Posts by Oliver Dawes

47 NFL stars reject Pro Bowl

Pro Bowl 2012

After beating the New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals respectively last weekend, the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers are preparing for the Super Bowl – but still have over a week to wait until locking horns in one of the world’s biggest sporting events.

To fill the void in the weekend before the Super Bowl, a host of stars from the rest of the NFL will take part in the Pro Bowl; a casual game to recognize the best performers of the campaign.

Unfortunately for the NFL, an unprecedented number of players have pulled out of this year’s Pro Bowl match. 47 NFL stars have rejected the chance to play in the Pro Bowl, meaning that the total number of players invited to play has now reached 133, with all seven of the voted New England Patriots player declining the game after a long season.

Still, the NFL is attempting to make the game fun and ultimately watchable, and is sticking with the recent draft format for selecting the two teams. Legends Michael Irvin and Jerry Rice take it in turns to pick from the available players, and then pit their sides against each other in Hawaii on Saturday evening.

Irvin had the first pick and plumped for Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, whilst he also has other stars such as St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley, Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones and Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman on his side.

Meanwhile, Jerry Rice made New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning his first pick of the draft, meaning both team captains unsurprisingly went with QB’s as their first selections. Rice also added Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson, Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, Philadelphia Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews to his ranks.

These matches tend to be high-scoring affairs, as only once since 2010 has there been fewer than 50 points scored in the game, with the 2012 edition ending with 100 points on the board between the two teams.

There may be fewer stars than planned after all the rejections, but this should be a fine warm-up to the Super Bowl next week, with a more casual offering of American football in store for supporters this weekend.

 


Olly avatarOLLY DAWES is a Sports Management graduate and sports journalist for Here Is The City, whilst he also writes about NFL for Colts Authority.

Patriots and Seahawks to lock horns in closely contested Super Bowl

The Seahawks and Patriots have met only a handful of times this century

The Seahawks and Patriots have met only a handful of times this century

It’s that time of year again; the Super Bowl is upon us, and this year’s promises to be one of the best in recent memory.

The Seattle Seahawks – last year’s Super Bowl winners – take on the New England Patriots in Glendale, Arizona a week on Sunday for the right to win the Lombardi Trophy.

 

Super Bowl XLIX Betting Odds:

New England Patriots -120

Seattle Seahawks +100

(All odds provided by Intertops.eu are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

The Seahawks’ road to the Super Bowl was far more dramatic that it was a year ago; a comfortable win over the Carolina Panthers was followed up with a staggering comeback against the Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Russell Wilson threw four interceptions before eventually throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to win the game in overtime, with the Packers blowing a 16 point lead.

The Patriots had it in reverse – a tense, close win over the Baltimore Ravens in the divisional round, before swatting aside the Indianapolis Colts in a 45-7 thumping to reach the Super Bowl for a sixth time under the leadership of head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

 

Whilst the Seahawks hammered the Denver Broncos 43-8 in New York a year ago, this year’s game should be far closer affair.

The game will hinge on how New England’s superb offense, spearheaded by Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski, will manage to move the ball against a vaunted Seahawks defense, with Richard Sherman leading ‘the Legion of Boom’ – the nickname for the Seahawks secondary.

The two teams have played each other just three times since 2000, but the last game saw Seattle win 24-23 in 2012, with Brady and Sherman clashing as they walked off the field in a rivalry that will finally be renewed on the biggest stage of all.

On the other side of the ball, Seattle are methodical, relying mostly on running back Marshawn Lynch and the improvisation of quarterback Russell Wilson, whilst New England will be hoping for a shutdown game from star cornerback Darrelle Revis, who is playing in his first Super Bowl.

 

There were more than 50 points in last season’s game, but it would be something of a surprise to see that happen again. It should be a much, much tighter encounter than when Seattle dominated Denver last season, with head coach Pete Carroll no doubt desperate to stop his former employers winning a fourth Super Bowl since he left New England.

With a win, Seattle can become the first team to win successive Super Bowls since the Patriots in 2004 and 2005, but the Patriots are slight favourites with most bookmakers in an incredibly close market so far.

Betting Instinct tip – Back less than 48 points at -110 with AllYouBet.ag

 

Olly avatarOLLY DAWES is a Sports Management graduate and sports journalist for Here Is The City, whilst he also writes about NFL for Colts Authority.

Seahawks – 49ers rivalry renewed in Thanksgiving Day special

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Image credit: PhilipRobertson

One of the burgeoning rivalries in the NFL hits our screens once again on Thanksgiving Thursday as the San Francisco 49ers host the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

It’s not difficult to see how the rivalry has really caught fire in recent years. 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh and his Seahawks adversary Pete Carroll had a tempestuous relationship whilst coaching in college with Stanford and USC respectively, and that has continued after both landed roles in the NFC West.

 

Seattle Seahawks @ San Francisco 49ers Betting Odds:

49ers win -125

Seahawks win +105

(All odds provided by AllYouBet.ag are accurate as of today and subject to change)

 

It’s been one way traffic of late in these games though, with the Seahawks winning three of the last four meeting between the two sides – though all of those victories have been at home, in front of the vaunted CenturyLink Field crowd.

Finally winning against their biggest rivals on the road would really prove that Seattle are back, having stumbled their way to a 7-4 record just months after being crowned Super Bowl champions.

The keys to the game are simple; Seattle will hand the ball to star running back Marshawn Lynch time and time again, and rely on quarterback Russell Wilson to avoid turning the ball over in order to win.

It’s not a dynamic offense, with the Seahawks having only scored 30+ points in three of their 11 games this season, and it sometimes holds them back, leaving them to rely on their defense.

 

On the other side of the ball, we’ll finally get to see cornerback Richard Sherman go up against 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree again after their public spat in the NFC Championship Game back in January, whilst the return of linebacker Bobby Wagner helped the Seahawks to end Arizona’s winning streak on Sunday.

Wagner’s presence will make it harder for San Francisco to have joy in the running game, though in Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde, they have a promising one-two punch at running back, whilst quarterback Colin Kaepernick is also a threat with his legs.

Defensively, the 49ers were superb against Washington on Sunday, with the return of pass rusher Aldon Smith serving as a huge boost – and he’ll be smelling blood once again as he takes on a porous Seahawks offensive line.

The emergence of rookie linebacker Chris Borland has been a welcome boost for the 49ers with Patrick Willis on injured reserve, with the former Wisconsin standout proving his reputation as a tackling machine.

 

Both teams are lagging behind Arizona in the race to win the NFC West, giving this clash something of an early play-off feel – so expect to see a feisty encounter with huge hits, plenty of running yards and a low scoring encounter as two of the NFC’s heavyweights lock horns once again.

 

Betting Instinct tip – we should expect a tight game, and under 19.5 first half points is -105 with Intertops.eu

Intertops Sportsbook is offering stake-backs up to $100 on the ‘first touchdown scorer’ market in this game, if either Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson scores a rushing TD. For this, and for more Thanksgiving NFL props, visit www.intertops.eu

Olly avatarOLLY DAWES is a Sports Management graduate and sports journalist for Here Is The City, whilst he also writes about NFL for Colts Authority.