Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

The Lineman: Week Nine NFL Picks

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Week Eight was full of surprises, not many of them pleasant. The St. Louis Rams taking down the New Orleans Saints was the big shocker while the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens managed to escape with wins but were unimpressive failing to cover.

It all it added up to a disappointing 2-4 week but we bounce back in Week Nine.

Record: 25-23; Last week 2-4; Pick of the Week: 6-2

PICK OF THE WEEK
Atlanta Falcons (4-3) at Indianapolis Colts (0-8)
(Line Falcons minus-7.5)

You have to feel for Indy, no NBA and no NFL. It is apparent now that there will not be any meaningful football played at Lucas Oil Stadium until the Super Bowl hits town in February.

It has been a truly miserable season for Colts fans, who can’t even get excited about the possibility of landing superstar college quarterback Andrew Luck with injured Peyton Manning having just signed a ba-zillion dollar contract.
After being pounded 62-7 by the Saints, the Colts bounced back last week and only lost by 17 to the Titans but now await the Falcons coming off a bye week, well rested and starting to take flight as they chase a third straight win.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Barcelona is a sect full of school boys, says Ibrahimovic

By Phil O'Connor

A new tell-all autobiography by Zlatan Ibrahimovic is already making headlines in Sweden this year -- the question is whether anyone outside of the Scandinavian country will notice.

"I am Zlatan" will hit the shelves on November 15, in good time for the Christmas market, and already journalists are being offered the chance to read and report on excerpts from it.

‘Real deal’ Kvitova has talent to dominate

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The season-ending WTA championships had many story lines. Could Maria Sharapova recover from her ankle injury to threaten at the year-end championships and become world number one again? Would one of the new major winners lift the trophy? Could Caroline Wozniacki continue her reign as world number one for a second straight year and win the end of season championships for the first time?

This is the first time the end of season championships have been held in Istanbul, Turkey. The crowds have been packed all week so it was an excellent choice of city. The stadium looked great and so did the green tennis court with the purple outer court. The tennis throughout was brilliant.

A break from reality: Why Cardinals fans wish the ride didn’t have to end

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St. Louis Cardinals celebrate advancing to the World Series after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers in Game 6 of the MLB NLCS baseball playoffs in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Sunday. (REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)A personal view from St.Louis Cardinals fan Brett Wolf.

The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series this year. Or, to be more accurate, they won four “World Series” this year, at least that is how it felt to many in Cardinal Nation. Oddly, the final victory – the actual Commissioner’s Trophy winner – was in a sense the least thrilling because it meant the, at times surreal, run was over and it was time to return to the bleak reality we as Americans have become accustomed to.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

United speculation grows as Solskjaer secures first Molde title

By Phil O'Connor

No sooner had Molde stumbled across the finish line to win their first Norwegian league title in their hundred-year history than the speculation had started.

Would Molde coach and former Manchester United striker Ole Gunnar Solskjaer be the man to succeed Sir Alex Ferguson at the English champions when the 69-year-old finally decides to retire?

The Lineman: Week Eight NFL picks

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Back on track with a combined 9-3 record over the past two weeks which means I head into Week Eight on Halloween weekend showing no fear for what lies ahead.

Yes, it’s Halloween and the Lineman would never let it go by without all kinds of frightening references.
Record: 23-19; Last week 4-2; Pick of the Week: 5-2

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Have City knocked United off their perch?

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini was quick to say that his team’s 6-1 mauling of arch-rivals United meant little more than another three points in the bag, but the Italian must surely be hoping it could signal a shift in the balance of power.

Having knocked Liverpool off their perch when they won a record 19th league title last season, United now face the prospect of playing second fiddle to City in England and Manchester, should their heaviest defeat to their neighbours in 56 years prove to be more than just a temporary setback.

The Lineman: Week Seven NFL Picks

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By Steve Keating

That was more like it, a very solid 5-1 effort in Week 6 after a very tough month of average results.

Could we be perfect in lucky Week 7? Feels good.

Record: 19-17. Last week 5-1

Pick of the Week: 5-1

PICK OF THE WEEK

Green Bay Packers (6-0) at Minnesota Vikings (1-5)

(Lines Packers minus-8.5)

Doesn’t it seem a long time ago that Brett Favre was the only storyline that matter in this NFC North rivalry?

Shooting the Rugby World Cup

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In the latest installment, South Africa-based photographer Mike Hutchings describes the gear he can’t live without and what makes shooting rugby different from his usual assignments.

Reuters RWC Photographers #4 from Tim Wimborne on Vimeo.

In the xxx third installment, Sydney-based photographer Tim Wimborne describes what is necessary to keep the file fresh throughout the tournament and to satisfy different client needs.

Murray makes good on rankings goal with Asian hat-trick

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The end of season for the top players can be a tough time because of fatigue; all their work is based around peaking for the slams. With Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer both out of action (neither have played since the last Davis cup tie) the top two seeds were Rafa Nadal and Andy Murray for the Shanghai Masters Series.

Murray has been playing really well having won in Thailand and Tokyo leading into the Shanghai event. Murray has made a concerted effort to play more aggressively, also the courts are faster and so it actually forces him to play more aggressively which is a good thing.

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