Articles By Rob Doster

All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-25-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 25:

 

1970s teen idol David Cassidy has a rather attractive daughter.

 

Kobe had a message for his teammates.

 

The legend of Odell Beckham's catch is only growing.

 

Robert Woods of the Bills got in on the weekend's good hands action. As did the Ravens' Steve Smith.

 

Peter King and the Red Sox had remarkably ill-timed, ill-phrased tweets.

 

NFL logo pancake art. It's exactly what it sounds like.

 

An NFL journeyman was found passed out in a Wendy's drive-thru. As a commenter notes, he got a frosty reception.

 

• Joe Pos reminds us that for one shining moment, Priest Holmes was the greatest player fantasy football had ever seen.

 

The North Carolina Tar Heels left their mark in the Duke locker room.

 

Rick Pitino was dishing one-liners after an epic beatdown of Savannah State.

 

• Watch James Harden abandon matador defense in favor of statue defense.

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 - 11:07
All taxonomy terms: Tiger Woods, Golf
Path: /golf/tiger-woods-names-chris-como-his-new-swing-coach
Body:

Tiger Woods announced over the weekend that he had selected little-known Chris Como as his new swing coach, sending out this Saturday morning tweet: "Happy to have Chris Como consulting and working with me on my swing. I’m excited to be back competing." Tiger confidante and former Stanford teammate Notah Begay played matchmaker for the two, putting an end to speculation that Woods was planning to fly solo upon his return to competition following an injury layoff.

 

So who is Chris Como? Based in Plano, Texas, he's listed among Golf Digest's "Best Young Teachers," and he sounds like a bit of a technician. “I like to study the golf swing in biomechanical terms,” Como wrote in Golf Digest. Sounds like a red flag; the last thing Woods needs to do is overthink. But Tiger has already begun downplaying Como's role, calling him a consultant rather than a teacher and raising questions of just how influential he'll be.

 

On one hand, Como is coming aboard Team Tiger at the perfect time; at least, former Woods mentor Hank Haney thinks so. “This is the easiest situation that any coach has been in,” he told Jason Sobel of the Golf Channel. “You couldn’t coach Tiger and have a friendlier scenario than Chris Como has. Look at the record Tiger had with Butch (Harmon); I was following that. Look at the record Tiger had with me; Sean (Foley) was following that.

 

“Let’s face it: The expectations are not super high at this point.”

 

In addition to being a clever, self-promoting zinger, Haney's comment prompted us to compare Tiger's performance under the tutelage of those three aforementioned mentors. Of course, there's a lot more to a player's success or failure than who's watching him on the range — especially when you're talking about the best player of the last 30 years — but Tiger certainly enjoyed varying degrees of success depending on who was helping call the shots.

 

Tiger and Butch Harmon

1996-2002

Harmon was Woods' mentor during his stunning ascendancy to the top of the golf world. With Harmon, Woods employed a more upright swing with a pronounced wrist cock.

Tiger under Butch:

• 31 PGA Tour Wins

PGA Tour winning percentage of 26.8%

• 8 Major Championships — 1997, 2001, '02 Masters; 2000, '02 U.S. Open; 2000 British Open; 1999, 2000 PGA Championship

• 8 World Golf Championship Wins

• 5 Money Titles (1997, 1999-2002)

• 5 Times Low Scoring Average (1999-2003)

Quote: “I don’t think he needs a swing coach. If I were advising Tiger I’d tell him, ‘You’re the greatest player that ever lived, just go to the range and hit shots.’”

 

Tiger and Hank Haney

2004-2010

Haney flattened Woods swing but felt that Tiger was too dedicated to working out and not enough to practicing. But he also oversaw the period with the best winning percentage of Tiger's career.

Tiger Under Hank:

• 31 PGA Tour Wins

PGA Tour winning percentage of 33.3%

• 6 Major Championships — 2005 Masters; 2008 U.S. Open; 2005, '06 British Open; 2006, '07 PGA Championship

• 4 Money Titles (2005-07, 2009)

• 4 Times Low Scoring Average (2005-07, 2009)

Quote: “I think he’d probably be better off just going and doing it himself. He’s the one that he’ll listen to the most. He’s the one that he’s always listened to the most."

 

Tiger and Sean Foley

2010-2014

Foley is known for his use of video and his rather unorthodox teaching style, but he had the misfortune of tutoring Woods during a particularly injury-plagued phase of his career.

• 8 PGA Tour Wins

• PGA Tour winning percentage of 14.5

• No Major Championships

• 1 Money Title (2013)

• Quote: "It was a lifelong ambition of mine to teach the best player of all time in our sport. I am both grateful for the things we had the opportunity to learn from one another, as well as the enduring friendship we have built. I have nothing but respect and admiration for him."

 
Teaser:
Post date: Monday, November 24, 2014 - 12:22
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-24-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 24:

 

• It's official: Katy Perry is your Super Bowl XLIX halftime performer.

 

Odell Beckham had the catch of this or any other year in the Giants' loss to the Cowboys. It even impressed the heck out of the Cowboys. And, this being the Internet, some classic Beckham memes have emerged.

 

• Meanwhile, Marshawn Lynch had the postgame interview of the year.

 

Tony Dungy's son is a talented celebration dancer.

 

Dominic Raiola was a bad sport, and Bill Belichick cleverly trolled him for it.

 

• There's an NFL doomsday scenario brewing: a 5-11 team in the playoffs and a 12-4 team out.

 

Clay Travis breaks down the 11 College Football Playoff contenders.

 

Throw bumping the ref on Jameis Winston's pile of misdeeds.

 

The Red Sox are having an active and productive offseason.

 

• T.Y. Hilton broke down during his postgame interview as he talked about his baby daughter.

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, November 24, 2014 - 11:10
Path: /nfl/arizona-cardinals-vs-seattle-seahawks-preview-and-prediction
Body:

The Arizona Cardinals will try and add to their NFC West lead when they take on the Seattle Seahawks this afternoon on FOX. Drew Stanton has done an admirable job for the Cardinals (9-1) while subbing for the injured Carson Palmer (knee). Over the past two weeks, Stanton has completed 24-of-37 passes for 391 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions while closing out a 31–14 win over St. Louis and holding on to a 14–6 victory against Detroit.

 

The Cards will have their work cut out for them on the road against what should be a hungry Seahawks (6-4) squad. The reigning Super Bowl champs are currently on the outside of the playoff picture and are desperate for a division win after losing at St. Louis earlier this season. All eyes (and ears) will be on Marshawn Lynch, who has been at the center of a contrived media controversy despite his 1,060 yards from scrimmage and 12 scores.

 

Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks

 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Seattle -6.5

 

Arizona’s Key to Victory: Clamping Down

The Cardinals’ quarterback situation — starter Carson Palmer has been lost for the season with a knee injury, but Drew Stanton has gone 3–1 this year in relief — has earned most of the headlines, but Arizona is winning with defense. The Cardinals are third in the NFL in points allowed, surrendering a stingy 17.6 per game. Against Calvin Johnson and the Lions in Week 11, the Cards threw up a brick wall, holding Detroit to 262 total yards and a pair of field goals. The Cardinals are also fifth in takeaways with 20 and would love to force some mistakes by a Seahawks offense that is adept at protecting the ball. “We're definitely one of the best in the game,” says Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson. “I believe we have caught our stride. The last two games, we didn't give up over 200 yards passing with three or four interceptions. That's something we're hoping for the rest of the season.”

 

 

Seattle’s Key to Victory: Restoring Order

The defending Super Bowl champions have seen their script get flipped this season, putting them in the position of hunter rather than hunted. While Seattle has scuffled to four losses, Arizona has quietly gone about their business in building the league’s best resume through 10 games. The Seahawks would love nothing more than to remind the upstarts who the reigning kings really are. Pete Carroll and his players aren’t ready to concede a division title just yet. “These guys (the Cardinals) are flying high, and we have to see if we can find a way to stop them and score on these guys and then we’ll take it to the next one,” Carroll said. “I’m really excited about the way this thing sets up and I think most people should be with all of the drama still out there about the division.”

 

Final Analysis

 

Arizona sowed the seeds for this year’s ascendancy with a 17–10 win in Seattle in Week 16 last season. It wasn’t enough to propel the Cardinals to the playoffs, but it did prove that they could compete with anyone, including on the road. A team that is 3–1 away from home this season will find a way yet again, while putting a chokehold on the NFC West.

 
Prediction: Arizona 21, Seattle 20
Teaser:
Arizona Cardinals vs. Seattle Seahawks Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 23, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-21-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 20:

 

TV's sexiest sportscasters, including Amanda Pflugrad (pictured).

 

Mike Golic kept his promise to pose like Kim Kardashian after Notre Dame's loss to Northwestern. Warning: The image above is just a glimpse. The full version cannot be unseen.

 

Raiders Sio Moore and Khalil Mack were saved from infamy by a timeout.

 

Latavius Murray fantasy owners had a great night. What? There aren't any?

 

Tom Brady continues to display his ownership of Facebook.

 

Don't you be flopping around Joakim Noah.

 

Good news for Adrian Peterson's kids: No more switches.

 

Finally, some humor from the Bill Cosby situation.

 

The Maple Leafs rebelled against their angry fans by foregoing the postgame stick salute.

 

Watch a 100-year-old woman see the ocean for the first time.

 

Paula Deen and Katy Perry have the same face. Mind, blown.

 

• CP3 feeds Blake Griffin for a one-handed jam.

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, November 21, 2014 - 11:12
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-20-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 20:

 

The Knicks' celebrity action is rivaling the L.A. teams.

 

I'm not one to question James Harden's fashion choices. Actually, yes I am.

 

The tears flowed for Vince Carter in Toronto.

 

Solomon Hill made chicken salad out of an airball.

 

LeGarrette Blount wasn't out of work for long.

 

The Buffalo snowstorm as seen from above.

 

• When greedy family members are around, an athlete and his money are soon parted.

 

• Bizarre story of the day: A woman is claiming to be Michael Phelps girlfriend. She was also born a man.

 

An ESPN student reporter used the occasion of the FSU shooting to make a horrendous Jameis Winston joke.

 

Amanda Dufner went topless in Thailand. Do I have your attention now?

 

Here's the Tecmo Bowl version of Melvin Gordon's destruction of Nebraska.

 

• The Cavs game ended on a LeBron James turnover.

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:53
Path: /nfl/kansas-city-chiefs-oakland-raiders-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Two teams that are streaking rapidly in opposite directions will get Week 12 in the NFL started when the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders square off tonight on the NFL Network. The surging Chiefs (7-3) have won five straight games to move into a tie with the Broncos for the AFC West lead, while the Raiders (0-10) have sunk into a seemingly bottomless black hole of despair, losing a staggering 16 consecutive games and counting. The Chiefs swept the season series in 2013 in decisive fashion, beating the Raiders 56–31 in Oakland in December after pounding them 24–7 at Arrowhead in October.

 

Any hope for a competitive game rests with rookie Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, who has shown flashes of skill while taking far less of a beating than big brother David did during his ill-fated rookie season back in 2002. In three games against division foes, Carr has thrown six touchdowns to only three interceptions. For a team that's playing out the string, the rest of the season will focus on Carr's continued development.

 

Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders

 

Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NFL Network

Spread: Kansas City -7.5

 

Kansas City's Key to Victory: Focus on This Week

We're talking about professionals here, so pitfalls that plague teams at lower levels — like overlooking an inferior opponent — are less of a danger. But it's only human nature for the Chiefs to be mentally chalking up a win and looking ahead to next week's showdown with Denver for AFC West supremacy. Fortunately, the short week offers less time for complacency. "You don't have quite as much time to think over things," coach Andy Reid told the team's official website. "Sometimes that could be a good thing, sometimes it could be bad. We have to get ourselves back and ready to go quickly, so we understand that." If Kansas City merely sticks to what they do well, it should be fine. For instance, the Chiefs average 141 yards rushing per game, while Oakland is surrendering 130. In other words, the matchups all favor the visitors.

 

 

Oakland's Key to Victory: Keeping Carr Upright

The Oakland offensive line has done a more-than-respectable job of protecting Carr. The Raiders have allowed only 12 sacks on the season, second-fewest in the league behind Denver. But they're facing a fearsome pass rush led by NFL sack leader Justin Houston, who hasn't added to his total of 12 in the last two games and would love nothing more than to create misery for Carr and the Raiders’ passing offense. KC's pass rush, which has produced 30 sacks, keys the league's top-ranked pass defense (only 202 yards allowed per game). "There's a lot for every quarterback to get ready for, especially with a talented defense like Kansas City has," said Carr. "It just puts more on your plate and you just knock it out in the time that we do have."

 

Final Analysis

 

The winless Raiders have no shortage of motivation; they certainly don't want to join the Detroit Lions as the only franchises with 0–16 seasons. And a team that's playing out the string, with nothing to lose except draft position, can often show up loose and relaxed and spring an upset. But the Chiefs look too balanced and too physically superior on both sides of the ball to stumble in this one. Look for Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles, who caught eight passes for a career-high 195 yards and four touchdowns in last December's win in Oakland, to be a big part of the game plan. If he gets 25 touches, it means that the Chiefs are clicking, and it's bad news for the Raiders.

 
Prediction: Kansas City 27, Oakland 17
Teaser:
Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-19-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 19:

 

An NBA cheerleader power ranking. They all look pretty good from here.

 

Emmanuel Sanders: "I'm not quite dead. I'm getting better."

 

It's the 10-year anniversary of Malice at the Palace.

 

Tiger took major issue with Dan Jenkins' parody interview of him in Golf Digest.

 

• It's early, but it looks like the only team that can beat Kentucky is Kentucky.

 

• So much for turning off women: Female viewership of the NFL is at record levels.

 

The Packers have shaken up the typical NFL work week, with stellar results.

 

Fred Jackson is making the most of the Buffalo snowstorm.

 

• There's something to this: Twitter has become anti-social media.

 

The NFL's best drama right now is Gruden-RG3.

 

Watch hamsters wearing tiny Pilgrim hats eat Thanksgiving dinner.

 

• Iman Shumpert threw down a nasty reverse jam.

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 - 11:02
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-18-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 18:

 

• Blake Bortles' girlfriend Lindsey Duke has been strangely absent from Instagram, forcing us to relive her past glory.

 

• In case you were wondering, here's what the NBA on TNT crew would look like with Joakim Noah's hair.

 

Sure, Adrian Peterson may have abused his kid, but disrespecting the Shield is a bridge too far.

 

• It was an exciting Monday Night game, but LeGarrette Blount didn't hang around for the end.

 

People welcomed Ray Lewis to Twitter just as you would expect them to.

 

Most popular music acts for each NFL team's fanbase, based on concert ticket sales.

 

A reminder that J.J. Watt has more touchdowns this season than Andre Johnson, Wes Welker and Cordarrelle Patterson combined.

 

Kobe is chucking at laughably historic levels.

 

The Dustin Johnson scandal from earlier this year gets the Taiwanese animation treatment.

 

Charles Manson is engaged. Mazel tov! Let's hope those crazy kids can make it work.

 

Justin Timberlake stomped on a Twitter troll with extreme prejudice.

 

• Dion Waiters' refusal to pass to LeBron led to a priceless reaction from the King.

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 10:54
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-17-2014
Teaser:
Post date: Monday, November 17, 2014 - 10:43
Path: /nfl/new-england-patriots-vs-indianapolis-colts-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Sunday’s slate of action will end with a rematch of last year’s AFC Divisional Playoff matchup when the New England Patriots face the Indianapolis Colts on NBC. The Patriots (7-2) easily defeated the Colts (6-3) 43-22 in last season’s meeting, as Tom Brady is riding a four-game winning streak over Indianapolis. Two of those victories have come against Andrew Luck (twice), while the others were with Dan Orlovsky and Peyton Manning at quarterback. But all four of those games were played at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. Brady is 0–1 on the road at Lucas Oil Stadium, which opened in 2008, and has a 3–2 career record in Indianapolis. Overall, Brady is 11–4 against the Colts — who shared the AFC East division with the Patriots until realignment in 2002.

 

New England Patriots at Indianapolis Colts

 

Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NBC

Spread: Indianapolis -2.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Measuring Stick for Luck

Colts quarterback Andrew Luck can take an important step in his development by playing well against a team that has proved to be his nemesis thus far in his career. In an admittedly small sample size, Luck has had a lowly 51.6 completion percentage with seven interceptions in two games against New England with a passer rating of 58.2 — Luck's worst rating against any team he's faced more than once. In last season's 43–22 playoff loss to New England, Luck completed fewer than 50 percent of his passes and threw four crippling interceptions. Like his predecessor in Indy, Luck's ultimate reputation will be based in part on how he performs against the Patriots, and early returns indicate that any coronation of Luck as the clear successor to Brady/Manning is a bit premature. "This team is going as far as Andrew goes," said Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton. The jury's still out on just how far that will be.

 

2. Pressuring Brady

The Colts' ability to plant Tom Brady on the Lucas Oil Stadium turf will be a key indicator of success in this matchup. Indy has 24 sacks on the season and will need to muss Brady's hair a bit to disrupt what has become a well-oiled offensive machine. If they don't, it will be a long day for the Indianapolis defense, which has surrendered 31 passing plays of at least 20 yards and ranks 27th with an average of 263.6 passing yards allowed. "They blitz quite a bit more than most of the teams that we've played, which is going to be, I would say, a very critical factor in the game, our ability to handle that," New England offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels said. If the Colts can't get to Brady, it could be a big-play fest for the Patriots.

 

3. P-men on a Roll

The Patriots have had many impressive runs during the Brady-Belichick era, but their current five-game winning streak ranks among the best stretches of football in recent Patriots history. New England is averaging 40.2 points over those five games, handily winning the turnover battle (10-1) during that stretch. Superstar tight end Rob Gronkowski has helped spearhead the run with 36 catches for 516 yards and five scores in that span. Brady's touchdown-to-interception ratio for the last five games? A tidy 18-to-1. He has a staggering 63 completions in his last two outings alone. The Patriots have to be licking their chops in anticipation of facing an Indianapolis defense that is susceptible to big plays. Defensively, the Patriots have 18 takeaways, while Indy has turned it over 15 times. The Colts simply can't help the Patriots in any way with turnovers or penalties if they want to keep it close.

 

Final Analysis

 

The Patriots are overdue for a bad performance, but a high-profile Sunday night game coming off of a bye week is not a likely spot for a letdown. Andrew Luck and the Colts offense will move the football, but look for an ill-timed turnover or two to turn the game in New England's favor. The Patriots' roll continues.

 
Prediction: New England 31, Indianapolis 28
Teaser:
New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 16, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-14-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 14:

 

• In case you're looking for gift ideas for Paulina Gretzky's baby with Dustin Johnson, she has a gift registry.

 

Mario Williams: nightmare fuel.

 

Jay Cutler gets the headline he deserves.

 

• Speaking of Cutler, some really dumb Bears fans got snookered by The Onion.

 

Your MVPs: Trout and Kershaw.

 

Steph Curry nonchalantly drilled a 40-footer from the tunnel and turned to sign autographs.

 

Nick Saban comes face to face with his good luck charm: Peewee from Grand Bay.

 

Will somebody roll the dice on Richie Incognito?

 

• Turns out MLB and the feds tag-teamed on Biogenesis.

 

A long-ish read on college basketball, which starts today.

 

Charles Barkley calls Derrick Rose stupid.

 

• Cal's fake punt attempt went horribly wrong.

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, November 14, 2014 - 11:14
All taxonomy terms: AFC, AFC East, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/buffalo-bills-vs-miami-dolphins-preview-and-prediction
Body:

There's no rest for a pair of weary and discouraged AFC East teams this week, as the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins look to bounce back tonight on the NFL Network. Both the Bills (5-4) and Dolphins (5-4) suffered disappointing, largely self-inflicted Week 10 losses and now must head back into action off a short week of practice for a matchup that amounts to a playoff elimination game for the loser. This longstanding divisional rivalry has tilted in Buffalo's direction of late, as the Bills are gunning for their fourth straight win over the Dolphins 

 

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

 

Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NFL Network

Spread: Miami -5.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Fight for Survival

Two 5–4 teams in must-win mode collide at Sun Life Stadium. Both the Dolphins and the Bills are two games behind the division-leading Patriots, but more alarming is the fact that nine of the 11 AFC teams with winning records are ahead of these two teams in the playoff race. But before even contemplating the big picture, these teams must apply a laser focus to what amounts to a win-or-stay-home-for-January game. Their respective margins for error grew smaller this past Sunday with a pair of missed opportunities. The Bills blew a 13–3 lead against the Chiefs, while the Miami offense was MIA in a 20–16 loss to Detroit. "We can't change anything. It's time to get ready for Miami," said Bills safety Aaron Williams. "If we want to get back to the playoffs, this is a really important game."

 

2. Playing Takeaway

The turnover battle plays a big part in every game, but especially in a division game between evenly matched teams. Both the Bills and Dolphins are plus-5 in the turnover department, seventh in the league, and they're in a three-way tie with the Cardinals for second in the NFL with 19 takeaways apiece. But both teams lost the turnover battle in disappointing Week 10 losses. The Bills had a particularly devastating miscue against the Chiefs when Bryce Brown fumbled out of the back of the end zone on his way in for a touchdown and a 17–3 lead in a game the Bills ultimately lost 17–13. Look for the Bills to be especially careful with the football this week after having the importance of ball security drummed into their heads by coach Doug Marrone. "We had an opportunity to get to 6-3," he said. "Now we're going to have to fight our way back and come back and find a way to win our next game."

 

3. Protecting Tannehill

Buffalo leads the NFL with 34 sacks, including six in the Bills' most recent game against Kansas City. The Dolphins are playing with a patchwork offensive line, and quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been sacked 18 times in five starts against the Bills. Left tackle Branden Albert is lost for the season to a knee injury, and left guard Darryn Colledge is still nursing a back injury and could miss a third straight start. The ingredients are in place for a long and painful afternoon for Tannehill. It will be up to a couple of young Tennessee products — rookie Ju'Wuan James at left tackle and second-year man Dallas Thomas at right tackle — to keep Tannehill upright and open lanes for whoever's healthy enough to carry the football. "What you saw is probably what you're going to get (Thursday)," coach Joe Philbin said of the line's performance in the Dolphins' season-worst 228-yard outing against Detroit. "Those guys weren't perfect, but overall I thought they held their own.”

 

Final Analysis

 

Buffalo beat Miami 29–10 in September and are gunning for its fourth straight win in the head-to-head series, while the Dolphins are literally limping into this game off a short week with a taped-together offensive line and a lead running back (Lamar Miller) who's nursing a sore shoulder. The last time Miami played at home, the Dolphins dominated the Chargers 37–0 on Nov. 2, but suddenly, that seems like a long time ago. 

 
Prediction: Buffalo 24, Miami 17
Teaser:
Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, November 13, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-11-2014
Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 10:49
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-10-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 10:

 

Get to know Brooke Alexandra, Dolphins cheerleader and Ole Miss grad.

 

The Packers put the Bears out of their misery last night.

 

Week 10's can't-miss plays include Megatron being Megatron.

 

• Jimmy Graham had a weird day: An offensive PI penalty negated a game-winning touchdown, and he got felt up by the Joker.

 

Hey, Osweiler — grab some pine. Peyton's got this.

 

Rex Ryan didn't like the Steelers' attempt to blow up a kneel-down.

 

Taylor Swift wields a golf club among other deadly implements in her new video.

 

LeBron won't let his kids play football. Gotta wonder about football's long-term prosperity.

 

• Peak Internet: Here's Texas A&M's locker room celebration set to last week's web sensation "Too Many Cooks."

 

This guy's workout regimen is ... unusual.

 

• We interrupt sports to bring the important news: The Foo Fighters' new record is out this week.

 

• Watch the Seahawks mascot land on a fan.

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, November 10, 2014 - 11:02
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-7-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 7:

 

This week's college cheerleader showdown features some solid matchups.

 

• Ever wonder what Big Red would look like in a pair of daisy dukes? Enjoy mascots wearing pants.

 

Devon and Leah Still shared a moment last night, and it just got dusty in my office.

 

When the football bounce-pass trick play works, it's a thing of beauty.

 

The Nuggets did some Twitter meta-trolling of LeBron.

 

Charles Barkley is fasting until the Lakers win. I'm seriously concerned for his survival.

 

Bill Simmons and Mike Golic had a public slap-fight yesterday.

 

Comedian Artie Lange Tweeted some pretty disgusting things and got himself banned from the Worldwide Leader.

 

• As halfcourt shots go, this Blazers fan's attempt made for a nice entry pass at best.

 

A reporter was kicked off the sidelines in Serbia for being too attractive.

 

• According to Andy Richter, Mike Ditka once used a rental car as an ashtray.

 

• In the process of setting quarterback play back decades, Andy Dalton forgot the rules, too.

 

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, November 7, 2014 - 10:49
Path: /nba/houston-rockets-are-proving-everyone-wrong
Body:

It was not a nice summer for the Houston Rockets, and their celebrity general manager Daryl Morey. After Chris Bosh spurned ongoing talks with Houston to return to the Miami Heat on a deal worth around $118 million, the basketball world was ready to the put the Rockets under a headstone. This snippet of Morey whiffing on a ping pong serve seemed telling:

Morey had unloaded Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik to free the space for Bosh, Carmelo Anthony or — the dream of dreams — LeBron James. He also let Chandler Parsons sign a deal with the rival Dallas Mavericks (one he chose not to match) and the team looked depleted. Then, James Harden had some fairly graceless things to say to the media. 

"Dwight (Howard) and I are the cornerstones of the Rockets," Harden said when asked about his changing roster. "The rest of the guys are role players or pieces that complete our team. We've lost some pieces and added some pieces. I think we'll be fine next season.”

Those words cost The Beard some points with his fans, but so far in 2014-15, Harden appears to be right. Parsons has been effectively supplanted by the overlooked Trevor Ariza, an ace defender and knockdown 3-point shooter who fits into Houston’s program a lot more suitably than Parsons ever did. With tenacious point guard Patrick Beverley and a defensively improved Harden, Ariza has become the linchpin to a perimeter stronghold that’s making Dwight Howard’s life protecting the rim much easier.

It’s hard to keep track of in all the debate about Morey’s often-cold style (a common impression Grantland’s Andrew Sharp describes as “treating players like assets instead of humans”) but the Rockets are really good.

They’re off to a 5-0 start, looking vindicated and driven on the heels of a 108-91 statement victory in Miami. And tonight they take on the champion San Antonio Spurs at home, with Texas supremacy at stake, at 8:00 PM ET on TNT.

 

— John Wilmes

@johnwilmesNBA

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 15:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-6-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 6:

 

Coed's cheerleader of the week is Kendall Evans of Washington.

 

The Jets are going to play in London in 2015. This just might kill England's interest in the NFL.

 

• This is cool: Wheaties made a box for Lauren Hill.

 

Here's a fun collection of overreactions to the Cavs' slow start.

 

Allen Iverson gave a hilarious nod to his most famous press conference moment.

 

One of the better and-1's of the young season came courtesy of K.J. McDaniels.

 

• This is kind of amazing: Tom Brady has a .500 or better record against every NFL team.

 

Don't you be wearing red to a Les Miles press conference during Bama week.

 

Draymond Green slipped Blake Griffin some tongue last night.

 

Kacey Musgraves left Tim Tebow hanging at the CMAs. Tom Brady feels his pain.

 

Adam LaRoche bagged a massive elk, much to Dan Haren's chagrin.

 

• Watch Gordon Hayward's game-winning dagger against LeBron and the Cavs.

 

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 10:53
Path: /nfl/cleveland-browns-vs-cincinnati-bengals-preview-and-prediction
Body:

Tonight’s battle for Buckeye State supremacy is by far the most nationally relevant matchup between the Cleveland Browns (5-3) and Cincinnati Bengals (5-2-1) since the expansion Browns returned to the league in 1999 and will be must-see TV on the NFL Network. Although Cleveland’s sports scene is providing a feel-good story — complete with a national ad campaign featuring LeBron James — it’s too soon to overreact (on the gridiron or hardwood). The Browns’ five wins have come against teams with a combined 13–28 record (7–25 if Pittsburgh’s 6–3 mark is removed) and they are the only team to lose to lowly Jacksonville (24–6 in Week 7).

 

Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals

 

Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NFL Network

Spread: Cincinnati -6.5

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Mirror Images

The statistical similarities between these two Buckeye State rivals are uncanny. The Bengals are averaging 361.6 yards of total offense per game, the Browns 352.3. Cleveland averages 241 yards through the air, Cincinnati 240. The two teams have both allowed precisely 1,117 rushing yards on the season (although Cincinnati has done so on two fewer carries). Cleveland is allowing 392 yards per game, Cincinnati 395. Both teams come in having won two in a row following disappointing losses. You get the idea. These two evenly matched squads are even mirroring one another in the pregame respect department. "This will be the best opponent we've played in a few games so it will certainly be a good measuring stick," said Browns tackle Joe Thomas. Bengals safety Tashaun Gipson countered with, "(The NFL) definitely (knows) about the Cleveland Browns. They take the Browns seriously. They have no choice. You don't win five games by mistake."

 

2. Super Sub

Jeremy Hill's play against Jacksonville in relief of Giovani Bernard was spectacular, although the fact that it came against Jacksonville gives the rookie from LSU’s performance a bit of an asterisk. With Bernard nursing shoulder and hip injuries, Hill exploded with 154 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries, including a decisive 60-yard, fourth-quarter touchdown run after the Jaguars had trimmed the Bengals' lead to 26–23. "We challenged him," said quarterback Andy Dalton. "We knew he was going to get a lot of carries with Gio out. He answered and had played pretty well. Even besides that 60-yard run, he was having a really good day. I'm sure this is one he'll remember for a long time." With Bernard listed as Doubtful on the injury report and unlikely to play tonight, Hill will have no time to rest on his laurels.

 

3. Road Woes

For as well as the Browns have played this season, there is still an albatross hanging around their necks that will dog the Dawg Pounders until they shed it: Cleveland has lost a staggering 17 consecutive divisional games on the road. The last time the Browns ventured away from Cleveland and beat a divisional opponent? Sept. 28, 2008, late in the administration of George W. Bush. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it's the longest such drought by any team since the 1970 NFL merger. To add to their ledger of road futility, the Browns haven't won more than two road games in a season since that same 2008 season. Conversely, the Bengals have not lost a regular season home game since Week 14 in 2012. This glaring contrast could provide a significant mental edge for the home team. 

 

Final Analysis

 

This is a different Browns team — at home. Their only road win so far this season came in Week 5 against a struggling Tennessee team that suffered an epic collapse in Cleveland's 29–28 win. Until the Browns prove that they can win a divisional road game, something that they last did before America had elected its first black president, we have to go with the home team. 

 
Prediction: Cincinnati 24, Cleveland 17
Teaser:
Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-5-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 5:

 

• Brains, beauty, brawn: Chrissy Blair of UFC has all of the above.

 

This year's Miss Oklahoma has a little too much mileage for my taste.

 

Jameis Winston's lawyer tweeted out the name of his accuser.

 

Gerald Green of the Suns dunked all over the Lakers last night. Well, at least Kobe's still around.

 

• Today's least shocking confession: A-Rod admitted to the DEA that he used steroids from that fake Miami doctor.

 

The new season of Celebrity Apprentice will include T.O. and Johnny Damon. At least they're getting serious with that show.

 

• If this is your thing, here's a map of where weed is now legal.

 

A Drake University student who's terrible at basketball won a truck by making baskets.

 

Brandon Knight's panicked mid-air pass to no one was a thing of beauty.

 

• Unsettling headline of the day: The NFL's Oldest Cheerleader Raped a Teenager She Met On Instagram.

 

• Watch a pretty one-hander by Vladimir Tarasenko.

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, November 5, 2014 - 11:19
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-4-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 4:

 

Klay Thompson of the Warriors is dating Internet hottie Hannah Stocking. Mazel tov.

 

Johnny Football is on the cover of Golf Digest, proving that they've run out of cover options. I preferred Paulina Gretzky.

 

Watch Odell Beckham warm up with some one-handed catches.

 

Rookie Marcus Smart is already an Oscar-worthy flopper. They learn fast, don't they?

 

Touching story of a 7-year-old who reached out to Laquon Treadwell, his favorite player.

 

• Interesting partisan divide: Football participation is declining in blue states.

 

• Alaska voters: Do you really want to elect a guy who can't shred on a snow machine?

 

Anthony Davis is starting to become frightening.

 

• Here's an unusual sentence for you: The Tiger Woods of poker is starting a medical marijuana business in Vegas.

 

• Proof that running long distances is stupid: Marathoners try to walk down some stairs after the race.

 

Steve Spurrier has taken to quoting Taylor Swift.

 

• Mad Bum made a visit to Fallon last night.

 

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, November 4, 2014 - 10:50
Path: /nba/nba-weekend-recap-cavs-beat-bulls-ot-warriors-crush-lakers
Body:

The Rust Belt and California both got good looks at the new tilt of the NBA’s power balance this weekend.

Friday night featured perhaps the premier matchup of the young season, when LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers armada visited the Chicago Bulls at the United Center. Coming into the game on the heels of a big letdown on opening night — when, behind James’ eight turnovers and overall stiff play, they lost 95-90 to the New York Knicks at home — the Cavs were focused like a laser Friday. James scored 36 and Tristan Thompson added 12 offensive rebounds as Cleveland overcame the Bulls in overtime, 114-108.

More significant than the game’s result was the fact that Bulls’ point guard Derrick Rose left the contest with a sprained ankle. Rose traveled and warmed up with the team Saturday, but did not play as the Bulls beat the Minnesota Timberwolves. The injury appears to be minor, and if Rose’s scintillating play on Friday is any indication, we’re all lucky for that; the Bulls and Cavs could be embarking upon the league’s new top rivalry.

Out West by the bay on Saturday night, Kobe Bryant and his thin Los Angeles Lakers roster couldn’t find such feverish competition against the Golden State Warriors; the Warriors are of a higher class than the Lakers now, and they let them know it. Klay Thompson went off for 41 points and combined with Steph Curry to total 72, as the Warriors beat L.A. 127-104. Thompson’s performance was taken as something of a statement game — a proving ground for his new four-year, $70 million contract extension, inked over the weekend. Klay wanted the world to see that he’s worth all that paper.

Bryant and the Lakers have started the season 0-4. When asked by a reporter about the skid — the worst Lakers’ start of Kobe’s career — Bryant sarcastically chided his questioner, saying “No, it doesn't bother me. I’m festive and jovial about it." 

Adjusting to the status of mere basketball mortal clearly isn't easy on Bryant. But at least he turned back the clock for a moment or two toward 28 points, and got in one of the plays of the year during the loss:

— John Wilmes

@johnwilmesNBA

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, November 3, 2014 - 10:45
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-3-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 3:

 

• While you work off your Halloween hangover, here's a barely safe for work slideshow of Arizona State students enjoying the Halloween weekend as only college students can.

 

Jeff Gordon was sporting a fat lip following a post-race brawl with Brad Keselowski.

 

Ben Roethlisberger has control of everything right now, except for his facial muscles.

 

• I can't imagine a more tragic ending to a football game than what happened to Ole Miss on Saturday.

 

• Has the Dallas collapse begun? Seems like they're already panicking in Big D.

 

Here's a slideshow from cancer-stricken basketball player Lauren Hill's moving "One Last Game." And here's more about an unforgettable afternoon

 

• Years after giving us the Buttfumble, the Jets allowed a Butt Touchdown.

 

Here's Gus Malzahn dancing to "Can't Touch This" while he was a high school coach.

 

Watch an insane one-handed catch from the FCS ranks.

 

Caroline Wozniacki ran the New York City marathon.

 

• Everything's coming up Steelers right now. They turned a botched PAT into a two-point conversion.

 

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, November 3, 2014 - 10:39
All taxonomy terms: AFC, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/denver-broncos-vs-new-england-patriots-preview-and-prediction-2014
Body:

Two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game take center stage this afternoon when the Denver Broncos face the New England Patriots on CBS. Manning-Brady Bowl XVI features history’s greatest QB rivalry — Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady. Although Brady has a 10–5 all-time record vs. Manning, including a 7–2 mark at Foxboro, this year’s Patriots (6-2) seem far more vulnerable than this year’s Broncos (6-1).

 

In the previous 15 games, Brady has completed 66.8 percent of his passes for 3,680 yards, 27 TDs and 12 INTs for a 96.4 passer rating; Manning has completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 4,371 yards, 31 TDs and 20 INTs for an 88.0 passer rating. The 37-year-old Brady and 38-year-old Manning can’t keep up this pace forever. Enjoy the hype and hoopla while it lasts.

 
Related: Manning vs Brady All-Time Head-to-Head Stats (Infographic)

 

Denver Broncos at New England Patriots

 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Denver -3

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. A Tale of Two Quarterbacks

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have always had a two-man mutual admiration society, but they've amped up the praise heading into their 16th career matchup. "Peyton has been a phenomenal player — so consistent and durable for a long period of time," Brady said. "We've had a great rivalry in the AFC East (when Manning was with Indianapolis), and this year is no different." Brady's too modest to point out that he's had a significant upper hand in his personal rivalry with Peyton, holding a 10–5 record against Manning's teams, but both quarterbacks have produced huge head-to-head numbers in what amounts to a season's worth of work, and Manning won the most recent encounter, 26–16 in last season's AFC Championship Game. Football is a team game, but quarterback is the most important position in team sports, and all eyes will be on the two future Hall of Famers under center.


Related: Ranking the 5 Most Memorable Brady-Manning Games

 

2. Patriots Peaking?

The Patriots played their best, most complete game of the season in routing the Bears 51–23 last Sunday in a game that wasn't even as close as the score, as the P-men raced to a 45–7 third-quarter lead before a couple of meaningless Chicago touchdowns. New England was flawless in all three phases, prompting cornerback Darrelle Revis — who had an interception against the Bears — to observe: "We're a team on a mission." The Patriots have won four straight, but it's worth noting that one week earlier, they struggled to beat the lowly Jets, and four of their six wins have come against teams with losing records, including the rapidly imploding Bears. In other words, it's premature to anoint this team the AFC favorite. This game will be far more revealing about the Patriots' prospects.

 

3. Run to Glory

Most of the ink gets spilled in talking about the quarterbacks, but the running game takes on special importance when the Patriots and Broncos get together. Since 2006, the team that has rushed for more yardage has posted a 6–2 record in this rivalry, including last season's playoff meeting, when the Broncos outrushed the Patriots 107–64. Neither of these teams has been particularly adept at running the ball this season; the Patriots rank 17th in the NFL, the Broncos 21st. In terms of run defense, the Broncos have an overwhelming advantage, ranking first in the NFL, allowing only 72.4 yards per game, while the Patriots surrender an average of 129.6. "We don't want people running the ball on us," said Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall. "We want to get to all of the things we can do with our packages in the pass rush. To do that we have to stop the run."

 

Final Analysis

 

Some key factors seem to favor New England in this one: Brady's head-to-head record against Manning, his 14-to-0 TD-to-INT ratio during the Patriots’ current four-game winning streak, their 4–0 record at home this season and their 13-game winning streak in Foxboro. This Denver team looks like a Super Bowl contender, but they won't get there unscathed.

 
Prediction: New England 31, Denver 28
Teaser:
Denver Broncos vs. New England Patriots Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 2, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-october-31-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for October 31:

 

This week's Top 25 cheerleader showdown.

 

LeBron James made his re-debut for Cleveland last night. It wasn't exactly Jordan-esque. His intro was pretty ballin' though.

 

Justin Bieber was in Cleveland in all his d-bag glory.

 

Not a great night for Russell Westbrook, who broke his hand and got into it with a fan.

 

LaVar Arrington had a nice J.J. Watt costume, even amid racial allegations.

 

Steve Ballmer even frightens his own son with his intensity.

 

Some weird dude videobombed Jimbo Fisher's postgame interview.

 

• Eric Decker took to Twitter to ask fans what they love about the Jets. The results were about what you'd expect.

 

• Scare of the day: When sea lions attack.

 

• This is inspiring: Deaf cheerleader defies the odds.

 

• Here's LeBron's epic intro last night.

 

 

--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at links@athlonsports.com

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, October 31, 2014 - 10:58

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