World Cup 2014: What We Learned From Day 2 of the World Cup

  1. Mexico players could be kicking themselves over those disallowed offside goals

El Tri’s 1-0 win over Cameroon could have been more commanding. A 1-0 result and three points are great for Mexico to open the tournament, but you would have liked to think that the Mexicans would have been more comfortable in terms of qualifying for the next round with a 3-0 or even 2-0 win. The point is that goal differential could be key in Group A. Brazil is obviously the favorite in the group, but should Mexico run into a situation where they are even on points with Croatia and they finish behind the Europeans by virtue of goal differential, they could be “kicking” themselves for not staying onside before scoring, or simply not being happy with the refs.

2. Brazilians don’t like Diego Costa

All throughout Friday’s Spain/Netherlands heavyweight tilt the local fans relentlessly booed Brazilian-born Costa, who plays for the Spanish. You get the impression that they don’t fancy him all that much.

3. Spain are definitely trending down

La Roja got exposed big time against the Netherlands, getting burned on numerous occasions on the counter and just looking poor in defense. If there was ever a time to question the defense of the Spaniards, it’s now. It simply wasn’t there for Spain. Another reoccurring issue for Spain is the fact that they were again stymied by a three-man defensive line. Italy has used a three-man back-line to great effect against the Spanish and now Holland has done it as well. The defending champs just looked like the walking dead, the defense especially.

4. The Dutch are for real

Just as it’s premature to completely count out Spain, it’s probably a little premature to bump the Dutch to co-favorites or favorites. But… the Netherlands annihilated the defending champs. Annihilated.  They look potent and sharp on the counter and simply didn’t allow the Spanish to play the way the Spanish want to, especially in the second half. If this team can beat Spain this convincingly… who knows what they can accomplish?

5. Chile at their best are entertaining

Chile plays kamikaze football. They press high with numbers up the pitch. When this works, the Chileans can put up a wonky score line. The South Americans will sometimes press everyone forward with the exception of the two center backs, who will sit at mid-field. The entire team plays high up. Because of this they can also be scored on in droves. It’s an ultra-aggressive style of play, but one that has benefited the Chileans so far.

Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Build Up: Fred the Psychic Bunny

Yes, you read correctly, a psychic bunny! His name is Fred and he has a tendency to correctly pick Super Bowls. Here’s his prediction for this year’s game.

Smart animal.

Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Build Up: Zach Miller and Boy Bands

From unicorns to  90′s boy bands. This is media day for you ladies and gentlemen.

Seattle Seahawks Super Bowl Build Up: Awesome Handout

One of the better moments of media day occurred when linebacker Bobby Wagner gave a young fan his hat. A hat which also came with a signature.

Hat tip to Fox Sports (pun very much intended) for the picture.

 

Coolest moment of #SBMediaDay? When @Bwagz54 spotted this kid & gave him a signed hat. While rockin his TMNT bag pic.twitter.com/kF9Qc2FUAU

— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) January 28, 2014

 

5 Reasons Why the Seahawks will Beat the 49ers

There is absolutely no chance I would even consider picking against Seattle at home. I could care less that the 49ers are on a tear and their offense is clicking, etc.

Here are five reasons why the Seahawks will win on Sunday

1. Collin Kaepernick

If you’ve never been to a game at CenturyLink Field, or aren’t a Seahawks fan, you probably believe the ludicrous commercial that shows the Niners’ QB acting unfazed as a horde of “fans” jeer at him like an angry mob. Not only is the commercial a gross overstatement when it comes to Seahawks fans (they don’t officially say that the fans are from/in Seattle, but’s it’s definitely implied), but it’s also a gross overstatement of Kaepernick’s ability in Seattle. Sure, he can act like he doesn’t hear anything walking from the team bus to the stadium, but when he gets on the field in Seattle he looks extremely affected by the crowd noise.

The last time the two teams met in Seattle, Squidward Gargamel  Kaepernick posted a horrendous stat-line that would have looked all the more worse without his 87 rushing yards. The numbers are as follows:

13 for 28, 127 yards, 46.4 completion percentage, 4.54 yards per attempt, three interceptions, 14.0 Total QBR and a 20.1 quarterback rating.

Not exactly sparkling numbers there. Part of all this is simply that the Seahawks are tremendous as a defensive unit and make the best QBs look average, or worse. But part of it also has to do with the environment; Kaepernick struggles in Seattle. It’s a little harder to tell on TV, but in person you can tell from his body language that he looks exceedingly flustered by all the noise.

2. Frank Gore

Home field advantage and where the game is played really make a difference for Frank Gore. In the Niners’ Week 14 win he posted 110 yards on 17 carries. Against Seattle in Week 2? 16 yards on nine carries. These both look like outliers in the grand scheme of things, but the rub is that Gore struggles, comparatively, on the road. He has a decent split of home-to-away yards this year with 639 of his 1,128 yards at home and the remaining 489 on the road. However, if you take out his 153 yard outburst in St. Louis the road total dips to 336. That’s good for a stupendous 48 yards a game! The Seahawks won’t hold him to 16 yards like last time, but anything under 75 or 60 certainly won’t be surprising.

(On a somewhat unrelated side note, Gore ran for a total of 150 yards in playoff victories over Green Bay and Carolina. That’s only 10 more rushing yards than Marshawn Lynch gained total against New Orleans.)

3. Rising Interception Rates

Despite not intercepting any of Drew Brees’ passes, it can be argued that the Seahawks could have easily picked off a few passes. Before the playoffs began, the Hawks’ D produced 11 interceptions over its final three games. Given Gore’s ghastly (excuse the alliteration) road numbers in general, and against Seattle, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Kaepernick throw more. This would play right into the Legion of Boom’s collective hands seeing as Dan Quinn’s unit has accounted for half of the 49ers’ QB interception total this season.

4. Unleashing the Beast

(If I had a nickel for every time I heard this in relation to Marshawn Lynch this season, I would probably have enough money to buy my own NBA team.)

Marshawn Lynch is heating up at exactly the right time. After a phenomenal 140 yards against the Saints last week, Lynch will look to carry over the momentum against a Niners team that he scored four times against in two regular season meetings. The 140 yards isn’t just an outlier; the former Bills player ran for 97 yards and a score against St. Louis to close out the regular season.

5. Lack of 23 Point Games

The San Francisco 49ers like 23 points. Of the seven consecutive games they have won, in four of them (and the last three in a row) the team scored 23 points. The Seahawks haven’t given up 23 points in a game since Week Six of 2012 when they beat New England 24-23. They haven’t lost a game when allowing 23 points since 2011, before Russell Wilson was even out of college.

Seattle Mariners: This Week in Walk-Up Music News

It’s been a sad time lately for the Mariners. Before Robinson Cano signed, the team was coming off a 71-91 season in which they struggled mightily. More importantly, outfielder Mike Morse and his A-ha walk-up music were traded.

I like rap as much as the next guy, but Morse’s usage of classic 80’s music was a breath of fresh air in terms of walk-up music. As a fan of 80’s music it’s nice to see, but when you can get the crowd to do this… well, let’s just say it’s entertaining.

The Mariners’ newest acquisition, Corey Hart, will go a long way to replacing and or improving on the production Morse gave the Mariners.

No, not that Corey Hart. Corey Hart, the former Brewer who M’s GM Jack Zduriencik drafted during his time with the Brewers.

“Sunglasses at Night” may be a slight downgrade from A-ha and the Eurhythmics (another Morse walk-up favorite), but Hart’s on-field play will likely pay bigger dividends than Morse’s.