GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

Sports

December 17, 2012

Crunch Time

Say bye bye

Sure, the Patriots will have a more difficult road to the Super Bowl after Sunday’s loss to the 49ers as it is unlikely that they will receive a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The Patriots will host a wild card round game but will have to go on the road in the divisional round.

While the road is tougher, it is not necessarily a disadvantage to play in the wild card round. In fact, recent history shows the opposite. Six of the last seven Super Bowl champions, dating all the way back to the 2005 Pittsburgh Steelers, have played in the wild card round.

Only the 2009 Saints won the Super Bowl with a first round bye in that time span. The Patriots, however, have only once qualified for the Super Bowl after playing in the wild card round, in 1985.

Deep AL East

With R.A. Dickey being traded from the Mets to the Blue Jays this weekend, Toronto once again improved and so did the American League East. It’s going to be hard to envision a wild card team coming out of the east with potentially five quality teams (if the Red Sox get their act together) playing each other 18 times a season.

The Yankees will be right back in the mix and Baltimore is looking the same after winning the Wild Card in 2012. Tampa Bay is still strong despite losing James Shields and Toronto has added a ton of talent in Dickey, Jose Reyes and Josh Johnson.

Whoever comes out on top of this division will surely have earned it, the runner up will probably spending October watching the playoffs on television.

Rondo moving up in assists

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo already is sixth all-time in Celtics team history with 3,775 assists. Fifth on the list is his teammate, Paul Pierce, with 4,016.

Bob Cousy owns the franchise record with 6,945. John Havlicek is second with 6,114. Larry Bird is third with 5,695. Bill Russell is fourth with 4,100.

-Compiled by Nick Curcuru

and Christopher Smith

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