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Is Jameis Winston the most baffling player in the NFL?

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Jameis Winston, once again, started a game on the worst possible note. For the fifth time this season – and the 10th time in his career – he threw an interception on the game’s opening drive, this one to the Detroit Lions’ Jahlani Tavai. It looked like it was going to be one of those Jameis Winston Games, but it ended up being the other kind: he bounced back to throw four touchdowns in a 38-17 victory for the . It was yet another chapter in the up-and-down career of a quarterback who continues to show tantalizing flashes of being an elite signal-caller while also showing a frightening predisposition for ugly turnovers.

In Sunday’s win, Winston became the first quarterback in history to throw for at least 450 yards in consecutive games. He’s also thrown for over 4,573 yards on the season, which currently puts him ahead of the Dallas Cowboys’ Dak Prescott for the league lead, to go alongside his 30 touchdowns. Sounds great, right? Here’s the problem: the interception increased Winston’s season total for picks to 24, with many of those giveaways avoidable. He’s also incredibly sack-prone – he’s been sacked 43 times on the year – and has shown a frustrating inability to learn when he needs to throw the ball away. At no point during his pro career, has he shown any sign of improving all-important ball security.

Ultimately, as much as the Bucs must love games such as the one Winston gave them on Sunday, those strong performances may be making it more difficult for them to figure out what to do at the end of the season. Do the Buccaneers hand an extension to a young quarterback capable of putting up monster numbers? Do they place the one-year franchise tag on him and hope that he becomes more consistent in his sixth year as an NFL starter? Or do they let another team take up his services and find a replacement quarterback in free agency? It’s not like they have had a tremendous amount of success with Winston – he has yet to lead them to the playoffs.

Winston’s troubled history may make that third option more attractive. The Buccaneers drafted Winston out of Florida State University, where he was the subject of a high-profile sexual assault allegation, one that eventually ended with him coming to a (he was not charged over the allegations). There were also several other less serious incidents that occurred during his college career: a citation for shoplifting and a suspension for shouting vulgarities in the campus cafeteria. Tampa Bay took a risk with Winston but hoped that he would keep out of trouble once in the NFL.

He didn’t. In 2018, the NFL suspended him three games after he was accused of groping an Uber driver (Winston was never charged over the incident ). The NFL report : “As a result, the investigation had concluded that Winston violated the Personal C club great quit Roma last summer after feeling isolated in his front office role.”My withdrawal was a bit unexpected, but correct. Now I accepted it, but I needed two years, because it was not my decision. In any case, I never regretted my decisionsonduct Policy by touching the driver in an inappropriate and sexual manner without her consent and that disciplinary action was necessary and appropriate.”

The Buccaneers clearly have a conundrum. Winston can win games for the team, he can lose games for the team and there’s a chance that legal or personal issues could prevent him from taking the field altogether.

In a league where starting quarterback options are plentifuLoftus-Cheek has revealed how he has endured a tough season.The 24-year-old has been sidelined since May with an Achilles injury, but he has recently returned to first-team training.”Tough times are definitely hard to stay motivated,” he told the clul, it would be an easy decision for Tampa Bay to move on and let another team take on the risks. That doesn’t describe the modern NFL, however, where teams seem to be constantly installing and discarding proven mediocrities. Because of this, there must be an temptation within the organization to stick with the Devil They Know and hope that he keeps coming up with games like the one had had on Sunday.

. After Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning has thrown at least one interception against 31 NFL teams. In other words, . In fact, in what was likely his last game at MetLife Stadium, he ended up throwing three to various Dolphins defenders. Manning also, however, threw two touchdowns and led his team to a 36-20 victory, which was well appreciated by the hometown fans who rewarded him with a standing ovation.

. Congratulations to every fantasy football player who had Drake on their roster: he managed to score four touchdowns in a 38-24 Cardinals win over the Cleveland Browns. As you can imagine, Drake also accumulated plenty of carries (22) and a ton of yardage (137) in an Arizona victory that essentially sealed Cleveland’s playoff fate.

“Walking in here with Stretch (assistant to the head coach, John Streicher) I said one idiot was going to ask me that question” – Tennessee head coach Mike Vrabel, LeShaun Sims’ punt return at the end of the Titans’ 24-21 loss to the Houston Texans.

You can’t blame Vrabel for coming into the press conference a little bit heated. His team’s record, after all, fell to 8-6 thus putting the Titans in second place in the AFC South behind the 9-5 Texans. To be fair to the reporter in question, it wasn’t an entirely ridiculous question, as the Titans would have had better field possession, and slightly more time on the clock, had Sims not returned the punt during their final drive of the game. Vrabel, however, had a point by emphasizing that was hardly the key play in what ended up being a frustratingly close loss, one that puts their .

The Cincinnati Bengals’ execution – or lack thereof– on this onside kick was emblematic of their 34-13 loss to the New England Patriots. The Patriots improved to 11-3 thanks to the general ineptitude of the 1-13 Bengals, who are still successfully pursuing the No1 pick in next year’s draft. Given how poorly the Bengals have been playing all season, it feels baffling that the Patriots would decide that they would need to resort to underhand methods to defeat them.

Or, it would be baffling if this were any other football franchise we were talking about. Before the game, footage of a Patriots employee videotaping last week’s game between the Bengals and the Cleveland Browns. The videographer, who is heard sheepishly offering to delete the potentially-illicit footage, has been suspended. The NFL is currently investigating the incident and suggests that this story is not going away any time soon.

— The Oakland Raiders played their final game at Oakland Coliseum before the franchise relocates to Las Vegas next season. It was not the storybook ending that the hometown fans were hoping for. The Jacksonville Jaguars snapped a five-game losing streak with a 20-16 comeback win. Who knows, however, maybe there was something fitting about the Coliseum hosting .

— The Baltimore Ravens on the back of a ridiculous performance by MVP frontrunner Lamar Jackson, who broke Michael Vick’s single-season record for rushing yards by a quarterback. Jackson now has put together 1,103 yards on the grounds to Napoli on Sunday made it four winless friendlies in a row for the Reds.But Dutch star van Dijk believes the return of the club’s stars, including Mohamed Salah, Alisson, Roberto Firmino and Salah Mane, will be important for Sunday’s Community Sh to go along with his 2,889 passing yards and, frighteningly enough, he’s only in his second year in the NFL.

— Meanwhile, the Chicago Bears ended up doing the exact opposite of clinching on Sunday. With their 21-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers, combined with the Minnesota Vikings’ 39-10 win over the increasingly hapless Los Angeles Chargers, the Bears were officially eliminated from postseason contention.

— The Philadelphia Eagles beat Washington 37-27. They now have a 7-7 record, which keeps alive hopes that whoever wins the NFC East – and gets home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs – could end up having a winning record at the end of the regular season. Their divisional rivals, the Cowboys, are also 7-7 after they beat the Rams on Sunday.

— Seattle Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner made this athletic grab to intercept Carolina Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen. It was among three interceptions that Allen gifted Seattle in the 30-24 Seahawks victory. It was a dazzling reminder of just how great a defensive player Wagner is, which made it even rougher when he later . There was better news for the Seahawks later in the afternoon, as the Atlanta Falcons’ 29-22 upset road win over the San Francisco 49ers meant that Seattle ended the day as the top seed in the NFC.

The Joy of Six: seasons from hell

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1) Cleveland Browns (1995)

Ten years before he made his name as the inscrutable, hooded overlord of the New England Patriots, Bill Belichick was handed his first chance as an NFL head coach by the , a historic franchise wounded by years of failure.

A giant in the sport’s formative years, the Browns had never made the Super Bowl, and a run of spectacular near-misses in the 1980s had shattered morale. After a 3-13 season in 1990, the owner, Art Modell, lured Belichick from the New York Giants, where he had just won the Super Bowl as defensive coach with a game plan so good that it’s now in the Hall of Fame.

Belichick set out to build a rugged team built for the hard winters on the shore of Lake Erie, where the team shared a rundown municipal stadium with the Cleveland Indians. Progress was slow – the Browns posted narrow losing records in his first three seasons – but the wily head coach engineered a run to the play-offs in 1994.

Despite frequent clashes with Modell over money, Belichick had the Browns primed for a Super Bowl run. Nearly 75,000 fans poured into the Cleveland Stadium to see the win over Kansas City, which sealed a 3-1 start. Off the field, Modell was watching revenues fall after the Indians’ departure. Rumblings began that the owner was about to take a hammer to the sturdy foundations Belichick had built.

On 6 November, Modell announced his intention to relocate the Browns to Baltimore. From dreaming of a Super Bowl, ever-faithful Browns fans were facing the death of their team. Cleveland lost nine of their next 10 games, falling apart on the field as fans turned to mutiny. The final home game of the season against Cincinnati became a riot. Spectators , raw grief giving way to rage.

Somewhere in the NFL’s corridors of power, the anguish poured out that day struck a nerve. The fans won their battle to keep the team in Cleveland (Modell’s Baltimore team became a new franchise), though they had to wait until 1999 for their return. The Browns avoided a death sentence but for the expansion side, the ghosts of what might have been are everywhere.

The relocated, rebranded Baltimore Ravens have won two Super Bowls. Belichick, fired by Modell over the phone, learned from the chaos in Cleveland to build a dynasty at New England. He slipped on a fifth Super Bowl ring this year; the Browns have won one of their last 24 games.

2) Doncaster Rovers (1997-98)

The free market rules in English football, which means pretty much anyone with a bit of spare cash can buy themselves a club. Some teams find their perfect match, a steady hand on the tiller that unleashes a club’s true potential. Doncaster got Ken Richardson. Under his ownership, Rovers lost their league status, their main stand to a suspicious fire, and their dignity.

Richardson had a curious hands-on/off approach, rarely investing in or even visiting the club’s run-down Belle Vue home but regularly interfering with team affairs. He would fax in team talks from the Isle of Man with missives like “show the bastards” scrawled on them. After a string of managers walked out, he installed a “general manager”, Mark Weaver, to do his bidding.

With Richardson’s cash cut off and home gates dwindling to below 1,000, Doncaster descended into little more than a Sunday league side. A followed the farcical final acts of the 1997-98 season, from angry supporters’ meetings to players training in the park, and getting trapped in the dressing room by a faulty door. On the pitch things were no better.

As the owner focused on selling off their ground, Doncaster’s motley crew of loanees and youth players were left to sink slowly, finishing the 46-game season with a record 34 defeats. They lost 7-1 to Cardiff City, and 8-0 at Leyton Orient. In the League Cup, Nottingham Forest beat them 10-1 on aggregate. Coach Danny Bergara tried swapping players’ numbers in a tactical move, outfoxing only himself.

Witzkid James Maddison, according to reports.The attacking midfielder shone in his debut Premier League season after moving from Norwich City last summer.At 22 years of age, Maddison’s potential has got the top clubs vying for his signature.The Independh Richardson absent, fans turned on Weaver, a yes-man installed above his station to do the owner’s bidding. At the final home game, fans staged a mock funeral for a club they expected to fold. Weaver turned up having vowed to stay away. The police advised him to leave for his own safety.

As the club fell apart, police were closing in on Richardson over his involvement in a fire in the summer of 1995 that had almost gutted the main stand at Belle Vue. He was eventually charged with offering a former soldier £10,000 to start the fire, part of a hare-brained scheme to get his hands on lucrative land. Detectives labelled him “the type that would trample a two-year-old to pick up a 2p piece”.

From the ashes, Doncaster at least found the owner they deserved. As Richardson was sent to jail, the local businessman John Ryan stepped in, and set about reviving the club. Ten years after their season in hell, with a new ground built and Belle Vue left behind, to seal promotion to the Championship.

3) Vince Spadea (2000)

Some tennis players are driven by rivalry, or a quest for sporting immortality. Vince Spadea’s motivation was more practical. “No one wants to travel the world to lose money,” he wrote in 2006. “Tennis players are paid to win.”

The year 2000 was a lean one for Spadea, a journeyman pro who had just enjoyed a breakthrough season. He had reached No19 in the world, and upset Andre Agassi on his way to the 1999 Australian Open quarter-finals. Spadea flew out to Melbourne seeking a repeat run to kick-start flagging form, but lost in the first round to the world No95, Adrian Voinea.

That early exit proved the catalyst for a historic run of defeats. Winter turned to spring, the hard courts gave way to clay, and Spadea lost, lost and lost again. By the time he reached Wimbledon, he had lost 21 straight matches. In the first round, he drew the British No2, Greg Rusedski. His parents decided to stay in Florida.

What happened next was predictable in its own way. Spadea overcame two lost tie-breaks and a two-hour rain delay to win the deciding set 9-7. The shame shifted to Rusedski and for the watching world, that’s where the story ended. “I can lose to anyone, but I can battle,” a jubilant Spadea told the crowd. “Because I got game.”

How much game? As it turned out, not much. Spadea lost his next match at Wimbledon, crashed out of the US Open and Olympics at the first hurdle, and lost in Tokyo to a player ranked outside the top 300. Dropping down to the Challenger circuit in autumn to regain his form, he lost his first match 6-1, 6-0.

Spadea ended the year with three wins and 28 losses at ATP Tour level, and a world ranking of No237. He would fight his way back up the rankings in tenacious style, but his losing run still hit him where it hurt – his pocket. Spadea has claimed that his season was so bad, he actually lost money on the tour. For him, that was the true price of failure.

4) Ferrari (1980)

Dominance in can be a fragile thing. With cars constantly tweaked and tuned up to stay ahead of the field, a wrong turn in the garage can wipe out years of progress. McLaren found that out in 2015, when a switch to Honda engines saw the historic team, with Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button on board, reduced to a laughing stock.

In 1980 made a more subtle change, updating the 312T car that had won them four of the previous six constructors’ titles. The upgrade proved to be an unmitigated calamity in a tumultuous season blighted by safety concerns. The first two races, in Argentina and Brazil, saw drivers including Ferrari’s defending world champion, Jody Scheckter, threaten a boycott over track conditions.

1980 proved a turning point for the sport, with Bernie Ecclestone winning a power struggle with the F1 chief, Jean-Marie Balestre. It also proved a watershed for the Scuderia, who were outclassed in the early races as Williams and Brabham emerged as title contenders. Ferrari suffered reliability issues with their retooled engine, and did not pick up a point until Scheckter came fifth at Long Beach.

While his team-mate Gilles Villeneuve at least battled for the odd podium place in a chronically underpowered car, Scheckter took only two points all year, failed to even qualify for one race, and promptly retired at the end of the season. Scheckter’s sharp exit was, however, more than an indictment of his car.

He had once been the bad boy of F1, causing crashes and winding up rivals with his daredevil antics. Then, in 1973, he was first on the scene at team-mate François Cevert’s fatal crash at Watkins Glen. What he saw changed him profoundly and, after winning the world title ahead of Villeneuve in 1979, he saw no reason to put himself at risk any longer.

Villeneuve was not so fortunate. The Canadian was killed in a qualifying crash in Belgium two years later, perhaps the highest-profile victim of F1’s most unsafe era. Scheckter spoke at his funeral in a rare, fleeting return to the spotlight. The South African retired to Hampshire, where he now runs an organic farm.

Ferrari switched to a brand new car in 1981, and promptly returned to the podium places in the constructors’ championship. The previous season still left its maraller and Romelu Lukaku.The £40m signing from Eintracht Frankfurt has drawn comparisons with Manchester United striker Lukaku for his ability to score goals and hold up play.And Diop thinks his France U21 teammate, who scored 20 goals last season, wk – they did not produce another world champion driver until Michael Schumacher, some 20 years later.

5) Milan (1981-82)

Under the leadership of Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, Milan’s 1987-94 vintage won 14 trophies in seven seasons, blending Italian defensive nous with Dutch attacking flair to formidable effect. That golden age was forged in response to the club’s greatest embarrassment, only five years earlier.

For Serie A’s elite clubs, not winning the Scudetto is failure enough; they rarely have cause to consider the other end of the table. Internazionale have never been relegated, and Juventus’s only demotion . Milan were also relegated “off the field” once, in 1980, after the Totonero match-fixing scandal.

Milan bounced straight back and expected to breeze up the table, with a defence built around Franco Baresi and their new striker Joe Jordan banging in the goals. But Baresi missed four months with an injury, and in his absence Milan picked up eight points in 12 games. Jordan was the first player to score that season – in their eighth game.

Milan had returned to a league that was no longer afraid of them, and a run of one point from games against Catanzaro, Ascoli and Como appeared to confirm the unthinkable – relegation “on the field”. The youth coach Italo Galbiati replaced Gigi Radice and the club still had a chance of survival on the final day at Cesena.

After going 2-0 down early on, the team with 18 league goals all season found three in 15 minutes to grab victory. With Genoa behind at Napoli, Milan appeared to have avoided eternal shame, and their fans raced onto the pitch to celebrate. Then Genoa won a last-gasp corner, and scored.

Milan fans maintain that the Napoli goalkeeper, Luciano Castellini, intentionally threw the ball out to hand Genoa that corner. You can judge for yourself . Either way, this was not an experience the rossoneri ever planned on repeating. After securing an immediate return, Silvio Berlusconi bought the club, brought in Sacchi and signed Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard and Marco van Basten. The rest is history.

6) Derbyshire (1920)

County cricket’s meticulous record-keeping means no landmark season of any description will be forgotten. Which, for Derbyshire in particular, is a shame. After regaining first-class status in 1894, they failed to win a County Championship match in three separate seasons: 1897, 1901 and the historically abysmal 1920 campaign.

With county cricket returning to normality after the first world war, the captain, John Chapman, fielded 38 different players across 16 completed matches. It was an early example of over-rotation; Derbyshire lost them all – on six occasions, their opposition only had to bat once to get the job done.

This was a team caught between two eras; the previous captain, George Buckston, had retired, but came back to reorganise the side for the following season. Billy Bestwick, a 45-year-old seamer with a quick arm and quicker temper, featured in only one match. They were replaced by nent Wanyama is eyeing a move to AC Milan.While Club Brugge are in talks with Spurs over a fee for the Kenya international, any move could hinge on the Rossonero.Soccer Link says Wanyama favours a switch to Italy at Milan, where he is under consideratiwcomers who would go on to better things. The wicketkeeper Harry Elliott went on to earn England caps, as did the batsman Harry Storer – in football.

Guy Jackson, a 24-year-old batsman with a season-high score of 14, later became the county captain under the tutelage of Buckston. According to Wisden, Jackson “steadily raised the standard” within the county, laying the foundations for the 1936 season, when Elliott and Storer helped deliver Derbyshire’s only County Championship.

• , showcasing a selection of our sport features from the past seven days.

Sergio García shines at Masters to raise hopes of end to major drought

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If the weight of experience lurking with intent did not pose such a threat, this Masters could be characterised as a weekend chase for major number one.

Charley Hoffman, , Thomas Pieters and Rickie Fowler head the event at half way on four under par. At differing ages, positions in world ranking and career victory levels, their combined major haul? Zero. Hoffman is the surprise package, Pieters the surly young pretender, García the routine bridesmaid and Fowler the form horse. Cases can be made for each of them but, crucially, for another 25 competitors, too.

The cavalry in pursuit includes Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose and Adam Scott. Ths always confident the Barcelona starlet would make it.Fati made his debut at 16 for Sunday’s 5-2 defeat of Real Betis.Luis Pérez Mena, the director of the Seville-based Escuela de FútbolPeloteros, coached Fati as a junior and told Efe: “I’ve been e leaders are not likely to enter relaxation mode.

García’s case, in his 71st consecutive major, is without question the most fascinating. The late, great Seve Ballesteros, who lit up Augusta National when claiming two Green Jackets and triggering a European stampede on the Masters, should be celebrating his 60th birthday on Sunday. If García, forever linked to Ballesteros not only on grounds of Spanish nationality but the level of mesmerising talent as demonstrated from his youth, were to prevail here, one of the great golf storylines of our time would have unfolded. does have a habit of throwing them up.

García returned a terrific run, of 21 opening tournament holes without dropping a shot. On Friday he birdied Augusta’s first three for the first time. At the 12th he conjured up a bunker shot from a plugged lie that he considered “hands down, the best of my career”. So far, so good.

One must, nonetheless, give strong consideration to an alternative outcome, the sort García has become ominously accustomed to. García has never made much secret of his indifference towards Augusta National as a venue despite, it must be stressed, always insisting he tries his best to win here. Essentially García believes the Augusta set-up means even good shots are occasionally not properly rewarded.

Matters seemed to be conspiring against him on Friday as a scoreboard error meant he was awarded a seven rather than the five he did produce at the 10th. “The most important thing is I knew where I stood,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t one under for the tournament, I knew I was three.

“Shane Lowry hit two balls to the left and we were looking for one, we couldn’t find it, we found the second one. We are all dressed light coloured pants and blue sweater, so I can see why they might have made the mistake. But it was fine.”

The number was duly amended, Garcia later signing for 69. It should have been better but for a lame birdie attempt from all of 4ft on the 18th.

Further bad news arrives for García from a key statistic. His third-round scoring average at the Masters is the worst of anyone in three decades, at close to 75. Perhaps if he can get through Saturday, when conditions are predicted to be far more favourable than days one and two, even García himself will take his Augusta challenge seriously. Part of the intrigue around the 37-year-old is that, for one so gifted, he never appears fully confident in his own ability.

“In a lot of these shots there’s such a thin line between a good shot being next to the hole and a good shot being 40 feet away and then having a very difficult two putt,” García explained. “You try to not think about those and try to be as positive as possible.

“Things are happening at the moment. I want to make sure that I keep riding that wave and go out there tomorrow and be positive, be like I’ve been the first two days.”

There is a parallel for García to dratheir clash with Villarreal.The Croatian has started just once this season — at Granada — and has now been replaced by Carles Aleña. “Every week I am asked about those not called up,” the coach said. “If Rakitic is not [in the squad], it’s becausew on. Danny Willett, last year’s Masters champion, had claimed the Dubai Desert Classic two months earlier. It was García who lifted that trophy in the Middle East a matter of weeks ago. García is not carrying the Spanish flag alone. Jon Rahm’s outstanding 2017 shows no sign of slowing down, the rookie signing for a 70 to sit at one under par.

McIlroy was the victim of dreadful misfortune on the closing hole. An apparently perfect approach shot from 140 yards r Milan are ready to slap in a bid for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen.Off contract in June, the Dane has refused to consider new terms proposed by Spurs and is ready to leave the Londoners.PSG have been in contact, however Corriere dello Sporhit the pin, causing the ball to bound back down the fairway. McIlroy could understandably barely conceal his rage at making a bogey from there, meaning a 73 and plus one aggregate.

The Northern Irishman has not fully kicked into gear, a fact that should give him confidence given a position within touching distance of the lead with half of the Masters to play.

McIlroy has his mind set on a big Saturday move. “I’m a little disappointed with what happened at the last but these things happen and, if I can get off to a fast start tomorrow, a couple under through three, I’ll be right there,” he said.

“There are still 36 more holes left to go, a long way in this tournament. I know what can happen, good and bad, around this golf course.”

Willett was among those to encounter the negative, with a defence that ended on Friday at plus seven. A quadruple eight on the 1st fatally impacted on his cause.

A year ago Ian Woosnam insisted his Masters playing days were over on what marked the 25th anniversary of his victoryhere.

The Welshman, now 59, duly returned for 36 holes, his Friday 78 meaning a missed cut at 10 over par. “My wife made me come back,” Woosnam said. But will he – or she – do so again? “I haven’t ruled it out.” Wonderfully confusing.

Woeful Ryan Fitzpatrick throws six interceptions in Jets loss to Chiefs

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Ryan Fitzpatrick is not known for his accuracy and he excelled himself against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, throwing six interceptions as the New York Jets lost 24-3 to the .

Fitzpatrick was coming off a good game against the Buffalo Bills, in which he threw for two touchdowns and 374 yards. But against the Chiefs completed telli could’ve been a worldbeater.Eto’o was still with Inter as Balotelli, now with Brescia, was breaking through as a teenager.He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Mario loves me like a little brother, but he never showed even 10% of his qualities.”The Majust 20 of his 44 attempts and was picked off six times. He does, at least, find himself in good company: Peyton Manning, Brett Favre and Joe Namath (three times) .

Elsewhere, Russell Wilson threw for 243 yards and a tore leading the race to sign Lemar.Lemar, 24, has been a long-term target of the Gunners after a bid while he was at Monaco in 2017.He joined Atletico a year later in a £60m deal but has failed to live up to expectations since moving to the Spanish cuchdown before suffering a left knee injury as the rolled to a 37-18 rout of the .

Wilson was injured with about 10 minutes to go in the third quarter getting pulled down awkwardly on a sack by San Francisco’s Eli Harold. Harold was called for a horse collar penalty, but the bigger concern was how he fell on Wilson’s left leg.

Wilson stayed down on the field for a few moments before walking off. Wilson missed the first play of his career due to injury, but returned to throw one more pass. The completion led to the third of Steven Hauschka’s three field goals for a 27-3 lead and after that Wilson’s day was done.

Wilson had a brace placed on his left knee, and he never saw the field again, giving the fio land Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish this summer.The Mirror says United are preparing to pay up to £70million to land Grealish this summer.The attacking ace has been in superb form for Villa this term after inspiring them to promotion last seasonal 1 ½ quarters of the blowout to rookie Trevone Boykin.

Wilson finished 15 of 23 passing, including an 18-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham. Boykin also threw the first TD pass of his career, hitting Doug Baldwin on a 16-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Baldwin had eight catches for a career-high 164 yards.

It was a big day for Seattle’s offense that slogged through the first two weeks, in the first 120 minutes of the season. The Seahawks nearly matched that total in the first 11 minutes of the game thanks to the first two touchdowns of Christine Michael’s career.

Getting the start with Thomas Rawls out because of a shin injury, Michael had TD runs of 41 and 4 yards on Seattle’s first two drives. Michael rushed for 106 yards on 20 carries, the second 100-yard game of his career.

Carlos Hyde two TD runs in the fourth quarter for San Francisco, but the 49ers had just five first downs entering the fourth quarter and missed on their first 10 third-down attempts. of 12 straight games with a touchdown pass ended as he was 14 of 25 for 119 yards and an interception.

In Philadelphia, Carson Wentz threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns, a fierce defense shut down Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown and the Eagles beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 34-3 to remain unbeaten.

The rookie No2 overall pick connected with Darren Sproles on a and tossed a to Jordan Matthews.

After beating the Browns (0-3) and Bears (0-2) in the first two games, the Eagles (3-0) proved they could compete with the big boys. The Steelers (2-1) averaged 31 points the first two weeks and are considered Super Bowl contenders.

Pittsburgh was 19-2 against rookie quarterbacks since 2004. But Wentz is no ordinary rookie.

Everyone is jumping on the Wentz wagon in Philadelphia. And he was the No3 quarterback until Sam Bradford was traded to Minnesota just eight days before the season opener.

Sproles finished with six catches for 128 yards and Kenjon Barner and rookie Wendell Smallwood each had their first career rushing TDs.

Roethlisberger had 257 yards passing, one interception and no TDs after tossing six in the first two games. Brown caught 12 passes for 140 yards, most of which after the outcome was decided.

Why Real Salt Lake’s journalist ban damages the credibility of MLS

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Banning journalists seems to be something of a trend in American politics right now. Buzzfeed, Huffington Post, Politico, and the Washington Post at one point or another over the past year or so, with the Republican presidential nominee serving banning orders like Oprah hands out book prizes. It’s an ethos that has seemingly seeped into American soccer, too.

Last week, Real Salt Lake last week of Salt Lake Tribune columnist Gordon Monson for Saturday’s league fixture against the New England Revolution. In response, the Tribune decided to remove all its staff from the game, instead covering RSL’s goalless draw against the Revs off the television.

The fact that such a sanction was imposed against Monson, who has been critical of the club’s owner, Dell Loy Hansen, is troubling. “The man with the deep pockets wants to run the club the way he wants to run it, not the way it should be run, not the way it’s best run. His ego is behind the wheel,” Monson wrote in August 2015. RSL maintains that Monson’s relationship with the club’s former owner – Monson co-hosts a sports radio show with Spence Checketts, the son of former RSL owner David Checketts – means he is a less than objective observer.

But this isn’t the way to go about things. That those in charge at should feel the sting of such condemnation isn’t surprising, particularly excited to be taking charge for their Carabao Cup clash with Aston Villa.Critchley will take charge of a youthful Reds team at Villa Park, with Jürgen Klopp and the first-team squad in Qatar to participate in the FIFA Club World Cup this week.Critchwhen Monson has more than once criticised Hansen, but serving banning orders helps nobody, least of all the club.

We can only hope that this practice does not spread throughout the league. As something of a crossover between the soccer world and the American sporting sphere, Major League Soccer has always been an anomaly of sorts. It borrows certain aspects of its identity from European soccer while retaining a distinctly North American character. Nowhere is that better demonstrated than iva says he’d welcome the chance to be registered with the club.Silva is in Madrid after completing his loan with Cruzeiro.He told Marca: “The truth is that I have a team, and it’s Real Madrid. There were some offers, but most have been just enquiriesn the league’s media approach.

In fact, is held aloft as an example of media relations done right – at least as far as soccer goes. Its sporting reputation might not transcend borders just yet, but the league is renowned in press circles across the globe for its accessibility and openness. That is seen as a manifestation of the American way and is welcomed by those who are not afforded such access in European soccer.

Using personal experience as a gauge, MLS clubs understand the role of the media and how it can be used to their own benefit. When I wrote a story prior to the first ever Hudson River Derby between the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC last year, players were actively offered up by both clubs for interview. Media days were arranged, with individual schedules accommodated for as clubs did their best to present whoever, whenever.

Much of this comes from MLS’s need to compete in a crowded media marketplace, against leagues and sports of longer-established heritage. But nonetheless, this is the image that Real Salt Lake are in danger of damaging. Furthermore, they’re hurting their own fans by blacklisting members of the local media, particularly writers for such locally important publications as the Salt Lake Tribune. If MLS clubs are desperate to ensure their roots touch their local communities, banning a loheffield United boss Chris Wilder says Jack Rodwell must work his way into their first team plans.Wilder says new signing Jack Robinson and Rodwell will not simply be handed appearances for Sheffield United this weekend in the FA Cup against Millwallcal columnist is at odds with that ethos.

European clubs are learning, but progress is slow. Manchester City hosted a media day to make the most of Pep Guardiola’s unveiling as their new manager, but even then the message still felt strictly controlled. MLS still sets the precedent, at least giving the impression of access and openness. And there is no league anywhere in the world that wouldn’t benefit from such a trait.

It’s therefore not the media Real Salt Lake are hurting with their actions, but fans, and the overall image of North American soccer as well. Journalists might be the target of such flak, but the real damage is felt elsewhere. Fans need the media to hold their teams to account. They also need the media to provide access, as well as an emotional link to those they watch play every week. It might sound like self-righteous hyperbole, but soccer needs the media as much as the media needs soccer.

This is why Real Salt Lake’s decision to ban Monson makes so little sense. Accessibility is one of MLS’s key selling points (the league is aware of Monson’s ban and says it takes access seriously). Players guest on fan podcasts, locker rooms are opened up to the press within minutes of the full-time whistle, with coaches and general managers even hosting Reddit AMA sessions from time to time. Without that selling point, MLS and North American soccer as a whole is a less attractive, less appealing product. It goes against the grain of the game’s media mantra in the United States and Canada. The MLS All-Star game in San Jose later this month will provide the perfect illustration of just how far ahead the league is in terms of its media approach. A week-long series of fan and media events won’t just act as promotion for the game itself, but for the league in general. This is the kind of thing at stake if RSL’s actions were repeated elsewhere.

Of course, MLS’s centralised structure helps with the organisation of such events, but clubs must recognise how important accessibility and positive media relations are to almost every aspect of North American soccer. Monson’s blacklisting is about more than just one journalist having his credentials stripped. This concerns the image and spirit of MLS. The disconnect exposed by Real Salt Lake’s media ban is about more than just one empty seat in the press box.

The Hunters 2016: a look back on a thrilling NBA season

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As we mentioned , the Guardian prefers to wait until the end of the playoffs before handing out our NBA awards. This season ended up being a perfect example of why we wait. Prior to the NBA finals, this year was all about the Golden State Warriors’ quest to put together the greatest season in NBA history. Instead, they ended up being the heavies in the story of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ remarkable comeback.

Most valuable player: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

An unfortunate result of the Cavaliers’ Finals victory was that that Steph Curry’s unprecedented season may end up being because his team fell short.

Curry didn’t become the first unanimous MVP in NBA history by accident. At his best, which he was at for practically all of the regular season, Curry looked like he was playing an entirely different sport than the rest of the league. His otherworldly shooting stretched courts to their breaking points. Curry made 402 three-pointers, blowing away the record he set in the previous season (where he hit a mere 286). There were many reasons that the Warriors were able to win in a season, besting the single-season wins record set by Michael Jordan and the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, but nobody can deny that Curry was the most important element.

The problem was that unanimous MVP Curry only made occasional appearances in the playoffs after he suffered a knee injury in the Warriors’ first-round series against the Houston Rockets. Whether it was due to that injury, exhaustion after a season where nearly every regular season game had a playoff feel or just an ill-timed slump, Curry clearly wasn’t the same player in the postseason. Even so, the Warriors might have been able to win their second straight championship if they weren’t facing the winner of our next award.

Most valuable player, playoffs: LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers

wins this distinction for the second straight year. Last year, James almost single-handedly pushed the NBA finals to six games, despite the fact that the Warriors looked practically unbeatable and the Cavaliers had lost Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving to injuries. While Andre Iguodala ended up being named the MVP, voters tend to go with someone from the team that actually won, there was no question in who was the best player on the floor.

James was even better during these finals, 29.7 points, 11.3 rebounds and 8.9 assists. He was the leader, MVP and partial architect of a Cavaliers team that beat the team with , came back from a 3-1 series deficit for the first time in NBA finals history and brought the city of Cleveland their first major sports championship since 1964. This was the most impressive accomplishment of James’s career, which is saying something considering that his career was pretty darn good heading into this postseason.

Least valuable player: Kobe Bryant, LA Lakers

Maybe no player in the history of sports has ended his career with a more appropriate final game than Kobe Bryant. In the last game of the season, the last day of his HOF career, Bryant in a win over the Utah Jazz. This sounds like a perfect Hollywood ending unless one looks at the box score and sees that Bryant needed 50 shot attempts to get there.

To his credit, that was still one of the few games this year where Bryant managed to be productive enough to actually help, rather than harm, his team. Certain metrics labeled Bryant as in the league for the first half of the season. Bryant’s game was the same as it ever was, but time clearly had taken its toll to the point where his high-volume shooting finally made him a liability as the clangs continued to outnumber the made baskets. The Lakers ended up winning 17 games; only the failed experiment that was the Hinkie-era Philadelphia 76ers won fewer.

In a way, though, Bryant ended up being valuable in his own way. The Endless Kobe Farewell Tour ended up being a huge success attendance-wise while the Lakers ended up being bad enough that they were able to keep their lottery pick, which they turned into Brandon Ingram.

Worst social media user: D’Angelo Russell, LA Lakers

Heading into this season, many believed D’Angelo Russell would compete for Rookie of the Year. Instead, his most notable accomplishment was that he accidentally helped to break up a B-grade celebrity couple via a poorly conceived .

Coach of the year: Terry Stotts, Portland Trail Blazers

The were, before the season began, almost a lock to finish their season well out of the playoffs. LaMarcus Aldridge signed with the San Antonio Spurs, Robin Lopez went to the New York Knicks, Wesley Matthews left for the Dallas Mavericks and Nicholas Batum was traded to the Charlotte Hornets. By all available evidence, it looked as if the Trail Blazers were rebuilding around Damian Lillard.

Then something odd happened: the Trail Blazers kept on winning. Lillard thrived as the team’s undisputed MVP, while CJ McCollum won most improved honors. Not only were the Trail Blazers relevant they ended up clinching the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Once in the playoffs, the Trail Blazers made it to the second round before the Warriors dispatched with them in five games. It was an impressive run for Portland, in the it’s incredibly difficult to rebuild on the fly while still being competitive.

When a team out-performs expectations to this degree, the team’s manager receives a lion’s share of the credit for getting the most out of his roster. Unfortunately for Trail Blazers had coach Terry Stotts, this was the year of the Warriors, so he ended up in place behind Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, despite the fact that Luke Walton was Golden State’s acting coach for the first half of the season when Kerr was recovering from surgery. Stotts really deserved this nod.

: Byron Scott (Los Angeles Lakers), George Karl (Sacramento Kings), Kurt Rambis (New York Knicks)

Rookie of the Year: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves

There is no legitimate argument for putting any other player in this category, a fact which the voters recognized by unanimously naming Karl-Anthony Towns as Rookie of the Year. Towns averaged 18.3 points and 10.5 rebounds a game and was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month every month of the regular season. When you factor in that the Timberwolves’ also have last year’s Rookie of the Year, Andrew Wiggins, he future in Minnesota looks brighter than it ever has.

Defensive Player of the year: Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs

The debate about this award could end up coming down between Kawhi Leonard and the Warriors’ Draymond Green for the next few seasons. This time around we’re going to go with the guy who didn’t hurt his team by after one too many groin-kick attempts.

Disappointment of the year: New Orleans Pelicans

This was supposed to be Anthony Davis’s year to shine, with even predicting that he would win MVP. Sadly though, injuries once again decimated the Pelicans, who fell well short of the playoffs, and having to practically carry the team on his shoulders may have partially stalled Davis’s development.

Game of the year: Warriors v Thunder, 27 February

In the wake of the Warriors’ failure to win a championship, it’s hard to remember just how gripping their quest to beat the Bulls was. Every Warriors game felt like a playoff game, to the point where there was grumbling whenever it wasn’t covered by national television.

While their regular-season record now feels rather hollow, that shouldn’t take away from just how great some of the individual games were. Most notably, Golden State’s overtime win over the on 27 February. It was an instant classic. The Thunder were in control for much of the game, and they managed to build up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter. The fact that the Warriors were in trouble was enough to make the game feel like a rarity: they had only lost five games all season before heading into this contest.

The Warriors, as they did many times during the season, rallied late to make it a one possession game. Still, it looked like the Thunder were just about to pull away with a victory when they fouled Andre Iguodala with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock, putting him on the line with 0.7 seconds left in the game. Iguodala, normally not one of the team’s best free-throw shooters, sank two free throws to tie the game, sending it into overtime.

That’s where Curry hit the shot of the year:

Curry’s three, which was from about 37 feet away, was one that no other player in the league would even attempt in that situation, let alone make. It ended up being the game-winner as the Warriors escaped Oklahoma City with a 121-118 win.

It ended up being a crucial victory, or at least it seemed so at the time. A loss here, and it felt certain the assumed they would be hosting a lot of non-football events at the stadium as a way to pay off the building costs.They will be hosting several NFL games from next season, while the Saracens will play a Premiership match there every year from 2020 forWarriors would end up tying the Bulls record rather than breaking it. The game also became one of those rare playoff previews that actually predicted how their postseason series would play out. When they faced each other again in the Western Conference Finals, the Thunder took an early lead in the series only to see the Warriors battle back and pull of a thrilling comeback.

Play of the year: LeBron James’s block

Of course, the Warriors ended up being on the wrong end of the biggest comeback of the year. The enduring image of the Cavaliers’ Finals run happened in the last few minutes of Game 7, when LeBron James, materializing on the other end of the floor like , violently blocking an Andre Iguodala shot that would have given the Warriors a lead with under two minutes remaining.

It’s a fantastic play just on its own, but it’s also almost symbolic scene, with James coming out of nowhere to reject the shot that represented the Warriors’ last best and fitness of Liverpool ace Mohamed Salah.Garcia has claimed Egypt have had to alter their tactics from the Africa Cup of Nations as Mohamed Salah continues to feel the effects of his long season with Liverpool.The forward made 52 appearances in alchance of getting the lead or maybe even a win, the win that would have solidified their place among the greatest teams of all-time. Instead, with one quick forceful swipe, James flippders are desperate to set up a Europa League playoff against Wolves.Crusaders face Faroe Islands outfit B36 Torshavn in the first qualifying round of the Europa League next month – with the winners facing Wolves in the second round.Belfast-based Cred the script of the entire NBA season.

Stephen Curry named NBA MVP after helping Warriors beat Trail Blazers

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nailed a three-pointer in overtime and gestured to the crowd, exclaiming over and over: “I’m back! I’m back!”

Curry returned from a sprained right knee to score an NBA-record 17 points in overtime, finishing with 40 as the Warriors rallied to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semi-finals with a 132-125 victory ove Sanchez insists Inter Milan are capable of winning the Champions League.On-loan from Manchester United, the striker is ready to face former club Barcelona this week.He stated, “Every player would like to win a Champions League. You play to win it, nr the on Monday night.

And then on Tuesday, to no one’s great surprise, . Curry swept all 131 first-place votes, including 130 from a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters and one from the fan vote. Curry is the 11th player to win back-to-back MVP awards.

“I love this game, I love playing and love competing. And really, really missed being out there with my team-mates,” Curry said. “To help our team get a win tonight and in that fashion, that was a good feeling in that moment to be back on the floor and playing.”

Playing for the first time since he was injured in Game 4 of the first-round series against Houston, Curry was rusty for three quarters and sensational down the stretch after the Warriors trailed by as much as 16 points.

Originally expected to play about 25 minutes off the bench, Curry picked up a heavier workload in the second half after Shaun Livingston, who had been starting in his absence, was ejected in the second quarter after arguing a call and picking up two technical fouls.

The Warriors can win the series Wednesday night at home in Game 5. A news conference announcing Curry’s award is scheduled for 5pm ET in Oakland on Tuesday.

Curry was followed in the vote by Kawhi Leonard of San Antonio, LeBron James of Cleveland and Oklahoma City pair Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Curry’s Warriors team-mate Draymond Green was seventh.

Damian Lillard finished with 36 points and 10 assists for Portland.

Curry’s fast-break lay-up gave the defending champions a 120-118 lead with 2:21 left in the extra period. He followed with a three-pointer, strutting and pumping his fist in celebration.

“You knew he’d catch his rhythm eventually,” Klay Thompson said. “He’s probably the best player in the world, the best shooter of all-time. He was getting good looks. We’ll take those all day.”

Harrison Barnes’ layup extended the lead to 125-118 and Portland couldn’t catch up. Thompson finished with 23 for the Warriors.

Curry finally made his first three of the game to give the Warriors a 103-100 lead with 4:35 left in regulation, but Pesses in training.The striker could see action tonight against Chelsea.Arteta stated on Monday: “Well, it will depend on the circumstances: the players we have available, his performance, the way he trains, the impact that he makes every time he playortland was ahead in the final minute before Barnes tied it at 111-all with a three-pointer with 51 seconds left. Both Lillard and Curry missed to force the OT.

Curry led the Warriors to an NBA-record 73 wins in the regular season, a year after leading the team to its first NBA championship in 40 years. He averaged just over 30 points per game this season.

“Remarkable,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I mean, he looked fresh. He had his rhythm. He made tough shots, he made nice passes, he fought through screens. Obviously 17 points in overtime. It was a hell of a performance.”

The Trail Blazers narrowed the series to 2-1 on Saturday night when Lillard scored 40 points in a 120-108 Portland victory while Golden State was still without its star guard. The Blazers became the only team to defeat the Warriors twice this season.

Curry came off the bench with 5:56 left in the first quarter and Portland up 16-2. His only points in the quarter came off a pair of jumpers before he went back to the bench.

Livingston felt he was fouled just before halftime and was thrown out after arguing with referee Scott Foster. The 12-year veteran guard was averaging 12.1 points and 5.Oxlade-Chamberlain up and running in preseason.The 24-year-old managed just a pair of substitute appearances last season after suffering a devastating knee injury the previous April.Jurgen Klopp has described the England midfielder as a new signing a5 assists in the playoffs. He had started six of the eight playoff games while Curry nursed his knee injury.

Portland led 67-57 at the half, scoring a franchise playoff-record 41 points in the second quarter alone. Lillard led all scorers with 17 points.

Curry said his legs were sore after the game.

“To be expected,” he said. “I pride myself in the work I put in in the offseason to get through the 82-game schedule and be fresh for the playoffs. I was off my feet for a week and some change. You obviously lose a little bit but deep down when I got the work the last four days and broke a sweat and put the time in, that helped me get through these 38 minutes.”

New York Knicks forward Cleanthony Early shot in early-morning attack

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small forward Cleanthony Early was held up at gunpoint and shot in the right leg during an early-morning attack in Queens on Wednesday.

Early, 24, who had played 29 seconds inrs are holding firm in their demands for Aston Villa target Alfredo Morelos.The Premier League side are determined to sign a new attacker, with the Colombian international the man they believe can get them enough goals to stay in the league.But Footb the Knicks’ 108-96 victory over the Pistons earlier that night, was shot in his right leg while traveling in an Uber car, detectives said. The attack took place at about 4am after Early left a strip club in the Maspeth neighborhood of Queens.

According to the New York Daily News, Early, 24, was surrounded by four to six people wearing ski masks and robbed of his items and jewelry – including a gold necklace and gold caps on his teeth, souool defender Glen Johnson has backed Manchester United’s move for Harry Maguire before the end of the summer window. United and Leicester City are still haggling over terms for the England international.“If United have come calling again, they knowrces said. Early was taken to Elmhurst hospital in stable condition, and was later being transported to another hospital. His injury does not appear to be life-threatening.

“We are aware of what occurred with Cleanthony Early this morning and are relieved that he is not in a life-threatening situation,” the Knicks said in a statement. “We ill not comment any further until we receive more information.”

Early, who grew up in the Bronx, is in his second season with the Knicks. He was drafted in 2014 after attending Wichita State.

The theft comes about 10 days after Knicks forward Derrick Williams was robbed of $617,000 in jewelry from his home. He had taken home two women from a Manhattan club. Police are still looking for suspects.

Williams has declined to comment on the theft, but the case raised questions about whether players should have a curfew like other professional sports. In April, Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copelay Maguire feels they’d be further up the table if not for defensive lapses this season.He would much prefer a few ugly wins and a festive charge that puts United bang in the top-four picture.Ahead of today’s trip to Watford, Maguire admitted: “Thatnd, his girlfriend and another woman were stabbed following a late-night argument on the street near a Manhattan nightclub.

Knicks coach Derek Fisher was asked about the policy at a news conference after Williams was robbed.

“I don’t really have to get into our policies of what you can and can’t do,” he told reporters last week. “We don’t have a curfew like in the NFL or other sports do on certain nights. It’s an unfortunate incident.”

NFL playoff previews: talented Chiefs to upset Patriots and Manning to spur Broncos

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We all have dreams. For some people, that dream might entail winning the lottery. For Rams defensive end Chris Long, to make it on to a local news broadcast as a person buying lottery tickets. Happily for him, but even more so for us, dreams sometimes come true.

But perhaps your personal dream involves winning an online predictions game? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. I can tell you that a whopping 49 people called all four games correctly in our Pick The Playoffs contest on wild card weekend, which is way too many to list up here, but I will post the overall standings in the comments section imminently.

Until then, it’s time to make your picks for the divisional round.

Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots (Saturday 4.35pm ET/9.35pm GMT)

Cast your mind back to 29 September 2014. The Chiefs have just blasted the Patriots 41-14 in a game so lopsided that many of us struggled to make sense of it. if we were witnessing the beginning of the end of Tom Brady and New England’s era of dominance (but hey, ).

Bill Belichick and so did his team, guffawing all their way to another Super Bowl triumph. With hindsight, the lesson from that September game was not that the Patriots were slipping, but that Andy Reid has some good ideas for how to undermine them.

So you can believe Belichick when he says that these opponents present a “big challenge”. You can know that Brady is speaking from bitter experience when he praises the Chiefs’ ability to “force you into a load of bad football”. You can certainly buy that described Kansas City as the “worst possible opponent” for New England.

It’s not just that the Chiefs beat them so handily last time out. It’s not just that they are riding an 11-game winningderlecht player-manager Vincent Kompany is interested in signing veteran defender Ashley Williams.Kompany is eyeing the veteran to bolster his struggling side, according to reports.The former Manchester City captain has overseen just one win this sea streak, or that they demolished the Texans 30-0 last week. In the end, what will make the Patriots wary is simply the fact that the Chiefs are a talented, well-coached football team. One that runs the ball effectively, comes after you on defense and owns the second-best turnover ratio (+14) in the league.

The bookmakers make New England a five-point favourite, and understandably so. This team is 14-3 at home in the playoffs with Brady at quarterback. The injury situation, furthermore, looks favourable.

A wildcard bye gave the Patriots time to get healthier, and Julian Edelman is scheduled to return, although Rob Gronkowski missed practice Thursday with a knee injury. The Chiefs are still sweating on Jeremy Maclin, Tamba Hali, Justin Houston and Spencer Ware – each of whom has missed practice time since playing in the win over Houston. Such uncertainty makes me wary of picking the upset. But I’m doing it anyway.

Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals (Saturday 8.15pm ET/Sunday 1.15am GMT)

Some will call this a foregone conclusion. It is only three weeks since the Cardinals obliterated Green Bay 38-8 in Glendale, recording as many sacks of Aaron Rodgers as their opponents did points. There is a line of thought that says this gap is too wide to be bridged.

And perhaps it is. But then again, perhaps not. Did we not just watch the Vikings, beaten 38-7 by the Seahawks last month, come within one fluffed field goal of overturning the same opponents on wild card weekend? Granted, the second game was played in far more challenging weather conditions, but these were still the same teams.

The Packers have always been a resilient group under Mike McCarthy. They are one of only two teams – along with the Patriots – to have made the playoffs in each of the last seven years. Rodgers has endured a trying year amidst an offense decimated by injury, but in rallying the team from an 11 point deficit to rout Washington last weekend, he reminded us of why it is always unwise to write him off prematurely.

With all that being said, Arizona still have reasons to feel confident. No quarterback can orchestrate a victory when he’s lying flat on his back. If the Cardinals’ pass rush is even 50% as productive as it was in the last meeting, that would still be a significant upgrade on what Washington managed.

Green Bay are hopeful of having starting left tackle David Bakhtiari back in their line-up for the first time since week 15, which would be a major boost. I do think that this game is going to look drastically different to the previous meeting, and likely will be decided by one score. But I am still inclined to give the edge to the home team.

Seattle Seahawks @ Carolina Panthers (Sunday 1.05pm ET/6.05pm GMT)

It was a victory in Seattle last October that gave us the first real hint as to how good this Carolina team could be. Sure, they were already 4-0 before their trip to CenturyLink Field, but back then so were the Atlanta Falcons. It was one thing to beat up on mediocre teams, as the Panthers had to that point, quite another to overcome a 10-point fourth quarter deficit and defeat the reigning NFC champions on their own patch.

Cam Newton won over a few doubters that day, demonstrating that he had the composure to drag his team across the line in a hostile setting. It was a first big step on the way to establishing himself as the frontrunner to be named as this season’s MVP.

Voting for that award has already closed, so his performance in the postseason will not affect the outcome. But that does not mean he has nothing left to prove. Newton’s critics still argue that his postseason performances have been underwhelming thus far in his career. In three playoff games he has turned the ball over seven times, his only win arriving against an Arizona team featuring Ryan Lindley at quarterback.

It is possible that Newton might not need to play the starring role for his team to win this weekend. Carolina’s defense is formidable, and the only Seahawk who consistently found holes in it during that first meeting – Jimmy Graham – is unavailable. Even the potential return (far from guaranteed, at this stage) of Marshawn Lynch should not be overstated. The Panthers held him to a measly 54 yards on 17 carries the last time they met.

On the other hand, this is not the same Seahawks offense that we saw back then. with the best series of performances in his career, and he did it by spending more time in the pocket. He remains a brilliant freelancer – as we saw on the broken play that became a vital 35-yard gain against the Vikings, but he has more ways to hurt a defense than he did in October.

With the forecasts calling for temperatures of around 50F, the Seahawks’ new aerial assault is unlikely to be disarmed by the weather – as occurred in Minnesota. And if this were to become a higher-scoring game than anticipated, I might favour the team and the quarterback who have been here and done it before.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos (Sunday 4.40pm ET/9.40pm GMT)

Gary Kubiak did his best to nip any controversy in the bud, naming Peyton Manning over Brock Osweiler as his playoff starter more than a week ahead of time. But is a quick decision necessarily the right decision? Manning did a solid job as he returned to the field and rescued a win against the Chargers in week 17, but he has still not thrown a touchdown pass since November.

Would it not be fairer to give Brock Osweiler this chance after he steered Denver into the playoffs in the first place? Can we really blame injuries alone for Manning’s 17 interceptions in nine games to start the year? Then again, how could we overlook the fact that the Broncos went 7-2 in that stretch?

Overwhelmed by all these questions, local media seem to have given up altogether – of fourth-graders to offer a definitive verdict instead. The truth is that there might not be a right answer in this instance, since both quarterbacks’ performances have been imperfect. But with Osweiler missing practice due to a knee injury this week, Manning’s simple availability to prepare is a significant mark in his favour.

Either way, the Bro United.Di Maria was given the famous number 7 jersey when he arrived at Old Trafford from Real Madrid in 2014.But he failed to live up to expectations and was sold to PSG after just one season at the club.Di Maria told Ligue 1 on why he took the No.ncos might find themselves in a healthier position than Pittsburgh, for whom Ben Roethlisberger is hoping to start but presumably only if the team’s coaching staff can find enough duct tape to hold him together. This has been a bruising year for the Steelers signal caller, and even if he does make it through to Sunday he might have to do without top target (and, y’know, the league’s best receiver) Antonio Brown – who is working his way through the NFL’s concussion protocol.

There was optimism earlier in the week that DeAngelo Williamrs believe they will be counting Kylian Mbappe as a teammate next season.The France striker is a top summer target for Real Madrid and has also been linked with Manchester City in the French press this week.La Sexta says PSG players are convinced Mbas might at least return at running back, but that has receded in recent days. With all of these players healthy, I might have backed Pittsburgh, my preseason Super Bowl pick, to pull off another road win. But with so many key figures ailing, this feels like a bridge too far.

Could the Panthers be the most likeable NFL team in 30 years?

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With six games left in the season, the are on pace to make history. Yes, there’s the opportunity to go 16-0, which would be an impressive feat indeed. But the Panthers are threatening to do something far more notable, something that was thought to be impossible in Roger Goodell’s NFL. They could be … hold onto your butts … an NFL team that is legitimately fun.

If you are not entertained by Cam Newton’s outstanding play this year, or if you don’t like that his performance on the field has allowed him to dance in the end zone and , then you can save yourself some time and click away from this column straight away. Maybe there’s an article somewhere out there championing Andy Dalton for looking out for America’s children and the “integrity” of the game as . A column like that, or your angry aunt’s Facebook feed, might be more your style.

For the rest of the sports world, Cam Newton is entertaining. He’s fun. Believe it or not, entertainment and fun is kind of what draws most fans to sports in the first place. No little kid falls in love with football over concussions, TV timeouts, uniform violations, charity initiatives that , daily fantasy controversies, Greg Hardy, tone deaf commissioners, incomprehensible rules on what constitutes a catch, torn ligaments, missed extra points, touchbacks, backup quarterbacks or endless video replay. Yet all that is increasingly what defines the NFL. If not for players and personalities like Cam Newton, who actually dare to openly enjoy the game, the modern NFL would easily supplant church as Sunday’s most yawn-inducing institution.

Some players dance after touchdowns, some players hand the ball directly to the ref. Neither one is wrong. Variety is the spice of life and all that, right? At least Cam Newton didn’t focus group test his post-TD celebration first like Russell Wilson likely would have for maximum branding. Yet there still remain people upset that Cam Newton “dabs.” He just played a game on Sunday against a team called the REDSKINS and Newton, the smiling guy on the undefeated team, is the big problem? It’s a remarkable world we live in.

The 2015 Panthers are so much more than Cam Newton, though. Even if you’re part of the vocal anti-dabbing community, or if you remain unable to get past him taking , there’s plenty to like about Carolina.

Love old-time, hard-hitting defense? The Panthers are fifth in the in points allowed. Prefer explosive offense? Despite losing star receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the season to injury in August, Carolina is somehow third in the league in scoring at 29.9 points per game (and that’s sure to go way up with another game against the Saints remaining on the schedule).

Are you a fan of fat guy touchdowns? . Enjoy the films of Sandy Bullock? The Panthers . Appreciate funny Twitter accounts or just anything that craps all over Dan Snyder? . Want to watch a shutdown cornerback who isn’t completely overexposed? Check out Josh Norman. Like players who are active in the community? Carolina gives you , and . (. Yes, it appears that post-TD dabbing doesn’t necessarily make a man rotten to his core.) Are you entertained by fun names? Carolina has a guy named Star and another called Fozzy. Entertained by fun names and have the sense of humor of an 11 year-old boy? Carolina’s practice squad features Cox and a Ball. And are you just a little bit worried that the Panthers have too much fun, considering ? Do not fear. They have Derek Anderson as Newton’s backup, so he’ll make sure they .

Barring Roger Goodell implementing emergency rules that ban non-league approved enjoyment, the Panthers could go down as fun a team as the 1999 “Greatest Show On Turf” St Louis Rams. That team featured a supermarket stock boy turned NFL superstar in Kurt Warner, do-everything back Marshall Faulk and a head coach in Dick Vermeil who seemed to react to most every touchdown by sobbing uncontrollably. That was a fun NFL team to root for and watch.

Before the ‘99 Rams, the 1985 Chicago Bears were the NFL’s fun benchmark. They featured Walter Payton, Refrigerator Perry, Jim McMahon, Mike Ditka and The Super Bowl Shuffle, a song released tFiorentina now expect Borja Valero to stay with Inter Milan.The midfielder has been linked with Fiorentina.“There is zero chance for Borja to be back in the Viola jersey,” Fiorentina director Daniele Pradè told FCInter1908.it.“He is staying with the Nerazzurri, a marvellous squad. “He is not going anywhere, not to Spain and not to Fiorentina. He is 100 per cent staying with Inter.”hree months before the team actually won a title. Just imagine Cam Newton dropping a rap anthem right now about winning the Super Bowl. The heat generated from the takes would boil Earth’s oceans. But in 1985, the general reaction to the Bears video was: “Ha. That’s fun.” Maybe Ronald Reagan’s America really was a utopia after all.

We need the Panthers. They are the NFL’s best shot at beating the Patriots and our greatest hop34-year-old will call time on his City career at the end of the season following 10 trophy-laden years at the Etihad Stadium.”I moved to Eibar a very short time before the beginning of the 2004-05 season and it was the only one available,” he told the for making the NFL fun again. If that’s not enough for you, consider that they’re playing the Cowboys this week on Thanksgiving. Cam Newton can humiliate Greg Hardy and Jerrynsigne has apologised to fans for their defeat to Roma.Roma won 2-1 on the day.“We apologise to the fans, as we know that we can do better, but sometimes there are incidents like the ones on Wednesday that influence us,” Insigne told Radio Kiss Kis Jones in front of the entire nation. If that’s not worth dancing over, then nothing is.

Andy Murray warms up for US Open by reaching Cincinnati semi-finals

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After a week playing in the dark, with thunder and lightning for occasional companions, burst into the warm midwest sunlight on Friday afternoon and heads for New York this week with renewed vigour and a smile on his face.

The glow of victory was still hard won, Richard Gasquet delaying by a set Murray’s progress into the semi-finals of the Cincinnati Masters, but the Scot looks good for a shot at his third title here.

Less than 16 hours after that finished closer to midnight than he would have liked, 10 days before the US Open – – Murray overcame early jitters to win 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in just over two hours.

If Murray reaches Sunday’s final, he will squeeze out Roger Federer from the second seeding and that will considerably boost his chances of adding to his 2012 breakthrough major at his favourite tournament outside Wimbledon. He won that with a bad back, against a rampaging Novak Djokovic; after surgery and a long recovery period, Murray is as fit now as he has ever been. His odds, surely, have shortened since then. It could be his time again.

“I think I did well to come through that one,” said Murray after the game. “I wasn’t feeling great last night. I had a much shorter warm-up today [after his late finish against Dimitrov]. I only hit fs of the Carabao Cup after beating Burton Albion.Despite making nine-changes to the side that beat Southampton 9-0 on Friday, the Foxes were dominant against the League One outfit.Kelechi Iheanacho opened the scoring after seven minutes, with Youri Tor like 50 minutes.

“It’s important in terms of seeding for the US Open. That would be nice, to have that locked up, knowing I’ll be on a separate side of draw to Novak and possibly Roger. It could still turn out I don’t have to play either of them, as I may notthis summer.The Mirror says Bournemouth are eying another raid on the Championship for Leeds midfielder Phillips.The Cherries have already signed defender Lloyd Kelly from Bristol City for £13m and are keen to add Phillipfailing to qualify for the Champions League this season.Tuttosport says Juve are eager to bring Paul Pogba back to Turin this summer and are concerned by reports the Frenchman is prepared to now stay and sign a new deal at Old Trafford.However, whiles, 23, to their rostrum of r make the semi-finals. I don’t take anything for granted. But if you do get there it’s slightly easier if you don’t have to come up against one of those two.”

Djokovic, , will still start as favourite at Flushing Meadows but he has to manage the sore elbow that inhibited him in Montreal and again in the third round here – which did not prevent him for defeat in the French Open final.

Djokovic has an unexpected opponent in the semi-finals, Alexandr Dolgopolov, whose quirky game was too much for the sixth seed, Tomas Berdych, the Ukrainian qualifier winning 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and a quarter.

• This article was amended on 25 August 2015 because Alexandr Dolgopolov is Ukrainian, rather than Russian as an earlier version said.

US Open 2015: order of play for Saturday 5 September

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Play begins on all courts at 11am ET/4pm BST

Arthur Ashe Stadium

(5) Petra Kvitova (Cze) v (32) Anna Karolina Schmiedlova (Svk), (29) Philipp Kohlschreiber (Ger) v (2) Roger Federer (Swi), (20) Victoria Azarenka (Blr) v (11) Angelique Kerber (Ger), Shelby Rogers (USA) v (2) Simona Halep (Rom), (30) Thomaz Bellucci (Bra) v (3) Andy Murray (Gbr)

Louis Armstrong Stadium

(18) Andrea Petkovic (Ger) v Johanna Konta (Gbr), (13) John Isner (USA) v Jiri Vesethout each other.Chris Wood and Ashley Barnes have been excellent playing up front together this season.”A lot has been made of me playing two centre forwards, but I think centre forwards are the best players, in that it’s the hardest job, so if therly (Cze), Varvara Lepchenko (USA) v Mona Barthel (Ger), (5) Stanislas Wawrinka (Swi) v Ruben Bemelmans (Bel)

Grandstand

(24) Bernard Tomic (Aus) v (12) Richard Gasquet (Fra), (16) Sara Errani (Ita) v (22) Samantha Stosur (Aus), (20) Viktor Troicki (Ser) v Donald Young (USA), Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (Cze) v (24) Sabine Lisicki (Ger)

Cour new goal-kick rules.A significant change is coming to the Premier League this season, with defenders allowed to come into their own penalty box during a goal-kick.Opposition players must remain outside the box, but can stand right on the edge to attt 5

Eric Butorac (USA) & Scott Lipsky (USA) v Gilles Muller (Lux) & Aisam-Ul-Haq Qureshi (Pak), (1) Martina Hingis (Swi) & Sania Mirza (Ind) v Timea Bacsinszky (Swi) & Chia-Jung Chuang (Tpe), Jeremy Chardy (Fra) & Lukasz Kubot (Pol) v (9) Daniel Nestor (Can) & Edouard Roger-Vasselin (Fra), Sachia Vickery (USA) & Francis Tiafoe (USA) v Su-Wei Hsieh (Tpe) & Henri Kontinen (Fin), Eugenie Bouchard (Can) & Nick Kyrgios (Aus) v (4) Martina Hingis (Swi) & Leander Paes (Ind)

Court 6

Aliaksandr Bury (Blr) & Denis Istomin (Uzb) v Dominic Inglot (Gbr) & Robert Lindstedt (Swe), (3) Timea Babos (Hun) & Kristina Mladenovic (Fra) v Dominika Cibulkova (Svk) & Magdalena Rybarikova (Svk), Frantisek Cermak (Cze) & Jiri Vesely (Cze) v (3) Jean-Julien Rojer (Ned) & Horia Tecau (Rom)

Court 7

(7) Marcel Granollers (Spa) & Marc Lopez (Spa) v Lucas Pouille (Fra) & Sergiy Stakhovsky (Ukr), (6) Rohan Bopanna (Ind) & Florin Mergea (Rom) v Mariusz Fyrstenberg (Pol) & Santiago Gonzalez (Mex), Lisa Raymond (USA) & Jamie Murray (Gbr) v (6) Yaroslava Shvurgen Klopp admits he’s a big fan of Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy.The Reds go to Leicester on Boxing Day having won the Club World Cup.”We will try [to stop him],” Klopp said of Vardy.”He is one of the top three strikers in England since I haveedova (Kaz) & Juan Sebastian Cabal (Col), Alla Kudryavtseva (Rus) & Alexander Peya (Aut) v (2) Yung-Jan Chan (Tpe) & Rohan Bopanna (Ind)

Court 11

(4) Marcin Matkowski (Pol) & Nenad Zimonjic (Ser) v Marco Cecchinato (Ita) & Andreas Seppi (Ita), Samuel Groth (Aus) & Lleyton Hewitt (Aus) v Colin Fleming (Gbr) & Treat Huey (Phi), Eugenie Bouchard (Can) & Elena Vesnina (Rus) v (6) Raquel Kops-Jones (USA) & Abigail Spears (USA), (11) Sara Errani (Ita) & Flavia Pennetta (Ita) v Asia Muhammed (USA) & Maria Sanchez (USA)

Court 13

(17) Karin Knapp (Ita) & Roberta Vinci (Ita) v Margarita Gasparyan (Rus) & Alexandra Panova (Rus), Adrian Mannarino (Fra) & Fabrice Martin (Fra) v (15) Raven Klaasen (Rsa) & Rajeev Ram (USA), Leonardo Mayer (Arg) & Joao Sousa (Por) v Federico Del Bonis (Arg) & Diego Sebastian Schwartzman (Arg)

Court 17

(6) Tomas Berdych (Cze) v (31) Guillermo Garcia-Lopez (Spa), (26) Flavia Pennetta (Ita) v Petra Cetkovska (Cze), Bethanie Mattek-Sands (USA) & Sam Querrey (USA) v Daria Gavrilova (Aus) & John Peers (Aus), (15) Kevin Anderson (Rsa) v (20) Dominic Thiem (Aut)

USA at the Women’s World Cup: what we learned from the group stage

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1) USA’s attacking prowess isn’t what it used to be

Here’s a fun fact: Going into their easiest match of the group stage against Nigeria, the Americans had been shut out five times in their previous 13 games since December. But before that, it took them 176 games to be shut out five times, stretching all the way back to 2007. Against a Nigeria team that appeared to have a pretty poor defense in their previous group games, the Americans managed just one goal – even after Nigeria went down to 10 players for 20 minutes.

There’s no question that the world’s competition is getting stronger. All we have to do is look at upsets in the group stage and the struggles of the top teams, such as Tuesday’s other results, which saw Sweden draw to Australia and Cameroon beat Switw Real Madrid fullback Ferland Mendy has been ruled out for a month after picking up a thigh injury in pre-season.The latest blow for Los Blancos comes just days after Marco Asensio suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament which will keep him on thzerland. And as the rest of the world improves, the numbers suggest USA are having trouble maintaining the performance gap they’ve enjoyed throughout the years. The big question going into this Women’s World Cup was to win the toughest World Cup to date. Early results suggest the answer is perhaps not.

2) Abby Wambach is still an important player

We know some things about Wambach that might make it seem like she shouldn’t play a huge role in this World Cup. She is 35 years old and visibly slowing down. She is less productive than she has been in the past. The team has plenty of other talented, young, productive forwards that can play big roles. But when the USA needed a goal to top the Group of Death and advance to the knockouts, Wambach could be counted on to make it happen.

As good as Wambach is on set pieces – she scored Tuesday’s game-winner over Nigeria off a corner – she has a toolkit of intangibles the team seems to rely on, such as her experience and leadership. The team played with a spark against Nigeria that they didn’t have straight out of the gate against Sweden. Maybe Wambach is that X-factor or maybe she’s not, but it’s hard to argue that she didn’t score the most crucial USA goal of the group stage. Her role with the team , and she seemed to provide an answer.

3) Hope Solo’s off-the-field distractions don’t matter

This shouldn’t be news to anyone, but Solo has been involved with some off-the-field issues. Her personal problems have been distilled into one code word: “distractions”. That’s a good code word when there seems to be a new detail or wrinkle, and a new article or column everyday about her arrest, which took place nearly a year ago. For some reason, Senator Richard Blumenthal didn’t think there were more important things going on in Connecticut during this World Cup and asked US Soccer to investigate her arrest.

But it’s now safe to say, these distractions simply don’t matter. Firstly, they aren’t affecting Solo’s on-field performance. She came up with two massive saves against Australia that were probably responsible for securing USA’s win to open the tournament. The reaction from the players was universal: Only Solo could have made those big-time saves. That leads into the second point, which is that with the way Solo is playing, she is worth every bit of trouble she causes for US Soccer’s public relations team. Solo is simply too valuable to bench.

4) The USA defense may be what wins them the World Cup

Can the Americans win a World Cup when arguably their two best players are their two starting centerbacks, Becky Sauerbrunn and Julie Johnston? USA coach Jill Ellis thinks so: “If you don’t give up any goals, you have a hell of chance,” she quipped after USA beat Nigeria, in another performance where the biggest plays seemed to happen in the Americans’ half.

When it’s not Sauerbrunn and Johnston tracking back and beating some of the fastest forwards in the tournament, it’s Meghan Klingenberg making a monster save off the line with her head. Add in nham star Harry Kane has been ruled out of action until April with a hamstring injury. The 26-year-old suffered the injury during Spurs’ loss to Southampton on New Year’s Day.He will return two months before Euro 2020 commences.”Following ongoing assSolo and her heroics, and USA are looking defensively more than capable of helping secure a World Cup come 5 July.

5) The real tournament begins now

The Group of Death didn’t end up that deadly. Indeed it probably earned its name in large part because No5-ranked Sweden were controversially not seeded. But Sweden did not live up to theiral Madrid, the Croatia international completed his spell a Europa League title winner last night.The midfielder is now due to return to Madrid, though AS says Kovacic’s preference is to stay with Chelsea next season.His situation raises the prospect responsibility, drawing with both Australia and Nigeria, teams the USA managed to beat, albeit unconvincingly. To compare it to the men’s World Cup last year, Sweden were like Portugal in the USA’s group – uninspiring where they were supposed to be deadly.

So what lies ahead for the Americans? A team like Germany that beat Ivory Coast, 10-0 and Thailand 4-0, maybe. Perhaps a team like reigning world champions Japan, who have swept their group. The last 16 should gift the USA a low-ranked team, but after that, all bets are off. USA won’t be able to afford another subpar showing once the win-or-go-home format kicks in.

Wisconsin top Arizona to return to Final Four

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Frank Kaminsky and the Wisconsin Badgers hung on to make the Final Four again.

‘Frank the Tank’ scored 29 points, Sam Dekker added his second straight career high of 27 and the West Regional’s top seed beat No2 Arizona 85-78 on Saturday to reach consecutive Final Fours for the first time in school history.

The Badgers (35-3) denied the Wildcats (34-4) a Final Four berth for the second straight year, having beaten them by one point in overtime in Anaheim a year ago when their seeds were reversed.

Wisconsin and 67-year-old coach Bo Ryan head to Indianapolis next week hoping for another shot at undefeated and top-seeded Kentucky, who beat the Badgers by one point in the national semifinals last year.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Brandon Ashley scored 17 points each for the Wildcats, who once again failed to deliver a firstg Real Betis midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.The Manchester Evening News says City are monitoring Lo Celso’s situation this summer with the midfielder primed for a move away from Real Betis.City boss Pep Guardiola will assess the 23-year-old’s performanc-time Final Four appearance for coach Sean Miller. TJ McConnell added 14 points in his last college game and Kaleb Tarczewski and Gabe York had 11 each.

Just like a year ago, Kaminsky came up big for the Badgers. He sidestepped and slithered, pivoted and deked in eremier League Golden Boot.The England international took his tally to 11 in Wednesday’s win over Aston, leaving him second behind only Jamie Vardy on the scorers list.”He has the potential to go even higher,” the skipper said. “We know we are still iluding the Wildcats’ lockdown defense. Arizona tossed their biggest bodies on the seven-footer and he still found ways to score inside and out.

The Badgers hit 10 of 12 three-point attempts in the second half, outscoring the Wildcats 30-3 from long rangs Perez’s departure for Roma was a “mutual decision”.Perez’s move is due to be confirmed in the coming hours.Setien said, “It was a mutual decision and really what I’ve discussed with the lad has been very clear.”The reality is that I don’t usually te.

Arizona pressured full court in the last four minutes, making for some perilous possessions by the Badgers as they darted and passed trying to safely get the ball down court. A long inbounds pass by Wisconsin was nearly intercepted before Josh Gasser grabbed it, was fouled and made both free throws to keep the Badgers ahead by 10 points.

The Wildcats twice got within five points in the last 2½ minutes, but both times Dekker dashed their hopes with arcing three-pointers.

Kaminsky led the Badgers’ offensive outburst to start the second half. He scored eight of their 14 points, working their inside-outside game to perfection in finding Dekker for a three-pointer to put Wisconsin ahead 44-36.

Hollis-Jefferson and Tarczewski picked up their third fouls and freshman Stanley Johnson left the game to have his contact lens adjusted, all in quick succession. It didn’t faze the Wildcats, who went on a 10-3 run to close to 47-46.

Dekker hit Wisconsin’s fifth three-pointer of the second half, launching a 10-2 spurt that gave the Badgers a 57-48 lead. Nigel Hayes added a three and Kaminsky scored on a reverse layup before getting called for his third foul.

Arizona led 33-30 at halftime after missing seven of eight field goals to start the game.

The Badgers jumped to a 10-2 lead to start the game, with Ashley going to the bench after two quick fouls. He soon returned, scoring six straight points that tied the game and gave the Wildcats a stronger presence in defending Kaminsky, who had 13 points in the half.

Tarczewski and Kaminsky were a tangle of arms and legs in the post, and their mouths were running too. Tarczewski dunked on Kaminsky, who scored on the next play and had something to say about it.

Philadelphia Eagles swapping Nick Foles for Sam Bradford, source says

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Two people familiar with the trade say Chuba Akpom.The Hammers have been keeping tabs on Akpom following his move to PAOK from Arsenal, having helped win their first title in 34 years last season.They are now considering a bid for the 23 year-old before next Thursday’s deadline after wat the and St Louis Rams have agreed to swap quarterbacks Nick Foles and Sam Bradford.

Both people spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the teams are still working on the draft picks involved in the deal. Bradford hasn’t played since his 2013 season ended after he tore his left ACL. The former No1 overall pick tore it again in preseason last year.

has stunned him after their 4-0 thumping of Southampton.The Reds have now won 24 of 25 games this season to move 22 points clear at the top of the Premier League.Liverpool have now taken 100 points from a possible 102 and, when told none of the asse

Foles had a breakout season for the Eagles in 2013 and was offensive MVP of the Pro Bowl. He missr-old joined on transfer deadline day from Anderlecht on loan with obligation to buy for a total €7m plus bonuses.“I believe this is a great club, every player dreams of playing for a club of this calibre and I’m delighted to be a part of this pred the last eight games in 2014 after breaking his collarbone.

Foles is the latest star player to depart Philadelphia. He joins two-time All-Pro running back LeSean McCoy and Pro Bowl wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.