Green Bay Packers (4-6) vs Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) 8:30pm ET on ESPN
Man, times are tough in Green Bay, where the Packers have gone from 4-2 to 4-6 in the blink of a month. Last week the Pack got worked by the Redskins 42-24. Washington QB Kirk Cousins had his way with the Green Bay secondary, connecting on 21 of 30 for 375 yards and 3 touchdowns, and teammate Robert Kelley ran for 137 yards and 3 TDs on 24 carries.
New York Yankees (Sabathia 6-8, 3.95) at New York Mets (Verrett 3-6, 4.12) 7:10pm ET on ESPN
It’s the dawn of a new era for the New York Yankees, one in which the Bronx Bombers were sellers instead of buyers at the trade deadline. The Yankees over the past week traded away two-thirds of their vaunted bullpen Cerberus, sending Aroldis Chapman to the NL Central-leading Cubs and Andrew Miller to the AL Central-leading Indians. Having raised the white flag on 2016, the Yankees appear to be on their way to missing the postseason for the fourth time in five years, and could be headed for their first sub-.500 season since the days of Melido Perez, Danny Tartabull, and Mel Hall. Hats off... Read More
St. Louis Cardinals (Martinez 10-6, 2.87) vs. Miami Marlins (Koehler 8-8, 4.18) 1:10pm ET on TBS Despite Adam Wainwright’s claim, based on seniority and body of work, to the mantle of staff ace, Carlos Martinez has emerged as the Cardinals’ best starter. He leads the rotation in ERA, wins, and WHIP, has twice as many WAR (3.6) as any other member of the staff, and he’s on a hot streak, with a 1.76 ERA over his last 10 starts. His most recent start was a bit of dud, as he lasted just 5 innings, and gave up 5 hits and 4 walks, but managed to hold the Mets to a pair runs on the way to a 3-2 win.
White Sox (Ranaudo 1-0, 17.18) at Chicago Cubs (Hammel 9-5, 3.35) 8pm ET on ESPN
In his last game, while still with the Rangers, on May 10, Anthony Ranaudo joined an exclusive group of pitchers – including Sandy Koufax, Mark “The Bird” Fidrych, Mitch Williams and Dontrelle Willis – by becoming just the 9th man in MLB history to give up 5 earned runs on 5+ walks and 0 hits. The appearance started well enough, as he came in to face the White Sox with men on second and third, just 1 out and 4 runs already across the dish, as he promptly retired the next two batters to stop the bleeding. In the 4th, however, he went flyout, walk, walk, flyout,... Read More
Detroit Tigers (Verlander 9-6, 3.74) at Boston Red Sox (Pomeranz 8-7, 2.83) 7pm ET on ESPN
At 33, it’s unlikely Justin Verlander will ever contend for a Cy Young Award or win 20 games, again, but he is, once again, one of the better pitchers in the game, engaged to Kate Upton, and making $28 million this season. He’s been brilliant over his last four starts, going 27 2/3 with a 1.63 ERA, but the Tigers could only parlay that into two wins. The Tigers lost a tough one on Sunday, scoring 3 in the top of the 9th to tie it, only to lose on a Melky Cabrera walkoff single in the bottom half of the inning to fall to 51-48,... Read More
Chicago Cubs (Hendricks 9-6, 2.27) at Chicago White Sox (Shields 4-12, 4.99) 7pm ET on ESPN
Kyle Hendricks' Cinderella season just keeps on rolling. In his last four appearances (3 starts and once in relief), Hendricks has allowed just 1 run, and it was unearned despite 13 strikeouts. Hendricks has benefited from a .254 batting average on balls in play this season, part of a larger trend that most Cubs pitchers are enjoying, as the team as a whole is at .259, which would be the lowest such figure in more than 40 years.
James Shields appears to be pulling out of his nosedive. A so-so tenure in San Diego ended with a bang as he... Read More
The Chicago Bears are 2-5, with both their wins coming on scoring plays in the final 20 seconds of the game, which is another way of saying this is a team potentially just two plays away from being winless. However, they’ve also lost their last two games on a field goal in OT and another with 4 seconds on the clock, which is another way of saying they’re just two plays away from potentially being 4-3. But the fact remains they’ve scored the fifth-fewest points, and gained fourth-fewest in yards-per-play, they do all sorts of things poorly, but none terribly well, except, maybe, take care of the ball, as they’ve only committed 8 turnovers.
Knicks at Cavaliers (8pm ET Wednesday, ESPN) The New York Knicks’ latest rebuilding is off to a promising start, as their two losses have come against the Hawks and Spurs, while they’ve taken care of business against lesser lights Wizards and Bucks. Carmelo Anthony’s knee seems to be in fine form eight months after surgery, and his ego is definitely in fighting trim, as he responded to an accusation from the Wizards’ Jared Dudley of being overrated by dropping 37 points on the Wiz in a 117-110 victory. ‘Melo’s averaging 23 points, and 7 rebounds, and continues to dispense invaluable lifestyle advice, there’s no reason to think that’ll soon change.
Meanwhile, the Knicks’ Latvian beanpole, Kristaps Porzingis, is leading the team in rebounds (8.3) and steals (1.8) despite... Read More
Heat at Cavaliers (8pm ET Friday, ESPN) The Miami Heat (1-0) saw their win total drop from 54 to 37 in Year One of the post-LeBron era. In an effort to help fill the hole left by James, GM Pat Riley brought in ex-Knick fixer-upper Amar’e Stoudemire, fresh off his scene-stealing turn in Amy Schumer’s Trainwreck.
As good as Stoudemire was in the movie, the Heat are still hanging their hats on three guys – Stoudemire, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade – who as a unit have missed 74 games a year over the past four seasons and are going to reach a collective age of 98 this season. Stoudemire has gotten off to an inauspicious start, having started the season on the inactive list with a cranky knee, causing... Read More
Spurs at Thunder (8pm ET, ESPN) After getting bounced in the first round of last year’s playoffs by a younger, more athletic Clippers team, the San Antonio Spurs went out and had the best offseason of any team in the NBA. Not only did they re-up reigning Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard to a team-friendly 5-year deal, they also brought in David West, and lured LaMarcus Aldridge away from Portland and the invaluable mentorship of Toni and Candace.
West and Aldridge will come in handy as coach Gregg Popovich looks to continue limiting Tim Duncan’s minutes, and Leonard, at just 24, has yet to hit his ceiling. The Spurs look like they’re poised to make a push for a sixth (!) Duncan-era... Read More
More than just divisional rivals, the Cards and Bucs have the two best records in baseball, and, as such, the first two teams two clinch playoff berths. Monday’s showdown is the first of a three-game series that represents the Pirates' last best chance to wrest control of the NL Central, and relegate the Cards to the one-game Wild Card playoff round. It would be sweet revenge for their 2013 loss to St. Louis in the NLDS.
Cardinals starter Lance Lynn has faded down the stretch, going 4-5 in his last 10 starts, while averaging less than 5 innings a game. In 49 innings he’s surrendered 56 hits and 27 walks, while striking out only 35. In three starts against Pittsburgh this year, he’s gone... Read More
In a season that’s devoted to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the modern NFL, this week’s Monday night game throws back to the very first Super Bowl, before it was even called a Super Bowl, with the Green Bay Packers facing the Kansas City Chiefs.
It’s never easy to go into Lambeau Field, as there is no city that loves its team more than Green Bay, where the team is famously owned by the city itself, and the Packers are riding a ten-game home winning streak. But even absent the cold weather and the 12th man, the Packers arguably have the best quarterback in football in Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay (2-0) struggled early in last week’s 27-17 win over the Seahawks, as RB Eddie Lacy and WR Devante Adams both... Read More
We are four weeks deep into college football season and it’s safe to say this season has been anything but ordinary so far. From devastating injuries, like #3 TCU losing six of its starters, to major upsets, like Ole Miss topping Alabama, every week has been a tossup. The one thing that seems unnervingly consistent is: no matter the ranking or what happened last week, anything is possible. A seemingly slow fourth week is chock-full of upset potential, like #19 USC vs. Arizona State University.
On the surface, it would appear that the Trojans would destroy the Sun Devils without breaking much of a sweat, but it would be silly – nay, idiotic – to rule Arizona State out just yet. Yes, they are unranked, but so was Stanford last... Read More
With just over two weeks left in the 2015 Major League Baseball season, the playoff picture is largely settled, except where it’s not, and where it’s not, OH MAN is it not.
The intrigue begins in the AL East, where the Toronto Blue Jays hold a slim 3.5 game lead over the New York Yankees. A series sweep for the Yankees, whose recent surge includes taking two of three from the first-place Mets in last weekend’s interleague series, would put them back at the top of the division, and a sweep for the Jays would likely put the division out of reach for the Bombers.
Coming off the best season of his career, Andrew Luck was supposed to lead the Colts to a cakewalk over the Bills last week as a mere formality on the march to Super Bowl 50. It didn’t quite work out that way.
Luck went 26 for 46 in pass attempts, with two interceptions and no touchdowns until the end of the third quarter, while his backfield managed only 64 yards. The Colts' defense didn’t fare much better, allowing the Bills to score on four consecutive possessions to run up a 24-0 lead.
Meanwhile in New York (actually New Jersey), the traditionally hapless Jets, who lost QB Geno Smith in the preseason to a broken jaw – because a teammate punched him, no less – surprised everyone by lighting... Read More
In the South, three things happen in the months between September and January: Eat, Sleep, Football. Football is how weeks are marked; everything that happens between Saturdays (or the occasional off-putting Thursday) is just filler, especially when you’re preparing to play a rival. Such is the case for this week’s College Game Of The Week: LSU Tigers at Mississippi State Bulldogs.
What makes this matchup special is the win-loss record. LSU beat Mississippi State every meeting they had – until last year. LSU (8) lost at home 34-29, which means they are looking to return the favor this year.
Another factor in this match to consider is LSU’s lack of play this season. The Tigers' season opener against McNeese State was cancelled last... Read More
The Williams sisters couldn’t avoid the inevitable.
After Serena Williams easily defeated fellow American Madison Keys in the fourth round 6-3, 6-3, she is now set to face her older sister, Venus, in the quarterfinals. Venus is ranked #23 behind her sister’s #1 slot, but in this match rankings mean nothing. Serena has already expressed concern about Venus knowing her game so well, including weak spots. But, it’s important to remember the road goes both ways.
Besides the championship round (and maybe even then), this is definitely the game to watch.
Novak Djokovic faced #23 Roberto Bautista Agut (Spain) to seal his advancement to the quarterfinals. Bautista Agut put up a fight – causing Djokovic to smash his racket at one point... Read More
Serena Williams swatted down fellow American Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the third round with little trouble – a common thread between anyone Williams has played against this tournament. Williams walked away with the first set 6-3, but had a tougher time during the second set 7-5. Williams schooled Mattek-Sands in the final set 6-0, scoring the winning point as she slid into the splits.
Williams will face #19 Madison Keys (U.S.), in the fourth round Sunday.
Novak Djokovic clawed his way to the win over #25, Andreas Seppi (Italy). Djokovic struggled with drop shots the majority of the match and Seppi took full advantage. In their history together, Djokovic has beat Seppi all 10 times he’s faced him, and this time was no... Read More
It’s the most wonderful time of the year: football season. The 2015 NCAA football season kicks off September 3, just in time for the long Labor Day weekend, giving us time to recover from the madness, and the season’s first Game of the Week is Texas A&M University vs. Arizona State University in Houston, Texas.
While these two teams will be meeting for the first time on Saturday, head coaches Kevin Sumlin of A&M and Todd Graham of ASU have coached against each other before. From 2008 to 2010, Sumlin and Graham met as head coaches for the University of Houston and the University of Tulsa, respectively, in the USA Conference. More is at stake than just bragging rights, though, as both coaches hold similar winning records: Graham with 28-12... Read More
The 2015 U.S. Open tennis tournament is proving to be all about the women. Or, rather, one woman: Serena Williams. While her chances of completing a calendar Grand Slam sweep seem likely, especially with fierce competitor Maria Sharapova out due to an injury, there are several other contenders that could give her a run for the title.
Williams breezed through round one with a swift victory over Vitalia Diatchenko (Russia). After two sets, both of which scored 6-0, Diatchenko retired from the match due to an injury. Williams is set to play Kiki Bertens (Netherlands) in the second round on Tuesday.
Like Williams, Simona Halep’s (Romania) match against Marina Erakovic (New Zealand) ended quickly after two sets – 6-3 and 2-0 – when Erakovic forfeited due to injury. Halep... Read More
The final four men face off tomorrow in the Wimbledon semi-finals and a quick look at the line-up brings to mind the old saying: “one of these things is not like the others.”
That would be France’s Richard Gasquet, ranked #21, who beat Stan Wawrinka in a five set thriller in the quarterfinals on Thursday. Gasquet is the lone man in the group who has never won a Slam or even made to a final. He has his work cut out for him when he steps on Centre Court tomorrow for the first scheduled match against Novak Djokovic. Djokovic leads their H2H a whopping 12-1, but there’s some newfound fight in the Frenchman that could make this more of a battle than a blowout.
The final eight men are all in action at Wimbledon on Thursday. Here’s a preview of who’s playing who and what to watch for:
First up on Centre Court, hometown hero and 2013 Wimbledon winner Andy Murray faces unseeded Canadian Vasek Pospisil. Murray leads the H2H 3-0 but Pospisil is also a Wimbledon champion (he and American Jack Sock won the doubles trophy versus the top-ranked Bryan brothers in 2014), so he’s no stranger to handling the pressure awaiting him. Still, the entire stadium – heck, the entire United Kingdom – will be rooting for Murray. Pospisil isn’t just playing one guy; he’s playing a nation. Watch for how many times Murray sarcastically shouts at his player’s box during the match, even when he’s winning.
WATCH THE NFL DRAFT AT 8pm THURSDAY ON ESPN WITH SLING TV
It is a bad time of year to be JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf. It’s become a spring ritual for them to be made fun of on lists of NFL Draft busts and this year, especially, the focus will be on quarterbacks.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will likely select either Florida State’s Jameis Winston or Oregon’s Marcus Mariota to be their TD tosser of the future with the No. 1 pick.
But don’t buy fully into all those lists of draft busts. Of course there are busts. There always will be. Just remember that for every Tim Couch (No. 1 pick, 1999), there’s a Peyton Manning (No. 1 pick, 1998). For every... Read More
Are LeBron James and Kevin Love really buds or not? Can’t they get it together and beat the King’s former team? Let’s keep it 100: it shouldn’t be that hard. Yet the Cavs lost in Miami the last time these two squads met.
Maybe there’s a little intrigue there but not as much as there is with the two Golden State games this week on Sling TV.
The Warriors travel to L.A. to face the Clippers on Tuesday, and while Golden State sports the best record in the league, L.A. has been on a roll recently, winning eight of its last 10 as of this writing.
Oh, but that might sound a little too hopeful because guess what? The Warriors have won nine in a row. Fancy that.
There’s a lot to watch and only so much time, but we’re here to help. Here are a few shows this week you won’t want to miss:
After the three-headed disaster of THE PHANTOM MENACE, ATTACK OF THE CLONES, and REVENGE OF THE SITH, you could be forgiven for swearing off the Star Wars universe once and for all. But the critically acclaimed (and fanboy-approved) first season of Star Wars Rebels indicates that the franchise is in much better shape heading into JJ Abrams’ THE FORCE AWAKENS. A computer-animated series set in the gap between REVENGE OF THE SITH and A NEW HOPE, the series has featured original trilogy characters Lando Calrissian and Grand Moff Tarkin, and its light, swashbuckling tone suggests that we might just get a happy ending... Read More
With seven NBA games on Sling TV this week, how will you ever decide which one to watch? That’s a trick question. You don’t have to choose. You can watch all of them, and all of them means you’ll get to see OKC three times on the road against Phoenix, Portland, and the Lakers; and Portland twice at home against the Spurs and the Thunder. And a lot of other great action, too.
Here are a few more NBA questions to ponder this week.
Wednesday, Feb. 25 LA Clippers at Houston, 8pm EST (ESPN)
The rivalry between Duke and UNC’s men’s basketball teams never needs an emotional boost.
However, Wednesday’s contest at Cameron Indoor Stadium between the No. 4 Blue Devils and No. 15 Carolina is shadowed by the loss of legendary Tar Heel coach Dean Smith, who passed Feb. 7.
“We have lost a man who cannot be replaced,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who wore a Carolina blue tie to Smith’s funeral. “He was one of a kind and the sport of basketball lost one of its true pillars. Dean possessed one of the greatest basketball minds, and was a magnificent teacher and tactician. While building an elite program at North Carolina, he was clearly ahead of his time in dealing with social issues. However, his greatest gift was his... Read More