Archive for December, 2009

Why So Mad?

The Colts did not go for the perfect season this past Sunday against the New York Jets. In fact, they pulled their starters in the second half with a 15-10 lead. The Jets scored 19 on the second string en route to a 29-15 victory to keep their playoff hopes alive. The loss did not affect the Colts, as they have already clinched home-field advantage throughout the playoffs in the AFC, but many Colts fans and NFL fans were greatly affected. There’s only one question:

Why are the people so upset over this?

The Colts did not want the perfect season. They are not focused on 16-0 or 19-0, and if Jim Irsay (Colts’ owner) and Bill Polian (Colts President) had no problem with Jim Caldwell pulling the players, why should everyone else have a problem? Peyton Manning is the most valuable player to the Colts, and why risk the chance of injury to him or any of the starters for the team. In fact, when the Colts clinched home-field, there was no need to even play the starters for the whole game. Manning and the rest of the starters knew they were not going to play the whole game, and were just fine with it. Caldwell knew what he was doing, and so did the team.

If the Colts went perfect, the pressure would have mounted, taking a loss will not put as much pressure on the team to continue to be perfect. The New England Patriots buckled at the last game to be perfect to the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII and finished 18-1. One loss will not affect them as much, and the ’72 Dolphins can breathe easy and remain the only members of Perfectville. The record did not matter, especially after the New Orleans Saints lost to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15. Had the Saints still been perfect, the Colts probably would have played to keep up with them Now with New Orleans losing two in a row, there was no need to keep going. Some think the Colts punked out, but they did not. They made the right choice, which was embraced by the organization.

Jim Caldwell got heat for ruining the perfect season intentionally, but if the Colts win the Super Bowl, all will be forgotten, and even if they lose in the playoffs, it will be a lot less attention-grabbing with one loss already than it would be with zero losses on the board.

Monday Night Football Recap Week 16

The Monday Night game went to the Windy City, and the Chicago Bears were looking to play spoiler against the Minnesota Vikings, who were looking towards home-field and a first round bye. A loss would complicate the picture, and give New Orleans home-field. What happened? An overtime thriller…

Minnesota 30, Chicago 36 (F/OT)- Jay Cutler went 20-35 for 273 yards and four touchdowns, including the game-winning 39 yard touchdown pass to Devin Aromashodu, and gave the Chicago Bears a huge 36-30 victory over the Minnesota Vikings in overtime. Cutler began his great night with a touchdown pass from seven yards out to Greg Olsen, and propelled the Bears to a 16-0 lead at the half. The Vikings came back in the fourth quarter when the second of two Adrian Peterson touchdowns tied the game at 23. With under five minutes to go, Cutler threw his third touchdown pass to Earl Bennett to put the Bears up 30-23. Then in the closing moments, the magic of Brett Favre struck again. He found Sidney Rice for his second touchdown pass with 16 seconds left for six yards and tied the game at 30 and sent the game into overtime. In overtime, Cutler hit Aromashodu on a 39 yard strike to give the Bears the victory, and give the New Orleans Saints home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs, and moved the Philadelphia Eagles into the #2 seed in the NFC. Essentially there are now four teams fighting for the #2 seed and a first round bye into the Divisional Playoffs (Philadelphia, Minnesota, Arizona, and Dallas), and next Sunday will determine everything. Philadelphia is at Dallas (with the winner winning the NFC East), Minnesota is hosting the New York Giants (where they are 7-0 at home this season), and Arizona is hosting playoff bound Green Bay (a team that they could potentially play again the very next week). The Bears look to close out their season (and possibly the Lovie Smith era) at Detroit on a positive note. Cutler finally showed the flashes of brilliance that won over the fans in Denver, and got lost in the midst of the 26 interceptions that have plagued him all season. The year is almost over for him. Vikings (11-4), Bears (6-9)

Weekly NBA Rankings (12/28)

Missed the rankings last week. Apologies to the people, so there will be no previous week’s rankings This will be the last ranking of 2009, so we will see how the 30 NBA teams will fare in 2010. Let’s go into the rankings.

Note: The records in parentheses were from 12/28/09

1. Los Angeles Lakers (24-5)- Despite losing to the Cavaliers on Christmas, if these two teams played a seven game series, the Lakers would eliminate the Cavs. Unless Cleveland can win against LA at home, the Lakers would be not be #1.

2. Boston Celtics (23-6)- The Celtics would’ve been #1 if Baron Davis had not sunk them with a buzzer beater. This is the second year in a row that the C’s went into the Staples Center and lost to the Clippers.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-8)- The Cavaliers are playing great ball. Four straight wins, including a big Christmas Day win over the Lakers, but still not enough to overtake Boston as the best in the East.

4. Orlando Magic (22-8)- Stan Van Gundy wants to do away with the Christmas games? Why? If the Magic had won on Christmas Day, would he be saying this? Maybe Orlando needs to give up Dwight Howard so they won’t have anymore games on Christmas Day.

5. Atlanta Hawks (21-8)- It is good to see the Hawks finally have some kind of consistency. The up and down season can make any fan sick, but they are hanging strong with the Magic and are establishing themselves among the elite in the NBA.

6. Dallas Mavericks (22-9)- The Mavericks are solid, and tough… Dirk Nowitzki taking parts of Carl Landry’s teeth in his elbow? And still shooting the free throw? Crazy indeed. With Dampier back and Drew Gooden solidly backing him up and great guard play, it’s hard to go against them when healthy.

7. Denver Nuggets (20-11)- The Nuggets are still maintaining their lead, despite the injury to Chauncey Billups and his groin. This is also a reflection of the leadership of Carmelo Anthony and the maturity he has displayed over the past year and some change. Great to see.

8. Portland Trail Blazers (20-12)- When Greg Oden went down, it looked as if the air left this team, and the Blazers were head towards disaster. They have rallied around that and are playing good basketball. They are a very good team w/o Oden. Just a great team with him.

9. Phoenix Suns (19-12)- If the Suns can cure their road woes (8-10), they would be back among the top of the West. Luckily a home game against the Lakers can give this team some kind of momentum to get them rising again.

10. San Antonio Spurs (17-11)- The Spurs are hovering, but this is what they usually do at the start of the season. As it progresses, they will elevate their game, especially when the Rodeo Road Trip comes around.

11. Houston Rockets (18-13)- For a team that has had a huge distraction off-the-court with the impasse of star Tracy McGrady, the Rockets are still playing well. It is a shame to see the relationship between T-Mac and the team deteriorate, but honestly, what has he done since being in Houston?

12. Miami Heat (16-12)- Amazing how well Michael Beasley has been in the couple of months. This was a kid who was almost left for Bustville after his breakdown and the pressure of being a top pick. He has really matured and came along, and is the go-to-guy when Dwyane Wade is on the bench. More importantly, he’s responding to the role very well.

13. Utah Jazz (17-13)- For some reason, the Jazz can be a very better team than what their record is showing. It’s the intensity (or lack thereof) in the road games. There’s no crowd like the one in Salt Lake City, but they need to learn to turn negative energy into positive.

14. Oklahoma City Thunder (15-14)- One thing that can be said about the Thunder: they are consistent at being in the middle of the league. They are moving in the right direction, and it would be good to see them in the playoffs. Have you seen the crowd in Oklahoma City. They really can get the moniker of Loud City. Won’t be a Seattle crowd, but a good crowd nonetheless.

15. Toronto Raptors (15-17)- The Raptors are improving. Slowly. This is Bosh’s team, but when is Hedo Turkoglu going to have a bigger impact. He’s doing enough, but after his postseason in Orlando, he can be doing so much more.

16. New Orleans Hornets (13-15)- It seems like the Hornets are doing everything they can just to avoid the cellar. With the way the team below them are playing, they just might be destined to be there.

17. Memphis Grizzlies (13-16)- What has got into the Grizzlies? They saw the Thunder, and figured “we’re a young team, and we are just as good”, and with the play as of late, they just might be better. Allen who?

18. Sacramento Kings (13-16)- To come back from 35 points down ON the road against the Bulls (or any team) is a very remarkable feat. These are not the same Sacramento Kings we have seen for the past three years. Get this team a new arena in Sacto, quick!

19. Los Angeles Clippers (13-17)- You have to admire how the Clippers have done without Blake Griffin. They look like a better team when he is 100%, but we won’t know how that goes for another few weeks. He has been cleared for tougher workouts, so it’s a step in the right direction. They are 13-13 since that 0-4 start.

20. Milwaukee Bucks (12-16)- Where are the Bucks? And where is Brandon Jennings? Has the season caught up with them both? This team was as high as #8, but the slump has really caused them to drop in standings.

21. Chicago Bulls (11-17)- The Bulls are on the verge of firing Vinny del Negro, but they can’t decide on who will replace him, which is the reason why he is still coaching the team. Do the Bulls have a tradition of firing head coaches over the holidays?

22. Charlotte Bobcats (11-17) Say what you want about the Bobcats, but this is a team that could really be 5th or 6th in the East. The problem you ask? 1-13 on the road is not going to get you 5th or 6th in the East or a higher position in the rankings.

23. New York Knicks (11-19)- What has gotten into the New York Knicks? They are winning all of the sudden and Mike D’Antoni has finally found a rotation that works. One thing he needs to do however (or Donnie Walsh, rather) is get to get Nate Robinson out of New York. His career as a Knick is over, and he’s not getting out of that doghouse soon.

24. Detroit Pistons (11-19)- The Pistons were streaking, but now they are slumping. Rip Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince (along with Ben Gordon) are back, so once they get back into the game flow, hopefully this team will get back to their winning ways.

25. Washington Wizards (10-18)- It has been said over and over and over again. It is time to dismantle the Big Three in Washington. Arenas, Butler, and Jamison are not meshing like they used to, and even with a good coach like Flip Saunders, this team should be a lot better than what their record is showing. Something has to give in the Nation’s Capital.

26. Indiana Pacers (9-20)- We knew the loss of Danny Granger would hurt, but the Pacers are freefalling fast. It’s a good thing for them that the rest of the division is freefalling right along with them (except for Cleveland)

27. Golden State Warriors (8-21)- Still no leadership on this team. Say what you want about Stephen Jackson, but it is pretty apparent that he was not the problem. The whole organization is. Monta Ellis is not ready to be a leader, and where is Stephen Curry. He would be a lot more useful in say….New York?

28. Philadelphia 76ers (7-22)- One of the biggest disappointments in the league, there’s no reason why a team with AI, AI2, and Elton Brand should be this bad. But in reality, AI may just actually be an old shell of himself, AI2 is exciting to watch, but he needs to have better shot selection, and Brand needs to get back to dominating form.

29. Minnesota Timberwolves (7-24)- There is one bright thing to say about the Timberwolves: They are distancing themselves from the worst team in the NBA, and just might move out of their residence at the 29 spot if the Sixers continue to struggle.

30. New Jersey Nets (2-28) If you want a blueprint on how to dismantle a team in six years, just ask Bruce Ratner. From Two-time Eastern Conference Champion to two wins in 30 games. This team was better off when the Yankees were owning them.

NFL Recap Week 16

The season has flown by, but we are at the finish line and there is some more football betting to be had. The playoff picture has been set in one conference, but not fully set. The other conference still needs a lot of deciding in the final day of the season. Did the Colts stay perfect? To the recap….

Buffalo 3, Atlanta 31- Matt Ryan went 18-35 for 250 yards and three touchdowns (two to Roddy White), and the Atlanta Falcons made short work of the Buffalo Bills in a 31-3 victory. Atlanta scored on its opening drive when Ryan found White for a 42 yard pass, and the defense just never let up on the Bills, forcing them into 41 yards rushing, and 179 for the game. Ryan also hooked up with Marty Booker for a 12 yard pass, and rookie defensive end Lawrence Sidbury ran a fumble back for 11 yards, and gave the Falcons a 24-0 lead and led to a 24-3 halftime after Rian Lindell’s field goal gave Buffalo its only points of the game. Brian Brohm was the starting quarterback for Buffalo, since Ryan Fitzpatrick and Trent Edwards both sat out with ankle injuries. He went 17-29 for 146 yards and two interceptions. The Bills long season is almost over, and the Falcons have a chance to post back to back winning seasons for the first time in their 44 year franchise history, which would be great for the organization and its fans. Bills (5-10), Falcons (8-7)

Kansas City 10, Cincinnati 17- Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Chad Ochocinco on a 98 yard drive that gave the Cincinnati Bengals a hard-fought 17-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs, and gave them the AFC North division championship and reaching the playoffs for the second time in just 19 years. They still were carrying heavin hearts from the death of fallen teammate Chris Henry, who was laid to rest five days ago in his native Louisiana. Palmer first found Laveranues Coles for a 10 yard touchdown reception, and then the pass to Ochocinco in the fourth. Cedric Benson also had a good day, with 29 carries for 133 yards, setting a franchise record with his sixth straight 100-yard game. The Chiefs bright spot was Jamaal Charles, who ran for 102 yards on 24 carries on his birthday, and Matt Cassel went 22-37 for 180 yards with a 20 yd TD pass to running back Tim Castille to tie the game at 10 early in the fourth quarter. Larry Johnson, who had this game marked personally and was looking to show out against his former team, only settled for four carries for 11 yards, but he will see the postseason, while the Chiefs are heading to another four or fewer win season for the third year in a row. Chiefs (3-12), Bengals (10-5)

Oakland 9, Cleveland 23- Jerome Harrison ran for 148 yards on 39 carries, and a touchdown and Derek Anderson threw for 121 yards and a touchdown, and the Cleveland Browns won their third straight game and quite possibly may have saved Eric Mangini’s job (or at least improved his chances) with a 23-9 home victory over the Raiders. The Browns have found a new running back in Harrison, who had 125+ yards for the second straight game following a 286 yard, franchise record effort against the Kansas City Chiefs. Anderson, starting for the first time since November 1st, was efficient, and most importantly, did now turn the ball over. On the week where it was announced that Mike Holmgren was announced as the new Browns’ president, Mangini showed why he should at least get a chance to show what he can do with this team that has finally found themselves after wins over Pittsburgh, Kansas City, and now Oakland. The Browns will seek their first four-game win streak in the expansion era when they face the Jacksonville Jaguars at home. The Raiders still are trying to find ways to beat the bad teams just like they can beat the good ones. Raiders (5-10), Browns (4-11)

Seattle 10, Green Bay 48- Brandon Jackson had three touchdowns, Ryan Grant had two, and the Green Bay Packers’ defense intercepted Matt Hasselbeck four times, and the Green Bay Packers dismantled the Seattle Seahawks and clinched a spot in the NFC playoffs. Green Bay will be a Wild Card team, it is yet to be determined what seed they will be (either 5 or 6). Aaron Rodgers, who went 12-23 for 237 yards started the day by finding Jackson, who then complimented his receiving touchdown with two rushing touchdowns in the third. Ryan Grant scored two touchdowns in the first half, the first one from three yards out and the second one from 56 yards which helped the Pack to a 21-3 lead. Ahman Green also scored for Green Bay, who really turned things around after the Brett Favre saga, and a disappointing 6-10 record and turned it into a playoff berth. The Seahawks did get a touchdown from Hasselbeck, as he found John Carlson for a 16 yard score, but the game was 48-3 and well out of reach. The question is now: Is the Hasselbeck era over in Seattle and is it time for a change at QB? Very disappointing season for Seattle after such high hopes that it would get back to the team that made the postseason six straight years from 02-07. Seahawks (5-10), Packers (10-5)

Houston 27, Miami 20- Matt Schaub went 20-31 for 286 yards and two touchdowns, and the Houston Texans opened up a 27-0 lead before halftime, and survived the Miami Dolphins’ comeback attempt with a 27-20 victory that kept them alive, and all but eliminated Miami from the AFC playoff picture. Schaub found Andre Johnson for a 10 yard touchdown in the first quarter, and then Jacoby Jones for a 44 yard connection in the second quarter. Arian Foster ran for 97 yards and a touchdown in the second quarter, which propelled the Texans to a 27-0 lead early and a 27-3 halftime lead. Over the final 31 minutes of the game, the Dolphins mounted a comeback with 20 unanswered points, but their upset bid fell short when Houston recovered an onside kick to seal the victory.

Jacksonville 7, New England 35- Tom Brady went 23-26 for 267 yards and four touchdowns (three to Randy Moss), and the New England Patriots clinched the AFC East division and a playoff spot, by outplaying a Jacksonville Jaguars team that was once in the drivers seat for the AFC Wild Card, but are virtually eliminated from contention. Wes Welker caught 13 passes for 138 yards, and Moss only had four catches for 45 yards, but three of them were for touchdowns (2, 6, 17), and the Patriots jumped out to a 35-0 lead. The Jaguars only touchdown came on a David Garrard two yard run in the fourth quarter. He went 19-25 for 185 yards with two interceptions, and Maurice Jones-Drew was only held to 63 yards rushing. The buzz on Twitter happened when Mike Sims-Walker responded to many fans questions on why he does not get the ball, which will create a “controversy”. Not much should be made, but Twitter is not a good place to vent if you’re an athlete. Jaguars (7-8), Patriots (10-5)

Tampa Bay 20, New Orleans 17 (F/OT)- The New Orleans Saints were on their way to a 14-1 start when Garrett Hartley kicked his field goal… that’s what the Superdome thought. They thought wrong. After blowing a 17-0 lead, The Saints gave up 17 points in regulation, and Connor Barth hit the game winning 47 yard field goal to give the Tampa Bay Buccaneers an improbable 20-17 victory over the Saints at the Superdome, and raising questions on if the Saints are as unstoppable as they once were when they beat New England 38-17 in Week 12. Cadillac Williams ran for 129 yards on 24 carries, and Michael Spurlock’s 77 yard punt return tied the game at 17 that set up the drama for Hartley’s missed field goal and Barth’s game winner. Drew Brees went 32-37 for 258 yards and a touchdown to Robert Meachem. The Saints not only lost their shot at home-field advantage, but can still clinch if Minnesota loses to Chicago on Monday night, but set history as the first 13-win team to lose to a team coming into the game with two victories. Buccaneers (3-12), Saints (13-2)

Carolina 41, NY Giants 9- Jonathan Stewart ran for a franchise-record 206 yards, and Matt Moore went 15-20 for 171 yards and three touchdowns, and the Carolina Panthers closed out Giants’ Stadium with a 41-9 shelling of the New York Giants, and eliminating the Giants from playoff contention. The Panthers’ defense forced the Giants into four turnovers (two fumbles, and two interceptions from Eli Manning). and held the Giants to just 60 yards rushing the whole game. The bad news for the Panthers is that Steve Smith broke his arm after scoring a touchdown, and had successful surgery Monday morning, and is effectively done for the season. The Giants, meanwhile are wondering what happened after a 5-0 start how things could have gone south. Big Blue was a Super Bowl contender, but seven losses in the past 10 games have them not going to the playoffs for the first time in five years. Panthers (7-8), Giants (8-7)

Baltimore 20, Pittsburgh 23- Ben Roethlisberger threw for 259 yards and a touchdown, Rashard Mendenhall ran for a touchdown, and Jeff Reed kicked three field goals, including the game-winning 38 yard field goal, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who were almost left for dead, came back alive in the playoff hunt and further complicated the AFC playoff picture. The teams were all field goals until Rashard Mendenhall ran for four yards for a touchdown and made it 13-3. After Joe Flacco found Todd Heap for a touchdown, Roethlisberger found Santonio Holmes to make it 20-10. The third quarter included another Flacco to Heap touchdown and a field goal tied it at 20. The Ravens had a golden opportunity to go up by a touchdown, but Derrick Mason dropped a wide-open pass, which led eventually to Reed’s field goal. The Ravens need to win at Oakland to clinch a playoff spot, and Pittsburgh needs to win at Miami and the Ravens would lose at Oakland or the Jets lose at home against Cincinnati to make it to the playoffs. Ravens (8-7), Steelers (8-7)

St. Louis 10, Arizona 31- The Arizona Cardinals are legit, grabbing their first 10-win season in 33 years when the team was in St. Louis, and the got there by beating the team that is currently in their old city, the St. Louis Rams. Kurt Warner went 24-38 for 313 yards and threw two touchdowns, giving him 100 with Arizona and joining Fran Tarkenton as the only players w/ 100+ touchdowns for two different teams, and the Arizona Cardinals made easy work of the St. Louis Rams. Anquan Boldin finished with eight catches for 116 yards, (seven for 100 in the first half). Brandon Gibson had five catches for 51 yards and a touchdown which was ruled an incompletion but overturned after a Rams challenge. Keith Null, starting for the third straight game, going 20-31 for 171 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions. The Rams loss has all but clinched them the #1 pick in the NFL Draft. Ndamukong Suh anyone? Rams (1-14), Cardinals (10-5)

Detroit 6, San Francisco 20- Frank Gore scored on a one yard touchdown run, and topped the 1000 yard mark for the fourth straight year, and Alex Smith went 20-31 for 230 yards and a touchdown to Vernon Davis, and the San Francisco 49ers made easy work of the Detroit Lions in the second half and will be looking to finish the season at .500 with a win over St. Louis next week. The Lions’ QB carousel continued as Drew Stanton went 11-21 for 130 yards, but threw three interceptions, and was replaced by Daunte Culpepper, who went 7-12 for 51 yards. Neither QB threw a touchdown. The loss for Detroit was their 20th straight on the road, and for the second year, they went winless away from Ford Field. They appear headed for the #2 pick in the NFL Draft. Lions (2-13), 49ers (7-8)

NY Jets 29, Indianapolis 15- Apparently, perfection did not matter to Jim Caldwell and the Indianapolis Colts. The Colts benched their starters for most of the second half, and the Jets took advantage. Brad Smith scored on a 106 yard kickoff return, and Thomas Jones ran for 105 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown, and the Jets snapped the Colts’ 23 game regular season win streak, and ended their perfect season. The win puts the Jets in the drivers seat for the fifth seed of the AFC, and if they win at home at the Meadowlands against Cincinnati, they are in the playoffs. The Colts will close out their season at Buffalo, and prepare for home-field throughout the playoffs. Peyton Manning went 14-21 for 192 yards before being pulled from the game. Joseph Addai & Donald Brown scored the two touchdown for the Colts in this one. Jim Caldwell has taken a lot of heat for pulling the starters, but he really should not. If the coaches and players were fine with it, then the media should be too. Jets (8-7), Colts (14-1)

Denver 27, Philadelphia 30- David Akers kicked a 28 yard field goal with four seconds left, and helped the Philadelphia Eagles keep their lead in the NFC East and set up a show down in Arlington at Cowboys Stadium with Dallas for not only the NFC East Championship, but for a first round bye (if Minnesota loses both of their final games). Donovan McNabb went 20-35 for 322 yards and three touchdowns, and the Eagles set a new franchise record in total points for the season, giving them 429 after 15 games, surpassing the old mark of 416 yards set just a season ago. Kyle Orton did a good job managing the game for Denver, leading a methodical come back and throwing three touchdowns to go with his 189 yards passing (two to Jabar Gaffney), and leading the Broncos back from a 17 point deficit to tie the game at 27. It was a huge catch by rookie WR Jeremy Maclin on the sidelines for the Eagles that set up the game-winning field goal for the Eagles. The Broncos, who were in the drivers seat for the Wild Card for the past two weeks are on the outside looking in and need to win and either the Jets, Baltimore or Pittsburgh to lose to make it in the playoffs. They host Kansas City next week. Broncos (8-7), Eagles (11-4)

Dallas 17, Washington 0- The December Depression has been detained in Dallas. Tony Romo threw for 286 yards and a touchdown, Marion Barber ran for a touchdown, and Shaun Suisham stuck it to the team that cut him by kicking a field goal from the same spot that costed him his job two weeks ago in the same stadium, and the Dallas Cowboys are back in the playoffs, but could potentially host a playoff game at Cowboys Stadium if they beat the Eagles next Sunday afternoon for the NFC East crown. Dallas has not won a game in January since 2000, and the last time they won a playoff game was 1996. The Redskins are a team in turmoil. They do have a GM in Bruce Allen, and Jim Zorn’s time is already up. The off-field distractions have led to on-field disasters, and a complete overhaul is demanded. Santana Moss had eight catches for 92 yards, and Jason Campbell did not have the best of days, going 24-39 for 199 yards and an interception. He was also sacked three times including a Madden-like sack from Orlando Scandrick. Too much uncertainty going into the offseason, but the ‘Skins need a ton of work. Cowboys (10-5), Redskins (4-11)

Week 16 concludes w/ the MNF Recap: Minnesota vs. Chicago

Christmas Night NFL Recap Week 16

The NFL happened on Christmas night, as the San Diego Chargers went to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans. With playoff implications in this one, would the Chargers get the bye, or would the Titans continue on a improbable run? To the recap…

San Diego 42, Tennessee 17- Phillip Rivers went 21-27 for 264 yards and threw two touchdowns, and LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles each ran for two touchdowns, and the San Diego Chargers defense took advantage of mistakes by Vince Young and rolled to a 42-17 victory, securing the second seed in the AFC and a first round bye. The win was the 10th straight for the Bolts, and their 18th straight victory in the month of December, which is an NFL record. San Diego put up two runs of 21 straight points, the first after the Titans took an early 3-0 lead, and the second was after the Titans scored at halftime to make it 21-10. The lone bright spot for Tennessee was Chris Johnson, who had 21 carries for 142 yards, and a 30 yard TD run. Johnson’s 142 yards puts his season total at 1,872, leaving him 118 shy of 2,000 and becoming the sixth player in NFL history to reach the 2,000+ yard plateau. He is also 234 yards shy of setting the NFL record of 2,105 by Eric Dickerson. Vince Young was ineffective throwing, going 8-21 for 89 yards and two interceptions, but he did run six times for 40 yards and had a touchdown. The loss is a huge blow for the Titans, who are virtually out of the playoff picture, but have a chance if they win and everyone else is even with them at 8-8. Even then, it’s a long shot. The remarkable turnaround from an 0-6 start is still amazing. San Diego has the momentum in December, but can they translate that to wins in January? We shall see. Chargers (12-3), Titans (7-8).

BCS Orange Bowl Preview: Iowa vs. Georgia Tech

The BCS previews continue with the FedEx Orange Bowl featuring the at-large Iowa Hawkeyes and the ACC Champion Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets. This is the fourth of the five BCS previews, with the final one being the BCS National Championship Game.

Offense: Definitely in this area, the advantage goes to Georgia Tech. The Jackets’ option-style offense is one of the best in the country. QB Josh Nesbitt has been great at running this offense, and mistakes have been few and far in between on the way to a successful 11-2 season. With over 2500 yards from scrimmage and 28 touchdowns (18 rushing), it has worked to near-perfection. Nesbitt has so many escapes with this offense, as he can give the ball to Jonathan Dwyer, who has 1396 yards this season and 14 touchdowns, and Anthony Allen (597 yards, 5 TDs). Nesbitt also has a strong arm, and when the option is so successful on the run, it opens up the pass and man coverage, and Nesbitt can air it out, and usually it goes to Demariyus Thomas (46 rec, 1154 yards, 8 TDs). This offense is so complicated, and Iowa is going to have to be solid on defense for any chance of victory against the Jackets.

The Hawkeyes are in some trouble, as they are without QB Ricky Stanzi for the season. Replacement QB James Vandenberg has not been too effective as a replacement, as he has struggled in the Hawkeyes final three games and the Hawkeyes did just enough to get into the BCS with a 10-2 record. Stanzi threw 14 interceptions to 15 touchdowns, but the Hawkeyes had a solid defense that kept them in games throughout the whole season. The running game of the Hawkeyes is a two-headed monster with Adam Robinson (775 yards, 5 TDs) and Brandon Wegher (528 yds, 7 TDs) and balanced receiving with Derell Johnson-Koulianos (41 rec, 687 yds, 2 TDs), and Marvin McNutt (30 rec, 653 yds, 7 TDs). If the Hawkeyes can manage the game, and keep that potent Ga. Tech offense off the field, they should win this game just fine.

Defense: The Hawkeyes have the advantage on this one, and it will depend on if they can get the Yellow Jackets off the field quickly, and allow their offense to control the game. They have to control the gaps on the option, and not get Thomas out on the open one on one. If they play man coverage on the option pass, have a safety back in coverage. The Iowa defense has not allowed 30+ points at all this season, but Georgia Tech has seven 30+ point games this season.

Georgia Tech’s defense gives up a lot of points, which has resulted in the games of 30+ points seven on offense. But without the game managing Stanzi, and Vandenberg playing under the biggest stage of his young collegiate career. Tech has to take advantage of the inexperienced QB, and if they can get Iowa off the field quickly, expect the offense to wear the Hawkeyes out. Iowa will have find ways to strike and strike often if they want any chance to get by this Ga. Tech defense because if the offense strikes quickly, the defense will play better.

The Yellow Jackets have the clear advantage in this game, and they are the favorites to win. The only way they will not win this Orange Bowl is if they make mistakes and commit turnovers. Vandenberg will need to play the game of his life for Iowa to have a chance in this game.

MNF Recap Week 15

The Nation’s capital was the site of the Monday Night game, with a desperate New York Giants team looking to keep the pressure on the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers for the NFC Wild Card spot. The Redskins look to play spoiler against the Giants and damage their hopes to their rivals. This wasn’t even close.

NY Giants 45, Washington 12- Eli Manning threw for 268 yards on 19-26 passing with three touchdowns, and Ahmad Bradshaw ran for two touchdowns and 61 yards, and the New York Giants returned to the team that was 5-0 a long time ago by dismantling the Redskins 45-12, and giving new Redskins boss Bruce Allen a lot to look at regarding the talent of this team and where they want to go in the future. The blowout loss was damaging to any chance that Jim Zorn had to keep his job for next season, and it appears that he is on his way out the door when the season is over. Manning connected with Steve Smith, Derek Hagan, and Mario Manningham, and by the time Terell Thomas intercepted Jason Campbell’s pass to make it 38-6, the game was well in hand. Campbell went 15-28 for 192 yards w/ a touchdown to Fred Davis and two interceptions and Quinton Ganther scored a touchdown for Washington. The Giants are now a game behind Green Bay & Dallas for the final spot in the NFC Playoff race. The Giants own the tiebreaker against Dallas (by virture of beating them twice), so no team is out of the woods just yet. Perhaps Washington was overlooking New York for their game against Dallas on Sunday night. The Cowboys signed former Redskins kicker Shaun Suisham, giving him a opportunity to stick it to his former team. Giants (8-6), Redskins (4-10)