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2011 NFL Wild Card Weekend: Sorting Out Winners From The Losers, Game By Game

The NFL Playoffs start this weekend with the four Wild Card teams traveling to the homes of the bottom two-division winners.

The top two teams in the AFC and the NFC both get a bye, as they will wait to see who their opponents will be in the Divisional Rounds.

Now let’s separate the winners form the losers, by looking at Wild Card Weekend game by game:

Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets*

Even thought the Jets have hailed themselves the team to beat, Colts QB Peyton Manning is dynamic and has had the Jets number in the past.

The Jets defense loves to blitz the opposing QB, but won’t work because Manning gets better under pressure. Fact is the Jets defense was better in 2009 and Manning eat them alive in the second half of AFC Championship Game.

The Jets-D needs to figure out how to get back there and fast because the Colts O-line sits atop the NFL. Leadership is one of Manning’s biggest strengths, but it is quite the opposite for Jets QB Mark Sanchez, who floundered in the second half of the season.

The Colts defense’s weakness is stopping the run, so that should take some of the demands off Sanchez, as the Jets will run the ball a lot. LT and Shonn Greene will have to come up big for Game-green, hopefully resting Week 17 will help the tandem get healthy again.

Look for the Jets to use back-up QB Brad Smith to run the Wild Cat to shake-up the Colts-D, but the veteran defense with lots of playoff experience won’t be fooled that much.

Rex Ryan needs to get his head checked and “making it personal” with Manning is just setting up his team to get killed. Ryan just needs to put a foot in his mouth. 

WINNER: COLTS BEAT JETS 28-10

Kansas City Chiefs vs. Baltimore Ravens*

The Chiefs are legitimate again, as Kansas City has football fever but facing the Ravens will be a huge test. The Chiefs ended the season losing at home to the Raiders, which left too many questions on the table.

The Ravens have only gotten better, and RB Ray Rice has finally found his feet towards in the second half of the season. Rice can pound the average Chiefs defense, but the Ravens offense is very balanced all-around and QB Joe Flacco has proven very solid at the helm.

The Chiefs offense relies heavily on the run game, with duo Jamal Charles and Thomas Jones. Ravens defense stops the run better than anyone, so Chiefs will be forced to throw.

QB Matt Cassel is just not reliable as a deep passer and the Ravens are weak defending deep, middle passes. Cassel will have to relay on his arm against playoff teams, and the Chiefs have not defeated a playoff team all season.

Arrowhead Stadium is known to be one of the nosiest and the fans have definitely done their part in 2010, so expect the place to be shaken on Saturday afternoon but it won’t be enough.

WINNER: RAVENS BEAT CHIEFS 21-6

Philadelphia Eagles vs. Green Bay Packers*

Michael Vick, need I say more? Continue reading ‘2011 NFL Wild Card Weekend: Sorting Out Winners From The Losers, Game By Game’ »

New York Yankees: Waiting Game Continues With Andy Pettitte’s Decision

At the end of 2010 season, New York Yankees ace Andy Pettitte used the word retirement when speaking to Yankees GM Brian Cashman about whether he would return to the team in 2011.

For the last two seasons Pettitte made it pretty clear that his intentions were to return for another season but the final decision would be made with his family.

Pettitte’s sentiments couldn’t come in a worse off-season, as the Yankees need his talents back in the Bronx more then ever. With the team failing to pick-up another starter, the pressure and guilt has unfortunately fallen on Pettitte’s lap.

All there is to go on is unconfirmed hearsay that Pettitte’s decision is leaning towards retirement. That is what fans have to go on and it seems the Yankees don’t know much more.

During the Winter Meetings, Pettitte did call GM Cashman, as his main concern was that the Yankees were not waiting on him. He did not want them to miss any moves or opportunities waiting on his decision. Cashman said that was the first time he became uncertain of Pettitte’s need to play baseball any longer.

Pettitte’s added silence is making all the retirement rumors seem more like the Yankees upcoming reality. Life in the Bronx sans the Southpaw and the core four will be no more.

If Pettitte waited past this week, I would be shocked because he is not pulling a Brett Favre. Rest assured, Pettitte is really torn.

This choice has to be unreservedly unfaltering with no regrets. I will respect Pettitte’s decision no matter what the outcome. He deserves that at the very least.

It was always an honor to cheer for Andy Pettitte, whatever 2011 brings.

As for the Yankees, it has been an off-season of waiting and so far nothing has gone their way. As they say, when it rains it pours.

“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either in or out. There’s no such thing as a life in-between.” – Pat Riley

Congratulations To Ballhyped.com Blog Award Winners

ESPNW: A Sincere Opinion From A ‘W’ About New ESPN For Women

On December 6, 2010, ESPNW was introduced, as a website for women who are passionate sports fans and athletes.

In essence, it is the women’s version of ESPN.

As a female sports blogger, I’ve been asked for my opinion numerous times about ESPNW, so now I will share it.

The sports world has always been predominantly male in all aspects. Women were not supposed to be passionate sports fans because the gender divide was so vast.

Even as women have risen in most industries over the last two decades, the sports industry did not budge.

Then the Internet came along, it opened a new door for women in sports because it allows anyone to express their opinion without being prejudged by gender.

In a sense, it shielded us from gender discrimination, and in turn women utilized the opportunity and have taken major strides because of it.

Now women are hosting Sportscenter, sitting at round tables, writing columns and—like myself—blogging about sports right along side men.

Here are my two reasons why ESPNW is not going to work—

  1. Professional Women’s Sports are boring in comparison to men’s. Literally, the WNBA is about as fun to watch as paint drying. The only female sports that I watch are tennis and the Olympics, which is minimal anyway. So, the thought of a website dedicated to the female fan and athlete seems senseless considering the huge lack of interest. What drives me nuts is that—because I am female—other women get quite upset that I have zero interest in writing about our my own sex. Why do I have to like female sports? The fact is, the skill level and overall talent doesn’t compare to the male athlete, nor will it ever. Continue reading ‘ESPNW: A Sincere Opinion From A ‘W’ About New ESPN For Women’ »

Lady Loves Pinstripes Just Wanted To Say….

Here Is A Bad Idea: Bartolo Colon In New York Yankee Pinstripes

The name Bartolo Colon and the New York Yankees should never be linked in a sentence again this offseason.

Yes, Colon won the 2005 American League Cy Young Award, but that is not what resonates in my memory.

Back in 2008, the Red Sox were the only team interested in signing the overweight pitcher, who stood at 5’11″ and tipped the scale at 245 pounds. Making seven starts as a member of the Red Sox, the injury-prone Colon found himself back on the DL again.

At the time, Colon left Boston for his home in the Dominican Republic to tend to personal issues and never left. The reason was he didn’t feel like it.

Colon’s attitude is why no team wanted him in the first place. Add that to all the injuries and that, my friend, is the definition of being unreliable.

By no means am I trying to overlook how talented Colon used to be, but since he took home pitching’s biggest honor, he has been a mess.

In 2005, Colon had 21 wins in 33 starts and two complete games, giving up 26 home runs, striking out 157 and pitching a total of 222 innings.

Then, from 2006-2009, Colon had 14 wins in 47 starts and one complete game, allowing 44 balls to go yard, recording 172 strikeouts and pitching a total of 226 innings.

Need I say more? Continue reading ‘Here Is A Bad Idea: Bartolo Colon In New York Yankee Pinstripes’ »