Thursday, December 31, 2009

NFL Predictions - Week 17 - Regular Season Finale

-Digger's Daily-

Another NFL regular season comes to a close this weekend. NFL 2009 ends in 2010. NFC playoff teams have been finalized. A few will continue fighting for playoff position. AFC wild card hasn't been determined yet. Hopefully teams fighting to make it won't be playing against replacement players on teams that have already clinched.

Due to time constraints this weeks predictions will not feature my peanut gallery comments. After back to back sub par weeks it's probably best. Anyone looking to place bets this weekend had better pay attention to weather conditions and if playoff bound teams will be playing their regular starters for more than a few series. 9-7 in week 16 lowers my overall record to 152-88. My last chance to end on a positive note.

Week 17 (home in CAPS):
Indianapolis 20 BUFFALO 16
CLEVELAND 27 Jacksonville 23
Chicago 28 DETROIT 10
San Francisco 26 ST LOUIS 14
Pittsburgh 37 MIAMI 17
MINNESOTA 33 Giants 20
Atlanta 27 TAMPA BAY 21
New Orleans 26 CAROLINA 24
New England 31 HOUSTON 13
Green Bay 36 ARIZONA 27
SAN DIEGO 24 Washington 7
Tennessee 35 SEATTLE 10
Baltimore 17 OAKLAND 16
Philadelphia 31 DALLAS 28
DENVER 28 Kansas City 14
Cincinnati 20 JETS 16

Best wishes for a healthy, safe and wonderful New Year! See you all again in 2010!

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

NBA & NHL Power Rankings

All World All Sports Blogs

-Digger's Daily-

It's been a wild ride in the NBA as the season nears its' halfway point. No one single player, coach or team has stood out above the field. Recent history has shown us how the leagues top team keep getting tougher. 2009-10 season is no different. NBA fans have been treated to great games. There's more to come.

Here's my top 10 thru 30+ games played...

1- LA Lakers
2- Boston Celtics
3- Cleveland Cavaliers
4- Orlando Magic
5- Dallas Mavericks
6- Denver Nuggets
7- Phoenix Suns
8- Atlanta Hawks
9- San Antonio
10-Houston Rockets

Another great season on ice for NHL fans. Martin Brodeur continues rewriting goalie records. The leagues top teams continue getting stronger. Only 7 teams with sub .500 records. Teams stuck behind the top 10 will be in a dogfight for post-season play throughout the seasons second half.

My top 10
1- New Jersey Devils
2- Pittsburgh Penguins
3- Chicago Blackhawks
4- Washington Capitals
5- San Jose Sharks
6- Buffalo Sabres
7- Phoenix Coyotes
8- Colorado Avalanche
9- Vancouver Canucks
10-Calgary Flames

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Monday, December 28, 2009

Colts Coach Sacks Perfect Season Bid

All World All Sports Blogs

-Digger's Daily-

Don Shula and his 1972 Miami Dolphins can rest easy. Their record perfect season remains safe for at least another year thanks to Indianapolis Colts rookie head coach's decision not to go for the record by pulling Peyton Manning and many other starting players. End result, Colts blew a 15-10 3rd quarter lead and lost their bid for perfection. Perhaps, they've lost more than just one game.

Indianapolis (14-1) was the lone undefeated team left in the NFL after Dallas beat previously unbeaten New Orleans last weekend. Indy soon found themselves subjected to fan and football analyst scuttlebutt questioning whether or not it is in a teams best interest to play for perfection or to rest regular players in an attempt to keep them fresh for the playoffs and shield them from sustaining injury.

Only two NFL clubs completed perfect regular seasons. 1972 Miami finished 14-0 before sweeping playoff opponents, ending 17-0 (Super Bowl Champs). It was New England's turn to run the tables in 2007 (16-0). They became the first to sweep a 16 game regular season schedule before being stunned by the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII preserving Miami's place in history.

Colts rookie coach Jim Caldwell made a bold move pulling Indy's starters with 5:36 left in 3rd quarter leading 15-10. Perfection was only 5+ quarters away. The Colts were labeled an aging team on decline heading into 2009. Peyton Manning had been enjoying an MVP caliber season securing victories with 4th quarter game winning drives. A playoff atmosphere surrounded yesterday's game as the NY Jets were fighting to survive another week in the AFC wild card hunt. Manning had kept the NFL's top defense at bay. A perfect season was firmly at hand. A win yesterday and only one team stood in their way of history and I doubt if any sane person thinks Buffalo could beat a full strength Colts squad. There's only one way Caldwell's decision will be vindicated. Indianapolis must win the Super Bowl for the Colts coach to survive intense scrutiny and criticism.

Indy fans were not at all happy with their coaches decision. CBS kept focusing in on a visibly upset Peyton Manning as he watched helplessly from the Colts sidelines as replacement teammates fumbled and bumbled their way to defeat. Instantly, Indy fans blogged, Twittered, heckled and booed. Analysts differed on their critiques of Caldwell. Personally, I can't believe he pulled the plug and forfeited a perfect season. Yes, I said forfeit! Much more was at stake than resting players for playoff games which will not begin for another month. Caldwell claims it was strictly to protect his players. Here's a few press conference quotes (as reported on

"It's probably my greatest strength and my greatest weakness. I can focus in. I
can narrow my scope," Caldwell said, according to the Indianapolis Star.
"Once you make a decision, you have to live with it. You certainly weigh all
the options before. You take a look at all the things that could occur. But once
that decision is done, you keep moving."

Team President Polian chimed in to protect his coach. "Football logic has to come into play, and that logic is it makes no sense to have guys out there with the potential for injuries," Polian said. "We played for 16 weeks, sharp as any team in football. The good thing is that none of this mattered in the standings."

Even Peyton Manning, the ultimate professional who was clearly upset standing on the sidelines watching a perfect season go to out the window, put his best foot forward afterwards:
"Until any player in here is the head coach, you follow orders and you follow
them with all of your heart," Manning said after the game. "That's what we've
done as players. We follow orders. Our orders were not to give up a turnover,
not to give up a kick return for a touchdown. There's not many games, under any
circumstances, that you win when you have turnovers and give up a kick return
for a touchdown."

Ok, Manning. Way to try regrouping the troops. Clearly, not many were on board with Caldwell. It's one thing to want to protect your players. I'm all for it. But, was it necessary do pull Manning with 5:36 left to go? Take this into account too. The New York Jets are fighting to make the playoffs and Indy owed it to fairness of competition to continue playing hard with plenty of time left in the game. Once the starters were pulled a great contest turned into a one sided joke. The Jets prevailed 29-15 putting themselves in the proverbial drivers seat trying to extend their season. Other teams were either eliminated or face stiff hurdles if they're to make the playoffs.
From day one in pre-season "perfection" is preached in every aspect of the game, on and off the field. Coaches attempt to devise perfect training camps, practices and game plans. Players are taught and practice executing plays to perfection. The goal in every football contest is to win, period. So, how does an organization give away a perfect season? And, then to fluff it off as if it doesn't mean anything in the greater picture. Hogwash! I doubt there's a single Colts player who isn't disappointed today. It's one thing to lose a game putting your best foot forward. It's another to give up.

Caldwell's decision wasn't prudent even if the Colts go on to win it all. He could have pulled the plug midway into the fourth quarter and players would have understood even if their understudies blew it. There was simply too much time left in yesterday's game for any Colt to take this loss in stride. And there's another key point. Did Caldwell's move just disrupt team chemistry? With a perfect season now long gone will Caldwell rest everyone in game 16? There's nothing left to play for. Indy has clinched AFC's best record and first round bye. Buffalo isn't involved in playoff consideration. So, might as well not play any regulars right? If players know this then how does a rookie perfection forfeiting head coach keep these guys focused until their first playoff game on January 16th? Yes, that's right, January 16th.

Just think of the thunderous confidence a perfect season would have created in the hearts and minds of Indianapolis players? Losing ugly yesterday to the Jets forfeited a perfect season. If Colts replacements get knocked off by Buffalo ... then, what happens to team chemistry? What happens to team chemistry on the field when not facing live action for 3 weeks? January 16th is too far down the road. Caldwell's decision may have far reaching consequences he never imagined. Perfection was in the Colts grasp. Only winning Super Bowl XLIV can save their season now.

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Saturday, December 26, 2009

NBA All Decade Team 2000-09

All World All Sports Blogs

-Digger's Daily-

The NBA put on quite a show this decade. New stars entered the league and quickly made names for themselves. Seasoned vets took their games to new levels. Phil Jackson's LA Lakers are my pick for team of the decade having won 4 NBA Titles.

Here's my list of 1st and 2nd team All Decade players:

First Team
PG- Steve Nash
SG- Kobe Bryant
F- Kevin Garnett
F- Tim Duncan
C- Dwight Howard
Coach - Phil Jackson

Second Team
PG- Jason Kidd
SG- Ray Allen
F- LeBron James
F- Dirk Nowitzki
C- Yao Ming
Coach- Gregg Popovich

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NFL Week 16 Predictions

All World All Sports Blogs

-Digger's Daily-

Yikes! Upon further review, week 15 turned out to be disasterous for NFL favorites and prediction makers. My picks finished up below .500 for the first time this season. 7-9 ate away at my percentages (season total now 143-81). Losers won and favorites embarrassed.

Playoff picture: NFC - 4 teams are locked in. Division clinchers Arizona (West), New Orleans (South) and Minnesota (North). Philadelphia (East) controls their own destiny. NFC Wild Card is down to three teams. Green Bay needs one more win to clinch. Dallas leads NY by one game but Giants own the tie-breaker having beaten the Cowboys twice this season.

AFC - Two teams have clinched division titles, Indianapolis (South) and San Diego (West). New England (East) clinches with one more win or a loss by East rivals. North division had looked to be a lock for Cincinnati but they're suddenly slumping (9-5) with Baltimore (8-6) getting hot. Wild Card picture is complicated. Baltimore and Denver are 8-6 and control their own fate. Close behind but needing help are six teams with 7-7 records. Week 16 should go a long way towards determining who makes this years' playoffs.

Time to pick Week 16 winners and losers (home in CAPS):

TENNESSEE 31 San Diego 27 (Friday) - BAH HUMBUG to the NFL scheduling scrooges who determined it was best to put this game on NFL Network instead of Christmas day by CBS, NBC, FOX or ESPN. So, if you're not paying extra or NFL Network or live in an area not offered NFL Network you're/we're scrooged out of watching (or being able to break away from family to visit a local watering hole to view) the AFC's two hottest teams square off. Tennessee began 0-6 and have won 7 of last 8. San Diego comes in riding a 9 game streak. Titans need this one to stay alive. Titans prevail in one of the best games of the year.

ATLANTA 20 Buffalo 14 (Sunday) - Nothing special here. Banged up Falcons vs boring Bills.

CINCINNATI 24 Kansas City 23 - Bengals (9-5) seemed like a lock to wrap up AFC North two weeks ago. This is a must win game vs KC and fantasy sleeper RB Jamaal Charles. Charles has td's in 4 straight and 5 of 6 games.

CLEVELAND 27 Oakland 16 - Browns 41-34 big play game vs KC was their first win scoring more than 13 points. Oakland stunned Denver 20-19. Both teams represent two of weakest NFL has to offer.

GREEN BAY 33 Seattle 14 - Packers (9-5) clinch wild card birth. Big game for Aaron Rodgers who should receive his share of MVP votes. Seattle (5-9) has been terrible once again in '09.

PITTSBURGH 27 Baltimore 24 - Steelers survived last weekends game and are clinging on life support. Ravens need this game to keep post season hopes alive. Big time rivalry game will showcase many bone crunching hits.

MIAMI 23 Houston 21 - This game can go either way. Run happy Miami will try dominating time of possession with their brutal ground game. If it works, they stand a good chance of winning. Texans hope Schaub to Johnson can burn Dolphins weak seconday for big plays.

NEW ENGLAND 30 Jacksonville 20 - One positive thing can be said about winning ugly. It's still a win. Pats have had plenty of ugly victories. Here's their chance to play a fluid game at home to wrap up AFC East. Third loss in a row eliminates Jags (7-7).

NEW ORLEANS 48 Tampa Bay 7 - Saints undefeated season came to an end vs Dallas. They'll take out their frustrations vs a severely overmatched Bucs team.

GIANTS 27 Carolina 17 - Giants need a win to stay alive. They usually have a tough time vs sub .500 teams. NY hopes for a repeat performance emulating their MNF slaughter vs Washington. Panthers trying to be spoilers. This is not a game I'd bet on.

SAN FRANCISCO 27 Detroit 13 - It's been an up and down year for the suddenly pass happy 49ers. Detroit continues to hope better days are coming. One can always hope.

ARIZONA 33 St Louis 3 - Warner torches former team again. RB Wells has been solid taking over for fumble prone Hightower.

INDIANAPOLIS 28 Jets 10 - Colts to remain unbeaten. Jets season comes to an end.

PHILADELPHIA 30 Denver 24 - A game of big plays. Eagles lock up NFC East.

WASHINGTON 28 Dallas 27 - Yep, I'm going with the 'Skins. Washington coming off of a low. Cowboys off a high. This often spells upset... especially when two big time rivals take the field. Dallas kicking game loses yet another contest and puts their season in jeopardy.

Minnesota 27 CHICAGO 10 - (MNF) - There's a tiff brewing in Minnesota after 2 straight defeats (11-3). Vikes were once my pick to represent NFC in Super Bowl. They get the job done on Monday night in the Windy City.

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Monday, December 21, 2009

When Heroes Fail

All World All Sports Blogs

-Digger's Daily-

Merriam-Webster OnLine Definition: "Hero" 1 a: a mythological or legendary figure often of divine descent endowed with great strength or ability b : an illustrious warrior c : a man admired for his achievements and noble qualities d : one that shows great courage
2 a : the principal male character in a literary or dramatic work b : the central figure in an event, period, or movement
3: plural usually heros
4 : an object of extreme admiration and devotion : idol

What makes sports heroes idol's? What happens when heroes self destruct? Sports heroes are treated as royalty. They're given keys to cities, honored by politicians, rewarded with millions for promoting products. But, what happens when they fall and what effect does it have on America's youth who look up to these "role models"?

Charles Barkley has always been a colorful figure. He was one of basketball's biggest names but he did not want the "role model" tag attached to his name and publicly stated so. Good for Charles. His message was be a fan but be yourself. He was ridiculed back in the day for making such a statement. He should have been applauded for telling it like it is. Be yourself kids.

The trouble with putting too much trust or hope in a celebrity is they often fall. And, when they do, it's a hard crash from a wish upon a star to an express train straight to hell. In some twisted cases, these falls are often embraced or emulated by naive fans. Here's a brief list of what one time heroes have become: murderers, drug users, rapists, adulterers, child beaters, animal abusers, liars, cheated in their sports, used illegal substances to enhance performances and the list goes on...

Tiger Woods recent saga should send a strong signal of the perils which accompany too much reliance on "idols" (celebrities). Over the past 20 years some of the most prominent have been the most corrupt. Head over to "" for more in depth reviews....
Pete Rose is baseball's all time hits leader and was banished forever because of betting on baseball. A charge vehemently denied for years until he wrote a book to come clean. Mike Tyson was to become the greatest heavyweight champion of all time until things turned ugly from rape to brawls to behaviour in the ring (ear biting). Barry Bonds broke many major baseball records including Hank Aaron's home run record but BB's connection in baseball's BALCO scandal is a pure disgrace. Mark McGwire's single season home run record has been tainted by performance enhancing drug abuse... and to this day, he refuses to comment about his past. Michael Vick was a well publicized energetic Atlanta Falcons star quarterback until we was jailed for running a dog fighting ring. My list is endless. All of these celebrated stars were thought of as role models (I left at least 50 more off). They were used as role models being promoted to anyone willing to follow. We were told this is what you can do battling long odds. Many became spokesmen for childrens groups. In my eyes, they will always be disgraces to their professions.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Baseball's All Decade Team (2000-09)

All World All Sports Blogs

-Digger's Daily-

We're only a few days away from the beginning of a new decade. I've been busy putting together my personal All Decade teams for our four major sports. Today's blog/team highlights the best of Major League Baseball (2000-09). Players suspected of using performance enhancing drugs need not apply... they're out!

Here it is, All World All Sports first All Decade Team:

Starting Pitcher: Randy Johnson (Diamondbacks, Yankees, Giants) - Let the debate begin. Johnson was the most dominating early on when he was still blowing away hitters on his way to winning the decades first three Cy Young's. Injuries slowed down his effectiveness in recent years but no one put more fear into hitters than Johnson.

Catcher: Jorge Posada (Yankees) - Posada has been every bit as important to the Yankees recent success as Derek Jeter's arrival. Posada is a Yankees legend even though spotlights follow Jeter, ARod and Mo Rivera. 5 time All Star. Batted .338 in '07. 30 HR's in '03. The most consistent non-doper catcher of the decade.

1st Base: Albert Pujols (Cardinals) My MVP pick of this decade. He does it all. Hits for average, power, clutch, slick fielder. Five 40+ HR seasons, over 100 RBI every season, over 100 runs scored all but one year (99). Pujols might be the very best of the best by the time his career ends. 366 decade HR's, .334 cumulative batting average, 3 NL MVP's, 2001 NL Rookie of the Year. Not too shabby.

2nd Base: Jeff Kent (Giants) - Killer Kent was one of NL's greatest run producing 2B ever to lace up. Regularly banged out 40+ 2B's, 20+ HR's and 100+ RBI while flirting with .300 BA.

3rd Base: Chipper Jones (Braves) - Smooth, steady, consistent, clutch. Day in and day out Chipper comes to play. Future Hall of Famer. People will fill my email claiming ARod this and ARod that. Sobeit. Yes, ARod's stats are nice but he juiced therefore disqualified from my consideration.

Short Stop: Derek Jeter (Yankees) - Derek personifies hard work, dedication, team leadership qualities, clutch performances and steady play. All while under an intensified New York media circus always ready to pounce on athletes who stray. Yankees captain surpassed 200 hits 5 times, 100 runs 8 times, .300+ 8 times, 20+ SB 6 times, 8 time All Star. In 2009 became NY's all time hits leader.

Left Field: Carl Crawford (Rays) - Blazing fast LF Crawford has yet to reach his prime. Became Rays full timer in 2003. Recorded 5 50+ SB seasons, led AL 3 consecutive years with double digit triples, .295 BA. A few other names come to mind before Crawford... but, they're dirty.

Center Field: Carlos Beltran (Royals, Astros, Mets) - The only knock I have on Beltran is from when he struck out with the bases loaded, Mets trailing by 1, bottom of the 9th, 2006 NLCS. Yes, I can carry a grudge. Other than that, he put together a fine decade. 8 100+ RBI, 4 30+ SB years, superb defensive CF, 5 time All Star.

Right Field: Ichiro Suzuki (Mariners) - Could you imagine if his entire career was spent in USA? He's first player to record 200 hits in 9 straight years, most 200 hit seasons from start of career, most hits in decade 2,030 (only 9 years), 30+ SB every year but one (26), 8 seasons 100+ runs scored, 9 time All Star, 2001 Rookie of the Year, 2001 AL MVP, 9 Gold Gloves. Hands down best all around RF is Ichiro.

Designated Hitter: David Ortiz (Red Sox) - DH extraordinaire and Mr. Clutch (except in '09). Big power numbers from Big Papi. 3 consecutive 40+ HR's, 5 straight 100 RBI.

Closer: Mariano Rivera (Yankees) - Was there any doubt? Never. The best closer of all time. Eclipsed 500 career saves in '09. 8 time All Star, 2005 Cy Young runner up, 6 years sub 2.00 ERA, 10 30+ Save years (5 40+).


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

NFL Week 15 Predictions

All World All Sports Blogs

-Digger's Daily-

Philadelphia (9-4) sits alone leading the NFC East after beating up on rival Giants (7-6) coupled with another Dallas (8-5) December loss. McNabb might be playing in another game of the week matchup vs confident San Francisco (6-7). Parts of our country will get blacked out of a big game Saturday night when Dallas heads over to New Orleans (13-0). It's an NFL Network game which isn't carried by all cable operators (NOT by Cablevision in NY!!!). Another Dallas loss could be crippling to their hopes this season.

I rebounded from an off week #13 by picking 12 of 16 upping my season w/l total to 136-72. A bunch of so-so games litter this weekends schedule. There will be a few great ones too. Dallas @ NO, Miami @ Tennessee, SF @ Philly, Cincy @ SD and Giants @ Washington. Much is at stake this weekend. AFC has 9 teams engaged in a tough playoff race. NFC appears to have 3 teams fighting for the last slot. Anything can happen in the NFL. I'm thinking Dallas will be odd man out if New York wins in Washington.

Week 15 (home in CAPS):

Indianapolis 30 JACKSONVILLE 24 - (Thursday) Colts declared their intentions not to over do it down the stretch and will rest players whenever they're see fit. A potential perfect season is taking a back seat to staying healthy for a Super Bowl run. Jacksonville (7-6) is in a dogfight trying to qualify for post season play. They may have a shot this weekend as Indy has been playing close games. Jags will come up short just like all other foes.

NEW ORLEANS 51 Dallas 21 - (Saturday) Yes, I'm predicting the Saints to walk all over the Cowboys (8-5). Brees has too many weapons in spread formations for Dallas to cover. If Cowboys can't apply pressure up front (they won't), then this game will be over after 1st quarter.

New England 27 BUFFALO 13 - Turmoil surrounding Pats. Brady chewed out team a couple of weeks ago. Carolina accusing Randy Moss of quitting last weekend. Weaker than normal defense. Head Coach who hasn't figured it out. Nonetheless, Patriots roll.

Arizona 44 DETROIT 7 - Cardinals (8-5) clinch NFC West in a blowout.

Miami 14 TENNESSEE 13 - Huge game for both teams. On paper, it's Ricky Williams (3 100 yard games in 4 starts) vs Chris Johnson (8 straight 100 yard games). If you like games won by line of scrimmage battles... this is the one to watch. Evenly matched teams at the moment with Titans holding edge in passing game.

KANSAS CITY 26 Cleveland 17 - Good news in Cleveland. Mike Holmgren is negotiating to become head of football operations.

Houston 35 ST LOUIS 10 - Schaub's having a good season for fantasy football owners but his stats aren't translating into wins for real life Texans (6-7). They can't win vs teams with winning records. This weekend, they'll beat up on a loser.

JETS 24 Atlanta 14 - Jets might have to win all remaining games to have a shot at playoff football. Falcons are limping into this game with stars QB Ryan and RB Turner banged up. If Atlanta was smart these two wouldn't play another snap in '09.

PHILADELPHIA 27 San Francisco 20 - Eagles (9-4) start pulling away in NFC East with a win over gritty 49ers.

BALTIMORE 30 Chicago 17 - Baltimore will abuse Cubs. Da Bears are nowhere to be found. Ravens remain in the hunt.

Cincinnati 27 SAN DIEGO 24 - Bengals to snap Chargers 8 game win streak and clinch AFC North title. Don't miss this one, it should be a great contest right up to the final play.

DENVER 27 Oakland 0 - I can't remember the last time I tried predicting a shutout. Here it comes. Time for Raiders to fly their flag upside down. Broncos remain in control of their playoff destiny.

Green Bay 31 PITTSBURGH 20 - Pack (9-4) on a 5 game roll. Steelers (6-7) on a 5 game dive. Make it 6 each.

SEATTLE 20 Tampa Bay 10 - Who cares?

Minnesota 27 CAROLINA 14 - (Sunday Night) It won't matter how long Vikings regulars play.

Giants 31 WASHINGTON 23 - New York (7-6) takes a giant step forward towards playoff football after barely holding on vs a suddenly confident Redskins club. Defensive Coordinator Bill Sheridan has been getting burned all season by not calling aggressive defensive plays from stunts to blitzing schemes. Giants front four hasn't stepped up and secondary getting tourched. It happens again but NY survives.

After this weekend.... NFC playoff picture becomes a little clearer. AFC remains up for grabs.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Rumblings

All World All Sports Blogs

-Digger's Daily-

The sports world has been churning plenty of headlines recently. Rumors, trades, scandals, awards, winners and losers. It's time for my two cents nitpicking the hub-bub.

Heisman Trophy Winner
Alabama RB Mark Ingram won the 2009 Heisman Trophy Award as the nations top college football player. Voting results were closest in the awards 75 year history. I guess playing for an undefeated #1 team helped. Personally, I didn't think Ingram's stats came close to the season dished out by Toby Gerhart of Stanford. I was left scratching my head when learning of the results. Final talley was Ingram (1,304), Gerhart (1,276), McCoy (1,145). Ingram was 4th on my list (Gerhart 1st, McCoy 2nd) ... good thing for him I don't cast an official ballot.

Tiger Woods Saga...
Tiger's women keep lining up to tell tales of swinging romances, lavish gifts and more. Why not? Our crazed media has hung on to and published nearly every word these loose women have to tell. Tiger's strumpets have hit gold selling their stories for 2 minutes of fame. Some might get much more than 2 minutes. Anything from rumored Tiger buy-offs for silence to story telling contracts to new jobs. Go figure.
The White House must have loved this story. Don't forget, various spokesman from Rahm Emanuel to Hillary Clinton to the President himself have previously declared "Never waste a good crisis." And, they haven't. This week alone, as media outlets of the world were looking into the Tiger Woods story, plenty of news was left uncovered. Senate closed door health care meetings. Raising of the debt ceilings. News of Iran's nuclear capacities dating back to 2007. "Climate-Gate" scandal. Mostly left without any type of "investigative" journalism. Tiger was the media's main prey. If only these drive by cheeerleaders would have covered news worth of importance. What ever happened to investigative journalism. Heck, Tiger's headlines and deep coverage into the past of nearly every woman he's been accused of cheating with greatly outweighs the depths journalists looked into anything coming out of Washington these days.

Baseball Trades & Free Agents
Baseball's winter meetings were relatively quiet. Plenty of free agents remain with very few stars being signed. However, there's been two blockbuster trades. A three team trade brings Curtis Granderson to the World Champion New York Yankees. Yanks gave up future star CF Austin Jackson (to Detroit), RP Cooke (Detroit) and left for dead Ian Kennedy (Arizona) who never lived up to NY hype. Arizona nabbed Edwin Jackson from Detroit. In addition to Cooke and Jackson (from NY), Detroit also acquired SP's Max Scherzer and Daniel Schlereth from Arizona. All 3 teams got what they wanted.

Another 3 team big name trade rumor surfaced 2 hours ago. Slim details have surfaced. It appears Halladay is going to Philadelphia from Toronto. Playoff star Cliff Lee heads to Seattle. Phils are nuts to part with Lee. Have they forgotten what he did for thim this past postseason? Halladay, Lee & Hamels would have made a great trio. Add emerging JA Happ plus powerful lineup and Phils could have a dynasty in the making. Lee (2008 Cy Young winner) and Halladay are almost a wash. Philly giving up it's top prospects in addition to Lee stymies the deal for me.

Red Sox signed John Lackey to a five year deal. Welcome to AL East baseball. I was hoping the Mets would sign him even though odds were slim at best. A great move for Boston. Lackey's a gamer.

Hideki Matsui seems destined for Angels territory. Mr Clutch will be missed here in NY. Looks like Vlad Guerrero needs a new home. Wonder if he's to be found on the Yanks radar? Yanks are starved for right handed bats and Vlad is a good fit if the price is right even though he's coming back from an off year due to multiple nagging injuries.

Pittsburgh Steelers
What in the world is happening to the Steelers? Five straight defeats including three to bottom dwellers. No offense continuity. A good matchup right now would be Pittsburgh vs Dallas.

Dallas Cowboys
December football is here. So are the same old Cowboys. 0-2 in December 2009. Next up, a trip to play 13-0 Saints. Brees at home will have his pick of 4 wide open receivers. Doomsday talk surrounds all facets of Dallas. Coach Phillips has been criticized. Offensive coordinator Garrett. Tony Romo still hears calls from commentators and former successful QB's to step up and "lead". 8-3 to missing the playoffs? A loss this weekend vs NFC's top team and these guys might as well start making vacation plans.

Martin Brodeur to set another NHL record...
Add another notch in Brodeur's NHL record belt. He's one game away from tying Patrick Roy's mark of 1,029 games played. That's an awful lot of hockey. Only the best can do it and Brodeur has certainly been one of the best ever to lace up in the NHL. Before this season ends, Brodeur will also set the record for most 30 win campaigns by goalies (13, tied with Roy 12). If he shuts out one more team in playoff action then he sets another record. One of my favorite players of all time.

I've been very surprised at the lack of MVP talk. It's been a great season so far. Early on I was leaning towards Favre. He's been great all year. However, there's a gang of players making plenty of noise. Here's my short list as of now:Peyton Manning (Ind), Brett Favre (Min), Chris Johnson (Ten), Philip Rivers (SD), Drew Brees (NO) & Thomas Jones (NYJ). I'm not sure which player ranks highest on my list. They're all having tremendous seasons. I'd bet 2009 voting results are closest in history.


Saturday, December 12, 2009

2010 Heisman Trophy Winner Is......

All World All Sports Blogs

-Digger's Daily-

The day has arrived. Later this evening college football's 2010 Heisman Memorial Trophy Award recipient will be announced. The Heisman is awarded to the most outstanding college football player in the nation. Casting ballots for this years' winner is 870 media reps, 55 living Heisman winners and Nissan sponsored collective "fan" vote. It's safe to say the winner will rank very high on NFL scouting lists for future draft preparation.

Five finalists were announced back on December 7th. In my eyes, there can be only one clear cut winner this year. Stanford RB Toby Gerhart. Toby left opposing defenses in his wake. 1,736 rushing yards (5.6/carry) and 26 TD's against defenses designed to derail his game. Nine multiple touchdown games including 5 of 3 or more. Sports agents will be fighting to sign up Gerhart. A bonified potential NFL #1 pick in 2010 NFL draft. Big payday waiting for this kid.

The finalists:
Toby Gerhart (RB, Stanford) Senior back rushed for 1,736 yards, 26 TD
Mark Ingram (RB, Alabama) 1,542 rush yds, 15 TD. Key component for undefeated #1 Alabama. Sophomore back will always challenge for college football's elite award.
Colt McCoy (QB, Texas) Senior QB led undefeated Texas to #2 ranking and BCS Championship Game. 3,512 passing yards, 70.5% completions, 27 TD. Big time & big game QB with a bright future.
Ndamukong Suh (DT, Nebraska) Nagurski Trophy winner as nations best defender. Stymies opposing offenses. 82 tackles (23 solo) and hounded QB's for 12 sacks. Huge day in Big 12 Championship Game - 4.5 sacks, 12 tackles (7 for losses). Country's top defensive player guaranteed to become top 5 draft pick. He had an outstanding season.
Tim Tebow (QB, Florida) 2007 Heisman winner. 2,413 yards passing (18 TD), 859 rushing (13 TD). Popularity probably got him in this year. His numbers should be considered subpar compared to previous years.

Hands down my vote goes to Toby Gerhart. He had a sensational season featuring 3 200+ yard games (vs Washington, Oregon, Notre Dame). I'll keep my fingers crossed he gets drafted by a NFL team I enjoy watching. This kid has a great future in front of him.

Ndamukong Suh is a tremendous defensive tackle who will be very sought after by NFL teams. He's a legit Heisman candidate. Unfortunately for Suh, when it comes to the Heisman, offensive players generally take home the hardware. No fear though, Suh is likely to win all of the major defensive awards for his outstanding season in Nebraska.

Get ready... 2009 Heisman Trophy Award winner will be announced tonight at 8 pm. ESPN will bring us the coverage live from the Nokia Theater in Times Square.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

NFL Week 14 Predictions

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-Digger's Daily-

Week 13 upsets cracked my crystal ball. Oakland, Miami, Jacksonville, Arizona, Carolina, Seattle and Green Bay doomed my picks last weekend. Ok, can't count Green Bay as an upset pick since they're 8-4.

Four games remain. Huge divisional matchups highlight the rest of the 2009 NFL regular season. Week 14 schedule has a few great games slated. Giants (7-5) host Philadelphia (8-4) in a must win game for NY's playoff hopes. Jets (6-6) playoff hopes took a hit when coach Ryan announced rookie QB Sanchez will not play vs Tampa this weekend. Miami (6-6) takes on Jacksonville (7-5). Can Dallas (8-4) shake December demons vs San Diego (8-4)?

Let's see if I can rebound from a disasterous 9-7 week 13 (season total now 124-68)?

Week 14 (home in CAPS):

Pittsburgh 26 CLEVELAND 13 - Steelers (6-6) hardly look like champs after 4 straight defeats. Last weekends upset by Oakland was flat out embarrassing. They've been known to turn it on in December. Is it too late? Plenty of empty seats in Cleveland Thursday night.

New Orleans 44 ATLANTA 17 - Saints got lucky to remain undefeated after Washington's game clinching 23 yard field goal attempt missed. Saints WR's will tear apart Falcons secondary. Brees 4 TD passes. Banged up Falcons fading and won't be able to keep up with quick strike Saints attack.

Green Bay 30 CHICAGO 10 - Here comes Green Bay (8-4, 4 game win streak). Bears are no match unless they can disrupt red hot Rodgers. Bears offense has yet to click.

Jets 19 TAMPA BAY 9 - Pick'em game in my book. Jets own AFC best running attack and they'd better bring their A game vs Tampa. QB Sanchez is out. Bucs (1-11) defense is nearly invisible. Doesn't help when offense goes 3 & out.

Miami 24 JACKSONVILLE 21 - Miami (6-6) stunned the Patriots and remain firmly planted in the playoff race. Every game is big. Running game controls clock vs big play (and often erratic) Jags (7-5) offense.

BALTIMORE 27 Detroit 10 - Ravens (6-6) still have hope with 3 of final 4 games vs sub .500 opponents. Offense needs to avoid dumb mistakes. WR's need to show they care after a terrible performance Monday night.

HOUSTON 24 Seattle 20 - Which Texans team shows up on Sunday? Same can be said for Seattle. Pick'em.

INDIANAPOLIS 30 Denver 24 - Colts (12-0) win another close game. Great matchup to watch is Manning vs Broncos secondary. Look for TE & RB's to have a big day catching the ball.

KANSAS CITY 23 Buffalo 13 - KC wins battle of inept offenses.

MINNESOTA 31 Cincinnati 23 - A fun game to watch. Vikes vs rising Bengals. Both coming off tough losses last weekend. This one might come down to the final moments.

NEW ENGLAND 27 Carolina 21 - The wheels are falling off in New England. Brady singled out teammates after a stunning defeat in Miami (22-21). Today, Belichick ripped 4 players (including Moss) who showed up late for practice. Carolina has a chance to take advantage of an exploited Pats secondary.

Washington 17 OAKLAND 14 - Redskins playing better lately. Suisham's choke on a 23 yard game clinching field goal attempt vs undefeated Saints led to pink slip, he's out. Raiders shocked Steelers and feeling good. Skins in a close one.

TENNESSEE 33 St Louis 6 - Titans running game has a field day vs lowly Rams.

San Diego 38 DALLAS 14 - Chargers (9-3) torch Cowboys (8-4) for 8th in a row. December demons and turmoil clicks into high gear after SD walks all over Cowboys. Rivers goes for 300+

GIANTS 27 Philadelphia 23 - (Sunday Night) McNabb has won 5 of last 6 in Meadowlands. Not this time. Giants (7-5) shake up NFC East after beating Philly (8-4).

Arizona 30 SAN FRANCISCO 17 - Cards lock up NFC West on Monday Night Football.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Doomsday December's Continue Haunting Dallas

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-Digger's Daily-

Dallas Cowboys December nightmare's continue to haunt Tony Romo and his teammates. Heading into 2009, Dallas had lost 8 of 12 Romo led December contests. Hardly the formula for champions which is precisely why they're not.

Yesterday, Dallas' latest December haunts were embraced by a struggling New York Giants football team. New York had lost 5 of its' previous 6 games after beginning 5-0. New York was on the verge of elimation. Good news for Giants fans... the Cowboys came to town and New York now has reason to believe after winning 31-24.

Where and how will Dallas implode this season? Remember "Jessica-Gate"? Romo's Mexican vacation on the eve of their biggest game 2 years ago? How about Tony Romo taking off for a Vegas vacation last week? Name it and the Dallas Morning News has covered it. Finger pointing has already begun. Dallas fans are nervous. And the TICKET (local Dallas am sports talk radio) is on full offensive blasting their team just like they've done during prior December disasters.

Was yesterdays loss to New York the next chapter in Dallas end of season failures? We'll find out soon enough. Dallas currently leads NFC East with an 8-4 record. Their schedule is grueling. Yesterday it was New York Giants. Next week they host a red hot San Diego Chargers club. December 19th @ undefeated New Orleans. December 27th vs rejuvenated Washington. Four tough games before ending the 2009 season in 2010, January 3rd hosting Philadelphia.

NFC East is suddenly up for grabs with Giants back in the picture and owning tie-breaker vs Dallas. New York and Philadelphia fans are counting on December haunting Dallas once again. Get ready for a wild few weeks during NFL's final month of regular season action.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Power Ranking NFL's Top 10

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-Digger's Daily-

Who's the best? Fans in New Orleans (11-0), Indianapolis (11-0) and Minnesota (10-1) all think their home team is best in the NFL. Here's my short top 10 power rankings list heading into games of week 13.

1- New Orleans Saints (11-0): Saints have dominated having played just one game decided by 7 or less points. Only one tough game on paper remains vs Dallas. 16-0 a very real possibility.

2- Minnesota Vikings (10-1): That's right. I rank Vikes ahead of Colts (for now). They do it all. Dominate line of scrimmage on offense/defense, great running game, talented WR's, Hall of Famer QB, solid special teams.

3- Indianpolis Colts (11-0): Peyton Manning has engineered 5 fourth quarter comeback victories in '09. No game seems out of reach. Reason for dropping Colts to 3rd is they've been less than dominating. Manning's MVP calibur year highlights his late game mastery.

4- San Diego Chargers (8-3): Bolts coming on strong after another semi-slow beginning. We'll soon see if these guys have learned to win playoff football after heartbreaking defeats.

5- Cincinnati Bengals (8-3): Did I just type Cincinnati Bengals as #5? Who would have thought this volatile team could finally piece it all together so quickly on the heels of recent serious disfunctional seasons? Defense is leading the way. Offense getting the job done. Upcoming back to back road games in Minnesota and San Diego will determine just how good this team is... or, isn't.

6- Dallas Cowboys (8-3): #6 for now. Can they win in December after recent late season implosions? We'll soon find out of Romo can successfully lead his Cowboys to the finish line.

7- New England Patriots (7-4): #7 by default. Defense has been exposed all season long. Success depends on how many points Brady & Co. can score. Don't expect much come playoff time unless defensive lapses are corrected.

8-Philadelphia Eagles (7-4): Sometimes they look great... other times not so much. McNabb has his eyes set on returning to the Super Bowl. Many good teams stand in their way. Currently one game behind Dallas. Only one win vs teams with winning record. A significant stat completely ignored.

9- Arizona Cardinals (7-4): Win pretty, lose ugly. Cards proved nobody should take them lightly after last year. Lack of running attack puts all the pressure on Warner' right arm. Another big hit to the head could end his season (a very real possibility).

10- Tennessee Titans (5-6): Began 0-6. Have won 5 in a row after getting blown out 59-0 in New England. Vince Young has been superb. RB Chris Johnson phenominal. Defense aggressive. Huge test this weekend vs undefeated Colts.

Stay tuned for NFL underperformers.


Thursday, December 3, 2009

NFL Predictions Week 13

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-Digger's Daily-

The NFL playoff race is on. Division leading New Orleans, Minnesota and Indianapolis are locks. Cincinnati and New England are closing in on division crowns. Everything else is up for grabs. Soon enough we'll be hearing of magic numbers to clinch. Great divisional games are on tap in coming weeks.

My 10-6 record last weekend wasn't sharp. Season total now stands at 115-61. Let's see if I can crack 13 or better this week.

Week 13 (home in CAPS):

Jets 24 BUFFALO 20 - (Thursday) Jets pushing for playoffs. Buffalo playing for respect. TO has been on fire lately. This one can go either way.

Philadelphia 33 ATLANTA 21 - Battle of the birds. Eagles prevail. Banged up Falcons in deep trouble after this loss.

CHICAGO 20 St Louis 10 - Bears haven't lived up to pre-season hype. Both teams can't wait for their 2009 nightmare to end.

CINCINNATI 27 Detroit 6 - Bengals seeking 1st division title and second winning season since 1990.

PITTSBURGH 24 Oakland 14 - Roethlisberger expected to play. Mendenhall has favorable matchup vs terrible Raiders run D. Steelers need this one to stay in playoff picture. A loss could end any chance of repeating.

INDIANAPOLIS 33 Tennessee 28 - I'm split on this game. Titans are red hot and have the right formula for knocking Indy from unbeaten ranks. Then again, Peyton Manning's team has found ways to win (11-0). Sticking with Indy while smelling upset.

Denver 17 KANSAS CITY 14 - Denver will have their hands full in KC as Chiefs threaten upset. Broncos looked great vs inept Giants on turkey day. KC continues to rebuild.

New England 34 MIAMI 17 - Pats humiliated by Saints will take it out on injury riddled fish. Miami's 4th quarter defense non-existent.

New Orleans 40 WASHINGTON 17 - Saints should Brees by Skins. Washington playing revitalized football but are severely overmatched.

Tampa Bay 24 CAROLINA 16 - Late prediction change. Carolina banged up. Backup QB to start, RB Williams probably out. TB D has a chance to shine.

Houston 27 JACKSONVILLE 24 - This game might come down to the last play. Both team make big plays. Both surrender big plays. One of the more entertaining games of the weekend.

San Diego 38 CLEVELAND 13 - Chargers tighten grip on AFC West. Browns ugly brand of football has Cleveland fans enraged.

GIANTS 27 Dallas 23 - Predicted Sunday weather calls for cold weather and heavy winds which favors NY. If it's a clear day with no wind then I'll pick Dallas over struggling injury riddle Giants. If NY loses, consider their season over.

San Francisco 20 SEATTLE 17 - SF still holding onto playoff hopes need this one. QB Smith has looked good at times. Inconsistent Seahawks will have a very long rebuilding process after '09.

Minnesota 31 ARIZONA 20 - All eyes have been on Favre's success. It's time for Adrian Peterson to let loose vs Cards. Fumbling has been his problem in '09. As a result, Vikes relying on Brett's right arm and speedy young WR's.

Baltimore 21 GREEN BAY 17 - (Monday Night Football) - It's up to Ravens defense to pressure Rodgers into mistakes. Rodgers sacked 44 times already faces tenacious Baltimore D. Passing lanes will be jammed. Must win game for Ravens.


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

2 Stroke Penalty - Tiger's Gals Adding Up!

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-Digger's Daily-

Tiger Woods 2:30 a.m. Thanksgiving night car crash has been front page material since last weekend. Alert news stated he was being taken to a local Orlando hospital. His wife had rescued him by breaking a window with a golf club to get him out. No serious injury was reported and Tiger fans let out a sigh of relief. And then.........

Truth or rumors? Quickly rumors came out claiming a fight with his wife over another woman led to this crash quickly became fodder for 24/7 news cycles. The National Inquirer ran a story accusing Tiger of an extramarital affair. The "other woman" quickly got in front of the story and emphatically denied hooking up with golf's greatest stroker. Woods released a statement asking for privacy while commending his wife for being quick on the scene to lend a hand.

Next headlines told Tiger refused to be interviewed by local Orlando police who were investigating his accident. Three refusals to be precise. Orlando cops finally gave up and cited Woods with a careless driving summons which he quickly paid ($164.00). However, bigger questions remain for wondering eyes.

Various unproven rumors have been tossed around airwaves from tv to radio to bloggers. One stated Tiger's wife learned of an affair, hit him, chased him out of the house with a golf club. One stated Mrs. Woods was beating on Tiger's car causing him to speed away and crash. There are a few people out there who believe Tiger was busted. Especially, divorce lawyers. While listening to tv commentary, lawyers stated it's in Tiger's best interest to avoid being interviewed by Orlando police. If his wife had beaten him and left physical marks on Tiger's face then the police would be within their rights to make an arrest for domestic battery. Media types made a big deal of Tiger refusing to meet Orlando police. No big deal. Perhaps he's protecting his wife. Perhaps not. Either way it's a non-issue unless you're Mr. or Mrs. Tiger Woods.

Today, we've been treated to another twist in this ongoing saga. Another woman has come forward to claim she had an affair with Tiger for over two years. Whammo! Just in case this is all hocus pocus coming from opportunistic creatures of the night I'm not going to publish names of women looking for notoriety. However, there's a 24 year old who claims to have voice recordings and steamy text messages. A few publications from The National Enquirer to US Magazine claiming their stories have been investigated and are real.

What's up with married folks these days? Is cheating on your "until death do us part" significant others becoming part of the norm in our world? It seems so. I can rattle off a long list of names from celebrity figures to those I've personally known who openly flaunt their affairs (all while thinking it's a big secret). For mere mortals... affairs sometimes lead to divorce... some messier than others. When celeb's are involved multi-million dollar settlements often splash headlines. Donald Trump, Johnny Carson, Alex Rodriguez... the bigger the name... the bigger the headline. Now we're talking of the world's greatest golfer. Sports first billion dollar man. How much will he have to give up? If any of this is true, then he's going to shell out hundreds of millions. Especially, when his wife was pregnant during one of Tiger's alleged affairs. Can't get much lower.

One way or another, Tiger needs to personally get out in front of this story. For better or worse. Letting news cycles and bloggers speculate can only do further damage. The 2nd woman named seems all too willing to come out and tell all. If this is all lies and rumors, stand up Tiger and confront those wishing to do you harm. If these rumors turn out to be truths, stand up Tiger and own the news before your reputation turns into endless jokes for late night television laughs.

Mulligan or two stroke penalty? Tiger's landed in a trap.


Catch a Brees... Saints Flying High

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-Digger's Daily-

It's time to give the New Orleans Saints respect. Last night's Monday Night Football game was billed as New Orleans greatest challenge of this season and they came out swinging. The Saints completely dominated Tom Brady and his celebrated Patriots offense while exposing New England's very weak secondary. The result was a smashing 38-17 victory.

New Orleans is now on a collision course with undefeated destiny. Can they do it? Their record now stands at a perfect 11-0. Only one very challenging game remains on paper vs Dallas (12/19). Skeptics are quick to point out New Orleans has enjoyed a cakewalk of a schedule. New England represented only the 4th team with a winning record the Saints have faced. Well, after yesterday, I'm now a believer. These guys are good. Very good.

Drew Brees has been spectacular. He's completed nearly 70% of passing attempts. He's thrown 27 TD's including games of 6, 5 & 4. Brees is on pace to surpass 4500 yards. The amazing stat is it's entirely possible no Saints receiver will top 1000 yards. Brees favorite receivers are the open ones. Get open, and he'll deliver a perfect pass.

On defense, the Saints have dominated. Mostly due to Brees leading the offense to huge early leads which takes away opposition running attack plans (just ask the Giants). Nonetheless, New Orleans D has been top notch.

We'll see how the rest of 2009 plays out. It's entirely possible something will happen which the NFL has never produced. Two undefeated teams playing in the Super Bowl. New Orleans vs Indianapolis? Brees vs Manning... who knows? Both teams have a very legitimate shot at 16-0. Time will tell.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

NFL Week 12 Predictions

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-Digger's Daily-

11 NFL weeks in the books. It's been a great season for some, frustrating for others. The big game for this week is Monday Night when New England (7-3) attempts to dethrone unbeaten New Orleans (10-0) in what will become MNF's highest rated telecast of 2009.
I correctly predicted 13 correct last week. However, since I wasn't near a computer to change my Giants/Falcons prediction after learning of multiple Atlanta injuries... my official total stands at 12-4. Season total advances to 105-55.

Here's what my crystal ball predicts for week 12 (home in CAPS).

Green Bay 30 DETROIT 13 - (Thursday) Just what the Packers need on Thanksgiving... to feast on Lions.

DALLAS 24 Oakland 20 - (Thursday) Cowboys hang on to win what most expect to be a blowout. Beware. Dallas offense isn't believing in Jason Garrett. Raiders D will be pumped and ballhawking.

Giants 27 BRONCOS 20 - (Thursday) Giants need this win. A loss will cloud playoff possibilities. Broncos need to beat up on opponents instead of fighting themselves. Denver mired in an ugly tailspin... another 2nd half collapse.

ATLANTA 30 Tampa Bay 20 - If Falcons lose, their season is cooked. Tampa playing for self respect.

Miami 24 BUFFALO 17 - Rickey Williams rambles for 120+. Watch out... T.O. might burn Miami D for 150+.

CINCINNATI 33 Cleveland 6 - Mangini should just quit, pack up his car, and get out of town. Cincy rolls.

Seattle 28 ST LOUIS 14 - Seahawks finally win first road game of the year (0-5).

Carolina 33 JETS 20 - Jets no match for Panthers running attack.

PHILADELPHIA 34 Washington 13 - Eagles trounce Skins. Who will be featured Skins RB?

Indianapolis 27 HOUSTON 17 - Manning & Co remain unbeaten.

SAN DIEGO 23 Kansas City 10 - SD starts pulling away in AFC West.

Jacksonville 27 SAN FRANCISCO 24 - This one might come down to the final moments. Jax on 3 game win streak and beginning to play very cohesive football. SF had high hopes for '09... reality is a different story.

MINNESOTA 44 Chicago 6 - Who will score more? Minnesota's offense or defense? Bears cough it up... Favre jams it home.

TENNESSEE 30 Arizona 27 - Potential must see game. Titans running attack hottest in NFL. Cards playing well but stumble in this one. Tennessee nets 5th in a row.

Pittsburgh 23 BALTIMORE 21 - Pittsburgh's trying to rebound after an embarrassing OT loss to KC last weekend (2nd loss in a row). Baltimore's D comes ready to play. These two always play heavy hitting playoff style games.

New England 37 NEW ORLEANS 31 - (Monday Night Football) Yes, this game lives up to its' shootout billing. NE was NFL's 1st 16-0 regular season team. NO (10-0) hasn't been tested and might not be after this game. All that stands between the Saints and a perfect season... Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.



Monday, November 23, 2009

Favre Silencing Critics with MVP Calibur Season

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-Digger's Daily-

Brett Favre's recent on again off again retirement chatter solicited controversial commentary far and wide. He held out as late as possible before deciding to play in 2009 for Minnesota. Former Packers and Jets players scoffed, ridiculed and heckled Favre's decision. Once again Favre has proved naysayers wrong.

Newspapers and tv analysts questioned his playing abilities. Would he help, hurt or just be a distraction against a team in the rise (Vikings)? Most critics are now cheering fans. Favre has been magnificent leading the Minnesota Vikings (9-1). His stats are staggering suggesting he's the front runner to win 2009 NFL MVP honors. 21 TD passes (2nd most) vs only 3 interceptions (NFL fewest). NFL leading 112.1 QB rating. 69.7% completion rate is second by .01 to Peyton Manning. Favre's Vikings are 9-1. He's beaten his former Packers team twice. Dominated all NFC foes. This past Sunday he surgically shred Seattle's defense completing 22 of 25 attempts including 4 TD's in a 35-9 blowout. Minnesota's on the march. Favre's leading the way.

Statistically speaking, 2009 might become Favre's most efficient year of his illustrious 19 year career. In my book, as of this moment there's a two man race for NFL MVP. Brett Favre vs Peyton Manning. I doubt anyone could substantiate tossing a third name into the mix unless these guys falter or someone records an unbelievable final 6 games. Unfortunately, Minnesota vs Indianapolis do not play each other in regular season action. Perhaps, they'll meet in this years' Super Bowl?


Friday, November 20, 2009

Baseball Free Agent Frenzy Time

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-Digger's Daily-

Only a few weeks ago the Yankees won their 27th World Series Championship. Baseball awards winners are taking home their hardware this week. No rest for the weary. Yesterday became the first day teams can negotiate with free agents. I'm curious to see how aggressive teams are in securing talent for next season. Who commands top dollar from this thin list of stars? Speaking of top dollar... will economic factors determine salaries? Probably not based on recent history but owners might employ a wait and see mentality.

Angels star pitcher John Lackey is the best starter on the market and teams are already lining up. Clubs looking for sluggers or key offensive contributors will chase after Matt Holliday, Jason Bay, Chone Figgins, Jermaine Dye, Vladmir Guerrero, Miguel Tejada and Carlos Delgado. In the coming days I'll be focusing on needs of most MLB clubs and flourishing rumors.

I've put together a short wish list of players I'd like to see signed by my favorite clubs and who I think will be targeted by rivals.

Yankees - Damon, Matsui, Pettitte might all have played their last games as Yanks. NY will be nuts not to bring back Pettitte. Damon is gone. Matsui could be back if willing to sign for less than top dollar. Soutpaws Bedard or Washburn would be a good fits if Lackey ends up elsewhere. Chone Figgins as a left fielder? Holliday won't return to AL so give up dreaming New Yorkers. Vlad Guerrero as DH if Matsui leaves would shake up opponents loading up on lefties. Then, there's Lackey. Will NY throw big bucks trying to lock up another pre-prime starting pitcher? CC, AJ and Lackey for years to come? Interesting.

Mets - Where to begin? How about by cleaning out the front office? The Mets should go after Chone Figgins with everything they have. He can play multiple positions and is the type of player who can take full advantage of spacious CitiField. Reyes + Figgins will rattle opposing batteries on the basepaths and hit doubles/triples galore. Lackey is another big piece to the puzzle. Just think of how well he'd do in a big park facing NL DH-less lineups. Santana + Lackey = 40-50 team wins. There's been rumors of Jason Marquis coming to town. It better not be for top dollar! If NY wants economic starters then pitchers such as Pavano, Padilla, Piniero, Penny or maybe Marquis (hoping this isn't how things unfold). Figgins, Lackey & another starter needed. Trade or release Castillo. Resign Delgado or find another 1B.

Red Sox - Everyone knows Boston wants to knock off the Champion Yankees. Jason Bay is testing FA market most likely for negotiating power. Boston would be nuts to let a young superstar escape their grasp. Every year 3B Lowell is subject of keep him or trade him rumors. Chone Figgins fits in well here too to play multiple positions. Damon back to Sox? Don't laugh especially if Bay can switch to RF. Short Fenway negates Damon's weaker than average left arm. Sox in a bind pitching wise. They have talented young starters who are always subject of trade talks. Keep 'em or trade 'em? Theo Epstein's is at crossroads. They'll be rumored in talks with big name FA's... will they pull the trigger?

Cubs - Team chemistry was lost before spring training began in '09. Getting rid of Derosa was bigger than Cubs brass anticipated. Where to go for 2010? Pitching, 2B, RF and dump/release dead weight. I don't know how Cubs fans can take it. Heck, even Red Sox fans managed to kill demons. How can any team endure a century of bad luck? One of my friend Facebooked how it's been generations of family members praying to witness the Cubs return to World Series action. Wonder if his kids will be saying the same thing in 20 years?

Rangers - WHEN WILL THIS TEAM FINALLY SIGN A TOP STARTING PITCHER? WHEN? Here's a team which escalated free agent salaries by handing Alex Rodriguez $250,000,000.00 You'd think at some point in time these guys would have thrown treasure chests at Johan Santana, CC Sabathia, Smoltz, Lee, Burnett, Beckett... anyone! Hellooooooo! Texas is rumored to be in big money trouble for 2010. We'll soon find out. Now is the perfect time to bring in a seasoned HEALTHY veteran to compliment a first time ever surging young staff. Lackey? Doubt he's sign with Texas. Sheets rumors circulated last year since he's been rehabbing/working out with Ranger affiliated personnel. Sheets would be nice but not as top dog. Health is still a big issue for the oft injured fire baller. Pitchers can be had.

Giants - If they have a stock pile of cash laying around then look out baseball world. Lincecum just won another Cy Young. Matt Cain is a great #2/#3. How about west coaster Lackey? Then Figgins? Or Dye, Delgado, Holliday? Landing run producers is a must. Either by big star power or economy class... just get someone who can hit. I was never a Giants fan but talk about a team sitting in complete control of destiny for years to come (health permitting)... skies the limit.

Players - Here's my short list of best fits (or tema most likely to sign)...

Orlando Hudson - Cubs, Cardinals, Giants, Rays.Matt Holliday - Cardinals, Mets, Phillies, Braves, Giants.Carlos Delgado - Mets, Twins (new home, new DH), Rangers or any AL team needing DH.Bengie Molina - Mets, Rangers, Tigers.John Lackey - Mets, Yankees, Giants, Red Sox, Braves.Jermane Dye - Yankees, Red Sox, Rays, Angels.Miguel Tejada - Cardinals, Braves, Giants, Cubs, Tigers, Mariners.Hideki Matsui - Yankees, Mariners, White Sox.Johnny Damon - Red SoxVladmir Guerrero - Yankees, Angels, Rays, Tigers, White Sox.Billy Wagner - Red Sox, Yankees, Tigers, Cubs.Chone Figgins - 3B is thin. He's on most wish lists and plays multiple positions. Phillies, Red Sox, Mets, Braves, Cubs, Angels, Rays... will the highest bidder step forward. He's getting top dollar.Andy Pettitte - Yankees. He's not going anywhere.

Let the bidding wars begin. Great headlines will soon to flood local newspapers announcing home teams big acquisitions.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

NFL Predictions Week 11

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-Digger's Daily-

Let's talk football. This has been a busy news week. Buffalo (3-6) canned coach Dick Jauron who was unable to transform his Bills into winners. Former famed Denver sideline pacer, Mike Shanahan, is already being considered a serious candidate to take over. The media circus surrounding Belichick has finally subsided. Miami suffered a key blow as they lost Ronnie Brown to season ending IR status. Cincinnati's season sweep of Pittsburgh confirms these guys are for real. They just added RB Larry Johnson as big time depth and insurance. New Orleans and Indianapolis kept rolling and remain unbeaten with 9-0 records. Speaking of records, last week I correctly picked 11 of 15 raising my season total to 93-51.

Here's Week 11 (home in CAPS):

CAROLINA 27 Miami 20 - (Thursday) Miami's Brown done for the year. Panthers warming up, starting to gel.

DALLAS 48 Washington 14 - Dallas fires away. Big day for fantasy owners. Washington never in this one.

DETROIT 23 Cleveland 10 - Barometer game for Cleveland determing if they're downright terrible or agonizingly pathetic.

GREEN BAY 24 San Francisco 17 - Must win game for two teams with playoffs on their minds. Rodgers is the difference.

Pittsburgh 26 KANSAS CITY 6 - Bounceback game for Steelers after getting stuffed by Cincy. KC has a long way to go.

GIANTS 31 Atlanta 28 - Sentimental pick here. Giants are mighty no more. From 5-0 to 5-4. Bounce back or play dead? Loser will have an uphill battle.

New Orleans 38 TAMPA BAY 24 - Game of big plays. Saints to 10-0.

JACKSONVILLE 33 Buffalo 9 - Jags beginning to believe. Buffalo searching for new head coach.

Indianapolis 30 BALTIMORE 21 - Colts keep rolling. Watch out for upset game. If Ravens can find some offense then this could become a shootout. Big "IF".

MINNESOTA 30 Seattle 17 - Peterson runs wild. Favre connects on 3rd downs. Vikes serious Bowl contender.

Arizona 40 ST LOUIS 3 - Warner returns to pad stats vs defenseless Rams. Another 5 TD game?

NEW ENGLAND 33 Jets 14 - This is not the same Patriots team New York stunned in week 2. Jets (4-5) having green moments after beginning 3-0.

Cincinnati 24 Oakland 20 - Bengals own 2 game AFC North lead. Larry Johnson signed for Benson insurance.

San Diego 33 Denver 14 - Deja vu. Denver blowing another big AFC West lead over San Diego. Denver won 6 straight, now lost 3 straight. Simms to replace Orton? Chargers (6-3) streaking after 4 wins in a row... make it 5.

Philadelphia 26 CHICAGO 13 - When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. Chicago hasn't performed anywhere close to how I expected in 2009. I thought all Cutler needed to do was lead Chicago the way Phil Simms or Trent Dilfer did during their Super Bowl seasons. Cutler has been a disaster. Eagles lost back to back close games need this one badly.

HOUSTON 27 Tennessee 21 - (Monday Night Football) Titans are red hot and playing for respect after a horrific beginning. Houston's big play offense is maturing. A must win game for an organization starving for first playoff appearance.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Second Guessing: Belichick's Blunder

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-Digger's Daily-

Situation - New England 34, Indianapolis 28. 2:08 left to play. 4th down, 2 to go. Ball on New England 28 yard line. What do 99.9% of coaches do in this situation? The smart thing. Punt and rely on defense to secure victory.

Instead, during a nationally televised game between AFC powerhouses, Patriots Coach Belichick decided to go for it in an attempt to keep the ball away from Peyton Manning. They held Indy's attack in check until the 4th quarter. Two fourth quarter 79 yard scoring drives in 124 seconds or less gave Belichick reason to doubt his defense and plenty of reasons to pause. New England's coach pulled the trigger... go for it. The 4th and 2 gamble failed as New England missed converting a 1st down by inches. Manning then directed a short game winning drive with ease. Final score: Colts 35, Patriots 34.

Belichick's move was being criticized well before the ball was even snapped. And now his decision is being ripped to threads across internet blogs nation wide. We live in a generation of second guessers. Not much goes without scrutiny anymore. Sports is no exception.

All of what I've read and listened to has ripped into Belichick's failed decision. But, what if it had worked? I'd venture to guess Bill's call would've been hailed as a valiant move by the NFL coaching genius. I can hear it now... "What a move by legendary coach Belichick... his decision kept Peyton Manning off the field and secured victory!" Perhaps something like "Belichick does it again!"... or "..there's a coach who understands his offensive talents and game plans." Or, "Balls of steel, Pats gamble knocks Indy from unbeaten status." yada yada yada. Believe me, had the 4th & 2 gamble worked, most would be singing praises. But, it didn't and commentators, fans, bloggers, former teammates are piling on. Why not? It wasn't a good move, went against all odds, theories etc. He went with his gut but Brady & Co. failed to execute.

Belichick's decision should be a wake up call to his team. His go for it gamble squarely tells defensive players their coach had no faith in their being able to defend against another Peyton Manning quick strike 4th quarter touchdown. Patriots have a recent history of successful late game 4th down plays intended to play keep-a-way. It didn't work out last night. Instead, there's been a mini bully pulpit pointed at New Englands coach. Let's not crucify the guy over a regular season game without much implication other than a loss. Going for it on 4th down and short was already in Belichick's plans. Manning had just engineered two quick strike scoring drives to rally Indy back into the game. The Colts attack was too much for the Patriots to defend and momentum was clearly on Indy's side.

Just like thousands of other viewers, I thought Brady lined up under center just trying to draw Colts defensive players offsides. I criticized that too. New England didn't have any timeouts left. A delay of game penalty could have given the Colts better field position which made no sense. Then came the snap... and the great play by Colts defense.

If the ball wasn't on their own side of the field then going for it would have been a near no brainer. My two cents says there was too much of a risk in handing my opponent the ball at the 28 yard line. If my team had just failed on 3 previous plays then why think a 4th would work?
It's a catch-22 situation. Belichick didn't think of what if we don't make it? He went for it because of 2 quick strike scores against. Ok, so what if the 4th down play doesn't translate into a first down? Manning from the 28 to win the game against a defense not trusted to stop him from going 60 or 70? Hello?


Thursday, November 12, 2009

NFL Week 10 Predictions

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-Digger's Daily-

Time flies. Nine NFL weeks completed. Seven regular season weeks to go. Must win games remain for teams looking for a chance to win the Super Bowl. Week 10 has its' share of "must see" games. New England at Indianapolis could be a preview of AFC title game. Tonight's Chicago at San Francisco Thursday night special (NFL Network) could spell doom for the loser. Jacksonville at Jets doesn't sound like much on paper outside of Florida and New York. These two 4-4 teams need this game badly. Dallas at Green Bay & Philly at SD are two more games with potentially tremendous implications. Pittsburgh hosting Cincy, winner will be AFC North leader.

I predicted 9 of 13 games correctly last weekend elevating my season totals to 82-47. Here's my view of Week 10 (home team in BOLD):

SAN FRANCISCO 23 Chicago 20 - Two struggling teams clawing for wins. SF losers of 4 straight. Chicago can't find rhythm on offense and defense is severly wounded by key injuries. SF gets a much needed victory on Thursday Night Football.

New Orleans 48 ST LOUIS 7 - Big day for Brees & Co.

MIAMI 24 Tampa Bay 23 - Miami plays another game which might not be decided until the final seconds. Phins ground game will control the clock. Tampa's rookie QB will keep Bucs close.

MINNESOTA 37 Detroit 13 - Favre and Peterson will slay Lions.

Jacksonville 28 JETS 24 - Jags Jones-Drew and Simms-Walker will put NY's D to the test. Weather could play into how this game is decided.

TENNESSEE 24 Buffalo 14 - Titans find life after dreadful beginning. Wins 3rd straight.

PITTSBURGH 27 Cincinnati 21 - Steelers in a grove. Cincy playing best football in years. This will be a close one.

Denver 30 WASHINGTON 7 - Broncos rebound after back to back defeats. Skins troubles worsen.

Atlanta 33 CAROLINA 23 - Falcons have too many weapons. Beware, Carolina is playing better and might surprise at home. Potential upset game.

Kansas City 14 OAKLAND 13 - Do the fans in KC or Oakland care about this game? Not many others do.

ARIZONA 35 Seattle 27 - After weeks of picking Cards to lose and Seattle to win, I've reversed course this time. So, be prepared for a Seattle win.

GREEN BAY 26 Dallas 24 - It's do or die for GB. Dallas takes aim at 5 in a row. Rogers exposes Cowboys secondary all game long.

Philadelphia 24 SAN DIEGO 20 - Eagles need a win to keep up with Dallas and ahead of Giants. SD coming on strong after another weak beginning. It's an anything can happen game.

INDIANAPOLIS 33 New England 31 - Manning vs Brady. There should be over 80 passing attempts in this one. Might be closer to 100 in a game featuring big plays from passing attack. The team which protects the ball better wins.

Baltimore 30 CLEVELAND 6 - What was the NFL thinking when scheduling this contest for a Monday night prime time game???


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NCAA Basketball 2009-10 Predictions

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-Digger's Daily-

North Carolina dominated the field last year on their way to winning the National Champioship Game. 2009-10 season tips off and early season polls favor Kansas to take home the trophy. My personal pick to win top dog this year is Michigan State. Get ready for a great year in college basketball.

Here we go... my Top 20 for 2009-10 NCAA Mens Basketball season:

1- Michigan State
2- Texas
3- Kansas
4- North Carolina
5- Kentucky
6- Villanova
7- Duke
8- Purdue
9- Connecticut
10- Michigan
11- Butler
12- West Virginia
13- Oklahoma
14- Ohio State
15- Tennessee
16- Louisville
17- Illinois
18- California
19- Georgetown
20- Florida State


Friday, November 6, 2009

Power Rankings: 5 x 10

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-Digger's Daily-

Congratulations New York Yankees. 27 World Series Championship is a record never to be matched by another organization. Here's a quick look at sports teams fighting for championship status.

My top ten power rankings for America's four major sporting leagues and college football.

MLB (2009 final top 10)
1- New York Yankees - No professional organization is more dedicated to winning than New York.
2- Philadelphia Phillies - Great young nucleus of talent. Poised to challenge for years to come.
3- Los Angeles Angels - Excellent organization. Great manager. Talented players.
4- Los Angeles Dodgers - LA will be very active this off-season piecing together a team to challenge #1.
5- Boston Red Sox - Didn't quite have all the winning formula this year. Big question marks surrounding aging pitching staff and veterans.
6- St Louis Cardinals - Will they keep this team or bring in new faces? They need more middle infield production.
7- Colorado Rockies - Very good young team. Solid pitchers, good hitters.
8- Minnesota Twins - All they need is pitching. Twins always find a way to win. Gardenhire one of baseball's best.
9- Chicago Cubs- 2009 was an off year. Very talented team.
10- SF Giants- Very strong young pitching staff is a great way to build on future success. SF reminds me of 1973 Mets. All pitching, no hitting. GM can create a super club with a few solid batters.

1- Indianapolis Colts - Undefeated. Looking Super.
2- New Orleans Saints - High powered offense in mold of 1984 Dolphins. Can they keep it up?
3- Minnesota Vikings - Favre silencing critics. Very good, strong young team on both sides of the line.
4- Pittsburgh Steelers - It was a rough beginning. Champs are back on track.
5- New England Patriots - Not winning pretty but coming on strong.
6- Philadelphia Eagles - A loss to Dallas will drop them from top 10. A win solidifies #6.
7- Denver Broncos - It's still early and jury is out after last week's loss.
8- Dallas Cowboys - Suddenly looking strong. Many questions surround this team. A win vs Philly will keep them on my list.
9- Cincinnati Bengals - Playing solid D for the first time in years.
10- ??? - Giants, Jets, Texans, Chargers, Cardinals? Who wants in? Too much inconsistency after top 9.

1- Boston Celtics
2- Los Angeles Lakers
3- Denver Nuggets
4- Orlando Magic
5- Cleveland Cavs
6- Dallas Mavs
7- Atlanta Hawks
8- Miami Heat
9- Phoenix Suns
10- San Antonio Spurs

2009-10 still to young.

1- Pittsburgh Penguins - Too tough. Cup in sight.
2- San Jose Sharks - Good regular season team. Can they finally win playoff games?
3- Buffalo Sabres - Getting stronger.
4- Colorado Avalanche - Look who's back!
5- Washington Capitals - Getting better every week.
6- NY Rangers - Great beginning.
7- LA Kings - Can they keep it up?
8- NJ Devils - Coming on strong. Will soon qualify in my top 4.
9- Philadelphia Flyers - Hungry for a Cup.
10- ??? pick'em - Take your pick.

NCAA Football
1- Florida - Remains #1... for now.
2- Texas - Might be best team in nation. Hungry for BCS title.
3- Alabama - Tough, tough team.
4- Iowa - Hanging tough.
5- Cincinnati - Undefeated. Gets no respect.
6- TCU - Can they keep winning?
7- Boise State - They want a higher ranking.
8- Penn State - Needs others to lose.
9- LSU - Great football program.
10- Georgia Tech - Needs help to climb rankings.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

NFL Predictions: Week 9

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-Digger's Daily-

A couple of teams left for dead came alive last weekend. Was it a wakeup call or temporary reprieve? Carolina (3-4), Tennessee (1-6) and St Louis (1-7) registered much needed victories. New Orleans (7-0) put all naysayers to rest with a 35-27 win over Atlanta (4-3). Favre nailed 4 scores in Green Bay for his 2nd win over his former mates.

Week 9 has five very good games on paper. My game of the week pick is for 1st place in NFC East. Philadelphia (5-2) hosts resurging Dallas (5-2). My other must see games are Pittsburgh @ Denver (Monday), San Diego @ Giants, Miami @ New England, and Arizona @ Chicago.
My totals for last weekend were less than impressive, 7-6. Season total now stands at 73-43. Time to rebound. Here's how I see Week 9 (home team in BOLD):

ATLANTA 38 Washington 10 - Much needed win for Atlanta. Washington continues to deteriorate.

CHICAGO 28 Arizona 27 - Bears still seek continuity. Warner frustrated in Windy City.

CINCINNATI 23 Baltimore 21 - Bengals won 3 games by 3 points each. Here's another nailbiting victory.

INDIANAPOLIS 38 Houston 24 - Believe it or not, Houston could knock Indy from unbeaten ranks. I'm not willing to go out on a limb with my hunch of a Texans 28-26 upset.

NEW ENGLAND 31 Miami 24 - Dolphins ground attack will gobble up time of possession. Too bad for them Pats will find quick strike offense vs terrible Miami secondary.

Green Bay 33 TAMPA BAY 17 - Pack attack Bucs after let down vs Minnesota.

JACKSONVILLE 24 Kansas City 10 - Jacksonville is quietly within wild card contention.

NEW ORLEANS 40 Carolina 28 - Saints to 8-0.

SEATTLE 30 Detroit 13 - Sun is fading on Seahawks. Every game is must win.

Tennessee 24 SAN FRANCISCO 21 - Titans stunned Jax in Week 8. Titans stun SF Sunday.

GIANTS 31 San Diego 28 - Two struggling defenses exposed again. Eli Manning hasn't played well since injuring his foot 3 weeks ago. He says it's 100%. Results differ. Must win game for both squads.

PHILADELPHIA 33 Dallas 30 - This game will live up to its' billing. Won't be decided until the final 2:00. Winner climbs into sole possession of 1st in NFC East.

Pittsburgh 27 DENVER 17 - (Monday Night Football) - Champion Steelers on a 4 game streak after shaky beginning. Make it 5.


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

World Series Dreams Vs Reality

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-Digger's Daily-

Crisp cool autumn air transforms day into night. Click clak sounds echoing from squeaky dog wagons transform into charcoal aroma's eminating from street corner pretzel peddlers. Ticket holders by the thousands sidestep fellow visitors lining the sidewalks of baseball's Grand Cathedral. Sounds of snapping leather and crackling wood can be heard after passing through brick entrances. Excitement cannot be touched but it's felt by all anxiously making their way to designated seating areas.

Men wearing red and gray are slowly introduced soon to stand side by side on a 318 foot white line. Their opponents, dressed in white with black pinstripes, are enthusiastically greeted on their way to the 314 foot line on the fields opposite side. Deafening sounds reverberate throughout the confines. The ground begins to tremble. A stocky man dressed in all black bellows "Play Ball!" The World Series is now ready to begin.

Nearly all in attendance can tell of personal dreams of World Series greatness. Full count, two outs, bases loaded, bottom of the 9th, one hit wins the World Series... (crack)... "and there it goes!" Everyone's a hero in their own fantasy. Only a select few actually get the chance to live their fantasies.

Chase Utley must have exceeded his dreams. Philadelphia's second sacker has tied the all time record by hitting five home runs so far during the 2009 World Series. But, what about the player who thinks he's about to live his dream only to fall flat on baseball's biggest stage? That's what seems to be happening to two players who were near the top in prestigious offensive hitting categories.

Former National League Rookie of the Year (2005) and NL MVP (2006) Ryan Howard has quickly made a name for himself as one of the games greatest power hitting first basemen. He led the NL in RBI for the 2nd consecutive year (3 of 4). In 9 playoff games, Howard knocked in 14 runs during the first two playoff rounds. He was a World Series hero in 2008 when he smashed 3 HR in 5 games. After 5 games in 2009 Series, Howard appears dazed and confused. He has only 3 hits in 19 at bats. 12 of his 16 outs have been strikeouts. Howard's dream has become a nightmare. He's not the only one....

New York Yankees 1B Mark Teixeira tied for the AL lead in home runs (39) and led in RBI (122). His name has been tossed into a hat with other potential MVP candidates. However, in his first World Series appearance, Teixeira has been horrendous. 2-19, 7 K's. His best swings come on foul balls.

Both of these two fine players would like nothing more than to personally contribute to their teams success in winning the 2009 World Series. Goal number one is to win it all. Goal number two is to be an integral part of winning. So far, Philadelphia and New York are winning games without much input from their heavy hitting first basemen. Two players used to electrifying crowds are now recipients of heckled insults and collective sighing.

Howard and Teixeira visions of success have quickly dimmed. Dreams turned to nightmare. Fantasy to hallucination. There's still time for positive contributions. The winning team will bask in all glory associated with winning. The least productive will soon bear loser status and a most unwanted nickname... goat.