SportsNet - December 2012
Three teams that were the subject of incompetence and underachievement in 2011 are now in the thick of the playoff hunt. And all three were guided thanks in large part to their rookie quarterbacks.
The resurgent Indianapolis Colts, sitting at 9-5, are led by Andrew Luck, while the Seattle Seahwaks are led by suprising third round pick Russell Wilson, and the Washington Redskins are led by Robert Griffin III. With all of these teams on he brink of reaching the playoffs and having good seasons nonetheless, this begs the question:
Rafael Benítez has admitted he could not guarantee John Terry would be fit for Chelsea's Christmas fixtures.
Terry's recovery from knee surgery is proving more problematic than first thought and he will definitely miss Sunday's Premier League game against Aston Villa.
Ramires, John Obi Mikel and Gary Cahill all return from suspension, Daniel Sturridge is available for selection after his hamstring injury, but Ryan Bertrand is doubtful after being forced off in Wednesday's Capital One Cup quarter-final at Leeds.
Meanwhile, Aston Villa midfielder Stephen Ireland is available.
The Republic of Ireland international missed the 3-1 win over Liverpool at Anfield last weekend through illness.
But skipper and central defender Ron Vlaar and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor remain major doubts with calf and thigh problems respectively.
On Sunday, Manchester United will make a daunting trip to Wales to face Michael Laudrup’s Swansea City side.
The Red Devils come into this game having won their last five Premier League outings, with the latest victory coming against a mediocre Sunderland team last weekend.
Swansea on the other hand, will be looking to avoid three straight defeats after going down against the likes Tottenham Hotspurs and Norwich City in the last two weeks.
Swansea could welcome back goalkeeper Michel Vorm, who has been out of action since October, defender Angel Rangel and attacker Pablo Hernandez. Neil Taylor is a long-term absentee, having fractured his ankle in September.
United could start with captain Nemanja Vidic at the heart of the defence after the Serbian came on as a second-half substitute against Sunderland.
Rafael, Luis Nani and Anderson and Shinji Kagawa are, all, however, likely to miss the club’s taxing trip to Wales.
Swansea City-Vorm, Tiendalli, Flores, Williams, Davies, Britton, Ki, de Guzman, Dyer, Michu, Hernandez
Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Preview And Where To Watch Online: A Batle of Desperate Rivals
The Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) come into Pittsburgh to face the Steelers (7-7) in what may be the most important match-up of the week. Giants-Ravens and 49ers-Seahawks will give the game a run for its money, but on paper, the idea of two bitter divisional rivals battling to eliminate each other from playoff contention wins out.
Of course that’s on paper. In reality the Steelers are sliding and desperately trying to hold on to the remnants of a season that has been devastated by injury and terrible play at essential points. Meanwhile the Bengals have gone hot then cold then hot again to be a shade above .500.
So this could be called the changing of the guard, the surging Bengals are replacing the ageing, floundering Steelers. But not so quick. The Bengals were unable to make much of an impact when they faced the Steelers earlier this year. Despite leading 14-3 at one point, the Bengals collapsed spectacularly and the Steelers walked away 24-17 victors.
Did you hear the latest in college football? Some schools are talking about switching leagues. Can you believe it?
Even more amazing, one school – Boise State – is talking about switching back to the league it was switching from. Confusing? You betcha, but it’s not necessarily surprising.
With all the cash involved, and the seemingly never-ending collapse of the Big East – could someone just put a fork in the poor conference and we be done with it already? – it stands to reason that there may be, um, a little movement here or there.
Fortunately, with the bowl season in full swing now, we can focus our eyes onto the actual field these days. So, without further ado, let’s look at upcoming Week 2 of the non-playoff postseason: