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Packers Clay Matthews talks Campbell’s Chunky Soup, his badass DNA and great hair

ClayMatthewsChunkSoup

Clay Matthews could definitely steal my girlfriend and probably yours too, bud. Upon scheduling this interview, my girlfriend did a quick Google search to put a face with the name.

As images of “The Clay Maker” flipped across her iPhone, she said, “Wow. This guy is a complete stud.” The accompanying far away look in her eyes told me all I needed to know; that if given the chance, she would shed me the way Matthews sheds opposing double teams.

Aside from getting the ladies flustered off the field, Matthews has established himself as the best pass rusher in the NFL, thanks to a successful start to his career that rivals any linebacker in NFL history.

In five seasons, Matthews has made the Pro Bowl four times, been selected as an All-Pro twice, been named NFC Defensive Player of the Year in 2010 and won Super Bowl XLV.

I was fortunate to speak with Clay about his career, his lineage and the Campbell’s Chunky “Sacks for Soup” campaign.

Talk about the partnership with Campbell’s Chunky Soup.

For the past year I teamed up with Campbell’s Chunky and created the “Sacks for Soup” campaign. For every sack that I was able to get last year, Campbell’s Chunky donated 2,000 cans of soup; 1,000 to a local Green Bay food bank and another 1,000 to the opposing team’s city. To date, we’ve donated over 40,000 cans of Chunky soup. For every sack, they also donated $1,000, so we were able to get around up to $20,000 for my foundation (CM3 Charitable Fund), so it’s been a fantastic campaign; one that not only provides for myself, but gives back in the process of doing so.

What’s your favorite kind?

My favorite kind thanks to the Green Bay weather and obviously a play on the Packers is the Hearty Cheeseburger. They’re all fantastic, so it’s hard to choose, but just like on the commercial, I like the Clam Chowder and the Spicy Quesadilla as well. They’re all really good, so I have to say all three.

I thought they’d make you a special kind called “Bear Chunks” for the way you’ve annihilated Chicago Bears quarterbacks in your career.

I’m willing to try! I don’t know if it would be a big seller, but I’d be all for it.

Click here for the full interview.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @TheScoresReport. You can also follow TSR editor Gerardo Orlando @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom, and you can follow TSR editor Anthony Stalter @AnthonyStalter.

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Terry Bradshaw talks Pepsi Halftime, the Super Bowl and the “Immaculate Reception”

Terry-Bradshaw-Pepsi-Super-Bowl

40 years ago this month, fifth-year NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw came of age. The former #1 overall draft pick in 1970 had struggled in his first five regular seasons, averaging just 1,504 passing yards per season, while throwing 48 touchdowns and 81 interceptions.

But in the 1974 playoffs, something clicked. In wins over the Buffalo Bills, the Oakland Raiders, and finally, in the Super Bowl IX against the Minnesota Vikings, Bradshaw played the best football of his career, steadying himself long enough to let a powerful running game and legendary “Steel Curtain” defense dictate the tempo of games and slowly bleed out opponents.

We spoke to Terry about his progression as a quarterback, the Super Bowl and the Steelers dynasty of the 1970s.

Talk about your experience working with Pepsi on the Pepsi GRAMMY Halftime Show.

“This is just great, man. My agent called me and described the script and it sounded like so much fun, I couldn’t wait to do it. It was so much fun to make. And Deion (Sanders) and Shannon (Sharpe) were all laughing at each other. And coach Ditka was a hoot! Just four old guys out there showing off our stuff!

As a rookie, you were the first overall draft pick, and in the ensuing season, you threw a league leading 24 interceptions and split time with Terry Hanratty. What are your thoughts on that year in hindsight, after all the success?

“Well, I came up out of a small school where I was not exposed to the media, not exposed to fans, what it was like to have a bad game and the repercussions. So being booed, being ripped in the papers, this was all new to me. I had to learn how to be a professional, I had to learn how to study, I had to learn defenses. It took me a while. I wasn’t a real student of the game, I never really was one even as the years went on. I was never a guy that could sit down and just pound out tape after tape. Now, it’s a lot easier. Back then, tape would break and you’d have to glue it back together. I could sit there and my coach could tell me the coverages they would use, take all that information and put it on a piece of paper, go through all the plays and everything, and I would know what to do. I learned how to be a professional and it was brutal. Being booed and being called all those horrible things left a lasting impression on me. I never forgot it.”

Read the full interview here.

NFL Week 16 Free Picks

Saints vs. Panthers, 1:00PM ET
After the Seahawks thrashed the Saints on “Monday Night Football” a few weeks back, Drew Brees reminded reporters that New Orleans has the best road record of any team in the NFL since 2009. While that may be, there’s no denying that the Saints are a much different team on the road this year than at home. Part that is because the Saints are seemingly unbeatable inside the Superdome. But Sean Payton is also more conservative with his play-calling on the road, Brees is less accurate, and Rob Ryan’s defense is softer versus the run. The Panthers should adjust to what they the Saints did to them in Week 14 when these two teams met in New Orleans (a walk away win for the Saints). I expect them to tighten up their red zone coverage and not allow Jimmy Graham to get a free release up the seam and torch them for a second time. The Saints are just 1-4 against the spread in their last five games in Carolina and 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall versus the Panthers.
FREE PICK: PANTHERS -3

Cowboys vs. Redskins, 1:00PM ET
Kirk Cousins was outstanding in the first half last Sunday in Atlanta and nearly helped Washington overcome seven turnovers to beat the hapless Falcons. He may have just as much success on Sunday versus a Dallas defense that ranks dead last in yards allowed this season, but this isn’t the game the Cowboys will choke away. (That’ll come next weekend when they host the Eagles for what will amount to the NFC East Division title game, a la Week 17 last season.) Regardless of who is under center, the Redskins remain a mess defensively and they’re just 2-9 against the number in their last 11 games versus NFC opponents. They’re also 0-4 ATS in their last four divisional games and 0-5 ATS in their last five games following an ATS win. The Cowboys should get it done on Sunday.
FREE PICK: COWBOYS -2.5

Steelers vs. Packers, 4:25PM ET
The Packers have won two straight games after out-playing their opponents in the second half. They trailed by double-digits at home to the Falcons two weeks ago and by 23 points at half versus the Cowboys in Dallas last Sunday but still managed to win. At some point they’re not going to be able to dig themselves out if they continue their inconsistent play on offense and shoddy play on defense. Green Bay is just 1-6 against the spread in its last seven games overall, 0-4 ATS in its last four home games and 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a losing record. On the other side, the Steelers are 5-1 against the number in their last six games overall and 4-1 ATS in their last five games following a straight up win. With Aaron Rodgers sidelined for another week with an injured collarbone, look for Pittsburgh to pull off the minor upset.
FREE PICK: STEELERS +2.5

Bears vs. Eagles, 8:30PM ET
The total is set high in this one but neither of these teams were interested in playing defense last week. The Bears are going to have loads of trouble slowing down LeSean McCoy on Sunday night and after getting torched by Matt Cassel last week, the Eagles should struggle trying to defend Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery and Matt Forte. The over is 4-1 in the Bears’ last five games overall, 11-3 in their last 14 road games and 9-2 in the Eagles’ last 11 games following an ATS loss.
FREE PICK: OVER 55.5

Why Antonio Brown Deserves More Attention

In 2010, Antonio Brown was a 6th round pick out of Central Michigan University, drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers. In his rookie year Brown had only 16 receptions for 167 yards. Next year he broke through, establishing his presence as a threat on this offense, catching 69 passes for 1108 yards and returning punts for 325 yards and one touchdown. At 5’10″ tall and 186 lbs he’s not ideal for a wide receiver in the NFL. But that hasn’t seemed to stop him yet. Through 10 games this year, he has had 74 receptions for 952 yards and five touchdowns. He also has returned 18 punts for 236 yards this season.

On the September 17 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, Brown was targeted only three time in the first half with two catches for 35 yards. He was targeted only six times in the second half. Could the Steelers 4 and 6 record be due to the lack of passes in Browns direction? Rumors have said that during the second half of Sunday’s game against the Bengals, Brown confronted his offensive coordinator on the side lines complaining he wasn’t getting enough chances to make plays. Although there was no video footage of the incident, the pattern of the game indicated something was off.

As one of the highest paid players on the team with a consistent high percentage of the catches made, one would think Brown would be getting more, or as many passes thrown his way than his fellow starter Emmanuel Sanders. Brown is indeed a top quality receiver. Nobody disputes that Brown is a play maker, possibly the team’s best receiver. Brown always seems to find a way to make those great, athletic catches against some of the game’s best corners.

Brown is establishing himself as one of the best route runners in the NFL and he is only getting better. With his 452 yards, Brown is on pace to break Yancey Thigpen’s 16-year-old team record and is also in the running for Hines Ward’s 11-year-old record of 112 catches in a season. If Brown can manage his current pace, he’ll be on track to finish the year with 118 receptions and over 1,500 yards.

Brown’s role as punt returner isn’t too bad either. He has a 13.1 yard return average and is ranked fourth highest in the NFL. Keeping this pace, he will end the season with another career high mark. Brown is a well rounded player who has many years of stardom ahead of him. While Brown continues to be one of the more electric players on the Steelers roster, he is becoming a very powerful force on the team. Although Brown my only have five touchdowns so far this year, he is still very valued on the grid iron. One reason for his lack of touchdowns is quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has several options to choose from.

The Steelers aren’t the strongest team when it comes to offense, but Brown’s persistence and hustle on the field shows off his excellent ability and all-around play making qualities, that not only make him an asset to his team but also a player you can count on to make the plays when needed.

NFL Week 11 Free Picks

Falcons vs. Bucs, 1:00PM ET
Can things get any worse for the Falcons this season? They lose Julio Jones to a season-ending foot injury, Roddy White hasn’t been fully healthy since the start of the preseason and the defense has been forced to start undrafted rookies at multiple linebacker spots. Toss in a horrible offensive line, a weak pass rush and a frazzled quarterback and you’ve got the makings of a 2-7 season for a team that was supposed to contend for a Super Bowl. The Falcons are 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games overall, 0-4 ATS in their last four road games and 1-4 ATS in their last five division games. Even when they’re good they’ve struggled in Tampa Bay.
FREE PICK: BUCCANEERS -1

Lions vs. Steelers, 1:00PM ET
The Steelers are a shell of their former selves on defense. They can still generate a decent pass rush but they’ve been bad in coverage and even worse against the run (which had been a strength under Dick LeBeau). On the other side, the Lions remain explosive on offense and their defense is dangerous because of their stout pass rush, but they’re far from being a lockdown unit. Even on a soggy field in Pittsburgh, this game has the makings of a shootout. The over is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these two teams and 41-20-2 in the Lions’ last 63 road games.
FREE PICK: OVER 45.5

49ers vs. Saints, 4:25PM ET
The Saints have won and covered in 14 straight home games with Sean Payton on the sidelines. That’s an incredible feat, although it’s clear to anyone that pays attention that the Saints are a different team at home than away from the fast carpet of the Superdome. The Niners, meanwhile, are coming off their worst offensive performance of the season when they were held to just 151 yards of total offense. They’ve beaten up on teams like the Rams, Texans, Cardinals, Titans and Jaguars over the past month and a half, but faced with a stiff challenge in the Panthers, they couldn’t muster double-digit points. That kind of effort won’t cut it Sunday against a Saints team that has scored at least 31 points in all four of their last four home games.
FREE PICK: SAINTS -3.5

Chiefs vs. Broncos, 8:30PM ET
The Chiefs can’t win in a shootout – that’s not who they are. Thus, their defense will be put to the test tonight against the most explosive offense in the NFL. The X-factor in this game is Peyton Manning’s ankles. If he’s more banged up than he and the Broncos are letting on, then Kansas City’s defense will make this game. Denver hasn’t done a good enough job the past few weeks of protecting Manning and he’s paying the price. Look for the Chiefs to take a page out of the Colts’ playbook and play press coverage on the outside. Disrupting Manning’s timing with his receivers is the only way you’re going to beat him, and that’s easier said than done. That said, the Chiefs’ have the corners and pass rush to keep Manning in check and keep this game close throughout.
FREE PICK: CHIEFS +7.5

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