Sunday, December 21, 2008

NFL Week 15

Here are my picks for week 15:

Cleveland over Cinncinatti
New Orleans over Detroit
Miami over Kansas City
Atlanta over Minnesota
New England over Arizona
Carolina over New York Giants
49ers over Rams
Pittsburgh over Tennessee
Buffalo over Denver
Houston over Oakland
New York Jets over Seattle
Tampa Bay over San Diego
Chicago over Green Bay

-- Post From My iPhone

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

NBA Power Rankings v3

This is season is shaping up to be a three team race. The Celtics, Lakers and Cavs have been dominent this season, with the Celtics having won 15 in a row, and the Cavs have not even lost at home yet. Also, the Nuggets appear to have vaulted to the top with their trade for Chauncy Billups.

Biggest Jump: New York Knicks (from 24 to 14)
Biggest Drop: Philadelphia Seventy Sixers (from 12 to 18) and Utah Jazz (from 4 to 10)

1. Boston Celtics (23-2)
2. Cleveland Cavailiers (20-4)
3. Los Angeles Lakers (21-3)
4. Denver Nuggets (17-8)
5. New Orleans Hornets (14-7)
6. Orlando Magic (19-6)
7. Detriot Pistons (13-9)
8. San Antonio Spurs (15-8)
9. Phoenix Suns (15-10)
10. Utah Jazz (15-11)
11. Portland Trailblazers (16-10)
12. Houston Rockets (16-9)
13. Atlanta Hawks (15-9)
14. New York Knicks (11-14)
15. Dallas Mavericks (13-10)
16. Miami Heat (12-12)
17. New Jersey Nets (12-11)
18. Philadelphia 76ers (10-14)
19. Toronto Raptors (10-14)
20. Chicago Bulls (11-13)
21. Indiana Pacers (8-16)
22. Milwaukee Bucks (11-15)
23. Memphis Grizzlies (9-16)
24. Golden State Warriors (7-18)
25. Sacramento Kings (7-19)
26. Charlotte Bobcats (8-18)
27. Los Angeles Clippers (7-17)
28. Minnesota Timberwolves (4-20)
29. Washington Wizards (4-18)
30. Oklahoma City Thunder (2-24)

NFL Power Rankings Week 15

Last weeks games showed why I had the Steelers at the top, as they drove 92 yards in the final minutes for the game winning (tho controversal) touchdown agaisnt one of the best defenses in the league. The Giants continued there fade from the top, but they get a chance to prove they can still be the class of the NFC when they play the Panthers this week.

Biggest Rise: Texans (from 26 to 16)
Biggest Fall: Jets (from 8 to 12)

1) Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3)
2) Carolina Panthers (11-3)
3) Tennessee Titans (12-2)
4) Indianapolis Colts (10-4)
5) New York Giants (11-3)
6) Baltimore Ravens (9-5)
7) Philadelphia Eagles (8-5-1)
8) Atlanta Falcons (9-5)
9) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-5)
10) New England Patriots (9-5)
11) Dallas Cowboys (9-5)
12) New York Jets (9-5)
13) Miami Dolphins (9-5)
14) Minnesota Vikings (9-5)
15) Arizona Cardinals (8-6)
16) Houston Texans (7-7)
17) Denver Broncos (8-6)
18) New Orleans Saints (7-7)
19) Chicago Bears (8-6)
20) San Diego Chargers (6-8)
21) Green Bay Packers (5-9)
22) Washington Redskins (7-7)
23) San Fransico 49ers (5-9)
24) Buffalo Bills (6-8)
25) Jacksonville Jaguars (5-9)
26) Seattle Seahawks (3-11)
27) Cleveland Browns (4-10)
28) Oakland Raiders (3-11)
29) St Louis Rams (2-12)
30) Kansas City Chiefs (2-12)
31) Cincinnati Bengals (2-11-1)
32) Detriot Lions (0-14)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Samuel, Dawkins make Pro Bowl

So much for all of the talk of Brian Dawkins demise.

Today it was announced that Dawkins was going to his 7th Pro Bowl as an Eagle, and he will be joined by new comer Asante Samuel. Dawkins has 123 tackels, 4 forced fumbels, 1 interception and 9 tackels for a loss.

Samuel leads the Eagles with 4 interceptions, 1 touchdown and he leads the NFL with 21 passes defended. This will be Samuels first trip to the Pro Bowl with the Eagles, and his 2nd overall.

Eagles v Browns Recap

A win is a win, and at this point in the season, they are all lovely, no matter who the oppenent is. With that being said, there were both some positives and negatives to take out of last nights game.
What I Liked:

1) Jason Avant: Avant had his first 100 yard receiving day of his career, and really is cementing himself as the third wide reciever on this team. He is strong and physical, and sometimes looks like another 81 that used to play for the Eagles when he is running over DB's. He has great hands, and has really had a great year.

2) McNabb: How do you not bring him back next year? Even if it takes an extension to hepp him happy, this team is nothing without 5 under the center. He hit 9 different recievers last night on his way to 290 yards. He did throw that 1 interception, but other then that, he has been the reason this team has turned it around. Since the benching, he has been dominent, and if the Eagles are foolish enough to get rid of him, teams will be lining up to get him.

3) Asante Samuel and Stewart Bradley: They both had interceptions last night, and Samuel brough his in for a touchdown, which really put the game away. I'll forgive Samuel for nearly throwing it away, as that touchdown really broke the game open. Bradley also chipped in with 6 tackels to lead the team.

What I Didn't Like:

1) Wildcat Formation: I understand that if Jackson throws that ball a little better, then it is regarded as a great play. But he didn't. Because he is not a quarterback. McNabb had the hott hand, and the Eagles were moving the ball down the field without any trickery at all. They should have just kept doing it the old fashioned way, and not tried to get fancy.

2) Red Zone Problems: I already mentioned the Jackson problem in the redzone, but the Eagles did not perform well all night down there. Two drives got stalled in the first half that should have led to touchdowns, but instead they were field goals. McNabb also threw an interception at the end of the first half. Agaisnt a team like the Browns at home, you can afford to take 3 instead of 7. But next week on the road in a division game, you need to get that 7.

3) End of the First Halfs: The Eagles should really just kneel it from here on out on the last play of the half. Three times the Eagles have lost all momentum on the last play, and they got lucky last night that they didn't get that interception run back for a touchdown to make it a 1 score game. Great hustle by Westbrook and Baskett to save that play.

Stayin Alive

Last night, the Eagles took care of business. They easily dispatched the Cleveland Browns, winning 30-10, but it was not a dominant performance. It just looked that way because they were playing the Browns.
They had two interceptions in the red zone, one by Donovan McNabb and the other by DeSean Jackson. Asante Samuel nearly threw away a touchdown, ala Jackson vs the Cowboys in week 2. So it wasn't the cleaniest performance, but after what we saw vs the Bengals earlier in the year, the fact the Eagles came out and beat an inferior opponent is a good sign to the growth this team is showing.

Now, with 2 weeks to go, the playoff picture is becoming more clear. The Eagles stand at 8-5-1, trailing Tampa Bay, Atlanta, and Dallas by 1 game. If the Eagles win out, and the Falcons or Bucs loose 1 game, that means the Eagles will be in the playoffs.

The Falcons face the Vikings this week, who demolished the Cardinals behind 4 touchdown passes from Tavaris Jackson this past weekend. The game is in Minnesota, which helps the Vikings. They are 5-1 at home, and the Falcons are a subpar 3-4 on the road. If the Falcons don't lose this game, they are virtually guarenteed a playoff spot, with a game vs the Rams the following week.

The Bucs lost to the Falcons this weekend, and have a visit from San Diego this weekend. The Chargers stand at 6-8, but are still alive for the playoffs. They have everything to play for this week. The Chargers have been competitive all year long, with close loses to the Steelers, Colts and Falcons. They are much better then there record indicates. The Bucs have lost two in a row, so they need to get back on track. They have gone from a lock to go to the playoffs to a team that might be left out. If they win this game, they face the Raiders the last game of the season, so they would be almost a lock then.

For the Cowboys, it is simple: beat the Eagles, and they are in. However, they have a huge road block in the way, with the Baltimore Ravens coming into town this weekend. The Ravens are going to be hungry after a crushing, controversial lost to the Steelers this past weekend.

Of course, this all hinges upon the Ealges winning this weekend in DC. So while everybody looks to the week 17 matchup vs the Cowboys as the decider, the Eagles will know alot more about their playoff chances this coming up weekend.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Panic Time

This weekend, when the 76ers fired Maurice Cheeks, they not only pushed the panic button.

They slammed on it with a sledge hammer repeatedly.

Just 23 games into the season, the Sixers stood at 9-14. Coming into the season, they were expected to compete for one of the top spots in the East. If they playoffs had started today, they would be on the outside looking in. That would be dissapointing based even on last year, when the Sixers finished 7th in the East. After spending mega bucks in the off season, the Sixers felt they had to make a move. And you can't fire a team, so Cheeks had to go.

Whether or not it was a good move can be debated. The Sixers had to do someting, and Cheeks was the most expendable. But, last season they started out slow and they came back. So you could argue that he should have got a chance to turn it around.

But since they pushed the panic button, lets push it hear on Philly Stand Up.

A trade needs to be made. The fact that Thaddeus Young is coming off the bench is a joke. He needs to be starting. That means either Andre Iguodala has to play the 2, or he has to go. By my estimate, there are only 2 players on the Sixers other teams might want- Iguodala or Andre Miller. The Sixers are not trading Elton Brand, Samuel Dalembert makes to much, and Louis Williams is the best young player on the team. That leaves Iggy and Miller. 

Miller is an attractive piece for other teams because he makes 10.5 million a year, and this is the last year on his contract. Iguodala just signed a huge contract, might he is up and coming, and can be very helpful to a team. Im not saying teams would line up to get up, but he is the most tradeable piece they have other then Miller. 

So we pushed the panic button, and we hit up the ESPN Trade Machine to see what the Sixers could do to maybe turn this season around, or look ahead to this off season.

Trade 1: Sixers receive Micheal Redd for Andre Iguodala, Willie Green and Reggie Evans
The Sixers need a shooter, and Kareem Rush isnt doing the job. Micheal Redd is a pure shooter, as well as a pure 2 guard. he can slash to the basket, and knock down the jumper. He is older then Iggy, but he comes off the books in 3 years, unlike the 6 Iggy has left. The Bucks make this move to start rebuilding, and with Richard Jefferson at the 3, they have a young running team to build around. Redd isnt part of their future, but he can thrive in Philly.

Trade 2: Sixers receive Raef LaFrentz for Andre Miller and Donyell Marshall
The Blazers are a young team, and are loaded at almost all positions. The one you could say they might need an upgrade in is point guard. Steve Blake has played well, and Jayrd Bayless is a future star, but for this season, Miller could work wonders for them. He can run, he can distribute the ball, and can score when he has to. He can also play defense, and the west is loaded with point guards- Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Steve Nash. Raef LaFrentz comes with an expiring contract of 12.3 million, and the Sixers could use that to sign a point guard in the off season, such as Mike Bibby. Or they could sign a shooter like Ben Gordan. This season, they could turn the point guard duties over to Louis Williams to see what they have him in. The Blazers also get cap relief this summer, with Andre Miller coming off the books at 10.5 million.

Trade 3: Sixers receive Raymond Felton and Adam Morrison for Andre Miller
If the Sixers don't go anywhere this season,  Miller is not going to resign here. That would leave a huge hole at point guard. But they could trade him this season for a young point guard who needs a new home, and that is Raymond Felton. Felton is averaging 13 ppg as well as 6 assists. The Bobcats drafted D.J. Augustine this year, which makes Felton expendable. Felton is also a free agent this year, so if it didn't work out in Philly, they could let him walk. The Bobcats are not going to compete this year, and getting Miller gives them 10 million in off season spending for the 2009 free agent market, or to hold onto for 2010. Miller could also help young Augustine develop while he was there, and then walk to a contender in the off season. Morrison would be a throw in, as he as been a draft bust. But he does shoot .400 from beyond the arc, which could help the Sixers.

Trade 4: Sixers receive Anthony Parker and Jason Kapono for Andre Iguodala.
The Sixers need shooting, and boy do they get it with this deal. Parker is shooting almost .400 from the arc, and Kapono is shooting almost .500 beyond the arc. They also can both play the 2 and can run. Kapono is one of the best spot up shooters in the league, and Brand could kick it out to him for an almost automatic 3 pointer. Meanwhile, the Raptors are fading fast, and a core of Chris Bosh. Andre Iguodala and Jose Calderon could compete in the East. This also could make up for when they passed on Iguodala in the draft. 

I think all of these trades would do 1 of 2 things- either improve the team this year, or give the team some cap space for the off season. While it is early in the season, it wasn't to early to fire Cheeks, so it shouldnt be to early to make other moves. 

Moyer Signs; So Does Pak

The Phillies made 2 moves today, all having to do with pitching:

1) In the most important move of the day, they have signed Jamie Moyer to a 2 year deal. The deal is a long home coming. There were reports that Moyer was talking to the Brewers, but it was assumed all along that he would sign here. The hold up was whether or not the Phillies would give him a 2nd year, which they ultimatly did. I'm happy they gave it to him, because he was a big part of there success last year, and deserved to get that extra year.

2) After signing Moyer to cement there top 4 starters (Hamels, Myers, Blanton, Moyer), the Phillies added Chan Ho Pak. Pak pitched for the Dodgers last season and had an ERA of 3.40. He said he signed with the Phillies because they wanted him to start, and because they were world champions. He is expected to compete with Kyle Kendrick and J.A. Happ for the 5th spot

-- Post From My iPhone

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cheeks Fired?

According to Steven A. Smith, the Philadelphia Seventy Sixers have fired coach Maurice Cheeks.

The Sixers have struggled out of the gate to a 9-14 record. But still, this is a shocking move. It's still early in the season, but this is a sign of desperation if I've ever seen one. This season is blowing up in the Sixers face.

Earlier in the week I read that Flip Saunders, who coached in Minnesota and Detriot, has been linked to the job. There's no doubt the Sixers have talent, so maybe this can be turned around.

But I don't think this was the answer, assuming Smith is correct.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bye Bye Burrell

Any chance Pat Burrell had of returning to the Phillies ended today when the Phillies agreed to terms with left feilder Raul Ibanez.

The deal is worth 30 million and will span over 3 years. Ibanez hit .293 last season with 23 homers and 110 RBIs. That was with the woeful Mariniers, so he will get more oppurtuinites behind Howard and Utley. He does bat left tho, which could mean 3 left handed batters in a row for the Phillies, assuming he takes Burrells spot.

Where will Burrell end up? My guess is an AL team that needs a big bat for their DH. Maybe the Angles?

-- Post From My iPhone

Hamels Slams Mets

Have truer words ever been spoken?

In a radio interview, Cole Hamels said that the last two seasons the Phillies knew that the Meta were choke artists, and they will be until they prove him wrong.

First off all, nothing is wrong with what he said. The Meta are choke artists. The last two year they have practically handed the Phillies the divion, including an embarresing last day of the season loss to the Marlins two years ago.

Meanwhile, the Phillies are World Series Champions. So the Mets have no right to say anything back, and we can say whatever we want. That's just how it's works when your champions.

Before this season, Carlos Beltran said that the Meta were the team to beat, deaperetly trying to appear as the same type of leader that Jimmy Rollins was he said that 2 years ago.

The Meta just are not the Phillies, and Im sure someone on the Mets will try to come back with something. But if they know what's good for them, they should just be quite and try to not choke again.

-- Post From My iPhone

NFL Week 15

Last weeks games had 2 major upsets, with the 49ers beating the Jets, and the Texans going into Lambeu and beating the Packers. This weeks games showcase two huge matchups, with the Giants at the Cowboys, and the Steelers at the Ravens.

Last week: 11-3
Season: 38- 18

Buccaneers at Falcons: I read today that Jeff Garcia is questionable, and if he dosnt play, that is going to really hurt the Bucs chances. Both teams are coming off loses, but I'll go with the Falcons to rebound at home.
Pick: Falcons

Redskins at Bengals: The Redskins continued to unravel in Baltimore, as they diane manage anything all night on offense. But they still are somehow alive in the playoff hunt. Pick: Redskins

Giants at Cowboys: This is a huge game for both teams. The Giants need to prove that they are still the class of the NFC without Plaxico. Last year on there Super Bowl run, they came together at the end of the season. Now? They need to get back in track in time for the playoffs. Brandon Jacobs will not play, which is going to hurt there chances. The Cowboys have to win this game if they wanna make the playoffs. If they loose this, it's all over. Everything tells me to take the cowboys, but they have not proved they can win a meaningul December game yet, and there are feuding internally. Pick: Giants

Lions at Colts: Are you serious? Pick: Colts

Chargers at Chiefs: If the Chargers win and the Broncos lose, the Chargers would be 2 back with 2 to go. So somehow, at 5 and 8, they are still alive for the division.

Patriots at Raiders: The patriots survived a scare last week at Seattle, but should bounce back to win this one handedly. Pick: Patriots

Seahawks at Rams: What an awful game. I'll go with the Seahawks, who played great last week. Pick: Seahawks

49ers at Dolphins: Im gonna resist the attempt to hop on the San Fran bandwagon, even though they are playing some great football. Pick: Dolphins

Bills at Jets: The Jets, who 2 weeks ago seemed to be a super bowl favorite, are now in the same boat as there fellow New York team: they need this win to gain momentum for the playoffs. If the jets get there. Pick: Jets

Vikings at Cardinals: It looks like the Tavarus Jackson will be the starter for the Vikings, who need to win to avoid falling into a tie with the Bears. But he won't be able to outscore the Cardinals at home. Pick: Cardinals

Broncos at Panthers: The Panthers are one of the hottest teams in football right now, maybe even better then the Giants. Pick: Panthers

Packers at Jags: This Packers team is way better then there record. But unfortunalty, come playoff time, that's all that matters. Pick: Packers

Steelers at Ravens: Bill Simmons, a writer I greatley respect, said that he thinks the Steelrs defenae is better on the road then at home. That's bad news for Joe Flacco. This will be a great game, and I think
Both teams will be going to the playoffs. But this week, the Steelers show why there #1 on my power rankings. Pick: Steelers

Titans at Texans: Upset alert. The Texans have quietly won 3 in a row, and are 4-2 at home. They also went into Lambeu last week and won. Imma go with them in an upset. Pick: Texans

-- Post From My iPhone

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

DeRosa to Phillies?

According to, the Phillies are reportedly interested in the Chicago Cubs Mark DeRosa.
DeRosa can play both 2nd base and left field, and had 21 homers last season for the Cubs. The Phillies woudl reportedly send a minor league to the Cubs, which could be J.A. Happ. The Padres would also be involved in the deal, as they would send Jake Peavey to the Cubs.

This tells us two things about the Phillies off season plan. First, it looks like Pat Burrell will not be resigned, and the Phillies will go with a mix of DeRosa and Geoff Jenkins at left. Also, it tells us that maybe Chase Utley could miss more time then they are letting on, and that is why they feel the need to acquire DeRosa.

Remember, this is just a rumor, and ESPN says that the Cubc are no where near getting Peavey, which could affect the Phillies deal.

Mets Sign K-Rod

The New York Mets, one of the biggest choke artists in the MLB, hope to have solved that problem.

Today, the Mets agreed to a 3 year, 37 million doller deal with Fransico Rodriquez. Last season Rodriquez broke the single season record for saves in a season with 62. He had an ERA of 2.24 with 77 strike outs in 68.1 innings. He also blew 7 saves.

He is regarded as one of the best closers in the game, so this will help the Mets. Since they are trying to catch the division rival, World Champion Phillies, this move made sense, because they had one of the worst bull pens in baseball last year. But the Phillies still have them on this one, as Brad Lidge may not have had as many saves, but he was perfect, and didn't blow 1 save all season. The Mets new prize man blew 7. Lidge also had a lower ERA (1.95), and had more stike outs (92).

So basically, the Mets still suck.

NFL Power Rankings Week 14

We have a new #1 on the top of our Power Rankings this week, as the Pittsburgh Steelers have over taken the New York Giants for the #1 spot. I realize that the Giants only lost 2 games, and last week was just 1 game in a 16 week season, and if Dominik Hixon catches that ball, who knows what would have happened.
But he didnt.

And for the rest of the season, they'll have to relay on him, and not Plaxico Burress to catch that ball, and becasue of that, there no longer #1 in my books.

Biggest Increase: Ravens ( From 16 to 7)
Biggest Drop: Redskins (From 8 to 20)

1) Pitssburgh Steelers (10-3)
2) Tennessee Titans (12-1)
3) Carolina Panthers (10-3)
4) New York Giants (11-2)
5) Indianapolis Colts (9-4)
6) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-4)
7) Baltimore Ravens (9-4)
8) New York Jets (8-5)
9) Philadelphia Eagles (7-5-1)
10) New England Patriots (8-5)
11) Atlanta Falcons (8-5)
12) Dallas Cowboys (8-5)
13) Arizona Cardinals (8-5)
14) Miami Dolphins (8-5)
15) Denver Broncos (8-5)
16) Minnesota Vikings (8-5)
17) New Orleans Saints (7-6)
18) Green Bay Packers (5-8)
19) Chicago Bears (7-6)
20) Washington Redskins (7-6)
21) San Fransico 49ers (5-8)
22) Buffalo Bills (6-7)
23) San Diego Chargers (5-8)
24) Jacksonville Jaguars (4-9)
25) Cleveland Browns (4-9)
26) Houston Texans (6-7)
27) Seattle Seahawks (2-11)
28) Oakland Raiders (3-10)
29) St Louis Rams (2-11)
30) Kansas City Chiefs (2-11)
31) Detriot Lions (0-13)
32) Cincinnati Bengals (1-11-1)

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Eagles v Giants Recap

What a huge win. When I looked at the Eagles playoff picture after there last loss to the Giants, I thought that they had to go 6-1 in the final 7 games to make the playoffs. When they tied the Bengals, then went on to lose to the Ravens, the playoffs looked like it had as much of a chance of happening as Andy Reid ordering diet coke. 

My how much can change in one Sunday.

With the Eagles win today, followed by losses by the Cowboys and the Redskins, the Eagles are now in the best position possible to make the playoffs. With the Giants, Cardinals, Buccaneers, Vikings and Panthers all likely to make it, that leaves 1 playoff spot for the Eagles, Cowboys, Redskins, and Falcons. The Eagles are only 1 game behind the Cowboys and Falcons, and .5 games ahead of the Redskins. The catch? They get to play the Redskins and the Cowboys. So there fate is in there hand. If they can win out, they will finish 10-5-1. That would leave the Cowboys at 10-6 and the Redskins at 9-8. If the Falcons win out, that would leave them  at 11-5, ahead of the Eagles. But they have a hard remaining 3 games, with a visit from the Bucs next week, and a trip to Minnesota the following week. Both teams will need to win those games. The Eagles better hope that they lose one of them, because the last one is vs the Rams, which is a sure win.

So its simple: The Eagles need to win out, the Falcons need to lose, and the Eagles are in.

With all that in mind, lets look at todays huge win.

What I Liked:

1) Coaching: For all of the blame I cast on Andy Reid, looking at the two games the Giants and the Eagles played this season, they look like night and day. I give the coaching staff the credit for obviosly making the better adjustments between games. 

2) The Defense: After getting burned for 219 rushing yards in their last meeting, the defense gave up only 88. And after yielding 36 points last time, they let up only 7 points in this one, and those 7 points were in garbage time. The defense absolutely dominated. They stopped the Giants on all 3 of their 4th down conversion attempts, and never let the Giants get in sync as an offense. They did get lucky on a drop pass by Dominck Hixon, but other then that, the Giants never even came close to scoring.

3) Brian Westbrook: Two great games in a row. After limping thru most of the season, the Brian Westbrook from last season might be back. That 30 yard touchdown run, he would not have been able to do that earlier in the year. Or that 40 yard touchdown catch. He appears as elusive and quick as ever, and thats bad news for the rest of the NFC East.

4) Kevin Curtis: True, he did only have 2 catches, but that first one was huge. It was still a game, and the Eagles has not scored. With the wind, and both teams struggling as offenses, I thought Curtis came down with a huge catch. I felt it got the offense rolling. It was a shame he got hurt later.

5) Donovan McNabb: While not his most impressive day stats wise (19/30, 191 yds, 1 TD), two things he did won the game for then: he ran the ball, and he did not turn it over. McNabb ran for two first downs in this game, which was huge. Everyone allways tells him to run it, and today he finally did. Why does he take that element away from his game? The other thing he did, not turning it over, was probaly the biggest. For a QB that never used to throw interceptions, he was throwing it away at an alarming rate these last few weeks. The last two weeks? Zero interceptions. Eagles Record? 2-0. 

Thing I Didn't Like:

1) Asante Samuel: I dont break down film, but from a fans point of view, I feel he has been a dissapointment. He has the same about of interceptions as Quiten Mikell, and I can think of numerous times he's been burned. Today he got in the way of a sure thing, game over Dawkins interception. 

2) Reggie Brown: Should he even be on the roster next year? I like the receiving core of Jackson, Curtis, Baskett, and Avant then throwing Brown in their. 

3) Antonio Pierce: First of all, he shouldn't have been on the field today. He was involved in a felony, and tried to hide the gun for Plaxico Burress. He was questioned by NYPD earlier in the week. So he shouldn't have been on the field. But on the field, he was called for numerous penalties, and looked pathetic as he tried to hold Westbrook on the ground as the Eagles tried to run their hurry up offense. 

4) First Win in Division: Does anybody realize that the Eagles are now 3-7 in their last 10 
NFC East games, and this was their first win this season? Man, those days of 6-0 seem like forever ago. 

Giant Boost

Don't look now, but the Eagles might be on to something.

9 days after beating the NFC West leading Cardinals, the Eagles continued there winning ways by beating the NFC East leading, Super Bowl defending New York Giants 20 to 14.

The thing most surprising other then the fact that the Eagles won? That the score dosnt even show how dominant the Eagles were. The Giants only scores came on a blocked field goal attempt, and a garbage time touchdown. Other then that, they really never even threatened.

Brian Westbrook had over 100 yards rushing, a 30 yard touchdown run, and a crucial 40 yard touchdown catch that put the game away. Donovan McNabb threw for 1 touchdown, ran for 3 first downs, but most importantly threw zero interceptions.

The Eagles did everything that has plagued them all year- dominated the time of possession, converted on 3rd downs, and ran the ball. They did all of this in a must win game, and now not only are there playoff hopes alive, they are bright.

The Atlanta Falcons lost to the Saints, dropping them to 8-5. The Eagles are now .5 games behind them, and own the tie breaker because of there victory over them earlier this season. If the Dallas Cowboys do their part and lose to the Steelers today, and they would also be 8-5, with the Eagles playing them the last game of the season.

Just like 1 bad game in Baltimore spelled doom for the season, 1 great game in New York has brought the season back to life.

-- Post From My iPhone

Friday, December 5, 2008

Are You Kidding Me?

What a joke

Today the NHL suspended Sean Avery, a member of the Dallas Stars, 6 games and ordered him to counseling after his comments regarding his former girlfriend, Elisa Cuthbert.

When asked about playing in Calgary, Avery said "it seems to be a common thing now, NHL players falling in love with my sloppy seconds". He was revering to the fact that a player on the Calgary team was currently dating Cuthbert. She has also been romantically linked to other players in the NHL.

While it is disrepectiful for him to say that, it by no means warrents a suspension. It wasn't racist or sexist. If anything, it is more of an insult to the player dating Cuthbert, not her.

The NHL said that something had to be done, and that his prior actions were taken into consideration. But he has never been suspended before, even though he did lead the NHL in penalty minutes the last two seasons. But if the NHL felt he was such a dirty player, then why has he never suspended before? I wonder if this was his only offense, if he would have been delt the same punishment?

Or a better question would be, what would happen if a girl said that about a boy? Like what if Mia Hamm and Nomad Garciaparra got divorced, and he started to date another soccer play? Had she said the same thing, I wonder how the public would take it. I have a feeling that the guy would been seen in a bad light, labeled as a player.

This whole situation is out of hand. ESPN in an article actually sensored it out of an article. Sloppy seconds? Is that really that bad of a term?

I don't think so, but I do think this whole thing is out of hand, and the NHL is just trying to show some muscle and get in the headlines.

-- Post From My iPhone

Cowboys v Steelers

For some reason, this game was ommoted from my usual weekly picks. I don't know why, but since I have to go into a whole post for it anyway, I'll discuss the game more in depth.

Other then the Buccaneers at Panthers Monday might matchup (what an upgrade from Houston Jacksonville) this is the best game of the weekend. The Cowboys are trying to prove they are once again a Super Bowl contender, after a mid season collapse has left them fighting for their playoff lives.

Since the return of Tony Romo, the Cowboys beaten Seattle, Washington and the 49ers. While a win is a win in the NFL, that isn't a hard 3 game stretch by any means. But it has allowed Romo to get back to his usual self, and it couldn't come at a better time.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have the best defense on the league, and it's going to be cold in Pittsburgh. The Cowboys offense is going to have to bring it's A+ game if they have any chance of leaving Heniz Field with a win.

Running on the Steeles defense is up easy task, and with the injury to Marion Barber (who is expected to play), they are going to have to win this game thru the air. And when you have to play on the road against a tough defense in the cold, you don't want to win the game like that.

The Cowboys defense is not in the same class at the Steelers. They have secondary problems, and the return of Pac Man from suspension will not help. The Steelers offense should be able to move the ball on them.

Right now the Cowboys are at 8-4, with the Eagles trailing them by 1.5 games. A Cowboys loss here would, coupled with an Eagles win, would put them only .5 games back, with a Week 17 matchup in Philly still looming.

Pick: Steelers

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Brand Out

The Sixers will try to turn things around tommorw night agaisnt the Detriot Pistons, but now they will have to do it without their best player.

ESPN is reporting that Elton Brand will not play Friday because of a strained right hamstring. Brand left the Sixers last game early with the injury.

NFL Week 14

I missed Week 13, except for the Thanksgiving day games. I went 2-0 during the day, but thankfully was wrong with the Eagles. Here are my picks for week 14 in the NFL.

Last Week (week 12 and thanksgiving): 9-7
Season: 27-15

Raiders at Chargers: For all of the talk about how bad the Raiders are, and what a joke they are to watch, the Chargers have 1 more win then the Raiders do. 1. Is LaDanian Tomlinson even a top 10 back in the NFL this season? Pick: Chargers

Dolphins at Bills: The Bills lost at home to the 49ers last week, as they fell to .500 on the season. This game is being played in a dome in Toronto, as the Bills try to expand their fan base.After this game, the Canadians might be asking for another team. Pick: Dolphins

Jags at Bears: The Bears are 1 game behind the division leading Minnesota Vikings, and need this win badly. The Jags have completely fallen apart, after getting smacked by the Texans Monday Night. This one is easy. Pick: Bears

Cheifs at Broncos: The Broncos have no choice but to win the AFC West, as they are the only team in it with a winning record. They played well last week in beating the Jets, to add onto their nice win at Atlanta two weeks ago. Pick: Broncos

Vikings at Lions: I will not pick the Lions the rest of the season. Pick: Lions

Texans at Packers: The Packers are two games out with 4 to play, so their playoff outlook is very very bleek. But after an emotional win last Monday Night, the Texans should help the Packers playoff chances. Pick: Packers

Browns at Titans: Are the Titans the best team in the AFC? Their come back win vs the Lions didn't show anybody anything excpet that the Lions suck. This game won't show anybody anything either. Pick: Titans.

Bengals at Colts: The Colts have been living dangerously on the edge on their comeback streak, and didn't score an offensive touchdown vs the Browns last weekend. This one should be easier tho. Pick: Colts

Falcons at Saints: With the Saints playoff hopes all but dead, they are now only playing for their pride and for Drew Brees attempt at Marinos record. But I think this one will be close. I am very tempted to take the Saints, but I can't make the jump. Pick: Falcons

Rams at Cardinals: How lucky are the Cardinals they get to play in the NFC West? Pick: Cardinals

Jets at 49ers: The 49ers beat the Bills last weekend, and are playing better football under Mike Singletary. Who would rather have him then Andy Reid? If the Jets had won last week, Id go 49ers, but if the Jets are really a Super Bowl contender, they have to bounce back. Pick: Jets

Pats at Seahawks: It dosn't matter the Seahawks had 9 days to prepare. I heard Mike Holmgren was near tears after the Thanksgiving day loss, and this one won't be much better. Pick: Pats

Redskins at Ravens: In a battle of teams only 90 minutes away from each other, both teams need this one badly. But I don't see the Redskins offense putting up anything vs the Ravens defense. Pick: Ravens

Bucs at Panthers: This is probaly the game of the week, as these two 9-3 teams will battle for the lead in the NFC South. The winner will have their playoff destiny in their own hands, and will probaly have a first round bye. I havn't been sold on the Panthers or the Bucs all year, but I think being at home, on Monday Night Football will do it for the Panthers. Pick: Panthers

State of The Sixers

The Sixers come back, dream season has not started how it was supposed to. The excitement of signing Elton Brand, and resigning Andre Iguodala and Louis Williams is gone. Now, after last nights loss to the Lakers, all that is left is a 8-11 team, who have lost 5 of their last 6.

Before we go into whats wrong with these Sixers, lets compare them to last seasons version. Last season, no body was expecting anything out of the Sixers at all. At this point last season, without Elton Brand, the Sixers were 6-13. That is only two games worse then this team. This years team has been over .500 1 time, while last years team did not manage to get over .500 until the 71 games into the season.

At this point last season, the Sixers were averaging 92 points per game, and allowing almost 95 points per game. This season, the Sixers are giving up the same amount of points, but are scoring 2 points less per game. Last years team finished 40-42, and were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Does anyone see anything to make you think this year will end any differntly? The only differnce in my opnion is that the Sixers are now tied to the Elton Brand, Andre Igoudala combo for about 5 years.
No one on the team is having a particularly good season. Elton Brand is averaging 16 and 10, but came up small last night with only 3 points in a loss to the Lakers. Andre Iguodala is averaging 6 points less then last season, and is clearly adjusting to having Brand down low.

But with almost 1/4 of the season completed, its time to ask if maybe this team is what it is: a .500 team. Last time Elton Brand and Andre Miller were on the same team, it was with the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2002-2003 season. That team won a total of 22 games. While this Sixers team is better, it does show that maybe the Brand, Miller, Iguodala combination might not work. It hasn't so far. So far, all you can ask is, was it the right move to re sign Iguodala for all that money? Or would the Sixers have been better off signing Josh Smith?

There is still along to games to be played, but so far, this team looks like a failed experiment.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Plax Done for Season

In a move that surprised little, the Giants have placed wide receiver Plaxico Burress on the non football injury list, ending his season. That also went along with fines and suspensions for the rest of the season, for conduct detrimental to the team. 

Burress was the teams third leading receiver, but that is only because he demands double team coverage. He had 35 catches for 454 yards and 4 touchdowns. With him out of the lineup, the team will now relay on Amani Toomer, who has 39 catches for 480 yards and 4 touchdowns. While he has been productive as the number 2 receiver, it is yet to be seen if he can carry the load Burress did. Along with Steve Smith, they will have to keep defenses honest, as the team will now try to stop the run.

The Giants are 2-0 this season without Burress, but one was agaisnt the Seahawks. They also beat the Washington Redskins, but now that teams will be able to prepare for them knowing they won't have Burress, we'll see if they can keep it up. 

Around the NBA

With the NBA season about a month old, things are starting to come into shape, and story lines are developing.

1) Stephon Marbury Benched: When Marbury was first brought to New York, it brought the city alive, almost like their own son was coming back home to play. Now, be can't even get on the court. New coach Mike D'Antoni has decided Marbury is not part of the plans, and has not played him 1 minute this season. Surprisingly, Marbury has seemed to take it in stride, saying general qoutes like "it's not my call" and "I'll do what's best for the team".

That was until recently. In a long time coming tirade, Marbury called out his team mates, naming Quiten Richardson, saying that they stabbed him in the back by not sticking up for him. Finally, everyone has agreed it is better for him to just stay home. The Knicks are now working on what to do with him, whether it be trade him or buy him out.

One rumor out there has the Miami Heat trading Shawn Marion for him. I don't get why the Heat (or any team) would trade for him. The Knicks are going to buy him out. Then you can get Marbury at a discounted rate. I think Miami is the place for him. The Heat have young point guard Mario Chalmers, but Marbury would be a 1 year deal. And coming out if this situation, you'd have to think that he would be on his beat behavior, and try to prove people wrong, in hopes of getting a new contract.

Right now the Heat are 9-9, 4 games behind the Orlando Magic. Dwanye Wade is having an MVP year. If Marbury can play anywhere near what he is capable of, they have a real chance of making the playoffs.

2) Billups in Denver: When the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons swapped points guards, I thought it was a good deal for both. And while there is still plenty of the season to go, the early winner looks like Denver. They are 11-3 in games that Chauncy Billups has played in. If the playoffs started today, they would be the number 2 seed.

Mean while, in Detroit, the honeymoon ended fast for Allen Iverson, as he has already been punished for missing a practice. There has also been rumbelings that Richard Hamilton is not happy with the amount of shots he is getting. I still they will turn it around, but right now, the clear winner in that trace appears to be Denver.

3) Portland Trailblazers: The season is still young, the the Trailblazers, if the playoffs started today, would be the 3 seed. They have impressive wins over the Pistons, Hornets, and Rockets. They are also undefeated at home. Greg Oden, after one of the worst starts to a career someone could have, has bounced back to average 8 points and 7 rebounds, highlighted by a 22 and 10 effort vs the Warriors. The Blazers should keep winning, as they face the Knicks and Wizards for their next 2.

-- Post From My iPhone

Phils Pass on Moyer, Burrell

Midnight came and went for the Phillies, as they decided not to offer pitcher Jamie Moyer and left fielder Pat Burrell arbitration.

That dosnt mean that they are not going to be with the Phillies next year, but it does mean that now they could walk and the Phillies will get nothing.

I don't understand why they wouldn't offer Moyer arbitration. Moyer is definitly at the end of his career, but arbitration would have given him pretty much a one year deal. That would be perfect for the Phillies. Now that have to negotiate a deal with him, and hope he accepts a one year offer.

With Burrell, I understand a little more. Burrell made 14 million last year, and after helping the Phillies win the world series, was due for a raise. I don't think the Phillies were ready to commit 17 million to Burrell, with big raises coming for players like Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels and Shane Victorino.

Let's hope the Phils have a backup plan, because if they lose both Moyer and Burrell, those are two holes that won't be able to be filled with role players.

-- Post From My iPhone

Monday, December 1, 2008

Phillies Start Off Season

A month since the Phillies took over the city of Philadelphia, they now must look to the future.

In their quest to repeat as World Champions, the Phillies have every single one of their key players returning. Barring some unforseen trade, the Phillies will return Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley and Cole Hamels. Though Hamels will be due for a raise, as well as Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth, all of them are expected to be back.

The two key Phillies who are in limbo are Pat Burell and Jamie Moyer. Today is the deadline for the team to offer both of them arbitration. It is expected that both will be offered, but that dosn't mean they will be signed. This just means that if another team signs them, the Phillies get draft picks in return.

Burrell has been on the team longer then any other player on the roster. However, if they had not won the World Series, the likely hood of him returning would be slim. Burrell had a good season, tallying 33 homers, 86 RBI's, and batted .250. However, he was seen as a defensive liablity and was taken out of many close games for both base running and defensive reasons. Though he has been consistent in his time in Philly, he has never been able to make that leap from good to great. He will want more money then the Phillies are willing to give him. But, people believe he wants to return to Philly, and the Phillies want him back for the right price. I find it unlikely he will be back, becasue a team that could use him as a DH could decide to through some money at him. Maybe the Angels, who will most likely loose Mark Texeira to the Red Soxs, will decide to take some of that money and throw it Burells way.

Jamie Moyer, probaly the best dead line pick up of Pat Gillicks time in Philly, is 46 years old, and is up for arbitration this year. He was a steady hand for the Phillies this season, and won game 3 of the World Series. He had a 3.71 ERA, and was 16-7 this season. He will probaly be back, as he is from outside of the Philly area and would like to return. It would also most likely be a one year deal, which would benefit the Phillies. If they are unable to sign Moyer, they could look to Derec=k Lowe or A.J. Burnett. Both are avaibale, and could be signed even if they to come to terms with Moyer. Lowe was 14-11 with a 3.24 ERA. He would be a good addition, as the Phillies would then have a rotation of Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Derek Lowe, Joe Blanton, and Jamie Moyer.

The Phillies open spring training on Feb. 14.

Giant Twist

For years, Plaxico Burress has killed the Eagles in every game they have played him. But with the Eagles playing the Giants next week, they will not have to face Buress. Not this week.

Or possibly for the next 3 to 3.5 years.

While some details have been released, lets recap as to what is generally understood to be what took place on Friday night. With Burress already listed as out for the weekend game agaisnt the Redskins, he along with team mates Antonio Pierce and Ahmad Bradshaw. Burress was with his body guards, who were aware that he had a loaded gun on him. It later came out that team mate Stever Smith had been robbed earlier in the week, and this could be the reason for his descion to carry an illegal firearm (this hasn't been confirmed). After some drinks, I've read that Burress ws visibily drunk. His gun was in his pants, and at one point slipped down and into his pant leg. As Burress went to grab it, it went off, firing the bullet completely through his already injured theigh. Screaming in pain, team mate Pierce tried to stop the bleeding. At this point, Burress did not want to go to the hospital for fear of this getting out in the public, but eventually did go to see a doctor. He signed in under the alias Harris Smith, and was treated for the gun shot wound. It has also been reported that Pierce hid the gun for Burress, which is also a crime in New York.

Since that night, it has been reported that the hospital did not report Burress to the police, which is a law since he had a gun shot wound. This is a misdemeanor in New York. Also, it has been reported that Burress has been laughing and joking with team mates about it, and is not worried.

However, unless his fame gets him out, he should be. In New York, carrying an illegal firearm is a 3- 3.5 year sentence, no questions asked. Much like any case involving a high profile athlete, this could go both ways. Burress could cut a deal, and get off without serving any time. However, New York could try to make an example of him, and put him behind bars. I think that is the right thing to do. Not just as an Eagles fan, but as a citizen who does not want other people thinking that you can carry a gun illegally and get away with it just becasue you can catch a football.

This impacts the NFL a great deal. First off, the likely hood of Burress playing for the Giants again is slim. He has clashed with the coaches and management, and was on thin ice as it was. Now, why would the Giants welcome him back? They won the Super Bowl last year, and have won the two games that he has not played in this season. They suspended him earlier in the season for showing up late. I find it hard to believe they will welcome a felon back on thier team.

The next question is, what happens to Pierce? He, along with Jason Tuck, is the heart of the defense, and also the most vocal. What if he gets suspended for some games? Last year, the three most recongnizable and vocal members of the defense were Micheal Strahan, Osui Umanyuora and Pierce. Now, none of them could be on the field come Sunday.

The Giants already have the divison pretty much wrapped up, but this is going to kill what has been a feel good season for the Giants so far. This team is getting bad vibes around it at the wrong time. Last year at this time, they were starting to come together. Now, they are coming apart.

The winners in all this? The Eagles, who get 9 days to prepare for a team filled with turmoil.

Eagles v Cardinals Recap

The Eagles finally gave the fans something to be thankful for on Thursday, as they absolutely dominated the visiting Arizona Cardinals. It wasnt hard to tell which team needed it more, as the Eagles (for once all season) dominated the line of scrimmage and played harder. The Eagles pounded the Cardinals to the tune of 185 yards on the ground, which if you've been watching this team all season, is the most telling stat as to how dominent they were.

What I Liked:
1) Donovan McNabb: As with the quarterback of any team, it all starts with him. And this week, he delivered. McNabb came out hot, and led the Eagles to two first quarter touchdowns, which is 2 more then they had in the previous 6 quarters. McNabb finished 27 of 39 for 260 yards and 4 touchdowns. He led the Eagles to a touchdown in every quarter, and really put to sleep the critics who were calling for his head all week. It sad to say, but if all McNabb is playing for now is to up his trade value, then this game showed other teams that when McNabb is on his game, he's one of the best in the league.

2) Brian Westbrook: Finally, a Westbrook sighting. His two rushing touchdowns were as many as he had in the last 6 weeks combined, and he broke 100 yards on the ground for only the second time this season. He also caught two touchdowns, including the one that put the Eagles on the board first. Not only were his stats impressive, but if you watched the game, you noticed that the Westbrook that played on Thursday was not the same one that has been playing. He ran hard, fast, and was elusive. He averaged 5 yards a carry, his second highest average of the season. Hopefully, he can keep this up, and not fall back into a slump like after the Atlanta game.

3) Joselio Hanson: Hanson came up for the Eagles, starting in the place of the injured Asante Samuel, catching his first career interception. It came off of a Stewart Bradely tip, but Hanson showed good ball skills in making the catch even though it was behind him and tipped. While it is just one game, it says something that Jim Johnson put Hanson in as the starter over Lito Sheppard. I know that it was because Sheppard has played the Nickel Corner all season, but after manning the starting cornerback spot for years, he probaly could have done it. This showed faith in Hanson, and it also showed the Eagles will be moving on without Sheppard next season.

4) 3rd Down Conversions: Its not often a player who hasnt played a down all season for a team, comes in for a 3 yard rush and gets a standing ovation. But when Kyle Eckel came in and converted 3rd and 1 for the Eagles early in the first half, it was huge for the Eagles. It got the gorilla sized monkey off their back, and set the tone of success for the night. For the game, the Eagles were 10 of 15 on 3rd down, as compared to 3 of 10 for the Cardinals.

What I Didn't Like:

1) Inconsistency: When you win by 28 points, theirs not much to not like about the win. But after watching the Eagles play the Bengals and Ravens, you have to ask yourself, where was this team during those games? The Ravens defense is good, but the Bengals defense isn't. How come the Eagles coulnd't put up 48 on them? Its been the Eagles achielles heal all season, and hopefully they can keep up this momemtum into the next game.

2) NFC East: How much does it suck that the Eagles play in the NFC East? The Cardinals were the best team in the their division by far, and the Eagles killed them. For all of the biggest problems with the Eagles, maybe their biggest problem is their divsion. For most of the Andy Reid era, the divsion has been the Eagles friend, once going 6-0. But now the Eagles are in the toughest spot in the NFL, having to climb over 3 teams that are all in the top 10 in the NFL, just to make the playoffs.

3) Max Jean-Gillies: He went down for the season, and this isnt going to help an already depleated line.

4) Andy Reid: I know they won, but in a way, it irks me that he is probaly sitting in his office thinking "I knew it was the right move to bench McNabb." It still wasn't. And he still needs to go.