Articles By Rob Doster

All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-17-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 17:


Kate Upton transitions from swimsuit supermodel to gamer goddess in a new commercial.


Senior citizen caught napping while Lakers burn.


• One for the thumb: Eli Manning derped his way to five interceptions yesterday.


• His name is Jonas: The Patriots' Jonas Gray had a career game in his first start.


Meanwhile, Gronk did the expected last night.


Marshawn Lynch literally phoned in his postgame media obligations yesterday.


Today's No. 1 seed in the NFC: your Arizona Cardinals.


Watch Miami and Florida State fans brawl hypnotically in slow motion.


Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee noticed that ESPN was pushing a narrative on Saturday. He didn't like it.


So apparently Kevin Durant hurled an off-color term at Dwight Howard, repeatedly.


Brian Mitchell tore the Redskins 10 different new ones in an epic rant.


• Fat-guy touchdown celebrations are pretty enjoyable.


--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Monday, November 17, 2014 - 10:43
Path: /nfl/new-england-patriots-vs-indianapolis-colts-preview-and-prediction

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
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

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 [email protected]

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

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
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

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 11:


Celebrate Veterans Day with some body painted babes.


• The sports world takes time to honor our veterans. Watch the USMC drill team perform at halftime of Panthers-Eagles.


Monday Night's rout reduced Tirico and Gruden to making smoothies in the booth. All in all, it wasn't one of Tirico's better nights.


Austin Hatch, survivor of two plane crashes, scored his first college point last night.


Twitter brings out the best in Chicago Bears fans.


LeBron apologized for not dunking more this season.


• Speaking of the Cavs, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving like to celebrate wins with pantomimed joint smoking.


• Bizarre story from the weekend: Florida backup DT Leon Orr was told he wasn't starting against Vanderbilt, so he hopped a bus back to Gainesville.


A Washington State player apparently keeps a pet wolf in his apartment.


A hockey game fight in the stands spilled down a flight of stairs.


• Derrick Rose made some sweet Derrick Rose moves last night.




--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 - 10:49
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-10-2014

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 [email protected]

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

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 [email protected]

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

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


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

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 [email protected]

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

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
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

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 [email protected]

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

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 [email protected]

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

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


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

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 [email protected]

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

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
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

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.



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Post date: Friday, October 31, 2014 - 10:58
Path: /nba/lebron-james-calls-his-return-game-%E2%80%9Cone-biggest-sporting-events%E2%80%A6-ever%E2%80%9D

Surely you’ve heard by now — LeBron James is back in Ohio, once again the leader of his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers. Last night’s ugly 95-90 home loss to the New York Knicks marked his first regular season game as a reborn Cav, and the birth of Cleveland’s new mega team featuring James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. James looked stiff and, frankly, not himself in the game. It’s unlikely the Cavs’ faltering start will be representative of their year at large.

But yesterday also showed us the latest of Mr. James’ hubris. We’d be foolish to undermine his confidence about his playing abilities — he’s one of the greatest ballers the game’s ever seen — but he’s clearly imagined himself into quite the inflated cultural figure. When asked about the significance of his return game, James said “this is probably one of the biggest sporting events that is up there ever,” according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin.

James’ P.R. team is probably wishing for a mulligan on this one. Especially after James reportedly co-opted his team’s first practice at training camp, holding an impromptu players-only meeting during which he gave each roster member a specific, personal goal for the season. This before rookie coach David Blatt was able to begin his own team instructions.

If you assumed LeBron had learned his media lessons since his gaudy, absurd production of “The Decision” and the ridiculous “not one, not two, not three…” celebration that followed with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh when he joined the Miami Heat four years ago — well, you assumed wrong. James may have figured out that it behooves him to keep expectations for wins, losses and awards lower, but he hasn’t yet seen how to hide some of his megalomaniacal tendencies.

Maybe it will take a retired, further-wizened LeBron to wield his substantial power without all the corny reminders of how tall he stands over the pack. Or maybe he’ll never be humble enough to stop giving his skeptics more reasons to mock him.


— John Wilmes


Post date: Friday, October 31, 2014 - 10:12
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-october-30-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for October 30:


• Fireball is getting recalled in Europe, but here in 'Murica, we don't mind a little propylene glycol in our booze. Nor do we mind Fireball girls.


• Madison Bumgarner ruled this postseason, but he had a weak postgame. First, he only chugged six beers, not seven, and then he was outshone by the awkward Chevy guy.


• Oops. For winning World Series MVP, Bumgarner was awarded a truck that was recently recalled.


Fans in San Fran adopted a piece of West Virginia culture, burning couches to celebrate.


Five things we learned from the 2014 MLB season.


• Throwback Thursday: Current college football players as kids in their Halloween costumes. Or, if hoops is your thing: Current college basketball players in their Halloween costumes.


Michael Jordan doesn't think much of Barack Obama's golf game.


Tom Brady welcomed NBA season in fine fashion.


Bruce Feldman goes inside the quarterback's brain.


• Remember Antoine Dodson? He's going to fight the intruder who inspired his famous rant, in a celebrity boxing match.


• Pablo Sandoval celebrated the Giants World Series win in a costume panda head.



--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 10:59
Path: /nfl/new-orleans-saints-vs-carolina-panthers-preview-and-prediction-0

A surface glance at this matchup between the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers would indicate that a boring clash of NFC mediocrities is in store, as the NFL Network takes over “Thursday Night Football” broadcasts. But a look at the standings reveals that the top spot in the NFC South is actually on the line. It's true — one of these teams is likely to make the playoffs, and the winner of this one takes a giant step toward that goal.


After a 2–0 start, the Panthers are 1–4–1 and coming off of a disappointing 13–9 home loss to Seattle in a game that was theirs for the taking. Looking at recent results, the Saints (3-4) would seem to have the upper hand, since they're coming off their best performance of the season, a 44–23 win over Green Bay. But New Orleans must venture away from the friendly, comfy confines of the Superdome, and Sean Payton's Saints have not exactly been kings of the road.


New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers


Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NFL Network

Spread: New Orleans -3


Three Things to Watch


1. New Orleans' Road Woes

It's becoming a sadly familiar refrain for Saints fans: The team is great at home, but take one foot out of New Orleans and they become the Raiders. The numbers are stark — 3–0 at home, 0–4 on the road this season, after going 3–5 away from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in 2013. The hopeful thing, though, is that the Saints' road games have been competitive; they led in the fourth quarter in three of the four losses. "You look at how we've lost three of those four road games and you say, `We made some critical errors at the end,’" said tackle Zach Strief. "It's not that we were getting dominated on the road." But until the Saints close the deal on the road, this bit of futility is going to follow them like a black cloud. 


2. Can Cam Reverse the Trend?

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's numbers have been on a season-long decline. After posting a 100.2 passer rating in a September win over Detroit, Newton has seen his stats and his production plummet, hitting a season-low 61.0 passer rating in the loss to Seattle. A contributing factor: a troublesome ankle that has impacted Newton’s production as a runner. A year after posting six rushing touchdowns, Newton has found the end zone on the ground only once so far this season and has seen his yards per carry average dip by a yard (5.3 to 4.3). A New Orleans pass rush that was invigorated against the Packers — four sacks and 13 hurries — will look to keep the big-bodied Newton in the pocket and get him to the ground a few times. 


3. Saints’ Renewed Rushing Attack

The Saints' reliance on Drew Brees and the passing attack has been well documented. But New Orleans has seen a rushing renaissance in 2014. The Saints are averaging 133 yards per game on the ground, seventh in the NFL, and rank second in the league with 5.1 yards per carry. That makes this a tough matchup for the Panthers, who are surrendering 5.2 yards per carry (28th in the NFL). Mark Ingram exploded for 172 yards rushing against the Packers, and the Saints would no doubt love to get similar production from the former Heisman Trophy winner this week. 


Final Analysis


The numbers seem to favor New Orleans, but the Saints' road futility is starting to embed itself in the franchise's DNA, and that's not a positive indicator heading into a critical division matchup on the road. The powerful New Orleans offense seems to have difficulty protecting the football away from home, and Carolina has been highly adept at forcing miscues (14 on the season). Plus, Drew Brees has struggled in his last two visits to Carolina, tossing four interceptions and posting a 73.1 passer rating. Look for miscues to make the difference in this one.

Prediction: Carolina 24, New Orleans 23
New Orleans Saints vs. Carolina Panthers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, October 30, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-october-29-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for October 29:


Model Alexis Ren has a talent for emerging from pools.


• Have to say this is cool: Texas A&M's throwback unis include "leather" helmets.


The Royals, enjoying their moment in the spotlight, want to drag this out as long as possible.


The NCAA hands down its Todd Gurley sentence, as though it's an actual court of law.


Clay Travis sticks the knife in FSU's ribs yet again.


• Presented without comment: Jose Canseco shot off his middle finger while cleaning his gun.


• That didn't take long: Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard got into it in the season opener.


Already in midseason form: Gregg Popovich's sideline interview style.


J.J. Watt: sackmaster, disruptor, pizza maker.


Carmelo Anthony had a cameo on "Sons of Anarchy" last night.


Here's video of a dog getting his owner a beer. That's a good doggie.


• Anthony Davis started the NBA season with an Olajuwon-esque statline.



--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Wednesday, October 29, 2014 - 11:24
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-october-28-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for October 28:


Some NFL cheerleading squads did the Halloween costume thing this weekend.


Some Boston Bruins dressed up as Frozen characters for a hospital visit.


No means no to Redskins PR.


Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is having a historic season.


Colt McCoy to Jordan Reed was perhaps the play of the weekend.


Wade Phillips watched the Cowboys lose from the upper deck at Jerry's World.


Here's some video of Notre Dame hoops coach Mike Brey flying with the Blue Angels.


Speaking of Notre Dame, their fans should accept the call in the Florida State game as just a little bit of karmic justice.


Grantland uses the phrase "artisanal aloofness" to describe Taylor Swift's new album.


MJ had a little fun on the Hornets' Twitter timeline.


Watch a world record firework shell blow up.


• Jimmy Fallon can get anybody to do anything. He got Charles Barkley, Ewan McGregor and Jeff Tweedy to play Charades.


--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Tuesday, October 28, 2014 - 10:36
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-october-27-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for October 27:


Enjoy a Monday morning roundup of cheeleader twitpics.


Kimye and Barry Bonds posed for the most punchable photo in the world.


Madison Bumgarner dominated, but Oscar Tavares reminded that there are more important things.


Big Ben had one of the greatest days a quarterback has ever had.


J.J. Watt called out Titans quarterback Zach Mettenberger for taking selfies. Who knew Watt was such a Schiano Man?


Rex Ryan says Geno Smith will be a good quarterback some day. Too bad Rex won't be there to see it.


Speaking of the Jets, they beclowned themselves with the world's worst trick play attempt.


• Interesting stat: Steve Nash is tied with Michael Jordan all time in points produced per possession.


Long, worthwhile read on inspirational basketball player Lauren Hill.


Charles Barkley calls out the Russell Wilson haters in the black community.


Chucky would coach again, but only for the Raiders. Wait, what?


• So the guy from Staind apparently botched the national anthem. I haven't had the heart to watch it yet, but here it is.



--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Monday, October 27, 2014 - 10:35
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-vs-arizona-cardinals-preview-and-prediction

A pair of 5-1 teams that met under similar circumstances last season will get together again when the Philadelphia Eagles take on the Arizona Cardinals this afternoon on FOX. Last season, Philadelphia hosted Arizona following a Week 12 bye. This year, the Eagles travel to take on the Cardinals after a Week 7 bye.


Arizona is undefeated at home this year, with quality wins over the Chargers (18–17), 49ers (23–14) and Redskins (30–20). Meanwhile, Philly has had issues on the road, with a last-second 30–27 win at Indianapolis and 26–21 defeat at San Francisco. Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, in particular, has struggled on the road, with a combined one TD and three INTs — after just two INTs in all of 2013.


Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals


Kickoff: 4:05 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Arizona -2.5


Three Things to Watch


1. Carson Palmer for MVP?

Okay, so that's a bit extreme, but the Cardinals’ quarterback has his team in first place in a division that was thought to belong to the Seahawks and 49ers. Despite dealing with a shoulder injury that has caused him to miss three games, Palmer has led the Cards to a 3–0 record, completing 74-of-112 passes for 807 yards, six touchdowns and one interception for a passer rating of 101.3. In fact, in his last 12 starts for Arizona, Palmer is 10–2, and his passer rating of 97.8 over that span ranks seventh in the NFL. And he's hungry after last year's 10–6 record wasn't enough to get the Cards to the postseason. "This is just the tip of the iceberg," Palmer said. "I think we're getting ready to define hopefully my time here and our time as a team."


2. Philly's Jekyll-and-Hyde Defense

The Eagles went into their bye with one of their most dominant defensive performances in years in a 27–0 win over the Giants, a game in which they allowed only 254 total yards. In the three preceding games, though, the Philly defense was alarmingly porous, allowing 461 yards per game — including 511 yards in a 37–34 win over the Redskins. So which Eagles defense will we see? One hopeful sign for Philly fans is the return of linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who has missed the past four games with an injured calf.


3. What About the Eagles Playmakers?

Much like the defense, Eagles running back LeSean McCoy seemed to emerge from a season-long shell against the Giants, rushing for 149 yards on 22 carries. Prior to that, though, McCoy had been a colossal disappointment to all those fantasy owners who drafted him in the first few picks. Before the Giants game, McCoy had averaged only 2.9 yards per carry on the season. Likewise, quarterback Nick Foles has struggled to return to the heights he enjoyed in a breakthrough 2014 season; he's thrown seven interceptions this season after throwing only two all of last season. The Birds also may welcome back diminutive playmaker Darren Sproles (sprained MCL), who could help Philly find some consistency on offense. 


Final Analysis


The Cardinals have the top run defense in the NFL, allowing only 72 yards rushing per game, meaning that Foles will need to make some plays for the Eagles to be successful. Look for Chip Kelly to find ways to get Sproles the ball in space, allowing him to make plays and open things up downfield. But if Palmer continues to protect the ball, it might not matter. The Cards are having a charmed season, and Bruce Arians' team is playing well enough to pick up a key win at home.

Prediction: Arizona 27, Philadelphia 24
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Arizona Cardinals Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, October 26, 2014 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-october-24-2014

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


Olivia Munn got a ring from Aaron Rodgers. Not the ring, but still nice.


Peyton Manning ripped his own scoreboard operator for disrespect.


• Alright, alright, alright — look who's starting for the Titans.


• Hate stuff like this: A Chargers player was out on his feet last night, but later went back in the game.


Time for the KC pitchers to hit. Should be amusing.


Georgia State's Isaiah Dennis, who stands 6-0, threw down over three teammates.


• The Warriors engaged in a little fun rookie hazing, forcing Aaron Craft to sing "Party in the USA" in a bear costume in front of fans.


Watch ESPN's lovely Britt McHenry juggle a basketball like a soccer ball. Pretty impressive.


• Weird story of the day: 18-year-old Notre Dame freshman Justin Brent went on a date with middle-aged porn star Lisa Ann, and an Instagram photo surfaced of the two of them in bed.


Brian Urlacher says Jay Cutler's only elite on payday.


Tough news about Steve Nash.


• Watch Jeremy Lin pose as an adidas employee in an elaborate prank.



--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Friday, October 24, 2014 - 10:46
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-october-23-2014

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for October 23:


Miss California 2013 would like to date Eric Hosmer.


76 classic sports Halloween costume ideas, including Baby Saban.


Hunter Strickland and Salvador Perez had a failure to communicate last night.


So who are the dudes in catsuits at Royals games?


Apparently some of Russell Wilson's teammates find him insufficiently African-American.


Lane Kiffin's strange journey to becoming the most hated man in football.


If you're going to throw a punch at a bigger guy, you need to connect.


Remembering Iowa's 6-4 win over Penn State on its 10th anniversary. Yep, 6-4.


So what will happen to North Carolina after the massive fraud scandal?


Watch a guy fall into the water in the background of a live interview.


• A headline I think we'll see a lot this season: Steve Ballmer loses his mind watching the Clippers.


• Watch Kyrie Irving go between the legs to Kevin Love.



--Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

Post date: Thursday, October 23, 2014 - 10:38