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New York Giants season preview: Rise and fall with Eli Manning

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New York Giants season preview: Rise and fall with Eli Manning

Before the Eagles set off on what is sure to be a 100-year-dynasty of NFC East Championships, we’ll take a look at each of their divisional rivals and what they’ve got that could potentially derail the Birds seemingly surefire destiny.

Today we’ll cover the New York Giants, a team that is so smug in its own persona, they must have forgotten they share a stadium in North Jersey with the Jets.

New York Giants

What Happened Last Season: For the first time since 2011, the New York Giants made it to the playoffs, and the entire season felt like some terrible time warp where this maddeningly inconsistent team was gonna find a way to go from the Wild Card to the Super Bowl like an Amish family pulling their cart through a toll via EZ-Pass. Seriously, rooting against the Giants last year was like viewing an early season of "Game of Thrones." No matter how crazy things got, you knew deep down it was a foregone conclusion your favorite characters were going to be violently murdered before your eyes. Oh Oberyn, you were doomed before we met you.

Thankfully, for the first time since Asante Samuel wore midnight green, the Giants lost a playoff game they were supposed to lose, getting absolutely creamed by the Green Bay Packers 31-13. Man, do I love the Green Bay Packers. Reggie White may have been onto something.

The highlight of Big Blue’s season, both on and off the field, was superstar and sticky-glove case study Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ is admittedly awesome at football, but he had a terrible year in PR. It started with a weird thing between him and the kicking net. It ended with an ill-advised boat trip before a playoff game (or as we use to call it in the 2000’s, “a Romo getaway”). 

Overall, it was a strong first season for rookie coach Ben McAdoo. Unfortunately, that strong first season was overshadowed by a disappointing playoff appearance. It was like making great time on a road trip, only to have your car explode when you pulled it into the garage. That’s why John Mara always buys American.

What About The Offseason?

Did the Giants have an offseason? After spending big last summer, the only notable acquisition this year was 33-year-old Brandon Marshall, who could prove the perfect compliment to Beckham, assuming they’re both healthy (and as of this writing, neither of them are). Marshall is replacing Victor Cruz, who, like a fart in the night, was a tremendous annoyance that will quickly be forgotten and likely replaced by something stinkier.

The Giants offseason was most notable for what they didn’t do; sign Colin Kaepernick. Owner John Mara, who inherited all his money, said it was because fans wrote him a bunch of letters, so I guess it’s our fault for not putting pen to paper when the G-Men decided to keep domestic abuser Josh Brown on the roster a year ago. Seriously, a kicker!? You stick your team’s reputation on the line for a stinkin’ kicker? Even Howie Roseman’s thinking ‘Jeez dude, that’s a bad look.’

Mara is nearly as hypocritical as the New York media, which roasts Beckham for his little boat trip but pulls its punches against Eli, who may-or-may-not have been the center of a Super Bowl memorabilia fraud case. It doesn’t take a masters class in civil justice to figure out what’s going on here, in either case.

What’ll Happen This Season (Best Case Scenario): Landon Collins becomes the Defensive Player of the Year, and the addition of Marshall helps the 36-year-old Lesser-Manning take a step forward in the McAdoo Offensive… which, as far as I can tell, consists solely of “Beckham runs as far as he can and Eli tries to overthrow him.” Brilliant stuff, Ben. I can’t wait till the 30-for-30 comes out. The Giants offensive gameplan typically has the creativity of a response from Siri.

What’ll Happen This Season (Worst Case Scenario): Eli has one-too-many of his patented half-dozen turnover performances, Beckham acts in a fashion that has the MSM label him a “distraction,” and the entire season goes down the tubes, putting McAdoo on the hot seat and Eli Retirement Threat Levels at MAGENTA. Worth noting; the Giants spent a third round pick on a quarterback this April, which is about as passive-aggressive as things get in this business. Somewhere in Arizona, Donovan McNabb is mumbling “Kevin Kolb” over and over again as he waits for his Uber. Eli will know his pain.

Conclusion: Ever since Jerome McDougle took eight years off his life in his first professional game, Eli Manning has been equally capable of single-handedly beating the most impressive of opponents… or losing to a squad with the talent level of a decapitated weasel. You do not get to play against Eli Manning. Only Eli Manning plays against Eli Manning. No stat line of his will ever surprise me, and expecting any of that to change in his 14th professional season is as probable as John Mara showing up to Week 1 in a “Black Lives Matter” hoodie.

The Giants will be as good as Eli allows them. They’ll be good enough to beat anybody, but probably won’t.

Previously:

Washington Redskins preview: Dan Snyder's undrainable swamp

Dallas Cowboys preview: some new faces, same choking hazards

 

 

 

Dodgers fan wearing Chase Utley jersey catches Justin Turner home run ball for 2nd year in a row

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MLB

Dodgers fan wearing Chase Utley jersey catches Justin Turner home run ball for 2nd year in a row

Dodgers fans had a reason to be ecstatic on Sunday night after Justin Turner hit a walk-off three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Cubs, 4-1, and give Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the NLCS.

But not as ecstatic as one fan in particular.

Keith Hupp, a retired police officer and lifelong Dodgers fan, was waiting under the home run ball in the center-field stands and snagged it with his son's glove. He was also wearing a Dodgers Chase Utley jersey.

He even made the catch with his non-preferred hand.

“I’m a lefty,” Hupp said to J.P. Hoornstra of the Orange County Register. “I’ve dislocated my right shoulder so many times, I had to resort to my son’s glove on my left hand. So the last five or six home run balls I’ve caught, I’ve caught with my left hand.”

And the craziest part about this story is that it wasn't the first time it had happened. Hupp caught Turner's sixth-inning solo homer in Game 3 of last year's NLCS against the Cubs in almost the same place, the center-field stands at Dodger Stadium.

Although he has 24 home run balls in his collection, Hupp won't be keeping last night's game-winner. After making the catch, he gave the ball to a security guard, and was escorted underneath the stadium to meet Turner and make a trade with him. 

In a postgame interview with MLB.com, Turner said Hupp couldn't decide what he wanted for the ball right away. They exchanged information and agreed that Hupp will get back to Turner in a few days when he decides what he wants.

Twitter had some good responses to Hupp's memorable home run catch:

Hassan Whiteside responds, doesn't back down from Joel Embiid rivalry

Hassan Whiteside responds, doesn't back down from Joel Embiid rivalry

Joel Embiid and Hassan Whiteside battled on the court on Friday night and then on social media following the Sixers' victory over the Miami Heat to finish off the preseason.

Embiid seemingly got the better of Whiteside, sending Philadelphia fans into a frenzy when he told Whiteside his "+/- was ass."

It appears as if Whiteside is taking it all in stride and actually has a pretty good level of respect for Embiid. The Miami big man was asked about the trash talk after practice over the weekend.

"It's funny to me," Whiteside said according to the Sun Sentinel. "I'm going to talk trash back if somebody talks trash to me. Maybe when I was younger, I would have been a little more angrier, I would have been a little madder.

"But, you know, that's the kind of guy he is. He makes jokes. He's a good player, so it's all fun to me. I can go all day with it."

Embiid has shown glimpses that he has the potential to be one of the greats of the NBA game on the court, while he's already one of the best at entertaining off of it. Whiteside will clearly have his hands full but he knows a little trash talk on social gets fans excited.

"Yeah, man, you know fans love it, man. Fans get into it. I love it, too," he said. "Because I know the next time we play him, he's going to give it his all, he's going to go as hard as he can. And as a competitor, that's what you want. You want your opponent to play at his maximum speed."

Playing at maximum speed is something Sixers fans hope and pray they get to see out of Embiid this season on a more regular basis. The trash talking is bonus fun.

"It's not him talking about somebody's family," Whiteside said. "It's not nothing crazy. It's just basketball. He called me softee. Come on, man. He knows that's not true. I'll be on his team's scouting report."

The Heat and the Sixers meet again on Feb. 2. Let's just hope both Embiid and Whiteside are out on the court to go another few rounds off of it afterward.