Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Cleveland Browns
Dallas Cowboys (+1) vs Indianapolis Colts
New Orleans Saints (-3) vs Cincinnati Bengals
Miami Dolphins (-3) vs Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants (+ 3.5) @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Last Week: 0-6-0
2006 Season: 29-27-5 (.519)*
*Monday Night: 7-4-0
Needless to say the loss to the Jets last weekend was hard to take. But we're champs. Ain't no thang. Now all we have to do is go up to cheese land, and remind Brett Fav-rah that he's actually old and washed up. Probably a little easier said than done, but hell, we should steamroll these fools right? Right?!? Fact is, the Pack are historically tough in Lambeau. And while they may only be 4-5, they have won 3 of their last 4 on the strength of Brett and his passing attack. During their current run, Favre is 88-149 and 1,022 yards with 6 TDs versus only 2 picks. I'd say he bounced back nicely after the bye week wouldn't you? The one thing the Pats do have going in their favor is, while they may have 6 defenders including Rodney Harrison on their injury list, the Pack will have to deal with rookie wideout Greg Jennings playing at less than 100%. He's been a dangerous weapon next to Donald Driver this season, hauling in 29 grabs for almost 500 yards and 3 scores. The Pats success on defense will lie directly in how effective they are in stopping the pass. As for the offense. Never thought I'd say this, but Tom Brady needs to step up....and quick. Pats fans have already accepted that are receivers are never going to be as good as we want them to be, and now we just need our main man to do what he does best. Find the open man! I'll take the tipped pass interceptions now and then, but when they happen this frequently, that means something is off. And it's been Tom's accuracy. After the Monday night performance against the Vikes, everyone immediately forgot that until that game, Tom had been mired in the worst start completion % why in his entire career. If he can't right the ship this week I might have to start mentioning how maybe it hasn't been a joke that last 2 seasons when he' s showed up every week in the injury report.
The big news out of Red Sox Nation recently has of course centered around Asian phenom Daisuke Matsuzaka (Dice-oo-kay Mat-soo-zah-ka). Matsuzaka, or the Dais-Man as many have dubbed him, had his negotiating rights purchased by the Red Sox for an astonishing 6 billion Yen, or 51 million bones. Well done I say Theo and friends. Well done indeed. Not only will the Sox have a chance to land the hottest free agent on the market, they were able to keep Daisuke away from their heated rivals, the Yanks. Now all they have to do, is sign him within the next 30 days. And unless they made the bid simply to keep Matsuzaka out of the US for a year, I don't see how a deal won't get done. Let's give Theo and crew the benefit of the doubt on that one. Now, I don't want to jump the gun on this guy and start handing him 15-20 wins like a lot of people are already doing, but I'm excited. He's 26, he loves to pitch a lot of innings, and while his career numbers might seem to go up and down a little, he's coming right into his prime. A guy with 5 pitches (including the "gyro ball" which is basically a screwball but you should check it out at YouTube) coming into his prime? Yea I'll take my chances. Especially when the money isn't counting against the salary cap. However, while I strongly support that move, there's another move going down that I couldn't be more against. Yes, I'm talking about the strong possibility the Sox are signing J.D Drew to a 4-year $56 million contract. That's exactly what this team needs. Another soft outfielder (only played more than 135 games twice in 10 year career) who constantly has his desire questioned. I understand he's an on base machine (career .393 and posted .436 in '04) and he can hit for some power (although I bet it would surprise most people that he's only topped 30 homers or 100 RBI once in his career), but I just don't want him on my team. His attitude sucks, and his performance doesn't counter balance that. And $14 mil a year? Sounds like the Sox owe Drew's agent Scott Boras a favor. Maybe that's why the Dodgers are filing tampering charges against the Sox on this whole deal. And how are you going to sell this to the fans. I won't sit here and apologize for Trot Nixon, because he greatly underperformed in the last few years, but he became such a fan favorite and an icon for his hustle and his grit. To replace him is one thing, but to replace him with this prissy tool who has always seemed more interested in the money than the actual game. Good thing I really like that Asian, or else I could be super pissed right now. But rest assure, the Drew bashing has only begun.
Danny Being Danny
Just when you thought the Celtics season was spiraling down the drain, they turn around and blow out the Pacers at home. Well lemme tell ya somethin, if Ainge can't turn that win into a few more in good time, he and Glenn Rivers may be out of a J-O-B. Not only is it clear that the "young guys" aren't getting any better, but it's become painfully clear that Glenn Rivers M.D is about as good a coach as he is an actual doctor. Subbing guys at weird times, not playing guys altogether for no apparent reason (Rondo) and just flat out not being able to create plays that get guys open. At this point, I don't know whether or not it's the fact that the players aren't getting Doc's philosophy, Doc's philosophy sucks, or the players themselves aren't actually any good. If it's either of the first two, then Doc has to go, and if it's any of the three, Danny has to go too. The plan was to keep Paul, and either build up a young core around him, or bring in enough young guys to make a package to trade for a star (like Iverson this summer?). Well, it seems we are the only ones that like our young guys like Jefferson, Green and Perkins enough to want them. Which leaves the Celts with a bunch of young guys who can't play, and a few shoot-first veterans like Pierce and Wally. Celt fans have been very patient with Danny and Glenn, but time seems to be running out. Seeing as no veteran was brought in this offseason (call Telfair a veteran and I may have to contact a member of his entourage and have you shot), it looks like Danny is still trying to force the youth movement. And it's just not working. Their inability to mesh or find an identity is why I picked them to finish 10th in the East, and while they can be fun to watch on certain nights, it's that very inconsistency that should keep them down and force ownership to issue pink slips to both the Mormon and the good doctor.
Still Nothin' Bruin
Hey since I touched on the other major Boston sports teams, I figured I'd at least mention how well the Bruins are doing. Normally, that would be an opening I'd use to set up a slam on B's, but they actually have been respectable of late, going 5-3-2 in their last 10 and winning their last 3. I say good for them, but I still don't plan on watching. Even though now I can catch a game or two in beautiful HD. Eh, so maybe I'll check 'em out. From the scraps I catch on SportsCenter, Patrice Bergeron and Phil Kessel actually seem to be puttin'g on some sort of show. Then again
And of course, I'd be remiss if I didn't touch on the game that I (along with the rest of college football) have been hyping for close to 2 months. It's finally here. This Saturday. Number 1 vs number 2. Wolverines and Buckeyes. Packed house in Columbus. Tickets selling for more than $1,500 a piece. Does it get any bigger than this? Not that I've seen. In fact, I'm gonna go ahead and name this the biggest regular season college football game ever! I mean geez, only the Big 10 title, #1 ranking and National championship bid are on the line here! Not to mention bragging rights in more than likely the sports biggest rivalry. It's sure to be an instant classic to say the least. And seeing as I've had Ohio St. #1 in my poll all season long, I'm gonna go ahead and say they win this won. They have more playmakers on offense (Ginn, Smith, Gonzalez, Pittman) and their defense leads the nation in points against. Don't get me wrong, I respect everything Chad Henne, Mike Hart and Mario Manningham can do for the Maze and Blue, and I understand they have a vastly underrated defense, but I think Troy Smith will just be too much for them to handle. Besides, Jim Tressel and his Buckeyes have owned Lloyd Carr since the man in the sweater vest took the helm at OSU, winning 4 out of 5 against Michigan. And don't think Lloyd Carr doesn't know it. Want to know how a coach can win 10 games almost every year and still somehow always find his head on the chopping block? It's called losing this game more than you win it. Just ask former OSU coach John Cooper (funny thing is Cooper actually started off by winning 5 of his first 6 against Michigan but then just couldn't beat them late in his career). But as for the actual game play. It won't be a shootout, but I'll take OSU in this one 24-20. Here we go. Get ready to reserve a spot in the title game for someone. Sorry, not you Rutgers. Oh and one more piece of bad news for Michigan fans? Michigan has gone into this game in Columbus undfeated 4 times. Their record? 0-2-1. Maybe their due...or maybe it just isn't meant to be...