12.29.14: Bowling, anyone?

It’s the last week of 2014… how did that happen? Anyhow, we’re thankful for a great year of sports and even more excited to watch the upcoming 2015 athletic feats of excellence. Happy New Year from Team SQ to you! And with that, enjoy this cool video that Gatorade put together to celebrate their 50th birthday.

 

QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK

NFL

Things were nothing short of interesting in the final 17th week of regular season games in the NFL.

In the AFC: The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Cleveland Browns 20-10 to clinch the 6th seed, the Denver Broncos beat the Oakland Raiders 47-14 to claim their 1st round bye as the AFC West champs (their 3rd straight season of this), the Indianapolis Colts (who had already clinched the AFC South) beat the Tennessee Titans 27-10, and even though they lost to the Buffalo Bills 17-9, the New England Patriots are your AFC East winners and will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs as the overall number 1 seed. Lastly, on Sunday Night Football, we saw the Pittsburgh Steelers defeat the Cincinnati Bengals 27-17 to win the AFC North. As a result, the Bengals joined the Ravens in the Wild Card spots.

In the NFC: The Seattle Seahawks picked up the NFC West title and home-field advantage with their win over the St. Louis Rams 20-6, the Carolina Panthers moved past the Atlanta Falcons 34-3 to win the NFC South and the Green Bay Packers looked top notch in their win over the Detroit Lions to win the NFC North and claim a first round bye. Finally, the Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins 44-17 to win the NFC East in a game where DeMarco Murray set a single season Dallas record for most rushing yards and surpassed the legendary Emmitt Smith. The other two NFC playoff teams in the Wild Card slots are the Arizona Cardinals and the Detroit Lions.

Now that we know which teams made the playoffs, let’s take a look at the schedule. Wild Card games kick off next weekend on January 3rd and 4th:

  • NFC: Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers 4:25pm (Jan 3rd – ESPN)
  • AFC: Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers 8:15pm (Jan 3rd – NBC)
  • AFC: Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts 1:50pm (Jan 4th CBS)
  • NFC: Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys 4:40pm (Jan 4th – FOX)

The San Francisco 49ers announced a mutual separation from head coach Jim Harbaugh on Sunday night. The 49ers finished this season 8-8 and Harbaugh will likely become the next head coach of his alma mater, the Michigan Wolverines.

J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans became the only player in NFL history to have two seasons with 20 sacks. It is becoming more and more likely that he will be this year’s MVP, a rare feat for a NFL defensive end.

One team looking way ahead to next season is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who lost to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday 23-20 but won the right to the number 1 pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.

College Football

It’s an exciting week for college football as the bowl season continues. There are plenty of good games to watch, but the real action kicks off on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day with five great games including the college football playoffs. On New Year’s Eve, check out #9 Ole Miss vs. #6 TCU in the  Peach Bowl at 12:30pm, #20 Boise State vs. #10 Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl at 4pm and #7 Mississippi State vs. #12 Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl.

Then on New Year’s Day, starting at noon #19 Auburn plays #18 Wisconsin in the Outback Bowl followed by #8 Michigan State vs. #5 Baylor in the Cotton Bowl at 12:30pm, and #16 Missouri versus #25 Minnesota in the Citrus Bowl at 1pm. But let’s be real, this is all a warm-up for the college football playoffs which heat up on Thursday, January 1st.

#2 Oregon will face off against #3 Florida State in the Rose Bowl at 5pm in a game that features two back-to-back Heisman quarterbacks —  last year’s winner Jameis Winston of FSU, and this year’s winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon while #1 Alabama will meet #4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl at 8:30pm in a game that features two coaching legends in Alabama’s Nick Saban and OSU’s Urban Meyer. Needless to say, the storylines are endless and the winners of these games will meet in the college football national championship on Monday, January 12th at 8:30pm.

NBA

It was a bit of a rough week for the Cleveland Cavaliers who lost 2 out of 3 games on Christmas to the Miami Heat and then lost again on Sunday night to the Detroit Pistons at home in Cleveland. The Cavs did pick up a solid win in Orlando Friday against the Magic, but will need to maintain that winning energy when they travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks (one of the top teams in the East), on Tuesday. So, why are we talking about some random series of games? The Cavs just lost one of their best players in Anderson Varejao to an Achilles tear for the season and if they’re going to make the Finals (East or NBA), it will be interesting to see how they adapt. Good news for them: they’ve got LeBron James and that helps a lot.

Speaking of LeBron James, all-star voting (the game is February 15th in New York!) has begun and as of right now, he has the lead in the total votes. James currently holds the lead over the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, who is ahead of both the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis and and the LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant. Fans have until January 19th to cast their votes.

In all things NBA scoring, Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks has now moved up to number 8. Add this to the list of things to talk about when it comes to the Mavs, who are doing quite well in the West and hope to do even better with the new addition of point guard Rajon Rondo, who was recently traded from the Boston Celtics. Without a doubt, the wild wild west continues in the NBA!

College Basketball

#1 Kentucky beat #4 Louisville on Saturday afternoon in Louisville 58-50. Kentucky is really, really good so this was not exactly surprising. As we have mentioned before, the bigger question is whether or not anyone will beat them this year in the regular season. As it stands, they’ve passed pretty big tests so far and while conference play remains, more and more people are suggesting they might just run the table and go undefeated. Guess we’ll find out!

The past few weeks of college hoops have been quiet due to winter breaks and final exams, but things should get going again as 2015 kicks off and conference play gets going. Get excited!

Oh, and there is a big women’s hoops game as #10 Duke travels up to #2 Connecticut to face UConn on their turf on Monday night at 9pm. Check it out!

 

JUST FOR FUN

It’s a beautiful day
Manchester City played in the snow this weekend, and the photos are pretty cool

STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE

In Memory
Rutgers team honors fallen NYPD officers
Players and coaches alike sported NYPD hats at the Quick Lane Bowl in tribute

A Long December
Tony Romo is really really good
Will Dallas Cowboys fans find pearls in their oysters in this year’s NFL playoffs?

When the clock strikes midnight…
It’ll be a whole new year
What sporting events are you looking forward to the most in 2015? Check out some of the New York Times’ favorites here

Wild Wild West
The NBA’s Western Conference is stacked
Grantland’s Zack Lowe breaks down and ranks the very talented western conference

The man bringing baseball to Africa
George Mukhobe is teaching the Ugandan youth to love the sport
In a place where hardship is prevalent, he’s able to bring fun into the picture

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