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Thursday, August 18, 2011

Must See Sports Third Weekend of August 2011

Thursday, August 18

NFL Preseason Football

Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers

This exhibition battle of Pennsylvania should be fun. Mike Vick and the "Dream Team" take their act across the state to the Steel City. Ben Roethlisberger and company will provide as good of a litmus test for the Eagles as one could ask for in August. There is no reason to think the Steelers will not be front runners to repeat as AFC Champions.

Note: Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin will not play (illness) but is expected to return to practice in less than two weeks, according to ESPN.

Ben Roethlisberger married this beautiful woman, the former Ms. Ashley Harlan, last month. I'm speechless on a number of levels. 1

Friday, August 19

NFL Preseason Football

Atlanta Falcons at Jacksonville Jaguars

While far from a traditional rivalry, this game will be telling. First of all, there are not any other (non-local) options if you have a burning appetite for football. Fox will have a monopoly on nationally broadcast football tomorrow night.

Second, the Jags situation at quarterback, with David Garrard assumed to be the starter and first round draft pick Blain Gabbert out of Missouri having shown signs of rapid development in last week's game against the Patriots, is worth watching. Garrard has been the starter for several years and helped the Jaguars remain competitive in what has usually been a very competitive AFC South division.

However, it is clear that Garrard, entering his 10th year in the NFL, while efficient, will probably never be a big playmaker. He is 33 years old. While he has never had a big arm or dazzling athletic ability to supplement his quarterbacking ability, his average (at best) arm strength is likely to lessen soon. The Jags must prepare for the future.

Third, the Matt Ryan Show rarely disappoints. I am also looking forward to seeing him work with first round draft pick Julio Jones, out of Alabama. The Falcons appear to be loaded on the offensive side of the ball. The Jaguars defense, usually solid, should make for a good sparring partner for Matty Ice.

Saturday, August 20


Texas Rangers at Chicago White Sox
Alexi Ogando (12-5, 3.33 ERA) – Rangers vs John Danks (5-9, 3.95 ERA) – White Sox

The White Sox keep hanging around and hanging around and hanging around in the American League Central race, in third place but just 3.5 games back of the division leading Detroit Tigers. With the second place Cleveland Indians appearing to gradually slide since the All Star break, the Sox have yet another opportunity to put themselves in the American League playoff discussion.

The Rangers, winners of 11 of their last 13 games, are putting some distance between themselves and the second place Los Angeles Angels. The Rangers have the Angels against the ropes and a prolonged continuance of this hot streak, which includes winning the first three games of a four game series with the Angels (game 4 is tonight), should deliver a knock out blow to the Halos, losers of seven of their last eight.

Advantages: Game - Rangers, Series: Rangers
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen and his team have had opportunity after opportunity to climb to the top of the AL Central. Now the colorful manager is trying to make sure the Sox don't choke away this latest chance. 2

NFL Preseason Football

New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans

The Texans displayed a new look, with stingy, hard hitting defense, under first year coach Wade Phillips, last Monday on national television against the high profile New York Jets. Drew Bress and the Saints will come marching in to Reliant Stadium and try to have better luck than the Jets. The Saints steamrolled the San Francisco 49ers in their preseason opener. While it was great for a tune up, I don't think that game told the Saints or their fans anything they didn't know already. The Texans should offer a tougher test.

Sunday, August 21

NFL Preseason Football

San Diego Chargers at Dallas Cowboys

The (possibly) future "So. Cal Chargers" may not know where they will be calling home five years from now, but they will be heading to Cowboys Stadium on Sunday night, for a national telecast on NBC. The Chargers have appeared ready for a breakout for several seasons, but, for now, the only breakout on the horizon is a possible breakout of Qualcomm Stadium to newer, greener pastures 200 miles to the north in Los Angeles.

The Cowboys, under first year coach Jason Garrett, are looking to rebound from a very disappointing 2010 season, which began with promise and ended in pitfall. That rebound will begin with the efforts of a healthy Tony Romo at quarterback. Romo missed most of last season with a broken collarbone. The Chargers aggressive, pass rushing defense should make this an interesting matchup.

Monday, August 22

NFL Preseason Football

Chicago Bears at New York Giants

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL? It's just preseason, but it's still Monday Night Football. The Bears and Giants may have more questions circling their teams than any other pair of contenders in the NFL.

Can the Bears protect quarterback Jay Cutler better? Was the Cutler knee injury in last year's NFC Championship Game blown out of proportion or will there be spillover effects in the Bears locker room?

Can the Giants put it together for 16 weeks? Could this be the year that Giants quarterback Eli Manning firmly rises to the ranks of the elite? Will Tom Coughlin be on the hotseat if the Giants fail to make the playoffs?

It's only preseaon, but Monday's game should offer an intreguing preview.

Kristin Cavallari (left) is probably the latest in the growing list of people who are NOT rooting for Jay Cutler. Reportedly, Cutler broke of their engagement and dumped Cavallari suddenly. If you want a quick laugh, Google "Jay Cutler Jerk" and see how many hits you get. You'd be amazed (or not). There is your gossip for the day, fellas. 

Wednesday, August 24

Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers
Josh Beckett (9-5, 2.40 ERA) - Red Sox vs Matt Harrison (10-8, 3.19 ERA) - Rangers

This is a possible (at this point, I say "probable") preview of the American League Championship Series. As mentioned earlier, the Rangers are surging. They have vaulted themselves into contention for home field advantage through the American League playoffs, though they still have substantial ground to make up.

The Red Sox have fallen out of first place in the American League East for the first time in weeks, trailing the New York Yankees by a half game as of this morning. While the Red Sox still have the second best record in the American League, the Rangers threaten to widen the gap between the Yankees and Red Sox.

Josh Beckett has pitched consistenly well, but, should he not record a win tonight against the Kansas City Royals, he will be trying for his first win in over a month in this matchup. Conversely, Matt Harrison has won four of his last five decisions and has sturck out 25 batters in his last five starts, above his season average. I still like Beckett and the Sox in this one.

Advantages: Game - Red Sox, Series: Rangers

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