Happy Thanksgiving From The #TSL Crew

Have a Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! Now go enjoy some football!

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Thanksgiving Football Is The Best Football

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It is that time of the year, where we get to indulge in food, football, and family. It should be like that every Sunday, but today on Thanksgiving, makes it that much more special. For the second year in a row, we will be entertained with an all NFC affair. This also marks the tenth consecutive season in which we have a triple header. What was the NFL thinking before 2006? Whatever the case may be, here is our preview for today’s action.

Philadelphia Eagles at Detroit Lions – 12:30pm (FOX)

For two teams that had the playoffs on their minds entering the season, it could not have turned out worse for these two teams. The Lions started the season off 1-7 and have one of the worst run defenses in the league. Matthew Stafford has almost as many INT’s (12) as he does TD (15) and Calvin Johnson has just three of those scores. For the Eagles and Chip Kelly, Mark Sanchez has been named the starter. Sitting at 4-6 and playing in a weak NFC East conference, anything is possible for this team. We can all agree that Kelly botched up the trade sending Nick Foles to St. Louis for Sam Bradford. Did he really think the immobile Bradford could run his system.

You have to think this game may have some extra meaning for the Lions as they play at home on a national holiday in front of their home fans. The Lions will pick up their third consecutive win and improve to four wins on the season. Are the playoffs out of the picture for the Lions and Jim Caldwell? Only time can tell, only time can tell.

Carolina Panthers at Dallas Cowboys – 4:30pm (FOX)

Skip Bayless may have a hard on for this game. His boy Tony Romo is making his second straight start after coming back from injury. While the Cowboys picked up the last weekend against Miami, Romo did not have the comeback game he was planning for. Nevertheless, the Cowboys are 3-7 and still have a playoff chance. For the Carolina Panthers, it is all about MVP candidate Cam Newton. The face of the franchise has shut his critics up with both his play on and off the field. Newtown has thrown for 20 touchdowns through the air and has rushed for 6 more on the ground. With the lack of a star wide receiver, Newton has spread the ball around.

Cam Newton will not allow this Panthers team to lose on national tv, but don’t be surprised if Tony Romo makes some magic and puts an end to Carolina’s perfect season.

Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers – 8:30pm (NBC)

Jay Cutler had played well in weeks 8 and 9, throwing for 600 yards with 5 touchdowns and just one interception, with resulting in wins over San Diego and St. Louis. Then Cutler got the chance to play against his former team in the Broncos week 10, and laid a goose egg against a back up quarterback. Cutler threw for 265 yards and just one pick. The same old Bears. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers are now back in first place after they took care of business last Sunday against the Vikings. These two teams met back in week 1 with the Pakcers coming out on top with a 31-23 win. Rodgers love playing the Bears, where he owns a 13-3 record against the inner division rival.

The Packers are the clear favorite at home and will win this game by 10 points.

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Bills vs Patriots Monday Night Football Preview

BillsThe Patriots are 26-3 against the Bills since 2001 season.

The New England Patriots defeated the Buffalo Bills 40-32 in week two at Ralph Wilson Stadium, in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills made things interesting in the fourth quarter when they outscored the Pats 19-3, but it was early mistakes and foolish penalties that cost the Bills this early AFC East matchup. It is now week 11 and the Bills are in playoff contention, the first time Bills fans can say that in a while. The Bills play in their second straight prime time game, Monday night in Foxboro.

This time around, MVP candidate Tom Brady will be without two of his three favorite weapons. Emerging running back Dion Brown went down in week 9 against the Redskins when he went down with a knee injury. Brown was the perfect replacement for Shane Vereen who left for the New York Giants. Number 12 will also be without his favorite wide receiver in Julian Edelman with a broken foot. Those two targets combined for 17 receptions for 195 yards and two scores. Look for Brady to rely on Buffalo native Rob Gronkowski more than ever, and third year wide out Aaron Dobson. Let is not forget running back LeGarrette Blount who has the ability to have big games on the ground.

For the Bills offensively, first year quarterback Tyrod Taylor has thrown just four interceptions in the 7 games he has played in, with 3 of those picks coming in the Bills week two loss against the Patriots. While his numbers may not compare with Brady’s through the air, T-Mobile has made big plays with his legs, and has not only been able to manage games, but has the ability to make the big plays when needed. In the Bills last two games, LeSean McCoy has rushed for 112 yards in each contest. Looks for the Bills to run the ball not only with McCoy but also with the impressive rookie in Karlos Williams. Williams has shown that he cannot only run the ball inside the tackles, but he can bust one on the edges and run somebody over.

So what do the Bills have to do to win this game on the road?

  1. Limit their penalties. In their week two loss, the Bills committed 14 penalties for 140 yards. Some of these penalties came at critical times during the game, including some 15 yard personal fouls that kept the Patriots drives alive.
  2. Run the ball effectively to open up the passing game. Recently the Bills have been able to accomplish this with the running game of McCoy and Williams. The Patriots rank second overall in the NFL allowing just 88.2 rushing yards per game. It is for games like this that the Bills made the move to acquire McCoy.
  3. Bend but do not break defense. Tom Brady is going to put up his numbers. With the absence of Brown and Eedelman, Brady will find other targets such as Danny Amendola, and Scott Chandler. It is up to the Bills front four to put pressure on Brady and force him to make errant throws. It will be interesting to see what Rex’s game plan is for to slow down Gronkowski.

So do the Bills have a chance tonight? Absolutely. I am taking the Bills here to shock the world! Bills win 27-24.

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Five College Football Games You Need To Watch Today

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It is week 12 of the college football season and we are getting ever so close to who will be in the final four. The four teams have not changed when last Tuesday’s College Football Playoff rankings came out, with Clemson still standing tall at number one, followed by Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. Today is a must win for many college football programs today if they have any chance of surpassing one of those four. So do yourself a favor, find your favorite spot on your couch and grab the remote because it’s about to go down.

No. 17 North Carolina at Virginia Tech – 12pm EST (ESPN)

You may be asking yourself why is this game on the list. I will give you two valid reasons. The first and most important is that this is Frank Beamer’s final home game with the Hokies in what has been a long and storied career. After playing in the program, beamer took over in 1987. If you care even a little bit about college football history, it is worth tuning into this one. Second reason to watch is that this UNC offense has been putting up crazy offensive numbers, and made the largest jump in this past weeks rankings.

No. 9 Michigan State at No. 3 Ohio State – 3:30pm EST (ABC)

If Michigan State has any aspirations of making it to the final four, they need to defeat the Buckeyes in Columbus. The winner of this contest will meet Iowa in the Big Ten championship. With plenty on the line, Urban Meyer will once again turn to JT Barrett to start at quarterback. It appears that this is his team now. For Sparty, Connor Cook says he will be able to play after suffering a shoulder injury in their win against Maryland last Saturday. Cook was struggling, completing just 6 of 20 passes for 77 yards. Before that game, the senior QB had thrown for over 300 yards in four consecutive games. It is time for cook to ball out if they want a chance of winning it all.

No. 15 LSU at No. 22 Ole Miss – 3:30pm EST (CBS)

A couple of weeks ago LSU was undefeated and Leonard Fournette was the clear front runner for the Heisman award. They also controlled their own destiny in the SEC heading into their match up against Alabama. Two losses later, and two mediocre showing from their star running back, and all of a sudden Les Miles is on the hot seat. While that may seem a little insane, it just goes to show you how quickly things can change in college football.

No. 10 Baylor at No. 6 Oklahoma State – 7:30pm EST (FOX)

Baylor freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham is good to go for the Bears despite being a question mark all week. This is huge for the Bears as they will need solid quarterback play if they have any hopes of taking down the Cowboys and Mike Gundy. Oklahoma State is the Big 12’s best shot at a playoff team heading into today. Oklahoma State finishes their season at home, and with no Big 12 championship game, if they can win in convincing style, that should be enough to put them into the final four.

No. 18 TCU at No. 7 Oklahoma – 7:30pm EST (ABC)

With both Josh Doctson and Trevone Boykin out for the Horned Frogs, Oklahoma needs to take advantage and dominate this game. Baker Mayfield has been outstanding all season long for the Sooners and should have another big day. A win today for Bob Stoops and company sets up a playoff like game between Oklahoma and Oklahoma State next Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium. In what essentially would be the Big 12 championship game, whoever comes out victorious has a good chance to crack the top four.

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The Resurgence of the New York Knicks and Kristaps Porzingis

Devlin Marino (@DevlinMarino) talks about his squad the Knicks and rookie Kristaps Porzingis, AKA KP6

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I have been a Knicks fan for as long as I could remember, I’ve lived through Linsanity and saw the team fall apart, once again. So going into this year, with the Knicks having the 4th pick, I was quite optimistic. In my head, I imagined Jahlil Okafor catching lobs from Carmelo or Justise Winslow running the court from a turnover or seeing Emmanuel Mudiay splitting defenders and finishing with an emphatic dunk. What I didn’t see back months ago was a awkward looking 7’1 white Latvian power forward. I was skeptical when it happened, and almost angry. Actually I was pissed, because this only added to the anger that the Sixers could have not drafted Okafor and he would’ve fell to New York. And then instead of grabbing Mudiay, we draft this unknown guy from Latvia.

After I had gotten like “hey I’m okay with this”, the Knicks traded away Tim Hardaway Jr. to the Hawks for Notre Dame’s star Jerian Grant. This move to me seemed unnecessary. The Knicks traded away THJ, a player who has played more than a year in the NBA and is a proven scorer. This is the puzzling part, Grant is almost the same player as Hardaway Jr.; I get that the Knicks believe that Grant has a higher ceiling to grow, but I have a personal bias and I just liked Hardaway Jr.

Flash forward to present day, I am eating my words. Kristaps Porzingis is playing amazing, and is putting back more dunks than Johnny Manziel puts back shots of tequila. Jerian Grant is looking pretty good. Carmelo Anthony is back to playing like Carmelo Anthony. Let’s talk about my favorite Knicks development, Derrick Williams. Derrick Williams looks like a bewildered man and plays like one. He can get UP, and throw down dunks harder. A good defender and just the role player New York needed. I see more for Derrick Williams, he has so much potential and needs more minutes.

I really couldn’t put together a best five for the Knicks but if I had to it would go

PG: Langston Galloway

SG: Jerian Grant (Afflalo when healthy)

SF: Carmelo Anthony

PF: Kristaps Porzingis

C: Robin Lopez (Porzingis when Williams is at PF)

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Week 12 College Football Playoff Ranking Predictions

By Brian Wolf (@bwolf_17)

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The current top four teams in the latest College Football Playoff rankings were all victorious on Saturday. All four teams, Clemson, Alabama, Ohio State, and Notre Dame will remain in the top four, but will it be in that same order? There were many teams on the outside looking in that lost on Saturday and hurt their playoff chances.

Number one Clemson traveled up north to central New York where they took on a 3-6 Syracuse Orange team. After taking a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, Clemson saw Syracuse come back to tie it up. The Tigers then went up by two scores, and never saw their lead less than 7 points. Clemson went on to win by a final score of 37-27 to remain undefeated. Nick Saban and Alabama were also on the roading taking on Dak Prescott and Mississippi State. Behind the running attack of Heisman hopeful Derrick Henry, Alabama took care of their business with a 31-6 victory. Henry rushed the ball 22 times for 204 yards and two scores. Henry has rushed for over 200 yards in three of the last four games.

If it was not for a field goal in the second quarter, the Ohio State Buckeyes would have shut up Illinois. In his first action since his DUI, J.T. Barrett threw for 150 yards with one touchdown and one interception to go along with 74 rushing yards and a score. Ezekiel Elliott got his fair share of touches, rushing the ball 27 times for 181 yards and two scores. Former Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller had two receptions for -4 yards in the Buckeyes 28-3 win over the Fighting Illini. Freshman running back Joshua Adams set a Notre Dame record with a 98 yard touchdown run. Adams finished with 141 total yards on the ground in the Fighting Irish 28-7 over Wake Forest. Sophomore quarterback DeShone Kizer completed 68% of his passes for 111 yards. On the ground, the mobile quarterback rushed for 30 yards and two scores.

Now for how these four teams will stack up come Tuesday night, I would move Alabama and Ohio State up a spot, and slide Clemson to the three. With the seasons coming to a close, both Alabama and Ohio State went on the road and took care of their business in convincing styles. Clemson on the other hand struggled against a bad Syracuse team and a fourth string quarterback. The Tigers have two wins against ranked opponents, both of those coming at home against Notre Dame and Florida State. For Alabama, their lone loss came early on in the season against Ole Miss and Chad Kelly, but have since demolished Georgia, defeated an up and coming Arkansas team, and handled LSU and then Heisman favorite Leonard Fournette. Ohio State can make or break their next two weeks when they host Michigan State and then travel to Ann Arbor the final week of the regular season.

Four teams looking in from the outside that have a slim chance, include an undefeated Iowa team who will play in the Big Ten championship against either Ohio State or Michigan State. Speaking of the Spartans, they travel to Columbus Saturday in what could be a pivotal game for both squads. College Game Day will be in attendance for what is a playoff game for both teams. Oklahoma is coming off an impressive victory on the road at Baylor behind the song player of Baker Mayfield. The Sooners host TCU and then take on their instate rivals Oklahoma State, the last Saturday of the season. Speaking of teams that still have a chance, the Cowboys and Mike Gundy have a legit chance of moving up as they finish the season at home with games against Baylor and Oklahoma. Win those final two and the committee will have a tough time trying to keep them out.

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Notes and News From Around Major League Baseball

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Photo courtesy of http://www.InTheIvy.com

With the General Managers meetings coming to a close this past week in Boca Raton, Florida, there were some significant moves made. The best defensive shortstop in the game was dealt, while new Boston Red Sox GM Dave Dombrowski got right to work.

The first move to make some big noise was when the Atlanta Braves traded Andrelton Simmons to the Los Angeles Angels for Erick Aybar, minor league prospects and cash. Just 26 years old, Simmons is arguable the best defensive shortstop in the game. Since he made his debut four seasons ago, Simmons has 113 defensive runs saved which is 71 more than the next closest shortstop in Brandon Crawford. Simmons is signed for the next six seasons at a total cost of $53 million..

With an aging closer who is coming off of injury, the Boston Red Sox and Dave Dombrowski made a bold move trading for shut down closer Craig Kimbrel. You will remember Kimbrel during his time in Atlanta, and his one season in San Diego. Kimbrel is one of the best closers in the game with a upper 90’s fastball and a wipe out slider. In just six seasons, the righty has 225 saves, with an ERA of 1.65 and 563 strikeouts in 348 1/3 innings pitched. These move strengthens a weak bullpen that recorded a 4.24 ERA that ranked 26th in MLB. What move will Dombrowski make next?

Some other intriguing moves that took place over the past week include the Yankees trading up and coming catcher John Ryan Murphy for Minnesota Twins OF Aaron Hicks. The Yankees bring in the Twins 2008 first round pick, who is just 26 years old, a lot younger than their alternatives. On top of dealing Kimbrel, the Padres also sent relief pitcher Joaquin Benoit to the Mariners for two minor leaguers. RHP Marco Estrada and the Blue Jays agreed two a two year contract. Estrada is coming off his best season where he finished with a 13-8 record and a 3.13 ERA. Jeremy “Hellboy” Hellickson joins his third team in what will be his seventh season after he got traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Sam McWilliams.

What will be the nest big splash in MLB? Will we see Aroldis Chapman move out of Cincinnati? Who will be the first ace to make a move? Where does the Mets savior Yoenis Cespedes end up? The offseason is just heating up!

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