Left field

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Super Bowl or bye-bye for McNabb?

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Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb acknowledges the crowd from the side lines in the fourth quarter of their NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 27, 2009. REUTERS/Bradley C BowerPhiladelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb is a top-notch player who holds many franchise records, but talk that his future with the team could be in jeopardy unless he leads them to a Super Bowl victory next month is heating up.

McNabb’s first road block to the elusive Super Bowl win is Saturday’s matchup versus the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, where the Eagles were shutout 24-0 last week in a game McNabb threw for 223 yards and had two fumbles.

And if the Eagles beat Dallas, McNabb and Co. will remain on the road to play the New Orleans Saints, a team that crushed Philadelphia 48-22 in September. McNabb missed that game with a cracked rib.

This is McNabb’s tenth season with the Eagles. He has led the team to five NFC Championship games but lost four of them. The closest he has taken them to a Super Bowl win was a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots. That was five years ago and the patience of the Philadelphia faithful is wearing thin.

Not just another passing fancy

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The Green Bay Packers defense tackles Minnesota Vikings' Adrian Peterson during the first half of their NFL football game in Minneapolis, Minnesota, October 5, 2009. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes“You’ve got to run the ball in this weather and play defense, and we do that better than anyone,” New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan said after his team beat the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday to grab the last playoff spot in the AFC.

And with that statement, Ryan helped perpetuate one of the most worn-out myths in the NFL today, that teams must run the ball to be successful in the postseason.

The pursuit of perfection vs the goal of a championship

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Indianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell watches his team play against the New York Jets during their NFL game in Indianapolis December 27, 2009. REUTERS/Brent SmithIndianapolis Colts head coach Jim Caldwell stressed all season that his goal was a Super Bowl victory, not an undefeated season. He felt his team had a better chance at capturing the Lombardi Trophy if he could keep them rested and healthy.

With their place atop the AFC secured, Caldwell pulled many of his key starters in the third quarter against the New York Jets two weeks ago. The result was a 29-15 loss, ending any hope of the Colts joining the 1972 Miami Dolphins as the only NFL team to go undefeated for an entire season.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

World Cup live blog

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From 1730 GMT.************

Sportswrap: redemption special

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Click on the video above for our latest look at the week’s sporting highlights, including an interview with Andre Agassi (in full Edith Piaf mode), the thoughts of Michael Phelps on his trial by textile and the almighty scrap for the last nine World Cup places.

As always, Sportswrap is presented by Owen Wyatt, written by Kevin Fylan and produced from our Canary Wharf HQ.

Lack of direction in Green Bay after Favre return

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favreTo understand what the National Football League and the beloved Packers mean to the residents of Green Bay you need only ask for directions.

Chances are that sooner or later you will find yourself on Lombardi Ave or Holmgren Way, or might swing by Brett Favre Pass or find yourself on the newly paved Aaron Rodgers Avenue.

Sportswrap’s Hollywood ending

Join Owen Wyatt and myself for our look back at the week in sport. Our focus is on Diego Maradona and the 2010 World Cup qualifying situation in South America, with a quick detour to Celtic Manor to consider next year’s Ryder Cup golf.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

The all-star XI in World Cup trouble

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Some of football's biggest names, including Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, are in danger of missing out on next year's World Cup, as countries such as Argentina, Portugal and France struggle in qualification.

Most, if not quite all of them, may make it in the end, of course, but for a bit of pre-weekend qualifier fun, here's my stab at a world XI wtill fretting over their places at South Africa 2010.

The Lineman basks in glory, fears the worst

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sepulvedaWell, the Lineman got the season off to a perfect start (click the link). Steelers get the win, Titans cover, score one for the Lineman.

We will bask in the glory while it lasts because the Lineman understands this is just the first play in a long season. Let’s hope we are still on the right side of the scoreboard come Tuesday.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Back to the real world: league predictions

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Now we've got that pesky international interlude behind us (it'll all end in tears, you know it will) we can get back to the serious business of predicting the scores in the Premier League.

Remember how it works: We, at Reuters Soccer Blog, publish our individual predictions for the weekend Premier League matches here on a Friday. You, laughing snidely at our pathetic efforts, send in yours in the comments section below the post.

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