Wow. I’m starting a petition to get this boy in the Dunk Contest.
Archive for November, 2009|Monthly archive page
Welcome back to Week 5 of the Power Rankings folks. This week last seasons NBA Finalists claim the top 2 spots in the Rankings, with the Lakers holding strong at 1 after six consecutive double-digit wins and the Magic moving on up to number 2. Atlanta drops a bit after a couple of tough losses, and the Nuggets spill all the way to 8 after an embarrassing home loss to the Timberwolves.
5. Boston Celtics (13-4) – This team is tough to figure out. Defensively they are still one of the strongest in the league, despite the fact that they are allowing teams to score over 100 points on them more regularly now than they ever have since the Garnett-Allen-Pierce union. Offensively there are times when they struggle, looking a bit confused and firing up 3’s at an astounding rate. However, at the end of the day they are still 13-4 and one of the most dominant teams in the league. It’s only a matter of time until this squad starts clicking again.
4. Atlanta Hawks (12-5) – This week was kind of a step backwards for the Hawks, as they lost a much anticipated game to the Magic on Thanksgiving and then another to Detroit. The surprise here was how easily Atlanta was handled by Orlando, especially given the fact that the Magic were playing the second game of a back-to-back. However despite a few hiccups this week, the Hawks still have a bunch of impressive wins this season and should regroup from the losses to come back strong this week.
3. Phoenix Suns (14-3) – Still the surprise of the league, the Suns are back to their old selves, running rampant on the league and scoring in bunches. Through 17 games, the Suns have broken 100 points all 17 times, and are being lead by MVP candidate Steve Nash, the only player in the league averaging double-digits in assists. They still might not be able to play defense, but Phoenix is definitely a fun team to watch.
2. Orlando Magic (14-4) – Last seasons Eastern Conference finalists are looking stronger and stronger as the season progresses, despite the injury bug that his bitten them. Jameer Nelson is out for a couple more weeks, but the team has not missed a beat. Despite a tough, last-second loss to Miami on a putback by Michael Beasely, Orlando shook it off to go into Atlanta the next night and resoundingly pronounce themselves East favorites with a 16-point win.
1. Los Angeles Lakers (13-3) – Since losing back-to-back games to the Nuggets and Rockets, the Lakers have strung together six consecutive double-digit victories to reclaim their spot atop the perch of NBA contenders. The return of Pau Gasol has made this team stronger than ever, and despite worries that Gasol and center Andrew Bynum would struggle adjusting to each other, the two 7-footers have flourished. This team could easily push this winning streak into double-digits.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers
7. Dallas Mavericks
8. Denver Nuggets
9. Portland Trailblazers
10. Houston Rockets
11. Miami Heat
12. San Antonio Spurs
13. Utah Jazz
14. Oklahoma City Thunder
15. Milwaukee Bucks
16. Chicago Bulls
17. Los Angeles Clippers
18. New Orleans Hornets
19. Sacramento Kings
20. Charlotte Bobcats
21. Toronto Raptors
22. Indiana Pacers
23. Detroit Pistons
24. Washington Wizards
25. Memphis Grizzlies
26. Philadelphia 76ers
27. Golden State Warriors
28. Minnesota Timberwolves
29. New York Knicks
30. New Jersey Nets
Welcome back everyone! With another week of Thursday games I bring you another week of an early Friday Football Forecast. There are some great games this week, even if Turkey day doesn’t really provide us with much drama. Everyone enjoy your weekend off, kick back and watch some football. Eid Mubarak and Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!
Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions –In the first of the Turkey Bowl games this season, two old rivals collide in Detroit when the Lions host the Packers. The Lions, as most of you know, are coming off of what was quite possibly the game of the year last weekend against Cleveland, and are feeling pretty good right now about their squad. The Packers meanwhile, are coming in minus two starters from a defense that is ranked number one in the NFL in total yards allowed per game, Al Harris and Aaron Kampan, who were both lost for the season last week against San Francisco. The Lions aren’t without injuries themselves, reigning NFC Player of the Week and Tackle Tuesday Stud of the Week (wonder which is more of an honor?) Matt Stafford is expected to play despite a separated (non-throwing) shoulder. Although I am tempted to pick the Lions here, the fact remains they are the Lions, and they’re playing a Green Bay team in the playoff hunt this week, not the Browns. Add that to the fact that the Lions have been outscored 179-62 the last five Thanksgiving games, and you come out with a Packers win.
Packers 27, Lions 14
Oakland Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys – Another Thursday game, another team coming off a big win, and no it’s not the Cowboys. The Raiders shocked the football world last week by defeating the Cincinnati Bengals in a 20-17 nail-biter that came down to a Sebastian Janikowski field goal at the end. Dallas meanwhile, is coming off of a disgustingly ugly, 7-6 win over Washington last weekend. This is a game that Dallas must be weary of, the Raiders have a lot of confidence right now, and the Cowboys look a little bit shaky. Who am I kidding? They look a lot a bit shaky, and as long as they have an inconsistent Tony Romo as their starting QB, they’re going to continue to look shaky. Romo makes bad decisions at bad times, like the interception he threw late in the fourth quarter last week against Washington before his defense gave him a second chance, and if the Cowboys really want to win the NFC East he’s going to have to step up big. Unfortunately for us, Dallas is most likely going to beat up on the Raiders, and Romo will probably play well (which he tends to do against bad teams) and we’re going to have to hear about how much of a superstar Romo is for the rest of the week. Just remember one thing folks, HE’S NEVER ACCOMPLISHED ANYTHING, so let’s not get too excited just because he’s the quarterback of “Americas Team”
Cowboys 27, Raiders 13
New York Giants vs. Denver Broncos – In the finale of Turkey Bowl games, the relieved Giants take on the reeling Broncos in a game that definitely looks a lot less fun that it did a couple weeks ago. You’ll remember the Giants started 5-0 and the Broncos 6-0, but a month later we stand here with both teams at 6-4, limping in the playoff race. The Giants are just happy to have gotten a win last week, snapping a four-game losing streak that saw them go from NFC leader to Wild-Card hopeful. The Broncos meanwhile are reeling in every sense of the word. In-house turmoil, questionable coaching, defensive collapse, injury, you name it, the Broncos are going through it. After having a three and a half game lead on San Diego, the Broncos were embarrassed at home by the Chargers last week 32-3, and now trail San Diego by a game in the division. This game will make or break someone’s season, the winner going on to continue contending in their respective divisions and conference Wild Cards, the loser getting one step closer to an embarrassing collapse.
Giants 24, Broncos 17
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons – Speaking of teams faltering mid-season, remember when the Falcons were 4-1 and looking very solid with Matt Ryan running the offense and a stingy defense? Fast forward to this weekend and they have lost four of five, including a heart-breaker to the Giants last weekend after a great come back from a two touchdown deficit, and now find themselves fighting for their playoff lives. The Bucs meanwhile, well they’re just happy to have that one win. Despite some nice play from rookie QB Josh Freeman, this team is going nowhere any time soon. Take a team that’s 4-0 at home and put them up against a team that’s 0-4 on the road, and you have a pretty easy decision to make come prediction time.
Falcons 17, Bucs 7
Miami Dolphins vs. Buffalo Bills – Finally, we have a team that is actually playing well after a slow start instead of playing poorly after a good start. Miami started this season 0-3, but today stand at 5-5 and in the middle of the AFC Wild Card race. They seem to only be gaining momentum, and they can thank this weeks opponent for that. Miami won their first game against Buffalo, relying heavily on their high-powered ground game in a 38-10 blowout. This week should be no different, despite losing Ronnie Brown for the season, Ricky Williams has given the Fins back to back 100-yard games, and the Bills poor run defense should mean that Williams has a field day this weekend.
Dolphins 24, Bills 13
Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals – Coming off a horrible road loss, the Bengals look to get back on the winning track and forget all the problems that plagued them last week. The perfect cure? A home game against the Browns. All you have to do is ask the Lions what it can do to boost the morale of your team. The Bengals looked like the Bungles last week, fumbling off a kick-off in the final 30 seconds to allow the Raiders to score the upset. The Browns meanwhile looked like a contender, until you remember they were playing the 1-8 (at the time) Lions. Cleveland will come crashing back down to Earth this week, and the Bengals will get back on track in the race for the AFC North title.
Bengals 31, Browns 10
Seattle Seahawks vs. St. Louis Rams – In an NFC West clash (for dramatic effect) the Rams host the Seahawks in what should be a boring game between a team that’s 1-9 and hasn’t won a home game in ten contests (St.Louis) and a team that is 3-7 and hasn’t been within double digits of any opponent in its last six road contests (Seattle). Obviously, something has to give this week. The Seahawks have won 10 straight against the Rams, not losing to St. Louis since 2004. However the Rams are coming off a game they played pretty well in last week against Arizona, and with Stephen Jackson they believe they can hang with anyone, despite the poor record. I’m inclined to believe that for one game at least, the Rams will ride Jackson to the win, and get one of the games best backs some much-deserved publicity, for a week at least.
Rams 21, Seahawks 17
Carolina Panthers vs. New York Jets – Two teams fading in the playoff picture collide this week when the Jets take on the Panthers. Both teams sit at 4-6, but have taken different paths to where they are now. The Jets you’ll remember, started of 3-0, including a big win against the Patriots in Week 2, and were the darlings of the NFL. The Panthers, started off 0-3 after finishing last season 12-4 and were among the leagues biggest disappointments. The Jets then proceeded to lose six of their next seven, while the Panthers have gone 4-3 since to get themselves to within two games in the NFC Wild Card race. This game should feature plenty of running, as it has two quarterbacks who are up there in the league lead in interceptions in Mark Sanchez and Jake Delhomme. The winner of this game will keep their slight playoff hopes alive, while the loser can start planning their off-season now.
Panthers 24, Jets 21
Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles – In the NFC East battle of the week, the Eagles host the Redskins. The Eagles are involved in basically a three-team race for the division title with the Cowboys and Giants, and host the divisions cellar-dweller in Washington. Coming off a big road win against Chicago that gave their season and division title aspirations hope, the Eagles look to continue their winning ways. The Redskins on the other hand just want to get a win, coming off a 7-6 loss against Dallas where they actually played really good defense until the end, the Redskins are having a season to forget. A win against the Eagles would definitely make this season better, but unfortunately for the ‘Skins I think we have a better chance of seeing Mike Vick run for 100-yards this weekend (remember when that was a common thing?)
Eagles 31, Redskins 13
Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans – A couple weeks ago, when the Texans visited the Colts, I picked Houston to win that game. A late Kris Brown missed field goal later, I was wrong and the Colts had pulled out a squeaker at home, 20-17. The Colts are now 10-0, riding a 19-game regular season winning streak, and need wins against the Texans this week, Titans next week, and the Broncos a week after to set the NFL record for consecutive regular season wins. I have picked the Colts to lose as my Upset of the Week more than a couple of times, and you know what, I’m going to do it again. The Texans have played the Colts close in the last couple contests, losing by single digits and coming oh-so-close to pulling the upset. I think they get it this week, in what could be the biggest home win in Texans history, to keep them in the Wild Card hunt.
Texans 24, Colts 22
Kansas City Chiefs vs. San Diego Chargers – With both teams coming off impressive wins last week, the Chiefs and Chargers clash in an AFC West divisional game. The Chiefs are coming off a huge upset, beating the Steelers in overtime last weekend in what might just be the upset of the season. The Chargers meanwhile are coming off a 32-3 dismantling of the Broncos that gave them control in the division race. The Chargers are arguably the hottest team in the NFL, winning five straight, including road wins in New York against the Giants, in Denver, and a home win against the Eagles. Also in that winning streak is a 37-7 shellacking of the Chiefs in Kansas City. If the Chiefs can’t stay within 30 points at home, what would make you think they can hang in San Diego?
Chargers 34, Chiefs 14
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. San Francisco 49ers – Two teams going in opposite directions face off in San Francisco this weekend as the Niners host the Jags. The last time the Jags came out to the West Coast, they were hammered 41-0 by a poor Seattle squad, and it turned to be the turning point in their season. Since then the Jags have won four of five, and three straight, to jump right into the middle of the AFC Wild Card race. The Niners meanwhile, looked like a playoff team at the beginning of this season, but now sit at 4-6 and are all but out of the playoff picture in the NFC. They can start salvaging a lost season with a win this weekend that would ruin the Jags playoff chances, but the Jags are too focused right now to slip up.
Jaguars 21, Niners 20
Chicago Bears vs. Minnesota Vikings – When looking at this game on the schedule at the beginning of the season, wasn’t everyone predicting this to be an NFC title game preview? That’s why they play the games. The Vikings have held up their end of the bargain, going 9-1 and despite being a game behind the undefeated Saints in the standings, are the team to beat in the NFC. The Bears meanwhile are falling apart, struggling greatly to get the ball moving with Jay Cutler at QB. The man who was supposed to be a superstar and lead Chicago to greater things, leads the NFL in interceptions thrown, and has struggled without a real number one receiver. The Vikings should continue to roll with Brett Favre and Adrian Peterson leading the way, as they are one Saints loss away from claiming home-field advantage.
Vikings 27, Bears 10
Arizona Cardinals vs. Tennessee Titans – The NFL’s reigning road warriors hit the road against one of the leagues hottest teams when the Cardinals take on the Titans. The Cardinals are 5-0 on the road this season, en route to a 7-3 record and control of the NFC West. Arizona’s road success started in the playoffs last season and has continued into this season. The Titans meanwhile, started this season 0-6, including an embarrassing 59-0 loss to the Patriots, after an NFL-best 13-3 record last season. In the past four weeks however, Tennessee has turned it around behind Vince Young. Rejuvenated by the quarterback change and following the lead of Chris Johnson on the ground, the Titans have won four straight and given themselves (albeit tiny) a chance at the playoffs. A win this week for the Titans would set up a clash with the Colts next week that will really let us know how for real the Titans are. I’m going to go out on a limb and make a second Upset of the Week pick, hey it’s a holiday weekend, consider this a gift.
Titans 21, Cardinals 17
Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens – In a key AFC North game, bitter rivals face off as the Ravens and Steelers take the field. The animosity between these two teams is well known, and the physical nature of these games are something for all to enjoy. The Steelers are coming in off of two consecutive losses, including an embarrassing road loss to Kansas City, while the Ravens are coming in off a two-point home loss to the Colts that they should have won, if not for a late Joe Flacco INT in the red zone. The winner of this game will be in prime position to get into the playoffs, while the loser will have to basically win out to get in. Despite the fact that it’s a home game for the Ravens, you can never go against the Super Bowl Champs in a big road game, especially with the season on the line.
Steelers 17, Ravens 13
New England Patriots vs. New Orleans Saints – The undefeated Saints get a real test this Monday night when the Patriots come to town. The Saints are sitting at 10-0, living off of a fast-scoring offense that can blow a game open in minutes. The Pats come in doing what they usually do, winning games while making other teams play at their pace and style. This is a big litmus test for the Saints, we will really see if they are for real and a true Super Bowl contender when they host a tough team in a primetime game. This is easily the Game of the Week, and will be very fun to watch. Two of the highest-powered offenses will be facing off, and two of the games best at quarterback with Drew Brees and Tom Brady taking shots downfield. I think that we will leave this game knowing that not only are the New Orleans Saints for real, but Drew Brees is playing better at quarterback than anyone in the league this season. This game will be a shoot-out, no doubt about it, but in the end, the Saints will continue marching in to a historical season.
Saints 41, Patriots 35
Stephen A. Smith (remember him?) is reporting that 10-time NBA All-Star Allen Iverson is retiring. Iverson, best known for his fearless drives to the paint, unbelievable scoring ability, and hatred for practice (we talkin bout practice?) decided to take retirement rather than a sixth man role. Iverson believes he still has starter capabilities in this league, and despite the fact that no team was interested in signing him as a starter, Iverson has taken his ball and gone home. It’s pretty sad that a sure-fire Hall of Famer like Iverson decided to end his career on this note, but I really doubt this is the last we hear of him. I would be willing to bet that Iverson comes back at the end of the season with a contender like Boston or Cleveland once playoff time starts rolling around.
Some video gifts for you guys, now that the holidays are rolling around.
First is from the NBA and my favorite non-Laker, Derrick Rose, this kid is a beast, period. Sorry Greg Oden!
Second is from the best receiver in the NFL, Andre Johnson, yeah I said it. Only him and Larry Fitzgerald could do all these things in one play.
This was such a confusing, exciting, and just fun-filled week in the NFL. The Browns-Lions giving us a classic (no seriously) and the Chiefs and Raiders reminding us that on any given Sunday, any team can win.
Upset of the Week:
What the hell happened? Last week, everyone (including the Sports Authority) was fawning over the Bengals, how they’re for real, a team to be reckoned with in the AFC after beating the Steelers for the second time this season. Fast forward to this weekend and they’re the Bungles again, losing to the Raiders of the NCAA, and some dude named Gradkowski, huh? I don’t even know what to make of this loss, the Bengals had a 17-10 lead with about 30 seconds left, give up a 30-yard game-tying touchdown, fumble away the ensuing kickoff, and a Sebastian Janikowski field goal later are leaving Oakland with a loss. Huh? Seriously a lot of confusing things in the NFL this season, but the Eagles and Bengals losing to the Raiders a couple weeks apart could be quite possibly the weirdest thing to happen this season.
Game MVP: Bruce Gradkowski (17-34, 183 yards, 2 TD’s) – For the first time, I had trouble actually finding an MVP for this. Looking at the stats, I really have no idea how the Raiders of the NCAA won, I mean their QB didn’t break 200 yards passing, their running back didn’t break 100, their kicker missed a field goal, I mean seriously, this win makes NO sense.
Game LVP: Cincinnati Bungles (INT, 3 Lost Fumbles, 0 Sacks) – This was a stink job by the entire team, they all played horribly. Actually not the entire team, Rookie RB Bernard Scott had 21 carries for 119 yards while filling in for Cedric Benson, but the rest of the squad was horrible. Seriously I am so confused by this loss that I don’t ever want to talk about it again.
Game of the Week:
Who knew? Go back to my Friday Football Forecast and I have to be honest, I predicted this to be one of the worst games of the season, a 10-6 win for the Lions. Who knew this would turn out to be possibly the game of the season? Who knew Brady Quinn could play a little, throwing for four touchdowns? Who knew that Matt Stafford was really the best rookie QB this season, not Mark Sanchez? Who knew that I would be on my couch screaming after Stafford threw that game-winning touchdown with no time on the clock, his fifth of the day, for the win? Seriously though, only the Browns could lose a game like this, a pass interference call with no time left on the clock in the endzone, setting up an amazing finish. Stafford was driven into the ground on that hail mary throw, separating his left (non-throwing) shoulder and having to leave the game. By NFL rule, an injured player cannot return the next play unless a timeout is called. Thanks to Eric “did we really used to call this guy Mangenius?” Mangini and his horrible game management, that’s exactly what happened. Stafford dodged four team medical personnel, ran back onto the field telling his coach to call a pass, threw the game winning touchdown and immediately turned to the sideline in pain saying “It’s Out! It’s Out!” in reference to his dislocated shoulder. I loved this game, it was fun to watch and reminded me exactly why I watch football. And it all happened in Detroit, against the Browns in a battle of two of the worst teams in the NFL, who knew?
The “Adrian Peterson” Highlight of the Week:
On the opening drive of the Colts-Ravens game, Peyton Manning dropped back and threw to his trusty TE Dallas Clark, who pulled in this insane one-handed grab for a 3-yard TD. What’s so impressive about this catch is that after the grab, Clark has the presence of mind to make sure he gets both feet inbounds. There aren’t many wide receivers out there who can make a grab like this, and the fact that Clark is a tight end makes this catch even more impressive
Stud of the Week:
Really, I can’t get over this game. Did you expect me to give Stud of the Week to anyone but Stafford? He defined stud at the end of that game on Sunday, coming back on the field with a dislocated shoulder and throwing the winning touchdown. I don’t think many people understand the risk of this play, he’s on the field with a separated shoulder, it’s not in place, meaning if he gets hit there his career could have been finished, that’s how serious of an injury this could have been. Stafford became the youngest player in NFL history to throw for five touchdowns in a game, showing everyone why he was the first overall pick in the draft, and perhaps turning around an entire franchise with this win. Matt Stafford, I salute you.
NFL Top 5 after Week 11:
1. New Orleans Saints (10-0) – Another week, another win for the Saints. New Orleans remained undefeated with a 38-7 thrashing of the Bucs in Tampa. Although the Bucs record isn’t that great, they had been playing well the past couple weeks making this impressive. The biggest challenge standing between them and 16-0 comes to the dome on Monday night when the Pats visit.
2. Indianapolis Colts (10-0) – In what seems to be becoming a tradition for Indy, the Colts pulled out another gritty, ugly win this week on the road in Baltimore. Regardless of how the Ravens are struggling, a win in Baltimore is nonetheless impressive. Peyton Manning and Co. have now won 19 consecutive regular season games.
3. Minnesota Vikings (9-1) – I said it once, I’ll say it again, this is the team to beat in the NFL, period. With Brett Favre passing for another four TD’s on Sunday and the Vikes defense obliterating the Seahawks offense, this team is clicking on all cylinders. Seattle had 10 first downs the entire game, and four yards total on the ground. This is still the team nobody wants to see in the NFC come playoff time.
4. San Diego Chargers (7-3) – San Diego…….. SUPER CHARGERS! That’s exactly what the Bolts looked like last week in their domination of the Broncos. They too are clicking, the running game finally coming around to match Phillip Rivers in the air, and a defense that is finally playing like we’re accustomed to seeing. With the Bolts surging and the Broncos falling off (again) this team is definitely a force to be reckoned with in the AFC.
5. Arizona Cardinals (7-3) – Before you guys flip a table and go crazy about the Cards being in the Top 5 over the Cowboys, I want you to remember two things. First, the Cards went to the Super Bowl last season, have won six out of seven, and we know what they bring. The Cowboys just beat the Redskins 7-6, have Tony Romo at QB, haven’t won a playoff game since the 90’s, oh and they have Tony Romo at QB! Kurt Warner’s injury will be interesting though, and could knock the Cards out of this spot in a week. But it could be worse, seriously they could have Tony Romo at QB.
After an interesting week in the NBA, I bring you the Power Rankings for Week 4. Combine the return of Pau Gasol to the Lakers with a 3-0 week, a loss by the Hawks and Suns to the Hornets, and a Boston mini-free fall, the Lakers move back up to the top while the Celts drop all the way down to 10 on the list this week after losing three of five and needing a buzzer-beater to beat the lowly Knicks yesterday. Here are the rest of the rankings.
5. Dallas Mavericks (10-3)– Dallas is a team that is surprisingly flying under the radar despite some pretty big wins. They took out the Spurs at home in overtime but struggled against an injury-depleted line-up. However with no big losses and wins against the Spurs, Lakers and Bucks, the Mavs are right now a top five team in the league.
4. Orlando Magic (11-3) – Despite losing Jameer Nelson to a knee-injury for a couple of weeks, the Magic keep rolling along with wins. Vince Carter has stepped in and carried the scoring load for the defending Eastern Conference champs.
3. Phoenix Suns (11-3) – The Suns continue to surprise, whether by the games they win or lose. Rolling along and currently in first in the Pacific division, the Suns have plenty of wins, with their only losses coming to last years Finalists the Lakers and Magic. That was until they were shocked by the Hornets, however they continue to exceed expectations and give the Lakers a run for their money in the division, for now.
2. Atlanta Hawks (11-3) – Surprisingly, we’re four weeks into the season and the Atlanta Hawks are still the East’s cream of the crop. They have taken on all comers and had big win after big win, but a loss to New Orleans dropped them from the perch in the Power Rankings. With a big game against Orlando this week the Hawks will have another opportunity to prove they belong in the conversation of championship contenders.
1. Los Angeles Lakers (10-3) – What a difference a week makes huh? Last week the Lakers were reeling from back-to-back losses to Denver and Houston, having lethargic second halves in both games and losing pretty badly. Fast-forward to this week, the Lakers get Pau Gasol back and suddenly again are the deepest, most dangerous team in the league. I don’t care if you’re a Laker hater or not but Kobe’s behind the backboard shot last night against the Thunder was INSANE, and any Laker game you watch has the potential for a Shannon Brown dunk on someone.
And just for kicks:
6. Denver Nuggets
7. Milwaukee Bucks
8. Cleveland Cavaliers
9. Portland Trailblazers
10. Boston Celtics
11. Houston Rockets
12. Miami Heat
13. Utah Jazz
14. Chicago Bulls
15. San Antonio Spurs
16. Oklahoma City Thunder
17. Toronto Raptors
18. New Orleans Hornets
19. Indiana Pacers
20. Sacramento Kings
21. Philadelphia 76ers
22. Los Angeles Clippers
23. Washington Wizards
24. Charlotte Bobcats
25. Detroit Pistons
26. Golden State Warriors
27. Memphis Grizzlies
28. New York Knicks
29. Minnesota T’Wovles
30. New Jersey Nets
With a Thursday night game tonight, I decided to go ahead and give you guys the Forecast a day early instead of predicting just one game and adding the rest tomorrow, so enjoy!
Miami Dolphins – Carolina Panthers –
Another week, another Thursday night game for the NFL. This one brings us the Panthers hosting the Dolphins in an interesting match-up. Miami is coming off a last-second win over 1-8 Tampa, but are reeling from the loss of leading rusher/ Wildcat initiator Ronnie Brown. Meanwhile the Panthers seem to finally be clicking for the first time this season, coming off a big win against Atlanta last weekend. This game will come down to a couple of things. First, can Jake Delhomme continue playing well and not throwing interceptions as he has the past three weeks, or will he go back to the ways that had people calling for his benching? Also, how effective will the Dolphins be in the Wildcat without Brown? Unfortunately for the Dolphins, I don’t think they will be very effective at all.
Panthers 17, Dolphins 13
Washington Redskins – Dallas Cowboys
Remember when this used to be one of the fiercest rivalries in the NFL? That definitely seems like it was forever ago. Regardless, it remains a rivalry and with the Skins coming in off a big win against the Broncos and the Boys coming in off an embarrassing loss to the Packers, this game should be interesting. Washington wants to come out and build off of the big win last week while Dallas wants to come out and forget their last loss and re-focus on taking the NFC East crown. This game will hinge on how effective Washington is on the ground and which Tony Romo shows up for Dallas. Although you can never really count any team out in a rivalry like this, the game being in Dallas and the added motivation of forgetting their Lambeau trip are enough to push the Boys to a win this week.
Cowboys 24, Redskins 14
Cleveland Browns – Detroit Lions
Can it get any worse than this? This game could be one of the worst match-ups we’ve seen in the NFL since, well since the Raiders-Chiefs game last week. In all seriousness though, something has to give in this game. Either Cleveland is finally going to start scoring or Detroit is finally going to shut someone down. Right now I can’t think of any reason to pick either of these teams, neither has any type of advantage, the only thing that I can do here is pick the home team, because both of these teams are so terrible that it seems like that’s the only advantage in this game. And because of that I’m going with the Lions to double their win total.
Lions 10, Browns 6
San Francisco 49ers – Green Bay Packers
This is another one of those games that used to be a big rivalry, but with Brett Favre in Minny and Steve Young over on ESPN, the only real story in this game is which former first-round pick will play better. For those that don’t remember, Alex Smith went first in the 2005 draft, and was picked over Aaron Rodgers, who went on a free-fall all the way to 24 and the Packers. Whichever one of those QBs plays better will determine who wins this game. And although Smith has played well since regaining the starting position, I think Rodgers outplays him in the Lambeau cold.
Packers 21, Niners 17
Pittsburgh Steelers – Kansas City Chiefs
This one is my Upset Pick of the Week…. okay not really, actually this is probably the easiest game to pick. The Steelers are coming off of a tough home loss to the Bengals and what better way to rebound from that then a game against the lowly Chiefs? Pittsburgh should work out all the kinks in this game and dominate it from start to finish, getting back on track to trying to grab that AFC North title.
Steelers 34, Chiefs 7
Seattle Seahawks – Minnesota Vikings
In the pre-season this looked like it would be a key Week 11 game, possibly the inside track to home – field advantage on the line. But injuries have ravaged the Seahawks to the point that they are 3-6, and probably already looking ahead to who they want to take with their high first-round pick. The Vikings meanwhile look more and more complete with every passing week. Despite the fact that the Saints are undefeated the Vikings are still the team to beat in the NFC, and really what’s not to like? The best running back in the game in Adrian Peterson, a more efficient than we’ve seen in years Brett Favre, and the best lines in the league. Minnesota should roll easily in this one.
Vikings 31, Seahawks 10
Atlanta Falcons – New York Giants
This is a big game for both teams, but not in the way we might have thought it would be a couple weeks ago. Both teams are reeling right now, the Giants coming off a bye week and four straight losses since a 5-0 start, the Falcons coming off a loss to Carolina and looking like they might be ready to fade away at this point. Neither team can afford another loss, otherwise they fall behind in the wild-card and division races, and put themselves in a position where they might not have to win out to make the playoffs, but they’ll need to be pretty damn close. The main advantage here is for New York, and that is they are playing at home. The Falcons have not looked good on the road at all this season, and I expect that trend to continue this weekend.
Giants 21, Falcons 13
New Orleans Saints – Tampa Bay Bucs
After an 0-7 start, the Bucs have been a team rejuvenated since putting rookie Josh Freeman in at quarterback. Despite the loss last week to Miami, Freeman lead Tampa to another fourth-quarter comeback, and had them in a position to win it at the end before the defense faltered. New Orleans meanwhile just keeps chugging along. Coming off a less than impressive win over St. Louis last week, the Saints are 9-0 and seem like team 1A in the NFC along with Minnesota. I think they’re offense will get back on track after a lackluster (by their insane standards) past couple games.
Saints 35, Bucs 17
Buffalo Bills – Jacksonville Jaguars
This is the first game for the Bills since changing coaches and quarterbacks. Dick Jauron was fire early this week, and Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for struggling Buffalo. Meanwhile the Jags seem to be clicking at the right time, although the AFC is so stacked this season that it may not make a difference. In the end this game will come down to the fact that Jacksonville needs it more if they have any hope of making the playoffs. Don’t expect to catch this one on TV though, as we get yet another blacked out Jags home game, you paying attention LA?
Jags 17, Bills 10
Indianapolis Colts – Baltimore Ravens
The Colts are coming off a thrilling 35-34 not-loss to the Pats over the weekend. The reason I call it a not-loss is because they didn’t win so much as the Pats lost it thanks to Bill Belichicks fourth-and-2 blunder to basically hand Peyton Manning the game. The Colts are now 9-0 as well, having won 18 consecutive regular season games for the second most all-time. But they have been struggling lately, winning a couple close games in a row. Meanwhile Baltimore is coming off a 16-0 blanking of the Browns on MNF, which considering the competition isn’t really that impressive. However I think this has all the makings of an upset win for the Ravens, and that’s why this is my Upset Pick of the Week and I’m serious this time.
Ravens 24, Colts 20
Arizona Cardinals – St. Louis Rams
The Rams very nearly pulled off the upset of the season last week, barely losing to the Saints at home. This week they welcome the defending NFC Champion Cardinals (still sounds weird), who are just getting on a roll the past couple weeks. Arizona sits at 6-3, in control of the NFC West and looking for another playoff run. This should be a tune-up game for them as they look ahead to the rest of the season. Although Steven Jackson could go wild and win this game himself if the Cards aren’t careful.
Cardinals 31, Rams 13
San Diego Chargers – Denver Broncos
Wow what a difference a month makes. Five weeks ago, the Broncos had just beaten the Chargers in San Diego on MNF, were 6-0 and had a commanding three and a half game lead over the then 2-3 Chargers. But we wake up this morning with both teams at 6-3 and this game suddenly a slugfest to determine who has control over the AFC West the rest of the way. Right now the Broncos are reeling, coming off a loss to the lowly Redskins in which they lost quarterback Kyle Orton to an ankle injury. The Chargers meanwhile are rolling, with back to back big wins against NFC East opponents in the Giants and Eagles, and they are out looking for revenge. The Broncos are vulnerable right now, and with the possibility of Orton sitting out this weekend all signs point to a Chargers victory.
Chargers 27, Broncos 17
Cincinnati Bengals – Oakland Raiders of the NCAA
Before the season started, this looked like the game to avoid this week, the Bungles and the Faders? Who would ever want to watch that? Well, nobody besides Cincy and Oakland fans will probably want to watch this game still, the Bengals are 7-2 and on a roll. Although leading rusher Cedric Benson may be out, the Bengals signed former Chief Larry Johnson to fill in and he should have an immediate impact. The Raiders meanwhile are, well they’re the Raiders. Every week they look more and more like a college team, and they switched things up this week to try and improve, benching Jamarcus Russell in favor of Bruce Gradkowski or Charlie Frye, the starter of the latter two is yet to be decided. Seriously, you know you’re team is bad when you bench you’re starter and can’t decide if you want to put in the second or third stringer to start. Let’s just move on.
Bengals 31, Raiders 6
New York Jets – New England Patriots
FOURTH AND TWO FOURTH AND TWO FOURTH AND TWO FOURTH AND TWO! Okay now that that’s out of the way let’s forget Week 10 and focus on Week 11. Remember the last time these two teams met? The Jets shocked a lot of people and knocked off the Pats, backing up a lot of trash-talk and guarantees to pull off the win en route to a 3-0 start. Fast-forward to this week, the Jets are 4-5, the Pats are a playoff team and all is well again in the world. The Patriots are always lethal after a loss, having not lost two in a row in nearly three years. Expect them to continue that streak in this one.
Pats 27, Jets 10
Philadelphia Eagles – Chicago Bears
In a big NFC game, both of these pre-season favorites are coming off of tough losses in California. The Bears lost to the Niners on the road due largely in part to Jay Cutlers FIVE picks, which were a result of great coverage and even greater cockiness on Cutlers part. The Eagles meanwhile are coming off a 31-23 loss to the Chargers that wasn’t as close as the final score for most of the game. Both of these teams desperately need a win if they want to stay in the playoff picture, and despite being a home-game for the Bears, Cutler is in too much of a funk right now for anyone to take that team seriously. Add that to the fact that this is a home-coming game for Chicago product Donovan McNabb and you have all the makings of a big road win for Philly.
Eagles 21, Bears 13
Tennessee Titans – Houston Texans
The Titans continue to just roll along since plugging Vince Young in at quarterback, going 3-0 since an 0-6 start. The Texans meanwhile are still out to prove to everyone they are a legitimate playoff team, and for the first time in a long time, host a MNF game for a national audience. If there was ever a game for Houston to show the country they are for real this would be it. But, I think Chris Johnson is going to run wild in this game and show everyone why some people have him in the conversation with Adrian Peterson as the best back in the NFL.
Titans 24, Texans 17
Surprise of the Week:
Well this one was definitely a shocker. The Broncos were coming in at 6-2, off two straight tough losses to AFC North opponents, and just looking for a game to rebound and snap that mini-losing streak. The Redskins were well, the Redskins, coming in at 2-6 and having all types of issues all season long, seeming like with each week came a new problem. But I guess that’s why they play the game, because this one turned into a surprise with Redskins keeping pace with the Broncos and only trailing 17-14 at halftime. After a scoreless third quarter the Redskins came out gunning in the fourth. outscoring the Broncos 13-0 and taking the lead for good on a one-yard TD run by Ladell Betts with 2:44 left. The loss was the third straight for Denver, and dropped them into a tie with the Chargers in the AFC West, just 4 weeks after having a three-game division lead. Does any of that sound familiar to you Bronco fans?
Game MVP: Ladell Betts (26 carries, 114 yds, 1 TD) – Filling in for an injured Clinton Portis, Betts handled the workload on the ground and proved to be the difference in the game. He ran for 91 yards in the second half alone, and his lone TD was the difference in the game, leading the Skins to the upset.
Game LVP: Chris Simms (3-13, 13 yds, INT) – Another injury fill-in, Simms took over for an injured Kyle Orton to start the second half and lead the Broncos to a whole lot of nothing. The team had a grand total of 32 yards after halftime, and they looked absolutely nothing like the team that we saw start this season at 6-0.
Game of the Week:
Up 31-14 early in the fourth, and 34-21 with just over four minutes left in the game, on the road, at undefeated Indianapolis, you would think that Bill “The Genius” Belichick would be able to hold on to the win right? Especially after Peyton Manning and the Colts had scored to cut the lead to 34-28, and the Pats have a fourth-and-2 from their own 28, with over two minutes left, you just punt it and have faith in your defense right? I mean nobody on Earth would go for it and risk giving Peyton freakin’ Manning the ball less than 30-yards away from a win, we can all agree on that can’t we? Well that is of course unless your Belichick, and you are cocky enough to go for it in that situation. So what happened next? The Pats fall a half-yard short, Manning scores in three plays and somehow a game the Pats dominated for 58 minutes turns into a 35-34 loss that leaves us all questioning the Coach, and leaves the Pats defense with a definite message, letting them know that Belichick doesn’t have faith in them to stop Manning from going 70 yards, he’d rather risk it all and hope is offense can run out the clock. The Colts meanwhile are now 9-0, have won 18 straight regular season games, and have the toughest game on their schedule out of the way. This is one everyone can question, I mean in all honesty, Norv Turner wouldn’t have gone for it on that play, and he’s probably the worst head-coach in NFL history. Congrats Bill Belichick, you allowed your arrogance to rob your team of a hard-fought and well-deserved road victory.
The “Adrian Peterson” Highlight of the Week:
Great play here, Scott takes the kickoff on a bounce and zig-zags through a bunch of Steelers before barely beating out a couple more Pittsburgh players to the end zone for a 96-yard TD on the kick return. This play provided an early spark in what proved to be a huge Cincinnati win.
Stud of the Week:
This seems to be a weekly award for Johnson now. He came through big yet again, leading the Titans to their third consecutive victory. He has almost single-handedly backed up his guarantee that the Titans will win their last 10 after an 0-6 start, and he is doing the unthinkable, putting himself up there in the conversation for best running back in the NFL along with Adrian Peterson. If Johnson continues to play like this and the Titans somehow make a miracle run, you might be looking at the NFL MVP.
NFL Top 5 after Week 10:
1. New Orleans Saints (9-0) – A surprisingly close win over the now 1-8 Rams in St.Louis, but the Saints are still chugging along, scoring in the boat-loads and playing some strong defense. This is a team that will be in it no matter who they are playing because they can score at anytime, from anywhere, with no warning.
2. Indianapolis Colts (9-0) – Still undefeated, 18 straight wins in the regular season, and the best quarterback alive right now (yes that includes Drew Brees), this team is the favorite in the AFC for now, but they have looked shaky the past three weeks and could be in for an upset real soon.
3. Minnesota Vikings (8-1) – This is still my current Super Bowl pick, there is no team more complete right now than the Vikes. Look at the stats from last week, AP has 133 yards and 2 TDs, Favre throws for 344 yards and a TD and Sidney Rice has over 200 yards receiving. They have the best lines in football on both sides of the ball, and they look better and better every week.
4. Cincinnati Bengals (7-2) – I have to admit, every week the Bengals shock me. I thought the Steelers would massacre them and show us all what a fluke that 6-2 start was, but as of today, I am a Bengals Believer, this team is for real folks.
5A. San Diego Chargers (6-3) – I couldn’t decide who to put at the 5 so we’re going to have to split them. The Chargers come in at 5A, they’ve won four straight after a loss to the Broncos dropped them to 2-3. The last two wins have been especially impressive, a last-second road win against the Giants and then a domination of the Eagles at home. The Chargers are looking better by the week as they recover from their annual slow-start.
5B. Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) – I can’t drop the Steelers much, they did lose to another top 5 team and it was a close game, so I have no real reason to drop them out of the top 5. They still are the defending Super Bowl Champs, and are still the team nobody wants to see come playoff time, this is one team nobody should make the mistake of counting out.
After a one-week hiatus I am back with my NBA Power Rankings. Shockingly, three weeks in and the top two teams are teams that are surprising everyone, while the last two Champs find themselves on surprising two-game losing streaks. Here are your rankings for Week 3:
5. Boston Celtics: The Celtics are one a two-game losing streak, losing at home to Atlanta before failing the next night on the road to Indiana. The Atlanta loss was tough because it was a home game, but the Indiana loss will be harder to swallow because the Celts don’t usually look so bad on the second game of a back-to-back. Don’t expect them to stay this low for much longer though.
4. Phoenix Suns: Currently holding the best record in the NBA at 9-2, the Suns have surprised everyone and lead the Pacific division as of this morning due in part to the Lakers slipping the past two games. The only reason they are not ahead of LA would have to be the embarrassing road loss in which the Lakers completely dominated Phoenix from start to finish. Regardless this is definitely one of the most surprising teams so far this season.
3. Los Angeles Lakers: The defending Champs started out this week impressively, especially in the aforementioned beat down of Phoenix Thursday night. However the last two games they have looked lethargic and in desperate need of a Pau Gasol return. The second half has been murderous for them the past two games, and with a Kobe Bryant groin injury now being revealed, this team will need Gasol back quickly. You have to believe they’ll figure it out though, and having them third is too low for this team, consider this a one week thing.
2. Denver Nuggets: Well that was impressive. Despite an embarrassing loss to Milwaukee the game before, the Nuggets came out and took complete advantage of the Lakers in Denver on Friday night, blowing them out of the building. Granted the Lakers were playing the second of a back-to-back, but that doesn’t mean the win wasn’t impressive still. This might be the only week you see Denver this high, but right now they are a confident group who believes they can beat anyone.
1. Atlanta Hawks: Say what? The Hawks? That’s right folks, the Atlanta Hawks are the number 1 team in this weeks Power Rankings. They only have two losses on the season, one coming at the Lakers and the other a loss to the Bobcats that we can easily forgive after their impressive road win in Boston Friday night. They came out with something to prove and did it with an impressive fourth-quarter showing and pulled away for the big win. Congrats ATL, for at least a week you have the top team in the NBA.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers
7. Miami Heat
8. Portland Trailblazers
9. Orlando Magic
10. Dallas Mavs
11. Milwaukee Bucks
12. Houston Rockets
13. Chicago Bulls
14. Oklahoma City Thunder
15. San Antonio Spurs
16. Detroit Pistons
17. Sacramento Kings
18. Indiana Pacers
19. Toronto Raptors
20. Utah Jazz
21. Philadelphia 76ers
22. LA Clippers
23. Charlotte Bobcats
24. Golden State Warriors
25. Washington Wizards
26. Memphis Grizzlies
27. New Orleans Hornets
28. New York Knicks
29. Minnesota T’Wolves
30. New Jersey Nets