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Path: /college-football/acc-week-4-predictions-2015-georgia-tech-duke-virginia-boise-state

The ACC was in the spotlight last week with Florida State-Boston College and Louisville-Clemson headlining the pre-Saturday matchups. The Week 4 slate isn’t as intriguing, as Georgia Tech-Duke and Boise State-Virginia top the must-see matchups in this slate. The Yellow Jackets lost at Notre Dame last Saturday, but coach Paul Johnson’s team is still the team to beat in the Coastal. Northern Illinois-Boston College and Indiana-Wake Forest are two non-conference matchups with bowl eligibility implications, while Syracuse is a heavily underdog with LSU coming to town.


Athlon Sports offers its ACC Week 4 predictions from four editors: Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven), Mitch Light (@AthlonMitch), David Fox (@DavidFox615), and Braden Gall (@BradenGall)


College Football Podcast: Week 4 Preview with Jill Savage

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ACC Week 4 Game Power Rankings & Predictions


1. Georgia Tech at Duke

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Sept. 26 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN2

Spread: Georgia Tech -9


Predictions for Georgia Tech at Duke











2. Boise State at Virginia

Date and Kickoff Time: Friday, Sept. 25 at 8 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Boise State -2.5


Predictions for Boise State at Virginia











3. Northern Illinois at Boston College

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Sept. 26 at 1 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: Boston College -4


Predictions for Northern Illinois at Boston College









4. Indiana at Wake Forest

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Sept. 26 at 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: Indiana -3.5


Predictions for Indiana at Wake Forest









5. Virginia Tech at East Carolina

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Sept. 26 at 3:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ABC/ESPN2

Spread: Virginia Tech -8


Predictions for Virginia Tech at East Carolina









6. LSU at Syracuse

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Sept. 26 at Noon ET

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: LSU -24.5


Predictions for LSU at Syracuse











7. NC State at South Alabama

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Sept. 26 at 8 p.m. ET


Spread: NC State -17


Predictions for NC State at South Alabama









8. Samford at Louisville

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: NL


Predictions for Samford at Louisville









9. Delaware at North Carolina

Date and Kickoff Time: Saturday, Sept. 26 at 12:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: ESPN3

Spread: NL


Predictions for Delaware at North Carolina









ACC Week 4 Predictions 2015
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/betting-against-spread-nfl-picks-week-3

Raise your hand if you thought that the Eagles, Ravens, Seahawks and Colts would all be 0-2 to start their season out. The winless club has some intriguing teams in it, but you know that some of them are going to bounce back. I'd also like to salute those who were able to make it to Week 3 in their survivor pool as last week featured a lot of carnage. This week represents some good chances to pick up an "easy" win although nothing comes easy in this league it seems. 


Record: 4-3 (3-1 last week)


San Diego Chargers (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1)

San Diego plays its second straight road game as they take on the Vikings on Sunday. The Chargers could struggle to move the ball against the Minnesota defense that improved after its rough Week 1 showing. San Diego needs to get a little more from its ground game and Melvin Gordon in order to take the heat off Philip Rivers. Adrian Peterson came back for Minnesota and has made a difference for the Vikings' offense. Teddy Bridgewater threw just 18 passes in the win over the Lions. San Diego should be able to stack the box against the run and use its corners to slow down Minnesota's mediocre WR corps. The Chargers have played 12 unders in their last 18 road games and 14 unders in their last 22 as an underdog. SELECTION: Under 45


Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) at New England Patriots (2-0)

The Patriots are rolling offensively putting up 68 points on the Steelers and Bills the first two weeks. The team seems very determined to get Tom Brady the MVP and should find the same success against Jacksonville on Sunday. The Jags were gashed by the Dolphins thru the air in week two to the tune of 344 yards. Jacksonville's offense should be able to move the ball as well on the Patriots who have given up 53 points so far this season. They can't slow down the run and were beaten up by Big Ben in week one. New England has played 18 overs in their last 30 games against conference opponents. They've actually gone over in 21 of their last 34 against the AFC South. The Jags have gone over in 10 of their last 16 road games. This one should feature a ton of points. SELECTION: Over 47.5


Chicago Bears (0-2) at Seattle Seahawks (0-2)

In a battle of winless teams, it's going to get real ugly for one of them. The Bears come into this one having allowed a total 79 points at home to the Packers and Cardinals. Chicago will most likely be without Jay Cutler, which means Jimmy Clausen gets an angry Seattle team at home. Alshon Jeffery isn't 100 percent, which means it's all on Matt Forte (who is dealing with his own injury) and Martellus Bennett. The Seahawks' offense should get real healthy against Chicago. The Bears have failed to cover in 18 of their last 26 games against conference opponents and are 7-15 ATS as an underdog in their last 22. The Seahawks are 20-10 ATS in their last 30 conference games and have covered in 13 of their last 20 home games. SELECTION: Seattle -14.5



- The Thursday night game features another winless team, as the Giants host the Redskins. It's amazing how perception can change in a fan base with some simple events. Washington fans are now filled with hope after seeing Tony Romo go down for Dallas. The Redskins played well last week against the Rams and arguably could have beaten the Dolphins in Week 1. The reason why Washington isn't an official pick for me is the Giants' mindset. This is a team that should be beaten down mentally after losing leads late in two games. The defense is hideous and will be minus Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (concussion). One would think that desperation takes over and the Giants win, but who knows. I lean heavily to Washington. 


- The Steelers seem to be on the right side in their matchup with the Rams on Sunday, but my concern is the looming Thursday night matchup on Oct. 1 when they host the Ravens. Pittsburgh gets Le'Veon Bell back, which will make their already potent offense even better. This game is in St. Louis, but it should sound like a Steelers home game with the amount of fans that will descend upon the stadium. St. Louis is getting healthier, but it's hard to trust this offense to move the ball on anyone. They did so in Week 1 in an emotional spot at home against Seattle. I agree with the money move on the Steelers. 


- It's a bad opponent for the woeful Eagles offense to try and get healthy against as they take on the Jets. New York is real stout against the run and with Darrelle Revis manning the outside, it's hard to pass as well. The Jets shut down a stout Colts attack in Indy on Monday night so who knows how the quick turnaround will affect them. Philly is a potential buy low team, but maybe in Week 4. If they fail again, things will get real ugly in the city and in the locker room. Chip Kelly will wish he was back in college if they move to 0-3.


- It seems almost too easy to take the Colts this week as they play at the Titans. Tennessee came back down to earth last week with Marcus Mariota throwing some interceptions. Their defense has good numbers, but they came against the Bucs and Browns. Indianapolis has eight turnovers and has struggled to hit the ground running, but that was against two tough defensive units in the Bills and Jets. I'm just not convinced the Titans are that stout defensively. I think Indianapolis wins, but I'm not quite sure why the money is coming in on the home team.


— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

Betting Against the Spread: NFL Picks For Week 3
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:45
Path: /college-football/cincinnati-bearcats-vs-memphis-tigers-preview-and-prediction-2015

The American Athletic Conference takes center stage on national television Thursday night with a battle between two of last season's co-champions, Memphis and Cincinnati. This one could also serve as a possible preview of the first American Athletic Conference championship game at the end of the year. Memphis has been on auto-pilot to a 3-0 record with wins over Kansas and Bowling Green along the way, while Cincinnati has already lost a conference game to Temple. The Bearcats need to pick up a win to avoid getting caught behind two games in to the conference schedule. Leaving Memphis with a win may prove difficult.


Cincinnati at Memphis


Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV Channel: ESPN

Spread: Memphis -10


Three Things to Watch


1. Can Cincinnati slow down scoring hot streak of Memphis?

Justin Fuente has taken the Memphis offense to new heights. The Tigers enter this week's pivotal American Athletic Conference matchup scoring an average of 54.0 points per game through three games. That average came down after scoring 44 points in a win on the road at Bowling Green last week. Memphis leads the nation in red zone scoring with a clean 20 out of 20 red zone trips resulting in points on the scoreboard. Even more astounding is Memphis has scored a touchdown on 16 red zone trips so far this season. Bowling Green, on the other hand, has one of the worst red zone defenses in the early going this fall. The Falcons have allowed opponents to score 10 touchdowns on 15 red zone trips, with four field goals allowed on the remaining red zone opportunities.


College Football Podcast: Week 4 Preview with Jill Savage

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2. Great American (Athletic Conference) QB duel

In one corner is Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch. The junior has completed 76.6 percent of his pass attempts for an average of 10.62 yards per attempt and 818 passing yards with six touchdowns. He has yet to be intercepted by an opposing defense this season. Paxton is coming off a 3,000-yard season that helped lead Memphis to the American Athletic Conference championship.


In the other corner is Gunner Kiel. Kiel has had some ups and downs already this season but has the arm to lead Cincinnati to some big wins in conference play. Through three games Kiel has thrown five touchdown passes with four interceptions with 805 passing yards. Kiel has the ability to throw up big numbers in any given game, and Cincinnati may need that from him to get by Memphis and avoid digging a quick 0-2 hole in conference play.


3. Cincinnati not a safe bet any way you look at it

Cincinnati may be the preseason favorite in the conference and off to a 2-1 record this season, but the Bearcats are anything but a sure bet for those looking to put a few bucks on the game. Cincinnati is off to a dreadful start against the spread this season, going 0-3. The Bearcats have been favored in each of their first three games, so a straight-up bet with Cincinnati may pay off. If point spreads are your thing though, look toward Memphis. The Tigers are 2-1 against the spread so far this season, but the point spread has more than doubled since the line opened. How much do you trust Las Vegas experts on this one?


Final Analysis


When Cincinnati and Memphis get together, there should be plenty of offense. Both teams have what it takes to get caught up in a shootout type of game, but Memphis appears to have the upper hand heading into what could end up being a conference championship game preview. Memphis has been a force to reckon with on offense, and Cincinnati may not be able to slow it down enough on the road. Memphis has an answer every time Cincinnati takes a shot, and the Tigers pull away in the end.


Prediction: Memphis 46, Cincinnati 38


— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. McGuire also writes for and hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.

Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Memphis Tigers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:30
Path: /nfl/washington-redskins-vs-new-york-giants-preview-and-prediction-2015

The New York Giants are not in panic mode yet. Let's just call this deep concern. The Giants have played pretty good football for about 56 minutes of both of their opening games. Its the last four minutes of the total of the fourth quarters that have not gone well for the Giants, and as a result, they have lost their opening two games after holding leads of 10 points. It is a disturbing trend, to be sure, but not an insurmountable one.


Related: Remember 2007 New York Giants Fans? 0-2 is Not the End


In fact, other than those four minutes of football, The Giants may be playing better than anyone in the NFC East, with not much to show for it. To be sure, there are a few real concerns, but there are no issues that are uncorrectable. Hope is what is driving the G-Men to believe that they can quickly turn things around, starting with a Week 3 win at MetLife Stadium against the Washington Redskins.


The Redskins are a team,that despite their recent win, are constantly simmering in controversy and confusion. Sunday's performance was a good one against what many think is a quality team, but it's hard to measure that this early in the season. The Redskins were able to play well against the St. Louis Rams and to piece together a very strong defensive performance.


The Redskins' running game was stellar, minus a few missteps, behind their young running back Matt Jones, and veteran Alfred Morris, combining for 182 yards on 37 carries. Quarterback Kirk Cousins was also solid, going 23-of-27 for 203 yards and a touchdown. However, there are still many questions as to the validity of just how good this Redskins team is.


With all of the things that are happening in the division, with major, team-changing injuries in Dallas, or major team problems in Philadelphia, the Redskins and the Giants seem ready to take full advantage and this game could go along way towards seizing a level of control in the division.


Washington at New York


Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS/NFL Network

Spread: Giants -4


Three Things to Watch


1. Can Giants Correct Their Mistakes?

The Giants are four total minutes from being 2-0. Instead, they are 0-2, but of the nine teams in the same position, the Giants seem to be positioned among those capable of turning things around the quickest. They seem to be incredibly competitive,and incredibly capable to challenge any team left on their schedule. The biggest challenge to the Giants so far seems to be their inability to overthink or underthink end-of-game situations. They must close games out. Period. The Giants also need to find receivers who want to catch the football, and cut down on the large number of dropped passes. If they can do this on Thursday, they stand a good chance and they should come out fine.


2. Will the Real Defense Please Stand Up?

The Redskins are third in the league in scoring defense at 13.5 points per game through two contests. However they have built their stats on two teams that are not known for their offensive prowess. The Giants have given up just 23 points in the first three quarters of their two games, but have surrendered 14 in each of the fourth quarters, which is why they enter tonight's game tied for 19th in scoring defense (25.5 ppg). So the real question is which defense is the real great defense? The Giants will have an opportunity to prove that they can close out a team. The Redskins will have an opportunity to try and stop a team that can score and put up points. Whichever defense shows up and plays a full game, will be the one to win.


3. Can Kirk Cousins Continue to Manage Games Well?

So which Cousins will show up? The quarterback that went 21-of-31 for 196 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in the Week 1 loss to Miami, or the one that was solid (23-for-27, 203 yds., TD) against a good Rams defense last Sunday? Cousins has yet to pick up back-to-back wins as Washington's starting quarterback. It will be interesting to see if he can build on last week's performance, especially given the short turnaround. Don't forget that Cousins also doesn't have the services of deep threat DeSean Jackson, who is sidelined by a separated shoulder.


Final Analysis


Washington is riding high off of a great performance against a pretty good team, and are looking to build on that. New York has let two games slip away and are trying to stop the foolishness that has been occurring. So who wins on Thursday? Usually the team that comes with the greatest desperation and that is probably the Giants. The Giants don't just want to win, they must win in a division that has suddenly become pretty wide open, since the defending champion is down a starting quarterback, starting wide receiver, and the reigning NFL rushing champion. The Giants should be able to challenge their division rival in ways the Rams and the Dolphins could not. The key to the game will be the Giants' ability to play a full 60-minute game and not let the Redskins back in. Surely the Giants will not allow themselves to fall for this trap three times in a row, right?


Prediction: Giants 27, Redskins 20


— Written by Lloyd H. Spence, Jr., who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Spence also has written for the Dallas Morning News, Yahoo!'s, and ESPN Louisville. He can be heard on the radio of "Talkin NOIZ" and "The Football Show of Collin County." Follow him on Twitter @TalkinNOIZ.

Washington Redskins vs. New York Giants Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:15
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-quarterback-rankings-week-3

Tom Brady has been on fire this season. Once his suspension was lifted, he made it his mission to show the league what he could do — with or without partially deflated footballs. The Brady Show should continue in Week 3 against Jacksonville. The Jaguars allowed Ryan Tannehill to throw for 359 yards and two touchdowns. Brady owners can't wait to see what he can do against this defense.


After last week's stop at No. 1 in the fantasy QB rankings, Drew Brees has now fallen out of the top 10. He struggled in a matchup he should have exploited. There are questions regarding the health of his  shoulder and if he does play, he will be at less than 100 percent. For the rookies, Marcus Mariota is ahead of Jameis Winston for Week 3. Both quarterbacks have shown they have potential, but they also have shown they are still rookies. While they figure it out, neither are must starts. For Tony Romo owners, however, they may be the only option fantasy owners have.


Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex


Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros


— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Fantasy Football 2015 Quarterback Rankings: Week 3
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-3

By Week 3, defenses that we thought were going to be strong (Miami and Green Bay, for example) have shown that they may not be as tough as we hoped. Defenses that we may not have thought would be near the top of the fantasy rankings (Denver) have shown that they are solid. As far as Week 3 goes, Seattle and Houston lead the way because the former is always tough at home and gets to face a Bears offense that will most likely be led by the backup quarterback, while J.J. Watt and company will get their shot at rookie signal-caller Jameis Winston and a Buccaneers offense that's still finding its footing.


Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex


Again, defensive rankings depend on your scoring system, but here are the Week 3 DST ranks:


Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros


— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Fantasy Football 2015 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 3
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-kicker-rankings-week-3

By Week 3, we start to see trends with teams and kickers. For example, Pittsburgh went for the two-point conversion more than kicking the field goal (also, we've seen Josh Scobee struggle). More and more kickers are missing the extra point, so teams will likely turn to the two-point conversion as the extra point is not a given. While some teams are good at converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns, others are not. At least there are some kickers you can always rely on, a list that generally starts with Stephen Gostkowski.


Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex


Here are the Week 3 kicker rankings:


Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros


— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Fantasy Football 2015 Kicker Rankings: Week 3
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-running-back-rankings-week-3

The winds of change have bellowed through the fantasy running back rankings. Perennial top-10 running backs like Jeremy Hill and DeMarco Murray are falling fast, while newcomers such as Devonta Freeman and Dion Lewis enter the top 10 for the first time this year.


We also have a newcomer to the running back rankings in Week 3. Some guy by the name of Le’Veon Bell. Everyone say hello Le’Veon.


Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex


Now let’s find out where Mr. Bell ranks in this week’s running back rankings.


1Adrian Peterson MIN vs. SD
2Le’Veon Bell PIT at STL
3Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. CHI
4Jamal Charles KC at GB (Mon.)
5Justin Forsett BAL vs. CIN
6Chris Ivory NYJ vs. PHI
7Devonta Freeman ATL at DAL
8Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. NO
9James Starks GB vs. KC (Mon.)
10Dion Lewis NE vs. JAC
11Latavius Murray OAK at CLE
12Matt Forte CHI at SEA
13Arian Foster HOU vs. TB
14DeMarco Murray PHI at NYJ
15T.J. Yeldon JAC at NE
16Mark Ingram NO at CAR
17Carlos Hyde SF at ARI
18Jeremy Hill CIN at BAL
19Frank Gore IND at TEN
20Lamar Miller MIA vs. BUF
21Giovani Bernard CIN at BAL
22LeSean McCoy BUF at MIA
23David Johnson ARI vs. TB
24Joseph Randle DAL vs. ATL
25Matt Jones WAS at NYG (Thurs.)
26Melvin Gordon SD at MIN
27Isaiah Crowell CLE at OAK
28Danny Woodhead SD at MIN
29Rashad Jennings NYG vs. WAS (Thurs.)
30C.J. Anderson DEN at DET
31Todd Gurley STL vs. PIT
32Ameer Abdullah DET vs. DEN
33Darren Sproles PHI at NYJ
34Shane Vereen NYG vs. WAS (Thurs.)
35Doug Martin TB at HOU
36Alfred Morris WAS at NYG (Thurs.)
37Bishop Sankey TEN vs. IND
38Bilal Powell NYJ vs. PHI
39Lorenzo Taliaferro BAL vs. CIN
40Chris Johnson ARI vs. SF
41Ronnie Hillman DEN at DET
42Tre Mason STL vs. PIT
43Dexter McCluster TEN vs. IND
44Duke Johnson CLE vs. OAK
45Darren McFadden DAL vs. ATL
46Charles Sims TB at HOU
47Chris Polk HOU vs. TB
48LeGarrette Blount NE vs. JAC
49Joique Bell DET vs. DEN
50C.J. Spiller NO at CAR

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Fantasy Football 2015 Running Back Rankings: Week 3
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-tight-end-rankings-week-3

The tight end position has to be one of the hardest positions in fantasy football to rank. I mean who had Anthony Fasano as the third highest scoring tight end last week with 14.4 fantasy points? The truth is, you probably don’t even know what team Fasano plays for (Tennessee Titans).


Jimmy Graham was a consensus top-3 tight end heading into his Week 2 matchup against Green Bay and he only managed to score a pathetic 1.1 fantasy points.


And get this – Ravens tight end Crockett Gilmore scored more fantasy points than Rob Gronkowski.


So you can see how tight ends are a wee bit frustrating.


Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex


So let’s try to make some sense out of Week 3 with this week’s tight end rankings.


1Rob GronkowskiNEvs. JAC
2Jimmy GrahamSEAvs. CHI
3Tyler EifertCINat BAL
4Jason WittenDALvs. ATL
5Jordan ReedWASat NYG (Thurs.)
6Kyle RudolphMINvs. SD
7Greg OlsenCARvs. NO
8Jared CookSTLvs. PIT
9Heath MillerPITat STL
10 Travis KelceKCat GB (Mon.)
11 Ladarius GreenSDat MIN
12 Eric EbronDETvs. DEN
13 Jordan CameronMIAvs. BUF
14 Martellus BennettCHIat SEA
15 Crockett GilmoreBALvs. CIN
16 Vernon DavisSFat ARI
17 Zach ErtzPHIat NYJ
18 Delaine WalkerTENvs. IND 
19 Charles ClayBUFat MIA
20 Larry DonnellNYGvs. WAS (Thurs.)
21 Jacob TammeATLat DAL
22 Richard RodgersGBvs. KC (Mon.)
23 Dwayne AllenINDat TEN
24 Gary BarnidgeCLEvs. OAK
25 Darren FellsARIvs. SF
26 Anthony FasanoTENvs. IND
27 Ben WatsonNOat CAR
28 Garrett GrahamHOUvs. TB
29 Owen DanielsDENat DET
30Coby FleenerINDat TEN

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Fantasy Football 2015 Tight End Rankings: Week 3
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-flex-rankings-week-3

Flex rankings should be your go-to fantasy football weapon when you have decisions for your flex position each week. There are plenty of cases where positional rankings will work just fine, but some times you have great matchups, multiple positions, or even an injury replacement to consider.


The bottom line is that in the same way the other positional rankings don't resolve every issue when it comes to deciding your starting lineup, flex rankings don't either, but they can help resolve your toughest questions each week. I wish everyone the best of luck and be sure to check out our positional rankings to give you even more information to chew on.


Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex


Good luck this week everyone!


Note: DST rankings are on the first tab, click on Flex to see those rankings.


Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros


— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.

Fantasy Football 2015 Flex Rankings: Week 3
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-wide-receiver-rankings-week-3

It is kind of hard to believe Week 3 is here already and sooner than later we will be looking at bye weeks! Each fantasy position has been hit hard with injuries this season but there are still plenty of wide receivers who are safe each and every week. 


There are also receivers I am moving up the ranks, especially in PPR formats solely because they are target monsters. Jarvis Landry, DeAndre Hopkins and Amari Cooper all received 11-plus targets in Week 2. Hopkins had a "down" week compared to his explosive Week 1 performance, but this week he gets Tampa Bay and will be getting plenty of work. And when Arian Foster eventually returns to lead Houston's backfield that should allow Hopkins to get open with less focus from the defense.


Enough of the banter and breakdowns. The rankings will explain themselves. Also, be sure to check back in closer to Sunday for any updates or injury news that could impact the rankings


Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex


Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros


— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.

Fantasy Football 2015 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 3
Post date: Thursday, September 24, 2015 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, UCLA Bruins, Pac 12, News
Path: /college-football/decimated-ucla-defense-faces-uphill-climb-pac-12

Eddie Vanderdoes. Fabian Moreau. Now Myles Jack. It could get worse for the UCLA defense, but not much.


The Bruins embark on Pac-12 play Saturday with a Top 10 ranking and designs on the program's first league championship since 1998. Their first test is a considerable one, No. 16-ranked and defending divisional champion Arizona.


UCLA has had Arizona's number since the arrival of head coach Jim Mora in 2012, going 3-0 against the Wildcats in that time. The Bruins defense has flourished against a typically potent Arizona offense like no other team in the conference, holding it to 17 points total in two of the last three meetings, including seven last year.


The versatile Jack's ability to defend both the run and pass with equal efficiency is central to UCLA slowing an uptempo, multifaceted offense like Arizona's, though Jack is more famous for disrupting the Wildcats as a running back.


Still, Jack's absence throughout Pac-12 will be glaring. His diverse playmaking allowed defensive coordinators, whether it be Lou Spanos, Jeff Ulbrich or current play-caller Tom Bradley, to adjust for run or pass with minimal personnel shifting.


The Bruins operated primarily in nickel packages a season ago, relying on the players up front to control the line of scrimmage. Vanderdoes did so effectively, perhaps never more so than against Arizona when he swallowed up ball-carriers eight times at or behind the line of scrimmage.


Week 3's win over BYU was UCLA's second game this season without Vanderdoes at end. Tackle Kenny Clark and end Takkarist McKinley have effectively held down the line, one of the deeper units on the UCLA roster, but the secondary behind them is battling the war of attrition.


Moreau took over as UCLA's shutdown cornerback in lieu of Ishmael Adams, suspended for the first three games for an arrest just before the season. Moreau is an NFL-caliber talent who began to hit his stride, just as felony charges against Adams were dropped and Adams was reinstated to the team.


But the dynamic duo is not meant to play together any time soon. Just as Mora announced Adams' reinstatement, the head coach also announced the loss of Moreau for the season to a foot injury.


The Bruins secondary has been key to holding opponents to a sub-100 pass efficiency rating, and just 179 yards per game. Pass-happy offenses like Arizona, Cal and USC plan to test UCLA sans Moreau. Freshman Denzel Fisher could be an option ot help fill the void, but must acclimate to more responsibility quickly.


— Written by Kyle Kensing, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a sportswriter in Southern California. Kensing is publisher of Follow him on Twitter @kensing45.


Decimated Bruin Defense Faces Uphill Climb in Pac-12
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 13:40
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-patience-panic-cj-anderson-brandin-cooks-justin-forsett-andre-johnson

This is the first installment of a new weekly post that will discuss fantasy football players that are giving their owners headaches and heartburn. This week will admittedly be a little shorter and will be heavier on the patience side.This is primarily because the season is still very young, and no one should be overly concerned at this point of the season. Once Week 4 rolls around however your fantasy squads may be floundering or winning a few, but with some stars struggling mightily.


Related: Week 2 All-Dud NFL Fantasy Team


That is where this post will come in to play. I am here to hopefully ease your nerves, concerns and preach patience or help push you over the edge to sell, cut or bench a player because of their performance. Sometimes the most difficult questions are start or sit, but they are also “Should I be concerned about Player A” or “Should I be cutting/trading Player B.”


Roster management is a critical factor in fantasy football success. What if you decided to hold out hope for Montee Ball or Trent Richardson last season rather than cutting bait and scooping up Justin Forsett? Or worse, what if you panicked too soon and traded the struggling Marshawn Lynch, or Eddie Lacy for LeSean McCoy?


These are all real scenarios, and examples of knowing when to resist the urge to cut-bait, or to take the plunge and move on with your life.


Each week I will be naming some players who are struggling and whether fantasy owners should Panic or be Patient.


Good luck this week everyone, and be sure to keep checking for all the fantasy guidance, rankings, injury updates, DFS content and Start/Sit posts your little hearts desire.


Patience or Panic?


1. C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos (12.7 PPR Fantasy Pts YTD)

Anderson has been as disappointing as they come for running backs in 2015. He was drafted in the top three rounds, and was projected as a top-3 RB by many in the Industry. His 2014 season was spectacular, and there is still hope for a rebound. However 12 carries a week, splitting time on the field with the perfectly capable Ronnie Hillman is concerning to say the least.


The Verdict: Patience

As I noted earlier it has been two weeks. Denver's offensive line is struggling mightily and the Broncos are not routing opponents, allowing the run game to take over. This still should happen, and Anderson’s talent is sure to break through eventually. If he has another week of mediocrity, concern will be there. For now, if you have the depth I would consider benching him and cross your fingers he blows up in Week 3.


2. Brandin Cooks, WR, New Orleans Saints (11.1 PPR Fantasy Pts YTD)

All offseason Cooks was being hyped as the No. 1 target, a breakout candidate, and someone worth taking in the early rounds of your fantasy drafts. So far he hasn’t come close to meeting expectations. Cooks very well could be on this list again next week, especially if Drew Brees is out for an extended period of time.


The Verdict: Patience

Cooks has all the skills and attributes to be a stud wide receiver and after two weeks there is no reason to be kicking him to the curb... yet. However kicking him to your bench for this upcoming week is not a terrible idea at all.


3. Justin Forsett, RB, Baltimore Ravens, (21.6 PPR Fantasy Pts YTD)

Forsett could almost be cut and pasted from C.J. Anderson above. He is not doing what he was able to do in 2014 with a decent amount of volume. Lorenzo Taliaferro returned in Week 2 and was able to snipe a red-zone carry for a touchdown and nearly timeshare with Forsett. This is disconcerting for Forsett owners, and they should be concerned. However it is early and Forsett likely only needs a longer run, or big play to get going and boost his confidence. Once he has a game where he can dominate, he should be just fine.


The Verdict: Patience

Forsett like Anderson is the more talented back in Baltimore, and although the touchdowns may dip a bit with Taliaferro looming, Forsett is a weapon in the passing game and has some easier opponents in the near future. It is easy to forget Denver has one of the better rush defenses in the league, and he wasn’t terrible against Oakland.


4. Andre Johnson, WR, Indianapolis Colts (12.7 PPR Fantasy Pts YTD)

Although many considered Johnson past the point of no return entering this season, there was a glimmer of hope on a new team with a talented quarterback. So far Johnson has looked slow, unable to get open and the faint hopes of him being a big target in the end zone are looking like a dream.


The Verdict: PANIC

If your team has some talented receivers on the bench or even if there are players on the waiver wire you have to consider it. Johnson still carries the big name, so perhaps someone would bite on him in a trade offer, but for now he needs to ride the pine in fantasy, and depending on bench depth he is droppable.


— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.

Fantasy Football 2015 Patience or Panic: C.J. Anderson, Brandin Cooks, Justin Forsett, Andre Johnson
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 13:30
All taxonomy terms: Alabama Crimson Tide, College Football, SEC
Path: /college-football/history-could-still-alabamas-side-despite-loss-ole-miss

Well, Alabama's been here before. Smarting from a rare loss. Doing a little soul-searching. A little head-scratching. Maybe a little reassessing. A little anguishing over the preventable mistakes that caused the loss. Wondering what lies ahead now with that precious zero forever wiped away this season from that right column of its record. 

Alabama doesn't lose often under Nick Saban. At least not since he got things rolling in Tuscaloosa in year two — 2008. Since then Alabama's record is 86-12. The losses have been scarce. And difficult to forget. Each one almost a story all its own.


Often the entire direction of the program comes under question following a setback on the field. Game calls are questioned. Team weaknesses scrutinized and bemoaned. Sometimes Saban himself comes under fire. Almost always there's some talking media head — right on the heels of the defeat — proclaiming the end. The end of the Alabama Dynasty. The end of Alabama's post-Bear Bryant Golden Age. The end of a Saban-directed Alabama program being a college football superpower.


Related: 6 One-Loss Teams That Could Still Make the CFB Playoff

Yeah, it's kind of a big deal when Alabama loses a football game.


Alabama Following Regular-Season Defeats Last Seven Years

YearLossNext GameNote
2008Florida, 31-20 (SEC CG)L, Utah, 31-17  (Sugar Bowl) 
2010South Carolina, 35-21W, Ole Miss, 23-10 
2010 LSU, 24-21 W, Mississippi State, 30-10 
2010Auburn, 28-27W, Michigan State, 49-7 (Capital One Bowl) 
2011LSU, 9-6 W, Mississippi State, 24-7Went on to win national title
2012Texas A&M, 29-24 W, Western Carolina, 49-0Went on to win national title
2013Auburn, 34-28 L, Oklahoma, 45-31 (Sugar Bowl) 
2014Ole Miss, 23-17 W, Arkansas, 14-13Next L was in CFB Playoff vs. Ohio State
2015Ole Miss, 43-37 vs. Louisiana-Monroe 


So now comes Defeat No. 12 for Alabama since 2008. Last Saturday's 43-37 loss to Ole Miss. And, with this one, the conversation points surrounding it are seemingly endless. The turnovers — five to be exact. The seemingly indecision of the Bama coaches on who should start at quarterback. The deficiencies of Alabama's vertical passing game. The fluky Ole Miss touchdown. The fight in the Bama players to nearly pull out the most improbable of wins despite so much going wrong in the game. And the list goes on.


There's lots of talk. And lots of comparing.


Yeah, it's kind of hard not to look back one season and see how things eventually played out then and how things could conceivably play out now this season. The same Magnolia State team beat Alabama, and it was right around the same point of the season the past two years — a little earlier this year. Alabama fell from No. 3 to No. 7 in the AP poll last year after losing to Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide fell from No. 2 to No. 12 after losing to the Rebels this year.


Saban, though, sees some telling differences between last year's 23-17 loss and Saturday's 43-37 loss.


"I thought the game last year we lost completely different than the way we lost this game," the Alabama head coach said Monday. "We had energy (Saturday). We had almost fanatic energy, but we didn't channel it in the right direction. We kept coming back in the game, but we also shot ourselves in the foot so many times that it made it difficult to overcome. 


"Last year, we got ahead in the game and kind of got relief syndrome or something where they got the momentum in the game, and we could never get it back. That never really happened (Saturday). We just came up short this time."


Following last year's loss to Ole Miss, Alabama's focus in trying to fix things seemed to have more to do with mindset, emotion and energy. After this year's loss to Ole Miss, it appears the focus in fixing things has more to do with execution — or the lack thereof. Alabama currently ranks No. 23 nationally in total offense, No. 37 in total defense. And, oh yeah, No. 91 in turnover margin. Not exactly championship-caliber numbers.


"It would be easy to sit here and say the turnovers were the issue, but we need to have better fundamental execution of what we're doing," Saban said. "Too many negative plays on offense. Too many big plays on defense. Too many miscues on special teams in terms of who's blocking who.


"I think our players had tremendous energy in this game, but we have to learn to channel our energy and focus into the right places so that we get better execution on a more consistent basis. And that starts with me. That starts with us as coaches in terms of doing a better job during the course of the week in preparing guys to be able to go out there and execute better."


After falling to Ole Miss last season, Alabama went on the road the following week, rekindled the fire within and earned a hard-fought 14-13 win over Arkansas. That was the first of eight consecutive wins Alabama reeled off — good enough to earn that one-loss Tide team not just a spot in the College Football Playoff but the No. 1 seed. Of course, Alabama was a one-and-done in the postseason despite being the top seed.


What about this year after losing to Ole Miss? Alabama has a home date with Louisiana-Monroe this Saturday. Then comes a tough road test at No. 8 Georgia the following week. With more tough tests to follow. Can this year's Tide team do what last year's team did following disappointment and go on a similar run?


Saban's not about to predict anything at this point.


"Just depends on how they respond to the loss," he said of his players. "That's all I can tell you."


— Written by Erik Stinnett, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Stinnett is an experienced college football beat writer who has been covering Alabama since 2009.

History Could Still be on Alabama's Side Despite Loss to Ole Miss
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 12:30
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-4

We're almost a month into the college football season and I finally got a couple of these partially right last week! If your team is on the wrong end of any of these predictions, you are hoping last week was an aberration and not the start of a new trend.


Whatever the case may be, we've got a whole new slate of college football games to pick through again this week. There's plenty of chances for me to be wrong and a lot of fans out there who hope I am.


Let's get outrageous!


Arkansas rights the ships against Texas A&M

Bret Bielema know how to win big games with his back against the wall. He made of living out of it at Wisconsin and he'll do the same this weekend. Look for what we thought was going to be a high-powered Razorback offense play to its full potential against an A&M defense that hasn't been challenged yet this season at the skill positions. A fast start and a raucous crowd will carry Bielema and Arkansas to victory.


Texas Tech upsets TCU

I'm betting the Red Raiders are pumped that their coach got into a high-profile exchange this past week. It gave Texas Tech a needed jolt of swagger heading into a "nothing to lose" game against the Horned Frogs. There were times against Minnesota where I thought a team with a legit offense might have its way with TCU. Enter Texas Tech. They've got every bit as much firepower as the SMU team that had the Horned Frogs looking for the exits last weekend. Kingsbury's bunch will leave Fort Worth with a win and subsequently skyrocket up the polls.


Ohio upsets Minnesota

Speaking of the Gophers, we've seen this train coming for a couple of weeks now. Minnesota's defense has carried them while the offense has struggled to find its way. That's not going to be the case when the Bobcats come to town this weekend. Ohio head coach Frank Solich is a winner and a formidable opponent from a X's and O's standpoint for Jerry Kill. Look for the Bobcats to hang around all day and bust the game open in the fourth quarter with a big play on special teams.


Arizona State knocks USC out of the polls

The Sun Devils have had a couple of weeks to collect their thoughts and get their minds right after dropping the opening game of the season to Texas A&M. They'll welcome in a Southern Cal team coming off of a physical loss at home to Stanford. Arizona State can play with a similar physicality as the Cardinal, and the home crowd will feed off of it under the lights. Look for Sun Devil quarterback Mike Bercovici to play mistake-free football and put together a half-dozen methodical scoring drives. There's blood in the water at USC and the Sun Devils are about to finish what Stanford started.


Josh Rosen will eclipse 500 yards through the air

Chad Kelly got all the quarterback love last week for his win over Alabama. This week, it's Rosen's turn after a rough performance against BYU last Saturday. That won't be the case this weekend. UCLA has their sites set on the College Football Playoff and Rosen is a big reason why. Look for Rosen to make a statement on the biggest stage of the week against a Wildcat defense that hasn't been challenged yet this season like he'll challenge them.


— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 4
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: Auburn Tigers, College Football, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/auburns-disappointing-start-2015-season-continues-qb-jeremy-johnsons-benching

From national title contender to fringe bowl team. That’s a realistic possibility facing Auburn as it enters Week 4. The Tigers are 2-1 and reeling after a loss to LSU last Saturday.


Needless to say, Auburn hasn’t lived up to its preseason hype and doesn’t look anything like a team pegged by the SEC media as the favorite to win the West Division.


Even though the Tigers are just three games into 2015, coach Gus Malzahn is attempting to hit the reset button. Jeremy Johnson was considered one of the top rising stars in college football prior to this season, but the junior was benched on Tuesday in favor of redshirt freshman Sean White.


Related: 10 Stats to Know From Week 3


What happened to Johnson? A variety of factors are likely to blame. Was there too much pressure placed on the junior’s shoulders? It certainly seems that way. Additionally, the Tigers lost starting center Reese Dismukes, running back Cameron Artis-Payne and receiver Sammie Coates to the NFL, leaving three voids on offense this season. Johnson also seemed to have trouble reading defenses through the first three games. That’s a huge problem for any quarterback. Perhaps there was a lack of confidence after the early struggles? 


Through three games, Auburn’s offense hasn’t been explosive or as productive as the previous versions under Malzahn.


Here’s some key numbers to know from the Tigers’ offense so far:

Scoring Offense26.3 (10th in SEC)
Total Offense329.3 (13th in SEC)
Yards Per Play5.3 (13th in SEC)
Plays of 30+ Yards3 (12th in SEC)
Plays of 40+ Yards2 (T-9th in SEC)
Passing Plays of 20+4 (13th in SEC)
Passing Plays of 30+2 (13th in SEC)
Passing Plays of 40+1 (10th in SEC)
Rushing Plays of 20+2 (T-12th in SEC)
Rushing Plays of 30+1 (T-10th in SEC)

After looking at this table, one thing is very clear: Auburn wasn’t producing big plays and was near the bottom of the SEC in scoring offense. Additionally, the offensive line has already allowed five sacks after giving up 15 in 2014.


And looking at Johnson specifically, he had just two passes of 30 yards or more and only one of 40 yards or longer. His two passes of 30 yards or more ranked ninth in the SEC.


But the problems for Auburn aren’t related strictly to the offense. New coordinator Will Muschamp was supposed to fix a defense that ranked ninth in the SEC in points allowed in 2013 and 10th in 2014.


However, the defense is giving up 29.7 points per game, 5.7 yards per play and is tied for ninth in the SEC with 13 plays of 20 yards or more allowed.


Related: 6 One-Loss Teams That Can Still Make the CFB Playoff


An injury to end Carl Lawson has impacted the performance of the defensive line. Auburn ranks last in the SEC in rush defense (270 yards per game), and this unit did not record a sack against LSU and picked up just one tackle for a loss.


Turnovers are also to blame for Auburn’s early struggles. The Tigers have a minus-five margin, with eight lost turnovers through three games.


Taking better care of the ball has to be a priority for White in his first start against Mississippi State this Saturday.


Where Does Auburn Go From Here?


Barring chaos in the rest of the college football world and an impressive run through the rest of its schedule, Auburn is not going to be a factor for one of the top bowl games at the end of the year. Contests against San Jose State and Idaho should be easy wins, but there’s still seven SEC matchups remaining on the schedule, including a crossover game against Georgia and road trips to Arkansas and Texas A&M. White has to stabilize the quarterback spot and play mistake-free ball for the Tigers to take a step forward on offense over the next few weeks. On defense, getting Lawson at full strength and back on the field would help, but Auburn also has to do a better job against the run.


Until there’s more tape on White in SEC games, it’s hard to set a reasonable expectation for this team. However, considering the debacle at LSU and the sluggish performance against Jacksonville State, getting to 8-4 and .500 in the SEC would be a good start.

Auburn's Disappointing Start to 2015 Season Continues With Jeremy Johnson’s Benching
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 11:30
Path: /college-football/best-college-football-stadium-entrances-acc

The college football season is in full swing as fans across the country are experiencing the different things that make this time of year so exciting and memorable, although the wins are understandably more fun than the losses. 


But before the outcome of a game is known, one thing that fans really enjoy is when they get to watch their favorite team run out of the tunnel and onto their home field.


When the team makes its way into their own stadium, there is so much hope. The revved up crowd is eager to fire up the home squad. The home team, full of excitement, is ready to pound its opponent into the ground. 


The ACC has some of the best stadium entrances in the country. Here's my ranking of the league’s five best.


5. Georgia Tech

When the Yellow Jackets run into Bobby Dodd Stadium at Historic Grant Field, they are led by the Ramblin’ Wreck. The 1930 Model A Ford Sport Coupe has guided the team onto the field for every home game since 1961. Two flags adorn the front of the car. One says, “Give ‘em Hell Tech,” while the other declares, “To Hell With Georgia.” 


4. Miami

Many college programs run out of the tunnel through smoke. The originators were, of course, the Miami Hurricanes. The tradition actually began back in the 1950s and continues to this day. Now the Canes run through a giant blown-up helmet through the smoke and into Sun Life Stadium. It helps when there is a full house cheering Miami on, which is not always the case.


3. Florida State

With over 80,000 Seminole fans engaged in the War Chant, it is an electric atmosphere when Florida State enters Doak Campbell Stadium. And the pre-game celebration is not complete until Chief Osceola plants the spear at midfield.


2. Virginia Tech

“Exit light, enter night.” 


Above the door leading onto the Lane Stadium turf is the Hokie Rock with the saying, “For Those Who Have Passed. For Those To Come. Reach For Excellence.” Each Virginia Tech player touches the Rock and then darts on the field with Metallica’s "Enter Sandman" blasting through the loudspeakers. Even for those that don’t care for heavy metal music (and I’m guessing head coach Frank Beamer is one of those), it is a chill inducing moment.


1. Clemson

A Clemson booster was the one that had the idea to place legendary coach Frank Howard’s Rock from Death Valley on top of the hill at Memorial Stadium. In 1967, the Clemson players started rubbing the Rock before each game, to which Howard said, “If you’re going to give me 110%, you can rub that rock. If you’re not, keep your filthy hands off of it.”


Before each game, the Clemson team is bussed around the stadium where the players touch the Rock and run down the hill into the east end zone. In 1985, announcer Brent Musberger, then with CBS, proclaimed that the Tigers entrance was “the most exciting 25 seconds in college football.” 


— Written by Jon Kinne, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a college football fanatic. Kinne has been writing about recruiting for the Irish Sports Daily for 10 years. Follow him on Twitter @JonRKinne.

The Best College Football Stadium Entrances in the ACC
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Eli Manning, New York Giants, NFC, NFC East, NFL
Path: /nfl/remember-2007-new-york-giants-fans-0-2-not-end

The New York Football Giants are 0-2 at the start of this 2015 season. They have not played a complete game yet this season. They have taken leads into the fourth quarters of both games, only to make mental and tactical errors, on the field (looking at you, Eli Manning) and in the coaching booth, that cost them the game. They have shot themselves in the foot both times.


And they still have a legitimate shot to win the NFC East.


The Giants do have to start on Thursday with a win against the Washington Redskins. However, they are positioned to make a real run at what appears to be a weakened division. The Dallas Cowboys, in just two weeks (and an offseason) have lost 90 percent of last year's offense due to injury (Romo's broken collar bone and Dez Bryant's foot) or financial reasons (DeMarco Murray taking the money in Philly, more to come on that one). They will try to survive the next eight weeks without Romo, Bryant and no foreseeable running game to mention.


The Redskins got their first victory yesterday against the Dolphins, but it wasn't because they had a flawless victory. There are still many, many, many, problems on that team — at quarterback, at running back, at offensive line and possibly at head coach. They seemed to have solved their problems at Scout team safety, utilizing their $16 million dollar backup quarterback, Robert "RGIII" Griffin. They survived against an anemic Dolphins offense, but one would have to think that they will probably turn up on the other side of the win column.


The Eagles through two weeks are very bad. Through two games, they have amassed a total of 70 yards rushing on 33 carries. 


Let's repeat that - 33 carries, 70 Yards. That is three running backs and a quarterback combining for a total of 70 yards rushing. That is an All-Pro running back in DeMarco Murray, who rushed for 1,845 yards last year, who has currently amassed 11 yards on 21 carries. There are major problems in Philadelphia, and seemingly no end in sight. Chip Kelly mortgaged the farm,and it looks like he may lose the farm, the crops, the animals, the land the house sits on, and the house itself.


Related: Looking for A Reason the Philadelphia Eagles are 0-2? Start at the Top


Which leaves the Giants, who through their first two games are averaging around 23 points per game, around 61 percent in the passing game, around 98 yards per game rushing and a boast a defense that is holding teams to an average of 11.5 points through nearly 53 minutes of game time (3 3/4 quarters). The Giants simply need to finish their games and they will probably shoot right up to the top of the NFC East. A defense that was supposed to suffer mightily without Jason Pierre-Paul has emerged as a somewhat formidable presence, and seemingly getting better each week, minus the last two minutes of each of the game's fourth quarters. The mistakes the Giants have made can be corrected fairly easy:


Giant Mistakes to Fix


1. The Giants must find a third receiver. Rueben Randle and Larry Donnell must catch the ball consistently, something that apparently cost former Giant Preston Parker his roster spot following his release Tuesday, and help free up Odell Beckham Jr. and Shane Vereen to be even more impressive then they have both already been. If either of these pass catchers can emerge as reliable options when targeted, and the Giants can put Victor Cruz back in his rightful position, then this offense will be right there in terms of passing and point production.


2. The Giants' defense are learning from each game and each mistake. Linebacker Uani' Unga has emerged as a more than capable backup to Jon Beason. The defensive line is far better, and more dominant than previously thought to be, and Unga and his leadership have been tremendous supporting that. Also better than advertised is the secondary. Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and rookie Landon Collins are playing very well and starting to figure out each others strengths and weaknesses, which is critical in order to get your secondary playing at a high level.


This week's game against Washington provides a great opportunity to right the ship for the G-Men. Head coach Tom Coughlin, stated in today's press conference. "The situation in our division is very obvious to all of you, and I'm going to point that out to our team in a couple of minutes."


If the Giants can string a few wins together, much like their legendary championship run in 2007, then the division should shake out to allow them the opportunity to jump right back into the thick of things. 


There is just no reason after two games to panic. So everybody... just relax.


— Written by Lloyd H. Spence, Jr., who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Spence also has written for the Dallas Morning News, Yahoo!'s, and ESPN Louisville. He can be heard on the radio of "Talkin NOIZ" and "The Football Show of Collin County." Follow him on Twitter @TalkinNOIZ.

Remember 2007 New York Giants Fans? 0-2 is Not the End
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: New York Yankees, MLB
Path: /mlb/yogi-berra-10-best-quotes-sayings

New York Yankees legend Yogi Berra passed away on Tuesday night at the age of 90. An 18-time All-Star and 10-time World Series champion, Berra was not only one of the most accomplished catchers of all-time, he will go down as one of the greatest to ever wear the famous pinstripes of the New York Yankees.


The Missouri native played as an outfielder and as a catcher with the Yankees from 1946-63, followed by a short stint with the Mets. In addition to his playing experience, Berra was a manager in Major League Baseball with the Yankees in 1964 and again from 1984-85. He also managed the Mets from 1972-75.


Growing up as a Red Sox fan, I despised everything about the New York Yankees. I didn't like the players, the managers, the fans or those pinstriped uniforms. I didn't like any of their history either. You could say — like many people — I was a Yankee hater. 


But I never hated Yogi Berra.


Yogi was baseball to kids growing up in New York. Your grandpa would talk about him like they were friends. If you played catcher, you were the next Yogi Berra.


But Yogi was bigger than just baseball, largely due to some of the crazy-yet-poiniant things he would say. The zaney statements came to be known as "Yogi Berra-isms." Here are some of his best:


Yogi Berra's 10 Best Quotes & Sayings


• "When you get to a fork in the road, take it."


• "It gets late early around here."


• "A nickel ain't worth a dime anymore."


• "The future ain't what it used to be."


• "Ninety percent of this game is half mental."


• "I really didn't say everything I said."


• "You can observe a lot just by watching."


• "Half the lies they tell about me aren't true."


• "If you don't know where you're going, you might end up someplace else."


• "We have a good time together, even when we're not together."


A bonus (and perhaps the most famous of his fantastic quotes):


• "It ain't over till it's over."


Today, we're all sad it's over. Rest in Peace, Yogi.


— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Yogi Berra's 10 Best Quotes & Sayings
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 10:20
Path: /college-football/negative-recruiting-against-nebraska-shows-concern-opponents

Regardless of those among the Nebraska fan base that still aren’t convinced Mike Riley is the guy for the job, there are several coaches across the land that believe he still has one of the best eyes for talent in the game.


Last Tuesday, 93.7 The Ticket’s Mike Welch reported that he had been given information by sources that a Big Ten and SEC school were using negative chatter online to deride the Big Red.


I know what you’re thinking. “Oh here we go with the dreaded ‘sources’ again.” I’ll put it this way, if Welch told me he heard someone tell him I was going to get hit by a bus tomorrow, I’d invest in padding.


Besides, negative recruiting is part of the game and recruiting is most certainly a game. It’s like if Risk and chess had a lovechild. Does every program partake in slamming other schools? No, but to suggest that they're isolated incidents is naive.


Which prospect could these teams be after? Welch indicated it was a big recruit in the Cornhuskers’ eyes. I don’t think one recruit could be singled out due to fans’ irritation of the team’s current 1-2 record, so let’s dig deeper.


The first thing that came to mind is the infamous Alex Lewis botch against Miami. Naturally, plenty of fans weren’t happy and even I chimed in with my thoughts.


I wasn’t the only one to have a take about Lewis’ subsequent social media rant, but my words were more... courteous than others’.


Now, I’m no big city detective, but it seems to me that schools wanting to go after a big recruit in Nebraska’s eyes might be going after a big one, literally.


One such prospect would be Sioux Falls, South Dakota's own massive Matt Farniok. Two Big Ten teams have been after him with fervor (Iowa and Michigan State) and howdy, an SEC one has as well (Missouri).


Negative recruiting works sometimes and other times it blows up in the offender’s face. Think of it as a grenade, but once you pull the pin, you have no idea how long the count is.


Touching on those concerned about the current 1-2 situation, doesn’t it seem the least bit odd that these teams are trying to strike while Husker fans are trying to acclimate to a new coach, culture and team, especially when any little crack in the armor shows?


That reeks of concern (and dare I say fear) going up against a 1-2 team for prospects.


— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and Periscope (eightlaces), and like his Facebook page.

Negative Recruiting Against Nebraska Shows Concern by Opponents
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-cover-2-podcast-week-4-preview

Hosts Mitch Light and Braden Gall are joined by Pac-12 Network analyst Jill Savage to break down the big weekend of action out West.


What exactly do the the ACC and Big Ten have to offer the fans this weekend? The Big 12 has two contenders on upset alert. And the SEC has four important pecking order games, including one of the 90s best rivalries.


The guys also pick every Top 25 game, offer locks of the week against the spread and cover THE LEAST IMPORTANT GAME OF THE WEEK!



Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @AthlonMitch or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on and our podcast RSS feed.

College Football Cover 2 Podcast: Week 4 Preview
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football
Path: /college-football/backup-college-quarterbacks-who-saved-day-and-made-it-big

The recent rescues by BYU’s Tanner Mangum and Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer were part of one of college football’s most exciting events: the backup quarterback saving the day. Mangum replaced an injured Taysom Hill in the season opener against Nebraska and then won the game with a Hail Mary pass. He then led a dramatic win over Boise State. Kizer came in two weeks ago after Malik Zaire broke his ankle and threw a dramatic game-winning touchdown pass with 12 seconds left to beat Virginia.


Although both Mangum and Kizer are now the starters for their respective teams, no one knows what the future holds for them. Some quarterbacks have their shining moments and then drift into obscurity. Others come off the bench to win big and then make it big. Here are three that we remember.


Joe Montana – Notre Dame (1974-78)

The legend of Joe Montana began midway through his sophomore year, when coach Dan Devine sent him into the game with 5:11 left and the Irish trailing North Carolina 14-6.  Montana quickly led Notre Dame to two touchdowns to put the Irish ahead for good at 21-14. The next week, he came off the bench with Notre Dame down 30-10 to Air Force and engineered a 31-30 win.  However, this was during the era when big-time universities could stockpile athletes and these two wins did not carry Montana off into the sunset. He separated his shoulder, missed the 1976 season, and found himself third on the depth chart entering the 1977 season.  In the third game, Devine put Montana in with Notre Dame down 24-14 to Purdue and he engineered a rally to win the game 31-24. The starting job was his going forward and he led the Irish to the 1977 national championship. His success and legend, of course, followed him to the NFL.


Frank Reich – Maryland (1982-84)

Reich was the starter early in the 1984 season, but separated his shoulder and was replaced by Stan Gelbaugh, who led the Terrapins to three wins in their next four games. On Nov. 10, 1984, Maryland faced Miami in the Orange Bowl and went into the half down 31-0. Reich replaced Gelbaugh in the second half and led the Terrapins on six consecutive scoring drives and a 42-40 win. At the time it was the biggest comeback in college football history, but has since been surpassed by Michigan State’s 35-point comeback over Northwestern in 2006. Reich was drafted by the Buffalo Bills and backed up Jim Kelly through much of his career. In 1992, Reich replaced an injured Kelly and led the Bills to the conference championship. Along the way, he brought the Bills back from a 35-3 deficit to beat the Houston Oilers, the greatest comeback in NFL history. Today, Reich is the offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers.


Brett Favre – Southern Mississippi (1987-90)

When Brett Favre’s opportunity came, he was hung-over. The 17-year-old, seventh-string freshman quarterback had not expected to play the next day against Tulane and sat up until the early morning hours splitting a case and a half of beer with teammate Chris Ryals. Favre was in such bad shape that he was vomiting in warm-ups and was just as surprised as the coaching staff was when coach Jim Carmody put him in with the Golden Eagles losing to Tulane. Sick or not, Favre rose to the occasion, throwing two touchdown passes to lead Southern Miss to a 31-24 win. The starting job was his and Favre went on to become the most exciting quarterback in NFL history.


— Written by Aaron Tallent, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Tallent is a writer whose articles have appeared in The Sweet Science, FOX Sports’ Outkick the Coverage, Liberty Island and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter at @AaronTallent.

Backup College Quarterbacks Who Saved the Day and Made it Big
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: NFC, NFC East, Philadelphia Eagles, NFL
Path: /nfl/looking-reason-eagles-are-0-2-start-top

Two years ago, noted B-movie producer and Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie decided to go for the blockbuster, rather than the product with substance and staying power. He courted then-Oregon coach Chip Kelly, continuing to woo the head Duck even when Kelly turned him down.


Lurie finally money-whipped Kelly into leaving Eugene and bringing his spread offense, radical training ideas and nutritional totalitarianism to Philadelphia in the hopes of injecting some excitement into his franchise after Andy Reid’s tenure stumbled to a close. It didn’t matter that Kelly had no NFL experience at all. He was Lurie’s man. This past January, after two 10-win seasons – and exactly no playoff victories – Lurie bestowed total personnel control on Kelly, who was able to cleanse the roster of players who didn’t fit into his “culture,” which the coach had insisted won out over talent in the NFL.


After two games that included one of the most desultory performances this side of Oakland, the Eagles look like a steaming hunk of carrion, ready to be devoured by hyenas, vultures and any other second-rate predators looking for a free meal. The team has no ability to run the football, thanks to a leaky offensive line that features two journeymen at guard and a left tackle (Jason Peters) who appears to be close to the end of his Pro Bowl career. Without the ground game, the Eagles’ vaunted high-speed offensive approach is as imposing as the Republican JV crew that gets to debate before anybody shows up for the varsity affair. Kelly has said many times that his college offense is based on execution, not on a sophisticated playbook, and it now appears as if opposing defenses are intent on executing Philadelphia’s chances for scoring points.


It’s easy to pin this all on Kelly, since he has turned over the roster and is the man responsible for gameplans that seem ridiculously simple. But this is all Lurie’s fault. Had he looked for a coach with NFL experience, whether as the boss man or coordinator, it’s likely the Birds would be playing the kind of football necessary to win in the NFL. Instead, by turning the team entirely over to a college coach, Lurie has allowed the Eagles' roster to atrophy and its play to become unsuccessful and – worse, for his purposes – boring. Kelly has searched for players who will do as he says, without any question, and he has found them. The trouble is, that through two games, they don’t look very good. They may be obedient, but they can’t block or tackle so well.


How about cornerback Byron Maxwell, on whom Kelly bestowed a six-year, $62 million contract? He can’t cover anybody, and his soft, cowardly play on Dallas’ last score Sunday could well be emblematic of a team that has decided that its coach’s methods aren’t so appealing.


The Eagles head up the Jersey Turnpike to face the Jets Sunday, and a loss could be the first step in Kelly’s ouster. Don’t worry about him, though. He’ll land at Texas, USC or Miami and have plenty of success running his spread attack and making all the players behave exactly as he wants them to behave. If that happens, let’s hope Lurie has the good sense to stay away from the slasher films and gross-out movies and go for something with a little more heft to it. His next hire had better have the letters N-F-L on his resume somewhere, the better to put together an approach that can win big in the professional ranks.


— Written by Michael Bradley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Bradley is a writer and broadcaster based in suburban Philadelphia. Follow him on Twitter @DailyHombre.

Looking for A Reason the Philadelphia Eagles are 0-2? Start at the Top
Post date: Wednesday, September 23, 2015 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/tcu-coach-gary-patterson-takes-shot-baylor

It’s no secret TCU and Baylor do not like each other. And the intensity in this rivalry is only increased due to the recent success of both teams, as Baylor and TCU are the frontrunners to win the Big 12 in 2015.


The war of words continued between the two programs on Tuesday, as TCU coach Gary Patterson lobbed a shot in Baylor’s direction. Patterson was defending the recently arrested Mike Tuaua on felony complaint of robbery and bodily injury charges.


Here’s Patterson’s comment:

If you aren’t familiar with what Patterson is referring to, it’s the saga of former Baylor defensive end Sam Ukwuachu and how that situation was handled at the school and his status with the team after an incident in 2013.


Here’s the full rundown of what transpired with Ukwuachu at Baylor.


Needless to say, the annual matchup between these two teams on Nov. 27 is going to be very interesting.



TCU Coach Gary Patterson Takes a Shot at Baylor
Post date: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 14:27
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/week-3-nfl-picks-challenge-athlon-sports-experts

The NFL is back, and the competition off the field is nearly as heated as the competition on game day.


The Athlon Sports Pro Football Experts Club presented by New Era gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.


Think you’re up for taking on our experts every week? Think you can beat the writers and editors each week? Join our weekly pick ‘em game and compete for tons of cool prizes.


Here are this week’s picks from Athlon Sports senior editor John Gworek:


Thursday’s Game


Washington at N.Y. Giants

The Redskins defense has been perhaps the league’s most surprising unit so far. Eli Manning and Odell Beckham Jr. will be a test.

Gworek's Pick: N.Y. Giants, 23-20.


Sunday’s Games


Atlanta at Dallas

With Tony Romo and Dez Bryant out, can the Cowboys keep winning with defense? Stopping Julio Jones will be a tall order.

Gworek's Pick: Atlanta, 20-16.


Indianapolis at Tennessee

Andrew Luck and the Colts are a mess, while Marcus Mariota is living up to the hype for the Titans. How long can it continue?

Gworek's Pick: Indianapolis, 24-17.


Oakland at Cleveland

The Raiders bounced back to beat the Raven despite a defense that’s still dead last in the NFL. But can the Browns take advantage?

Gworek's Pick: Cleveland, 27-24.


Cincinnati at Baltimore

The Bengals have been impressive in jumping to a 2-0 start. The Ravens need to get in the win column in their home opener.

Gworek's Pick: Baltimore, 20-17.


Jacksonville at New England

Blake Bortles and the Jags impressed against Miami, but can they keep up with Tom Brady? He is showing no signs of slowing down.

Gworek's Pick: New England, 33-20.


New Orleans at Carolina

The Panthers defense has shut down Blake Bortles and Ryan Mallett. Now they may get Luke McCown if Drew Brees can’t go.

Gworek's Pick: Carolina, 23-13.


Philadelphia at N.Y. Jets

The Jets have forced five turnovers in each of their first two games. If the Eagles don’t start running the ball, they may make it three in a row.

Gworek's Pick: N.Y. Jets, 21-17.


Tampa Bay at Houston

The Texans changed quarterbacks and got the same result in Week 2. Jameis Winston bounced back from a rough opener, can he win two in a row on the road?

Gworek's Pick: Houston, 26-17.


San Diego at Minnesota

These teams have both beaten the Lions. Teddy Bridgewater and the Vikings offense will need to be better to keep up with Philip Rivers.

Gworek's Pick: San Diego, 27-21.


Pittsburgh at St. Louis

The Rams had a big letdown and were dominated by Washington. The Steelers lead the league in offense and get Le’Veon Bell back.

Gworek's Pick: Pittsburgh, 30-23.


San Francisco at Arizona

Colin Kaepernick and Carson Palmer are both off to nice starts, and both defenses have been leaky so far. Avoiding turnovers will be key.

Gworek's Pick: Arizona, 33-27.


Buffalo at Miami

With Jets off to a surprising 2-0 start, the loser of this one falls to the AFC East basement. The Dolphins are a banged up bunch.

Gworek's Pick: Buffalo, 17-16.


Chicago at Seattle

An 0-2 start on the road has put the Seahawks’ backs to the wall early. Things should turn around with Jimmy Clausen and the Bears in town.

Gworek's Pick: Seattle, 27-10.


Denver at Detroit

The Broncos rank dead last in total offense. The Lions are reeling after two road losses, but getting well at home will be tough against the Denver defense.

Gworek's Pick: Broncos, 24-13.


Monday’s Game


Kansas City at Green Bay

Chiefs gave one away with five turnovers last week. The Packers haven’t been dominant, but Aaron Rodgers doesn’t give games away.

Gworek's Pick: Green Bay, 23-21.


Week 2 Record: 7-9

Overall Record: 19-13

Week 3 NFL Picks: Challenge Athlon Sports Experts!
Post date: Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 14:17