Ramble On Sports

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Archive for December, 2009

Lamarr Woodley brings pathetic Steelers to new low

Posted by bdowd625 on December 30, 2009

This story about Pittsburgh Steeler linebacker Lamarr Woodley made my day today. Apparently Woodley, in typical Steeler jerkoff fashion, is prediciting that the Patriots and Bengals will “lay down” in their season finales against the Texans and Jets, respectively. The Steelers need both teams to win in order for them to get into the playoffs, so he’s stooped to calling them out, saying that they will lose on purpose. Newsflash, Lamarr. The Pats and Bengals have played well enough this season to clinch playoff berths and do whatever the hell they want in Week 17. New England could run Scott Zolak out there at quarterback and I wouldn’t care at this point. That’s what happens when you qualify for the postseason a little early – you’ve earned the right to rest your starters, go for the win or not even show up at the stadium that day.

Not in Steelerland, however. Where they’re from, everyone needs to bow down and lay everything on the line so they can get back to the postseason. After all, these are the mighty Steelers we’re talking about here. The same mighty Steelers that lost five straight during the regular season to the likes of the Raiders and Chiefs. But, as Woodley says, every team will be scared of Pittsburgh if they get to the playoffs. Doubtful. Your team is actually pretty pathetic.

The Steelers are another one of my least favorite teams in the NFL, so I hope the Pats start all their second-stringers and get absolutely annihilated on Sunday. The Bengals too. It’s not their job to make sure you get to the playoffs, Lamarr. You’re going to find that out the hard way soon enough. Now go give that Super Bowl trophy a kiss goodbye.

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Jason Bay signing – Opinion 2

Posted by Bill Koch on December 30, 2009

Can anyone really blame Jason Bay for taking all that cash from the New York Mets?

I certainly can’t be too salty at the now former Boston Red Sox left fielder after he agreed in principle to a four-year, $66-million deal with the not-so-Amazins on Tuesday. The contract includes a vesting option for a fifth year, a general sticking point between Bay and the Red Sox throughout negotiations that started early in the 2009 season. Boston only wanted to go four years maximum with Bay, perhaps even three years with an option for a fourth.

For my money, Bay is a solid guy who got lucky to hit free agency at the right time. I’ll probably never have a bad word to say about him, because he came into a very difficult situation when he was traded to Boston in 2008 and did an admirable job. He strikes out a ton and occasionally goes ice cold for weeks at a time, but his career numbers are still pretty consistent. His OPS has hovered at or above .900 in five of his six full seasons in the big leagues, he’s hit 29 or more doubles four times, hit 31 or more homers four times and driven in 94 or more runs three times. His choice to go to the Mets is a dubious one if he wants to equal those numbers, because now he’ll have the pleasure of playing half his games in cavernous Citi Field. Those fly balls that scraped The Wall in Boston barely make it out of the infield in Queens.

If you’re a Bay fan and you wanted to see him back in Boston, you can direct your scorn at a three-headed monster consisting of Theo Epstein, Matt Holiday and J.D. Drew. This isn’t the first time these three guys have been on a list together – Epstein hearts both of them 4-eva, and their names have come up associated with moves to the Red Sox for most of the second half of the decade. Let’s break down how each of those three men played a part in Bay leaving Boston behind.

Epstein got one of the guys on his personal list (others include but are not limited to Julio Lugo, Byung-Hyun Kim, Wily Mo Pena and Casey Kotchman) when he convinced Drew to leave $33 million on the table in Los Angeles and sign a five-year, $70-million deal with Boston in 2007. Only true devotees to some of baseball’s evolving statistics like OPS+ and VORP can appreciate Drew – the average fan sees him as a lazy dog who refuses to play hurt, a guy who makes way too much money to hit sixth in the batting order and someone who has been sheltered by This Manager against dominant left-handed pitching over the past two seasons. Those people can’t see how Drew could hold a candle to Bay, no doubt a sour patch in the negotiations when Bay proved to be more valuable to the Red Sox last season that Drew ever has been in his three years in Boston. There’s no way that Bay could have come back for less cash and less years on his deal than Drew, and no cries of poverty by the Red Sox were being entertained after they lavished $85 million on a No. 3 starter (John Lackey) and $15.5 million on an aging center fielder (37-year-old Mike Cameron).

That brings us to Holliday, who is currently considering an eight-year, $128-million offer to resign with St. Louis. Holliday has previously been linked with Boston as a potential replacement for The Lazy, Overpaid Scumbag Who Used To Wear No. 24 and Bay himself, a product of Epstein’s love affair with the former Rockies and A’s left fielder. The fact that Holliday’s OPS was a fairly pedestrian .831 during his brief cameo in the American League with Oakland and that he hit a home run every 30-or-so plate appearances with the A’s didn’t seem to bother Epstein all that much. Maybe it should – Mark Bellhorn’s OPS with the Red Sox in 2004 was .817. You all remember Bellhorn, right? Yes, that Mark Bellhorn, he of the league-leading 177 strikeouts in that magical ’04 season. I know, I know – that’s manipulating the numbers in my favor. So, to be fair, let’s try this. According to the Similarity Scores at http://www.baseball-reference.com, Holliday’s career numbers compare best to those of David Wright and – wait for it – Jason Bay. Is Holliday really worth three more years and double that cash that Bay is guaranteed in New York?

Which brings us back to Epstein. It’s been a curious offseason for Brookline’s Boy Wonder. He appears to have reached a bit (I’m trying to be nice) to get Lackey, failed in bids to acquire Felix Hernandez from Seattle and Adrian Gonzalez from San Diego, signed Cameron to conceivably set up a trade involving one of his best young players (Jacoby Ellsbury), still hasn’t said a word about trying to extend Victor Martinez and might end up being fitted for another gorilla suit after 2010 when Josh Beckett becomes a free agent. The Red Sox lineup was at least one bat short in each of the past two postseasons with Bay in the lineup, and now it appears to be two bats short with no plans to add any impact hitters to pair with Martinez in the middle of the order. Epstein’s insistence upon building a team with good pitching and solid defense is the right philosophy, but that doesn’t mean that Boston has to be allergic to the batter’s box along the way. The bottom line is that today, with Bay gone, the Red Sox are a worse team than they were yesterday. Epstein’s job is to improve that situation. I’m almost afraid of what he might try next.

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Jason Bay signing – Opinion 1

Posted by bdowd625 on December 30, 2009

We all knew this day would come sooner or later. After a little more than a year as a productive member of the Boston Red Sox, left fielder Jason Bay is packing up his things and heading to the New York Mets, the recipient of a four-year, $66 million contract. Sure, I’m sad to see him go – he had some clutch hits for the Sox and by all accounts was an excellent teammate during his time in Beantown – but it’s not like we’re saying goodbye to a first ballot Hall of Famer here. He had good power numbers, but he also seemed to whiff whenever pitchers threw him anything other than a 95-mph fastball right down the heart of the plate.

Part of me feels bad for Bay because of the way he and his agent mishandled his contract situation. This was his one chance to cash in on the open market, and the Sox’ alleged offer of four years at $60 million just wasn’t sweet enough for him. It’s obviously his right to turn down that offer and listen to other, more lucrative options. But Bay and his agent seemed to miscalculate his worth, thinking that other teams would be more than willing to give him a guaranteed fifth year at somewhere between $16-18 million per season. The Mets did include a fifth year valued at $14 million, but Bay needs to hit a handful of statistical marks for that option to vest.

I think that if Bay had known he was only going to get $6 million more from the Mets, he would have been happy to return to Boston – a place he has a chance to win a title every season. Hindsight is 20-20, however, and Bay is bound for Queens. I wish him well in his new home, I just don’t know if he will be as productive as he has been in previous seasons. Citi Field is notorious for being a pitcher’s park  and Bay – a dead pull hitter – will need to start crushing the ball to the gaps as well if he hopes to keep his home run totals up with the Mets.

I guess this was a good move for New York, barring that Bay stays healthy for the duration of his contract. The Mets have been ravaged by injuries lately and Bay should provide a steady bat right in the middle of that lineup. The Red Sox, on the other hand, are once again left scrounging around for a power bat, someone to at least make the opposing pitcher sweat a little bit when he struts to the plate.

It’s only late Decemeber, though, and there’s plenty of time left for things to happen before spring training. But with Bay – one of this year’s top free agents – now off the market, the hot stove just cooled considerably.

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Colts, Manning are cowards again

Posted by Bill Koch on December 27, 2009

What you saw on Sunday is a perfect example of why the Indianapolis Colts will never win another Super Bowl with the current regime in charge.

The Colts gutlessly and fraudulently laid down for the New York Jets, taking a blowtorch to their own bid for a perfect season and suffering an embarrassing 29-15 loss at Lucas Oil Stadium. Indianapolis had its undefeated run halted at 14 games and had its NFL-record 23-game regular season winning streak snapped by a team with a rookie quarterback that was struggling desperately to qualify for the postseason. Mark Sanchez and New York were handed a gift, a chance to play into the second week of January by finishing the season with a win next week against Cincinnati in what should be the last game at the old Giants Stadium. The Colts, meanwhile, will play in Buffalo and battle the Bills in a game where the better loser will lose.

The Peyton Manning Face was on full display in the second half on Sunday, and there was no masking his own displeasure when he was hooked in favor of the immortal Curtis Painter late in the third quarter. Manning’s own bid at finally doing something Tom Brady never accomplished went by the boards, and now all that’s left for Manning and the Colts to do is win the Super Bowl. They’ve clearly sent a message that their season will end in failure if it doesn’t feature a fresh set of championship rings after a trip to Miami in February.

If Bill Belichick pulled the stunt that Jim Caldwell pulled on Sunday, we’d hear screaming and yelling about how Belichick “disrespected the game” and about how he didn’t have any integrity or respect for his opponents. Caldwell called off the dogs in a 21-15 game, pulling Manning, Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark and all of the other Indianapolis stars while practically inviting New York to finish off its upset win. Caldwell is a branch of the Tony Dungy coaching tree, and his treatment in the aftermath of this decision will likely be something similar to what St. Anthony of Indianapolis would have received. Teflon Tony never heard a cross word from any writer or talking head at any point in his career, even after he failed to win a big game as the head coach in Tampa Bay and scraped his way to a lone Super Bowl thanks to a pathetic performance by Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman. Caldwell’s sins will be forgiven because he’ll say he was looking out for the best interests of his team. The Dolphins, Steelers, Ravens, Jaguars and every other team in the AFC Wild Card equation might have a few different things to say.

Manning’s sideline emotions betrayed how he felt on Sunday, and it might be the only time I’ve ever agreed with the modern-day Dan Marino on anything. Manning was wearing his trademark scowl, so familiar to New England Patriots fans after watching all of those horrendous, interception-laced playoff performances in frosty Foxboro. After the game Manning stuck to the party line, insisting that the Colts have greater goals than going undefeated, but you could tell he wasn’t happy with the plan. He wanted to run the table, go 19-0 and end any discussion about his supremacy over Brady in this era.

That chance vanished as quickly as Painter trotted onto the field and the Indianapolis stars came to the sidelines, and it sealed the one fundamental difference between two of the decade’s premier franchises. The Patriots, like Herm Edwards famously said, PLAY TO WIN THE GAME – every game. The Colts don’t, and it’s that mindset that will keep Indianapolis from retaining its sharpness into the postseason. Manning has seen this story before, a strong Colts’ start that flames out early in the playoffs, and his face on Sunday bore the worry of a man who sensed that Indianapolis had allowed the momentum it spent 15 weeks building to slip away in 20 minutes. It was shameful and disgusting, and Indianapolis will endure similar feelings when it comes up short in the postseason again very soon.

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Playoffs here we come

Posted by bdowd625 on December 27, 2009

For the second week in a row, I found myself in the car during the Patriots game. Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all, as the Pats have now won consecutive games while I put more miles on my 2007 Honda Civic. Either way, New England is headed back to the playoffs, thanks to their 35-7 demolishing of the Jacksonville Jaguars today at Gillette Stadium.

Say what you want about the Patriots (and I certainly have during this inconsistent season), but they’re one of only 12 teams headed to the playoffs. No matter how they got there, not every team is lucky enough to be in the same position. Take pleasure in it New England fans, because, as we learned last year, the postseason isn’t always a guarantee.

This game didn’t start off too well. The Pats moved the ball down the field at will on the game’s first drive, only to have Laurence Maroney (Yes, I’m on back his case again.) fumble at the 1-yard line. I nearly swerved off the road and ran over a homeless hitchhiker when I heard that on the radio, but the defense held strong on the ensuing drive and the Patriot offense crushed the Jaguars’ hopes the rest of the way.

We have one week left – with a meaningless game against Houston on the horizon – and the Pats should definitely rest some of their banged-up players – Tom Brady included. No matter what happens, though, New England is back in the playoffs and that’s really what counts.

Some other thoughts from today’s Patriots game and from around the NFL:

*  Brady played like the quarterback we all know and love. It’s about time. I don’t care if he’s hurt or not. With a performance like today’s – even in a flack jacket or whatever the hell he was wearing – there are no excuses going forward. Well done, my man.

*  If Sammy Morris could only stay healthy, the Pats would have a trio of capable running backs. That’s not including Fred Taylor, of course, because I just don’t see how much of an impact he can have down the stretch after missing the majority of the season.

*  There was some speculation as to whether or not Randy Moss quit on his team following that debacle against the Carolina Panthers two weeks ago. With three more touchdown catches today, I think we have our answer.

*  From what I heard, the Patriot defense was everywhere today. They seemed to be in on every play and Maurice Jones-Drew-Johnson-Smith didn’t really do much of anything. Not bad considering Vince Wilfork and 37 other starters were out with myriad injuries. And James Sanders finally resurfaced today. I thought he was taking over for his uncle as the new president of Kentucky Fried Chicken, but apparently I was wrong.

*  It’s hard for me to admit this, but I actually like Peyton Manning – as an actor or in commercials I should add. But when the Colts lost to the Jets today, it made me quite happy. That’s hard for me to concede, by the way, because the New York Jets are one of the only teams I hate more than the Colts. I love that the Jets think they have an actual chance to go all the way now, because God knows they’re either going to lose next week at Cincy or in the first round of the playoffs. Watching Rex Ryan cry after their season-ending loss will be the best Christmas present I could ask for. Next to my authentic Marc Savard jersey, of course.

*  Did the New Orleans Saints really just lose to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers? Pardon me, for not being overly scared of the Saints now. Losing back-to-back games, especially at this point in the season, doesn’t exactly scream, “We’re going all the way.”

*  That’s certainly OK by me, though, because the Patriots are slowly rounding into the team we all thought they would be at the beginning of the season. Yes, the best they can finish is 11-5, but so what? I’d take my chances with them any day of the week at this point.

Happy holidays, everyone.

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Holiday wishes

Posted by bigblue123 on December 27, 2009

The best of the holiday season to all readers. May you the Christmas spirit of Will Ferrel in “Elf”, avoid the travel dilemma of Steve Martin in “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” and have your house decorated better than Chevy in “Christmas Vacation”.  To some of my favorite personalities, here’s some holiday thoughts –

To Omar- thanks for the knuckleballer, the surgically repaired Japanese reliever and Cora. Coal would have probably been easier- probably not cheaper. I know it’s hard being in the Yankees shadow so am thinking you could use a checkbook cover with the Yankees logo- – the checks are still cashable to the Mets but at least the cover might give you some courage to sign someone-anyone that might help.

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Defenseless

Posted by bigblue123 on December 27, 2009

 

On so many levels, the NY Giants’ 41-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers was defenseless. The lack of focus, intensity and spirit was defenseless. The tackling and total physical domination by the Panthers was defenseless. Finally, the fact that the once 5-0 Giants are staggeringly now 8-7 and going to miss the playoffs is also defenseless.

For those of us who bleed Big Blue, this massacre left us looking like slaughtered smurfs. “Stop it right now” if you are thinking that Manningham’s 1st quarter fumble was the turning point. This football game was like a NASCAR race, it had no twists and turns- just one long, inexorable Giant slumber. We got our tails kicked and this is really not surprising.

Our offense line played older and looked slower this year – (O’Hara 32, MacKenzie 30, Seubert 30, Snee 27 and Diehl29). The Giants were outrushed 247-60 in this loss and that was the story of the year. Brandon Jacobs (6 rushes 1 yard) has become more pugilist than running back. Madison Hedgecock (with a huge late meaningless drop but a crucial early holding penalty) has proven again and again his hands were made for holding and not catching.

The defense hmmmm. After the game, Osi Umenyiora said that he would not be back and probably had played his last game as a Giant. Some would say that he had “”played” his last game quite a while ago.  To say the Giants played swiss cheese defense is an insult to swiss cheese everywhere. The Panthers rushed for 247 yards with an average of 6.2 yards per carry.

Good teams overcome obstacles. The Giants were supposedly doomed by the early Manningham fumble. The Giants were doomed by the fact that they are an average NFL team. That’s it.

The Meadowlands deserved better on its last day dressed in Giant blue.  After 35 years and 3 Giant Super Bowl champs,the Giants have played their last game there. In an irony that left Giant fans green with Jet envy – the last game at Giants Stadium will be played by the Jets as they host the Bengals in a quest for a playoff berth next weekend.

Tangled all up in Giant blues.

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This is the face of a broken man

Posted by bdowd625 on December 23, 2009

Hey guys hey. I want to start out by saying that I never used to mind Gary Tanguay. Then again, we were never inundated with the guy like we are now. Everywhere you turn, this surly character seems to have his paw prints all over the Boston sports scene. It’s one thing to be dedicated and thorough in your work, but my God, does Tanguay ever take time off?

Here’s a typical day in the guy’s life:

6:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. – Listen to 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich eviscerate him, while using his audio clips to mockingly interview unsuspecting guests.

9:00 to 10:00 a.m. – Prepare for his midday show with that idiot Scott Zolak on 98.5. Zolak might be the only member of the Boston sports media that’s even more intolerable than Tanguay himself. Oh wait, I forgot about WEEI’s John Dennis, Gerry Callahan, Glenn Ordway, Steve DeOssie and Fred Smerlas. My bad, fellas.

10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. – Talk over Zolak for four hours, while Zolak pretends he knows something about the Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics. Hell, Zolak was a backup quarterback for the Patriots when they were downright awful, so how does he suddenly become knowledgeable enough to talk about all four of the major sports? Listening to him talk all day would wear me out too if I were Tanguay. But I digress.

2:00 to 6:30 p.m. – Prepare for Sports Tonight on Comcast. I think Tanguay might have taken a minute or two off to snort a Pixy Stick and hit the bathroom in there somewhere, but I’m not positive.

6:30 to 7:00 p.m. – Shoot the live edition of Sports Tonight with “fill-in-the-blank idiot” as his co-host.

7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m. – Provide pregame, halftime and postgame coverage for the Celtics game. Donny Marshall talks, while Tanguay tries not to slip into a coma or go postal on everyone on the Comcast set.

12:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. – The robot goes home, plugs himself into a wall to recharge for six hours and repeats the previous routine all over again the next day.

Wow, that took a lot out of me just writing it, so I can only imagine how Tanguay feels living through it each and every day.

I’ll conclude with this. Tanguay is lousy at his job to begin with, but when you’re only on TV every so often your flaws aren’t as magnified. With all Gary Tanguay all day, though, his shortcomings are there for all to see. And I’m starting to get sick of it. Take an extended vacation, pal. And just make sure that moron Zolak goes with you.

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Will The Real Tom Brady please stand up?

Posted by Bill Koch on December 23, 2009

Anybody else curious why we’re hearing so much about Tom Brady’s injury status lately?

The sound you hear is Bill Belichick running interference for his cover boy quarterback. He’s trying to divert your attention from the fact that Brady is slowly and silently making his way down the other side of the mountain, his best days behind him, his peak as much a part of history as his 50-touchdown season in 2007.

Before you flip out and start posting death threats (although all feedback is welcome as always), consider the facts. It isn’t like Belichick to allow any nugget of information to leak out of his Foxboro lair, especially when it concerns the health of his franchise player. If Belichick won’t tell you that Stephen Neal has a chronically bad right shoulder and likely wouldn’t pass a league physical right now were he to be cut or traded, he sure as hell isn’t going to say whether or not Brady is playing through legitimate pain. The running joke on the New England Patriots injury list for the past six years is that Brady is listed as “probable” every week, a vague “right shoulder” ailment cited as the cause. It’s Belichick’s way of tweaking a system that he regards as ridiculous – he doesn’t want to give opponents any advantage, whether it be through some misguided trash talk by his own players or by telling that week’s opponent that the leader of his offense has a sore arm and can’t get the ball down the field.

With that in mind, listing Brady’s rib, finger and shoulder ailments on that Wednesday list is no longer a laughing matter. It’s out of character for Belichick to be so revealing. It gives the Foxboro fan base a reason to rationalize the 9-5 record that New England has posted so far – Brady’s hurt. It’s that simple. But it’s not.

Ignore for a minute the 3,945 yards that Brady has thrown for this year – even quarterbacks on bad teams can put up those kinds of numbers, because they’re usually behind and slinging the ball all over the place. Look a little deeper. Take away Brady’s six touchdown passes in that 59-0 thrashing of Tennessee, and he has only 18 touchdown throws in the Patriots’ 12 other games. He’s been careless with the football, throwing at least one interception in New England’s last four games and in seven of its last nine. Brady has been picked off at least once in nine games this season, his worst period of turnovers since his second full season as a starter in 2002-03. His decision-making was what caused Belichick and the rest of the Patriots’ staff to stick with Brady instead of handing Drew Bledsoe his job back in 2001. That was always considered Brady’s greatest strength – his mind. Not this season. Look no further than last year to see Matt Cassel’s nine turnover-free games while directing an offense that featured just about all of the same weapons.

And it continues from there. Brady’s quarterback ratings from the last four weeks read like a D-student’s marks in high school – 55.0, 101.5, 74.0 and 59.1. Even Brady’s best statistical game during that stretch, a 352-yard effort against Miami, was clouded by the hideous fourth-quarter interception he threw in the Dolphins’ end zone to help pave the way to a 22-21 loss. New England’s point totals from the last four games are equally staggering. This perceived offensive juggernaut has scored 17, 21, 20 and 17 points in the last four weeks, a Cleveland Browns-like output for a unit that features two of the NFL’s best receivers in Randy Moss and Wes Welker. Brady was better and more efficient when he had David Givens, David Patten, Troy Brown, Deion Branch and Mike Vrabel as his targets.

Moss has taken most of the heat for the recent offensive difficulties, and it’s easy to blame him for just about anything that goes wrong in Foxboro. That was Moss’ reputation when he came to New England, a player who was perceived as a dog at certain times in Minnesota and almost all of the time in Oakland. Belichick has come out publicly in defense of Moss, insisting that he’s still very much a part of New England’s game plan going forward. What Belichick doesn’t have to say is that Brady is as well, for better or for worse. Belichick won’t say how concerned he is about that in so many words, but his Brady injury smokescreen and rare peek into the training room in Foxboro should tell you all you need to know.

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One loss away

Posted by bigblue123 on December 21, 2009

The Giants (7-6) play the Redskins (4-9) tonight and, unlike the Patriots, the Giants are one loss away from getting coal in their playoff stockings this season. The Cowboys  (9-5) upset the Saints and remain one game ahead of our (mine anyway) Giants. If the teams end up tied, the Giants get the nod but another loss would be fatal.

The Redskins are playing better than the Giants – they are only 4-9 but basically had the Saints, Cowboys and Eagles beaten. Both teams are 2-6 over their last 8 games.

The weather might work in the Giants favor. The Skins pass defense is stronger than their run defense and vice versa for the G-Men (What defense ? It might be a legit question for Big Blue). Washington ranks 23rd against the run and 4th against the pass. Allowing only 19.3 points per game, Washington’s defense has come to play more often than their offense. By contrast, the Giants allow 25.4 ppg!  With snow and cold temperatures, maybe the Giants formerly strong run game will be resurrected.

There is no love lost between these teams but its not absolute hatred and disgust. Its a division rivalry and it seems that these teams are never good at the same time – Giant fans tolerate the Skin fans and vice versa. Everyone hates the Cowboys and their  fans! Everyone hates Eagles fans!

The Skins are without Clinton Portis (their leading rusher) and the Giants are without defensive back Webster and tackle  MacKenzie. The Giants have had a rash of injuries but this team with or without injuries is underperforming. Remember how the Giants defensive line would terrorize QBs??  New York has only 26 sacks this season compared to 36 for Washington. All these stats mean nothing, though. The Giants have more to play for than the Skins but the Skins are playing better.

I view a closely fought Washington victory as the most likely outcome with a low score – how bout 16-14 Washington. It will kill me and the Giants playoff hopes but . . the pixie dust of the Giants Super Bowl win two years ago has officially worn off.

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