SI.com: Who needs Carmelo? Not the Nuggets last night
November 29th, 2010
12:33 PM ET

SI.com: Who needs Carmelo? Not the Nuggets last night

Didn't think the Nuggets had the goods to deliver without Carmelo Anthony? Guess again, because if Sunday night’s game against the Phoenix Suns was any indication, Denver is certainly a team to contend with, even when Melo-less. Their standout point guard was sidelined less than three minutes into the game after experiencing flu-like symptoms, forcing the rest of the Nuggets offense to step up.

And step up they did.

J.R. Smith recorded a season-high 30 points while the team went on to win the league’s highest scoring game this season so far with a 138-133 rout of the Suns. The Nuggets also got some help from recently-returned Chauncey Billups who put up 25 points and eight assists for his team in his first game back on the court since spraining his right wrist. Though the Suns charged back, narrowing the score 128-125 in the fourth, Steve Nash’s missed three-pointer with 17.8 seconds left ended Phoenix come-from-behind hopes. But despite winning without Anthony, the Nuggets were far from pleased with their fourth quarter performance and how close they came to throwing away their lead.

"I thought we'd do a little better in the fourth quarter," Billups said after the game. "Giving up 44 points is really unacceptable, no matter who you're playing."

Though the win certainly shows that the Nuggets can hold their own even without Melo, SI.com’s Brett Robson acknowledges that the team still has a ways to go before it can climb to the top of the standings.

But NBA balling aside, tonight has plenty of action for NFL and NHL fans:

Pittsburgh Penguins vs. New York Rangers (7 p.m., ET) – For the second time in two weeks, the Penguins and Rangers will square off. The Rangers have won four of their last five games, including a victory against the Penguins in overtime on Nov. 15.

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November 22nd, 2010
11:49 AM ET

SI.com: Jimmie Johnson's win streak, Islanders losing streak

Jimmie Johnson hoists his fifth NASCAR Sprint Cup title.

Jimmie Johnson made it five-for-five Sunday at Homestead when he beat out Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick for the NASCAR Sprint Cup title. As SI.com’s Tom Bowles explains, it wasn’t just Jimmie Johnson’s on-track skills or crew chief Chad Knaus’ know how that locked in the historic victory. Johnson managed to capitalize on the mistakes of his two biggest rivals to outrace them in the final 69 laps.

The defending champ went into the concluding race of the Chase for the Championship 15 points behind 30-year-old Hamlin, who had notched an impressive eight victories during the season. Hamlin looked poised for quite the heated title battle until his No. 11 car made contact with Greg Biffle and was sent spinning into the grass. From that point on, Hamlin was never able to inch back into the top-5 or back into contention for the title. Harvick, who faced the greatest challenge in coming back from a 46 point deficit, saw his title hopes slip away after he received a penalty for speeding on pit road. With his main competitors ostensibly out of the running, Johnson was able to coast to a second-place finish behind Carl Edwards and win his fifth-straight championship. Though some will certainly complain about yet another Johnson championship, his fifth title undoubtedly solidifies him as one of the greatest drivers of his generation.

Here's a look at the action coming your way today:

Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers (8:30 p.m., ET) – The 4-5 Chargers will try to salvage their season tonight when they face off against the Denver Broncos.

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November 18th, 2010
11:09 AM ET

SI.com: Longoria-Parker divorce drama

NBA star Tony Parker and actress Eva Longoria are divorcing.

Tony Parker is making news, and not for his 21 points against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night. The San Antonio Spurs point guard and his wife, actress Eva Longoria, have called it quits after seven years of marriage, citing irreconcilable differences, though Parker is rumored to have cheated.

Granted, it's not the most shocking development in athlete-celebrity relations. There are plenty of hookups, divorces and everything in between when these two worlds collide. But what does make this story a little more intriguing is the identity of the alleged "other woman."

Basketball drama aside, Thursday night football action is coming your way:

Chicago Bears vs. Miami Dolphins (8:20 p.m., ET) - Down to their third-string quarterback, the Dolphins face an uphill battle against the Bears at Sun Life Stadium. But don't underestimate Tyler Thigpen. With 20 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, Miami could have a lot worse to work with.

By The Numbers

17 - age of Juan Agudelo, the youngest member of the United States national soccer team to score a goal in the modern era. Just six days away from his 18th birthday, Agudelo scored his historic goal during a friendly against South Africa.

82 - number of games Greg Oden has played in since making his NBA debut four seasons ago. The Trail Blazers center will miss the rest of the season after undergoing microfracture surgery on his left knee Friday. SI.com's Zach Lowe discusses Oden's future in Portland on his blog, The Point Forward.

11 - number of consecutive games the New York Islanders have lost. Their most recent disappointment came against the Tampa Bay Lightning on the night of new coach Jack Capuano's debut.

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Filed under: Basketball • Eva Longoria • Hockey • Pro football • Showbiz • Soccer • Sports
November 15th, 2010
10:44 AM ET

SI.com: Patriots send Steelers a message

The Patriots really wanted to send the Steelers a message. And send a message they did. After Sunday’s 39-26 rout of Pittsburgh, the Pats showed that no matter the venue they can still beat out the Steelers when it matters most. SI.com’s Don Banks explains that the Patriots were on a mission during Sunday’s matchup to show that they are in fact in contention for a spot in the Super Bowl. So what happened to the Steelers?

Well a tour-de-force performance from Tom Brady from the now 7-2 team didn’t help matters, but Pittsburgh’s problems could be a little deeper. With Max Starks, Ramon Foster, among others sidelined with injuries, the Steelers were missing the depth that it needed to put up a fight against the Patriots.

But despite the impressive win by New England, it’s not time for the team to rest on its laurels just yet – especially when it comes to their kicking. Both teams struggled mightily on the kicking front with Pittsburgh’s Max Reed and the Pats’ Shayne Graham. But tied with just two other teams for the season’s best record, Patriots kicking issue aren’t putting much of a damper on their big show hopes.

NFL aside, there is plenty going on in the NCAA and NBA to keep you entertained tonight:

Denver Nuggets vs. Phoenix Suns (9:00 p.m., ET) – Denver will be battling against history when the Nuggets take the court at US Airways Center tonight to face the Phoenix Suns. The boys from Denver gave lost in 11 straight matchups against Phoenix and have not won a game against the Suns since Carmelo Anthony’s rookie season. I’m guessing Denver is looking to change that.

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November 8th, 2010
12:08 PM ET

SI.com: Raiders rise again

Sebastian Janikowski kicked the winning field goal in Oakland's 23-20 overtime victory Sunday over Kansas City.

The NFL's Oakland Raiders pulled out a 23-20 overtime win over division-leading Kansas City, putting the Raiders above .500 in November for the first time since Rich Gannon was calling the signals in 2002.

The Raiders trailed by 10 points at the half.

"In the past, a lot of Raiders teams would have folded in a game like today," Oakland offensive lineman Khalif Barnes said. "People would have been like, 'Same old Raiders again.'

"But this team, even when it was down today, it just kept doing what it needed to do on offense and defense and special teams. We just kept playing." FULL POST

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Filed under: Basketball • Pro football • Sports
November 4th, 2010
02:34 PM ET

Randy Moss' new home, Knicks take on Bulls

Just hours after being released by the Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss has found a new place to call home. The wide receiver was scooped up by the Tennessee Titans, which put a claim on Moss on Wednesday. Interestingly enough the Titans had passed over Moss in the 1998 but jumped at the chance to add Moss to their roster this time around.

So what gives? Why, despite all the questionable circumstances behind Moss’ departure from the Vikings, would the Titans be so willing to add the player to its ranks? SI.com’s Don Banks breaks down five reasons that Tennessee was willing to take a chance on Moss with just a few weeks remaining in the season.

Among the reasons: The Titans don’t have a wide receiver. OK, sure they have options, but with Kenny Britt down for the count after an injury in San Diego last weekend, Tennessee was in the market for a big-play impact player. Also, Jeff Fisher isn’t all that concerned with locker room nonsense. Given the maturity of his team and his experience as a coach, Fisher thinks that any Moss-related situation could be easily diffused.

Will the move pay off for the 5-3 Titans? That’s what Tennessee is banking on.

Up tonight we have some Top 25 college football and a match up between the Knicks and Bulls:

Virginia Tech vs. Georgia Tech (7:30 p.m., ET) – 6-2 Virginia Tech will face off against 5-3 Georgia Tech tonight in Blacksburg. How the weather will factor into the game time action remains a mystery, but look for the Hokies to try and make the most of their home turf advantage.
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November 1st, 2010
02:18 PM ET

Rookies surge as Giants look to win World Series

Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey were keys to the Giants' win.

But then came Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey. The two San Francisco Giants rookies displayed a level of skill and sophisticated play that silenced the Rangers in a 4-0 loss. Bumgarner managed to pitch eight shutout innings and became the fifth youngest pitcher to ever start in a World Series game.

SI.com’s Joe Lemire explains how the duo could be the cornerstone for championship Giants teams in the future. "With the young pitching this team has and Buster behind the plate, this team has a chance to do something special for quite some time," said first baseman Aubrey Huff.

But the Rangers are most certainly not concerned with future competition from Bumgarner and Posey. The team is now frantically trying to find a way to battle back against the incredibly dominant boys from San Francisco to notch themselves a Game 5 victory to stay in the series. Will it happen tonight? Anything’s possible, but if the beginning of the series in any indication, it could be a good day in San Francisco tomorrow.

Needless to say all eyes will be watching the Rangers desperately try to hold on to their championship hopes tonight at Rangers Ballpark.

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October 25th, 2010
01:05 PM ET

No sure bets in NFL as Cowboys look to beat Giants

Tony Romo and the Cowboys will hope to capitalize on the current anything-can-happen NFL trend when they play their rival tonight.

The take away from this NFL season so far? Nothing’s guaranteed. Whether you’re talking about the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints losing by 13 to the 1-5 Browns or the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens getting routed by the winless Bills, there are clearly no sure bets heading into Week 8.

SI.com’s Don Banks says that while in other seasons fans may have been able to easily distinguish between certifiable winners and losers, that isn’t the case this year. Anything can happen, with powerhouses tumbling to seemingly inferior teams and underdogs railroading their competition.

But regardless of the chaos this season, there is one team that has remained on Banks’ radar, but not necessarily for the right reasons: That’s the Chicago Bears. The 3-0 Bears have been generally disastrous, with the team’s loss to Washington being among its worst moments. Quarterback Jay Cutler threw four interceptions all to cornerback DeAngelo Hall, and of course to add insult to injury, Cutler was also sacked four times. So what can the Bears do? Simple, Mike Martz and company need to give Cutler more time, otherwise they’ll continue to be disappointed.

Though we have a few days until World Series and NBA regular season action gets underway, we have a heated match-up between the Giants and Cowboys to look forward to:

New York Giants vs. Dallas Cowboys (8:30 p.m., ET) – It’s no secret that the boys from Dallas have been struggling this season, especially after a devastating loss to the Vikings last week. The Cowboys will once again face some stiff competition against the 4-2 Giants when they take to their home turf tonight.

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October 21st, 2010
11:47 AM ET

Brett Favre's troubles, Phillies look for saving grace

Brett Favre is dealing with an alleged off-field scandal.

It doesn’t look as if Brett Favre’s life is going to get easier any time in the immediate future. SI.com’s Peter King explains that while former Jets emcee Jenn Sterger has retained legal counsel, she has made no decisions about what her next step will be in NFL’s investigation of Favre’s alleged conduct.

"We currently have an ongoing dialogue with the league," said Phil Reese, Sterger's manager. "Jenn is currently considering all her options. It could be she talks. It could be she does nothing. We just don't know yet." Reese claims that there have not been discussions between Favre representatives and Sterger about keeping quiet on the incident, as some have speculated. Favre is accused of sending Sterger and other female Jets’ employees lewd text messages while he played for the New York team.

But if the Vikings QB was looking for a speedy resolution to his off-field woes, he may be disappointed. On Tuesday Favre met with NFL league officials to discuss his alleged conduct, but later refused to address the meetings in interviews this week. So far league officials have been unable to interview any of the women involved in the scandal. And while Favre has remained seemingly unphased by the allegations, only time will tell if the QB starts to feel the weight of the speculation around him.

While you still have a few days before you can watch Favre’s Vikings and the Packers square off, there is plenty of action to keep you entertained.

San Francisco Giants vs. Philadelphia Phillies (7:57 p.m. ET) – Down 3-1, the Phillies are looking for some sort of saving grace tonight as they battle to keep their postseason hopes alive.

UCLA Bruins vs. Oregon Ducks (9:00 p.m., ET)– No. 1-ranked Oregon will battle the Bruins on home turf at Autzen Stadium. The Ducks are looking to secure their spot atop the BCS standings and shouldn’t face much resistance from struggling 3-3 UCLA.

By The Numbers

$3.14 million – Amount Francisco Rodriguez is giving up from his contract after an altercation with his girlfriend’s father. The Mets’ reliever will also be sidelined for more than seven weeks because of the incident.

18 – Number of championships Manchester United has won, but apparently that wasn’t enough to keep star Wayne Rooney’s interest. The striker recently said that the club is no longer satisfying him, so he is eyeing a number of other teams.

21 – Number of months sprinter LaShawn Merritt will be suspended for after being caught using a prohibited substance. SI.com’s Brian Cazeneuve talks about Merritt’s punishment in this week’s Inside Olympic Sports notebook.

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October 18th, 2010
02:34 PM ET

BCS shakeup, ALCS game 3, Titans take on Jaguars

First Alabama, now Ohio State. The top teams in college football have gone down in flames the last two weeks, and SI.com’s Stewart Mandel thinks that it’s time to come to terms with Boise State possibly being the best team in the BCS. Right now Oklahoma is atop the standings, followed by Oregon, so you’d expect either of those teams to be prime candidates for a national title.

However, Mandel says that with the Broncos being No. 1 in total defense, No. 1 in rushing defense and No. 1 in pass-efficiency defense they may not be as undeserving of a top BCS rank as some expect. Their ability to completely annihilate the competition (i.e. their 51-6 victory over Wyoming, their 59-0 win over New Mexico State) is exactly the sort of prowess a championship team should show.

While many will think that Oregon, Oklahoma and Auburn are the teams to beat, voters may have ultimately have to shift gears and recognize the strength of the Broncos and the fact that come season’s end it could be Boise State battling it out for the title.

There is plenty of action tonight as baseball playoff season continues to chug along and we round out Week 6 in the NFL.

Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees (8:07 p.m. ET)- The Yanks and Rangers are gearing up for Game 3 in the ALCS tonight. Cliff Lee will face off against Andy Pettitte as both teams try to get the edge over the other as the series is tied 1-1.

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October 14th, 2010
11:56 AM ET

Gilbert Arena's faked injury, Yao Ming, Shawne Merriman

Washington Wizards player Gilbert Arenas said he faked a knee injury.

Oh Gilbert Arenas. First that unsavory gun incident, now this? Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas recently admitted that he faked a knee injury to avoid playing in the team’s game against the Atlanta Hawks. His reason: So that fourth-year guard Nick Young could start. Wait, I think I missed the part when that was a good idea. After serving a 50-game suspension, Arenas gives up the chance to jump right back into the action to give Young a shot. Noble, isn’t it? W

hat’s even more surprising than Arenas voluntarily sidelining himself is the fact that he admitted lying to his coach. Arenas quickly turned the attention to the media’s reaction on his little fib:

“In hindsight now I would say yes. I wasn’t thinking this would be another media outburst," he said. "Everything that I do now is someone tit for tat trying to blow it out of proportion. Y’now at the end of the day Nick is happy. He got to play, got to show that he can play. And I’m out here taking all the heat again.”

That’s not the case according to SI.com’s Zach Lowe on his new blog The Point Forward. Lowe says that while he’s not quick to pass judgment on Arenas for his various public missteps, he will say that the media is far from blowing this latest incident out of proportion. When you lie to get yourself out of playing, no matter how selfless the reason may be, don’t be shocked when a few eyebrows get raised.

Agent Zero drama aside, there’s plenty of action to keep you entertained tonight:

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October 11th, 2010
11:35 AM ET

Crimson Tide fall, Buckeyes soar, Jets-Vikings square off

South Carolina fans cheered as their team went on to beat Alabama -- and knock them from the top of the AP poll.

It was a great weekend to be a Buckeye or Gamecock - not so great for fans of formerly No. 1 ranked Alabama. After a 19-game winning streak and unchallenged dominance atop the AP poll, the mighty Crimson Tide have fallen down to the No. 8 spot, clearing the way for Ohio State. Receiving 34 first-place votes, OSU has moved to the top of the AP Poll for the first time since 2007.

So what does all this jostling in the SEC mean for the rest of the season? Well according to SI.com’s Stewart Mandel, the shakeup in the conference could mean changes across all of college football and the BCS in the coming weeks.

Alabama’s staggering loss to South Carolina could be attributed to one of two reasons: the Crimson Tide simply faltered against the Gamecocks, or South Carolina capitalized on weaknesses that Alabama is only now starting to show. Mandel cautions to not dismiss South Carolina’s victory as just a fluke, it wasn’t, ‘Bama simply was outmatched by Steve Spurrier and company. What that means for the rest of the season is yet to be determined, but one loss definitely doesn’t knock the Crimson Tide out of championship contention - just like five wins so far doesn’t lock in a spot either.

But college football aside, prepare for a heated Monday night match-up between the Vikings and Jets:

Minnesota Vikings vs. New York Jets (8:30 p.m., ET) – Tonight’s Monday night football match-up pits the Brett Favre-led Vikings against the Sanchised Jets. It’s no secret that Favre has struggled this season – both on and off the field - and when he goes up against his former teammates, things could get ugly for the veteran QB.

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October 7th, 2010
01:08 PM ET

Roy Halladay, Albert Puljos and the MLB playoffs

Leave it to the Phillies – and Doc Halladay - to finish Game 1 with a bang. If beating the Reds 4-0 in the first game of the NLDS wasn’t even for Philadelphia to hang its collective hats, then maybe it was Roy Halladay’s historic performance that did the trick.

The pitching phenom managed to throw only the second postseason no-hitter in history Wednesday night. Just days before the 54th anniversary of Don Larsen’s no-hitter, Halladay hurled 104 pitches, none of which the Reds could come close to turning into runs.

SI.com’s Michael Bamberger talks about being in Citizens Bank Park when Halladay rang in his watershed pitching moment after retiring Brandon Phillips. As in other games, Halladay’s slow, deliberate style was evident in his face-off against the Reds, a team unable to get more than just a walk for right fielder Jay Bruce in the fifth.

"It's surreal, it really is," Halladay said. "I just wanted to pitch here, to pitch in the postseason. To go out and have a game like that, it's a dream come true."

The Reds will have a chance to avenge their embarrassing series opener on Friday in Philadelphia for Game 2. In the meantime, there is plenty of baseball playoff action to dive into.

Game 2 action:

Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays (2:37 p.m., ET) – Things aren’t looking so great for the Rays after a 5-1 loss at the hands of Cliff Lee and the Rangers. They will need an impressive performance from pitcher James Shields to make an impact in Game 2.

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October 4th, 2010
11:12 AM ET

Victory for Giants, more MLB action

San Francisco Giant Buster Posey, number 28, jumping for joy

The weekend belonged to the San Francisco Giants and to Buster Posey. The Rookie of the Year contender and his team managed to end their seven-season playoff drought, clinching the National League West and becoming the first wild card in franchise history for Atlanta. Posey nailed an eighth-inning homer to bump the Giants to a 3-0 lead against the Padres, effectively sealing their playoff deal.

SI.com's Joe Lemire says that Posey's Sunday performance has once again pushed him up in contention for Rookie of the Year honors. But his performance and the Giants' win didn't just benefit San Francisco.

The Braves were also in the unlikely position of rooting for the Giants so that they could clinch a playoff spot without having to face another team in a one-game matchup. Interestingly enough, the Braves good wishes for the Giants may already be a distant memory. The teams are slated to face off against each other Thursday night in San Francisco in the NL Division Series.

The MLB may be getting a break a Monday night, but the NFL is in full swing with a matchup between the Pats and Dolphins.

New England Patriots vs. Miami Dolphins (8:30 p.m., ET) - Taking the action to Sun Life Stadium, the New England Patriots will face off against the Miami Dolphins in the last game of Week 4. One win shy of a career 100, Tom Brady is looking to avenge for a 22-21 loss last year against Miami.

By The Numbers

89 - Number points the U.S. women's basketball team scored in their victory against host Czech Republic at Sunday's FIBA world championship. Led by captains Sue Bird, Tamika Catchings and Diana Taurasi the team brought home its eighth championship after 2006's disappointing third-place finish.

125 - Number of yards Redskins QB Donovan McNabb managed in his Philly homecoming against the Eagles. Though McNabb's performance wasn't all that awe-inspiring, he and the 'Skins eked out a 17-12 victory, aided in part by an injury to Eagles QB Michael Vick.

$55 million - Estimated price tag on Joakim Noah's supposed five-year contract extension with the Chicago Bulls. While details have yet to be finalized, a source close to the situation said the Bulls are on the verge of locking down the center, who would take over starting center duties after Carlos Boozer's recent injury may cause him to be out for about two months.

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September 30th, 2010
02:02 PM ET

NBA training camp, college football in full swing

There’s rarely a dull moment in NBA training camp, and this year is no exception. But it hasn’t been just Carmelo Anthony’s yes, no, maybe free agency that’s been raising eyebrows and frustrating fans. We can now toss some anger and ire toward Lakers big man Andrew Bynum. The center is stirring up a bit of controversy for having put off knee surgery so that he could head to South Africa for this year’s World Cup.

"I had to have the surgery when I was ready for it," Bynum explained to ESPNLA.com. "I was coming off the emotional high of going out and winning your second championship. I just kind of needed a little me time. Me and the family. I just took it from there. I went to go see the World Cup, it was a great time for me, one of the best of my life. I got to stay on safari. And then when I got back home, I took care of business."

But Bynum’s post-World Cup surgery plans hit a road block when doctors discovered that his injury was more extensive and would require a longer recovery time, pushing his return to the Lakers back to possibly November, at best.

SI.com’s Nicki Jhablava will bring the latest news from the NBA in her Training Camp Buzz. While we still may have a few more weeks until the NBA’s season opener, college football is in full swing with tonight’s Aggies-Cowboys matchup-up and baseball playoff action.

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (7:30 p.m., ET) – Undefeated Texas A&M and Oklahoma State will go head-to-head in tonight’s Big 12 face-off. The win would be a huge coup for either team and their Big 12 South prospects.

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September 27th, 2010
11:34 AM ET

Braylon Edwards, Bears vs. Packers, Phillies go for title

Braylon Edwards went into Sunday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins on the bench. Due to a self-imposed team suspension for his DUI arrest, Edwards was forced to sit on the sidelines for the first quarter of the game.

While his actions off the field caused many to question his future with the organization, his ability on the field was hardly in doubt when he managed a 67-yard touchdown in the third quarter with just 4:30 seconds left on the clock. Edwards’ efforts helped the Jets to a 31-23 win against Miami, pushing the Gang Green into a three-way tie atop the AFC East.

"The biggest thing I can say about this week is that I really am glad that I have teammates and an organization like the Jets," Edwards said. "They've been very supportive, been there for me and they've allowed me to have a better week than maybe somewhere else."

But it wasn’t just Edwards and the Jets that managed to impress this weekend. SI.com’s Don Banks recounts a weekend that also saw the Cowboys and Vikings break through with their first wins of the season. Particularly for Cowboys’ coach Wade Phillips, the win may have come just in the nick of time to save face for the team - and secure his job - at least for the time being.

Tonight Green Bay and Chicago fans can look forward to a heated match-up, while the Phillies hope to win the NL East title.

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September 23rd, 2010
12:46 PM ET

MLB teams race toward playoffs, college football

With 11 days left in the season, things are looking pretty good for the San Diego Padres. After having lost the NL West lead twice in the last week, the Padres rebounded with yet another win against the Dodgers to reclaim their spot atop the standings. SI.com’s Joe Sheehan explains that the Dodgers have often been the sometimes down-on-their-luck Friars’ saving grace. He points out that in five games against the Dodgers this month, the Padres have allowed only four runs.

While that’s not to say that the Padres may not find themselves in a rut when they bounce from Los Angeles back to San Diego, their winning streak in LA could give them the boost they need to fend off the Giants and Rockies for the pennant, whom they hold a half game and three-game lead over, respectively.

But playoff action won’t just be heated in Dodger Stadium, as the A’s and Rangers go at it, and college football action rolls full steam ahead into Week 4’s Thursday night showdown between Miami and Pittsburgh.

Oakland Athletics vs. Texas Rangers (10:05 p.m., ET) – The Rangers will start ace-pitcher Cliff Lee tonight as they look to clinch the AL West in California. If the boys from Texas achieve their four-game split, the Rangers will win their first division title since 1999.

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September 20th, 2010
11:23 AM ET

Gang Green, Saints and 49ers, Yankees and Rays

Mark Sanchez and the New York Jets defeated the New England Patriots Sunday night.

The Sanchise is back in full swing…well, maybe. After a crushing 10-9 loss against the Baltimore Ravens, the Jets had a lot to prove to themselves and an army of Gang Green faithful who were starting to think that Rex Ryan’s Super Bowl proclamation was a pipe dream at best. Things weren’t looking so great after the first half against the New England Patriots Sunday, especially after Randy Moss’ 53 seconds-left-on-the-clock reception gave the Pats a 14-7 lead over the Jets going into halftime.

But when the Jets took to the field for the final quarters, sophomore QB Mark Sanchez busted out his best pro performance at just the right time, explains SI.com’s Richard Deitsch. Completing 21 of 30 passes for 220 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, Sanchez spearheaded the Jets’ second-half comeback, beating the Pats 28-14.

After such a strong showing and a much-needed victory the real question is can the Jets keep the momentum going and can Sanchez live up to the his career best performance. While the Jets and Pats get a break tonight, the Saints and 49ers will be battling it out as MLB action rolls on.

New York Yankees vs. Tampa Bay Rays (7:05 p.m.) – The Yankees will take to their home field for the first game in their four-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays tonight. The Yanks have struggled as of late, holding only one-half game lead over the Rays.

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September 16th, 2010
11:46 AM ET

Not a new trend, but what's with all the NCAA violations?

A.J. Green and the Georgia Bulldogs are among a number of high-profile players and teams battling NCAA violation allegations.

After a preseason marred by players landing on the NCAA’s watch list, the fallout continues over improper relationships with agents. On Friday, Georgia star receiver A.J. Green will appeal his four-game suspension for selling an Independence Bowl jersey for $1000 to someone deemed to be an agent. Green is one in a long line of players to receive the ire of the NCAA for coming in too close of contact with professional athletes and agents.

All we can really ask is what is going on? It’s not to say that these issues hadn’t been a problem for years, even decades, but at every turn a new program is being probed and prodded for any sign of player-agent violations. With uncertainty over player status still an issue for a number of schools, including North Carolina and Georgia, the dynamics of college football have invariably changed this season.

Without the star power that some of these college rosters boasted, many teams that would have been top contenders, could slowly see their title and bowl hopes fade. In the end is the NCAA doing the right thing? Yes. Was Reggie Bush forfeiting his Heisman Trophy a step in the right direction? Yes -– though it may have been a little too late, according to SI.com’s Stewart Mandel. But with possible suspensions still looming and more investigations being conducted, no amount of appealing or arguing over whether players like Green should have a four-game or two-game suspension will divert the NCAA’s attention from routing out even more violations and handing down more severe punishments.

Tonight is a light night in college football, while the baseball season chugs along.

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September 13th, 2010
01:33 PM ET

Nadal takes on Djokovic, Jets-Ravens opener

Novak Djokovic, left, and Rafael Nadal will try again today to go after the men's U.S. Open title after weather delays kept them from playing Sunday.

For the first time since Reggie Miller, Shaquille O'Neal and the rest of the 1994 team took the gold, the United States has won the FIBA World Championships. Pitted against host country Turkey, Team USA cruised to an 81-64 victory Sunday night. But while Team USA’s performance at the worlds was impressive enough to garner attention all on its own, what was more impressive was the fact that they won with a roster lacking a traditionally star-studded line-up.

As SI.com’s Jack McCullum explains, Team USA was poised to have the likes of such NBA power players as Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony on its roster. But as each backed out for personal and professional reasons, the defense-oriented “B-Team” emerged as a young squad searching for their identity on the court. Though generally touted as the favorites to take the gold, Team USA worked diligently to prove its ability to mesh on the court and ultimately reaped the benefits of a strong defense and the offensive prowess of one Kevin Durant.

After an American victory on Turkish soil at the worlds, we turn our attention back to the U S of A for the men’s U.S. Open finals and the Jets-Ravens opener.

Rafael Nadal vs. Novak Djokovic (4 p.m. ET) – After Mother Nature caused the men’s U.S. Open final to be rained out Sunday, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will square off today at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The women’s competition wrapped up this weekend, with second-seeded Kim Clijsters taking her third U.S. Open title against Vera Zvonareva.

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