Left field

The Reuters global sports blog

The Lineman’s NFL picks — classics on the cards


NFL/The Lineman is only sure of one thing this weekend and that is that football fans are in for a real treat with all four games shaping up as potential classics.

It was a rough ride for home teams last weekend with only the Seattle Seahawks surviving and who says you need an elite quarterback to win in the playoffs.

Saints Drew Brees and Colts Peyton Manning will watch this weekend’s action from the couch while Jets’Mark Sanchez and Seahawks Matt Hasselbeck moved on.

Yes indeed, shaping up as another wild and wonderful weekend in the NFL.

Playoffs: 2-2. Pick of the Week 0-1.

Regular Season Record: 53-49


Green Bay Packers (11-6) at Atlanta Falcons (13-3) (Line Packers plus +2.5): Wow, very tough to pick a best bet from this lineup but I have to go with what many would rank as an upset, the Pack taking down the high-flying Falcons.

Is more really better when it comes to baseball?


USA/More is better, but how much more and how to dole it out appears to be the last detail before an expected expansion of the postseason playoffs in Major League Baseball.

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig told reporters at the end of the recent general managers’ meeting in Florida that adding two more wildcard teams — one from each league — to bump up the postseason field from the current eight, was pretty much a fait accompli.

Time to consider warm weather territory for future World Series?


BASEBALL/Last weekend’s wintry conditions in the Bronx made ear flaps and balaclavas essential gear for some players and contributed to a reel of American League Championship Series fielding bloopers worthy of the old Keystone Kops.

Temperatures dipped into the low 40s and winds whipped a cold rain through Yankee Stadium, only a few degrees short of bringing a flurry of snowflakes.

from Reuters Soccer Blog:

Why Norway look doomed in World Cup playoff race

Europe's 53 national teams have been split into nine groups with the winners of each qualifying directly for South Africa. The best eight runners-up will play off among themselves over two legs next month for the remaining four slots. The runner-up with the worst record will miss out on a playoff berth entirely.

Usually, deciding the worst runners-up would be a simple case of comparing the respective team records. But there is one small snag -- namely Group Nine, which has only five teams while all the others have six sides.