over Miami. Theyre pretty darn good, Seahawks GM Johin Laberecke 18.10.2019 07:47
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It lks like the pivotal weekend of the Premier League season with the top four all in action on a blockbuster Super Sunday. Its going to be fast and furious, and absolutely crucial to the outcome of the the title race.All four teams are 5/1 or less with Sky Bet to win the title. As things stand Leicester are their 15/8 favourites, Arsenal 2/1, Manchester City 10/3 and Tottenham at 5/1. Expect a big shake-up on Sunday. First up, its third against first. Arsenal against Leicester. All the pressure is on the Gunners. Its D-Day for them - if they lose surely its all over. Win and it really is game on with the gap at the top reduced to just two points.Sky Bet clearly expect Arsenal to do that as they are odds on at 7/10 to win in Sunday, with Leicester 7/2 and the draw a 3/1 chance.The onus is on Arsenal so Leicester can sit back, let the home side dominate possession and then try and pick them off as they have done repeatedly this season. The less they have of the ball, arguably the more dangerous they will be, which gives Arsene Wenger quite a tactical conundrum. Do they trust their quality and go on the attack, which could play in to Leicesters trap, or do they play with caution? Arsenal beat Leicester 5-2 at the King Power in their previous Premier League meeting The games where Leicester have struggled have been when teams have sat back and forced Claudio Ranieris side to break them down. Aston Villa and Bournemouth are the two most recent examples. That is not Wenger or Arsenals way. I cant wait because this is going to be absolutely fascinating.How big a mental barrier is getting over the line in a title race and winning the pivotal matches? On the last 11 occasions Arsenal have faced a team that was top of the table, they have won just once (D4, L6) and scored only four goals (conceding 1. The win against Bournemouth got the Gunners back on track and now they have to show theyve got the metal to be champions. The Gunners got their title charge back on track with victory over Bournemouth Leicester will have plenty of backers at 7/2. Wasnt it great to see them making headlines on bulletins as the new favourites for the title having been 5,000/1 at the start of the season?Its one of the great stories and them winning would be one of the biggest shocks in sporting, not just ftball, history. Its not one fluke punch, goal or shot. Its been consistent brilliance over seven months, which has taken everyone by surprise. Its brilliant for the game. Arsenal face defining moment Arsenal must prove mental strength against Leicester, says Alan Smith What makes it all the more remarkable is that after 25 games last season Leicester were bottom of the table with 17 points, and were staring down the barrel five points from safety. At the same stage this time around they are five points clear at the top.They may be title favourites but theyre still 15/8 despite the fact six of the last seven and ten of the last 12 teams to have led the Premier League table after 25 games have gone on to win the title (Arsenal led in 2007-08 but Man Utd won title, Chelsea led in 2013-14 but Man City won title). In any other year Tottenham would be a sensational story in their own right. Mauricio Pochettino has done an incredible job. They were a massive price themselves at the start of the season and are now down to 5/1 with Sky Bet to be crowned champions. I was a big Pochettino fan from his time at Southampton and put Tottenham up in this column to finish in the top four at the start of the season. Now Im wishing Id tipped them to win the title!They have a great opportunity, which theyve not had for a long time as this is the first time since the 1984-85 season that Tottenham have been in top two at this stage of a season. Win on Sunday and they really are in business. Manuel Pellegrini will be replaced by Pep Guardiola in the summer They could also be catching Manchester City at just the right time. Graeme Souness, Thierry Henry and Alan Smith discussed in the Super Sunday studio the effect the news that Pep Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini in the summer has, and will have, on the team and dressing rm.Graeme said it should be a positive with players desperate to impress ahead of Peps arrival. From the evidence of Saturdays defeat to Leicester, it seems to have had the opposite effect. Its hard to see t many punters steaming in on City at even money. Can Spurs stop Aguero? Can Tottenham stop in-form Sergio Aguero? They have not produced this season in the key matches. Incredibly, City have not won against any of the other sides currently in the top six. In fact, their last win against a top six side was all the way back in May 2015, and that was against Tottenham. Sergio Aguero has 14 goals in 18 league appearances for City this season They are so reliant on Sergio Aguero right now, who has scored seven of Citys last nine league goals, including each of the last four. His sht-out with Harry Kane is going to be vital.For all their troubles, City still have the best home record in the Premier League this season with 28 points from nine wins, one draw and three defeats. One of those defeats came last weekend but they havent lost successive home league games in over seven years.Tottenham havent won at the Etihad since May 2010 and have lost on their last five visits, but this current Spurs side have been lethal on the road and are currently on a club-record 11 Premier League away games unbeaten.Spurs could be popular at 13/5 as could the draw at 13/5. Pochettinos team are so hard to beat. However, its a fixture City usually win - they have won eight of the last ten meetings scoring 29 goals in the process - but Tottenham broke the spell, winning the first meeting this season 4-1 at White Hart Lane in September. Kevin De Bruyne put City ahead before Eric Dier, Toby Alderweireld, Harry Kane and Erik Lamela launched a Spurs onslaught. Sandwiched between those two matches we also have Aston Villa lking to win again to keep their great escape alive against a Liverpl side and manager who badly need a bst.What a day it promises to be. I hope you can join us live from the Etihad at 11.30am on Sky Sports 1.Dont miss a crucial kick! Watch all day on Super Sunday for £6.99 with a Sky Sports Day Pass from NOW TV - no contract required Also See: Who has the best striker? Can Spurs stop Aguero? The Sanchez factor Premier League questions ds.com/Womens-Maxx-Crosby-Inverted-Jersey/" target="_blank">Maxx Crosby Youth Jersey . -- There were a lot of firsts for the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night. ds.com/Womens-Josh-Jacobs-Inverted-Jersey/" target="_blank">Josh Jacobs Raiders Jersey . LUCIE, Fla. ds.com/Womens-Kenny-Stabler-Inverted-Jersey/" target="_blank">https://www.raiderssportsgds.com/Womens-Kenny-Stabler-Inverted-Jersey/ . The deal is pending a physical, assistant general manager Bobby Evans said. Traded from Seattle to Baltimore on Aug. 30, Morse also can play first base and right field to give manager Bruce Bochy some flexibility in writing his lineup. ds.com/Womens-John-Matuszak-Inverted-Jersey/" target="_blank">John Matuszak Womens Jersey . Vancouver Whitecaps and Toronto FC failed to make the postseason while Montreal Impact fell at the first hurdle losing heavily to Houston Dynamo in the Eastern Conference Knockout Round. ds.com/Womens-Willie-Brown-Inverted-Jersey/" target="_blank">Willie Brown Raiders Jersey . Cuban testified Thursday that he was upset when the companys CEO told him news that would reduce the value of his shares, for which hed paid $7.5 million. But he said he did nothing improper when he sold those shares over the next two days. Topics this week include the Browns next steps at quarterback, rkie signal-caller?Carson Wentzs sensational debut -- and what could have been -- plus, the connection Texans coach Bill OBrien had to his first-round pick.Browns forced to change QB plans -- againFor now, the best guess on the time?Robert Griffin III will miss is 10-12 weeks, per sources. With Griffin sidelined with a shoulder injury, Josh McCown becomes the starter, and rkie third-round pick Cody Kessler becomes the backup. But there are more questions there, as is usually the case at quarterback in Cleveland.Browns sources say Kessler is not close to?being ready to play -- which doesnt mean he wont -- but expectations for him arent particularly high. Yet there are those in the Browns building who think Griffins injury could turn out to be a gd thing for the franchise, because coach Hue Jackson was so focused on righting Griffin. The team now can move on and do what it needs.Where the Browns?go and what they do next are significant issues. Their recent track record at quarterback is not overly favorable. The quarterbacks the Browns loved in the offseason?were Jared Goff, Kessler and Griffin, per team sources. The quarterbacks they didnt care for were Carson Wentz and Dak Prescott, per the same sources. Those same men who?appear to have missed last offseason will be in charge of finding Clevelands next quarterback, whoever that is, this offseason. They need to find Clevelands quarterback of the future, which is tied to the other issue.Since rejoining the NFL in 1999, the Browns have had 25 starting quarterbacks, the most in the NFL. At the rate this is going, Kessler is likely to be the 26th, practice squad quarterback Kevin Hogan could be the 27th ... and either Deshaun Watson or DeShone Kizer, two of college ftballs top QBs, could be the 28th.--?Adam SchefterIts early, but Carson Wentz has traits to succeedTo be fair, it will take more than one game and probably more than a year to determine whether the Cleveland Browns blew it by not giving more consideration to draft Carson Wentz with the No. 2 overall pick.Nevertheless, before the Browns traded that pick to the Eagles, there were some NFL evaluators who agreed that Wentz fit the mold of an AFC North quarterback.At 6-ft-5, 235 pounds, Wentz has the prototype size of QBs such as the Steelers Ben Roethlisberger, the Ravens Joe Flacco and former Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer. Current Bengals QB Andy Dalton, though not as?big as those three quarterbacks, does not have a frail frame.The dome-free AFC North is portrayed as the NFLs real black-and-blue division because of its physical DNA. One personnel man opined that the quarterbacks in the division will not go physically unscathed but argued that their stature allows them to recover from injuries. In fact, every one of the aforementioned quarterbacks -- Roethlisberger, Flacco, Palmer and Dalton -- have missed games because of injuries.Wentz also is not immune to injury. Last October, he broke his wrist. The injury required surgery, but he came back to lead North Dakota State to an FCS national title. He also fractured ribs last month in his first preseason game,?but the Eagles deemed him ready to open the season as the starter when Sam Bradford was traded to the Vikings. They see him as a physically and mentally resilient quarterback but still emphasize that he needs to get the ball out of his hands quickly, because the pounding takes its toll.More than one personnel man also suggested Wentzs hand size (10 inches) projected well in a division that often plays in inclement weather later in the season (the NFC East would also qualify).Then is it a worthy counterpoint to note that Wentz played his college home games indrs at the Fargodome at North Dakota State? That did not bother one general manager, who pointed out that the Green Bay Packers largely practice indrs when the weather turns frosty, yet have a decided home-field advantage outdrs at Lambeau Field. The GM said Wentz being acclimated to?that?climate all his life was a more favorable factor.Its nothing more than a snapshot, but it was a snapshot taken by some evaluators before the 2016 draft.-- Chris MortensenBill OBrien commits to former commitmentAs the 2016 NFL draft approached, most expected Texans coach Bill OBrien to make a major push for one of his former Penn State recruits. And he did.Only it wasnt Penn State quarterback Christian Hackenberg, but rather Notre Dame wide receiver Will Fuller.When Fuller was starring at Roman Catholic High Schl in Philadelphia, his first scholarship offer came from none other than OBrien and Penn State. Fuller verbally committed to OBrien and Penn State. But when the Jerry Sandusky sanctions were handed down, he opened his recruiting again and opted for Notre Dame.When OBrien had another chance to land Fuller last spring, he and the Texans traded up one slot in the first round to draft the wide receiver who?escaped Penn State.Sure enough, Fuller reeled in five catches for 107 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. When OBrien was asked about how Fuller was able to bounce back with a strong game after dropping the first pass thrown in his direction, he knew why, perhaps better than anyone.The one thing I know about Will, having known him for a while, hes a very resilient guy, OBrien said. He grew up in a great family, hard-working parents. Im sure they taught him about, Lk, sometimes youre going to get knocked down. You have to be able to pick yourself back up. Thats something he does well.OBrien knows Fuller, trusts Fuller and believes in Fuller. Now, with Houston heading into Week 2 matchup vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, he has already been rewarded by him, t.-- Adam SchefterHammerhead?shows why fullbacks matterWhen Denver Broncos rkie fullback Andy Janovich broke lse for a 28-yard touchdown run in the season-opening win over the Panthers, the NFLs first rushing score of the 2016 season, former Cowboys great Daryl Mse Johnston noted that when he glanced at his Twitter account there were three mentions that he says were almost identical: Somewhere, Mse Johnston is smiling.ddddddddddddohnston was indeed smiling. He believes the fullback position, which was on a path toward NFL extinction, still has a future.Were seeing defenses, especially teams like the Arizona Cardinals, that are loading up the back eight essentially using a safety as that extra linebacker, and it gives an offense an opportunity for a fullback like Janovich to create some favorable matchups in blocking, said Johnston, who studies the game when prepping for his Fox Sports broadcast assignments. The big thing, though, is you have to find that guy who is not just a thumper, but one who can be versatile in formations, on a free release where he can recognize coverages and be a viable receiver down in that red zone, where points are a premium. Janovich appears to have that type of ability.A sixth-round draft pick, Janovich was a walk-on at Nebraska who earned a scholarship and became known as Hammerhead when he was the often the lead blocker for Ameer Abdullah, who had three 1,000-yard rushing seasons before being drafted by the Lions in 2015. Janovich also was a special teams standout, a must if a fullback is going to land a job in the NFL. His Hammerhead moniker has stuck with the Broncos. Janovich was on the field for almost half the offensive snaps in the opener against the Panthers.-- Chris MortensenGrowing branches from Patriots-Colts rivalryThe rivalry between New England and Indianapolis has been so gd that it has had a lasting impact on four teams this weekend not named the Patriots or the Colts.The general managers of the Titans and the Lions, who play each other Sunday, are Bill Belichick disciples. Tennessee GM Jon Robinson spent 12 years in New England (2002-2013), during which time he worked with Bob Quinn, who was with the Patriots from 2000-2015 and is now Detroits GM. The Patriot Ways already have come into play in Tennessee and Detroit, with Robinson and Quinns own influence on their respective rosters.The general managers of the Jaguars and the Chargers, who play each other Sunday, are Bill Polian disciples. Jacksonville GM Dave Caldwell spent 10 years with the Colts (1998-2007), during which time he worked with Tom Telesco, who was with the Colts from 1998-2012 and is now San Diegos GM. The Colts Ways already have come into play in Jacksonville and San Diego, with Caldwell and Telescos own influence on their respective rosters.So even in the NFL, trees grow branches. The tree that was the home of the NFLs best rivalry this century, Patriots vs. Colts, produced branches that now will be tangled Sunday.-- Adam SchefterEmptying out the notebkBrowns veteran QB Josh McCown, who takes over the starting job for injured Robert Griffin III, had a reasonable protest about the notion the Browns should tank for the No. 1 pick in 2017. McCown mentioned the need to respect veterans on the team such as tackle Joe Thomas. Thats not lip service to Thomas, who declined to push the front office for a trade to the Broncos last October when it was in discussion. The same sources say Thomas then privately cited the loyalty to other veterans in the Browns locker rm and the organization that made him the third overall pick in 2006.The most surprising statistic about Spencer Wares opening game for the Chiefs was?his seven catches for 129 yards. He had just?six catches for 5 yards in 2015. Hes got gd hands, Chiefs general manager?John Dorsey said. He was a pretty gd baseball player in high schl, gd enough to play baseball at LSU his freshman year. You cant be a gd baseball player and have bad hands.When the Ravens passed on overpaying pending free-agent receiver Torrey Smith in 2015, they knew they were subtracting a player who played to one of quarterback Joe Flaccos strengths -- deep-ball accuracy. Thats one reason they drafted Breshad Perriman (4.25 in the 40-yard dash)?last year, but Perriman missed his rkie season with an injury. Then GM Ozzie Newsome got insurance with Mike Wallace (4.33 in the 40) this offseason. Big plays from Flacco to Wallace (66-yard TD) and to Perriman (35 yards to help set up a field goal) were moments the Ravens needed to beat the Bills 13-7 in their opener.Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells has never been a proponent of paying cornerbacks huge bucks, though he acknowledges the cost of doing business is going up. Parcells, however, is a proponent of loading up on defensive backs. I tell my guys still coaching that you need more than four or five cornerbacks. You better have seven of those guys in todays game.The Patriots play the Dolphins on Sunday, one of three consecutive home games before Tom Brady returns from suspension. A breeze after a tough road win at Arizona? Maybe not. The Seahawks believe the Dolphins defense will be a challenge for any opponent after a narrow 12-10 home-opening win over Miami. Theyre pretty darn gd, Seahawks GM John Schneider said. Theyre deep, especially on the defensive line. ... Theyve got talented guys positionally playing where they should play.Titans coach Mike Mularkey this weekend will indirectly face his son, Patrick Mularkey, who is the Lions pro scouting crdinator. Its pretty neat, Mike Mularkey said. I actually asked him yesterday -- it never really dawned on me -- who my wife and his mom is rting for to win this game. I havent asked her yet, but its special, because Im proud of him. Very proud of the job hes done. I love that hes in this business, because I think hes really gd at what he does. Regardless, I think theres a win in this somehow, in the outcome of this game. ' ' '