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The Minnesota Vikings must ‘Escape From New York’

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As the Minnesota Vikings prepare to travel to the New Jersey Meadowlands and play the New York Jets on Sunday, we examine what is impressive and vulnerable about the 3-3 Jets team, and detail ways Minnesota can get out of Jersey with a road victory.

Of all the teams in the NFL, the New York Jets may be the one that the average Minnesota Vikings fan knows little about. In fact, the Jets probably aren’t even the best-known team from New York. The NFC North rarely plays the AFC East. In fact, it was 2014 when the divisions last met.

So let’s take a dive into this 3-3 Jets squad and the Vikings’ chances to beat them this weekend. It’s a road win they would love to have, considering the team will then return to Minnesota for consecutive home games before their bye week.

We’ll start with Teddy Bridgewater. The former beloved Viking quarterback, two full seasons past his abrupt and horrific knee injury, signed with the Jets in the off-season and entered a QB competition with journeyman Josh McCown and newly drafted rookie Sam Darnold from USC.

Teddy, despite playing very well in the preseason, did not win that competition and was promptly traded to the New Orlean Saints, where he will most certainly not be competing for a starting spot for years.

In New York, that left McCown to quickly lose the starting job to rookie Darnold, who has played the entire season. Darnold has shown the same moxie and physical talent as other young NFL QBs in the league, including the Buffalo’s Josh Allen, who both surprised and embarrassed the Vikings in Week 3.

Darnold, the 3rd pick of the 2018 draft, is a big-armed 21-year-old that the Jets traded up handsomely for after being dismissed in the Kirk Cousins offseason sweepstakes. New York seems quite happy with the young man, who despite looking like a rookie on the field at times, has also shown toughness made several big plays on the year.

If they offered a king’s ransom to Cousins, they offered no less than a queen’s to Indianapolis for the third draft spot, swapping first rounders (3 for 14), and giving up their two 2018 2nd-rounders, as well as another 2nd-rounder in 2019.

To date, Darnold has nine touchdowns, seven interceptions, just under 60 percent on completions, and 83.7 quarterback rating in six games.

Still, the New York press has tossed out headlines such as: “Kirk Cousins free-agent gambit may have gifted Jets’ a franchise QB.”

Ah, New York. Not a subtle town.

In consecutive wins in the last two weeks, the Jets have used big plays from their running game to whip the Denver Broncos, and seven field goals to beat the Indy Colts, both wins coming at home.

In their third straight game in New Jersey, they’ll face a revitalized Minnesota Vikings team that has been battle-tested by three young quarterbacks; the 49ers Jimmy Garoppolo, the Bills’ Josh Allen, and the Cardinals’ Josh Rosen.

Minnesota may have learned a few things. Of them, these young guys can run–and make big-time throws if given time.

New York Ground Game

If you don’t know who Jets running back Isaiah Crowell is, it’s a sure bet Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer does.

In the Jets Week 1 demolition of the Detroit Lions (in Detroit), Crowell ran ten times for 102 yards, a 10.2-yard average. Against Denver in week 5, the tailback set the Jets’ rushing record with 15 carries for 219 yards in a 34-16 upset victory.

But hold the line to the Hall-of-Fame. In Weeks 2, 3, and 4, Crowell carried the ball 45 times for 108 yards, a 2.4-yard average.

This means that New York can indeed execute a running attack against a team not geared up against it. In 2018, the Vikings’ run defense has been good but not great in regard to their past stats, but improvement in the last two weeks has been obvious. The chance that Crowell has a huge game is not impossible, but not likely.

Jets In The Air

New York’s receiving squad is pretty good. Robbie Anderson, at 6-foot-3 is the statistical number one. Anderson, who can beat corners deep, finished the 2017 season with just under 1,000 yards.

Number two is Jermaine Kearse, the former Seattle Seahawk that came to New York in a swap for then-Seattle defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, a big dude who now plays for the good guys in purple-and-gold. New York got a second-round pick in the deal that was crucial in sweetening the pot in the trade to draft Sam Darnold.

Kearse has been a steady receiver and had his best career year in 2017 with 65 catches and 810 yards. He’s no Jerry Rice, but has always been a sneaky threat in his games against Minnesota.

The Jets have also added the much-traveled and always dangerous Terrelle Pryor, but the 6-foot-4 receiver has suffered from a groin injury and has made only 14 receptions all season.

Anderson and Kearse caught passes last year from 38-year-old quarterback Josh McCown, and considering New York finished with a 5-11 record, it was no great break from the guy who preceded him, Geno Smith.

So, Darnold has his work in front of him, and little to challenge his development. Except, of course, guys like Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith and the myriad of blitz packages that Mike Zimmer will be throwing at him on Sunday.

But that’s all in day’s work for rookie quarterbacks.

On The New York Defense

I’ll make this simple. Turnovers.

New York turned four takeaways into 20 points last week in their win against Indianapolis. The Jets also rank second in the NFL in forced turnovers coming into Sunday’s game.

This weekend, there are not going to be many fans of Minnesota Vikings QB Kirk Cousins on the New York defensive side of the ball. The Jets D also knows that Cousins has an NFL-high six fumbles and has lost five. He is also prone to batted balls, including a remarkable five passes knocked down last week in Arizona.

On defense, the Jets bend a bit but don’t do a lot of breaking. They rank 23rd in total yards allowed, but have kept four of their six opponents under 21 points on the season. If the Vikings don’t want to make this a game where they are chasing a lead from errors, Cousins has to look sharp.

With running back Dalvin Cook and left tackle Riley Reiff again out it will be again up to Latavius Murray and the still-forming Minnesota offense line to take some heat off Cousins and the Vikings air attack. The Jets are no clear mark above the Cardinals on defense, but the game is in enemy territory.

And New Jersey, at that.

One big advantage for the Minnesota offense will be the absence of All-Pro cornerback like Patrick Peterson shadowing Stefon Diggs in the Jets’ defensive secondary. No doubt Diggs wanted in on the fun that Adam Thielen was having last week, but Peterson was on top of him all game long.

Next: 4 bold predictions for Vikings vs Jets

Both Diggs and Thielen have become mature and reliable players as well as teammates. If both receivers play to form, the Minnesota Vikings have a crack at putting the Jets on their heels and playing pressure against the young Sam Darnold.

That’s the ‘Escape From New York’ plan Mike Zimmer wants to see.

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Travel & Escape

Why your hotel mattress feels like heaven (and how to bring that feeling home)

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(NC) Choosing the right mattress is a long-term investment in your health and well-being. To make a good choice for your home, take a cue from luxury hotel-room beds, which are designed to support the sound sleep of tens of thousands of guests, 365 nights a year.

“When we’re shopping for a mattress, we do lab testing, identify the best materials, bring in multiple mattress samples and have our associates test them,” explains David Rizzo, who works for Marriott International. “We ask for ratings on comfort level, firmness, body support and movement disruption. It takes 12 to 18 months just to research and select materials.”

Here, he shares his tips to pick the perfect mattress for your best sleep:

Understand your needs. People have different food and exercise preferences, as well as different sleep cycles. So, it’s no surprise that everyone has unique mattress preferences. Not sure whether a firm or a soft mattress is better? Rizzo says the best gauge is to ask yourself, “Do I wake up with aches and pains?” If the answer is no, you’re golden.

Foam versus spring. All mattresses have a core that is made up foam or innersprings or a combination of the two. Today’s foam-core mattresses contain memory foam — a material engineered by NASA to keep astronauts comfortable in their seats. It’s special because it retains or “remembers” its shape, yielding to pressure from the sleeper’s body, then bouncing back once the pressure is removed.

An innerspring mattress has an encased array of springs with individual coils that are connected by a single helical wire. This wire creates continuous movement across the coil that minimizes disruption if the mattress is disturbed, such as by a restless sleeper. According to Rizzo, the innerspring is “bouncier.”

Temperature preference. Consider how warm or cool you like to sleep, and factor in the construction of the mattress to find one with a temperature that suits you. The air space engineered into an innerspring mattress promotes ventilation, which some people find keeps them pleasantly cool. To accomplish the same purpose with a foam mattress (or the foam layer of an innerspring) it may be infused with metal, usually silver or copper, to help dissipate heat and humidity.

Need to test out the right mattress for your needs? Find the right fit during your next trip by booking your stay at marriott.com.

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Travel & Escape

How to make the most of summer travel

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(NC) One of the best parts of our short Canadian summers is the opportunity to enjoy them a little bit extra on long weekends. If you need ideas, check out these creative things to do whether you decide to stay in town or go away.

Do a dinner crawl. Pub crawls are fun for couples, friends and also families with older kids. For an exciting twist that stretches your dollars and lets you taste food from several spots before you get too full, try a dinner crawl. Eat apps at one restaurant, mains at another and dessert at another.

Go on a mini getaway. You don’t need to go very far to enjoy a vacation – exploring a Canadian city over a summer weekend is great way to treat yourself to a holiday. Whether it’s checking out the museums in Toronto or the parks in Vancouver, there’s something for everyone. For upgraded benefits, special experiences and the best rates guaranteed, join Marriott Bonvoy and book direct on Marriott.com.

Host a potluck. Perfect whether you’re staying at home or going to your cottage, gather friends and family together for some food and fun. A potluck is an easy and affordable way to host a big get-together and lets everyone try something new and swap recipes. Make the festivities extra special with a fireworks potluck, too – ask everyone to bring some fireworks or sparklers and put on a light show. Just be sure to follow local regulations for consumer fireworks.

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Travel & Escape

Lottoland: Here’s why Canadians love it!

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Lotteries have been in existence for many centuries now and it’s an open secret that most people enjoy playing a good lottery.

Asides from gauging your own luck, the thrill of playing, the anticipation of the results and the big wins every now and then is something most people look forward to. Since 1982, the lottery has been in Canada, but now there is a way to play both the Lotto and other international lotteries from Canada, all from the comfort of your home.

With Lottoland, all you need to do is register and get access to numerous international lotteries right from their website. The easy-to-use interface has all the information you need, and great amount of care has been taken to ensure that the online experience is similar—and even better—than if players were to visit each location personally.

The Powerball and Mega Millions lotteries are hitting record highs with their prize money, in what the organizers claim to be the largest jackpot in the history of the world. However, the U.S. has gambling laws that are state controlled and buying your ticket through an online broker can be considered gambling.

“No one except the lottery or their licensed retailers can sell a lottery ticket. No one. Not even us. No one. No, not even that website. Or that one,” Powerball’s website says.

Therefore, to stand a chance to win the $1.5 billion-dollar lottery jackpot it means you have to purchase your lottery tickets directly from a licensed retailer such as Lottoland.

Since 2013, Lottoland has been operating in Canada, rapidly growing in popularity amongst Canadians. Due to its easy of use and instant access to lotteries that were previously considered inaccessible—as Canadians had to travel all the way to the U.S. to purchase tickets in the past—Lottoland has attracted lots of visitors.

Currently, there about 8-million players on Lottoland, a figure that points to the reliability of the website.

One of the core values of Lottoland is transparency and that’s why a quick search on the website would show you a list of all of their winners. Recently, a Lottoland customer was awarded a world-record fee of $137 million CND.

Also, due to the incredibly slim chances of winning the grand prize not everyone would take home mega-dollar winnings, but there are substantial winnings every day.

Securing your information online is usually one important factor when registering on any platform and as the site explains, “Lottoland works very hard to verify your information.”

The site has a multi-verification process that will ensure that you confirm your identity and age before giving you a pay-out. However, in the rare case that a player has immediate luck and wins a lottery before completing the verification process, Lottoland will hold on to the winnings until they complete your verification.

While this might seem like a tedious process, it is very important as these safety features would ensure that your information wasn’t stolen and ultimately your winning routed to another account.

Lottoland is licensed with the National Supervisory Bodies For Lotteries in several countries such as the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Ireland and Australia—where it is called a wagering license. Typically, most gaming companies don’t establish insurance companies as it entails that their activities have to be transparent and the must be highly reputable in the industry.

Nonetheless, Lottoland has no issues meeting up to these standards as they have established themselves as the only gaming sector company who has its own insurance company—an added advantage for new and existing users.

Lotteries aren’t the only games Canadians enjoy playing and Lottoland recognizes this by providing players with other types of gaming. As an industry leader, video designers of online games often make them their first choice when it comes to publishing their works.

Online games such as slots, blackjack, video poker, baccarat, keno, scratchoffs, roulette and many others are always on offer at the Lottoland Casino. There’s also the option of playing with a live dealer and a total of over 100 games.

Lottoland has received numerous rave reviews from its growing list of satisfied customer and their responsive customer service agents are always available to answer any questions users may have, along with solving challenges they may have encountered.

More and more Canadians are trooping to Lottoland in droves due to the unique experience of going to a casino without having to leave the comfort of their homes.

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