroit and was named an Eastern Conference All-Star three times (2006-2008).
Although he is known as one of the greatest mid-range shooters of his era, Hamilton began to expand his range over time. During the 2005-06 season, Hamilton shot 45.8 percent from 3-point range (most of them being corner 3’s), which led the NBA that season.