Monthly Archives: January 2017

Elijah was waking up in the morning to check the bets he’d made the night before on CS:GO tournaments in Europe

Valve was slow to react to the building crisis. Its first public comment about the ways its skins were being used didn’t come until five months later, in July 2016 — three years after skins were added to the game. And even then, it was left to a company developer to post a four-paragraph statement promising that Valve would get tough.

By then, Elijah was waking up in the morning to check the bets he’d made the night before on CS:GO tournaments in Europe. Then he’d go to school to bet more on the computers in his high school library. He even found a site that accepted skins for bets on pro sports teams and won enough on the New Jersey Devils to cash out and use the money to buy St. Louis Blues tickets. Then he put another few hundred bucks in skins on the Blues to win the NHL conference finals and watched as they lost to San Jose.

“I kept thinking that if I just bet smart, take my time and don’t get greedy, I can do this,” he says. “But then I’d always get greedy and bet and lose.”

The mystery of the state of Federer’s game, like the origin of those curious statues on Easter Island sitting off to the east in the Pacific Ocean, will continue here for at least a few more days. Like those marvelous stone heads, he is still standing, into the second week here for the 15th time.

There is another information-gathering session scheduled for Sunday here at Melbourne Park. That’s when he meets No. 5 seed Kei Nishikori, 27 and in his prime, in the fourth round.

The winner would likely draw No. 1 Andy Murray in the quarterfinals.

“What’s nice about tonight is that it was unexpected for me and many others as well,” Federer said, “but it also came against a top player. I’ve had this feeling before where you feel you’re not going to lose this one.”

J.J. Watt and Zach Mettenberger are fighting over selfies again, might be in high school

J.J. Watt and Zach Mettenbrger are fighting about selfies again, while assuming each other of being teenagers. There’s so much irony the world may collapse in on itself. Last year Mettenberger took a selfie, which Watt mocked — now this.

We learned that you NEVER insult J.J. Watt’s letterman jacket.

A lion doesn’t concern himself with the opinions of a sheep. Time to attack the day.

The Vikings have done some really interesting things recently too. If Teddy Bridgewater continues to develop after a strong rookie year, we could be talking about Minnesota among the league’s best teams. Is Chip Kelly’s power grab and trade-happy dealings the work of a mad man or a genius? How would the Texans look with a stud quarterback throwing passes? How close are the Cowboys? What about the Cardinals?
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There are so many teams that possess two or three of the most important criteria to building a dynasty — but getting everything to align so you have four, five or six of them, well, that’s where teams separate themselves from the pack.

At the end of the day, the NFL may never see another major dynasty. Parity is strong in this league, systems are in place to prevent sustained success, the salary cap and free agency make it hard for front offices to keep teams together long term, and coaches rarely have the luxury of time to install their system and philosophy with enough leeway from ownership to let it really take hold.
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Additionally, as quarterbacks get paid more and more and take up big chunks of teams’ salary caps, it becomes harder to field consistently elite teams. Can any franchise bat away all these challenges and rise above the rest? It’s not going to be easy.

Ranking the top 50 potential NFL free agents in 2017

The 2017 NFL free-agent class isn’t considered to be as good as others in recent years, mainly because the 2013 draft, which primarily feeds the list with fifth-year players, wasn’t very good. But there is still plenty of talent at the top.

Womens Chris Sabo Jersey Several players in my top 50 won’t be on this list in March; they’ll either get the franchise tag or sign contract extensions. This free-agent class appears to be loaded on defense and thin in many offensive positions.

Two suspensions in two years had the Steelers wondering about Bell’s off-the-field decision-making. His talent was never a question, however. He’s the franchise running back being compared to Marcus Allen. He could get the franchise tag this offseason.

Womens Dashon Goldson Jersey The Thunder are in the middle of a six-game road trip, having lost two of their past three games. They’re currently in the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings.

Durant said the Thunder are still very much a dangerous team that cannot be taken lightly. You could tell he’s looking forward to the game.

“I’m excited,” he said. Booker ripped San Antonio for 39 points — his second 39-point night in three days — to become the first Suns player to post two separate 35-point streaks (Nov. 4-6 and Jan. 12-14) in a single season since Tom Chambers accomplished the feat in 1990, according to research from ESPN Stats & Information. But the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard nearly matched Booker’s production in pouring in a career-high 38 points to become the first Spur to record three consecutive 30-point games since Tony Parker in 2012, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

From the seven All-Star appearances, to the 2012 NBA Finals trip and to the 2014 MVP award, he said OKC will forever have a special place in his heart.

That’s why Wednesday won’t be any easier.

“I’m sure it will [be emotional],” Durant said. “It’s people I’ve been with for so long and to see them again, yeah, they’ll be some emotions. But I’ve still got a job to do.”

Season doesn’t end in Super Bowl, but Cowboys primed for future

Limited Mens Reilly Smith Jersey Season summary: You can be disappointed the Cowboys were not able to secure their sixth Super Bowl trophy, but that should not dampen the mood from a season that was as unexpected as any in recent memory. When Tony Romo went down Aug. 25 with a compression fracture in his back, the hopes many had were dashed before the first regular-season game, but then Dak Prescott had one of the best — if not the best — seasons in NFL history by a rookie quarterback. Ezekiel Elliott dealt with high expectations as the No. 4 overall pick and over-delivered, leading the NFL in rushing.

The offensive line was the best in football. Defensively, the unit exceeded expectations with only one star player in Sean Lee. Jason Garrett deserves credit for how the team dealt with the adversities of the season, such as Romo’s injury and injuries to other starters and suspensions. Dallas tied the franchise record for most wins in a season (13) and set the franchise mark with 11 wins in a row.

Outcome: The Giants won their final five games of the regular season, finishing 12-4, and crushed the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship Game 41-0 to advance to Super Bowl XXXV. They lost there to the Baltimore Ravens 34-7, but the Giants absolutely did what Fassel said they would do.

Context: Kalil, the Carolina Panthers center, took out an advertisement in the Charlotte Observer promising to reward the support of Panthers fans. In what the ad declared was a “war cry to fans,” Kalil wrote: “CAROLINA PANTHERS — SUPER BOWL XLVII CHAMPIONS.”
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Outcome: The Panthers finished the 2012 season 7-9, but they rebounded with three consecutive division championships and an appearance in Super Bowl 50. Kalil was closer than most people gave him credit for, but his Panthers haven’t gone all the way yet.

The Rams receiving corps is a mixed bag of “what if” players

DeAndre Hopkins – He had one of the biggest games of the season with 238 yards and two scores against the Titans last season. The Texans do not have Andre Johnson anymore, so Cecil Shorts and Jaelen Strong are the biggest threats for targets. Plus, with Arian Foster down with a groin injury, we should see a ton of targets going to Hopkins.

Keenan Allen – He burned a lot of fantasy owners last year after a very impressive 2013. The Chargers won’t have tight end Antonio Gates to start the season due to suspension, so expect Allen to get some extra red-zone targets. He’ll need those after hitting pay dirt just four times last season.

The Rams receiving corps is a mixed bag of “what if” players. Kenny Britt has never lived up to his expectations. He showed promise in 2014, but he isn’t as explosive as he once after suffering multiple injuries over his first six years in the league.

Tavon Austin is still a gadget player. Rams offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti has tried to talk about Austin so far in 2015. Bailey is still a better receiver. Brian Quick is also returning from a major shoulder injury.

Bailey led the Rams receivers in yards after the catch and broken tackles in 2014. He ranked No. 23 in the league in yards after the catch per reception.

According to Pro Football Focus, from Week 12-17 last year, Bailey ranked No. 31 in points per opportunity (carries + routes run). We’re looking at numbers in the WR3 range.

This year, though, the position is much murkier. Will Peyton Manning be back to full strength? How much will a suspension hurt Tom Brady? Is Drew Brees over the hill, or set for a rebound? Heck, who’s the position’s top guy — Rodgers or Andrew Luck?

NFL teams are businesses that thrive when they maximize the output of their employees

In a perverse way, the timing of his crime worked to his benefit. If he had been arrested right before the draft, he probably wouldn’t have caught on with a team; if it had happened after he signed, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would’ve suspended him. In 2014, several months after the publication of the now-infamous video of Rice assaulting his then-fianc¨¦e, the league changed its domestic violence policy so that first-time offenders would serve a six-game suspension without pay. A second strike would trigger a lifetime ban.
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When the NFL rolled out its harsher guidelines, many league observers were impressed. I was impressed. But I’ve since changed my mind. I now think the NFL underestimated how difficult it would be to adjudicate cases without formal charges, and I’ve come to believe that a rigid punishment policy is dangerous for victims.

Authentic Womens Kurt Coleman Jersey After the Giants bungled their investigation of Josh Brown, a former kicker who was arrested and charged with domestic assault, Deadspin’s Diana Moskovitz wrote about how Brown’s ex-wife, Molly, was fearful of involving the police because she didn’t want her husband to lose his job.

Before I went on the show, I tried to dissect my feelings of indignation. Although I was disappointed in the Chiefs for picking someone who had done what Hill had done — choked, rag doll, manhandling, pregnant — I struggled with the idea that a man who had accepted responsibility for his crime should be barred from seeking gainful employment and earning an income that would allow him to provide for his victim.

NFL teams are businesses that thrive when they maximize the output of their employees. When they claim to be motivated by other priorities, we have no reason to blindly trust them — just as we have no reason to trust abusers when they publicly express regret. But we can evaluate their actions.

O’Brien certainly wasn’t unkind when he broke the news to James

Garry Gilliam Authentic Jersey It didn’t seem fair, but as Smith said, “Some guys that earn the right to be on the team may not make the team.”

Despite his “ripping off the Band-Aid” approach to the cuts, O’Brien certainly wasn’t unkind when he broke the news to James. And for his part, James appeared to handle it better than when the Giants cut him the year before, and probably because he gave it his best shot and knew this wasn’t his last opportunity.

Authentic Kids Mychal Kendricks Jersey O’Brien even proved prophetic when he said that they wanted to sign James to the practice squad, but another team would likely try to snatch him up. In the end, James wanted a fresh start and chose a team that wasn’t as deep at cornerback as the Texans. Now, he is officially on the Ravens’ practice squad.

New England is 13-1 SU in its last 14 regular season games as a home favorite.

Unlike the Patriots, the Pittsburgh Steelers will not be relieved of missing an offensive star due to suspension. Running back Le’Veon Bell did have his suspension dropped from three games to two to start the season, but he will still be out in this one.

With Bell out, look for Ben Roethlisberger to get a healthy dose of passing plays called and Antonio Brown to get plenty of targets as well. Pittsburgh is 7-2 ATS in its last nine games as a regular season underdog per the OddsShark NFL Database.

Thursday night’s total is set at 52 points. The OVER is 5-0 in the last five regular season games that New England has played against AFC North opponents.

This game has the look and feel of a shootout. New England will be working out some kinks on defense, and Pittsburgh’s defense looks like it could be a season-long work in progress. If Bell were playing and this game was at a neutral location, taking Pittsburgh would be a lot more enticing.

But at home with Brady going up against an inexperienced defensive unit, the Patriots are likely to eventually pull away. Lay the points and take New England to win and cover at home.

Carroll doesn’t necessarily think so

Authentic Austin Howard Jersey Fant, right, has shown flashes of speed and power, but as a rule his performances have varied from average to awful

This year, the outlay for the Seahawks’ offensive line is roughly $6 million, lowest in the NFL. By contrast, Dallas will spend about $44 million next season on the beefeaters who open holes for Ezekiel Elliott and keep Dak Prescott from being crushed.

Do you get what you pay for?

Carroll doesn’t necessarily think so.
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The Dolphins, Lions and Giants all face an uphill battle to advance to the NFL divisional round. Matt Bowen draws up game plans for each to pull off the upset.

Will the Packers keep running the table? Or will the Giants pull out the win at Lambeau Field? NFL Nation breaks down each wild-card matchup.
In 2002, I played for a 12-4 Packers team: Brett Favre, Ahman Green, a defense that attacked the ball. That was a legit squad — the best team I played on as a pro. But we couldn’t find an answer for Michael Vick and the Falcons in the snow at Lambeau. That guy made a lot of plays. We didn’t. And giving up a blocked punt for a touchdown put us in a hole. Just like that, it was over.

Think about it: There are no more film sessions on Monday morning, no more correction periods out on the field. It’s win or go home — and everyone in the building knows it.

That’s why the week of game prep has a different feel to it. The energy level in the facility increases. There is a level of excitement that makes its way into meeting rooms, the weight room and even the training room. Everyone wants a piece of this. And why not? You have an opportunity here to make a run through that playoff bracket. Get a win this weekend? Hey, now you are going somewhere.

The Texans never had less than a 52 percent chance to win the game. For three-quarters of the game, their win probability was 70 percent or higher. The Raiders’ chance of winning in the fourth quarter never even reached 4 percent.

Aaron Rodgers escapes disaster twice to throw back-breaking touchdown strike vs. Lions

Aaron Rodgers led what could be a back-breaking drive against the Lions, marching the Packers 81 yards on 10 plays to score a touchdown and take a 23-14 lead (Mason Crosby missed the extra point). Rodgers faced near-disaster twice on the drive, once on first down and again on third-and-goal, and coolly handled both situations to deliver big plays.

Deone Bucannon Elite Jersey First, here¡¯s first-and-10 from the Lions¡¯ 44-yard line.

And he¡¯s another spot-up shooter, drilling 40 percent of his three-point attempts, flanking Harden, who¡¯s been a masterful orchestrator of D¡¯Antoni¡¯s offense.

Only two players in NBA history have ever averaged 30 points and 10 assists. James Harden could become the third. The Beard is playing at a level only Oscar Robertson and Nate ¡°Tiny¡± Archibald have reached, and it¡¯s a sight to behold.

Joe Pavelski Elite Jersey Harden capped off 2016 by recording his eighth triple-double and becoming the first player in league history to post a 50-15-15 game when he torched the Knicks on New Year¡¯s Eve for a career-high 53 points on 14-for-26 shooting (9 for 16 from three), 16 rebounds, and 17 assists. His 53 points tied Wilt Chamberlain¡¯s highest scoring total in a triple-double.

Harden¡¯s ability and willingness to pass has led to a league-leading 12 assists per game, and has given his teammates the confidence to shoot with a blaring green light when they touch the ball.

The Patriots are 3-1 ATS in their last four games against the Dolphins

The Patriots will be playing for the No. 1 seed in the AFC. If New England plays their backups for half the game, I still believe they’ll take down Miami. If the Dolphins were at full strength, I think they’d have a much better chance in this game. My secondary picks are Seattle and Washington. Seattle has had San Francisco’s number since Jim Harbaugh left. Washington will be playing for a playoff berth, and the Giants didn’t look sharp last week. The Giants are locked into their playoff spot and won’t have much motivation this week.

Betting Line / Total: New England -9.5 / 44.5 Points

Trend: The Patriots are 3-1 ATS in their last four games against the Dolphins.

Trend: The Dolphins are 9-1 SU and 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 games.

After looking like a bottom feeder in the AFC with a 1-4 SU and ATS start, Miami completely turned its season around with a 9-1 SU and 8-1-1 ATS run. The turnaround began when Jay Ajayi took over the starting running back job with a 204-yard performance against Pittsburgh, his first of three games with over 200 yards rushing this season. Even without starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, the Dolphins have continued to roll with back-to-back wins. Miami is 8-2 ATS in its last 10 home games against teams with winning records.

Sunday’s total is set at 44.5 points. The OVER is 5-0 in Miami’s last five games as a betting underdog.

New England has more to gain from this game than Miami does with the chance to secure the top seed in the AFC. But Miami may still opt to go all out in this game regardless of already having a playoff spot locked up, as a win would keep the Dolphins red hot and serve as a nice confidence booster against one of the best teams in the NFL.