Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Canada vs Australia






Australia enter their friendly against Canada in disarray, but the clash shapes as an opportunity to regain some confidence.
The Socceroos have suffered consecutive 6-0 losses – at the hands of Brazil and France – leading to the sacking of coach Holger Osieck.
The German saw his contract terminated just hours after the loss in Paris with assistant Aurelio Vidmar taking over for the Canada clash.
It was another listless display by Australia against France, particularly defensively as they were exposed on several occasions.
Osieck's bizarre decision to start midfielder James Holland at right-back – up against Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery – was extremely costly as France took advantage on that flank.
Vidmar may at least encourage some fight and spirit from the Socceroos, which has been lacking in the past two losses.
He has been dealt a blow with Tommy Oar (back) returning to Eredivisie club Utrecht after failing a fitness test in the lead-up to the France match.
Right-back Luke Wilkshire has been sent back to Dinamo Moscow to manage his long-standing injury.
It adds to injuries to Mark Milligan, Tom Rogic and Brett Holman, who were selected in the squad but are unavailable.
Club Brugge goalkeeper Mat Ryan is likely to start in goals after Mitch Langerak was given his opportunity – and did quite well despite conceding six – against France.
Jason Davidson, Rhys Williams, Dario Vidosic and Mathew Leckie should also play a part as Australia look for their next generation.
The Socceroos' confidence has taken a battering in the past month and a clean sheet against a struggling Canada would help.
Vidmar's side should also be able to control possession better than they have against Brazil and France.
Canada have failed to win in 2013, without a victory in their past 11 matches and without an international goal in 662 minutes.
Spanish former Real Madrid coach Benito Floro took over in charge of Canada in August and he will rely on DC United forward Dwayne De Rosario to help his side break their goal drought.
Even an Australia side short on confidence should be too strong for struggling Canada at Craven Cottage.

Ghana vs Egypt






Between their performances in the last round of qualifying, their recent success and the depth of their player pools, there's no question that Egypt and Ghana are two of the five best teams that the continent has to offer, and that CAF would be best represented by having both teams in the World Cup finals. Unfortunately, the draw for the final round of qualifying pitted them against each other, and only one can punch their ticket to Brazil.

Egypt has dealt with closed door matches and the suspension of its domestic league, but Bob Bradley's side hasn't been hindered at all by the setbacks to their campaign. They breezed through the last round of qualifying with a perfect record and will be looking to qualify for their first World Cup since 1990, despite the fact that they've won the Africa Cup of Nations four times since then.

Bradley has sprinkled in a bit of new youth while slowly phasing out some of Egypt's older players. He hasn't forgotten about the talent that made their run of three straight Cup of Nations victories, however, and has regularly built his attack around 34-year-old star Mohamed Aboutrika.

Ghana have brought Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari back into the fold for Tuesday's match, and they should compliment captain Asamoah Gyan and the team's biggest star, Kwadwo Asamoah, even if they're not guaranteed to start. The Ayew brothers, Christian Atsu and Spartak Moscow man Majeed Waris are all in the team, giving Ghana plenty of weapons to support Gyan.Between their performances in the last round of qualifying, their recent success and the depth of their player pools, there's no question that Egypt and Ghana are two of the five best teams that the continent has to offer, and that CAF would be best represented by having both teams in the World Cup finals. Unfortunately, the draw for the final round of qualifying pitted them against each other, and only one can punch their ticket to Brazil.

Egypt has dealt with closed door matches and the suspension of its domestic league, but Bob Bradley's side hasn't been hindered at all by the setbacks to their campaign. They breezed through the last round of qualifying with a perfect record and will be looking to qualify for their first World Cup since 1990, despite the fact that they've won the Africa Cup of Nations four times since then.

Bradley has sprinkled in a bit of new youth while slowly phasing out some of Egypt's older players. He hasn't forgotten about the talent that made their run of three straight Cup of Nations victories, however, and has regularly built his attack around 34-year-old star Mohamed Aboutrika.

Ghana have brought Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari back into the fold for Tuesday's match, and they should compliment captain Asamoah Gyan and the team's biggest star, Kwadwo Asamoah, even if they're not guaranteed to start. The Ayew brothers, Christian Atsu and Spartak Moscow man Majeed Waris are all in the team, giving Ghana plenty of weapons to support Gyan.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys




The Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys will meet for an NFC East matchup on Sunday. The Week 6 game pits two losing teams against one another, and yet, the game has significant divisional relevance. That's due to the fact that every team in said division is performing poorly this season.

Dallas is 2-3 and in first place in the division, alongside the Philadelphia Eagles. Washington just recorded their first win of the season and are 1-3 thanks to a bye week. The New York Giants are 0-5 and show no signs of recovering. So this matchup could very well be a determining factor in the division late in the season.

Let's take a look at both teams below, starting with the home team:

Meet the Cowboys

Dallas was almost 3-2. Almost. They went toe-to-toe with the undefeated Denver Broncos, with quarterback Tony Romo competing with Peyton Manning on every throw. But in the end, the Cowboys couldn't win the shootout, losing 51-48 and dropping to 2-3.

Morale might be high heading into this one. They have to feel at least partially good that they were able to put up those kind of numbers against the team many consider to be the best in the NFL. Or perhaps they are extremely pessimistic about being unable to win after doing so much. Who knows?

What we do know is that Dallas has a great pass offense, a stellar run defense, an average running game and a below-average pass defense. Many of these things are similar to what the Redskins have going for them, but Romo has clearly looked better than Robert Griffin III this season, and that could be the difference-maker.

Meet the Redskins

Washington may be 1-3 but they did face a couple tough matchups, to be fair. There was no excuse for them going out and looking completely inept against the Eagles in Week 1, but losses to the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions in the following weeks were understandable.

Still, having the Oakland Raiders be your lone win doesn't inspire a whole lot of confidence. The Redskins need Griffin to step up and take control of a game, and they've had an extra week to get him prepared to do so this week, thanks to their bye. Washington has some very tough matches on the horizon, with the Chicago Bears, Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers in their future.

In other words, if they hope to compete in the NFC East, a division many thought they'd run away with this season, they need to win this one.

Local Takes: Cowboys

Blogging the Boys sees wideout Pierre Garçon as the Redskins' primary offensive weapon, and worries that the Cowboys defense may struggle to shut him down:

Garcon is a receiver who likes to work the middle of the field, prowling the area between the linebackers and safeties. A tough match up under any circumstances due to his physical style of play, against Dallas the veteran pass catcher will also find himself in a position to exploit a group of players who are struggling to adapt to their coverage responsibilities in Monte Kiffin's scheme. Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is well aware of the bond between Griffin and his most reliable target and he does an excellent job of scheming to get the ball in Garcon's hands.

Indianapolis Colts vs. San Diego Chargers





Why do the Chargers always suck at taking the ball away? Could you imagine what we could do if we could force a turnover every now and again? Through the first 5 weeks of the season, we have forced 2 turnovers this year. That is some kind of terrible. We need to get extra possessions and shorten the field for our offense.

Out offense is strong, but we can get them a little help by picking the ball off or forcing a fumble every now and then. Those turnovers are momentum changers. We saw what it could do to a team last week while we were handing gifts over to the Raiders. We need to take some of those gifts.

Currently, the team’s lone interception is by our big defensive tackle Cam Thomas. The only fumble that we took away was forced by someone who didn’t have a roster at the start of the year. The person that recovered it was released by the Miami Dolphins. Where are our playmakers?

Eric Weddle is being moved around all over the field, but he is missing from one spot… Center field. Weddle once was one of the best safeties in the league, but now he doesn’t get to do what he does best. He doesn’t get the opportunity to roam around and get to the football. His role seems to be up at the line of scrimmage, trying to stop the running game. Get him in a position to force some turnovers!

Marcus Gilchrist has been garbage at safety. We have to do something with that position. It has been a black hole for this year. Put someone else at that spot to play central field. Does Corey Lynch even have a job yet? He played well for us last season. Everyone has been mentioning Kerry Rhodes. Jairus. Byrd? I know we have no cap space, but make something happen.

Manti Te’o forced a bunch of turnovers in college. Hopefully his arrival will bring some takeaways.

The defense has struggled in all kinds of areas. If only they could force some turnovers from time to time, they could change the momentum of some games.

We need some takeaways!

Green Bay Packers vs. Baltimore Ravens






The Week 6 match up between the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens features a pass-first team against a run-first team. We've got all the fantasy projections for you courtesy of numberFire.

Green Bay Packers

Through four games this season, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is averaging a monstrous 332.8 yards passing per game. Although that has only led to a 2-2 record for the Packers, fantasy owners should be ecstatic with that volume of yardage. He is also on pace to throw 30 touchdown passes or more for the fourth time in his career. Having a fully healthy Jordy Nelson and James Jones means all things are pointing up for Rodgers.

An added bonus for Rodgers and the Packers this year is that they actually have a running game. Rookie Eddie Lacy, who missed the better part of two games with a concussion, returned to the lineup in Week 4 against the Detroit Lions. Lacy ran for 99 yards on 23 carries for a respectable average of 4.3 yards per carry. Seeing him get that much action as a member of the pass-first Packers has to be an encouraging sign for his fantasy owners.
Baltimore Ravens


Coach John Harbaugh says the Ravens are committed to being a run-first team, and running back Ray Rice carried the ball a season-high 27 times in a Week 4 loss to the Miami Dolphins. Though he managed just 74 yards on those carries, he did find the end zone twice. Perhaps even more encouraging for Rice's fantasy owners is that he out-touched teammate Bernard Pierce by better than a two-to-one ratio.

When it comes to the air attack, the Ravens hope to have Jacoby Jones back in the lineup against the Packers. Jones injured his knee against the Denver Broncos in the first week of the season and was slotted as the number two receiver on the team's depth chart before rookie Marlon Brown took over that spot. It remains to be seen how much Jones will be involved in the offense as opposed to Brown, but everyone knows that Torrey Smith is the leader in the Ravens' receiving game. Smith is averaging 143.5 yards over his last two games and should be able to take care of a Packers secondary that is not exactly regarded as one of the best in league.

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills





The Buffalo Bills won't know if Stevie Johnson and Stephon Gilmore will be available to play until about 90 minutes before kickoff against the Cincinnati Bengals this Sunday.

Bills head coach Doug Marrone declared his two key starters game-time decisions after practice on Friday. Johnson did not practice all week, and is only returning to team headquarters today after spending the week away to mourn a death in the family. Gilmore returned to the practice field this week after preseason wrist surgery, and the thought is that if he plays, he'll have some sort of protective implement on his wrist - perhaps even a club.

C.J. Spiller is also listed as questionable for the Bills, but Marrone has stated this week that his star running back is ahead of where he was last week, when he suited up (albeit for a limited role) in Cleveland. Marquise Goodwin and Jairus Byrd will be available to play, as has been reported all week, but nickel corner Ron Brooks isn't quite ready to return from post-Week 1 foot surgery. EJ Manuel, of course, has been ruled out, with Thaddeus Lewis assuming his starting role.

Here's the full injury report for both the Bills and the Bengals heading into Sunday's game.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Watch Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Timothy Bradley Live








Would you like to watch Juan Manuel Marquez vs Tim Bradley online? If you’re like me, then you probably like to watch live and breath Boxing Fight events. With the 2013 Juan Manuel Marquez vs Tim Bradley drawing closer, lots of people won’t be able to watch it due to traveling or not having access to a TV. But did you know it’s actually possible to watch the Juan Manuel Marquez vs Tim Bradley online? Not only that, you’ll also get access to over 3,500 channels, including the most popular movies, sports, foreign and news channels by using a program called TV Software. Keep reading to find out how.

Boxing fans should take notice. Two elite, professional fighters are set to do battle this weekend. Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6, 40 KO) will challenge WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (30-0, 12 KO) on Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Bradley is making his second defense of the title he captured from Manny Pacquiao in June 2012 after a controversial split decision. He gutted out a win over tough Russian Ruslan Provodnikov in March and he’s looking to earn a win over a living legend.  The punch that Marquez landed on Pacquiao in December is the most impacting in-ring event in the past five years. Marquez returns to the ring looking to add to his legendary achievements.

Marquez has nothing left to prove. Nothing that happens in the ring for the rest of his career can taint his legacy. He’s headed to the Hall of Fame having mounted a sparkling record, a 64 percent KO rate and an emphatic win over another legend. Beating Bradley would just be gravy. Some fighters continue to fight for the love of the sport, fame, money, respect, validation or all of the above. In Marquez’s case, it has to be the first three options. He obviously loves his craft, but he can’t mind the increased paydays either. For his last fight with Pacquiao, Marquez was guaranteed $3 million, per Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports. The details of the purse for the Bradley fight haven’t been published yet. While it isn’t likely to be as high as $3 million, you can bet it is more than what Marquez was making before he left Pacquiao lying face down in the ring.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

New York Giants vs Chicago Bears





CHICAGO -- The New York Giants are 0-5 for the first time since the replacement-player season of 1987 as they head into Thursday night's game against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field. The only time the Giants have ever started 0-6 was 1976, when they went 0-9 before finishing 3-11. Here's a look at four things to watch tonight as the Giants try to avoid adding to that sorry bit of history. 
The Bears are incredibly banged up at defensive tackle, where key players like Henry Melton, Nate Collins and Stephen Paea are either out for the year or have been missing time lately due to injury. This theoretically makes the Bears vulnerable to the run. But the Giants have the worst rushing offense in the NFL this year and are without starting running back David Wilson, who has a neck injury and won't play. It's theoretically possible that Brandon Jacobs and/or Da'Rel Scott could have a good game against that depleted Chicago front, but they've shown little this year that would lead anyone to expect it. 
It's hard to forget the game three years ago in which the Giants sacked Bears quarterback Jay Cutler nine times in the first half and he couldn't come out to play the second. That was an all-time pinnacle game for the storied Giants pass rush, but with just five sacks in five games so far this year the Giants do not appear to be that sort of team anymore. The Bears have started the same five offensive linemen in every game this year and are protecting Cutler much better than they did in the past. Jason Pierre-Paul is long overdue for a big game and could be a difference-maker for the Giants defense if he can get off his blocks. 
With key defensive players such as Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman game-time decisions with injuries, the Bears may not be positioned as well as they usually would to force the Giants into turnovers. The Giants have turned the ball over 20 times this year, eight more than any other team in the league. Eli Manning has thrown a league-leading 12 interceptions. The Bears have 14 takeaways, the third-highest figure in the league. If the Giants only turn it over twice in this game, they would have to consider the night something of a success. 
Bears wide receivers Brandon Marshall (6-4, 230) and Alshon Jeffery (6-3, 216) are big and physical and can present matchup problems for smaller defensive backs. Prince Amukamara should be able to hold his own at one of the Giants' cornerback spots, but watch the matchup with 5-9, 185-pound third-stringer Trumaine McBride against whichever of the big guys Amukamara's not covering on a given play.

Arizona Wildcats vs. USC Trojans




It's the beginning of the Ed Orgeron era at USC when the Trojans (3-2, 0-2) host Arizona (3-1, 0-1) on Thursday night in a Pac-12 Conference clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum.

Both teams are in dire need of a victory to remain in the hunt for the Pac-12 South Division title, but for USC, the game is doubly important because it's the first to be played since Lane Kiffin was pulled off the team bus and given the heave-ho following a 62-41 blowout loss at Arizona State on Sept. 28.

With Orgeron, the former Ole Miss coach who was responsible for USC's defensive line, now at the helm, there's a high level of uncertainty as to what to expect from the Trojans.

It's hard to imagine it can go much worse for a once-proud program which began the 2012 season ranked No. 1 in the nation only to go 10-8 since.

For Arizona, a win would be the team's first since Sept. 14 when it clubbed UTSA 38-13. Since then, the Wildcats have played just one game, a 31-13 rain-soaked loss at Washington, with bye weeks on both sides of that setback.

Arizona beat a then 10th-ranked USC team 39-36 in Tucson last season, doing so despite Trojans wide receiver Marqise Lee's Pac-12 record of 345 receiving yards.

Time: 10:30 p.m. ET

Place: Los Angeles (Calif.) Coliseum

TV: Fox Sports 1

Radio: Arizona IMG Sports Network, ESPN Radio (USC)

Spread: Despite the coaching turmoil USC is still listed as a six-point favorite, according to sports betting site Bovada.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights vs. Louisville8 Cardinals








DescriptionThe Cardinals have had little trouble in their 5-0 start, with only one win coming by a margin of fewer than 23 points -- a 27-13 win at Kentucky. Louisville has been helped by one of the best passing attacks in the nation and the top-ranked scoring defense, which has allowed less than a touchdown per game. Their average margin of victory so far this year? About 44-7. The Cardinals could be without leading receiver Devante Parker, who suffered an injury in the win over Temple but seems to think he's ready to go.

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