Happy All Hallows (or All Saints if you prefer) Day. A great All Hallows Eve of trick or treating, trick or trunk, showing off costumes to their grandparents, and boatloads of candy for the Bent children. I was worried since they are ten and twelve as that was around the time I was “too cool” for trick or treating, but these days I guess the lure of free candy still overwhelms all else. Or maybe (more likely) my kids are more mature and smarter than I was at that age.
Anyhoo, a late night World Series, a busy week of work, and a late Halloween have conspired to wear me down this week. Afraid the content will be light, but let me start with the biggie:
The Red Sox have won the World Series. Wow. I was saying at the beginning of the season that I could see the team win close to ninety games and compete for division lead or wild card. Not too far off, but win the World Series? Wow. I pulled this out from early June I had written about the Sox:
“However, this season has been a huge leap forward for the two young starters compared to last season, when Lester suffered through his worst season as a professional and Buchholz had his worst season since his first full season. Buchholz was 11-8 last year with a 4.56 ERA and Lester suffered through a 9-14 record with a 4.82 ERA. These two are the key to the Red Sox rotation as they battle for first place one year after a last place finish in 2012. As their two young guns go, so goes the Red Sox fortune.”
Well, gotta say the young guns went pretty far for the Sox this year. Still processing it. Still shocked. Just wow.
Of course, David Ortiz was just incredible in a short series. He hit 11-for-16 (.688) with a 1.948 OPS, two home runs and six RBIs against the Cardinals, and remember he just missed a grand slam when Carlos Beltran robbed him by reaching over the right field bullpen wall. going a mind-boggling 11-for-16 and reaching base 19 times in 25 trips -- He had the highest on-base percentage (.760) of any player in over 110 years of World Series play (not counting those ten or less at bat guys). By comparison, the rest of the Red Sox hit .169 with a 484 OPS and two home runs against the Cardinals strong pitching staff.
John Lackey--the most ridiculed signing--the most reviled free agent--the least popular Red Sox player wins the deciding game. Not a dominant victory, but a big time, working out of trouble, making the right pitch performance. Sure, he sounds like Kermit the Frog when he talks, but who could have predicted a year or two ago that Lackey would step up all season long. Heck, I thought he blew his arm out earlier in the year when he walked off the mound to the disabled list. I sure never imagined him winning game six of the World Series.
And Koji Uehara? Take four at closer? A Mariano Rivera performance in the second half of the season. A bunch of big time, multi-inning saves? Talk about stepping up big time.
This team was just so easy to fall in love with. After the Marathon Bombing, it was so comforting to lose yourself in the Bruins and Red Sox. After the Bruins came up short, it was cathartic to see the Sox come through.
OK, I’m hitting the (long overdue) pillow. Have a great Friday and weekend Gabbers.
Happy Friday! I’m still riding a high with the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS and the New England Patriots winning on Sunday in dramatic fashion against the New Orleans Saints. Add in the Los Angeles Puigs Dodgers and the St. Louis “Who the @*^% are these guys” Cardinals in great matchup in the NLCS, and this has been an entertaining week.
But hold on, there’s more: hockey season is gearing up with goalie Tim Thomas and the Florida Panthers coming to Boston for the first time since crawling out of his bunker and returning to the NHL. Thomas had suffered a pulled groin last week (wow, more than a week ago), but should be back in net. While Thomas was hardly an icon in Boston, he delivered a Stanley Cup and was a controversial figure with his “political views” garnering the headlines at the end of his run before taking a year off.
In the NBA preseason, Celtics controversy is brewing outside of Boston: LeBron James and Dwyane “Riding Coat-tails to Championships” Wade spoke out about former Celtics Coach Doc Rivers and former players Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett for speaking out about former Celtic Ray Allen taking his talents to South Beach to get a ring rather than hang in Boston for another run. At this point, it’s a year later and the emotion is gone. To bring it up now seems stupid.
Allen made the best move to win a ring, and he made the right call. He left $5 million over two seasons to be just about the only athlete to ever take less money to try and win a championship. He was right that Boston was not a playoff caliber team, and he was probably motivated by being shopped at the trading deadline. He put his mouth where his money was and got his ring. Kudos to Ray.
It seems to be a media driven stunt to generate interest in a Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat Eastern Conference rivalry this year. Add in some drama for when they play the Clippers on national television hardly hurts. Pierce and Garnett really weren’t ever going to play in Boston this year: the rebuilding was two years overdue. To fault the rats for fleeing a sinking ship when they are being thrown overboard is silly.
This week had some drama with Brooklyn and Boston in a preseason game giving the Boston fans the chance to see Paul Pierce in a uniform other than the green and white of Boston since he was in college for Kansas. It was definitely jarring to see him with “Brooklyn” across the jersey, but as much as I feel that I would want him to stay in Boston for his entire career it was the right move to trade him. The team needed to move on, and it is sad, but it was the right move.
The Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers have been playing a...what’s the word...interesting(?) series. The Red Sox have been stifled by the Tigers starting rotation like no team in a long time, and their top scoring unit is deadlocked at two games apiece and will be heading back to Boston for at least a game six after the third straight game in Detroit Thursday night (you’ll [probably] know what happened when you’re reading this!) but the series is a back and forth affair that seems like it is fated to go all seven games.
The series is tied, but the Tigers have led in 32 of 36 innings so far. That is insane. The Tigers have to be demoralized thinking that they coulda/shoulda/woulda swept any other team with that starting rotation. The Red Sox have gutted out two improbable wins: seriously, 5-1 after seven innings? John Lackey beating Justin Verlander when Verlander HAD IT GOING ON! That is crazy. That said, if I had a time machine, I’d be in Las Vegas last March putting down money on Lackey beating Verlander in the playoffs. I’d probably have got 500-1 odds. I’d be rich! Marty McFly, I need to borrow your car!!!
Seahawks 27 vs Cardinals 14 (Thursday Night)
Since I have this written before kickoff, I am pretty confident that--like 99.9% of the NFL Nation--I have picked the Seahawks to win. I had Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer as a fantasy football sleeper pick and was rewarded by him JUST PLAIN SUCKING LIKE CARSON PALMER HAS DONE THE PAST FOUR YEARS. Sad to say, but I ended up starting Matt “Pick-six” Schaub over him in a few fantasy football leagues.
Bills 17 vs Dolphins 23
I don’t think the Miami Dolphins are more than a fringe wild card team. Free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace has been horrible and if he was a minimum contract player he’d have been cut. The team misses Detroit running back Reggie Bush more than they admit. Also, the offensive line is going to get promising young quarterback Ryan Tannehill killed--they should have resigned Jake Long, no? He’s only the tenth best tackle so far this season. Miami tackles Jonathan Martin (49th) and Tyson Clabo (65th) have been more than horrible (ratings from: ProFootballFocus.com...74 qualifying tackles). That said, Buffalo is on quarterback #4 on the depth chart. Pick Miami!
Bears 23 vs Redskins 27
The Bears defense ain’t what it used to be...but neither is RGIII. I’m just going with a hunch here.
Cowboys 48 vs Eagles 34
I love the Eagles offense--I just hate their defense. The Cowboys offense may be slowed a big by injury, but the defense should make enough stops to win. This is a high-scoring fantasy football lover game. Points, points, points.
Patriots 17 vs Jets 13
Another slogger...I previewed this game at Cover32.com here: http://cover32.com/patriots/2013/10/16/new-england-patriots-go-from-ryan-rob-to-ryan-rex/ The Patriots struggle against Rex Ryan (barring butt-fumbles or inexplicable meltdowns, which don’t happen often. Rex is a loudmouth turd, but you’d love to have that loudmouth turd as your team’s defensive coordinator. Much love to Cover32.com this week from me, as they set-up a radio spot for me to talk some Patriots and Dolphins as their site’s “Patriots Insider” at Miami’s home of the Dolphins, 940 WINZ Friday at 7:03am (you can tune in here if its before 7am: http://www.940winz.com/main.html or listen through the IHeartRadio app. Also, they usually post the media files as well if anyone wants to hear me pee my pants I mean subject myself to FCC violations, I mean talk football over the radio.
Rams 13 vs Panthers 31
I really am glad to see Cam Newton bounce back this year. He wasn’t HORRIBLE last year, but he was a little off his historic rookie season. He is good for the NFL as a marketable young quarterback (how would you like to be McDonalds building a marketing campaign around Joe $20 million per year down the drain” Flacco?).
Bengals 13 vs Lions 24
I don’t see Cincinnati playing Detroit like they played New England but more like they were last week against Buffalo. Cincinnati gets up for big games, but struggles when they don’t seem to have “BIG GAME” plastered all over the place. Quarterback Andy Dalton is disappointing, and the Bengals need to evaluate if he is the QB to lead this team to a playoff win, let alone a Super Bowl.
Chargers 27 vs Jaguars 17
It was nice to see Jacksonville show up and put up a fight against Denver last week. The Chargers are much improved this year, but then they underachieved last year and had tons more talent than their record indicated. Jaguars wide receiver Justin Blackmon has showed he is a big time performer when he’s on the field...the Jags need to keep him there on the field.
Buccaneers 17 vs Falcons 17
The battle of the underachievers. Why not a tie? They both have been finding ways to lose this year and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. This way they both lose!
Ravens 24 vs Steelers 23
This was THE regular season matchup not too long ago but both franchises have taken a step back this year. That said, they’ll be plenty of drama in the afternoon national matchup. I just think the Steelers don’t have quite enough this week.
49ers 31 vs Titans 24
If Jake Locker can play, it would be a huge lift for Tennessee. That said, the 49ers are getting back to their winning ways and finally playing with some consistency. Expect the 49ers to pull away in the second half and Colin Kaepernick to make some noise through the air.
Browns 21 vs Packers 24
I think the Browns fight the good fight, but even short-handed at wide receiver Green Bay has too much talent to lost this game. And by talent I mean Aaron Rodgers. If the Browns had a better quarterback in the matchup, I’d give them the chance for an upset, but not this Sunday with Brandon Weeden.
Texans 17 vs Chiefs 31
Houston’s offensive line cannot block anyone. Kansas City’s defense cannot be blocked by anyone. Over/under on sacks by KC must be 9.5 if I had to guesstimate. ‘Nuff Said.
Broncos 37 vs Colts 41
Manning vs Luck. Two playoff teams from 2012. Sunday Night Football. It all comes down to this: Last team with the ball wins.
Vikings 9 vs Giants 6
Monday Night Football is looking for that “switch-out clause” in their contract with the NFL to switch this turd-fest out. I can’t remember the last time I avoided a Monday Night Football game intentionally (if ever!). I need motivation to watch. Oh yeah:
0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs! 0-7 - Lose it Eli: Lots of INTs!
OK, Gabbers. That’s all I have...gotta work the remote between Thursday Night Football and the Red Sox-Tigers game! Have a great weekend!
Happy Friday! Playoff baseball is in full swing: The Boston Red Sox are in ALCS (mad cheering from the New England contingent of YouGabSports)....Oakland and Detroit battle it out for the final spot in the American League Championship Series...St. Louis and Los Angeles get ready to duke it out in the National League Championship Series.
The NFL is on, the NHL is back, and the NBA has started their preseason games as every fan hope and wishes that LeBron James and the annoying Miami Heat take a nosedive this season. It’s great to have hockey back, and it’s especially nice when there is no lockout of bologna delaying the start of the season. Those readers who hate soccer have no worries about reading anything about Everton as I’ve completely blocked out last weekend’s beatdown by ManCity. Fortunately, they have a week off to get their defense straightened out and get ready for Hull City (a much easier matchup).
College Football Saturday Preview:
Here’s what I see as my big three games:
First off, Penn State vs Michigan. That game is not going to be the draw it was in years past, but these are two famous (or lately Penn State seems infamous) programs. Michigan needs to run the ball to win, and I’m interested to see tight end Devin Funchess as he seems to be a potential NFL player. Penn State runs out freshman quarterback Christian Hackenberg, so if he is able to get in rhythm, it could be a tough day for the spotty Michigan secondary.
Second big game, Oregon vs Washington. The Ducks are five and zero and this Huskies team could be their first real competition of the season. The Huskies played a heck of a game against Stanford, and need the win this week. They’re at home, and need all the help they can with Oregon having defeated them nine straight games. The Huskies have an up-tempo offense, but Oregon runs plays at warp speed. Washington will want to control tempo with back Bishop Sankey, who has been playing well. A big game for Sankey could put him in Heisman discussions. For the Ducks, quarterback Marcus Mariota has 14 touchdowns and zero picks in five games. If running back De’Anthony Thomas if finally fully healthy from his ankle problem, a couple big plays could quiet the crowd in a hurry.
Third, Texas vs Oklahoma. Usually, this game is guaranteed to be two top-ten squads facing off at the Cotton Bowl. This year, the Longhorns are about two touchdown dogs in the Red River Rivalry. Oklahoma has won three years in a row (Texas fans don’t want to acknowledge last year). To have a prayer for the upset, the Longhorns need to do things: get pressure on Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell. No pressure equals no chance. On offense, the ‘Horns would have to have a huge game from running back Johnathan Gray. If he gets going (and Oklahoma is missing top linebacker Corey Nelson, so the opportunity is there. I’d love to see a close game, and am rooting for the Longhorns, but think that Bell is going to be abusing the Texas secondary all morning.
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For the record (I know this was touched upon earlier in the week), I love that the NFL is going to decide which team has cameras shoved down their throat over the summer for the HBO Hard Knocks series. I love Hard Knocks, and am giddy in anticipation of the league eventually forcing the HBO crew on Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots (technically it can’t happen if the team has made the playoffs in consecutive season, as New England had done, but let me run with this thought anyway). The “A Football Life” episode by NFL Films on Belichick was a tour de force, with him in the meetings behind the scenes, on the sidelines, his reaction returning to Meadowlands one last time...it was fantastic. Also, former columnist and current talking head (what a decline in credibility) Michael Holley was given unprecedented access for the 2002 season in Patriot Reign, another insanely fascinating look into the world of Bill Belichick.
In those cases, Belichick (for whatever reason) was onboard with the project. I know that with “A Football Life” he had come out and stated how he has respect for the NFL Films and especially the Sabol family. With Michael Holley, who knows. Maybe he wanted to chronicle the season as an experiment. But the idea of the league forcing it upon him without his consent is just a magical idea. I read a piece by a local blogger that such a season of Hard Knocks would be boring beyond belief, but I could not disagree more. Imagine the dirty looks at the camera, the condescending statements, the disdain! Oh, it would be the best and most entertaining television since “Curb Your Enthusiasm” ended (Larry David starring as Bill Belichick...what a great tv show that would be...quick, some major network hire me to pitch tv pilot ideas). Entertaining television is all about conflict...and that would be the best conflict ever!
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Thursday Night Special:
Prediction: NY Giants 18 vs Chicago Bears 38:
Oh, you know how I’d pick here. Zero and six? More Eli interceptions. Still bitter about those two Super Bowls? You know it! I’m posting this before kickoff, so I leave myself open for ridicule in the comments (lucky me, no one on Monday hauls out my picks for a good laugh!)
Prediction: Green Bay 48 vs Baltimore 24:
Neither of these teams seem up to last year’s strong play. Aaron Rodgers should be able to torch the weakened Baltimore defense (He’s not Tannehill, who got pummelled last week). The Ravens are giving up big passing plays...Jordy Nelson fantasy football owners are salivating. Joe Flacco may not throw five interceptions this week, but he is not winning these games like he would have last year.
Prediction: Detroit 10 vs Cleveland 13
No Calvin Johnson? That means stop Reggie Bush and unleash Barkevious Mingo at Matthew Stafford. Cleveland is not running the ball, so they have to try to stop the Detroit pass rush. Not sure there turns out to be much scoring, but Cleveland is a team of destiny. Of course, if Megatron plays, change the 10 to 24 and Detroit wins...
Prediction: St Louis 10 vs Houston 24
Expect Houston to run the ball early and often. I have no faith in Sam Bradford, especially with J.J. Watt in his grill. All anyone wants to see really is if Matt Schaub throws another pick-six. I say yes.
Prediction: Oakland 20 vs Kansas City 24
Why not. Kansas City could be 6-0? Hey, I want KC vs Denver to be two undefeated teams when they matchup. Oakland has played pretty well on defense, but their offense is inconsistent still. Close, but no cigar, for the Raiders.
Prediction: Carolina 24 vs Minnesota 21
Two marquee stars: Cam Newton and Adrian Peterson. Neither has been breaking out with a big game. Why should this week be any different?
Prediction: Pittsburgh 21 vs New York Jets 20
God, the Jets can’t be 4-2! Was Atlanta really as bad as they looked on Monday night versus the Jets. The Jets couldn’t have been that good, right? That said, the Steelers can’t be this bad, are they? OK, maybe they are...but they can beat the Jets, right?
Prediction: Philadelphia 31 vs Tampa Bay 20
Nick Foles should be an upgrade for Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay is out-of-sync and hardly looking capable of pulling out a win. Will Tampa get all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis on his island again instead of dropping into zones? That’s like asking Babe Ruth to bunt, or have Jerry Rice stay in and block on every play. Let him play his game and make life easier for the defense, rather than force him into a role that limits his effectiveness. That’s the crap that gets a coach fired.
Prediction: Jacksonville 21 vs Denver 20
Nah, I’m joking. Jacksonville 13 vs Denver 42 looks right.
Prediction: Tennessee 9 vs Seattle 27
Chris Johnson could have run against this defense...five years ago. If Tennessee had anyone but Ryan Fitzpatrick at quarterback, they’d have at least a shot at a win. Fitz sucks. Seattle is angry after losing last week. Sorry, Titans. Not a good spot to be in.
Prediction: New Orleans 27 vs New England 34
I’m not ready to go all in on the New Orleans defense. It’s improved, but not that great. I think safety Devin McCourty is key in keeping Drew Brees from completing those deep passes over the top. I’d feel better with any safety other than Steve “Wow, look at that receiver run past me” Gregory out there as well, but I expect Bill Belichick to pull out a trick or two on defense.
Prediction: Arizona 16 vs San Francisco 34
San Francisco needed a game to get back on track...hey it’s Arizona! Carson Palmer versus Colin Kaepernick? That matchup is like a battle of Neanderthals versus the US Marines.
Prediction: Washington 24 vs Dallas 27
RGIII has the bye week to get his knee just a bit better. Washington should have copied New England with Rob Gronkowski and kept RGIII under wraps until he REALLY ready to play. Dallas has to be so down after last week. That said, they should be able to get up for this one. Sunday night, and--hey NBC--bring back Faith Hill already. My Buddy G and my 12 year old son are all upset about this. There’s some free marketing feedback for you, NBC.
Prediction: Indianapolis 27 vs San Diego 24
San Diego is much better than anticipated, but can Philip Rivers outduel Andrew Luck? Will I be awake on Monday night when this game comes to a dramatic conclusion in the fourth quarter? (Hint: Probably not.) Either way, expect Indy to have just enough.
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OK, Gabbers, that’s all I have for this week. Have a great fall weekend! Thanks as always for reading!
Happy Friday, Gabbers! Well, a nasty cold/flu has beaten me down the end of this week, but nothing that would stop me from Gabbing away. This week had the baseball playoffs kick-off with excitement around the wild card that was actually...wild! Now the NLDS and ALDS are ready to kick-off and what a wonderful New York Yankees-free playoffs it will be.
The NHL kicked off the regular season this week as well (seems hard to think about ice at this time) and the NBA is not far behind. Week six of the NCAA College Football schedule looks like a good kickoff to the weekend with a few more quality matchups, and of course the NFL prepares to start the second quarter of the schedule.
October baseball kicks off following a wild wild-card week with a play-in game and then two “winner-take-all” games. This post-season is great as perennial losers the Pittsburgh Pirates won the wild-card eliminator and now face the St. Louis in a best of five series. I’d love to see the Pirates advance, but with Adam Wainwright and Shelby Miller at the front of their rotation, they will be tough to beat. Great story this year in Pittsburgh, but this looks to be one of those “happy to be here” teams. Maybe they can win one at home versus St. Louis in game three?
The other NLDS series has the Los Angeles “No Peeing in the Pool” Dodgers against the “Them Again?!?!?” Atlanta Braves. Both teams skated in September without any real competition, but both teams have strong lineups, strong starters, and strong bullpens. One team is gonna be cheesed by losing in the first round, when both are legitimate World Series contenders. The Braves bullpen is dynamic, but the Dodgers are pretty damn good. The Dodgers top starters are the elite of the elite in baseball, but the Braves are not exactly chopped liver (if not household names). I give the Braves a slight advantage, if only because the Dodgers have no Matt Kemp, a dinged up Andre Ethier and Hanley Ramirez, and locker-room cancers Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford along with injured beer swilling and fried chicken eating Josh Beckett...whoa, a little Red Sox anger coming out there...reel it in, reel it in...2012 is a bad memory...reel it in...ok, I hate the Dodgers. Go (formerly Boston) Braves.
The 2013 Boston Red Sox run into the same problem as wild-card winning Tampa Bay Rays match-up in the short series by throwing Cy Young Award winning David Price, All-Star Matt Moore, and the best pitcher in second half of the season, Alex Cobb. I would say the Sox lineup is an advantage, but with Wil Myers in the middle of the lineup with Evan Longoria and Delmon Young seemingly always saving his hitting prowess for the postseason, this is a tough matchup for Boston. The Rays got here by eliminating Baltimore, the Yankees, the Rangers, and the Indians over the past week or so. Wow. Here’s one Boston fan hoping the Rays take their foot off the pedal and the Sox move on.
The other ALDS matchup of the Detroit Tigers matching up against the Oakland Athletics is a very intriguing series. A rematch of last year’s ALDS that went the full five, the A’s have a trump card this year: everyone’s favorite Science Fair winner, Bartolo “Performance Enhancing What?” Colon. In addition, Detroit has injury concerns with Miggy Cabrera dinged up and ineffective in September. Can Victor Martinez, Jhonny “Performance Enhancing”Peralta, Torii Hunter, and Prince Fielder step up for Cabrera? Oakland has a lot of no-names who keep winning, but the Tigers have starting pitchers Max Scherzer, Justin Verlander, and Anibal Sanchez...that’s a big advantage.
This week has an ACC matchup with two top 25 teams (depending on what ranking you use, I guess) with Florida State welcoming Maryland. Florida State is coming off a win at Boston College that was a lot harder than most (especially me) expected. Maryland is no slouch, and they have two stars in quarterback C.J. Brown and receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs opened eyes with a great year as a true freshman, so the sophomore won’t be drafted in the NFL until 2015 at the earliest (no one cares what he says in 2013 about staying four years when first round money isn’t being thrown in his face with a frenzied fervor by potential agents next year), but I want to see him as much as possible as he looks like a future star slot receiver in the NFL with his quickness and speed.
Ohio State and quarterback Braxton Miller face off against the purple powerhouse Northwestern Saturday night. This is a great Big Ten battle of undefeated squads. With Miller stepping up last week against Wisconsin, OSU will be trying to carry that momentum on the road this weekend. Northwestern plays two quarterbacks, dual threat Kain Colter and pocket passer Trevor Siemian. The biggest difference-maker could be Northwestern running back Venric Mark who has been injured since preseason. Mark rushed for over 1300 yards last year, and if he is healthy and effective, this could be an upset special for Northwestern.
Finally, the third matchup of top twenty-five ranked teams takes place late (I may be asleep by then, no guarantees, but if awake, I’ll have ESPN on) as two West Coast Pac-12 powerhouses matchup with Stanford and Washington in Cali. Last year Washington beat Stanford with an impressive defensive display. In 2011, Stanford rushed for almost 450 yards in wiping out Washington and putting up over 60 points. So two undefeated inter-conference power-houses face-off and most of America will be sleeping. Kathy, put the coffee on! It’s football watching night!
Numero uno Alabama is facing off against Georgia….State. These types of games are boring to watch and while I understand the top programs wanting to have these “cupcakes” on the schedule to rest, recover, regroup, and get a look at the second and third teamers, as a sports fan I have no desire to watch a game that’s 35-0 after the first ten minutes.
Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers: The Lions are in first place. Seriously. The Packers are in a tough start to the season, but coach Mike McCarthy is also 13-1 against the Lions (no wonder Detroit hates this guy--he’s like Don Shula and the Dolphins against all those horrible New England Patriots teams of my youth!). The Lions look like a legit powerhouse with running backs Joique Bell and Reggie Bush to complement Megatron. Can Matt Stafford outduel Aaron Rodgers? In Green Bay? Why the heck not?
Prediction: Lions 44, Packers 27
New Orleans Saints at Chicago Bears: The Saints are sizzling on offense and are vastly improved with the fatter Ryan brother in charge. The Bears' defense is living off a reputation from three years ago, they are simply not very good. If Jay Cutler has to get into a shootout with Drew Brees, well, it won’t be pretty. If I were coaching the Bears I’d put the ball in Matt Forte’s hands early and often.
Prediction: Saints 54, Bears 17
Buffalo Bills at Cleveland Browns: This is the Thursday night game, so I can’t make a pick, but I expect this game to be more interesting than it looked just a few weeks ago. The Browns lead the NFC North by tie-breaker right now and their defense looks like a playoff-caliber defense (they’re calling to Beezer...come back to the Browns...come back to the Browns...we won’t break your heart!) I love that they are winning with their new starting quarterback, Brian Hoyer, who apparently learned something practicing with Tom Brady for three years. The Bills have a find in quarterback EJ Manuel and are 2-2, too. Great game, I hope. I’m rooting for Hoyer.
Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys: Take the over. Then take over the over. I think this game is whoever settles for a field goal loses. The joke I pulled out is it is Enver versus Allas, because this game has no “D” (wow, that was bad!). I’d like to see Denver lose, but think they should win. I’ll go with heart over head here.
Prediction: Cowboys 42, Broncos 38
Atlanta Falcons vs New York Jets:
The talk out of New York is that Rex Ryan is already considering benching Geno Smith? Everyone but Rex realizes this is a rebuilding year. Matt Simms? Really? The Falcons are 1-3. Matt Ryan, he has gotta be pissed after losing to New England, and looky-looky what creampuff is on his schedule.
Prediction: Falcons 27, Jets 17
New England Patriots at Cincinnati Bengals: So for the second consecutive week, the perfect Patriots are road underdogs. If I made t-shirts and bumper stickers, they would read “Believe in Talib!” Patriots cornerback Aqib Talib pitched a shutout last week against Atlanta: seven passes thrown at him, no completions. Those are REVIS numbers. If he shut-down Julio Jones, can he do it to A.J. Green? I say why not. Also, I have to state that I hate the Bengals more than any other team. Their lousy bloggers pissed me off to no end this offseason (I’m so glad we drafted chumpzilla Jermaine Gresham over Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez--we’re so much smarter!). Grrrrrr. I hate them. I want to drive out to Cincy and do the Icky Shuffle at midfield after the game when the Pats smack them around. I may be the only one, but I HATE THE BENGALS!!!!!!
Prediction: Patriots 34, Bengals 13
Baltimore Ravens at Miami Dolphins: This would be a great tie. I expect Baltimore quarterback will be going for six (interceptions that is)
Prediction: Dolphins 24, Ravens 17
Jacksonville Jaguars at St. Louis Rams: I see this as a winnable game for Jacksonville, even on the road. That said, trading left tackle Eugene Monroe was a head-scratcher...to give away a franchise left tackle for a bunch of late round picks is waving the white flag. There goes Maurice Jones-Drew’s fantasy value with his best blocker gone. How long until Jones-Drew is on the block for draft picks? Rebuilding is one thing--emptying the cupboard completely is another. The Rams are terrible, but not quite that bad.
Prediction: Rams 28, Jaguars 7
Kansas City Chiefs at Tennessee Titans: This game did not look too marquee before teh season, but Chiefs-Titans looks like a good matchup. Being stuck with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick after Jake Locker got hurt after FINALLY playing so well kills Tennessee.
Prediction: Chiefs 23, Titans 13
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants: Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks! Go for 0-5, Eli stinks!
Prediction: Eagles 34, Giants 27
Seattle Seahawks at Indianapolis Colts: Seattle has been a little off so far this year, but they keep pumping out the wins. The Seahawks pass rush should stop the NFL’s best young quarterback, Andrew Luck.
Prediction: Seahawks 20, Colts 17
Carolina Panthers at Arizona Cardinals: Ugh. My preseason super-smart fantasy football pick of quarterback Carson Palmer looks terrible now that he returned to earth in a hurry. Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is slowly getting back on track.
Prediction: Panthers 27, Cardinals 20
Houston Texans at San Francisco 49ers: Wasn’t this the Super Bowl prediction everyone made last year? Houston vs Seattle Super Bowl this year? Houston cannot win with Matt Schaub at quarterback in a big game. EVER. This counts as a big game.
Prediction: 49ers 31, Texans 24
San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders: It's either Sunday Night Football the Late Show Edition or Early Monday Morning Football. The game kicks off at 11:35 PM eastern time. Wow. Well, I’ve been stashing him on my bench in a few fantasy football leagues, but I need Philip Rivers to have a huge game against a questionable defense
Chargers 78, Raiders 17 (hey, I need the fantasy points!)
Minnesota Vikings, Pittsburgh Steelers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins: These guys can’t lose! (They all have the bye this week)
Finally, in the English Premier League, Everton hung on at Goodison Park against Newcastle U after jumping out to a 3-0 lead at the half. Barring a complete breakdown, at that point the game is over. In the second half, just like the New England Patriots did against the Atlanta Falcons, the boys in blue were forced to hang on with white knuckles and fight off Newcastle for the three points with a 3-2 win. After three straight draws to open the season, this was the third straight league match win. With 12 points after six games, it’s great to see Everton leap into the top of the division and sitting in fourth place a point behind cross-town rival Liverpool and the Spurs, and only three points back of Arsenal. For a transition year, this is a great start. This weekend brings Everton on the road to play Manchester City (aka the best squad money can buy) who are 3-0 at home so far this short season. It’s a tough matchup, but I’ll be cheering the boys in (dark) blue.
OK, all...have a great weekend and enjoy all the playoff baseball, college football, NFL football, NHL action, and of course footy from across the pond.
Happy Friday, Gabbers! Another big weekend of sports on tap. Football (pro and college), baseball, and preseason hockey are on tap. The NBA is getting ready to gear up for training camp and the preseason. Hockey is well underway in the training and preseason games already. Football is peaking on Saturday and Sunday with great matchups (more on that later), and the playoffs are almost upon us in the world of baseball as the season grinds towards game 162.
The NBA is kicking off with a world of uncertainty in Boston, as all their best players are in New Jersey. My eleven year old son is all about the Nets this year as the stars he grew up with in Boston, Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett, are now on Jersey Shore. I’m not sure if I’m happy he stays loyal to his favorite players or if he is selling out on his local team when they’re down. Hell, I’m just happy as can be that he is interested in ANY sport. This Sunday he and his sister are off to hike with their Aunt while I stay home and watch the NFL. While glad they are spending time with a positive role model and getting fresh air, I almost fell out of my chair laughing when she asked me if they would be upset missing football. They only care that silly Uncle Tim is over and there is tasty food. They barely notice the game each weekend.
Major league baseball is heading towards the playoffs with one last week of jostling for position with only the AL Wild Card the only elimination race with three teams struggling to grab the last two spots. Add in Mariano Rivera’s long good-bye in New York, and the Yankees’ last superstar, Robbie Cano, asking for an insane $300 million contract. Ten years for a 31 year old middle infielder? The Yankees had better know better and not give in while bidding against themselves. Those contracts are just bad for baseball.
College football is gearing up as draftniks are hard at work trying to collect names that will be worth arguing about in April. All eyes this weekend are on the big SEC match-up with undefeated No. 6 LSU, who hasn't played a “real” road game this season, and is taking their untested defense to face one of the nation's top offenses in No. 9 Georgia. Jeremy Hill has been a beast for LSU running the ball, but his backup, Alfred Blue, may be the best back on the roster. Heck, Terrence Magee is good enough to start. Of course, Georgia has Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, a decent one-two punch of their own.
Staying on the theme of the ground game (since it’s non-existent in the NFL), top CFB running back Melvin Gordon (156 yards per game and seven touchdowns so far this season) and Wisconsin take on Ohio State who have a pair of ground grinders in Jordan Hall and Ezekiel Elliott. Heck, they still have running quarterback Braxton Miller and tailback Carlos Hyde.
Number one Alabama faces top twenty-five team Mississippi, who has already knocked off Texas and Vanderbilt. Alabama has not been anything special on offense for the most part, so Ole Miss must be confident.
Notre Dame is still top twenty-five and they have a tough test against Oklahoma, who is looking for revenge from the beating they took from the Irish last year.
Boston College has another tough test this weekend as well, as the Seminoles invade Chestnut Hill this weekend (and boy do the fans for Florida State travel well. Downtown Boston has a southern accent this weekend). Quarterback Jameis Winston is simply Tebow-esque and has fans saying “E.J. Manuel who?”. As much as I’d love to see the Eagles “hangin’ tough” (just to throw out a little Boston embarrassment by referencing the cringe-worthy New Kids on the Block), expect the ‘noles to roll again.
NFL WEEK FOUR PICKS:
(Hoping OldHarry doesn't get mad at me for copy-catting him here!)
Ravens at Bills
Baltimore is back. Buffalo is ready for their mid-season swoon.
pick: Ravens 27, Bills 13.
Bengals at Browns
MDS’s take: Give Cleveland credit for turning in a spirited game last week, when everyone thought the Browns were ready to give up on the season. The Bengals pulled off a real doozy last week against Green Bay, blowing a 14-point lead and then coming back from a 16-point deficit. I’d love to see the Browns soften up Cincy before their game next week against the Patriots.
pick: Bengals 24, Browns 19.
Bears at Lions
Detroit is 2-1, with two wins against 0-3 Minnesota and 0-3 Washington. The Bears are their usual enigma early on.
pick: Bears 24, Lions 12
Seahawks at Texans
The Seahawks were 3-5 on the road last year, but that was last year. Houston is best with backup Ben Tate playing and still have Matt Schaub at quarterback. Schaub sucks.
pick: Seahawks 27, Texans 9
Colts at Jaguars
In the NFL, any team can beat anyone, anytime. This game already has trap written all over it. Sorry, that’s all I have for hope in Jacksonville.
pick: Colts 37, Jaguars 13.
Giants at Chiefs
Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. (That feels way too good!)
pick: Chiefs 30, Giants 20
Steelers at Vikings
London is calling...take back both these losers. Maybe no one wins?
pick: Vikings 13, Steelers 13.
Cardinals at Buccaneers
The Bucs finally are starting the Mike Glennon era — a week too late. I give Arizona a tiny edge (because I have Carson Palmer in two fantasy football leagues).
pick: Cardinals 20, Buccaneers 17.
Jets at Titans
Two good defenses, but the Jets are ready to kick off a six or seven game losing streak.
pick: Titans 6, Jets 3.
Eagles at Broncos
Pack your track shoes...no defense allowed.
pick: Broncos 52, Eagles 47.
Redskins at Raiders
No Terrelle Pryor, no chance for Oakland (who thought that would be for anything but a laugh three weeks ago?). RGIII needs to just win, baby.
pick: Redskins 30, Raiders 14
Cowboys at Chargers
Cowboys defense is pretty good. The Chargers always find a way to lose.
pick: Cowboys 21 Chargers 15,
Patriots at Falcons
The Falcons are beat up. The Patriots are beat up. The Falcons are at home.
pick: Falcons 20, Patriots 17
Dolphins at Saints
I hate the Dolphins (again), and it feels so good.
pick: Saints 31, Dolphins 24.
The Titans signed defensive end Kamerion Wimbley to a five-year deal worth up to $35 million before last season but Wimbley played six snaps against the Chargers.
Time for teams to start getting offers ready for Wimbley when he’s cut this offseason.
Steelers running back Isaac Redman claims he suffered a concussion against the Bengals in Week two. The Steelers disagree. In other words, the Steelers say Redman is telling something other than the truth.
Anyone need a crappy backup running back? One’s hitting the waiver wire real soon.
The injury watch in New England has been centered on tight end Rob Gronkowski and wide receiver Danny Amendola, but another member of the starting offense may be at risk of missing Week Four’s game with the Falcons as well. The Patriots announced that right tackle Sebastian Vollmer missed practice for the second straight day. Vollmer sprained his foot against the Buccaneers last weekend and was forced to the bench for the second half.
Vollmer has been playing at all-world level all season long. This is a HUGE loss for the Patriots if Seabass is out.
The Jacksonville Jaguars announced on their official Twitter feed a ticket promotion which includes two free beers when you buy a seat to this week’s game against the Colts.
Free beer? Damn. I’m moving to Jacksonville!
Worried about the ridiculousness of their penalty situation — after committing 20 in a win over the Bills — Jets coach Rex Ryan challenged every member of the organization to do 10 push-ups for every penalty in practice. Since there were three flags in practice, everyone dropped and gave him 30, including owner Woody Johnson, team president Neil Glat and General Manager John Idzik.
Gimmicks don’t win games, but they sell copies of the New York Daily News.
Giants coach Tom Coughlin isn’t willing to call this week’s game a must-win for the Giants.
“I think it’s a long season,” Coughlin said, via Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News. “We’ve played three games. We have a lot of games to go. Certainly, we want to win, and that’s our entire objective. Are we standing on the edge of the cliff? I don’t look at it that way. I see a lot of football to play.”
At 0-3, it is a must win. So glad New York will follow the coach’s blase attitude and choke out another loss. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. Oh-and-four. Eli sucks. (That feels way too good!)
After streaking at a preseason game against the Lions, Anthony Saveriano is now banned from attending future Browns games.
I’m including this only so Beezer can say: “Punishment would be being forced to watch the Browns games!”
Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones spoke publicly for the first time since he was reportedly clocked in the head with a champagne bottle wielded by a stripper named Sweet Pea while celebrating Bryant McKinnie’s birthday: “I’m going to take the responsibility that I was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Jones said on his radio show on 105.7 The Fan (via the Baltimore Sun). “There was no altercation. There’s nothing wrong.
This is such a great story. I’m just going to sit, re-read it ten times, and laugh myself silly.
OK, Gabbers, have a great weekend! Keep up the great blogging and comments!