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  • 21 Jun
    导出博客文章The showdown between two of the NFLs hottest teams could be decided by a single
    digit. In this case, that digit happens to be the middle finger on Matthew
    Staffords throwing hand.Stafford reportedly suffered torn ligaments and a
    dislocation in the first quarter of the Detroit Lions 20-17 win over Chicago
    last Sunday. He threw two interceptions, including a pick six, after having the
    finger taped and putting a glove on his hand. Stafford still led his club to its
    eighth fourth-quarter comeback victory, the most by any team since the AFL-NFL
    merger in 1970.Detroit, which leads the NFC North, will try to extend its
    winning streak to six games when it faces the New York Giants at MetLife
    Stadium. The Giants have won seven of their last eight games, including a gritty
    10-7 victory over NFC East leader Dallas last Sunday night.I expect it to be
    extremely competitive, Stafford said. Theyre playing for a lot and were playing
    for a lot. Its an NFC game and its going to be a big one. So were excited for
    the opportunity. Its great to be in this position; weve just got to go out there
    and play well.His finger complicates that process. The Lions pedestrian running
    game puts added pressure on Stafford to carry the offense. Hes ninth in the
    league in both completion percentage (66.7) and passing yards (3,447). Hes also
    tossed 22 touchdown passes and was intercepted just five times prior to the
    injury.Stafford, who scored the game-winning touchdown against the Bears with a
    7-yard scramble, hopes the injury will be less of an issue with a week to
    experiment on equipment and treatment options. Hes unsure whether hell wear a
    glove against the Giants. An early forecast of inclement weather could force
    another in-game adjustment.Its never fun when its on your throwing hand but Ill
    figure it out and well go from there, he said. (The glove) is not really for my
    state of mind, its for whats going to be functional. So whatevers most
    functional, with what I can perform the best with, thats what Ill go
    with.Staffords job wont be any easier if Detroit is missing its leading rusher
    once again. Theo Riddick, who is most effective as a receiver out of the
    backfield, sat out against the Bears with wrist and ankle injuries and is
    doubtful. One of his backups, Zach Zenner, is in the leagues concussion protocol
    and is questionable.With three games remaining, the Lions (9-4) could wrap up
    their first NFC North title with a victory on Sunday and a Green Bay loss. The
    Packers and Minnesota Vikings are tied for second place with 7-6 records and
    Detroit already holds the tiebreaker over Minnesota after sweeping the season
    series.The Lions dont have any soft touches remaining on the schedule. They have
    to play the Cowboys in Dallas the night after Christmas, then face the Packers
    at home on New Years Day.In head coach Jim Caldwells mind, the upcoming games
    arent any different from the ones his team just played.It didnt matter what the
    Bears record was last week, he said. That game still had a lot of magnitude. It
    was very, very important. This one is exactly the same. It just so happens, and
    thats how its going to be down the stretch, that youve got a team thats playing
    very, very well and thats riding high.The Giants (9-4) kept their division title
    hopes alive by defeating the Cowboys for the second time this season. They
    diffused the Dallas attack despite the absence of defensive end Jason
    Pierre-Paul, who underwent sports hernia surgery last week and is expected to
    miss the remainder of the regular season. New York forced three turnovers,
    sacked rookie quarterback Dak Prescott three times and held Dallas to 260 total
    yards.Other than the crossing route that wide receiver Odell Beckham turned into
    a 61-yard touchdown reception, the Giants offense was a virtual no-show on
    Sunday. Quarterback Eli Manning threw an interception and lost two fumbles and
    the rushing game averaged 2.8 yards per carry.Ive got to play better, Manning
    said. Got to find completions, got to protect the football better. Thats whats
    got to happen in these types of games. You get into December, youve got to
    protect the football. Thats the most important thing right now.Manning was also
    picked off twice the previous week in a 24-14 loss to Pittsburgh and has thrown
    for fewer than 200 yards in the last three games. Fortunately for him, the
    defense has masked the offenses struggles. Opponents have been held to 20 or
    fewer points in five of the teams last six victories.Weve got to keep finding
    ways to win, he said. The defense is playing outstanding, so weve got to help
    them out. Weve got to score more points, give them a lead and dont make it hard
    on them. JaVale
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    "Theyve both been real good," said Babcock. "Havent changed our minds." A
    decision has seemingly been made - Sundays Group B-deciding tilt against Finland
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    Wednesday night with a 101-97 victory over the Brooklyn Nets, who rested a lot
    of their lineup including former Celtics Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce.
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    dont know that were close," said general manager Alex Anthopoulos. "I just
    think, right now, the acquisition cost just doesnt work for us right now. I dont
    know if I can quantify how far off or things like that that they might be but I
    would say we continue to have dialogue.ST. LOUIS -- Just a few days ago, the St.
    Louis Cardinals had no wins when trailing after eight innings and just one
    extra-inning victory. They certainly showed the Pittsburgh Pirates they can go
    the extra mile. "We did a good job of bouncing back," said Matt Holliday, who
    hit a game-ending RBI single in the 12th inning of St. Louis 6-5 victory over
    Pittsburgh on Thursday. "Winning this game could be very important for us." Matt
    Carpenter had four hits and scored the winning run in the Cardinals second
    extra-inning triumph over the NL Central leaders in three days. "Anytime having
    a walk-off win, its a big deal," manager Mike Matheny said. "Jumping on it again
    it today is just the resiliency of this club. "You could sense it on the bench.
    The guys werent going to give in, werent going to stop pushing." The Cardinals
    took two of three in the series to pull within two games of the sagging Pirates,
    who have dropped five of six. St. Louis won 4-3 in 14 innings in the opener on
    Tuesday night. "We had a number of guys that had opportunities," Pirates manager
    Clint Hurdle said. "The great thing about what were going through is the
    challenge and opportunities were all getting. "Its playoff atmosphere baseball."
    The Cardinals lost the division lead when they dropped four of five in
    Pittsburgh from July 29-Aug. 1. Rookie Kevin Siegrist (1-1), St. Louis seventh
    pitcher, struck out two in a perfect 12th against the heart of the order.
    Russell Martin and Clint Barmes homered for Pittsburgh, which blew a 4-0 lead in
    one inning. Jose Tabata had three straight hits after entering as a pinch
    hitter. Carpenter sparked the winning rally with a one-out walk. He went to
    third on Jon Jays single before Holliday grounded a single up the middle off
    Bryan Morris (5-6). Carpenter, the Cardinals leadoff man, leads the National
    League with 48 multihit games and 40 doubles. He entered with league-leading
    averages oof .dddddddddddd366 at home and .367 in day games. Holliday also had
    an RBI double and is batting .452 during a 12-game hitting streak. Martin hit a
    tying leadoff drive off Trevor Rosenthal in the eighth, handing the setup man
    his second blown save of St. Louis 4-6 homestand. The Pirates hit for the cycle
    against Lance Lynn in a four-run fifth that featured rookie Andrew Lambos first
    hit and RBI on a double and Barmes two-run homer. The Cardinals responded by
    knocking out A.J. Burnett with five runs in the bottom half on a two-run single
    by Daniel Descalso and RBIs in consecutive at-bats from Carpenter, Jon Jay and
    Holliday. "As good as it looked early, its never easy against this group,"
    Burnett said. "They figured me out early." Both managers put a heavy stamp on
    the game. Hurdle hit for two regulars in the sixth and emptied his bench, and
    Matheny used three relievers in the sixth and seventh. St. Louis activated
    All-Star catcher Yadier Molina from the 15-day disabled list, and he announced
    his presence almost immediately. He threw out Starling Marte trying to steal
    third to end the first. NOTES: The Pirates begin a three-game homestand Friday
    against the Diamondbacks. Pittsburgh rookie Gerrit Cole (5-5, 3.95 ERA), who
    opposes Brandon McCarthy (2-6, 4.73 ERA) in the opener, has lost five of his
    last six decisions. ... The Cardinals open a three-game series at Chicago, with
    St. Louis Jake Westbrook (7-7, 4.11 ERA) opposing minor league callup Jake
    Arrieta. It will be Westbrooks first appearance since giving up nine runs in 4
    2-3 innings of relief on three days rest after Shelby Miller was knocked out by
    a liner off his elbow on his second pitch of the game. ... Cardinals reliever
    Seth Maness, who grounded into a double play and struck out to strand five
    runners Tuesday night, got his first career hit in the sixth. ... Pirates
    reliever Tony Watson worked three scoreless innings and retired the heart of the
    order in the 10th. ' ' '