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Football Flashback: Saints Win NFC Championship Game

Until Sunday, it looked as if the return of Brett Favre to the NFL would have a storybook ending and propel the Minnesota Vikings to the Superbowl. Instead, the New Orleans Saints will be heading to the Superbowl for the first time in franchise history. Garrett Hartley nailed a 40 yard field goal in overtime to give the Saints a 31-28 victory in the NFC Championship game after Brett Favre was intercepted deep in Saints territory during the final seconds of regulation. Favre may be headed back to retirement, while the Saints are headed to Miami to play the biggest game of them all.

The Vikings did reward NFL betting fans who took them as +4 underdogs with a pointspread cover. Minnesota finished the season a solid 11-6-1 against the NFL pointspread. The 59 combined points scored went OVER the posted total of 53′. The Saints went OVER for the second consecutive game after playing four straight UNDER verdicts to close out the regular season.

After the game, head coach Sean Payton drew an analogy to the city of New Orleans’ recovery after Hurricane Katrina:

“This is for everybody in this city. This stadium used to have holes in it and used to be wet. It’s not wet anymore. This is for the city of New Orleans.”

Winning quarterback Drew Brees extended that same metaphor:

“In reality, we had to lean on each other in order to survive and in order to get where we are now. The city is on its way to recovery, and in a lot of ways has come back better than ever. We’ve used the strength and resiliency of our fans to go out and play every Sunday and play with the confidence that we can do it, that we can achieve everything we’ve set out to achieve.”

Place kicker Hartley was low key despite securing the victory with his overtime field goal:

“Just helping my team get to Miami. Just doing my part.”

Brett Favre didn’t have much to say in defeat:

“I’ve felt better. It was a physical game. A lot of hits. You win that and you sure feel a lot better.” Mississippi native Favre did throw his support behind the Saints:

“I would have loved to represent the NFC. But, as I told Sean throughout the year when we talked, if it’s not us, I hope it’s you guys.”

The Vikings gave up a total of five turnovers including three fumbles. That, said running back Adrian Peterson, was the game:

“We really gave those guys the game. Too many turnovers. It’s eating me up inside.

Ross Everett is a staff handicapper for Oddsbay. He’s a highly respected expert on soccer betting, as well as a published freelance writer specializing in sports betting, harness racing, karate and model railroading. He lives in Las Vegas with his Asian houseboy, three Jack Russell Terriers and a retired racing wombat.

Colts Look Sharp In NFL Preseason Win Over Eagles

The Indianapolis Colts offense was in high gear as Peyton Manning threw two TD passes in three series of action, leaving backup Curtis Painter with a 14-0 lead over the Philadelphia Eagles before exiting the game. The Colts would eventually depend as much on their defense as their offense over the course of the subsequent NFL season but on this day the Colts went on to win 23-15 in NFL preseason action at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

Manning was in good spirits as he discussed the Colts’ offense after this game:

“I think everybody wanted to be in there. The entire offense felt hungry after last week. Sure, there were some mistakes we can learn from, but there were some good things we can learn from.”

“I don’t think anybody offensively was really happy with what happened last week. It started with me and the entire offensive starting unit. Overall I thought everybody came back and did a better job tonight.”

Colts head coach Jim Caldwell shared his QB’s pleasure:

“They [the starters] had a couple of real good solid drives in there, performing pretty well. We were pleased with what we saw.”

Eagles coach Andy Reid wasn’t the least bit enthused with what he saw from his team:

“All in all, that was an embarrassing performance and way too many penalties, not enough intensity all the way around, starting with me. It was a poor performance.”

Aside from a nice touchdown pass from Donovan McNabb early in the game the Eagles looked nothing like a team expected to contend for a Superbowl berth.

Philadelphia will host the Jacksonville Jaguars next Thursday night looking for their first win of the NFL preseason. The Colts will continue their NFL exhibition slate as they travel to Detroit for a game against the Lions a week from Saturday.

Ross Everett is a experienced freelance writer experienced in travel, casino gambling and NFL football handicapping. He is a staff handicapper for Anatta Sports where he is responsible for providing daily free sports picks. In his spare time he enjoys fine dining, fencing and scuba diving. He lives in Southern Nevada with four dogs and a pet coyote.

UFC 94 Flashback: GSP Defends Welterweight Title

Reigning lightweight champ BJ Penn entered his main event battle against welterweight kingpin Georges St. Pierre looking to become the first man in UFC history to simultaneously hold titles in two weight classes. GSP never gave him the chance to make history, as he stopped Penn after four increasingly dominant rounds to retain his belt with a TKO victory.

During ring introductions, both men received enthusiastic cheers tempered with a few boos. After the opening horn sounded, however, the Penn backers had little to cheer about . The first round was fairly evenly contested, with St. Pierre trying to get a first hand feel for Penn’s often unorthodox takedown defense. GSP made several takedown attempts, but had them repeatedly stuffed.

Boxing guru Freddy Roach recently praised Penn as the best technical puncher in MMA, but he had no opportunity to bring this weapon to bear as he had trouble finding the range from the outset. GSP mixed up his look perfectly, either staying just outside Penns range using his 6 reach advantage effectively or more often smothering his opponent on takedown attempts.

GSP began to assert his dominance in round two”with Penn starting to fatigue he was no longer able to fend off St. Pierres single leg takedown attempts by balancing on one leg. GSP got a takedown early in the frame and began to mount a ground and pound assault while moving around in Penns legendary guard almost at will moving from half guard to side control with frightening ease. At this point, it was apparent that GSPs superior strength and insane physical conditioning were going to figure prominently in the outcome of the fight.

The eventual outcome was foretold between rounds two and three, as the obviously exhausted Penn required a pep talk from his entourage to continue. Across the cage, GSP calmly sipped water and listened intently to trainer Greg Jacksons instructions looking for all the world that he could go 12 rounds if necessary.

Round three was similar to the previous one, with GSP taking his opponent to the mat with a decreasing level of resistance and mauling him with punches and elbows once he got there. His complete control over the BJJ black belt Penn was incredible, but hardly surprising given the way that GSP dominated four time NCAA All American wrestler Josh Koscheck on the ground during their matchup.

The fourth round was a wall to wall rout for the Canadian welterweight champion, who started by effectively trading strikes with Penn before taking him down once again and resuming his highly successful ground based attack. Penn survived the round on instinct alone, moving around just enough to keep the referee from stopping the proceedings. After the horn sounded to end the fourth round, however, it was evident that Penn had nothing physically or emotionally left. As he leaned headfirst against the cage in exhaustion, an impromptu conference amongst his handlers on whether or not to continue became moot when the fight was stopped by Dean on advice from the ringside physician. There was no argument whatsoever from Penn or his entourage.

Displaying his characteristic class, GSP delayed his celebration until he had crossed the cage and kneeled by his vanquished foe to honor his competitive spirit. After a quick celebration among GSP and his team, he faced his next challenger in the person of Thiago Alves.

In the co-feature attraction, Lyoto Machida kept his undefeated professional MMA record intact with a first round TKO victory over Thiago Silva. Silva had no answer for Machidas well rounded skills and unorthodox Shotokan karate based style. Machida took his opponent down and knocked his opponent down twice”all counters as Silva was coming forward and Machida backing away. As the first round entered its final seconds, it appeared that Silva started to ease up in anticipation of the horn. Machida used this opportunity for another takedown, and then nailed his surprised opponent with a powerful punch that ended the fight.

Ross Everett is a freelance sports writer and respected authority on baseball betting. His writing has appeared on a variety of sports sites including sportsbooks and sportsbook directory sites. He lives in Southern Nevada with three Jack Russell Terriers and a kangaroo. He is currently working on an autobiography of former energy secretary Donald Hodell.