Tom E. Curran: Eliminate mistakes


Tom E. Curran: Eliminate mistakes

Tom E. Curran offers his three keys to Sunday night's marquee game between the Patriots and 49ers. If the Patriots are going to knock off two of the NFL's best teams in back-to-back weeks they'll need to do the following:

1) Keep Colin Kaepernick in the pocket. Kaepernick is one of those quarterbacks who adds an extra threat because he can make the big play with his legs as well as his arm. The Patriots can't let him out of the pocket. If Kaepernick is allowed to scramble for first downs or big yardage, the 49ers will have a much easier time.

2) Watch out for anyone named 'Smith. Justin and Aldon Smith are two of the most dangerous players on the San Francisco roster and they both cause the same level of havoc. Curran believes these two players are as good as anybody the Houston Texans rolled out last week.

3) Last but certainly not least - make no mistake, the 49ers are better than the Texans. If the Patriots are going to win on Sunday night, they can't make any mistakes. Curran predicts this one's going to be a "rock fight" and predicts the Patriots won't score more than 25 points.

Final prediction: Patriots 24-21.

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six

Pedroia returns to lineup as Sox look to extend winning streak to six

After leaving Thursday night's game in the fifth inning and missing Friday night's game, Dustin Pedroia is back in the Red Sox lineup Saturday as they look to extend their winning streak to six in a 4:05 game against the Seattle Mariners.

Pedroia felt pain his left knee Thursday night and was taken out of the game by manager John Farrell as a precaution. The rainy conditions and wet field were also factors in keeping the second baseman out Thursday and Friday. 

Pedroia (.288, two homers, 21 RBI) had surgery on the knee in October. It's the same leg that was hurt when Manny Machado slid into Pedroia at second base in April, the slide that sparked various confrontations between the Orioles and Red Sox.

Left-hander Brian Johnson (1-0, 7.20 ERA) was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket to make his second start of the season for Boston and right-handed reliever Ben Taylor was optioned to the PawSox. Right-hander Rob Whalen, 23,  comes up from Triple-A Tacoma to make his first start of the season for the Mariners. 

The lineups:

Jean Segura SS
Danny Valencia 1B
Robinson Canó 2B
Nelson Cruz DH
Kyle Seager 3B
Taylor Motter LF
Guillermo Heredia RF
Mike Zunino C
Jarrod Dyson CF
Rob Whalen RHP

Mookie Betts RF
Dustin Pedroia 2B
Xander Bogaerts SS
Andrew Benintendi LF
Hanley Ramirez DH
Mitch Moreland 1B
Jackie Bradley Jr. CF
Sandy Leon C
Deven Marrero 3B
Brian Johnson LHP