Tom E. Curran: Make stops; contain the kicker; find Gronk


Tom E. Curran: Make stops; contain the kicker; find Gronk

Tom E. Curran lays out his three-point-plan for the Patriots to take down the Rams in London.

First, the Patriots defense has to stop somebody. The Rams have a depleted passing attack and the Patriots will need to capitalize on that. They've been porous all season, but the Patriots can't allow themselves to get shredded by a Rams offensive that just don't have a lot of weapons.

As weird as it sounds, the Patriots will need to contain the St. Louis placekicker, Greg Zuerlein. Zuerlein has a cannon for a leg and can regularly make kicks of 60 yards. This means the Rams barely need to cross mid-field to be in scoring position.

Finally, the Patriots will need to contend with antagonist Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan figures to draw Wes Welker and that means Rob Gronkowski will have to draw away some of the heat in the middle of the field in order to open up the passing game.

Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford


Moving to power forward 'presents a different challenge' for Horford

PHILADELPHIA – For the third time in as many games, the Boston Celtics will field a different lineup.

It will have a domino effect on Boston’s usual starters, but no one more than Al Horford who will slide over to power forward with Aron Baynes inserted into the starting lineup where he’ll be charged with trying to defend Sixers 7-footer Joel Embiid.

Meanwhile, Horford will be assigned to defend Robert Covington who is one of Philadelphia’s better perimeter scorers.


“I feel like one of my strengths is being able to play multiple positions,” Horford told NBC Sports Boston. “It presents a different challenge for me, which is making sure I do a good job of covering him out on the perimeter, staying between him and the basket.”

In Philadelphia’s 120-115 season-opening loss to Washington, Covington led all Sixers with 29 points which included him going 7-for-11 from 3-point range in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.

While Covington will be Horford’s first defensive assignment, he knows he will also be called upon at times to defend Embiid who ranks among the best centers in the NBA despite having played just 32 games over the course of three NBA seasons.

In the loss to the Wizards, Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds.

Horford’s defense will be critical for Boston (0-2) to get its first win of the season, but the Celtics will also need him to take advantage of scoring opportunities as well.

“We have some guys down, but that creates opportunities for other guys to step up and contribute,” Horford said. “It’s going to all of us, the veterans, the young players, all of us to get that first win.”

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens agreed.

“I think that’s how we have to look at it,” Stevens said. “We’re going to have to make a few tweaks on how we do things, obviously. Hey, it’s gonna be something that we’re going to have to do really, really well on the fly.”