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The Championships, Wimbledon 2015 Gentlemen’s Preview and Winner

Event Name:   The Championships, Wimbledon 2015
Where: London, England
Dates: June 29- July 12
Surface: Grass
Tour: WTA & ATP
Defending Champ: Novak Djokovic
Runner-up:      Roger Federer

Roger Federer returns to the All-England Club one season after losing a heartbreaking fifth & final set to Novak Djokovic. It was the last time Fed was able to be in the final of a major. However, this is 2015 and the No. 2 seed has another opportunity to win his eighth title. Will this be his last chance to win a major? Hopefully not, I would love to see him finish his career like Pete Sampras did.

To see preview of the Ladies side you can click here.

Novak Djokovic comes into the tourney disappointed he could not claim a career grand slam at the French Open earlier this month. If there is a favorite to win the tile it must be Djok, right? He has been in both grand slam finals thus far this season and won one. Novak is also the defending champ.

People are writing off Rafael Nadal. Some have gone as far as saying that his career is over based on his horrible showing during the clay season. I would think that Rafa is allowed to have on bad year on clay. The guy has won nine French Opens and people think he can win another. It’s no secret that grass is not his favorite surface, but can he be called an underdog?

Stan Wawrinka proved all the haters wrong in Paris, as he was able to pick up his second major. He has the ability to push all of the other top players. He will be an interesting player to watch.

David Ferrer will not win because he can’t beat a player better than him. He doesn’t even pick up an occasional upset over the top players.

It appears once again that my favorite country, USA, will not be bringing home a major any time soon. John Isner is the best bet we have, but he is like Ferrer. It’s like he freezes against bigger named players.

Notable gentlemen in the field

Seed Players
1 Novak Djokovic
2 Roger Federer
3 Andy Murray
4 Stan Wawrinka
5 Kei Nishikori
6 Tomas Berdych
7 Milos Raonic
8 David Ferer
9 Marin Cilic
10 Rafael Nadal
11 Grigor Dimitrov
12 Gilles Simon
13 Jo-Wilfred Tsonga
14 Kevin Anderson
15 Feliciano Lopez
16 David Goffin
17 John Isner
18 Gael Monfils
19 Tommy Robredo
20 Roberto Bautista Agut
21 Richard Gasquet
22 Viktor Troicki
23 Ivo Karlovic
24 Leonardo Mayer
25 Andreas Seppi
26 Nick Kyrgios
27 Bernard Tomic
28 Pablo Cuevas
29 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
30 Fabio Fognini
31 Jack Sock
32 Dominic Thiem

After all of that it is time for my pick. Drum roll please…

I’m going with No. 3 seed Andy Murray to pick up the win. Shocker, I hope not. He is the equal to Djok, Federer, Wawrinka and every other player in the field. Amélie Mauresmo has been an outstanding coach for him. For those of us that had the chance to watch Amélie play, it is easy to compare her game and circumstance to Murray. It has not been easy for him to overcome the other top players en route to his two major victories. Mauresmo had to beat players like Serena Williams and Justine Henin.

Who do you have winning The Championships?

Other bloggers talking about Wimbledon:

Tennis Kibitzer

Nico Mahut Fans

Game Set Match

Moo’s Tennis Blog

Joel Orme Sports

Photo: CARL COURT / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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The Championships, Wimbledon 2015 Ladies Preview and Winner

Event Name:   The Championships, Wimbledon 2015
Where: London, England
Dates: June 29- July 12
Surface: Grass
Tour: WTA & ATP
Defending Champ: Petra Kvitova
Runner-up:      Eugenie Bouchard

When I think of Wimbledon every year I think of strawberries and cream. It looks so good. I’ll have to try it whenever I go to London. However, that has nothing to do with The Championships this year.

Once again the favorite is Serena Williams. The only person that can possibly beat her is Serena Williams. Every opponent she may have in the tournament will have to play their A+++++ game and have Serena commit a lot of unforced errors. Williams is 69-8 against the current top 10 players in the world. Is that a form of intimidation or a lack of motivation for the other ladies? With a Wimbledon win Serena will:

  1. Complete her second Serena Slam (win all four majors consecutively, but not in the same year.
  2. Be one major shy of completing the season grand slam. This feat has been done three times (Maureen Connolly Brinker in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970, & Steffi Graf in 1988) Graf actually completed the Golden Slam that season. She won an Olympic Gold medal that season as well.
  3. Will only be one major behind Graf for the most all-time in the Open era.
  4. Pick up her 6th win at the All- England Club. She would then be three back of Martina Navratilova.

You can see the gentlemen’s preview here.

The matches are played on the court and not on paper and that’s why these people may have an outside chance of winning if Serena is unable to get the job done:

  • Petra Kvitova is the defending champion and has won two of these titles in the past four years. She will need to play strong in the early rounds to gain momentum. She does have tendencies to get upset early in majors.
  • Maria Sharapova would love more than to be the person to stop Serena as she has already accomplished this feat in 2004 to claim her first major. Sharapova also has the ability to get upset. She is my favorite is Serena goes out.
  • Caroline Wozniacki has been playing great since breaking up with Rory McIlroy last season. However, she still has yet to win a major. She has the ability to fly under the radar to win the title.
  • Venus Williams has won this championship on five separate occasions and may still have some magic left in the bottle. Sloane Stevens knocked her out in the first round of the French Open. Venus didn’t play bad in the match. Stephens outplayed the veteran.
  • Madison Keys is my dark horse pick. She has the power and pace needed to contend on this surface. Keys proved earlier this season at the Australian that she belongs in the conversation of players for the future.
  • Finally, there is a young woman named Vika. Victoria Azarenka is much better than her ranking. Reminder, it is because of her injuries last season. She has played great since coming and I expect that to resume.

Notable ladies in the field:

Seed Players
1 Serena Williams
2 Petra Kvitova
3 Simona Halep
4 Maria Sharapova
5 Caroline Wozniacki
6 Lucie Safarova
7 Ana Ivanovic
8 Ekaterina Makarova
9 Carla Suarez-Navarro
10 Angelique Kerber
11 Karolina Pliskova
12 Eugenie Bouchard
13 Aga Radwanska
14 Andrea Petkovic
15 Timea Bacsinszky
16 Venus Williams
17 Elina Svitolina
18 Sabine Lisicki
19 Sara Errani
20 Garbine Muguruza
21 Madison Keys
22 Sam Stosur
23 Victoria Azarenka
24 Flavia Pennetta
25 Alize Cornet
26 Svetlana Kuznetsova
27 Barbora Strycova
28 Jelena Jankovic
29 Irina-Camelia Begu
30 Belinda Bencic
31 Camila Giorgi
32 Caroline Garcia

After all of that it is time for my pick. Drum roll please…

Of course I’m going with Serena. She is playing out of her mind. As tennis players mature in age they are supposed to regress in skills (i.e. Roger Federer) but Williams has gotten stronger. She knows what a win this year means in respect to history and I do not expect any person to be able to prevent her from winning Wimbledon.

Who do you have winning The Championships?

Other bloggers talking about Wimbledon:

Iain’s Football and Tennis Blog

Tennis Kibitzer

Tennis Abides 

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Hotard’s Top 10 Quarterbacks Heading into 2015-16

As the NFL season knocks on the door, analysts and journalist have began compiling their respective lists of the top signal callers in the NFL.
I figured now would be a good time to take a crack at my top 10 quarterbacks heading into the 2015-16 NFL season.
Before I begin my list, keep in mind that the NFL and sports in general are about the “what have you done for me lately,” mentality. I remember when San Francisco’s Colin Kaepernick was being looked at as a one of the future gems of the NFL.
After a down year, he is sitting in limbo trying to figure out his identity. It seems like a century ago when Kaep was a stud.
Bottom line, it never ceases to amaze me what a few years of game film and success can do to a quarterback. The game changes quick, so it is best to evolve with it.

LETS BEGIN…

fancloud.com10- Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins

I may be in the minority to include Tannehill into my top 10, but I love the guy. He has steadily improved his numbers every single year since his rookie season (2012). He finished last year just north of 4,000 yards to pair with a 66% completion rate. Icing on the cake, 27 touchdowns to 12 interceptions isn’t too shabby either. The only knock so far has been his record. He and the Dolphins have not eclipsed eight wins in a season yet, but I am thinking this may be the year.

Joe Flacco fanspeak.com9- Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens

I remember when Flacco claimed he was the best quarterback in the NFL and everyone laughed. Only problem was, the joke was on them as he went on to win his first and only Super Bowl. Flacco has been one of the more consistent play callers in the league. Since entering the league in 2008, he and the Ravens have only missed the playoffs one season. When the Ravens make the playoffs, Flacco isn’t exactly a quarterback you want to face. The guy has yet to go one-and-done in the postseason and hoists a record of 10-5. In his 15 appearences, he has thrown for 3,223 yards, 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Tony_Romo-geeksandcleats8- Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys

Still to this day, he is the most unfairly critiqued quarterback in the NFL simply because of the logo on his helmet. People hate the cowboys thus hating the quarterback. We all know the narrative that Tony Romo is not clutch. FALSE. He has the highest 4th quarter QB rating of ALL TIME. The problem is, all of his meltdowns have typically been when everyone has watched. Many times, it is because he is making a throw into a tight window. Oddly enough, didn’t Brett Favre miss out on two Super Bowls because of that same “gutsy” decision making? When Romo does it, it’s “bone headed.” People, especially fans, always want it both ways. I digress. Bottom line, he is coming off his best season and will always find a way on my top 10 list.

100710-Ben-Roethlisberger-SW-PI_20101007230653_660_3207- Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers

Something about Big Ben that I cannot put my finger on just always leaves him out of the top 5. I watch him play and he is great, don’t get me wrong, but I just have never liked him enough to put him in that top 5 spot. There is no denying his ability to manipulate and move around the pocket and fire downfield. Now that he has a top receiver in Antonio Brown, he will age well moving forward.
Buffalo Bills v New Orleans Saints6- Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Normally, I would stick Brees in the top five, but he has lost that big play ability it seems. I am not sure what to make of Brees heading into 2015. As a Saints fan, I have noticed he held on to the ball too long last year and doesn’t have the same strength to make throws he made three years ago. Is he still one of the best quarterbacks in the league? Absolutely, no question. I’ll take a Brees down year over most guys’ best season. Just not sure he is top five anymore. With some tweaks to the offensive line and moves that signify the Saints could be shifting to a more run-oriented offense, he could go on to have an outstanding year relying on play-action, much like Romo did last year.

5- Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks

Maybe my favorite guy to watch in the NFL right now. His ability to make plays downfield by avoiding the pass rush is incredible. He has helped the Seattle Seahawks reach the last two Super Bowls and I firmly believe (Prediction alert) he is about to make round three. I’m salivating over the fact he now has a big target in Jimmy Graham. For a while, they made hype about how great he is at home because they were literally unbeatable at Century Link Field for two years. More impressive are his numbers on the road and being poised and confident away from the rabid Seattle fans. Last season, Wilson threw for just under 2,000 yards, 14 touchdowns and just 1 interception on the road. For those who have claimed he is a “game manager,” game managers don’t do that.

peyton-manning-run24- Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos

It is evident that Manning, like Brees, has lost some luster in his arm and wears down more rapidly. However, Manning is still a tower at 6’5. He was on pace to have another historic season early last year, but wear and tear caught up in the second half. He is still one of the most intelligent signal callers of all time. Combine that with his size, the guy won’t be hurting too much to sustain success.

Crouch-Brady-Deflategate-Press-Confrence-12003- Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Part of me wanted to slate him out of the top 5 due to his suspension for Deflategate. The guy is still coming off of his fourth Super Bowl win and sixth appearance. The combination of him and Head Coach Bill Belichick is just unfair. I suspect they will back near the top and fighting for a Super Bowl.

AndrewLuck2- Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts

The most can’t miss QB prospect has been everything he was expected to be and more. It is truly a treat to watch him play. He is the next transcendent star that the NFL has to offer. Luck really is a combination of Peyton Manning (intelligence) and John Elway (athleticism and arm). He could easily make a case for the top spot. It only took Luck three years to toss 40 touchdowns in a season. That is with a sub par offensive line as he has been hit more than any quarterback the last three years and without a true number one receiver.

tumblr_m12fz1K7XN1qdyvixo1_5001- Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers

The two time and reigning NFL Most Valuable Player tops the list, no surprise here. Maybe the most impressive thing about Aaron Rodgers is that he isn’t slinging the ball 40 times per game and yet he still puts up nearly 40 touchdowns and 4,400 yards each season. His touchdown to interception ratio is obnoxious every year. He has a massive arm and can pinpoint it anywhere. Let’s be honest, Rodgers has made a career off the back shoulder throw. No matter, who he throws to, they become stars. RODGERS! DISCOUNT DOUBLE CHECK!

Now that I have spewed my top 10 list, share yours below or tell me what an idiot I am because of something that you may not agree with. I welcome it.

What happens when Sports meets Reality?

Yes, Down The Line Sports Entertainment is a sports and entertainment blog that does not cover civic issues, however there comes a point where sports reality, reality, and the civic issues intertwine.

Sports reality is very important in many ways especially as devoted fans who will do anything and everything to will our teams on to victory. Sports is the MOST real thing on television besides the news. One might argue that the news is skewed and actually not real. But,

  • Imagine how the people of Chicago will react when the Cubs win a World Series?
  • Think of the feelings that you experience when you have a bet on the Kentucky Derby.
  • Is there anything more exciting than a buzzer beater?

Sports leaves each of us with a feeling that can’t be described. It leaves us with a memory that will always be tangible. You will remember where you were you seen Buster Douglas knock down Mike Tyson. You will remember being amazed as David Tyree made a catch using his helmet in the Super Bowl. You will remember the smell of the cold wind blowing in your face as you run in a marathon.

That is reality! You are experiencing it right? Those are priceless memories that can’t be taken away from you, right?

But, is that the same feeling you have when your first child is born, the regret of not paying a bill on time because you were laid off, or being a witness of a loved one struggling to hold on to their life.

Aren’t those same tangible, realistic feelings?

Below is a chart that compares and contrasts both sports reality, reality, and civic issues.

Slide1

What happens when sports realities and reality happen at the same time to affect civic issues?

With that, I take you to Baltimore, Maryland where sports is at the center of reality. For those of you who do not know, Baltimore is the epicenter of protests and riots because of the handling of the death of Freddie Gray as he was being arrested. Since his death, the community and police have banded together to seek peace and find the truth. That is not being shown on television though. We are seeing looting, disrespect for authorities, burning of buildings, and a whole lot of destruction.

Yes, Freddie Gray died, but what does this have to do with sports and reality?

Because of protests, the Baltimore Orioles have not been able to play their home games at Oriole Park at Camden Yards because the team and Major League Baseball want to protect fans, players, employees, and umpires from potential harm.

The team has decided to play a game on Wednesday, April 29, in front of an empty stadium. The team was also scheduled to host the Tampa Rays this weekend, but instead they will travel to Tampa and act as the home team.

How are sports reality, reality, and civic issues being used in this one example? Well,

  1. Hearing the cheering of the hometown team will not be a memory someone will gain this weekend.
  2. Ticket holders who made plans for Monday and Tuesday’s games may not be able to attend the games on Thursday.
  3. On Wednesday, the team will not have fans cheering for them. Therefore losing home field advantage.
  4. Employees of Oriole Park at Camden Yards who make close to minimum wage will miss out on three days pay, as they will not be traveling to Tampa. I would think the team would pay them because this is not the employee’s fault.
  5. Because there are no games being played either in public or in Tampa, the team will lose out on revenues that are generated by ticket sales, parking, concessions, and other revenue streams. Someone will have to pay for what the team has lost. Expect consumers to pay higher prices until the team recuperates its loses.

To the peaceful protestors of Baltimore, please know that people around the world and I see what is going. We respect you and encourage you to continue to seek the truth.

To the police and community leaders of Baltimore, please continue to share peace in a city that is desperate. Show shines of sympathy and empathy because people need it.

For the looters and destructors, hell terrorists, please start to think. Step outside of your body and look at what is going on. If you do that you will see:

  1. One of America’s greatest cities being destroyed. Believe it or not, you will have to pay for those damages. Actually, the entire city and state will have to pay for your crimes.
  2. People who have negative views of blacks will (in the their mind) be justified.
  3. That all of this damage will have been for nothing. I am sorry to say that riots will not bring Freddie Gray back. No matter how many buildings are set on fire, Orioles games cancelled, or how much disrespect is shown to the police will bring this young man back. I’m sorry, that is reality.

Consider the phrase, “One bad apple spoils the bunch.” That bunch is inedible.

I hope that the Orioles are not punished for acts they did not commit.

Sidebar. Yes, this is a national mess that only local authorities have control over. Stick to local government. Let’s not make this more political that what it already.

Yes, sports reality is a “legal” high that can never be matched, but please notice the real issues surrounding you. There are parts of this country that are still fighting for voting rights and equality rights amongst other things. Seek to find issues that may interest you and use your voice.

After, remember that events that have already occurred cannot be prevented after the fact. If you want to see change get out in your community, actually speak to your neighbor, and network with people who are a different demographic than you. Be the person you want to see as a leader of your neighborhood.

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Photo by: Patrick Semansky—AP

Check out what other bloggers said about this issue:

The Phoenix Rises

Ronovan Writes

SmallGovReport

RighteousBruin

MentalUnrest

The Central Standard Times

Super Bowl Preview

Wow, I can’t believe that I have now written twenty-one NFL previews this season. For those of you keeping score at home that’s seventeen regular season, three playoff games, and one Super Bowl. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for someone who has read all of these previews.

Before we get to the game, let’s remember that Katy Perry will be performing at halftime with Lenny Kravitz. You can view the Katy Perry top 10 songs here.

Anyways, let’s get back to football. This Sunday the New England Patriots will face Seattle Seahawks.

I’m sure you already know about Deflategate, so I we will stroll around that topic.

New England’s offense will have to depend on someone besides Tom Brady and the Gronk. Everyone knows that Bill Belichick will have some trick up his sleeve. People are expecting LaGarrette Blount to have a huge game, but will Belichick go to Jonas Gray instead. The Patriots also have a great defense led by a vacation destination Revis Island. New England is solid team that will be tough to beat.

Quick question: If the Patriots win, is it fine to say that Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time? He would have four rings in six trips to the big dance. The same question applies for Belichick. Reply below with what you think.

The Seattle defense will have to set the pace for the offense, however they are banged up. Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas were both injured in the Seahawks last outing against Green Bay. Both players have been participants in practice all week.

”I feel so much better. Each day, it’s surprised me because this is my first time with the injury and you don’t know what to expect. It has been just positive results from the trainers.” Thomas said.

Russell Wilson has been the heartbeat for the Seahawks all season. He personally, has engineered the offense. It surely has not been his lifeless teammates known as receivers.

Mr. I’m Just Here So I Don’t Get Fined will also need to have a beast mode type of game.

Who wins?

This game is really the battle between good and evil or old vs. young. Will we see a changing of the guard? Can the Seahawks defeat another Hall of Famer in the Super Bowl? I am going with the New England Patriots. This team was left for dead at the beginning of the season. Someone even asked Coach Belichick if Brady should be benched. Regardless of how you feel about this team, you have to acknowledge their success.

Score 31-27

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Super Bowl Halftime Performer Katy Perry Top 10

This week’s top 10 features the Super Bowl XLIX halftime performer, Katy Perry.

Perry joins Bruno Mars, The Who, Prince, Beyoncé, Madonna, U2, Paul McCartney, Janet Jackson, and many other previous headlining acts.

As of now we know that only Lenny Kravitz will be performing alongside the Grammy-winner.

Every Friday on the Breakfast Club, a weekday syndicated radio show on Power 105.1 out of New York, DJ Envy and Charlamagne Tha God perform a karaoke version of Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)”. It’s a man jam that we can all sing and belt out, regardless of gender.

The Super Bowl will be on NBC in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ on February 1.

The Songs that did not make the top 10.

California Girls


Part of Me


Wide Awake


The Katy Perry Top 10.

10. The One That Got Away


9. Hot N Cold


8. Waking Up in Vegas


7. Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) 


6. E.T.


To continue to the top 5 Katy Perry songs please continue to the next page. 

2015 NFL Championship Preview

The playoffs continue this weekend with two rematches from the regular season. Now I’m not one to brag, but in my preseason Super Bowl selection I said that Seattle would face Indianapolis in Arizona. I also said that Jay Gruden would win Coach of the Year, but that is beside the point and has nothing to do with this conversation.

The playoffs continue this weekend with two exact rematches from the regular season. Now I’m not one to brag, but in my preseason Super Bowl selection I said that Seattle would face Indianapolis in Arizona. I also said that Jay Gruden would win Coach of the Year, but that is beside the point and has nothing to do with this conversation.

Green Bay vs. Seattle 3:05 PM EST FOX

In the regular season opener Seattle manhandled the Packers 36-16. Russell Wilson passed for two touchdowns and Marshawn Lynch rushed for 110 yards and two scores. Aaron Rodgers threw one pass for a touchdown, but the running game never got going for GB. The team had a total of 80 yards on the ground. Also, in that game Rodgers did not consider challenging Richard Sherman.

For Green Bay to win this week they will need a healthy Rodgers because the Seattle D will make him move around to make plays. Eddie Lacy will have to touch the ball early and often.

The Seahawks will need to do more than lean on Russell Wilson. In a lot of the games late in the season he had to make plays with his feet to stay alive. Good thing Wilson has the Legion of Boom on his side.

Who wins?

I have to stay true to my preseason selection and go with the Hawks. The defense has been on fire since they have become healthy. I also believe that Rodgers’ calf injury will play a huge part in this game. Last week he was able to adjust, but please know that the Dallas D is not the Seattle D.

Score: 24-17


Indianapolis vs. New England 6:40 PM EST CBS

In the first meeting between these two AFC foes the Pats ran over the Colts. Remember the name Jonas Gray. Don’t worry I didn’t remember him either. Gray had his coming out party that Sunday night in Indy. He rushed for 201 yards and four scores. Ahmad Bradshaw injured his lower left leg in the contest and was later put on IR along side the Indy running game. The team also has a little media attention. You can read the articles about Trent Richardson and Josh McNary here.

To me the Colts are still a mystery. Andrew Luck in just his third year in the NFL is the only threat the Patriots really need to be aware. Daniel Herron appears to be a good back, but he is not consistent. Reggie Wayne and TY Hilton are both healthy so expect Luck to be passing all game log. Maybe he might take a trip to Revis Island.

Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are gonna have some type of new offensive strategy for this game. Maybe they will use four linemen again. It’s possible that LeGarrette Blount may lead a heavy rushing attack. Who knows?

Who wins?

The right thing for me to do is to go with my previous selection and select the Colts. However, that is not the team that will win this contest. New England wins because of experience and a more balanced attack.

Score: 38-24


There it is New England vs. Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX


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Josh McNary placed on Exempt List

Josh McNary, linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts, was placed on the exempt list early Thursday morning.

The 26-year-old has been charged with rape, battery resulting in bodily injury, and criminal confinement with bodily injury.

The Colts organization put out a statement that said:

“After reviewing the documents supporting the very serious criminal charges filed yesterday afternoon against Josh McNary, the Colts have requested Commissioner Goodell to immediately place Josh on the league’s Commissioner Exemption list,” the Colts said in a statement released Thursday.

“That designation will permit the investigation provided by the league’s Personal Conduct Policy to run its course and will afford Josh the opportunity to focus on his defense against the charges. The Colts sincerely hope this extraordinarily serious matter will be resolved expeditiously and that justice will prevail.”

McNary, 2nd year player, “unhesitatingly” denies the rape allegations.

He may not be apart of any team activities. He may not practice or attend any games.

He had 28 combined tackles and .5 sacks.

The Colts take this field this weekend in the AFC Championship game against the New England Patriots.

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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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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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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

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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.

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Week 14, Browns, Picks, Ray Rice, Ngata, Bryan Burwell

USA Today
USA Today

Since 1999, the Cleveland Browns have had twenty starting quarterbacks. Let me reiterate that. Since 1999, the Cleveland Browns have had twenty quarterbacks. Some how this sorry excuse of a team finds themselves in a quarterback controversy. Brian Hoyer has led the team to a 7-5 record. 7-5 is outstanding for the Browns and it’s all because of Brian Hoyer.

Because the team was down by 17 in the fourth quarter last week head coach, Mike Pettine, decided to put in Johnny Manziel who led the team down field and scored a touchdown. Oh, happy day.

This organization has been looked down upon more than any other team in the NFL since the team resurfaced. They have an opportunity to go to the playoffs, but they will eventually cater to what people want instead of what works.

Last time I checked Johnny Manziel is not Aaron Rodgers, Steve Young or Doug Flutie. Hell, he’s no Earl Morrall. Those players just waited. Their Hall of Fame head coaches knew when the right time was to put them in and not a second sooner.

Cleveland may never experience success like this again. Ride the horse that brought you to the dance. If Manziel is the guy for next year play him then. Until then, stifle yourselves!

Storylines:

  1. Is the beginning of another miserable December for the Cowboys?
  2. Will someone actually step in front of the NFC South?
  3. Will the Cardinals get a much-needed win against the Chiefs?
  4. Can the Bengals extend their AFC North lead?
  5. Can the Giants ever play like a NFL quality team?

Ray Rice

Last week, Rice was reinstated back into the NFL like he should have been. Calm down please. This guy did the time he was originally awarded and then some. No one cares about public opinion. He has the right to make a living just like everyone else. Any team in the league can pick him up. If a team does not want to be surrounded with his baggage they have the option to not sign him.

I don’t believe Ray Rice will be signed this season because it’s just too late. However, he will be signed right after the draft next year. Expect him to be a vengeful player.

Pittsburgh

Which team in the NFL lost to New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and the Jets this season? Yep, that would be Pittsburgh. Well, I said it in week 11, but no one believed me. The Steelers are worse than the Philadelphia 76ers. Good thing the team remains dedicated to their coaches because Mike Tomlin would have been fired with any other team.

Detroit

The team that may be trending at the right time has to be the Lions. If Matthew Stafford can place the ball in the receiver’s hands this team may be unbeatable in January. I like the way Joique Bell is running and that defensive line is nasty. Be on the lookout.

Seattle

The Seahawks seem to be playing like the Seahawks again. Their defense shut down San Fran on Thanksgiving and it seems is though the running game is what’s moving the ball. It’s never been mentioned, but is Russell Wilson a MVP contender? Without him Seattle may be 4-12.

San Francisco

49ers-ravens-football-jim-harbaugh_pg_600

Why would the Niners consider trading Jim Harbaugh? Yes, he may be a pain in the behind, but he wins every place he goes. He even brought this team to the Super Bowl and they are not appreciative. At some point in time we all have to step outside of our comfort zone. Apparently, Frisco is not wiling to do that.

Haloti Ngata

USA Today
USA Today

The Pro Bowler will miss the last four games of the season because of the use of Adderall. The defensive leader will be missed. We will see how the team reacts in a must win game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Hot Seat part 2

It appears as though Rex Ryan is a lame duck, so he is excused from this conversation.

  • Mike Smith- The head coach of the Falcons on their way to another disappointing season. Though Atlanta is still tied for the NFC South lead, they are still an awful team. The defense is dismal and the high-powered offense is weaker than Dodge Charger with a Ford Pinto motor. I believe the writing is on the wall for Smith.
  • Marc Trestman- Da Bears are possibly a bigger disappointment than the Falcons. Jay Cutler has underperformed and their defense has allowed over 149 points since week 8. I don’t believe his position is savable under any circumstance.

For other Hot Seat candidates please see my post from week 9.

RIP Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

dm_130317_parting_shot_jerry_tarkanian_hof
ESPN

On Thursday, December 4, the world lost one of the best sports journalists of our time. Maybe you have read his column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or you could have possibly seen him on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters. Burwell was 59.

 Last Week     11-5

Overall:          136-65-1

Percentage:  .673

Dallas over CHICAGO

MIAMI over Baltimore

Indianapolis over CLEVELAND

Carolina over NEW ORLEANS

CINCINNATI over Pittsburgh

DETROIT over Tampa Bay

Houston over JACKSONVILLE

MINNESOTA over New York (A)

TENNEESSE over New York (N)

St. Louis over WASHINGTON

DENVER over Buffalo

Kansas City over ARIZONA

San Francisco over OAKLAND

Seattle over PHILADELPHIA

New England over SAN DIEGO

GREEN BAY over Atlanta

Week 13, Picks, Ferguson, Turkeys, Storylines

This is a sports blog, but we can not ignore what has been happening in Ferguson, MO. Only two people will truly ever know the complete truth of what happened the evening that Michael Brown was killed. I may not be the smartest person but even I know that violence plus violence does not equal peace.

Let’s get back to football.

Storylines

  • Will the loser of the Seattle/San Fran game not make the playoffs?
  • Who’s really the exceptional team in the NFC East?
  • Will we get a SB preview when NE goes against GB?
  • Cleveland, really?
  • Can San Diego make a comeback and win the AFC West?
  • Will Colt McCoy make Washington respectable? Please notice I said a change was coming three weeks ago.
  • Can Arizona go into Atlanta and pick up a W?

NFC South

This division is arguably the most competitive group of four teams. Each team is still mathematically alive to win the division even though there is a possibility that no one will finish with a winning record. I still have Atlanta winning the NFC South. Cam Newton can’t stay on his feet and Tampa Bay is worth less than a $2 steak. Frankly, New Orleans never had a chance!

Jive Turkeys of the Year

This honor was fairly simple to award this year. Ray and Janay Rice truly deserve this prestigious distinction more than other couple on the planet. You know the story so I don’t need to go there again. He’s an ignorant imbecile while she is a dummy. They belong together.

Congrats on the award!

Presidential Turkey Pardon

If you are a weekly reader of Down the Line Sports you know that do not believe in the hardship that the NFL has put Adrian Peterson through. He should be reinstated into the NFL ASAP. There is no reason as why he is being put through hell.

Adrian Peterson, you have been officially pardoned.

Last Week:    12-3

Overall:          125-60-1

Percentage:   .672

Week 13 Picks

DETROIT over Chicago

DALLAS over Philadelphia

SAN FRANCISCO over Seattle

BUFFALO over Cleveland

BALTIMORE over San Diego

Carolina over MINNESOTA

Cincinnati over TAMPA BAY

HOUSTON over Tennessee

INDIANAPOLIS over Washington

JACKSONVILLE over New York (N)

PITTSBURGH over New Orleans

ST. LOUIS over Oakland                      If you watch this game you seriously need a life!

ATLANTA over Arizona

GREEN BAY over New England

Denver over KANSAS CITY

MIAMI over NEW YORK (A)

Week 12 NFL, Picks, Saints, MVP Race, Power Rankings, Storylines

It is no secret that I am not a New Orleans Saints fan even though I live forty miles out of city limits. I can’t explain how disgusted I was last week when I seen one of their fans snatch a ball out of the hands of a Bengals fan. I was sick, seriously. I was embarrassed to be the stereotypical southern gentleman. I was embarrassed to be from southeastern Louisiana. OJ and Dennis Rodman did not make me this embarrassed to be African-American! He said that the ball will be for his grandson, but why would you want to give him a ball from the opposing team? The lady is an underpaid principal for Christ sake. Hasn’t she suffered enough? The New Orleans PR department did give the lady a football, but it did lack a touchdown flare. I do apologize to the Bengals franchise and everyone else for the lack of respect displayed to the world.

  1. Can Josh Gordon return to glory? (Please my fantasy teams need it!)
  2. Is RG3 worth the headache?
  3. Can the best NFL team go into Seattle and get a win?
  4. Are both Tom Coughlin and Eli performing for their jobs?
  5. Will Detroit get a quality road win at NE?
  6. Should any NFC South team make the playoffs?
  7. Will Ben Tate make huge debut for the Viks?

MVP Race

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

Power Rankings through 12

  1. Arizona
  2. Green Bay
  3. New England
  4. Denver
  5. Detroit
  6. Dallas
  7. San Francisco
  8. Seattle
  9. Indianapolis
  10. Baltimore
  11. Philadelphia
  12. Cincinnati
  13. Miami
  14. San Diego
  15. Cleveland
  16. Kansas City
  17. Atlanta
  18. Pittsburgh
  19. Chicago
  20. Minnesota
  21. Carolina
  22. Buffalo
  23. New Orleans
  24. Louis
  25. Houston
  26. New York (A)
  27. New York (N)
  28. Washington
  29. Tennessee
  30. Tampa Bay
  31. Jacksonville
  32. Oakland

Last Week:    6-8

Overall:          113-57-1

Percentage:   .660

Bye:                Carolina & Pittsburgh

This is the final week of teams on byes.

Kansas City over OAKLAND

New York (A) Buffalo

CHICAGO over Tampa Bay

NEW ENGLAND over Detroit

INDIANAPOLIS over Jacksonville

ATLANTA over Cleveland

Cincinnati over HOUSTON

Green Bay over MINNESOTA

PHILADELPHIA over Tennessee

SEATTLE over Arizona

SAN DIEGO over St. Louis

DENVER over Miami

SAN FRANCISCO over Washington

Dallas over NEW YORK (N)

Baltimore over NEW ORLEANS

NFL, Week 11, Picks, Adrian Peterson, and maybe a little Taylor Swift

You know, I feel heartbroken. I have gone far out of my way to support a few teams this season and I have absolutely nothing to show for it. The only other person who knows who knows about this degree of heartbreak is Taylor Swift. Her most recent classic “Blank Space” has inspired me to fill in the blank space that a few teams have created.

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers are overrated beyond belief. So this team dominated both the Colts and Ravens, but the couldn’t beat the sorry Jets. Quarterbacks like Kyle Orton, Alex Smith, and Phillip Rivers have all lit up the Jets, but Mr. twelve-touchdown passer, Ben Roethlisberger couldn’t pass gas against the New York. I have no faith in Pittsburgh. Actually, no one should have faith in Steelers. Earlier, in the season the Tampa Bay beat Pittsburgh in Pittsburgh. I sincerely like Mike Tomlin, but I believe he is ready to take over a new position with a team that worth his talents.

By the way, who was the genius that decided to invite Justin Beiber to bible study? His music career has been hit by a steel curtain for gosh sake. Why keep losers around your team? He screws up everything he is involved with.

Chicago Bears

Fans of Da Bears should feel extremely disgusted by the lack of production the extremely talented team has put on the field. Jay Cutler is making Brian Hoyer look like Tom Brady. A few weeks ago I said that Jay was not the only reason for the mournful play of the Chicago team. Since week seven the defense has allowed 133 points. Marc Trestman should be shown the door. The team has gotten significantly worse since he has taken over leadership over the franchise.

Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton should apply for Affordable Healthcare. Apparently, Cam Newton is still not 100%. It also doesn’t help that his offensive line is worse than the secret service. Below is the list of quarterback hits in the past four seasons:

  1. Cam Newton 531
  2. Ryan Fitzpatrick 272
  3. Alex Smith 257
  4. Joe Flacco 254

No one can make a great play when they are lying on the ground. Ron Rivera has done a fantastic job as head coach, but if I were he I would be checking out prices for U-Haul rentals.

Week 11 Storylines

  • Is it possible for the Cards to remain at the top of the league without Carson Palmer?
  • Can the Seahawks beat a quality Chiefs team?
  • Will the Giants show they are worth something as they face the 9ers?
  • Can the Chip Kelly system defeat GB? The winner may be the Ayatollah of the NFC.
  • Which team is actually 2nd best in the AFC? Is it Indy or NE?
  • Is Cincy worth anything?
  • Can Teddy lead his team to a win at Soldier Field?

Adrian Peterson

Hopefully, AP gets reinstated this week. He should be allowed back into the league immediately because what he did is questionable. What do I mean by questionable? He is this harsh violent football player, but he was not charged with any crime. I know people who were not whipped who turned out to be good people and I also know some who are now the scum of the earth. I ended up fine. Every time I did something wrong I was whipped. It’s how I learned right from wrong. Peterson thought he did the right thing for his child and the NFL should not be able to punish him for that.

Week 11

Last Week:                9-4

Total:                         107-49-1

Percentage:               .682

Byes

New York (A), Baltimore, Dallas, Jacksonville

FYI: 1st time this season I have been confused on more than one game.

MIAMI over Buffalo

CLEVELAND over Houston

CHICAGO over Minnesota

Denver over St. Louis

NEW YORK (N) over San Francisco

CAROLINA over Atlanta

Cincinnati over NEW ORLEANS

KANSAS CITY over Seattle

WASHINGTON over Tampa Bay

Detroit over ARIZONA

SAN DIEGO over Oakland

GREEN BAY over Philadelphia

INDIANAPOLIS over New England

TENNEESSEE over Pittsburgh

NFL Week 10, Picks, Storylines, Coach of the Year, Washington

As we head into the second half of the NFL season the quarterback position becomes even more important. Several teams have backups in at the most important position in all of sports. Which one is the best? Frankly. who knows. Mark Sanchez is leading the 1st place Eagles. Can the butt-fumble guy lead his team into the playoffs? Some say that Sanchez was the best Philly QB during the preseason.

Because no one knows what will happen with Tony Romo. The only way Dallas will make the postseason will be if he plays. Brandon Weeden may play if the Cowboys up early. Romo will get the start in England against the Jags. Hopefully, he will not re-aggravate his injury.

Week 10 Storylines

  • Why play Tony Romo against the Jags?
  • Will Oakland pull of an upset?
  • Can the Big Ben hot streak continue?
  • Which team will survive the NFC East?
  • Can San Fran get a much-needed win in the Big Easy?
  • Are the Bears still worth watching?

Coach of the Year Race

Mike Pettine- Cleveland, yes Cleveland is having a great and surprising year. The Browns are 6-3 and are tied for first place in the AFC North. They are having a great season and their best player has not played a down yet this season. Wide receiver, Josh Gordon will return to action in a couple of weeks. It seems as if he made the right decision by starting Brian Hoyer over Johnny Manziel.

Bruce Ariens- The Arizona Cardinals has the best record in the NFL, which automatically qualifies him for the award. Expect his team to be competitive against the remaining squads on their schedule, which includes Seattle, San Francisco, and St. Louis.

Bill Belichick- Just a few weeks ago, his team was ruled out. Now, New England is on fire. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are clicking on all cylinders. Mind you they are doing this with a weak offensive line and average receivers.

Washington Football

The Washington football team once again could not get a victory. They had an opportunity to get a late win in Minnesota but fell short in the final minutes. Prior to the game beginning, rumors surfaced about the support for RG3. Reports surfaced saying that players felt as though the team should have started Colt McCoy, who had won the past two games for the team. Other reports claim that upper management, Dan Snyder, decided to play Griffin.

I would start the player who is winning me games. Washington is 3-6 with no chance of possibly making the playoffs. The franchise quarterback may be Griffin, but he has not earned the title on the field in the past two seasons. The job should be up for grabs. Kirk Cousins has proven to be good enough to be the quarterback for the Raiders or the Jets. He sucks he really really sucks. Griffin and McCoy should compete for the rest of the season to determine who should be the leader in the nation’s capital.

The starting QB job is should be the least of their concerns. The team was welcomed at TCF Bank Stadium by a group of protestors. Over 5,000 people showed up for the meaningful event. This will end will when the team eventually changes the name. There is a such thing as a right and wrong side of history and apparently this organization is hell bent on taking the iniquitous approach.

Last Week:    9-4

Overall:          88-45-1

Week 10 Picks

CINCINNATI over Cleveland

BUFFALO over Kansas City

San Francisco over NEW ORLEANS

Atlanta over TAMPA BAY

BALTIMORE over Tennessee

DETROIT over Miami

Pittsburgh over NEW YORK (A)

Denver over OAKLAND

SEATTLE over New York (N)

ARIZONA over St. Louis

GREEN BAY over Chicago

PHILADEPHIA over Carolina

Week 9 Preview, NFL, London, Storylines, Hot Seat, Love/Hate

by Regis Welch

Follow at @regisjwelch

Down the Line Sports

Normally, I write a positive lead, but for week 9 that task seems impossible. Last week, I seen some of the worst play I have ever seen in any sport. Jets quarterback, Geno Smith, played worse than Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez combined. Do you know how bad you have to play to do that? Before he was pulled for Michael Vick, Smith had already thrown three picks en route to a QBR less that 0.1. Watching this team seriously made my eyes hurt.

Two weeks ago the entire city of Chicago wanted to kill Jay Cutler, but he was not the reason they lost last week. Da Bears were trumped 51-23 in Boston. Their defense had no answers for Brady, Gronkowski, or LaFell. I really don’t understand this team. Chicago is way too good to be so bad.

I remember when the Oakland Raiders was a respected sports franchise. Now, they are possibly worse than President Obama’s approval rating on foxnews.com. I like Derek Carr and the receivers that he has, but that’s about it. The coaching is awful and the defense is miserable. Al Davis is rolling over in his grave and the people in the faithful black hole should consider giving up their season tickets for the foreseeable future.

Week 9 Storylines

  • Who really is better Peyton or Brady?
  • Can Tony Romo stay healthy for the duration of the season? We’ve talked so much about DeMarco Murray playing in all sixteen games, but no one has mentioned Romo. They cannot win without him, but they can lose with him.
  • Who are the Houston Texans? This week against Philly they will have an opportunity to play like the playoff team they should be.
  • What is Washington thinking? Do they ever think? Colt McCoy has won back-to-back games and they bench him. RG3 has garbage when he was healthy and Kirk Cousins played like a Jets quarterback. In the NFC East it is never too late for a team to make a come back and win the division. Expect Robert Griffin to come back to the trainer’s room within the next three weeks. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
  • Can Ben Roethlisberger repeat his record-breaking performance last week? Heinz Field is still on fire as Big Ben had his way with the Colts.

London

londonpub.com.au
londonpub.com.au

For the life of me I cant understand why the NFL wants to take over the London market and put a team there. This week we will have the Seattle Seahawks go against the London Monarchs. Who will want to travel all that way? How about putting an NFL team in LA, Portland (OR), Toronto, Mexico City, Maui, Vegas, or San Antonio. Remember NFL Europe, how did that end? The Beijing Communists, Australian Kangaroos, Egypt Pyramids, and the Rome Chicken Parmesans will be on the docket ten years from now.

Coaches on the Hot Seat

nydailynews.com
nydailynews.com
  • Rex Ryan- I like him, but he knows that he has been set up to fail this season. The Jets have way too much cap room not to bring in quality players. Last week, the Jets had a receiver playing cornerback. With all of that money they can’t get a mediocre cornerback or quarterback. Something seems off. I hope he get another head coaching job.
  • Marvin Lewis- This Bengals coach has had a great team since he’s been in Cincy, but he has not made a significant push in the post season. Nothing will change this year. The AFC will run through New England and Denver. Cincinnati will have no say so.
  • Tom Coughlin- This two-time SB champion has run out of luck. I predict that the G-Men will go 7-9 and miss the playoffs. Since Coughlin joined the team in 2004 they have missed the playoffs in five of his ten seasons.s

The team I am beginning to LOVE:

Arizona- This was the best team last season to not make the playoffs and they are now showing teams that they are for real. Carson Palmer is possibly playing the best ball that he has ever played and he is doing it by not passing to Larry Fitzgerald on every down. They are also +9 on turnovers. I do not, however, like the way Patrick Peterson is playing. He is a shadow of what he was last season. Quarterbacks are no longer afraid to go after him.

The team I am beginning to HATE:

San Diego- The Chargers started the off hot, but they are starting to simmer off. Phillip Rivers is a great QB, but there is only so much he can do on the offensive side of the ball. Brandon Oliver has done an okay job in starting in the place of Ryan Matthews, but they need more. Especially since Denver is starting to pull away in the AFC West.

Dummy of the Week:

This award was made for Lamar Houston. His Bears were being blown out. Houston got a sack on the Patriots backup QB before he decided to celebrate. In which this happened.

lamear.0

Last Week:    9-6

Total:             79-41-1

Percentage:   .653

Byes: Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Tennessee 

CAROLINA over New Orleans

CLEVELAND over Tampa Bay

Arizona over DALLAS

KANSAS CITY over New York (A)

MINNESOTA over Washington

CINCINNATI over Jacksonville

Philadelphia over HOUSTON

MIAMI over San Diego

SAN FRANCISCO over St. Louis

SEATTLE over Oakland

Baltimore over PITTSBURGH

Indianapolis over NEW YORK (N)

Week 8 NFL, Picks, Storylines, Michael Sam, Mettenberger, Da Bears, and whole lot more

Wait for it. Wait for it. How ‘bout dem Cowboys? That is only the second time that phrase has been used here on Down the Line Sports and possibly not the last. The team is on fire and my pick for MVP, DeMarco Murray, is playing like is possessed. The entire offense is clicking on all cylinders and the defense is containing the opposing offenses. I expect the ‘Boys to get their next loss on November 23. They would be 9-1 going into that week 11 matchup with the New York Football Giants. By the way it has been a long time since I’ve heard a good Tony Romo joke.

Enough kissing up to Dallas! Congrats to Peyton Manning on overtaking Brett Favre as the all-time touchdown passer. Have a look at how many people he has thrown TD passes to.

Courtesy of ESPN.

By the way, that’s Peyton Manning not Gary Payton. Payton played in the NBA for the Seattle SuperSonics.

Week 8 Storylines

  • Who are the Bengals and Bears? These two teams are pit-i-ful. Cincy has a great excuse A.J. Green has been injured and there really is no one that can take his place. The Bears need Jesus or whomever they collectively believe in.
  • Will the real Atlanta Falcons please stand-up?
  • Can Aaron Rodgers continue his hot streak against a pathetic New Orleans secondary?
  • To the Cleveland Browns, please please please know that you are the Cleveland Browns. Why go for a first down last in the first half when you have the lead against the sorry Jags. Oh, and don’t be stupid. Brian Hoyer has been phenomenal quarterback for this team. Normally, the Brown would be 0-6, but because of him they are 3-3. Johnny Manziel has a comfortable seat on the bench don’t move him.
  • Then, there are the Raiders.. Who cares??

Percy Harvin

Last week, Percy Harvin was traded from the Seattle Seahawks to the New York J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS. Reports are still coming out as to why he was traded. Some are saying that he was disagreeable and he did not get along with Russell Wilson. Harvin will now pay for his sins. Would I rather Russell Wilson pass me the ball or Geno Smith? Whatever idiot just said Geno please excuse yourself from this conversation.

The Jets got the better of the deal. They only gave up a mid-round pick to rent Harvin for the rest of the season. If you are gonna miss the playoffs at least do it with a Pro Bowl receiver.

Zach Mettenberger

0303

Remember before the season started I said Zach Mettenberger would be the Offensive Rookie of the Year. He will get the opportunity to prove me right on Sunday. This will be his first NFL start. The sorry Titans are giving up on their backup Charlie Whitehurst. Tennessee has young talent and they need some sort of spark and Mettenberger can add said spark. Will they win the AFC South, hell no, but they can possibly make a run at a wild card spot.

Jay Cutler

Cutler may now be the most hated guy in Chicago. Earlier in the week teammates and the media have talked about Cutler. Brandon Marshall, star wide out, said that the way Da Bears is playing is “unacceptable”. He’s right. I don’t know if it’s the QB’s fault, but he is the maestro of the offense and they are not performing as well as they should, especially at home. Chicago is 0-3 at Soldier Field including losses to Buffalo, Green Bay, and Miami. However, if they don’t think Cutler is the guy, please name someone else who could be better.

To read more on this click here for information.

Michael Sam

The Dallas Cowboys released Sam earlier this week. He had been on the practice squad since the season started. The team picked him up because they had a lack of health on the defensive line. Now that the defenders are healthy it really makes no sense to keep him around. Before the season started we knew it would be hard for him to make a team. I’m sure it really wasn’t from a lack of skill and I’m also sure it wasn’t because he gay. Let’s be real. There is a reason this story has not made a lot of noise. Simply put, he’s not that good, but I hope he gets another chance.

What a return to great we had last week! Nobody expected the Rams or the Dolphins to win last week, so we didn’t lose that much ground. I really can’t complain. Considering now that I have a .700 winning percentage. Any who to the picks…

Last Week: 11-4

Total: 70-35-1

Byes: San Francisco & New York (N)

DENVER over San Diego

ATLANTA over Detroit   Game in London. Kickoff is at 8:30 AM Eastern.

Buffalo over NEW YORK (A)

Baltimore over CINCINNATI

NEW ENGLAND over Chicago

Miami over JACKSONVILLE

Minnesota over TAMPA BAY

Seattle over CAROLINA

TENNESSEE over Houston

KANSAS CITY over St. Louis

ARIZONA over Philadelphia

CLEVELAND over Oakland    If you watch this game you should be committed!

Indianapolis over PITTSBURGH

Green Bay over NEW ORLEANS

DALLAS over Washington

Please comment, as I value all opinions.

Make sure you follow the blog and also follow me on twitter @regisjwelch.

Have a great week!