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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Must See Sports - Second Weekend of September 2013

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 4-3
Last week's advantage/disadvantage record in series: 1-1
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 45-37
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record (series only): 14-11-4

Football, football, football...!

Thursday, September 12


New York Jets (1-0) at New England Patriots (1-0)

The Patriots are 12 point favorites in this game. That’s outrageous. I expect the Pats to win. I expect the circus that is the 2013 Jets to leave their tent at the door when they enter Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. I expect them to have a tougher time keeping Tom Brady in check than Josh Freeman. But the bookies are going to clean up with a 12 point spread

These are not “The Patriots” most of us have grown to hate and the rest have grown to love. The Pats struggled with the Buffalo Bills because their defense, again, is not good (kind of a head scratcher on a Bill Belichick coached team) and Brady’s weapons went from assault rifles five years ago to semi-automatic pistols the last couple of years to muskets. And two of his muskets have been traded for a bayonet as wide receiver Danny Amendola (10 rec.,  104 yds. last week)  is out for tonight’s game with a groin injury and running back Shane Vereen (101 yds. Last week) is out for about a month with a wrist injury.

The real groin punch will come if the Patriots allow Jets quarterback Geno Smith or running backs Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory to run all over them the way Fred Jackson of the Bills did last Sunday. Expect Patriots Fan to be uncomfortable during this game. That said the Jets unbeaten season ends tonight.

Advantage: Patriots

Mark Sanchez: "Thanks coach!" 1

Friday, September 13

Major League Baseball

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox

Hiroki Kuroda (11-10, 2.99 ERA) - Yankees vs John Lackey (9-12, 3.48 ERA) - Red Sox
The Yankees are on the brink of playoff elimination but scratching and clawing their way through every game just to stay alive, just one game back of the Tampa Bay Rays as of this morning. The Red Sox have the A.L. East all but wrapped up.

Kuroda went into a bit of a slide in August, and has not recorded a win since a month ago. However, he was solid against the Red Sox, who have been crushing the ball from the 1 through 9 spots last Sunday in a Yankees win. Lackey is good, but not clutch and the Yankees are in a situation in which they have to be clutch for the rest of the season. There is also no assurance that centerfielder Jacoby Ellsbury (.299, 8 HR, 52 RBI, foot injury) or catcher Jared Saltalamacchia (.259, 11 HR, 54 RBI, back injury) will play in the series.

Advantage: Game – Yankees, Series – Red Sox    

The Yankees need Kuroda to weather the storm of the red hot Red Sox. 2

Saturday, September 14

NCAA Football

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide at #6 Texas A&M Aggies

GAME OF THE YEAR…so far. Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban has had this date circled on his colander since the Aggies’ shocking first quarter beat-down of the Tide in Tuscaloosa last season.  This year, Bama has to travel to College Station and face A&M at Kyle Field, a known hell hole for all visitors.

Johnny Manziel (497 yds., 6 TD, 1 INT, 69% comp.)is making as good of a case as he possibly can to become the second man in history to win Heisman Trophies in consecutive years. The Aggies’ offense looks potent! Their defense looks a little impotent. A&M is coughing up 30 points per game having only faced mid-major Rice out of Conference USA and low-minor, FCS Sam Houston State of the Southland Conference. 

This is the SEC and Bama is the defending conference champion. Alabama running back T.J. Yeldon (75 yds., 1 TD, 4.4 avg. vs Virginia Tech) appears to have picked up where he left off last year, running over everyone in his way. Finally, Alabama under Saban never loses to any school not named LSU in successive years.

Advantage: Alabama

Shaq would be proud of Johnny Football Manziel: "Bama...TELL ME HOW MY ASS TASTES!" 3

#16 UCLA Bruins at #23 Nebraska Cornhuskers

L.A. versus Nebraska…”porn versus corn”! UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora, Jr. has rejuvenated the Bruins and made them back into a team that expects to be ranked and seriously contend for the Pac-12 championship. The Bruins workhorse in the backfield? Junior Jordan James (155 yds., 1 TD, 7.4 avg.). Expect to see a lot of him this year, leading a pack of UCLA backs who can run it down a team’s throat as a unit if it can build a rhythm. With sophomore quarterback Brett Hundley (274 yds., 2 TD, 67% comp.) stirring the soup, the Bruins have a chance in every game. 

Nebraska, under Head Coach Bo Pelini, has been in the business of steamrolling opponents, with a punishing one-two punch of Ameer Abdullah (228 yds., 2 TD, 6.3 avg.) and Terrell Newby (136 yds., 5.9 avg). They also have a quarterback in senior Taylor Martinez who can put the ball in the end zone when he needs to.  

Advantage: Nebraska

Sunday, September 15

Denver Broncos (1-0) at New York Giants (0-1)

The Giants have their backs against the wall. An 0-2 start is usually an omen of doom as the historic odds of reaching the playoffs after such a start plummet and the historic odds of winning the Super Bowl become as long as the day. To pile on they get to host Peyton Manning coming off of an NFL record seven touchdown performance in the kickoff game against the Baltimore Ravens last week.

The Broncos have every reason to be confident after completely dismantling the defending Super Bowl champions. Still, I am not yet sold on their linebacking corps with the absence of Von Miller. The Broncos have to travel to the East Coast. In addition, the Giants shot themselves in the foot, repeatedly, in their Sunday Night Football loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Their mistakes were correctable and not likely to be repeated by a Tom Coughlin coached team in a game of this importance.

Still, talent wins out. Overall the Broncos are the better team with the  better quarterback, though both QBs share similar DNA. The Giants have a giant question mark at the running back position as they were plagued with inefficiency and mental errors out of the backfield last week.

Advantage: Broncos

Eli hopes to not serve America another Kodak moment like this. PRICELESS! 4

San Francisco 49ers (1-0) at Seattle Seahawks (1-0)

Because of the difficulty of a road playoff schedule and the fact that these two teams are in the same division (meaning only one of them, in almost any realistic scenario, can play at home in the postseason), I won’t call this a possible preview of the NFC Championship Game. I do think, right now, these are the best two teams in the NFC. This is the opening salvo in the NFC West division race.

Seattle showed some rust at the Carolina Panthers last week, with a comedy of penalties making the game much closer than it should have been. The 49ers, particularly quarterback Colin Kaepernick, looked extremely sharp last week. Seattle has one of the toughest home field advantages in the NFL. On paper, I think this game tips ever-so-slightly to the Birds, but my gut tells me the 49ers and Kaepernick can outlast Seattle.

Advantage: 49ers

A win against the Niners will really give Russell Wilson's (right) lovely wife, Ashton (left, psycho looking) something to scream about. 6

Monday, September 16


Monday Night Football

Pittsburgh Steelers (0-1) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)

This is another matchup of two teams with their backs against the wall. Based on personnel and Week 1 performances, the Steelers have a lot more to be worried about. Their offense was punchless and their offensive line suffered a huge gut punch as All-Pro center Maurkice Pouncey was lost for the season with tears in his ACL and MCL in his knee. They could not move the ball against the Tennessee Titans and their ground game was completely invisible. Facing Cincinnati’s top flight defensive line will not help those matters.

The Bengals were simply beaten by a quality opponent on the road against the Chicago Bears in a close game in Week 1. Their lack of a running attack in that game was cause for concern because they performed below expectations. In contrast, the Steelers already have low expectations in the running game and failed to meet those. Compounding matters, nobody appeared to emerge as a deep threat to replace Mike Wallace, who departed for Miami. Ben Roethlisberger (191 yds., 1 TD, 1 INT, 64% comp. last week) is not likely to have as mediocre and ineffective of an outing as he did against the Titans, but he’s facing a better front seven this week and can’t throw the ball and catch it himself.

Advantage: Bengals

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