Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Counterpart's Turn

Hey Peeps and anyone else checking in. A special "Hey" goes out to Hazel Mae is she is checking in.

So my man Quikdraw called me out - referring to "moi" as the "Canadian football expert" - he might be surprised to learn that we are in agreement on most for a few of course. I'll get to my predictions for the NFL Playoffs - but a quick recap of yesterday's NHL action is in order.

It looked like the same old, same old last night at the ACC - with the Maple Leafs giving up a goal in the last minute of the third period to push the game into overtime. In a shocking, and somewhat ironic, development Toronto actually won a shootout - shocking in that the Leafs history in shootouts is abysmal, ironic in that former New Jersey Devils goalie Scott Clemmensen denied Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis to make Mats Sundin's goal the game winner; where was Clemmensen last April against the stinking Islanders?

Jason Blake was the talk of the town with a goal and two assists, the latter of which were his first since November. Scott Clemmensen was decent last night which is sure to bring calls to send Andrew Raycroft to the minors - while Clemmensen made a few good saves last night, his rebound control was brutal and provided the Lightning with a few quality scoring chances. The D was so-so, with Ian White getting caught out of position on more than a few occasions - he had his can saved by Hal Gill last night; speaking of which, Hal Gill is turning out to be quite the goal scorer. The unsung hero upfront was undoubtedly Alex Steen, who playing on the first line with Sundin and Blake, checked his ass off all night allowing his linemates to take a few more chances up front.

Funny thing about last night's game - TSN Analyst Glen Healy (whose name has been mentioned as a possible successor to JFJ) was particularly vocal about what he liked and didn't like about the Leafs. Healy heaped praise on Sundin all night (deservedly so) and all but said that if he was Toronto's GM next year Mats would be back. Healy was all over Jason Blake last night - calling Blake out for not passing the puck. Healy was also pretty hard on a couple of members of the defence and questioned a lot of Paul Maurice's line combinations. Big Glen wasn't impressed with Maurice's decision to break up Toronto's "shut-down" line of Stajan, Steen and Devereaux - not to mention his disgust with Maurice's decision to take Nik Antropov off Sundin's line. Healy is campaigning pretty hard for the job.

The Tards now have a full-blown goaltending controversy on their hands as Martin Gerber stunk for the second night in a row in a loss to the Caps. For those of you who haven't heard (or care), Tards G Ray Emery had a tantrum last week during practice and was sent home Friday morning before he got on the ice to practice. The "Sens Army" is flooding the sports radio station with calls about how the goalies in Ottawa are terrible - not that I disagree with them, but this less than a week after signing the praises of Gerber as a top 10 goalie? And you wonder why I call them SenaTards?

NFL Predictions - straight up, no lines, just winners and losers.

Wild Card Weekend

Seattle over Washington - the Redskins are getting way too much credit these days, sure they've won a few games, but they beat a Giants team in turmoil and the Cowboys who played the B team. The Seahawks are tough to beat at home and they will beat Washington by 14 or more. The Seahawks have the air game to loosen up the Redskins D and make them play their safeties deep - opening up a few funny lanes for Alexander and Morris. The Seahawks will bring 8 in the box - daring Todd Collins to make throws of 10 yards or more (which he rarely attempts). Seattle isn't great, but they have too much for the Skins.

NY Giants over Tampa Bay - the Bucs have been resting their starters for a couple of weeks now - maybe they wanted to face the Giants? The Giants have enough on D to cause a rusty Jeff Garcia more than a few headaches; on the offensive side of the ball, they have Brandon Jacobs running like a 260 lb back and should be able to wear down a smallish Bucs D. The Giants will go into the game on a high after giving the Patriots a run on Saturday night. Giants by 6.

Jacksonville over Pittsburgh - the Jags dominated the Steelers in the last game and that was WITH Willie Parker running the ball for Pittsburgh. Jacksonville is too physical for Pittsburgh - their OL will again dominate the Steelers DL and give Taylor and Jones-Drew plenty of holes. David Garrard should be able to produce his share of big plays of the play action pass. On D, the Jags will blitz Roethlisberger relentlessly and force him into some bad decisions. Jacksonville by 7 or more.

San Diego over Tennessee - with Albert Haynesworth on the limp, the Chargers should be able to move the ball on the ground - thus taking the game out of Phillip Rivers' hands. Vince Young is hurting too, so you have to wonder how much of a threat he will be when he drops back to pass. The Chargers have too much for Tennessee on both sides of the ball. Chargers by 13.

Divisional Playoffs

Dallas over NY Giants - Eli Manning has had some big games against Dallas, but he usually finds a way to blow it. The Giants will do what they always do against Dallas - start out fast and then fade in the second half. Romo and company should be pretty fresh and relatively healthy with two weeks of rest. Dallas' OL will establish themselves by second quarter and dominate the Giants DL. Terrence Newman will take care of Plaxico Burress forcing Manning to look elsewhere - with no Jeremy Shockey, Manning is screwed. Dallas by 14

Green Bay over Seattle - I don't like the Seahawks on the road...against anyone. Green Bay should benefit from an extra week off and the elements playing in Wisconsin. Seattle doesn't have much of a running game and the Pack should be able to control the Seahawks passing game with Al Harris and Charles Woodson on the corners. Green Bay by 7

New England over Jacksonville - the Jags have some issues in pass defence - which is NOT how you want to go into a game facing Tom Brady. The Jags will have some success running the ball and controlling the clock, but their D won't be able to stop Brady. Patriots by 4.

San Diego over Indianapolis - upset special. Without Dwight Freeney, the Colts are going to have some trouble neutralizing Tomlinson - the Chargers will use screen passes to pick up big chunks of yardage against the Colts. The Chargers D has been better of late and should be able to get some pressure on Manning. Chargers win this one by a field goal.

Divisional Championships

Dallas over Green Bay - a lot is being made of Favre's experience, let's get one thing straight, he's 11-9 in the obviously he isn't the smartest guy cuz he hasn't learned much. Dallas dominated the Packers WITH Favre in the lineup and there is no reason to think they won't do it again. Wade Phillips is renowned for coming up with defensive game plans to frustrate and control the opposition's go-to guy. Dallas D will bring the pressure and force Favre into mistakes. As for Romo's inexperience - he picked up ten year's worth after what he went through in Seattle last year. Romo should have a healthy Terry Glenn to give him a credible deep threat against Green Bay and be able to bring three and four WR sets. Dallas' running game should benefit from the Packers having to double cover either Glenn or Owens. Dallas wins by 10

New England over San Diego - hard to think the Chargers can win two in a row on the road. I won't get into the "whys" - I'm sure you all agree with this one.


Dallas over New England - I'll save the explanation for the last week of January. Dallas will win 31-27.

Leave it to the stinking SenaTards to screw things up last night - the gain was minimal, so the total for the week is still pretty ugly. Tonight's suggestions:

New Jersey over Florida - the Devils should have no problem with the Panthers tonight. Lay $100 on the Devils - $175.

Anaheim over Columbus - the Blue Jackets haven't been scoring much lately, how hard is it going to be to win in Anaheim? Lay $100 on the Ducks - $200.

Colorado over Phoenix - the Avs get back at the Coyotes for the loss the other night in Phoenix. Lay $100 on the Avs - $175.

That's it for today gang - thanks for taking the time to check in.

Hazel, here's hoping things are groovy in your world.

I'm Out!


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