Beside The Points For Thursday Oct 5 2017

All newsletters We’re launching a sports newsletter. 🏆  Join the squad. Subscribe See more MLB predictions See more NFL predictions Things That Caught My EyeUnpatriotic defenseThe Patriots offense has been great, as usual, but their defense is on pace to be the worst NFL defense since 2006. Looking at expected points added (EPA) per game, the Patriots have been coughing up 12.2 points per game and allowing an average 116.5 passer rating. [FiveThirtyEight]Lynx v. Sparks, Part II: Revenge of the LynxPrior to Wednesday, both the Lynx and Sparks scored exactly 908 points in their past 12 games — going back to the start of last year’s finals. The Lynx had won five and the Sparks seven, including last year’s title. But Minnesota won the latest round of this intense rivalry with a 85-76 victory over Los Angeles to win the Game 5 championship of the WNBA finals and seal their fourth title in seven years. [ESPN]Hockey has started!Dom Luszczyszyn over at The Athletic ran a massive fan poll to determine what NHL fans thought about the forthcoming season. Based on the wisdom of the crowds, Pittsburgh’s favored by 16 percent of respondents to repeat, followed by the Nashville Predators (11 percent chance to win), Washington Capitals (10 percent) and Tampa Bay Lightning (10 percent). [The Athletic]Dak could use a raiseCowboys quarterback Dak Prescott, who is still on his rookie contract, is making $540,000 in 2017. For prospective, Matthew Stafford of the Lions makes Dak’s entire salary in 10 game minutes, Mike Glennon of the Bears’ bench made it in 32 minutes of game, and Jay Cutler of Miami took only about 52 minutes of game time to make Dakbucks. [ESPN]Bring your child to work day gets a little too real in CalgaryJaromir Jagr, the 45-year-old who’s the second all-time point scorer in NHL history, signed a one-year contract with the Calgary Flames for $1 million and another million in bonuses. Jagr will be playing alongside the son of a player he was drafted alongside in 1990, and 10 team members were not born when Jagr won the Stanley Cup in 1991. [SportsNet Canada]Cleveland has hope again, ughThe MLB postseason is underway, with the Yankees defeating the Twins and the Diamondbacks defeating the Rockies in the wild card games. Cleveland is most favored to win the World Series — we give them a 26 percent chance of doing so — followed by the Dodgers, Astros and Nationals. [FiveThirtyEight]Big Number6 NBA ChimerasOnly six teams in the past 25 seasons have had three players with at least 25 percent usage over the course of the season: the 2016-17 Warriors, 2016-17 Cavaliers, 2008-09 Mavericks, 2007-08 Spurs, 2001-02 Bucks and 1999-2000 Bucks. This year between Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, the Minnesota Timberwolves may very well join that club. [FiveThirtyEight]Leaks from Slackwalt:Want that 400 word Post about my Jets Browns bet for Friday? Can file tomorrowgfoster:Yeah for sure. Does the Jets being half decent screw it up? I guess not…walt:Nahwalt:They’re also half not decentPredictions MLB Oh, and don’t forgetWatch the most delightful man in New York — with correct feelings about the Eagles — crush it at Jeopardy NFL read more

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The Falcons Are In Trouble But The Saints Might Be Back

TEN68TEN74TEN 12, CLE 9+1.2– NE68NE60ATL 7, NE 23-8.8– RKTEAMSEASONPOINTS PER GAMESEASONPOINTS PER GAMEDIFF.YEAR 2 RECORD The Falcons’ offensive decline is on track to be historicLargest changes in points per game between seasons, since 1970 * Through first six gamesSource: ESPN STATS & INFO IND55JAX58JAX 27, IND 0+10.8– ARI53LAR55ARI 0, LAR 33+5.1– PHI69PHI69WSH 24, PHI 34-2.9– 2Buffalo197530.0197617.5-12.52-12 According to ESPN Stats & Info, only one team has suffered a worse offensive drop-off — another version of the Falcons, back in 1973 — and only two other teams have undergone a similar decline in offensive potency in the past 40 years: the 2015 Dallas Cowboys and the 2011 Indianapolis Colts, both of which scored a dozen fewer points per game than they had the year prior. Those two teams had something in common: The Colts (2-14) lost franchise quarterback Peyton Manning for the entire year when he was forced to have (another) neck surgery prior to the start of season. Likewise, the 2015 Cowboys (4-12) suffered their worst season since 1989, mostly due to multiple severe injuries to their signal caller, Tony Romo, who started just four games. But while those teams spent the majority of the year toiling under the likes of Curtis Painter and Brandon Weeden, the Falcons have no such excuse. (It should be noted that the 2011 Colts would earn the right to draft Andrew Luck No.1, while the poor showing of the 2015 Cowboys paved the way to the team picking Ezekiel Elliott — but the Falcons aren’t in that much trouble yet.)The NFL is unforgiving, and every team’s misfortune creates an opportunity for someone else. Atlanta and Carolina’s inconsistencies this year have allowed a familiar division foe to become relevant again: the New Orleans Saints. After a spell of mediocrity that saw the Saints finish with a 7-9 record in each of the past three seasons, Sean Payton’s team appear to be on the rise, for now. The Saints have climbed to sixth in our NFL Rankings, with an Elo rating of 1589.1Elo is a metric that estimates each team’s skill level using only the final scores and locations of each game. An Elo rating of roughly 1500 is considered average. At 4-2 and atop the NFC South, the Saints now have a 73 percent chance of making the playoffs and a 56 percent chance of winning the division — both of which are the best chances New Orleans has seen this season.We wrote at the start of the season that the Saints’ lack of success was not the fault of quarterback Drew Brees; if he benefited from even average defense — New Orleans ranked 28th, 32nd and 31st in points allowed per game from 2014 through 2016 — the team could likely get back to winning games. And lo and behold, that appears to be exactly what’s happening so far this season. New Orleans’ defense is hardly one of the best, but because it has improved to being simply OK — it ranks 16th in points allowed per game this year — Brees and the offense have had more room to breathe.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersThough the readers registered a net loss of 14.2 points in Week 7 of our NFL prediction game — in which we invite readers to try to outsmart our Elo algorithm — they tied for their most successful week to date this season. The biggest net win of the week for readers, which also happens to be readers’ biggest net win of the season so far, came in the Saints’ 26-17 win on the road over the Packers. The readers took advantage of Elo’s inability to account for teams’ injuries in its predictions and selected a surging Saints team over an Aaron Rodgers-less Packers team, gaining 20.4 points over Elo on that game.The other double-digit net win for the readers came in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ shutout victory over the Indianapolis Colts. That means the Jaguars continued to haunt Elo for another week: Our algorithm now has a 1-6 record when predicting the outcome of games involving the Jags (that’ll teach us for joking about Jacksonville every week).It’s not too late to try your luck against Elo, so make sure you make your Week 8 predictions. DEN55DEN58DEN 0, LAC 21-5.7– SEA54SEA64SEA 24, NYG 7+6.1– CAR61CAR67CAR 3, CHI 17-9.7– MIA65MIA57NYJ 28, MIA 31-9.0– MIN68MIN66BAL 16, MIN 24-3.6– 2Atlanta*201633.8201721.3-12.5? 4Indianapolis201027.2201115.2-12.02-14 PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.RESULTREADERS’ NET PTS 1Atlanta197322.719747.9-14.83-11 KC67KC70KC 30, OAK 31-6.7– GB63%NO60%NO 26, GB 17+20.4– PIT72PIT70CIN 14, PIT 29-3.4– DAL73DAL74DAL 40, SF 10-1.7– BUF67BUF61TB 27, BUF 30-6.3– 4Dallas201429.2201517.2-12.04-12 Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 7Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 7 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION The NFC South has sent a team to each of the past two Super Bowls, making it one of the NFL’s most successful divisions by this metric. The Carolina Panthers — who lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 — followed up by winning just six games the next season and falling well short of making the playoffs. After losing in historic fashion to the New England Patriots in last year’s Super Bowl, the Atlanta Falcons are in danger of turning in a similarly lackluster post-Super Bowl season. The Falcons now have a 47 percent chance of making the playoffs, the lowest that number has been so far this season, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL Predictions.It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out what has gone wrong for the Falcons this season. While Atlanta’s defense has improved from last year — 22 points allowed per game through six games this season compared with 25.4 points per game for the whole of last season — someone needs to issue an APB for the team’s offense. Because Matt Ryan’s MVP season last year was so good — the Falcons ranked in the top two on offense last year for points and total yards — anything short of another spectacular offensive season would be a setback. Part of the problem has been Ryan’s inability to connect with his receivers on deep throws: In 2016, Ryan completed an NFL-best 57 percent of throws that went 15+ yards downfield, according to ESPN Stats & Information Group, but that has dropped to 37 percent in 2017. This year’s offense still ranks seventh in total yards per game, but the drop-off in points per game has been historic. read more

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Football Jeff Hafley has chance to become special coach for Ryan Day

Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Jeff Hafley speaks to the media for the first time on National Signing Day on Feb. 6. Credit: Colin Gay | Sports EditorWhen Jeff Hafley left his first press conference as Ohio State co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach, he left with a bang.Hafley was asked if he will want his corners to turn around to look for the ball, an issue seen by Buckeyes’ cornerbacks on multiple big plays throughout the past season.Instead of brushing off the question, Hafley attacked it with an energy unseen in any other coach who spoke on National Signing Day.“Alright, so here’s the deal on that one, and if I ever see any of you guys tweet — do you think that we as [defensive back] coaches sit there and say, ‘Don’t look back for the ball?’” Hafley said. “My wife used to come up to me after games and be like, ‘Hey, why don’t our guys turn back and look for the ball?’ I’m like, ‘Do you want to see my individual tape?’ All we do is practice turning and looking for the ball.”He wasn’t finished.After being an Ohio State coach for less than a month, Hafley promised to “practice to teach,” work on getting players to turn and look in the right situations and have the media members come to practices and see for themselves.“This is awesome that you asked this because now no one can tweet this out or say this. We are going to work on turning and looking and trying to intercept the football when we’re in man,” Hafley said. “I promise you, come and watch individual. We’ll turn and look for the ball. I don’t know if you’re allowed to or not. Don’t trick me. I don’t know all the rules.”In 14 minutes, Hafley provided an energy with his answers that could be needed for an Ohio State secondary that allowed the 44th-most passing yards a season ago.Head coach Ryan Day knows this. For him, Hafley was a hire that needed to be made for his coaching staff consisting of five new faces — Hafley, co-defensive coordinator Greg Mattison, linebackers coach Al Washington, special teams coordinator Matt Barnes and passing game coordinator Mike Yurcich.“When I had an opportunity to get Jeff, that was a no-brainer to me,” Day said. “He’s really knowledgeable, understands how everything fits in the back end. I think he’s a special coach.”Hafley brings NFL experience from the past seven years, including three years with the San Francisco 49ers, when their pass defense finished as high as No. 11 in 2017.He returns to college from his time at the professional level with the same game plan: play the players that deserve the time.“The best guys are going to play, and I mean that. I’ve started free agents over first-round draft picks,” Hafley said. “If I see a guy outworking another guy, I mean, the whole room is going to see that. The whole defense is going to see it. So if that guy shows that he’s better, we’re going to get the best guys on the field, and I want guys to feel that way.”The season remains more than six months away, and time will tell if Hafley’s enthusiasm behind the lectern will translate to players like sophomore cornerback Jeffrey Okudah, redshirt junior cornerback Damon Arnette, junior safety Jordan Fuller and sophomore safety Brendon White.But for Day and the Ohio State coaching staff, Hafley is already a key acquisition, and one that has a chance to turn around a flawed secondary from a season ago.“When I worked with Jeff, I saw a coach who was really good at what he did, understanding first off how to connect with the back-end guys,” Day said. “I think you’ll find as things move on, you get a chance to spend time with Jeff, he’s really bright.” read more

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Napoli complete double signing

first_imgNapoli have completed the signings of Fabian Ruiz from Real Betis and Alex Meret from Udinese, ESPN can confirm.Carlo Ancelotti’s side confirmed the two signings on Thursday as they hope to put an end to the seven-year dominance of Juventus.Ruiz joins on a five-year deal after leaving boyhood club Real Betis, the midfielder spent the entire 2016-17 season on loan at Elche in Spain’s second division.He returned to Betis at the start of last season making 34 appearances whilst scoring three goals and impressive performances saw the Andalusian side qualify for the UEFA Europa League.Cristiano Ronaldo, JuventusSerie A Betting: Match-day 3 Stuart Heath – September 14, 2019 Considering there is a number of perfect starts so early in the Serie A season, as well as a few surprisingly not-so perfect ones….The 22-year-old joins Napoli after the Italian club activated his 30 million euros buyout clause, Betis confirmed.Napoli also announced the signing of goalkeeper Alex Meret from Udinese hours after announcing the signing of Fabian Ruiz.The 21-year-old shot-stopper is expected to replace the already departed Pepe Reina, who left the club this summer to join Italian side AC Milan.Ruiz and Meret become the second and third signing of Napoli this summer after the Naples based team signed Simone Verdi from Bologna for a reported fee of 25 million euros.last_img read more

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Gianluca Mancini admits Atalanta has regrets from match with Copenhagen

first_imgThe match between Atalanta and Copenhagen was goalless and Gianluca Mancini admits it was “galling” even after they had 10 shots on target.The first leg of the Europa League play-off was without tangible result as both club failed to score, however, the host dominated possession of the ball and had 12 shots on goal to one and 10 of them on target.“There are some regrets, because we took the initiative throughout, had so many shots on target and chances to score, so to see it end 0-0 is frankly galling,” the defender told Sky Sport Italia via Football Italia.Serie A, Gian Piero GasperiniGasperini reveals why he rejected Inter Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Atalanta manager, Gian Piero Gasperini, has revealed why he rejected Internazionale Milan’s job proposal over the summer transfer window.“The pitch wasn’t great, but that can’t be an excuse. As time went on, the turf was getting worse and worse, so we had to go with more high balls rather than passing to feet.”In 2017, Mancini signed by Atalanta but were immediately loaned back to Perugia from Atalanta. Mancini made his Serie A debut in a 1–1 draw against his former team Fiorentina, replacing Rafael Tolói after 25 minutes.last_img read more

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Luis Suarez begins treatment on knee injury

first_imgBarcelona have announced that Luis Suarez will undergo treatment on a knee problem during the international breakThe 31-year-old striker was left out of Uruguay’s squad for their upcoming friendly matches against South Korea and Japan this month due to the expected birth of his third child.Now Barcelona intends to make full use of Suarez’s availability by beginning treatment on a knee issue he has been suffering from since last week’s 4-2 Champions League win over Tottenham.“In the coming days, Suárez will do individual strength and preventive work at the Ciutat Esportiva. His progress will determine his availability,” read a statement.Suarez has managed three goals and four assists in 11 games across all competitions for Barcelona.David Villa, SpainQuiz: How much do you know about David Villa? Boro Tanchev – September 14, 2019 Time to test your knowledge about Spanish legendary forward David Villa.The ex-Liverpool star assisted Lionel Messi for the equalising goal in Barca’s 1-1 draw at Valencia on Sunday night.❗MEDICAL ANNOUNCEMENTLuis Suárez has discomfort in his right knee.More details 👉 https://t.co/JWXFBqfWdd 🔵🔴 #ForçaBarça pic.twitter.com/56wFbBpUYP— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) October 8, 2018last_img read more

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