The 2013 NFL Draft is finally upon us as we are five hours away from the start of the event. The Kansas City Chiefs hold the all important number one pick and it is almost a certainty that they will take an offensive tackle. Consensus says they’ll take Texas A&M tackle Luke Joeckle, but the last two days there has been rumblings that they may take Central Michigan tackle Eric Fisher. Unless the Chiefs trade the number one pick, which is a possibility, it looks like they’ll be taking an offensive tackle to protect their new quarterback, Alex Smith. After that pick, the draft is completely wide open and anything can happen. Many experts, NFL reporters, and NFL general managers are saying that this will be the most unpredictable NFL draft in a very long time, and for some, in their whole careers. Their not many prospects at all that people are absolutely crazy about and that’s why this draft is so unpredictable. There may well be a lot of trades tonight with some teams trying to move up and some teams trying to move back. There are more teams interested in moving back, then up. The New York Jets, St.Louis Rams, and Minnesota Vikings each hold two first round picks, and those three teams very well could be the three most likely teams to trade down. With this draft so wide open and no concrete plans yet for any picks, expect a lot of “WOW!” moments and quite a bit of trades. This draft is heavy on the offensive and defensive lines, and not so much at the skill positions, especially running back and quarterback a little bit, depending on how you view this years quarterbacks, and if you’re me, you’re not too impressed with this year’s crop of quarterbacks.
In this mock draft I enlisted the help of two friends, Joe and Kevin, who both know their stuff when it comes to football and the draft, to make this a more fun and interactive mock draft, rather than me doing it all by myself. You can follow Joe on twitter at @JoeyReg14. I’d add Kevin’s twitter handle, but he isn’t involved in any social media sites, so you can’t follow him anywhere. We did not inflict any trades in this mock as that is way too unpredictable and not needed at this point. If you have any questions or points you want to make to us about this mock draft, feel free to tweet us, you can also find me on twitter at @ScoreboardSteve. Enjoy our mock draft and enjoy the 2013 NFL Draft tonight!
1.Kansas City Chiefs – Luke Joeckle, OT, Texas A&M
2.Jacksonville Jaguars – Eric Fisher, OT, Central Michigan
3.Oakland Raiders – Sheriff Floyd, DT, Florida
4.Philadelphia Eagles – Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
5.Detroit Lions – Lane Johnson, OT, Oklahoma
6.Cleveland Browns – Dion Jordan, OLB/DE, Oregon
7.Arizona Cardinals – D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama
8.Buffalo Bills – Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
9.New York Jets – Barkevious Mingo, OLB, LSU
10.Tennessee Titans – Chance Warmack, G, Alabama
11.San Diego Chargers – Jonathan Cooper, G, UNC
12.Miami Dolphins – Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
13.New York Jets – Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
14.Carolina Panthers – Star Lotulelei, DT, Utah
15.New Orleans Saints – Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
16.St.Louis Rams – Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
17.Pittsburgh Steelers – Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
18.Dallas Cowboys – Sylvester Williams, DT, UNC
19.New York Giants – Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
20.Chicago Bears – Alec Ogletree, ILB, Georgia
21.Cincinnati Bengals – Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
22.St.Louis Rams -Tank Carradine, DE, Florida State
23.Minnesota Vikings – Manti Te’o, ILB, Notre Dame
24.Indianapolis Colts – Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
25.Minnesota Vikings – Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
26.Green Bay Packers – Ezekial Ansah, DE, BYU
27.Houston Texans – Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
28.Denver Broncos – D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
29.New England Patriots – DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
30.Atlanta Falcons – Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
31.San Francisco 49ers – Zack Ertz, TE, Stanford
32.Baltimore Ravens – Kevin Minter, ILB, LSU
The 2013 NBA playoffs are finally upon us and that means it’s time to make my predictions. We had a great regular season as we saw a lot of long winning streaks, including the Miami Heat winning 27 straight (good for the second longest all time behind the 1971-1972 Lakers who won 33 straight), the Los Angeles Clippers won 17 straight games, the Denver Nuggets won 15 straight games, and the New York Knicks won 13 straight games. The Chicago Bulls happened to snap both the Heat and Knicks’ win streaks within a three-week span at the end of the season.
We also saw Lakers SG Kobe Bryant score his 30,000th point, but we also saw the future NBA hall of famer go down with a torn achilles at the end of the season. LeBron James became the youngest player to reach the 20,000 point plateau. The most unfortunate and sad news of the season came on February 18th, when Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss passed away from kidney failure. Buss had been battling cancer since 2012 and hadn’t attended a single Lakers game the whole season due to being hospitalized for months. Jerry Buss was 80 years old when he passed away.
Now let’s get to my NBA first round playoff picks.
(1) Miami Heat over (8) Milwaukee Bucks 4-0. MVP: LeBron James.
(2) New York Knicks over (7) Boston Celtics 4-2. MVP: Carmelo Anthony.
(3) Indiana Pacers over (6) Atlanta Hawks 4-2. MVP: Paul George.
(4) Brooklyn Nets over (5) Chicago Bulls 4-3. MVP: Joe Johnson.
(1) Oklahoma City Thunder over (8) Houston Rockets 4-1. MVP: Kevin Durant.
(2) San Antonio Spurs over (7) Los Angeles Lakers 4-2. MVP: Tony Parker.
(3) Denver Nuggets over (6) Golden State Warriors 4-2. MVP: Wilson Chandler.
(4) Los Angeles Clippers over (5) Memphis Grizzlies 4-3. MVP: Chris Paul.
WrestleMania 29 is in the books and after having a few days to re-watch the matches and think about how it fared, I can finally write my review and let you know if the biggest sports spectacular was a stud or dud. WrestleMania itself has always been a huge deal every year and the WWE always tries to make it bigger than the previous years event.
Now let me add that this years WrestleMania did not have a good build up and almost had no build at all. Part of this has to do with having part-time stars in some of their biggest matches. The Rock recently had his new “G.I. Joe” movie come out and wasn’t on every Monday Night Raw to hype and build his WWE title match against John Cena. Brock Lesnar also has limited dates in his contract, so he can’t make every show, although he was there more than The Rock, but his match buildup against Triple H wasn’t handled too well either. The best buildup was easily the CM Punk vs The Undertaker match, with Punk mocking ‘Takers late manager Paul Bearer, who passed away in early March. Punk stole his sacred urn and played mind games after mind games with the Undertaker and eventually beating ‘Taker down on an episode of RAW with the urn and pouring ashes out of the urn onto Undertakers beat down body. Alberto Del Rio vs Jack Swagger for the World Heavyweight Championship had a very solid build but it felt like Swagger and his manager Zeb Colter were more interested in getting all immigrants out of the USA, rather than focusing squarely on Del Rio and his title. With the lower card, Chris Jericho vs Fandango had a solid short build, Ryback vs Mark Henry didn’t have a great build at all, Team Hell No vs Dolph Ziggler and Big E Lankston didn’t have a good build either, and The Shield vs Sheamus, Randy Orton, and The Big Show actually had a pretty solid build. Let’s get to the review of each match now.
1.The Shield defeats Sheamus, Randy Orton, and The Big Show: I saw many people question the decision to open the show with this match but it was a well paced match and delivered. There were some cool spots in this match including when Randy Orton caught Seth Rollins in mid-air with an RKO after he jumped off the top rope. Roman Reigns would immediately spear Orton after that RKO and Dean Ambrose, the legal man, would cover Orton for the win. Another cool spot was when The Shield put Sheamus up for the triple powerbomb and Big Show would spear all three members to save Sheamus. Very good match and all six men delivered.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
2.Mark Henry defeats Ryback: I said this before the match started and I’ll repeat what I had said, this match had more of a chance to be a big stinker, rather than a WrestleMania classic. Once the match ended, I was proven right. This was a very slow-paced match and had a horrible ending. The ending came when Ryback would pick Mark Henry up for his finisher, Shell Shocked, only to have Henry grab the ropes and collapse right on top of Ryback for the win. The biggest head scratching thing was after Henry won, Ryback would perform Shell Shocked on him, so a very weird ending.
Rating: 2 out of 10.
3. Team Hell No defeats Dolph Ziggler and Big E Langston to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship: This was a solid match and you got everything you expected. Big E Langston looked impressive in his first career match and the veterans Kane, Bryan, and Ziggler did what they always do, and delivered a good tag team match. A nice ending as well when Kane chokeslammed Ziggler and tagged in Bryan for a top rope splash to win the match.
Rating: 6.5 out of 10.
4.Fandango defeats Chris Jericho: I actually liked this match more than a lot of other people. Both guys kept the match well paced and gave it all they got, even in the short amount of time they were given. A very solid technical match and we finally got to see Fandango in the rind and he impressed. This was an underrated match at WrestleMania.
Rating: 7 out of 10.
5.Albert Del Rio defeats Jack Swagger to retain the World Heavyweight Championship: A weird beginning to this match as Jack Swagger’s entrance wasn’t even shown to the pay-per-view audience. This match was okay all around, but it never seemed to fully click to me. They got about 10 minutes for the match, but I would’ve preferred a longer match. Anyways, it was your typical match and was okay at best, which is unfortunate because I was really looking forward to this match.
Rating: 5 out of 10.
6.The Undertaker defeats CM Punk: This was the match of the night and an all world display by ‘Taker and Punk. Both guys put it all on the line and put their bodies through hell to give the audience what they wanted to see. There were some awesome spots in this match, like CM Punk delivering a diving elbow from the top rope as Undertaker layed on the spanish announce table, although the table didn’t break, I don’t know if that was a screw up or it really wasn’t supposed to break. Another nice spot was Undertaker reversing out of a GTS by Punk and turning it into a tombstone to win the match. The match of the night and a great display by arguably the greatest ever and the best in the world right now.
Rating: 10 out of 10.
7.Triple H defeats Brock Lesnar in a No Holds Barred Match: A lot of people didn’t like the fact that these two were having a rematch of their Summerslam match, because that match didn’t live up to the expectations. Well, their rematch at WrestleMania was fantastic and delivered on all accounts. This was a very brutal physical match up and both guys put their bodies on the line so the fans could see a great match up. Chairs, steel steps, a sledgehammer and the spanish announce table were used in this match to batter and bruise each guy and boy was each guy battered. There was barely any blood at all, thanks to this PG era that the WWE is in, so it took away from the intensity of the match. Outside of that, this match delivered and had a good ending with HHH locking in the kimura lock on Lesnar a few times, DDT’ing Lesnar into the steel steps, blasting him with a sledgehammer, and pedigreeing Lesnar onto the steel steps for the win. Very, very good match.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
8.John Cena defeats The Rock to win the WWE Championship: A lot of people, including myself, weren’t so happy about The Rock and John Cena having a WrestleMania rematch, let alone a rematch that involved the WWE Championship. Although it wasn’t surprising, we had to deal with it and enjoy it as best we can. This match seemed very similar to their original match at WrestleMania 28 in Miami, although I give this match a tad bit better of a performance. As usual, The Rock seemed as if he couldn’t keep up with Cena in this match due to poor cardio, but he still gave it his all and delivered a very solid match. The crowd was really into this match and although we all knew Cena was going to win, there was a moment or two that I really thought The Rock would retain the title. A solid ending when Rock and Cena would literally keep reversing out of multiple “Rock Bottoms” and “AA’s”, until Cena could finally plant an AA onto The Rock for the victory and to get the WWE title back around his waist.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10.
Welcome back to ScoreboardSteve.com! Yes, it’s been awhile since I’ve written any articles and posted on here. To be exact, I haven’t written since the Super Bowl, nearly two months ago. Well I’m back now and we are just two minutes away from the first pitch of the 2013 MLB regular season!
Baseball has always been my favorite sport and will always be my number one sport, so I decided to get back on the horse and start writing again. And come on, did you not expect me to pick my 2013 MLB division winners, World Series champion, and awards winners? If you seriously thought I wouldn’t, than shame on you. I’ve always been a big fan of making predictions and picks, so there was no way I was going to miss out on it with my favorite sport this year.
Now last year, my World Series pick was the Los Angeles Angels over San Francisco Giants, and I wound up being dead wrong and not even close when the Angels didn’t even make the playoffs. I got half of it right, sort of, as the Giants did end up making the World Series, and they won the World series for the second time in three years after they swept the Detroit Tigers. My AL and NL MVP’s were Albert Pujols of the Angels and Matt Kemp of the Dodgers, respectively. Both of those picks were again, way off, although Kemp started off the year scorching hot but got the injury bug throughout the season and Pujols would start the year very slow but end on a good note. Another really bad pick of mine was choosing the Miami Marlins to go 92-70, win the NL East, and make the NLCS vs the Giants, boy was I once again completely off. How about we have ourselves a better year this year and get going with my picks? Lets do it.
1.Toronto Blue Jays (94-68)
2.Tampa Bay Rays (91-71)*
3.Baltimore Orioles (86-76)
4.New York Yankees (85-77)
5.Boston Redsox (78-84)
1.Detroit Tigers (95-67)
2.Kansas City Royals (83-79)
3.Chicago Whitesox (81-81)
4.Cleveland Indians (77-85)
5.Minnesota Twins (68-94)
1.Los Angeles Angels (93-69)
2.Oakland A’s (89-73)*
3.Texas Rangers (85-77)
4.Seattle Mariners (80-82)
5.Houston Astros (57-105)
Wild Card Play In Game: Tampa Bay Rays over Oakland A’s
ALDS: Toronto Blue Jays over Tampa Bay Rays 3-2
ALDS: Detroit Tigers over Los Angeles Angels 3-2
ALCS: Detroit Tigers over Toronto Blue Jays 4-2
1.Washington Nationals (98-64)
2.Atlanta Braves (92-70)*
3.Philadelphia Phillies (79-83)
4.New York Mets (73-89)
5.Miami Marlins (61-101)
1.Cincinnati Reds (91-71)
2.St.Louis Cardinals (86-76)
3.Milwaukee Brewers (83-79)
4.Pittsburgh Pirates (76-86)
5.Chicago Cubs (69-93)
1.San Francisco Giants (93-69)
2.Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70)*
3.Arizona Diamondbacks (85-77)
4.San Diego Padres (74-88)
5.Colorado Rockies (70-92)
NL Wild Card Play In Game: Los Angeles Dodgers over Atlanta Braves
NLDS: Washington Nationals over Los Angeles Dodgers 3-2
NLDS: San Francisco Giants over Cincinnati Reds 3-1
NLCS: Washington Nationals over San Francisco Giants 4-2
World Series: Detroit Tigers over Washington Nationals 4-3
AL MVP: Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Detroit Tigers
Top Five: Evan Longoria, 3B, Rays – Jose Bautista, OF, Blue Jays – Mike Trout, OF, Angels – Yoenis Cespedes, OF, A’s
NL MVP: Joey Votto, 1B, Cincinnati Reds
Top Five: Bryce Harper, OF, Nationals – Ryan Braun, OF, Brewers – Justin Upton, OF, Braves – Buster Posey, C, Giants/Matt Kemp, OF, Dodgers
AL CY Young: Josh Johnson, Toronto Blue Jays
Top Five: Justin Verlander, Tigers – Max Scherzer, Tigers – David Price, Rays – Felix Hernandez, Mariners
NL CY Young: Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
Top Five: Stephen Strasburg, Nationals – Madison Bumgarner, Giants – Cole Hamels, Phillies – Gio Gonzalez, Nationals
AL R.O.Y: Wil Myers, OF, Tampa Bay Rays
NL R.O.Y: Hyun-Jin Ryu, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
AL Comeback Player: Victor Martinez, C/1B/DH, Detroit Tigers
NL Comeback Player: Ryan Howard, 1B, Philadelphia Phillies
AL Manager: Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays.
NL Manager: Bruce Bochy, San Francisco Giants.
AL Home Run Champ: Jose Bautista, OF, Toronto Blue Jays
NL Home Run Champ: Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Miami Marlins
AL Sleeper Team: Kansas City Royals
NL Sleeper Team: Milwaukee Brewers
AL Bust Team: Texas Rangers
NL Bust Team: St.Louis Cardinals
Finally, Super Bowl 47 has arrived! It’s actually been a quick two-week absence without football, in my opinion. Although most people didn’t want this match up because of the arrogant Harbaugh brothers and the always way too emotional Ray Lewis grabbing headlines, I have to say that these two weeks weren’t as bad as I thought they’d be. Kudos to the media by not blowing this thing up more than it should be. I like this game a lot as we have two hard-nosed defenses and hot offenses going head-to-head with each other. Both teams are very well coached with top five coaches at the helms. The fact that both these teams have great defenses, it’s going to be very interesting how both quarterbacks adjust for this game. Joe Flacco is arguably the hottest player coming into this game, having thrown for 10 touchdown passes and only one interception in his last five games. We also have Colin Kaepernick, who can’t be stopped whether he’s throwing the football or running the football, which makes it all the more tougher for defenses to contain him, but you better believe that this veteran Ravens defense has a plan to stop Kaepernick during the big game.
Now although the 49ers have a really good run game I think if the Ravens can control Colin Kaepernick in this game, then they will win this game because the 49ers will just be so limited and need to rely on the defense even more. I feel confident that if the 49ers can control Joe Flacco’s game, that the Ravens could still win on the legs of Ray Rice and their defense. I’m not taking anything away from the 49ers run game and defense, but I just have a feeling because of how explosive and important Kaepernick is. So I believe the key in this game for the Ravens is to slow down and take control of Colin Kaepernick. The key to the game for the 49ers is to make sure they contain Ray Rice in the run game and once again put all the pressure on Flacco and make him beat you. You can say well he did beat Indianapolis, Denver, and New England but only one of those teams has what you could call a tough defense. San Francisco has a better defense then all three of those, a defense that Joe Flacco has not seen yet and that’s why he might look flustered or rattled if the Niners have is back up against the wall. So those are my keys to game, and I think if either team capitalizes on those keys, they have a damn great chance of hoisting the Lombardi trophy by the end of the night.
Last but not least, during the 2011 season these two teams met in Baltimore on Thanksgiving night where the Ravens beat the 49ers, 16-6. Don’t forget though, the 49ers weren’t starting Colin Kaepernick at that point and their receiving corps wasn’t as good as it is now. And you can only think that the 49ers have revenge on their mind and will do everything they can to avenge that loss and Jim Harbaugh will do his best to make sure he doesn’t go down 2-0 to his brother when they go head-to-head. So now that I got through what I had to say, let’s get to my pick.
San Francisco 49ers 27 Baltimore Ravens 24
Super Bowl MVP: Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers.
Conference championship Sunday is tomorrow and that means it’s time for my picks. Last week we saw the most exciting and high scoring divisional weekend in NFL history since the current playoff format was put into place. On Saturday afternoon, the Baltimore Ravens shocked the world and went to Denver and upset the #1 seeded Denver Broncos, 38-35 in double overtime. It would end up being the first ever double overtime game in NFL history also. In the Saturday nightcap, we would see a fun first half between the San Francisco 49ers and Green Bay Packers before the Niners would pull away and handle the Packers 45-31. In the first game on Sunday we had what many people, including I, are calling the best game of the weekend, as we saw the Atlanta Falcons squeak by the Seattle Seahawks 30-28, after blowing a 27-7 lead all in the fourth quarter to go down 28-27 with :57 seconds remaining, only to watch Matt Ryan drive the Falcons down to around the 30 yard line and see Matt Bryant blast a perfect 49 yard field goal for the game winner and push the Falcons into their first ever NFC Championship game in the Georgia Dome. When everyone saw the score was 27-7 in favor of the Falcons entering the fourth quarter, a lot of people moved on from the game but immediately came back when the Seahawks were inside the red zone, down 27-21 with under 2:00 minutes remaining. What a fine game it was. Finally, in the fourth and final game from divisional weekend, we saw a less competitive game as the Patriots would handle their business and pound the Texans for the second time this season with the final score this time being 41-28, although the score doesn’t indicate how much the Pats dominated.
So the conference title games were set. In the NFC, the #1 seeded Atlanta Falcons will host the #2 seeded San Francisco 49ers. In the AFC, the #2 seeded New England Patriots will host the #4 seeded Baltimore Ravens. In week 3 of the regular season the Ravens beat the Patriots in Baltimore, 31-30. This is also a rematch of last years AFC Title game in which the Pats would win it 23-20 as former Ravens kicker Billy Cundiff would miss a 32 yard field goal wide left with :11 seconds remaining. It broke the hearts of Ravens fans everywhere to see their kicker miss a relatively short game tying field goal that would’ve sent the game to overtime with a birth to the Super Bowl on the line. The heartbreak would ease a bit two weeks later when the Ravens and their fans would watch the Patriots fall to the Giants in the Super Bowl for the second time in two years, 21-17. Now that we have recapped everything, let’s get to my picks.
NFC Championship Game: San Francisco 49ers 34 Atlanta Falcons 30 – The Falcons run game is bad and the 49ers run defense is top-notch and that’ll be the difference. There’s only so much Matt Ryan can do in the passing game before this 49ers top passing defense begins to stop him. Colin Kaepernick will also confuse this Falcons defense and make the plays needed to win this game. I say the Niners pull away in the second half like last week against the Packers but get a scare at the end when the Falcons try to pull of the comeback win but just fall short. I’m more excited for this game then the AFC Championship game.
AFC Championship Game: Baltimore Ravens 27 New England Patriots 24 – The Ravens are suddenly hot after shocking the Broncos in Denver and man handling the Colts in Baltimore in the Wildcard round. In week three the Ravens beat the Pats 31-30 down in Baltimore but the Pats beat the Ravens in last years AFC Title game 23-20. Is it the Patriots turn to win this time? I don’t think so. Although Joe Flacco had a great game last week in Denver, I really think Flacco has his huge coming out party this week and leads his team to the Super Bowl. I think Flacco does what Matt Schaub couldn’t and throws all over the Patriots defense as Torrey Smith and Anquan Boldin have big games. Ray Rice ran for 101 yards and a touchdown in the teams’ first meeting this year and I think he repeats that. As always, I think Tom Brady is Tom Brady and throws for lots of yards and a couple touchdowns. Although I wouldn’t be surprised if Brady coughs up a costly turnover at some point. This Ravens team is on point, motivated, and will make sure Ray Lewis ends his career with a ring. Like the first time around, I think the Pats run game is contained, putting all the pressure on Brady. Tom Brady is an all time great quarterback but the Ravens defense is the toughest defense for him.This is going to be a fantastic rematch.
Is there a bigger joke in the NFL then the New York Jets? Of course not. We’re talking about a team that made a trade for the former mile high messiah in Tim Tebow to be their backup quarterback/wildcat formation leader in their offense. This is also a team that would make no additions to the offense to make them a better contender. When the season began, Tebow was used very sparingly by the coaching staff and Tebow didn’t like it. As the season went on, it got worse, and the team got worse with season ending injuries to their best offensive and defensive players, a horrible run game, and a very shaky offensive line. Eventually the team would suffer an embarrassing loss on Thanksgiving night to the arch rival New England Patriots, where starting QB Mark Sanchez would run the ball and end up literally running into his own teammates ass and fumbling the ball and allowing the Pats to pick it up and run it in for another touchdown. Sanchez would even lay on the ground motionless for a moment like his teammates ass had knocked him out before hopping right up and walking off the field. That was the lowest point of the Jets season. They were the laughing-stock of the NFL. It somehow got worse though, when Tim Tebow would be diagnosed with broken ribs he suffered in Seattle and would be inactive in early December against the Arizona Cardinals when Sanchez had one of his worst games and the Jets would FINALLY turn to their backup to go into the game, but since Tebow was inactive the backup that week was Greg McElroy, the second year player out of Alabama. McElroy would throw for the only touchdown in the game and win the game for the Jets, 7-6. Once Tebow was active though, Sanchez would continue starting until week 16 when coach Rex Ryan chose Greg McElroy to start against the San Diego Chargers over the backup Tim Tebow. Well, McElroy would be the victim of a devastating Chargers pass rush that sacked him 11 times, yes ELEVEN times. McElroy was slated to start the finale in week 17 in Buffalo but during the middle of the week McElroy was diagnosed with a concussion and ruled out for the finale, prompting Rex Ryan to select Sanchez to start over Tebow, only creating more of a mess. Sanchez would have yet another miserable game and the Jets would lose, finishing the season 6-10. After the season Rex would say that if he thought Tebow could help them win, he would’ve played him. Rex also passed on a lot of Tebow questions, easily indicating that he never wanted Tebow here, had no used for him, knew he stinks, and that the trade was made by owner Woody Johnson to get the spotlight on the Jets and sell more tickets. Now that is the disgrace of the NFL. On to baseball.
Well, hey, here are the New York Mets, who share the same town with the Jets. With the news that has come across this off-season for the Mets, they are starting to become the “jokes”, the “circus”, a “disgrace” in baseball. First off, I will give them props for extending the contract of star third baseman David Wright for seven more years. Although, all they really did was add years, and a few million each year to what he was already being payed, so that wasn’t and shouldn’t have been so hard for a team with money problems. Now, they had under contract the reigning NL CY Young Award winner in R.A. Dickey, who just had a 20 win season, had a less than 2.75 era, struck out over 225+ batters, and threw two straight one hitters in June. They also had him for another year at only $5 million. They wanted to extend him, but with him being 38 years old and throwing a knuckleball, the Mets were iffy on giving him the two-year, $26 million he wanted, and reportedly would only go as high as two years, $21 million. The tension grew during contract negotiations and it made the Mets look into trades. Eventually, on December 18th, the Mets struck a deal with the Toronto Blue Jays to send Dickey, catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas to the Jays in exchange for top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, one of the top pitching prospects in Noah Syndergaard, and two smaller prospects. Were the Mets really that worried about giving Dickey $13 million a year at his age or were they just being cheap and didn’t have the money? I ask because it’s not that often when a team trades their reigning CY Young award winner right after he wins the award. Yes, I know that the Mets had to replenish their farm system and get help for other positions, but you had an ACE for the rotation, a mentor to your young pitchers, and a guy who although is 38 years old, doesn’t have many miles on him.
Now onto more news. It was reported today by MetsBlog.com that Scott Hairston is seeking a two-year, $8 million contract to return to the Mets. Now before you say yes or no for if you would re-sign Hairston to that deal, lets look at his numbers last season: 32 years old, 377 at bats, .263 AVG, 20 HR’s (led team), 57 RBI’s, 52 runs, 8 stolen bases, 25 doubles, 3 triples, .504 slugging %, .803 OPS, 1.5 WAR, with one error in the field of play all year. Now does that seem like the numbers of a guy you’d be okay with paying four million a year for only two years to? I say that’s absolutely okay with me! Unfortunately, I don’t own the Mets or run them. Along with that reporting by Metsblog.com, they say that the Mets made a counter-offer to Hairston. Now get ready for this, because this will blow your mind. Their counter-offer to Hairston is ONE year, $2 MILLION! Are they seriously low balling their home run leader from last year, a guy who beasted against left handing pitching, was a great bat off the bench, played solid defense, and is a good clubhouse guy, with a TWO MILLION dollar offer?! That is ridiculous to say the least, the guy isn’t look for four years, $60 million, all he wants is two years, $8 million, what’s so crazy about that? That’s a really good deal to me. Then again, their the Mets and they got involved with a Ponzi scheme and lost a lot of money and had to ask the MLB to loan them money a couple of years ago. Do the Mets really think Hairston isn’t worth what he’s asking for or do they seriously not have any money to spend? They remain the ONLY TEAM to not sign a single player to a major league contract since the World Series ended as well. How embarrassing is that?
Another piece of news is that they worked out former San Francisco Giants closer Brian Wilson at UCLA last week and we’re “not impressed” with the workout and don’t want to give him a major league deal. When healthy, this guy is one of the best closers in baseball. Key word though is “healthy” because Wilson made two appearances last season before hurting his elbow and undergoing Tommy John surgery. That’s the thing though, he underwent Tommy John surgery last year, could the Mets possibly think that he’d be 100% during his workout? Tommy John surgery is one of the most precious surgeries for a baseball player and yet the Mets workout a pitcher who’s NINE months removed from TJ surgery and “aren’t impressed” with Wilson. ARE YOU NOT SURPRISED THAT HE MAY NOT HAVE LOOKED PERFECT?! The guy still needs time to recover and regain strength. Give the guy a one year deal and roll the dice on him, he couldn’t possibly cost that much of major surgery. If he doesn’t pan out, than oh well, no one expects huge things from the team anyway. Also, your current closer is FRANK FRANCISCO. Enough said. How can you not want to take a shot on Wilson and maybe get good production and push Francisco out of the closer spot, because god knows how shaky he is and how much the fans do not like him and are reminded of Armando Benitez when he comes into the game in a save situation. Is this team seriously okay with Francisco as the closer and just gonna forget about Wilson? If so, this team is a complete utter joke. I’m a lifelong fan of this team, but it’s so embarrassing rooting for them and seeing them be a penny-pinching team. You’re in the biggest market in the world, spend money and try to improve this team because it needs lots of improvements. Stop penny-pinching and get this team help because the bullpen needs help, especially at closer, and the outfield needs a major makeover because it is also a disgrace. This team should never get a pass, but this is the last off-season that this team can get a pass for not spending. Even COO Jeff Wilpon said that next season with the contracts of departed outfielder Jason Bay and SP Johan Santana off the books and a fresh, young, hungry team on the horizon, that they will be spending again. If that’s true, lets enjoy this upcoming season as much as we can, and then see if they stay true to their word and spend next winter on areas of need. No more excuses Mets. Being in New York and not having money to spend and operating as a small market team is a disgrace in itself, but if this keeps going on, someone has to step in and find new owners for the club. I’ve had enough already.
The NFL Wildcard round of the playoffs are over and I think we’re all glad because we saw three lackluster games and another game that was fun but also ugly. In game one we saw Houston and Cincinnati in a defensive battle that saw the Texans escape with a 19-13 win and advance to New England this week. In game two we saw Minnesota starting QB Christian Ponder be inactive as he had an elbow injury that wouldn’t allow him to throw well. So Minnesota backup QB Joe Webb would start and get pounded by the Packers defense as Green Bay would smash the Vikings at Lambeau Field 24-10 and advance to San Francisco this week. In game three we saw either the possible beginning of the Andrew Luck playoff run or the end of Ray Lewis’ career as the Colts and Ravens would do battle in Baltimore. Well what was seen as a special game that could be a classic, we saw a Ravens beat-down of the Colts, 24-9 to advance to Denver and keep Ray Lewis’ career alive. And finally in game four, we actually saw an exciting game as the Seattle Seahawks went into Fedex Field and controlled the Redskins after allowing two quick touchdowns in the first quarter, en route to a 24-14 win and a date with the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday. During that Washington-Seattle game, we saw Redskins rookie of the year candidate and franchise quarterback Robert Griffin III re-injure his knee and end up tearing his LCL and ACL and undergoing reconstructive knee surgery and not being able to play football for 6-8 months. It was an ugly game in the sense that RG3 was limping all game, being apart of ugly QB scrambles, and seeing RG3 take one last blow as he twisted his knee in a really awkward and ugly way, fumbled the ball, and would lay motionless on the field for a moment. It was an exciting game in the sense that we saw Seattle come back from down 14-0 and put up 24 unanswered points to pull off a HUGE win and play some smash-mouth power running and defense. And boy, I cannot wait for that Seahawks-Falcons game in Atlanta on Sunday.
As for this weeks games, I can guarantee that we will get a better four games than last week. In game one we will see Ray Lewis in his last game possibly and Peyton Manning in his first playoff game since his fourth neck surgery. The Ravens go to Denver for a second meeting this season as the Broncos went to Baltimore in week 15 and beat down the Ravens 34-17. In game two we see another rematch as the Green Bay Packers go into San Francisco to take on arguably the best defense in the NFL in the 49ers. These two teams met in week one at Lambeau Field as the 49ers embarrassed the Packers 30-22. The score doesn’t indicate how great the Niners took care of the Packers, so don’t let it fool you. In game three we happen to have the only non-rematch from the regular season on divisional weekend as the Seattle Seahawks fly back east to take on the Falcons in the Georgia Dome in what many people are saying is a bad match up for the Falcons as they are under lots of pressure to get their first playoff win in the Mike Smith-Matt Ryan era as they lost to Arizona 30-24 in the 2008-2009 playoffs, lost to Green Bay 48-21 in the 2010-2011 playoffs, and lost to the New York Giants 24-2 last year. All three games were Atlanta’s first games in the playoffs, so Smith and Ryan have started their head coaching/quarterback careers with three one and done playoff spurts. So the pressure is really on Ryan and Smith to stop the Seahawks and advance to the NFC Title game. And finally in game four we have another rematch as the Houston Texans go back to Foxborough, Massacusetts to take on the New England Patriots in a rematch from their week 14 total mismatch as we saw the Pats destroy the Texans 42-14 on Monday night football. I do think that this game will be a lot tighter though. Anyway, let’s get to my divisional round picks.
In the Wildcard round I went 3-1 on my picks, with my only loss coming when the Colts couldn’t knock off the Ravens on the road. I went 1-3 on my four picks against the spread as the only game I hit was the Seahawks -3 against the Redskins. Lets hope I can do better this time around.
Denver Broncos 31 Baltimore Ravens 23
San Francisco 49ers 27 Green Bay Packers 24
Seattle Seahawks 28 Atlanta Falcons 27
New England Patriots 24 Houston Texans 20
Picks Against The Spread:
Baltimore Ravens (+9) @ Denver Broncos – OVER 46.
Green Bay Packers (+3) @ San Francisco 49ers – OVER 45.
Seattle Seahawks (+2.5) @ Atlanta Falcons – OVER 46.
Houston Texans (+9.5) @ New England Patriots – UNDER 48.5.
I know most of you reading this will disagree with my hall of fame ballot, as this is the biggest ballot that baseball writers have been faced with because of accused steroid users and players from the steroid era but whether you like it or not, MLB did go through a steroid era and many players did take steroids. Do i support taking steroids? No. Do I think players should under any circumstance take steroids? No. That doesn’t eliminate the fact that players did and achieved many milestones with help from those banned substances. Look at Barry Bonds, yes he took steroids, but he’s also the all time home run leader with 762 homers. If Bonds didn’t juice, does he get in? You bet he does. We have to face the fact that Bonds got caught and his records are now tainted. Some players definitely didn’t get caught though, but how can we know which players those were? We never will, which is why we will never know whether a player took a banned substance when voting for him to enter the hall of fame. Mike Piazza was never caught but how do we know he never took something while playing? I’m not saying he did or I think he did, but just using that as an example. If the current home run king doesn’t get into the Hall of Fame, no one should. Anyway, whether you like it or not, here is my 2013 top five MLB hall of fame ballot, complete with stats and records.
1.Barry Bonds, LF: 762 Home Runs, .298 AVG, 1,996 RBI’s 2,935 hits, 514 SB’s, 7 Time NL MVP, 14 Time All Star, 8 Time Gold Glove Award Winner, 12 Time Silver Slugger Award Winner, 3 Time NL Hank Aaron Award Winner, Walks In a Single Season (232 in 2004), Only Member of the 500-500 Club (762 HR’s & 514 SB’s), One Of Only Four Members in the 40-40 Club (Alfonso Soriano, Alex Rodriguez, & Jose Canseco). (Pittsburgh Pirates 1986-1992, San Francisco Giants 1993-2007)
2.Roger Clemens, SP: 354-184, 3.12 ERA, 4,672 K’s, 1.17 WHIP, 118 Complete Games, 46 Shutouts, 7 Time CY Young Award Winner (6 AL & 1 NL), 1986 AL MVP, 11 Time All Star, 2 Time World Series Champion (1999-2000), 6 World Series Appearances (1986, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2005), 1986 All Star Game MVP, Two Pitching Triple Crowns, Eight 200 K Seasons, Led AL In K’s Five Times, 6 Time 20 Game Winner, Led League in Wins Four Times, 7 Time ERA Leader, Under 2.00 ERA Twice, 12-8 Postseason Record, 3.75 Record, 173 K’s, 3-0 World Series Record, 2.37 ERA, 49 K’s, Made World Series 6 Times. (Boston Redsox 1984-1996, Toronto Blue Jays 1997-1998, New York Yankees 1999-2003 & 2007, Houston Astros 2004-2006)
3.Mike Piazza, C: .308 AVG, 427 HR’s, 1,335 RBI’s, 2,127 Hits, 1,048 Runs, 12 Time All Star, 1993 Rookie Of The Year, 10 Time Silver Slugger Award Winner, 1996 All Star Game MVP, 7 Top 10 MVP Finishes, 4 Top 5 MVP Finishes, Nine 30 HR Seasons, Two 40 HR Seasons, Most HR’s By A Catcher In MLB History (396), One World Series Appearance (2000). (Los Angeles Dodgers 1992-1998, Florida Marlins 1998, New York Mets 1999-2005, San Diego Padres 2006, Oakland A’s 2007)
4.Craig Biggio, 2B: .281 AVG, 291 HR’s, 1,175 RBI’s, 3,060 Hits, 1,844 Runs, 414 SB’s, 7 Time All Star, 5 Time Silver Slugger Award Winner, 4 Time Gold Glove Award Winner, 3 Top 10 MVP Finishes, Eight 20 HR Seasons, Four 120 Runs Scored Seasons, One World Series Appearance (2005). (Houston Astros 1988-2007)
5.Curt Schilling, SP: 216-146, 3.46 ERA, 3,116 K’s, 1.13 WHIP, 83 Complete Games, 20 Shutouts, 6 Time All Star, 3 Time World Series Champion (2001, 2004, 2007), Two Top 10 MVP Finishes, Three CY Young Runner Up Finishes, Three 300 K Seasons, Three 20 Win Seasons, Co-World Series MVP in 2001, NLCS MVP in 1993, Four World Series Appearances (1993, 2001, 2004, 2007), 11-2 Postseason Record, 2.23 ERA, 120 K’s, 4-1 World Series Record, 2.06 ERA, 43 K’s. (Baltimore Orioles 1988-1990, Houston Astros 1991, Philadelphia Phillies 1992-2000, Arizona Diamondbacks 2000-2003, Boston Redsox 2004-2007)
At about 5:00 AM on this Sunday morning a tentative agreement was reached between the NHL and NHLPA on a new CBA to end the 2012-2013 lockout and end 16 hours of negotiations. The news broke when Adrian Datar of the Denver Post tweeted “Deal is done! firstname.lastname@example.org”. After that, many media outlets would go on to report that an agreement was reached, confirming Datar’s report. Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Pierre LeBrun of ESPN, and Bob McKenzie of TSN would quickly follow-up with details on the new CBA.
The new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) is for 10 years with an opt out after eight years. The 2013-2014 salary cap will be $64.3 million and the floor will be $44 million. There will be max contracts at seven years and eight years for teams own players.
At 5:45 AM a press conference was held between NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr. Bettman would go on to confirm everything by saying “Framework of a deal has been agreed upon”. He would also go on to say “I want to thank Don Fehr. We went through a tough period, but its good to be at this point”. Ron Hainsey, a Winnipeg Jets defensive player was also present at the press conference and said the NHL will hold a 48 to 50 game season, but that a start date was not set. Hainsey would also add that the pension language was “not final” and that pension is the centerpiece of the deal for the players. Phoenix Coyotes right-wing, Shane Doan, who also appeared at the press conference had this to say, “Everyone’s obviously relieved that it’s over and done with” and that he thought this was the best available deal. Doan also said he’d heard suggestions of locking everyone in a room, “The mediator kind of did that”. A statement from the federal mediation service on the mediator Scot Beckenbaugh said “herculean assistance of the highest caliber”.
The new CBA needs signatures of course and needs to be ratified. Some work is still to be done but there is a verbal agreement on the major points. The last thing we need now is for this new CBA not to be ratified and all hope is lost again. Lets not think about that though and just be glad that both sides have an agreement on a new deal to bring hockey back.
The NFL Playoffs have arrived! After three great rounds of playoffs last year and an even greater Super Bowl, we can now gear up for the latest installation of memorable playoff moments in the NFL. This year, there are three, yes THREE, rookie QB’s in the playoffs. Those quarterbacks are the Indianapolis Colts’ Andrew Luck, the Washington Redskins’ Robert Griffin III, and the Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson. Luck guided the Colts from 2-14 in 2011, to 11-5 in 2012, and the five seed in the AFC. Griffin III, or RG3, led the Redskins from 5-11 in 2011, to 10-6 in 2012 and an NFC East championship and a home playoff game in the opening round of the playoffs. And finally, Russell Wilson surprised us all by winning the starting job in Seattle and then leading the Seahawks from 7-9 in 2011, to 11-5 in 2012, and the five seed in the NFC, and a road date on opening week in Washington D.C. against RG3 and the ‘Skins. Boy, what a game that Seahawks-Redskins game should be.
Among other games on Wildcard Weekend, is the opening game on Saturday, the AFC’s #3 seed Houston Texans playing host to the #6 seeded Cincinnati Bengals in what figures to be a game that features two teams with solid quarterbacks, stud #1 wide receivers, and very good defenses. This game has the opportunity to be high scoring or low scoring. I’d go with low scoring though. This game is also a rematch of last years Wildcard Weekend game in Houston, where the Texans beat the Bengals 31-10, behind third string QB T.J. Yates, because starter Matt Schaub was out with a bad foot injury and backup QB Matt Leinart broke his arm in the first game he started after Schaub got hurt. With the Texans at full strength and playing host again, I don’t think we’ll see much change from last years game, except that this years game will be much more competitive.
The night-cap on Saturday, features two teams that faced off in week 17, the #3 seed in the NFC, the Green Bay Packers, playing host to the #6 seeded Minnesota Vikings. In week 17, the Vikings escaped with a 37-34 win as rookie kicker Blair Walsh kicked a 29 yard field goal as time expired to push Minnesota into the playoffs after going 3-13 in 2011. The Vikings boast the possible 2012 NFL MVP in running back Adrian Peterson, as he came back from major reconstructive knee surgery a year ago, to rush for 2,097 yards, nine yards shy of Erik Dickerson’s single season record. The Vikings defense has also played exceptionally well since their BYE week in week 11 and sacked Aaron Rodgers five times in week 17. They did play another time in the regular season though, back in week 13 where the Packers took care of business at Lambeau Field with a 23-14 win. Peterson ran for 210 yards in week 13 and ran for 199 yards in week 17, so Green Bay HAS to draw up a game plan to try to stop Peterson if they wanna win the playoff game. They key in this game though will be if Vikings QB Christian Ponder can make plays in cold Lambeau and not make let the atmosphere get to him. If Ponder limits his mistakes, the Vikings have a great chance at winning this game, but if the Packers rattle him enough, they could easily run away with the W. This should be a great game.
Game three is on Sunday at 1:00 pm, and it features the first of three rookie QB’s playing on Wildcard weekend. Andrew Luck leads the Indianapolis Colts into their old home of Baltimore to take on the Ravens, who made it to the AFC Championship game last season. This game also marks the possible last time we see Ray Lewis lace up his cleats as he is retiring once the playoffs are over. You just know that with the news of Lewis retiring after the playoffs that the Ravens are going to play their hearts out and make sure Lewis gets a second ring before he leaves the game of football. It’s going to be an emotion filled game for sure and I can’t wait to see how it goes down. The Ravens defense has been very suspect this year and the offense has been hot and cold, so they better hope the defense steps up with the return of Ray Lewis and the offense is hot like they were during week 16 against the Giants. The Colts offense has played well all season long and rank seventh in the NFL in passing yards per game, as Andrew Luck is averaging 258 passing yards per game this season and broke the single season rookie passing yards record. The Colts are 9-2 in their last 11 games, having only lost to the Patriots in Foxborough and the Texans in Houston while playing them twice in those 11 games. The Ravens are 5-5 in their last 10 games having only beaten Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Oakland, San Diego, and the Giants, but losing to Pittsburgh, Denver, Washington, Cincinnati, and Houston, all playoff teams except for Pittsburgh. So that has to be a cause for concern for the Ravens going into this game and facing a potent passing attack. I like this game a lot and can’t wait for it.
Finally, we have what I think is the best game of Wildcard weekend, the Seattle Seahawks travel across the country to Washington D.C. for a big time rookie match up with the Washington Redskins. The defensive edge easily goes to the ‘Hawks as they boast the 10th best run defense and the sixth best pass defense, so for as good as Washington runs the ball (first in the league), they will be tested mightily on Sunday, especially since their only 20th in the league in passing. The Redskins defense is good against the run (fifth), which is big considering the Seahawks are third in rushing and have one of the best RB’s in the game in Marshawn Lynch. The Redskins pass defense isn’t so good as they rank 30th in the league against the pass, but it’s not too bad as the Seahawks have only the 27th passing attack in the NFL. This game will be a ground war and will runt time off the clock quick. It may be a fast game but I don’t think it’ll disappoint with excitement and fireworks. Another thing to ponder, the Seahawks are 8-0 at home this year, but only 3-5 on the road. The Redskins are 5-3 at home and 5-3 on the road. I love this game and am most excited about this game of all four this weekend. Oh, and did I forget to mention we’re getting TWO rookie starting QB’s going head to head in this game? Robert Griffin III, the number two overall pick in the 2012 NFL draft, goes up against Russell Wilson, a third round draft pick who wasn’t even supposed to be the starter for Seattle because they signed Matt Flynn in the spring, but because Wilson impressed in the preseason and Flynn disappointed, Wilson was given the chance to start and didn’t disappoint as he has surprised everyone at 5 feet, 10 inches tall and guided the Seahawks to the playoffs in his rookie year and for a third round draft pick has put up rookie of the year type numbers and has broken the NFL single season rookie passing touchdowns record. This game will not disappoint and will be the best game of the weekend, mark my words.
Last Week I went 12-4 with my weekly picks. During the regular season I compiled a 156-81-1 record with my weekly picks, a tremendous 75 games over .500.
My Super Bowl pick before the season began was the Houston Texans over New York Giants. Obviously, my NFC pick is dead but the AFC pick is alive. The question is, is do I wanna stick with Houston in the AFC? Honestly, I don’t feel confident in Houston winning the AFC anymore and I’m changing my pick. My new AFC pick is now the Denver Broncos and my new NFC pick is the Seattle Seahawks. My Super Bowl pick is the Denver Broncos over Seattle Seahawks in a Super Bowl classic. Now that I’ve covered everything here are my picks.
Houston Texans 23 Cincinnati Bengals 20
Green Bay Packers 30 Minnesota Vikings 23
Indianapolis Colts 21 Baltimore Ravens 20
Seattle Seahawks 24 Washington Redskins 17
Picks Against The Spread:
Cincinnati Bengals (+4.5) @ Houston Texans – UNDER 43.5.
Minnesota Vikings (+7.5) @ Green Bay Packers – OVER 46.
Indianapolis Colts (+6.5) @ Baltimore Ravens – UNDER 47.
Seattle Seahawks (-3) @ Washington Redskins – UNDER 46.
The 2012 NFL season has come to a quick close and we now gear up for the 2012-2013 NFL playoffs. It was yet another fun, exciting, great season for the NFL as we saw lots of stars be born from the 2012 NFL Draft class, surprise teams making the playoffs, and some of the best games in a single season. In this article I will make my picks for NFL MVP, Offensive Player Of The Year, Defensive Player Of The Year, Rookie Of The Year, Comeback Player Of The Year, Coach Of The Year, GM Of The Year, Surprise Team Of The Year, and Most Disappointing Team Of The Year. A lot of these picks are going to be very hard as there are lots of deserving players for most of these awards which makes it even harder than it already is to make a pick. Last year I picked New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees as the 2011 NFL MVP and still stand by that pick, although Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers ended up winning the award. The choice will be even harder this year with about 3-5 worthy candidates in the MVP conversation.
I will include stats with every single player included in my picks, so if you still don’t agree with me you can shoot me a tweet on twitter to @ScoreboardSteve, write on my Facebook page @ScoreboardSteve.com, or simply leave a comment at the bottom of this article. I also wanna thank everyone for reading in 2012 and don’t worry, better stuff is coming in 2013. Enjoy my picks.
1.Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: 4,659 Passing Yards, 37 TD’s, 11 INT’s, 68.6% Completion Percentage, 291.2 YPG.
2.Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: 2,097 Rushing Yards, 12 TD’s, 6.0 Yard Average Per Rush, 131.1 YPG, 3 Fumbles.
3.Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: 4,827 Passing Yards, 34 TD’s, 8 INT’s, 63.0% Completion Percentage, 301.7 YPG.
Also Under Consideration:
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons: 4,719 Passing Yards, 32 TD’s, 14 INT’s, 68.6% Completion Percentage, 294.9 YPG.
Offensive Player Of The Year:
1.Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: 2,097 Rushing Yards, 12 TD’s, 6.0 Yards Average Per Rush, 131.1 YPG, 3 Fumbles.
2.Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions: 1,964 Receiving Yards, 5 TD’s, 16.1 Yards Average Per Catch, 122.8 YPG, 122 catches, 3 Fumbles.
3.Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: 4,659 Passing Yards, 37 TD’s, 11 INT’s, 68.6% Completion Percentage, 291.2 YPG.
Also Under Consideration:
Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints: 5,177 Passing Yards, 43 TD’s, 19 INT’s, 63.0% Completion Percentage, 323.6 YPG.
Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots: 4,827 Passing Yards, 34 TD’s, 8 INT’s, 63.0% Completion Percentage, 301.7 YPG.
Matt Ryan, QB, Atlanta Falcons: 4,719 Passing Yards, 32 TD’s, 14 INT’s, 68.6% Completion Percentage, 294.9 YPG.
Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins: 1,613 Rushing Yards, 13 TD’s, 4.8 Yards Average Per Rush, 100.8 YPG, 4 Fumbles.
Andre Johnson, WR, Houston Texans: 1,598 Receiving Yards, 4 TD’s, 14.3 Yards Average Per Catch, 99.9 YPG, 112 Catches, 0 Fumbles.
Defensive Player Of The Year:
1.J.J. Watt, DE, Houston Texans: 20.5 Sacks, 81 Tackles, 4 Forced Fumbles, 2 Fumble Recoveries, 16 Passes Defended.
2.Von Miller, OLB, Denver Broncos: 18.5 Sacks, 68 Tackles, 6 Forced Fumbles, 1 INT, 3 Passes Defended.
3.Aldon Smith, OLB, San Francisco 49ers: 19.5 Sacks, 66 Tackles, 3 Forced Fumbles, 1 INT, 1 Pass Defended.
Also Under Consideration:
London Fletcher, ILB, Washington Redskins: 139 Tackles, 3 Sacks, 5 INT’s, 1 Forced Fumble, 16 Passes Defended.
Tim Jennings, CB, Chicago Bears: 9 INT’s, 1 TD’s, 60 Tackles, 30 Passes Defended.
Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks: 8 INT’s, 1 TD, 53 Tackles, 3 Forced Fumbles, 32 Passes Defended.
Rookie Of The Year:
1.Robert Griffin III, QB, Washington Redskins: 3,200 Passing Yards, 20 TD’s, 5 INT’s, 65.6% Completion Percentage, 213.3 YPG, 815 Rushing Yards, 7 TD’s, 6.8 Yards Average Per Rush.
2.Russell Wilson, QB, Seattle Seahawks: 3,118 Passing Yards, 26 TD’s, 10 INT’s, 64.1% Completion Percentage, 194.9 YPG, 489 Rushing Yards, 4 TD’s, 5.2 Yards Average Per Rush.
3.Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins: 1,613 Rushing Yards, 13 TD’s, 4.8 Yards Average Per Rush, 100.8 YPG, 4 Fumbles.
Also Under Consideration:
Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts: 4,374 Passing Yards, 23 TD’s, 18 INT’s, 54.1% Completion Percentage, 273.4 YPG, 255 Rushing Yards, 5 TD’s, 4.1 Yards Average Per Rush.
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 1,454 Rushing Yards, 11 TD’s, 4.6 Yards Average Per Rush, 90.9 YPG, 1 Fumble.
Comeback Player Of The Year:
1.Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos: 4,659 Passing Yards, 37 TD’s, 11 INT’s, 68.6% Completion Percentage, 291.2 YPG.
2.Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: 2,097 Rushing Yards, 12 TD’s, 6.0 Yards Average Per Rush, 131.1 YPG, 3 Fumbles.
3.Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: 1,509 Yards Rushing, 5 TD’s, 5.3 Yards Average Per Rush, 94.3 YPG, 5 Fumbles.
No One Else Under Consideration.
Coach Of The Year:
1.Bruce Arians/Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts: 11-5.
2.Mike Smith, Atlanta Falcons: 13-3.
3.John Fox, Denver Broncos: 13-3.
Also Under Consideration:
Peter Carroll, Seattle Seahawks, 11-5.
Leslie Frazier, Minnesota Vikings, 10-6.
Bill Bellichick, New England Patriots, 12-4.
Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans, 12-4.
GM Of The Year:
1.Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons: 13-3.
2.John Schneider, Seattle Seahawks: 11-5.
3.Bruce Allen, Washington Redskins: 10-6.
Also Under Consideration:
Ryan Grigson, Indianapolis Colts, 11-5.
Surprise Team Of The Year:
1.Indianapolis Colts: 11-5.
2.Minnesota Vikings: 10-6.
3.Washington Redskins: 10-6.
Also Under Consideration:
Seattle Seahawks, 11-5.
Most Disappointing Team Of The Year:
1.Kansas City Chiefs: 2-14.
2.Philadelphia Eagles: 4-12.
3.New Orleans Saints: 7-9.
Also Under Consideration:
Detroit Lions, 4-12.
New York Jets, 6-10.
New York Giants, 9-7.
Buffalo Bills, 6-10.
Coming into week 17 of the 2012 NFL season I held a 134-72-1 overall record with my weekly picks. I had another solid week last week as I went 10-5, with my only losses being my picks of the Jets losing to the Chargers, Steelers losing to the Bengals, Giants losing to the Ravens, Buccaneers losing to the Rams, and the Texans losing to the Vikings. I went 3-2-1 with my six-pack parlay of picks, as I aced taking the Saints +2.5 in Dallas, Redskins -6.5 in Philadelphia, and the Vikings +7.5 in Houston. I lost with taking the Buccaneers -3 vs the Rams and the Giants -2.5 in Baltimore. My tie was the Colts -7 vs the Chiefs. My overall record with my weekly picks is now 144-77-1, a very nice 67 games over .500. It’s the final week of the season, so here is hoping I can finish the season with a bang and have a perfect week! Thanks for following along with my picks all season, and thanks for having enough confidence in betting my picks if you did, hopefully I won you some money. Here are my week 17 picks.
Buffalo Bills defeat New York Jets
Cincinnati Bengals defeat Baltimore Ravens
Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Cleveland Browns
Houston Texans defeat Indianapolis Colts
Tennessee Titans defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
New York Giants defeat Philadelphia Eagles
Chicago Bears defeat Detroit Lions
Atlanta Falcons defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers
New Orleans Saints defeat Carolina Panthers
New England Patriots defeat Miami Dolphins
Green Bay Packers defeat Minnesota Vikings
Denver Broncos defeat Kansas City Chiefs
San Diego Chargers defeat Oakland Raiders
San Francisco 49ers defeat Arizona Cardinals
Seattle Seahawks defeat St.Louis Rams
Washington Redskins defeat Dallas Cowboys
Six Pack Parlay:
Oakland Raiders (+9.5) @ San Diego Chargers
Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Buffalo Bills (-3.5) vs New York Jets
Tennessee Titans (-4) vs Jacksonville Jaguars
New Orleans Saints (-5) vs Carolina Panthers
Washington Redskins (-3) vs Dallas Cowboys
Coming into week 15 of the 2012 NFL season I held a 123-68-1 overall record with my weekly picks. Last week was a very solid week as I went 11-4 with my picks with my only losses coming when I picked the Giants to beat the Falcons (Atlanta won 34-0), the Chargers to beat the Panthers (Carolina won 31-7), the Lions to beat the Cardinals (Arizona won 38-10), and when I picked the Patriots to beat the 49ers (San Francisco won 41-34). Three of those losses look very lopsided but the picks I made didn’t look crazy when I posted them, so it was just bad luck for me. I went 4-2 with my six-pack parlay of picks last week. My overall record sits at 134-72-1 now, a very nice 62 games over .500. Lets have a perfect week, shall we? Here’s the week 16 picks.
New York Jets defeat San Diego Chargers
Green Bay Packers defeat Tennessee Titans
Carolina Panthers defeat Oakland Raiders
Miami Dolphins defeat Buffalo Bills
Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Cincinnati Bengals
New England Patriots defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
Indianapolis Colts defeat Kansas City Chiefs
New Orleans Saints defeat Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins defeat Philadelphia Eagles
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat St.Louis Rams
Houston Texans defeat Minnesota Vikings
New York Giants defeat Baltimore Ravens
Denver Broncos defeat Cleveland Browns
Chicago Bears defeat Arizona Cardinals
Seattle Seahawks defeat San Francisco 49ers
Six Pack Parlay:
New Orleans Saints (+2.5) @ Dallas Cowboys
Indianapolis Colts (-7) @ Kansas City Chiefs
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-3) vs St.Louis Rams
New York Giants (-2.5) @ Baltimore Ravens
Washington Redskins (-6.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles
Minnesota Vikings (+7.5) @ Houston Texans
Coming into week 14 of the 2012 NFL season I held a 114-62-1 overall record with my weekly picks. Last week was a bumpy week as I went 9-6, but nonetheless another week a few games over .500. I did very well with the late games (4:25, Sunday Night, and Monday Night), going 4-1, with my only loss being the Monday night game when the Patriots ended up demolishing my pick, the Texans. I went 3-2-1 with my six-pack parlay of picks last week. My overall record now stands at 123-68-1 now, a modest 55 games over .500. Here are my week 15 picks…
Green Bay Packers defeat Chicago Bears
New York Giants defeat Atlanta Falcons
New Orleans Saints defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Minnesota Vikings defeat St.Louis Rams
Washington Redskins defeat Cleveland Browns
Miami Dolphins defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
Denver Broncos defeat Baltimore Ravens
Houston Texans defeat Indianapolis Colts
San Diego Chargers defeat Carolina Panthers
Seattle Seahawks defeat Buffalo Bills
Detroit Lions defeat Arizona Cardinals
Dallas Cowboys defeat Pittsburgh Steelers
Oakland Raiders defeat Kansas City Chiefs
New England Patriots defeat San Francisco 49ers
Tennessee Titans defeat New York Jets
Six Pack Parlay:
Green Bay Packers (-2.5) @ Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings (+3) @ St.Louis Rams
Denver Broncos (-3) @ Baltimore Ravens
Dallas Cowboys (+2.5) vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Detroit Lions (-6.5) @ Arizona Cardinals
New York Giants (+1.5) @ Atlanta Falcons
News broke last night that the Tampa Bay Rays and Kansas City Royals had agreed to a trade that sends Rays starting pitcher James Shields and relief pitcher Wade Davis to the Royals for their big time outfield prospect Wil Myers, pitching prospects Jake Odorizzi and Mike Montgomery, and third base prospect Patrick Leonard. Some people saw it coming, but how it just broke so randomly on a football Sunday night and because of the magnitude of it.
The Rays were dangling Shields for a bat and had dialogue going with the Royals since October about a deal. Rumors were swirling the last week that in any potential trade sending Shields to KC, that the Rays wanted not just outfield prospect Wil Myers, but they wanted more than that. Some could say, okay, sure, he has been a beast pitcher the last couple seasons, and all Myers is, is well, a prospect, he’s no sure thing. Some people view Myers so highly though, that they thought trading Shields for him straight up would be enough for Tampa Bay because they’re trading a 31-year-old #2 pitcher with a lot of miles on his arm, for a top three prospect in all of baseball who has all the tools to be a superstar in the majors. That wasn’t the case though, Tampa wanted more for Shields, so Kansas City decided to add more prospects to the deal, as long as they could take back one of the best relievers in baseball in 2012, in Wade Davis, who is a former top pitching prospect, who has never been good in the rotation and finally found his spark in the bullpen this year.
So Kansas City was able to grab another pitcher for the extra prospects they were asked to give up. The Royals will try to plug Davis into the rotation and try to fix him. If they can get him back into the rotation and pitching the way he does in the bullpen, they make this a better deal on their end. After having one of the worst rotations in baseball last year, the Royals have totally revamped it by adding an ACE for their team in Shields (who has gone 81-65 in his six full major league seasons, with a 3.85 ERA, 1,144 strikeouts, 1.20 WHIP, and finished third in the AL CY Young voting in 2011), who eats a lot of innings and is a strike out machine, re-signing Jeremy Guthrie, who pitched well for them after getting him from Colorado this past season (5-3, 3.16 ERA, 1.13 WHIP in 14 starts) to a three-year deal, trading for inconsistent Angels pitcher Ervin Santana, who had so much potential a few years ago and threw a no-hitter in 2011 and finished with a career best 3.38 ERA on an 11-12 record that year, and also by adding Davis who found his form last year in the bullpen (3-0, 2.43 ERA, 1.09 ERA, 87 strikeouts in 70.1 innings in 54 relief appearances). The question is, is how this team transforms and reacts to all the new faces on the team. The rotation does have some promise, but will still have to contend with a tough division with good hitting.
The Rays acquire big time outfield prospect Wil Myers who demolished the opposing pitching last year in AA and AAA to the tune of a .314 AVG, 37 homers, 109 RBI’s, .387 OBP, .600 SLUG, .987 OPS. In AAA, he played 99 games, compiling most of his 2012 minor league stats there (.304 AVG, 24 homers, 79 RBI’s, .378 OBP, .554 SLUG, .932 OPS). So this kid is definitely ready for the big time. Myers gives the Rays the young, big bat they want and need to pair with third baseman Evan Longoria and to replace B.J. Upton. The Rays will have complete control of Myers for six years for cheap, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they gave him an extension quickly into his major league career if he is tearing it up like the Rays did with Longoria back in 2008. That’s how the Rays operate and it’s a very smart idea since they are nowhere close to being a big market team and can’t afford big contracts, hence the reason they sign young talent to cheap extensions early into their careers. The Rays also get two solid pitching prospects, one of them is regarded as one of the better ones in baseball, Jake Odorizzi, who made his major league debut with KC this year with two September starts, combining both starts to go 7.1 innings, allowing four runs, all earned, on eight hits, four walks, and four strikeouts. The other pitching prospect is Mike Montgomery, who had a miserable 2012 campaign at AA and AAA, compiling a combined 5-12 record, with a 6.07 ERA, and 1.62 WHIP in 27 starts. He was one of the better prospects in baseball coming into 2012 but has major problems to fix in 2013. The final prospect is third baseman Patrick Leonard, who in 2012 (his only professional baseball season) in the Appalachian League, hit .251 with 14 homers, 46 RBI’s, .340 OBP, .494 SLUG, .833 OPS in 235 at bats. I love the haul that Tampa Bay got.
At first, when I read that the Royals will get Shields AND Davis, I said nice haul for Myers. That quickly went away when I heard that Tampa Bay would receive three other prospects, one of which is a major league ready pitcher who did very well in the minors. The Rays got a young major league ready pitcher, to go along with their awesome pitching they had already? The Rays GM Andrew Friedman is one hell of a negotiator and got a great haul for the two remaining years of Shields who has a lot of miles on his arm and a few years of solid reliever. This is all without mentioning that the Rays also got another solid pitching prospect in Montgomery, who yeah, did have a dreadful 2012, but can overcome it at age 23 in the minors and establish himself again, especially with the Rays great minor league system and development. Then they go and get another position prospect who will be blocked by Longoria at third base, but if he develops well and makes it to the big show, can perhaps transition to first base and give the Rays another potential scary bat in the lineup. What a haul the Rays got!
I do like this trade for Kansas City, I do somewhat, the rotation is improved big time and they finally have someone they can call an ACE in Shields, not to mention he held his own in the AL East and goes to a little bit of a weaker division in the AL Central. They also get a very good reliever who they hope to make a starter again and I think Davis will regain his form as a starter again. Do I think they over payed though? Yes, they gave up way too much for just two years of Shields and a few years of Davis who may only be good in the bullpen. Giving up a top prospect like Myers who they can control for six years, for two years of a 31-year-old pitcher is a bit much in my opinion, because by all estimations Myers is the real deal and will be a force in the MLB. Plus, with the way this organization develops pitchers, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Odorizzi and Montgomery become future stars in the Tampa Bay rotation. Yes, all Tampa Bay got were PROSPECTS, and that’s all they are right now, prospects, but the Royals traded too much talent and key future pieces with high ceilings and promise for Shields and Davis. I think this trade makes Andrew Friedman the best GM in baseball, but of course the prospects could flame out and Shields and David could help pitch Kansas City to a playoff berth, and well who knows, maybe even a World Series. I’m not saying they will, but I don’t think Kansas City has enough to beat Detroit, and even Chicago. If Kansas City doesn’t make the playoffs at least once with Shields, they totally fail with this trade. I just can’t see them making the playoffs with how stacked the AL East is, how tough and improved the AL West is, how much more I think Detroit and Chicago are in the AL Central.
I can’t repeat how much I love this trade for Tampa Bay, and I think this trade puts them over the top and makes them the best team in the AL East, with all their great pitching, and much more improved hitting. You gotta like a lineup that features Longoria, Myers, Ben Zobrist, Desmond Jennings as the key catalysts. The next question to ponder is what will the Rays do with David Price next winter? That question arises now because the Rays never extended him when he debuted and now he is a top 10 pitcher in all of baseball, is still young, just won the AL CY Young award, and is setting himself up for a huge payday once he hits free agency in a couple of years. The contract that Price will get will in no way be able to be matched by the small market Rays because they just don’t have that kind of money to throw at one player. So will the Rays dangle Price next winter and try to get even more future pieces? I wouldn’t be surprised to be honest.
Coming into week 13 of the 2012 NFL season I held a 106-55-1 overall record with my weekly picks. Last week wasn’t so kind to me as I went 8-7. There were a couple of games that I thought were locks but really surprised me, like the Bears being upset by the Seahawks in Chicago, the Ravens being upset by the Steelers in Baltimore, and the 49ers being upset by the Rams in St.Louis, to name a few. I went 3-3 with my six-pack parlay of picks last week. My overall record with my weekly picks is now 114-62-1 now, a solid 52 games over .500. And as always, here are my week 14 NFL picks.
Washington Redskins defeat Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland Browns defeat Kansas City Chiefs
Pittsburgh Steelers defeat San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts defeat Tennessee Titans
New York Jets defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
Chicago Bears defeat Minnesota Vikings
Atlanta Falcons defeat Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat Philadelphia Eagles
St.Louis Rams defeat Buffalo Bills
Cincinnati Bengals defeat Dallas Cowboys
San Francisco 49ers defeat Miami Dolphins
New York Giants defeat New Orleans Saints
Seattle Seahawks defeat Arizona Cardinals
Green Bay Packers defeat Detroit Lions
Houston Texans defeat New England Patriots
Six Pack Parlay:
St.Louis Rams (+3) @ Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys (+3.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals
Atlanta Falcons (-3.5) @ Carolina Panthers
Indianapolis Colts (-5.5) vs Tennessee Titans
Washington Redskins (-2.5) vs Baltimore Ravens
Green Bay Packers (-7) vs Detroit Lions
Coming into week 12 of the 2012 NFL season I held a 94-51-1 record with my weekly picks. Last week I went 12-4 with my only losses being my picks of Seattle over Miami, Pittsburgh over Cleveland, Arizona over St.Louis, and Tennessee over Jacksonville, but nonetheless I am over the 100 win mark! I went 3-1-2 with my six-pack parlay of picks, so that could use some improvement. My overall record now sits at 106-55-1, a modest 51 games over .500. Ya can’t complain with that record. Anyways, here are my week 13 NFL picks.
Chicago Bears defeat Seattle Seahawks
Green Bay Packers defeat Minnesota Vikings
San Francisco 49ers defeat St.Louis Rams
New York Jets defeat Arizona Cardinals
Carolina Panthers defeat Kansas City Chiefs
Detroit Lions defeat Indianapolis Colts
Jacksonville Jaguars defeat Buffalo Bills
New England Patriots defeat Miami Dolphins
Houston Texans defeat Tennessee Titans
Denver Broncos defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens defeat Pittsburgh Steelers
Cleveland Browns defeat Oakland Raiders
Cincinnati Bengals defeat San Diego Chargers
Dallas Cowboys defeat Philadelphia Eagles
New York Giants defeat Washington Redskins
Six Pack Parlay:
New England Patriots (-6) @ Miami Dolphins
Jacksonville Jaguars (+6) @ Buffalo Bills
Indianapolis Colts (+6) @ Detroit Lions
New York Giants (-3) @ Washington Redskins
San Francisco 49ers (-7.5) @ St.Louis Rams
Cincinnati Bengals (-1) @ San Diego Chargers
Coming into week 11 of the 2012 NFL season, I held an 83-49-1 record with my weekly picks. Last week was great as I went 11-2, with my only losses coming when the Patriots beat my pick, the Colts, and when the St.Louis Rams beat the New York Jets, who had looked awful the week prior in Seattle. My overall record now stands at 94-51-1 and I have no doubt in my mind that I will reach 100 wins this week. I went 2-4 on my pick six parlay which is absolutely unacceptable. I promise a better week to my readers who bet on my picks. Today is Thanksgiving so we have three games today and they are the Houston Texans @ Detroit Lions at 12:30 pm, Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys at 4:15 pm, and the New England Patriots @ New York Jets at 8:20 pm. Sounds like three great games and I cannot wait to watch and eat loads of food too. Happy Thanksgiving everyone, be safe, and enjoy the games. Here are my picks.
Houston Texans defeat Detroit Lions
Washington Redskins defeat Dallas Cowboys
New England Patriots defeat New York Jets
Cincinnati Bengals defeat Oakland Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers defeat Cleveland Browns
Indianapolis Colts defeat Buffalo Bills
Denver Broncos defeat Kansas City Chiefs
Tennessee Titans defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
Chicago Bears defeat Minnesota Vikings
Atlanta Falcons defeat Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks defeat Miami Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens defeat San Diego Chargers
San Francisco 49ers defeat New Orleans Saints
Arizona Cardinals defeat St.Louis Rams
New York Giants defeat Green Bay Packers
Carolina Panthers defeat Philadelphia Eagles
Six Pack Parlay:
Washington Redskins (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys
New York Jets (+7) vs New England Patriots
Atlanta Falcons (-1) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Seattle Seahawks (-3) @ Miami Dolphins
Baltimore Ravens (-1) @ San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts (-3) vs Buffalo Bills
What a great week 11 of the 2012 NFL season we just saw. In the game of the week we saw the mighty 8-1 Houston Texans take on the lowly 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars in Houston. On paper, it looked like a Texans blowout of the Jaguars was on the horizon. Instead though, we got one of the games of the year in a high scoring, historic, overtime shootout. The Texans would go on to win the game 43-37. The Jaguars would go up 34-20 with 12:33 remaining in the fourth quarter but the Texans would score two late touchdowns to force overtime, where they would become the first team in NFL history to score twice in overtime. Shayne Graham of the Texans would kick a 25 yard field goal with 8:10 remaining in OT to give the Texans a 37-34 lead, but Josh Scobee of the Jaguars would kick a 33 yard field goal with 4:21 remaining to tie it back up at 37-37. With 2:01 remaining Matt Schaub would hit Andre Johnson on a wide receiver screen and Johnson would run down field for the game winning 48 yard touchdown and give the Texans the 43-37 win. There were a lot of big numbers in this game, for instance, Houston QB Matt Schaub threw for five touchdown passes and 527 yards which is tied for the second most passing yards in a single game. Also, Houston WR Andre Johnson finished with 273 receiving yards and the game winning touchdown, while Jacksonville rookie WR Justin Blackmon made his first big impression in the NFL finishing with 236 receiving yards and one touchdown that went 81 yards. It was a memorable game for sure. Now onto my power rankings.
1.Houston Texans (9-1) defeated Jacksonville Jaguars 43-37 (OT). Last Week (1). The Texans win a fun shootout with the Jaguars, but it’s not a good sign giving up 37 points to the one win Jaguars.
2.Baltimore Ravens (8-2) defeated Pittsburgh Steelers 13-10. Last Week (3). The Ravens shut down Byron Leftwich and the Steelers and lengthen their lead in the AFC North.
3.San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1) defeated Chicago Bears 32-7. Last Week (6). The 49ers destroy the Bears and the Colin Kaepernick era looks like it has started with a bang.
4.Atlanta Falcons (9-1) defeated Arizona Cardinals 23-19. Last Week (2). Matty Ice throws five picks, the Falcons go down 13-0 at one point, and need a late touchdown to knock off the Cardinals? Yikes. The Falcons haven’t had one rout this year yet, time to be alarmed when elite teams play them? I think so.
5.Green Bay Packers (7-3) defeated Detroit Lions 24-20. Last Week (4). The Packers comeback to down the Lions in Detroit with a late touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Randall Cobb. It took 11 weeks, but the Packers are finally in first place in the NFC North.
6.New England Patriots (7-3) defeated Indianapolis Colts 59-24. Last Week (7). The Patriots blow out the Colts at home and are really turning it on but they lose tight end Rob Gronkowski to a broken forearm for 4-6 weeks, which will hurt them.
7.Denver Broncos (7-3) defeated San Diego Chargers 30-23. Last Week (8). The Broncos remain hot and hang on to beat their division rivals. Peyton Manning continues his MVP pursuit and the Broncos continue their pursuit for a first round bye.
8.Chicago Bears (7-3) lost to San Francisco 49ers 32-7. Last Week (5). The Bears get blasted by the 49ers and look like a complete mess with Jason Campbell as starting quarterback. It’s evident that the Bears are nothing without Jay Cutler.
9.Seattle Seahawks (6-4) BYE WEEK. Last Week (9). The Seahawks get a deserving bye week and continue their pursuit of chasing down the 49ers for the NFC West title.
10.New Orleans Saints (5-5) defeated Oakland Raiders 38-17. Last Week (N/R). The Saints finally make their debut in the power rankings for the first time this season. They’re one game out of a playoff spot as they put the rest of the NFL on notice.
11.New York Giants (6-4) BYE WEEK. Last Week (12). The Giants finally hit their bye week at the perfect time as they have been struggling. Will they collapse or will they get back on track and get to the playoffs?
12.Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4) defeated Carolina Panthers 27-21 (OT). Last Week (N/R). The Buccaneers make their debut in the power rankings as they knock off the Panthers in OT on the road. This teams offense is very solid, and the defense still needs to be figured out. Playoff team? It’s 50/50.
A great week 12 of the 2012 college football season is in the books and boy, what a memorable week it was. Last week we saw the #1 team in the nation, Alabama, go down in defeat to Texas A&M 29-24. This week though, we saw even more fireworks. With the new #1 team being Kansas State, they had all the pressure of winning out and being in the national title game. In their first game as the new #1 team, the Wildcats had to travel to Waco, Texas to take on their division rivals, the Baylor Bears. Remember, Baylor beat #5 Oklahoma last season in Waco, 45-38, to destroy any chance Oklahoma had of playing in the national title game. Baylor did the same thing to Kansas State last night as they upset the #1 K-State Wildcats, 52-24. It was a punishing win by Baylor as they knocked the amount of undefeated teams down from three to two. Wait a second though, #2 Oregon and #13 Stanford were tied 14-14, headed into overtime just as that Baylor-Kansas State game went final. Was it possible that both the #1 and #2 teams in the nation would lose on the same night? When overtime started, Stanford won the coin toss and chose to start on defense. Oregon would run their first three plays and not get a first down. So on fourth down they had to attempt a field goal, but they would end up missing it as the ball clanked off the left upright, giving Stanford a chance to win the game with either a field goal or touchdown. Stanford would gain five yards on their first three plays and be forced to kick a 38 yard field goal. Low and behold, Stanford nailed the field goal right down the middle and finished the upset, defeating #2 Oregon, on the road in Eugene, 17-14 in OT. It was the first time both the #1 and #2 teams in the nation lost on the same day since December 1st, 2007, when #1 Missouri lost to Oklahoma and #2 West Virginia lost to Pittsburgh. Oh by the way, that leaves us with one undefeated team, and they are your Notre Dame Fighting Irish, as they improved to 11-0 by decimating Wake Forest 38-0. I think I know who’s taking over as the new #1 this week. Lets take a look.
1.Notre Dame Fighting Irish (11-0) defeated Wake Forest Demon Deacons 38-0. Last Week (3).
2.Alabama Crimson Tide (10-1) defeated Western Carolina Catamounts 49-0. Last Week (5).
3.Georgia Bulldogs (10-1) defeated Georgia Southern Eagles 45-14. Last Week (4).
4.Florida Gators (10-1) defeated Jacksonville State Gamecocks 23-0. Last Week (6).
5.Oregon Ducks (10-1) lost to #13 Stanford Cardinal 17-14 (OT). Last Week (2).
6.Kansas State Wildcats (10-1) lost to Baylor Bears 52-24. Last Week (1).
7.Florida State Seminoles (10-1) defeated Maryland Terrapins 41-14. Last Week (7).
8.South Carolina Gamecocks (9-2) defeated Wofford Terriers 24-7. Last Week (8).
9.LSU Tigers (9-2) defeated Mississippi Rebels 41-14. Last Week (9).
10.Texas A&M Aggies (9-2) defeated Sam Houston State Bearkats 47-28. Last Week (10).
National Championship Game: #1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs #2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Rose Bowl: #5 Oregon Ducks vs Nebraska Cornhuskers
Fiesta Bowl: #6 Kansas State Wildcats vs Clemson Tigers
Sugar Bowl: #3 Georgia Bulldogs vs Stanford Cardinal
Orange Bowl: #7 Florida State Seminoles vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Heisman Trophy: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M – This Week: 14 of 20, 267 yards passing, 3 TD’s, 1 INT’s, 16 carries, 100 yards, 2 TD’s, defeated Sam Houston State Bearkats 47-28. This year: 3,047 yards passing, 21 TD passes, 7 INT’s, 69.1% Completion Percentage, 172 carries, 1,114 yards, 17 TD’s.
Coming into week 10 of the 2012 NFL season I held a 77-43 record with my weekly picks. Last week was a bad week as I went 6-6-1. It brings my overall record to 83-49-1. Not a bad record, but I shouldn’t be having weeks like that. I guarantee I will improve this week and at the minimum, get to 90 wins, and with 13 games this Sunday, my aim is to get to 96 wins. I went 3-3 with my pick six parlay, so after going 6-0 the week before and two weeks before that, I think I’ll have another huge week with my six-pack parlay. Here are my week 11 picks. Enjoy.
Washington Redskins defeat Philadelphia Eagles
Green Bay Packers defeat Detroit Lions
Atlanta Falcons defeat Arizona Cardinals
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeat Carolina Panthers
Dallas Cowboys defeat Cleveland Browns
St.Louis Rams defeat New York Jets
Houston Texans defeat Jacksonville Jaguars
Cincinnati Bengals defeat Kansas City Chiefs
New Orleans Saints defeat Oakland Raiders
Denver Broncos defeat San Diego Chargers
Indianapolis Colts defeat New England Patriots
Baltimore Ravens defeat Pittsburgh Steelers
San Francisco 49ers defeat Chicago Bears
Six Pack Parlay:
Indianapolis Colts (+9) @ New England Patriots
Denver Broncos (-7.5) vs San Diego Chargers
Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Detroit Lions
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-1.5) @ Carolina Panthers
St.Louis Rams (-3.5) vs New York Jets
Dallas Cowboys (-7.5) vs Cleveland Browns
Toronto Blue Jays STEAL Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, And Others From Miami Marlins As Jeffrey Loria Screws Marlins Fans, AGAIN
On Tuesday evening there was an epic, shocking, jaw dropping baseball trade that shook the baseball world. It started off with the Toronto Blue Jays acquiring ace pitcher Josh Johnson from the Miami Marlins. Then a few minutes later, Johnson’s newest teammate in 2011, fellow pitcher, Mark Buehrle was added to the trade. The Blue Jays were getting two top of the rotation starting pitchers! Who could have seen that coming? What happened about five to ten minutes later is what really made this trade shake the baseball world. As Jon Morosi and Ken Rosenthal of FOXSPORTS were breaking this trade, everyone was saying wow, the Blue Jays are really trying to fix their disastrous rotation and trying to make some noise in the tough AL East. The deal wasn’t even close to being finished with notable players headed to the Blue Jays though. After five to ten minutes of finding out Johnson and Buehrle were headed to Toronto, we all learned that superstar shortstop Jose Reyes was Toronto bound as well. That was when the social media world blew up and was found just mocking the Miami Marlins for what they were doing.
Last November, the Miami Marlins debuted their new name, the “Miami Marlins”, after being called the “Florida Marlins” since they became a team. They were also moving into a brand new spacious ballpark in downtown Miami that was mostly funded with taxpayers dollars. Team owner Jeffrey Loria then said proceeded to sign three stars to come play for the new look Marlins. One of those guys was Heath Bell, who was known as one of the best closers in the game with the San Diego Padres, and was signed to a three-year, $27 million contract. Then they signed Mark Buehrle, who had been an anchor for the Chicago Whitesox rotation for so many years, to a four-year, $58 million contract. Finally, they signed shortstop Jose Reyes, formerly of the New York Mets for his whole career so far, to a six-year, $106 million contract. They had also already made a trade at the end of the 2011 season to bring in controversial Whitesox manager Ozzie Guillen in to manage the Marlins and get more fans to the new ballpark. Going into the 2012 season the Marlins looked like one of the better teams in the National League and some picked them to win the NL pennant and even the World Series. Well, those predictions quickly turned into bad picks as the Marlins had a season of turmoil.
Bell and Guillen would have an ugly relationship and exchange words through the season. Bell himself had a horrible year, pitching to a 4-5 record, a 5.09 ERA, a 1.55 WHIP, and only 19 saves. The team would then trade for Houston Astros slugger Carlos Lee on July 4th to play first base for them, but that trade never totally worked out for them. On July 23rd, with their playoff chances looking bleak, the Marlins traded young starter Anibal Sanchez and second baseman Omar Infante to the Detroit Tigers for one of their top pitching prospects, Jacob Turner, their top catching prospect, Rob Brantly, and pitcher Brian Flynn. That signaled the end of their playoff push in 2012. Buehrle would pitch to a 13-13 record, a 3.74 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, and 125 strikeouts, which are all pretty much in line with his career averages. Reyes would have a rough start to the season, but would finish with a .287 batting average, 11 homers, 57 RBI’s, 86 runs scored, 40 steals, 30 doubles, and 12 triples. After having three injury riddled seasons before coming to Miami, Reyes would play in 160 games in 2012. So two out of the three new additions worked out at least. The Marlins would finish 69-93 and in last place in the NL East. A total abomination after many people felt like they could be the best team in the NL. A few days after the season ended, the Marlins would fire Guillen after just one season and would eventually hire former catcher, Mike Redmond, to a three-year deal to be their new manager. On October 20th, the Marlins traded Bell after only one season to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of a three team deal with the Oakland A’s, who received Diamondbacks center fielder, Chris Young. Finally, all the rest of the dominoes would fall as the Marlins traded Johnson, Buehrle, Reyes, outfielder/infielder Emilio Bonifacio, and catcher John Buck to the Blue Jays for four major leaguers and three minor leaguers.
How could the Marlins owner, Jeffrey Loria, do this to the fans? Not only did the Miami-Dade county tax payers pay for this brand new ballpark, but only ONE YEAR, just ONE YEAR, after signing those three big free agents, Loria goes and trades all three this off-season, and will be fielding a horrible, and I repeat, horrible, team in 2013. The Marlins didn’t get many fans to the ballpark in 2012 in its first season, but now it’ll definitely be a ghost town with an even worse team. The only player worth watching, right fielder Giancarlo Stanton, who is only 22 years old and has 93 career homers, and is arguably the best power hitter in baseball, has already voiced his displeasure over this trade by tweeting “Alright, I’m pissed off!!! Plain & Simple”. So the situation is even uglier down in Miami now, with the face of the franchise clearly upset over Loria blowing up the team. I’m going to repeat the words that my dad has been repeating since this trade happened, “I just don’t understand why Loria would do this. It’s not even like he gave the team a couple of years to figure it out, he let one season depict the team’s future and decided to blow it up immediately. And now he won’t get anyone at the new stadium and screwed all the die-hard fans. I’m not even a fan of the Marlins, but I just don’t understand why he did this, and how he thinks this improves them. He really screwed everyone and fu**ed up badly.” I couldn’t even agree more with that. Simply put, Jeffrey Loria screwed the Marlins fans and screwed the taxpayers by stealing their money to build the stadium and now he has held a fire sale and is guaranteeing that no one steps foot into that stadium. No one will trust Loria again and no big name free agents will ever sign with the team again as long as Loria is owning the team. Loria should be arrested for fraud and should not be aloud to own a MLB team, especially after he screwed up with the Montreal Expos, and now with what he’s doing to the Miami Marlins. He’s a liar and a stealer and should be kicked out of Major League Baseball. Commissioner Bud Selig HAS to do something about Loria and has to do it fast before he somehow does something even worse to the franchise. Anyways, let’s get back to the trade.
The Marlins get these major leaguers: shortstop Yunel Escobar, who is only a .282 hitter, producing 10-15 homers a season, shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, who is not a big time player, pitcher Henderson Alvarez, who had a disappointing 2012 campaign with a 4.85 ERA, catcher Jeff Mathis, who is a career .198 hitter. They also get these minor leaguers: pitcher Anthony DeSclafani, who had a very promising year at A ball, pitching to an 11-3 record, a 3.37 ERA, a 1.38 WHIP, and a 3.68 K/BB ratio, they also get pitcher Justin Nicolino, who in A ball in 2012 had a 10-4 record, a 2.46 ERA, a 1.07 WHIP, and a 5.67 K/BB ratio, and finally, they get outfielder Jake Marisnick, who in 2012, split time at A ball and AA and hit .249, eight homers, 50 RBI’s, scored 66 runs, hit 29 doubles, and 10 triples. The major leaguers aren’t too flashy, but the minor leaguers sure are promising and add a huge boost to the Marlins farm system.
I think the Blue Jays are HUGE winners in this trade. We saw another huge trade back in August involving huge contracts when the Boston Redsox traded first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, starting pitcher Josh Beckett, and outfielder Carl Crawford to the Los Angeles Dodgers. That trade was outrageous on all levels for the Dodgers, as they’re stuck with those huge contracts as Beckett is up there in age, Crawford is recovering from Tommy John surgery, and Adrian Gonzalez struggled mightily in 2012. In the Blue Jays case, they get a 29-year-old shortstop in his prime to lead off for them, although he is owed $96 million still. Also, the Blue Jays had arguably the worst pitching in 2012 and now have a legitimate ACE in Josh Johnson to be their number one pitcher and get Mark Buehrle, who was in the AL with the Whitesox from 2000-2011 as their number one pitcher. He pitched very well as their number one pitcher and is back in the AL to be a number two starter which should make him all the more better. The Jays also get to move their young rising pitcher Ricky Romero, who was absolutely bombarded in 2012 as their number one pitcher, into the number three slot, where he is more fitted to pitch and will definitely put up better numbers. I like the new look rotation a lot with Johnson, Buehrle, and Romero. I expect the Jays to make a free agent addition for the back-end of their rotation right now to bolster it a bit. Johnson is nearly unhittable when healthy, but that’s the issue, he has a history of injuries. Johnson had Tommy John surgery performed on him on August 3rd, 2007, but came back very quick and made his next start on July 10th, 2008. To start his 2011 season, Johnson had a no-hitter go into the fifth inning in four of his first five starts. Unfortunately though, Johnson’s 2011 season would be cut short after nine starts as he would be shut down for the remainder of the season with right shoulder inflammation. In 2012, Johnson made 31 starts and pitched to an 8-14 record, 3.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, and struck out 165 batters. If he can remain healthy, he’s a tremendous addition for their rotation and the Blue Jays will finally have their ace.
Now lets look at this improved lineup. This is a Blue Jays team who already had two big time 40+ HR sluggers in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnarcion. They also had one of the young rising starts in the game in Brett Lawrie at third base. They also have a slugging catcher in J.P. Arencibia and a big time catching prospect on the fast track to the majors in Travis d’Arnaud, who in 67 games at AAA Las Vegas in 2012, hit .333, with 16 homers. So the catcher/DH combo looks like it may be locked up in 2013 by Arencibia and d’Arnaud, unless one of them is traded, which is not out of the question. The Jays now have a speedy, gold glove caliber shortstop, who can hit lead off for them and set the table for the big bats in the middle of the order. Lets not forget about Emilio Bonifacio, he’s a speedster as well, who in a full season in 2011, batted .296 and stole 40 bases. He can play any position as he has at least some experience at every position but first base, catcher, and pitcher. So he’s a very good utility man to have that can be plugged into the number two hole behind Reyes, or hit at the bottom and add some spark down there. All I know is, is that a lineup that consists of Reyes, Bonifacio, Bautista, Encarnarcion, Lawrie, and Arencibia is scary. With the Redsox rebuilding now and not having too much of a lineup, the Yankees growing older and getting less production out of their lineup, the Rays not having the money to improve their lineup and losing B.J. Upton this winter, and the Orioles not having too many big names in their lineup and not much money to spend either to improve it, the Blue Jays may have the best lineup in the AL East and with the improvement to their rotation as well, they may have the best team in the East. I’m not saying that they do, and I’m not picking the Jays to win the East in 2013, but they will be way better and will challenge for the AL East title.
I think the Blue Jays smelled blood and weakness in the Yankees and Redsox and saw that the Rays and Orioles don’t scare them, and pulled the trigger on this huge trade to get themselves over the hump and into the AL East title picture. I love the risk they’re taking and really think it’ll pay off. It also adds so much more excitement and competitiveness to the AL East, so that’s a great thing too. I can’t wait to watch this new look Toronto Blue Jays team in 2013, that’s for sure. What a way to start off the 2012-2013 off-season, the hot stove sure is cooking. We haven’t even seen any of the top free agents sign yet either, so we still have a lot of big news to go this off-season. Enjoy the off-season everybody.
MLB Free Agency is in full swing! That means it’s time for lots of hot stove talk and predictions of where each of the top MLB free agents will land this winter. It is one of my favorite articles of the year as I love doing predictions. The top free agents this year are Zack Greinke, Josh Hamilton, Michael Bourn, B.J. Upton, Anibal Sanchez, Dan Haren, Kyle Lohse, Nick Swisher, Edwin Jackson, and Mike Napoli, to name a few. So why don’t we just get to it? Here are my free agent landing spot predictions for the top free agents this off-season. Enjoy.
1.Zack Greinke: Los Angeles Angels, 6 years, $129 million – The Angels can ill afford to lose Greinke after seeing how great he pitched after they acquired him in July and showed how well he handled pitching in a big market. They need a reliable number two starter behind Jered Weaver and have to throw C.J. Wilson into the number three starters roll. After declining Dan Haren’s 2013 option and trading Ervin Santana, the Angels NEED to bring Grienke back.
Other teams I expect to be in the hunt: Los Angeles Dodgers, Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Boston Redsox, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Whitesox.
2.Josh Hamilton: Baltimore Orioles, 5 years, $105 million – Word is, is that the Rangers are only willing to go as long as three years with Hamilton which could cause Hamilton to leave if he gets better offers. I’m sure teams like Baltimore and Seattle, who are looking to make a big splash, would love to get their hands on this superstar. The rumor is, is that Hamilton wants seven years and $175 million, but I highly doubt he even comes close to that. I think the longest contract he gets is only five years, maybe, just maybe someone offers a sixth year, but I don’t see him getting over $150 million. I think with so many teams weary of giving Hamilton a gigantic contract and his injury history and his eyes issue, that not many people will even chase him. This opens the door for the Orioles. The Orioles get the big slugger they want and need! After whiffing on Mark Teixeira before the 2009 season, the Orioles get big time superstar outfielder Josh Hamilton for less years and money, and happen to be a playoff team without him. Are they a World Series team WITH Hamilton? It’s possible, but I don’t know. Having Hamilton, Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis, Matt Weiters, and Manny Machado in your everyday lineup is very impressive. They just gotta hope he doesn’t break down or go on a bender during his time in Baltimore. I hope he doesn’t. Now the Orioles just gotta figure out their pitching.
Other teams I expect to be in the hunt: Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers, Texans Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Milwaukee Brewers, San Francisco Giants.
3.B.J. Upton: Philadelphia Phillies, 6 years, $106 million – The Phillies need outfielders and some more power and speed, and that’s exactly what Upton brings. A lot of people will be in line for Upton as he brings a 20+ homer bat, 30+ steals, and good defense to the table, which is hard to find if any outfielder, let alone a center fielder. After trading Shane Victorino in July to the Dodgers, the Phillies need a replacement and Upton would be perfect in Philly. The Phillies need to make a somewhat big splash this off-season and getting Upton would be perfect in their ball park. The only question is, is how much will Upton get? Will he get a big enough deal that is out of Philadelphia’s range? It’s not a distinct possibility.
Other teams I expect to be in the hunt: Washington Nationals, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, New York Yankees, Boston Redsox, Seattle Mariners.
4.Michael Bourn: Washington Nationals, 5 years, $88 million – The Nationals need a speedster, lead off hitter, and a good defender in center field. Well, that’s what Bourn is all of that. The question is, is how much will Bourn get? Some baseball execs think a team or two will overbid for Bourn’s services. Well, would the Nationals be that team? I’m not sure after they payed $126 million for Jayson Werth in the off-season of 2010-2011. Plus, don’t forget that the Nationals have to re-sign first baseman Adam LaRoche as well and word is, is that the Nats want LaRoche back after having a career year in D.C. Getting a guy like Bourn would really help this lineup and make them all the more serious as a World Series contender.
Other teams I expect to be in the hunt: Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, Boston Redsox.
5.Anibal Sanchez: Los Angeles Dodgers, 5 years, $79 million – The Dodgers have some pitching with Clayton Kershaw, Josh Beckett, Chris Capuano, Ted Lilly, Aaron Harang, and Chad Billingsley, but some people believe one of them will be traded and you can never have enough pitching. Kershaw, Sanchez, and Beckett would be a pretty solid 1-2-3 in the rotation and a solid rotation for a playoff series. Jon Morosi of FOXSPORTS.com reports that his sources tell him that Sanchez is looking for a six-year, $90 million deal, and the Dodgers are definitely a team that can afford that. Josh Beckett isn’t a reliable number two anymore, whereas Sanchez is, so there’s a great fit here. The Detroit Tigers will try their hardest to try to re-sign Sanchez, so it won’t be easy for the Dodgers, but I think the Dodgers win out because they need the pitching and are hungry to get back to the postseason.
Other teams I expect to be in the hunt: Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Boston Redsox, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs.
6.Kyle Lohse: Detroit Tigers, 3 years, $42 million- Losing out on re-signing Anibal Sanchez, the Tigers will shift their attention to the next best pitcher and the cheaper alternative, Kyle Lohse, who has been very good the last two years with a 3.39 era in 2011 and a 2.86 era in 2012. Going to the AL will be a challenge, but I don’t view many NL teams chasing him hard as the Cardinals can’t afford him, and the Dodgers will be getting Sanchez. The Braves, Phillies, and Nationals have pitching, and I don’t see the Cubs, Brewers, or Reds going for him because of his age (he’s 34). I think the Tigers need a solid starter to replace Sanchez’s productivity and Lohse is the guy. He won’t overpower a guy with a strong fastball and a lot of strikeouts, but he’ll always keep a team in games. He’ll probably get a two or three-year deal, and the Tigers are in win now mode, so I’d like this signing for them.
Other teams I expect to be in the hunt: St.Louis Cardinals, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Redsox, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Whitesox, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners.
7.Nick Swisher: Seattle Mariners, 5 years, $90 million – The Mariners are moving the fences in this winter at Safeco Field and I believe they’re going to overpay for a free agent hitter and/or pitcher this off-season and I think they nab Swisher on an overpay. The Mariners need hitters badly as the only consistent one they have is young rising star catcher Jesus Montero, who was acquired in a trade with the Yankees last winter for pitcher Michael Pineda. Getting Swisher, who is a good OBP guy, who also hits 20+ homers would really help the M’s lineup and maybe attract other big names to Seattle. Seattle needs hope, that’s all I know with a really tough AL West division.
Other teams I expect to be in the hunt: Boston Redsox, Baltimore Orioles, Texas Rangers, Houston Astros, Atlanta Braves, San Francisco Giants.
8.Kiroki Kuroda: New York Yankees, 1 year, $14 million – The Yankees NEED to bring back Kuroda as the pitching behind C.C. Sabathia next year isn’t too pretty. No one knows what you’re getting out of Michael Pineda next season after shoulder surgery, no one knows if Andy Pettitte is returning yet, and Phil Hughes is just way too inconsistent to be comfortable going into the season next year with him as the Yankees number three, or possibly even number two starter. Is there much else to say? After a very good year in pinstripes in 2012, I think the Yanks give Kuroda another one year deal with a raise in his salary, which obviously will be expected.
Other teams I expect to be interested: Boston Redsox, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers.
9.Dan Haren: Boston Redsox, 1 year, $10 million – The Redsox were supposedly involved in trade talks with the Los Angeles Angels last week to acquire Haren before there was a deal in place with the Chicago Cubs, but then that deal fell through. The Angels ended up declining Haren’s 2013 option and allowing him to be a free agent. He has injury concerns with his back which made him miss a handful of starts this past season, but when he’s healthy, he is a very good pitcher and I’m sure a lot of teams will check him out as long as his medical exams come up clean. The Redsox need another pitcher to fill out their rotation and having a veteran workhorse like Haren would bring leadership, depth, and a positive attitude to the Redsox clubhouse that needs it. I think this is a good match for both as the Redsox look to get back on winning track.
Other teams I expect to be interested: Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Milwaukee Brewers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies.
10.Edwin Jackson: Toronto Blue Jays, 3 years, $40 million – The Jays will be aggressive this off-season for starting pitching help and they really like Edwin Jackson and evaluated him last off-season when he was a free agent and before he signed a one year deal with the Washington Nationals. He had a solid year in D.C. and should be able to get a multi-year deal this winter and with how bad the Jays pitched last season, I think they make a big push for Jackson, who is an innings eater, and strikes out 140+ batters a year and can really bolster the middle of that Toronto rotation. A bevy of teams will be in the hunt though, so the Blue Jays may have to overpay a bit to get Jackson.
Other teams I expect to be interested: New York Yankees, Boston Redsox, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Colorado Rockies.
11.Rafael Soriano: Detroit Tigers, 3 years, $45 million- The Tigers get rid of Jose Valverde this winter and have a chance to get a way better closer who causes way fewer headaches and is more reliable in Rafael Soriano. Soriano is looking for a big payday after saving 42 games in 46 chances for the New York Yankees after Mariano Rivera went down with a torn ACL in May. The Tigers have a solid bullpen with Phil Coke, Octavio Dotel, Joaquin Benoit, and Al Albuquerque, but have no guy who is a shut down closer. They could have a competition in spring training, but I think they’d prefer to have a set closer and have the rest of those guys pitch in their normal spots and have a strong bullpen. The Tigers owner has a good relationship with Scott Boras, the agent for Soriano, so I think a deal can get done. The Tigers made the World Series this year and they signed Prince Fielder last winter, so they are a big money team now.
Other teams I expect to be interested: New York Yankees, Boston Redsox, Toronto Blue Jays, Los Angeles Angels, Texas Rangers.
12.Angel Pagan: San Francisco Giants, 3 years, $40 million – Angel Pagan had a career year at AT&T Park and is ready to cash in, in free agency. The Giants like him and want him back. With Melky Cabrera not coming back, the Giants would be in big trouble if they let Pagan go too. They’ll try everything they can to keep Pagan and Pagan likes San Francisco but wants his big payday and I think the Giants give him it. Pagan was a big reason why the Giants were the World Series champs this season and the Giants need him back with his defense, speed, and switch hitting ability.
Other teams I expect to be interested: Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds.
13.Adam LaRoche: Washington Nationals, 3 years, $48 million – Adam LaRoche had a career year for the Nats in 2012 and the Nats want him back manning first base for them. LaRoche rejected the $13.3 million qualifying offer, so he expects to get more on what could be his final big payday. The Nats could use his left-handed bat back and should spend now that they are in win now mode. Bring back LaRoche and adding Bourn would really solidify this team as one of the scarier teams to play. Open up your wallets, Washington!
Other teams I expect to be interested: Boston Redsox, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers.
14.Mike Napoli: New York Yankees, 2 years, $21 million – I think the Yankees are done with Russell Martin after he had a disappointing 2012 outside of his power numbers and him not doing anything in the playoffs again. Napoli is a power guy who had a huge 2011 but fell back down to earth in 2012 but still hit 24 homers. Napoli can also play first base and can DH for the Yanks. The Yanks have to move on from Martin and get someone new. Napoli’s versatility will be key.
Other teams I expect to be interested: Boston Redsox, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners.
15.Shane Victorino: Atlanta Braves, 1 year, $6 million – The Braves could use some depth in their outfield and need a replacement in centerfield for the departing Michael Bourn. Victorino would add more grit, toughness, and leadership to this team. On the field he’s a speedster, with solid D, can fly around the bases, and smack the occasional home run. He’s obviously a way cheaper alternative to Michael Bourn and B.J. Upton, in case you don’t want to spend huge bucks on them. He’s also gonna come way cheaper the Angel Pagan, who just had a career year and will make bank this winter. I think this would be a good signing for the Braves and Victorino would replace the leadership lost in the clubhouse by the retiring Chipper Jones, but no one can fully replace Chippers’ leadership.
Other teams I expect to be interested: New York Mets, Washington Nationals, Cincinnati Reds, San Francisco Giants, Boston Redsox, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians.
16.Melky Cabrera: Detroit Tigers, 1 year, $5 million – Melky Cabrera was facing a five-year, $75 million deal this past season after having an incredible first half. Those dreams were wiped away when Melky Cabrera came up positive for performance enhancing drugs and was suspended 50 games. Now Melky must settle for a one year, low dollar, prove yourself deal. A bevy of teams will be interested for cheap and to hopefully get good production out of him for a year. He can play all outfield spots and offers a little speed and can hit a home run here and there. I think the fact that the Tigers have both corner outfield spots open and are a World Series contender, that they will chase Melky and Melky will love the opportunity.
Other teams I expect to be interested: New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Boston Redsox, New York Yankees, Tampa Bay Rays, Baltimore Orioles, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros.
17.Cody Ross: Boston Redsox, 3 years, $26 million – The Redsox and Cody Ross like each other and Ross has become a power bat at Fenway Park. Ross fits in well in the Redsox lineup and he is a scary hitter at Fenway. Ross wants a solid payday and should command a 2-3 year deal on the open market for over $20 million. I’m sure a lot of teams will jump for his services, but I think it all depends on the money and how close to a title a team is. The Redsox aren’t very close at all but they do know Ross by now and he had a great year in 2012 and the Sox will show him the money to keep him in left field.
Other teams I expect to be interested: New York Mets, Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, Baltimore Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers.
18.Ryan Dempster: Milwaukee Brewers, 2 years, $22 million – The Brewers need rotation depth and a veteran leader and that’s where Ryan Dempster comes in. Dempster has spent plenty of time in the NL Central, with the Cubs and Reds. Last year he was traded to the Texas Rangers from the Cubs and performed dismal in Texas, but is a very good NL pitcher and always keeps his team in the game. The Brewers have too many wild pitchers and need more hard-nosed guys that will keep them in games. Dempster and Yovani Gallardo would prove a very solid 1-2 punch atop the Brewers rotation.
Other teams I expect to be interested: Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Yankees, Boston Redsox, Toronto Blue Jays, Baltimore Orioles, Minnesota Twins, Kansas City Royals.
19.Torii Hunter: Texas Rangers, 2 years, $23 million – The Rangers have had talks with Hunter’s agent and I see a nice fit here now with Hamilton gone in Texas. Both left field and center field are available for Hunter. The Rangers would have an upgrade defensively in the outfield, more veteran leadership, and someone who is very hungry for a championship. Hunter adds a lot of pop and can help the young hitters in Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar on the Rangers. Can Hunter replace Hamilton’s production? No way, but he can still add 20+ homers and bat .280+.
Other teams I expect to be interested: New York Yankees, Boston Redsox, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers, Chicago Whitesox, Los Angeles Angels, Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves, Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants.
20.Marco Scutaro: San Francisco Giants, 3 years, $31 million – One of the Giants’ 2012 World Series heroes, Scutaro was a huge help in the Giants winning their second World Series in three years. He plays tough, grinds out at bats, plays good defense, and adds some pop to the lineup and is a real table setter. The Giants want him back badly because without him they have huge trouble at second base, plus Scutaro wants to come back and is already 37 and is looking for his final decent payday. Scutaro was acquired by trade from the Colorado Rockies and was the Giants’ best hitter alongside Buster Posey in the second half of the season. The Giants gotta bring this guy back, he’s a class act.