Make Your Red Sox-Blue Jays Predictions For Chance To Win With NESN Games

The Boston Red Sox are back home, and NESN Games is giving you a chance to win.
The Red Sox are welcoming the Toronto Blue Jays to Fenway Park for a three-game set beginning Friday night. For Boston, it’s a chance to climb back into the American League playoff hunt, and a big weekend against a division rival could spark a much-needed run.
It could be a big weekend for you, too, if you play along with the “Red Sox Daily Challenge” on NESN Games, where you’ll have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to the ’47 Brand online store. All you have to do is make a few prop bet picks, and you could be the big winner. The best news? There’s a new contest for each game, giving you three chances to win throughout the weekend.
Click here to sign up for the Red Sox Daily Challenge >>

NFL Rumors: Patriots Host Tight End, D-Tackle For Free Agent Visits

The New England Patriots are eyeing tight end options following Matt LaCosse’s opt-out.
The Patriots worked out former New York Jets tight end Jordan Leggett on Friday, according to a report from ESPN’s Mike Reiss.
A fifth-round draft pick in 2017, Leggett played in 15 games for the Jets in 2018 after missing his rookie year with an injury, catching 14 passes for 114 yards and one touchdown.
The former Clemson star was cut the following spring and signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He spent all of last season with the Bucs but did not appear in a game.
Listed at 6-foot-5, 258 pounds, Leggett was considered a “move” tight end entering the 2017 NFL Draft.
With LaCosse choosing not to play this season due to COVID-19 concerns, the Patriots’ tight end group currently consists of four rookies (third-round picks Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene and undrafted free agents Jake Burt and Rashod Berry) and third-year pro Ryan Izzo, who’s appeared in just six NFL games.
The Patriots also brought free agent defensive tackle Darius Kilgo in for a workout, per Reiss.
Kilgo spent time on New England’s practice squad in 2016 and was with the team during the 2017 preseason. The 28-year-old signed with Matt Patricia’s Detroit Lions last offseason but spent the year on injured reserve.
The Patriots entered Friday with five open spots on their 80-man roster.

Red Sox Vs. Blue Jays Lineups: Kevin Pillar Sits For Series Opener

The Red Sox are looking to string together two straight wins for the second time this season when they welcome the Toronto Blue Jays to town.
Boston will be hosting the Jays on Friday night for the first contest of a three-game set at Fenway Park.
Andrew Benintendi will hit leadoff and play in left field, while Alex Verdugo will be in right with Jackie Bradley Jr. in center, meanining Kevin Pillar will sit.
Jose Peraza will be at second and batting ninth, while Christian Vazquez will be catching Ryan Weber.
Tanner Roark will get the ball for Toronto.
Here are the lineups for both teams:
BOSTON RED SOX (4-8)
Andrew Benintendi, LF
Rafael Devers, 3B
J.D. Martinez, DH
Xander Bogaerts, SS
Mitch Moreland, 1B
Christian Vazquez, C
Alex Verdugo, RF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Jose Peraza, 2B
Ryan Weber (0-2, 11.57 ERA)
TORONTO BLUE JAYS (4-6)
Cavan Biggio, 2B
Bo Bichette, SS
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., LF
Rowdy Tellez, DH
Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 1B
Randal Grichuk, CF
Travis Shaw, 3B
Teoscar Hernandez, RF
Danny Jansen, C
Tanner Roark, RHP (1-0, 1.80 ERA)
More: Christian Vazquez Looks Like One Of MLB’s Top Catchers As He Saves Red Sox

Patriots Notes: Belichick Brothers Adjusting To New Roles In New England

Quarterbacks commanded the spotlight, but Friday’s round of New England Patriots video conferences also featured chats with each of the team’s position coaches. 
Here are a few leftover notes from those sessions:
— For the first time, both of Bill Belichick’s sons will coach their own position groups this season.
Steve Belichick shifts to outside linebackers after coaching the safeties/secondary in 2019 (and splitting defensive coordinator duties with his father and Jerod Mayo). His younger brother, Brian, a coaching assistant for the last three seasons, takes over a veteran-led safety group.
In his first-ever meeting with reporters, the youngest Belichick spoke about handling the pressure that comes with his famous surname.
“I don’t really think about it,” Brian Belichick said. “I’ve been blessed with an amazing opportunity in my life to be around this organization. We moved here in 2000, and I’ve been amazingly fortunate to have my dad be here for 20 years and allow me to come spend time with the team and learn from these great players and coaches that have been here for a long time. I’m very lucky to have that experience.
“I just try to learn from them and apply things to my life and try not to think into the future. Expectations, I try not to think about that just better myself every day, every year and learn more things and put one foot in front of the other.”
Steve Belichick intends to do all he can to help his brother adjust to his new, more prominent role. He said having a veteran like co-captain Devin McCourty in the safeties room will help ease that transition, as well.
“We’ve talked a lot about it, and obviously we’re extremely close, being brothers,” Steve Belichick said. “As an older brother and a more veteran coach than he is, I’m doing the best I can to lead him through that safety room. Having Devin in that group really helps, and I’m sure Devin’s helping that room.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Brian in the offseason and so far in training camp to try to bring him up to speed. There’s a lot of little things in our defense that are big things, so a lot of coaching points, obviously. This is our first time with all the players being back in the building, so we’re just trying to get everyone up to speed and do the best we can with the situation we’re in.”
As for his own situation, Steve Belichick said he’s excited to work with a new position group after four years in the defensive backfield. And no, he’s not about to reveal who will be calling defensive plays this season.
“Oh, we’re a long way away from games, so we’ll see how that goes,” he said.
More Patriots: Cam Newton Sounds Thrilled To Be In New England
— To call the Patriots’ new quarterbacks coach “well-traveled” would be putting it mildly. 
Since getting his start in the late 1990s, Jedd Fisch has held positions with seven different NFL teams (Houston, Baltimore, Denver, Seattle, Jacksonville, the Los Angeles Rams and now New England) and five Power Five schools (Florida, Minnesota, Miami, Michigan and UCLA).
Over the course of that whirlwind career, the 44-year-old forged relationships with both Bill Belichick and Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, which ultimately led him to his current role.
“Initially, I met Coach (Belichick) in I think probably 2011, maybe ’10,” Fisch said in his first meeting with New England reporters. “I was the offensive coordinator at the University of Miami in 2011. Obviously, playing against him in ’03 in Houston and then in Baltimore.
“But I really got to know him and meet him then when I was at the University of Miami, and then we built and established a relationship throughout that time really from Miami and then when I was in Jacksonville and Michigan, UCLA. And then obviously, we played each other in the Super Bowl when I was with the Rams. Got to know him then but really had ties way back when.”
Fisch’s first introduction to Belichick, though, actually came decades earlier.
“My mentor in this profession is a guy named Bill Roca, who was a very successful high school coach in New Jersey,” Fisch said. “I was a ball boy there for years. Bill spoke at his clinic in 1983 when I was 7 years old. Bill came and spoke at a special teams clinic at West Essex High School in New Jersey. I’ve known of and obviously studied and watched everything Coach did for years, but I got to know him in 2011.”
Fisch and McDaniels initially crossed paths when both were working as entry-level college assistants.
“So way back when, my last game as a graduate assistant at University of Florida was Josh’s last game as a graduate assistant at Michigan State, and we played one another in the Citrus Bowl,” Fisch said. “So I’ve known Josh since 2000. And then we both got in the NFL the same year. We both started on the defensive side of the ball. I was a defensive quality control coach for three years for the Houston Texans for Vic Fangio and Dom Capers. He was a defensive QC here. We met probably almost annually at different times at the combine or at the Senior Bowl or we had a couple symposiums we were at together.
“So I’ve known Josh for 20 years, and I’ve always wanted the opportunity to work for Josh. And I was in Denver the year before he arrived. I was (with) Mike (Shanahan) on that staff. And it didn’t work out then, but it’s worked out now. I’ve loved every day since being here working with Josh.”
Though McDaniels no longer carries the title of quarterbacks coach, Fisch said the longtime OC will continue to be “extremely involved” with the Patriots’ signal-callers. McDaniels pulled double duty as coordinator and QBs coach in 12 of the last 15 seasons.
More Patriots: How Will Pats’ Quarterback Competition Play Out?

Bruins Will Be Ok; What Is With Kemba Walker’s Knee; Patriots Training Camp | NESN After Hours Podcast Ep. 13

It’s a double guest episode of the NESN After Hours podcast, brought to you by People’s United Bank.
First, hosts Cealey Godwin and Emerson Lotzia welcome Bruins sideline reporter Sophia Jurksztowicz who calms our nerves about the B’s slow restart. Then, Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe tells us what is up with Boston Celtics star Kemba Walker’s knee. Finally, Cealey and Emerson pick their favorite Bill Belichick quotes from early in this year’s New England Patriots training camp.
Listen to the full podcast below, or click here to listen on Spotify or iTunes.

Magic Vs. 76ers Live Stream: Watch NBA Seeding Game Online

We soon will learn whether the Orlando Magic and Philadelphia 76ers truly are trending in opposite directions.
The Magic and Sixers will face off Friday night at Walt Disney World near Orlando in an NBA seeding round game between the eight- and sixth-place teams, respectively, in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Magic have dropped their last two games and will be consigned to facing the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs if they continue losing. The 76ers hope to extend their winning streak to three games and perhaps catch the Indiana Pacers for the No. 5 seed.
However, Phildelphia will try to do so without the services of star point guard Ben Simmons, who partially dislocated his left kneecap Wednesday and is out indefinitely.
Here’s when and how to watch the Magic versus 76ers game.
When: Friday, Aug. 7, at 6:30 p.m. ET
TV: TNT
Live Stream: TNT
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PGA Championship Live Stream: Watch Second-Round Coverage Online

The PGA Championship brings us into the weekend with primetime coverage Friday night.
Coverage of the season’s first major continues with second-round action from TPC Harding Park in San Francisco. A star-studded second wave goes off in the late (by East Coast standards) afternoon, including players like Tiger Woods, Brooks Koepka and Rory McIlroy.
Here’s how you can watch second-round coverage online.
When: Friday, Aug. 7, at 4 p.m. ET
TV: ESPN
Live stream: FuboTV — free trial | ESPN+

Jerod Mayo Initially Was ‘Shocked,’ ‘Disappointed’ By Patriots Opt-Outs

Jerod Mayo was honest when asked about the rash of player opt-outs the New England Patriots experienced in recent weeks.
He didn’t anticipate the Patriots would lose eight players before training camp began, including two defensive cornerstones in linebacker Dont’a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung. And at first, he wasn’t happy about it.
But it didn’t take him long to understand.
“Initially, I was shocked, disappointed,” the Patriots inside linebackers coach said Friday in a video conference with reporters. “I can’t — a bunch of emotions went through my head. And then I stopped and obviously looked at each situation. These are personal decisions.
“Obviously, Hightower kind of took step back and just with family and his personal situation, and so did Chung. I certainly respect it.”
Mayo isn’t too far removed from his own playing days. He was teammates with both Hightower and Chung for several seasons before retiring in 2016 and eventually joining the Patriots’ coaching staff last offseason.
According to Mayo, Hightower and Chung will continue to mentor some of New England’s younger players while they sit this season out due to COVID-19 concerns.
“Hightower is one of the smartest players I’ve ever been around, and so is Chung,” Mayo said. “So those guys aren’t here with us this year, but they’re still around.”
More Patriots: Cam Newton Describes ‘Surreal’ Feeling Of Joining Pats
But from an on-field perspective, both players need replacing. The loss of Hightower is especially significant, as he’s been the primary signal-caller in a linebacking corps that already lost veterans Jamie Collins, Kyle Van Noy and Elandon Roberts in free agency.
Third-year pro Ja’Whaun Bentley, who was buried behind Hightower and Collins last season, will be asked to fill that void, both as the defensive communicator and as a leader to New England’s legion of young linebackers. Mayo has high hopes for the former Purdue captain.
“I will say if you were to look at last year and look at his production per play, he was very productive when he was out there,” Mayo said of Bentley, who played just 27 percent of defensive snaps in 2019. “And when you think about the players we had in that room, it was a crowded room. But when he did get an opportunity, for the most part, he performed well. So I look forward to giving him more opportunities, and hopefully he stays healthy and he’s able to keep that production up.”
Listed at 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, Bentley impressed early in his rookie season — even earning a Mayo comparison — before landing on injured reserve. Mayo believes he has all the tools to excel in a starting role.
“Physically, he’s bigger than some of those guys last year,” Mayo said. “He’s faster than some of those guys last year. It’s more now (about) making the game slow down for him, getting more reps in practice. That’s why this time right now is so important. But physically, this guy is gifted. He’s a big, fast, strong linebacker, and he’s a smart guy, as well.
“I’m excited. I’m excited to give him an opportunity to be out there for a while.”
More Patriots: How Will Pats’ Quarterback Competition Play Out?

Red Sox Add Pitcher With Fascinating Backstory To 60-Man Player Pool

The Red Sox on Friday added right-handed pitcher Seth Blair to their 60-man player pool.
Boston released outfielder John Andreoli in a corresponding roster move to make room.
On the surface, this seems like a minor personnel decision. And perhaps it is, especially with Blair reporting to the Red Sox’s alternate training site in Pawtucket.
But it’s definitely fascinating in some respects.
For one, Blair was a first-round pick in 2010, chosen by the Cardinals with the 46th overall pick they owned as compensation for losing free agent Mark DeRosa. (Bryce Harper, Jameson Taillon and Manny Machado were the first three players selected in that draft, which netted the Red Sox their current closer, Brandon Workman, in the second round.) Clearly, he’s impressed some talent evaluators in his life.
Blair never made it to the majors with St. Louis, though, only reaching as high as Triple-A, where he allowed four earned runs over just 5 2/3 innings in 2014. After that, he didn’t throw a professional pitch from 2014 until 2019, at which point he posted a 4.11 ERA in 35 innings with High-A Lake Elsinore of the San Diego Padres’ system.
Still, Blair evidently hasn’t given up on the dream of someday pitching in the big leagues. And the 31-year-old’s passion for baseball has been on full display during the coronavirus pandemic, as The New York Times ran an article back in May that highlighted a makeshift practice area Blair set up in his Arizona backyard. Other players, including fellow 2010 first-rounder Danny Hultzen, joined Blair in making the best of a difficult situation.
Will Blair’s arrival to the Red Sox organization finally open the door for his major league debut? Only time will tell, although Boston’s pitching woes to this point suggest the opportunity is very much within reach.
More Red Sox: Alex Verdugo Explains Why In-Game Video Is So Important

Patriots Expecting QB Competition Will ‘Declare Itself’ In Training Camp

If the New England Patriots know who is going to be their starting quarterback in 2020, the coaching staff wasn’t giving out any clues Friday during video conference calls.
And quite frankly, they might not know. Cam Newton has only participated in walk-throughs with his new team. Neither Jarrett Stidham nor Brian Hoyer was able to take part in minicamp and organized team activities this spring. Brian Lewerke is an undrafted free agent, and if he’s the starter, then something went very, very wrong for the Patriots. Oh, and Tom Brady is now the starter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“It’s a different challenge, it’s a new year,” Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. “Having coached Tom for a long time, there’s going to be a great competition. There’s a great energy right now in our room and within our offensive group just to get out on the field and do our walkthroughs and do their working out and all those things they’re able to do now. And I think there’s an anticipation and excitement for us to have an opportunity to actually practice. We haven’t seen anybody do anything relatively speaking from a football perspective yet because we’re not at that phase yet of training camp but it’s been good getting to know everybody.”
It definitely doesn’t sound like the Patriots are in a hurry to name a starter, though time is of the essence. They will have to figure out who’s going to be QB1 without any preseason games, however.
“I think the real key is like in every position group, people always feel like the quarterback room is different and that you have to make a decision much faster and eliminate competition quickly. I don’t think we see that here,” quarterback coach Jedd Fisch said. “I think we see it as an incredible opportunity. First of all, the opportunity to work against one another and compete with one another and then on the same token be teammates makes everybody be better. That’s the first part. The more competition we have, the more reps we have, the more time we let all of the guys dual it out to see how it all plays out will make all of them better. I think rising tides lift all ships. I think there’s an opportunity for everybody to just keep challenging one another.”
More Patriots: Jarrett Stidham ‘Definitely Ready’ To Start If Called Upon
The Patriots will start practicing Aug. 12. Pads will come on Aug. 17 and the season will begin Sept. 13 at home against the Miami Dolphins. The Patriots can only really eliminate Lewerke from the starting competition. So, Newton, Stidham and Hoyer will all have to share reps throughout camp.
“There’s no question the more players that you’re trying to rep and get, let’s just call them similar looks, the more difficult it can become,” McDaniels said. “You’ve got to be creative. We’re using every period in practice, I know that for sure. You use every period in practice and whether it’s a group period or 7-on-7 or team periods, we’re going to have to evaluate everything we do and it goes from the QB position all the way through the offense on my side of the ball. …
“I think at the end of the day, when you go into a season the way we’re going into it with a truncated offseason, a truncated training camp, I think you really want to try to be as good as you can fundamentally and not worry about volume as much as possible. It doesn’t matter how many things you can teach, what matters is what we can do well. So we’re going to have to try to get all our QBs to do things the right way within the scheme of the offense and then let the competition play out and then at some point, that will kind of declare itself.”
Newton, the 2015 NFL MVP, should certainly be viewed as the favorite for the gig. But a starting role isn’t guaranteed for the quarterback just yet and he gets prepared to fend off Stidham and Hoyer. Let the games begin.
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