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Saturday, January 15, 2011

A pair of NFL Divisional Round games go today - in case you didn't know and we hadn't already beat that home this week - starting with a 4pm kickoff in Pittsburgh where the Steelers will host the Baltimore Ravens.  Off the top, I have to say I'm not near as confident about the picks this weekend as I was last, when we dropped a 3-1 record on your man (that's for you, GS!).  The one sure prediction for this one?  As Clubber Lang said in Rocky III: "prediction?  Paaaaiiiin."  The Steelers and Ravens have an old school, legit hate on for each other and these games usually leave the winner in trouble for the next round.  Ben Roethlesberger is a career 8-2 against the Ravens, while Ravens QB Joe Flacco has quietly won four road playoff games, something very few ever do.  The Ravens should be in good shape physically after an easy win in K.C. last Sunday, and we're playing the Ravens at +3 against the odds which favor the home teams this round.

The late game sees Green Bay visiting Atlanta, with the line a ridiculously low -1 for the home Falcons.  Sure, the Packers have talent and have finally found healthy players late in the season, but hard to ignore that they need to go to the dying minutes to hold on against Philadelphia on the road last weekend, and Matty Ice (Falcons QB Matt Ryan) is a career 17-2 at home.  The Falcons are one of those classic low profile, under the radar teams that have talent in spades at the skill positions, and a vastly underrated defence, and I think the bookmakers are luring you to bet Green Bay by almost making them a fav in this one.  Admittedly something of a hunch as well, but liking the Falcons here, though I think Green Bay in the Super Bowl would be a better opponent for whoever wins the AFC (*cough* New England *cough*).  Back early tomorrow with the Sunday games.

Mike Florio and Ken Rosenthal at ProFootballTalk give their takes on who wins this weekend.  They've got three games they can't agree on.  Sounds about right.

Did you read about or see New England Patriots' Wes Welker's presser on Thursday?  He worked in no fewer than ten foot references, needling the New York Jets coach Rex Ryan no doubt.  All ten are recounted here.  The Patriots are finally a team from Boston I don't absolutely despise, and this move is awesome.  I'm guessing a Celtics v. Miami Heat playoff matchup would at least temporarily make two.

Heading into the Divisional Round today of the NFL Playoffs, Don Banks at ranks the potential Super Bowl match-ups.

Bruce Arthur at The National Post - yes, it still exists - looks at Steve Nash in 2011 and concludes he's wasting away in Phoenix right now, still capable but on a going nowhere team.

The 50 Most Awkward Moments in Sports.  Also awkward?  The spelling of "awkward".

CBC's John Molinaro says that simply making the playoffs is not enough for Toronto FC in 2011.  Can't say I disagree, but I'll sure take it for starters.

Wallace Mathews at looks at the New York Yankees signing of Rafael Soriano and says they might now have the best bullpen in all of baseball, and so strong it might wipe out their starting pitching concerns. Mariano Rivera was instrumental in selling the Yankees on the move.

Without Joe Thiesmann, who would know the Patriots have somebody named Danny Woodcock?

Great ad that ESPN Sports Center is running with Alexander Ovechkin.  Shame for the NHL that the 30 second ad matches about how much hockey they show on a given night.  Thanks to Bukakke for the link.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Baltimore Raven Terrell Suggs has a message for the good people of Pittsburgh on his t-shirt at right.

Some playoff stats to be aware of heading into the weekend: since 1976, in the Divisional Round, favorites are 86-33 straight up, and 64-52-3 against the spread.  Interestingly, almost half (56 of 120 games) have been decided by 14 points or more.  Loads more here, including break downs by margin of victory, against spread and so on.

Not sure how you can be called a "Professor" but you're not smart enough to realize that rolling down to Philadelphia in Green Bay Packers gear and a Wisconsin license plate last weekend might be a bad idea.

Toronto Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson leads all current NHL coaches in wins (600) but he also leads in losses (519).  So Toronto can say it had guys in those positions in two sports now, with former Raptors coach Lenny Wilkins leading both categories during his stay in Toronto.

With MLB all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman retiring with 601 career saves, New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera starts the 2011 season 42 saves behind. Only injury would stop him from blowing that away with a two-year deal in his back pocket.  30 days until pitchers and catchers report.

Here's one reason the Washington Capitals might be struggling this year:  they are scoring exactly one goal less (2.82) per game than last year (3.82).

I keep hearing that Apple has an app for everything on their iPhone's and iPad's, and with a "Fireman Ed" app - the guy that gets the "J-E-T-S Jets! Jets! Jets!" chant going, there may well be.

The New York Yankees may have some concerns about the back end of their rotation in particular, but they're about certain to have the best bullpen in the game now that they've signed former Tampa Bay Ray closer Rafael Soriano to play set-up man for Mariano Rivera and potentially succeed Mo if he ever slows down and loses his dominance.

Hot girls wearings sports jersey's.  Exactly what it sounds like.

Not surprisingly, RM didn't make Brett Favre's Christmas card list - an eCard, of course - but friend to all Bukakke passed me said eCard so I wouldn't feel too terribly left out.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

"God sees everything!"

The Cleveland Cavaliers were absolutely crushed by the LA Lakers two nights ago, 112-57, or two points shy of a double up for those that aren't mathletes here.  In response, LeBron James took to Twitter and hammered out this: "Crazy. Karma is a bitch. Gets you every time. It's not good to wish bad on anybody. God sees everything!"  So in addition to being a self-absorbed prick, 'bron is now tight with God.  Good to know.  Oh, LeBron?  Karma may indeed be a "bitch", but your mother is a teammate banging whore.  Nobody's perfect.  Enjoy your knees while they last.  You're looking gimpier by the day.  I'll cheer for an all-star team of war criminals before I pull for the Miami Heat to win anything.  And not surprisingly, LeBron now says it wasn't him that hit wrote it on Twitter.  Uh-huh.

Looks like Brock Lesnar will have at least one more fight for the UFC. He'll be one of the coaches in the next season of the always awesome The Ultimate Fighter. Junior dos Santos will coach the other squad, and the two will tangle at the conclusion in June. As always, Spike and SportsNet will be airing the show, beginning March 30th.

50 NFL playoff fails, with video.

A lot of hate flying around ahead of the NFL divisional games this weekend.  We'll start with the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, who will meet for the 8th time in 28 months.  Baltimore coach John Harbaugh threw some gas on the fire by saying he's glad the Ravens broke Ben Roethlisberger's nose.

No shortage of talking ahead of the New York Jets visit to New England, with cornerback and breeder Antonio Cromartie going nuclear on Tom Brady, calling him an "asshole" and cracking on him for pointing at the Jets sidelines after a touchdown pass in the Pats 45-3 win a few weeks back, which only the Jets are referencing.  In typical Pats fashion, they're not talking back.  If the Pats start out quick, they're going to make that 45-3 shredding look like a warmup and there won't be a thing Mark Sanchez will be able to do to bring them back.

Look under 'L' column in the NHL standings: Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary and Edmonton all have 20 already.

The NFL players union has a real big issue with an 18-game schedule.

The Office won't be back with a new episode until next week, but for now, try on the 25 best "that's what she said" moment's in comic books.

Brett Favre's sister Brandi was arrested for producing and selling crystal meth.  Gonna be a banner year in the Favre household.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The ground shook?

When Troy Palomalou plays the last two years, the Pittsburgh Steelers are 15-4 when he plays, and 6-7 when he doesn't

The Seattle Seahawks already own a road win over the Chicago Bears this year as 7-point underdogs.  They couldn't, could they?  A seismologist in the Pacific Northwest U.S. was curious to see if there was any movements in Seattle when Marshawn Lynch scored that ridiculous touchdown on Saturday, and believe it or not, he found that the ground did indeed shake.  Incredible. 

Jason Whitlock takes a look at this past weekend's NFL action and says that compared to Michael Vick, Peyton Manning has some maturing to do when it comes to being a player.  Wonder if The Manning Myth survives the fact he's now sub-.500 over 19 (NINETEEEN) career playoff starts?  Manning is 9-10, with an 88.4 QB rating, 29 TD's and 19 INT's.

No big shock that Barcelona's Lionel Messi was named FIFA's player of the year for the second straight time.  He's just that good.

The Philadelphia Eagles are now one of eight teams in four major professional sports with no titles in 50 seasons.  The others: Chicago Cubs, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, Sacramento Kings, Detroit Lions, Atlanta Hawks and Minnesota Vikings.

The war of words is getting good in the lead up to the New York Jets visit to New England this weekend, though the Patriots aren't really biting.  I haven't a clue why Rex Ryan is talking at all after the curb stomping the Patriots delivered just weeks back, but he's at it. 

Cam Cole at the Vancouver Sun writes that it is time that the NHL ban head shots of any kind - but what to do with fighting then? - if they're to get serious.  Funny that Sidney Crosby is now speaking out about head shots in the same way.  Don't recall him saying too much when Marc Savard was decked by Pittsburgh Penguin Matt Cooke last year.  Hypocrisy aside, the NHL would be wise to listen to Crosby.  He's the face of the game and with him out with a concussion, you can't do much more to highlite the problem than that. 

Andre Agassi was at a charity auction in Taiwan last week, and offered to show a winning bidder a naked picture of his wife Steffi Graf on his cell phone if the winning bid was over $4,000.  And when the extra money came through, he delivered.

A ridiculous buzzer beating shot in a high school hoops game in Ohio.

Sir Charles Barkley receives and demos "The Shake Weight".

Monday, January 10, 2011

Wild-card Wrap, and loads more

I'm in this ridiculous NFL pool south of the border that would take far too long to explain so I won't bother.  But as part of the pool, you need to pick each playoff game straight up.  Of the 145 entrants, not a single one had Seattle to win the game.  And win the Seahawks did, upsetting the New Orleans Saints.  Seattle now meets Chicago on Sunday afternoon and have opened as 10 point underdogs. Did you see Marshawn Lynch's awesome touchdown run?  I'd say it was right about here that the 'hawks started thinking they just might win.

One game I will not call an upset is the New York Jets win over the Indianapolis Colts, who just aren't very good.  And when is Peyton Manning gonna get the stick he so deserves for repeated playoff flameouts?  What is that now, seven times he's gone out his first playoff game, the vast majority at home?  The Jets will now face the New England Patriots, and will  need Mark Sanchez to be a far better QB than he's historically been playing in New England.  Here are his combined stats to date: he completed 25 of 54, one touchdown, SEVEN (7!) interceptions, two fumbles (1 lost) and he took three sacks.  The Pats opened -8.5 for that one.

Yesterday's games went more to the form yours truly called in the Prime Time Picks (see column at right), and made for a 3-1 playoff weekend.  The Baltimore Ravens hammered Kansas City with an easy 30-7 win, which sets up what feels like an annual playoff game (and bloodbath) with Pittsburgh, who are favored by a field goal.  The late game saw Green Bay down Philadelphia 21-16, and they'll face Atlanta next Saturday night with the Falcons two point favs.

Looks like an insurance issue has scuttled Tottenham's plans to bring in David Beckham for a loan run.  Sometimes insurance saves you from yourself, Spurs.

Might Brett Favre return to the NFL a Buffalo Bill?

By now, I'm sure you've seen and heard of Ted Williams, the great story of a homeless Columbus man with a booming set of pipes.  He's not picked up a few side jobs, including some work for the Cleveland Cavaliers that will buy him a house, not that there's a shortage of good real estate in Cleveland.  Anyways, check out his mugshots over the year as dug up by The Smoking GunIn related news, not sure who the knucklehead in Indianapolis is that thought taking to the streets in search of homeless people with talents was a great idea.

Here's a quick look at season ticket prices for MLS teams and the EPL.

The Anaheim Angels are considering a run at signing Albert Pujols if the St. Louis Cardinals don't re-sign him.  Of course, the Angels are often in on prime time free agents, they just don't generally sign any of them.

Ridiculous bowling shot...

Slapshot, post...two pieces of puck.  In case you missed it last week.

Alex Ovechkin scores while being tripped.  Oh, he was merely beating Bryan McCabe?  Well, still impressive.

Stevenage - a fourth division side in England - upset Premier League club Newcastle United in FA Cup play 3-1 this weekend.  How happy were the Stevenage supporters?  Well, one got loose and cold-cocked one of the Stevenage players in the post-game celebrations.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Prime Time Picks

A 1-1 day yesterday thanks to a shocking win from the Seattle Seahawks. Not sure anybody saw that coming. Up today are another two games to set up the divisional round next weekend.

The 1pm start today sees the Baltimore Ravens as 3 point favs in Kansas City, and we're thinking Ravens win a low-scoing game in the 20-10 range.

The late start has fireworks written all over it with the Green Bay Packers 2 point dogs at Philadelphia. Thinking the Packers pass at will on the weak secondary of the Eagles, and blitz Michael Vick all day and win a high scoring game somewhere in the 35-28 range. Should be the game of the weekend.

Good luck, enjoy the games.