Our NFL Week 7 picks!; plus LeBron James forgot who he is in following company line on China, and nothing will stop hell-bent Dolphins from finding their Holy Grail. Latest columns & more
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DOLPHINS-BILLS, GAME OF THE WEEK, UPSETS: OUR NFL WEEK 7 PICKS: Off our record-setting 2018 season and a solid start to our 29th year of NFL picks in the Miami Herald, here are our latest selections. Will the winless Dolphins cover the enormous point spread in Buffalo? Who won the tough battle for Game of the Week? Can we keep our Upset of the Week streak alive? Answers to all of that and more may be found in the motherlode that is our NFL Week 7 Gems. Alas, got off to a bad start to our week last night, as we incorrectly had the Broncos upsetting the Chiefs in Denver. Um, the Chiefs won 30-6. This was our worst pick of the year. I make my picks by a mixture of research, methodology and gut feeling. In this case I felt KC was the better team poised to rebound from two straight losses -- but allowed me to talk me into the Broncos. Dumb. Against form. Tally ho!
LEBRON JAMES FORGETS WHO HE IS, FOLLOWS COMPANY LINE ON CHINA: LeBron James is the villain now, to many, for one comment this week that served to inflame rather than quell the fallout from the NBA’s China crisis. It isn’t especially fair, but this is the take-sides society we have become, where the moderate middle has disappeared and nuance gets bludgeoned by the immediacy of outrage that social media provides (and encourages). So LeBron is the sellout now, right? The faker who turned his back on social justice where money was involved? First, the easy answer: No. He isn’t. The I Promise School that James founded for at-risk kids in Akron, Ohio, is thriving. In Miami we remember when he wore that hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin. James spoke out against that white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. He has defended Colin Kaepernick against the misrepresentations. Worn “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts during warmups. Spoke out on stage at the 2016 ESPYs. At every turn, James — still the biggest star in the NBA at 34 even as "best player" is now arguable — has shown his heart is right. There is a world off the court that he cares to impact, and does. He is a model for athlete activism, for the use of platform and voice. It is only in this context of credibility earned that raised eyebrows this week when he said Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey "wasn’t informed" in writing the tweet that caused the firestorm. For our entire latest column, please visit LeBron Follows Company Line On China After Career Devoted to Social Justice.
Select most recent other columns: Another Dolphins Loss, But There was Fight And Heart This Time (loss to Washington) and Hurricanes Finally Get Quality Win -- And The Spark They Needed (win over Virginia). Also: Why Is NBA Doing Business With Human Rights-Violating China In First Place? / Now Or Never For Panthers To Stop Wasting The Barkov Years / and 'Culture' Isn't Enough. It'll Take These 5 Factors to Lift Miami Heat.
NO SACRIFICE TOO GREAT FOR TANKING-FOR-TUA DOLPHINS TO FIND THEIR HOLY GRAIL: Tua Tagovailoa by gradual degrees appears more and more in focus to Miami Dolphins fans. Nearer and nearer. More and more real. But he appears less like a quarterback in Alabama red than as a savior in a flowing robe, back-lit by a halo of sunlight. That sound ... are those angels singing? A dispatch from Tanking Central: This is like few seasons ever seen in sports and none ever experienced in South Florida: One team so strategically awful, with one player in mind — and no sacrifice too great to reach that Holy Grail. Perversely, the historically winless Dolphins in the midst of overtly Tanking For Tua might be the biggest story of this NFL season. It has become a national controversy. It has split a fan base with winning versus tanking the wedge. This franchise hasn’t made this much news for being this embarrassing since, well, OK, I would say since knucklehead Richie Incognito was bullying a teammate, except that the offensive line coach caught snorting white powder off his desk happened more recently. But this embarrassment is happening on the field. In the open. It’s being televised! To read my entire recent column, please visit No Sacrifice Too Great For Tanking-For-Tua Dolphins.
NFL PIX 'N FANTASY RESULTS: WEEK 6: WIN, WIN, WIN!: NFL picks -- Pretty great, actually. We deftly navigated an upset-laden week to go 10-4 overall and a terrific 11-3 (!) against the point spread. We nailed another Upset of the Week with 49ers over Rams ("Aawwk!"), bull's-eyed Cardinals' upset of Falcons and hit a third outright upset, though a mini-one (1-point line), with Saints winning at Jaguars. Also had a trio of 'dogs-with-points in Dolphins, Bengals and Steelers. We're having another big season. All abooaarrd! ..... LeBatard Show fantasy (16-team PPR) -- Yes! Greg's Lobos rose to even at 3-3 with an 85.4 to 63.4 spanking of Randy Scott. Got 24.8 from Patrick Mahomes (who's good even when he isn't great) and a nice 20.6 bounceback from Mike Evans. We're tied for sixth of 16 teams and thinking playoffs. ..... Friends n' family fantasy (10-team PPR) -- Yes again! Lobos are now 3-3 with a 139-133 win. Kept the faith in Stefon Diggs and got a 43-point reward. Also cashed 29 from Deshaun Watson. We're tied for fourth place and playoff-hunting. And we get Saquon Barkley back soon. Go 'Bos!
Previous select recent columns: Riley Introduces Butler -- 'Cause the Heat Don't Tank / Why Dolphins, Even Epic-Bad, May be Closer to Major Turnaround Than Canes / Turning Its Back on Kaepernick Enters Year 3 As NFL's Ongoing Shame / Worst Miami Team Ever? Epic Losing Already Making Dolphins A National Joke / Quit Whining! Yes Dolphins Are Tanking, And Yes They Should / It's Up to Today's Dolphins to Defend Shula's Legacy / Who's Super Bowl-Bound And Where Dolphins Land (preseason NFL Team Rankings) / Luck Deserves Praise For Putting Health, Life Above Football / Dolphins' Ross Cannot Be Surprised By Major Fallout Over Trump Fundraiser / Le Batard on Miami Radio Turmoil: 'We Were Evicted' / Buoniconti: Hall of Famer, But Even Greater Off the Field / Queens of the World. U.S. Soccer Wins Again / It Is Megan Rapinoe's World Cup -- On And Off The Field / An Era Ends As Panthers' Luongo Retires / O.J. Can Tweet What He Wants, But How He's Seen Is Not Up To Him / Ranking Dolphins, Heat, Marlins & Panthers' Best Young Players / Inter Miami Aiming High With Barca's Suarez / End The Illogical Shame and Honor Schnellenberger / Oh To Be Hated Again! Lean Times For Miami Sports / Why Tiger's Masters Triumph Is About More Than Golf / Transgender-Athlete Firestorm A Necessary Debate / Across the Rio Grande to the PGA Tour / From Dark and Empty to Top Of the World: Dan Le Batard at 50.
APSE-HONORED WORK: The Associated Press Sports Editors 2018 writing awards ranked us a Top 10 national sports columnist in the major-outlet category. Thanks, APSE. Here are the five nominated columns that earned the honor: At Doral, an annual tradition since 1962 is replaced by silence, and by what's missing / Marlins' Jose Fernandez statue is divisive yet has a chance to serve a greater purpose /NFL has moral obligation to help Buonicontis and Kiicks while it limits future suffering / What led to El Clasico Miami began with Joe Robbie's unlikely, accidental love of soccer / With 59 home runs, Stanton still had a magic season. Just hope this wasn't goodbye.
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