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01/13/2012 04:39 PM
01/13/2012 04:40 PM
01/13/2012 04:44 PM
01/13/2012 11:26 PM
NFL playoff games
Saints (14-3) @ 49ers (13-3)—This is just second outdoor game for Saints since October 16; we saw how well that worked for Falcons in similar spot last week. Big question here is how Saints’ offense translates to outdoor game; in their last seven red zone drives outdoor, NO has just one TD/five FGs; their points/drive in red zone is 1.5 ppd lower outdoors (3.73) than in a dome. That said, Saints have won/covered nine games in row since hideous Week 8 loss to Rams in St Louis; they’re 6-0 vs Niners since teams stopped being divisional rivals in 2002- they won here 25-22 LY. 49ers finished with a ludicrous +28 turnover ratio, turning ball over only 10 times all year (none in last five games); they had a 10+-yard advantage in field position in seven of their last nine games. Must be noted that only five of their 16 games were played against teams with winning record (4-1, lost at Ravens). Been over a decade since home team in this round is home dog; Niners are 3-1-1 as an underdog this season. Saints are 3-3 as a road favorite. Over last 20 years, NFC’s #2 seed is 7-3 SU against #2 seed in this round (12-4 in AFC, so 19-7 league-wide).
Broncos (9-8) @ Patriots (13-3)— AFC’s #1 seed has covered this game just once in last eight years; league-wide, #1 seed is 4-12 vs spread in this game the last eight years. Not sure if it means anything, but Patriots fell behind 17-0/21-0 in last two regular season games, rallying to beat non-contending division rivals both times; NE won its last eight games, but covered once in last three played here. New England (-6) won 41-23 at Denver in Week 15, despite Broncos running ball for 252 yards. Tebow was 11-23/141 passing; three lost fumbles led to Patriots’ 24-yard edge in average field position, which is almost impossible to beat. Belichick is 4-1 in this round with a bye, losing to Jets LY; he’s 0-3 vs spread in this round as #1 seed, beating Jags 31-20 (-13.5) in ’07, Titans 17-14 (-6.5) in ’03- he also beat Fox 32-29 (-7) in Super Bowl eight years ago, when Fox was in Carolina. Tebow’s Broncos are 5-2 SU this year as an underdog (6-4 overall). Over last 20 years, Denver is actually 5-2 in Foxboro, losing 41-7 in last visit here, three years ago.
Texans (11-6) @ Ravens (12-4)—Houston won first-ever playoff game last week, now rookie QB Yates has first-ever road playoff start at Ravens’ squad playing first home playoff game under Harbaugh (had seven on road). Back in Week 6, Ravens (-7.5) overcame -2 turnover ratio and beat Houston 29-14, holding Schaub to 4.9 ypa in game where first Texan TD came after turnover on short 17-yard drive- Baltimore was also coming off a bye in that game, while Texans hadn’t had theirs yet. Ravens were just 1-3-1 vs spread in last five home games, after covering first three- they ran ball for 162/221 yards in last two regular season games, would expect to see more of that, to take heat off suspect-QB Flacco. Texans covered last four tries as an underdog; they’re 2-2 as road dogs this season. Over last 20 years, AFC’s #2 seed is 12-4 SU against #2 seed in this round (7-3 in NFC, so 19-7 league-wide); underdogs are 4-4 vs spread in this game the last eight years, 8-8 league-wide. This is just second time since October 23 that Texans are playing an outdoor game that isn’t in Florida.
Giants (10-7) @ Packers (15-1)—Been six years since defending Super Bowl champ won playoff game (lost last four); Giants (+8) upset Pack 23-20 in OT in frigid NFC title game here four years ago (after Pack had beaten them in regular season), two stats fueling Big Blue optimism, but Green Bay is 8-0 at home this year, 7-1 as home favorite (only non-cover was 35-26 win over Bucs). Packers (-6.5) beat Giants 38-35 at Swamp Stadium in Week 13, scoring TD on pick-6 in game where total yardage was 449-447- they crushed Giants 45-17 at Lambeau LY. Giants won four of last five games, as defense has come alive, allowing only four TDs in last three games- they’re 5-2 as an underdog this season, 3-2 on road (Jet game was technically road game, but not really). Packer OC Philbin isn’t with team, after tragic death of his 21-year old son last week. This is Giants’ first game on grass since 27-20 loss at Candlestick in Week 10 (Nov 13). #1 seeds are just 4-12 vs spread in this round last eight years, 3-5 in NFC. Over last six years, #1 seeds are just 5-7 SU in this round, so certain amount of pressure on Pack to make home field count.
01/14/2012 09:31 AM
Eight highest-paid coaches in the NFL; seven of the eight have coached in at least one Super Bowl
$7.5M—Belichick, NE— Won three Super Bowls, though none since he was proven to be a cheater.
$7M—Shanahan, Wsh— Won two Super Bowls, none since Elway quit playing.
$7M—Carroll, Sea—Further proof that this is a great country. Has done nothing in NFL to merit this salary.
$6M—Smith, Chi-- Got to Super Bowl with Rex Grossman at QB; might get there again if he can keep Cutler healthy.
$5.75M—Tomlin, Pitt—Looks so much like the actor Omar Epps that they’ve joked about it on Epps’ TV series House. $5.75M
—Whisenhunt, Ariz—Cardinals had one playoff win in Super Bowl era before he took over; he got them within one play of an unlikely SB title.
$5.5M—Reid, Phil—If the Eagles don’t want him, he can come coach a lot of teams. Even-tempered, a consistent winner.
$5.25M—Coughlin, NYG—Probably most underrated coach in NFL; front running NYC media wants him fired after almost every loss.
01/14/2012 09:34 AM
Saturday's List of 13: Nobody asked me, but........
13) While I was flipping between five late-night college basketball games Thursday, Golden State was putting Dwight Howard on the foul line 39 times, five more than the previous NBA record (Chamberlain, 2/22/62). Howard, shooting 42% coming in, was 21-39, as Orlando held off the injury-riddled Warriors 117-109.
JJ Redick’s comment? “Its amazing he made 21.”
12) By way of comparison, while Howard was 21-39, other 19 players who played in the game for both teams were a combined 28-35 from line.
11) Warriors may have struck gold with Washington State rookie Klay Thompson, whose dad Mychal was also a good NBA player (mostly with the Lakers).
10) Is it me, or are a lot of NBA players getting hurt, with all these games jammed together? Who thought this was a good idea, playing such a condensed, game-intensive schedule?
9) While New York State makes its employees take involuntary pay cuts, they’re sinking $40M into an expansion process at Saratoga Harness’ racino, which will include a hotel, which I must admit was long overdue- they should’ve put the hotel in when they first made the place a racino. But it does raise eyebrows to sink so much money into gaming.
8) Not only did Iona blow a 17-point halftime lead in a home loss to Manhattan Thursday, Gaels were still up 17 with 7:57 left. Jaspers’ game-winning shot was a fallaway 20-footer that banked in.
7) I was watching the Oregon State-Arizona game when a near-fracas occurred in OT; would lay blame squarely on Arizona’s Kyle Fogg for taunting, then bumping Cunningham after Fogg scored a basket and got fouled; then another Arizona player joined in and made things worse, after Cunningham shoved Fogg back, which could be excused. We’ll see how the league handles this; they might get a Beaver or two for leaving the bench area (incident happened in front of Arizona’s bench, on other end).
6) Australian Open starts Sunday night, but its Dick Enberg calling live matches at 3:30am and solid late-night entertainment. Kind of neat that’s its hot as hell in Australia while we’re in the depths of winter in my old home of New Jersey
5) Not sure what this means, if anything, but people who are critical of Tim Tebow are being called “anti-Tebites”. Guy is a media sensation; new words and everything.
4) Speaking of Tebow, Northern Colorado’s basketball game Saturday was moved up an hour so fans can see the Bears host Eastern Washington and still get home in time to watch the Broncos’ playoff game.
3) San Diego State continues to rack up transfers who play basketball; next year they’ll have Dwayne Polee from St John’s and James Johnson from Virginia ready to go. Steve Fisher is turning the Aztecs into what UNLV was in the PCAA/Big West 20-25 years ago, a perennial power.
2) Over last 6+ years (since 2005) teams from previous year’s Super Bowl are 3-8 in playoff games; Super Bowl winners are 1-4, losers 2-4 after the Steelers lost last week.
1) Thank God Mark Jackson doesn’t coach in the Pac-12; Utah-Stanford combined to go 6-26 from the foul line Thursday night. Woeful Utes were 1-9 (in a 3-point loss), Stanford 5-17. Hell, you could get Stanford alums Eldrick Woods, John McEnroe and Chelsea Clinton to line up and make more than five out of 17.
01/14/2012 09:36 AM
01/14/2012 01:40 PM
Okay here you go. I love the games today and there is no looking back. Swept the board last week and no reason not to continue this weekend. Been playing these all week and have parlays hooked up from the Alabama game on Monday. Have some opinions on totals but thats for me to know and you to find out. Saints are the better bet today imo.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS -3
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS -13
01/15/2012 11:17 AM
Will start posting on the other NCAA Basketball, NBA forums after this week to spread out the information.
The six highest-rated college basketball conferences.....
6) Mountain West-- What a job Steve Fisher has done at San Diego St; there was a time when you automatically picked against the Aztecs at home- now its one of the ten best home atmospheres in the country.
5) ACC-- Florida State beat Carolina by 33, but is 0-2 against the Ivies.
4) SEC-- Would the Hurley brothers be a good fit at South Carolina? Gamecocks look lost early in conference play.
3) Big East-- Louisville-Pitt-Villanova are combined 3-13 in league.
2) Big X-- Baylor-Kansas Monday should be an excellent game.
1) Big Dozen-- Has four of top 10, seven of top 40. Northwestern goes up to #48 after home upset of Michigan State.
01/15/2012 11:19 AM
Sunday's List of 13: Wrapping up a busy sports Saturday
13) There were 31 points scored in the last 7:36 of the Saints-49er game; kind of tough to go from watching that to watching Tim Tebow run an option offense like he's Jamelle Holloway at Oklahoma 25 years ago.
12) Chris Paul scored 33 as the Clippers beat the Lakers 102-94 in first matchup of the season; coaches should take clips of Blake Griffin from this game- he played his ass off. Nothing flashy, just very tough.
11) By the way, the NBA's quality of play is way low; Kings were down 52-23 at the half Saturday night in Dallas. Too many games, not enough recovery time or practice time for the players.
10) If you put Baylor's resume into a Big East uniform, they'd be #1 in the country and maintream media would be touting them as a super team. They're very, very good and will be tough to beat in March.
9) Isiah Thomas coaches Florida International, a bad team in the Sun Belt Conference; his Panthers lost 87-81 in OT at UL-Lafayette Saturday, in a game where FIU was 25-33 on the foul line, Ragin' Cajuns 29-53. Hard to win an overtime game when you miss 24 foul shots, but ULL did.
8) Underdogs are 12-2-1 vs spread in ACC, 6-1-1 on road, 6-1 at home. Explain to me how Florida State scores 41 against Harvard and loses to Princeton in triple OT, then beats North Carolina 90-57. Go figure.
7) FOX research did good job telling us that 1982 Jets were last team to win an NFL playoff game while turning ball over five times; last team to be -4 in turnovers and win a playoff game? The '77 Raiders, against the Baltimore Colts. Stabler-to-Casper in OT was the winning score.
6) This season isn't going to end well for Mike D'Antoni; Knicks were down 70-47 at the half in Oklahoma City, lost by 12, Carmelo Anthony is hurt and the vultures are starting to circle with New York 6-6.
5) Marshall beat Central Florida 65-64 in battle of C-USA unbeatens, despite going 12-25 from the foul line. Thundering Herd won their last three games by a combined total of five points.
4) George Mason beat James Madison 89-83 in a foulfest with a total of 89 foul shots taken; at game's end, 11 players had either fouled out or had four fouls. Mason won despite being -10 in turnovers.
3) Biggest upset of the day was Eastern Michigan winning 51-48 at Ball State as 12.5-point underdogs.
2) Bronx Bombers hoodwinked Seattle into trading them Michael Pineda for an unproven DH with 69 big league PAs; you don't trade pitching in this world, especially power pitchers, for a freakin' DH.
1) If you're John Elway and you run the Broncos, do you put your career as an executive on the line with Tim Tebow, or do you trade him to the Jaguars and find a more traditional QB to build around? You know, a guy who can actually hit the side of a barn when he throws the ball.