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The Seahawks are close to unbeatable at home. Since Russell Wilson took over at quarterback last year, Seattle is 13-0 at CenturyLink Field.
The Saints are close to unbeatable at home, too. Not counting the season coach Sean Payton was suspended, or a Week 17 loss in 2010 when New Orleans rested starters, the Saints have won 18 straight home games, according to the New Orleans Times Picayune. The last time the Saints had Payton and something to play for and lost at the Superdome was Oct. 24, 2010.
In the playoffs it will be even harder to beat those teams at home, if that’s possible. It’s hard to imagine either one getting clipped at home in January with a Super Bowl berth on the line. That’s what makes Monday night’s game enormous.
The game is in Seattle and might be the last call for anyone to stop Seattle from grabbing home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs. The Seahawks are 10-1, and with a win against the Saints would have at least a two-game lead on every other NFC team with four games to play. They would also hold the tiebreaker over the Saints and Panthers, the only other teams in the NFC with three or fewer losses.
If there’s a team that could stop the Seahawks from getting the No. 1 seed, it might be the Saints. New Orleans is 9-2, and has been one of the few dominant teams in the league. Saints quarterback Drew Brees is capable of beating any team in any venue, especially because the Seahawks are a bit thin at defensive back due to Walter Thurmond’s suspension and an injury/upcoming suspension to Brandon Browner.
This is one of the greatest late-season matchups in the history of “Monday Night Football.” Counting games from Week 10 forward, the Saints and Seahawks have the second-best combined winning percentage (.864) for two Monday night combatants. The only Monday night matchup that topped that was the 1990 meeting between the 49ers and Giants, who were both 10-1.
It’s a great matchup and both teams probably realize it will likely determine where the NFC championship game will be held.
(Here are the other NFL games this week, from best to worst (all times Eastern, all games Sunday unless noted otherwise):
2. Denver at Kansas City, 4:25 p.m.: It says something about Saints-Seahawks that a meeting between two 9-2 teams isn’t the best game of the week. The Broncos beat the Chiefs 27-17 two weeks ago, but that was in Denver. Arrowhead Stadium will be revved up for a game that could very well determine the AFC West champions and the top seed in the conference.
3. Cincinnati at San Diego, 4:25 p.m.: This has huge playoff implications too. The 5-6 Chargers will be right in the mix for a wild-card spot with a win. The Bengals still have a good shot at a first-round bye, but can’t afford many more losses.
4. Arizona at Philadelphia, 1 p.m.: A few weeks ago this game didn’t look appealing, but both teams have been playing very well. The Eagles are tied for first place in the NFC East and the Cardinals are 7-4 and battling for a playoff spot. Can the Eagles’ offense keep rolling against a very good Cardinals defense?
5. Pittsburgh at Baltimore, 8:30 p.m. (Thurs.): The third of three Thanksgiving games probably won’t be a high-scoring affair, because this rivalry always produces hard-hitting grinders. Both teams are tied for the sixth spot in the AFC at 5-6, so it’s an important game in the playoff picture.
6. Tennessee at Indianapolis, 1 p.m.: Tennessee is yet another 5-6 AFC team looking for a playoff spot. They had the Colts on the ropes a couple weeks ago, but let Indianapolis rally for a win. The Titans would be just one game back in the AFC South with a win over the reeling Colts.
7. Green Bay at Detroit, 12:30 p.m. (Thurs.): A classic Thanksgiving matchup. Only a half-game separates these teams in the NFC North. The Lions need this win to break a two-game losing streak and take back control of the division.
8. Miami at N.Y. Jets, 1 p.m.: In the never-ending parade of 5-6 AFC teams, here are two more. The loser is going to be in a lot of trouble in the playoff race.
9. St. Louis at San Francisco, 4:05 p.m.: Last year’s meeting in San Francisco produced an odd tie. The 49ers can’t afford a loss (or a tie) with so much competition for NFC wild-card spots.
10. Oakland at Dallas, 4:30 p.m. (Thurs.): The Raiders have gotten some good play from rookie quarterback Matt McGloin the past two weeks. The Cowboys secondary is bad, so McGloin has a chance to impress again.
11. Chicago at Minnesota, 1 p.m.: Vikings running back Adrian Peterson goes against the 32nd-ranked run defense in the NFL. That could get ugly.
12. Tampa Bay at Carolina, 1 p.m.: This could actually be a sneaky-good game. The Buccaneers are playing a lot better and have won three straight after an 0-8 start. The Panthers need to win to stay in the hunt for the NFC South title.
13. New England at Houston, 1 p.m.: A few months ago we assumed this would be up there with Saints-Seahawks and Broncos-Chiefs. That’s before Houston fell apart. The Texans have lost nine in a row.
14. N.Y. Giants at Washington, 8:30 p.m.: It’s a great historic rivalry, but both of these teams are pretty bad.
15. Atlanta at Buffalo, 4:05 p.m.: The Bills are playing this one in Toronto. The poor folks up there deserve better than this snoozer.
16. Jacksonville at Cleveland, 1 p.m.: Who doesn’t want to see a game between quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Chad Henne?
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Internet services can toughen their security to mitigate government surveillance, but that won’t do much to lock down information that’s already in snoops’ hands. Twitter hopes to prevent those raids on past data through its recent implementation of Perfect Forward Secrecy, an encryption technique that stops intruders from decoding traffic on a grand scale. Each communication session has a random encryption key that never travels across networks; even if spies get full access to Twitter’s archives, they’ll have to crack any PFS-protected chats one at a time. The new policy won’t stop determined government agents from reading your tweets, but it will make them work harder for anything they want.
Filed under: Internet
Source: Twitter Blog
In desperate need of some competitive new products, Mitsubishi showed up at the Tokyo Motor Show with three concept vehicles. The most important of them might just be this fullsize Concept GC-PHEV (Grand Cruiser). With its full-time four-wheel-drive system and roughly the right package size, we can only hope it hints at a future design for the Pajero/Montero.
Longer, taller and wider than the current Pajero (which is still offered in other markets), the Concept GC-PHEV is a big SUV with a fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid powertrain. A 335-horsepower, 3.0-liter supercharged V6 and an eight-speed automatic transmission are paired with a 94-hp electric motor and high-capacity battery to provide some serious brawn in a green wrapper. The result is targeted fuel consumption of 15 kilometers/liter on the Japanese cycle (around 35 miles per gallon) to go with an all-electric driving range of more than 25 miles.
Mitsubishi’s styling team has arguably done a much better job with this Tokyo trio than we’ve seen from recent new products like the Outlander and Mirage, possibly suggesting a future design language for the automaker. In true concept car fashion, the design is Concept GC-PHEV is over the top, but it’s not hard to imagine a vehicle of this size with similar cues gracing the Mitsubishi lineup at some point in the near future. Likewise, while the concept’s interior only seats four, the sheer size of this vehicle could easily allow three rows of seats for a production model.
For more on the Grand Cruiser, check out some press information and a short video by scrolling down.
Allie LaForce and Doug Gottlieb discuss Troy Polamalu and his future with the Steelers.
Alt-week takes a look at the best science and alternative tech stories from the last seven days.
Suddenly things just got real. A new study claims one in five sun-like stars could have a planet capable of supporting life. Hugging your loved ones while thousands of miles away is closer reality, and smog? Apparently we can vacuum that stuff up now. Yeah? This is Alt-week.
The bad news is that Arian Foster will be out Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. The worse news it that he possibly could need season-ending surgery on his ailing back.
The Houston Texans workhorse back, who had more carries than anyone from 2010 to 2012, won’t play Sunday, per the Houston Chronicle He came out early in the team’s loss Sunday night to the Indianapolis Colts after starting but not touching the ball.
Foster has sought the opinion of two or three specialists, according to interim head coach Wade Phillips, who is replacing Gary Kubiak while he rests and recovers following a mini-stroke. Phillips said he was not sure of what the back specialists thought about Foster’s condition and what the final result will be.
“He’s had two or three opinions,” Phillips said. “They haven’t told me anything about it. Still evaluating is what they’ve told me.”
Foster had been heating up prior to coming out of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago, and he is averaging 4.5 yards per carry for the season. Ben Tate, who is battling through three cracked ribs, is likely to start, with Dennis Johnson, Deji Karim and rookie Ray Graham the other backfield options in Foster’s place.
Bloomberg has spoken to three anonymous sources who claim to have knowledge of Stephen Elop’s current mindset, and who say he’d consider making some radical moves if he become Microsoft’s CEO. Now, bearing in mind there could be some seriously heavy axes being ground here, the details of what Elop …
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Remember the significance of 3-6? That was the record the Washington Redskins had last season when they began their assault on the NFL, en route to an unexpected division title.
Given that no other team seems ready or willing to run away with the NFC East race this season, you can’t dismiss the possibility of history repeating itself.
But if it does, it will take a bigger improvement than a year ago.
Yes, there have been signs of late that things have been getting better in Redskinsville. Following the goal-line stand against the San Diego Chargers, and after a fairly dominant offensive first half against the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday, there were plenty of indications that the Redskins had awakened from their early-season slumbers.
But the second-half meltdown at Minnesota came with stunningly bad offensive execution — from converting 9-of-11 third downs in the first half, to 0-for-5 after halftime — and pass protection. Robert Griffin III was under fire most of the game, but he had nowhere to hide in the second half, taking four sacks after avoiding any in the first half.
The Redskins’ defense still hasn’t shown it can stop anybody. Forget subtle improvements — this unit is allowing 31.9 points per game (that number was 27.6 through nine games a year ago) and is even on the turnover margin (after being plus-7 through nine games in 2012).
Giving up yards is one thing. But the Redskins’ defensive success last season was about coming up with the key turnover — it finished the season plus-17 — and clamping down in the red zone. Those things are not happening this season nearly often enough.
Check out the poor gap control and integrity on this Adrian Peterson run:
Even to a player as great as Peterson, that’s unacceptable. Worse still, the Redskins allowed injury-prone second-string tight end John Carlson to run freely to the end zone, as the front gets sucked into the play-action fake and the secondary leaves a gaping hole and cannot tackle properly.
Can these problems be fixed in time for the final seven games that includes four divisional contests and three games against teams currently in the playoff mix? It’s in the realm of possibilities, but we just have no evidence to suggest that it will. Teams that do those things don’t blow 13-point second-half leads and allow beat-up 1-7 teams to run off 20 straight points; and taking the point further, the Redskins have yet to string two good games together.
The records are the same from a year ago, and many of the players know what it takes to get white hot down the stretch. But the task seems even more daunting this time around, given what we’ve seen to this point.
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