Archives for posts with tag: sports

Hi everyone or one, I’m back after a short vacation; recharged and ready for a great 2013. How great is the NFL playoff match-ups looking this year, Green Bay vs Minnesota, Baltimore vs Indy, Cinncy vs Houston, and Seattle vs Washington should all be exciting games. How bout those Clippers!? I don’t think they could they could hang seven games versus a good shooting team like Oklahoma but they’ll be fun as hell on national TV. After David Price only signed a one year, 10 million dollar contract, there’s no doubt he’ll be traded by mid-season. The National Championship Game should be a tight game, hard to bet against a Nick Saban coached team with this much time to prepare. I don’t quiet think Notre Dame has the weapons on offense to generate any consistent pressure on Alabama. Looks like two Canadians could be going back to back number in the NBA Draft with Anthony Bennett tearing it up at UNLV and consensus once in a decade player Andrew Wiggins going to be a one and done next year. While most people thing the NFL Draft is boring in general, this years looks like the least star-studded class in years, promising to be a first round heavy on lineman and cornerbacks. I have purposeful not written anything on the NHL, why give attention to a league on lock-out, if they don’t reach an agreement this week all Canadian’s should ban together and drop Gary Bettman in the middle of the ocean for ruining hockey. Come back later for NFL wildcard previews.

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  • The Patriots continue to struggled against defenses with elite pass-rushers. Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer struggled to contain Aldon Smith and Justin Smith, before the latter left with an injury. Funny how the NFL works sometimes, the Giants and Niners both of the Patriots number, but the Niners can’t beat the Giants, and Giants consistently beat themselves.
  • Is there anyway they don’t split this year’s MVP vote between Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. Have you ever been more excited to here “now we’re going to Minnesota with a game-break“.
  • Detroit is going to be in tough position when they have to re-sign Matt Stafford. Being one of the last QB’s to get a huge rookie contract, he’s going to demand to be paid like a former No.1 pick. After a performance like yesterday, three seasons later you’re still wondering what you have in this guy. While his numbers are great, they are such empty numbers, it’s kind of like Brad Pitt in “Moneyball” “No one gives a shit if you lose the last game of the season“, no one gives a shit if you throw 400 yards in a loss with 4 picks. What is even worse is they lost to team starting a rookie drafted in the 6th round out of San Diego St.
  • I’m not seeing the logic of the Bucs trading CB Aqib Talib with no one on the roster even close to replacing him. Drew Brees took them out to the woodshed and beat them like the NFL’s ugly red-headed step-child, throwing 26 of 39 for 307 and 4 TD’s
  • Mike Shanahan is quickly regaining back his reputation as a football genius, winning games starting two different rookie quarterbacks in the same season. Has anyone ever done that?
  • Kirk Cousins made himself some Matt Cassel/Matt Flynn money yesterday, 329 and 2 TD’s.
  • Who would have guessed that the Week 16 San Francisco versus Seattle game was going to be the premier game of the week.
  • How bout those same Seahawks posting back to back 50 spots. Typical Pete Carroll trying to drum up attention for his teams anyway he knows how.
  • Yesterday’s Oakland/ Kansas City game went exactly how a 2012 Raiders/Chiefs game would play-out, five Sebastian Janikowski field goals, with the Chiefs going to 0-3 on fourth down, twice in the Raiders end.
  • Big fan of the Josh Hamilton signing for the Angles. First, who really cares about the contract numbers anymore in baseball, everyone is getting paid like a lotto winner, get over it! Secondly, you’re like holy crap they just teamed up Albert Pujols and Hamilton, then you remember that Mike Trout was the best player in the game last year, it has the potential of the best 3-4-5 of all time.
  • Baseball has resumed becoming an arm’s race again. Kind topsy-turfy when you think about how it was only two years ago the wide success of the movie “Moneyball” and that Oakland just made the playoff again last season with the payroll of what the Angels are paying Hamilton and Pujols combined.
  • Adding R.A. Dickey to the Jays is going to be a nightmare for opposing managers. Toronto is going to force opposing teams to use their entire bench’s when they play the Jays, you start with a big lefty in Johnson, right-handed flamethrower in Morrow, then a knuckleballer in Dickey, another lefty in Romero, then soft tossing Buehrle. Seems like the Jays are hoping that a more than few managers are going to over-manage prepping for the Jays.

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Cincinnati Bengals (7-6, 6-6-1 ATS) vs Philadelphia Eagles (4-9, 3-9-1 ATS) @ Lincoln Financial Field, 8.20 PM

Line: CIN by 5

Total: 45

This is one of the toughest Thursday night spreads of the season. The Bengals were winners of four straight before losing to the Cowboys at home 20-19, blowing a 9 point lead. How will the Bengals respond in a must win game on a short week. Even if Cinncy pulls this one out tonight, they still have play Pittsburgh and Baltimore, beating both to make the wild card.

Then there’s the Eagles, who I expected to roll over last week in Tampa, instead down 21-10, Nick Foles leads two touchdown drives with four minutes left, lifting Philly to a 23-21 win. With Vick, McCoy, and Jackson all missing again this week, Foles and Bryce Brown led Eagles have covered the spread the last two weeks against the Bucs and Cowboys. The Eagles are also doing a better job protecting Foles when he drops back in the pocket, but they’ll be tested against Geno Atkins & Carlos Dunlap and the seemingly endless line depth the Bengals have.

Bengals WR A.J. Green (who was featured in yesterday’s post) should be targeted early in tonight’s game, when he lines up against a battered Nnamdi Asomugha. Cincinnati will probably trying some big plays in their first series to suck the life out of the Philly faithful (cause 4-9 team and showing up on Thursday is as faithful as it gets) and lower the confidence of a young Eagles squad.

If those big plays do not workout for the Bengals, the Eagles will stick around much like they did the last two weeks. On a short week you cannot trust a Marv Lewis coached team to show up, even if the guy on the other sideline is packing up his office after the game, I wouldn’t count out the “new/young” Eagles as the home underdog on a short week.

Take Philly +5 and the under.

Here are some of the athletes that are on the cusp of becoming household names next year for sports fans.

A.J. Green

If the 4th pick in the 2011 draft had been drafted by the Falcons or like the Jets, you’d be hearing about Green none stop, but cause he plays in Cincinnati, Green plays in the shadow of the Steelers and Ravens. Green was one the top players coming into college, often being compared to young Randy Moss because of his long frame, great speed and jumping ability. In three seasons at Georgia, Green had 166 catches for 2619 yards and 23 touchdowns. He also missed the first four games of his junior year for receiving improper benefits, you could argue if he had played those four games he could have gone No.1 in the draft with off the chat numbers.

His first season in Cinncy was a huge success despite having a rookie QB in Andy Dalton and no off-season to train together. Most figured the Bengals were going to be a disaster in 2011, but ended up making the playoffs as a wild card team. Green led all rookie receivers with 65 receptions and 1057 yards. He and Dalton would go on to become the all time leaders in yards and receptions for a rookie QB/WR combination.

So far in 2012, Green has continued his development into a superstar, with 79 catches for 1151 yards and is tied for the lead in receiving TD’s with 10. The Bengals have had a revolving door at the no.2 WR spot this year, forcing Green to beat constant double teams , Green still leads the league with 7 catches over 40+ yards. While Andy Dalton is sure looks to go down as one of the best 2nd round QB’s of all time, he’s certainly not on the level of Matt Stafford, who hammers throws to Calvin Johnson, and Green does not get the support of a top RB like Arian Foster in Houston, a la Andre Johnson. If the Bengals end up making the playoffs this season, I fully expect them to have a game centerd on getting the ball in the hands of A.J. Green and he’ll be fully capable of taking his game to superstar levels. In two seasons from now Green could be in a position to be the NFL first $140 million dollar WR.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UT7MEMIATQY

Clayton Kershaw

With all the attention in Dodgerland centered around Magic Johnson and the $2.1 billion it took to purchase the team, then the Hanely Ramirez and Adrian Gonzalez trades, and finally the massive Zach Grienke contract, it’s easy to forget that the best player was already on the roster.

Making his major league debut at 20 years old, Kershaw, already in his fourth season with the Dodgers, holds a career 61-37 record with a 2.79 ERA and 974 K’s. The big south-paw is a two-time all-star, a two-time MLB ERA champion, 2011 Cy Young, 2011 Gold Glove, and 2012 Roberto Clemente award winner.

This is just getting started into what the young ace has accomplished in the majors, he’s the first pitcher to lead his league back to back in ERA since Randy Johnson in 2000/2001. By finishing with the lowest ERA in the majors two years in a row, he’s only the fourth pitcher to accomplish this since WWII, the other three: Pedro Martinez, Greg Maddux, and Sandy Koufax. That’s pretty elite company.

Kershaw was a rock again in 2012 going 14-9 with a 2.53 ERA, 229 Ks in 227.2 innings for a Dodgers team that struggled with constant headlines over speculation with ownership and constant roster turnover.

If all goes right for L.A. this year, Kershaw could be looking at a 25+ win season with a sub 2.00 ERA lining up, Kershaw to be Major League Baseball first $200 million dollar pitcher.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnDK13__bk8

O.J. Mayo

Mayo is an amazing talent that has had trouble follow him everywhere (and he’s been to a lot of places!). Mayo is originally from West Virgina but moved to Kentucky because they allow middle school students to play H.S. basketball. As a seventh grader Mayo was averaging 23.1 PPG playing against H.S. competition. After three season’s dominating Kentucky H.S. basketball, O.J. moved to Ohio, where he’d go on to two consecutive state Player of the Year titles. With all the moving Mayo’s eligibility was always a year behind so in 2006 as an 18-year-old junior he was preparing to make the jump to the NBA, but later that season the NBA made the rule you had to be one year removed from H.S. to be draft eligible. Instead of going to college, Mayo choose to play his senior year back home in Huntington, West Virgina and that’s where the real fun begins.

Mayo ended up getting suspended for assaulting an official and then a few months later ended up making headline when he and a bunch of friends were booked by police smoking pot. Despite all that Mayo would still win his third state Player of the Year award, signing with USC to play his lone season in college.

After a strong season at USC which saw varying level of success, ESPN “Outside the Lines” series did a whole expose on how Mayo was taking improper benefits at USC and the strange odyssey of his recruitment to ‘SC. The following season the NCAA would strip ‘SC of all their wins from the 2007-2008 season and forfeting future post-season play due to Mayo’s actions while on campus.

Mayo ended up going third in the very strong 2008 NBA draft, but later would be traded on draft day from Minnesota to Memphis for Kevin Love. His rookie year was strong, scoring 30 points in a game seven times that year, finishing second to Derrick Rose in rookie of the year voting.

The next two season ended up being filled with more controversy, with a fist fight over a gambling debt with Tony Allen, 10 game suspension for violating the leagues substance abuse policy, ended up costing him his starting job and the coaching staff lost faith in him. Memphis would let Mayo walk out the door at the end of the season with little regret.

Dallas signing Mayo to a two-year deal is looking like the steal of the off-season. With no Dirk for most of the year, Jason Kidd and Jason Terry gone,the Mavs needed someone who can fill the basket. Mayo has been an absolute revelation for Dallas, scoring 20.8 PPG along with 3.5 APG and 4.0 RPG, all career highs.

At 25 years old and moving constantly for the last decade, Mayo seems to have finally found a home in Dallas. With an owner like Mark Cuban will to massage his massive ego, Mayo can help stay relevant for a few more years and live up to his immense hype as a teenager.

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  • What a slate of one o’clock games yesterday. Nothing like feeling like and idiot, then a genius, then going right back down to idiot again with my picks.
  • Nick Foles 381 yards, a TD and a running TD. What a frustrating game. Tampa has serious issues against the passing game.
  • Baltimore/Washington has to go down as one of the top three games of the season. That game had everything in it. Who’d of thought that Kirk Cousins was going to come in after sitting for 56 minutes and finish off the Skin’s scoring drive. I’m getting mild chest pains just thinking about it.
  • Ryan Fitzpatrick is simply not getting it done in Buffalo. Bills defense held the Rams offense to 7 points for nearly 50 minutes and Buffalo can’t score more than 12 points in horrible Great Lake weather, against a dome team.
  • Andrew Luck gets another come from behind win to add to his ever-growing legend. He’s leading the league with 17 interceptions, which will probably end up costing him the Rookie of the Year, but his talent is remarkable. If Indy ever gets a running back with some home run ability, they’ll be scary good.
  • Adrian Peterson is either a medical marvel or a has the best steroid program cycle ever. Six months removed from ACL surgery and he’s knocking on the door of 2,000 yards. There are few things better than watching AP gallop, but I hope this amazing season is not tainted.

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  • Someone lit a fire under Cam Newton and the Panthers yesterday. Carolina’s offense was hitting on all cylinders for the first three-quarters. Greg Olsen and Steve Smith seemed like they were making endless acrobatic sideline catches that kept extending drives. Atlanta continues to struggle to find consistency on a week to week basis.
  • If you tuned into the Jets/Jags games your love and passion of football well supersedes mine.
  • Colin Kaepernick’s 70 yard run to cover the spread vs the Dolphins. It was almost identical to Cam Newton’s run earlier versus the Falcons.
  • Didn’t foresee Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt getting canned after the season, but after 9 straight losses and absolutely quitting in yesterday’s 58-0 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, signed his walking papers. He’ll get hired quickly for another head coaching gig, he just better sign somewhere with a quarterback. Dallas, Chicago, San Diego, Cleveland, Detroit all could easily use the bright mind of the Whiz.
  • As of yesterday the places looking to hire head coaches looks like: Philly, Dallas, K.C., Cleveland, Tennessee, Minneapolis, Chicago? San Diego, Carolina, Jacksonville, and Detroit?
  • If I had to rate those in order of 1 to 11 you’d have to say 1. Philly, 2. San Diego, 3. Chicago, 4.Dallas, 5.Carolina/Detroit, 6.Minny, 7. Buffalo/Cleveland, 8. K.C., 9. Jacksonville.
  • Juan Manuel Marquez got Manny Pacqiuao with a perfect punch on Saturday night. Anytime you catch a guy square on the chin like that, its lights out no matter how big and tough you’re. While it certainly didn’t look like the same Manny from his De la Hoya/Hatton/Cotto dominance (cough! steroids! cough!), he made an amateur’s mistake faking the jab and then dropping his hands and not protecting his chin, giving Marquez the biggest opening he’s seen since golden gloves. I don’t think we will ever see Pac-man in a ring fighting again. With all his political power in the Philippians, the massive amounts of monies he’s made, and getting “KTFO”, there’s simply nothing left.
  • And finally, Johnny Manziel, 2012 Heisman winner. WOW! did you see how many votes he got in the South. I really underestimated people’s hatred of Alabama in the down there. Texas A&M has officially been put on the map in college football.

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Denver Broncos (9-3, 7-4-1 ATS) vs Oakland Raiders (3-9, 3-8-1) @ Oakland Coliseum, 8.20 PM
Line: DEN by 10.5
Total: 49

On the surface this looks like an easy win for the Broncos on another lame Thursday nighter. Denver’s 4-0 versus the AFC West this season and absolutely crushed the Raiders in their last meeting on Sept. 30th, 36-6. Peyton Manning was picking apart Oakland’s pass defense, going 30-38 for 338 yards, possessing the ball for close to 40 minutes of the games.

Oakland looks to avoid a six game losing streak that has seen the their defense allow Tampa and Cincinnati to run for over 200 yards on the ground. Reports last week of Terrelle Pryor possible starting for Carson Palmer, rumors of Jon Gruden returning to the Raiders sidelines the same day current head coach Dennis Allen was going to bury his father, and sending home first round pick Rolando McClain has put the entire team on notice, that nobody is safe in Raider-land.

Darren McFadden is probable for tonight’s game, giving Oakland a legitimate home-run hitter in the line-up. The combination of McFadden and Marcell Reece should force Denver to respect the run game keeping their safeties closer to the line of scrimmage, allowing Palmer to work out of the play-action sets he runs so well.

After seeing how tragedy can impact a professional football team, giving players a greater goal to achieve over personal accomplishments (Indy and KC), the Raiders, who have been embarrassed for weeks on end, could very well come out a very angry bunch that wants to win one for their grieving coach.

Double digit home-dogs are 88-63 ATS since 1980, 9-0 in the last two seasons. Combining that with a Oakland team that probably wants to exact some revenge after being beaten badly on the road and a Broncos team that could be looking to next weeks road game against the Ravens, I’d give Oakland a real shot tonight.

I’d never bet against Peyton, but if you feel the need to make this game a little for interesting, why not take a chance on the home-dog in a division game.

Heisman Trophy

Since the day Manti Te’o shocked the recruiting world picking Notre Dame over USC and BYU, becoming the first Defensive Player of the Year to sign with the Irish in forever, he’s held a special place with Irish fans. Te’o has lived up to his reputation in four years in South Bend,  and easily could have been a first round pick along with teammate Michael Floyd and nobody would have blamed him.

Middle-linebackers don’t usually come back for the glamour of a senior season’s to be on the cover of magazines and to be talked about as Heisman favorites on the game day shows. The Hawaiian knew if all the pieces fell into place there was a chance he could be invited to the Heisman ceremony like Ndamukong Suh or Tyrann Mathieu but likely would come home empty-handed as defensive players really need to go above and beyond to take home the Heisman.

While everything was falling into place on the football field, with Heisman frontrunners literally throwing away their chances week after week (Barkley, Geno Smith, Colin Klein, McCarron), once the media got wind that both Te’o grandmother and girlfriend past away in a 24 hour period, it melted the hearts of everyone that heard his story, leaving a soft place for Te’o, even for those who grew up hating all-things Notre Dame.

One of the benefits of playing at Notre Dame, since they’re not bound to a conference, the played in the East Coast (Miami, Boston, Pittsburgh, North Carolina) the Mid-West (Oklahoma, Indiana, Michigan) and on the West Coast (Los-Angeles, Palo Alto, Utah) so everywhere the Irish and Te’o went, his story was told all over the place. With all eyes on Te’o, he lead the Irish defense to an undefeated record and the number one scoring defense in the nation.

While the Notre Dame struggled from their own quarterback issues, the Irish only played one offense in the top 20 (Oklahoma #12) then you’d have to go all the way down to USC at #31 and Miami #39 before it drops off drastically with BYU (58), Stanford (59), Purdue (62), Pitt (65), Michigan (83), Michigan St. (92), Navy (95) and Wake Forrest (119). Not really the murders row of college football. They basically played against one fringe NFL QB in all season in Landry Jones. Which is kind of getting lost in all hoopla of ND being back on top.

This is also not Manti’s best statical season, last season Te’o had 128 tackles to 103 in ’12, 13.5 tackles for loss to 5.5 in ’12, and 5 sacks to 1.5 this season. Of course, he did have the seven interceptions with went a long in pulling out wins versus Michigan and BYU.

It’s clear that this years award is Manti’s to win by the sheer redundancy of the other two candidates. Kansas St. Colin Klein and Texas A&M’s John Manziel are mirror images of each other, the only difference being age. Klein sealed his Heisman fate when then no.1 Kansas St. lost to Baylor and Manziel while exciting, is a freshman and getting voters from the South to vote for a freshman to win the Heisman is like voting for Obama.

Not having USC wide receiver Marqise Lee at the ceremony is an outrage. The kind of year he had deserves recognition, but I guess the Notre Dame fans who voted for Te’o probably left the Trojan wide-out off their ballot as a little screw you to ‘SC fans. Lee had 112 catches, 1680 yards, and 14 touchdown catches this year, 802 yard on kick returns with 1 TD, 106 rushing yards and two tackles on defense. By my horrible math, that’s 2588 total yards, which jumps off the page a little more than Te’os 1.5 sacks.

  • The Hornets landed on the Pelicans to rebrand the franchise. Was “The Roadkill” taken? What color scheme goes with a Pelican? Dirt and Oil spill? Do they really want to associate a basketball team with something that’s known to fall out of the sky and dies? Maybe they should have dropped the nickname thing and just gone as New Orleans.
  • Must be nice to be a professional baseball player these days. Shane Victorino and Dan Haren coming off what could best be described as average seasons get paid 13 million a year. If I have a child, I’m praying for a left-handed knuckle-baller.
  • I just saw The Dark Knight Rises for the first time yesterday, that movie is so unrealistic, Hines Ward returning a kickoff for a TD, ya right! Especially when you have Gotham City Mike Wallace on the bench. What does Gotham City Mike Wallace run a 40 in? my guess like 3.99 seconds and casting picks Ward.

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Houston Rockets (7-7) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (11-4) @ Chesapeake Energy Arena, 8 PM
Line: OKC by 9
Total: 207.5

James Harden will be making his first trip back to Oklahoma City since being traded right before the start of training camp. So far, the trade seems to be paying off for all sides. Harden got his huge contract and ability to show he’s more then a role player.

Oklahoma has had a seeming-less transition adding Kevin Martin (15 ppg) to the starting line up, while freeing up more playing time for their endless bench of former first rounders (veterans like Collison, Perkins, Sefolosha and recent picks like Maynor, Thabeet, Jackson, Orton, Lamb, and Jones III. The Thunder could piece together another deal for a top-end talent without even affecting the starting line-up. Any rebuilding team would take back Orton and Thabeet (one of two seven-footers) a potential starting point guard in Maynor or Jackson and an athletic wing in Lamb or Jones. Scary stuff!

It’s a shame Houston had to play last night against my beloved Raptors, as the Rockets are give up 100.2 points per game and as Omir Asik is the only one playing any defense for them, the Thunder could easily drop 130 on them tonight.

Check back tomorrow on my story about “Why I Hate James Harden”.

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#4 Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0) vs #2 Duke Blue Devils (6-0) @ Cameron Indoor Stadium, 9.30 PM
Line: Duke by 6
Total: 144

Seriously, does no one else find it weird that Duke is already 6-0. Its November 28th. Notre Dame football won’t play again til January 7th, while Notre Dame basketball (already 6-1) will play eight more games before the National Championship game even kicks-off. Just me?

Mason Plumlee has really thrived since brother Miles left for the NBA last summer. Plumlee is averaging a double-double so far this season (19 pts/10 rebs). Expect Mason to continue his improved play against Ohio St., who has yet to find a replacement for the departed Jared Sullinger.

Buckeyes guard Aaron Craft will show off his lock down defensive skills when he tries to slow down the smoother jumper of Seth Curry. While Duke will have to find an answer for Bucks forward DeShaun Thomas. Thomas is scoring 24 ppg along with 7.3 rbg and 1.5 apg. At 6’7, he presents a big match-up problem for the Dukies. Duke does have all five starters averaging over 10 points per game though.

Blue Devils guard Rasheed Sulaimon looks to be next in the long line of slightly undersized two-guards to play in Cameron Indoor along the lines of Dahntay Jones, Andre Dawson, DeMarcus Nelson, Nolan Smith and J.J. Reddick.

The 2012 NFL season has been thrilling to say the least. With this years cast of characters finally starting to reveal themselves, we’ll look at the contenders and pretenders for this years Super Bowl.

Contenders:

New England Patriots (8-3)- First place in the AFC East, the Patriots offense has out scored the next team in the NFL by 80 points (407 Points For). Despite missing TE Rob Gronkwonski, the Pats managed to put up 50 plus points for the third time this season on Thursday vs the Jets.
The Pats have two rookies starting on defense, there’s an old adage in football, for every rookie you start on defense, you can add one more loss to the schedule. After the surprise loss in Arizona (blame that on Chandler Jones) and Baltimore (blame that on Don’ta Hightower) the one real blemish is a road loss in Seattle. Many good teams have lost games in Seattle over the years as its one of the only true home-field advantages left. The Pats offense did enough to win the game but the defense couldn’t stop rookie Russell Wilson leading from a game winning drive.

New England have struggles stopping 4th quarter drives for years now (two Super Bowls and a fourth and two in Indy). With the Addition of Aqib Talib, the Pats D will definitely alleviate some of those concerns. Since Ty Law left, the Pats have struggled to cover the entire field in the two-minute defense when they can make limited to zero personal changes. Talib has the ability to line one on one and shutdown a third of the field. He can cover all types of receivers and be a shutdown corner-back, at 6’2, he can line up against big possession types like Plaxico Buress and he has lots experience lining up against physical types like Roddy White. This by far the most talented corner they have had in a while.

While New England’s offense has been scoring at prolific rates, they lacked a running back that has kept defenses honest. Nobody really feared the Pats on a 3rd and short while protecting the lead. Players like Kevin Faulk and Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis were good players that did certain thing very well but the combination of Steven Ridley, Shane Vereen, Danny Woodhead, and Brandon Bolden (suspended for 4 games) do everything really well. It doesn’t matter who’s back there teams can’t stop the Patriots more balanced attack.

With games against possible AFC championship preview Dec 10th vs Houston and a possible Super Bowl preview on Dec 16th vs the 49ers, those teams  should give to much away, cause the teams that play Bill Belichick twice in a season, hate it, just ask the Jets, Dolphins and Bills.

Denver Broncos (8-3)- It’s really worked out in every way possible for the two John’s in Denver. While Elway and Fox dreamed of a QB who could throw the ball, despite early scares in Atlanta and Houston, Peyton Manning has been everything as advertised. The Broncos are riding a six game winning streak that includes back to back road wins in Cincinnati and Carolina. When teams win back to back road games on the opposite coast, it shows this team is well prepared and should be taken seriously.

After winning six straight, Denver will play a tough Tampa squad at home but probably rout the Bucs after their tough division loss last week. Then a road win in Oakland would have them at 10-3 playing in Baltimore the next week than finishing up with Cleveland and Kansas City at home.

The Broncos probably finish the season at 12-4 and if Willis McGahee can get healthy and stay that way for the playoffs, there’s a very good possibility that Denver’s offense will be absolutely peaking come playoff time. With Von Miller rushing the passer and the emergence of Tony Carter opposite Champ Bailey, Denver could be singing the praises of Peyton all the way to Louisiana.

San Francisco 49ers (8-2-1)- The Niners continue to go against the grain and conventional wisdom choosing second year Colin Kaepernick, the starter over veteran Alex Smith. This was a real sink or swim move on coach Jim Harbaugh’s behalf, with the Saints playing better of late and making his second start in a front of a packed Superdome on national TV could have gone either way. Had San Fran struggled last night and waited too long to replace Kaepernick, it could have caused a serious fraction in the locker room. Harbaugh’s gamble looks like its going to pay off big time with Kaerpernick looking like a the explosive Cam Newton of last season.

While Alex Smith did not play his way out of his job, his coaches clearly saw an offense ranked 27th in the passing game, that plus struggles on third down and decided they can be that with or without Smith at quarterback. The Niners already led the league in rushing yards per game adding Kaerpernick’s speed gives another dimension that opponents they didn’t have to prepare for (214 yards, 6.9 yards per carry and 4 TDs in limited action).  Last night Vernon Davis was so shocked to see the ball delivered on time with accuracy, he dropped an easy first down.

San Francisco already had the Super Bowl defense in place, holding opponent s to 187 passing yards per game (2nd) and 91.1 rushing yards a game (4th). The offense line is loaded with former first and second round picks and leads the league with 163.4 rushing yards a game. With games with the Rams, Dolphins, Seahawks (without two of their starting corner backs) and Cardinals sill on the schedule , Kaepernick should have plenty of time to shake out some of the kinks and bone headed errors you make from lack of playing time.

The element the Niners lacked was an ability to play from behind if they were down early. Alex Smith didn’t have the confidence to throw the team on his back and win when it mattered. He wasn’t going to scare anyone with his deep ball and sometime poor decision-making. If the Niners can use the 2005  Pittsburgh Steelers template, they could easily run their way to a title in the new pass happy NFL.

Pretenders coming soon……

Something a little thicker.

#20 Michigan Wolverines vs #4 Ohio State Buckeyes @ Buckeye Staduim, 12 PM on ABC – Urban Meyer’s first game in this legendary rivalry that’s made and lost many national champions will 33 degrees at kickoff with chances of flurries. Somebody’s going to tell Urban “he ain’t in Gainesville no-more”. The weather and improved quarterback play for Michigan in Devin Gardner should have this one being another classic finish.

(Side note: While we are finally getting a playoff in college football. I find it astounding that the college basketball season starts earlier and earlier every year without a peep. It’s November 23 and we have the Mich/Ohio St. game, but did you know their basketball teams are 4-0 and 5-0 respectively. We still have a week left in the month!

Used to be you’d be watching the early smattering of early bowl games and ESPN would break to show you some highlights of a tourny in Maui, followed by the thought “Oh yea that starts soon!?”, then finish your third diet coke by the pool. The Syracuse basketball team started their season on Nov 9th, did the BCS even send out their first poll by then? If ‘Cuse makes it to the Championship game of the tourney, and they are good enough to do it, that games played on the SECOND Monday in April.

How can you claim these kids are student/athletes, this is basically slave labor. In the NFL there’s 32 teams, 53 roster spots and seven rounds in the draft, in the NBA you have 30 teams, a 15 man roster with a two round draft. What benefit does continuing to add games for these players when there so little opportunities for employment out there. You argue European leagues, but they have limited roster spots for foreigners, then add then all the cultural changes, it’s a weak argument.

A friend of mine goes to University of Syracuse and is a huge basketball fan, he told me that last season (now Boston Celtic) Fab Melo missed and failed all of his classes both semesters and only missed the NCAA tourny. Yea, they attend summer classes, but there’s six players in a room with 24 tutors doing everything but signing their name on the teams work. I’ve been to summer school and nothing gets learned in the summer classes.

The only reason I can come to why we haven’t heard any argument for this brutal treatment of players in a “lesser” sport, with all the networks like FOX, CBS, ESPN and NBC making deals with conference networks or school networks, they lack good content.What do you do, get your cheap labor force that actually brings in ratings, add 20 games to the schedule and boom ratings and advertising dollars roll in.

The biggest crock in all this is if the NBA makes it mandatory to be two years removed from high graduation to be draft eligible. There’s no conceivable way a large number of these “student/athletes” would be able to maintain a solid enough grades to keep them eligible to play. Good luck to the coach that has to deal with a bunch of 18 to 21 year old kids, that have to be on campus all year, playing basketball and in the library. Better luck running a prison. I’m not complaining but what took so long to get me my two more GOD DAMN FOOTBALL GAMES.

 

 

#5 Oregon Ducks vs #15 Oregon St. Beavers @ Reser Stadium, 3 PM on FOX – Oregon can keep a slight title dream alive with a win in the Civil war on Saturday. The Beavers are averaging 48.5 ppg so look for the Beavers to try and fly with the Ducks.

#1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs USC Trojans @ The Coliseum, 8 PM on ABC – How the script to this game flip on this game early in the season. Notre Dame still has a test in this match-up as USC is one of the few teams on the schedule with NFLers up and down the roster. Also ‘SC QB Matt Wittik could surprise people in this one.

click to see how the play ends!

Houston Texans (9-1, 7-3 ATS) vs Detroit Lions (4-6, 4-6 ATS) @ Ford Field, 12.30 AM on CBS
Line: HOU by 3.5
Total: 49.5

The Houston Texans despite taking off the first three-quarters last week at home versus Jacksonville, managed to pull off a huge come from behind win to extend their four game winning streak. The Texans be playing their fourth game in 19 days, and after last week, no one knows which Texans team is showing up today (HOU is 6-1 when playing on six days or less this season). This game has all the makings of a high scoring aerial assault. With the Detroit Lions losing staple left tackle Jeff Backus last week, rookie Riely Reiff will be making his first career start, the question is going to be a how quickly will Detroit abandon the run game against the Texans run defense that allows 86.3 ypg. If Detroit does goes go all pass expect J.J. “SWAT” Watt to wreak havoc on the inconsistent Matt Stafford. Houston might be without top corner Johnathan Joseph. Despite playing last week, Jags rookie Justin Blackmon lit up Joseph and company to the tune of seven catches for 236 yards and 1 TD. Lions Calvin Johnson been on fire in the last three weeks with 24 catches for 479 yards and 2 TDs. Lions will look to Johnson to put up big numbers today despite constant double teams. With Adrian Foster leading the league in carries playing on short rest you’ll see a ton of Ben Tate today. It really doesn’t matter who the Texans put back there as the team rushes for 136.7 ypg. With all that said, This should be a better game than most of us are accustomed to when it comes to Lions Thanksgiving football. Usually short rest playing on Thursday favors the home squad, but these Texans have shown resolve all season and expect nothing more today. Unless they just do not show cause they all want to get on the first thing back to Houston.

If the game is a blow out in either direction, you might want to watch on mute unless you want to hear a ton about Phil Simms mother’s cooking!

After the shock of the Mike Brown firing five games into the season wore off, many believed that the return of the Zen master, Phil Jackson, was to return to Laker-land. With Kobe’s blessing, it seemed inevitable that the 11 time championship coach was going to return to his high chair on the Lakers bench. Phil, then publicly acknowledged that he had the desire to coach another star-studded Lakers squad, with Phil, Dwight and Nash the Miami Heat may finally have been out gunned.

Of course, this was not L.A.’s first time negotiating with Jackson, the Buss family knew that achieving inner peace for their basketball squad was going to come at a huge financial price (Phil was there when Jordan negotiated those huge 30 mil pay days in Chicago and was prepared to rip a page right out of that book). This year’s negotiation came with a new wrinkle, ownership. Jackson demanding a small part of the team this round, was a lot different from the usual throwing money at the problem that saved them before.

Many people don’t know that the Buss family does not own the Lakers out=right like the Steinbrenner’s own the Yankee’s or Kroenke’s (Avalanche, Nuggets, and St. Rams). The Buss’s sold I believe up to 1/3rd to AEG (which owns the Staples center, and currently up for sale if you gotta a couple of billion burning holes in your pockets) and Magic Johnson’s former 4.5% ownership to Los Angeles Businessman Patrick Soon-Shiog. AEG’s pending sale would not put them in a position to relinquish any ownership as it would affect the future sales price. After Mr. Soon-Shiog pay’d millions for his shares he’s probably looking to buy or maintain rather then sell back ownership.

For argument’s sake, let’s say the Buss’s were crazy enough to give up even more ownership for a one year band-aid coach. Your stuck with Jackson after he finally does stop coaching , which in turn leads us to Brian Shaw. Shaw, as everyone knows is Jackson’s guy and after being pass-over the time for Mike Brown (prob have to buy out Shaw from the Pacers) with Jackson’s new ownership stake can ensure that the succession plan was implemented this time around. If the Lakers passed on Shaw again they would have one angry owner on their hands. If you have ever owned anything in partnership, the last thing you need is the guy with the smallest stake making the biggest noise. That, plus Phil using his influence on the next owner of AEG to put the screws to the Buss family, may have Hollywood’s first family on the outside looking in.

There’s also the possibility after a tough negotiation, Phil would have changed his mind and left Lakers management with their pants down. For ownership to plop down say, 8-10 million, for a coach who’s not running practices while implementing a new system with questionable motivation is reason enough to run for the hills (of Beverly, R.I.P Chris Farley).

The 2012 Lakers goal besides winning the title, is to keep the bi-polar Dwight Howard happy long enough to resign. It’s quiet possible with all the time Lakers management and Kobe have spent with Howard may feel he would not benefit the way Shaq would from the Triangle or lacks the basketball IQ to survive in it. The nightmare scenario being: Phil screaming at Howard for always being in the wrong place all the time, fills Howard’s head with zen mumbo-jumbo, which really confuses him, Phil destroys his confidence a la Pau in ’10 playoffs. Dwight signs with Atlanta looking to get as far away from Phil and Kobe as possible, completing Bill Simmons’ ultimate wet dream.

Which brings us to Mike D’Antoni. Seven seconds or less Mike. While D’Antoni was sitting in the hospital, getting more work done than a “Real Housewife” (what else you going to do with the Jimmy Dolan divorce money) looked at the roster that’s very similar to his best Suns teams, waited for the morphine to wear off and signed the first thing thru the fax. Having Steve Nash man the point, Kobe is still better now than Joe Johnson was in his prime, World Peace and Marion are a wash, Dwight playing the Amar’e role. Not even including Pau, it’s the best squad he’s coached hands down. The whole process of signing probably took two phone calls and a fax. Lakers sign a coach with the future on mind without giving up valuable TV and sponsorship money.

D’Antoni has the least complicated system (or none, depending on who you ask) in the NBA. He get’s Nash helping teammates run the offense and where to be on the court (just judging by TV interviews and what-not, this would go 100 times smoother than the tyrannical Kobe led practices with Brian Shaw at the helm). Again keeping Dwight happy. With the ball in Nash’s hands will lead to more pick and roll opportunities (Dwight happy :>;;) while taking the ball out of the moody Kobe’s hands in the Triangle.

Bringing back Phil Jackson is the clear basketball decision, the Buss’s had to think business first here, maintaining control the team being the first priority. D’Antoni increases the chances of resigning Howard and if need be can axed as quick as Mike Brown was without upsetting the fan base.

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Los Angeles Clippers (7-2, 7-2 ATS) at San Antonio Spurs (8-2, 6-3 ATS) @ AT&T Centre, 8:30 PM

Line: SAS by 4.5
Total: 198.5

In the classic clash of youth versus experience, The Spurs will be rocking the all veteran line-up with Kawhi Leonard out for two weeks with quadriceps tendonitis in his left knee, Stephen Jackson will be taking his place. San Antonio are going to have to break out all the old dog tricks and slow the pace of the game to a near halt. Last thing Timmy and crew want to do is get in to a sprint with the seemingly endless supply of athletic freaks on the Clips. L.A.’s front-court of DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin need to be relentless in their attack of the basket and wear down Duncan and Splitter limiting their effectiveness on the offensive side of the ball. If the Clips can force Tony Parker to try to win the game with his outside shot, they’ll have a better chance of stealing the road win. In the last meeting, Los Angeles was high motivated in a 106-84 win at the Staples centre, after last season’s sweep at the hands of the Spurs in the first round. Well see if Chris Paul and co. can dig down deep again tonight as they come in riding the high of a five game winning streak,w while starting a four game road trip in Texas.

The Spurs are 52-12 vs the Clippers since 1996, and 28-4 in San Antonio in that same span. Sad news for the basketball world today hearing that Wolves guard Brandon Roy was shut down with another knee injury, which would seemingly end his playing career. Of course, Roy shocked everyone when he returned this summer after being forced to retire early last season. Brandon had a huge impact in his short career and not only has a mountain to climb to ever have a hope of playing again let alone walk without some sort of cane. Our hopes are with you.

One last thing, the NFL has some bad voodoo with them these days. From all the concussion issues, the replacement refs, bounty gate, a possible lock-out, bounty gate (again!), Thursday night football being less entertaining than an NBC sitcom, now a Monday Night Football game featuring Jason Campbell and Colin Kaepernick. If the NFL was a stock I’d short the hell out it. Didn’t seem like yesterday, the NFL was the Mugatu of the sports world and literally could have wrapped shit in foil and sold them to the Queen of England. Oh wait they did in terms of the Pats/Rams game in London.

So just some of the Reverend’s rules about betting. I’ll never post college lines especially football, nothing ruin’s a nice Saturday more then a freshman kicker missing three chip shots to cost you your ticket or the kick returner that forgets his job is to secure the football in the fourth quarter. We’ve all been there and it sucks. Once March Madness begins and seniors start catching the ‘itis (Senioritis: when senior-laden basketball teams only have a few weeks left to play in a substantial tournaments. They take their games up to higher levels and they’re the only one’s you can count on to knock down a free throw.) Rule one, NEVER bet on or against the Steelers, those none covering bastards! Plus Steelers fans blow. They can take their terrible towel, put it i their mouths and light it on fire. Rule two, NEVER bet against Peyton Manning. Guy’s like the Peter North of football, he’ll get you from the front or the back, but either way he’ll get you. Rule three, if you must bet on college football NEVER bet against the Catholics or Mormons. Tebow, Notre Dame, BYU etc. you cannot bet against true believers or guys with no possibilities of showing up hung over. Finally, always go for the smart money. You know the only thing better then smart money…….that’s free money!!!

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4, 7-2 ATS) vs Carolina Panthers (2-7, 4-5 ATS), 1 PM on FOX

Line: TB by 1.0

Tampa is on a three game winning streak and doing it with a revived Josh Freeman and the official steal of the 2012 NFL Draft Doug Martin (how did Boise St. not give this guy the ball til his legs fell off). The defense that’s loaded with top picks up and down the defensive line is doing a good job at creating pressure and allowing the secondary to make turnovers. Carolina, which once looked like the potential division winners in preseason are one loss away from having heads roll. The difference between the Panthers pulling out a win for their coach and say a team like San Diego pulling it off, is the Chargers have been through a few battles with Norv Turner, where in Carolina, Cam’s leading the mutiny for Rivera to walk the plank. The writing was on the wall last week when they gave up the huge kick-off return for a touchdown and that was that for the special teams coach. The Panthers lack a playmaker of any kind in their secondary, this is a unit with less turnovers then a graveyard. Expect Carolina players to start looking around at the Bucs fans for ideas on ways to kill the Captain! RRRR!

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St. Louis Rams (3-5-1, 6-3 ATS) vs New York Jets (3-6, 4-4-1 ATS) 1 PM on CBS

Line: STL by 3.5

The Jets have hit rock bottom. They lack talent at every position that counts besides C and LT. New York is all but checked out mentally, after losing three in a row and finishing off back to back road games. Those games coming in last week’s loss in Seattle now this week in what should be a loud Rams stadium. NY is also 2-8 vs the NFC over the last seasons. The reason the spread isn’t 5.5 or 6 is because of the potential post-tie road game let down. Once the Rams see this is a stat padding game, St. Louis should crave up the Jets. If Tebow takes over ALL BETS ARE OFF!!!

Houston Texans (8-1, 7-2 ATS) vs Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8, 3-5-1 ATS) 1 PM on CBS

Line: Texans by 15

So far Houston is the bad boys of this year’s regular season. A dome team that goes on national TV, with all the elements in Chicago, they walk out with a rugged win. With a win in Denver and a home bashing of Baltimore, the Texans must be serious players for February’s tango in New Orleans. Gary Kubiak is coaching like hes got jumper cables attached to his nipples and wants to shed the them like the label of not being able to win the big one. The Texans certainly pass this year’s eye and smell test. While normally id stay away from a three score spread, but with Houston at home with the pannage of blowing teams out, I say go ahead. Kubiak is kind of like the head of the Cobra Kai from Karate Kid. Man’s out for blood. Count on Houston sweeping the leg on Jacksonville.

Cincinnati Bengals (4-5, 3-5-1 ATS) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-8, 3-6 ATS) 1 PM on CBS

Line: CIN by 3.0

While the typical big win at home followed up by the road loss as a favorite is very much in play. The Bengals have struggled stopping the passing game, but that’s not a problem cause Kansas City’s offense couldn’t catch anything standing naked in the middle of winter in Alaska. The Chiefs haven’t thrown over 200 yards in a game since Sept. 30th (we had an election and lost Atlantic City since then). If Bengals running back Ben Jarvis Green-Ellis manages to do more than his usual 2.5 yard run up the middle, Cincy should have no problem in a half empty Arrowhead. Also, A.J. Green should be able to take advantage of KC’s much smaller secondary. Lucky for you, Romeo Crennel coached teams are more undisciplined then well Romeo Crennel at a Golden Coral. That should give Marv Lewis more opportunities than even he can screw up.

If you’re looking for something to PVR for when you awake from your football coma, F1 is back in America at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas. It’s a brand new track and with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonzo head to head in the Drivers Championship with only two races left it promises great drama. The track promises to be super fast with tons of opportunities for overtaking and tire banging. If your on the fence and need something extra to convince you, check out the documentary on Ayrton Senna called Senna on Netflix. Cause you certainly ain’t watching the NHL.

The Toronto Blue Jays have become one of the most oddly built franchises in recent memory. Can anyone really think of a team almost exclusively built through trade and basically trades alone. Sure it’s worked out nice with guys like Colby Rasmus and Brett Lawrie, guy’s happy to run away as fast as possible from former teams or a sense of national pride in Lawrie’s case. The Blue Jays General Manager Alex Anthopoulos is a two-time lotto winner when it comes to the likes of Jose Batista and Edwin Encarnicon. I think AA himself would chalk those up to more being lucky then good. AA’s also done a fine job identifying misused parts like Brandon Morrow (who was toiling as a middle reliever as a former top 10 pick in Seattle) or Rajai Davis, but know we are starting to see the flip side of trading for others goods. Sergio Santos surely invokes memories of Mike Sirotka, Yunel Escobar was a head case in Atlanta that could not fit in with all the young talent there, had 15 minutes of good behaviour and managed to insult and entire community on his way out the door (which was the only national publicity the Jays had after April). Kelly Johnson was a professional all of last season but he had Sept.30th marked on his calendar by July 31st.

Now adding to his cast of other people’s misfits and cast-off comes five more guys that never had Toronto on their radars. Despite all the huge dollars the Yankees have been able to spend over the last two decades, the fact is they built a core around a few guys (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, Andy Petitte, Jorge Posada) that grew up in the minors together got accustomed to winning and losing together. Those guys knew how to pick each other up and how to push each other threw the grind of a 162 game season. That’s why they kept on coming back time and time again because they had a dedication to the team that groomed them and the players they went through hell and back with. With the Jays who knows who wants to be here and who’s just going through the motions of just playing pro ball. Before we start breaking down the his trade let me quickly give you a list of players acquired by trade over the last three seasons. Morrow (SEA), Escobar (ATL), Lawrie (MIL), Davis (OAK), Rasmus (STL), Gose (PHI) Santos (CHI), Linclon (PIT), Happ (HOU), now Reyes, Buehrle, Johnson, Buck and Bonifico (MIA). One thing that cannot be forced is chemistry. Now I’m not saying it’s impossible but the next manager is going to have a hell of a time trying to brew some up. It’s one thing in the minors where all of the players share a common goals more or less, but in the pros it’s a lot more complicated life. So good luck to who ever gonna right this ship.

The Players.

Now the prize jewel of the trade Jose Reyes, at 29 years old his days of 60, 64, 78 and 58 steals are long behind him, and that decline was probably thrown into overdrive moving to the American League, where no pitchers are bunting him over and a guys who’s missed plenty of time over the last couple of seasons with knee problems on the Rogers Centre’s FieldTurf isn’t ideal. For anyone that says he won the batting title two years ago, He only played in 126 games in a contract year and sat out the game on a last place Mets team so he didn’t blow it or get hurt. Best case: Reyes understands all the real money in this deal is in the latter years, stays in great shape for the entirety of the deal and makes the Jays feel obligated to pay him out that 7th year, $22 million he’s gonna be owed. Worst case: He’s pissed he’s not in South Florida (where he expected to be for the next half decade). He’s Uber pissed when his agent who didn’t get him that no-trade clause tells him he’ll owe a reported $8 million more in taxes for the honor to play for Canada’s finest. So after his Dubai vacation (always a telling sign a player had no idea this was coming), he treats this summer like Chipper Jones’s farewell tour. Overweight Reyes plays about 20 games before his knee gives out and gets accustomed to Toronto’s nightlife and world-class restaurants while Reyes counts dollar bills and months on a calendar all on a trainers table.

Then there’s Josh Johnson, Johnson is a big dude at 6’7 250lbs, and that’s a slimmed down to 250! Johnson is in the final year of his four-year $40 million dollar deal which makes him affordable for this year. But for someone you’d describe as horse like if you saw him in public, basically starts 30 games every 3 years. After an excellent rookie year, he had two season’s of 4 and 14 starts. Then in 2009 he threw for a career high 209 innings ( Livan Hernandez can give you 200 innings at 43 with an arm tied behind his back). He was 15-5 with a 3.23 ERA. But only one complete game. A strong 2010 followed going 11-6 with a 2.30 ERA and still only one CG. It’s quiet rare if a 27-year-old with that kind of frame is working with a sub 3.00 ERA and his coaching staff only feel comfortable letting him go the distance one time in a season. Fragile and handle with kid’s gloves is a understatment in a half. He started nine games in ’11 and 31 last season with a disappointing 8-11 with a career high 3.81 ERA. For Jays fans that probably does not provoke memories of Roy Halladay but rather a former Jays/Marlin in A.J. Burnett. Best case: Johnson tough’s it out in a contract year giving T.O. 30 starts going 16-4 dominating a league that barely seen his stuff before. Johnson, Romero and Morrow rival anyone top three in the AL and Jays are serious contenders for the wild card and division. Worst case: Call it the Eric Hinske syndrome, if a player show’s he can last a full season in the majors and puts up half decent numbers you can buy yourself 10 years in baseball. Johnson knows whether he wins the Cy Young or start 11 games someone giving him a multiple year big league deal regardless and that life. Like Cinderella, we’ll all be waiting for the other shoe to drop and Johnson to turn into a pumpkin. If he gets hurt, I think Free Agency goes to the front of his mind and that’s the last you’ll see of him. Remember he never asked to be here.

That bring’s us to Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilo Bonifacio. Buehrle much like Reyes has only his agent to blame for getting him to sign a back loaded deal without a no-trade clause. I guarantee when Mark, Mark’s wife and his agent were sitting in their living room or agents office the minute the words most money, Miami, and four years were out there; his wife put the end to that conversation and booked the family the first flight from O’hare to MIA. Like many American’s Buehrle dreamt of retirement in Florida, it seemed beautiful, NL hitters and facing pitchers. No more Yankees, Tigers and Mike Trouts. Now at 34, being thrown into the division of death. I just hope it’s a quick death, maybe our first player induced torn labrum on himself.

Good Lord John Buck, really John bleeping Buck. forget he batted .192 last year. The Jays have 12 other catchers with a future in this league. Of course, if this is explained as another grooming candidate like the Sal Fasano special, all is forgiven. Bonifacio will end up being the most reliable piece of this trade (if it goes down) and that’s probably not going to be enough to satisfy Toronto’s love affair with this deal. So was it the best $170 Million ever spent? maybe?! It’s hard for me not to look at the beginning of last season with the same hope that Jays fan have now that Marlins had then Gioncarlo Stanton at 23 is everything that Jose Bautista is and more and Hanely seemed like a genuine star before decline and/or disinterest took over. Does this trade truly justifying a team that won 79 games last year into a 12/1 favourite to win the World Series without a manager hired or next seasons version of the ’12 Marlins.

Who’s to Blame.

I think the Miami Marlins pulling off one of the shrewdest two trades in the history of Baseball is business as usual and I guess that’s why people are so mystified by it. Instead of trading of these players one or two players at a time they found teams willing to take on substantial financial burdens (know how they save the owners need to be saved from themselves, well here’s a prime example of how if these moves don’t work out for the Dodgers ans Jays their franchises will be crippled not the Marlins. Nobody forced a gun to anyone head to sign these back loaded deals without no trade clauses (begs to ask the same question did these guys all have the same agent and he’s collecting off these suckers). This is what the Marlins do,the only difference is the Marlins won titles before they blew it all up. going back to 1997, the Carlos Delgado and Pudge Rodriguez deals, til now. Don’t blame them, blame Major League Baseball for not stopping them.