By James Snedaker and Ivan Avalos
Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid (La Liga)
An excellent Atletico side will travel to treble winners Barcelona on Saturday in what looks to be an instant classic. These two sides make up the top two spots in the Spanish top flight, with Barcelona just edging out Madrid on goal difference, so this match should have massive implications for the title race. Barcelona are undefeated in their last 13 matches in La Liga while Atletico have only lost one of their last 10 in the league. Both sides played midweek in the Copa del Rey with Atletico suffering a disappointing defeat at home to Celta de Vigo while Barcelona easily handled Athletic Bilbao.
Both sides don’t have any injuries to key players, so expect two world class lineups. The unstoppable trio of Neymar, Suarez, and Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi are guarantees up front for Barcelona, expect at least one of them to get on the scoresheet. For Atletico, Frenchman Antoine Griezmann should start up front while reliable center back pairing Godín and Giménez should be the two players in the middle of defence.
Atletico have been a good side this season, but don’t expect them to win this match. Barcelona are the top side in the world right now and their attacking trio is one of the best in the history of the Blaugrana. Especially at home in the Camp Nou, don’t expect a blowout, but expect a Barcelona win.
Prediction: 3-1 win for Barcelona
Saturday, January 30th at 10am on beIN Sports
Liverpool vs West Ham (FA Cup)
Liverpool will need to improve greatly if they want to come out of this match with a win. They had a good week having passed on to final in the Capital One Cup from penalty kicks against Stoke City, while the Hammers go into this fixture losing just one of their last 11 competitive fixtures. That loss came from Newcastle starting the New Year. West Ham have also proven to have great performances against the big teams during the regular season league.
Liverpool will rest some of their key players such as Alberto Moreno, Clyne, Lallana, and Mignolet. Sam Byram, West Hams newest signing, will be ineligible for this game having already played in the competition with Leeds United. They will also be without Lanzini, Sakho, and Carroll.
In the previous six matches the results are split even with Liverpool having won three and West Ham having won three. This fixture looks to very open for both teams but West Ham look to have a bit of an advantage as they are looking to play a more competitive starting 11 then Liverpool do.
Prediction: 2-1 win for West Ham
Saturday, January 30th at 12:30pm on Fox Sports 2
By Amari Brown
The Superbowl is the game every football player and fan dream and hope to be in. So when two of the NFL bests go at it and it results in a memorable game, that’s what we watch for. So here are the top three Super Bowls since the start of the century.
3. Super Bowl 43
Steelers vs Cardinals
27 - 23
Again Big Ben with the heroics late in the 4th quarter. Down 20-23 Santonio Holmes made a toe tap catch for the ages to clinch a thrilling and exciting Super Bowl that featured Big James Harrison returning a pick for a 100 yards to end the first half.
2. Super Bowl 49
Seahawks vs Patriots
24 - 28
Thanks to the dumbest play call in Super Bowl history, Tom Brady and company was able to escape this one off of a tremendous play made by Malcom Butler to pick off Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson on the 1 yard line. You don’t throw the ball on the 1 yard line when you have beast mode Marshawn Lynch at running back.
1. Super Bowl 42
Giants vs Patriots
17 - 14
This was possibly the biggest upset in sports history. The Patriots were 18-0 and were 12 point favorites and were clearly the best team in the league all year, with Tom Brady and Randy Moss breaking records left and right. But thanks to the luckiest play in Super Bowl history the Giants were able to pull off the upset of the century.
By Jahmerikah Green-Younger
Last game was very tough for the Brien McMahon boys basketball team. They played Trinity Catholic. Trinity received two transfers Contavio Dutriel and Dimitry Moisie. The Senators came out ready to play. The game went back and forth. The senators stayed together and faced a hard test against an athletic 6"6 center. Trinity has a great team and McMahon is a fast paced team.
The Senators host a very talented Staples team on Friday at 7pm. Staples is a very talented team. They are extremely smart and disciplined team. They play together at all times. No matter how hard things get they don't stop. On the defensive end is where the wreckers stand out the most. They know how to play basketball. They've been playing together since they were young kids and don't lack experience. They love to run in transition and live at the 3 point perimeter.
Staples have a combination of players to look after. Ben Casparius is a great 3 point shooter. Aggression is what they go by and they play with confidence. The Wreckers do not give up under any circumstances. They have a great intense crowd. If the Senators want to beat the Wreckers they are going to need to play smart, aggressive and keep their heads.
In my opinion I think this is going to be a great matchup. Brien McMahon has a solid team and they are well coached. Ken Dustin knows his players strong suits and lets them go out and dominate. Jahmerikah Green-Younger is a solid player for the Senators. He knows how to play against many match ups and will kill from the perimeter. TJ Burden is a combo player that can create for his teammates, spread the floor, and score at will. This is going to be a terrific game and I can't wait. The Wreckers are not going to come out slow. They're going to come out harder than ever. Those kids know how to play. With that being said, let's sit back and watch the show the Senators are going to put out.
Hosted by David Bonaney and Amari Brown
Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos advance to the Super Bowl with an incredible win in the AFC Championship over Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. The Panthers continue showing up to big games and make an appearance to Super Bowl 50 with the monster play of the one and only "Superman" Cam Newton.
Cam's close friend Steph Curry has been absolutely unstoppable in the NBA, leading the Golden State Warriors to 42-4 start. Can anybody stop Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors from winning the NBA Finals for a repeat?
By James Snedaker and Ivan Avalos
Juventus vs Roma (Serie A)
Second placed Juventus have a crucial match this weekend as they take on a Roma side struggling to get results. The Giallorossi have tied four out of their last five matches against generally lower placed opposition, but they did pick up a draw away to first-placed Napoli, a hard match for any side. Juventus will need all three points from this match as they look to catch up with the table-toppers. The Naples club are two points above them and could move even further ahead when they play lowly Sampdoria this weekend.
Midfielder Roberto Pereyra is still out for the Italian champions name should return at the end of the month while center back Andrea Barzagli is doubtful for the match. Max Allegri should play his preferred 3-5-2 with wing backs Cuadrado and Evra likely to start over Lichtsteiner and Sandro who played in Coppa Italia over the week. Pogba, Marchisio, and Khedira should start as the trio in center midfield with Mandzukic and Dybala as the striking duo. Midfielder Kevin Strootman and attacker Gervinho are out for Roma, but they should be able to replace these absentees. The Giallorossi should play some variation of a 4-3-3 with Nainggolan and Pjanic in midfield and De Rossi anchoring just behind them.
Juventus have won their last 10 games in the Serie A after a slow start to the season, and at home they should get all three points. Roma have come up with some fantastic wins against good opposition this season, but the Bianconeri should be too good for them. The partnership of Mandzukic and Dybala should cause some problems for Roma but expect a scintillating strike form the Bosnian midfielder Pjanic to make the game interesting.
Prediction: 2-1 win for Juventus
Sunday, January 24th at 2:45pm on beIN Sports
Arsenal vs Chelsea (Premier League)
With two ties in their last two results first place Arsenal and 14th place Chelsea come onto this game with huge amounts of pressure to win, for different reasons. The Gunners hope that a win will be able to push them away from second place Leicester City who are tied at 44 points. Chelsea on the other hand are struggling with finding the title winning form that they enjoyed last season. Located at the lower half of the table with 25 points, Chelsea hope that a win can help them away from the relegation zone.
Last time these two London giants played each other there was an altercation on the field between Chelsea striker Diego Costa and Arsenal defender Gabriel. Gabriel ended up receiving a red card, leaving Arsenal with a man down while a second yellow card to Santi Cazorla left them with only 9 players on the pitch. Chelsea won the match 2-0 from goals from Zouma and an own goal from Chambers. Arsenal hope that Ozil steps up and does what he has been doing all season, assist. He has 1064 completed passes, 86 chances created and 16 assists. Ozil looks to break the records for most assists in one season who is currently held by Arsenal Legend Henry with 20 assists in one season. The blues hope their winger Willian steps up and gets the ball in the back of the net. With 8 goals and 4 assists Willian has been Chelsea's go to man and chance creator. Willian holds 47 chanced created for the blues and average of 84% passing accuracy. Ozil will be looking to find Giroud who has 12 goals, while Willian look for Diego Costa who has 7 goals.
This should be a hard game for both teams since both have so much to lose. Chelsea need to start winning more games if they away finish off in the top half of the table, while Arsenal also need to start winning if they wanna stay at that number one position.
Prediction: 2-1 win for Arsenal
Sunday, January 24th at 11 on NBCSN
By Jack Coulter
When you think of a sporting event you think of two groups of people. First you think of those on the field, the athletes, and then those in the stands, the crowd. The audience is an integral part of any entertainment whether it be participation in some type of show or attempted intervention through chants and cheers. There has long been an argument on whether or not the crowd is a good or bad thing with ample arguments on both sides. Some celebrate crowds for amazing spectacles for instance when Met fans sang Piano Man at one of the World Series games as recognition for Billy Joel’s presence. Others condemn the spectators for acts that embarrass an organization as a whole. Events like Cincinnati Bengals fans cheering when Pittsburgh Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger got hurt. Crowds and their actions can get ugly, but do the bad action outweigh all the interactions with players that are positive?
Opposing fan bases can bring out the worst in people that is undeniable. Events from high school to the pros show this. There are multiple cases where after a game a brawl will break out like in 2011 where a San Francisco Giants fan was savagely beat by two Los Angeles Dodgers fans. For a more local example, two of our fellow students were assaulted after the boys basketball game on January 15th by a group of Stamford students simply because they were kids from McMahon. When things like this occur it’s easy to see why people think crowds should have limitations.
The WIAA, the organization in charge of high school sports in Wisconsin, has taken the stance for these limitations and attempted to control the crowd’s influence by banning several words and phrases from being chanted by fans including: “Air ball”, ‘Scoreboard”, “You can’t do that”, “We can’t hear you”, and much more. By setting a boundary for the crowd the WIAA believes it will be able to avoid violent outbreaks as a result of sporting events. However, by doing this the WIAA has taken much of the fun out of being in the crowd. The jeering and “battle” between fan bases keeps the game fun and interesting.
Though typically the negative actions of spectators are more publicized than the encouraging ones there are still plenty of positive and amusing interactions caused by crowds. One of these interactions garnered some publicity with Cam Newton giving the football from the previous touchdown to a kid in the crowd. There is also the well-known Lambeau Leap and even if it’s only for a brief moment, the joy of being able to embrace one of your favorite players is a unique experience. Interaction with other crowd members and players is what defines the experience of going to a game, without the interaction you might as well stay at home and watch the game on your television.
In the end, even if you weigh the pros and the cons, it is your opinion if there should be more boundaries on what spectators can say or do. For me the feeling of community and being the team behind the team is a special feeling that can't be ended. After all just because there is a few bad eggs you don't need to throw away the basket.
By Amari Brown
Kansas City Chiefs @ New England Patriots
Today at 4:35 on CBS
Amari’s Pick: New England Patriots
Why I’m Right: The Chiefs have won 11 games in a row after starting off the season 1-5 and dismantling the Texans last week actually makes them look like a viable opponent for knocking off the defending champs this week. But expect a Patriots win this week as they’ve had a week to get healthy and also get an important offensive piece back in Julian Edelman who hasn’t played since week 10. But besides that I’m ultimately picking the Patriots to win due to the fact that Jeremy Maclin is most likely not playing for Kansas City. It’s a huge blow for the Chiefs offense who will have to keep up with Tom Brady and company who have the #6 ranked offense in terms of yards and the #5 passing attack. Ultimately it comes down to if Alex Smith can keep pace with Tom Brady on a cold January night in Foxborough. Spoiler alert: it isn't happening. Tom Brady is one of the greats and will lead his team to its 5th straight AFC championship game next week.
Green Bay Packers @ Arizona Cardinals
Saturday at 8:15 on NBC
Amari’s Pick: Arizona Cardinals
Why I’m Right: In Round I, Arizona destroyed Green Bay by 30. Round II’s result won’t be different. This Saturday, the Green Bay Packers will be taking their last road trip of the season and definitely playing their last game of the season. I don’t think they will go into Glendale and come out with their playoff lives. For all you Packers fans out there, this is where the road ends, but if you could remember just three weeks ago, the last time Green Bay went to Glendale, they got beat like they stole something, limping out of Arizona with a 38-8 beatdown. In that game “The Great” Aaron Rodgers went a putry 15 for 28 for just 151 yards and 1 Td as well as 1 pick. That stat line was caused by the #5 defense in terms of yards allowed in the league and the #6 ranked defense in points per game allowed. Don’t expect another beatdown in this one as it’s the playoffs now and the Packers will be motivated, but don’t expect a Green Bay victory either. The Cardinals will be advancing to the NFC championship game next week.
Hosted by David Bonaney and Amari Brown
In this episode of the Bumpin' Em show, we discuss why KD doesn't take over like Curry.
By John Coulter
By Amari Brown
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Cincinnati Bengals
Today at 8:15 on CBS
Amari’s Pick: Pittsburgh Steelers
Why I’m Right: Here we go again, the Steelers take on the Bengals for the third time this season. Last time these two teams played each other it made an appearance on my picks of the week and I picked Pittsburgh over Cincinnati. I picked them back then and I’m picking them now as well. They’re division rivals and know each other all too well, as lots and lots of bad blood and some questionable hits and injuries have occurred in this rivalry. These include Le’veon Bell’s season ending knee injury or the late hit on Ben Roethlisberger in the last meeting. Straight up these teams just don’t like each other and in a playoff atmosphere I’m going with the team that’s been there done that and that’s the Steelers. Led by big Ben Roethlisberger with a playoff record of 10-5 and Antonio Brown with over 1800 yards receiving, I don’t think Pittsburgh will be losing this one. The Bengals don’t have their starting Quarterback as he injured his thumb in the last game vs the Steelers and like I said before in the last matchup, Cincinnati just doesn’t win in these big playoff games while the Steelers are known for that.
Seattle Seahawks @ Minnesota Vikings
Tomorrow at 1:05 on NBC
Amari’s Pick: Seattle Seahawks
Why I'm Right: From the running back that brought you the 2015 rushing title in Adrian Peterson and the quarterback that brought you back-to-back NFC crowns in Russell Wilson expect a good game as it's win or go home from here on out. Now with that said expect a Seahawks win. It was just a few weeks back when Seattle went up to Minnesota and absolutely embarrassed them in front of their fans with a 38-7 walloping. In that game the almighty Adrian Peterson was shut down as he only had 18 yards rushing with his longest run the in the entire game being a measly 5 yard gain. Seattle’s Russell Wilson has honestly been the best qb in the league as of late throwing for 29 touchdowns and just 1 pick in the past 5 games. Not to mention that “Beast Mode” Marshawn Lynch is making his long awaited return this week to the gridiron this Sunday. Which will ultimately set up a second round matchup in Carolina next week for the Seahawks.
By Ivan Avalos and James Snedaker
Tottenham vs Leicester (Premier League)
Both teams come off of their last game with a draw and will be hoping to get the 3 points in their clash on the 13th. Leicester City will hope to put pressure on Arsenal for 1st place, while Tottenham look to get into a top 4 spot.
Both teams offense will be key in this match with forwards Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane. Vardy has 15 goals in the league this season for Leicester and will be up against fellow English international Harry Kane who has 11 strikes this season. Christian Eriksen will be in charge of getting the ball to Kane, the Dane has created 73 chances from the center attacking midfield position, while Mahrez will be looking for Vardy in the attack as he led his team with 38 chances created from the wing. Mousa Dembele will be a brick wall for Tottenham in the midfield and will be in charge of winning the 50/50 balls. Leicester City hope that N’Golo Kante will do a similar job as he uses his energy, speed and strength to win as many tackles as he can in the middle of the park.
This should be a very entertaining match as both teams have a go-to man when it comes to finding the back of the net and a creative outlet for finding their in-form forwards. This game will be won by the defenders as they try to stop two excellent strikers from scoring goals.
Prediction: Tottenham win
Wednesday, January 13th at 3pm on NBC Live Extra
Roma vs Milan (Serie A)
7th placed AC Milan will travel to Rome on Saturday to take on 5th placed AS Roma. Both sides started the season well, but have fallen off in recent weeks due to injuries and inconsistent performances. Midfielder Kevin Strootman is out for the Romans, having struggled with injury problems in recent years. Roma also have a suspended striker in Edin Dzeko and their Egyptian winger Mohammed Salah is doubtful for the clash. For Milan, forward Jeremy Menez is still injured with a hip issue he suffered early in the season. Expect a debut from Ghanaian midfielder Kevin-Prince Boateng, who returns to the side after a spell in Germany.
A win for Milan will see them move up one spot while a victory for Roma could move them level in points with an rejuvenated Juventus side. It should be hard test for Roma though, the Rossoneri have only lost 1 of their last 10 games. Both sides faced disappointing results during the weekday matches with Roma surrendering a 2-0 lead to tie with 12th placed Chievo Verona while Milan suffered a home defeat to 15th placed Bologna.
This game should be decided between the performances of Carlos Bacca and Miralem Pjanic. Bacca has been excellent recently for Milan after a shaky start with his new side. The Colombian has scored 3 times in his last 4 games in all competitions. On the other hand, Roma will rely on the Bosnian Pjanic to provide passes to their pacey forwards and get in behind the opposition's defence. The midfielder has a great season, scoring 7 goals and providing 5 assists. Milan have been very inconsistent in recent weeks and Roma have been excellent at home. Expect an intense and testing match for both sides, but Roma should come out on top.
Prediction: 3-1 win for Roma
Saturday, January 9th at 2:45pm on beIN Sports Connect