East Oregonian : E.O. (Pendleton, OR) 1888-current, January 12, 2018, Page Page 2B, Image 10

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East Oregonian
Friday, January 12, 2018
Seahawks to play in London for fi rst time, will face Raiders
Associated Press
heading to a new destination
in London, and the fi rst
match-up at English Premier
League club Tottenham
will be the Oakland Raiders
against the Seattle Seahawks
in October.
That’s if the 60,000-plus
capacity stadium, which has
been designed to accom-
modate soccer and NFL, is
completed in time for Week
While Tottenham is sure
that building work is on
schedule on the White Hart
Lane site where its previous
stadium was demolished last
year, the NFL has contin-
gency plans to move the
Oct. 14 game to Wembley
The home of the England
national soccer team is
where the NFL will be
staging another two games
match-up, giving London
three consecutive weeks of
American football for the
fi rst time.
The Philadelphia Eagles
will play the Jacksonville
Jaguars, and the Tennessee
Titans will take on the Los
Angeles Chargers. The NFL
is yet to decide which game
will be on Oct. 21 in Week 7
and which slots into Week 8
on Oct. 28.
“It’s a great learning for
us, it’s another test for us,”
Mark Waller, the NFL’s
executive vice president of
international, said Thursday
at the site of Tottenham’s
new stadium. “If we were
ever to put a franchise in the
UK we would need to know
we can do three consecutive
AP Photo/Eric Risberg
In this Aug. 31, 2017 fi le photo, Seattle Seahawks’ Cyril
Grayson Jr. (13) runs in front of Oakland Raiders defen-
sive back Marcus McWilson (28) during an NFL presea-
son game in Oakland, Calif.
The NFL had planned
to stage two games in the
2018 season at Tottenham,
which was runner-up in the
Premier League last season.
But Tottenham, which is
using Wembley as its own
temporary home this season,
doesn’t want the burden of
two NFL fi xtures when it
is still settling into its new,
unnamed stadium.
something very unique,”
Tottenham chairman Daniel
Levy said at the announce-
ment of fi xtures. “We still
have another six or seven
months of really hard work
of construction.”
Tottenham has signed a
10-year contract for games
with the NFL.
“We very much hope
there will be a franchise in
London and we would very
much like this stadium to
be used for that club,” Levy
said. “We haven’t assumed
there is going to be a fran-
chise. It’s very much our
The new stadium was
designed with NFL-sized
changing rooms and to
ensure the grass soccer pitch
can be retracted and kept
under lights below the stands
when the artifi cial surface is
required for NFL.
Waller said they “don’t
want to alienate” fans of
Tottenham’s rivals by being
so closely associated with
one Premier League team.
“We will need to get that
right,” Waller said. “But we
are also playing at Wembley
so there will be plenty of
other opportunities for fans
to go elsewhere as well. It
also puts an onus on us to
ensure we are thoughtful
about how we manage all
our relationships.”
By the end of the year, 29
of the NFL’s 32 franchises
will have played in London
since regular-season games
were fi rst played in the
British capital in 2007.
“When we played the fi rst
game here we had no idea if
we were ever coming back,”
Waller said.
Titans, Jaguars aim to show they’re the real deal in AFC
Associated Press
The general belief is there
are four contenders for the
Super Bowl in the NFC, two
in the AFC.
Let’s see if Tennessee or
Jacksonville can prove that
theory wrong this weekend.
Both AFC South repre-
sentatives are signifi cant
underdogs, the Titans at New
England on Saturday night,
the Jaguars at Pittsburgh
on Sunday. For weeks, it’s
been presumed Steelers vs.
Patriots will decide who goes
to the Super Bowl from the
The Titans and Jaguars
want to have their say.
“They’re the champs and
these are the types of teams
you’ve got to beat if you
want to be the champs,”
says Tennessee coach Mike
Mularkey, who is 0-5 against
the Patriots. “You’ve got
to beat these teams at their
has done that, routing the
Steelers at Heinz Field 30-9
in Week 5.
“We did beat them the
fi rst time, so to have all the
AFC Divisional Playoffs
NFC Divisional Playoffs
Tennessee New England
• Saturday, 5:15 p.m. (CBS)
• at Gillette Stadium
Jacksonville PIttsburgh
• Sunday, 10 a.m. (CBS)
• at Heinz Field
• Saturday, 1:35 p.m. (NBC)
• at Lincoln Financial Field
confi dence coming out of
there is interesting,” Jaguars
DT Malik Jackson says.
“They got a bye week, so
they’re probably feeling
really confi dent. We’ll see
Tennessee (10-7) at New
England (13-3), Saturday
All the numbers favor
the Patriots extending their
record of consecutive title
games reached to seven.
They are, by far, the more
experienced side: 14 Patriots
players have played at least
10 playoff games. That’s
more such players than
the 11 other 2017 playoff
teams combined (13). Tom
Brady has a 6-1 career
record against the Titans,
throwing for 13 TDs and one
interception. He’s 11-2 in 13
divisional-round games since
2002 and has completed 316
of 509 passes for 3,700 yards
and 28 TDs in those games.
turmoil involving Brady,
owner Robert Kraft and
coach Bill Belichick, the
quarterback isn’t likely to
lose focus.
“We do what we always
do. We show up to work and
try to do the best we can do,”
the All-Pro quarterback says.
“We know there’s a lot at
stake and I think everyone’s
put a lot into it. It doesn’t
really matter what happened
outside of this facility.”
Tennessee has lost six in
a row to New England, but
comes off a stirring second-
half rally at Kansas City from
18 points down, the largest
postseason comeback on the
road in the Super Bowl era.
Jacksonville (11-6) at
Pittsburgh (13-3), Sunday
Ben Roethlisberger had
the worst game of his career
in that October loss to the
Jags. Pittsburgh lost only
once after that, at home to
the Patriots in a game that
decided the AFC’s top seed.
probably will play far better
than that, the biggest chal-
lenge for Jacksonville could
be stopping Le’Veon Bell
in the running game. The
Jaguars ranked fi rst stopping
the pass, but 21st against the
“I feel great, especially
not playing these last two
weeks, not going to (training)
camp earlier in the year,”
Bell says. “I can’t complain.
I like where I am. This is the
freshest I’ve ever been going
into the playoffs so we’ll see
how it goes.”
Pittsburgh also gets back
receiver Antonio Brown, like
Bell an All-Pro this season.
Jacksonville needs far
New Orleans Minnesota
• Sunday, 1:40 p.m. (FOX)
• at US Bank Stadium
better passing from Blake
Bortles. He gained more
yards running than throwing
vs. Buffalo in the wild-card
Atlanta (11-6) at Phila-
delphia (13-3), Saturday
Although Philly is the No.
1 NFC seed, the Falcons are
favored. Part of that owes to
Atlanta’s impressive work in
winning at the Los Angeles
Rams last week. Part has to
do with the Falcons nearly
winning the Super Bowl last
And part has to do with
Nick Foles being the Eagles’
quarterback instead of the
injured Carson Wentz.
Foles, though, has had
some success in Philadel-
“It’s just going out there
and playing and staying in
the zone and trusting my
instincts,” Foles says. “I’ve
played this game a long time.
There’s a reason I’ve been
able to do what I’ve been
able to do. When I play my
best and I’m most comfort-
able, I just go out there and
By contrast, Atlanta’s
Matt Ryan has a passer rating
of at least 100 in fi ve straight
postseason games, tied for
the second-longest streak
in league history. Only Joe
Montana had a longer string
with eight.
New Orleans (12-5) at
Minnesota (13-3), Sunday
Minnesota easily handled
New Orleans in the season
opener, eons ago in NFL
terms. The Vikings had a
different quarterback then
in Sam Bradford. Case
Keenum has put together
a superb stretch of games
since replacing the injured
The Saints’ RB tandem
of Mark Ingram and rookie
Alvin Kamara wasn’t quite in
place yet, either. And the New
Orleans defense didn’t come
to fruition until Week 3.
Minnesota’s D is balanced
from front to back, so how
Drew Brees deals with it
could be the decider here.
Kirk takes lead, Spieth takes late tumble to start Sony Open
Associated Press
Kirk fi nished strong at the
Sony Open, making three
birdies over his last four
holes for a 7-under 63 and a
one-shot lead.
Jordan Spieth wasn’t quite
so fortunate.
Spieth hit four trees with
four shots on the par-4 eighth
hole — his 17th of the round
— an episode that began
with his tee shot caroming
off a trunk and into a ditch.
He wound up with a quadru-
ple-bogey 8, and even a pitch
from the rough short of the
ninth green that stopped
inches away for birdie wasn’t
enough to appease him.
He made eight birdies and
shot 69.
That was even more
surprising than Thursday a
year ago, when he had a 65
and was six shots behind
Justin Thomas, who shot 59
in the same group.
AP Photo/Marco Garcia
Jordan Spieth drives off the seventh tee during the
fi rst round of the Sony Open on Thursday in Honolulu.
Spieth declined media
requests after he signed
his card, instead taking 15
minutes to sign autographs.
Kirk played bogey-free
on a gorgeous day along the
shores just up the road from
Waikiki Beach and had a
one-shot lead over Vaughn
Taylor, Kyle Stanley and
Talor Gooch among the early
starters at Waialae Country
Thomas, the defending
champion who broke the
PGA Tour’s scoring record
last year, played in the after-
Kirk had only one top 10
last year — his fi nal even of
the year in the RSM Classic
at Sea Island — and nearly
two months off didn’t appear
to half any momentum. He
might have been rusty, but not
when it comes to island life.
Because of the chilly
weather in the South, Kirk
brought his family out to
Oahu a week ago Monday.
He practiced a little in the
morning at Ko Olina and
hung out with his wife and
children in the afternoon. He
realized how little golf he
had played during the short
offseason when he reached
into his bag and found golf
balls that he had marked for
the fi nal round at Sea Island.
“I’ve probably been off
long enough now that you
never know what’s going to
happen,” he said. “I really
had no expectations whether I
was going to play good or bad
after having some time off.
But this is a golf course that
I’ve traditionally done pretty
well on, and a place that I
really love. So you always
feel like it’s possible.”
He hit wedge to about 3
feet on the 15th and 16th, and
that fi nal birdie on the par-5
18th was a two-putt from 10
Spieth played well enough
to be right there with Kirk
except for a couple of long
three-putt bogeys.
And one tee shot that led
to plenty of calamity.
His drive on No. 8 was not
terribly offl ine, and the trees
to the left are a common spot.
This one hit the trunk of a tree
and tumbled down a wide
(and dry) ditch about 8 feet
below the fairway. He studied
his options. He found none.
He could have dropped
it with a penalty stroke, but
there was nowhere to go.
His plan was to hit out of
the sandy base of the ditch
toward the trees closer to the
fairway. If it hit the trees and
dropped out, he would have
been closer than the drop and
at least had an opening to the
putting surface.
It hit one of the smaller
branches and came back
toward him, about a yard
short of go back down into
the ditch. For his third shot,
he had a gap toward the front
of the green (the pin was back
left), but out of a fl uffl y lie,
the ball came out high and hit
more trees, bouncing left and
settle near another tree.
Next, he had to go under
the tree in front of him and
over a tree guarding the
green. He only got the fi rst
part right.
At his point, he was lying
4 and was only a few yards
away from the second tee,
waiting for another group
to tee off. His only choice
there was to dump it into the
bunker, where the sand was
thin. He hit that out to 30
feet and two putts later had a
snowman (8).
In Hawaii, of all places.
Scheduling issues hamper NBA’s plans for European expansion
Associated Press
LONDON — If Adam
Silver learned one thing from
his latest trip to London, it’s
that the appetite for more
NBA games remains huge
around Europe — and the
rest of the world.
And while the league
commissioner would love
to satisfy that appetite, there
is still an Atlantic-sized gap
between the NBA’s desire
for overseas expansion and
what’s actually doable.
So while the NFL
continues to stage multiple
regular-season games each
year in London — albeit
cutting the number from four
to three next season — Euro-
pean basketball
fans may have to
continue to settle
for just one.
“We’re consid-
additional games
to Europe,” Silver
said ahead of
Thursday’s game between
the Boston Celtics and
Philadelphia 76ers at the O2
Arena. “It’s just the logis-
tical challenges for us are so
much greater (than for the
NFL). . The demand is there
and the interest is there. It’s
really more a question of our
schedule and whether we
can make it work.”
The NBA has been
games at the O2 since 2011
in an attempt to grow the
game both in Britain and
worldwide. And the interest
in this latest edition was
sky-high. Tickets sold out
in under an hour and were
going for multiple times
their face value from online
re-sellers, with a multitude
of soccer stars and other
celebrities sitting court-side.
And it was clear from
Silver’s pregame news
conference that other coun-
tries want an up-close look
at the spectacle as well.
Journalists from Australia,
France, Germany, Turkey
and Africa all had the same
question: when will the NBA
bring regular-season games
to their part of the world?
“We would love to do
it,” was Silver’s universal
answer — before outlining
the scheduling diffi culties
that are currently hampering
any such plans. The Celtics
and 76ers, for instance, both
had at least four days off
before and after this game in
order to cope with the travel.
That’s one reason the Celtics
have played the most games
of any team in the league
so far — 44 — as their
schedule was compressed to
make room for this trip. The
76ers have played the fewest
games of any team — 39 —
and have the busy part of
their season yet to come.
“When you build some
buffer around this game in
the middle of the season, it
requires compressing the
schedule in other parts of
the season. And the more
teams we bring, the more
scheduling diffi culties we
have,” Silver said. “This
game, as you all know, sold
out in less than an hour, and
the reason it even took 52
minutes was the limitation
of technology in terms of
how fast people could enter
their credit cards and buy the
tickets. We could easily sell
out two games, three games,
four games.”
Silver pointed to state-of-
the-art arenas in Paris and
Berlin as possible venues for
future regular-season games,
but said he couldn’t offer a
“specifi c calendar” for when
it might happen.
Sixers center Joel Embiid
hopes it happens soon,
though. The Cameroon
native said he loved the
experience of playing inter-
nationally, despite having a
sub-par game with 16 points
in Philadelphia’s 114-103
“For me to come here,
I appreciate these types of
moments. I’m really (upset
with) myself that I didn’t
have a good game,” Embiid
said. “I really want to come
back to change that. But I
feel that it’s a good oppor-
tunity, and the last couple
of days that I’ve been here I
loved it. I hope in the future
we get the opportunity to
come back for another game
so I can have a better one
and win the game.”