We’re passing the halfway post and soon enough playoff ambitions will be realised or those dreams will be shattered. This week’s action begins with the Bengals, class of a mediocre AFC North, taking on the middle-of-the-road Dolphins on TNF – Cincinnati play Miami (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). On Sunday the Saints who are second across the NFC travel up to the New York Jets (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Next up the Philadelphia Eagles take their QB issues way out West to take on one of next year’s home teams at Wembley, the Oakland Raiders (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). Then the Indianapolis Colts will try to put distance between them and the rest of the AFC Southwhen they play the ailing Houston Texans (01:30 Mon – C4). Then on Monday Night, some say that this is the oldest rivalry in the NFL; the Chicago Bears are at the Green Bay Packers (01:40 Tues – Eurosport). NB: we’re back to regular times this week, folks.
It’s Wembley week part 2, featuring the San Francisco 49ers and the Jacksonville Jaguars (17:00 Sun – Sky Sports). After a tough start, the 49ers are on a 4-game winning streak, where as the Jags have conceded 222 points on their way being 0-7. This should be a ‘9ers win, but then you never know what can happen on any given Sunday. In the other games: on TNF the 3-3 Carolina Panthers at the 0-7 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports); in an NFC South divisional matchup. Also on Sunday night the 6-1 Denver Broncos play host to the 2-4 Washington Redskins (20:25 Sun – Sky Sports). Later on in the NFC North the 4-2 Green Bay Packers are at the 1-5 Minnesota Vikings (00:30 Mon – C4). On MNF there is an all-NFC Westaffair when the 6-1 Seattle Seahawks take on the 3-4 St. Louis Rams (00:40 Tues – Eurosport). Most importantly note the change to kickoff times, for UK viewers at least.
Last week's semi-final was a tense and emotional ride, as four fantastic amateur bakers were whittled down to three. We didn't really want to say goodbye to anyone, but for the final we have Frances, Ruby and Kimberley - three very different bakers with plenty to bring to the competition. As it is the grand final, expect the challenges to be harder than ever, and probably more unpronounceable than ever as well. Here's to a fantastic final, and a worthy winner!
In what may be a regular pattern, it's time again for another Apple event in quick succession after the annual iPhone refresh. The Yerba Buena venue makes it more likely we'll get a live streamed keynote but all will be revealed as we near the start time of 18:00 (GMT+1). Expected today are refreshed iPads and release dates for the pre-announced Mac Pro and OS X Mavericks. Join us to speculate, discuss and prepare to flex the plastic as we prepare for Tim Cook to take the stage.
The NFL has given us a schedule of brilliant ‘rivalries’ this week. First up, on TNF, we have a battle of the birds: The Seattle Seahawks make the short flight to the Arizona Cardinals in this all NFC West matchup (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). On Sunday evening the battle of the big cats sees the Cincinnati Bengals hosted by the Detroit Lions (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Next the freefalling Houston Texans tackle the Kansas City Chiefs (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). The Chiefs are undefeated and sit atop of the standings totem pole. The last game on SNF is not just a battle of the horses, but its Peyton Manning’s return to his old team – the Denver Broncos play the Indianapolis Colts (01:30 Mon – C4). Finally, on MNF, Giants face off against Vikings when New York hosts Minnesotta (01:40 Tues – Eurosport). The Purples and the Big Blue are a combined 1-10 to start their season – ouch! That’s not comfortable reading for either set of fans.
With the news that the baking spectacular will be moving to BBC One in the future, our intrepid amateur bakers are fighting for a place in the final. It was a really tense and close competition in the quarter-finals, and there's no reason to expect any less this week. The challenges this week are all French themed, so expect choux pastry, canapés and no doubt a whole heap of baking puns. This is what Tuesdays were made for!
Some great match-ups on the slate for week 6, beginning on Thursday Night with the so far winless New York Giants hosted by the Chicago Bears (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports); unfortunately this doesn’t look like it’s the week the Giant’s luck will change, by the end of this one they’ll most likely be 0-6. SNF kicks off with many people’s pick for 2013 NFC Champions, the Green Bay Packers, taking on last year’s Superbowl Champions, the Baltimore Ravens (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Next up the undefeated New Orleans Saints travel to the New England Patriots, who themselves will want to come back strongly after a tough, low scoring loss last weekend (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). The late slot plays host to the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys; both in NFC East, both with 3 losses, both in the hunt of a playoff place (01:30 Mon – C4). On Monday Night Football the formidable Indianapolis Colts play out on the West Coast at the San Diego Chargers (01:40 Tues – Eurosport).
I was slightly confused why this week's episode didn't have the usual naming convention - pastry, sweet dough, cake, etc. Turns out, we're at the quarter final stage already! And the BBC explain what our bakers will be facing in the Bake Off tent this time: "This week's challenges test them on how they cope working with unconventional flours and unusual desserts which push their creativity to the max."
Kicking off week 5 are the Cleveland Browns; one of this season’s big surprises, as they look like legitimate contenders in the AFC North, well, for the moment at least; they host the Buffalo Bills. This promises to be a close game (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). Sunday Night Football begins with the Baltimore Ravens, hoping they can jump start their anaemic-looking offence, taking on the big-spending Miami Dolphins (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Up second are the seemingly unstoppable Denver Broncos playing at the Dallas Cowboys (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). Later the Houston Texans travel to the San Francisco 49ers (01:30 Mon – C4), where the winners are most likely to be whichever team’s QB steps up to the challenge. The final game of the weekend sees the New York Jets at the Atlanta Falcons (01:40 Tues – Eurosport) – the Falcons are desperate to make up for a slow 1-3 start, whereas some might say that the Jets are punching above their weight at 2-2.
Somehow, there are only six bakers left in the competition, and this time they're facing the challenges that pastry brings. A glimpse at the TV guides suggest our intrepid kitchen adventurers will have to make suet pudding, choux buns and some puffy-puff-puff pastry. In fact, the BBC say: "As they reach the end of their pastry marathon, the bakers reach the showstopper and must make three different types of perfectly puffed pastries. One type must be filled, another must be iced and the third is up to them. From palmiers to cream horns, they have just four hours to impress the judges." Mmm, cream horns.
It’s Wembley-week, or at least the first of this season’s two, featuring the Pittsburgh Steelers taking on the Minnesotta Vikings (18:00 Sun – C4 / Sky Sports). Both teams are winless and will hope that the trip across the Atlantic will play its part in turning their fortunes around. Watch out for the Vikes’ RB Adrian Peterson making plays with his legs, and Big Ben (no not that one) making plays with his arm for the Steelers. Before all that, on Thursday night the San Francisco 49ers are hosted by the St Louis Rams (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). Also on the slate for Sunday we have the Dallas Cowboys taking on the San Diego Chargers (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports) and the New England Patriots playing the Atlanta Falcons (01:30 Mon – C4).The Monday Night Football matchup is between two 3-0 teams as the Miami Dolphins play the New Orleans Saints (01:40 Tues – Eurosport).
This week it's all about sweet, sticky buns and fruit loafs and delicious sweet breads. Already I am drooling just thinking about it. The BBC claim they have Paul Hollywood's most twisted technical challenge yet which worries me. The challenges this year have so far numbered more things that I haven't heard of than vice versa. Regardless of how far away from amateur status the show is going, it's still brilliant fun and a delicious watch. Do join in!
Week 3 is when the 2013-form guide starts to take shape. The TNF game sees the return to Philadelphia of long-time Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid, as he brings his Kansas City Chiefs to face off against Chip Kelly and that up-tempo offence of his (01:25 Fri – Sky Sports). Sunday night begins with the aerial prowess of the Detroit Lions taking on the Washington Redskins, who are so far stuttering on both sides of the ball (18:00 Sun – Sky Sports). Next up the Indianapolis Colts travel to the San Francisco 49ers, where both teams are looking to come back after painful losses last week (21:25 Sun – Sky Sports). In the late game the disappointing 0-2 Pittsburgh Steelers are hosted by the in-form 2-0 Chicago Bears (01:30 Mon – C4). MNF features a candidate for the 1st pick in next year’s draft, the Oakland Raiders, who are hosted by divisional heavyweights the Denver Broncos (01:40 Tues – Eurosport).
We're rocketing through the series, almost halfway through already! This fifth episode takes us into the world of biscuits, so make sure you stock up on snacks so you don't get hungry halfway through. I don't want to spoil any of the challenges coming up, but a quick read of the BBC suggests the Showstopper is a really tricky one! They seem to be getting harder and harder, but that's just whittling down our bakers until we get to the ultimate star baker for 2013. Yum!
Divisional rivalries are out in force for week two, with matchups from the AFC East, NFC North, NFC West and AFC North. The TNF game pits New York Jets’ rookie QB Geno Smith against New England Patriots’ sure-fire HoF QB Tom Brady (0125 Fri – Sky Sports). On SNF, the smash-mouth Minnesota Vikings take on the multi faceted Chicago Bears (1800 Sun – Sky Sports). Next up our only non-divisional game, but that doesn’t make it any less special; it’s the Manning-bowl. Peyton’s fast starting Denver Broncos are hosted by brother Eli’s New York Giants (2125 Sun – Sky Sports). The late game sees favourites to become Champions, when the San Francisco 49ers face the Seattle Seahawks (01:30 Mon – Channel 4). The Monday night game is a hard fought rivalry, as the aging and regressing Pittsburgh Steelers play the young and talented Cincinnati Bengals (12:10 Tues – Eurosport). Difficult to say which game is more of a must-watch than any of the others... so just watch them all!
Personally, I'm having a terrible evening in the kitchen, involving an exploding microwave and some burnt potatoes, but hopefully our bakers will be faring a little better. This week is all about pies and tarts, which builds on the droolworthiness of the trifles and desserts of last week! There were two shock exits last week, so all the bakers are starting to realise they could go at any time, and as they always say, they're not ready for the journey to end just yet!
The rumour mill has been burning the candle at both ends, Jonny Ive has been trimming his stubble to the exact length and the Craig Federighi nickname wheel has been spun. Yes, it's time for another Apple Keynote. Expected today are the details of a new iPhone, probably two. The successor to the iPhone 5 and a lower cost, colourful model that most are calling the 5C. Also, iOS 7 should be released to the public which has polarised opinion with it's fresh look. Join us in the run up to Tim Cook taking the stage at 6pm [BST] and share your expectations, wish lists, live blog links and more
Ice hockey? In Australia? Yes! Believe it or not the Goodall Cup is one of the oldest Ice Hockey trophies around, having first been awarded in 1909. The Australian Ice Hockey League Commission originally decided not to live-stream the finals but changed their mind after a larger than expected backlash from their fans, so we’re watching the live stream to say thanks for listening, AIHL! My favourite team (and what should be your favourite team) the Melbourne Mustangs came in fifth this season and just missed out on making it to the finals but it’s OK because we’re bound to see some great hockey anyway. Without knowing the results of the two semi-finals, I’m going to take a guess and say we’ll be watching the Sydney Ice Dogs vs. the Newcastle North Stars (but we could be watching the Melbourne Ice or the Perth Thunder too).
It’s back! The season kicks off on Thursday Night Football with the Denver Broncos hosting the reigning Superbowl Champion Baltimore Ravens (01:30 Fri - Sky Sports). On Sunday an NFC South divisional game sees the Atlanta Falcons, with their high-powered offence, face off against the New Orleans Saints, led by sure-fire Hall of Fame QB Drew Brees (18:00 - Sky Sports). Later, perennial contender Green Bay Packers host February’s runners-up San Francisco 49ers (21:25 - Sky Sports). The late game features an all-NFC East matchup as the New York Giants play ‘America’s team’, the Dallas Cowboys (01:30 - C4). Monday Night Football sees Chip Kelly’s up-tempo Philadelphia Eagles play the Washington Redskins, now with a healthy RG3 back under centre (12:10 Tues - channel TBC). Finally the ever-competitive Houston Texans travel to the San Diego Chargers, who hope their fortunes are revitalised under new management (03:20 Tues TBC).
We're into the third week of baking already, and down two bakers from our original thirteen. This week, it's all about indulging the sweet tooth with desserts being the focus of the Bake Off tent. I know there will be trifle, but what else? Here's the BBC's blurb: "Mary and Paul are upping the ante. Having survived cake and bread, this is the first week we see the bakers having to multi-task across several different baking skills at the same time."