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Top Rope Talk: Most Underrated Wrestlers of All-Time

Regis teams up once again with Vito, the Host of TalkTanks, for another draft edition of Top Rope Talk. This time they discuss the most underrated wrestlers of all-time. This may be the most subjective and debatable draft thus far. Who do you agree with? Who do you believe is underrated?

Pick Regis Vito
1 Arn Anderson Shane McMahon
2 Owen Hart Raven Reverse
3 Jake Roberts Brian Pillman
4 Big Show Scott Hall Reverse
5 Lance Storm Kane
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Honda Classic Preview

Event Name:   Honda Classic
Course: PGA National
Where: Palm Beach Gardens, FL
Dates of the event: February 26- March 1
Course Yardage: 7,241
Par:      70
Defending Champ: Russell Henley
Purse:  6,100,000
Media Coverage: Golf Channel (Thursday & Friday)

NBC (Saturday & Sunday)


Russell Henley will return to PGA National defend the title that he won last season in a four man playoff. One of the players, Rory McIlroy, will be making his first PGA Tour start of the 2015 season. He has been on the European Tour where he picked up a win at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic earlier this season.

Players in the field:

Rory McIlroy Phil Mickelson Justin Rose
Charl Schwartzel Martin Kaymer Brooks Koepka
Ernie Els Matt Every Stewart Cink
Keegan Bradley Luke Donald Rickie Fowler
Sergio Garcia Lucas Glover Ryo Ishikawa
Zach Johnson Hideki Matsuyama Francesco Molinari
Scott Stallings Boo Weekly Mark Wilson
Lee Westwood Jhonattan Vegas Vijay Singh
Patrick Reed Ian Poulter Billy Horschel
Russell Henley Harris English Paul Casey
Sang- Moon Bae Robert Allenby Jason Dufner

Last Year’s Top 10:

Place Player Score
1 Russell Henley -8
T2 Rory McIlroy
  Ryan Palmer
  Russell Knox
5 Billy Hurley -7

Last Year’s Notable Finishers:

Place Player Score
T8 Sergio Garcia -5
T12 Adam Scott -4
T33 Zach Johnson -2
T46 Lee Westwood E
CUT Phil Mickelson
CUT Martin Kaymer

Photo: Reuters

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Berdych will look to repeat at ABN World Tennis Tournament (Preview)

Event Name:   ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament
Where: Rotterdam, Netherlands
Dates: 2/9 – 2/15
Surface: Hard
Tour: ATP
Defending Champ: Tomas Berdych
Runner-up:      Marin Cilic

Tomas Berdych will look to win his second ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament in as many years. Last season he was able to defeat Marin Cilic 6-4 6-2. This year a very tough field will join him. Four members of the top ten players will be playing in the Netherlands.

Notable players in the field:

Stan Wawrinka Andy Murray
Tomas Berdych Milos Raonic
Jo- Wilfred Tsonga Ernests Gulbis
Roberto Bautista Agut Gael Monfils
Gilles Simon David Goffin
Philipp Kohlschreiber Julien Benneteau
Jeremy Chardy Guillermo Garcia- Lopez
Jerzy Janowicz Andreas Seppi
Marin Cilic Grigor Dimitrov

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BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games returns (Preview)

Event Name:  BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games
Where: Antwerp, Belgium
Dates: 2/7-2/15
Surface: Hard
Tour: WTA
Defending Champ: Justine Henin (2008)
Runner-up:  Karin Knapp

The BNP Paribas Fortis Diamond Games returns next week for the first time in seven seasons. Tennis legend and four-time major champion, Kim Clijsters is the tournament director. The last time this tournament was played Justine Henin won the final 6-3 6-3.

Notable players in the field:

Eugenie Bouchard Angelique Kerber
Dominika Cibulkova Andrea Petkovic
Lucie Safarova Carla Suarez Navarro
Alize Cornet Karolina Pliskova

Photo: Larry Marano

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Koepka wins the Waste Management Phoenix Open


Brooks Koepka was able to shoot a 66 en route to winning the Waste Management Phoenix Open. It was his first tour victory.

Hideki Matsuyama had a chance to send the tourney to a playoff, but missed his left-to-right breaking putt. However, he did record a fairway eagle on the first.

Martin Laird was tied with Koepka after his birdie on the par 5 15th, but he stumbled into the clubhouse as he recorded a bogey on the drivable 17th and he doubled on the 18th after driving into the drink.

The shot of the tournament had to go to Francesco Molinari who recorded an ace on the signature 16th hole.

You can preview next weeks Farmers Insurance Open here.


Top 10:

Place Player Score
1 Brooks Koepka -15
T2 Bubba Watson -14
Ryan Palmer
Hideki Matsuyama
T5 Jon Rahm (a) -12
T5 Martin Laird

Notable Finishers:

Place Player Score
T10 Zach Johnson -10
T17 Keegan Bradley -8
T30 Boo Weekly -5
T40 Patrick Reed -4
76 Bill Haas +8
Tiger Woods CUT
Phil Mickelson CUT
Robert Allenby CUT
Sang-Moon Bae CUT
Jason Dufner CUT

FedEx Cup Standings

Place Player Score
1 Jimmy Walker 957
2 Robert Streb 879
3 Bubba Watson 833
4 Charley Hoffman 757
5 Sang-Moon Bae 721

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Waste Management Phoenix Open Preview

Event Name:   Waste Management Phoenix Open
Course: TPC Scottsdale
Where: Scottsdale, AZ
Dates of the event: 1/29-2/1
Course Yardage: 7,216
Par:      71
Defending Champ: Kevin Stadler
Purse:  $6,300,000
Media Coverage: Golf Channel

Tiger Woods will make his season debut at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. This is his first time playing the course since 2001 when happened to ace the par-3 16th in the third round. The last time Tiger played in a competitive tournament was his Hero World Challenge where he came in tied for 17th. He has a new swing consultant and it will be very interesting to see how he performs in his first outing of 2015. Rickie Fowler is making his first start on the PGA Tour in Scottsdale. He played at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship earlier this month. He finished T66 2-under. Darius Rucker will be performing at the Coors Light Birds Nest He will both be performing on January 29th in Scottsdale. You can view the top 10 Darius Rucker songs here.


Players in the field:

Tiger Woods Jason Dufner Bill Haas
Jordan Spieth Keegan Bradley Brandt Snedeker
Phil Mickelson Bubba Watson Rickie Fowler
Matt Kuchar Patrick Reed Billy Horschel
Kevin Stadler Hunter Mahan Kevin Na
Geoff Ogilvy Hideki Matsuyama Zach Johnson
Gary Woodland John Senden Kyle Stanley
Robert Streb Kyle Stanley Mark Wilson
Kenny Perry J.B. Holmes Angel Cabrera
Retief Goosen David Toms Mike Weir
Padraig Harrington Ryan Moore Ryan Palmer
Sang-Moon Bae Aaron Baddeley Kevin Streelman
Martin Laird K.J. Choi Ben Crane
Matt Every Charley Hoffman Russell Henley
Carl Pettersson Scott Verplank Bo Van Pelt
Scott Stallings Boo Weekly Camilo Villegas
Seung-Yul Noh Ryo Ishikawa Charles Howell III
Stewart Cink Jhonattan Vegas Nick Watney

Last Year’s Top 10:

Player Place Score
Kevin Stadler 1 -16
Graham Delaet T2 -15
Bubba Watson
Hunter Mahan T4 -14
Hideki Matsuyama
Charles Howell III T6 -13
Brandon Steele
Harris English 9 -12
Webb Simpson 10 -11

Last Year’s Notable Finishers:

Player Place Score
Matt Jones T12 -9
Kevin Na T19 -7
Gary Woodland T37 -4
Phil Mickelson T42 -3
Martin Kaymer T53 -1
Vijay Singh 77 8
Lee Westwood CUT
Rickie Fowler CUT
Keegan Bradley CUT

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Australian Open Preview

Event Name:   Australian Open
Where: Melbourne, Australia
Dates: 1/19-2/1
Surface: Hard Court
Tour: Both
Defending Champ: Stan Wawrinka & Li Na
Runner-up:      Rafael Nadal & Dominika Cibulkova

It feels as if the 2015 tennis season just started and players are already down under for the first major of the year. Many different storylines at play for this year’s tournament.

Women’s Side:

  • Is Serena poised for #19. Last season, in the first three major championships she did not make it into the quarterfinals. She is seeking her fifth championship.
  • If Maria Sharapova does go against Serena in the finals, can she figure out a way to beat her?
  • Can someone break through to get their first major title? Players like Simona Halep, Aga Radwanska, Eugenie Bouchard and Caroline Wozniacki.

Men’s Side:

  • Will Stan Wawrinka prove that last year was no fluke?
  • Does Roger have one more push left in him?
  • Can an American make it to the Round of 16? At this point they all seem hopeless.

Juan Martin del Potro has withdrawn from the tournament. Click here for the story.


Seeded Players:

Seed Male Female
1 Novak Djokovic Serena Williams
2 Roger Federer Maria Sharapova
3 Rafael Nadal Simona Halep
4 Stan Wawrinka Petra Kvitova
5 Kei Nishikori Ana Ivanovic
6 Andy Murray Aga Radwanska
7 Tomas Berdych Eugenie Bouchard
8 Milos Raonic Caroline Wozniacki
9 David Ferrer Angelique Kerber
10 Grigor Dimitrov Ekaterina Makarova
11 Ernests Gulbis Dominika Cibulkova
12 Feliciano Lopez Flavia Pennetta
13 Roberto Bautista Agut Andrea Petkovic
14 Kevin Anderson Sara Errani
15 Tommy Robredo Jelena Jankovic
16 Fabio Fognini Lucie Safarova
17 Gael Monfils Carla Suarez Navarro
18 Giles Simon Venus Williams
19 John Isner Alize Cornet
20 David Goffin Sam Stosur
21 Alexandr Dolgopolov Shuai Peng
22 Philipp Kohlschreiber Karolina Pliskova
23 Ivo Karlovic Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova
24 Richard Gasquet Garbine Muguruza
25 Julien Benneteau Barbora Zahiaviva Strycova
26 Leonardo Mayer Elina Svitolina
27 Pablo Cuevas Svetlana Kuznetsova
28 Lukas Rosoi Sabine Lisicki
29 Jeremy Chardy Casey Deliacqua
30 Santiago Giraido Varvara Lepchenko
31 Fernando Verdasco Zarina Diyas
32 Martin Klizan Belinda Bencic

For personal reasons, I want to see Serena and Federer win the titles. Who do you want to see take the title home? Comment below.


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Humana Challenge Preview

Event Name:   Humana Challenge
Courses: Arnold Palmer at PGA West- Host Course

Jack Nicklaus at PGA West

La Quinta Country Club

Where: La Quinta, CA
Dates of the event: 1/22-1/25
Course Yardage: Palmer: 6,950

Nicklaus: 6,924

La Quinta: 7,060

Par:      All three courses are par 72
Defending Champ: Patrick Reed
Purse:  $5,700,000
Media Coverage: Golf Channel

Welcome back Lefty! Phil Mickelson is making his first appearance of the season at the Humana Challenge. This is his first start since the Ryder Cup. He will be looking to get off to a hot start in 2015 because his 2014 season was awful. Lefty had twelve top 25 finishes. The highest finish he had was second at the PGA Championship to Rory McIlory.

Defending champ, Patrick Reed will look to become the first repeat champion since Johnny Miller did it in 1975-76. At this event last season he became the third player to win this event wire-to-wire.

Players in the field:

Phil Mickelson

Patrick Reed

JJ Henry

Kevin Streelman

Keegan Bradley

Jason Dufner

Billy Horschel

Matt Kutcher

Francesco Molinari

Tim Clark

Ben Crane

Charley Hoffman

Kevin Na

Jhonattan Vegas

Scott Stallings

Luke Donald

D.J. Trahan

Paul Casey

Chad Campbell

Stewart Cink

John Daly

Ryo Ishikawa

Ryan Moore

Sung Joon Park

Rory Sabbatini

Mark Wilson

Scott Piercy

Ryan Palmer

Retief Goosen

Lucas Glover

Mike Weir

Scott Verplank

Brandt Snedeker

David Toms

Bo Van Pelt

Nick Watney

Jerry Kelly

Charles Howell III

Bill Haas

Jeff Overton

Gonzalo Fernandez-Castaño


Last Year’s Top 10:

Player Place Score
Patrick Reed 1 -28
Ryan Palmer 2 -26
Zach Johnson T3 -25
Justin Leonard T3
Brian Stuard 5 -24
Bill Haas T6 -23
Brendon Todd T6
Chad Collins 8 -22
Stuart Appleby T9 -21
Charlie Beljan
Ben Crane
Charley Hoffman

Last Year’s Notable Finishers:

Player Place Score
Jerry Kelly T13 -20
Keegan Bradley T18 -19
Webb Simpson T23 -18
Ryo Ishikawa T25 -17
Rickie Fowler T44 -16
Kevin Na T48 -14
J.J Henry T82 -7

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Pink Top 10 Countdown

Quick, name someone who does not like Pink’s music. Her music pulls some sort of emotion out of a listener. Her music is down to earth like we imagine her to be. Her music is uplifting and it brings out your inner rebel. (She would have been a huge country star.) She can also sing upside down on a trapeze. A lot of artists can’t sing standing up.

Pink made it well known when she first debuted on the scene that she was not Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, or Jessica Simpson. She is honest in her music and that may what I and many others like P!NK.

Those that didn’t make the countdown:

True Love


U + Ur Hand


There You Go


Blow Me (One Last Kiss)


Please Don’t Leave Me


10. Who Knew


9. Get This Party Started


8. Sober


7. Raise Your Glass


6. F****** Perfect


To continue to the top 5 please go to the next page.

2015 NFL Divisional Round Preview

After going a perfect 4-0 last week I return to inform everyone of what’s going to occur during the 2015 divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The “few notes section” does come from ESPN.

Saturday Games

Baltimore vs. New England 4:35 EST NBC

Personally, I believe the first game of the divisional round will be the best one.

Joe Flacco leads a hot Ravens squad into Foxboro. He passed for nearly 4,000 yards over the regular season and Justin Forsett rushed for over 1,200. Their balanced attack has been elevated thanks to the Smith twins, Steve and Torry. The biggest weapon that Baltimore has, however, is the defense. No one will run the ball against them. NOBODY! Which means it will be tough for the non-existent Pats running game. Jonas Gray and LaGarrette Blount will not rush for over 50 yards combined.

New England does have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Do they need any more? I can’t tell you anything you do not know about what they will do. Expect Gronk to have at least 6 receptions for 120.

Few Notes:

  • Tom Brady is 1-2 in his postseason career at home against the Ravens, and 11-1 against everyone else.
  • Joe Flacco has 10 playoff wins (5 straight) since he entered the league in 2008, twice as many as any other QB in the NFL. His 7 road playoff wins and 11 road playoff starts are most by any QB in NFL history.
  • In Tom Brady’s career, he has 7 postseason game-winning drives, more than 3 times the amount of any other remaining QB in the playoffs. In fact, if you added up the total game-winning drives in the playoffs from the other 7 QB in the postseason, Flacco, Wilson, Romo, Manning, Luck, Rodgers and Newton they would equal…7…the same amount of game-winning postseason drives as Brady.

Who wins?

Baltimore rolls once again. The defense will win it for them and Flacco won’t lose it. Brady will at least have two picks.

Score: 24-17


Carolina vs. Seattle 8:15 EST FOX

It’s the battle of the read offense and the two best mobile quarterbacks in the NFL.

The Panthers are riding a five game winning streak and Cam is looking better than ever. Who knew that getting in a wreck could be a good thing? Carolina has always been a running team and the help of healthy running backs, Stewart and Williams, the Panthers could be a tough out.

The defending champs seem to be everyone’s pick to win it all. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because they have home field advantage and the Legion of Doom is back. Russell Wilson is carrying the offense because he doesn’t have a respectable receiver. Doug Baldwin has been MIA for the majority of the season.

Few Notes:

  • The Panthers and Seahawks follow the same plan: run the ball and play defense. Since Week 12, the two teams have been the best in several key rushing and defensive stats.
  • At least one road team was won in the Divisional playoffs in the previous nine seasons (2005-13), the second-longest streak in NFL history (road team won in 13 straight years from 1975-87). 2004 was the last season in which all four home teams won on Divisional weekend.
  • The Panthers and Seahawks have combined for 69 points in their previous three meetings and the two teams have only scored touchdowns on two of their 15 red-zone drives.

Who wins?

This will be a tough defensive game. The score will be tight. Seattle will soar.

Score: 20-17


Sunday Games 

Dallas vs. Green Bay 1:05 FOX

This game will be played on the frooooozen tundra. The running backs will be the feature of this contest. I see big games for both Eddie Lacy and DeMarco Murray.

Dallas was lead by the great of the referees last week. That was not professional, but the ‘boys should have lost. I still can’t ignore the great play of Tony Romo. He has lead this team far better than in years before. In the second half last week, it was fair for spectators to assume he was going to throw a costly interception but he didn’t.

Green Bay has a gigantic quarterback question. Is Aaron Rodgers healthy? We will be able to see how good that leg is after kickoff. Lacy will have to be driving force behind the Packers offense.

Few Notes:

  • Aaron Rodgers’ calf injury could limit his mobility. No QB has more Pass TD (33) from out of the pocket than Rodgers the last 5 seasons.
  • Including playoffs, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at home in his last 477 pass attempts. He’s played 16 games since his last interception at home, throwing 38 Pass TD in that time.
  • The Cowboys went 8-0 on the road this season. The Packers went 8-0 at home this season. According to Elias, only once since the merger has an unbeaten home team hosted an unbeaten road team in the playoffs. In 1972 the Dolphins (7-0 on the road) defeated the Steelers (7-0 at home) 21-17 in the AFC Conference Championship game.

Who wins?

How Bout Dem Cowboys?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Especially, if Chris Christie shows up.

Score: 30-24


Indianapolis vs. Denver 4:40 EST CBS

This is the battle of old versus new. Many people have already proclaimed Andrew Luck as a Hall of Famer and G.O.A.T. but he will still has yet to go to a conference championship. Is he Peyton Manning? No!

As I stated last week, it will be difficult for Indy to do anything on offense because of their ability to run the ball. He will have to pass over 45 times if his team wants an opportunity and his defense will have to show up and stop the run for once. CJ Anderson cannot have a huge game. If he does, the Colts don’t stand a chance.

The Broncos have Peyton Manning. End of story.

Few Notes:

  • Over the last five weeks of the regular season, Peyton Manning ranked 30th in red zone completion percentage (39 percent) and 22nd in red zone Total QBR (18) out of 32 qualified quarterbacks. Manning ranked first in both completion percentage (78 percent) and Total QBR (97) in the red zone in the season’s first 12 weeks.
  • Peyton Manning was off target on seven of his 16 red zone passes to Demaryius Thomas in the last five weeks of the regular season. Thomas had more drops (2) than receptions (1) in the red zone during that span.

Who wins?

Denver wins and it won’t be close.

Score: 35-21

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2015 NFL Wild Card Preview

The 2015 NFL Wild Card round is will begin this weekend and there will be four great contests. All of the “few notes” are from ESPN Stats and Information.

Saturday Games

Arizona vs. Carolina

I would not want to face the Panthers in the post season. This team is smoking hot. They’re riding a four game win streak and the defense is firing on all cylinders. They beat Atlanta 34-3 last week to get into the playoffs. Just because they are 7-8-1 DO NOT take this team lightly. Since Cam Newton’s wreck they have seemed to be invincible.

For the banged up Cards, they must be feeling like they are the most underrated team remaining. Injuries have mounted at nearly every skill position, but they have been able to implement the next man up philosophy. Ryan Lindley is a third string quarterback who will have to lead this team to possibly four victories. Is it possible?

Few Notes

  • Over the last 10 seasons, the Panthers are the 5th team to make the playoffs with a record of .500 or worse…each of the previous 3 teams went on to win in the Wild Card round.
  • Teams that finished .500 or worse in the regular season have won 5 of their last 6 Wild Card games. No team that finished .500 or worse has made it past the Divisional Playoffs, however.
  • From Elias: If Ryan Lindleystarts for the Cardinals, he will be the 7th QB since the 1970 merger to start a playoff game after having 1-or-fewer regular-season wins as a starter. Those QBs are a combined 2-4 and haven’t won since Gifford Nielsen won in 1979 for the Oilers.

Who wins?

I believe that this game will not be close. Bruce Arians has done a phenomenal job at motivating his team and preparing his troops for the next battle. However, Carolina is clicking and it will be tough for Arizona to stay in it.

Score: 27-10


Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh

This is the only divisional contest this weekend and it is fueled by hatred and that alone. The squads split the regular season contests by both winning on their home turf. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 17-14.

Baltimore clinched the final playoff spot by defeating the Browns in there finale 20-10. They have a balanced offense that is being fueled by the strong running of Justin Forsett. He shockingly ran for over 1200 yards.

It’s still no secret that I have had it in for the Steelers all season. The Philadelphia 76ers have been more consistent than the Steelers. Remember this is the same team that lost to both the Bucs and Jets. They have won four games straight so they will be looking to keep their spark lit. The biggest question mark for Pitt is the health of arguably the best running back in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell. He has a right knee injury and he did not practice on Thursday.

Bell said, “I feel really good. I didn’t expect to be feeling this well this early. But I am, so I’m just going to take it day by day and see where it goes.”

Few Notes

  • Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 17-14
  • The Steelers were an NFL-best 6-1 against teams that finished over .500 this season.
  • The Ravens are 6-1 in the Wild Card Playoffs in team history, the best record in the NFL among the 29 teams to play at least 4 Wild Card games.

Who wins?

Well if I have not been that excited the Steelers through the regular season, do you really think I pick them now. Baltimore wins by a field goal.

Score: 23-20


Sunday Games

Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis

I have no idea what to expect in this contest. Both teams have the ability to put up points, but they can also stink up the joint. On paper we can expect a high scoring game, but if it is low scoring I would not be surprised.

The only way Cincinnati can win is if AJ Green plays. He did not practice on Friday due to the NFL concussion protocol. Can Andy Dalton lead this team to victory win it counts? Will the Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard run for at least 150 to take some pressure off of Dalton? There are way too many questions and I have no answers.

I have the same doubts about Indy. They can’t run the ball. The defense is more off pitch than Idina Menzel singing at a New Year’s Eve performance. Click here for the performance.

Few Notes

  • Marvin Lewis has lost his 1st 5 postseason games as head coach. Lewis has won 100 games in the regular season and joins Jim Mora as the only coaches with at least 100 wins and 0 postseason wins in NFL history.
  • The Colts defense allowed just 7 pass TD and a 27.1 Total QBR at home this season, both best in the NFL.
  • The Bengals had 135 yards of offense and went 1-of-13 on 3rd down in the Week 7 shutout loss to the Colts. It was the Bengals worst offensive performance since getting shutout in Week 17 against the Jets in 2009, when the starters didn’t play the full game.
  • Andrew Luck has thrown 8 interceptions in 3 career playoff games. Luck is the 1st QB to throw 8+ interceptions in his 1st 3 playoff games since Dan Fouts (1979-80 seasons).

Who wins?

By default I have to give the win to the Colts.

Score: 27-17


Detroit vs. Dallas

This will be the best matchup over the course of the weekend. This will be a battle of the lines. Can the Cowboys o-line stop the Detroit d-line? The Lions have been the best team against the run this season only allowing 69 yards per outing.

Matthew Stafford will have to have a perfect game if he wants to beat the ‘Boys. I’m sure Joique Bell and Reggie Bush will some pressure off of Stafford, but he cannot have another playoff letdown.

Dallas very well may be the best team in the league. They can pass, run, and defend. Murray and Romo have both made claims for the MVP award. They finished 6-1 to polish a very good regular season.

Few Notes

  • If history tells us anything, the Cowboys should go ahead and pack their bags for Green Bay. Matthew Staffordis 0-16 in road games against teams that finished the season with a winning record, the 3rd-most losses without a win in such games for any quarterback since the 1970 merger.
  • The Lions allowed an NFL-low 3.3 yards per rush on first down during the regular season. Only three teams have allowed fewer yards per rush on first down in a season in the last five years.
  • With Nick Fairleyreturning to practice, the Lions run defense could get another boost after Ndamukong Suh’s suspension was overturned earlier in the week. The Lions allowed 2.48 yards per rush against 86 carries with that duo on the field together this season. Those numbers dropped off significantly when 1, or both were out of the game.

Who wins?

How ‘bout the Cowboys????

Score: 31- 20

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ASB Classic Preview

Event Name:   ‘ASB Classic
Where: Auckland, New Zealand
Dates: January 5-10, 2015
Surface: Hard
Defending Champ: Ana Ivanovic
Runner-up: Venus Williams

For some of the ladies on the WTA Tour the season will begin in New Zealand. A start studded field will try to get the season started off right as 11 of the top 50 players in the world will battle for the ‘ASB Classic title. Ana Ivanovic defeated Venus Williams in the final last season 62 57 64 to get her first title since November of 2011. Ivanovic will not be in this year’s field, however. She has opted to go to the Brisbane International. Seven-time singles Grand Slam champion, Williams, will return to Auckland.

Notable players in the field:

Caroline Wozniacki

Sara Errani

Venus Williams

Barbora Zahalova Strycova

Svetlana Kuznetsova

Sloane Stephens

Coco Vandeweghe

Mona Barthel

Kurumi Nara

Kirsten Flipkens

Roberta Vinci

You may also like the preview of the Brisbane International.

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Daniel Bryan to Return at the Rumble

WWE wrestler, Daniel Bryan announced to the world on Monday Night Raw that he would be returning to the ring at the 2015 Royal Rumble.

Earlier in the day he posted this to Twitter:

This year seemed to be the year of the goat, but Bryan injured his neck earlier tis year. The leader of the “Yes Movement” said that the WWE Universe is the reason why he was able to defeat Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton at WrestleMania in front of over 75,000 spectators.

The twenty-eighth annual pay-per-view will be held at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

Fans took to Twitter to proclaim their happiness.

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Week 17 NFL, Black Monday, Hot Seat, Picks

Normally, I give a huge spill about what’s huge storylines, but this week there is only one storyline. It’s either win or go home.

AFC North

If you had asked me a few weeks if these two teams would make the playoffs I would have laughed in your face. Jeremy Hill seems to be a great compliment to Gio Bernard. With both in the backfield Andy Dalton should have more time to throw the rock. It is no secret that I have been a little mean to the Steeler Nation. I still don’t believe them however to go deep into the playoffs.

NFC North

There will be a huge game on the “Frozen Tundra” known as Lambeau Field. Green Bay has been unstoppable at home this season. They are 7-0 and averaging 41.1 points per game. Detroit is hot on offense. The question is will the front line be able to put some kind of pressure on Rodgers.

NFC South

Both the Falcons and Panthers deserve a playoff spot by the way they have both ended the season. Both teams are on hot and they have apparently saved both of their head coach’s jobs. I have no problem with a team under .500 making the playoffs as long as they have some type of positive momentum ending the regular season.

AFC Wildcard

Teams are still jockeying for the final AFC Wildcard spot. San Diego has the opportunity to serve out for the position. They will travel to Kansas City for a chance to do that. Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City are all still alive.

Josh Gordon

Earlier this week he was suspended by the Browns for the regular season finale against the Ravens.

Final Hot Seat

I can see the following teams cleaning house:

  • Chicago
  • Oakland
  • New York (A)
  • New York (N)

Last Week:    10-6

Overall:          169-80-1

Percentage:   .676

NEW ENGLAND over Buffalo

BALTIMORE over Cleveland

WASHINGTON over Dallas

MINNESOTA over Chicago

HOUSTON over Jacksonville

Indianapolis over TENNESSEE

MIAMI over New York (A)

San Diego over KANSAS CITY

TAMPA BAY over New Orleans

NEW YORK (N) over Philadelphia

ATLANTA over Carolina

DENVER over Oakland

GREEN BAY over Detroit

SAN FRANCISCO over Arizona

SEATTLE over St. Louis

PITTSBURGH over Cincinnati

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Country Music Star Darius Rucker receives honor

Darius Rucker has come a long way from singing his University of South Carolina friends. Rucker began singing as the lead vocalist of the band Hootie and the Blowfish in 1986. His deep, soulful voice lead the band to a couple of Grammy awards. Also, the band’s first album, Cracked Rear View, went 16X platinum. Hootie and the Blowfish had hits like, “Let Her Cry”, “Hold My Hand”, and “Only Wanna Be With You”. The band decided in 2008 to take a hiatus so that Rucker could pursue a solo career.

Rucker’s first album, Learn to Live, charted three number one hits. They were “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”, “Alright”, and “It Won’t Be like This For Long”. His second album didn’t fail. Actually, it was certified gold. But his third album, True Believers may have been his best one yet. It featured a remake of Bob Dylan’s “Wagon Wheel”. The song went 3X platinum, won a Grammy, and never ceases to get old.

He later went on to record a Christmas album, Home for the Holidays, which is in stores now.

This South Carolina Gamecock fan continues to break down barriers and make history.

  • 2nd African- American with a #1 country song
  • Only African- American to win the CMA New Artist of the Year
  • Became a Grand Ole Opry Member in 2012

It is honor give Darius Rucker this week’s Young Veteran award. Between you and me, I don’t think it’s possible for this artist to stop making great music.

These are the Top 10 Darius Rucker songs.

10. Homegrown Honey

9. True Believers

8. It Won’t Be Like This For Long

7. Stuck On You Duet with Lionel Richie

6. Come Back Song

To continue to the top 5 please go to the next page.

Week 16, Storylines, Picks, Cleveland, MVP, OROY, McDonald

There is a big bear in the room and we need to address it. I like Jay Cutler there I said it. (See week 11 post and week 8) Should he have been the highest paid offensive player in the league? No, but who else could Chicago have gotten to be their starter. This has been a let down season for Cutler, but this is not completely his fault. I blame coaching and defense. When the defense allows so many points, the quarterback must take more risks to catch back up. Matt Forte is one of the best backs in the league, why is he not touching the ball? It’s a shame Jay played better under Lovie Smith, a defensive minded coach, than Marc Trestman. The entire front office should be cleared out.

Jimmy Clausen will get the start this Sunday.

Week 16 Storylines

  • The Marcus Mariota Bowl will be on Thursday, as the Titans will face the Jags. Is that a reason to watch? Uh no.
  • Really, who wants to win the NFC South?
  • Can RG3 save his Washington roster spot?
  • Will DeMarco Murray play just days after having hand surgery?
  • Is Phillip Rivers healthy enough to lead his team to a possible playoff spot?

Offensive Rookie of the Year

  1. Mike Evans
  2. Kelvin Benjamin
  3. Odell Beckham Jr.

MVP Race

  1. Tom Brady
  2. Aaron Rodgers
  3. DeMarco Murray
  4. JJ Watt
  5. Peyton Manning
  6. Russell Wilson

I don’t understand the argument against JJ Watt winning the MVP. The Texans would still be a contender for the number one pick without Watt. According to ESPN Watt has 16.5 sacks, 64 combined tackles, 5 fumble recoveries, and 5 total touchdowns. I think of JJ the way I think of a pitcher in baseball A pitcher has a specialty but they can affect the scoreboard and momentum and the same applies to Watt. Clayton Kershaw (in the regular season) = JJ Watt.

Teams that have clinched a playoff berth:

Arizona, New England, Indianapolis, and Denver

Manziel

Johnny Manziel will never be mentioned in the MVP Race of peewee league. Anyone knows me knows that I am not one to brag. Refer back to last week’s article about the switch to Johnny Interception. Oh, I also mentioned it in Week 14. You may now call me Mr. Cleo.

Ray McDonald

Click here to read the article written earlier this week about him.

Jon Gruden

The former Oakland and Tampa Bay coach announced Monday night that he signed an extension to remain in the Monday Night Football booth through 2021. Hopefully, this puts an end to all of the rumors about him heading back to the sidelines. This is a huge announcement for the Gruden family. His brother Jay, coach of Washington, may need a new gig in the next couple of years.

Head Coaching Vacancies

These are the jobs that are certain to be open on Black Monday:

San Francisco

New York (N)

Chicago

New York (A)

Atlanta

Oakland

Possibly Tennessee & Jacksonville

Last Week:      12-4

Overall:             159-74-1

Percentage:     .679

JACKSONVILLE over Tennessee

Philadelphia over WASHINGTON

San Diego over SAN FRANCISCO

Baltimore over HOUSTON

Detroit over CHICAGO

Kansas City over PITTSBURGH

New England over NEW YORK (A)

CAROLINA over Cleveland

Green Bay over TAMPA BAY

MIAMI over Minnesota

Atlanta over NEW ORLEANS

Buffalo over OAKLAND

ST. LOUIS over New York (N)

Indianapolis over DALLAS

Seattle over ARIZONA

CINCINNATI over Denver

Be sure to follow Down the Line Sports and Entertainment and follow me on Twitter @RegisJWelch.

Top Pop/Rock Songs of 2014

In 2014, Pop/Rock music welcomed an incredible rookie class of new artists like Sam Smith, Iggy Azalea, MAGIC, A Great Big World, and others. While Ed Sheeran, Paramore, and One Republic returned to hit making. Oh, and by the way, Taylor Swift was a huge free agent pick up. Year after year it seems as if a Pop/Rock star can be made after one song or they can fizzle away. The artists on this list appear to buckled in for a long haul.

Some of the songs that did not make the top 25 list:

Maroon 5- Maps

Iggy Azelea- Black Widow

Pitbull- Fireball

Sia – Chandelier

Demi Lovato – Really Don’t Care

One Direction- You & I

Tove Lo- Habits

Ed Sheeran- Sing

Ingrid Michaelson – Girls Chase Boys

Paramore- Still Into You

Mary Lambert- Secrets

To continue to the top 25, please go to the next page.

NFL Week 15, Storylines, NFC West, Picks, and Manziel

Remember the phrase, “Any given Sunday”? Any team did win in week 14, Who would have believed that Carolina would go ahead and steamroll New Orleans in New Orleans? Oh, wait I did. Seattle only allowed fourteen points to the highflying Eagles. The Raiders yes the Raiders won the Battle of the Bay 24-13. Finally, Pittsburgh went into Cincy and doubled em’ up. The last three weeks of the season is sure to be exciting and action packed.

Storylines

  • Is the Legion of Boom really back?
  • Is Jay Gruden really on the hot seat after one season?
  • Can St. Louis continue its hot streak?
  • Will the Green Bay winning streak continue?
  • Can Derek Anderson lead the Panthers to another win without Cam Newton?

Arizona

The Cards were able to hold off the Kansas City Chiefs last week to capture they’re tenth victory of the season. I believe it was the teams last win. There are just too many holes in this boat and not enough gum. Carson Palmer and Andre Ellington are gone for the season. Tyrann Mathieu will not play this week. On the bright side it does look like Larry Fitzgerald will be on the field.

To finish the season, the Arizona must go to St. Louis, play Seattle at home, and then travel to San Francisco. That schedule should seem impossible for a team that is fourteenth in the league in passing and thirtieth in rushing.

Cleveland

I addressed this travesty Tuesday. Please click here to view my commentary about it.

Eric Berry

The Chiefs safety was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma earlier this week. The fifth year player only played in six games this season where he had thirty- seven combined tackles. According to the Chiefs website, Hodgkin Lymphoma is treatable and potentially curable. Get well, Eric!

Last Week:      11-5

Overall:           147-70-1

Percentage:    .674

ST. LOUIS over Arizona

Green Bay over BUFFALO

BALTIMORE over Jacksonville

Cincinnati over CLEVELAND

CAROLINA over Tampa Bay

INDIANAPOLIS over Houston

KANSAS CITY over Oakland

NEW ENGLAND over Miami

NEW YORK (N) over Washington

ATLANTA over Pittsburgh

Denver over SAN DIEGO

DETROIT over Minnesota

TENNESSEE over New York (A)

SEATTLE over San Francisco

Dallas over PHILADELPHIA

CHICAGO over New Orleans

Also, remember that Down the Line Sports is now Down the Line Sports and Entertainment. Currently, you can find the Top 25 Hip Hop and R&B songs of 2014 and the Top 25 Country songs of 2014 under the music menu. Pop/Rock will be released on Friday, December 11. The rest of the schedule is as follows.

  • Thursday- NFL weekly preview
  • Saturday- Top 10 countdown of a current artists greatest hits. Ex. Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Blake Shelton.
  • Tuesday- Top 10 countdown of a legendary artists greatest hits. Ex. Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton, Tupac.

Articles can be released at any time.

Make sure to follow the blog and also follow me on Twitter @RegisJWelch.

Top Country Songs of 2014

Country music took another positive step further in 2014. It’s arguable that this genre is the best and most competitive. There were so many quality songs, so it is understandable if some of these songs are out of order.

Some of the songs that did not make the top 25 list:

Rascal Flatts- Rewind

Frankie Ballard- Sunshine & Whiskey

Florida Georgia Line- Dirt

Keith Urban- Somewhere in My Car

Blake Shelton- Neon Light

Darius Rucker- Homegrown Honey

Dustin Lynch- Where It’s At

David Nail- Kiss You Tonight

Kip Moore- Dirt Road

Kacey Musgraves- Follow Your Arrow

Hunter Hayes- Invisible

The Band Perry- Chainsaw

To continue to the top 25, please go to the next page.

What are the top 25 Hip Hop and R&B songs of 2014? Did your favorite make the list?

Regis Welch

Be sure to follow me @regisjwelch

Great R&B and Hip Hop songs flooded the radio in 2014, but only a select few could make this exclusive 25 list. Artists like Beyoncé and Mary J. Blige returned to the music game hotter than ever. New stars emerged on scene like Jhene Aiko, Schoolboy Q, and Aloe Blacc. With stars like these music should be in a good place for a long time to come.

Some of the songs that did not make the top 25 list:

Rico Love- They Don’t Know

Ledisi- I Blame You

John Legend- You & I

Future- Move That Doh

DJ Khaled – Hold You Down

Bobby Shmurda- Hot Boy

I Love Makonnen- Tuesday

Beyoncé- Partition

Usher- Good Kisser

To continue to the top 25, please go to the next page.