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  • 04 Apr
    FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Its been two months since Tom Brady returned to the field after serving a four-game suspension. In his eight games back, Brady has played at an MVP level in leading his team to the cusp of yet another AFC East title.But as New England (10-2) prepares to host the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, the ghost of Deflategate has emerged this week -- even as Brady insists its the furthest thing from his mind.In the initial months after Deflategate began, court papers surfaced as a part of a lawsuit Brady filed against the NFL to fight his suspension. They revealed a claim that a Ravens employee contacted the Indianapolis Colts about deflated footballs used in Baltimores playoff loss to the Patriots the week before the AFC title game in 2015. Those claims were refuted by the Ravens.Brady was suspended for what the NFL determined was his role in a scheme by the Patriots to underinflate footballs used in that 2015 AFC championship game.I think you just try to put everything aside, and whether it was that or whether it was a playoff game a couple of years ago or whether it was a regular-season game a couple of years ago or championship games, Brady said this week. I mean, none of those really matter.What does matter is that the outcome of Mondays game will have playoff implications for both teams.New England can clinch the AFC East for what would be an NFL-record eighth consecutive season with a victory and Miami loss or tie. The Patriots would also earn a first-round bye with a win and losses by Miami and Pittsburgh.Baltimore (7-5) has won four of its past five games, but entered the week tied with the Steelers for first place in the AFC North.Under coach John Harbaugh the Ravens have been one of the few teams that have consistently played the Patriots close. In six games at Gillette Stadium under Harbaugh, the Ravens are 2-4, but their four defeats have come by an average of four points. That includes the 35-31 loss in the 2015 playoff loss.We do appreciate it, Harbaugh said of the rivalry with New England. Were glad to be in this game. Were glad weve earned the right to play a meaningful game in December, most especially against the team were about to play, because theyre always in that position.Here are some other things to watch for in Monday nights matchup:GROUND GAME: The Ravens entered the week with the NFLs top-ranked defense, giving up 296.1 yards per game overall and an NFL-low 73.8 rushing yards per game. That unit will be tested this week when it tries to slow down New England RB LeGarrette Blount, who has a league-best 13 rushing touchdowns.PLAYING THROUGH PAIN: The spotlight has been on Patriots TE Martellus Bennett since Rob Gronkowski was placed on injured reserve following season-ending back surgery Dec. 1. Bennett continues to deal with an ankle issue that slowed him in New Englands win over the Rams. He was targeted just four times in that game, finishing with two catches for 4 yards. He also had a pair of holding penalties.Bennett acknowledged he is not 100 percent, but said his working through it.The thing about playing this sport is its always something. You never go through a season without having some kind of nick or tear, Bennett said. I just keep going. Im like the Energizer bunny. I just try to find a way.OLD MANS GAME: While many people have marveled at the play of Brady at age 39, a lot of that same praise was heaped on 37-year-old Ravens WR Steve Smith by the Patriots. Smith has 54 catches for 589 yards this season. Hes also been a nuisance in his past two games against New England, amassing 145 receiving yards and a touchdown. Patriots CB Malcolm Butler called Smith one of his favorite players.Lot of respect, man, Butler said. At the age of 37, he looks like hes out there running around like hes 26 or 27.EYES ON JONES: Its been a challenging season for Patriots rookie cornerback and punt returner Cyrus Jones. He had his fourth fumble of the season last week against Los Angeles, and is averaging only 4.7 yards per punt return. He was replaced by Danny Amendola, who promptly suffered an ankle injury. But Jones said hes hoping to get more chances to prove himself.Ill just take whatever opportunities I get, Jones said. Dannys out, so somebody has to get back there and try to do it.---For more NFL coverage: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP-NFL---Follow Kyle Hightower on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/khightower Air Max 1 Online Shop . Varlamov made 33 saves and Ryan OReilly had a goal and scored in the shootout as the Avalanche beat the New Jersey Devils 2-1 on Thursday night. Air Max 1 Sale Cheap . The 20-year-old Pelicans big man glanced up and smiled widely at the well-wishers -- a fitting end to a day he wont soon forget. Davis responded to his selection earlier in the day as a Western Conference All-Star with 26 points and 10 rebounds, and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-91 on Friday night. http://www.cheapairmax1uk.com/ .B. - Sebastien Auger made 44 saves as the Saint John Sea Dogs edged the visiting Acadie-Bathurst Titan 2-1 on Saturday in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. Nike Air Max 1 Clearance UK . The visitors took a deserved lead in the 16th minute with midfielder Yohan Cabaye curling the ball beyond Adrian from inside the penalty area. Nike Air Max 1 Cheap UK . Now tied for second in the league in shootout goals, the 24-year-old likes to see what the opposing goaltender has in store before he ultimately lands on a move.This time Casey At The Bat delivered. Monday night at Shaw Park, Goldeyes first baseman Casey Haerther hit a grand slam home run in the fifth, drove in the tying run on a ground out in the seventh and then drove home the winner with a single in the bottom of the ninth as the Goldeyes beat the Wichita Wingnuts 7-6. Haerther finished with three hits on five trips and drove in six runs, as he led the Goldeyes to their 13th win of the season and put a halt to a three-game losing streak. The Goldeyes also came back from a 5-1 deficit thanks to Haerthers heroics. With the win, the Goldeyes improved to 13-11 and remained in second place in the American Associations North Division, just a half a game back of first-place Fargo. “On the home run, I got a fastball away,” said Haerther who drilled the pitch over the rightfield wall. “I didnt want to let him get to the splitter so I was sitting on the fastball. “I got a fastball on the single to win it, too. I figured hed try to get ahead and throw me a fastball on the first pitch. I didnt hit it very hard, but sometimes you dont have to hit it very hard.” Wichita took a 2-0 lead in the first, but the Goldeyes came back with a single in the first as Ryan Scoma doubled home Amos Ramon. With the Wingnuts leading 5-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, newcomer Tyler Graham singled, Ramon singled and Mazzola walked and then Haerther took a fastball on a 1-0 count over the Manitoba Hydro sign in right fielld.dddddddddddd Wichita regained the lead 6-5 in the sixth, but Haerthers ground out in the seventh scored Graham from third and the game was tied again. Then, in the ninth, Haerther came up with the bases load and nobody out and he hit a first-pitch single to right to score Ramon with the game-winning run. “Yeah, that felt like last years playoffs,” said Ramon who had a four-hit night. “We really needed that as a team. We got down early, but we didnt give up. We played a real good ball game. We played good defense and started to hit. Hitting is just confidence and we started to get some confidence back tonight.” The top of the Goldeyes order came through big time on Monday. Graham, who was just acquired from Fargo, went two-for-five with two runs scored; Ramon went four-for-five with three runs scored; Scoma went one-for-four with an RBI and Haerther was three-for-five with a run scored and six driven in. Goldeyes closer Patrick Keating (1-0, 0.90 ERA)) got the win, while Wichitas Lincoln Holdzkom (1-1, 1.64 ERA) suffered the loss. The two teams will go at it again on Tuesday night at Shaw Park at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Matt Rusch (4-1, 2.05 ERA) will get the start for Winnipeg, while Jon Link (4-1, 2.08) will take to the hill for Wichita. Tickets for all Goldeyes games are available through Ticketmaster by clicking on Ticketmaster.ca, calling 1-855-GOLDEYE or visiting any Ticketmaster outlet, including the Shaw Park box office. ' ' '