Thursday, October 31, 2013

NFL 2013 NFL Week 9 Predictions

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Now that's what I'm talking about. 11-2 on Week 8 picks brings AWAS season total to 85-35 (70.8%). My bookie will be broke soon enough!

There's just one unbeaten team (Kansas City) and one winless team (Jacksonville). How long will they keep their streaks going? NFC East gets uglier by the week after Dallas complete collapse vs Detroit. Seattle and SF will battle to the final week of the season in NFC West as will KC and Denver on AFC side.

Week 9 doesn't have a single "must watch" game on paper. This is the weakest weekend I can ever remember. Just flat out ugly with the lone exception Monday night when Chicago visits rival Green Bay. Time to pick'em (home team in CAPS).

Week 9
Bengals 27DOLPHINS 17
Chiefs 21BILLS 17
COWBOYS 28Vikings 17
Titans 27Rams 13
Saints 37JETS 10
Chargers 28REDSKINS 21
PANTHERS 33Falcons 24
RAIDERS 17Eagles 13
SEAHAWKS 26Bucs 14
Ravens 23BROWNS 21
PATRIOTS 24Steelers 20
Colts 30TEXANS 20
PACKERS 27Bears 23

Bye: Arizona, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, NY Giants, San Francisco.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NFL 2013 NFL Week 8 Predictions

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Back to back 11 win weekends improves Digger's season total to 74-33 (69.2%). I'm posting on time this week after the fiasco from a few days ago. Week 7 featured Eli Manning's New York Giants winning their first of the season (1-6) and brother Peyton Manning's Denver Broncos losing their first (7-1). Kansas City remains as the leagues lone undefeated squad (7-0). Andy Reid has these guys believing. Good ball control offense and tenacious defense are ruling the day for KC.

New York Jets backed into a win over hated rival New England last weekend thanks largely to a first time ever called penalty against Pats special teams on a errant field goal attempt by the Jets. Controversy immediately irrupted after Pats special teams were called for pushing his own man aiding to block a field goal attempt. What is happening in the NFL? Stupid rules lead to stupid penalties. Technically, yes, I guess New England did commit this ridiculously stupid infraction (how did this rule ever become law in the first place???). But, to call it in OT for the first time after then type of incident happens on nearly EVERY field goal and extra point attempt is beyond believe. Long story short, Jets inched closer and kicked a game winning OT field goal to stun Patriots.

Good games featured in Week 8. Perfect time to jump between games in progress (home team in CAPS).

Week 8
Panthers 31BUCS 24
LIONS 30Cowboys 28
CHIEFS 28Browns 10
PATRIOTS 24Dolphins 14
SAINTS 42Bills 10
Giants 28EAGLES 24
49ers 36JAGUARS 3
Jets 24BENGALS 21
Steelers 21RAIDERS 17
BRONCOS 48Redskins 14
Falcons 26CARDINALS 21
Packers 52VIKINGS 10
Seahawks 31RAMS 13

·Bye: Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, Indianapolis, San Diego, Tennessee.

NFL 2013 NFL Week 7 Predictions

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11 wins in Week 6 brings Digger's season total to 63-29 (68.4%). Week 7 predictions weren't posted due to time delay mechanism failure. Our apologies. Better late than never... here's how we had the weekend pegged
(home team in CAPS).

Week 7
Seahawks 30CARDINALS 10
FALCONS 33Bucs 17
LIONS 26Bengals 24
DOLPHINS 20Bills 17
Patriots 27JETS 17
Cowboys28EAGLES 13
REDSKINS 34Bears 23
PANTHERS 28Rams 14
Chargers 35JAGUARS 10
49ers 28TITANS 9
PACKERS 34Browns 14
CHIEFS 27Texans 21
STEELERS 24Ravens 23
Broncos 37COLTS 27
GIANTS 26Vikings 17

·Bye: New Orleans, Oakland.

2013 World Series Preview: Cardinals vs Red Sox

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The time has come to crown a new World Series Champion. Two proud franchises will go head to head. St. Louis Cardinals vs Boston Red Sox. NL's best team of 2013 vs AL's best team of 2013.
Boston & St. Louis are perfectly matched teams. Both teams feature clutch hitting, aggressive base running, solid defense, strong bullpens and solid managers. Each game will be tight. Here's a break down of what to expect.

Starting pitching. If there's an edge to be had in this Series it belongs to the Cardinals rotation. Adam Wainwright (19-9, 2.94), Michael Wacha (4-1, 2.78) & Joe Kelly (10-5, 2.69) are projected starters in first three games. Wainwright is as clutch as they come. Devastating variety of pitchers figure to keep Red Sox hitters off balance all night long. Wacha has been lights out this post-season going 3-0 while surrendering just 1 run in 21 innings. They will be going head to head up in Boston vs Jon Lester (15-8, 3.75) and John Lackey (10-13, 3.52). There's no margin for error in World Series play. Lester & Lackey need their A games. Edge: Cardinals

Lineups: Clutch hitting Adam Craig returns to Cards lineup after a 7 week absence. He'll DH in Games 1 & 2 and relegated to PH duties when games shift to St. Louis. Top to bottom both lineups are as tough as they come. Nearly all Cards hitters get it done in clutch situations. Boston features significantly more power and have been pretty clutch themselves this post-season. The games will boil down to whichever team is successful with situational hitting vs tough starting pitching. Question for Boston is who plays 1B in St. Louis? Napoli or Ortiz. Remember, no DH in NL park. Edge: Even.
Bullpens. Very strong relievers fill both bullpens. Cards have overall edge for middle relief and setup men while Boston's closer has been lights out (Uehara).

Weather factor: A factor seldom discussed when addressing World Series games. A cold front moved into Fenway this afternoon. Cold blustery weather forecast for Games 1 & 2 in Boston could effect pitcher's ball grip. This is somewhat significant as breaking ball may not bite sharply or pitchers susceptible to hanging one from time to time. 30 degree weather has arrived. A cold front is also expected in St. Louis. 50's daytime, 30's nighttime. Edge: even.

Managers: Red Sox have been running this season. Cards hit and run. These teams love their skippers. Both experts in situational substitutions from the pen and off the bench.  Edge: Even

Defense: Better infield D belongs to Boston. OF & C (Molina) to St. Louis. Edge: Errors are huge in World Series play.  Edge: Boston

Outlook: It boils down to Cardinals rotation vs hot Red Sox hitters. Napoli, Victorino & Ortiz have been clutch. Beltran padding record book. World Series has potential for an epic 7 games. Red Sox prevail, 4 games to 3.

Friday, October 11, 2013

NFL 2013 NFL Week 6 Predictions

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9 wins, 5 wrongs last week. 52-25 (67.5%) thru 5 weeks of action. And the winners in Week 6 will be.... (home team in CAPS).

Week 6
BEARS 31Giants17
Bengals 24BILLS 20
Lions 26BROWNS 24
CHIEFS 30Raiders 13
Panthers 27VIKINGS 24
JETS 28Steelers 10
Eagles 31BUCS 20
Packers 35RAVENS 14
TEXANS 23Rams 14
BRONCOS 56Jaguars 7
SEAHAWKS 24Titans 17
49ERS 28Cardinals 10
Saints 35PATRIOTS 31
COWBOYS 27Redskins 21
Colts 28CHARGERS 27

Saturday, October 5, 2013

2013 MLB Playoffs - AL Division Series: Rays vs Red Sox

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Tampa Bay Rays (92-71) vs Boston Red Sox (97-65)

Boston rebounded from AL East worst in 2012 to baseball's best record in 2013. What a difference one year and one competent manager can make. Boston is a team on a mission. Solid hitting, solid pitching, solid base runners, solid defense = 97 wins. Gutsy Tampa Bay does it all with a limited budget and fairweather fans (dead last in home attendance). Yet, this teams plays fundamental baseball behind a talented manager and strong pitching staff.

Boston rotation - Lester (15-8), Lackey (10-13), Buchholz (12-1) & Peavy (4-1). Tampa rotation - Moore (17-4), Price (10-8), Cobb (11-3) & Hellickson (12-10). Red Sox won season series (12-7). Rays facing a powerful top to bottom Red Sox attack. Sox feature strong starters and lights out bullpen. Edge: Boston.

Red Sox stocked lineup will give Rays pitchers fits. Ellsbury, Victorino, Pedroia, Ortiz, Napoli, Gomes, Saltalamacchia, Drew & Middlebrooks form one of baseball's best lineups. Speed, power, timely hitting & playoff experience can score in bunches. Red Sox hitters will not be denied in this series.
Rays weaker lineup manages to get the job done but is no match for a slugfest -CF Jennings, 2B Zobrist, RF Myers, 3B Longoria, DH Young, LF Rodriguez, SS Escobar, 1B Loney, C Lobaton/Molina. Rays manufacture runs. Heart of the order is clutch but will have a tough time keeping up with Red Sox attack.

Prediction: Red Sox dominated in regular season. Rays clawed and scratched their way into playoffs. Red Sox are the better team. Sox in 4.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

2013 MLB Playoffs - NL Division Series: Braves vs Dodgers

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Atlanta Braves (96-66) vs Los Angeles Dodgers (92-70)

Bring on the heat. Both of these NLDS pitching staffs feature flame throwers. Dodgers with Cy Young front-runner Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke and relievers paced by closer Kenley Jansen. Kershaw & Greinke represent the best 1-2 punch in this year's playoffs on paper. Don't crowd the plate against Braves starters Medlen, Teheran & Minor. Fire baller closer Kimbrel saved 50 of 54 and sports a career 15.1 strikeouts per 9 innings.
Probable rotations: (LA) Kershaw, Greinke, Ryu vs (Atl) Medlen, Minor, Teheran.

Dodgers enter the series with two big injuries. Matt Kemp is inactive. Andre Ethier will only be used as a pinch hitter in NLDS. LA's Game 1 lineup: LF Crawford, 2B Ellis, SS Ramirez, 1B Gonzalez, RF Puig, 3B Uribe, CF Schumaker, C Ellis. Dodgers offense was banged up early on in 2013. Ramirez & Kemp missed time with injuries. Puig was still playing minor league ball. Manager Don Mattingly seemed only moments away from being replaced after LA stumbled to a 30-42 record. LA caught fire when Puig joined the lineup. Their lineup was juiced once Ramirez returned. Before you knew it LA finished the year 62-28 and Mattingly went from potential firing to Manager of the Year candidate. Timely hitting & lights out pitching is their theme.
Atlanta decided to keep Uggla off of their roster ... by choice. Uggla was miserable at the dish batting an anemic .179. His defense at 2B will be sorely missed. Braves opening lineup: CF Heyward, RF J. Upton, 1B Freeman, LF Gattis, C McCann, 3B Johnson, SS Simmons, 2B Johnson = 4th highest run production in NL.

Prediction: Kershaw & Greinke are just too tough in a best of five series. Dodgers play much better defense too. Dodgers sweep.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

NFL 2013 Week 5 Predictions

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Denver & Peyton Manning are destroying every team in their path. Broncos football is 2nd to none thus far after 4 weeks of play. Next up, Cowboys (2-2) in Big D. Speaking of big... big trouble brewing for winless Giants, Steelers & Jaguars. On the flip side, joining Denver as unbeaten teams are New Orleans, Kansas City, New England & Seattle.

9 of 15 correct picks last weekend brings Digger's season total to 43-20 (68.3%). Minnesota, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay and Washington bye week (home in CAPS).

Week 5
BROWNS 26Bills 14
Saints 31BEARS 17
Patriots 27BENGALS 21
PACKERS 27Lions 23
Chiefs 21TITANS 10
Seahawks 33COLTS 10
RAMS 13Jaguars 10
Ravens 27DOLPHINS 17
Eagles 31GIANTS 14
Panthers 34CARDINALS 17
Broncos 48COWBOYS 10
49ERS 27Texans 23
Chargers 35RAIDERS 13
FALCONS 24Jets 10

2013 MLB Playoffs - NL Division Series: Pirates vs Cardinals

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Ready, set, go. National League Division Series Playoffs begins Thursday night in St. Louis. Pittsburgh scorched the Cincinnati Reds 6-2 in a one game Wild Card to advance.
2013 is Pittsburgh's first playoff appearance since 1992 and Pirates fans were ready, willing and able participants. They're boisterous energies taunted Cincinnati's starting pitcher all night. Perhaps their energy caused an ineffective Cueto to drop the baseball in between pitches? Now it's off to play the Cardinals in NLDS action.

Pittsburgh Pirates (94-68) vs. St. Louis Cardinals (97-65)
Bucktober baseball opens up with A.J. Burnett who went 3-1 against the Cardinals this season taking on Adam Wainwright (1-0 in 3 starts vs Pit). Both hurlers feature knee buckling off speed stuff to compliment electric fastballs. Hitters for both teams could be in for a long night if these guys bring their A games. Bucs haven't chosen a Game 2 starter against Lance Lynn. Lirano starts Game 3 back in Pittsburgh where he's been dominant all season. Both teams employ stingy bullpens. Situational pitching will dictate the day.
Pittsburgh is fired up. Hitters are in the zone. Lead off man Marte's hand healed and he's seeing the ball well. Neil Walker is raking. McCutcheon is MVP candidate. Morneau's due for a power surge. Byrd has been exceptional since being stolen from the Mets. 3B Alvarez is a streaky ball masher. Russell Martin crushed 2 round-trippers in the WC game. SS split of Barmes/Mercer shouldn't be taken for granted. Pirates are feeling it having won 4 straight. Big test coming up on the road against Wainwright.
Cardinals hitters have produced many thrilling playoff games in recent years. However, Mr. Clutch Allen Craig's foot injury will keep him out of NLDS action. Craig was hitting an astonishing .454 with 83 RBI in only 130 AB with runners in scoring position. Clubbing .700 with bases loaded on 7 of 10 with 20 RBI. A serious MVP candidate before injury. Probable Game 1 lineup features 55 double man Carpenter leading off followed by prime time playoff hitter Carlos Beltran (RF). LF Matt Holliday (.300) is 3rd. Allen's replacement Matt Adams at 1B slugging .505. The Cards Mr October Molina bats 5th (.373 RISP). CF Jon Jay (.351 OBA) followed by 3B Freese. Starting SS remains to be seen between Descalso and Kosma. Cards lineup is very talented, very clutch and no strangers to playoff baseball.
Prediction: Best of 5 series has all the makings of going the distance. Cards hitters possess more patience meaning they don't necessarily chase bad pitches. Cards clutch lineup feast on opposing pitchers mistakes. A deadly combination in post-season play (and for a team riding a 6 game win streak). This all goes away if Burnett's on his game but he's known to throw many pitches so fatigue factor likely comes into play.   NLDS destined for 5.  If Liriano (3-0, 0.75 vs StL) pitches Game 5 then Bucs advance.