Eagles (Tentatively) Set to Begin Regular Season on September 11

Eagles (Tentatively) Set to Begin Regular Season on September 11

Over the past several years, the NFL's
popularity has increased to the point where even the release of the
schedule results in hoopla and ballyhoo. Personally, I've never much
understood the excitement over a list of games that are well over four
months away, and now more than ever it seems meaningless. The very sport
hangs in the balance as a result of the lockout, and with free agency
being delayed and the draft still a week away, it's much harder to
predict which teams will rise and fall in the coming year.

That being said, the league went ahead and produced the schedule
anyway, with the regular season tentatively slated to begin Thursday
night in Green Bay on September 8, when the Super Bowl champs will take
on New Orleans. The Eagles kickoff their 2011 campaign three days later
in St. Louis on Sunday, September 11, and then eventually open the Linc
in Week 3 against the rival New York Giants on September 25. Full schedule and analysis below.

Week 1: @ St. Louis

Week 2: @ Atlanta - Sunday Night

Week 3: v. New York Giants

Week 4: v. San Francisco

Week 5: @ Buffalo

Week 6: @ Washington

Week 7: bye

Week 8: v. Dallas - Sunday Night

Week 9: v. Chicago - Monday Night

Week 10: v. Arizona

Week 11: @ New York Giants

Week 12: v. New England

Week 13: @ Seattle - Thursday Night

Week 14: @ Miami

Week 15: v. New York Jets

Week 16: @ Dallas - 4:15 Saturday (Christmas Eve)

Week 17: v. Washington

Pros: The Eagles drew the NFC West this season. While that division
couldn't possibly be worse than it was last season (could it?), three of
the four teams might feature new starting quarterbacks in 2011, with
only the Rams currently married to sophomore Sam Bradford. Either way,
all four franchises have an upward climb to respectability after a
sub-.500 club was able to secure a division title for the first time
this past season.

In terms of travel, the Birds will only compete further west than
Dallas once, though it is a trip to Qwest Field in Seattle. That's
always an imposing environment.

Cons: The Eagles drew the AFC East this season. Buffalo and Miami
probably don't scare anybody, but New York and New England will almost
certainly be powerhouses once again. If there is anything positive to
take away from those matchups at all, it's the Birds will be home for
both.

However, they also have a pair of road games on short weeks following
those meetings with likely Super Bowl contenders. The Eagles fly to
Seattle for a Thursday nighter after doing battle with the Pats, and
will head to Dallas for a division contest six days after their duel
with the Jets. Both trips are in December, further compounding the
matter.

Of course, as was already mentioned, it's not very constructive
trying to predict which teams will be good in April, particularly in the
wake of the lockout. We'll examine the schedule as--or perhaps more
appropriately, if--we get closer to the regular season, but for
now, which games will you try to pick up tickets for, and which road
trips are the most appealing?

Best of NBA: Heat stun Warriors on Dion Waiters' 3 with 0.6 seconds left

Best of NBA: Heat stun Warriors on Dion Waiters' 3 with 0.6 seconds left

MIAMI -- Dion Waiters' 3-pointer with 0.6 seconds left capped his 33-point effort, and the Miami Heat beat Golden State 105-102 on Monday night to end the Warriors' seven-game winning streak.

The Heat wasted a 10-point lead in the final 4 minutes, and Kevin Durant tied the game on a dunk with 11.7 seconds left. With no timeouts, Waiters walked the ball up the court and drilled what became the game-winner over Klay Thompson.

Stephen Curry missed a 3-pointer as time expired for the Warriors (see full recap).

Rivers, Crawford lead Clippers past Hawks
ATLANTA -- Austin Rivers scored 27 points and Jamal Crawford broke out of a shooting slump with 19, helping the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Atlanta Hawks 115-105 on Monday night.

Crawford had eight points in the fourth quarter, including a driving basket after Atlanta cut the Clippers' lead from 24 to five points.

Kent Bazemore led the Hawks with 25 points. Dennis Schroder had 21, and Dwight Howard added 16 points and 12 rebounds (see full recap).

Wizards beat Hornets behind Wall’s 24
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- John Wall firmly believes the Washington Wizards are a good team with plenty of playoff potential.

The key, he said, "is we just got to believe it every time we step on the court."

Wall had 24 points and seven assists, and the Wizards looked plenty confident as they continued their run up the Eastern Conference standings with a 109-99 win against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night (see full recap).

Kings snap skid with win over Pistons
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and the Sacramento Kings snapped a five-game losing streak with a 109-104 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.

Ty Lawson added 19 points and helped Sacramento turn the game around with a strong second quarter. Lawson scored nine points in the second, and the Kings outscored the Pistons 37-24 in the period to take a 65-62 lead into halftime.

A 3-pointer by Lawson put Sacramento up 101-90 in the fourth, and the Kings held on from there to stop Detroit's three-game winning streak (see full recap).

Jones, Holiday lead Pelicans past Cavs
NEW ORLEANS -- Terrence Jones filled in brilliantly for injured All-Star Anthony Davis, scoring a season-high 36 points, grabbing 11 rebounds and blocking LeBron James' dunk attempt in the fourth quarter, and the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 124-122 on Monday night.

Jrue Holiday added 33 points and 10 assists for the Pelicans, and Langston Galloway capped a 12-point night with a clean steal on James' drive in the final minute, preventing the Cavs from erasing a deficit they had trimmed from 22 late in the first half to three with 1:32 left in the game.

Kyrie Irving scoring 35 of his 49 points in the second half, but the Cleveland fell to its fifth loss in seven games. James had 26 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Henrik Lundqvist's 36 saves leads Rangers past Kings

Best of NHL: Henrik Lundqvist's 36 saves leads Rangers past Kings

NEW YORK -- Henrik Lundqvist stopped 36 shots to lead the New York Rangers over the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 on Monday night.

Brandon Pirri, Matt Puempel and Mats Zuccarello scored to help New York win its third straight since a three-game skid.

Jordan Nolan and Kyle Clifford scored, and Jeff Zatkoff finished with 14 saves for Los Angeles, which has lost four straight and five of seven.

Lundqvist has given up just four goals on 84 shots during the winning streak -- including a 1-0 shutout at Detroit on Monday -- after allowing 20 on 113 shots the previous four games.

The veteran goalie needed to be at his best in this one as the Kings, who last played Saturday across town against the Islanders, seemed a step faster from the start and controlled play for most of the first two periods (see full recap).

Caps top 'Canes to extend point streak to 14 games
WASHINGTON -- Defenseman Dmitry Orlov scored twice and the Washington Capitals kept the offense rolling to beat the Carolina Hurricanes 6-1 on Monday night and extend their point streak to 14 games.

Orlov doubled his goal output for the season and Justin Williams, Evgeny Kuznetsov, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller also scored for the Capitals, who have won three in a row and haven't lost in regulation since Dec. 27. Washington scored on six of its 25 shots on Cam Ward and handed Carolina its fourth consecutive loss.

Braden Holtby made 25 saves for his 23rd victory of the season. The only goal he allowed came from Jordan Staal on the power play in the first period.

The Capitals allowed the first goal for the first time in 11 games but scored six unanswered to continue their winning ways. They've scored 44 goals in their past eight games (see full recap).

Kadri reaches 20 goals as Leafs beat Flames
TORONTO -- Nazem Kadri scored twice to tie his career high with 20 goals this season, Frederik Andersen stopped 26 shots and the Toronto Maple Leafs ended a two-game winless streak with a 4-0 win over the Calgary Flames on Monday night.

Kadri beat Brian Elliott twice, and Andersen captured his second shutout as a Leaf.

Rookies Mitch Marner and Zach Hyman also scored for Toronto, which sits third in the Atlantic Division with 53 points.

Elliott gave up four goals on 28 shots, dropping his fourth consecutive start.

The Flames have lost three in a row and five of the past six. They are a point up on Vancouver for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference (see full recap).