NFL Divisional Playoff Picture

NFL Divisional Playoffs

Wild Card Recap

Last week the NFL Wild Card games were played. The Houston Texans defeated the Cincinnati Bengals in a low scoring matchup resulting in a final score of 19-13. The Green Bay Packers defeated the Minnesota Vikings by two touchdowns for a final score of 24-10. The Seattle Seahawks defeated the Washington Redskins by a final score of 24-14 and, in a highly anticipated matchup, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the Indianapolis Colts with a convincing 24-9 victory. For the Ravens game in particular, the anticipation was not because it was playoffs or that the teams matched well. Instead, the excitement surrounding the game was a result of an announcement that came in the days leading up to the game.

Ray Lewis Announces Retirement

Ray Lewis is perhaps one of the most valuable defensive players of all time. As linebacker, Lewis has played in 17 NFL seasons – all as a Baltimore Raven. Although he does not pay close attention nor concern himself too much with his own individual stats, they are impossible to ignore. Drafted first round in 1996, Lewis eventually went on to help his team win Super Bowl XXXV, earning the MVP award for the game. In addition to that one standout accomplishment, Lewis notably racked up over fifteen hundred solo tackles, 19 forced fumbles, over 40 sacks and 31 interceptions, which resulted in greater than 300 return yards and three touchdowns. There is no doubt that Lewis earned his paycheck each and every game he stepped out on the field and his pick as Defensive Player of the Year, twice.

Incredibly, while perfecting his own game, Lewis also served as a role model and leader for his teammates – playing an important role in their development, also helping them become better athletes, mentally tough and emotionally & physically prepared for each game. His leadership qualities surely were considered when selected for the Pro Bowl more than a dozen times and when named seven-time First-Team All-Pro.

After returning from an injury related absence this season, Lewis announced at the close of the regular season that he would not be returning for the following season. While the news came abruptly and seemingly prematurely, Lewis’ explanation for the timing of his announcement actually made perfect sense. To put it simply, Lewis eluded to the fact that he has had a great NFL career, has done as much as he could in the league, and his calling is now to be with his family – a supporting father to his kids. As for the timing of his announcement, he decided that the fans that have supported him for 17 years deserved to know what was going on so that when they came to the games they had full awareness of what was at stake. From a stakeholder perspective, it actually might have been one of the classiest decisions ever made by an NFL player. The idea that fans now know that this is their last opportunity to see Ray Lewis play definitely inhibits anyone from feeling cheated by an announcement following the end of the playoff season. It also eliminates any speculation that the announcement is merely a media stunt to capture more attention. Analyzed from every angle, the more you ponder Lewis’ decision, the more it makes perfect sense and, undoubtedly, the more you can’t help but feel a little bit compelled to root for the Ravens, just because Lewis is a likable guy and wildly entertaining on the field.

Divisional Playoff Scenarios

• Baltimore Ravens vs Denver Broncos

The Baltimore Ravens take on the Denver Broncos on Saturday 1/12 at 4:30pm. What a story it would be if the Raven’s advanced and went on to win the Super Bowl the year Ray Lewis announced his retirement heading into playoffs. One thing is for sure, the stage is set for the Raven’s to capture the spotlight and, having made it beyond round 1, all eyes will be this game. While having little to do with the actual play of the game, the emotional matchup here is Lewis’ retirement vs Peyton Manning’s return. It’s interesting to see which headline will turn more heads and capture more hearts as the world decides who they will root for in this game. It seems logical that the player leaving will have the edge and perhaps steal the victory since, more often than not, the player representing the uniform for the potential last time tends to play harder and generate a stronger reaction from teammates than the guy that has staged a comeback. All statistical odds aside, the winning team ought to be the one playing with more heart that day. If I were a gambling man, I’d put my money on Ray Lewis and the Baltimore Ravens.

• Green Bay Packers vs San Francisco 49ers

This game between the Green Bay Packeres and the San Francisco 49ers kicks off at 8pm on Saturday and is destined to be a great matchup as both Aaron Rodgers, of the Packers, and Colin Kaepernick, of the 49ers, are definitive threats in the passing game. The game is anticipated to be a shootout, however, the team that masters the running game will likely come out on top. Experienced running back, Frank Gore, will lead the charge for the 49ers while quarterback, Kaepernick, will likely be the difference maker if he can successfully advance the ground game through a few carries himself. The 49ers aren’t at full strength on defense though and leave room for Green Bay Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, to exploit the secondary. However, there are a few holes in Green Bay’s game as well and it’ll be up to the Niners defense to do their job in finding them in order for the team to come out on top.

• Seattle Seahawks vs Atlanta Falcons

The Seattle Seahawks face off against the Atlanta Falcons at 1pm on Sunday afternoon. Matt Ryan leads the charge for the Falcons in a game that they are favored in by analysts heading into the weekend. The Falcons are desperate for a playoff win and despite the Seahawks excellent running back, Marshawn Lynch, this playoff matchup is slated to be the first playoff game win for the Falcons in, what will be, their fourth attempt.

• Houston Texans vs New England Patriots

In the last matchup of the weekend, the Houston Texans take on the New England Patriots on Sunday afternoon at 4:30pm. Similar to the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers game, the Texans / Patriots matchup is likely to be decided by the quarterbacks. Veteran Tom Brady will be poised and on target as he most always is. It’ll be up to the relatively inexperienced Matt Schaub to hold his own if he hopes to keep the Texans afloat come Sunday. The New York Giants have notably knocked off the Patriots in Super Bowl matchups, including one instance when the Patriots were playing perfect football. They found success in the attack, drawing up an aggressive offensive strike while apply constant pressure to the typically patient Tom Brady. Houston will have to apply the same strategy if they hope to beat New England. Therefore, look for the Texans to come out swinging with big offensive plays and a highly aggressive defense. As long as they can consistently get close to Tom Brady and move him out of the pocket, they will be sure to increase their odds of victory. However, relentless pressure on the quarterback will leave them susceptible to the deep threat if they cannot get hands in Brady’s face. They will have to be in position to make contact with Brady within a 3-5 second count if they don’t want to get burned for extra yardage. The Texans should also hope that their defensive linemen and linebackers are in top-notch shape in order to maintain the stamina they will need to keep that kind of pass rush active for the entire duration of the game. If they tucker out with 15 minutes to go, Brady will be sure to capitalize and no lead is safe at that point.

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Happy Ten Years To A Press Conference That Will Never Be Forgotten: Allen Iverson Talking About Pratice

Allen Iverson, talking about practice.

Ten years ago, on this day in May, Allen Iverson, who at the time was the Philadelphia 76ers’ star guard made the words “practice” famous.

Practice: the action or process of performing or doing something as it’s defined according to dictionary.com had a different meaning on that afternoon in May.

Sitting in front of several media groups and cameras, Iverson who was holding a press conference due to missing a practice, single handily changed the word. 13 sentences, 193 words, and point guard, Allen Iverson changed the word of practice. Oh yes, I’m talking about the word practice.

Responding to a media member’s question, Iverson had these 193 words to say:

“We’re sitting here, and I’m supposed to be the franchise player, and we’re talking about practice.”

“I mean listen, we’re sitting here talking about practice, not a game, not a game, not a game, but we’re talking about practice.”

“Not the game that I go out there and die for and play every game like it’s my last, but we’re talking about practice man.”

“How silly is that?”

“Now I know that I’m supposed to lead by example and all that, but I’m not shoving that aside like it don’t mean anything.

“I know it’s important, I honestly do, but we’re talking about practice.”

“We’re talking about practice man.”

“We’re talking about practice.”

“We’re talking about practice.”

“We’re not talking about the game.”

“We’re talking about practice.”

“When you come to the arena, and you see me play, you’ve seen me play right, you’ve seen me give everything I’ve got, but we’re talking about practice right now.”

“Hey I hear you, it’s funny to me too, hey it’s strange to me too, but we’re talking about practice man, we’re not even talking about the game, when it actually matters, we’re talking about practice.”

Here’s the video of Iverson’s practice comments:


The next day, following his practice comments, Iverson would back it up that it was just “practice” as he scored 31 points, had 7 assists, and 3 steals in the 76ers 104-97 loss to the Detroit Pistons.

As for the 76ers they would go onto lose the series, 4-2 to Detroit. However, they wouldn’t lose Iverson’s famous comments as the story ten years later, wasn’t that the Pistons went on to defeat the 76ers, it was that Iverson re-invented the word, practice.

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Former NFL Linebacker, Junior Seau Has Passed Away

Junior Seau was only 43.

Reports are breaking that former NFL linebacker, Junior Seau was found dead in his California home today by his housekeeper. Cops have also told TMZ that they’re investigating a shooting, if not a suicide.

The 43 year old linebacker, who retired in 2009 after playing in seven games for the Patriots that season was a 12 time pro bowler who played for the San Diego Chargers, the Miami Dolphins, and the New England Patriots.

Now this isn’t the first time that Seau has made headlines before with the thought of suicide. As back in 2010, Seau who earlier in the day was arrested for hitting his 25 year old girlfriend drove his car off of a cliff sending sending himself to the hospital. Seau told police that it was not a suicide act and that he just fell asleep behind the wheel.

Sources told TMZ that earlier before he was found dead in his home, that Seau, sent text messages to his three children and ex-wife saying, “Love you.”

While there has been no official word yet on what Seau’s death is being marked as, according to sources, it does appear to be a suicide judging by the angle of the bullet.

“Everyone at the Chargers is in complete shock and disbelief right now. We ask everyone to stop what they’re doing and send their prayers to Junior and his family,” the team said in a statement.

As for Chargers team President, Dan Spanos, “I can’t put into words how I’m feeling right now. I’m shocked and devastated. Junior was my friend. We all lost a friend today. Junior was an icon in our community. He transcended the game. He wasn’t just a football player, he was so much more. He was loved by everyone in our family, our organization and throughout the NFL. This is just such a tragic loss. One of the worst things I could ever imagine. My prayers go out to Junior’s family. It’s heartbreaking.”

Chargers head coach, Norv Turner who spent time briefly in San Diego as well as in Miami with Seau had this to say, “I have no words to describe the passing of Junior Seau. It is a sad, sad day not only for me, but for the whole sports community. I worked with Junior here and later in Miami. I can tell you no one had more character and true leadership ability than Junior. He brought passion to the game of football that was unmatched. His commitment to charitable causes in the community was inspiring. It was an honor to know him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

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Amare Stoudemire Injures His Hand While Heading Back To The Locker Room: See What Happened As Well As His Status For Game 3

Photo of Stoudemire leaving AmericanAirlines Arena in a sling.

Following up a 100-67 game one victory over the New York Knicks on Saturday, the Miami Heat won again at home this time winning, 104-94.

Frustrations grew in the Knicks locker room as the Knicks who now trail 0-2 to the Heat, as they head back to New York for game three, may be heading back without star forward, Amare Stoudemire.

A team spokesman confirmed Monday night that while heading back to the locker room after walking off the floor, Stoudemire punched the glass casing surrounding a fire extinguisher that was in a hallway of AmericanAirlines Arena. As a result to punching the glass casing, Stoudemire, would need medical assistance on his left hand according to the team.

The team wouldn’t comment any further regarding the severity or time table for the injury. However, Stoudemire would be seen leaving AmericanAirlines Arena with his hand in a sling and heavily bandaged.

His status for game three is uncertain, but a league source said that he’s “almost certain” that Stoudemire will miss both game three and the remainder of the series as well.

“How severe it is I don’t know. I’m trying to learn more about it. That’s it. Let’s talk about the game,” Knicks interim head coach, Mike Woodson said.

No MRIs or X-Rays have been taken though Stoudemire who did need stitches according to Knicks guard, J.R. Smith, will most likely undergo testing when the team arrives back in New York.

Game three is set to tip off on Thursday at 7:00 P.M. Eastern time, at Madison Square Garden.

“I just know he has a laceration and he is probably going to be out,” Knicks center, Tyson Chandler told reporters. “You can’t fault anybody because Amare is a good person that has high emotions at times. One quick decision-making mistake, and now you’ve got to deal with repercussions.’’

Though, with Stoudemire’s status still up in the air, Knicks forward, Carmelo Anthony is remaining positive as he told reporters that the series is far from over.

“The series is still up in the air. It’s their home court. It’s our turn now. We can’t wait to get back and protect home court. We’ve got to keep everybody positive. It’s far from over.”

As for Stoudemire, he wouldn’t comment to reporters after the game most likely due to his injury however, he would comment on twitter where he apologized.

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Metta World Peace Suspended

Will the suspension of Metta World Peace hurt the Lakers?

Coming just two days after the fiasco between Los Angeles Lakers forward, Metta World Peace and Oklahoma City Thunder guard, James Harden, the NBA has decided to suspended World Peace for seven games.

The two were involved in a one sided “fight” where World Peace after a dunk began celebrating and unintentionally, as he described it threw an elbow, which knocked Harden to the floor.

After the game, World Peace would address the media about his elbow play.

“During that play I just dunked on (Kevin) Durant and (Serge) Ibaka and I got really emotional and excited and it was unfortunate that James had to get hit with an unintentional elbow,” World Peace told reporters. “I hope he’s OK. The Thunder, they’re playing for a championship this year, so I hope that he’s OK and I apologize to the Thunder and to James Harden.”

World Peace would go onto add saying, “You know, it was such a great game and it was unfortunate so much emotion was going on at that time. … That’s it for today.”

Now, two days after throwing an unintentional elbow at Harden, World Peace said on his website (www.ronartest.com) in a statement responding to the seven game suspension, given to him by the NBA saying, “I apologize to the Oklahoma City Thunder fans and the OKC organization. I look forward to getting back on the floor with my teammates and competing for the Lakers fans.”

As for Harden he would post on his twitter account saying that he felt good.

Though despite, Harden’s health being in a good state, NBA Commissioner, David Stern said in a statement that these types of issues need to be taken very seriously.

“The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area,” Stern said in a statement. “We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations.”

As for the Lakers, they too accepted the seven game suspension as general manager, Mitch Kupchak too released a statement saying:

“Metta has for the most part been a model citizen both on and off the court since joining the Lakers. Still, his most recent lapse in judgment is not to be condoned or accepted. His actions could have seriously injured another player, and his absence during this suspension will hurt our team as well. While we accept the league’s decision, we will be supportive of Metta and try to help him be more professional on the court.”

In other news, as a result to the Los Angeles Clippers losing to the Atlanta Hawks, 109-102 the Lakers, will clinch the number three seed and will face either the Denver Nuggets or the Dallas Mavericks.

As for World Peace, his suspension will start Thursday against the Sacramento Kings in the Lakers season finale.

“It’s hard to get into a guy’s head and know exactly what happened in that situation,” Bryant told reporters. “I haven’t really spoken to him about it. You’ve really got to ask him.”

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Florida Marlins Manager, Ozzie Guillen Responds To His Comments About Dictator Fidel Castro

New Marlins manager, Ozzie Guillen possibly leaving?

Last week Miami Marlins Manager, Ozzie Guillen made headlines for his comments in Time magazine regarding Cuban Dictator, Fidel Castro in a negative way. Guillen told the magazine that he loved and respected Castro and admired what he did.

“I respect Fidel Castro,” Guillen said in the article. “You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that [expletive] is still here.”

However, those comments wouldn’t sit well with fans, community members, and other people not involved in the baseball community as people wanted Guillen fired.

So as a result to all of the publicity surrounding his comments, Guillen decided to address the media on Monday before his team’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies that afternoon.

“I want to make everything clear what’s going on. Then people can see me and know what I think,” Guillen told reporters inside the dugout. “I think it’s the proper thing so people can see my eyes and ask every question they want to ask.”

Guillen would go onto continue…

“I want to get the thing over with. I told the Marlins I want to fly [back] as soon as I can, and tomorrow’s a day off,” Guillen said. “I don’t want to [talk about it] in Philadelphia. I want to be in Miami and clear everything up.”

As for what he meant by that was a press conference, which he scheduled for Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time zone at Marlins Park. As for who could come? Guillen said anyone, as he didn’t want to hide or not answer anyone’s questions.

“I want the people there. Whoever feels about it, ask me any questions,” Guillen said. “I want you to ask what you ask, because I feel bad? Yes. I feel embarrassed? Yes.”

However, a press conference and apologies aren’t good enough as a Cuban-American advocacy group in Miami, Vigilia Mambisa, has said that they will orchestrate a boycott until the Marlins fire Guillen.

The Marlins would also respond to the comments made by Guillen saying that they have no respect for Castro or his doings, saying, “We are aware of the article,” the team said. “There is nothing to respect about Fidel Casto. He is a brutal dictator who has caused unthinkable pain for more than 50 years. We live in a community filled with victims of this dictatorship, and the people in Cuba continue to suffer today.”

On a lighter note, the Marlins would bounce back from a 6-5 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday as they would defeat the Phillies, 6-2 improving to 2-3 on the season.

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Dog Eats Guys Four Masters Tickets: See What He Did To Get Them Back

Here's a picture of one of the tickets that Russ Berkman's dog ate.

What would you do if your dog really did eat something of yours? Such as your homework, your dinner that you left on the table, your shoe, or something like that? But what if your dog ate something very valuable to you, like four tickets to the Masters?

Yes, that’s right the Masters, live from Augusta, the world’s best golfers competing for the glorious, one of a kind, green jacket and the only thing stopping you from going was your dog.

What would you do?

-Would you buy four more tickets?

-Call Augsta National, telling them that your dog ate your tickets, story?

-Or would you force it out of him (the dog)?

Well for Seattle man, Russ Berkman, who originally won the four tickets in an online lottery, which awarded the winner four practice tickets to Augusta. Came home from his late night shopping trip on Saturday night and found out that his Swiss Mountain dog, named Sierra, had the four tickets as a late night snack.

“When I walked in the house, I noticed there was a few strings on my hard wood floors that appeared to be the strings on my Masters tickets,” Berkman said in an interview on radio station KJR.

In the state of shock, that the old excuse, “my dog ate my homework” really just happened to him, except that it was his masters’ tickets, instead of his homework, left Berkman completely speechless.

So, clueless of what to do, he decided to call his girlfriend. Asking her of what he could possibly do to get the tickets back, or just to still be able to attend the Masters, she came up with an idea; force it out. She told Berkman to make Sierra throw it up, so he would.

Berkman would do so by feeding his dog, hydrogen peroxide, an alternative that he knew was “harmless” to his dog.

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