Articles By Rob Doster

All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-5-2014
Body:

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

 

• Leading off today, . Season's greetings.

 

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, the Ohio State player who took his own life.

 

• The insane catches keep coming. .

 

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• Darwin Awards nominee: .

 

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• A promotional blimp crashed into some fans at the Blazers game.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, December 5, 2014 - 12:25
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-4-2014
Body:

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

 

. That's her in the photo. Mazel tov.

 

. Beyond that, no guarantees.

 

. And Jim McElwain will want to before he starts.

 

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• There's a new Terminator movie coming out, and . Cautiously optimistic.

 

. I guess he'll have to scalp them.

 

• This is rare: Watch Elfrid Payton airball two free throws in a row.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 11:36
All taxonomy terms: Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys, NFC, NFL, News
Path: /nfl/dallas-cowboys-vs-chicago-bears-preview-and-prediction-2014
Body:

A Chicago Bears team that harbored Super Bowl dreams when the season began limps into tonight’s matchup on the NFL Network with a Dallas Cowboys team that still has postseason aspirations but is smarting from a Thanksgiving flameout. The Bears (5-7) have won three straight against the Cowboys (8-4) and two straight at home, but those are empty numbers in what is shaping up to be a lost season in the Windy City. 

 

Dallas Cowboys at Chicago Bears

 

Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: NFL Network

Spread: Dallas -3.5

 

Dallas’ Key to Victory: Forget Thanksgiving

Now that the calendar has turned to December, many are expecting another Cowboys swoon. In fact, that swoon may have started early with a dispiriting 33–10 loss at home to Philadelphia on Thanksgiving. In laying that Turkey Day egg, the ’Boys dropped from a tie for the division lead to out of the playoffs altogether had they started the next week. So was the game a sign of another ignominious collapse or a much-needed wake-up call? The answer could come this week as the Cowboys take on a Bears team that is playing out the string. It’s premature to call this a must-win for the 8-4 Cowboys, but for a team that has yet to lose on the road this season (5-0), a return to form is essential. Tony Romo has thrived away from home this season, with a 12-to-1 TD-to-interception ratio and a 122.0 passer rating, helping the Cowboys enter this one with a renewed sense of confidence. “No excuses,” said defensive tackle Jerome Mincey. “We just gotta get better. Sometimes it's good to get a good old-fashioned butt-kicking to get you going again.” 

 

Chicago’s Key to Victory: Offensive Balance

At this point, the Chicago defense is what it is. The Bears, unlike their “Monsters of the Midway” predecessors, are going to allow some points. It’s up to the offense, the supposed specialty of head coach Marc Trestman, to keep Chicago competitive as the curtain lowers on a disappointing season. The Bears joined the Cowboys in underachieving in front of a Thanksgiving audience, and a primary culprit was a lack of balance. Running back Matt Forté carried the ball only five times for six yards in the 34-17 loss to Detroit. Chicago ranks 28th in the NFL with 23.1 rushing attempts per game and ranks 26th with 93.2 yards per game on the ground. Forté would welcome a chance to touch the ball more frequently. “It’s of the utmost importance, especially if we’re playing outside, with the weather and stuff,” he said. “You can’t just sit back there and throw 50 passes a game and expect to win.”

 

Final Analysis

 

Forté had an exceptional game when these two teams last met — a 45–28 Bears win last season in which Chicago piled up 490 total yards. But these Bears are averaging only 340 yards per game, and their points-per-game output has fallen by nearly a touchdown compared to last year. This game provides a nice get-well opportunity for a wounded Cowboys team. 

 
Prediction: Dallas 31, Chicago 20
Teaser:
Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, December 4, 2014 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-3-2014
Body:

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

 

, as did many other lovely ladies.

 

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. I suddenly like Tom Brady a little more.

 

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. Gross.

 

• A kid got to skate with some pros but got destroyed in the process.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, December 3, 2014 - 10:54
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-2-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 2:

 

. You're welcome.

 

. Of course, it's the kind of ending that game deserved.

 

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. New X-Games event?

 

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• Cool holiday story: .

 

• Jets coach Rex Ryan took this latest loss pretty hard.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, December 2, 2014 - 12:38
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-december-1-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Dec. 1:

 

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: a fumble for a Bills TD, but also a rushing touchdown.

 

. Hey, at least the guy still cares after all these years.

 

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. That's sweet.

 

. Congrats!

 

• Alabama fell behind against Auburn, but .

 

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• Gerald Green threw himself a sweet alley-oop.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Monday, December 1, 2014 - 10:32
Path: /nfl/new-england-patriots-vs-green-bay-packers-preview-and-prediction
Body:

A potential Super Bowl XLIX preview pits Tom Brady’s New England Patriots (9-2) against Aaron Rodgers’ Green Bay Packers (8-3) this afternoon on CBS in the first matchup between these two QB legends. Rodgers has been nearly unstoppable at Lambeau Field this season, where he has thrown for 1,413 yards, 18 TDs and zero INTs on his way to a perfect 5–0 record. Most Packers fans would like to forget Tom Brady’s first and only trip to Title Town, when he threw four TDs in a 35–0 shutout victory in 2006.

 

New England Patriots at Green Bay Packers

 

Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET

TV Channel: CBS

Spread: Green Bay -3

 

New England’s Key to Victory: Piercing the Lambeau Mystique

The Patriots are walking into a true hornet’s nest on Sunday. Lambeau Field may provide the best home-field advantage in the NFL. This season, Green Bay is 5–0 on the tundra, outscoring those five opponents 219–85 — an average score of 44–17. In their last two home games, the Packers have shown no mercy, dispatching Chicago 55–14 (after building a 42–0 halftime lead) and Philadelphia 53–20 (after holding a 30–6 halftime advantage). Clearly, it’s incumbent upon the Patriots to weather the early storm. In their last loss, a 41–14 Week 4 blowout at the hands of the Chiefs in Kansas City, the Patriots fell behind 27–0 in the third quarter. A similar start against the Packers will be a death knell for the Patriots’ seven-game winning streak.

 

 

Green Bay’s Key to Victory: Disrupting Brady’s Rhythm

The last time the Packers played an elite quarterback, Drew Brees carved up the Green Bay defense in a 21-point Saints win. If Tom Brady gets in a similar groove, it will be a long afternoon for the Packers. After four interception-free games in a row, Brady has tossed four picks in the last three games, giving the Packers a glimmer of hope that they can get him off his game. “When you're playing against these quarterbacks like Brady, it's like having a coach on the field," defensive coordinator Dom Capers said. "Kind of like what Aaron does where he calls a lot of the game and has the flexibility to change things on the field. You have to be on top of your game in terms of the alignments, the disguise, those pre-snap reads. So, hopefully you don't let them get into a rhythm, because he's as good as there is.”

 

Final Analysis

 

Two of the hottest teams in the NFL provide the main course for a Thanksgiving weekend feast. It’s worth noting, though, that New England has navigated a tougher schedule and can claim Denver, Cincinnati and Indianapolis among its victims. If the Patriots’ cobbled-together running game can find room to run against Green Bay’s 30th-ranked rush defense, the P-men should run their winning streak to eight.

 
Prediction: New England 27, Green Bay 24
Teaser:
New England Patriots vs. Green Bay Packers Preview and Prediction
Post date: Sunday, November 30, 2014 - 09:00
Path: /nfl/philadelphia-eagles-vs-dallas-cowboys-preview-and-prediction-2014
Body:

Load up a plate of leftovers and another piece of pie; this Thanksgiving afternoon matchup between the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys on FOX will go a long way towards deciding the NFC East division. Last year, Philly (8-3) and Big D (8-3) split the season series — with both teams winning on the road, as the Cowboys won 17–3 in Week 7 and the Eagles clinched the division title with a 24–22 win-and-you’re-in victory over Kyle Orton (subbing for an injured Tony Romo) in Week 17. This time around, it’s Philadelphia playing its backup QB, with Mark Sanchez starting in place of Nick Foles.

 

Philadelphia Eagles at Dallas Cowboys

 

Kickoff: 4:30 p.m. ET

TV Channel: FOX

Spread: Dallas -3.5

 

Philadelphia’s Key to Victory: The Real McCoy

LeSean McCoy’s maddeningly inconsistent season reached a low point in Week 10’s 45–21 win over Carolina, when Shady could muster only 19 yards on 12 carries (1.6 yards per carry). The following week, McCoy slogged his way to 88 yards on 23 tough carries (3.8 yards per carry) with a long of only 13 yards in a 53–20 loss to Green Bay. Against the Titans, though, the old Shady re-emerged. McCoy dashed for 130 yards on only 21 carries (6.2 yards per carry) and broke a 53-yard jaunt that featured more than a flash of the old explosiveness. The threat of the run adds an important dimension to Chip Kelly’s fast-paced offense, while relieving pressure from quarterback Mark Sanchez. Dallas has allowed only 160 rushing yards in the last two games, but respect for McCoy and the run game would open things up for Sanchez, Jordan Matthews and the Eagle passing attack.

 

 

Dallas’ Key to Victory: Keep Romo Rolling

In two November wins, Dallas quarterback Tony Romo has played some of his best football — 71.7 completion percentage, a 7-to-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio, a 142.4 passer rating. This is all par for the course for Mr. November. Romo has a career record of 28–6 during Turkey Month, with a passer rating of 107.6. So, before the calendar turns to December, it’s critical for Dallas to close the month with a divisional win. Romo’s December struggles — a 14–19 career record — are well documented, so the Cowboys need to build a little margin for error in anticipation of a possible December swoon. The oft-maligned Romo is on the cusp of exorcising a lot of demons, and a home win over Philly would be another important step.

 

Final Analysis

 

The Philadelphia defense has produced a lot of big plays this season — the Eagles have scored a league-best 10 non-offensive touchdowns — but Philly has also been vulnerable to big plays and surrendered a ton of points (25.0 per game). If Romo can protect the football, something he has a habit of doing in November, the Cowboys should take the lead in the NFC East at AT&T Stadium.

 
Prediction: Dallas 31, Philadelphia 28
Teaser:
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, November 27, 2014 - 12:30
All taxonomy terms: Essential 11, Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-26-2014
Body:

This is your daily links roundup of our favorite sports and entertainment posts on the web for Nov. 26:

 

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• A pre-Thanksgiving treat: .

 

• Today, among other things, .

 

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• Kenneth Faried's dunk elicited an enthusiastic celebration from Nate Robinson.

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 - 11:29
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:

 

.

 

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. As did .

 

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. It's exactly what it sounds like.

 

. As a commenter notes, he got a frosty reception.

 

• Joe Pos reminds us that for one shining moment, .

 

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

 

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

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: .

 

in the Giants' loss to the Cowboys. . And, this being the Internet, .

 

• Meanwhile, .

 

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• There's an NFL doomsday scenario brewing: .

 

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• 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 [email protected]

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:

 

, including Amanda Pflugrad (pictured).

 

. Warning: The image above is just a glimpse. The full version cannot be unseen.

 

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. What? There aren't any?

 

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. Mind, blown.

 

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

 

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

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:

 

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. Actually, yes I am.

 

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• When greedy family members are around, .

 

• Bizarre story of the day: .

 

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. Do I have your attention now?

 

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• The Cavs game ended on a LeBron James turnover.

 

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

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:

 

. They all look pretty good from here.

 

 

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• It's early, but .

 

• So much for turning off women: .

 

, with stellar results.

 

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• There's something to this: .

 

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• Iman Shumpert threw down a nasty reverse jam.

 

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

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, .

 

• In case you were wondering, .

 

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• It was an exciting Monday Night game, but .

 

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, based on concert ticket sales.

 

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. Mazel tov! Let's hope those crazy kids can make it work.

 

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

 

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

Teaser:
Post date: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 10:54
All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/athlons-essential-11-links-day-november-17-2014
Body:

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

 

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• One for the thumb: .

 

• His name is Jonas: .

 

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. He didn't like it.

 

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• Fat-guy touchdown celebrations are pretty enjoyable.

 

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

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, .

 

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• Speaking of Cutler, .

 

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• Turns out .

 

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• Cal's fake punt attempt went horribly wrong.

 

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

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
Body:

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

 

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• The sports world takes time to honor our veterans. .

 

. All in all, .

 

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• Speaking of the Cavs, .

 

• Bizarre story from the weekend: .

 

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

 

 

 

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

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:

 

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• Jimmy Graham had a weird day: An offensive PI penalty negated a game-winning touchdown, and .

 

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. Gotta wonder about football's long-term prosperity.

 

• Peak Internet:

 

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• We interrupt sports to bring the important news: .

 

• Watch the Seahawks mascot land on a fan.

 

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

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:

 

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

 

, and it just got dusty in my office.

 

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. I'm seriously concerned for his survival.

 

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• As halfcourt shots go,

 

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• According to Andy Richter, .

 

• 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]

Teaser:
Post date: Friday, November 7, 2014 - 10:49

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