Last Week: 6-8-1
2013 Season: 80-99-10
Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9) AT Houston Texans (2-10)
The Spread: Houston by 3
The Pick: Houston
The Score: Houston, 24-17
The Rationale: Jacksonville has won 3 consecutive road games. But, these are still the Jaguars. Even against the likes of Case Keenum and the Texans, who have lost 10 consecutive games overall, I can’t fathom Jacksonville taking a fourth straight road victory.
Indianapolis Colts (8-4) AT Cincinnati Bengals (8-4)
The Spread: Cincinnati by 7
The Pick: Indianapolis
The Score: Cincinnati, 27-23
The Rationale: Indianapolis had a good run and will be heading to the playoffs for the second straight year. But, injuries on both offense and defense have crippled their chances at hoisting the Lombardi Trophy. Cincinnati doesn’t necessarily look like a championship contender either. But, the Dalton-to-Green connection should be good enough to overcome a banged up Colts bunch.
Atlanta Falcons (3-9) AT Green Bay Packers (5-6-1)
The Spread: Green Bay by 7
The Pick: Atlanta
The Score: Green Bay, 20-17
The Rationale: It’s hard to really pick this game without knowing if Aaron Rodgers is going to play or not. Seeing as how it’s Thursday and we still don’t know, I’ll just assume that he isn’t going to appear at Lambeau. Regardless, I think Green Bay wins the game. Their backs are truly against the wall and Atlanta has all but given up on the season.
Cleveland Browns (4-8) AT New England Patriots (9-3)
The Spread: New England by 12
The Pick: New England
The Score: New England, 31-14
The Rationale: The Browns may have Josh Gordon, the only receiver in NFL history to record back-t0-back 200+ yard receiving games. But, they don’t have a quarterback. With both Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell out, Cleveland will be forced to turn to Alex Tanney, a former YouTube sensation following a banner career at Monmouth State. Tanney became famous for throwing balls at moving trucks. He’ll become infamous for getting hit my Mac-truck like defenders.
Oakland Raiders (4-8) AT New York Jets (5-7)
The Spread: New York by 3
The Pick: Oakland
The Score: Oakland, 21-13
The Rationale: Matt McGloin has been playing brilliantly over the past month. The same cannot be said about Geno Smith, who hasn’t thrown a touchdown pass since three days BEFORE the World Series began. Oakland is treading in dangerous waters as a west coast team traveling east to play at 1:00 PM. But, not even jet lag could inspire the Jets’ lackluster passing game.
Miami Dolphins (6-6) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (5-7)
The Spread: Pittsburgh by 3
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami, 17-13
The Rationale: This is, for all intents and purposes, an elimination game for whomever loses. Miami is coming off an impressive victory against the woeful Jets and Pittsburgh has had to deal with the distraction from “Sideline-gate” all week. This should be a classic defensive battle in the cold.
Detroit Lions (7-5) AT Philadelphia Eagles (7-5)
The Spread: Philadelphia by 3
The Pick: Philadelphia
The Score: Philadelphia, 33-27
The Rationale: The Eagles continue to dominate in the first half of games before seeing their leads evaporate down the stretch. Chip Kelly needs to figure out the delicate balance between killing the clock and effectively running his no-huddle offense before it’s too late. This week, they’ll get the benefit of facing a turnover-prone, dome team that plays very poorly outdoors in the cold. Detroit has become the trendy pick by “experts” who look only at Philadelphia’s 32nd ranked pass defense and not at how those rankings are achieved (the fact that the Eagles are typically outnumbered in time of possession being a main factor). In the end, Nick Foles will once again play well. But, it will be LeSean McCoy’s big day that will lead Philadelphia to 8-5.
Buffalo Bills (4-8) AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-9)
The Spread: Tampa Bay by 3
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: Tampa Bay, 23-14
The Rationale: The Buccaneers’ defense is still a quality unit despite injuries and an ineffective offense putting pressure on them to perform. Meanwhile, Buffalo fumbled away yet another chance to get into the playoff race last week. The road woes for the Bills (1-4 this season) will continue in sunny Florida.
Kansas City Chiefs (9-3) AT Washington Redskins (3-9)
The Spread: Kansas City by 3
The Pick: Kansas City
The Score: Kansas City, 34-28
The Rationale: What a difference a year makes. At this point in 2012, Washington was soaring to a division title and Kansas City was sulking its way to the #1 pick. Of course, both of these teams have struggled over the past month. The Redskins have lost 4 in a row while Kansas City has dropped three straight. One of these trends is going to be bucked on Sunday (although a tie is possible, I suppose). I’ll take Kansas City, whose offense appears to suddenly be awakening right as the defense begins to catch the injury bug.
Minnesota Vikings (3-8-1) AT Baltimore Ravens (6-6)
The Spread: Baltimore by 7
The Pick: Baltimore
The Score: Baltimore, 27-11
The Rationale: Toronto Mayor Rob Ford picked Minnesota in this game. So, that’s enough for me to go with the Ravens. That, and the fact that the Vikings are 0-5-1 away from the Metrodome this season. That’s not a good recipe for Matt Cassel and the Vikings.
Tennessee Titans (5-7) AT Denver Broncos (10-2)
The Spread: Denver by 11
The Pick: Denver
The Score: Denver, 34-17
The Rationale: The Titans still have a chance at a wild card berth. But, their bubble will likely pop this weekend against Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The only solace that Tennessee can take is their #1 ranked pass defense. But, even that may not be enough when Ryan Fitzpatrick is directing a lackluster and stagnant offense.
St. Louis Rams (5-7) AT Arizona Cardinals (7-5)
The Spread: Arizona by 6
The Pick: St. Louis
The Score: Arizona, 27-24
The Rationale: The former St. Louis franchise takes on the current incarnation in an NFC West matchup. The Cardinals play much better at home, so a return to University of Phoenix Stadium should help them rebound against the Rams. But, the St. Louis pass rush should also make Carson Palmer’s afternoon a living hell. St. Louis with the points.
New York Giants (5-7) AT San Diego Chargers (5-7)
The Spread: San Diego by 3
The Pick: San Diego
The Score: San Diego, 23-19
The Rationale: If there are two more frustrating teams than these two, let me know. Both are rife with talent that has succeeded in the past. But, they just can’t seem to put it together on a consistent basis. New York has won five of six. But, the west coast hasn’t been kind to them of late.
Seattle Seahawks (11-1) AT San Francisco 49ers (8-4)
The Spread: San Francisco by 3
The Pick: Seattle
The Score: San Francisco, 24-23
The Rationale: This is a really tough game to pick. On one hand, Seattle is the most dominant force in football. But, they’re not playing in front of the 12th man this Sunday and they’re coming off an emotionally charged victory on Monday night over New Orleans. A letdown game is certainly possible. Still, Pete Carroll should have his team ready in a game that can clinch the division for the Seahawks. I just don’t know if they’ll come out on top in what should be a very tight affair.
Carolina Panthers (9-3) AT New Orleans Saints (9-3)
The Spread: New Orleans by 3
The Pick: New Orleans
The Score: New Orleans, 25-20
The Rationale: The battle for the NFC South commences as the Saints and Panthers will meet twice in the final four weeks of the season to determine the division champion (and a likely first round bye). Both teams play well against the other, with Carolina sweeping New Orleans last season. I think these two teams will split, with New Orleans winning on Sunday and Carolina taking it at home two weeks from now.
Dallas Cowboys (7-5) AT Chicago Bears (6-6)
The Spread: Even (Pick ‘em)
The Pick: Chicago
The Score: Chicago, 26-24
The Rationale: I’ve gone back and forth on this game. On one hand, Dallas should have little trouble passing on the Bears. But, that’s almost a vice for the Cowboys because Jason Garrett will get so enamored with the air-attack that he’ll air it out 45-55 times and forget all about balance. Meanwhile, Chicago has a terrific passing game as well. They also have one of the best running backs in the business in Matt Forte. If he touches the ball at least 20 times on Monday, Chicago will win.
Lost in an otherwise mediocre offseason so far for Ruben Amaro Jr. was Tuesday night’s acquisition of RHP Brad Lincoln from the Toronto Blue Jays. After multiple signings of 35+ year old talents like Marlon Byrd and Carlos Ruiz, the Phillies were still left with a gaping hole in their bullpen heading into 2014.
In order to at least partially fill that chasm, Amaro has orchestrated one of his better trades in recent memory. Philadelphia landed RHP Brad Lincoln from Toronto in exchange for 33-year old backup C Erik Kratz and 24-year old LHP Rob Rasmussen.
On the surface, this deal looks like a win for both sides. The Phillies land a talented right handed reliever without having to salvage any of their valuable prospects. Meanwhile, Toronto gets a backup catcher in Kratz and a young, well travelled arm in Rasmussen.
Lincoln, 28, was once the 4th overall pick in the 2006 draft by Pittsburgh. The Pirates tried him at starter, with Lincoln appearing in Pittsburgh’s rotation as recently as 2012. During that 2012 season, the right-hander broke out. He posted career highs in wins (5), strikeouts (88 in 88 IP), and WHIP (1.182). He was also the centerpiece of a trade deadline deal to Toronto that brought another once promising prospect, Travis Snider, to Pittsburgh.
The right-hander is valuable to the Phillies for multiple reasons. First, he’s a right hander who can eat innings out of the bullpen. His mediocre 2013 aside (1-2, 3.98, 25:22 K:BB ratio), Lincoln has been a long reliever and a talented one at that over the course of his first five years in the league. Over the past few years, Philadelphia has relied on the likes of Chad Durbin, David Herndon, and BJ Rosenberg to fill that role. Lincoln is more established and brings a better bet than any of those former options.
Another positive for the Phillies is Lincoln’s youth (29 in May) and affordability. The veteran reliever will be under team control for the next four seasons, meaning that the Phillies will have the option of bringing him back until he hits free agency following the 2017 season.
As for Kratz, it will be sad to see such a valuable clubhouse presence leave the organization. A career minor leaguer when he was first promoted from Lehigh Valley in 2012, Kratz had many memorable moments in red-pinstripes. However, with the resigning of Ruiz, the acquisition of veteran Wil Nieves, and the presence of young Cameron Rupp; the opportunities for Kratz to see playing time were few-and-far-between. With Toronto, a team looking to unload incumbent catcher J.P. Arencibia, E.K. may have a better chance at making the big league roster.
The 24-year old Rasmussen may never get over the jet lag of his young career. A 2nd round pick in the 2010 draft by Miami/Florida, the Pasadena native has already been dealt four times. First, he was shipped to Houston as part of the 2012 Carlos Lee deal. Then, he departed Texas for Los Angeles in exchange for John Ely following that year. In August, the Phillies landed the lefty from the Dodgers for Michael Young. Rasmussen never suited up for a Phillies minor league club. He’ll now take his much traveled talents to one of Toronto’s minor league organizations.
The Phillies may not have landed the big fish this offseason. But, the move to land Lincoln puts the team on the right path towards a return to contention in 2014.
Major League Baseball’s offseason is in full swing and no day has been more impactful than today. For those of us who work the nine-to-five grind, it can be difficult to keep up with all the action that occurs on a day-to-day basis. Here is a recap of all the transactions that took place this morning and afternoon.
Oakland Athletics acquire RHP Jim Johnson from Baltimore Orioles for 2B Jemile Weeks
SkoodSports’ Take: Oakland has been very active this week. Having already agreed to a 2 year, $22 million deal with LHP Scott Kazmir, Billy Beane and the A’s landed their replacement for departing closer Grant Balfour in Johnson. The 30-year old had been a mainstay in the Orioles’ bullpen for nearly a decade. The past two seasons, Johnson has been one of the most consistent closers in baseball, recording a league high 101 saves over that time frame. He should improve an already strong A’s ‘pen.
Weeks, meanwhile, was once a highly touted prospect for Oakland. The 26-year old second baseman is the brother of Milwaukee’s Rickie Weeks. But, Jemile hasn’t experienced the success at the big league level that his brother has. In 2012, the younger Weeks hit .221-2 HR-20 RBI. That was a sharp downturn from his spectacular rookie campaign (.303-2-36) in 2011. Weeks is likely to compete to replace Brian Roberts as the Orioles’ starting 2B.
Last week: 10-4-0
2013 season: 74-91-9
Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) AT Detroit Lions (6-5)
The Spread: Detroit by 6
The Pick: Detroit
The Score: Detroit, 27-20
The Rationale: Matt Flynn is on a short week and playing his first Thanksgiving game against a Lions team that has to be pissed off after a home loss to Tampa Bay. If Detroit loses this one, I don’t see how they can win the division.
Oakland Raiders (4-7) AT Dallas Cowboys (6-5)
The Spread: Dallas by 10
The Pick: Oakland
The Score: Dallas, 31-24
The Rationale: The Cowboys are notorious for playing down to their competition. Oakland comes into this game with a woeful pass defense, one that should be shredded to pieces by the Cowboys this Thanksgiving. But, there’s something about this Matt McGloin kid. Oakland will keep it to single digits.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) AT Baltimore Ravens (5-6)
The Spread: Baltimore by 3
The Pick: Baltimore
The Score: Baltimore, 21-17
The Rationale: The Ravens are at home and that will be the difference. Baltimore is 4-1 at M&T Bank Stadium this season. The Steelers, meanwhile, are 2-4 away from home. Coming off a big win in Cleveland, it may be asking too much of a banged up Steelers team to come up with two consecutive division victories on the road.
Jacksonville Jaguars (2-9) AT Cleveland Browns (4-7)
The Spread: Cleveland by 7
The Pick: Jacksonville
The Score: Jacksonville, 20-17
The Rationale: Cleveland has Brandon Weeden back under center now that Jason Campbell is injured yet again. That means bad things for a city that got teased by Brian Hoyer early on this season. Jacksonville, meanwhile, is suddenly looking at costing itself a top-three pick in next spring’s draft. Still, it’s nice to see some signs of life from an otherwise dead franchise. The Browns, on the other hand, need a quarterback badly. With the sixth pick in the 2014 NFL draft, the Cleveland Browns select…?
Tennessee Titans (5-6) AT Indianapolis Colts (7-4)
The Spread: Indianapolis by 4
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: Tennessee, 24-21
The Rationale: The Colts are trending downward. They’ve lost two of their last three by a combined 59 points. Their only win in that stretch was against these same Titans two Thursdays ago. In that game, the Titans were up two scores in the third quarter before succumbing to a late surge by Andrew Luck. If he continues to get no running game, there won’t be much time for Luck to lead a comeback again versus the Titans.
Chicago Bears (6-5) AT Minnesota Vikings (2-8-1)
The Spread: Minnesota by 2
The Pick: Chicago
The Score: Chicago, 30-24
The Rationale: I get that the Vikings played well enough to tie in Lambeau Field last week. But, that game was against the duo of Scott Tolzien and Matt Flynn. The Vikings’ defense still isn’t good enough to make me feel confident that they can win even against Josh McCown.
Miami Dolphins (5-6) AT New York Jets (5-6)
The Spread: New York by 2
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami, 20-10
The Rationale: It’s rarely a wise move to take Miami in the cold. But, New York’s offense has been in a real rut lately. The poor play of Geno Smith is likely going to send the free falling Jets deeper into a hole. Amazing to think that this is the same team that beat New Orleans. The Dolphins will join the Titans and Chargers as the three prime contenders for the AFC’s sixth seed.
Arizona Cardinals (7-4) AT Philadelphia Eagles (6-5)
The Spread: Philadelphia by 3
The Pick: Philadelphia
The Score: Philadelphia, 27-23
The Rationale: The Eagles come off the bye to face perhaps their stiffest competition nearly two months. Arizona’s defense is incredibly talented, as evidenced by their total destruction of Indianapolis last week. But, the Cardinals at home are a far different breed than on the road, and the Eagles’ offense has been clicking at an accelerated pace.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-8) AT Carolina Panthers (8-3)
The Spread: Carolina by 8
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: Tampa Bay, 24-23
The Rationale: Classic trap game. The Panthers have won seven straight games and appear on the verge of taking over first place from the New Orleans Saints in two weeks. But, hold that thought. The Buccaneers are scorching hot as well, having won three straight games. Tampa Bay has always given the Panthers fits, and it will continue with a massive upset on Sunday.
New England Patriots (8-3) AT Houston Texans (2-9)
The Spread: New England by 8
The Pick: New England
The Score: New Engand, 30-14
The Rationale: The Patriots could be in for a letdown this week. But, I wouldn’t count on it. Houston has been in an absolute free fall for over two months and it’s not likely to get better this quickly. Tom Brady should have a field day.
Atlanta Falcons (2-9) AT Buffalo Bills (4-7)
The Spread: Buffalo by 4
The Pick: Buffalo
The Score: Buffalo, 23-17
The Rationale: How bad are the Falcons? Mike Smith might find himself out of a job if Atlanta loses out. Going into the season, they were considered one of the favorites in the NFC. Now, they’re the odds on favorite for the #1 overall pick. Buffalo has been trending upward, and should beat an Atlanta team that is 0-5 on the road.
St. Louis Rams (5-6) AT San Francisco 49ers (7-4)
The Spread: San Francisco by 9
The Pick: St. Louis
The Score: San Francisco, 23-20
The Rationale: This is a huge game for St. Louis. Left for dead after the loss of Sam Bradford last month, the Rams have suddenly won two in a row by a combined total of 51 points. The schedule is difficult from here-on-out. But, a win over San Francisco and then one at Arizona next week could propel St. Louis into the NFC’s sixth seed. I’m not sure that will happen. But, they’ll keep this one close.
Denver Broncos (9-2) AT Kansas City Chiefs (9-2)
The Spread: Denver by 5
The Pick: Denver
The Score: Denver, 27-13
The Rationale: The Chiefs started 9-0 on the season but will have to avoid a third straight loss this weekend. There is little doubt that Kansas City will be heading to the playoffs. After all, the AFC as a whole is mediocre at best. Still, Denver is coming off a very disappointing loss against New England and it’s a rarity that Peyton Manning loses two games in a row.
Cincinnati Bengals (7-4) AT San Diego Chargers (5-6)
The Spread: San Diego by 1
The Pick: San Diego
The Score: San Diego, 34-28
The Rationale: The Chargers’ race for the postseason began last week with an impressive victory over Kansas City. With a win against the inconsistent Bengals, San Diego can move into the driver’s seat for the sixth seed. This might be the best game of the week.
New York Giants (4-7) AT Washington Redskins (3-8)
The Spread: New York by 1
The Pick: New York
The Score: New York, 20-10
The Rationale: I’m rather shocked that this game was not flexed out of this spot. But, when New York wants something, it gets it. As for the game itself, who cares? These are two teams with no playoff hopes and serious changes coming this offseason. Washington has looked pathetic of late, and that’s why I have to go with New York.
New Orleans Saints (9-2) AT Seattle Seahawks (10-1)
The Spread: Seattle by 6
The Pick: New Orleans
The Score: Seattle, 20-17
The Rationale: Seattle will likely continue their home dominance this week against the #2 team in the NFC. But, it should be an excellent game.
Today, Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly officially named Nick Foles the starting quarterback for the remainder of the season. In other similarly exciting news, man landed on the Moon in 1969, the moors invaded Spain in the 8th century, and Notre Dame is wildly overrated at everything they’ve ever done.
Clearly, this news doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has been alive and conscious the last eight weeks. Foles, 24, has tied the record for touchdowns passed in one game (7), set the record for highest QB rating in one month (152.8 in November), and broken the record for most panties soiled at Lincoln Financial Field (indeterminate, but probably thousands).
With 16 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, the former Arizona Wildcat has been the City of Brotherly Love’s anti-Vick. After two+ seasons of turnovers, bad reads, and stalled drives; Philadelphia is basking in the dazzling stardom that has been bestowed upon their new franchise quarterback. Foles has succeeded where Vick failed. That is, turning the often vociferous city of Philadelphia into a town of starstruck teenagers.
You’ve heard of Bieber-fever; the condition known to turn 16-year old girls into hypnotized sociopaths at the whim of a effeminate looking Canadian “musical artist.” Well, Philadelphia has caught their own strain of the virus. Foles-fever has hit just west of Jersey and it is contagious. Doctors are reporting that every Sunday, the fever spreads like disease at a truck stop men’s room.
Will this young star bring an end to Philadelphia’s long Super Bowl drought? Or, like many before him, will Nick Foles fall short of saving a city turned sour from decades of despair? Over the next five weeks, these questions will come closer to being answered.
Robinson Cano is a tremendous talent and there’s no doubting that. The 31-year old has tallied an OPS over .870 in each of the last five seasons. He’s also durable (seven consecutive years with 159+ GP) and plays a premier position in second base. Why, then, does the five time All Star seem to have no real suitors on the free agent market?
The answer, quite simply, is his agent. That’s right, Cano’s new representation, hip hop artist Jay-Z, has bungled this one from the start. Last summer, Cano’s camp made it known that the free agent was asking for at least $300 million this offseason. No player in the history of the game has reached that plateau, and after bad contracts to the likes of Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Prince Fielder, and Josh Hamilton were handed out the last few years, teams are more reluctant than ever to binge on one player.
Granted, that $300 million estimation was just a bargaining point for Cano and his agents. But, it was still a poorly designed ploy. Not only did it anger the Yankees, who have already spent some of their capital by signing former Braves’ C Brian McCann; but, it also priced out most of the league’s 30 teams from even discussing a contract with Cano.
If teams are publicly made aware that Jay-Z and Cano are seeking upwards of $30 million a year for 10 years, what is the point in even making a call? As predicted by most, Jay-Z was not ready for primetime this offseason. Now, as the Yankees appear closer to signing OF Carlos Beltran, one has to wonder whether or not there will be any money left in the coffers for Cano when he and his representation finally decide to lower their demands.
If it’s not the Yankees, who will it be? At this point, we can strike out most of the big spenders. Boston (Dustin Pedroia), Philadelphia (Chase Utley), Detroit (Ian Kinsler), Texas (Jurickson Profar), Los Angeles (Alexander Guerrero), and Anaheim (Howie Kendrick) could all technically afford Cano. But, don’t appear to have a need at second base.
Other potential landing points like St. Louis, San Francisco, and Chicago (Cubs) all seem unlikely due to budget restrictions and/or high level prospects ready to take the reigns at second.
In the end, Cano could find himself stuck in New York at a price dictated by the organization and not by Jay-Z. Regardless, here are the three most likely destinations for Cano if he ends up someone other than Yankee Stadium next spring:
1. Washington Nationals - At this point, it doesn’t seem very likely that Washington would commit such a large sum to Cano considering their eventual need to resign Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper in four-or-five years. But, they have to be considered a dark horse. Last season, the Nationals got some of the worst production in baseball from their second base spot. Incumbent starter Danny Espinosa was brutal both on the field and at the dish (.158-3-12 in 44 G) and spent most of the season in Syracuse at the AAA level. Washington, considered by most to be the frontrunner in the NL going into 2013, suffered through a dismal offensive campaign due in large part thanks to a porous middle-infield.
But, the Nationals have young 2B Anthony Rendon (.265-7-35 in 98 G) ready for full-time duty. They’re also on the hook for $83 million still due to Jayson Werth over the next four years. A Cano signing could make the Nationals the frontrunners in the NL once again. Or, it could leave them stuck in purgatory when Strasburg and Harper are due for extensions.
2. New York Mets - The Mets just spent $7.5 million on a reclamation project in Chris B. Young. So, spending $27.5 million a year on Cano wouldn’t seem to be too much of a price to pay. Cano has made it known that he would like to stay in New York (Jay-Z would likely prefer that as well). Moving from the Bronx to Queens would allow the Dominican star to remain in the spotlight while simultaneously becoming the Mets’ de facto franchise player, as well.
The Mets’ 2013 payroll was a paltry $88 million. Now, with nearly $40 million coming off the books, New York should feel free to spend to their heart’s content this winter. Signing Cano would allow the team to move Daniel Murphy to 1B short term until Wilmer Flores eventually takes that job in the future.
The Mets seem the most likely alternative destination. But, they have publicly shown reluctance to commit to Cano at anything near 10 years or $30 million per season. We’ll see whether or not their wallets loosen up the longer the superstar remains unsigned.
3. Seattle Mariners - Always a dark horse this time of year, the Seattle Mariners came into this offseason with money to spend and the dreams of avoiding another losing season for the sixth time in seven seasons. For years, the Mariners’ offense has been their achilles heel. With phenoms like Felix Hernandez and Hisashi Iwakuma at the top of the rotation, this should not be a 90+ loss team.
Youngsters like Justin Smoak (.238-20-50), Kyle Seager (.260-22-69), and Michael Saunders (.236-12-46) have shown flashes. But, ultimately, the lack of a solid star middle-of-the-order bat has put too much pressure on a lineup rife with youth (five of the Mariners’ seven most active starters were 25 or younger in 2013). Signing Cano, while expensive, would take a large amount of the burden off of those young bats and allow for them to play a more complimentary role.
Of course, the plan does not come without a few hitches. First, Seattle would have to find the finances to spend on Cano. They are nowhere near a small market and have shown an interest in other big free agents like Shin-Soo Choo and Jacoby Ellsbury. But, Cano is expected to cost considerably more than those two.
Also, Seattle boasts impressive middle-infield depth in their system. Youngsters Nick Franklin (.225-12-45) and Dustin Ackley (.253-4-31) were once top prospects and still have value around the league. It remains to be seen whether or not Seattle is willing to give up on these kids and go with the proven (and expensive) commodity in Cano. If Seattle did sign the former Yankee, though, they could theoretically package Franklin/Ackley to acquire help at other positions.
In the end, it’s still a wise bet to believe that Cano resigns with the Yankees. Even if New York does sign Beltran; they will still have a massive hole at second that is unlikely to be filled adequately by anybody else.
Should the Dominican superstar choose that the New York life is not for him, the alternatives are thinner than Kate Moss’ waist line.
The Philadelphia Eagles announced this week via their Instagram account that the team would wear their black jerseys this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals. Philadelphia has typically worn these uniforms once a season; although, in recent years, the use of their black alternates has become more scarce.
This won’t be the first time that Philadelphia wears black at home against Arizona. The Eagles defeated the Cardinals 48-20 on Thanksgiving night 2008 while wearing the same uniforms. They’ll hope for deja vu all over again this Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s a list of the games that the Eagles have worn black in since the jerseys were introduced all the way back in 2003:
2003: 11/16 vs. New York Giants (Won, 28-10)
2003: 12/21 vs. San Francisco 49ers (Lost, 31-28 in OT)
2004: 10/31 vs. Baltimore Ravens (Won, 15-10)
2004: 1/2/2005 vs. Cincinnati Bengals (Lost, 38-10)
2005: 9/25 vs. Oakland Raiders (Won, 23-20)
2005: 12/5 vs. Seattle Seahawks (Lost, 42-0)
2006: 11/19 vs. Tennessee Titans (Lost, 31-13)
2008: 11/27 vs. Arizona Cardinals (Won, 48-20)
2009: 11/29 vs. Washington Redskins (Won, 27-24)
2012: 10/28 vs. Atlanta Falcons (Lost, 30-17)
As one can see, the Eagles have worn their black uniforms more sparingly in recent years. This is likely due to the fact that the NFL mandated in 2007 that teams can only wear alternate uniforms once per season. In 2007, the Eagles utilized their “alternate uniform quota” on their 75th anniversary blue and yellow uniforms. In 2010, the same situation occurred, as Philadelphia wore their kelly green alternates for opening day.
Last Week: 3-9-2
2013 Season: 64-87-9
Overall (since 2012): 180-191-16
New Orleans Saints (8-2) AT Atlanta Falcons (2-8)
The Spread: New Orleans by 10
The Pick: New Orleans
The Score: New Orleans, 27-14
The Rationale: The Falcons have given up and Mike Smith’s seat is hotter than a bikini car wash.
Pittsburgh Steelers (4-6) AT Cleveland Browns (4-6)
The Spread: Cleveland by 1
The Pick: Pittsburgh
The Score: Pittsburgh, 21-14
The Rationale: The Steelers are underdogs against the Browns for the first time since 2003. This is also a relative playoff game, as the team that wins will be right in the middle of the battle for the sixth seed in the AFC. Ben Roethlisberger, who will likely corner a few Cleveland girls in a bathroom stall before the game, needs this one to go his way.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8) AT Detroit Lions (6-4)
The Spread: Detroit by 10
The Pick: Tampa Bay
The Score: Detroit, 24-20
The Rationale: Detroit has been playing very inconsistently. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay has won two in a row. This is the most excited Central Florida has been since George Zimmerman was set free.
Minnesota Vikings (2-8) AT Green Bay Packers (5-5)
The Spread: Green Bay by 5
The Pick: Minnesota
The Score: Minnesota, 23-19
The Rationale: If there was ever a time for the Vikings to beat the Packers in Lambeau, this is it. Scott Tolzien is starting once again for Green Bay. He hasn’t been awful. But, he’s a turnover machine, which isn’t a good recipe when you’re playing a bad team at home.
San Diego Chargers (4-6) AT Kansas City Chiefs (9-1)
The Spread: Kansas City by 5
The Pick: San Diego
The Score: San Diego, 20-10
The Rationale: The Chiefs were exposed on Sunday night. They finally played a good team and had to come from behind. Shockingly, Alex Smith was proven to be a pumpkin. San Diego is inconsistent at many levels. But, the Chiefs will continue to struggle against teams that can score points.
Chicago Bears (6-4) AT St. Louis Rams (4-6)
The Spread: St. Louis by 1
The Pick: Chicago
The Score: Chicago, 30-20
The Rationale: This spread scares me. But, it’s only Wednesday and the Rams are coming off a bye. Chicago won a hard fought game over Baltimore last week, which suggests that this could be a classic letdown affair. Still, the Bears are the better team by far and it’s not like my record could be any worse.
Carolina Panthers (7-3) AT Miami Dolphins (5-5)
The Spread: Carolina by 5
The Pick: Miami
The Score: Miami, 20-17
The Rationale: Carolina is coming off a very exciting victory over New England. Their emotions on a short week could get the best of them as they take on another AFC East foe.
New York Jets (5-5) AT Baltimore Ravens (4-6)
The Spread: Baltimore by 4
The Pick: New York
The Score: New York, 23-21
The Rationale: The Jets have been consistently inconsistent, winning and losing back-to-back all season long. Let’s keep the trend going, as Nick Folk nails a game winning field goal to sink the defending champions.
Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9) AT Houston Texans (2-8)
The Spread: Houston by 10
The Pick: Jacksonville
The Score: Houston, 30-28
The Rationale: What a game! A matchup of the two worst teams in football sees the Texans sending Case Keenum back out there against a pathetic Jaguars group. It’s a matchup between the movable force and the destructible object.
Tennessee Titans (4-6) AT Oakland Raiders (4-6)
The Spread: Oakland by 1
The Pick: Tennessee
The Score: Tennessee, 24-20
The Rationale: Oakland showed some life by beating Houston last week. But, the Texans are a joke and Tennessee if likely playing for their coaching staff’s jobs. Matt McGloin was impressive in his debut. But, expect some growing pains.
Indianapolis Colts (7-3) AT Arizona Cardinals (6-4)
The Spread: Arizona by 1
The Pick: Arizona
The Score: Arizona, 20-17
The Rationale: Arizona is 4-1 at home and boasts one of the best scoring defenses in football. Meanwhile, Indianapolis is 4-1 on the road. But, their inconsistency against the NFC West has been clear as day (defeated San Francisco and Seattle, lost to St. Louis by 30).
Dallas Cowboys (5-5) AT New York Giants (4-6)
The Spread: New York by 3
The Pick: Dallas
The Score: Dallas, 24-21
The Rationale: The Giants have won four consecutive games against the likes of Josh Freeman, Matt Barkley, Terrelle Pryor, and Scott Tolzien. Congratulations on beating that quintet of collegiate superstars turned NFL turds and good luck against Tony Romo and the well rested Cowboys.
Denver Broncos (9-1) AT New England Patriots (7-3)
The Spread: Denver by 3
The Pick: Denver
The Score: Denver, 30-27
The Rationale: The Patriots lost a tough one on Monday and my initial gut feeling was to take them to win against Denver. But, then I looked at the match ups. Yes, the Broncos should have trouble covering Rob Gronkowski. But, who doesn’t? The problem for New England comes from their banged up secondary. Aqib Talib, when he’s not going absolutely insane on the field, has clearly been limited by a hip injury. Alphonso Dennard and Steve Gregory also missed this Monday’s affair, and would be sorely missed against Peyton Manning.
San Francisco 49ers (6-4) AT Washington Redskins (3-7)
The Spread: San Francisco by 5
The Pick: San Francisco
The Score: San Francisco, 39-13
The Rationale: Washington stinks. Their defense might be one of the worst in football. That’s good news for a struggling San Francisco offense, who could bust out of a slump on Monday.
Big night for the Indiana Pacers. They’re coming off their first loss of the season against Chicago and get set to take on the Knicks at the Garden. Indiana comes in at 9-1 and boasting the best record in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Knicks, predictably, are struggling out of the gate and are rumored to be looking to shake up their roster with a big trade. A loss to the Pacers tonight could be the lynchpin that begins the massive overhaul in Manhattan. Easy money, folks. Take the Pacers with the points.
Lock it down, folks: Indiana Pacers – 6 @ New York Knicks
On the other hand, the San Antonio Spurs take the best record in basketball home with them to take on the Boston Celtics. 3/4 of Beantown appears to be content with tanking, which, ironically would make every Boston loss the first time that this city hasn’t complained about the refs during a defeat. The Celtics have won games this season that they shouldn’t have, including a triumph over the two-time defending champion Heat. I don’t think Boston will defeat San Antonio. But, they have enough talent to keep this one relatively close. The 14 point spread for the Spurs just screams Boston.
Lock it down, folks: San Antonio Spurs – 14 vs. Boston Celtics
In the NHL this evening, a quintet of games is highlighted by Pittsburgh @ Washington in a matchup of Metropolitan Division rivals. It’s always a great battle when Sidney “Crybaby” Crosby takes on Alex Ovechkin. Pittsburgh is a road favorite in this game, which isn’t shocking considering the world’s love affair with the golden child, Crosby. The Capitals have been playing very good hockey, and I think that they should at least keep this to a one goal game at home.
Lock it down, folks: Washington Capitals +1.5 vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Finally, we have the dud of the NHL schedule as the Columbus Blue Jackets head north of the border to the Rogers Saddledome to take on the Calgary Flames. Both of these teams come in at 7-11-3 and neither appears very poised for a playoff run this season. Neither team can score or stop the puck from going in right now. So, one has to wonder which side of the pendulum this stinker will swing. When in doubt, look in the net-mouth. Sergei Bobrovsky > Karri Ramo/Reto Berra.
Lock it down, folks: Columbus Blue Jackets +1.5 vs. Calgary Flames
- The Jets, who skipped individual team meetings last night to go to a Buffalo Dave and Buster’s, will struggle early on offense against Buffalo; much like Geno Smith’s daily battle with the English language.
- Rex Ryan, who used most of his D&B’s game tickets to buy a custom made foot massager, will regret signing Ed Reed when the safety is beat for a long touchdown by Stevie Johnson in the fourth quarter.
- Bills win, 23-17
Baltimore Ravens (4-5) AT Chicago Bears (5-4)
- Joe Flacco, whose offseason megadeal is quickly becoming the symbol for overspending on above-average quarterbacks, will put together the best game of his season.
- Down Goes McCown: Bears backup QB Josh McCown is going to feel the pressure and choke under it’s massive weight (and we’re not just talking about that of Haloti Ngata).
- Ravens win, 28-13
Cleveland Browns (4-5) AT Cincinnati Bengals (6-4)
- It’s the biggest game for Cleveland since 2007. Which can only mean one thing; a massive letdown for the entire city of Cleveland.
- Andy Dalton’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde season will continue. A week after the former TCU Horned Frog threw 3 interceptions, Dalton will toss 3 touchdowns (2 to AJ Green).
- Bengals win, 26-11
Washington Redskins (3-6) AT Philadelphia Eagles (5-5)
- In week one, LeSean McCoy absolutely torched the Redskins. It will be deja vu all over again in Philadelphia.
- Washington owner Daniel Snyder will agree to change his team’s name after the game. If only to avoid the connection between “Redskins” and the absolute spanking their butts just took on the field.
- Eagles win, 38-20
Detroit Lions (6-3) AT Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6)
- Ben Roethlisrapist, who asked for a trade last week, will rescind his demand after finding out that suspected felons are advised not to cross state lines.
- Calvin Johnson, the undisputed best wide receiver in football, will have a down day. That’s right, he’ll only catch 6 passes for 120 yards and 2 touchdowns against a mediocre Pittsburgh secondary.
- Lions win, 29-24
Atlanta Falcons (2-7) AT Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8)
- The most disappointing team in the NFL, Atlanta owner Arthur Blank will blame his team’s loss to Tampa Bay on the declining condition of the Georgia Dome (despite the fact that the team isn’t even playing at home).
- Frankenstein’s Monster, AKA Mike Glennon, will put together the best game of his career against a very poor Atlanta secondary. That is, he won’t look like a D-III backup on Sunday.
- Buccaneers win, 24-21
Arizona Cardinals (5-4) AT Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8)
- After this game records the worst ratings since the Decatur Staleys defeated the London Silly Nannies in the 1948 Little Orphan Annie’s Ovaltine Bowl, Jacksonville owner Shad Khan (who has the name of a Mortal Kombat villain and the mustache of a Super Mario menace) announces that he’s moving the team to Los Angeles. When asked why, Khan replies that the “Jaguars are used to playing in front of small and apathetic crowds, so L.A. should be a perfect fit).
- Carson Palmer will throw an interception for the 10th consecutive game this season. With the game in Jacksonville, it will raise the question; if Carson Palmer throws an interception and no one is there to see it, is he still a crappy quarterback?
- Cardinals win, 17-10
Oakland Raiders (3-6) AT Houston Texans (2-7)
- Case Keenum (Houston) and Matt McGloin (Penn State) will face off in the battle of the backups. McGloin’s success could make him the biggest story to come out of Penn State since Joe Paterno allowed Jerry Sandusky to rape children and the entire fan base still supported him.
- With the Raiders down by 24 late in the fourth, CBS will interrupt the game with a rerun of CSI. Viewers everywhere rejoice.
- Texans win, 34-10
San Diego Chargers (4-5) AT Miami Dolphins (4-5)
- Richie Incognito’s impact on the downfall of the Miami Dolphins is only surpassed by his impact on the structural integrity of every scale he steps on.
- San Diego RB Danny Woodhead, one of the most exciting players in the league, is mistaken for a little boy when attempting to enter Miami’s SunLife Stadium and is only allowed in after he moves his double parked Big Wheel and promises to pick up his toys before the game.
- Chargers win, 27-17
San Francisco 49ers (6-3) AT New Orleans Saints (7-2)
- San Francisco’s roster comes in fresh off a brutal loss to Carolina and with injuries mounting up. There haven’t been this many bruised and beaten black people in the SuperDome since Hurricane Katrina.
- The Saints haven’t lost at home since the Nixon administration. Which is ironic because Sean Payton, who has become as revered as Bill Belichick, is just as much of a crook as the 37th president was.
- Saints win, 30-17
Green Bay Packers (5-4) AT New York Giants (3-6)
- Eli Manning (16 interceptions) is reminded by the referees at halftime that the object of playing quarterback is to score touchdowns for your own team, not the other one.
- Green Bay QB Scott Tolzien will start the game under center and finish it in a filth filled swamp outside the Meadowlands.
- Giants win, 24-11
Minnesota Vikings (2-7) AT Seattle Seahawks (9-1)
- Who’s under center for Minnesota this week? The Vikings’ QB situation would make Abbott and Costello proud.
- Percy Harvin, who played the first four years of his career in Minneapolis, returns to the field for the first time this season against his former team. The diminutive wide receiver will make most of his impact on the sideline, which is where all of the Seahawks starters will be in the fourth quarter.
- Seahawks win, 38-3
Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) AT Denver Broncos (8-1)
- Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe will start despite being arrested for possession of marijuana earlier this week, making him the 420th professional athlete this year to get away with a crime that any other citizen would be doing hard time for.
- Andy Reid, fresh off a week long bye week bender at Golden Corrall, will miss the second quarter after suffering from explosive diarrhea. When asked afterwards if he’d ever had that type of situation occur before, Reid responds, “did you see my coaching in the 2002, 2003, and 2008 NFC Championship games?”
- Broncos win, 24-14
New England Patriots (7-2) AT Carolina Panthers (6-3)
- Cam Newton, known as Superman to his many adoring fans, will look more like Jimmy Olsen against the Patriots’ impressive pass rush.
- Tom Brady will spend the first half of the game shocking the Panthers (who haven’t allowed a first half touchdown all season). He’ll then spend the second half milking the clock and thinking of what Giselle will be wearing that evening.
- Patriots win, 28-13