Friday, February 22, 2008

Howard Gets His Money

The Ryan Howard arbitration hearing ended yesterday in Clearwater, Florida, and the slugger came out victorious. Howard will receive 10 million dollars this season, which is could for him but bad for the Phillies front office. That is the largest sum of money ever given to a player going into his third full season. It's no doubt that Howard deserves the money, however.

Howard was paid 900,000 dollars last year. That was a bargain for a player that won the MVP award the previous season, not to mention the Rookie of the Year in the season before that. Howard can't become a free agent until after the 2011 season, but I expect the Phils will sign him to a long term deal before then. Howard will be demanding some major bucks when that long term deal is made assuming Howard continues his pace this season. He will probably be looking for a deal similar to Alex Rodriguez of the Yankees. The Phils don't want to have to pay that amount of money.

I don't think Howard will have hard feelings because the Phillies didn't sign him to a long term deal yet. I don't think this will turn into another Scott Rolen situation. I think Howard knows that it is just business. Howard wants to be a part of this young core of Phillies and the Phillies want him to be part of this team, so the two sides should come to a long term agreement in the coming seasons.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A Look Ahead

The NBA is entering the second half of its season with the conclusion of last night's All-Star Game in New Orleans. Their have been many suprises through the first part of the season and their should be some good stories in the second portion as well.

One of the biggest suprises this season has happened in New Orleans itself. The Hornets are in first place in the superior Western Conference. Chris Paul is the young point guard and leader for this team. He is averaging a double-double with 20 points and 10 assists a night. David West and Peja Stojakovic have also been playing well for the surging Hornets. Tyson Chandler is finally showing his talents, especially in the rebounding department. He is averaging 12.5 rebounds along with 12.1 points per game. I don't think the Hornets will be on top of the West at season's end, but they will make the playoffs

Boston has dominated the East so far, and I expect them to continue at that pace. They are three games ahead of second place Detroit. The trio of Kevin Garnett (top), Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen are just unbeatable. Not sure if this team will win the championship, but I can tell you this: they definitely have a good shot at it. I am suprised at how well they meshed together. They will win the relatively weak East.

The Lakers and the Suns both made big moves before the All-Star break. The Lakers aquired Pau Gasol, which definitely made Kobe Bryant happy. Put Gasol and Bryant with Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum and you have one of the best teams in the league. The Lakers showed the NBA that they want to win and NOW. Gasol and Bryant seemed to play well together in their few games together before the break. While L.A. was upgrading the Suns were working out a deal with the Heat for Shaquille O'Neal. Shaq is a shell of his former self but I think he still has something left in the tank. He is still one of the strongest players in the NBA and can overpower anyone in the low post. The Suns gave up a talented player in Shawn Marion for Shaq, but he was unhappy in Phoenix anyway. The Suns and Lakers have showed their commitment to success and a championship.

Going into the break, the 76ers were holding on to the final playoff spot. The Sixers are lucky they are in the East because they wouldn't even be in contention in the West. They may have enough talent to hold onto that final spot, especially if they put winning streaks together like they are now. They have won five straight games.

The first half of the season was good, but I looking for the second half of the season should be even more enticing as the playoff race heats up.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Giant Upset

If you would have told me that the final score of Super Bowl XLII was going to be 17-14 Giants, I would have directed you to the nearest medical professional. Wow! That was a great game. Eli Manning showed he could come up big in the clutch with that game-winning drive.

Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning played well. He did throw one interception that should have been caught by Steve Smith. On that game-winning drive, Manning eluded several tacklers and throw a bomb to wide recevier David Tyree, who caught the ball with one hand against his helmet. That was one of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, if you ask me. Plaxico Burress caught the decisive touchdown. Burress did not have the game he did against the Packers but I think his prediction came the closest. His prediction was a 23-17 Giant win.

The Giant's defense was amazing last night. I think the Super Bowl MVPs should have been the Giant's defensive line. Micheal Strahan finally got his ring, he also picked up one sack of Brady. Osi Umenyiora played well. Justin Tuck played great. The rookie out of Notre Dame played the game of his life. The Giants D-line was one of the major reasons why they one.

The Patriots, looking for their 19 straight win, played well below their potential playing level. For the first time in a long while, the Patriots weren't the best team on the field. Brady played alright, but definetly not great. Somebody who did play great was Patriots wide recevier Wes Welker. Welker had 11 catches, tied for most in Super Bowl history, and would have easily been the MVP had the Patriots won.

So that ends the talk of are the Patriots the best team ever. They had the best regular season of any team in the history of football but they aren't even the best team now, let alone the history of the NFL. Tom Brady is a great quarterback, a Hall of Famer who already has three Super Bowl rings.

One of the best Super Bowls in history and one of the biggest upsets in sports' history was witnessed last night. That will be a game I won't soon forget. So, be happy for the Giants, for they are champions of the world.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Super Game Breakers

This is who I think will step up for their team:

Giants: Ahmad Bradshaw- The rookie running back will be key for the Giants. Bradshaw is quick and can outrun the Patriots aging defense, escpecially the linebackers. Brandon Jacobs will have a good game but I wouldn't be suprised if Bradshaw has a better one,

Patriots: Wes Welker- Welker is one of Brady's favorite target and the Giants are aware of that. Look for Welker to have double-digit receptions. I can see Welker having a better game than Randy Moss. I expect Moss to make some big plays but, for most of the game, he should be well covered.

MVP- Tom Brady- Brady will look impeccable. This may not be his best game of the season but look for him to be consistently accurate.

Final Prediction: Patriots 35, Giants 28

Friday, February 1, 2008

Patriotic Super Bowl?

Super Bowl XLII is fast approaching and I think it's sure to be a good one. The Giants are 14-point underdogs but they won't look like it on Sunday night. They will play their hearts out and give it the best they've got, but so will the Patriots. The Patriots are going for 19-0 and only the second perfect season in NFL history. The other team was the 1972 Miami Dolphins. If the Pats win this one I think they will be the best team in NFL history.
Let's breakdown the Patriots' offense; here is their starters:
LG Logan Mankins
LT Matt Light
C Dan Koppen
RT Nick Kaczur
RG Stephen Neal
TE Benjamin Watson
WR Randy Moss
WR Wes Welker
WR Donte Stallworth
RB Laurence Maroney
QB Tom Brady
This offense, as we all know, is the most explosive squad in the league. Somebody who is not listed as a starter but is still a key part to this offense is backup running back Kevin Faulk. Look for him and Maroney to work the screens. Moss is one of the most dynamic receviers you'll find in this league but he hasn't seen much action in the postseason. That doesn't mean a thing because Moss is still a dangerous deep threat. Wes Welker led the Pats in receptions this year and he also broke a team single season record in that category. He usually rins slant routes up the middle. Both Moss and Welker should be double-covered most of the time. While were talking receviers, you can't forget about Stallworth, that's when he burns you. He has great speed up the sidelines. Tom Brady is one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game. Even though he was caught wearing a brace on his foot last week, he will play and look perfect doing it. He is so accurate. And now to the offensive line. Brady wouldn't be nearly as good without them playing soundly every game of this season. They act as a brick wall protecting Brady and they will be tough to beat.

Now to the guys who will be opposing this great offensive side; let's take a look at the Giants' defensive starters:
LE Michael Strahan
DT Barry Cofield
DT Fred Robbins
RE Osi Umenyiora
OLB Kawika Mitchell
MLB Antonia Pierce
OLB Reggie Torbor
CB Corey Webster
CB Aaron Ross
SS James Butler
FS Gibril Wilson
When you look at this New York defense, the thing that stands out is the D-line. Micheal Strahan is aging and losing speed but he can still get to the quarterback. Osi Umenyiora could be the best end in the league. Justin Tuck also comes in at defensive end and he has played well. This defense will have to cover the long pass well while also shutting down Wes Welker over the middle.

Here are the offensive starters for the Giants:
LG Rich Seubert
LT David Diel
C Shaun O'Hara
RT Kareem McKenzie
RG Chris Snee
TE Kevin Boss
WR Plaxico Burress
WR Amani Toomer
RB Brandon Jacobs
FB Madison Hedgecock
QB Eli Manning
Plaxico Burress has been outstanding for this Giant offense. The 6-5 Burress is a key target for Eli Manning and look for him to have the ball in his hands a lot. Toomer is a solid recevier who manning trusts to make those tough catches. Brandon Jacobs is a tough back who should get a ton of handoffs in Glendale. But also look for backup running back Ahmad Bradshaw to share carries with him. Bradshaw is fast out of the backfield. Eli Manning was mistake-prone during the season but has been Brady-like in the playoffs

Here's a look at the Pats' defensive starters:
LE Ty Warren
NT Vince Wilfork
RE Richard Seymour
OLB Mike Vrabel
ILB Junior Seau
ILB Tedy Bruschi
OLB Adalius Thomas
CB Asante Samuel
CB Ellis Hobbs
SS Rodney Harrison
FS James Sanders
The Pats' D is aging and they want to win this Super Bowl bad. Mike Vrabel is a tackle machine who is having a breakout year. Junior Seau and Tedy Bruschi are good but will they be able to keep up with the Giants' offense. Adalius Thomas has played well this year. One of the best cornerbacks in the league is Asante Samuel. If I'm Eli Manning, I wouldn't throw in his direction. Rodney Harrison is a herd-hitting safety who can sometimes let his emotions get the best of him.

My Prediction: Patriots 35, Giants 28

I post my Game Breakers tommorow