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Philly Sports: Down to the Wire

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Edition 5

There’s plenty of storylines year-round in the city of Philadelphia. From deadlines and injuries to big games, we’re here to get you caught up on all the action happening this week in the sports landscape!

Eagles

(13-3) Upcoming Games: 1/13 Atlanta Falcons

The Eagles will be looking to win a playoff game for the first time since January 11th, 2009. After resting up and watching the NFL’s Wildcard Weekend unfold, they now know that the Atlanta Falcons will be on their way to Lincoln Financial Field to faceoff in the first game of the Divisional Round at 4:35 pm. Matt Ryan and company defeated the Los Angeles Rams last weekend while the coaching staff has been getting a game plan ready for Nick Foles to succeed as the march to Minneapolis is on! 

While the team is focusing on one goal, some of the players did add to their resumes as Carson Wentz, Zach Ertz, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson(1st), Malcolm Jenkins (2nd), and Fletcher Cox (3rd) were all named to the NFC Pro-Bowl team. Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson were named to the first-team, All-Pro while Wentz and Cox took home second-team honors. The most notable snub is Brandon Graham who leads the team in sacks (9.5) by a wide margin. Eagles coaches are also expected to pursue vacancies around the league shortly. 

 

Sixers

(19-19) Upcoming Games: 1/11 vs. BOS Celtics

The Sixers are enjoying a nice getaway in London as they are getting set to square off against the Boston Celtics in the NBA’s first game across the pond since January 12th of 2017. Neither team has ever played in the UK. Winners in 5 of their last 6, and outscoring opponents by an average of 15 points during their 4-game hot streak, the Sixers are starting to show what they are capable of if they limit the turnovers. Ben Simmons has been much more aggressive, especially when Embiid is not on the floor. According to The Athletic’s Derek Bodner, “Over the last three games, Ben Simmons has averaged 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.0 blocks per game, while shooting 57.1 percent from the field. He’s made 18 of 27 free-throw attempts during that time.”  Now back to .500 on the season, they are leading the NBA in rebounding, are 3rd in assists per game and have a top-10 defense. The team has played the second toughest schedule at this point, and with a tough month remaining, they will continue to be tested.

 

Flyers

(19-15-8) Upcoming Games: 1/13 @ NJ Devils

All of a sudden, the Flyers are hot. After an ugly home loss to the Penguins last Tuesday, the Flyers have rattled off 3 straight wins against the Islanders, Blues, and Sabres as they have found the back of the net 16 times in the last 3 games. The schedule might not be shaking out the way they want, however, as a 6-day break is on the horizon for the team. During the recent surge, Claude Giroux has skyrocketed into the NHL’s top 3 in total points(52) and Sean Couturier is now 4th in the league with 23 goals scored. To put it in perspective, Giroux had 58 points in 82 games last season, and Couturier had 14 goals last season. This top line tandem has combined for 6 goals and 11 points during the recent streak and has brought the team back into the wild-card race.

 In other news, Flyers #1 prospect goalie Carter Hart helped lead the Canadian junior team to a world title this past weekend. Hart finished with a 5-0-0-1 record with 1.64 goals against average and .935 save percentage in the tournament.

 

Phillies

The Phillies made a few minor league free agent signings this past week headlined by former Boston Red Sox third basemen Will Middlebrooks. Some of the signings were for players that have played in the Phillies system last year. However, most if not all are just to provide depth on minor league rosters. As it gets closer and closer to spring training, the Phillies will continue to search the trade and free agent market for deals to help finalize their 2018 roster. Spring Training kicks off in just 37 days.

 

Villanova

Upcoming Games: 1/10 vs Xavier(10), 1/13 @ St. John’s.

The Wildcats downed Marquette this past week with a 100-90 victory en route to a nice bounce-back win after being upset the previous week at Butler. After reclaiming the number one spot in the nation, Villanova will square off in two games this week where they will continue to be tested. Facing off against a top-ten ranked opponent in Xavier will be a tough test for the Wildcats, but they will have the home-court advantage on their side. Later in the week, they will go up against an improved Saint John’s team, but you should fully expect Nova to come out on top in that matchup. The Big East Conference is without a doubt one of the best in the country this season and is much better than it was just a year ago. Villanova is still the favorite to win the Big East Conference title for a 5th straight season, but the fight to the top of the conference will not be an easy task.

 

Bowl Mania

Georgia and Alabama will square off in the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday Night at 8 pm in the Mercedez-Benz Stadium. Both teams went 7-1 in the SEC this season, and are hoping to bring home the hardware. This is the third year in a row Alabama has made an appearance in the Championship game while Georgia makes its first appearance in the playoffs. 

 

 

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