NHL Draft Experience

About a month ago, a friend and I attended the NHL Draft in Newark, New Jersey at the Prudential Center (home of the New Jersey Devils). I have now been to the NFL and NHL Drafts, and I can say that one must go to a draft to experience it, at least once. Let’s first touch on the Prudential Center, a super nice venue, placed in one of the worst cities in America. Good idea gone bad by the Devils ownership!

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Next, let’s touch on the draft and how it is handled by the NHL. The Draft is seven rounds and used to be held over two days, but this year was changed to a one day format starting at 3 PM with an estimated finish time of 10:30 PM … yeah right!!!! This is the mistake the NFL made originally by having the first and second rounds on the same day. Why fix what wasn’t broken? That’s a mere hour per round and, yes it began to pick up in the third round, but it was already 8 PM by the time the third round was basically over and you can bet your ass we weren’t staying. The NHL have the “war” tables set up right in front of the stage. These tables are massive with about 30 people sitting around them including the general managers from each club. Throughout the first round, as each pick is made, about ten of these individuals walk up on stage with their teams jersey and announce the name of the selected player, handing out hugs and handshakes galore. Then come the photo-ops and each player walks to his new team’s table to give gratitude to each individual and heads off for television interviews. All in all its a nice process for the young men who lives have just changed immensely. However, the two day idea should be reinstated next year.

A couple of other aspects I like is the Fan Fest they had outside this year. It makes it more interesting for the fans and more entertaining with the games, shops and the Food Trucks (the prices should definitely be lowered), but all in all it’s good for the kids. Another cool thing I saw happening often was the amount of interaction between the players and the fans. For example, Seth Jones (projected No. 1 pick) was surrounded by fans and was happy to take pictures and sign programs. Something I have mixed feelings on is the movement of the draft each year, I think it’s a great idea, but some of success of the NBA and NFL drafts can definitely be attributed to it’s location on the main stage that is New York City. Last year’s draft was in Pittsburgh and next year will be Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center. I think time will tell how this will fare, but to conclude I think the NHL needs to go back to two days to keep the fans from getting too bored and the duration of the draft from getting obnoxious.

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I’ll link everyone to the draft results instead of boring you with who’s who and who your team drafted!

http://www.nhl.com/ice/draftsearch.htm?year=2013&team=&position=&round=1

Those are my two cents … cash them in!

-Anthony

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Ron Mexico

Hide your dogs, Ron Mexico is here!

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NCAA in Atlanta

Final_Four_NCAA_Basketball_Wallpaper_2013

So, it’s all said and done. Louisville, the number one overall seed has cut down the nets after beating Michigan, which hadn’t been to the Championship game since the Fab 5 played for the Wolverines.

Final Four and the ‘Ship

Wichita State and Syracuse deserve some serious props for their seasons. Wichita State had a typical Mountain Valley Conference season; they appeared in the top 25 a few times and lost in their conference final to the team everyone else thought was the better squad. Syracuse was looking like a championship favorite early in the season, but then they lost three straight games and didn’t look like the same team when James Southerland was injured. However, both teams were able to make dramatic runs through the tournament to fall just shy of the championship game. Syracuse looked awful in the first half against Michigan, but that defense nailed down in the second half as they made their run but came up just short as some questionable charge calls were made. Wichita State had built a large lead, but Rick Pitino called a key timeout and his team buckled down on their defense and made a run to take the lead. The last minute was an ugly minute with some tough jump balls and foul calls, but Louisville moved on to meet Michigan.

Last night Louisville captured its third National Championship in school history and first since 1986. Rick Pitino became the first coach to ever win two championships at two different schools. Let’s jump into the game. Michigan came out firing as most thought they would; however, nobody expected it to be Spike Albrecht tallying 17 points in the first half, including hit four straight three pointers, as Michigan built a double digit lead. However, Luke Hancock had something to say about it hitting four straight three pointers of his own and at half the Michigan lead was down to 1. I had the feeling, because of Louisville’s track record of second half surges, the game was already over. In second halves Louisville clamps down with their defense, pressing stamina and pressures opponents into mistakes.

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The second half was an unrelenting back and forth until Louisville went on a 9-2 run to drive the Cardinals’ faithful crazy in Atlanta, until Russ Smith decided it was a good idea to try and let Michigan back in the game. A few ill-advised shots and a stupid foul committed on Trey Burke when Michigan was already in the double bonus, had my brother jumping up and down screaming, “take him out!” Of course Pitino, couldn’t do that, but they were definitely punishable mistakes. It came down to foul shots, except John Beilein didn’t tell his guys to foul not realizing they had a couple of fouls to give. He later admitted that it was his mistake (at least he owned up to it). But the game was over and Louisville was cutting down the nets.

To review, the referees were awful, some of the worst calls I’ve seen in any basketball game ever. It went both ways too. A missed kick-ball here, strips or blocks that were called fouls, fouls that weren’t called, too quick or too slow on some jump balls. Bad calls were made both ways, but it seemed Michigan got hurt on a few more calls. However, as a Giant fan (I’m looking at you refs in the 2011 playoffs), you can’t blame the refs, you just have to beat the other team.

Louisville deserved this championship, they were a solid offensive team that boasted the best defensive side of the ball as well. Rick Pitino is easily a top 5 coach in the NCAA right now. Then there’s Kevin Ware, who is from Atlanta. His friends, his family were able to go out and win this one for him after his horrific injury. What a heart-warming story after such a heart-stopping moment last weekend. Louisville is now 3-0 in championship games and Michigan has fallen to 1-5 (OUCH!). The game was a classic though and the fans were into it, but the refs weren’t. A laughable moment is when Rick Pitino ducked after the fireworks went off inside the Georgia Dome. I guess this is how you react to loud booms when you’re born in NYC and raised in Bayville (that’s Long Island for all that don’t know)

Championship Moment

Championship Moment

The Champs

The Champs

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Week 17: For all the Marbles

We find ourselves at 69% percent for the year ladies and gentleman. Let’s end this thing right shall we?

Marbles

 

SUNDAY

Only Sunday Games now, no whackass Thursday or Saturday Night games to mess with the NFL Original flow.

Eagles @ GIANTS – Win and get in with some help situation for the Giants. They will do their part against a once again Michael Vick-led Eagles squad. The G-Men have become notorious for stepping it up when they need to, but the Eagles have also been a thorn in their side as they showed earlier this year. Michael Vick is giving an audition to quarterback needy teams in this game, so expect him to play his hardest, unfortunately for the Giants and the fans at MetLife.

Buccaneers @ FALCONS – The Falcons will definitely rest some of their starters in this game, they may get the lead and then give it up later in the game must to the chagrin of the crowd, but they’d have to risk getting their starters injured. I don’t believe they are in the mindset of handing a game away to a divisional opponent and the Bucs are awful at stopping their opponents’ passing game. The Bucs on the other hand have some respect to play for and can show that their offense can match anybody’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Falcons accepted a loss here.

Jets @ BILLS – The merry-go-round keeps turning for the Jets. Their quarterback situation is a mess and only got messier when McElroy was sacked eleven times and, naturally, suffered a concussion. The Jets, yet again, overlooked Tim Tebow who has made a life off of winning games and turned back to Mark Sanchez. It is being reported Mike Tannenbaum will be fired on Black Monday for his mismanagement of this team. The Bills are going to finish another mediocre season, but with the help of CJ Spiller and Mario Williams will most likely beat up on the slugging Jets.

Ravens @ BENGALS – This is revenge. The Bengals are the hottest team that nobody is paying attention to right now. They have won six out of seven games and it appeared they would be looking to next year when they sat at 3-6, but since they have looked like a well rounded team with a front seven that has developed into a force. The Ravens are coming off a statement win against the Giants in which I and most others underestimated them. With Jim Caldwell behind the helms of the offense, it looked like a force that many have thought it could be for a few years now.

Bears @ LIONS – The Bears have crumbled and are all different types of banged up coming into this game. I believe the Bears play their way out of playoff contention and the Lions light up the scoreboard against the Bears.

Jaguars @ TITANS – The Jaguars played a very tight game with the Patriots last week while the were blown out by Green Bay. These teams have both played very poorly all year long. Montell Owens vs Chris Johnson and Chad Henne vs Jake Locker. Some seriously nice matchups here (sarcasm).

Texans @ COLTS – I am picking the Colts in this game for one reason, Chuckstrong. The Texans may play themselves out of the bye and homefield here. The Texans are definitely the better team here but there is a Magic surrounding these Colts this year and especially at home that I cannot seem to deny this last game of the year.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts

Panthers @ SAINTS – Drew Brees last game of the year with news that Sean Peyton comes back next year with a nice big new contract? I’ll take him even with Cam Newton and his underrated defense playing solid down the stretch of the year. Both of these teams have underachieved all year, but the Saints find themselves in second place in the division after the Bucs have fallen apart. Maybe a new coach next year for the Panthers and Cam.

Browns @ STEELERS – No Steelers in the playoff, has a weird ring to it. The Steelers had a prime opportunity at home against the Bengals, but played poorly enough to lose that game. The Browns will be firing their head coach Pat Shurmur and starting fresh after this game. I would imagine that the Steelers would be firing Todd Haley after this year and the ineffectiveness of the offense since he came aboard. Big Ben will definitely love the support.

Chiefs @ BRONCOS – Broncos playing for the bye and possibly homefield, the Chiefs are playing a game. Let’s not joke around here. Peyton Manning has been either the Comeback Player of the Year or the MVP, whichever he doesn’t get Adrian Peterson will.

PACKERS @ Vikings – Aaron Rodgers is completing 70% of his passes with 14 touchdowns and 2 interceptions this year in dome games. The Packers put up 55 on the Titans last week for funsies. Adrian Peterson needs 209 yards to break Eric Dickerson’s single season rushing record and as much as I want this machine to break it, I don’t believe he will because they will be playing from behind, even though their running game is what drives them. I think if Leslie Frazier sticks with it then and keeps running the ball to AP they can have a chance, don’t make Christian Ponder throw the ball.

Dolphins @ PATRIOTS – The Pats are also playing for a bye here. Tom Brady will get back his favorite target on a limited basis in Rob Gronkowski. The Dolphins have been fiesty all year under first year coach Joe Philbin and rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. With a win the Dolphins could end up with a .500 record, but it won’t happen in Foxborough. The ‘Fins have not played great games in the colder weather this season.

Raiders @ CHARGERS – Terrelle Pryor will get his first career start after the Carson Palmer was knocked around last week. The Raiders and Chargers met in their first game of the year, an ugly one, and paved the way for their ugly seasons. The Chargers are coming off a beating of the Jets where they sacked Greg McElroy 11 times. The Chargers will be looking at a new front office and coaching staff, finally, next year.

Cardinals @ 49ERS – The 49ers need this win to clinch the division. Brian Hoyer will get the start. The Cardinals defense has been fierce all year and is the main reason they have won a game in the past 11 weeks. The 49ers defense has been simply better and besides when they got blown up last week by the underrated and streaking Seahawks have been one of, if not, the best defense in the league.

Rams @ SEAHAWKS – Jeff Fisher has coached up this Rams team, mostly their defense. Something is in the defenses’ waters in the NFC West this year because they are all solid. Sam Bradford has been limited this year with developing and injury prone receivers (mostly his best target Danny Amendola). The ‘Hawks are coming off a destruction of the 49ers on national television last Sunday night and are aiming for 8-0 at home this year. No reason they won’t win this game as Russell Wilson continues his ridiculous rookie season, which has been unfortunately overlooked by many because of RGIII and Andrew Luck. Any other season he wins the Rookie of the Year, and he still might this year. He will tie or break Peyton Manning’s rookie single season touchdown record today.

Cowboys @ REDSKINS – Both of these teams came back from “dead” in the NFC East to now be playing for the division title on Sunday Night Football, second consecutive year that the division title will be decided on the last day on NBC. The Cowboys have ridden a red-hot Tony Romo until last week where the Saints played spoiler. The Redskins have now won 6 straight games since starting 3-6 and RGIII is not 100%, but he is still very dangerous with his arm. The home crowd will be pumped and I’m sure the Cowboys will make some mistakes and their defense is just as banged up as the Redskins.

Seems like I like the home teams in these Week 17 matchups.

siren

UPSET ALERT – Anything goes in these games, I’ll put everyone on Upset Alerts this week.

BYEAHHHHH!!!!

BYEAHHHHH!!!!

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SURVIVOR PICK – Let’s go with the Patriots here. (If picked already: 49ersBroncosSteelers)

Week 12: Turkey for Everyone!

Do you like apples … I went 13-1 last week … So how do you like them apples? (Thanks, Matt Damon).

The double digit wins just won’t stop coming and I’ll continue to aim for that undefeated week as we near our end here. It’s one of my favorite times of the year, Thanksgiving. Lots of food and all day long Football, its like a pre-Sunday feast. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

THURSDAY

Texans @ LIONS – The Texans are due for a let down loss. Matthew Stafford has been catching fire recently and the Lions defense is getting more banged up each week. The Texans were teetering on the edge of a letdown against the Jaguars (REALLY???) last week. Andre Johnson, Matt Schaub and Arian Foster have been lighting up of late in fantasy scoreboards. I expect a hard-fought battle but the Lions to come out on top.

REDSKINS @ Cowboys – RG3 is going to have his way with the Cowboys defense. Romo and the offense are too sluggish in games this year to keep up with Griffin’s offensive swagger. Romo can’t stay upright still with a beleaguered offensive line. The Redskins defense will have to be in the backfield and the Cowboys defense will have to contain RG3’s running, but watch out for his rocket launcher. Redskins do what many can’t do and beat Romo in November.

PATRIOTS @ Jets – The Pats destroyed Andrew Luck’s Colts. They suffered a huge loss in Rob Gronkowski’s forearm, and the rest of him. It won’t matter much, he definitely will be missed, but Brady will spread those targets out elsewhere. The Jets are coming off a much-needed win at St. Louis, but they will be surely outclassed on Turkey Day. Pats in a blowout.

SUNDAY

Vikings @ BEARS – I fully expect Adrian Peterson to run a muck, but with Cutler playing the Bears offense will be able to put up some points. Without Cutler, the Bears offense was barely able to move the ball with Jason Campbell behind center. Christian Ponder will be facing a lot of pressure staring down the turnover-happy Bears defense. Expect a good cold-weather rivalry game here.

Raiders @ BENGALS – Marcel Reece is the bright spot for the Raiders’ offense, but that’s because it appears without Darren McFadden the offense runs through him quite literally. The Bengals looked great against the Chiefs, but who hasn’t really this year. At home, I expect Andy Dalton and AJ Green to have their way with the Raiders.

STEELERS @ Browns – I know Charlie Batch is starting, but he started last year and the Steelers started 3-1. Ridiculous, I know, but I can’t pick against them while they are playing the Browns. Brandon Weeden shows signs of progression at times in games, but then looks just plain bad. The young receivers on the Browns are just that, young and still developing. Trent Richardson is banged up and you know the Steelers hit hard. Expect a low-scoring game.

Bills @ COLTS – Andrew Luck has thrown 8 touchdowns to 2 interceptions in home games and 4 touchdowns to 10 interceptions away from home. Talk about home field advantage. Against a bad Bills’ defense I don’t expect this parity to change. The Bills played a good game against the Dolphins in which Fitzpatrick didn’t need to force any mistakes. CJ Spiller and Fred Jackson expect to carry heavy loads against a bad Colts run defense. Andrew Luck stays great at home.

BRONCOS @ Chiefs – Brady Quinn again really? Blowout and enjoy the fantasy points everyone who has somebody on the Broncos. Kepe an eye on Ronnie Hillman.

SEAHAWKS @ Dolphins- This Seahawks’ defense will pressure Ryan Tannehill into making mistakes. The warm weather will certainly be a change for Russell Wilson, but isn’t that always a welcoming change. The Dolphins defense hasn’t been as sound recently as it was the first eight or nine weeks. The Dolphins have started to lean on a timeshare, when Reggie Bush is still clearly the better back, but maybe they’re preparing for life after Reggie, who knows. Seahawks, because of their defense here, but always be wary of the West Coast team going east to play at 1.

Falcons @ BUCCANEERS – The Falcons played with fire again last week and almost lost. They will do the same here and will get burned because this team actually has an offense unlike that Arizona team. The Falcons have Julio Jones hurting, but he will play through it as it appears he has gotten better through the week. The Bucs are firing on all cylinders after making a nice comeback against a bad Panthers team last week that always plays their divisional foes tough. The Bucs will win this at home in a shootout. Expect a lot of fantasy points.

TITANS -@ Jaguars – Chad Henne went HAM last week against the Texans … some things hurt when you type and confuse you when you type them. The Titans had a week to rest and get Jake Locker back into the offensive groove because he looked awful in a blowout of the Dolphins two weeks ago. The Jags sorely miss Maurice Jones-Drew and should pay the guy. They are fighting for the #1 draft pick, but who knows if they should take a quarterback with it. Titans here easily as long as Chad Henne goes back to his normal play.

RAVENS @ Chargers – The Ravens still haven’t really looked like a championship team, but they win games. Phillip Rivers has found a new play toy in the form of Danario Alexander, who always had great potential but couldn’t stay healthy. The Chargers are probably not going to compete for a playoff spot this year because they’re not consistent on either side of the ball. The Ravens need to get the ball to Ray Rice more, and I’ve been saying it all year. It will catch up with them, but not this week.

49ers @ SAINTS – The Saints are high-powered and high-flying now. The 49ers are looking at a quarterback controversy because of one good game by Colin Kaepernick; can I say Kevin Kolb and Matt Flynn anybody? I think I should be picking the 49ers, but if they can’t choose a quarterback I don’t like it. Their defense looked tremendous against the Bears, but Campbell was under center, and Drew Brees is looking for sweet revenge in Louisiana for that NFC Divisional Playoff game last year.

RAMS @ Cardinals – The Rams looked awful against a bad Jets team last week and at home. Their defense did their best job, but the offense kept sputtering after starting over drives well. Expect a heavy dose of Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson if Danny Amendola doesn’t play. These are solid defenses, but the Cardinals cannot move the ball and we will see if this changes with Beanie Wells coming back.

Packers @ GIANTS – This is the toss-up of the week. The Packers come in on fire and the Giants come in off their bye and suffering their usual November swoon. However, the Giants are typically coming off their bye way before this. The Packers have more key injuries than the Giants, and that is going to matter. These two teams play great games and I expect no less. I only pick the Giants because they are at home and I think the Giants want to prove the Packers didn’t beat themselves last year.

PANTHERS @ Eagles – No Vick and now no Shady McCoy. The Eagles can kiss this season goodbye. The Panthers offense can go at the Eagles and the Eagles offense cannot move the ball. I recommend spot starting any defense playing the Eagles as long as Nick Foles is starting. Sorry Andy Reid, but the buck stops here.

 

UPSET ALERT – I have put the Seahawks because they are coming to the East coast at 1 P.M. The Falcons and 49ers are also on Upset Alert this week. The Texans may be in for a Thanksgiving Upset.

 

SURVIVOR PICK – Patriots (If used already: Broncos, Panthers, Bengals and Panthers).

Those are my two cents … Cash them in!

T-Catz (Anthony)

Week 10: Start of Movember

12-2 last week … SOMEBODY STOP ME!!! … We are now two weeks into “No Shave November” …  Who’s taking part in it??

Our winning percentage is off the charts right now, so why should we stop??

THURSDAY

COLTS @ Jaguars – I called the emotional win for the Colts last week. The team has shaved their heads in honor of Chuck Pagano. They are on a roll and Andrew Luck is playing less like a rookie each game. The Jaguars are a team that cannot stop going in the wrong direction. They lack weapons on any side of the ball without MoJo-Drew. The Colts will win this easy as long as they keep their eyes on the prize.

SUNDAY

GIANTS @ Bengals – The Bengals are mired in a big slump after their offense started on fire and their defense was just awful compared to last year’s surprising squad. Andy Dalton has thrown an interception in each game this year and the Giants are prone to taking the ball away on defense (not as much as that team in Chicago.) The Giants loss to the Steelers was a tough one, because the Steelers patch-work running game was able to go straight down the Giants throat. Eli Manning is starting to slump and Ron Jaworski from ESPN said his arm looks “tired”. The Giants would do well for themselves by winning this away game before their bye because one of those second place teams actually has to win today by definition.

Titans @ DOLPHINS – Jake Locker’s healthy after Hasselbeck gets lit up? You’re kidding??? What a shocker! The Titans need Locker to stay healthy to stay relevant in the AFC South because the Colts are getting better weekly and the Titans are light-years ahead of them right now. The Dolphins could have won the game last week against the Colts, but Ryan Tannehill was outdone by his rookie counterpart in Andrew Luck. Reggie Bush is starting to get back to form, which spells trouble for a bad Titans defense.

LIONS @ Vikings – The Vikings took it to the Lions in the first meeting this year. That’s when the Vikings were a surprising team, but they’ve since begun their descent back down to Earth. The Lions are starting to click, even with a running game last weekend. Adrian Peterson continued his absolutely inhuman ways last week on a ridiculous run that he nearly scored on. His absurd play cannot compensate for Christian Ponder’s recent plummet.

Bills @ PATRIOTS – Too easy. The spread is now at 14, and some are probably tempted to take it … WHY NOT! The Bills have been talking all week about drafting a franchise quarterback, when they just signed their current one to a new deal last year mid-way through the season. Never a smart move. The Patriots are coming off their bye and will look to pad their AFC East lead at home against a bad, BAD Bills defense.

Smooth like Keith Stone !

Falcons @ SAINTS – This is a big game AND a big rivalry game. Now the Falcons are definitely the more complete team, but the Saints are facing straight must-wins and they get this one at home. The Falcons have been skating along some thin ice in a lot of their wins this year. Drew Brees didn’t even have a Drew Brees game, but they still smoked the Eagles on Monday Night. I think this is the game the Falcons finally lose.

Chargers @ BUCCANEERS – The Chargers are their usual selves just hanging around .500 and keep underachieving. Philip Rivers is not of the Big Ben, Eli Manning, Tom Brady, Peyton, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers group where you can make any receiver look like fool’s gold. They have some offensive talent in Mathews, Gates and Floyd, but it hasn’t clicked yet. The Bucs are rolling and have become a Fantasy Football juggernaut. Freeman has been playing much better with weapons like Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams (resurgence), and the “Muscle Hamster” (Doug Martin). I like the Bucs at home.

BRONCOS @ Panthers – I was just watching Sunday NFL Countdown and a couple of the guys picked the Panthers and all I could do was shake my head. The Broncos may be the most dangerous team in the AFC right now. The defense is solid and almost just as good as the Texans defense, but I definitely give the edge to Peyton Manning running an offense over Matt Schaub. The Broncos will not lose this game because Peyton is just too hot right now.

Raiders @ RAVENS – That banged-up Ravens defense didn’t look to shabby last week only giving up 15 points to the Browns and keeping them out of the end zone. The Raiders are going to be without their top two receivers and will most certainly have to rely on Carson Palmer, who has been much better this year than last. The ball NEEDS to go to Ray Rice more if the Ravens want to stay a legitimate playoff contender. This shouldn’t be a tough game for them though.

Jets @ SEAHAWKS – The 12th man is doing its job this year. The Seahawks are 4-0 this year and I don’t see that changing this Sunday. The Jets have been more scrappy than ever since their two most talented players went down to season-ending injuries. Mark Sanchez continues his poor play and probably won’t break out of it against a good Seahawks defense that held Christian Ponder to 63 yards. Rex Ryan salivates over rookie quarterbacks usually, but if they can’t contain Marshawn Lynch, it’ll be a different story.

COWBOYS @ Eagles – Andy Reid will not finish out the year, and it’s not necessarily his fault. Michael Vick probably won’t be back next year and it isn’t his fault. Yeah he’s turning the ball over but he has 2 seconds to get rid of the ball, and they’ve basically abandoned the run. There’s too much talent on this Eagles team on both sides of the ball for them to be 3-5, and the same thing can be said for their division rival Cowboys. Tony Romo didn’t turn the ball over last week and they still lost. Their defense played very well last week, but the offense was not opportunistic and missed a lot of chances to win the game. I don’t expect either of these coaches back next year.

Rams @ 49ERS – Danny Amendola’s coming back already. It won’t make a difference against this 49ers team. Both of these teams come off their byes to face physical defenses. The Rams have only really been blown out against the Patriots in London and the 49ers have appeared to be on a mission since getting rolled by the New York Giants. Both quarterbacks need some time and their running games if either one wants to win this game. This feels like a coaching chess-match to me, but it’ll go to the more talented team ,but Jeff Fisher has helped turn this Rams franchise around already.

TEXANS @ Bears – This is the toss-up of the day. The weather report says it’s going to rain … a lot and all day. That favors defense, as if these defenses needed any help. The Bears defense can’t keep their hands off the ball and themselves out of the endzone. Jay Cutler is winning these games and usually by playing better in the fourth quarter, surprisingly. What does not bode well for the Bears is that the Texans can hold onto the ball very securely and are solid on both sides of the ball and are probably the best AFC team. This could even be a Superbowl preview ladies and gents.

MONDAY

STEELERS @ Chiefs – Why bother justifying this when the Chiefs have turned the ball over more than anyone and have never had a lead this season. Steelers seem to only be getting better and without their best defensive players. Watch out AFC! Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe are wasting away in Kansas City’s offense.

UPSET ALERT – I am placing the traveling Broncos on Upset Alert, as well as the Falcons because the worst team to face is a desperate team that needs to win the game to stay relevant, and a good one at that. The Lions have a worse record so that means the Vikings get an Upset Alert from me.

SURVIVOR PICK – Steelers are a mortal lock. (If Picked Already: PatriotsRavens49ers , and Seahawks).

Those are my two cents … cash ’em in!

T-Catz (Anthony)Saints

 

 

Week 9: Power Outage

So, we made it to 11 wins again. 11-3 last week, and like Train 777 we are “Unstoppable” right now!

Watch Out!

Our prayers go out to those who have been hurt and have been severely affected by Hurricane Sandy. Please donate what you can and do not forget those in need in their time of biggest need!

Let’s get to it!

THURSDAY

Chiefs @ CHARGERS – The Chiefs are historically bad, never possessing a lead at any point in regulation this season. They want to start Brady Quinn over the man they’ve paid millions of dollars to. The Chargers did their best Chiefs impression last week losing to the Browns 7-6 in ugly weather. The Chargers won’t find their path to victory so slippery this week in an easy win.

BRONCOS @ Bengals – Peyton Manning is picking up where he left off two seasons ago. The Broncos look like a top five team this year and definitely top two in the AFC. Their offense and their defense are complete and are on a roll, their defense held the high-powered Saints to a mere fourteen points. The Bengals are coming off their bye and they are at home, but are simply outmatched. Champ Bailey figures to shadow AJ Green, which will be interesting to watch, but it won’t matter unless the Bengals defense can stop Peyton.

RAVENS @ Browns – The Ravens are coming off their bye and have hopefully, for their own sake, have fixed their defensive problems. The ball needs to go to Ray Rice more, Flacco can be a good, possibly great quarterback but Ray Rice needs to be the centerpiece, plain and simple. The Browns, pulled out an ugly win last week. They just aren’t good, but Brandon Weeden is coming along, but needs to be quicker since he’s already 28 years old. Keep throwing the ball to Josh Gordon and good things will happen.

Cardinals @ PACKERS – The Cardinals can’t keep their quarterback upright and you know Clay Matthews is salivating at this fact. The Packers didn’t look great last week against the lowly Jags, but what’s to expect when your two best receivers are injured. They will roll this week, no worries Cheeseheads.

BEARS @ Titans – The Bears squeaked out a win against the underachieving Panthers. They need to be better on offense for four quarters if they want to be real contenders even if their defense is lights out. The Titans are coming off a tough loss to the Colts in Indy. The Titans have relied heavily on Chris Johnson the past few weeks as it appears he may be headed back to his 2K form, but it won’t be easy against this Bears defense.

Dolphins @ COLTS– The Colts get to stay at home after beating the Titans in a tight game that went to overtime. The Dolphins are coming off a huge win in New Jersey after shellacking the Jets. The Dolphins’ defense is the biggest story this year, their run defense is solid, but their pass defense is middle of the road. They have found ways to win their games and sit at 4-3. The Colts have looked better with Andrew Luck under center, but their defense just isn’t all that good. This is a tough match-up but I’ll take the grittier team. I am switching my pick and picking the emotional team because Chuck Pagano will be in the stadium to watch the Colts.

Panthers @ REDSKINS– RG3 drew comparisons to Cam Newton when he came into the league earlier this year, but he is playing better than Cam did. He doesn’t turn the ball over as much as Cam did and he seems to be in control more; his offense has been shaped to match his skill-set. The Panthers definitely played their best game against the Bears, but could not finish. The ‘Skins are coming off an ugly loss to the Steelers, expect a whole different game from the Shannies.

LIONS @ Jaguars – The Lions are fighting their way back to being relevant, but it’s a long road ahead. Stafford seems to be improving as he lit up a good Seahawks secondary last week en route to a big win for the Lions. The Jaguars fought wholeheartedly against the Packers, but with the lack of talent they never really had a chance, much like this week unless Rashad Jennings can simply go ballistic.

Bills @ TEXANS – Both teams are coming off their bye, and Mario Williams is going back “home”. It won’t matter. The Texans are going to beat the Bills handily, expect a lot of throws from Mr. Harvard. The biggest question will be, does Mario Williams get a standing ovation or hear the boo birds?

Steelers @ GIANTS – Battle of the 2004 NFL Draft! Big Ben has two rings and so does Eli, but that doesn’t matter now. What matters now is who will be the better team Sunday. The Steelers have not been able to keep their starting running backs healthy as Isaac Redman will be starting this Sunday after coming off a good win against the Redskins. The Giants were rolling into halftime against the Cowboys in Dallas, but started to crumble. Then, Captain Eli led his team to victory as the Giants got lucky as Dez Bryant put his hand out of bounds on a nice throw from Tony Romo with less than 20 seconds left in the game. 

BUCCANEERS @ Raiders – The Bucs rolled their hosts in Minnesota last Thursday. They also just traded away their best defensive player, also an off the field problem, in Aqib  Talib. Their offense is starting to click. The Raiders were able to defeat the lowly Chiefs, but the sledding won’t be easier against the Bucs, who are a great run defense. Darren McFadden continues his subpar season, but will need to break out of it soon for this team to compete.

Vikings @ SEAHAWKS – The 12th man has had its biggest impact ever this year. Teams can’t go to Seattle and win it appears more than ever this year. The Vikings might be finally coming back down to earth as they were rolled by the Bucs at home last week. The Seahawks talented defense will keep the pressure on a suddenly turnover happy Christian Ponder.

Cowboys @ FALCONS – The Falcons return home after rolling the Eagles in Philly, and the Cowboys leave home after a disappointing loss to the Champs. The Cowboys keep playing disappointing football and their schedule doesn’t get easier this week as the Falcons are now sitting a pretty 7-0. Matt Ryan will definitely have his hands full against a good Cowboys defense that frustrated Eli Manning last Sunday, but the Georgia Dome will be too rowdy for the Cowboys.

Eagles @ SAINTS– The Saints are abysmal right now. The Eagles are abysmal right now. But, somebody has to win this game. If the Eagles could go back to running the ball with Shady McCoy they could be a top NFC team, but they can’t keep the ball out of the hands of their opponents’ defense. The Saints schedule doesn’t get easier as time goes along, they still have to play the Falcons twice. I am writing them off for the season, but not this game.

UPSET ALERT  – I am putting the Falcons on Upset Alert, because of how the Cowboys play the best teams tough and have been known for beating undefeated teams. Also, I put the Vikings on Upset Alert going into Seattle is never easy. Dolphins because of Chuck Pagano’s presence.

SURVIVOR PICK – This week I go with the Chargers, simply because of how bad the Chiefs are. (If Picked already: Lions, Packers and Texans.) From here on out, picking against the Chiefs and the Jaguars simply is a good idea.

Those are my two cents … cash ’em in!

Week 3 Picks

This has been a crazy NFL season already, Pats losing to the Cardinals; the Saints are 0-2, Cowboys got smoked by the Seahawks but hey it just makes the sport more interesting! Once order I’ve figured out what the hell is going on in the NFL season I know these picks will get better.

So, Barely made it out of Week 2 with a .500 Record 8-8 … gross! Week 3 won’t get any easier, but the picks’ll get better!

C’MON MAN!!!!

THURSDAY

GIANTS @ Panthers – I am very concerned about the G-Men. No Nicks, Bradshaw, Hixon, and Diehl because of the huge roles 3/4 play on offense. However, last year the Giants didn’t have Nicks, Bradshaw, David Baas and Henry Hynoski when they traveled to Foxboro and beat more formidable opponent than the Panthers they are about to face. However, Cam and Brady are two different Quarterbacks. The Giants will have their hands full but last year went 3-1 on short rest. Look for big games from Andre Brown and Rueben Randle, as well as the return of the Prince! No doubt that Cam and Steve Smith put up fantasy numbers though!

SUNDAY

Rams @ BEARS – Jay Cutler angry. Jay Cutler Smash (and it’s not J’Marcus Webb). It’s the Rams defense, but watch out for a Cortland “THE Instigator” Finnegan vs. Brandon Marshall bout at some point in this game. The Rams have played both of their games valiantly, but both have been indoors. The Bears have one of the toughest home field advantages and that will be on display this weekend. In addition, Steven Jackson, the Rams best offensive player is banged up and is a game-time decision.

You won’t like him when he’s angry!!

BILLS @ Browns – Yeah the Browns have challenged both teams they’ve played, but they’re still BAD. The Bills defense might be starting to click and is salivating at Brandon Weeden’s early tendency to make mistakes. CJ Spiller is playing out of his and the rest of his team’s mind right now. Trent Richardson will have to carry most of the load this game if they are to win.

Buccaneers @ COWBOYS – Wow, talk about a let down game after a nice win in Metlife Stadium against the champs? I will repeat what I’ve been saying that the Buccaneers are underrated, but that was a heart-wrenching loss for them last week after owning the first three quarters against the Giants. The Cowboys are looking to light up the scoreboard in their home opener and now Jason Witten should be 100% in Week 3. Romo is out to put a smile back on Mr. Glory Hole’s face.

LIONS @ Titans – Chris Johnson is playing like he’s worth every penny! Hang on choking on my sarcasm … Anddd we’re back. The Lions are coming off a tough loss against maybe the most complete team in the NFL, the Niners. The Titans are just not producing on offense and allowing opponents’ offense to produce WAY too much. The Lions need a bounce back game and they got the team to get it against. The Lions have a strong front seven, so I would expect Chris Johnson to struggle. The Lions are getting Mikel Leshoure back from injury and suspension so now they have two capable backs, dangerous. Also, Calvin Johnson doesn’t have a TD yet, in other word’s … HE’S.DUE.

Jaguars @ COLTS – This is just an ugly matchup. I am picking the Colts because their QB is simply better and they are at home where Luck seemed to play pretty well. Maurice Jones-Drew typically goes more than HAM against the Colts … let’s say he goes Double HAM typically. If the Jags defense steps up and Maurice Jones-Drew does his thing against the Colts, the Jags could be looking at their first of an expected one or two wins, but don’t bet on it!

Jets @ Dolphins – The Jets looked utterly lost last week and Reggie Bush looked utterly dominant. I am glad Reggie Bush is finally succeeding as an every down running back, but I don’t expect him to go off like that again this week against a much better Jets defense. Tannehill still doesn’t look great, but is finding a connection with Brian Hartline and has no problem handing the ball back to Reggie Bush. . If Dustin Keller plays this should be a sure win for them, if not don’t be surprised if the Dolphins no name (besides Cameeron Wake) defense wreaks havoc on the Jets.

49ERS @ Vikings – Honestly, I can see the Niners losing this game because they have to travel back across country for the third time already this year. The only problem is they’re playing the Vikings who’s best weapon, Adrian Peterson, goes head to head against the 49ers beastliest side, their front seven. The Niners look as complete as any team in this league and they shouldn’t slip up against the lowly Vikings.

Chiefs @ SAINTS – Who Dat Who Dat Who Dat ain’t going 0-3??? That’d be the Saints … this is the game where Drew Bees “Breesy” and puts together a W for his team. The Chiefs only hope is to let Jamaal Charles and Peyton Hillis run amock in the Thunderdome, but they’re going to be so far behind that it won’t be the case. Expect the Saints to come out firing! Pierre Thomas looked like the one of old last week with over a hundred yards. Dwayne Bowe proved that he is Matt Cassel’s ONLY target last week and should be.

Will the Bags make a return???

Bengals @ REDSKINS – The Bengals just simply don’t look like the Bengals of 2011, mainly on defense. The Bengals racked up a whole lot of points last week, against the lowly Browns, but gave up a ton to those same Browns as well and to the no-huddle Ravens. RG3 knows what he can do offensively and now he’ll have his home opener. The only rough patch for the Skins is the fact that Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker are done for the year, both integral parts of their defense. This game is probably a toss-up but I’m going with the home team and the inspiring rookie QB.

EAGLES @ Cardinals – 2-0 vs 2-0 (WHAT???) … The Cardinals have played exceptional on the defensive side of the ball, but offense has been U-G-L-Y, and the same for the Eagles. They have turned the ball over nine times and Vick is responsible for seven of those. Calais Campbell and Darnell Dockett will be looking to get into the backfield and test the toughness of Vick’s flak jacket. There is no Jeremy Maclin and no King Dunlap, but as the Giants proved anybody can step up and help a team get a nice W. All that matters is LeSean Mccoy is still there and the Eagles defense is playing great. Eagles will show Kolb why they don’t regret trading him away.

FALCONS @ Chargers – Another 2-0 vs. 2-0 game. The Chargers have played two pipsqueaks so far, Raiders and Titans. The Falcons have played the Chiefs and the Broncos, and until the fourth quarter of their game with the latter have handled their business. The Falcons will continue their winning ways while making it look easy against the Chargers. The Chargers need Ryan Mathews back soon and it appears he’s headed back, but this is a tough front seven to get your first real game action against.

Texans @ BRONCOS – Yeah the Texans and the Niners are probably the most complete teams. But the Broncos defense are sneaky good (shut the Falcons down when it mattered last weekend, most of their points were given up with their backs against the goal line because of Peyton’s mistake). Peyton won’t make those same mistakes two weeks in a row and at home this time around. The Texans with the best 1-2 RB punch and Andre Johnson are good on offense but even more sound on Defense, but travelling to Denver is going to be tough. These Broncos fans love them some Peyton. 

STEELERS @ Raiders – No Polamalu, Harrison or Mendenhall? No problem! The Steelers took care of the Jets, who besides Run DMC, probably have a similar offense to the Raiders. The Jets defense is much better and the Steelers put some points up on them, so expect the same this week as Mike Wallace doesn’t have Antonio Cromartie on his tail. The Raiders are scary desperate at 0-2, but the Steelers will not start this year at 1-2, they will go into the Bye at 2-1 and welcome back their star running back, Rashard Mendenhall.

Patriots @ RAVENS– No Hernandez, and coming off a loss to the Arizona Cardinals are the Pats. They have been barely using their most consistent offensive weapon in Wes Welker. Stevan Ridley is developing rather nicely for them, but what other team consistently disrupts Tom Brady’s pocket presence besides the Baltimore Ravens?? These same Ravens are out searching for some sweet revenge after they missed out on a trip to Superbowl 46 because of Lee Evans’ dropped pass and Billy Cundiff’s botched kick. If the Ravens run their no-huddle offense, there’s no way the Pats defense can stop them.

“Never Forget 01/22/12”
-Baltimore Ravens’ Fans

PACKERS @ Seahawks – The Packers are very well rested after destroying the Bears last Thursday night. The Seahawks are coming off a big win at home against the Cowboys, but will not repeat their performance against this team. Clay Matthews, sitting at six sacks already, will lead the Packers better looking defense against rookie Russell Wilson. The Seahawks defense is underrated, but everyone is simply anticipating Aaron Rodgers to have one of his games, which he didn’t the first two games (three tough defenses in these first three games though: Niners, Bears & Seahawks).

Scary ass …

Okay, done with the pictures for this week, let’s get onto two new things for week 2…

SURVIVAL PICK:

Week 1 – I took the Texans vs. Jaguars, Week 2 – Bengals vs. Browns.

This week’s Survival Lock is the Steelers vs. Raiders. (If used: Bears vs. Rams)

UPSET ALERT:

Technically the Broncos are an Upset alert so we’ll keep them there, but if you want a real upset keep an eye on the Cardinals … 9-2 in their last 11 games dating back to last year. It’s not pretty but they find a way to win games.

Those are my two cents … cash them in!

Anthony (T-Catz)

NBA All-Star Weekend Wrap-Up: Blame LeBron Edition

The NBA’s 61st installment of it’s annual all-star game has now come and gone. The weekend in the Orlando was full of its fair share of highlights for each evening. Friday night, Kevin Hart dominated the celebrity game taking home MVP honors. One of the evenings’ highlights came when Hart threw up an alley-opp to rapper J. Cole. Hart also managed to become the first ever player to be ejected from the game. See the video after the jump.

Saturday night is supposed to be the night of nights for the NBA. In a really good all-star weekend, Saturday’s festivities become defining moments that overshadow what occurs during the game Sunday. This year did not feature many Monday morning discussions of “Did you see (insert spectacular play from Saturday night).” In fact, the water cooler probably dispensed a better product than the NBA did. There is nothing wrong, nor fixable about the undercard portions of All-Star Saturday Night.

The Three-Point Shootout brought excitement with it’s tie-breakers, and with the added bonus that the competition came down to the last rack of basketballs (Hats off to Kevin Love for winning). The Skills Challenge saw Deron Williams hand Tony Parker the crown missing four 15-foot jump shots in the final round. The Shooting Stars competition saw New York’s finest in Landry Fields, Cappie Pondexter, and Allan Houston bring back the first piece of hardware that Madison Square Garden has seen since the Knicks made it to the Finals in the ’99 Lockout Season.

In the much unanticipated dunk competition, there were some pleasant surprises. Chase Budinger channelling his inner Woody Harrelson definitely kicked off a night of originality. Eventual champion, Utah’s last minute entry, Jeremy Evans was cleared for takeoff when he skied over teammate Gordon Hayward, while managing to jam home two basketballs in one swift motion. It is up for debate, but one can argue that Indiana’s Paul George had the dunk of the evening when he was able to successfully execute a 360-degree windmill dunk…in the dark!

Overall, while this year’s dunk contest did bring theatrics and originality, it lacked star power. And in a case like this, there is only person to blame…LeBron James! Reggie Miller said it best at the end of Saturday’s dunk contested when he stated, “All the greats at one time in their career participated in the dunk contest.” Fans have been asking for LeBron to participate in the dunk contest ever since 2009 when he said that he would do it the following All-Star Weekend in Dallas, Texas. Expectedly, he backed out of his unofficial agreement.

In case it’s not already known to the casual NBA fan, superstars only do these competitions when there is significant monetary incentive. So let’s just gather a large purse for this event then. Surely, the NBA can arrange to put up the necessary amount to make the dunk contest a truly star-studded event as it was in the early 2000’s. The perfect foursome for next year’s contest in Houston should be Andre Igoudala, LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and Jeremy Evans. It’s only fair to give the previous years’ champion the ability to defend his crown. If you pay them, they will participate. That’s the motto. LeBron needs to finally deliver and give the people what they want.

Fast forward to the waning minutes of Sunday night’s All-Star Game, and LeBron can be blamed for the East losing. At least that is what the realm of social media would lead a person to believe. LeBron made an ill-advised pass down the stretch but he is one of the two reasons that the East made a late rally to begin with; Deron WIlliams was the other East member responsible. But LeBron did what he does best, and that is carry a team back into a game single-handedly. Had his great pass to Dywane Wade not been dropped, he would not have been labeled as the scapegoat for this game.

All in all, it was a great weekend for the NBA to showcase its best and brightest superstars. Thankfully, the weekend was not overshadowed entirely by the latest rumors of the Dwightmare.

Jimmy Lips

Another Jeremy Lin Story

Where does one begin to describe the overnight success story that is Jeremy Lin? He’s Lincredile, all he does is Lin (8 out of 9 games), and even Grammy winner Adele says that Jeremy has Knicks fans RolLINg in the Deep right now.

His story is amazing and no one can deny that. He graduated Harvard University, went undrafted, then went on to be cut by two NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

The Warriors organization, including point guard Steph Curry have said they don’t regret the move. In an ESPN interview which aired during the recent Warriors/Blazers game, Curry went so far as to state that Lin would have never seen time on the court with Golden State. Who is Curry kidding? Even if Lin stopped playing at this high level today, chances are slim that the back-up guards in Golden State are going to go on a Lin-esque run and contribute this immensely anytime soon. Also, Lin contributes more to the Knicks than Nate Robinson presently does for the Warriors. In fact, most intellectual basketball minds would probably choose Lin over Robinson.

Head coach Mark Jackson said he did not have any regrets cutting the 6’3″ point guard. In Coach Jackson’s eyes, they are set at the point guard position for years with a backcourt presence starring Steph Curry and Monta Ellis, both of whom can run an offense. Jackson is not the general manager so he cannot lament over not having a particular player on his roster. This is where the Warriors management comes into the picture.

Lin was cut to make room for the potential signing of restricted free agent DeAndre Jordan. The Warriors successfully accomplished two things this off-season: They drove up the price for the Los Angeles Clippers to re-sign him and managed to give away February’s likely choice as the Eastern Conference Player of the Month for nothing.

The Rockets organization did not hide their feelings towards releasing Lin. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was upset over the decision. On Twitter, Morey told the world how he felt when he tweeted, “We should have kept [Jeremy Lin]. Did not know he was this good.” Should he have anything to regret?

The Rockets are very deep at the point guard position with Kyle Lowry, Goran Dragic, Johnny Flynn, and Terrence Williams who showed glimpses of being able to run the point during his tenure with the Nets. With those guys, Lin wasn’t going to see much, if any time at all, and the Rockets need for a big by the name of Samuel Dalembert superseded any reason to keep Lin on the roster.

Even the Knickerbockers should be counting their blessings. Jeremy Lin was on the verge of being cut by the Knicks too. The Knicks came into the game versus New Jersey on the culmination of a back-to-back-to-back. Their starters were tired and showing signs of fatigue. D’Antoni was left with no choice but to give Lin playing time. And the rest, is LINstory.

Jimmy Lips