Saturday, January 8, 2011

NFL Wild Card Weekend Picks and Predictions

The second season has begun in the NFL. Let's look back on how we did during the regular season.

(Week 17 results in parentheses)
  • Picks - Straight Up: 164-92 (.641) (13-3 in Week 17)
  • Picks - Against The Spread: 130-118-8 (.523) (10-6 in Week 17)
  • Knockout Pool - Alive in Round 7 after Week 17 (11-6, Teams Used: Wins - NYG, PHL, SDG, BAL, KCY, IND, NO, PIT, ATL, JAX, GBY; Losses - WSH, CHI, NO, NE, TBY, DAL)
  • Start 'Em/Sit 'Em Three-Play (Start listed first) - 30-18-3 (.618) (2-1 in Week 16: QB (W, 12-5): K. Kolb PHL 4, T. Tebow DEN 29; RB (W, 9-6-2): R. Mathews SDG 35, K. Moreno DEN 4; WR (W, 9-7-1): J. Avant PHL 2, J. Knox CHI 0)
Sports With The StatMan: Football Edition - Week 17 Fantasy Update
Sports With The StatMan: Football Edition - Wild Card Weekend Picks and Predictions

New Orleans Saints (11-5) at Seattle Seahawks (7-9)
Saturday, 4:30pm ET - NBC
Sheridan's Line: Saints by 10

Breakdown: The Saints RB tandem of Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory are both on IR, leaving the Saints without a RB who has scored a rushing touchdown in Reggie Bush and Julius Jones. That and the Seattle home-field advantage should be enough to cover the spread, but the Saints will find a way to win with Drew Brees and that dynamite passing attack.

X-Factor: Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck
Picks: Straight Up - Saints; Against the Spread - Seahawks
Predicted Score: NO 24, SEA 17

New York Jets (11-5) at Indianapolis Colts (10-6)
Saturday, 8:00pm ET - NBC
Sheridan's Line: Colts by 3

Breakdown: The Jets have a chance for revenge after losing last year's AFC Championship Game in Indianapolis. The Colts are missing some major pieces like TE Dallas Clark, WR Austin Collie, and S Bob Sanders. TE Jacob Tamme picked up where Clark left off, but he is no Clark. The other replacements are not as good, either. The Jets have to run the ball right at the Colts on offense and try to make QB Peyton Manning think quickly while the defense is on the field. I think the Jets will pull even with the Colts offense and make the defensive plays when they have to in order to win.

X-Factor: Indianapolis TE Jacob Tamme
Picks: Straight up - Jets; Against the Spread - Jets
Predicted Score: NYJ 30, IND 27

Baltimore Ravens (12-4) at Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
Sunday, 1:00pm ET - CBS
Sheridan's Line: Ravens by 3

Breakdown: The Chiefs lost their first game at home all season last week against the Raiders. The Chiefs are also New England West with a few players and coaches having Patriots ties, which would serve them well in the playoffs. But, the Ravens have won in the Wild Card round each of the last two years with an average of 30 points scored.

X-Factor: Kansas City WR Dwayne Bowe
Picks: Straight up - Ravens; Against the Spread - Ravens
Predicted Score: BAL 19, KCY 14

Green Bay Packers (10-6) at Philadelphia Eagles (10-6)
Sunday, 4:30pm - FOX
Sheridan's Line: Eagles by 2.5

Breakdown: This game is a rematch of the Week 1 game when the Packers opened the season with a victory at Philadelphia. Kevin Kolb won the quarterback job in camp and left with an injury before halftime. Michael Vick almost led a comeback, but the Eagles fell short. This time around, the Eagles have a lot more confidence, not only because of Vick, but because of the rest of the team. It will be a different game with a different outcome.

X-Factor: Philadelphia WR DeSean Jackson's ankle
Picks: Straight up - Eagles; Against the Spread - Eagles
Predicted Score: PHL 30, GBY 24


Join us for our next Sports With The StatMan (#94) on Wednesday night, January 12th, at 9pm ET. We recap the Jets-Colts and Eagles-Packers games and get ready for the Divisional Championship round. We will also have our NHL Midseason Report.

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Thursday, January 6, 2011

Who Will Play in the 2012 Winter Classic?

Who will play in the 2012 Winter Classic? All signs are pointing to the New York Rangers having one of the slots and it is about time the Classic comes to New York. Let’s look at the prerequisites to host a Winter Classic.

First, it should be an American city. Canada now has their Heritage Classic, which is played on the Sunday before Family Day in Canada, which is also the day before President’s Day in the United States. With a major television network carrying the event in the U.S., the game has to have a decidedly American flavor. New York, last time I checked, was in the lower 48.

Second, the city should be a cold-weather city. The NHL’s refrigeration truck is a marvel, but I do not think the technology is there to withstand 70 degree temperatures. If you looked at the ice in Pittsburgh last Sunday night, the rain and the above freezing temperatures made for a watery mess for some of the third period. The backdrop of palm trees would be nice, but it would not be practical.

Next, the game should involve a big market team to maximize viewership. There is no bigger market than New York. Three of the four American teams that comprise the Original Six have already been represented in the game: Chicago, Detroit, and Boston. Two of those three – Chicago and Boston – have hosted the game.

Who would the Rangers play? Regional rivalries may not play as well to a national audience. For all of the talk about ratings and big markets, the NHL has done very well with Washington-Pittsburgh, Philadelphia-Boston, Detroit-Chicago, and Pittsburgh-Buffalo, which can all be termed regional rivalries in the Northeast or the Great Lakes areas. So, maybe we shouldn’t discount a Rangers-Devils or Rangers-Islanders game on the grand stage. If not, the Rangers could go up against just about any other team. How about an Original Six-Next Six East-West matchup with the Rangers and Kings? The idea of the two biggest media markets coming together to help a sports league that could use all of the press it can get could push this matchup over the top.

Since the Canadiens are in this year’s Heritage Classic, the only Original Six team that has not played outside or booked to play outside would be the Toronto Maple Leafs. So, would a Leafs-Rangers game be that far-fetched? The Leafs were so hard up for the outdoor experience, the Leafs held a practice outside in a city park. The Bruins played in last year’s Winter Classic, but that has not stopped the NHL from tapping the Penguins twice. Then again, Zdeno Chara and Tyler Seguin do not quite have the same cachet as Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin. But, the Bruins and Rangers are rivals for the better part of a century.

Whether the game would be in the friendly confines of Citi Field or, more likely, the vast expanse of the New Meadowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, the New York area would be a perfect host for next year’s Winter Classic.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Week 17 NFL Picks and Predictions

Happy New Year everyone! Week 17 normally has a preseason feel to some of the games before the most important ones of the NFL season start up next weekend.

(Week 16 results in parentheses)
  • Picks - Straight Up: 151-89 (.629) (10-6 in Week 16)
  • Picks - Against The Spread: 120-112-8 (.517) (11-5 in Week 16)
  • Knockout Pool - Out in Round 6 after Week 16 (10-6, Teams Used: Wins - NYG, PHL, SDG, BAL, KCY, IND, NO, PIT, ATL, JAX; Losses - WSH, CHI, NO, NE, TBY, DAL)
  • Start 'Em/Sit 'Em Three-Play (Start listed first) - 28-17-3 (.615) (2-1 in Week 16: QB (W, 12-4): T. Tebow DEN 24, E. Manning NYG 23; RB (L, 8-6-2): B. Green-Ellis NE 10, M. Forte CHI 22; WR (W, 8-7-1): M. Williams TBY 14, C. Ochocinco CIN 0)

Straight up (win/loss)
  • Locals: NYG (W at WSH), NYJ (W vs. BUF), PHL (W vs. DAL), NE (W vs. MIA)
  • Big Game Winners: STL (at SEA), IND (vs. TEN), GBY (vs. CHI)
  • Other Winners: PIT (at CLE), BAL (vs. CIN), NO (vs. TBY), ATL (vs. CAR), DET (vs. MIN), OAK (at KCY), HOU (vs. JAX), SFO (vs. ARZ), SDG (at DEN)

Against the Spread (spreads in parentheses)
  • Locals: NYG (-3.5 at WSH), NYJ (-1 vs. BUF), DAL (+10 at PHL), NE (-4 vs. MIA)
  • Big Game Covers: STL (-2.5 at SEA), TEN (+9.5 at IND), GBY (-10 vs. CHI)
  • Other Covers: CLE (+6 vs. PIT), CIN (+9.5 at BAL), TBY (+8 at NO), CAR (+14.5 at ATL), DET (-3 vs. MIN), OAK (+3.5 at KCY), HOU (-3 vs. JAX), ARZ (+6 at SFO), SDG (-3.5 at DEN)

Knockout Pool
  • Round 7: Green Bay (vs. Chicago)

Start 'Em/Sit 'Em Three-Play
  • QB: Start Kevin Kolb PHL (vs. DAL), Sit Tim Tebow DEN (vs. SDG)
  • RB: Start Ryan Mathews SDG (at DEN), Sit Knowshon Moreno DEN (vs. SDG)
  • WR: Start Jason Avant PHL (vs. DAL), Sit Johnny Knox CHI (at GBY)


Join us for our next Sports With The StatMan (#93) for our first show of 2011 on Wednesday night, January 5th, at 9pm ET. We gear up for the NFL Playoffs with a recap of Week 17 and a preview of Wild Card Weekend. We know the Eagles and Jets will be in action and the Patriots will get a week off to rest up, but will the Giants be in action or watch the playoffs from their couches? We also chat about hockey and baseball.

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