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At Seattle -5.5 Green Bay
They’re the champs for a reason and they’re at home, so it’s gonna take some serious juggernaughting for the Packers to edge ‘em out.
Pick: Seahawks -5.5
New Orleans -3 At Atlanta
Atlanta should bounce back this season, but not this week.
Pick: Saints -3
At St. Louis -3.5 Minnesota
Shaun Hill isn’t as bad as people think and the Vikings new offense needs time to click.
Pick: Rams -3.5
At Pittsburgh -6.5 Cleveland
Johnny Football, Brian Football – it really doesn’t matter without Josh.
Pick: Steelers -6.5
At Philadelphia -10.5 Jacksonville
Bortles may have kept this game respectable.
Pick: Eagles -10.5
At NY Jets -5 Oakland
I love the Derek Carr selection, but the Raiders don’t typically travel east and expect to win.
Pick: Jets -5
At Baltimore -2 Cincinnati
That newly erected statue of Ray Lewis in Baltimore won’t do anything to contain Cincy’s weapons.
Pick: Bengals +2
At Chicago -7 Buffalo
Chicago’s defense was surprisingly shitty last year, but the Bills don’t have the O to exploit ‘em and hang with that Trestman attack.
Pick: Bears -7
At Houston -3 Washington
JJ Watt and Jadeveon Clowney provide some much needed hope for a franchise that needs it. Gonna be fun to watch these two monsters disrupt Washington’s attack.
Pick: Texans -3
At Kansas City -4 Tennessee
Chiefs cruise past a team in transition.
Pick: Chiefs -4
New England -5 At Miami
Brady’s big year starts this week and Shane Vereen goes off.
Pick: Pats -5
At Tampa Bay -2.5 Carolina
Lovie’s first game inspires at home vs. a less-than-100-percent Cam.
Pick: Bucs -2.5
San Francisco -5 At Dallas
The Niners have looked less-than-menacing in the preseason, but I bet Dallas finds a way to lose.
Pick: Niners -5
At Denver -7.5 Indianapolis
Manning unleashes a full offseason of bitterness and frustration on his old team
Pick: Broncos -7.5
At Detroit -6 NY Giants
The Lions show the G-Men how to offense
Pick: Lions -6
At Arizona -3 San Diego
Cardinals remind people that they have a sick defense
Pick: Cards -3
Lock of the Week: Go with Pittsburgh. Trust.
Originally released in 1994, the Shaq Attaq IV was seen on the feet of dominant big man Shaquille O’Neal during the 1994-1995 season in which he won a scoring title, appeared in the All-Star Game in Phoenix, and NBA Finals against Houston.
A game changer on the court, the Shaq Attaq IV also made history as the first basketball shoe to ever feature Insta Pump technology.
Twenty years after its initial release, limited pairs of the black/white/blue Shaq Attaq IV are set to hit shelves on Friday, July 25th at key retailers Jimmy Jazz, Shiekh, Villa, Shoe City and Eblens for $140.
On Thursday, July 17th, UFC Lightweight Champion and Reebok athlete, Anthony Pettis took a select group through an intense speed and agility workout, modeled after his own dry land training along the East River bike path in NYC.
As Anthony is prepping to defend his title in December, he understands how important raw, explosive speed can be, which is why he’s been training in the brand new Reebok ZJET. Like the way the jet engine blast is created by moving air from high to low-pressure compartments, the new ZJET enhances your running by moving trapped air in an underfoot current for maximum cushioning. Paired with extreme flexibility and Nanoweb upper construction for stability, the ZJET is the ultimate in maximum cushioning providing unsurpassed comfort and quickness so you can jet up or down the open road.
Reebok ZJET is now available at Finish Line and Reebok.com, and retails for $130.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off Thursday, June 12th. The stage is set for one of the greatest World Cups of all time. Five time World Cup champions Brazil host the event for the first time since 1950. Every nation that has previously won the tournament is going to Brazil. No European nation has ever won a World Cup in South America. Defending champion Spain looks to become the first nation to ever win two World Cups in a row. Columbia and Belgium pose a threat as dark horses seeking their first World Cup win.
Even with protests in the streets over corruption, delayed stadium construction and infrastructure concerns, FIFA anticipates a smoother event than the trainwreck that was the Sochi Winter Olympics. With the next two World Cups controversially given to Russia and Qatar amid accusations and evidence of bribery, this is the World Cup to attend.
Leave your vuvuzela at home. Vuvuzelas are out. Samba drums are in. The atmosphere in Brazil should be the most electric in World Cup history. Samba drums echoing throughout Rio de Janeiro’s legendary Maracanã stadium. Brazilian girls dancing in the streets like its Carnivale.
Brazil are heavy Group A favorites, but Cameroon, Croatia or Mexico all have a chance to get past the group stage. All three suffered inconsistent form during qualifying. How intimidated will these teams be playing Brazil with the crowd firmly behind the hosts? Mexico crumbled against Brazil last year in the Confederations Cup when facing a fired up Brazilian team. If Brazil don’t win this group there literally could be riots in the streets.
Fifa Rank: 4
Manager: Luiz Felipe Scolari
Key Players: Thiago Silva, Neymar, Dani Alves, Hulk, Marcelo
Best World Cup Finish: Champions (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
Fun Fact: Brazilian legend “Doctor” Socrates earned a Medical Degree while playing professionally.
Forget the FIFA national rank, Brazil enter this tournament as the betting favorite. Brazil has not lost a home game since 1975. But fans expecting to see Brazil play their traditional Joga Bonita (Beautiful Game) might be in for a surprise. Scolari built this team around a rock solid defense that gives his creative players a platform to excel. Team captain Thiago Silva, widely regarded as the best center defender in the world, anchors the defense. Dani Alves and Marcelo are two of the best fullbacks in the world carrying on a long tradition of powerful, quick Brazilian attacking fullbacks.
When goals are needed, Brazil looks to Neymar. Dubbed heir to the Brazilian goal scoring tradition of Pele, Zico, Romario and Ronaldo, the Barcelona attacker has a huge opportunity. If his performances in last years Confederations Cup win can be repeated, Neymar will play himself into the pantheon of immortal Brazilian legends. Neymar is already 7th on Brazil’s all-time goal scoring list at only 22-years-old.
With Scolari choosing to bypass the experience of players like Kaka, Brazil relies on their next generation for creativity. Last year during the Confederations Cup, home crowds visibly boosted Brazil’s young team. With talented emerging stars like Oscar and Bernard competing in their first World Cup, the roaring Brazilian fans could make the difference in inspiring this young team to lift a record 6th World Cup Trophy.
Fifa Rank: 20
Manager: Niko Kovac
Key Players: Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic, Darijo Srna, Ivan Rakitic
Best World Cup Finish: 3rd (1998)
Fun Fact: Niko Kovac’s only prior experience managing a team is 10 months in charge of Croatia’s U-21 squad.
This year’s Croatian team hopes to replicate their best ever finish in 1998. Croatia put their fans through an emotional roller coaster during qualification. They switched managers before a playoff with Iceland following a string of poor results. Former Croatian team captain Niko Kovac took over and settled down the dressing room but his credentials are untested at this level.
Croatia fields a balanced team of youth and experience led by playmaker Luka Modric and team captain Darijo Srna. Modric has been one of Real Madrids most consistent players all season. Ivan Rakitic’s good form was integral for his club team Sevilla. Talented young players Dejan Lovrens and Mateo Kovacic have impressed at times and could emerge on the international stage.
On paper, Croatia has a deeper and more experienced squad than either Mexico or Cameroon. If players like Modric can replicate their club form, the Vatreni enter as favorites to qualify after Brazil. However, Croatia’s striker Mandzukic might be facing a three-match ban which would make him unavailable for the entire group stage. That might leave Croatia toothless in front of goal.
Fifa Rank: 19
Manager: Miguel Herrera
Key Players: Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Giovanni dos Santos, Oribe Peralta
Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals (1970, 1986)
Fun Fact: Mexico has suffered more defeats (20) in World Cup matches than any other nation.
This Mexican team exists as an enigma. Usually a shoe-in World Cup competitor, Mexico suffered their worst qualifying campaign since 1990. After a team of European based Mexican stars turned in lackluster performances, charismatic Mexican manager Miguel Herrera replaced his team of foreign based talent with a team almost exclusively of players based in Mexico’s home league. This tactic worked as Mexico went on to beat New Zealand in a playoff with a hat-trick from Club America striker Oribe Peralta.
Yet this gives Herrera a dilemma. Does he continue to go with mostly Mexican league based players for the World Cup? Or does he return to the Mexican stars playing in Europe? Both Spain and Germany benefit from many of their players being on the same club and in the same league as that breeds familiarity.
Herrera’s provisional squad list includes some of Mexico’s European stars like Manchester United based Chicharito but leaves out other foreign based stars. Carlos Vela had a breakthrough year at Real Sociedad but won’t be playing in Brazil. If media savvy Herrera’s mix of European based players and Mexico based players can come together as a team, Mexico has a chance to advance. If not, El Tri could go home without a point.
Fifa Rank: 50
Manager: Volker Finke
Key Players: Samuel Eto’o, Alex Song, Jean Makoun
Best World Cup Finish: Quarterfinals (1990)
Fun Fact: Cameroon legend Roger Milla is oldest player to ever score a goal at the World Cup at 42 years.
One of Africa’s soccer powerhouses, Cameroon has qualified for the World Cup seven times, more than any African nation. At this World Cup Cameroon are distinct underdogs. As the first team mathematically eliminated in the 2010 World Cup, the Indomitable Lions will be hungry to improve upon their results from 2010 but will find that a tough challenge.
Like Mexico and Croatia, Cameroon overcame some scares in qualifying. They were bolstered by Togo using an ineligible player and being awarded points for a match they lost. Their captain, Samuel Eto’o is a legendary player having won the Champions League three times. However, after two years in the weaker Russian league, Eto’o struggled to make an impact this year playing in England at Chelsea. If Eto’o still has enough left in his tank to produce some world class goals, Cameroon has a shot at upsetting Mexico or Croatia.
Cameroon’s Volker Finke managed Freiburg in Germany for 16 years, winning plaudits for his tactics at times and being relegated at others. Finke has more club management experience than either Croatia’s Kovac or Mexico’s Herrera. Cameroon needs Finke’s tactical expertise to shine at the international level for them to have a chance at making it past Mexico and Croatia.
Group A Match Schedule
Brazil v Croatia, 12:30 PM (Pacific)
Mexico v Cameroon, 8:30 AM (Pacific)
Brazil v Mexico, 11:30 AM (Pacific)
Cameroon v Croatia, 2:30 PM (Pacific)
Cameroon v Brazil, 12:30 PM (Pacific)
Croatia v Mexico, 12:30 PM (Pacific)
Mountain Dew announced today that, for the first time, Mtn Dew Baja Blast – which was introduced 10 years ago as a “Taco Bell® Original” – will also be available for a limited time in bottles and cans. The tropical lime flavored beverage will hit shelves starting on May 5. While Mtn Dew Baja Blast is always available at Taco Bell, consumers will have to move fast to buy it at retail, as the fan-favorite will head back to Taco Bell exclusively at the end of the summer…or when supplies run out.
Mtn Dew Baja Blast will be available in single serve 20 oz. bottles and 24 oz. cans, as well as 12-packs of 12 oz. cans.
On May 5, fans will also be able to download and play the “Baja or Bust” mobile gaming app. Based upon the widely-played Motocross Elite app, “Baja or Bust” will be available for iOS and Android platforms and will: enable players to enter for a chance to win exciting prizes, including adventure and beach vacations; and be able to enter codes, available under every cap of Mtn Dew Baja Blast, to unlock in-game upgrades and advantages.
Visit www.MountainDew.com/BajaBlast or Facebook.com/MountainDew for more information, and join the conversation at @mtn_dew #SummerOfBaja and @TacoBell #SummerOfBaja.
Most of us can’t wait for the madness to begin. We have finalized our brackets for the 100th time and we are ready to watch the underdogs take on the powerhouse teams. As guys we are always looking for some ways to get more done at once. So guys are ready to put more things on that to do list? No better time to start then now right?
There comes a time during every NCAA® March Madness® when the underdog comes face to face with the goliath. Every year, basketball fans are witness to amazing buzzer-beating moments and historical, dramatic upsets. So many great underdog moments have occurred it’s hard to pick the best one ever!
As Official Locker Room Products of NCAA® Championships, Degree Men® deodorant is creating “Clash of the Underdogs,” a series of brackets that place history’s favorite March Madness underdog victories against each other, and gives fans the chance to vote for the greatest of all time. Fans can visit DegreeBasketball.com and vote for their favorite NCAA March Madness “underdog moments,” and then register for the chance to win a trip to the 2015 NCAA Final Four® in Indianapolis.
Basketball superstar, Stephen Curry is someone who is very familiar with underdog and buzzer-beating moments. From leading his college team to two March Madness appearances in a row, to becoming one of the best guards in pro basketball, Curry constantly pushes himself to DO:MORE and IMPROVE. With help from Degree Men®, Curry is on a mission to inspire others to push themselves to DO:MORE and IMPROVE no matter their passion.
Fans can visit YouTube.com/DegreeMen to view an exciting short film series, directed by 9-time Grammy winner John Legend, showcasing how Stephen Curry pushes himself to DO:MORE off the court in order to IMPROVE on the court.
To push guys to DO:MORE during the hype of March Madness, Degree Men® deodorant has released a limited edition NCAA basketball-themed Sport Defense stick from its Adrenaline SeriesTM line featuring new and improved MOTIONSENSE™ Technology. Triggered by even the most sudden and slightest of body movements, Degree with patented MOTIONSENSE™ is the only antiperspirant/deodorant that releases extra microcapsules when you start to move – not just when you start to sweat – protecting you from sweat and odor for 48 hours and allowing you to DO:MORE. The more you move, the more it protects.
Villanova head coach Jay Wright hopes to see his team play for the NCAA National Championship for college basketball. This season for the Villanova Wildcats has been great so far. As fans of the tournament know anything goes in during March Madness.
As a coach of the team Wright needs to guide his players with poise and a sense of determination. As you will see in my interview with Jay it looks like he is putting his players in the right direction.
I was able to chat with Jay about this year’s team, Twitter, and the great work he is doing with Dove Men+Care. You will be able to see his commercials during March Madness.
Art Eddy: Let’s first talk about the Dove Men+Care campaign you are doing. Tell me a bit about this promotion?
Jay Wright: Dove Men+Care has a campaign going on during March Madness with the top decision makers in basketball. I get to be one of them. In my commercial I get to make an easy choice to choose Dove Men+Care for my skin care. I like it because it provides me with more moisture.
I am psyched about it. It is pretty funny. People can check it out on the Dove Men+Care website.
AE: You join a great group of guys in this campaign. Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Steve Nash, and Coach Tom Izzo have worked with Dove Men+Care. Did they give you any advice before you started filming the commercials?
JW: (Laughs.) Not before, but I did share it with Tom Izzo and Jay Bilas after. Then I saw theirs. Theirs were great. Those were great ads. I use the body wash and I am hoping that I look better than those two. (Both laugh.)
AE: What got you into coaching basketball?
JW: Probably like most coaches I was a player that thought I was going to play in the NBA. I went to Bucknell. I didn’t figure it out until the draft was over after my senior year. I didn’t get drafted. I said to myself that this might not be working out and I better find something to do.
If you remember the Unites States Football league I actually started in marketing my first year out. I loved it, but my friend, Pat Flannery got me an assistant job at the University of Rochester. I was on that job for one day and loved it. I knew that was what I wanted to do.
AE: Do you like the way the game of college basketball has evolved?
JW: I think it is a great time for the game Art. I really do. The way things are changing with the conferences is a little unsettling for us traditionalists. The talk about allowing the players to have some of the revenue, the new conferences, all the new TV outlets, the thought that the NBA will have these guys in college for two or three years are in the forefront, but the game right now is as good as it has ever been. Going into this tournament this year I think that there are 30 teams that can win the National Championship.
AE: As a coach how tough is it to get your guys focused after a huge win during March Madness?
JW: You know Art I would say that is our greatest challenge. It really is. It is keeping the guys focused on the next game. We use the term, ‘Be here now.’ Get over that game. When we win games we also use the term, ‘Stay hungry and humble.’
If we lose a game we refer to the word attitude. That is what we can control moving forward. It is a big part of tournament play. That is a good question because it is not just winning that one big game. It is how you handle it and are you ready to prepare for the next one.
AE: Some coaches recently bashed Twitter. You are on Twitter so I am guessing you like social media. Is that a fair statement?
JW: Yeah. I have come full circle with it. When Twitter first started my first experience with it was hearing one of my players tweet during a class. So I am thinking he is not supposed to be tweeting right now. He is supposed to be learning.
We started addressing it and talking about it. We started talking to the players saying that Twitter is your own branding. It is how you present yourself publicly and it is the same thing for me and our program. It is funny Art. It is like being a parent. You know where your guys are all the time. We are all on their Twitter accounts. We follow all of them. You know what they are thinking and what they are doing. It is like a homing device.
AE: Do you look at the college rankings at all or is that just more of a media driven thing?
JW: Much like Twitter, I think that we are at an age where there is so much information available to these kids that you are not going to hide them from it. So it is not about ignoring it. It is about how you handle it. Do you use it as an advantage or a disadvantage?
With all the hype being in the top ten we use a reference where we say, ‘Perfume is okay if you sniff it, but if you swallow it, it is poison.’ It is the same thing. With all the media hype you can look at it, but if you are defining yourself by it and swallowing it, it will kill you. So we have to address it all the time.
If you are into films that are gritty and show real life drama than you must have already seen “Out of the Furnace.” If not I suggest you pick it up on Blu-ray or DVD. Scott Cooper directed and co-wrote the screenplay. The film is a tale about a family that just can’t keep its head above water. “Out of the Furnace” has an all-star cast that includes Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, William Dafoe, and Forest Whitaker.
Bale plays the role of Russell Baze, who works all day at the steel mill and then goes home to care for his terminally ill father. To add more stress in his life, his brother Rodney comes back from Iraq from his service in the military. Rodney not wanting to follow his family’s lead by working in the mill starts to enter an underground bareknuckle boxing league. That league is run by a drug dealer played by Woody Harrelson. Russell tries to help out his brother before anything bad can happen. I will stop there so I don’t ruin the film for you, but take my word for it you will be pulled right in as soon as the film begins.
I was lucky enough to talk with Scott Cooper about the film and how his experience as an actor helps him now as a director. Also enter for your chance to win a copy of “Out of the Furnace” on Blu-ray below.
Art Eddy: “Out of the Furnace” has gritty feel to it. You grew up in an area similar to where the film took place. Did you have any knowledge of things like underground fighting that took place where you grew up?
Scott Cooper: I grew up on the coal fields of Virginia. My grandfather was a coal miner. I always knew that kind of blue collar work ethic. I grew up among people like that. I wanted to write and set the story in steel country. There is no better place to do that then in Western Pennsylvania. In particular this town called Braddock, Pennsylvania that I have grown very fond of.
Just like my protagonist played by Christian Bale, this town also has been beset by this relentless fate. They have had a very, very difficult time. The bareknuckle fighting society can easily just as happen in the lower side of Manhattan, or the Midwest, or Deep South. We all have been some type of gladiators of one nature or another. That is a kind of metaphor for a man who in Casey Affleck’s character who has been trained by the United States government to fight in both Iraq and Afghanistan. So nothing is too literal in its own.
AE: While watching the film it seemed that every character had that moment where they could just lose it. Was that your vision and if so what did you tell the actors to do to create that sense of being volatile?
SC: When you are dealing with actors of this caliber, who truly are the best screen actors that we have here in America, they come in with fully formed opinions and a point of view. They read a script like “Out of the Furnace” and they understand those moments that can best be dramatized.
So you don’t really have to direct them to go to those moments. You want to take them up to that edge before they ultimately explode. That is where it is most exciting. I wanted the film to really be an intense experience from the opening moments with Woody Harrelson in a very public setting in the drive-in that is a relic in its own right all the way through the final frames of the film. I didn’t want it to be going with narrative conventions or otherwise Casey’s character would have been dead on page nine.
AE: Not only do the actors give the viewer a sense of hopelessness, but the way the scenes were shot also has that vibe. Was that something you made sure of while filming the movie?
SC: It was very conscious to me. I have only made two films, but I guess that both of these films are similar. They have this sense of immersive realism and a kind of observational photography. There are many fine directors who are very technically astute and proficient. Yet you realize that you are watching a movie.
I wanted to make it feel like you are watching real life. There is a difference in the way you photograph and stage scenes. The way the actors move and the way they interact. It is just a different style. It is not for everybody. People want a sense of escapism and go see a movie where they can laugh, have fun, and see actors in crazy costumes. I prefer a much truthful and emotionally true experience. Some audiences don’t want to embrace those harsh realities of life. I understand that. If they don’t there are certainly other movies that they can go and see.
SC: I would say resilience. You have a man in Christian Bale’s character who is beset on all sides by this relentless fate. Yet he is able to overcome that. He is based on someone who is very close in my life, who has suffered similarly. He experienced great tragedy and loss, but he was also able to overcome it. He is one of the most positive people I know.
So regardless of how bad it gets he continues to be resilient and positive and is able to get through those tough moments in life.
AE: How did you form relationships with Christian Bale, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana, William Dafoe, Casey Affleck, and Forest Whitaker on set while filming to create a bond with those actors?
SC: It helps that I am also an actor. I understand their language. I understand their preparation. I understand that every actor in that film and mostly every actor that I have worked with is that we are all different human beings with different personalities. They all had different ways of accessing a character. You have to treat each actor separately and differently.
I have such respect and reverence for actors that feel that the performance is the most important thing in a film. As long as they are authentic and emotionally truthful which comes from casting actors who are not afraid to take their own risks. Actors that will push the artistic boundaries. Christian, Casey, Zoe, Woody, and the rest of the cast have done that. They give very human and raw performances as opposed to performances where you often see them acting in a very technical way and what they are doing is artificial.
AE: Going along with what you just said about the level of acting I have to say the scene where you have Christian getting out of jail was fantastic. You shot it in a way that people could see his wide range of emotions that he felt on becoming a free man. I just want to say for me that was a tremendous scene.
SC: It is all the things we take for granted. Once you are incarcerated those things go right out the window. You really have to treat each day as if it would be your last and live in the moment. That is the truth. We all have the same fate.
Enter below for you chance to win “Out of the Furnace” on Blu-ray and follow MANjr on Twitter.