Florida Sports News
Tampa Bay’s voter for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Ira Kaufman, joined Rock Riley on Friday to break down the AFC Championship Game. Take away Brady, and the Jaguars would have a better team, but Jacksonville doesn’t get that luxury on Sunday. Will they be able to topple the Patriots?
Listen to the Rock Riley Show, weekdays from 3-6 on Sports Talk 1040 Tampa Bay
The post Rock Riley Talks To Ira Kaufman About Jaguars-Patriots appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.
Foxborough, MA — The Jacksonville Jaguars and New England Patriots renew their relatively mild playoff rivalry Sunday afternoon. The Jags and Pats have played each other four times in the playoffs since Jacksonville’s first season in 1995. New England is 3-1 vs. Jacksonville in the playoffs, looking for the fourth victory and tenth trip to the Super Bowl.
With a multitude of storylines, the biggest is Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady. He didn’t participate in practice Wednesday or Thursday due to a hand injury. Also, Brady chose not to partake in his scheduled media appearances on Wednesday or Thursday.Brady Vs. Bortles AP PHOTO: AARON M SPRECHER
Most saw Brady taking the Patriots to this year’s AFC Championship Game, his 11th.
No one saw Jags’ quarterback Blake Bortles in this spot. No one. Bortles will enter Sunday’s matchup with the lowest winning percentage for a starting quarterback in any Championship game, AFC or NFC (.355).
Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time; Bortles hopes to be on a roster next season.
Brady has the tougher matchup vs. the NFL’s top pass defense and number two defense overall. But Brady is 18-3 at home in the playoffs and 3-0 vs. top-two defenses in the playoffs.
Bortles has a great matchup on paper, but you can’t measure a Bill Belichick-coached team solely on paper. The key for Bortles is turnovers; Jacksonville is 10-0 this season when Bortles does not turn the ball over.Belichick vs. Coughlin III…Sort Of AP PHOTO: DAVID J PHILLIP
As Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is the greatest coach of all time; the two go hand in hand.
However, throughout Belichick’s career, he’s had a thorn in his side that kept him from winning seven Super Bowl instead of five, Tom Coughlin.
Tom Coughlin was victorious against Belichick in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI while coaching the New York Giants. Before coaching the Giants, Coughlin coached the Jaguars from 1995-2002. Now Coughlin is the Jacksonville’s EVP of Football Operations.
Coughlin has brought a winning attitude and culture to Jacksonville, as the Jaguars went from 3-13 last season to the AFC Championship Game this season.
However, Coughlin isn’t on the sidelines for this one. There’s no doubt he’ll do everything he can this week to help Jacksonville secure a win, but he cannot do it for them. He’s brought the necessary pieces and the blueprint; can Jacksonville use the Coughlin’s knowledge to make their first Super Bowl appearance?Matchups To Watch: PHOTO: JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Patriots’ Pass O vs. Jags’ Pass D: An unstoppable force meets an immovable object as New England’s top-ranked pass offense faces Jacksonville’s top-ranked pass defense. It starts up front for Jacksonville, they’ve registered 55 sacks on the season. Brady is average vs. elite pass rushes in the playoffs; the middle of the Pats’ offensive line is a concern. The biggest key will be Jacksonville’s linebackers covering the Patriots running backs out of the backfield; they are Brady’s second read and outlet when his receivers cannot separate.
Bortles vs. Belichick’s D: The Patriots’ defense may give up a lot of yards, but they don’t give up a lot of points. Most noteworthy, in the red zone where Jacksonville was 5 for 5 last week vs. Pittsburgh. Expect defensive coordinator Matt Patricia to blitz often to make Bortles uncomfortable, forcing him into mistakes. Bortles will try to combat the blitzing with short passes and screens to the running backs. Also, expect Bortles to take quite a few shots deep early to loosen up the Pats’ defense and not stack the box.
Fournette to Provide Balance: Jags’ running back Leonard Fournette will play a vital role in Sunday’s matchup. His first task is to pound the ball and shorten the game, keeping Brady off the field. Jacksonville must have balance vs. the Patriots to rely on play action where Bortles is at his best. Fournette’s second task, picking up any extra blitzing players from New England, which can be difficult for a young back.The X Factor: GRONK
Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski is the best tight end in the NFL. A physical specimen who is the single biggest mismatch in the league.
The question is who draws the task of covering Gronk and how much of Jacksonville’s resources are they willing to spend towards him? If they choose to double him, Brady will expose Jacksonville’s great secondary. If not, Gronk can win any matchup vs. any player on Jacksonville’s roster.
Prediction: Jacksonville 24 – New England 23
The Boston Celtics lost to the Philadelphia 76ers 89-80, while the Cleveland Cavaliers ended their four-game losing streak in the NBA. Boston struggled without All-Star guard Kyrie Irving on Thursday as the 76ers won for the fourth time in five games. The Celtics' 80 points was a season-low and their worst offensive performance since December 15, 2015 when they were held to 77 points by the Cavaliers.
LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind. Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.
Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle leads all active NHL players in consecutive games played, a streak that will hit 677 on Friday against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights. Yandle's streak shot up to No. 1 this past Sunday when it was announced that Anaheim Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano was suspended two games for a hit he put on Adrian Kempe of the Los Angeles Kings. As proud of Yandle as the Panthers are, they are looking for a different kind of streak.
There was none of the usual postgame chatter or music in the Cavaliers locker room. "Right now we're in Strugglesville," LeBron James said. Isaiah Thomas made two free throws with 11 seconds left and Cleveland came up with a defensive stop in the frantic final seconds after blowing a 23-point lead to beat the Orlando Magic 104-103 on Thursday night and snap a four-game losing streak.
James Neal opened the scoring for the Vegas Golden Knight who went on to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning 4-1 in their first ever visit to Amalie Arena. Remarkably, the Knights improve to 19-1-0 when scoring the first goal of the game, the best mark in the NHL.
Ondrej Palat scored a power-play goal for the Lightning who fall to 31-11-3. Tampa Bay will have 21 days before its next home contest (February 8 vs. Vancouver), tied with the Canucks (January 2 through 23) for the most days between home games in the NHL this season.Lightning Notes:
- Ondrej Palat took advantage of a power-play by scoring his eighth goal of the season. The goal ended a streak of 21 scoreless games dating back to November 25th at Pittsburgh. However, he did have 15 assist and a plus/minus rating of +10 in those 21 games.
- Steven Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov picked up assists on Palat’s power-play goal. It was Stamkos 36th assist of the season and Kucherov’s 34th assist.
- It was Kucherov’s 98th career power-play point. With that, he moves past Roman Hamrlik into sole possession of ninth place among the Bolts’ all-time power play scoring leaders.
- The Lightning will head out on an eight game road trip (split in half by All-Star Game). They open the first of the eight games against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday night at 9:00 eastern.
The post Lightning Return From Bye Week, Lose To Golden Knights appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.
Isaiah Thomas scored 21 points and hit the go-ahead free throws with 11 seconds remaining as the Cleveland Cavaliers blew a 23-point lead and held off the Orlando Magic for a 104-103 win Thursday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Thomas shot 6 of 15 but also made six of seven free throws. Thomas gave the Cavaliers a seemingly safe 98-91 lead by hitting a 3-pointer with 5:31 remaining, but Orlando stormed back and took a 103-102 lead with 31 seconds left after Shelvin Mack rebounded a missed 3-pointer by Aaron Gordon and converted a short jumper in the lane.
You knew Stan Van Gundy was not going to bite the hand that feeds him.
You might have heard that some National Basketball Association coaches are having a problem with ESPN and some ESPN reporters who have found LaVar Bell to be an interesting character who likes to sprout out opinions and has no problem sharing them with any reporters. Bell is good copy. But NBA coaches aren’t thrilled that Bell criticized Los Angeles Lakers coach Luke Walton. Bell’s son plays on that team and some coaches have decided that team public relations directors should revoke the NBA credentials of those ESPN NBA reporters who are talking to Bell. Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy is one of the most opinionated of the NBA coaches and suggested he would skip in protest the all-important production meeting where he says nothing to the ESPN announcers and producers prior to an ESPN broadcast of the Washington-Detroit January 19 contest.
Apparently NBA coaches such as Van Gundy, Golden State’s Steve Kerr and Dallas’ Rick Carlisle don’t realize that without ESPN part of their huge salaries would disappear. ESPN pays billions for the right to carry NBA games. Also some NBA coaches have had no problems voicing opinions on social issues. It seems incompressible that certain NBA coaches are so thinned skinned when it comes to criticism about their own. It is also hard to believe that ESPN would bow down to the coaches or teams, the teams are paid by ESPN. Robert Iger, who runs Disney-ESPN needs to explain to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the 30 NBA Owners, without us, your businesses would be worth significantly less money. Yet, television partners always seem to be afraid of leagues. Also to NBA coaches, ESPN is a product of the 1984 cable TV act where everyone pays for what few watch, cable TV made sports franchises more valuable. The coaches should coach as they are not editors.
Van Gundy and his fellow coaches are mad at the ESPN website not the TV production people.
Orlando Magic guard Arron Afflalo has been suspended for two games without pay for throwing a punch at the Minnesota Timberwolves' Nemanja Bjelica, the NBA announced on Thursday. Afflalo and Bjelica were both ejected with 7:28 remaining in the second
Very little has gone right for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the last month, and LeBron James fully acknowledged just how tough this season has been after practice on Wednesday. Cleveland knew the season was going to be rough in the beginning as they were not expecting to have guard Isaiah Thomas playing until January. Thomas is back in the line-up but still the team is mired in problems.
LeBron James never imagined the view from 30,000 - points. Now in his 15th season, James needs 41 points to become the seventh NBA player - and youngest - to reach 30,000 career points, a mark he couldn't have fathomed when he began his career. James is on the verge of joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points), Karl Malone (36,928), Kobe Bryant (33,643), Michael Jordan (32,292), Wilt Chamberlain (31,419) and Dirk Nowitzki (30,808) on the select list of scorers.
The Orlando Magic are the last team the Cleveland Cavaliers beat. The Magic have lost 27 of its last 32 games and snapped a seven-game losing streak Tuesday by beating the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Cavs, meanwhile, are a mess, considering their DNA and string of three consecutive Finals trips.
Something got into Hassan Whiteside on Wednesday night, and there wasn't much the Milwaukee Bucks could do about it. Whiteside had a season-high 27 points along with 13 rebounds and six blocks to lead the Miami Heat over the Bucks 106-101. Whiteside, averaging 13.8 points coming in, shot 10 for 12 and got his 600th career block in the third quarter.
will Haiti and Africa remember this at the FIFA vote?
In five months the governing body of soccer, FIFA, awards the 2026 World Cup rights to either a United States, Canada and Mexico joint proposal or Morocco’s bid for the event. It was thought that the North American proposal was a sure thing and that it was just a matter of FIFA rubber stamping the proposal for the international sports competition. But that notion came before Donald Trump’s immigration meeting last week when he let certain Senate members know what he thought of some of the voting countries, 55 of them from Africa which also happens to house Morocco as one of its countries. Those nations are not happy with Trump. Morocco was considered not much of a contender when it matched up against the North American bid and it has a history of rejection as a host for the 1994, 1998, 2006 and 2010 World cup. Before Trump uttered his remarks which he contended he never said, Morocco had the support of the Confederation of African Football.
There are 211 FIFA members. Africa has more than a quarter of the voters. The North American bid is better from the stadium, infrastructure and access to money viewpoint than Morocco. In 2010, Morocco did get a good rating in its failed bid. But the 2026 World Cup will feature 48 teams not 32 and Morocco may not be able to accommodate all the teams in a manner that FIFA wants. There were some assumptions that European countries would go for the North American bid but Trump’s visit to England has been canceled and it seems the United States has some relationships that have been slightly frayed on the continent. Canada and the US might have a North America Free Trade Agreement problem as that pact is under attack by Trump. Trump still wants his Mexican wall. Diplomacy plays a part in World Cup selection.
Don’t count out geopoltiics in the World Cup vote later this year.
The post Will The Joint North American World Cup Bid Be Trumped By Morocco? appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.
Derrick Rose expects to return to action for the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers when they host the Orlando Magic on Thursday night, per Cleveland.com’s Joe Vardon. It will be Rose’s first action since he went down with an ankle injury November 7. Derrick Rose says that it's looking good for a return tomorrow night against Orlando.
Perhaps the biggest storyline coming into this Sunday’s conference championship games centers around the notoriety of the quarterbacks involved. Outside of Tom Brady, fans are asking which of the three other quarterbacks can be trusted to play well in the biggest game of their lives. Former Arena League QB Steve Stafford suggests Nick Foles can be the guy.
Listen to the Rock Riley Show, weekdays from 3-6 on Sports Talk 1040 Tampa Bay and Sports Talk 1080 Orlando.
Another fight nearly broke out in the NBA Tuesday night as the Orlando Magic’s Arron Afflalo took a swing at a player on the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. Steve Kyler of basketballinsiders.com was in the building, and he spoke to Rock Riley today about the incident.
Listen to the Rock Riley Show, weekdays from 3-6 PM on Sports Talk 1040 Tampa Bay and Sports Talk 1080 Orlando.
The post Rock Riley Show: Steve Kyler on Arron Afflalo’s Swing at T-Wolves Player appeared first on Sports Talk Florida.
Miami Dolphins wide receiver Jarvis Landry says contract talks have been "disrespectful" but he still wants to remain with the team. The Dolphins made an offer to Landry's agent, Damarius Bilbo, in early December and he made a counter offer in mid-December, according to the Miami Herald. The Dolphins have not yet responded to that offer, Bilbo told the newspaper.
The Minnesota Timberwolves had won five in a row, climbed up to third in the Western Conference (and third in our power rankings), and they had become everybody’s darlings. This is the team on the rise that we expected. Then Minnesota lost to the Orlando Magic Tuesday night.