NFL Sunday Preview/Pick-Packers vs. Ravens


By Mario Martinez-Wonder Punter

Green Bay Packers (2-2) @ Baltimore Ravens (3-2) 10/13 1:00PM EST

Line: GB -2.5

Over/Under: 48.5

The Green Bay Packers, coming off last week’s victory over Detroit go into Baltimore and look to continue their winning ways and make a move in the NFC Central as they battle the Ravens.

The Packers will be without All-Pro outside linebacker Clay Matthews who broke his right thumb during last Sunday’s game.

Matthews is expected to be out of action for a least a couple of weeks and when he does return may have to wear a cast. He has also been bothered by a hamstring injury and his absence is a big blow to the defense who are looking to re-establish themselves as one of the league’s best and get back into the playoff race.

The fifth-year pro has a team high three sacks this season and has led Green Bay in sacks every year he has been in the league.

“I mean, Clay Matthews is our best player on defense. But this pro football,” Packer’s coach Mike McCarthy said. “We’ve been down this road before. It’s an excellent opportunity for others to step up and make plays.”

Green Bay, who are ranked 26th in the league with 288.8 passing yards allowed per game will rely on linebackers Mike Neal and Nick Perry to step up make those plays.

“I think Mike Neal has made really good strides. I think you saw him play his best game (Sunday). I think you saw Nick Perry play his best game,” defensive coordinator Dom Capers said Monday. “We need for Mike Neal and Nick Perry to be ready to play next week the way they played this week. Because they played their best football this week.”

The Baltimore Ravens are coming off a big road win from last Sunday when they defeated Miami 26-23 with a strong running game that accounted for a season-best 133 yards. They defense also had six sacks against Miami.

However, the Green Bay defense is strong against the run, so quarterback Joe Flacco may have to go to the air as well to create a balanced attack, but the Raven’s offensive line has given up 14 sacks so far making that game plan that much more of a challenge.

“Joe never gets fazed,” coach John Harbaugh said of Flacco, “He’s not going to get rattled.”

While Baltimore’s offense may be off and on, one consistent element of the Ravens is their defense, who are now led by Terrell Suggs and Elvis Dumerville.

The Ravens are second-best in the NFL with 19 sacks, with Suggs having seven of those. Good for fourth-best in the NFL this season. Suggs has an incredible 91½ sacks in his career, making him Baltimore’s best in the sack department.

“I don’t want to be known as a pass rusher. I want to be known as a defender that can do more than just one thing.” Said Suggs. “I don’t wan to just have a lot of sacks. I like to fill up the stat sheet.”

One of the better games on Sunday. Expect both teams to be ready to play their best football, but see the Packers winning a close one on the road.

PICK: Green Bay Packers


NFL Sunday Preview/Pick-Lions vs Browns


By: Mario Martinez-Wonder Punter

Detroit Lions (3-2) @ Cleveland Browns (3-2) 10/13 1:00PM EST

Line: DET -2.5

Over/Under: 43.5

The first place Cleveland Browns, winners of three in a row will now look to quarterback Brandon Weeden to led team the rest of the w

The Browns find themselves in first place in the AFC North and look to win their fourth straight game for the first time in four years without their storyline Brian Hoyer being lost for the remainder of the season.

The Browns are tied for first-place and have not been in that position since Week 9 in 1995.

“It’s good, but we’re not overjoyed,” safety T.J. Ward said. “We’re not celebrating and that’s what I like about us. We’re staying grounded and we’re focused on the next win and the next team.”

But, to stay there, the pressure now shifts back Brandon Weeden who lost his starting job to Hoyer when he got injured on Sept. 15 to keep the momentum going for a Cleveland team looking to stay in the playoff hunt.

“I think he has a sense of confidence of what he’s been able to do. We’ll get him back out there for another week of practice, and I think that will help him get better and get ready to play even more so,” coach Rod Chudzinski said.

The Lions may be without All-Pro receiver Calvin Johnson (knee) for a second straight week and will be without Nate Burleson for a third straight week (broken arm), so will look to Reggie Bush to help establish a running game and help put some points back on the board.

“We have to have step up,” Lion quarterback Matthew Stafford said. “I have to play better. As an offense, we know we have to play better.”

Adding pressure for the Lions being without two of their top receivers, the Browns are tied for third in the league with 18 sacks and are fourth with 301.8 yards allowed per game.

“We’ve got to right our ship up front, which we will. We’ve got to figure out how to run against this good Cleveland defense and we need to keep Matt standing up because they’re good at sacks, too,” guard Rob Sims said.

This will be the first meeting since 2009 when the Lions won on a last second touchdown pass 38-37.

Detroit has beaten Cleveland 17 of 22 times, including the playoffs. The key to the Lions winning will be on the health of Calvin Johnson. If he can go, I like their chances. A lot of pressure on Weeden to do well and win the Cleveland fans over again, but I expect him to have a good game and led the Browns to their fourth straight victory.

PICK: Cleveland Browns



Girardi: Rivera in outfield under consideration

NEW YORK – Mariano Rivera has amassed a file 652 saves, has been a member of five World Series championship groups and is almost universally acknowledged as the best closer baseball ever has known.

This season, he has enjoyed a career victory lap afforded few gamers within the historical past of any sport.

But there may be still one unfulfilled wish on Rivera’s bucket checklist, and on Thursday, he moved nearer to making it a actuality: Yankees manager Joe Girardi said he would significantly contemplate taking part in Rivera in heart subject this weekend in Houston in considered one of his membership’s final three video games.

“Completely,” Girardi stated when asked if he was entertaining the prospect of allowing Rivera to attain one more baseball dream. “However not right here, as a result of these games are nonetheless meaningful for Tampa.”

The Yankees have been officially eradicated from playoff contention Wednesday night, but have one more house recreation remaining with the Rays, who’re nonetheless battling the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers for one of the two AL wild-card spots.

However with neither the Yankees nor the Astros enjoying for anything this weekend, Girardi mentioned he would possibly allow Rivera to play an inning or two within the outfield.

“You recognize, I don’t understand how I would do it,” Girardi mentioned. “It’s something I must speak to him about. It is a situation the place I might carry him in within the eighth to play the outfield, after which have him close it out within the ninth, if we have that opportunity.”

All through his career, Rivera has loved shagging flies in the outfield as the Yankees took batting practice. In actual fact, it was in the act of chasing a BP fly ball in Kansas Metropolis, Mo., in May 2012, that Rivera tore the ACL in his proper knee, costing him much of last season.

In 2011, he told a TELEVISION interviewer, “I might like to play center discipline not less than for one inning or one out. I told my manager. I do not think it will happen, however I hope so.”

Now, it may, though when Girardi’s phrases were relayed to Rivera earlier than Thursday night time’s sport, the 43-year-old seemed less eager than he would have been earlier than the damage.

“It might be something good, if I allow it, though,” Rivera stated. “One factor I’ll inform you – if I can do it, I’ll do it. If I can not do it, I won’t be making a fool of myself there. I’m knowledgeable. This isn’t a joke for me. That is critical.”

One of many quirks of Minute Maid Park in Houston is a 30-diploma rise in heart area known as Tal’s Hill, though it’s 436 feet from home plate. But Rivera’s considerations seemed to have more to do together with his bodily situation.

“I put within the request means back, a very long time ago, and now my knees will not be the same,” he stated. “This is not a sport for me. I do not understand how you guys are taking it but this is not a sport for me. It is something that I respect. We’ll see what happens. If I am OKAY, if I can do it, I’ll do it, if not, that is positive with me.”


Yankees miss playoffs for 2nd time in 19 years

THE BIG APPLE – The New York Yankees did not make the playoffs for under the second time in 19 years, getting mathematically eradicated Wednesday evening earlier than an 8-three loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hobbled by age and harm, the Yankees (eighty two-seventy six) have been trailing 7-3 in the eighth inning once they had been knocked out as the Cleveland Indians accomplished a 7-2 win over the Chicago White Sox. There was no response from the Yankee Stadium crowd when the Indians end result was posted on the scoreboard.

Brendan Ryan, Robinson Cano, Mark ReynoldsAP Photo/Kathy WillensA long evening capped a long season for Robinson Cano and the Yankees, who had been formally eliminated from playoff competition with Cleveland’s win against the White Sox.

Regardless of baseball’s highest opening-day payroll at $230 million, the Yankees failed to assert one of the 10 playoff berths.

Since beginning the latest run of success in 1995, New York had missed the playoffs solely in 2008 – when the group bid goodbye to previous Yankee Stadium. This time, the Yankees are saying goodbye to Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte, who are retiring when the season ends Sunday.

“We did not get to the place we wanted to get,” manager Joe Girardi said after it was finished.

“It is extremely disappointing, and again to the drafting board. It hurts.”

Since starting the latest run of success in 1995, New York had missed the playoffs solely in 2008 – when the group bid goodbye to old Yankee Stadium.

Earlier than a quiet crowd of 37,260, the Yankees lost for the eighth time in 11 games and were eradicated from contention for a playoff berth on their very own subject for the first time since 1991.

Fans figure to be more exuberant throughout Thursday evening’s house finale, when Rivera will make his last Yankee Stadium appearance.

“I’ll be there for the fans. They deserve it,” the 43-year-outdated said. “But it do not imply anything. I am not used to pitching for something that doesn’t mean anything. I needed to pitch for one thing that means something.

“It’s disappointing. Can’t do anything about it now. It’s carried out. It is disappointing. We fought onerous the entire yr and we fell brief.”

Phil Hughes (four-14) allowed three runs and 7 hits in two innings-plus Wednesday night, strolling slowly to the dugout and searching up to the stands when he was removed from what doubtless was his final begin with the Yankees.

“Just a robust approach to end issues right here – not making the postseason,” Hughes mentioned.

A key part of the Yankees’ 2009 title group as a reliever, Hughes went 0-7 with a 6.09 ERA in thirteen begins since beating Minnesota on July 2. He is eligible without spending a dime company after the World Collection.

“Plenty of good times. Lots of dangerous times, I guess,” he said. “That is the best way life is sometimes.”

Joba Chamberlain, additionally eligible free of charge company, didn’t even await mathematical elimination to organize for his departure. Before batting practice, he began placing his locker belongings into a large box.

New York started the season 30-18 and was in first place on the morning of Could 26, but the solid begin was not sufficient to beat accidents to four All-Star regulars: shortstop Derek Jeter, third baseman Alex Rodriguez, first baseman Mark Teixeira and center fielder Curtis Granderson.

Hobbled by the ankle he broke in final yr’s AL Championship Series opener, Jeter did not make his season debut till proper earlier than the All-Star break and wound up playing simply 17 video games due to recurring leg injuries.

Teixeira, who injured a hand while with the U.S. workforce at World Baseball Basic, performed in just 15 games and wanted season-ending surgery. Rodriguez, getting back from hip surgery, and Granderson, who broke a forearm and pinkie when hit by pitches, every played about one-third of the season.

In all, the Yankees had a major league-main 28 stints on the disabled checklist by 21 completely different players, in response to STATS, and have missed 1,461 days – more than 4 years’ value.

New York’s house runs dropped from a staff-report 245 final 12 months to 143 this season – on tempo to be the Yankees’ fewest in a non-strike season since 1989. The departure of free brokers Raul Ibanez, Nick Swisher, Russell Martin and Eric Chavez contributed to the ability outage.

“It is a really sad feeling,” said Robinson Cano, the All-Star second baseman who figures to secure a 9-determine contract this offseason. “The fun part of this recreation is playoffs. I am really sad right now, and it is going to stick in my head, in my thoughts, until next season.”


New California youth football mercy rule inflames parental passions, but not in the way you think

NCFYFLUsually, when a mercy rule becomes a bone of contention it is as a result of the policy is not instituted soon sufficient, till after a recreation is already far out of reach. But in a single Northern California group the opposite is unfolding, with parents furious a few new rule that they really feel is cheating their youngsters and coaches of soccer and cash wasted on fines.

As reported by Sacramento NBC affiliate KCRA, the Northern California Federation Youth Football League (NCFYFL) instituted stiff new penalties for any teams that beat opponents by 35 factors or more. Specifically, these teams will likely be fined $200 and their coaches will likely be suspended from all league actions for two weeks. The penalty is a drastic change for the league of 7-13 12 months-olds, which beforehand issued groups with a warning following such blowouts and required a written description that detailed what the victorious crew had carried out to try and hold scores low.

Comparable penalties are often put in by other youth leagues, but they usually do not kick in until the disparity in rating between the groups is almost twice as a lot as the 35 factors being used by the NCFYFL.

With the brand new, harsher penalties, some players have begun insisting that their development is being hurt. One team has stopped attempting any area targets, leaving kicker James McHugh unable to try any scoring kicks besides points after touchdowns. That’s a problem for a thirteen-yr-outdated who hopes to function a high school placekicker in fall 2014.

McHugh’s mother, Kelly McHugh, told KCRA that players on her son’s workforce are afraid to attain as soon as they get a lead for worry that their coaches might be penalized and the group won’t be capable of play the next week.

“Now they’re afraid their coaches are going to get suspended and they don’t seem to be going to have a coach to come out right here and play soccer,” McHugh told KCRA.

Naturally, the controversial issue has advocates on both sides, with NCFYFL Deputy Commissioner Robert Rochin claiming the rule is a pro-active attempt to keep extra children fascinated within the sport while teaching others find out how to be good sports.

“We lose quite a lot of soccer players as a result of their teams lose so badly,” Rochin informed KCRA. “If they are always getting beat, who needs to play anymore? We lose children all season long because of that.

“It is not hurting the youngsters, it’s instructing them compassion for the other workforce. It’s instructing them sportsmanship.”

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Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gets 7-year, $42M deal with Oilers, can afford several more last names

Aaaaannnd he throws out his shoulder. (Getty Pictures)

Depending on the way you take a look at this stuff — in spite of everything, it took some annual misery to get them there — the

Edmonton Oilers

have been very fortunate to amass a core of unimaginable younger gamers:

Taylor Hall

,Jordan Eberle

,Ryan Nugent-Hopkins


Nail Yakupov

. Certain, it’d be nice if one in all them, you realize, was a 25-minute-a-night time defenseman, but still.

Hall (seven years) and Eberle (six years) signed second contracts that carried a $6 million cap hit, and now Nugent-Hopkins has completed the same: Inking a 7-year extension for $42 million, conserving him in Edmonton by 2021.

He’s two years into his NHL career however has performed simply 102 games, because of injuries and the lockout. His numbers tumbled last season after a strong rookie campaign that saw his points per recreation at 0.84. However his superior stats showed progress final season at each ends of the ice at simply 20 years of age, so the lengthy-term dedication is made with confidence.

Here’s what Tyler Dellow said prior to the signing:

So he’s produced. My hope is that they go to eight years with him and that if he’s trying to do a shorter deal that they don’t chunk. Look back at that listing of excessive draft picks who did five or six or seven years and ask your self: in how many of those circumstances would the staff have wished to be able to prolong the deal for the same money? I’d recommend that the answer is: all of them.

If you’re going to do the contract that units the guy up for life, you might as well get that additional yr tacked on there. Everybody’s totally different but if he’s looking at fort-on-the-moon cash, it’s possibly a bit easier to surrender that extra yr to get it – we noticed [Matt] Duchene take a fairly affordable deal for that money and it happens with guys in baseball. Baseball’s not hockey however people are individuals.

This is obviously great information for both the player and the group. The Nuge gets a giant money contract regardless of his glamor stats not having the same luster as those that Corridor and Eberle posted earlier than they were given big cash. The Oilers lock up a player that tracking to be an elite offensive pivot in this league.

And hopefully, eventually, these six-millionaires can get round to making the playoffs.


A tale of two Manning faces, Eli and Peyton show their frustration



We have a whole lot of enjoyable with Eli and Peyton Manning and the frustration they show on the sector.

They not often celebrate after they throw a landing, however watch out in the event that they make a mistake, or they’re frustrated with a teammate who does. There’s even a web site devoted to it:

Well, when it is Manning vs. Manning, that may only mean one factor. Dueling Manning faces. See the GIF above for hilarity.