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NFC Championship Preview: 5 Reasons Seattle Will Win

ImageAre you ready for some football?!  For those fans who appreciate a smash-mouth brand of football that leads to head injuries and broken bones, the NFC Championship game is for you!  The NFL fan who doesn’t watch too intently is going to get all moist for the AFC Match-up between Brady and Manning.  That’s because they don’t understand that the NFC Championship will be featuring the two best teams in the NFL, two teams that know each other incredibly well and hate one another. Yankees- Red Sox, Duke-UNC, Ohio State-Michigan…this is the modern NFL version of these great rivalries.  Head Coaches Pete Carroll of the Seahawks and the 49ers Jim Harbaugh can’t stand each other, which dates back to their Pac-12 Rivalry between USC and Stanford.  Both coaches are highly competitive, wear their emotions on their sleeves and are universally disliked around the NFL.  However, each coach has done wonders with their current teams, as their two successful programs will butt heads for the third and final time this weekend, with a trip to the Super Bowl on the Line.  Even though Harbaugh will have his boys ready for battle, here are five major reasons that Carroll’s Seahawks will prosper in a close one…

5 Reasons that the Seattle Seahawks win the NFC Championship Game

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Reason 1: best flag wavers in the NFC

1.  Century Link Field was built for this weekend:  The Seattle Seahawks have the best home field in the NFL.  The 49ers know this fact better than most.  In the 49ers last two appearances in Seattle, the Seahawks have outscored the 49ers 76-16.  In his early career, Russell Wilson has posted a 15-1 record on his home turf, which is the best in the NFL in that span.  The credit to the record noise levels can only be given partially to the fans, and much of it needs to be given to the architects of Century Link Field.  Architect James Poulson explains that  “When choosing between sound absorbing materials and hard surfaces they went with hard surfaces. Those hard surfaces are positioned perfectly to deflect the crowd noise back onto the field.”  I have seen many veteran QBs have a hard time thinking while playing in Seattle due to crowd noise, and the young Colin Kaepernick has already succumbed to the crowd noise twice in his young career.

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Reason 2: Not afraid of loud clapping.

2.  Kaepernick’s history in Seattle:  Personally, I love Colin Kaepernick.  If this game was being played in San Francisco, or any other city in America, I believe he would have a huge game and probably lead his team to the Super Bowl.  However, Kaepernick has shown in his past that he can’t compete at Century Link Field.  In his two career starts, Kaepernick has never thrown for more than 200 yards.  His 49ers have only posted 16 total points and Kapernick has only 1 TD to 4 INTs.  His passing rating of 45.1 is his lowest in any stadium, which can be direct cause of the crowd noise and the Legion of Boom (aka Seattle’s Secondary).  To have a chance, Kaepernick is going to have to use his legs and quick passes to Michael Crabtree and Anquin Boldin.  However, Seattle’s defense just shut down the New Orleans Saints 2nd ranked passing attack so I doubt that Kaepernick’s 30th ranked attack will fair much better!

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Reason 3: Dreadlocks to die for!

3.  Marshawn Lynch is much better at this stage than Frank Gore:  Thank god I’m not a fan of the Buffalo Bills, because if I was and I watched Marshawn Lynch develop into the most dynamic combination of speed, power and agility this side of Adrian Peterson.  Frank Gore has been a stud in his career as well, though his game is much more of a pounder, as he grinds away at defenses with 4 yard rushes until he finds a seam in the second half.  Unfortunately for 49er fans, Gore is on the backend of his career, has been battling through injuries all year and the Seahawks defense is young and hungry.  Though San Francisco’s defense was second in the league against the run, Lynch has lit them up each of the last time he’s faced them in Seattle.  In the last two games at Seattle combined between these two teams, Lynch has rushed for 209 yards to Gore’s meager 44.  Also, if you add the second RBs production and the legs of Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, while San Fran has averaged 91 yards in each game, Seattle has exposed the 49ers for 174 per game.  The Seahawks are not afraid of running at the 49ers and they will utilize their best weapon all game long.

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Reason 4: Happy to be part of a Daisy Chain.

4.  In a Battle of Great Defenses, Seattle is Better!  For some reason, many of the NFL “experts” have said that the 49er defense is better than Seattle’s all week.  I’m a big proponent of the line that numbers never lie.  At lease they aren’t lying when you look at the Seahawks defense.  Seattle is ranked # 1 in the league in both points and passing yards against.  Those numbers are even scarier when you look at just their home games.  Their secondary is the best in the game, with Earl Thomas leading the way for the “Legion of Boom.”  Thomas, the best safety in the game, just held Jimmy Graham to one garbage time catch last week and will now look to take out the 49ers biggest weapon, TE Vernon Davis.  Richard Sherman is among the best CBs in the game and will be used to shadow Anquan Boldin, which might be the best trash-talking battle of all-time.   In their 9 home games this year including the playoffs, the Defensive Ends Michael Bennet, Cliff Avril and Chris Clemens have combined for 10.5 sacks and 5 forced fumbles.  The Seahawks feed off the energy of their home crowd, have shown their ability against the 49ers in the past and will do it one more time with the stakes as high as can be.

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Reason 5: Look ma, no cavities!

5.  The Eye Test Shows that Russell Wilson is a Winner:  Last year’s draft produced unbelievable QB talent.  Everyone and their mother knew who Andrew Luck and RG3 were, debating about who would have the better career.  Russell Wilson was drafted with the 75th pick in the 3rd round and was expected to back up free agent pick-up Matt Flynn, while Luck and Griffin went 1 & 2 and were given their respective franchises from Day 1,  Wilson impressed his teammates with his leadership immediately and earned his job.  He beat out Flynn for the starting job and took his over-achieving Seahawks to the playoffs in his first season.  In the Wild Card Round against the before-mentioned RG3, Wilson lead his team to a playoff victory on the road in Griffin’s building.  Now Wilson has his team in position for a Super Bowl Berth, while both Luck and Griffin are watching from home.  Wilson won’t impress you with his huge stats, but from a leadership standpoint, this QB will do all of the little things that is needed to win football games.  His 15-1 home record in Seattle speaks for itself, as he routinely picks up 7 or 8 yards on 3rd and 6.  Though Kaepernick is the much better athlete of the 2 QBs in this game, I’ll ride with Russell Wilson’s heart and character every day of the week.

SEATTLE WINS THE GAME 24-17

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Baseball Salaries Are Out of Control

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You want the glove on my hand? That’s another $20 mil.

As I sit here and look at my bank account to determine if it is time for a microwaved dinner or if I can actually afford some decent food, I can’t help but feel utter rage over what I just read.  In recent years, Major League Baseball players have been setting record contract deals almost every other day. The Los Angeles Dodgers just signed Clayton Kershaw to the highest pitching deal in MLB history.  Kershaw’s new 7-year $215 million deal with Dodgers is the cherry on top of this insane baseball tradition.

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No one Cano how great it feels to be supercalifuckilicious rich. Everybody’s got something to hide except for me and my money.

Just one month after Robinson Cano signed the 4th largest contract ever with the Seattle Mariners, pissing off every Yankees fan by the way, Kershaw agreed to an astonishing $31 million a year deal for 7 years.  This makes Kershaw now the 12th Pitcher in MLB history to sign a contract worth over $100 million dollars.  Yes you read that correctly, there are now 12 different pitchers that have signed contracts for playing a sport that demands them to work no more than 40 days out of the year.  When you look at it that way it really makes you wonder if any of these players are actually worth it.

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Now if they can figure out how to catch a BALL as easily as they catch a BILL, they might start paying for themselves.

I still remember when Kevin Brown signed the first ever $100+ million dollar deal and how absurd that sounded when it happened.  Now it has just become absolutely disgraceful.  To keep it in perspective, it isn’t just pitchers that are paid with these exorbitant deals.  In 2013 alone, there were 20 different players that made at least $20 million dollars and only half of those were pitchers.  The amount of money these “athletes” are making is unfathomable.  If you don’t like my quotations on the word athletes take a look at the image below.

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That’s not fat – it’s money belts!

There is no denying that baseball is the overall least athletic of America’s 5 major sports (Baseball, Basketball, Football, Hockey and Soccer).  I just don’t understand how some teams can justify paying a single player this much money.  With Kershaw and Cano’s new deals there are now 6 players in the MLB that will make more money next season than the entire Houston Astros team (Houston’s 2013 teams total salary was slightly over $24,000,000).

arodSo I ask everyone reading this, is there any justification for paying someone this much money?  Sure, Kershaw has been the best pitcher in the National League, and arguably all of Baseball over the last 3 years, but even so is he worth $30+ million a season.  In his first 6 seasons, Clayton has only hit the 20 win mark once (21 in 2011 when he won his first Cy Young).  So let’s say that he is going to have a career year next season and win 25 games for the Dodgers; that would mean that LA paid Kershaw alone $1,228,571.43 for each of those wins.  That’s not even taking into account the games he might lose.  This is clearly a preposterous amount for any player no matter how good he may be.

All in all, my point is that Baseball needs to come up with some salary cap rules similar to those of the NBA to regulate what these players are making.   At this pace, players around bound to be making close to $40,000,000 a year by 2020.  That is just laughable!

Aside

The Best Four Prevail

Unknown After a great weekend of NFL games last weekend in which 3 out of 4 Wild Card games came down to a field goal, this week was a little more disappointing in terms of intrigue.  Not one of the four games was really in doubt during the course of the weekend, as all four favorites handled their business and are now going on to play Championship Weekend in which might be the best Final Four in NFL History.  Next week we will have the legendary QB matchup that we all wanted in Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady and the NFC West Blood Bath Part III, as the Seahawks and 49ers battle it out for NFC Supremacy.  Before we begin breaking down these incredible games, let’s take a look as to how we got here.

imagesSeattle Seahawks 23 – New Orleans Saints 15:  Even though the final score shows a one score loss for New Orleans, anyone watching the game witnessed a one-sided Seattle win, despite New Orleans tacking on some points in the closing minutes.  Marshawn Lynch went into “Beast Mode” with 140 yards and two touchdowns.  His second TD run came with 2:40 left in the game and the 31 yard dash to end zone pretty much ended the game.  Although Russell Wilson had a shaky game, the Seattle defense and running game more than made up for it.  The best TE in the game, Jimmy Graham was held without a catch until there was 41 seconds left in the game, and his eight yard reception did nothing other than erase the zero on his stat line.  Although Drew Brees ended up with 309 yards, he was only 24 of 43 in earning those yards and a big chunk of them came in the 4th quarter when Seattle began playing a prevent style of defense.  Overall, the Seahawks took care of business and will now host the NFC Championship game in a building that provides them with the past home field advantage in the NFL.

images-1San Francisco 49ers 23- Carolina Panthers 10:  In what was expected to be a low scoring defensive affair, the San Francisco 49ers kept their hopes of a second consecutive Super Bowl trip alive by beating the Carolina Panthers on the road.  There was a debate about who the more reliable QB heading into the game would be, Colin Kaepernick who has done nothing but win in his career but doesn’t bolster the sexiest numbers; or Cam Newton, the #1 pick from three years ago who has the stats to backup his game but he was making his playoff debut.  While Kaepernick didn’t wow anybody with gaudy numbers, he stayed true to form and got San Francisco into the end zone once with his arm and once with his leg.  Cam Newton let the playoff nerves get to him a little bit and ended up throwing 2 picks along with only one touchdown.  Twice in the game, Carolina had the ball inside the 49ers 3 yard line with first and goal.  Both times, the stingy 49er defense stopped them from getting into the end zone, as Carolina settled for one FG and turned the ball over on downs.  Frank Gore had a solid game as usual, running the ball 17 times for 84 yards.  The veteran WR Anquan Boldin, whom the 49ers picked up from the Champion Ravens for moments like yesterday had a huge game, catching 8 balls for 136 yards.  The 49ers stamped their ticket to Seattle where they’ll look to carry on their Road Warrior ways in what should be an epic battle.

Divisional Playoffs - Indianapolis Colts v New England PatriotsNew England Patriots 43 – Indianapolis Colts 22:  This was the only game I got wrong in my predictions last week.  Though I also felt that Andrew Luck was overhyped at this early stage in his career, I believed that the injury plagued Patriots would be vulnerable to the Colts.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.  I was traveling to a bar to catch the game and by the time I reached my stool at 8:30, the Colts were in a 14-0 hole.  Andrew Luck played like an Andrew Luck type of game, throwing for a lot of yards but combined his 2 TDs with 4 INTs.  This is a recipe that will always lead to a loss, especially when going against a Bill Belichick coached.  I never thought I’d see the day in which the Patriots score 6 TDs and Tom Brady was responsible for none of them, but that is exactly what happened.  LeGarrette Blount tied the Patriot postseason record with 166 yards on the ground, adding 4 TDs to an incredible stat line.  Stevan Ridley added 52 yards and 2 scores of his own as he attempted to redefine what has been an extremely disappointing season.  With the run game in high gear and Brady still at the helm, the Patriots played their way into their 3rd straight AFC Championship game.

images-2Denver Broncos 24 – San Diego Chargers 17:  If you told the San Diego Chargers that they would hold Peyton Manning and the Broncos high power offense to 24 points, I guarantee you that they would have felt really good about their chances of winning.  In a season in which all of the talk in Denver has been about the offensive weapons at Manning’s disposal, it was the much aligned defense which stepped up and lead the Broncos to victory.  The Chargers were unable to get onto the score board until the fourth quarter, as Phillip Rivers only completed 18 passes for a meager 217 yards.  San Diego has been living with it’s running game in recent weeks, but the Denver front seven only allowed the Chargers 65 yards on the ground.  I couldn’t believe all of the chatter I heard this week in which the “experts” felt as if San Diego had the Broncos number.  The fact that Phillip Rivers was 6-2 in his career in Denver and that Peyton Manning was 0-3 in his last 3 postseason games provided the fodder for this misconception.  Peyton was efficient, threw for 230 yards and 2 TDs and most importantly, helped the Broncos convert 3rd downs at a 9 of 13 clip.  Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball combined for 133 yards on the ground for Denver who controlled the game and will now be reward by hosting the AFC Championship game next week.

We will be breaking down each matchup in detail later this week and give our picks for the games…next week will be unbelievable as the four best teams in the NFL are alive and all four of them are candidates to win the Super Bowl this year.  Stay tuned and enjoy the hoops and puck until the weekend arrives…

Steroid Madness

Performance Enhancement Usage Rampant!

The assumption that Mike Pizza used PED’s due to the visible “clues” of his increased size has lead to a massive investigation into the use of steroids and other performance drugs by formerly designated “clean” athletes.

Just take a look at the visual evidence below, and then you decide!

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Piazza’s Latest Hall of Fame Snub is Ridiculous

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That’s right, we’re the number one team in Long Island, and we’ll stay that way until someone discovers the Long Island Tigers.

When it comes to being a New York Mets fan, there really isn’t too much to be proud of.  Since becoming a franchise in 62′, the Mets have only won 2 World Series, one of which the Boston Red Sox let roll through their legs.  With the lack of accomplishments, Mets fans cherish every moment of greatness they have more than most people normally would.  I mean Mets fans still talk about making the 2000 World Series, in which they lost, more than Yankees fans talk about it and they won.  Whenever the Mets have a player that is of the Hall of Fame caliber, they become an idol to every one of their fans.  Mike Piazza is arguably the greatest Mets player of all time as well as the greatest hitting catcher in MLB history.  Piazza’s latest snub from the Hall of Fame is a travesty that has every Mets fan in the world up in arms.

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The numbers speak for themselves. Seriously, they speak for themselves – problem is no one is listening.

Let’s start with Piazza’s career stats.  Mike was the 1,390th pick of the 1988 MLB draft and was originally a First Baseman.  His first coach, Tommy Lasorda, told him to learn to play catcher if he planned on ever making it in the Big Leagues.  It was a good choice as Mike went on to hit more Home Runs than any other catcher in the history of the game.  On top of his HR’s, Piazza won the 1993 Rookie of the Year award and went on a 10 season run from his rookie year to 2002 where he was named to the All-Star team and won the Silver Slugger all 10 years.  That alone should have been enough to put him in the HOF.  He did make it to another 2 All-Star games giving him a total of 12 and he was named the MVP of it in 1996.  Mike had a career batting average of .308, 427 Home Runs and 1,335 RBI’s.  How the hell has he been overlooked for two straight years now.

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This year’s choices. The best of the best of the rest pass the test but we detest the jest of Mike who was messed. With. Again.

In his first HOF eligible year, Piazza only received 57.8% of the votes and that number was raised this year when he got 62.2%.  Unfortunately, you need 75% of the votes to make it into the Hall of Fame.  Even though everyone and their mothers know that this overlook is bullshit, Piazza still played the roll of the bigger man when he gave props to the 3 people who did make it this year.  After the announcement he tweeted, “Big Congrats to Mad Dog, Tommy and Big Hurt! Well deserved Guys!”  He was referring to Greg Maddox, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas, all deserving might I add.  Classy move from Mike but I’m sure he would have liked to tweet some other things to the voters who have their heads up their asses.

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Catcher in Deny

In a statement released by the Mets, COO Jeff Wilpon called Piazza “a true Hall of Famer…We proudly display his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame, and we’re hopeful that he’ll soon have one hanging in Cooperstown.”  All Mets fans agree Wilpon!

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Hall of Shame.

There is some speculation that the reason Piazza had so many people not vote for him was because of his supposed use of PED’s.  This is what really pisses me off.  Piazza has never tested positive for any illegal drug use and the fact that he has been accused because of the era he played in is complete horse shit.  If that is in fact the case, shouldn’t Frank Thomas be given that exact same treatment?  In Piazza’s book he even goes on to say that he never used any PED’s, so what are we basing these suspicions on?

Whatever the case may be, the 571 voters better get their shit together next year because the Hall of Fame will lose all credibility by letting obvious inductees like Piazza slip through the cracks.

Andrew Receives a Little Luck and Way Too Much Praise

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As Luck would have it…

As I watched the Colts come back from dead and overtake the Kansas City Chiefs on Saturday night in Indianapolis, I was impressed by Andrew Luck’s ability to keep his team motivated and lead them down the field over and over again.  In this day and age, in a sports landscape filled with prima donnas, Andrew Luck has the makeup to be a true leader of men and he showed his ability as such in Saturday’s Wild Card matchup.  However, I have also never heard a player walk away from a game with the type of kudos and hype that this player has surrounding his name after he almost cost his team a victory.  He put his team in a 28 point hole and was fortunate to help lead them back.

After the game, his head coach Chuck Pagano said “There’s been some great ones…but he’s gonna go down as probably one of the best, if not the best, ever to play this game when everything is all said and done. We’re very, very fortunate to have No. 12 on our side.”  The best to ever play the game!?  After one playoff win over Alex Smith?!  One playoff win in which Andrew Luck threw 3 interceptions and allowed his team to fall behind by 28 points in the second half!?  Are we really ready to call him one of the best, if not the best ever?

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Colt’s Luck like Chicago’s Jordan? Sure, like Bulls.

Colts G.M. Ryan Grigson said “He’s always been a different animal in the fourth quarter, his whole life, and just even hearing the story from his uncle. He relishes those moments. It’s like Jordan when he’d take that last shot — he wants the ball. This guy, we’re so blessed, he wants the ball in those situations.”  He’s like Michael Jordan?  Who are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning like then, two players who have won Super Bowls and done it all in their careers?  Last year people were talking about how Andrew Luck wasn’t even the best QB drafted in his class (anyone remember RG3).  He’s still done less than Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick have in their comparable playing careers.  However, it’s always fashionable to break out the Michael Jordan comparisons after a player wins one playoff game.

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If you can’t win by points, win by Luck.

Let’s look at the numbers from Luck’s second season.  His 87.0 QB rating was good for 20th best in the league, behind the likes of Andy Dalton, Cam Newton, Russell Wilson, Josh McNown and the before mentioned Alex Smith.  His 23 TD passes on the season were less than both Carson Palmer and Ryan Tannehill.  He finished 17th in Yards/Game, behind Joe Flacco, Robert Griffin and many others who would never be mentioned in the same breathe as Michael Jordan or the words “best ever.”  He’s 1-1 in his postseason career with 4 TDs and 4 INTs, which to the naked eye reflects mediocrity instead of the Hall of Fame.

If Andrew Luck doesn’t get one of the luckiest bounces in the history of football, he would be watching the Divisional Playoffs on the couch this weekend and the experts would be talking about his 0-2 postseason record and 3 INTs against the Chiefs.  We’d be hyping up Alex Smith and Andy Reid and the Colts would be an afterthought.  We’d be saying that Cam Newton, Russell Wilson and Colin Kaepernick are the future of the QB position in the NFL.  The Colts brass might be wondering what things would be like if they had Peyton Manning in uniform.  However, the ball bounced the right way, Luck made a great play to leap into the end zone and the comeback continued.  Luck took advantage of his good fortune but does that make him the greatest QB ever?

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Better Luck next time?

I think Andrew Luck could end up being great.  I expect him to win in a serious manner in the NFL during what should be a long career.  Almost any team would want him to lead their franchise into the future and the Colts still made the right move letting Peyton go, even if they are a bit weaker in the immediate future.  As a Jet fan, I would trade Geno Smith for Andrew Luck in a heartbeat.  With all that said, everyone needs to let him create his own legacy.  He does not need to be compared to every great QB to ever strap on a helmet, nor to possibly the greatest athlete ever in Michael Jordan.  His numbers have been solid but not special, his potential is excellent and he possesses a lot of the intangibles that lead us to believe he’ll be a star.  Enjoy watching him play this weekend (I believe he’ll beat Tom Brady), but keep the expectations to a reasonable level.  He can’t win 6 championships in less than 2 full seasons and if the G.M. is expecting legendary player, Andrew Luck will most certainly disappoint even with an All-Pro career.

5 Reasons the Knicks Will Win the Atlantic Division

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Hey Spike – it’s not a field goal.

If you are still reading this article after that absurdly bold prediction in the title, I appreciate it.  One can take a look at that heading and completely bash the article without even reading it but I can assure you that I have some facts, and opinions, to back it up.  The beginning of the Knicks season has been absolutely atrocious to say the least and they hadn’t given their fans any signs of hope until recently.  From James Dolan representing himself as the Jerry Jones of the NBA and the Knicks showing 0% of the team chemistry that won them 54 games and the Atlantic title last season, New York has been the laughing-stock of the league.  So with their star player with basically one foot out the door, why do I feel that these horrid Knicks will turn it around?  I’m glad you asked.

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THAT’S the court. The bench is the other direction.

1.  Texas Trip Turnaround

In the Knicks most recent 3-game road trip to Texas, every analyst predicted that New York would be manhandled from San Antonio to Houston and finally in Dallas.  If you watched those 3 games you would know that was clearly not the case.  Somehow, the injury plagued Knicks pulled off huge victories in San Antonio, which has been the hardest arena to play in during the 17 year Duncan Era, and Dallas, which is always a tough spot to succeed.  They did lose to Houston but only because of the bonehead play from Mr. Weed himself, JR Smith.  Regardless of the win-loss record from the 3 day trip, the Knicks were playing with a swagger that they had seemed to have lost since the end of the Celtics playoff series last year.

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I Man! You nobody!

2.  Iman Is Back!

Outside of Carmelo Anthony, every Knicks fan knew that for us to have a big season Iman Shumpert would have to live up to his potential.  Obviously, in New York Knicks fashion, trade rumors surfaced involving Iman within 2 days into the season.  That would rattle any athlete, let alone a 3rd year player who is entering his first full season after ACL surgery.  Now I am not placing all of Shumpert’s early season woes on rumors but it definitely didn’t help.  All of the energy we all saw last year seemed to have dissipated and the Knicks looked like they were stuck with a shell of the former Knicks Tape creator.  If you don’t know what the Knicks Tape is, here is a video that was made prior to the 2012 season:

This was the type of swagger that helped fuel the Knicks all last season.  In this most recent Texas trip, Knicks fans were delighted to see the artist formerly known as Iman playing like we knew he could.  I expect the second half of this season to be huge for Iman to showcase his talents.

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Okay, I get the whole “stay healthy” thing, but these vitamin pills a f$#%ing ridiculous!

3.  Getting Healthy is Key

Like most of the NBA, the Knicks have been hit hard with the injury bug.  Every single player, except for Andrea Bargnani ironically, has been sidelined with at least one injury whether significant or not.  As of this moment, only Felton and Prigioni are still hurt but rumor has it that Raymond will be making a reappearance soon.  I honestly believe that if Melo, Tyson, Shumpert and (laugh all you want) Stoudemire can stay healthy, then the Knicks pose a tough matchup for anyone in the league.  I wouldn’t mind if JR Suck goes down with a tattoo injury of some sort because he is the one player who just doesn’t seem to be able to get his shit together.

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Sitting is believing!

4.  Bench Energy

Over the past 2 seasons, the Knicks have had one of the deadliest benches in the game.  Their depth was so good that no one injury could really throw them off of their game.  Somehow, all of their depth vanished in a season where it looked like on paper they had gotten deeper.  Well, JR proved he really is just a punk with athleticism (yet Woodson still gives him way too many minutes), Prigioni wasn’t showing the comfort level he had last year and STAT and Kenyon were really showing their ages as the season began.  Even the acquisition of Metta Worldpeace didn’t pan out the way New York had hoped, but recently Knicks rookies Tim Hardaway Jr and Toure Murry have provided that spark that has been missing all year-long.  They add tenacity and Defense to a team that needs it oh so badly.  Kenyon has began to show glimpses of the guy who went to back to back NBA Championships with New Jersey and STAT is finally giving us some of those skills he paid Hakeem Olajuwon $200,000 to teach him.  As long as the bench can provide energy, the Knicks will win games.

taped5.  It’s the G-d Damn Atlantic Division

Let’s call a spade a spade.  The Atlantic division is a joke and no one should feel proud winning it but someone will and I believe it will be the Knicks.  With Lopez out for the season Brooklyn doesn’t stand a chance and there is no way that Toronto will keep up this type of play, especially when they trade away Lowry.  That leaves Boston and Philadelphia…enough said.   I am not saying the Knicks will win the Atlantic because they are a great team, I am saying they will win it because the rest of their division is pathetic!

Divisional Matchup Preview

Hello Sports Debaters fans!  Part of the New Year Resolution is to make a strong comeback and deliver the content that the millions of our fans have been missing and asking for.  It’s been a while since we spoken but that’s because we’ve been waiting for the right time to reenter your lives…The NFL Playoffs!Image

The games this weekend were excellent.  We had the future of the NFL, Andrew Luck lead the Colts in a huge comeback over the Chiefs.  After that, 34 year old Drew Brees taught 24 year old Nick Foles how a grown ass All-Pro QB wins playoff games on the road in a nail biter in Philly.  Today’s games reminded us that Andy Dalton is an obstacle that the Bengals will never overcome as Phillip Rivers outplayed him and lead the San Diego Super Chargers to a playoff win over Cincy.  Last but not least, Colin Kaepernick took his 49ers north of the wall to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers and the better team came out on top by a FG..SF 23, GB 20.

ImageSo we head into next week and I wanted to be the first to tell you how the games will turn out.  The Divisional Round is always the best as the big boys come off their bye weeks and host the survivors from the first round.  The QB’s next week will feature an unbelievable combination of Super Bowl Winners (Brady, Manning, Brees), an all-pro veteran trying to make his mark (Rivers) and the youngest, best talent in the league (Newton, Kaep, Wilson & Luck).  I think it’s safe to say that 7 of the best 8 teams from the season will be playing next weekend (not quite buying the Chargers yet!)

 

With that said, here are the picks:

ImageDenver Broncos will get revenge on the San Diego Chargers for beating them in Denver in early December.  Peyton Manning will be too much for the San Diego defense and not give the ball away as much as Andy Dalton.  Denver wins fairly easily:  DEN 35  SD 24

 

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New England will host the Colts who are coming off the second best comeback in playoff history.  The Patriots have been up and down all season long and were blessed with a weak division and easy schedule.  I like the Colts to go into Foxborough and take out the Patriots in an extremely close game, setting up a Manning-Luck matchup in the Championship game:  IND 28  NE 27

 

ImageWhile I love the Saints and what they did against Philly, Seattle is a much more complete team and near impossible to beat at home.  The Saints travelled there on a Monday night and got destroyed in the regular season and while I think they’ll put up a better fight this time around, Russell Wilson, Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle vaunted defense will be too much for the Saints:  SEA 27  NO 21

ImageEven though the Carolina Panthers have had an impressive year, winning their division and clinching a first round bye, I still need to see more from Cam Newton.  This will be his playoff debut and though I know he has all the tools to get the job done, the 49ers are more complete and Kaepernick has shown his ability in a big spot often in his young career.  I love this defensive matchup and I believe this will definitely be a low scoring blood bath.  In the end, the more complete team wins:  SF 17  CAR 13

Like I said, we are back for 2014 and look forward to dropping knowledge on you once again…enjoy the college pigskin tomorrow night and we’ll talk later this week…