Monday, January 16, 2012

1/16: NFL Wrap, Aussie Open Picks, etc.

Greetings everyone... let's hit the NFL first...
  • 49ers 36, Saints 32 - What a game this seemed to be. With the interest of full disclosure, I missed the entirety of this one while at the Hawks/T-Wolves extravaganza on Saturday night, but here we are anyway. I have to publicly apologize to Alex Smith for all of the doubts and dismissals after his 299 yard, 4 TD (1 rushing), 0 INT performance including the game-winner with under 10 ticks to go. He finished with a higher QB rating than Drew Brees (who threw for nearly 5 bills, but threw 2 picks as well), and put up 36 points. All you can ask for. This was the best game of the weekend.
  • Pats 45, Broncos 10 - Because I realize that this game has already gone through the entire media cycle, I'll just say this, Tom Brady is better than you. 26 of 34 for 363 and 6 TDs. Six. Touchdowns. Done.
  • Ravens 20, Texans 13 - Weird game here. The Ravens scored 17 points in the first quarter by themselves, and the teams combined for just 16 points elsewhere. Jacoby Jones may have been the Ravens MVP, and he plays for the Texans. I thought Joe Flacco was typically underwhelming (14 of 27 for just 176) but he avoided the big mistake, and that was all he needed to do against the grease fire that was TJ Yates (0 TD, 3 INT and it was worse than that). Baltimore tried everything to give this thing away, but Yates couldn't take it.
  • Giants 37, Packers 20 - Obviously, this is the shocker of the weekend. The Giants go on the road, win by 17, and it could've been worse had they gotten the call right on the Jennings fumble early (egregious). Eli was spectacular, but I thought Hakeem Nicks was unquestionably the best player on the field on Sunday going for 165 and 2 TDs including a long catch-and-run, and of course, the hail mary at the end of the half. Aaron Rodgers was by no means awful yesterday, but he wasn't typical Rodgers either going just 26 of 46 and missing a few threw throws you'd never expect him to miss. Couple that with 3 lost fumbles and the aforementioned hail mary, and you have a dagger loss.
  • Aussie Open Picks? Is that really in the title? Well, yes, yes it is. My close friend James is a tennis diehard, and has done the courtesy of forwarding me some informed picks. They are as follows: Novak Djokovic as the Men's champ (Jarkko Nieminen as a sleeper), and Serena Williams as the Women's champ (Christina McHale as the sleeper). Thanks, James.
  • A pair of big-time injury concerns in the NBA: Dwyane Wade's ankle injury isn't going away, and there is no timeline on when he'll come back. This isn't a season-challenging situation, but it's still troubling for them. Also, Chris Paul went limping off the other night against LA and while the MRI on his hamstring was negative, he's day to day.
  • NBA Box Score Roundup - The Warriors notch their first road win of the season in a 99-91 triumph over the Pistons. Monta Ellis led the way with an efficient (for him) 22 points on just 14 FGA, while Greg Monroe notched 25 and 8 in the losing cause. Utah came out with a surprising 10-point road win in Denver thanks to a complete annihilation of the Nugget front-line by Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson. Denver went small with a lot of Gallinari and Harrington, and the Jazz beat up on them as a result with 44 and 24 combined from Jefferson and Millsap. And finally, Tim Duncan put up his best game of the young season with a 24/11 against the Suns in the Spurs 102-91 win. While we're here, I really, really enjoy Kawhi Leonard's work. Just a note.
  • One college hoops game to hit: Ohio State beats up on Indiana in Columbus 80-63. Jared Sullinger put up a ho-hum 16/9, but the story was Lenzelle Smith Jr. who had a career-high 28 points on 10-12 shooting. I still firmly believe that OSU has the best starting 5 in the country, and when rotations shorten a bit, they are scary.
What to watch for on this MLK Day...
  • NBA - Bulls @ Grizz - ESPN 1:00 - Nothing like live hoops on a Monday at 1:00 pm, and with two playoff teams, that's a nice warmup.
  • NCAAB - #15 Louisville @ #24 Marquette - ESPN 3:30 - The Cardinal are scuffling a bit right now, but these are two "lock" tourney teams in the always competitive Big East.
  • NBA - Raptors @ Hawks - SportSouth or NBA-TV 4:00 - I'll be in the building this afternoon as the undermanned Hawks run into Toronto. That's about as exciting as it gets.
  • NCAAB - Texas A&M @ #9 Missouri - ESPN 5:30 - Missouri is a complete gauntlet at home, so good luck to the Aggies.
  • NCAAB - Pitt @ #1 Syracuse - ESPN 7:30 - Most shocking record in college hoops is Pitt at 11-7 and 0-5 in the Big East. That seems unfathomable to me, and it'll only get worse today.
  • NBA - Zombies @ Celtics - TNT 8:00 - Did you know Boston was 4-7? How about the fact that they've looked as bad as that record indicates? No depth at all, and showing age isn't exactly where you want to be when the young OKC team comes to town.
  • NCAAB - #4 Baylor @ #10 Kansas - ESPN 9:30 - Easily the best college game of the day, and maybe the most compelling of any game all day. Baylor is finally living up to their immense talent, but going into the Phog is never easy, and Thomas Robinson will beat up on Perry Jones.
  • NBA - Mavs @ Lakers - TNT 10:30 - This is always an entertaining rivalry-type matchup, and Kobe has notched 40+ in 4 straight games. I'm in.

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