Giants vs. Cowboys final prediction

Let's face it.  The Giants season will go as their game on sunday at the Dallas Cowboys goes.  A win, and they are right back in the division race.  A loss, and you can forget the division, and since the NFC is loaded with good teams, you can forget the wild card as well.  The Cowboys are more talented and more physical than the Giants.  They have better wide receivers and better running backs.  RB Demarco Murray is a man possessed on the field so far this season, running through defenses like a hot knife through butter.  Not to mention, the Dallas defense is playing out of their minds.  But, what scares me about picking the Cowboys to beat Big Blue?  Everyone is picking the Cowboys.  Until proven by a playoff berth, these Cowboys are still the Dallas Cowboys.  What does that mean?  It means that they are great at finding ways to mess things up.  Jerry Jones is starting to chirp a bit about how the Cowboys should sit back and "smell the roses."  No Jerry, your Cowboys should not do that.  The Cowboys always rise to the occasion when they are doubted, but when they are favored, they always find a way to mess things up.  That is why I'm rolling with Big Blue, who is coming off an embarrassing defeat, and will want to show the football landscape that last week's debacle was a fluke.

FINAL PREDICTION: Giants 24, Cowboys 17.

Tony Romo will have the ball with a chance to tie the game, but will do what Tony Romo does in pressure situations, throw a crushing interception in the red zone, showing that these Cowboys are not as great as people may believe.

Jets vs. Patriots final prediction

The Jets face the Patriots tonight at 8:25 on Thursday Night Football.  Because of the Jets recent horrid play, a possible upset should not even be discussed when previewing tonight's game.  I do not see in any situation how the Jets can come out on top in this one.  Tom Brady at home on a short week is almost unbeatable, and when its the Jets as the opponent, the odds go down even more.  Because it is supposed to rain tonight, I will be nice and predict that the Jets will surrender just under 30 points, but fail to score a touchdown.  The NFL is unpredictable, and especially in bad weather, but I'll take Tom Brady over Geno Smith any day of the week.  My prediction doesn't even take into account the damage that Darrelle Revis may do to his former club.

Rex, you're days are numbered.

FINAL PREDICTION: Patriots 27, Jets 6.

BOLD PREDICTIONS: Tom Brady throws for 3 touchdowns and Patriots wide receiver Brandon Lafell catches all 3 of them.  On the Jets side, Geno Smith will throw for less than 100 yards, and be benched for Michael Vick in the 4th quarter.


Islanders 6-3 victory over the Blueshirts was nothing short of impressive

It is very early in the NHL season, but the New York Islanders look like a much different team than years past.  Last night's 6-3 victory for the Islanders showed off their speed and ability to capitalize on an opposing team's mistake.  To be quite frank, although the Rangers outshot the Islanders, the Islanders seemed a step faster than the Blueshirts.  On the rush, the Islander defenseman were quick enough to force the Ranger's wingers to the side, while the Islander forwards were able to skate right past some of the marquis Ranger defensemen.  Ryan Mcdonagh and Marc Staal could not hang with the likes of John Tavares last night. 

One thing is clear, whether or not the Islanders keep up there hot undefeated start or not, they are much more competitive.  Recently added goaltender Jaroslav Halak gives the Islanders the ability to hang in games, unlike last year's goalie, Evegeni Nabakov.  Another difference in this year's Islanders team is their ability to block shots.  They beat the Rangers at their own game, out blocking them by a mark of 20-9.  The Islanders were able to silence the Madison Square Garden crowd with their tough play.  

The majority of the Islander goals were from the slot, and came off turnovers.  Center John Tavares' tying goal late in the second period off of a Ranger miscue was the turning point in the game.  The Islanders utilized the slot immensely last night, as RW Kyle Okposo tallied 5 shots, keeping the pressure on recently embattled Rangers goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist.  The Islanders may not have outshot the Rangers quantitatively, but they had many more quality shots than the Rangers and make the king feel uncomfortable all night.

No matter what transpires with this year's Islanders team, speed kills, and they have a lot of it.  The Islanders are going to find themselves in a lot of games if they are able to blow by defensemen the way they did last night against Ranger's Captain, Ryan Mcdonagh.  Nobody should be sleeping on the Islanders this year, they are a scrappy bunch and are not an automatic win on the schedule anymore.    

With their 5th straight loss, the Jets are on the brink of free fall

The Problem:  Living in the past and stubbornness. 

For the first time in the Rex Ryan era, the New York Jets have lost five games in a row.  Where does the blame even begin?  Although it should start with the players who just have to play better, GM John Idzik did not do the team any favors by spending no more than a nickel on free agent talent.  And as for Rex Ryan, he is living in the stone age.  NFL teams can't win without a good quarterback anymore, and he just can't seem to comprehend that.  Owner Woody Johnson does not seem to disappointed about the team's performance as he is no where to be found after most of the team's bone-crushing losses.

What we are tired of:  "We are one play away."

I think Jet fans are getting tired of hearing,"we need to fix our mistakes" every week from the players and then seeing them occur again and again the next game.  The Jets can't smooth talk their way out of these losses anymore.  A simple,"we suck" would suffice.  No matter what your admiration for Rex Ryan is, he is starting to sound like former Jets head coach, Rich Kotite.  And once your head coach sounds like Rich Kotite, the season is most likely over.  We don't want to hear that the starting quarterback Geno Smith was at the movies instead of a mandatory team meeting the day before a game.  How many quarterbacks who have missed a mandatory meeting for a movie have went on to win the super bowl?  Most likely zero.  Rex, you should be taking notes.

The fix:  Clean house.

1.  Fire Rex Ryan.  2.  Fire John Idzik.  3.  Use the 20+ million dollars in the offseason for actual NFL players, assuming it wasn't pocketed by John Idzik.  4.  Instill a winning mentality with a coach that doesn't take any garbage and cares more about winning then his friendship with the players.  5.  Be fair to the fans, and don't challenge them when the team loses, as they have the right to complain.        


The Giants are proving the critics wrong in a big way

After a dreadful 0-2 start to this year's campaign, the New York Giants were left for dead by many, me included.  Their lack of passion and skill was very transparent, and concerning to say the least.  However, when everyone least expected it, the Giants have rattled off three victories in a row and are facing a huge division contest this sunday night against their rival, the Philadelphia Eagles.  A game with tons of trash talk leading up to kickoff, showing that there is no love lost between these two enemies. 

Eli Manning looks rejuvenated and the swagger of the Giants is back.  Patience was truly what Giant fans needed to exhibit, as Ben Mcadoo's offense has finally come into its own.  The combination of Andre Williams and Rashad Jennings in the backfield along with a short but effective passing game has proven to be a difficult matchup for NFL defenses so far this season.  Not to mention, the emergence and of tight end Larry Donnell and wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. has done wonders for the Giants new offensive attack.  And the good thing for Eli is that his makeshift offensive line is playing out of their minds!  

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul looks like the player he was during his rookie season, wreaking havoc in opposing backfields.  Even scrutinized cornerback Prince Amukamara has stepped up and played to the standards that the Giants had held him to when coming out of Nebraska.  Head coach Tom Coughlin has his team playing hard, and even though they may not be a juggernaut, they are far better than last season's Giants.  This team is competitive, and who knows, in a banged up NFC East with an unreliable Cowboys team at the top, anything can happen.  

If the Giants are going to continue to prove their critics wrong and make an improbable playoff push this season, they are going to have to win this sunday in Philadelphia.  A win this weekend will be a statement, and show that the Giants are here to stay.  Do you think the Giants can make the playoffs?  

While the NFL dropped the ball; Ray Rice is still to blame

The NFL has been under a lot of scrutiny the past few weeks regarding their mishandling of the Ray Rice domestic abuse situation.  It seems as if the focus is more on the NFL and what they didn't do, as opposed to what Ray Rice shouldn't have done.  Although Ray Rice has been punished, some of the focus is being taken off of him and being put on the NFL and how they were ignorant about Rice's assault at an Atlantic City casino. 

If Ray Rice didn't hit his then fiancee and now wife, the NFL never would have been put in the position they are now.  I am not excusing Roger Goodell's actions, because his ignorance of not being on top of things from the get go is arguably a fireable offense.  However, the main blame should be put on the players who commit these terrible acts of violence.  The NFL and its players are being villainized for things that a few individual players did.  Domestic abuse is not an NFL problem, but rather, a societal problem.  It is just being magnified through NFL players because of their fame and public stature.  Yes, these players are held to a higher standard then the normal citizen, but the amount of well-behaved players in the NFL outweighs the number of poor behaved players.  

I am no fan of Roger Goodell and the lack of support for him by the players shows that they know what is right and what is wrong.  Although Goodell says he has support from the owners, that is only 32 people.  He is hated by many players and does not look good in the public eye.  That is why, when looking at the Ray Rice fiasco, the situation should be compartmentalized.  The entire NFL is not a corrupt business that condones crime and only cares about the money.  While there are definitely some inside the league office that turn a blind eye, they do not represent the feelings of the majority of the NFL employees.  

Roger Goodell deserved to be grilled on national television yesterday by reporters, but why don't we see Ray Rice at the microphone?  He should be grilled by the public as well.  He should have to answer why he punched his wife in the face and how is he going to live with himself knowing that he committed a terrible act of violence.  The NFL may want to protect the shield and have things kept hidden, and that is not acceptable.  But it all starts with Ray Rice.  If he didn't knock out a woman in an elevator.  These discussions would never have taken place.


The Jets and the Giants come up short yet again

Slideshow:

Aweful. That just about sums it up for the performances put on by the Jets and the Giants earlier today. Whether it was the horrific fumble by Rashad Jennings of the Giants, or the unfathomable nullifying timeout that cost the Jets a tying touchdown in Green Bay, there is nothing positive to talk about. Unfortunately, there are no moral victories in football. Therefore, there are no silver linings to discuss. While the Giants had a more fluid offense, they lost to a backup quarterback in Drew Stanton, an inexcusable act. For the Jets, blowing a 21-3 lead against an elite team on the road may turn into a season altering loss.

Tom Coughlin and Rex Ryan are usually regarded as player-friendly coaches in NFL circles, but the mistakes made by both teams today reflect poorly on both coaches. The poor special teams play by the Giants reflects a lack of discipline instilled by Tom Coughlin. Similarly for Gang Green, the complete loss of composure in the second half by Muhammed Wilkerson reflects on Rex's poor discipline of his team. These coaches may be loved by their players, but who cares? If the team is not performing, does it really matter if the players like the coach? A team that wins and doesn't love their coach is more ideal than having a team with players that are inseparable with their coach but lose.

From afar, it appears that the Jets and Giants are both in for long campaigns this season. No game on the schedule is a guaranteed win for the Giants anymore, and the Jets will be lucky to win one of the next five games they play. After all the preseason hype, it is beginning to look like there will be no New York football team playing in January. These two teams have constantly failed to answer the bell the last couple of years, and the excuses are getting old. 

The Yanks are surging

The Yankees are on a tear

Whether you are a believer or not, the New York Yankees are still in the thick of the American League Wild Card race.  Having won seven of their last ten contests, the Yankees have put themselves right back in the playoff mix.  Many people left them for dead, including me, but the recent acquisitions of infielders Chase Headley and Martin Prado along with pitcher Brandon McCarthy have proven vital to the Yankees recent success.  Say what you will about Brian Cashman and the lack of a farm system that he has assembled, but he has kept the Yankees in the race by any means necessary.  It seems that way in most years with the Yankees.  They are trying to win, and that is all you can ask for as a fan.

The Yankees are not going to catch Oakland or the Angels of Anaheim for the first wild card or Baltimore for the division, but the Detroit Tigers are reeling and the Seattle Mariners are playing way over their head.  If the Yankees can keep up their recent success, there is no reason why they can't sneak into the second wild card spot.  Tonight's game in my opinion is a huge indicator as to whether this Yankee team means business.  The Yankees are facing Pitcher Kyle Lobstein of the Tigers, an inexperienced pitcher who has one career major league start to his name.  Many Yankee fans know that the bombers have a habit of making rookie pitchers look like the second coming of Sandy Koufax, so it will be interesting to see how the Yankee's bats perform tonight.  If the Yankees can get out of Motown with a series win in today's rubber game, it will be a giant step towards the playoffs.  

Why would this be such a big step?  Solely for the reason that their next set of games is against a struggling team in the Blue Jays, and a streak of three or four more in a row will situate the Yankees right at the cusp of the second wild card and stage their September run.  The Yankees were in this position last year, and so they have a lot to prove.

However, this Yankee team has more talent than last season and has the added desire to win title number 28 for Derek Jeter.  This combination may be just enough for the Yankees to sneak in the playoffs, and once they're in, anything can happen.   

Masahiro Tanaka's injury demonstrates a growing problem in baseball

Tommy John is too common in the MLB

It seems as if every time you turn your head, another pitcher is tearing their Ulnar Collateral ligament in their elbow.  Masahiro Tanaka is the latest of many recent pitchers who have had their elbow ligaments fail them.  While Tanaka is trying to avoid surgery, he is merely avoiding the inevitable.  And this brings up a greater question; are all pitchers avoiding the inevitable?  Nobody wants to get surgery, but with the UCL tear in baseball becoming more common and the surgery being successful, it does beg the question.  To me, it starts at a very young age.  By the time many of these pitchers are getting into the the minor leagues, they have most likely started at least 15 games a year since they were about 13.  After all, pitching is not a natural motion for the elbow, so is there anything that can be done to limit the effects of something that is unnatural?  I think there is a simple solution for many of these young arms.  Don't throw as much!

People like to say how pitch counts nowadays have made the game soft, but if they were more prevalant at the lower levels of the game, you may not have 10-15 Tommy John surgeries a year in the major leagues.  Teams need to prepare differently now because of the uprise in Tommy John injuries.  You can never have too much pitching nowadays, even if you have up to 10 young arms in the woodworks in your farm system.  

The fact that kids at 15 and 16 years of age are receiving this injury proves that it is not a product of anything going on in the major leagues, but that it is a product of a major increase of throwing starting at the younger ages.  If you go back 20 or 30 years ago, many of those who played travel baseball will tell you that they only remember playing in the spring for their school and maybe a little bit in the summer.  There was no fall baseball and showcases and weekly tournaments across the country.  The problem starts at a young age, and those who control youth baseball have the power to fix the problem.  The official organization of Little League that runs the Little League World Series has gotten off to a great start by creating very strict pitch count rules.  

Once you get into the Babe Ruth leagues on the regular sized field however, pitch counts start to become less prevalent.  There are always going to be those who can throw forever and those who can only throw 5 innings in a game, but the increase in youth baseball games over the years has coincided with the increase of Tommy John injuries.  That idea cannot be refuted.