With the surprising Cowboys victory in New Orleans last night, the pressure is back on the Birds this afternoon. With a win, they stay one step ahead of Dallas and keep the momentum on their side. A loss locks them back into a tie, with a tough game at home against Denver to follow. The Eagles could theoretically enter their Week 17 showdown a game behind the Girls.
That's getting ahead of ourselves though. The 49ers are riding the fence between mediocrity and playoff contender. They have a tough defense and several playmakers on offense, but they lack a quarterback who has proven he can get the job done week in and week out. It's the defense's job to limit San Francisco's production on the ground today, then torture an overwhelmed Alex Smith with their complex blitzing schemes. The offense should put together enough to steal a close game, if need be.
Historically, these are exactly the kinds of games the Eagles win under Andy Reid. That is to say, games in December, particularly those versus inferior opponents. The thinking though is they may be in for a letdown somewhere along the way, and the 49ers are not so outclassed that it couldn't be them. This match will really test their focus, coming off a huge W at a division rival, now comfortably home for a team traveling across the country after a brutal Monday night.
Are the Birds content where they are at, or is this a group that will see things through?
If you enjoy a little pigskin in the snow, I'm sorry to say those who are actually attending the game are more likely to battle snow in the parking lots than the Eagles are on the gridiron. The tarp was down, and by all accounts, the field crew has done an excellent job removing any trace of the powdery stuff. The game was pushed back to a late afternoon start, but it will otherwise be just another day at the Linc.
Pete Mackanin is still searching for answers to the Phillies' offensive woes following Sunday afternoon's disheartening 1-0 loss in Pittsburgh during which the Phils could only muster three hits.
The latest lineup twist as the search for an answer continues will see Michael Saunders bat in the eight-hole tonight as the Phils open a four-game series with the surging Rockies tonight at Citizens Bank Park (see game notes).
When he has started this season, Saunders has been a fixture within the middle of the Phillies' order. After all, the offseason free-agent signing was an All-Star last season for Toronto when he hit 24 homers and drove in 57 runs.
But this season hasn't gone as planned as Saunders is hitting just .232 with four homers and 15 RBI in 41 games with the Phils this season.
With Saunders' drop down the lineup, Tommy Joseph will bat fourth, Maikel Franco fifth and Odubel Herrera sixth against Rockies spot starter Jeff Hoffman.
Tonight's full lineup can be found below:
1. Cesar Hernandez 2B
2. Freddy Galvis SS
3. Aaron Altherr LF
4. Tommy Joseph 1B
5. Maikel Franco 3B
6. Odubel Herrera CF
7. Cameron Rupp C
8. Michael Saunders RF
9. Jerad Eickhoff SP
With the matchups for Saint Joseph's men's basketball's conference slate already set, the Hawks have now added an old northeast corridor rival to the nonconference portion of their schedule.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Monday afternoon that St. Joe's and St. John's will meet on Dec. 20 during of the seventh annual Hall of Fame Holiday Showcase at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Providence and Houston will play in the other contest of the two-game event.
“We are honored to be associated with the Basketball Hall of Fame, an organization that promotes all levels of the game," Saint Joseph’s head coach Phil Martelli said in a statement released Monday. "We're delighted for our players to have the opportunity to compete against the legendary St. John's program and are looking forward to an old-fashioned Philly vs. New York matchup.”
The two schools have played just once in the past 37 years—when the sides met at Hagan Arena in 2013, the Red Storm pulled out a narrow victory to advance to the second round of the NIT. But December's matchup will be the 58th all-time meeting between the programs.
Saint Joseph's last played at the Mohegan Sun Arena back in the 2015 Hall of Fame Showcase, losing to Florida before knocking off Old Dominion in the consolation game. The Hawks return nearly their entire roster for the 2017-18 season, including all five starters, led by the backcourt duo of Shavar Newkirk and Lamarr Kimble.