Monday, December 1, 2008

No need to panic but...

Mats Sundin will be a Ranger. New Toronto GM Brian Burke doesn't seem to be chasing down the stubborn Swede and the Rangers continue to hold interest. I don't know when, and I honestly don't feel like getting into all the roster moves Glen Sather will pursue to make this happen (other than trading Petr Prucha, that's a given), but I feel he will be a Ranger shortly.

This current Rangers team needs to make moves before the deadline, and if they feel Sundin will help them, it's better to get him in uniform sooner rather than later to better assess the team at the deadline with him in the makeup.

The Rangers also need to clear cap space--not only for Sundin--but to also call up a defenseman from Hartford. I'm not saying this team isn't a top-four team in the Eastern Conference, but there are definitely some issues to work out.

Wade Redden has been skating around like Eric Lindros the first day back from a concussion, and Kalinin, with the exception of a couple games here and there, has not impressed. Rozsival has not played well, but do fans realize he is coming off major offseason hip injury? I am not impressed with his play either, but he has always been a serviceable NHL defenseman, he didn't turn into Marek Malik overnight. Stay calm Garden Faithful, you will see his transformation as he continues to get healthier. But they still need a hungry defenseman from Hartford to scare the current six from losing their job. I would love to see Corey Potter in the regular season - he had a monster preseason.

Will Sundin help the Rangers? I don't think so, but I feel as if the Rangers think he can help. Sundin has always been a good player, but a bit overrated throughout his career. Does this opinion come from a narrow view? Of course, I live in Jersey and watch him play maybe 12 times a year if I catch all four games he plays against the Rangers, Devils, and Islanders. And let's be honest, can Islander fans even sit through an entire Islanders game? I mean, it is pretty tough to watch a game after you break the TV with a beer bottle midway through the first period after the Isles are down 3-0 and are trying to kill off their ninth penalty.

Sundin has never won anything and is old. Why not just re-sign Brendan Shanahan? He can give you 20 goals, proven winner, leadership, he loves New York, loads of intagibles, and he knows the system already. I'd rather see Shanahan on Broadway than Sundin.

Unless of course if Sather could swing a deal for (the oft-injured) Marian Gaborak (Mike Cammalleri would be a nice addition also), but we'll save that for another day - I'm too busy watching Jacque Lemaire's super-defense Minnesota Wild give up six right now to the Sakic-less Colorado Avalanche.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jets Suck

Last week, I warned the non-Jets fan about getting too excited about Gang Green.

They will always let their fans down, and today was no different. I'm assuming at this point, the Mets/Jets fan has to be right on the verge of suicide. Good thing for me the Yankees keep me afloat (And the fact that the NFL is creeping further and further away from my interest in recent years because of the constant Jet heartbreak).


The Jets are now 8-4. A week ago, Jets fans across the tri-state area were calling a win-out.

Someone explain to me why in the first quarter of a scoreless game, deep in your own end, in the rain, Brian Shottenheimer called for a fake option reverse with Brad Smith. You can't. It's unexplainable. The game was over from that moment on.

Go ahead, look at the box score.

"Thomas Jones had 138 yards on 16 carries! The Jets should have run it more!"

No, they shouldn't have. They had one good drive that stalled in the red zone. It started at their own 2-yard-line. A couple penalties and a few big screens (With equally as many Bronco injuries) got the Jets all the way down the field, where they settled for a meaningless field goal.

Take away Jones' 59 and 29-yard touchdown runs, and he had 50 yards on 14 carries. Nothing spectacular. I don't usually like to use foul language, so what I will say is that the Jets played like this today.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

How could you not love this guy?

The Daily News' hilarious President Bush photos. Enjoy.

Big Bust Update

Remember this guy Rangers fans? Hugh "Huge Specimen" Jessiman? Slats do you even remember? Anybody?

Don't worry if you can't recall the fella, not many people do, considering he is the only player from the first round of the 2003 draft to have never played a regular season or playoff NHL game. I'll give you a minute to collect yourself after looking at that draft list and vomitting Rangers fans. It's all better now, Zherdev is here.

Just thought I'd give you folks (well the few that care about him anyway) a little update on the recently traded bust.

The new Milwaukee Admiral (is it that hard to put the roster in some kind of order? Alphabetical, number, position...something?) has three goals and one assist since the Rangers traded him to the Nashville Predators for future considerations earlier this season. Maybe the Rangers are just trying to get even with the Preds for that Adam Hall disaster. But check out this goal by Jessiman (Click here) in a game this past week against the Detroit Red Wings farm club, Grand Rapids Griffins. Not too shabby, but I am actually more concerned for the Red Wings. Goaltender Jimmy Howard is supposed to be the future and he's letting in weak shots...from Hugh Jessiman...on his backhand...from his knees? Dom Hasek, you may want to wait by your phone again.

By-the-way, what are the odds that Glen Chervin drew the Admirals logo?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hey, they'll take it

When you're a New York Islander you'll take whatever you can get in order to win five of your last six (Click). As for Ryan O'Byrne, don't be down on yourself, just remember you don't live in Colombia. Someone might want to let Canadiens fans know that as well.

Of course, the irony is that Sean Bergenheim of the Islanders got a penalty which caused Montreal's Carey Price to head to the bench for the extra attacker to begin with. That along with the 10 other penalty minutes accumulated in the game keeps the team with the 7th most penalty minutes in the league. Hey, every team has to have goals right? I believe next item on the agenda is worst plus/minus.


Thanks to an avid reader of The Black and White Cookie, I have received some much-deserved praise regarding a prediction I made back in May about Mike Mussina.

Touche to me, and touche to you, mystery reader. You have just earned Black and White Reader of the Month. Read on my friend, read on.

Where's the Love?

On February 3rd Adam Graves' #9 will hit the Garden rafters, joining his 1994 Stanley Cup teammates Mike Richter, the Gary Coleman-loving Mark Messier, and Brian Leetch. Call it coincidence, but Graves 2k8 has emerged on the notoriously awful Garden ice wearing #24.

Ryan Callahan has been the most consistent Rangers forward so far this season. I dare you to argue. Consistency doesn't always mean that you have to put the puck in the net every game.

Consistency means that you show up every game and make yourself effective in every area of the rink. If you can point out a player who has displayed more tenacity, more will, and more heart in every game this season for the Rangers, I'll show you my prepubescent "cooking show" that I made for English class in 7th grade (for the record, my homemade potato chips were a thing of beauty).

With his heart on his sleeve, Callahan has played every shift like it is his last and is a constant force around the net. At only 5'11" and 185 pounds, the man is fearless and effective when throwing his weight around. If only I could say the latter for another player with similar size.

Not only is he a player who will stand up for teammates, and skate his guts out every time he spills over the boards, but the guy can actually score. He's got a quick pair of hands and a great shot to boot. He is not flashy. He doesn't have the puck carrying grace or public wit that Scott Gomez has, but he is starting to find his game and is due to break out at any moment.

Adam Graves was a player built in the same mold as Callahan (they are actually almost the same size too). Graves put up very small numbers offensively in his first five years, but then erupted once he donned Rangers blue. This is Callahan's second full season in the NHL and he has proven that he is a sniper at the AHL level. Of course, just because you score at the AHL level doesn't necessarily mean it will translate in the NHL, but by watching Callahan on a consistent basis you'll soon see why I consider him the best Rangers forward up to this point. As he continues to grow in this league, he will develop into - at the very least - a terrific 2nd line winger. His hockey IQ simply won't let him be anything less than that.

He doesn't get much attention from the media and hockey "experts," but that just helps him fly under the radar and maybe will give him a New York Giants mentality. Is it a guarantee that Callahan becomes what I say he will be? Well, I'm not considered an "expert," and we all know they always get it right.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Play the Super Bowl at Giants Stadium

If the Giants and the Jets (Click here to find out just how big I think that "if" is) end up meeting each other on Super Sunday, why would you send these two teams that play in the same stadium all the way to Tampa?

If pigs decide to fly, and hell freezes over, and the Jets should actually make it to the Super Bowl, where the Giants will be waiting for them, why can't they play the game at Giants Stadium?

People are already calling up WFAN asking what they're going to do if the Jets and Giants both get home-field in the playoffs and have to play games back-to-back in January.

I guess these "fans" don't quite remember last year's playoffs. There are games on Saturday and Sunday during the NFL playoffs. So, just by thinking about it for a half-second, I have solved this conundrum: One team plays on Saturday; the other team on Sunday. I can't take all the credit though -- they've been doing it this way forever. This will give the stadium's crew plenty of time to hang up the green wallpaper they use to cover the red walls. Genius.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Confident Jets Fan*

For those non-Jet fans out there, the asterisk is because there is no such thing as a confident Jets Fan.

As Jets fans, we know we have to be cautiously optimistic of anything good that may come from Gang Green on Sundays. We know they have let us down time after time in the past, and they will let us down again. And we know that Jets/Giants Super Bowl talk is about as dumb as Donovan McNabb. Well -- maybe not that dumb.

After their 34-13 thumping of the previously undefeated and, in my opinion, overrated Tennessee Titans, the Jets moved into a tie with the Steelers for the second best record in the AFC at 8-3. The future looks bright.

Aside from awful play-calling after the opening drive, a Favre interception, and a Leon Washington fumble, the Jets played like, I can't believe I'm saying this, a true contender.

The remainder of the Jets' schedule is as easy as that one girl from high school (You know the one), and it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility that they could end up 12-4.

But, any true Jets fan is prepared to finish 8-8. Sadly, it's the unfortunate "True Life: I'm a Jets fan" reality. They should win next week at home against the Broncos, but we'll see what happens.

But yes, if you're wondering, I would consider myself a confident Jets fan*.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Some thoughts...

Well, it's been quite some time since my last post, to say the very least.

The Yankees were 20-25 and had just won three in a row. I guess ending their season winning nearly 90 games isn't something to just brush off, one would think if some key injuries didn't happen and any sort of hitting with runners in scoring position went on, this brutal season could have seen 100 wins. Laugh if you want, but at 89 wins, you figure Wang, who got hurt in mid-July, for roughly 10 wins in the second half.

Anyway, as we move into the first baseball-less October in what seems like forever, the Yankees have some real work to do. They just extended Brian Cashman's contract three years, so that's done. Now, they have to discuss the on-the-field product.

Bare with me, I've been stewing like a mad scientist the past few weeks at what I would like to see the Yankees do this winter, given what's available, and here they are:

Most importantly, the pitching...

Convince Pettitte and Mussina that you want them to open the new stadium.

Get Wang on some kind of rehab assignment where he plays kickball with kindergartners to practice running (Thank you Miller) so he never hurts himself ever again.

Continue to develop Hughes and make sure he has tons of contact solution. His last start: 8 IP, 2 ER, 6 K, 0 BB.

Sign C.C. Sabathia for the love of everything holy. I know he said he wants to be on the west coast (Source), but the Yankees cannot afford for the Angels to scoop him up just because it's convenient for him. Offer him the rest of the payroll if need be, they're going to have plenty of free money.

Joba stays in the bullpen for now. Yes, we all know he was and would be a fantastic starter, but he obviously can't log innings like the Yankees needed him to this year. This way, with strong starting pitching, you have the eighth and ninth innings locked up.

The bullpen is fine and would only be better with Joba there.

Worst scenario: Go out and get Derek Lowe. Yeah, he's older, but he's a gamer and has big game experience (He was on a certain 2004 team, I can't quite remember which one though). He's coming off a good year with a great ERA.

So the rotation would look like this:

Chien-Ming Wang, C.C. Sabathia, Mike Mussina, Andy Pettitte, Phil Hughes

Now, for the rest of the position players...

Obviously this team is poised, when healthy, to score 1,000 runs in any given season. But it hasn't happened. What I would love to see is for the Yanks to pass on Jason Giambi and Bobby Abreu.

Move Nady to right, Damon plays left.

Now, here's the big one: Trade Robinson Cano to the Dodgers for Matt Kemp. Kemp plays center, and they go out and sign free-agent Orlando Hudson to play second.

I'm a little sour on Matsui, but I suppose he could DH in a seven or eight spot.

Sign Mark Teixeira to play first. I can't even fathom the kind of numbers he could put up batting between Jeter and A-Rod. Scary.


Johnny Damon LF
Derek Jeter SS
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Xavier Nady RF
Jorge Posada C
Hideki Matsui DH
Matt Kemp CF
Orlando Hudson 2B

I could love that squad. Thoughts?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Yanks win three straight, Joba to join rotation

After an embarrassing loss to the Orioles Tuesday, the Yankees have won their last three games. In those three games, they have outscored their opponents 23-3 and the recently anemic, enigma of an offense seems to be coming around.

The Yankees have finally announced their plans for setup man Joba Chamberlain this week. According to manger Joe Girardi, Joba will strengthen his arm and stretch it out over the next few weeks and enter the rotation as soon as possible.

Finally someone realized that with a sub-.500 record, Joba wasn't making nearly enough of an impact pitching once a week. Chamberlain will solidify the rotation and make the 5-man rotation strong (If Mussina and Darrell Rasner continue to pitch well and Andy Pettitte comes around).

By the time Joba enters the rotation, Posada will be back from his shoulder injury and the team should finally be 100 percent ready to win games.

At 20-25, I said I would like to see them reach .500 at the 30-30 mark. That would mean they would have to go 10-5 over that stretch. Not unrealistic for a team expected by many to score 1,000 runs. Since that point, they are 3-0, but are still in the AL East cellar at 23-25.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


The last time the Yankees won a game without the decision going to either Mike Mussina or Darrell Rasner was May 2.

The last time the Yankees won a game without the decision going to either Mussina, Rasner or Wang was April 20, when Andy Pettitte won his start against the Orioles.

Mussina, Rasner, Wang and Pettitte have accounted for all of the winning decisions going to Yankee starting pitchers. Guys like Joba Chamberlain, LaTroy Hawkins and Brian Bruney have also picked up wins in relief. It looks like a good thing, for your big three pitchers to have the bulk of the wins for starting pitching for their team, but one has to take into account the team is four games under .500 and struggling mightily. Mussina, Rasner, Wang and Pettitte are a combined 17-10 with a 3.88 ERA. Not horrible, but also not the record you would wish upon the top three pitchers in your rotation.

Ian Kennedy, Phil Hughes and Kei Igawa in 2008: 0-8, 9.31 ERA. The Yankees are 2-12 in games started by these three enigmas.

Can't solely blame the pitching staff, the bullpen has been generally good, injuries have been a factor, sending Bruney, Hughes and Jonathan Albaladejo to the DL. The Yankees do not hit. They will not win until they hit, it's as simple as that.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Yanks lose series to Mets, drop three straight

20-24. The Yankees have not exactly followed their preseason script to say the least.

The only bright side to this atrocious record is there is no A-Rod or Posada. The lack of Yankee offense can be saved when those two big bats get back into the lineup. A-Rod is scheduled to return to action tonight against the Orioles, while Posada is slated to return in early June.

Yankee Offense:
179 Runs (12th in AL)
136 BB (10th in AL)
14 SB (13th in AL)
56% SB (Last in AL)
8 Sac Flies (13th in AL)
33.7 AB/HR (11th in AL)

Maybe A-Rod will come back and rake like last year.

Friday, May 16, 2008

This just in: hell freezes over

The Yankees are in the AL East cellar and the Tampa Bay Rays, who just took three out of four from the Bombers, are laughing at them from the top.

Don't believe me? Yeah, I wouldn't believe me either. (Click)

"Simply amazing." -John Sterling

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Can't say enough about the way Mike Mussina is pitching right now.

Just when you think the series with the Rays is over, with two losses coming off starts by Andy Pettitte and Chien-Ming Wang (your two "aces"), Moose goes out there and continues his recent dominance, giving up one run over six and a third.

With four strikeouts and just one walk, Mussina's control, which has been his bread and butter over the years, is back. He has never been, and never will be, a power pitcher, so he needs to place his pitches to be successful.

Moose's ERA is down to 3.99 and he has only suffered nine earned runs in his last 5 starts, a 2.78 ERA in that span. The Yankees have won the last five games Mussina has started, as the old-timer raised his record to 6-3.

The Yankees will try to salvage the 4-game series with Tampa Bay tomorrow, sending Ian Kennedy to the mound for his first start since being sent down to Triple A.

Monday, May 12, 2008


The Yankees have announced that Kei Igawa will go to the bullpen, Ian Kennedy will be recalled and will start Thursday, and Darrell Rasner will take the mound at home against the Mets on Friday. (Source)

A blessing in disguise?

With the Yankees coming off a big win Saturday on the strength of a second strong start from Darrel Rasner (click), Sunday's rainout against the Tigers seemed like a bad thing. One good thing has come out of it though: The Yankees now have the ability to skip Kei Igawa the next time around in the rotation. (Source)

Andy Pettitte is the scheduled starter tonight in Tampa, followed by Chien-Ming Wang tomorrow and Mussina on Wednesday. To finish up their four-game set with the Rays, the Yankees may be able to skip Igawa's start and throw Rasner on Thursday.

Another scenario has Igawa throwing on Thursday (due to a horrific lack of arms) against the Rays, then Rasner pitching the first game of the weekend series with the Mets.

The last option is to start Rasner on Thursday, then send Igawa down to Scranton and bring up either the reborn Ian Kennedy or another starter to fill in. (Source)

Sunday, May 11, 2008

The ten types of Yankee fans

Why do editors let Boston fans write things like this? Click.

Calling all third basemen

Wilson Betemit is joining A-Rod on the disabled list after pulling his hamstring while legging out an RBI double today against the Tigers. That leaves Morgan Ensberg to hold down the hot corner for awhile.

I'm just spitballing here, but what if Ensberg finds a way to injure himself? I don't see why the Yankees shouldn't just throw Kei Igawa over there to play third. Way I see it, he has to be better at third than he is on the mound. He is robbing the Yankees blind, might as well try to get something useful out of him.

Maybe I'll send a letter to the front office with a few suggestions.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Second coming?

At 7:05 tonight, the Yankees take on the Tigers in Detroit. Regarded by some idiot as the "greatest lineup in the history of baseball," Detroit certainly is stacked. Starting for the Yankees? Hideki Irabu-er, Kei Igawa... my bad.

Maybe the Yankees can get to Kenny Rogers this time around. If not, look for Girardi to yank Igawa early so the bullpen can get taken behind the woodshed.

In other news, A-Rod will be undergoing another MRI on that pesky quad. The results of the MRI will then allow the Yankee heirarchy to make a decision about whether he can make rehab starts in Little League. The same Little League that made Ian Kennedy delusional enough to think he was Superman (That mane really fits Joba, doesn't it?).

By the way, the fact that Irabu has two World Series rings is about as funny as Jonathan Papelbon.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

What is the Universe coming to?

...when all the Yankee fan can look forward to is every fifth start from recently-thought-to-be-washed up Mike Mussina. Over his last four starts, Moose has gone 4-0 with a 3.13 ERA. Touche.

Mussina is back to commanding his pitches, especially inside to lefties, the very aspect of his game that was thought to be long gone. He's probably going to win 15+ games in 2008. Trust me, the Yankees are praying for that right now.

Now for the bad news: Kei Igawa is starting tomorrow. Yes, the same Kei Igawa from last season.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Back to Pittsburgh

The Rangers held off the young Penguins last night and avoided elimination, forcing a game five back in Pittsburgh.

It makes me wonder if Jaromir Jagr is going to continue to look like the Jagr of the 90s (insert left) and help make this series interesting (after all, it is a contract year for Jagr, who is playing with some jump in his step for one last big contract in his later years). Look at that mullet, all business.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Another miserable April

And A-Rod's not even here to save it this year.

I guess the Yankee fan should be thrilled after going 14-15 in April after a 9-14 start last year. But with three big-name players on the disabled-list (A-Rod, Posada and Phil Hughes), one guy out for the season (Brian Bruney), and a partridge in a pear tree, the Yankees' future isn't looking too bright.

The Yankees have huge problems and not to pile it on, but there are rumors that Hughes and Kennedy are going to be sent down to Triple-A to "find themselves."

Ian Kennedy and Phil Hughes' combined numbers:
41 IP | 57 Hits | 40 R | 30 BB | 28 K | 8.78 ERA

If Carl Pavano ever pitched 41 innings in pinstripes, I figure his numbers would look similar to those. A Pavano reference, that's just awful.

The most remarkable aspect of this putrid month for the Bombers is the fact that there is a crazy pattern to their wins and losses. If they win one, they lose one, if they win two, they lose two, etc. Click.

P.S.- Johan's numbers look like this:
40.1 IP | 29 Hits | 14 R | 8 BB | 39 K | 3.12 ERA | 0.92 WHIP

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Here's why Memphis will not be dancing...

Memphis is a good team. They have won 30 games for three consecutive seasons. But they will not win a national championship, at least not in 2008.

The Tigers are shooting 59.1 percent from the charity stripe this season, good for 339th out of all 341 D-I teams. You cannot expect to win in March shooting that poorly. They will get a #1 seed in the tournament, and I wouldn't be too surprised if they lost in the second round to the highly underrated 8/9 winner.

Friday, February 22, 2008

This Just In

The Yankees have one lefty in their entire pitching staff, and his name is Andy Pettitte.

Their entire bullpen is comprised of right-handed pitchers and with that short porch in right field, the Yankees better get someone fast. I don't know how deep the free agency pool is for left-handed relievers, but there are only two southpaws that have even been invited to spring training to battle for a spot on the team. Their names? Heath Phillips and Billy Traber.

Apparently Kei Igawa, Chase Wright and Sean Henn are going to have to anchor the Yankees out of the pen, acting as the left-handed specialists against guys like David Ortiz and Travis Hafner. Scary.

Mangini no Genius

Credit Eric Mangini's creepy need to be exactly like Bill Belichick for Jonathan Vilma being allowed to shop around for a trade from New York.

When Mangini was hired as head coach of the New York Jets he changed the Jets' defense from a base 4-3 to the 3-4, the one that they have so much success with up in New England. In 2004 the Jets had the seventh ranked defense, their first round draft pick Jonathan Vilma led the league in tackles, and all was well on the defensive side of the ball. This was with the base 4-3 defense.

Mangini then came in and threw that out the window, causing Vilma to go from tackling machine to mere speed bump for opposing offensive linemen. The Jets don't have the personnel for the 3-4, hence the eighteenth and twentieth ranked defenses in two seasons under Mangini. Vilma got hurt, resulting in season-ending surgery, and is now seeking a trade.

Vilma is undersized for a middle linebacker. Listed at 6'1, 230 pounds, he is successful because he is one of the fastest and smartest linebackers in the league. Second round draft pick David Harris (6'2, 245 pounds) came in to replace Vilma this past season, dominating the middle linebacker position and racking up tackles in bunches. With Harris entering his sophomore campaign in 2008, the Jets figure that they can afford to let Vilma go, trying to get someone for him.

My suggestion? If you want to stick with the 3-4 so badly then stick with it. Just draft the biggest and most ferocious defensive tackles you can to protect Vilma and Harris in the middle. Glenn Dorsey (LSU) would be nice, but at this point, anyone will do. If you can get a decent, hole-plugging tackle, maybe an end who can get to the quarterback (Chris Long) and an outside linebacker to join Harris, Vilma and Hobson, this defense could be a serious problem for NFL offenses. Kerry Rhodes is already a stud, and with a little help stopping the run, could really sit back and dominate centerfield.

Right now Bryan Thomas is listed as the starting outside linebacker. He is a defensive end. Get him back there and create your own mock Strahan/Umenyiora combo with Sean Ellis and Thomas.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

Wish I found this before tonight... enjoy.

The Way to a Man's Heart - Rick Reilly

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pettitte Ready to Move Forward

Andy Pettitte and the Yankee organization held a press conference in Florida on Monday where he repeatedly apologized for his involvement in the Mitchell Report and his usage of Human Growth Hormone.

"I want to apologize to the New York Yankees' and to the Houston Astros' organizations and to their fans and to all my teammates and to all of baseball fans for the embarrassment I have caused them," Pettitte said. "I also want to tell anyone that is an Andy Pettitte fan I am sorry, especially any kids that might look up to me."

Sincere, honest, expected.

Andy Pettitte is one of the good guys in today’s world of party-going, drug-using, entourage-having sports stars. He used HGH and apologized for it, stating he still did not believe, after all of this, that he cheated the game of baseball.

"Was it stupid? Yeah, it was stupid. Was I desperate? Yeah, I was probably desperate," Pettitte said. "I wish I never would have done it, obviously, but I don't consider myself a cheater, no."

Human Growth Hormone was not banned by Major League Baseball until 2005 so Pettitte is not at risk for a suspension from the league, as his uses were before the ban date.

Pettitte has claimed since the Mitchell Report broke out that he did not take HGH to improve his game, but to help get him off the disabled list. He felt like he owed it to his team to get back from and elbow injury as fast as possible. Maybe Pettitte will rub-off on some other oft-injured Yankee pitchers.

"I didn't do it to try to get an edge on anyone. I didn't do it to try to get stronger or faster or throw harder. I did it because I was that it might be able to help me," said Pettitte.

With long-time teammates Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada with him, as well as the Steinbrenners and Brian Cashman, Pettitte spoke for nearly an hour, answering most questions and only shying away from those prying about Roger Clemens’ “misremembers” statements before Congress.

"I'm just not going to go there," Pettitte said. "I've had to testify under oath. So has Roger. And, you know, I don't think that's anything I need to sit here and try to elaborate on with anyone else."

His Yankees teammates were not shy about their support of Andy:

"We've been through a lot of tough times in baseball. Why not support him?" Rivera said. "I consider Andy my friend. I'm glad I was there."

Derek Jeter also commented on the press conference, claiming that this should not hinder the Yankees' ability to win games.

"There should be no problems with the team," Jeter said. "It's Andy's issue. It has no effect on anyone else on the team, so it should not be an issue. You've got to put it behind you at some point, sooner rather than later," he added. "That's why it's good he's addressing it today. Hopefully it's over with after that. You can't help the stories, you can't help what's said on television."

Everyone knows Pettitte is a very religious man, crediting God whenever he can. As Pettitte spoke longer and longer, I began to believe Roger Clemens less and less. Pettitte was answering most all questions, looking the reporters in the eye and responding with an unbelievable sense of confidence. There were some extremely tough questions but Andy took the bull by the horns and answered to the best of his ability. One reporter asked if he knew his name would be on the Mitchell Report before he signed his deal with the Yankees. He was not sure of the timeframe, but claimed he knew several days before the deal about his involvement in the Mitchell Report. The reporter then told him he signed the day before the Report came out.

"I don't feel I misled the club," Pettitte said. "I think at any time, if this organization didn't want me, all they had to do was tell me they didn't want me to play again and I would have shut it down. That would stand right now if they told me they didn't need me on this team. I don't need the money; I think they know that. I think they know that's the kind of guy I am. I don't feel like I misled them at all." Genuine and honest, everyone could see the weight being lifted off of Andy’s shoulders.

"I think you'll see the smile back on his face," Cashman said of Pettitte.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

And Now For the Good News...

Joba Chamberlain will start the 2008 season in the Yankees bullpen.

The Yankees have given him a 140 innings maximum and will send the flame-thrower back to Triple-A in June or so to strengthen his arm for about three weeks before coming back up to be added to the rotation.

I would personally like to see Joba stay in the pen all year, as this means the Yankees rotation is healthy and effective. I would rather have five good starters (Assuming Pettitte will be Pettitte, Wang will be Wang and so on...) than have the rotation struck with the Carl Pavano injury bug and force Joba to enter the rotation.

You can bet with Joba and Mo as the 8-9 punch late in games that the Yankees will have the most lethal setup-closer duo since Rivera/Wetteland in '96.


I'm so glad Roger Clemens just spent five hours getting interrogated by Congressmen. Today's event have opened my eyes and we are now all so education on the situation...

What we knew before this morning:
Roger Clemens says he didn't take steroids; Brian McNamee says he injected Clemens with steroids under his direction.

What we know now:
Roger Clemens says he didn't take steroids; Brian McNamee says he injected Clemens with steroids under his direction.

Oh, and Andy Pettitte has "misremembered" according to Clemens.

I'd like to thank Congress for stepping in to regulate this; and I would like to further thank the people that contributed to the Mitchell Report, including the Congressman himself, in this fabulous mix of America's Pastime and the United States Government.

Separation of Baseball and State? I think not.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Giant Victory

With brother Peyton looking on, Eli Manning put together one of the greatest 4th quarter performances in Super Bowl history.
It was a regular David versus Goliath battle, one that saw the hometown Giants written off by nearly everyone, including myself.

It is said that Goliath was six feet, six inches tall. In 1000 B.C. though, this was truly giant. Credit irony for making Tom Brady six feet, five inches tall, a true Goliath against young Eli Manning, playing the role of David in this epic battle.

According to the traditional story, David killed Goliath twice, once with his sling, and again with his sword. Ironically again, Eli threw two touchdown passes, killing Brady and the New England Patriots twice in the 4th quarter.

Before this game began, Plaxico Burress made headlines when he was begged by the media to predict the score of the big game. He was very standoffish, but eventually muttered a “23-17” Giants win.

Following this prediction was the reaction of Tom Brady.

"We're only going to score 17 points?" Brady said with a chuckle. "OK. Is Plax playing defense? I wish he had said 45-42 and gave us a little credit for scoring more points."

Brady can’t be too much at fault at this point, his team was 18-0 and scoring points in bunches basically all season.
Initially, many analysts had considered this the fuel that would ignite the Patriots’ flame, as the Spygate scandal created an “Us versus the world” mentality for New England.

But it backfired, causing the Giants defense to own the trenches, and the game for 60 minutes.
Tom Brady was on his back more than a mechanic, getting knocked down somewhere near 20 times as the Giants’ front-four made his pro-bowl offensive line look like Swiss cheese.

After an opening drive which seemed to last forever, the Giants settled for a Lawrence Tynes 32-yard field goal which gave them a 3-0 lead. The drive was 16 plays over 63-yards and took nearly 10 minutes.

That drive was followed by a 12-play, 56-yard drive by New England, capped off with a Laurence Maroney 1-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.

It seemed like we were going to see some scoring, as promised by the two weeks of hype leading up to the Mecca of all sporting events. But this game would see no more scoring until the 4th quarter.

As 97.5 million people tuned in to see what would become one of the best Super Bowls ever, Eli Manning was about to emerge as one of the elite quarterbacks of our generation.

As FOX kept putting Peyton Manning’s reactions on the screen, Eli’s success continued. Pass after pass, play after play, everything seemed to be working for Eli and his Giants in the 4th quarter, all leading up to a 140 passer rating in the period.
Among many, the most clutch and unbelievable play came on one that saw Eli left for dead by his offensive lineman.
As he dropped back to throw, the pocket immediately collapsed around him, and he was being clawed at from behind by one or two Patriot defenders. Eli managed to get away, dropping back and eluding the pressure for a few more precious seconds.
Then, as if the combination of hot dogs and Buffalo wings weren’t enough to stop the hearts of Giant fans nationwide, Eli heaved up a 33-yard desperation pass to David Tyree, who essentially caught the ball against his head while under duress from Rodney Harrison. It was the play of all plays, not only for the yards gained, but for the message it sent out: The New York Giants were not going quietly.

Eli put his final touches on the game with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress with :35 left, clinching his first Super Bowl victory, along with his very first MVP (As well as a brand-new hybrid Escalade).

Archie and Olivia Manning have produced two Super Bowl-winning, MVP-getting NFL quarterbacks. One can only wonder what Cooper Manning (The lowly other son) has to say during family dinners these days.

On the Patriots’ final drive of Super Bowl XLII, Tom Brady heaved two bombs to Randy Moss that traveled 70 and 65 yards in the air. So much for that probable right shoulder, seemed fine to me. The only injuries suffered in this game were a bruised ego, a broken heart, and probably a concussion, as Brady was thrown around like rag doll.

On that same drive, sandwiched between the two long passes to Moss, Brady dropped back, then stepped forward to throw, and got absolutely crushed by what seemed like an 18-wheeler. Turns out it was just Jay Alford, the rookie out of Penn State.
Brady chucked one final throw on fourth down that was knocked down by a Giants defensive back, essentially ending the game.

Although the clock ran to zero, there was still technically one or two seconds left. Before these seconds could be added back on, both sidelines already took the field and Belichick was halfway to midfield to greet the Giant’s head coach.
There were officials trying to tell Belichick that the game was not technically over, but he did not listen, as he shook Tom Coughlin’s hand and headed for the tunnel. He was obviously ashamed that his “perfect” Patriots were upset by an NFC Wild-Card team in the New York Giants.

Eli and the Giants offense took the field for one last play-to kneel the ball and finally end this roller-coaster ride.
Bill Belichick never actually saw this play, as he was probably already halfway down the tunnel as the Giants celebrated with an appropriate Gatorade bath for coach Coughlin.

Credit the New York Giants front office for this win, as they did an exceptional job at the 2007 Draft, with nearly all of their picks seeing tons of time en route to their Super Bowl Championship.

Aaron Ross, Steve Smith, Jay Alford, Zak DeOssie, Kevin Boss, Michael Johnson and the ridiculous, bottom-of-the-line compensatory pick: Ahmad Bradshaw all saw the field, many of them making a difference on the biggest of all stages.
With that said, the New York Giants have a bright future under coach Tom Coughlin.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Super Letdown

Just in case you haven't heard-the New York Giants are in the Super Bowl. That's the good news, the bad news is that they are facing the immovable object and the unstoppable force all in one: The New England Patriots.

If the Giants win today, I would chalk it up as one of the greatest underdog stories in all of sports, going hand-in-hand with the 1980 Men's Olympic Hockey victory over the U.S.S.R.

The New England Patriots are 18-0, and will more than likely overcome an Eli-led G-Men team to bring home the coveted undefeated season. Tom Brady's injury has been as publicized as Lindsay Lohan's stints in rehab, and once again, he has found himself on this week's injury report:

QB Tom Brady, Probable (Right Shoulder)

Tom Brady is fine and will probably be throwing sky-tickling bombs to Randy Moss before the end of the first drive, and definitely before the end of the first quarter. I'm thinking maybe some sort of ridiculous, head-scratching flea-flicker like the one they pulled off against the Steelers (Source).

The only way the Giants win is if some crazed New-Yorker somehow manages to sneak a U-Haul van into the University of Phoenix Stadium and runs over Tom Brady. And for the not so dramatic, maybe the Giants defense just does their best 2000 Ravens "D" impression, you know, the one that dominated them nearly a decade ago.

I wouldn't be too surprised if Eli Manning throws an interception on his first pass, as we all know Rodney Harrison will be in his face all day. He has played well, but something's got to give.

Plaxico Burress has not done the Giants, specifically their defense, any favors by predicting the score. He has insulted a sleeping giant, causing Tom Brady to laugh at the fact that the Patriots will only score 17 points. This one could get ugly.

Final Score: Patriots 37, Giants 24

Super Bowl XLII MVP: Wes Welker, 10 receptions, 115 yards, 2 TDs

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Flushing the Johan deal

I am happy to be able to report that the New York Mets have finalized a deal to acquire the two-time AL Cy Young award winner. 

The reason Yankee Universe is so happy is because the Yankees at one point were willing to trade away their future, something I could not agree with, for Johan Santana. Trading any combination of Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy, Melky Cabrera (And I think I even remember hearing Robinson Cano?) would have made me really upset. Then you sprinkle on prospects like Jose Tabata and Austin Jackson, and it becomes ridiculous. 

The Yankees were able to get rid of him without giving anything up, a mere win-win in my book.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Inside the Hottest Rivalry in Baseball...

It's always shocking how much of the Boston fan base actually lives in or around the New York area, and on this night it was no different.

Upon his introduction as the youngest General Manager to be hired in Major League Baseball, Theo Epstein supporters in the mixed crowd showed their appreciation with applause and cheers. This, of course, was followed immediately by boos from the rest of the crowd. The feel was a bit different as Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman was introduced, the applause heavily outweighed as the crowd seemed to be about 70/30. The atmosphere alone was enough to feel that it was going to be a good night for the Distinguished Lecturer Series at William Paterson University.

The crowd settled down for the playing of the National Anthem followed by the lecture, led by moderator Kevin Burkhardt. Burkhardt is an alumni of William Paterson University, now working at SNY as the field reporter for the New York Mets. The three sat around a table and talked baseball.

Brian Cashman, 40, was hired as GM of the New York Yankees in 1998. He won the World Series in his first three seasons, the first GM to ever accomplish that. He is the longest tenured General Manager under current owner, George Steinbrenner

Theo Epstein, 34, was hired as GM of the Boston Red Sox in 2002. He became the youngest in the history of baseball and has won the World Series twice during his campaign. Widely credited with helping to end the 86-year "Curse of the Bambino."

Some mild laughter was peppered through the beginning of the night as Epstein commented on the type of relationship the two have. 

"You talk trades with 28 other GM's," said Epstein. "Not with each other though."

Burkhardt discussed how both of the men began their careers as interns and worked their way up to where they are now. He asked Cashman to comment on how he got to where he is.

"I played college baseball at Catholic University," said Cashman. "My dream was to play in the big leagues. I began as an intern and I was going to go to law school, but luckily people kept getting fired and opportunities kept opening up," Cashman said. "I always said I never wanted to do that job, but it was the opportunity of a lifetime."

Cashman credited Gene Michael for teaching him to fight for what he thought was right. He claimed he had chances to leave, with other teams seeking him out, but his loyalty to the Boss helped him to stay put. Upon his staying with the Yankees, he expressed that he wanted to go back to basics, staying away from the dangerously expensive game of free agency. 

Cashman claimed he wanted to build from within as they had during their championship runs in the late '90s, causing an uproar of applause from the Yankee crowd. 

"My strong recommendation is that we stick with our young pitching staff and keep it in-house," Cashman said as the crowd responded with erupting applause. "That's my recommendation, and we've fought hard taking one step back to take two giant steps forward. There might need to be some sacrifices made," Cashman said. "If we need to have a rebuilding year, we will have to be patient and look to the future, which is bright. I credit Tom Coughlin for doing that now."

Epstein then commented on the building for the future concept. 

"Fans always have an opinion, sometimes they're right," Epstein said. "But they don't look to the future most times. What we try to do is just make everyone happy in October, because if they're happy it means we're happy."

You could tell these two men are genuine friends as they spoke with each other, bringing a sense of humanity to a rivalry that hasn't seen much of it in the past. Burkhardt went on to ask how the rivalry affects how they do their job. 

"In the past, the Red Sox were too worried about what the Yankees were doing," said Epstein. "When I came in I said let's forget about the Yankees, let's build something that is going to make sense for us, ignoring New York. Every now and then I'll do something and realize (Cashman) blocked me or something. Bottom line, we're going to play them 19 times a year, they're going to be competitive, so I just assume they're going to win 100 games and make the playoffs."

Cashman was next asked to share his favorite moment between these two teams. 

"One thing that I'm particularly proud about was after the series in '04, we opened up the next year on opening day in Boston. We had to watch them get their rings and raise their flag," said Cashman. "Joe Torre and I discussed that there is a right way to win, and a right way to lose and we demonstrated the right way to lose-although I never want to go through that again."

"We noticed that and really appreciated it," said Epstein. "We know what the Yankees stand for and it was a good gesture. Getting back to the question, when Aaron Boone hit the walk-off in '03, it looked like just another chapter of the Red Sox series of demise. But we grew stronger from spring training on and turned the tables in the same building 365-days later."

The two talked a bit about the Mitchell Report and names came up such as Bonds and Clemens. Both chose to avoid these types of questions for the time being because there isn't any concrete evidence yet to have a truthful opinion worth saying. 

Burkhardt then asked Cashman about Joe Girardi and the challenges he will have to face for the upcoming season.

"This team has been used to a certain way for a long time, said Cashman. "But the biggest thing is going to be the players who recognize him as a player will now have to recognize him as a manager. Joe Girardi is a methodical, he was a championship player. He is tough and dedicated to winning. I am looking forward to the fans being able to see how Joe Girardi the manager reacts in certain situations." Cashman followed this with another crowd-roaring statement: 

"We are a fine wine ready to come to taste," said Cashman. "We believe we have a championship caliber club."

This concluded the discussion portion of the night, which was followed by Q & A. Two lines formed in the aisles with anyone who wanted to ask a question given the opportunity to. 

Someone ahead of me asked if Cashman was regretful about the way things played out with longtime Yankee Bernie Williams. He said he didn't regret it and that towards the end of his career, Bernie's musical career took away from his focus on baseball. He said keeping him in 2006 was a mistake but he gave him a contract because of his history and who he was. Cashman explained how Joe Torre tried to get Williams into the game too much also because of who he was. He claimed he had nothing to offer coming off the bench and needed to be an everyday player to get into a hitting groove. 

Don Mattingly was also a topic during the questioning. Cashman simply said the best man was hired for the job, it wasn't a popularity contest. He recognized Mattingly's esteemed Yankee career but claimed that Girardi's one year in Florida outweighed Mattingly's resume. 

As I waited on line and listened to many questions, Cashman's World Series ring caught the light and shined in my eye. I decided I was going to ask him which ring he was wearing and why.

As he was answering another person's question he mentioned he was wearing his ring from 2000, so I reverted back to my original question. 

As I stepped forward to the microphone, my mouth became very dry and my hands began to shake, I was actually going to speak directly to the General Manager of the New York Yankees. The spotlight shined on me and Kevin Burkhardt signaled for me to ask my question, I swallowed hard and before I knew it, I was halfway through the question. I asked Cashman how they were going to fill the fifth spot in the rotation and if there was any frontrunner heading into spring training. He told me that the Yankees are better prepared for the injury bug this year. As of now they have seven or eight possible starters (Pettitte, Wang, Hughes, Mussina, Chamberlain, Kennedy, Igawa, Karstens) and that it comes down to who is throwing the best during spring training and who they feel should occupy the starter role. Cashman also commented on Joba Chamberlain's innings restriction, claiming he may end up in the bullpen as Mariano Rivera's set-up man sooner than later.

It was truly a special night that I won't soon forget. 

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Championship Weekend

Patriots over Chargers

There have been some recent gripes between San Diego and New England, but the Patriots have come out on top for the most part, as the Chargers have won their first playoff games since 1994 to get here. We all know about the Patriots undefeated season, and without dissecting it too much, I still cannot bet against them. 

Philip Rivers is a game-time decision, while LT and Antonio Gates will both play. Gates is claiming that he is in more pain today than he was last week, but will still reportedly get out there today in New England.

Bottom line: Patriots probably cover the two-touchdown spread.

Packers over Giants

The magic ride ends at the (Boomber voice) Frozen Tundra at Lambeau Field for the G-Men. Eli Manning has never been to Lambeau, and with the overwhelming atmosphere, and the projected 2 degree weather at gametime, it will be tough to succeed. 

Giants fans that I've talked to have claimed that they are so confident in Eli Manning that when he throws it down the field, they no longer hold their breath. I do not believe them. 

Today is the day for Eli to prove himself. If the Giants lose, but not at the direct cost of Eli Manning, maybe he is actually turning a corner. Only time will tell, can't wait for these games.

Last Weeks Record: 3-1
Overall Playoff Record: 6-2

Super Bowl Prediction: Green Bay vs. New England

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Adam "Pacman" Jones is at it again. This time he is being accused of punching a woman at a strip club (Source).

What do you think about this one, Mad Dog?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Round 2...

Packers over Seahawks

Brett Favre has one more run in him, taking his permanent 5 o'clock shadow and "The most talented team he's ever been a part of" past Seattle and into the NFC Championship. Close game, but most likely the least exciting of the weekend. If by some chance the Seahawks win, I believe they will go all the way to the Super Bowl, as the Packers are my team to beat in the NFC.

Patriots over Jaguars

I'm not buying into all this hype of the Jaguars being able to take down the mighty Pats. I saw on ESPN's BottomLine that 58% of the fans are picking New England. Don't listen to all of these analysts who are doing their best Nostradamus impression, trying to forecast a team to lose that hasn't in nearly a year. It should be a good game, but I still take New England by 10+. How can you pick against them? Seasoned quarterback, playoff experience, they've been here before and with the cleft chin Brady has, how could you be afraid of David Garrard and Fred Taylor?

Colts over Chargers

Peyton and Co. are the defending champions of this league with something to prove. They have gotten no hype and quietly have one of the best defenses in the league. When these teams met in the regular season it took a San Diego Miracle (Darren Sproles punt and kickoff return, 6 Manning interceptions, 2 Vinitieri missed FGs) to take them out. Despite all of this, Indy still dominated in most categories but the scoreboard-the only one that matters. Don't bet on Peyton making too many mistakes on Sunday.

Giants over Cowboys

I said it once and I'll say it again... man I love being a turtle. No but seriously, Eli Manning is 8-1 this year away from Giants Stadium (Including the playoffs) and I will throw another bone to a determined Giants team. Eli has played well and the G-Men front four (Strahan, Robbins, Cofield and Umenyiora) will be in Tony Romo's face all game long. The only way he can be saved is if Rapunzel throws her hair down from her comfy seat in the press box

Last Week's Record: 3-1
Todd f***in' Collins screwed me otherwise I would have gone undefeated while picking 3/4 road teams to win.

AFC Championship: No surprise here, Colts @ Pats
NFC Championship: Revived G-Men @ Lambeau to face the Pack

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Next Stop: Congress

As I sit here and watch Roger Clemens on 60 Minutes, it has reopened all of the garbage the Mitchell Report brought out that many people, including myself, have thrown on the backburner.

Clemens had about a 15-minute interview in which he repeatedly swore he never took HGH or any other steroids. Brian McNamee claims several specific times in the report times that he personally injected Clemens. 

Clemens opened the interview asking 60 Minutes' Mike Wallace why his 24 years in the majors isn't enough to get the benefit of the doubt from the American public. He asked why he cannot get an inch of trust for all the contributions he's made to the game of baseball. He then claimed America has turned into the "guilty until proven innocent" nation.

There were two things Roger Clemens said that caught my attention. The best point that he made during the interview was when he asked Wallace how he got these alleged steroids. The Mitchell Report says that McNamee injected him, but has no proof on how he got them. The reason this stuck out to me was because many of the others on the list had copies of personal cheques for thousands of dollars for the drugs. Clemens' tarnished name has come at the hand on one man trying to avoid jail time by throwing out a big name trying to clear his own.

The next thing Roger said was that he was just as shocked to hear his good friend Andy Pettitte's name on the list as he was his own. He said he had no idea about Pettitte and that he "Had no knowledge of what Andy was doing". That, if true, says a lot to me because it has been their friendship and training over the years has been well documented. We all knew they were good friends, and we all knew Clemens' workout regiment is the one they used for the actors in "300". 

We will keep finding out more and more, especially if Clemens goes in front of Congress in 10 days. As of now, I can say that I wasn't surprised with that interview other than what I mentioned, and Clemens said basically what was in the statement he released. After Clemens said "Guilty until proven innocent", I really thought about the evidence and realized there isn't much. A single man's story has dragged a 350-game winner's name through the mud. I've changed my opinion because I fell under the guilty until proven innocent crowd, and until there is more evidence, I believe Roger Clemens. I would need to see a personal cheque or some sort of money trail linking him to performance-enhancing drugs at this point to think otherwise.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Wild Card Weekend

Washington at Seattle, Saturday, 4:30 pm

Sean Taylor's death has sparked a suddenly dangerous Redskins team. They've gone 4-1 since Taylor passed, with the only loss coming on a last-second field goal at home against the Bills. Had the legendary Joe Gibbs not tried to call two timeouts to ice kicker Rian Lindell, the Skins may have won that game too. 

Washington will go up to the Pacific Northwest and start quarterback Todd Collins, who is 4-0 and has a passer rating over 100. Who is he? I have no idea, but after some careful research I have discovered that he is a 13-year veteran drafted in the second round out of Michigan by Buffalo. He has played for the Bills, Chiefs and Redskins and has thrown exactly 27 passes since 2000, before his current stint as a starting quarterback.

Seattle comes in as the preseason favorites to run away with a horribly weak NFC West. At 7-1 this season at home, the Seahawks' claim as the best home-field advantage may be legit. Shaun Alexander had four rushing touchdowns this year, rushing over 100 yards just twice. They come into the weekend with Alexander and Morris splitting time, which could be effective against the Skins. With all that said, this is a 10-win team that no one really knows or cares about, Redskins in the upset.

Jacksonville at Pittsburgh, Saturday, 8 pm

It's easy to go with the popular vote and say the Jags will upset the Steelers in Pittsburgh. 

It's easy because the Steelers are in the exclusive company of Kansas City and Miami as the only teams to lose to the Jets this season. The Jaguars have owned Pittsburgh in the past few years and play the same style of tough defense and hard-nosed running to win. The Steelers are an underdog at home, so if I were betting, I would take the Steelers, but I'm not, and they lost to the Jets so they must be worse than everyone thought.

Fred Taylor has come out and criticized Heinz Field's sod. He is not happy running on it and said they should spend the money to install FieldTurf. These two met earlier this season in the Steel City, with Taylor going for 147 yards and a touchdown. He shouldn't have a problem as the Jaguars will win and face the music in New England next weekend.

NY Giants at Tampa Bay, Sunday, 1 pm

The Giants have once again struggled down the stretch but have managed to limp into the playoffs, Eli has been about as reliable as Britney Spears participating at a PTA meeting, and they only beat one team with a record above .500 all season. 

And now for the bad news: Tiki Barber may be rooting for brother Ronde's Bucs on Sunday.

Reports have come out that Tiki may be giving his brother tips on what to expect from Big Blue. This isn't too much of a surprise after Tiki left on bad terms following a first-round exit from the playoffs in 2007. 

The Giants have played well away from home, losing only to Dallas on the road this year. I guess Eli thinks if he's not in Giants Stadium that no one is watching. Look for a very good Tampa defense to give the G-Men big problems, but as I always do, I'm going against my gut feeling, picking the Giants on Sunday.

Tennessee at San Diego, Sunday, 4:30 pm

The Titans have a top-10 defense, the Chargers have LaDainian Tomlinson. This game could get ugly in favor of San Diego. There are also reports of Vince Young not playing Sunday because of a nagging injury. Either way they do not stand up to the Chargers, probably losing by more than two touchdowns. Bottom line: LT probably outscores the Titans.

Divisional Round:

Jaguars at Patriots
Chargers at Colts

Giants at Cowboys
Redskins at Packers