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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Must See Sports - Fifth Weekend of November 2013

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 3-3
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 89-74
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage FINAL Record (series only): 22-13-4

I completely ran the table in reverse on college football. That's why the Advantage/Disadvantage portion of Must See Sports is for entertainment purposes only. Understand? Do not send your bookie over to me!

I could expect an unwelcome visit from this guy if I bet a lot of college football last week. 1

Thursday, November 28

Happy Thanksgiving, Hat Trick Fam! You know what Turkey Day means? FOOTBALL!!!


Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) at Detroit Lions (6-5)

No Aaron Rodgers plus on the road equals doom for Green Bay.

Advantage: Lions

Reggie Bush is a one man wrecking crew out of the Lions' backfield. 2

Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) at Baltimore Ravens (5-6)

This slug fest is always a war. It could also decide the sixth and final playoff spot in the AFC playoffs. The Steelers have come to life, winning five of their last seven, after a catastrophic 0-4 start, The biggest difference has been the presence of a running threat, rookie Le'Veon Bell (455 yds., 4 TD).

Bell missed the first three games of the season. It's no coincidence that the Steelers running attack was almost nonexistent before then. The Ravens have also been unusually light footed on the ground. Ray Rice (450 yds., 4 TD, 2.9 avg.), the heart and soul of the Ravens backfield for the last several years, is averaging less than three yards per carry this season. In fact, the Ravens, as a team, are only averaging 2.9 yards per carry.

That has allowed defenders to drop more linebackers in coverage and spend more time spying on Ravens QB Joe Flacco (2,742 yds., 14 TD, 14 INT 59% comp.). This game will come down to the running game, as these are two teams that center their strategies around being able to run and stop the run. I think the Ravens have a slight advantage because of their defense, which appears to be improving each week after a mediocre start tot the year. Baltimore is also at home.

Advantage: Ravens

Le'Veon Bell and injected life into a once lifeless Steelers running attack. 3

Saturday, November 30

NCAA Football



The Iron Bowl: It's like that.

#1 Alabama Crimson Tide at #4 Auburn Tigers

This is the de facto SEC West division championship game. It is also the biggest college game of the week with a ton at stake. The balance of the BCS National Championship picture hangs in the outcome.

The only people who will be root for Alabama are people who are Alabama fans in Alabama. The rest of the college football world, especially fans of Ohio State and Florida State, will be one day War Eagles.

As an LSU man, I'd love to see Bama coach Nick Saban get it stuck to him a little. I just don't think that is going to happen. Auburn has played well (and been smiled up by Lady Luck at times). Alabama has been exemplary from start to finish this season. I don't think the Tigers, in spite of their impressive rushing attack, have enough to keep the Tide from rolling on to the SEC Championship Game.

Advantage: Alabama

The Iron Bowl: It's ON! 3
The Palmetto Bowl

#6 Clemson Tigers at #10 South Carolina Gamecocks

This may be the biggest battle for the Palmetto State, ever, as both teams are ranked in the top ten and both have BCS bowl aspirations. Clemson has not recorded a victory over S.C. since 2008. Last year the Cocks frustrated Tigers quarterback Tajh Boyd (3,248 yds., 29 TD, 7 INT, 67% comp.) to no end. Still, Boyd, a senior, is playing the best football of his career. The only stumbling block the Tigers have encountered is unbeaten Florida State. I think the Clemson losing streak ends here.

Advantage: Clemson

Tajh Boyd (#10, center, being decapitated) has to keep his head against Jadeveon Clowney (#7) and the Gamecocks for Clemson to snap its Palmetto Bowl futility. 4

#21 Texas A&M Aggies at #5 Missouri Tigers

Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel (3,537 yds., 32 TD, 13 INT, 69% comp.) has one last regular season game remaining in his college career. What better way to go out than by ruining the season for former fellow Big 12 rival and current SEC rival Missouri? Looking at the Aggies defense, that isn't likely.

Missouri has repeatedly answered the critics, unbeaten in regulation play, ranked #5, and one win away from clinching the SEC East division and facing either the Auburn Tigers or Alabama Crimson Tide in the SEC Championship Game in December. Mizzou has not one but two signal callers who have proven themselves to be capable in James Franklin (1,719 yds., 14 TD, 4 INT, 67% comp.), who is back from an injury that caused him to miss several games, and freshman Maty Mauk (1,034 yds., 10 TD, 2 INT, 51% comp.).

A&M's defense has not risen to any occasion and I don't expect it to happen at Missouri with a trip to the SEC Championship Game at stake. Missouri will be able to control the ball and should be in position to answer whenever Johnny Football strikes. He will not pick the Tigers apart on the road the way he's picked apart lesser defenses this season. The Alabama game (Texas A&M scored 42 points), which was still a loss and was played in College Station, TX, was a long time ago.

Advantage: Missouri

Johnny Football's two years at Texans A&M have been a brief but very exciting chapter in college football. Only two more entries remain to be written in this chapter. Enjoy while you can! 5

Sunday, December 1


Denver Broncos (9-2) at Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)

The Chiefs, losers of two straight, can prove that they aren't a fluke or the beneficiaries of a last place schedule and some lucky bounces (along with a 180-degree turn in caliber of coaching an QB play during the offseason). The Broncos are reeling after blowing a 24 point lead to Broncos QB Peyton Manning's (3,722 yds., 36 TD, 7 INT, 69% comp.) career arch-rival Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football.

Arrowhead Stadium is one of the toughest places to win in the NFL. However, Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history and, statistically, far-and-away the best in the game today. Good luck getting to Manning and company after a tough loss, Chiefs fans!

Advantage: Broncos

The Chiefs will need to lean heavily on their 12th man at Arrowhead Stadium to split the season series with the Broncos. Why NBC did not flex this game and instead chose to air the Giants and (hapless) Redskins is beyond me. Yes, it would be the third week in a row that the Broncos and Peyton Manning would be featured on Sunday Night Football. And the problem is...? 6

Monday, December 2

New Orleans Saints (9-2) at Seattle Seahawks (10-1)

I couldn't be more biased as my Saints go far, F..A..R away to the Pacific Northwest to play the team with the best record in the NFC, the Seattle Seahawks, on Monday Night Football. So far, this is the NFC's game of the year.

The Saints defense, dramatically improved, is playing even better than they were at the start of the season. The run defense has tightened up significantly. Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch (925 yds., 9 TD, 4.4 avg.) and quarterback Russell Wilson (2,362 pass yds., 19 TD, 10 INT, 64%, 409 rush yds., 1 TD, 5.7 YPC) are going to have a tougher challenge against Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan's defense than they may have expected when the 2013 schedule was released.

The reasons I expect the Seahawks to win this game are very simple. First, their defense is dominating, with borderline to bona-fide stars from top to bottom in their lineup. In my opinion, Seahawks conrerback Richard Sherman (31 tak., 4 INT, 8 PD, 1 TFL, 1 TD) is the best CB in the game right now.Secopnd, the Seahawks are at home. Qwest Field is arguably the loudest stadium in the NFL, giving 12th man support to an already elite defensive unit.

I'd LOVE to be wrong, Who Dat Nation, but I'm calling it like I see it.

Advantage: Seahawks

The last time the Saints traveled to Seattle in the 2010 playoffs, the Seahawks, a team of losers (7-9), served this gangsta-slap up to the Who Dat Nation to end their regin as defending Super Bowl champions.

Don't forget to vote in the fan polls! 

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