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When it comes to sports, New York has bred a number of world-class competitors over the last few decades. From classic swingers, such as Babe Ruth, to modern day heroes, such as Michael Jordan and Mike Tyson, New York has a long history of sporting greats.

However, away from the baseball fields, football fields and other arenas of competition, in recent years New York has also become something of a breeding ground for another type of champion – poker players.

Thanks to a steady stream of poker icons making a name for themselves on the international circuit, New York has become synonymous with poker success and was even used as the setting for the cult classic Rounders. Starring Matt Damon, Ed Norton and John Malkovich, the 1998 film focuses on Mike McDermott (played by Damon) who is a poker player tasked with using his skills to rebuild his bankroll and take part in the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event.

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New York lost the ‘Rex Bowl’ at Metlife Stadium by committing four turnovers and making numerous mental mistakes that led to their third loss in their last four games. Those mental mistakes started at the very top as Todd Bowles made a few questionable decisions. Down 22-9 midway through the third quarter, Bowles opted to kick the extra point, making the score 22-10, instead of going for the two-point conversion. His biggest gaffe, however, occurred with three minutes remaining in the game. Trailing by five points and armed with three timeouts, Bowles opted to go for it on 4th-and-4 from Buffalo’s 7-yard line. New York failed to convert a first down, deflating the home crowd and a defense that was played inspired football during the second half. Buffalo’s offense was able to kill the clock due to some strong, elusive carries by LeSean McCoy.

For the first time this season, Devin Smith was forced into kick returning duties, but things did not go according to plan. Early in the second quarter, Smith fumbled away a kick off return and Buffalo returned it 19 yards for a touchdown. Smith made the mistake of returning a deep kick-off out of his own end zone and chose to run away from his blocks. Smith’s mistake spun momentum in Buffalo’s favor and proved to be one of the most noteworthy plays from this game.

Tackling has become a major issue for New York’s defense. New York’s tacklers were routinely whiffing on tackles and each member of the defense missed at least one tackle. McCoy exacerbated New York’s tackling deficiency late in the fourth quarter by juking, side stepping, and evading defenders to pick up first downs and kill the clock.

To read the rest, please visit this link: Footballguys.com

New York’s rushing attack pummeled Miami’s lack luster run defense, gashing Ndamakong Suh and Co. for 207 yards. Chris Ivory, who missed last week’s tilt against Philadelphia, returned with a vengeance and gashed Miami for a career-high 166 yards and one touchdown. Miami’s run defense attempted to arm tackle Ivory, which proved to be futile. Ivory regularly ran through arm tackles and turned minimal 1-2 yards gain into chain-moving, first down runs. Miami’s run defense seemed uninterested in tackling Ivory as the game wore on—and rightfully so. Ivory sets the tone on offense and his hard-nosed running style perfectly complements New York’s mentality under Todd Bowles.

Last week, we told readers to keep an eye on Willie Colon’s status since Brian Winters did not play well in relief against Philadelphia. Winters proved his doubters wrong and held his own against Suh. Suh did not record his first tackle until the third quarter and looked downright frustrated during the first half. Credit Winters for a superb effort and hope that Colon can heal during New York’s bye week.

Brandon Marshall continued to feast on smaller corners. Brent Grimes left the game after suffering a first quarter injury, but was badly burnt by Marshall on two plays early in the first quarter. On New York’s first play from scrimmage, Marshall burnt Grimes deep down the sideline for a 57-yard gain. Credit Ryan Fitzpatrick for throwing a superb deep ball, but Marshall won at the point of attack and asserted his will throughout the game. Marshall did drop one end zone target, but Marshall’s toughest, ability to separate, and leadership is a boon for this offense.

It may be an unpopular opinion, but New York should consider a quarterback change during its bye week. Fitzpatrick took what Miami’s defense gave him, but he missed a lot of easy throws, especially to rookie, Devin Smith. Fitzpatrick is able to guide and manage the offense, but made some mistakes that allowed Miami to hang around in the game that should have been an easy blowout win.

To read the rest, please visit this link: Footballguys.com

The New York Jets have not exactly been dominant in the last few years. At times, the defense has been solid, but the offense has been atrocious. If the Jets are going to contend in a competitive AFC East division, their offense must improve. Of course, they also need the defense to play a very high level. As we prepare for the 2015 NFL season, fans will ask themselves, just how good is this defense?

New York actually struggled a bit in 2014 on defense, at least from a fantasy football money leagues perspective. The defense was unable to create turnovers and that really limited them all season long. However, adding Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie to the secondary will certainly help create turnovers and put more pressure on opposing offenses. Revis and Cromartie are excellent play makers and they will be able to anchor the last line of defense.

As far as the front seven is concerned, things are shaping up nicely. Fans are excited about their young trio of Muhammad Wilkerson, Sheldon Richardson and Leonard Williams. Many see Williams as the most ready rookie in the entire NFL, so that will be interesting to monitor. The talent is certainly there for them to be a Top-10 team on defense, but the coaching staff must be on the same page. Consider that done, as Todd Bowles has already set the tone and has begun changing the team’s culture. All of the important defensive statistics  should increase, with the exception of the sack total. The Jets were already pretty good at getting to the quarterback, so they should be able to keep that up in 2015.

Finding a quarterback and getting the offense in order should be the main focus for the New York Jets in training camp. The defense is already well ahead of the offense, but they obviously need both if they want any shot at putting fear in their opponents.

New York Giants struggled last year and missed out on the playoffs after finishing the regular season with a disappointing 6-10 record. Big Blue were extremely unlucky with injuries – losing star wide receiver Victor Cruz and starting cornerback Prince Amukamara early in the campaign – and who knows where they would have finished with a healthy squad.

Many have argued that the Giants were the best team to finish with a losing record, and they will be looking to draft well and reach the postseason this time around. We take a look at Tom Coughlin’s Giants side and discuss their chances of winning the NFC East this year.

NYG

 

The return of Victor Cruz is huge

Cruz will be entering his fifth season in the NFL and will be raring to go after spending the majority of last season on the sidelines. The undrafted wide receiver, who spent his college days at Massachusetts, should free up the phenomenal Odell Beckham Jr on the opposite side of the pitch and the two are likely to provide Eli Manning with a deadly attacking threat.

The Giants drafted Beckham Jr in the first round last year, but he missed the first six matches of the season after picking up an injury in preseason. He finished an impressive rookie campaign with 91 receptions for a staggering 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in as many matches. Beckham also produced arguably the greatest catch ever against the Dallas Cowboys, which prompted him to receive vast media attention and helped him to announce his arrival to the NFL.

They must strengthen at running back

Although these two wide receivers give Eli Manning viable ‘down the field’ options, they will still need a strong running game if they are to reach the playoffs. The Giants lost David Wilson – who was forced to retire after sustaining a serious neck injury – and Rashad Jennings continues to blow hot and cold.

They did acquire former New England Patriots running back Shane Vereen in the offseason, but they still require an ‘every down’ power back that can help take the pressure off Eli Manning. The Giants are fairly solid defensively, but are likely to strengthen in the upcoming NFL draft. They may instead opt to focus primarily on a new running back and reinforcements for the offensive line.

Verdict

The Giants have a genuine chance of winning the NFC East this year if they bolster their defensive unit and the offensive stars stay healthy. The remaining teams in the division – Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins – have arguably got ‘weaker’ in free agency, and the Giants will be looking to win as many divisional contests as they can in order to ensure that they reach the playoffs this campaign. If you would like to place a bet on the Giants winning the NFC East this year, or just on the NFL in general, Betfair are currently offering 40/1 on Big Blue to be crowned Super Bowl champions. Their supporters certainly think that they will, at least, win their division this year.

If there’s one issue that’s blighting the worldwide sports community, it has to be match fixing. The practice has, admittedly, been around for centuries, but with the massive growth in sports across the world, the huge numbers of people that enjoy the sport and the hefty sums of money that teams, leagues and investors pump in to sports, today more than ever the practice is most destructive. There is one industry that could benefit from the recent troubles though; the casino industry. How exactly could match fixing scandals help the gambling business though?

Across the world match fixing is a big problem. It’s continually cropping up in international soccer leagues and tournaments. Organised crime elements are being seen behind the facade. Even online video game leagues are being infiltrated at the highest levels by unscrupulous elements. International experts say it needs to stop, the public wants it to stop, and yet the scandals continue.

Now you might think that all of these terrible goings on would spell doom for the gambling industry; betting on sports is big business in countries where it is legalised, after all. In the UK, Japan and a host of European countries, putting a little cash on your favourite team is the norm, and indeed match fixing could put people off betting all together- where’s the element of chance? In countries like America though, the lack of sports betting isn’t really a problem and if anything, the number of illegal backroom wagers might fall as a result of match fixing scandals.

What the scandals might do, however, is force those wanting excitement (from all across the world) into the arms of the gambling industry. If you’re not able to eke excitement from watching your favourite team anymore, you’re going to go elsewhere for your fun!

Online gaming houses are likely to gain most from any potential exodus from either sports or sports betting scenes. A fair amount of wagering is done via smartphone these days, do it’s likely that individuals will end up logging in to www.rubyfortune.com or some other similar site, as supposed to heading to their nearest casino, to get their excitement fix. Who knows, we might even see already huge pro-gambling sports such as poker growing into fully fledged spectator sports as a result!

Of course, the sports world isn’t going to collapse as a result of a few match fixing scandals, but in the meantime the casino industry could make a pretty penny from disenfranchised, angry fans, perhaps even retaining them for years to come.

Despite coming off a terrible loss to the Buffalo Bills, the New York Jets still have some hope to make the playoffs. Sitting at 5-5 and in second place in the AFC East, they have a favorable last six games on their schedule. So can the Jets overcome the odds and make the playoffs, despite having so many holes in their lineup?

Rookie quarterback Geno Smith has certainly had his ups and downs this season, and he is coming off perhaps his worst professional performance ever. Simply put, be happy that you did not start him in fantasy football last week. The Bills made him look silly, forcing three interceptions and a lost fumble. He was so bad that the Jets benched him for Matt Simms, who looked decent in him limited playing time. There is no quarterback controversy yet, but Smith all of a sudden is under a little bit more pressure.

The Week 12 matchup for the Jets is huge, as they will travel to Baltimore to take on the 4-6 Ravens. Both of these teams are somehow holding onto their playoff life, with San Diego, Miami, Tennessee and others battling as well.

Perhaps the one major calling card for this Jets team right now is their young, dynamic defensive line. They have been largely responsible for their huge wins over the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints. Their offense is not going to simply outscore opponents, and they have no true fantasy football stars, but this team can win ugly as long as Smith (or Simms) can be competent out there.

The spotlight is always a little brighter on Rex Ryan and his Jets, but this team could take advantage of a top-heavy AFC this season. The loss last week isn’t the end of the world, but it makes this direct matchup with a contending Baltimore club that much bigger.

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By SBRForum.com

The Boston Celtics are losers of four games in a row, and on Tuesday night, they’re going to have their work cut out for them against the New York Knicks, the leaders of the Atlantic Division.

During this losing streak, all hasn’t been disastrous for the Celtics. They have been playing incredibly shorthanded, as they are without Rajon Rondo, Jared Sullinger, and Kevin Garnett. KG is out of the fold once again on Tuesday night, and that really could create some major matchup problems in the paint with New York coming to town.

However, these losses for Boston haven’t been brutal. The defeat at the hands of the Dallas Mavericks on Friday came by 10 points, but the other three losses were only by a combined seven points, and they all were games that could have gone the other way.

New York meanwhile, is a team that you want to make your NBA picks on at the moment. A win on the road at the Utah Jazz to wrap up a West Coast swing really was what turned the tide in the other direction for the Knicks. Once they got back to Madison Square Garden, they were on their way to winning once again. Since that win over Utah, New York has rolled off three more victories in a row. Its winning streak is now at four games, and its cover streak is at five.

Getting Carmelo Anthony back in the lineup really has helped, as he is one of the top scorers in the whole league. He scored 65 points in two games against the Toronto Raptors last weekend, showing that he is clearly over the knee injury that cost him the mass majority of the road trip in the weeks prior.

Carmelo Anthony is expected to return tonight against the Orlando Magic. “I feel good as of right now, so I’ll be ready to play tonight,” says Anthony. Anthony has missed six of the Knicks’ last eight games, and presence has been sorely missed; they have lost five of their last seven.

This is not to say that other injuries haven’t been holding the Knicks back as well. Amare Stoudemire and Tyson Chandler are both out as well, which has not done the Knicks any good. The hope is that Anthony will be able to provide the spark this team has been missing of late.

In the two most recent games Anthony played in, it is thought that he probably came back from being injured a bit too early. He shot 7-27 in those two games, and later admitted that he struggled playing below 100%. That does not seem to be the case this time around. When asked about his confidence in his knee, Carmelo responded by saying “I’m not thinking about my knee. I’m not thinking about anything. I feel good. Now I’m just playing ball at this point.”

The Knicks are not in danger of missing the playoffs by any stretch of the imagination, but minimizing injuries is an important part of making a playoff run. It is encouraging to see ‘Melo displaying such confidence in his knee after a couple scary outings. Let’s hope that everyone else is in tip-top shape come playoff time.

A good test for the Knicks comes on April 14th when they play the Pacers, who for the time being have edged into the second spot in the East. Tickets to the game start at $171 on SeatCrunch and reach prices in the realm of $4,020.