Tonight’s matchup will be the fifth of the NFL’s wildcard weekend and the final of three AFC wildcard playoff games. The fifth game out of the six to be played from yesterday through Monday night features the Pittsburgh Steelers who will travel to Missouri this weekend to take on the Kansas City Chiefs. The Chiefs made it into the 2021 season’s AFC playoffs by winning their division. The Steelers, the second-place team in their division earned their berth into the AFC’s playoffs by way of one of three wildcard spots. Pittsburgh took the seventh and last spot in the AFC’s playoff seeding.
The Chiefs enter the weekend as an almost two-touchdown favorite over the Steelers. Kansas City ended the regular season winning nine of their last ten games. Their one loss over that period came to the Tennessee Titans, who are the number one overall seed and have this weekend off, in the second to last game of the season. The Steelers won their final two games of the season over division rivals the Cleveland Browns and the Baltimore Ravens to barely make it into the playoffs.
Please use this thread to discuss this evening’s playoff game, or any of the other upcoming action around the NFL this weekend and as always your Miami Dolphins. Please remember to follow all site rules in the live threads as you would in any other post on The Phinsider. As always, please remember that SBNation is very strict on illegal game streams, and sharing, discussing, or requesting any illegal game streams may result in a temporary suspension from the site or a ban from the entire SBN platform.
Pittsburgh Steelers (9-7-1) 2nd AFC North @ Kansas City Chiefs (12-5) 1st AFC West
What can the Miami Marlins expect from Sixto Sanchez?
Remember Sixto Sanchez? He’s recovering from a shoulder injury in AAA, and the last time we‘ve seen him he looked like he was an ace of the future. Can he still be one? Is his health in the way of such a result? Are there other options?
Sixto Sanchez will return to the Miami Marlins.
Sixto Sanchez was an elite starting pitching prospect who the Miami Marlins acquired in the J.T. Realmuto trade. Sanchez debuted in 2020 and was phenomenal in his 7 starts with a 3.46 ERA/3.50 FIP, 7.6 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9.
Sixto Sanchez looked as if he was on his way to breaking out as an ace and then he suffered an injury and it all came crashing down. Sanchez missed the 2021 season and hasn‘t pitched this season either. Shoulder issues are dangerous for pitchers and anything could happen.
Can Sixto Sanchez still be an ace for the Miami Marlins? I think that considering he’s 23 it’s way too early to completely write him off. I think that unless he struggles with his health again upon coming back from injury, or if he can’t handle a starting pitcher‘s workload, we should expect him to continue the trajectory that he set for himself back in 2020.
Does it make sense to turn Sixto Sanchez into a closer? That was suggested by the aforementioned tweet. Is it a good idea? I already wrote about who should be our closer. Should Sixto be a candidate too? I don’t think so unless he really can’t stay healthy as a starting pitcher.
Sixto Sanchez is a 23 year old former elite pitching prospect, who is still young enough and talented enough to be an ace. The only way that a different role should be considered for him is if his health or ability are heavily affected by his shoulder. It’s just way too early to give up on the potential that he offers.
Stacey Abrams aims to recapture energy of first campaign
ATLANTA (AP) — For Stacey Abrams, everything is different this time.
Unlike her first campaign for Georgia governor in 2018, she enters Tuesday’s primary election as the presumptive Democratic nominee, facing no competition. She’s not the relatively unknown former state representative from the first campaign, but a leading advocate for voting rights, someone credited with laying the organizational groundwork for Joe Biden to become the first Democratic presidential candidate to win Georgia in 28 years.
But the same dynamics that lifted Abrams to national prominence four years ago could be a vulnerability in the general election in November. With her rise, she has become a millionaire, something Republicans have highlighted to portray her as out of touch, even though both leading GOP candidates for governor are far wealthier. Donald Trump, who drove suburban moderates like those around Atlanta away from the GOP, is no longer in the White House. Instead, Biden is confronting the lowest approval numbers of his presidency, alarming Democrats who fear he could drag down candidates across the country.
If she’s elected, the 48-year-old Abrams would make history as the first Black woman to lead a state. But to get there, she must tap into the energy that contributed to her rise while averting the newer crosscurrents that could work against her.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it: We have fundamental headwinds,” said Lauren Groh-Wargo, Abrams’ campaign manager. “We have a whole history where Democrats have trouble winning in midterms.”
Abrams’ fate could hinge on whom Republicans choose as their nominee on Tuesday. If they side with incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp, the race would be a rematch of the bitter 2018 campaign, which Abrams lost by 1.4 percentage points. She was defiant at the time, acknowledging Kemp as the victor but refusing to concede the race, citing “gross mismanagement” in his role as secretary of state overseeing the election.
If Kemp is the nominee, he would again have the advantage of incumbency in a powerful office. He has shoved rafts of legislation through a GOP-led General Assembly and is unveiling big economic developments, like a $5.5 billion, 8,100-job Hyundai Motor plant that he announced near Savannah on Friday.
Polls so far this year show a close race, with Kemp narrowly ahead if he is the nominee. In 2018, polls usually found the race about tied, although little polling had been done this early that year, reflecting a national political establishment that didn’t believe Abrams could win.
Abrams and other Democrats say they’ll be ready if David Perdue wins the GOP nomination. Trump personally recruited the former U.S. senator to challenge Kemp after the incumbent governor refused to go along with Trump’s push to overturn election results in Georgia.
But Abrams is eager to attack Kemp, with Groh-Wargo noting Kemp is now an incumbent with a record and saying “his record is pretty out of step with Georgia voters.”
Those attacks can be lacerating. At a Democratic dinner on Saturday in suburban Gwinnett County, Abrams proclaimed that “I am tired of hearing about being the the best state in the country to do business when we are the worst state in the country to live.”
Republicans pounced on the remark Sunday, a likelihood Abrams acknowledged even as she delivered it, saying “let me contextualize” and saying that when Georgia has dismal rankings for mental health access and maternal mortality, “then you’re not the No. 1 place to live.”
“Georgia is capable of greatness, we just need greatness to be in our governor’s office,” Abrams said. ”We need someone who actually believes in bringing all of us in there together.”
Abrams is steadily hammering her lead issue — a call for full Medicaid expansion to provide health insurance for uninsured adults in Georgia. But there’s a new set of issues, including crime, education and inflation.
On public safety, Abrams plans to hit Kemp on his successful push to abolish the requirement for permits to carry concealed handguns in public. And with the likelihood that the Supreme Court will overturn a nationwide right to abortion, Kemp is also likely to face flak for signing a now-frozen law that would ban abortion after six weeks in Georgia. Groh-Wargo argues that alarm over abortion rights will motivate many Democrats.
Many Georgia Democrats believe 2022 is their year of destiny. That’s in part because they believe the state, on the verge of being majority nonwhite, continues to trend Democratic.
“We’re ready to show everyone that it wasn’t a fluke, it wasn’t just about one election cycle, and it wasn’t about Donald Trump,” U.S. Rep. Nikema Williams of Atlanta, also chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, told reporters at a recent state party dinner.
Even some Republicans say they believe Abrams is well positioned. Republican pollster Matt Towery said Georgia’s shifting population and the enthusiasm of Black voters to cast ballots for Abrams and U.S. Sen. Raphael Warnock make it “extremely difficult for a Republican to win.”
“I have consistently stated that I believe she will be the favorite in the race regardless of which GOP candidate wins the nomination,” Towery said.
But discounting Republicans would be a mistake, said Martha Zoller, a talk show host and former Republican candidate named to the state Board of Education by Kemp. She said Abrams is open to attack for being more focused on national influence than on Georgia.
“She is looking so much past the governorship and thinking about running for president that she’s not doing the work she needs to do to be governor,” Zoller said.
To help offset that, Abrams has tried to steer clear of national politics. She was noticeably absent in January as Biden swung through Atlanta to press for voting rights, citing a scheduling conflict. More recently, her campaign has issued advertising trying to highlight what she’s been doing outside of politics, including her business record and work on COVID-19 relief.
“Our mission is to define Stacey before anybody else gets a chance to undermine her or to define here in a way that’s inaccurate,” Groh-Wargo said.
Abrams has one other potential advantage — disunity in the Republican Party.
Both Kemp and Perdue have cast their run for governor as a mission to “stop Stacey,” and heavy turnout in the GOP primary suggests many Republicans have overcome Trump-inspired misgivings about voting. But questions will remain whether Kemp, if he wins, can achieve the overwhelming party unity and turnout that may be needed to defeat Abrams. That will be especially true if Trump continues to criticize Kemp.
For now, though, the general election race is barely begun. But what’s different this time is that Abrams won’t be surprising anyone. When she says she’s ready to win, people believe her.
“We win together, we lose together, we fall together or we rise together. And we are a party on the rise, we are a people on the rise,” Abrams said at the state party dinner. “Now is our time and this is our moment and we are Democrats because we can see the future.”
Follow Jeff Amy on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jeffamy.
Jeff Amy, The Associated Press
EXPLAINER: What’s in Biden’s proposed new Asia trade pact?
TOKYO (AP) — President Joe Biden faced a dilemma on trade in Asia: He couldn’t just rejoin the Trans-Pacific Partnership that his predecessor had pulled the U.S. out of in 2017. Many related trade deals, regardless of their content, had become politically toxic for U.S. voters, who associated them with job losses.
So Biden came up with a replacement. During Biden’s visit to Tokyo, the U.S. on Monday planned to announce the countries that are joining the new Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. In the tradition of trade deals, it’s best known by its initials: IPEF. (Pronounced EYE-pef.)
WHAT WOULD IPEF DO?
That’s still to be figured out. Monday’s announcement signals the start of talks among participating countries to decide what will ultimately be in the framework, so the descriptions for now are largely aspirational. In a broad sense, it’s a way for the U.S. to lay down a marker signaling its commitment to remain a leading force in Asia.
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said IPEF is “focused around the further integration of Indo-Pacific economies, setting of standards and rules, particularly in new areas like the digital economy, and also trying to ensure that there are secure and resilient supply chains.”
The idea that new standards for world trade are needed isn’t just about discontent among U.S. voters. It’s a recognition of how the pandemic disrupted the entire scope of supply chains, shuttering factories, delaying cargo ships, clogging ports and causing higher inflation globally. Those vulnerabilities became even clearer in late February after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine, causing dangerously high jumps in food and energy costs in parts of the world.
WHO’S GOING TO FIRM UP THE DETAILS?
The negotiations with partner countries will revolve around four pillars, or topics, with the work split between the U.S. trade representative and the Commerce Department.
The U.S. trade representative will handle talks on the “fair” trade pillar. This would likely include efforts to shield U.S. workers from job losses as China’s entrance into the World Trade Organization in 2001 led to severe manufacturing layoffs. Those job losses gutted parts of the U.S., angered voters and helped power the political rise of Donald Trump, who, as president, pulled the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership almost as soon as he took the oath of office in 2017.
The Commerce Department will oversee negotiations on the other three pillars: supply chain resiliency, infrastructure and climate change, and tax and anti-corruption. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo flew with Biden on Air Force One to Japan. She was also by the president’s side during his time in South Korea, where he highlighted investments in U.S. factories by automaker Hyundai and the electronics behemoth Samsung.
WHO CAN JOIN THE CLUB?
The White House has said IPEF will be an open platform. But it has faced criticism from the Chinese government that any agreement could be an “exclusive” clique that would lead to greater turmoil in the region.
And there are sensitivities to China, the world’s second-largest economy, in setting up IPEF. The self-ruled island of Taiwan, which China claims as its own, is being excluded from the pact. This exclusion is noteworthy since Taiwan is also a leading manufacturer of computer chips, a key element of the digital economy that will be part of IPEF negotiations.
Sullivan said any trade talks with Taiwan would be done one to one.
“We are looking to deepen our economic partnership with Taiwan including on high technology issues, including on semiconductor supply,” Sullivan said. “But we’re pursuing that in the first instance on a bilateral basis.”
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE?
Once talks start, negotiations are expected to go 12 to 18 months, an aggressive timeline for a global trade deal, according to an administration official. The official insisted on anonymity to discuss plans and added that building consensus inside the U.S. will also be key.
Josh Boak And Aamer Madhani, The Associated Press
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