Friday, 28 December 2012

What we learned in the NFL week #16

What we learned this past weekend!
That the Giants don't have a defense anymore!! This is as bad as we ever seen this defense! You know you have problems when Joe Flacco picks apart your secondary!! The Giants D is really messed up physically and the pass rush is non-existent. Don't be shocked to see the Giants part ways with DE bookends, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora! New York is the type of team where we got used to their "flip the switch" at the right time.... Well, seems like someone forgot to pay the electricity bill, because the power never came on!!

Adrian Peterson runs for less than 100 yards for the first time in over eight weeks and the Vikings still managed to play a wonderful game and slap the Texans right in the face in their backyard!!! The Vikings showed me a whole lot in the last month! That week number eight upset loss to the Bucs, at home, was a huge sign that troubled waters were ahead, and two months later the Vikings are sitting in the sixth seed. They came through in December unlike Tampa Bay!! Unfortunately for the Vikes, they have to play the red hot Packers, who still has something to play for!! Win or lose, this season has been a successful one for the Minnesota Vikings, just Adrian Peterson alone, with the opportunity to run for 2,000 yards and maybe pass Eric Dickerson's record!!

Hopefully we will witness more history this upcoming weekend, as last weekend we saw at least three records fall!! Calvin Johnson surpassing Jerry Rice for most yards in a single season for a wideout, one of the most difficult records to knock off!!! Will Megatron be the 1st WR with 2,000 yards receiving?? We also witnessed TE Jason Witten breaking Tony Gonzalez's record for most catches by a tight end in a single season and QB Andrew Luck breaking Cam's 1 year-old record for most yards thrown for a rookie quarterback!

I hope most of you saw the first half between the Seahawks and 49ers last Sunday night!! After that blocked field goal returned for a score, you knew right there it was over!!! San Fran never had a chance from the get go! The Seahawks have been plain out balling the last three weeks!! I hope people take this team seriously... I know I have!! The opportunity to make a strong playoff push is there for Seattle, but I guess we can say this for the Washington Redskins as well, no?? Atlanta better show the proper respect to both of these teams, as both of them have what it takes to beat the Falcons, in Atlanta!!

Last Sunday we also saw the Steelers fail to make the playoffs! Big Ben again cost the game with a late INT! The offseason in Pittsburgh will be an interesting one! How will the aftermath of this mess play out? What mess?? Hmmm... Big Ben and offensive coordinator Todd Haley... Mike Wallace and his contract demands?? Steelers better be very careful, as this organization could descend rapidly!

I've said this a once or twice, that the Houston Texans will not win... Now we know 99.9% sure they won't win the Super Bowl...not with the way that secondary is playing right now!!! Also, all star running back Arian Foster looks tired... This is a cause for concern since the running aspect of the game is the centerpiece of the Houston offense!! A loss on Sunday could shatter the psyche of the Texans.... And we get the feeling it's already in a fragile state!! 

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Blame The Peacock and Liz 2 For The NHL Woes

Well, it is the end of December and still no NHL.  No Hockey Night In Canada and RDS is rebroadcasting games from the 80's.   Sad state of affairs for pure hardcore fans and individuals that have employment related to the NHL.

At the start of the lockout and even now, fans are playing the 'blame game'.  Blaming the owners, the players and even themselves.  Well my friends, I win the 'blame game' because I know the parties responsible for the lockout:  The Peacock and Liz 2. Who, you may ask?

The NHL and NHLPA are in the dispute are ultimately fighting over potential "growth" of the league in terms of future revenue; however, we have to take a look at the two root sources that have fueled the growth over the past two to five years.  Growth that I really think is artificially inflated thanks The Peacock and Liz 2.

The Peacock (aka, NBC Sports) - In April 2011, NBC Sports signed a 10-year TV rights deal to broadcast the league's games on various digital platforms for a reported, $2 billion.   The last time I looked, the ratings for playoff hockey (which the league promotes as "the best type of  sports tournament around" was pulling in a tiny average of 1.2 million viewers for the entire 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. 1.2 million?  Man, even ESPN could do better by re-airing the second half of a last NFL preseason game and that why the network was not prepared to shell out a dime for carrying NHL games but NBC did. Big mistake.  Investing $2 billion for NHL rights, NBC just gave the league a false sense of importance on the North American sports media landscape and an over valuation of pro hockey broadcast content.  As a result, the $2 billion is just a part of the pie that owners and players are quibbling about.

Liz 2 (aka, The Canadian Dollar) - In several interviews, Gary Bettman has gone on record to state that there is no link between NHL's revenue growth and increase in value of the Canadian dollar.  Really Gary.  Anybody with an understanding of economics can tell you that growth in the Canadian currency does contribute to the success of the NHL.  If you don't believe me, remember the context in which the "old" Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques closed down shop and moved to "Phoenix" and Denver. Plus, why is it that there are arenas being built in the Greater Toronto Area and Quebec City.  Imagine, if the value of Liz 2 dips to $.60 American (just like in 2006) during in the next CBA time frame.  You can safely expect that owners will be looking to claw back more of the revenue that will not be over-inflated by a Canadian dollar.

NHL fans can expect a season starting in mid-January 2013.  Once the press conferences from both sides are over to announce that a new CBA has been signed, the promotional spin to win back the hearts of fans will start.  Fans are going to hear, see and read that they are the "best fans in world" and other crap but I hope that fans will realize that they are going to be apart of a  48-game "cash grab" scam.   Yes, owners and players are going to say, "Finally, the game is back on the ice for our fans to enjoy".  That's the farthest thing from the truth.  It's more like, "Finally, the game is back on the ice for us so fans can pay an insane amount of cash for tickets, jerseys and bottled water to enjoy".

As a hockey fan and a Canadian, I would like to see the plug pulled on the 2013 NHL season.  A lot of NHL insiders on television, radio and in print say that the conflict over the CBA has nothing to do with economic issues but I beg to differ.  Along with the two aspects that I listed above, there are aspects of the NHL salary floor / cap system that are not being addressed and will lead to more trouble down the road for teams that are not making money. See Columbus, Phoenix, Florida and St. Louis.   It is time to let the bottom fall out of these franchises to either fold or move them to other markets.   The time is now to scrap the season and fix the NHL (aka, Niche Hockey League).

Final Taughts:

Want Gary Bettman To Leave? Here's How.  Many people think that if the season is cancelled under the watch of Bettman, he will walk away.  No dice.   The only way to see Gary Bettman out as commissioner is to have "traditional" hockey markets show a lack of interest in the NHL even if it means not tuning into local broadcasts on television and on radio, especially come playoff time.  You think you can do it?

Your 2012 NFL MVP is... RGIII.  Forget Manning. Forget Luck. Forget Wilson.  The Redskins will come back from the basement of the NFC East and win the division all because of the starting rookie quarterback. Enough said. 

Follow me on Twitter : @sportstaughts

Jeff Erickson of Rotowire looks ahead to MLB and NFL Stories in 2013 (Pa...

Jeff Erickson of Rotowire looks ahead to 2013 Stories in MLB and NFL (Pa...

NFL Picks Week 17

Barry Bloom looks ahead to 2013

Sunday, 23 December 2012

NFL Pool Standings + Week 17 Picks

Matthew Ross: 33-31

Mitch Gallo: 32-32

Producer: 31-33

Stefano Mocella: 29-35

Sean Coleman: 27-37

Moe Khan: 26-38

Houston -4.5 @ Indianapolis

Green Bay -3.5 @ Minnesota

Chicago -3.5 @ Detroit

Dallas +4.5 @ Washington

Matthew: IND , MIN , CHI , WAS
Moe: HOU , GB , CHI , WAS
Stefano: HOU , MIN , CHI , WAS
Producer: HOU , GB , CHI , DAL
Mitch: HOU , MIN , CHI , WAS
Sean: HOU , GB , DET , DAL

Carly Dupont-Hill of Montreal Stars joins GamePoints on TSN 690

Dave Simon previews UFC 155

Matt Cauz on GamePoints Dec 23

Thursday, 20 December 2012

What we learned in the NFL week #15

There are two weeks left to the season and two divisions have yet to be decided; The AFC North and the NFC East. We are in for a treat with some of the upcoming games that lie ahead! Let's start with the NFC East.

What a turn-around in big D! Just a month and a half ago, Jason Garrett's job security was no guarantee, but kudos to him for turning that ship around! I hear a lot of peeps saying it's because of Dez Bryant's coming of age!! Well that is one of the keys, no doubt. But the return of RB DeMarco Murray helps, while Tony Romo's play since November has been good, surprising since we all know his awful ways in December. But the emergence of LB/pass rushing specialist Anthony Spencer gave that defense the boost it desperately needed!! Spencer has seven sacks in his last six games!! This turn-around is quite nice for Cowboys fans, but will they make the playoffs? I personally think no! The task at hand is a difficult one. Dallas has to win both remaining games versus the Saints and at Washington! Sorry Dallas, but better luck next time!

Staying in the division, the Redskins seem like the favorite to win the division!! The key win was that Monday night game versus the Giants! Now Washington controls its own fate, but has to go through divisional teams: the Eagles and the Cowboys! I just have this gut feeling that the Skins will get it done. As for the Giants, well, what we saw last Sunday is typical New York Giants football! They always make things difficult for themselves! Lucky for the Giants they play a downward Ravens team!! The Ravens and Giants are in similar positions, but I prefer what I see from the Giants than the Ravens. Every time the Giants lay an egg, they bounce back the following Sunday. Last year they were in the same predicament, when they had to win their remaining two games and they did, and the rest is history!! I'm not saying the Giants will win the Super Bowl this year, but they should find their way to the second season. However, they need the good Eli, not the Eli from last Sunday versus the Falcons!!

Speaking of the Falcons, wideout Harry Douglas and free safety Chris Hope showed the nation how little class they have! Harry Douglas was seen making fun of Victor Cruz's salsa on the sidelines and Hope blatantly lunged at Cruz and hit him with a helmet-to-helmet hit. The ball was uncatchable, therefore it made Hope's hit look like the intent was to injure. Maybe the NFL should look into this. Oh Sorry, only the Saints apparently do such things! Well I'm hoping the Falcons get the one-and-done treatment again this year in the playoffs! This team is all finesse, and not physical enough to ball with the big boys in January!!

Looking at the AFC North, that picture is more puzzling! The Ravens are in big trouble, but if they win their last game against the Bengals, all can be saved. But how can this team fix their problems! We all know how awful their D has been. Now they have issues on the offensive side! They don't run the ball anymore, their offensive line has struggled as of late and Joe Flacco just doesn't look like a quarterback who can get the job done! Logically, the Ravens will still get in because of their record, but might not finish in first place! The Bengals versus the Steelers game on Sunday has a lot of weight to it!! The Steelers need to win or it's goodnight! My feeling tells me the Bengals will shock the world and win the division! Their defense is one of the most underrated defenses in the league! When will defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer get a shot at a head coaching job?? Every year he gets the best out of his defense!!

What has happened to the Tampa Bay Bucs?? They were looking good at 6-4! Granted their O-Line has been decimated, but Josh Freeman looks like a QB who can't handle the pressure too well when it's on! It's still early to give him such a tag, but next year will be a huge one for Freeman and the Bucs! Even though they suffered a season swoon, the future is still bright in the Bay area! All they need to do is fix their secondary!

We witnessed last Sunday a Seahawks team that posted back-to-back 50 burgers! Yes they played bad teams in Buffalo and Arizona, but to post 50 points in back-to-back games is impressive! Seattle still hasn't clinched a spot in the playoffs but when they do, which could happen on the last Sunday since they play the Niners on Sunday night, they could be that one team that will turn the tables on everybody! They have the defense, the special teams and finally the offense thanks to rookie QB Russell Wilson. He was the first QB to run for 3 touchdowns last Sunday since Bobby Douglas in 1968!!

Call me crazy, I like Luck and Griffin and Wilson for so many reasons, but my vote for rookie-of-the-year so far goes to Russell Wilson!!

This Sunday is one of the most entertaining ones of the season .. It's that time of year when teams are fighting for playoffs spots, when some players are actually playing for their jobs, when it will be championship Sunday in fantasy football head-to-head formats (good luck to all who made it this far). But most of all, it will be when certain teams will make that drastic decision to clean house!! On that face-lift list are the Chiefs, the Browns, the Chargers and most likely the Eagles. Two Sundays from now we might add to that list the Jets (at least I hope), the Cards (I strongly disagree with this move if the Cards axe coach Whisenhunt), the Bills, the Panthers, the Raiders, the Titans and the Lions! A lot of vacant coaches will jump at the opportunity to coach the Lions.... They already a young QB in place to go with the best wide receiver in the game!!

Happy Holidays to all!

NFL Picks Week 16

John McMullen recaps Week 16 and looks to the NFL Playoffs

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

NFL Pool Standings + Week 16 Picks

Matthew Ross: 29-31
Mitch Gallo: 29-31
Producer: 29-31

Stefano Mocella: 27-33

Moe Khan: 25-35
Sean Coleman: 25-35

Cincinnati +4.5 @ Pittsburgh

NY Giants -2.5 @ Baltimore

Minnesota +7.5 @ Houston

San Francisco -1.5 @ Seattle

Matthew: CIN , BAL , MIN , SEA
Moe: PIT , NYG , HOU , SEA
Stefano: CIN , BAL , HOU , SF
Producer: PIT , BAL , HOU , SEA
Mitch: PIT , BAL , MIN , SEA
Sean: PIT , BAL , MIN , SF

Friday, 14 December 2012

What we learned in the NFL week #13-14

Before I get started, I must start off by saying how impressive Robert Griffin III is live!!!! He's got that "wow factor"!!! UNBELIEVABLE!! Here's hoping he can stay healthy as long as he can. But as impressed with him as I am, one cannot forget or neglect what Andrew Luck has done for his team this year!! RG III is surrounded with coaches who have been in place for three years, better defense. Plus, the Redskins do "baby" him a bit. He's not put in a situation where he has to come from behind like Luck has!! Luck's performance against the Lions was an epic one, even though he tossed three picks!!! Seeing Luck running down the play to set up a block for Donnie Avery was "THE" indication that he is for real.... And he is a "shooter". He's not afraid to throw the rock!!!

The 2012 QB rookie class is already being discussed as the best one ever!! Here's why: Russell Wilson!!!! Wilson posted the best QB rating in the month of November and threw nine touchdowns and no interceptions!! All three teams are in a position to enter the playoffs! That says a lot and let's also not forget Ryan Tannehill who was picked in the first round, but the jury is still out on him versus Griff, Luck and Wilson! Year two and three will be crucial for Tannehill.

We've witnessed the last few weeks a Adrian Peterson who has been on a tear!! He's ran for at least 100 yards in his last seven games! (153-123-182-171-108-210-154). Can you say MVP!! Word is he is gunning for 2,000 and even maybe Eric Dickerson's single season record of 2,105 yards! Let's not forget the fact that Peterson is coming back from a blown-up knee!! He is a genetic freak and he's carrying a team on his shoulders. The Vikings still can make the playoffs, but need to beat the 6-6-1 Rams on Sunday!! Call it crazy and it seems crazy, but the Rams still have a chance at making the playoffs. They have been one of the hottest teams as of late, playing the 49ers tough on both occasion! That's nice and all but here comes Adrian Peterson! We will see how good the Rams defense is. Have fun St Louis!! 

Baltimore Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron... 13 games too late!! He should have been fired after last season. Reports say he was unpopular in the locker room, that the offense was about making him look good!! Wow.. A control freak!! The Ravens still have a great opportunity to turn things around. The return of their no-huddle offense AND of Ray Lewis!! His presence on the field can only do good for this team that is bleeding in a big way right now!! How they fare in Sunday's game against Peyton Manning and the Broncos will indicate a lot about the Ravens!! The race for the AFC North is turning out to be an interesting one between the Ravens, Steelers and Bengals. Bengals last two games are @PIT and vs Bal!

Staying put in the AFC, one can only think that the best team are the Pats!! I've been hyping them up the last few weeks, no need to anymore... It's theirs to lose!! They have a balanced attack, a lot of weapons to play with on offense and their defense leads the league in takeaways - my favorite defensive stat!! Which team in the NFC matches up nicely against the Pats? The Giants! Note this year, the Giants D is good but not great.. A lot of injuries. The Packers?? Nope... Packers o-line can't protect Rodgers. The 49ers? We will find out on Sunday as this may be a Super Bowl preview but nope, the Niners are still not the answer to the question. Who, you may ask?? The Seahawks!!! That win this year versus New England was no fluke... And with the way that game ended,(Sherman/Brady), I would like to see those two go at it again for all the marbles!!

Anyone noticed how Bum Newton is playing good football?? I say it's a theory of him playing well due to the fact he has no pressure, since his team is in the stinker. It's about looking good, not winning! A journalist from Charlotte wrote on his Twitter/Facebook account that Cam Newton blew off another NFL player and his kids at last year's Pro Bowl! Wow... The fellow teammates and players he plays against are the last people he should blow off!! The rest of the league has little respect for Cam!! I say GOOD!!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Dave Simon Recaps UFC on FOX 5

John McMullen on Week 14 of the NFL Season

NFL Pool Standings + Week 15 Picks

Matthew Ross: 28-28
Mitch Gallo: 28-28

Producer: 26-30

Stefano Mocella: 25-31

Moe Khan: 24-32
Sean Coleman: 24-32

Indianapolis +8.5 @ Houston

NY Giants +1.5 @ Atlanta

Pittsburgh -1.5 @ Dallas

San Francisco +6.5 @ New England

Matthew: IND, ATL, PIT, NE
Stefano: HOU, ATL, PIT, NE
Producer: HOU, ATL, DAL, NE
Mitch: IND, NYG, PIT, SF

Friday, 7 December 2012

Could Marc Trestman's message be wearing off?

Professional sports coaches will always have a shelf life. Some will last for a single season while others could coach for a very long time with the one organization.
In the case of Montreal Alouettes head coach Marc Trestman, he is entering uncharted territory as the longest tenured coach of the franchise since their return to the CFL in 1996.

No argument Trestman has had the greatest start to a CFL coaching career taking the Alouettes to three consecutive Grey Cup appearances and winning twice. Many pundits wondered if there would be a bronze statue at a downtown Montreal park honouring his coaching achievements.
In Trestman's first three years the Alouettes had accumulated a 38-16 regular season record. However, in the last two years they have mustered a 21-15 mark and have not qualified for the Grey Cup. Most CFL teams would be envious of this five year stretch by the Alouettes.  

Now, the fans are starting to question the future of this franchise if they will still be competitive once quarterback Anthony Calvillo retires. At that point, could Tretsman weigh his NCAA and NFL options?

Trestman has been on NFL teams coaching short list. Even though he signed an extension that will have him on the Montreal sidelines for four more years. Is there is any contract language that would enable him to explore his NFL opportunities?

After the recent departures of Marcus Brady and Michael Sinclair, and according to media reports  of potential dissension among the coaching ranks that there could be more defections in the horizon.
Could the message that Trestman has conveyed to his staff and players be wearing off? Professional sports is the one avenue where there is a short attention span and after the last couple of years of coming up short, could the luster be eroding?

As Montreal Gazette's own Herb Zurkowsky mentioned in his article that JamelRichardson could be fed up with Trestman's coaching philosophy and wants out. Could there be more players who are disenchanted with their leader?

Could the unsettling scenario of hearing Trestman's name being linked to the NFL have made it frustrating for the players who have seen an overhaul of the coaching staff one too many times that may have derailed their chances of making the last two finals.
These are unknown times for the Montreal organization. As one source said, "as long as (Jim) Popp is running the show, the team will be fine".  But the question that will come to surface, what about Trestman, is the coaching staff unified, will the players continue buying into his philosophy, and will he still be the Alouettes head coach by the end of his contract with the team?
One thing is for certain, the Montreal Alouettes have set the standard of being a marquee franchise with how they have reloaded with talent.   
Follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19
Listen to me on Gamepoints, every Friday morning on The Midnight Snack, and various shows on TSN 690.  

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

The Montreal Alouettes are back in a familiar off season position

With the CFL off season not even two weeks old, the Montreal Alouettes are in a familiar situation  to last year's musical coaching chairs.

Last week, the organization replaced former defensive coordinator Jeff Reinebold with Noel Thorpe.

Now, comes news of offensive coordinator Marcus Brady opting to take the same position with the newly minted Grey Cup champions Toronto Argonauts. As of this morning according to head coach Marc Trestman,  Michael Sinclair has left the program.

Sinclair was apart of Trestman's original coaching staff when they first entered the CFL in 2008. Sinclair had the respect of his players, as described by team leader John Bowman through his Twitter feed, "Damn. The 1 consistant in my fball career just resigned. Wanna thank him 4 helping tap into my potential. **tJustGotReal".

What now? In conversing with local media, speculation has grown this may not be the last defection as other position coaches could pursue opportunities elsewhere.

For Sinclair, could the last straw have been being passed over for vacant defensive coordinator's job that ended up going to Thorpe?

Sinclair has theoretically been passed over three times for the Alouettes coordinator position. There is no doubt that he will land on his coaching feet considering his ties to the NFL (from his playing days), and CFL.

As the Alouettes enter the unknown off season, it seems the initial general reaction among those who have been associated and follow this team has assumed a mentality, of we shall see how this unfolds.

For now, it is has gotten off to a peculiar start.

Follow me on Twitter @MoeKhan19

Listen to me on Gamepoints, every Friday morning on The Midnight Snack, and various shows on TSN 690.

Monday, 3 December 2012

NFL Pool Standings + Week 14 Picks

Matthew Ross: 26-26

Stefano Mocella: 25-27
Mitch Gallo: 25-27

Producer: 24-28

Moe Khan: 23-29
Sean Coleman: 23-29

Chicago -3.5 @ Minnesota

Baltimore +2.5 @ Washington

Dallas +2.5 @ Cincinnati

Houston +4.5 @ New England

Matthew: MIN, WAS, CIN, HOU
Producer: CHI, BAL, DAL, NE
Stefano: CHI, BAL, CIN, HOU

Dave Simon previews Henderson vs Diaz on UFC on FOX

Ray Callari on Baseball Hall of Fame voting