2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer will be a Washington National in 2015.

2013 AL Cy Young winner Max Scherzer will be a Washington National in 2015.

The teams that were considered fore-runners in the Max Scherzer Sweepstakes were the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Yankees. None of these teams succeeded in their goal, however, as the Washington Nationals announced Wednesday the signing of Scherzer to a 7 year, $210 million deal the second largest in MLB history for a pitcher.

The 2013 AL Cy Young Award winning Scherzer will return to the National League after spending five seasons in Detroit from 2010 to 2014. Before then, Scherzer was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks for his rookie and sophomore seasons (2008 & 2009). After two relatively sub-par years in the desert he was packaged to Detroit, where he became one of the best pitchers in baseball. After thriving in the batting dominated AL, returning to the more pitching friendly NL should prove an easy transition for the 30 year old right-hander.

Now the Nationals suddenly have quite a formidable rotation, Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Doug Fister, and of course Jordan Zimmerman. The Nationals won the NL East in 2012 and 2014 and could easily do even more this season with the new addition.

Matt Morris ~ @Flat_Manigen74

 

rwilson

Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks are going to back-to-back Super Bowls. It is the first time an NFL team will be playing in the Super Bowl, two years in a row, since the 2003-04 New England Patriots. Wilson is the first quarterback in NFL History to appear in two straight Super Bowls in his first three seasons. Before Wilson arrived in Seattle, Pete Carroll had a record of 14-18 as their head coach. Since Wilson’s arrival, Carroll and Seahawks are 36-12 in the regular season. Wilson has proven to not only be a game manager but a playmaker. In his first two seasons, Wilson had 52 touchdown passes and 19 interceptions in 800 passing attempts. Andrew Luck in his first two seasons had 46 touchdown passes 27 interceptions in 1,197 passing attempts. There is no doubt in my mind, Wilson is a top 5 quarterback in the NFL. He is the ultimate dual threat, rushing for over 800 yards this year. When I write my articles, it is based on my eye tests. But it is also based on stats and facts. The two quarterbacks I can compare Wilson’s Seahawks to at this stage of his career would be Ben Roethlisberger’s Pittsburgh Steelers and Tom Brady’s Patriots. So, without wasting any more time. Here are Wilson’s stats (in his first three years) compared to previous Super Bowl winners and there first three seasons.

 

1st Three years in the NFL, regular season, combined Stats:

Russell Wilson – 48 games started, 63.4% completions, 83 total touchdowns, 26 interceptions, and 1,187 rushing yards.

Ben Roethlisberger- 41 games started, 62.9% completions, 58 total touchdowns, 43 interceptions and 363 rushing yards.

Tom Brady- 47 games started, 62% completions, 71 total touchdowns, 34 interceptions and 120 rushing yards.

Eli Manning- 41 games started, 52.9% completions, 53 total touchdowns, 44 interceptions and 136 rushing yards.

Peyton Manning-48 games started, 60.4% completions, 88 total touchdowns, 58 interceptions and 251 rushing yards.

 

Wilson has played every game as a starter, he has never been injured. In his first three years, he has the highest completion percentage, second in total touchdowns, more rushing yards than these 4 quarterbacks combined and the least amount of interceptions. Fans want to criticize him because he has a running game and a great defense. So did Terry Bradshaw, Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco. Wilson puts up numbers. He has more regular season wins (36) than any quarterback in the history of the NFL. In 3 years as a starter Wilson has never lost a game by double digits. The biggest loss of his career came this season when San Diego defeated the Seahawks 31-20. Even in college Wilson kept his teams in every game. At Wisconsin, Wilson lost games by 6, 4 and 7 points. The last time he lost a game by double digits, 2009.

Fans who know football, appreciate what Wilson is. He doesn’t make many mistakes (The NFC championship game was the first time since his rookie year that he had more than two interceptions in a game) and he can beat you with his feet or his arm. I expect Wilson to have a great game in the Super Bowl and be amongst the elite quarterbacks for years to come. As you can see by the stats I included above. He is better statistically in his first three years than quarterbacks who have been to multiple Super Bowls.

The Sports Whisperer ~ Monte Perez ~ @montetjwitter11

At the beginning of the season I did a preview on ECIC IV and how each team would stack up this season. Since we are nearing the half way point of the high school basketball season, we’ll take a look at how each team is doing:

Cleveland Hill (8-3 overall, 4-0 in ECIC IV)

No surprise the Golden Eagles are on top in ECIC IV. After starting the season off 1-2, Cleveland Hill has regained their confidence and are looking to sweep the division. The Eagles currently have three players with 100+ points. Seniors Anthony Sullivan, 121 (12.1 PPG in 10 games, and Jermaine Hairston, 116 (11.6 PPG in 10 games) lead Cleve Hill, while junior Daytwon Burney has 100 points (9.1 PPG in 11 games). The Eagles have yet to face Holland and Tonawanda. If I were to choose the team that may give Cleve Hill their first loss inside ECIC IV, I’d have to choose between Lackawanna, who lost 58-50 on December 16th. The other team that could give Cleveland Hill their first loss is JFK, who lost 56-49 on January 13th. Those two teams have seemed to compete with the athletic ability of Cleveland Hill better than any team yet and could make the games at their gyms very close.

Lackawanna (3-5 overall, 3-1 in ECIC IV)

The Steelers who started the season off 0-4, has gotten on a hot streak winning 3 out of their last 4 games. Lackawanna, like Cleveland Hill are filled with athletic talent and are a very fast and physical team. Senior Larry Fields leads the Steelers in points, 100, in 8 games (12.5 PPG), while guards Jeremiah Jones, 84 points in 6 games (14.0 PPG), and Darius Cleveland, 86 points in 8 games (10.8 PPG), are the cream of the crop for the Steelers. Except the first game for the Steelers against, St. Francis, in which they lost 61-49, the Steelers have lost by a total of 14 points. The past two games, vs. Tonawanda and Eden have shown how well they can play as a team, as they’ve outscored their opponents by a total score of 137-72. This team is getting better as the season progresses and that’s a very good thing.

JFK (5-4 overall, 3-2 in ECIC IV)

JFK has been a streaky team when it comes to their wins and losses. They’ve been over .500 four times this season already, but their upcoming schedule looks quite promising that they could be there for some time. The Bears have been relying heavily on senior forward Joe Braniecki to get points as he currently has 172 points in the team’s 9 games, (19.1 PPG), Cale Byczkowski is the second highest scorer on the team, who currently averages 8.2 points in 8 games (66 points). The team is quite athletic and can get up and down the floor quickly, which is one of many positives this team possesses. Ironically, the Bears’ losses have been by either 6 or 7 point margins. Those losses have come against West Seneca East, Lackawanna, Olmsted, and Cleveland Hill.

Holland (3-6 overall, 2-2 in ECIC IV)

Holland started the year off on a 5 game losing streak, but have now won their 3 out of their last 4 games. One key thing with the Dutchmen to consider is point guard J.R. Kline has quit the team. At first, this was not a good thing for the southern-most team in ECIC IV, but they have relied on the duties of 1,000 point scorer, Clay Lewis to get the job done. Lewis currently averages 20.5 points a game (164 points in 8 games), while the player with the second most points is forward EJ Staniszewski, 43 points in 8 games (5.4 PPG). If team’s can eliminate Lewis’s presence on the court, teams will be successful.

Tonawanda (6-5 overall, 2-2 in ECIC IV)

The Warriors are a lot better of a team than their record both overall and in their division dictates. Senior guard Tristan Boling leads ECIC IV with points per game with 22.6 (226 points in 10 games). Boling is a dynamic guard who is able to bring the ball up, while he can shoot the lights out. The one negative with Tonawanda is that their forwards aren’t really responsible for points inside the paint. Lorenz Jefferson leads the team in points for forwards with 75 (7.5 PPG in 10 games). It would not surprise me if this team upsets either Lackawanna or Cleveland Hill towards the end of the year.

Alden (2-8 overall, 1-3 in ECIC IV)

                There have been three players on the Bulldogs that have helped their team come close to decent opponents. Freshman guard Christian Snell leads the team in points, 106 in all of the team’s games (10.6 points per game average), while senior Austin Zelasko is right behind him with 99 (9.9 PPG) and junior Jordan Stockweather has 98 (9.8 PPG). Their non-league losses have all been blowouts, except when they lost to Akron, 52-50, and Royalton-Hartland, 51-48. Their lone non-league win came against Riverside, 58-53.

Eden (2-7 overall, 0-5 in ECIC IV)

                Eden has been relying on Louis Bartus most of the time to get their points, but they haven’t been able to muster that many of them. Through their nine games, the team is averaging only 39 points a game. They need to be getting more than that to be able to compete with the teams in ECIC IV. Stats are not available for Eden, but when seeing them play, they need to be able to reduce the turnovers and shoot the ball more effectively. There is definitely potential there for the Raiders, but they need to be able to dig deep for that potential and practice effectively to get there.

BEFORE SEASON PREDICTION

  1. Cleveland Hill
  2. Lackawanna
  3. Holland
  4. JFK
  5. Alden
  6. Tonawanda
  7. Eden 

MID SEASON PREDICTION

  1. Cleveland Hill
  2. Lackawanna
  3. JFK
  4. Tonawanda
  5. Holland
  6. Alden
  7. Eden

Marshall Haim ~ mhaim1934

Ladies and gentlemen thank you for joining me today. I am back in the courtroom to present yet another case. So far my record as a pretend attorney, is a perfect 2-0. The first two were open and shut cases

  1. Does LeBron James deserve to be on the NBA’s Mount Rushmore?
  2. The Curious Case of Stephen Curry, Is he the NBA’s best Point Guard?

If you would like to read these cases, my court clerk will make them available to you (or just email me.)

I only do about 3 cases per year because they become very draining physically and mentally for me. Like Rocky IV, I seclude myself in a cabin and train. I also become so obsessed with collecting data, stats, and do a ton of interviews, I literally became like Russell Crowe, in the movie “A Beautiful Mind.”

beaut

 

This case was extremely difficult to prepare for because I am going up against the most dominant product in television today…. The NFL. If this was a movie, the NFL would be the “Evil Empire” from Star Wars.

My case is a simple one when you break it down, “Change the Super Bowl game to Saturday Night.”

Before I present the evidence before you, I must share with you how my thought process to changing the game came about. In a recent podcast, I brought up changing the day of the Super Bowl, you would have thought that I brought up changing Christmas Day. Fans were outraged on Twitter and during the show. Amazingly, though I presented simple ideas, they couldn’t comprehend them. The only argument they all had was, “You can’t change the Super Bowl because I grew up with it being on Sunday and it is tradition.” Well, when you break it down, that is a “YOU” problem not MY problem. Tradition was their only argument against me. As you will see below, you can’t use tradition as an argument.

The “Evil Empire” known as the NFL is constantly changing, and adapting. The NFL doesn’t care about tradition, so why do their fans? If you are a Raiders, Broncos, Steelers, Ravens, Giants, or Packers fan, you can’t use the argument of the Super Bowl on Sunday being tradition. All of these teams mentioned above, have won the Super Bowl as a “Wild Card.” The NFL was the first sports league to implement the wildcard in 1970.  If it wasn’t for the NFL breaking away from tradition, those 6 teams would not have the Vince Lombardi Trophy.

The Dallas Cowboys would have played the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC championship this year.  But, in 1999, The NFL implemented instant replay or “challenge” on-field calls of plays. The Dez Bryant catch was overturned and Dallas lost the game thereafter. So, the Green Bay Packers fans can’t use the “tradition” argument either.

The Seattle Seahawks came back in the NFC Championship to defeat the Green Bay Packers 28-22. Seattle scored on a 2 -point conversion to go up by three points late in the 4th quarter. The Packers, came back and kicked a field goal to send the game in overtime. If the NFL didn’t implement the 2-point conversion rule in 1994, Seattle would have lost the game by 1 point. So Seahawk fans, can’t use the “tradition argument” either.

Below you will find a list of rule changes or the NFL breaking away from tradition, to make the game more exciting for the fans. (Taken from…Evolution of the rules: from hash-marks to crack-back blocks)

  • 1994-Defensive players are prohibited from blocking low during a punt, field goal, or extra point attempt (kick), except those defensive players at the snap that are lined up on or inside the normal tight end position. Previously, all players on the defensive team could block low during the field goal or extra point attempt.
  • 1995 -Protection for defenseless players is clarified and expanded. Since 1982, a defensive player was prohibited from using the crown or top of his helmet against a passer, a receiver in the act of catching a pass, or a runner who is in the grasp of a tackling.
  • 1996- On running plays, a chop block is prohibited by an offensive player who is aligned more than one position away from the engaged defender when the block occurs away from the flow of the play.
  • 2005- It is illegal to grab the inside collar of the shoulder pads to tackle a runner (“horse-collar tackle”).
  • 2006- Low hits on the quarterback are prohibited when a rushing defender has an opportunity to avoid such contact.
  • 2009- Teams are not permitted to intentionally form a wedge of more than two players on a kickoff return in an attempt to block for the runner. Penalty: 15 yards.
  • 2010-A player who has just completed a catch is protected from blows to the head or neck by an opponent who launches.
  • 2012-• The list of “defenseless players” is expanded to include defensive players on crack-back blocks, making it illegal to hit them in the head or neck area.
  • •Players are required to wear protective knee and thigh pads beginning with the 2013 season.

 

As you can see by these rule changes, The NFL Keeps evolving.

Here are 5 Reasons why the NFL should play the Super Bowl on Saturday Night.

  1. On the day after the Super Bowl last year, 1.5 million Americans called out to work and another 4.4 million were late to their jobs. Employees would show up for work on Monday because they had all of Sunday to recover and relax.
  2. The Super Bowl starts at 6:30, which means with the extended halftime, the game doesn’t end until 10:30-11:00 on the East Coast. If you have young kids, most of them are in bed before the end of the game.
  3. If the game was played on Saturday, you could have a recap of the game on Sunday. Call it the Super Bowl rewind. The NFL could edit the game to an hour and you can watch all the interviews and have live guests of the winning/losing team the following day.
  4. The post-game coverage would not be an afterthought. Because most people don’t work on Sunday, fans would watch most of the after game coverage on ESPN and other channels.
  5. There have been several articles printed and petitions signed to make the day after the Super Bowl a national holiday. Why have employees miss work when you can just play the game on a different day?

It makes all the sense in the world to play the game on Saturday Night. The NFL has been the most progressive sports league in adapting and making their games more fun to watch. This is the next step in the evolution. It makes absolutely no sense to have the most watched game ever year in our country played on a Sunday. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury I rest my case.

The Sports Whisperer ~ Monte Perez ~ @montetjwitter11

 

tyree

Tyree Jackson was in town this past weekend, along with other football recruits, as part of UB’s official recruiting weekend.

Jackson, dual-threat QB form Mona Shores High School (MI) has been verbally committed to the University at Buffalo Bulls 2015 recruiting class since August 2 of 2014. Jackson, who received offers from Ferris State, a Div. II school in Big Rapids, MI, and Tennessee State, a member of the Ohio Valley Conference, and drew interest from other MAC schools before committing to UB.

Jackson said a contributing factor to his decision to come to Buffalo is that they plan to make him their only scholarship offer in the recruiting class.

“That was a major part of it.” Jackson said in an interview with MLive.com. tyree2

Even though he made his commitment while Jeff Quinn was the head ball coach, Jackson said that plans didn’t change when Quinn was dismissed, and Lance Leipold took the helm.

UB’s current starter, Joe Licata, will be a senior when Jackson comes on board, and Jackson will have five other quarterbacks to compete against at camp. But Mona Shores Sailors coach Matt Koziak is not worried about how he’ll stack up.

“I think he’ll do great. I think he’s that type of quarterback that will do well in [the Bulls’] offense. He’s going to fit into their shot gun and spread system well.” Koziak told MLive.

Although that style might change, I think he’ll do fine regardless.

Jackson, 6-4, 210 lbs. from Muskegon, MI, is a very impressive recruit. Watching film from his junior year, I got one takeaway: He throws a pretty ball. He’s a terrific gun slinging QB with a strong arm. As a bonus, he added some size over the offseason between his junior and senior year, gaining 20 pounds to his previous 190 lbs. He can thread the needle wherever the ball needs to be, and with a strong O-Line and good hands on the receiving corps, he should do very well at Buffalo.

As a football fan and connoisseur, one of my favorite offenses is the read option. QBs like Georgia Tech’s Justin Thomas and Boston College’s Tyler Murphy are some of the most fun QBs for me to watch. And Tyree Jackson is an amazing runner of the read-option. He’s got burners, this kid.

All-in-all, Jackson is a great QB who will run the Bulls’ offense whenever it may be that he gets the starting nod.

Let’s break it down:

Tyree Jackson Breakdown

Height: 6’4

Weight: 210 lbs. Position: Dual Threat QB
247Sports Nat’l Rating: 1719 247Sports Pos. Rating: 46

247Sports State Rating: 26

 

 

 

Justin McMullen ~ @justinmcmullen

kaletsPhiladelphia Flyers (17-21-7, 41) vs Buffalo Sabres (14-28-3, 31)

First Niagara Center

Buffal0, NY

7:00 PM, TV: MSG-B, CSN-PHI

#PHIvsBUF

TEAM

PP% RANK PK% RANK SHOTS/GAME RANK SHOTS AGAINST/GAME RANK

LAST 10

 flyers

22.2

6 73.5 30 29.0 22 29.9 19 3-6-1
 SAB 8.8 30 75.2 28 23.2 30 35.4 30

1-9-0

Buffalo, NY- The Flyers and Sabres kick off the first of four meetings Saturday night at First Niagara Center. Both clubs are coming off shut out losses at home Thursday. Philly was blanked 4-0 to Ryan Miller and the Vancouver Canucks. They have won just 6 games on the road this season.

Buffalo’s losing streak reached nine games Thursday after a 7-0 loss against Minnesota. Afterwards head coach Ted Nolan was biting his tongue and the players were out of excuses. Friday’s practice was about as grueling as one would expect following a putrid effort in front of the home crowd. Plenty of skating, with and without the puck and then a lengthy video session.

In the locker room following a draining work-out we caught up with Tyler Myers who simply stated “we haven’t been good enough and we’re beyond talk at this point” adding “that said, I’m very confident in the guys in this room.” The talk amongst players has to be exhausting to say the least. Myers, Zemgus Girgensons and reluctantly Drew Stafford were the only players to take questions. I give a lot of credit to assistant Josh Gorges. After the Minnesota Wild buried Buffalo Thursday he was there, took the questions and answered honestly and bravely. He was comfortable in doing so and offered no excuses. Where was the captain Brian Gionta? He was on the ice for practice Wednesday, skated Thursday morning and was back at it Friday. Let’s assume he was getting treatment. I have a feeling Doug Gilmour or Scott Stevens would have been front and center Friday if in the same situation.

For the Sabres, they have an opportunity to put a better effort in Saturday night versus Philadelphia. The Flyers have lost 3 of their last 4 and have been shut-out in back-to-back games. However they boast the 6th best power play in the league, something Buffalo should be concerned about. Buffalo ranks at the bottom of almost every major statistical category in the NHL. Philadelphia is one of two teams with a worse penalty kill, in fact they are the league’s worst. For a team that has severely struggled to generate offense Buffalo has a great opportunity to finally exploit an opposing team’s weakness.

Tyler Ennis, Matt Moulson and Cody Hodgson are skilled forwards that need to pick this team up, quickly. All three have been non-existent since the New Year rang in.

Player

Games Since Last Goal

Date/VS

Tyler Ennis

7

Dec. 31/Tampa Bay

Matt Moulson

11

Dec. 15/Ottawa

Cody Hodgson 15

Dec. 13/Florida

Ted Nolan knows he and his players are under the radar “when you’re not winning and not competing, there’s prices to pay”. The team has been soft. “We’re soft on line changes and we’ve been soft in our pursuit of the puck” adding “we showed them in the videos what happens when we’re playing lazy”.

Buffalo lost all three games to Philly last season. Jakub Voracek (17-35-52) leads the Flyers and the league in total points.

After tonight’s game the Sabres leave for a five game road trip with the annual All-Star break sandwiched in between. They return to the First Niagara Center Feb 5th to host the St. Louis Blues.

Frank Wolf ~ @wolf3328

The NFL is down to their “Final 4” teams. 3 of the 4 quarterbacks remaining have already won a Super Bowl… Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Russell Wilson. Dominant passing quarterbacks win in the NFL. 3 out of the 4 teams remaining, got outrushed by their opponents last week and won their playoff game. Keep believing in “Ground and Pound” Rex Ryan, that is the reason you got fired from the Jets. (Sorry, I just had to make one more dig at the used car salesman, who is now the head coach of the Buffalo Bills).

nfl

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks, Sunday on 3:30 FOX- the Seattle Seahawks are looking to become the first team to go to back-to-back Super Bowls in 10 years. The last team to accomplish that goal was the 2003-2004 New England Patriots. Seattle will host the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship on Sunday. Seattle defeated the Carolina Panthers last week 31-17. They continue to be one of the hottest teams in the NFL. They have won 10 out of 11 games and 7 in a row. In Seattle’s last 4 games they have given up 7, 6, 6, and 17 points. They are peaking at the right time.  Seattle has played 7 playoff teams this year, they are 6-1. In those games, Russell Wilson has 13 total touchdowns and only 3 interceptions. The Seahawks lead the NFL in defense during the season, only giving up 268 yards per game. Seattle is not just a defensive team, over their last three playoff games they have scored 23, 43, and 31 points. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 1,306 yards and Wilson rushed for 849 yards during the regular season.

The Green Bay Packers defeated the Dallas Cowboys last weekend in Lambeau Field, by the score of 26-21. Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers was basically playing on one leg in the game (Rodgers has had calf and ankle injury for the past few weeks) He was hobbled a bit, but that didn’t seem to affect him, He was 24 for 35 for 316 yards and 3 touchdowns. Eddie Lacy had 19 carries for 109 yards and the Packers has 7 players with at least 1 reception in the game. Davante Adams led all receivers with 7 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown.

If Rodgers was 100% healthy I would like the Packers to win this game. Dallas didn’t put a ton of pressure on Rodgers and he was able to make plays. Seattle’s defense is a totally different animal than what the Cowboys had on the field last weekend. They will put pressure on Rodgers early and make him move around in the pocket with his bad calf. If they sense he can’t move laterally, it will be like a wounded Wildebeest around a pack of Lions. They will pounce on Rodgers for 60 minutes. The Packers and Lacy must establish a running game right from the start. In Seattle’s four losses this season, teams have averaged 32 rushes and 139 yards per game. In their first meeting of the season, Rodgers didn’t throw to defensive back Richards Sherman’s side of the field once. They cannot do this the second time around. You can’t beat Seattle playing one side of the field. I look for Rodgers to throw at Sherman right off the bat, just to keep their defense honest. Rodgers will be the MVP of the NFL this year and if they were playing at home I would like the Packers to win this game. But with Rodgers being about 70% and Seattle playing at home, I will take the Seahawks.  Seattle wins this game 30-23.

 

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots, Sunday on CBS 6:40- Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are playing in their 9th AFC Championship game. If they win this game against the Colts, they will be playing in their 6th Super Bowl with the Patriots. Last week against the Ravens, Brady became the all-time leader in the post-season for touchdown passes. The previous record was held by Joe Montana (45 touchdown passes), Brady now has 46. In Week 11, the Patriots defeated the Colts 42-20. Patriots’ running back, Jonas Gray rushed the ball 37 times for 201 yards and 4 touchdowns. 32 of Gray’s 37 rushes came with 6 offensive lineman in the game for the Patriots. They played “smash mouth “football and the Colts couldn’t stop it. Belichick continues to be the master of game planning and in game adjustments. Last week against the Ravens the Patriots didn’t call one running play for their running backs in the second half. Andrew Luck continues to be the heir apparent to Brady and Manning. In his first 5 playoff games, Luck has the most passing yards of any quarterback in the history of the NFL. Kurt Warner held the previous record with 1,644 passing yards in 5 games. (Luck has 1,648). Unfortunately for Luck, he has not had great success against the Patriots. In 3 games against New England, he has 3 touchdown passes and 8 interceptions.

This game breaks down pretty easily. Can Luck continue to carry the Colts and lead them to a Super Bowl appearance? The Colts don’t have a great running game, Trent Richardson led the team in rushing yards with 519 on the season. (Richardson was a healthy scratch last week and didn’t even play). They don’t have great receivers either. The Colts led the NFL in dropped passes. Their offensive line has struggled during the year. They have had 12 starting offensive lineman play in their first 14 games. Luck has been hit more times than any quarterback this season (74 times). The strength of the Colts defense is their defensive backs. They don’t rush the quarterback particular well. They finished 26th in the league with 41 sacks. The Colts have played much better in the post-season only giving up 23 points in 2 games.

This is the best Patriot team top to bottom that Belichick has had since they last won the Super Bowl. I think they will be too much for the Colts. If Luck wins this game, he will own the division for the next 8-10 years because their roster will get better in the years to come. Andrew’s Luck runs out this week.  I like the Patriots to win this game 37-23.

Monte Perez ~ @montetjwitter ~ The Sports Whisperer

bandits

Buffalo Bandits (1-1) at Vancouver Stealth (1-1)

Radio: ESPN 1520 – Buffalo

January 17, 2015

10:00 PM

 

The Buffalo Bandits (1-1), coming off a bye week, travel north of the boarder and to west coast for a Saturday night matchup with the Vancouver Stealth (1-1). The Bandits are looking to pick up their second win of the season and their second straight after beating the Edmonton Rush 2 weekends ago in their home opener.

Having the week off really was crucial for the black and orange. It allowed players to rest up and heal after a gritty, hard fought win over the Rush. “You use the time off to heal up some wounds, but at the same time you use that to get better as well” Ryan Benesch stated.

Jumping over to the other bench, the Stealth also enter Saturday night’s matchup with a record of 1-1. Vancouver opened their 2015 campaign on the road taking on the defending NLL champion Calgary Roughnecks. The Stealth returned home with a victory but their early bid for a perfect season ended when the Toronto Rock came to town for a visit. The Rock left British Columbia with a 20-11 victory.

Both teams played with heavy hearts opening weekend. On the Buffalo side, the Bandits were saddened with the news of the passing of Tucker Williams, son of former Bandits forward Shawn Williams (signed with the Toronto Rock in the offseason). Tucker was diagnosed with Burkitts Lymphoma last year. The Braver Than Brave foundation was started to raise money to help Tucker and the Williams family, but about a month ago, Tucker lost his fight while surrounded by all of his family. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Williams family. Now to Vancouver. The Stealthstealth opened their season with heavy hearts after their former coach, Chris Hall lost his four year battle with cancer. Hall coached the Stealth from 2009 through 2014. Once again my prayers go out to the Hall family and to the Vancouver Stealth. Through hard times, both teams are going to have to fight through and use their story as inspiration to accomplish the number one goal and that is winning the NLL championship.

Game Notes: This matchup between the Bandits and Stealth is the first between the two since the teams made a trade at the 2014 NLL Draft that sent Rory Smith and goaltender Eric Penney to the Stealth in return for the ninth overall pick, which the Bandits used on Brandon Goodwin. The Bandits also received transition man Nick Weiss.

Faceoff is set for 10 p.m and is being shown live on the big screen at 716 Food and Sport at the newly built HarborCenter.

 

Ryan Dickman ~ @ryandickman

jones

In the end Cardale Jones made the most important and unselfish decisions of his life. The National Championship winning quarterback will return to Ohio State next season. Jones made the announcement in his hometown and not opting to enter the NFL draft caught many by surprise.

“My decision was very simple,” Jones said. “After talking it over with my family, my friends, my coaching staff, I’m going to return next year for school.” After playing in just three collegiate games, returning for another year with the Buckeyes was the obvious choice.

It actually leaves head coach Urban Meyer with a big problem, in addition to Jones, Ohio State has two very good QB’s in J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller each of whom went out with injuries that created the opportunity for Jones. Most everyone outside Columbus, OH wrote-off the Buckeyes this season when Miller went out early in the season. The win last Monday night over the Oregon Ducks speaks to the recruiting genius that Meyer truly is. Would it surprise me if Miller or Barrett transferred to another school? Not at all, what would surprise me if Jones wasn’t guaranteed the starting job next fall.

Early on Jones was considered a great talent but lacked in the good teammate department. He was considered a selfish guy. The decision Thursday tells us how far this young man has come in a short period of time and Ohio State will benefit greatly from his magnanimity.

The fact that the NCAA policy only gave him 72 hours to decide whether or not he should stay in school or go pro tells us how far out of whack their priorities are. Stay in school and risk losing millions of dollars is a huge gamble for any aspiring athlete. Jones restored my faith in players at the collegiate level. I’ll be rooting for him long after he hangs up his helmet.

Frank Wolf ~ @wolf3328

wild

 

A losing streak was bound to end Thursday in Buffalo. Much to the demise of Sabres fans it wasn’t the hometown team. The Wild marched into town on a six game losing skid and annihilated Buffalo in every way imaginable. The Sabres have now lost ten straight.

The effort was the kind that is followed by a firing or trade, this organization could probably use both. However with a franchise changing player hanging in the balance the stakes and perhaps the expectations are so reprehensibly low why even bother. Nothing is going right for the Sabres.

Minnesota held a players only meeting Tuesday night after they fell to the Penguins. The result, a 7-0 beat down in of their opponent in freezing cold Buffalo. It was a relatively easy night for the Wild. Heck they even threw in a goalie that they had just acquired in Devan Dubnyk. Who had just played Tuesday night in Phoenix over 2000 miles away on Pacific-time against the high powered San Jose Sharks.

Ready to be kicked in the gut? Former Sabres Thomas Vanek recorded a goal and an assist and Jason Pominville had three helpers. Game, set, match, start the freaking bus.

“I feel bad for the fans that come here, support us and we go out and have an effort like that in front of them?” Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges said as he sat completely dejected at his locker stall after the loss. He was asked if he was playing hurt but shot down the inquisition.

Heading into the 3rd period the Sabres trailed 5-0, they put 5 shots on goal in the final fame. They also took the only three penalties in the period. Jhonas Enroth had next to no help. He was rumored to be headed to Minnesota just a week ago but it appears the Wild have found a quality goaltender for the moment. Buffalo tested him with 18 shots.

Head coach Ted Nolan was nearly speechless afterwards. “I’m speechless, and I don’t want to say anything I’m going to regret”. He was especially critical of the older players suggesting they are tough to change some habits.

Practice Friday should be fun, the Philadelphia Flyers are in town Saturday. Nine straight losses in regulation is a franchise record, they were outscored 39-9 during that stretch.

Nicolas Deslauriers had a spirited bout with Mathew Dumba, it was one of a very few moments Buffalo showed they came to play. The other two notable instances was when they came out for the opening face off and when the Subway blimp was dropping coupons for free sandwiches.

 

PERIOD SCORING

 TEAM

1 2 3 F
MINN 2 2 2

6

BUF 0 0 0

0

 

SHOTS BY PERIOD

TEAM

1 2 3 T
MINN 15 12 10

37

BUF 3 10 5

18

 

Stats

MINN BUF

Score

7 0

Shots

37

18

Hits

12

30

Blocked Shots

15

18

Faceoff Wins

34

25

PIM’s

11

17

Power Plays

2/6

0/3

 Giveaways 5 8

 

GOALIES

SAVES SHOTS SV%

DUBNYK

18 18

1.000

ENROTH 30 37

.811