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Friday, November 22, 2013

Must See Sports – Fourth Weekend of November 2013

Last week's advantage/disadvantage record, excluding series: 4-3
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage Record, excluding series: 86-71
2013 Advantage/Disadvantage FINAL Record (series only): 22-13-4

Friday, November 22


San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are seeking a measure of retribution after being swept by the Spurs in the 2013 Western Conference Finals. The Spurs, to the surprise of nobody, are off to a blazing hot, 10-1, start, including their last eight in a row.

Also, to nobody’s surprise, Spurs point guard Tony Parker (19 PPG, 6 APG) is off to a fast start to the season. Also, to no surprise, the Grizzlies, under the veteran leadership of forward Zach Randolph (17 PPG, 9 RPG) are off to a good start by playing a physical brand of basketball, punishing opponents under the boards.

Memphis is not going to beat San Antonio in a one-game series (barring lineup scratches or injuries), let alone a four game series, until their shooters collectively develop a deeper shooting range. Guard Mike Conley’s improved scoring contribution (19 PPG, 6 APG) has been a welcome addition to the Memphis arsenal and the Grizzlies are at home. But it won’t be enough to thwart the defending conference champions on national television.

Advantage: Spurs

Duncan gets older; the Spurs get better. 1

Saturday, November 23

NCAA Football

#12 Texas A&M Aggies at #22 LSU Tigers

This SEC West rivalry will decide third place in the division. It’s a far cry from the lofty expectations of both programs coming into this season. Still, A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel (3,313 yds., 31 TD, 11 INT, 73% comp.) had some trouble solving LSU’s defense last year at home. Now he has to come to Death Valley.

LSU’s last stand was against Alabama two weeks ago. Johnny Football is competing for a second consecutive Heisman Trophy award. In addition, the Tigers’ defense has had trouble with one or more critical facets of its game at the worst times in all three of their losses. If the Aggies get off to a fast start, expect the crown to mellow out and the Tigers to check out.

Advantage: Texas A&M

#4 Baylor Bears at #10 Oklahoma State Cowboys

Baylor made a statement by spanking Oklahoma, 41-12, proving it can run up the score against a good defense and smother a team with a strong running game. While they surrendered 34 points to pass-happy Texas Tech, they still won by 29 points. Their trio of quarterback Bryce Petty (2,992 yds., 24 TD, 1 INT, 65% comp.), running back Lache Seastrunk (888 yds., 11 TD, 8.7 avg.), and wide receiver Antwan Goodley (48 rec., 1,075 yds., 11 TD) is beginning to look unstoppable.

Oklahoma State has quietly ripped off six consecutive wins and a spot in the top ten. Their recipe? Defense, defense, defense! In the defense-optional Big 12, the Cowboys have only given up 30 or more points in two games this season and held opponents to less than 14 points five times. Cowboys cornerback Justin Gilbert (6 INT) and linebacker Caleb Lavey (2.5 sacks, 4 INT) have been been dismantling opposing offenses and creating short fields for their offense to put points on the board.

All of that said, Baylor has too much octane in its fuel to be corralled by the Cowboys. And Oklahoma State lacks the explosiveness to keep up in a shootout with Baylor.

Advantage: Baylor

#8 Missouri Tigers at #24 Ole Miss Rebels

Missouri quarterback James Franklin (1,577 yds., 14 TD, 3 INT, 68% comp.) returns to the lineup after missing the last four games with a shoulder injury. He’s replacing backup Maty Mauk, who was very efficient in relief. Franklin’s mobility out of the pocket is a welcome tool returned to the Tigers’ offense. I’m not sure if swapping signal callers in the midst of a hot streak is good for the chemistry of the offense, but time will tell.

Ole Miss’ QB Bo Wallace (2,664 yds., 17 TD, 5 INT) has guided the Rebels to four straight wins after a 3-3 start. Senior running back Jeff Scott (488 yds., 2 TD, 7.6 avg.) is also back in the lineup after missing three games due to injury. Ole Miss is at home. I like the Rebels in a minor upset.

Advantage: Ole Miss

Johnny Football is a scoring machine. 2
Sunday, November 24

Indianapolis Colts (7-3) at Arizona Cardinals (6-4)

Arizona is hot while Indy is not. The Colts’ offense does not look the same following the loss of wide receiver Reggie Wayne for the season with a knee injury. The Colts can’t stop the run and are going to have trouble running against a Cardinals team with a ferocious front seven on a defense that has not allowed more than 24 points in any game this season.

Veteran Cardinals linebacker John Abraham (7 sacks, 3 FF, 3 TFL) has been the catalyst on a defense that gets to the quarterback quickly and gives up nothing on the ground. Finally, Carson Palmer (419 yds., 2 TD, 0 INT, 71% comp. last week) appears to be in a comfort zone in the Cards’ offense. The game is in Arizona.   

Advantage: Cardinals

Denver Broncos (9-1) at New England Patriots (7-3)

It’s Manning vs Brady Part 14…! In spite of the Broncos coming off of a huge win over the previously unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs and the Patriots coming off of a stunning loss at Carolina, Peyton Manning (3,572 yds., 34 TD, 6 INT, 65% comp.) is visibly dealing with a nagging ankle injury.

The Patriots’ Tom Brady (2,552 yds., 14 TD, 7 INT, 59 % comp.) is likely seeing red after the questionable ending to the Carolina game and will likely be as focused as ever for a regular season game. Pats RB Shane Vereen (108 yds., 7.2 avg.) returned to the lineup last week and will help against a potent Broncos run defense. Finally, this Sunday Night Football Game is being played at Foxboro.

Advantage: Patriots

The rivalry continues. 3
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