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Dalton's 4 TDs lead Bengals over Giants 31-13

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Dalton's 4 TDs lead Bengals over Giants 31-13

CINCINNATI (AP) A.J. Green was right. The defending Super Bowl champions have a lot of holes, and not just on their defense.

Andy Dalton threw a career-high four touchdown passes - each to a different receiver - and the Cincinnati Bengals ended their four-game losing streak by beating the reeling New York Giants 31-13 on Sunday.

The Bengals (4-5) took advantage of a fumble and Eli Manning's two interceptions, which set up third-quarter touchdowns and helped Green back up his observation that there are a lot of holes in New York's defense.

That's not the only place.

The Giants (6-4) head into their bye week with back-to-back losses and a lot of issues, especially on offense. Manning had another subpar game, failing to live up his family legacy of beating the Bengals. Older brother Peyton improved to 8-0 against Cincinnati on the same field a week earlier, leading Denver to a 31-23 win.

This one was surprisingly lopsided as the Giants hurt themselves with bad passes, broken coverages, a dropped touchdown pass and penalties in front of a less-than-capacity crowd of 56,614.

Manning was sacked a season-high four times by a defense that hardly touched his brother. He also threw two interceptions under pressure that led to Bengals TDs and a 31-6 lead in the third quarter. Manning finished 29 of 46 for 215 yards, falling to 1-2 career against Cincinnati.

Manning threw for only 125 yards, his fewest in four years, during a sloppy 24-20 loss to the Steelers last Sunday that finished a week of turmoil from Superstorm Sandy. The Giants badly wanted to get back in form before their bye week.

Instead, they were worse.

The Giants gave up a 68-yard punt return, Victor Cruz dropped a pass at the goal line, and New York's four turnovers in a horrific second half helped the Bengals pull away.

Green didn't have to take anything back.

Cincinnati's first big play was made by the Pro Bowl receiver, who went on a New York radio station during the week and said the Giants ``have a lot of holes'' in their defense. Five plays into the game, he found a huge one. Cornerback Corey Webster let him go down the sideline, apparently expecting help in coverage that never came. Green was wide open for a 56-yard touchdown catch.

The Giants have given up 39 passes of 20 yards or more, 10 for touchdowns. Green has a touchdown catch in eight straight games, tying T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the second-longest streak in club history.

There were openings for all of Dalton's receivers. Andrew Hawkins made a one-handed catch for an 11-yard touchdown that came off another Giants mistake. Steve Weatherford's punt went out of bounds at the Cincinnati 14-yard line, but a penalty forced a rekick. Adam ``Pacman'' Jones slipped through two defenders for a 68-yard return that set up the score.

Jones started Cincinnati's big third quarter by stripping Ahmad Bradshaw of the ball at the Cincinnati 14-yard line, preventing New York from getting back into the game.

On New York's next possession, Manning's deflected pass was intercepted by tackle Pat Sims at the 12-yard line. Dalton threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to tight end Jermaine Gresham, who outjumped Antrel Rolle in the end zone. Rolle was upset by Green's ``lot of holes'' comment, saying he would let his pads do the talking on the field.

Less than 2 minutes later, Manning forced a throw that was picked off by Nate Clements. Dalton's 10-yard touchdown to Mohamed Sanu made it 31-6. Dalton was 21 of 30 for 199 yards without a sack or interception.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.

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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

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Capitals don't get Penguins for home opener, but Penguins will host Capitals in theirs

The Capitals found out who their opponent will be for the home opener on Oct. 3 and it's not the Pittsburgh Penguins.

And you know what? That's OK. Winning the Stanley Cup was awesome and the banner raising will be an incredible scene regardless. 

Plus, the Penguins need that night off because they have to get ready for their own home opener on Oct. 4 against...the Caps?

Wait, what?

In 2016, the Capitals were in attendance as the Penguins raised their Stanley Cup banner. That had to sting considering Pittsburgh eliminated Washington in the playoffs.

It has not become a tradition to make rivals watch as teams raise banners and there's nothing that said the NHL had to schedule the Penguins for Washington's home opener. But it does seem odd that the NHL is going to make the defending Stanley Cup champions play a back-to-back right out of the gate with the second end coming against their archrivals in Pittsburgh.

Hey Caps, it's the NHL here. Congrats again. Vegas is a hell of a city, am I right? So, listen...we thought about it and decided you won't get to raise your banner against your rivals. Sorry about that. We tried and we couldn't get them for your first game. Good news though, we moved it all the way up to the second game, we just couldn't get it any sooner than that. You'll be playing them the second game of the season...the night after your home opener...in Pittsburgh...for their home opener. Anyway, good luck on the repeat.

Makes sense.

Look, if Washington can't have Pittsburgh for the home opener fine. It would have been nice, but it's really not a big deal. Raising the banner will be special regardless of who the opponent will be. But don't turn around and make the Caps play in the Penguins' home opener the very next day.

The schedule makers did the Caps no favors with this one.

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