The Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1) have won 10 games in a row and are trying to protect their home-field advantage for the playoffs. The New York Jets (9-3) have won three in a row, and barring a collapse -- after Pittsburgh, they finish against the Seahawks, the Patriots and the Rams -- they could do damage in the playoffs. \nNow the focus for both teams is on their quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers' rookie starter, has regressed from sensational to merely a game-winner with a sore quadricep, but his two-minute drive last week to beat the Jaguars was out of the Elway-Starr book. As Steelers guard Alan Faneca said, "It's something special what he's doing." \nChad Pennington returned as the Jets quarterback last week after missing three games with a strained rotator cuff. The Jets beat the Texans by rushing 210 yards, their third 200-yard game of the season, and Curtis Martin has seven 100-yard games this season. Still, coach Herm Edwards knows he needs Pennington at his best, saying, "He's the energy on offense." \nSeattle (6-6) at Minnesota (7-5) \nFor a team tied for the division lead, the Vikings looked bad in losing to the Bears. Its secondary was too generous, and quarterback Duante Culpepper endured three interceptions and five sacks. \nAfter a 3-0 start, the Seahawks are still in the playoff race but they have been staggering. In their latest games, they lost badly to the Bills and folded at the end against the Cowboys. "There are a bunch of us still trying to figure out what's going on," coach Ron Holmgren said. \nCincinnati (6-6) at \nNew England (11-1) \nThe Patriots have won five straight games and 26 of their last 27. They showed no mercy in routing the Browns last week. \nThe awakened Bengals won last week on Carson Palmer's three touchdown passes in the fourth quarter against the Ravens' strong defense. Can the Bengals damage two classy defenses in two weeks? Absolutely not. \nSt. Louis (6-6) at Carolina (5-7) \nThe Rams are a wreck. Marc Bulger has a sprained passing shoulder, so 39-year-old Chris Chandler will be at quarterback. \nMarshall Faulk and the rookie Steven Jackson, two game-breaking backs, have bad knees, and the Rams' defense has yielded 703 yards rushing in the last four games. In that four-game span, the Panthers' defense has recorded 15 turnovers and 11 sacks, and the team has won four games in a row. \nThat puts them in the wild-card race, and as coach John Fox said, "They're not brain dead." \nTampa Bay (5-7) at San Diego (9-3) \nWith six straight wins and eight in their last nine games, the Chargers are rolling. When the Broncos held Drew Brees to 106 yards passing last week, the Chargers' defense won the game by intercepting Jake Plummer four times. \nThe Bucs defense left Michael Vick of the Falcons with five sacks, two interceptions, two lost fumbles and many questions. \nNew York Giants (5-7) at Baltimore (7-5) \nThe Giants have lost five in a row and they held the ball less than 20 minutes against the Redskins. The Ravens have playoff potential, but coach Brian Billick warns, "We've got a real uphill climb." \nChicago (5-7) at Jacksonville (6-6) \nChad Hutchinson threw three touchdown passes in his first start at quarterback for the Bears. The Jaguars, despite three straight losses and red-zone ineptitude, are still the better team. \nCleveland (3-9) at Buffalo (6-6) \nIn a playoff bid that is probably too late, the Bills have scored 117 points in winning their last three games. The Browns have given up 100 points in the last 97 minutes. This could be mean. \nNew Orleans (4-8) at Dallas (5-7) \nThe Cowboys rookie Julius Jones ran for 198 yards in beating the Seahawks. Now he faces the league's worst defense (418.3 yards a game), and the Saints' offense isn't too good, either. \nOakland (4-8) at Atlanta (9-3) \nThe Raiders get occasional lifts from Kerry Collins' passing, but they also give away the ball too often. As Michael Vick of the Falcons said, "The playoffs are just sitting there for us." \nIndianapolis (9-3) at \nHouston (5-7) \nPeyton Manning's 317 yards passing in the first half against the Titans helped raise the Colts' winning streak to five. The Texans have no answer to Manning, but then no one does. \nMiami (2-10) at Denver (7-5) \nBoth are coming off tough losses. After the Dolphins' seven turnovers against the Bills, cornerback Patrick Surtain said, "I think we're cursed ... It's unbelievable." \nDetroit (5-7) at Green Bay (7-5) \nAfter being routed by the Eagles, Packers coach Mike Sherman said, "We're certainly not as bad as we looked." The Lions often look bad, even with Kevin Jones' running (476 yards in the last four games). \nSan Francisco (1-11) at \nArizona (4-8) \nThe losing streaks stand at seven games for the 49ers, three for the Cardinals. The rookie John Navarre remains at quarterback for the Cardinals despite four interceptions by the Lions in his debut. \nPhiladelphia (11-1) at Washington (4-8) \nThe Eagles are 9-0 against conference foes, all victories by double digits. Runner Brian Westbrook said, "I don't think there's any defense that can stop us." The Redskins' defense is good, but not that good. \nKansas City (4-8) at Tennessee (4-8) \nQuarterback Steve McNair of the Titans is beaten up. Running back Priest Holmes of the Chiefs is out for the rest of the season with a knee injury. The Titans, overrun by the Colts, face more of the same on Monday night. \nWashington Redskins running back Clinton Portis was fined US$5,000 by the NFL for wearing a pair of red socks last week, violating the league's uniform rules. \nPortis wore red socks instead of the team's usual white in last Sunday's 31-7 victory over the New York Giants. \nPortis had one of his best games in the different attire, running for 148 yards on 31 carries. \nRookie safety Sean Taylor, Portis' good friend and fellow ex-Miami Hurricanes star, also wore red socks and also was fined US$5,000.
‘CRIMINAL ACT’: The UCI said it ‘strongly condemns’ Dylan Groenewegen’s ‘dangerous behavior,’ which left Jakobsen in critical condition and injured other cyclists Dutch cyclist Fabio Jakobsen was in a coma on Wednesday, in “serious” condition, after he was thrown into and over a barrier at 80kph in the conclusion to the opening stage of the Tour de Pologne. Footage showed 23-year-old Jakobsen, of the Deceuninck-Quick-Step, racing elbow-to-elbow with fellow Dutchman Dylan Groenewegen of Jumbo-Visma as both men frantically tussled in a tight sprint to the line in Katowice. However, Jakobsen came off worst, somersaulting over the barriers before colliding with a photographer after Groenewegen had veered suddenly to the right, squeezing his rival into the security wall. “His condition is very serious. His life is
Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given
‘COMPLICATED’: The 34-year-old from Spain called sitting out the tournament ‘a decision I never wanted to take,’ but added that he would ‘rather not travel’ Defending champion Rafael Nadal has said that he would skip the US Open because of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting on hold his bid to equal Roger Federer’s men’s record for Grand Slam titles. On Tuesday, Nadal explained his decision in a series of tweets sent in Spanish and English. “The situation is very complicated worldwide. Coronavirus cases are increasing. It looks like we still don’t have control of it,” Nadal wrote. The 34-year-old from Spain called sitting out the tournament scheduled to begin on Aug. 31 in New York “a decision I never wanted to take,” but added that he would “rather not
The Braves were dealt a double blow as the Mets’ Jacob deGrom struck out 10 in six innings to help New York snap a five-game skid with a 7-2 victory on Monday, and as Atlanta top pitcher Mike Soroka went down with a torn Achilles tendon in the third inning. “There’s no sugarcoating this night,” Atlanta slugger Freddie Freeman said. “It stinks. It really does.” Soroka crumpled to the ground on a seemingly routine play, breaking toward first to cover the bag on a grounder to Freeman’s right. “When you lose, in my mind, one of the top pitching arms in this entire