Wednesday, August 7, 2013

FOX acquires rights to US Open golf broadcasts

FOX Sports and the United States Golf Association announced today that the two entities have reached an agreement that will bring USGA events, most notably the US Open, to FOX beginning in 2015. The agreement runs through 2026. The network will also broadcast the US Women's Open, the US Senior Open Championship, and the USGA's national amateur championships.

The move is a major one for FOX Sports, with its FOX Sports 1 channel set to launch this month. The new network, along with FOX's many other television properties, gives them a large palette of choices to broadcast the 146 hours of championship golf that comes with the USGA deal.

Complete Madden 25 demo details

The demo for Madden 25 releases Tuesday, August 13th for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Ahead of that, here are the full details about what the demo has to offer, from EA Sports:

• Two options will be available for Play Now matchups: A Ravens v. 49ers Super Bowl rematch or a Seahawks v. Packers matchup.

• Skills Trainer, which made its EA debut in NCAA Football 14, will be available to try out and includes four drills to help you adjust to the new game mechanics: Precision Modified Running, Total Control Passing, The Option and Ball Hawk.

• Also included are two videos, one of which showcases some of the new features of the Madden franchise. The other breaks down the new Owner Mode and is hosted by Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

Monday, August 5, 2013

FOX announces NFL broadcast teams; SNY's Kevin Burkhardt joins the group

FOX released its announce teams for the 2013 NFL season earlier today and while the pairings were mostly the same as last season, there were a few notable changes.

SNY's Kevin Burkhardt, known mostly for his work as an on-field reporter for Mets broadcasts, will join the network as its #4 team play-by-play broadcaster. Burkhardt, one of the best sideline/on-field reporters in the business, will be joined by John Lynch in the broadcast booth and Erin Andrews on the sideline. Burkhardt also has NFL experience as the radio voice of the Dallas Cowboys since 2011.

Dick Stockton will be joined by new FOX addition Ronde Barber to form the #6 team. Mike Martz and Ron Pitts won't be returning while Rob Riggle will remain as the comedy man during the Sunday pregame show.

Video: Madden 25 Packers v. 49ers full gameplay

With Madden 25 set to release in three weeks, new gameplay footage was made available today by the fine people at 4WardProgressMadden. Below is a full game between the Packers and 49ers, by way of Pastapadre.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Dropping Links: Monday, July 15, 2013

Some links from around the World Wide Web late on this Monday evening:

• As expected, the Knicks agreed to terms on a two-year deal with Metta World Peace this afternoon. The Clippers were another rumored NBA destination, as well as the tease by World Peace that he would play in China. In the end, the Knicks were able to add the former Ron Artest and native New Yorker to the roster.

• Speaking of the Knicks, JR Smith had another knee surgery and will be out 3-4 months. If all goes well, he'll likely only miss a few regular season games. The timing of the surgery is a little questionable, though, since he's known about the injury and the Knicks' season has been finished for over a month.

• The latest Suits promo, titled "Game of Suits," features the show's newest cast members, Conleth Hill and Michelle Fairley, both of whom come to the series from Game of Thrones.

• DeJuan Blair is still a free agent, but the Wizards are showing interest in the forward. His former team, the Spurs, are willing to help Blair get to a team that doesn't have the cap space to sign him outright.

Pastapadre has details about team chemistry effects in Madden 25's Ultimate Team Mode. The game releases August 27th in the United States.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lakers sign Chris Kaman, amnesty Metta World Peace


The Lakers had a busy day today as they continue to move on from the wreckage of our latest "Dwightmare."

First, reports surfaced that the team had agreed to a deal with free agent big man Chris Kaman. The former Clipper returns to Los Angeles to help fill the void left by Dwight Howard.

With Kaman in the fold there was some thought that the Lakers could amnesty Pau Gasol, who is owed more than $16 million this season in the final year of his contract. Instead, Los Angeles will amnesty Metta World Peace, ending the former Ron Artest's Lakers tenure. Even though World Peace is only (only?) owed $7.7 million in the one year remaining on his deal, the Lakers will actually save about $30 million thanks to the new CBA and luxury tax penalties they would have incurred.

World Peace will now go through the waivers process, with the highest bidding team getting his rights and the Lakers on the hook for the rest of the $7.7 million. If no one claims World Peace, he'll be free to sign with any team he chooses. Teams over the salary cap can only sign amnestied players if they clear waivers and will accept the veteran's minimum.

Even though he has declined in recent years, World Peace is still a great defender. Plenty of teams will be interested in his services, especially coming at a reduced rate thanks to the new CBA's amnesty clause.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Recapping the weekend's NBA trades and signings

It was a busy weekend in the NBA, with many of the most coveted free agents choosing new homes. Our most recent "Dwightmare" came to an end, Josh Smith and OJ Mayo are relocating, and Andrew Bynum and Monta Ellis remain the biggest names without teams.

Let's take a look at all the action, none of which can be finalized until July 10th:

• Dwight Howard made up his fickle mind, settling with the Houston Rockets and forfeiting an additional $30 million in salary in the process. While the Rockets were the favorite to land Howard all along, the Warriors and Lakers seemed in the running until Friday evening.

Dwight Howard definitely improves the Rockets but I'm not sure they're a Western Conference favorite just yet. The team is reportedly shopping Jeremy Lin with hopes of acquiring a third superstar to pair with Howard and James Harden. Omer Asik is unhappy with the arrival of Howard and has reportedly asked to be traded, but the Rockets seem uninterested in that idea.

• The Warriors agreed to terms with Andre Iguodala. Iggy joins Steph Curry in the Golden State backcourt, forming a formidable scoring duo. The team improved last year and should be even better this year with a healthy Andrew Bogut and the arrival of Iguodala.

Following the signing, Golden State traded Richard Jefferson and Andres Biedrins to Utah to clear cap room for Iguodala's contract.

• Josh Smith decided to take his talents to Detroit in a somewhat surprising move. The Hawks had shown little interest in retaining J-Smoove's services but as late as Saturday afternoon there were rumors of Houston hoping to work out a sign-and-trade with Atlanta to acquire Smith.

• OJ Mayo left Dallas after his only season with the team, agreeing to terms with the Milwaukee Bucks. The team also signed Zaza Pachulia.

• While the Hawks lost Smith and Pachulia, they were able to sign Paul Millsap away from the Jazz. Pairing Millsap with Al Horford gives Atlanta a very strong 4-5 combo and the team is reportedly interested in Monta Ellis as well.

• Andrew Bynum is drawing interest from the Mavericks, who have missed out on their big free agent pursuits in each of the last two offseasons. Any time that adds Bynum will likely do so after tireless consideration of his injury history and investigation of his medical records.

(Image courtesy Fernando Medina/NBAE via Getty Images)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Video: Joey Chestnut devours 69 hot dogs en route to world record


56 game hitting streak. 100 point game. 69 hot dogs.

When it comes to the greatest sports records of all time, eating 69 hot dogs is... disgusting. But Joey Chestnut set a new world record Thursday, forcing that many hot dogs into his face hole without vomiting during the 2013 Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Joe DiMaggio would be so proud.

(Video via Awful Announcing)

Report: Tyreke Evans headed to Pelicans in three-team deal

Restricted free agent Tyreke Evans was reportedly ready to sign a four-year, $44 million offer sheet with the New Orleans Pelicans with the hopes that his current team, the Sacramento Kings, wouldn't match. Rather than lose Evans and get nothing in return or match a contract they didn't want to pay, the Kings have worked out a three-team sign-and-trade with the Pelicans and Trail Blazers, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

In the deal, Evans - former Rookie of the Year - heads to the Pelicans, Greivis Vasquez goes to the Kings and Robin Lopez becomes a Blazer. Sacramento also gets two second round picks from Portland while the Blazers will receive Terrel Harris from the Pelicans.

Moving Lopez frees up the necessary salary cap space for New Orleans to add Evans and Jrue Holiday, whom the team traded for on draft night. Evans and Holiday join Eric Gordon and Austin Rivers in the backcourt for the Pelicans.

The deal can't be officially completed until July 10, when the new league year begins, but terms have been agreed upon.

(Image courtesy USA Today)

Report: Bobcats will sign Al Jefferson

The Bobcats and Al Jefferson have agreed to a three-year contract worth $41 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The third year of the deal is a player option.

Jefferson is only 28-years-old and is coming off a contract that paid him $15 million per year with the Jazz. Joining the Bobcats is somewhat surprising - especially since any of the teams that miss out on Dwight Howard would likely have given Jefferson a look - but money talks. Jefferson will also be the focal point of the offense in Charlotte.

(Image courtesy Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images)

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Florida knocks out Nebraska in wild 15-inning WCWS game


Florida defeated Nebraska in a 15 inning marathon Saturday night in the Women's College World Series, knocking out the Cornhuskers in a game that lasted 5 hours and 20 minutes.

Florida took a 6-3 lead into the 7th (and, usually, final) inning but a series of strange plays helped Nebraska score three runs and tie it. Florida took the lead in the 10th but Nebraska again tied it with a solo homer to extend the contest.

The game ended in the 15th inning, well after 11pm local time. Michigan and Arizona State watched the final eight innings from beyond the outfield fence, as they were slated to play after the conclusion of Florida-Nebraska. The Wolverines knocked off the Sun Devils, 2-0.

LeBron James: "I don't complain about calls too much"

Following Saturday's game 6 loss to the Pacers, when discussing his technical foul for running the complete length of the court after being called for a rare foul, LeBron James said this to the media:
“I had to run down the court to stop from being kicked out,” James said. “I thought it was a pretty bad call. I don’t complain about calls too much. I thought me and Hibbert met at the mountaintop. I didn’t throw an elbow. Basically I went straight up. And I knew he was going to go high hands, like he had been doing. So I went to a double‑clutch to try to let him go down. Then I was able to go over the top. I don’t have no idea why that was called an offensive foul.

“So, you know, it just stopped me from being ejected. I think at that moment I just got away from the ref that called it. I ran down the court to get me away from the scene of the crime, I guess.”
LeBron James - who, in his mind, has never missed a shot in the lane without being fouled - thinks he doesn't complain too much. Although I guess technically he doesn't complain about the actual calls as much as he complains about non-calls.

Really, though, c'mon 'Bron. Watch a Heat game and tell me LeBron isn't spending 70% of the time between plays barking at refs, making the face you see in the included picture, and generally looking like a whiny child.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Dropping Links: Sunday, May 12, 2013

A few links for your Sunday night perusal as you wait for Game of Thrones and Veep, if you're one of the cool kids.

- Wyoming will have a new football field design when the season starts this September. |Pastapadre|

- Miami's Super Bowl bid includes the proposal of playing the Big Game on an aircraft carrier. |With Leather|

- Titus Young (Sr.) keeps getting arrested. |Deadspin|

- The new ECW documentary, Barbed Wire City, provides a new look on the history of the revolutionary and beloved wrestling company. |Ringside Rants|

- NBC makes Seth Meyers' move from "SNL" to "Late Night" official, will happen in 2014. |USA Today|

Video: Sergio Garcia gives away The Players with quadruple bogey on 17 Sunday

Sergio Garcia has had his share of painful final round moments throughout his long career. The Players Championship, and more specifically the 17th hole at Sawgrass, was host to one of his finer moments, though.

Sunday, however, was not one of those finer moments. Garcia quadruple bogeyed 17, falling out of a share of the lead, and effectively giving away the tournament. Tiger Woods ended up winning while Sergio finished at -7.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Video: Iman Shumpert's ferocious putback dunk


Iman Shumpert went all "Go Go Gadget Arms" on this putback dunk during the second quarter of the Knicks - Pacers Eastern Conference semifinals game two Tuesday.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Nets quickly remove PJ Carlesimo as interim head coach

The Brooklyn Nets announced interim head coach PJ Carlesimo will not return to the bench next year for the team. The news follows Brooklyn's elimination from the playoffs Saturday night.

The Nets reportedly are interested in offering Jeff Van Gundy the head coaching job, although there isn't a lot of mutual interest, according to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski. I'm sure we'll hear a ton of Phil Jackson speculation, warranted or not.

Jerry Sloan is available and interested in a return to coaching but, with Deron Williams the centerpiece of Brooklyn's franchise, Sloan can be automatically ruled out.

Stan Van Gundy is probably a more realistic candidate for the Nets, or any of the slew of up-and-coming assistants out there, but the Nets - being in New York and always seeking to steal the back pages from the Knicks - will probably want to make a splashier hire.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Check out these pop culture inspired hockey jerseys

Dave Delisle of Geeky Jerseys has made a bunch of custom made hockey jerseys, based on movies, TV shows, comic books and video games. Several of the jerseys are available to purchase at the Geeky Jerseys online store.

The “Link 2.0” Legend of Zelda sweater looks pretty damn sharp, especially with the leather lacing look on the sleeves. Go check out the full breakdown at Geeky Jerseys.

If these were unlockable in NHL 14, the game would instantly become a must buy.

(Hat tip to Laughing Squid for the heads up.)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Video: Highlights of Nate Robinson's 23-point 4th quarter and crazy runner in the first OT

The Bulls came from behind to defeat the Nets in triple overtime Saturday, fueled by a Nate Robinson surge in the 4th quarter. Robinson scored 23 of his 34 points in the final period of regulation and said during the postgame media session that he felt like he was in a game of NBA Jam where the ball and rim were on fire.


While the 23-point 4th was pretty impressive, Robinson wasn't done there. He nailed a wild, off-glass runner at the end of the first overtime period to extend the game.

Video: Jon Jones realizes his toe is disturbingly broken during post-fight interview

Jon Jones defeated Chael Sonnen - as pretty much everyone expected - in the first round of the main event at UFC 159, retaining his Light Heavyweight Championship. After the official announcement from Bruce Buffer, Jones realized his toe was broken as Joe Rogan tried to grab the usual post-fight interview. By broken, I mean disturbingly disfigured and bloody.

This video cuts out the part where the camera pans down to show the nasty injury and the crowd's subsequent reaction, but if you really want to see that nastiness, searching for "Jon Jones toe" should take care of it.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pretty much everyone thinks Jon Jones is beating Chael Sonnen at UFC 159

Jon Jones defends his UFC Light Heavyweight championship tomorrow night against Chael Sonnen, the man who “WWE’d” his way into a title match when there were plenty of more worthy challengers. The fight is so lopsided on paper that it’s been a tough gig just finding people willing to pick Sonnen to capture the belt.

All eight writers in this Bloody Elbow prediction piece are picking Jones to retain, with Dallas Winston’s entire explanation reading, “Hi. Jon Jones by TKO Round 1-2.” SI.com analysts Loretta Hunt, Jeff Wagenheim and Jon Wertheim are also all picking Jones.

Jesse Holland of MMAmania, James Lynch and Jordan Cieciwa of TSN, and pretty much everyone else not named Chael Sonnen are also predicting a Jones victory.

But this is what we’ve all expected since it was announced that Sonnen had talked his way into a fight with one of UFC’s biggest stars. There were few who thought Chael deserved the fight and title shot then, and there are seemingly even fewer who believe he deserves it now, especially after a lackluster buildup.

Obviously, the fighters fight and the contests aren’t decided on paper for a reason. Upsets do happen. It just seems really unlikely that we get an upset in Newark on Saturday.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Video: Taj Gibson dunked all over Kris Humphries

Taj Gibson laid down this thunderous dunk on Kris Humphries during Thursday's Nets-Bulls playoff game.


That was probably still less embarrassing for Humphries than the whole Kim Kardashian staged marriage.

(Video via The Brooklyn Game)

Video: A three-legged alligator crossed the fairway at the Zurich Classic

During the first round of the PGA Tour Zurich Classic, a three-legged alligator made an appearance on the course.

Two good humorous quotes from the broadcasters in the video:

• "That's a real hazard right there."
• "This is all about the slow play rule now. This is to get the guys to play a little bit faster. Just put an alligator behind them."

Lest we forget the new Jaguars uniforms

While we're on the topic of new uniforms, it wouldn't be right to leave out the Jacksonville Jaguars, who made their new look official yesterday. These have Nike's fingerprints on them a little more than the Vikings or Dolphins new uniforms do, especially with the two-tone helmet.

While the redesign is different than the NFL typically sees, it's not too overboard. I personally like it.

For more photos of the new design, visit Nike.com.

Vikings make new uniforms official

Speaking of new uniforms, Nike also made the Minnesota Vikings' new uniforms official tonight, with Adrian Peterson modeling the new gear on Nike's website.

The new version is sort of a throwback, with less side piping and a new number design, along with horizontal stripes on the sleeves. It's more of a refresh than a new look, but it has a classic feel and looks great.

Check out the rest of the photos here.

Nike officially unveils new Dolphins uniforms

After online leaks this week, Nike has officially revealed the new Miami Dolphins uniforms. The above photo features new Dolphin Mike Wallace modeling the all-white version of Miami's new duds.

The redesigned logo is meant to be a little more intimidating than the old cartoonish dolphin and the colors seemed to be toned down a bit. All in all, it's a nice refresh for an organization in need of it.

Check out Nike.com for more photos.

Madden 25 trailer highlights open field running game

EA Sports has released the first trailer for Madden 25 following the game's cover reveal. It shows the open field running improvements the game has boasted.

Barry Sanders wins Madden 25 cover vote


After a March Madness-style tournament in which fans voted to decide the winners, Barry Sanders defeated Adrian Peterson in the Madden 25 cover vote finale. The choice was revealed last night during a drawn out special by - who else? - ESPN. The cover itself (via the SportsNation Twitter feed) looks a bit grainy but I'm thinking EA Sports wanted it that way to emphasize the nostalgia of a 25th Anniversary game.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Jermichael Finley will donate to One Fund Boston for each TD and dropped pass this season

In a kind hearted gesture, Packers TE Jermichael Finley tweeted today that he will donate $500 to One Fund Boston this season for each pass he drops and each touchdown he records.


Donating for dropped passes is an interesting twist but one that, as Finley mentions, will allow the people that root against him to be even happier when he drops a pass.

No matter how they go about it, it's always nice to see athletes donating to worthy causes, especially athletes who have no tie to the situation other than being fellow Americans.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Tiger Woods 14 adds new features, improvements to already great series


It's always a challenge for yearly sports titles to create new interest and sell a new game that's basically the same thing as last year with some slight tweaks. Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14's newest feature allows you to "step into the past" and replay some of golf's greatest moments, complete with equipment from that specific era. The presentation reflects those periods too. It's definitely a welcomed addition for those looking for something other than career and tournament modes.

Other new features include the ability to play all four majors, online advancements that allow Country Clubs of up to 100 members, and the ability to play night golf.

EA Sports certainly added a fair share of improvements but the question still remains whether these are enough to make people who bought Tiger 13 make a new purchase a year later. With last year's game including the Masters, we could already play Augusta, the most desired of the previously unavailable courses.

The gameplay itself picks up where Tiger Woods 13 left off, enhancing what was already great. There are times, though, where it feels like the computer AI has its way with you, making your shot land where it wants instead of where it should.

No matter how frustrating instances like that can be, Tiger Woods 14 is still an addicting game that makes you look forward to that next potential birdie or great shot.

Sort of like real golf.

Lookalikes: NFL Network's Andrew Siciliano and Arctic Monkeys' Alex Turner



NFL Network's excellent anchor Andrew Siciliano and Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner bear a striking resemblance to one another, especially when they're both photographed in black and white.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Review: Nailed! The Improbable Rise and Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra

Nailed: The Improbable Rise and Spectacular Fall of Lenny Dykstra tells the story of the former Mets and Phillies outfielder, who transitioned from a successful baseball career into a car wash kingpin and stock market "idiot savant." Then, after mostly his own doing, it all came crashing down, eventually landing Dykstra in jail.

The book is written by Christopher Frankie, a former employee of Dykstra's, who certainly is able to provide an inside look into the goings on behind the scenes. Frankie shares tales of Dykstra trying to steal his son's signing bonus, his poor handling of money and not paying employees, and Dykstra being accused of sexual assault and charged with felonies for grand theft auto, and cocaine and ecstacy possession.

While it could easily seem like Frankie simply has an axe to grind with Dykstra, the book gives us a well-balanced glimpse into what Dykstra was really like, leaving it up to us to decide that Dykstra was a very strange individual.

Nailed! is an interesting read, though it's a bit dark and disturbing at times, through no fault of Frankie's. It provides an interesting peek into excess and the lengths some former stars will go to maintain that level of living. The story is relatable whether you're a baseball fan or not, and at 288 pages it is a fairly quick read considering all the stories told.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

The NFL, if it were British

Artist David Rappoccio has re-imagined the National Football League as if every team were British. I've included a few of my favorites below, and be sure to check out Rappoccio's full post about it at his blog, Dave's Art Locker.


(Hat tip to DesignTAXI)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball

Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not necessarily in that order) is an upcoming book by Joe Peta, a former Wall Street trader and lifelong baseball fan. After getting hit by an ambulance (!) Peta had to take some time away from his trading career and decided to focus apply his Wall Street tactics to gambling on baseball.

It was Peta’s theory that he could concoct a model similar to what he used while employed with Lehman Brothers to produce better outcomes than the Vegas “experts,” and the book details the results during the 2011 season.

While Trading Bases can get a little numbers heavy at times, Peta keeps it interesting with anecdotes from his youth as a Phillies fan from just outside Philadelphia, his career on Wall Street and his time as a writer while attending Stanford. Peta certainly has the chops to make a sabermetrically-based book interesting and he does just that.

If you’re a fan of Moneyball or happen to visit Baseball Reference daily, this is definitely the book for you. And even if you’re not a “stats geek” or a gambler, you’ll find Peta’s Trading Bases an appealing read.

Trading Bases: A Story About Wall Street, Gambling, and Baseball (Not necessarily in that order) hits shelves March 7, 2013.

(Image courtesy Barnes & Noble)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dropping Links: Sunday, January 20, 2013

A few links for your perusal while you get ready for the NFL's Championship Sunday:

- Manti Te'o's first televised interview might be with Katie Couric. |Awful Announcing|

- Here are some Ravens fans doing a "Call Me Maybe" parody because that hasn't been done to death or anything. |With Leather|

- The original girl that Brent Musberger turned into a star, Jenn Sterger, has some advice for Katherine Webb. |Bob's Blitz|

- "SNL" came back from winter break with Jennifer Lawrence hosting and, apparently, it was pretty awful. |Warming Glow|

- MLB: The Show 13 will have an improved Diamond Dynasty mode. |Pastapadre|

NFL Championship Sunday Picks: SF @ ATL, BAL @ NE

San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons, 3:00pm ET, FOX

The Falcons just can't seem to get any respect. Despite finishing the regular season 13-3, most people think the Falcons aren't as good as their record indicates. Count me in as one of those people.

Teams will eventually figure out Colin Kaepernick and the dynamic weapon that he is for the 49ers offense, but it might be too soon in this case. San Francisco's defense has always been their strength, and when you mix in a high powered offensive attack, that could spell disaster for Atlanta.

Pick: 49ers defeat the Falcons, 24-20

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots, 6:30pm ET, CBS

The miracle run of the Baltimore Ravens might end today, as well as the career of Ray Lewis. The Patriots are just an offensive machine, and their defense is even better than when these two teams matched up in last year's AFC Championship game.

Pick: Patriots over Ravens, 31-14

(Image via TicketFly.com)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

NFL Divisional Weekend Picks: SEA @ ATL, HOU @ NE

It was another sad Saturday of NFL picks for me, as I incorrectly predicted that the Broncos and Packers would win their playoff matchups. Let's see if today my prognostications are any better.

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons, 1pm ET, FOX

Many don't trust the Falcons and they seem to be the least intimidating No. 1 seed in the past few seasons. Offensively, they have so many weapons that it may be a challenge for the Seahawks to shut them all down. But Seattle has offensive weapons of their own and things - from as early as the "Fail Mary" game to their late season surge - seem to be going their way.

Pick: Seahawks take down the Falcons, 24-17

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots, 4:30pm ET, CBS

The Patriots dominated the Texans in their regular season matchup and, while the Texans have had plenty of time to adjust, it may not mean much. They barely got past the Bengals last week in a purely ugly game of football and playing that way against the Patriots won't get you very far.

Pick: Patriots over Texans, 35-24

Saturday, January 12, 2013

NFL Divisional Weekend Picks: BAL @ DEN, GB @ SF

I went 2-for-4 picking last week's Wild Card playoff games, which puts me right in line with all the real "experts" out there, so let's take a stab at it again.

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos, 4:30pm ET, CBS

Much has been made of Peyton Manning NEVER WINNING A PLAYOFF GAME WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS 40 DEGREES OR COLDER~! in a whopping three attempts, two of which were losses to the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005, both years the Pats won the Super Bowl. So perhaps it has more to do with playing really good teams in the cold than just playing in the cold itself. All three of those losses were road games, also.

Either way, it wouldn't be modern day sports coverage without NARRATIVES so we get that and also Ray Lewis v. Peyton Manning, even though Lewis probably isn't the one Manning is most worried about.

As for the game itself, the Broncos are just an all around better team than the Ravens. Denver's defense is top caliber, offensively they are more dynamic than Baltimore, and the Broncos actually have a running game to lean on, something Peyton hasn't truly had before.

Pick: Broncos defeat Ravens, 31-16

Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers, 8:00pm ET, FOX

It seems like a long time ago that the 49ers walloped the Packers to open the season. Since then the team switched quarterbacks and the Green Bay Packers, after struggling to open the season, turned right back into the offensive powerhouse that we all expected. Aaron Rodgers should be hyped up for this one, his first meaningful game in San Francisco, against the team that he grew up rooting for and wished his vengeance upon in 2005 when they passed up drafting him.

Pick: Packers over 49ers, 35-21

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dropping Links: Sunday, January 6, 2013

Just a few links from around the web, while you wait for today's Wild Card matchups.

- FOX used double box advertising during Friday's Cotton Bowl, which was a nice feature and might be infiltrating sports broadcasts all over the place soon. |Awful Announcing|

- Lionel Messi scored 91 goals in one calendar year, so here's an infographic breaking it all down. |BuzzFeed|

- 2K released another Week Nine NBA 2K13 roster update. |Pastapadre|

- Anthony Bourdain will appear on the upcoming season of Archer. |Warming Glow|

- A match listing and details of WWE's upcoming Best of Monday Nitro Volume 2 release. |Ringside Rants|

NFL Wild Card Sunday Picks: IND @ BAL, SEA @ WSH

After a mediocre 1-for-2 day predicting yesterday's Wild Card games, let's take a stab at it again, with today's contests featuring three rookie quarterbacks.

Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens, 1pm ET, CBS

Did you know the Colts used to be in Baltimore? I wasn't sure if you noticed that the 1,000 or so times it's been mentioned, and undoubtedly will continued to be mentioned today. Also, the winner will head to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos, so get ready to have the Luck v. Manning chatter slammed into your head for three hours as well. Finally, the "Ray Lewis is the greatest player and man in the history of the universe" theme should dominate all pregame coverage and the game broadcast.

Just so you know what you're in for.

As for the on-the-field battle, the Ravens offense has looked both anemic and explosive at times this season, but unfortunately for Baltimore it's been the former more often that the latter. If the "bad Ravens" show up today, look for Andrew Luck to continue his impressive rookie season, leading the Colts out of Baltimore and on to Denver.

Pick: Colts defeat Ravens, 24-17

Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Redskins, 4:30pm ET, FOX

The Redskins are on a tear, with rookies Alfred Morris and RG3 playing great football. Playing in Washington - well, Landover, MD, actually - will surely help the Skins but Seattle's defense might just be able to contain Griffin. If that happens, and Seattle can control the tempo of the game, Russell Wilson and company should take care of business.

Pick: Seahawks win, 28-24

Saturday, January 5, 2013

NFL Wild Card Saturday Picks: CIN @ HOU, MIN @ GB

The playoffs are upon us, with a Wild Card Saturday composed of two rematches, one from last year's playoffs and one from a week ago. Below are some quick thoughts and predictions for today's contests.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans, 4:30pm ET, NBC

The Texans are probably the better all-around team, but the Bengals are riding a hot streak while Houston has stumbled down the stretch. After holding the top seed in the AFC almost all year long, the Texans fell from No. 1 to No. 3 in Week 17.

Pick: The Bengals avenge last year's playoff loss to the Texans, winning 24-13

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers, 8:00pm ET, NBC

Even though the Vikings were able to stave off the Packers last week in Minnesota and make the playoffs thanks to a victory against the Packers, this week is a whole different animal. It's unlikely that Adrian Peterson rushes for nearly 200 yards again and even more unlikely that the Packers lose to the same team two weeks in a row.

Pick: The Packers avenge last week's loss to the Vikings, defeating Minnesota 37-31

(Image courtesy NBC)