BY: Jess Dempsey
All year, NFL “analysts”, and I use the term lightly because they often give their opinions and truly aren’t analyzing much, have been referring to the New England Patriots defense with a slew of less-than-flattering adjectives (“terrible”, “untalented”, and “slow” being among those). But, when it has really mattered, last week against the Broncos, and this week versus the Ravens, the Patriot’s defense showed up, and they showed up in a big way.
Integral, key plays by linebacker Brandon Spikes and cornerback Sterling Moore helped prevent a win for the Baltimore Ravens. Spikes intercepted Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco to turn the momentum back to the Patriots in the fourth quarter. Although Brady would negate that play with an interception of his own, Spikes’ interception lit up the crowd and took precious time off the clock. Another key play maker for the Patriots was Sterling Moore. Moore stripped Baltimore receiver Lee Evans of the ball in the end zone at the last second, preventing what most in the stadium thought was a sure touchdown. The entire place erupted in cheers for the backup cornerback from SMU.
” It was just a split-second decision and I’m glad it worked out,” Moore said. “We do that drill everyday in practice, but it was the first time I had to use it in a game, and I just took what I learned from practice into the game.”
You can’t talk about the Patriots’ defense without giving major props to tackle Vince Wilfork, who earned shouts of “MVP! MVP!” as his smiling face was shown on the Jumbotron at Gillette Stadium after the win. Wilfork had six tackles, three for a loss, including a key play with little more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter where he dropped Ray Rice for a three-yard loss.
Wilfork said that despite what many said, he “never lost faith in [our] defense.”
Some will say that Cundiff lost it for the Ravens, missing a 32-yard field goal at the end that would have sent the game into overtime. But, without such a stellar showing by the Patriots’ defense, the Ravens wouldn’t even have needed a field goal because they would have been 7-14 points ahead.
Bottom Line: The Patriots defense is an athletic, talented crew, and if they play in the Super Bowl like they’ve played the last two games, they will present quite a problem to Eli Manning and the red-hot Giants.
Pro Football Chick will be reporting LIVE from Indianapolis at the Super Bowl. Be sure to follow me on Twitter @JessDempNFL to get updates!
Throw out the regular season records, I hate saying this but the Giants remain the hottest team in the NFL!
By: Tom Nappi
Hakeem Nicks, Mario Manningham and Victor Cruz are the counter for Gronk, Hernandez and Welker. The Giants are one of the only offenses that can match the talent of the Patriots offense. The Patriots defense has gotten substantially better as the season goes on and it was great to finally see a Pats defensive victory over the Ravens on a day when Brady even said "I Sucked Today, but the defense won the game for us".
The Giants defense is playing remarkable and the G-Men pass rush has more than enough talent to put pressure on Brady. I am a Massachusetts native and Patriots fan but I pick games from an unbiased perspective and overall the Giants are the hottest team there is right now so I do give the Giants the edge in this Super Bowl but obviously you can never count out the Patriots, there is always a chance Brady plays flawless and Pats come out on top in the end, but at the same time as much as I hate to admit it, Eli Manning walked the Walk and truly is an elite Q.B.
Also let's face it Pats won 10 in a row against numerous scrubs big wins as of late - Jets, Broncos, Broncos, Ravens
Giants have won 5 in a row - Jets, Cowboys, Falcons, Packers, 49ers, to beat those 5 teams in 5 weeks straight is ridiculously impressive!
Packers (2010) - 6 in a row - Giants, Bears, Eagles, Falcons, Bears, Steelers
Saints (2009) - 3 in a row, all playoffs Cardinals, Vikings, Colts
Steelers (2008) - 4 in a row, Browns, Chargers, Ravens, Cardinals
I will stick with my prediction from last week in my final 4 Power Rankings
Giants - 37 Patriots - 30 (P.S. I hope I am wrong!)
Hear More this Thursday 8pm-10pm!
Bruins goalie Tim Thomas declined the White House invitation to be honored by the President for Winning the Stanley cup and issued the following statement:
"Thomas has issued the following statement: "I believe the Federal government has grown out of control, threatening the Rights, Liberties, and Property of the People. This is being done at the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial level. This is in direct opposition to the Constitution and the Founding Fathers vision for the Federal government. Because I believe this, today I exercised my right as a Free Citizen, and did not visit the White House. This was not about politics or party, as in my opinion both parties are responsible for the situation we are in as a country. This was about a choice I had to make as an INDIVIDUAL."
Tom Nappi's opinion: I will keep this short and sweet, regardless of my political views it is up to Tim Thomas if he want's to go or not, I think he should've sucked it up and went because it would avoid controversy plus seeing inside the oval office would probably be cool stuff but I respect his decision to decide not to show up, it was not a mandatory team meeting and people are taking this way to far, if he does not want to go, big deal, he is a NHL player, it matters what he does on the Ice and how he acts as a person, just because he declines the White House invitation because he does not agree with the government should not affect his character, he was sticking up for his personal views and every man has that right.
By: Tom Nappi
According to CBS Joe Paterno died hours ago but according to Fox and ESPN, Joe-Pa is in critical condition due to lung cancer, which was confirmed by his son Scott Paterno. Some will remember Joe Paterno as one of the greatest coaches in NCAA Football history and perhaps he was, but too think that his career and life should be honored because of that is ludicrous! Joe Paterno or otherwise known as Joe-Pa by the Penn Staties, is a man who was one of the many in that twisted place called Happy Valley, Pennsylvania too cover up countless rapes and abuse to little children by former Penn-State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky. If you read the grand jury report which you can find online: http://www.freep.com/assets/freep/pdf/C4181508116.PDF you will see that the allegations against Sandusky date back more than 20 years, and you will also find that there were countless cover-ups or people keeping their mouth shut for years, while little children in Jerry Sandusky's "Second Mile Charity" were getting abused and raped.
If you do not know the story by now, you probably live under a rock but the basis of the story is Mike McQueary who was with the team in 2002 witnessed Jerry Sandusky having anal sex with a little boy in the locker room showers, he told Joe Paterno who told the athletic director Tim Curley who pretty much did nothing with the information. Sandusky was no longer with the team around the time of McQueary's witness to the incident but still reserved an office on campus for years after and was still bringing children from the "Second Mile Charity" around campus and more than likely doing unspeakable things. Allegations would come out throughout the years, dating all the way back to the late 70's and be ignored by all figures of authority including local police who stuck 1 investigator on a child abuse case involving multiple children!
The reason McQueary's allegations went no further than they did sooner was because everyone from Penn State staff and higher-ups, town officials, local police, school teachers at the elementary school across the street covered the entire thing up and one of those people who took the situation no further to seek justice for the children who were victimized was perhaps the highest figure of all in Happy Valley, 61 year veteran football coach Joe Paterno! The only reason Jerry Sandusky was not revealed or held accountable for his actions sooner is because the entire community of Happy Valley, Pennsylvania is corrupted by their football program. Besides a good portion of Penn State Students who are logical it seems a large number of the authority figures, locals or employees in the Happy Valley-Penn State community are corrupt and need a serious mental check, the fact they even continued their Football season and were entered into a bowl game, MAKES ME SICK! You may argue well that program brings a lot of money into Pennsylvania, well first off that's why town officials are more than likely corrupted by the football team but most importantly is it worth letting an alleged child rapist run wild and free and not be held accountable for his actions? I repeat, the whole Happy Valley community is corrupt and needs a reality check! (Side Note: Factor out Penn State Students with any comment I make, referring more to authority figures and town locals when questioning the mentality of Happy Valley and Good Luck with your new job Bill O' Brien, your going to need it!)
I will always view Joe Paterno as a coward, he was the most important and more than likely highest authority figure because of his contributions at Penn State and did the bare minimum too help the children that were being victimized by that monster Jerry Sandusky. As much as I love Football, a human life is far more important than anything so as Joe Paterno nears the final days of his life, dig deep into your soul and morality and then tell me how he should really be remembered and if you think there is a chance Sandusky may be innocent, go to you tube and watch the damn interview he did with Bob Costas, and if you still think so after watching the interview he may be innocent, check yourself into a mental institution!
*KEEP IN MIND THIS ARTICLE IS A PERSONAL OPINION AND DOES NOT REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT NETWORK*
Read More for Craig D'Alessandro's take on Joe Paterno
On WMRC (1490 am, Milford) Last Night The Celtics fell to 5 and 9 on the Season losing to the Phoenix Suns 79-71, Ray Allen had 14 points but Marcin Gorat dropped 24 for the Suns to improve Phoenix to 6 and 9 on the season.
The Boston Bruins take on the 1st place New York Rangers this Saturday at 1pm, If the Bruins win they will be 1st place in the Eastern Conference.
WMRC’s Friday night High School basketball game, came out of the Milford future League, the hockomock. Franklin defeated Mansfield 54-49, Mansfield took a 1 point lead in the 4th quarter, but Sam Bohmiller lit up the score board dropping 11 points in the 4th quarter, 18 during the game in the Franklin victory to improve the Panthers to 7 and 3 on the season, Mansfield drops to 6 and 4. Listen to the game right now, after the Sports Buzz of course in the WMRC media center on wmrcdailynews.com
In other action Wachusett gave Milford their 2nd straight loss as they defeat the Scarlet Hawks 64-50. Milford now 8 and 3 on the season.
Nipmuc defeated Hopedale in overtime and handed the Blue Raiders their 2nd straight loss, final score was 48-42. Hopedale drops to 7 and 5, while Nipmuc improves to 5 and 6.
Holliston defeated Ashton in a tri-valley thriller 62-61, Millis took down Bellingham 55-37, Blackstone-Milleville wins 2nd straight taking down Douglas 59-55.
And in other Mid-Wach A Action Friday night Algonquin buried Shrewsbury 51-39.
Girls Basketball: Hopedale over Nipmuc 56-40, Shrewsbury over Algonquin 46-28, Wachusett over Milford 49-33, Franklin over Mansfield 54-41, Franklin Girls now 10 and 0 on the season
TVL action Ashland downs Holliston 45-35, Bellingham over Millis 57-54 and Medway crushes Westwood 59-29.
Boys Ice Hockey: The Hockomock Champs Franklin Panthers bury Foxboro 12-0.
This Sunday a couple big NFL games to determine who will play in the Super Bowl on February 5th. The New York Football Giants take on the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship at 6:30pm and the New England Patriots welcome the Baltimore Ravens to Gillette at 3pm in the AFC Championship. Brandon Spikes expected to play for the Patriots as well as most others on the injury report.
Milford Native Jorge Rivera defeats Eric Schafer in yesterdays UFC Bout
Schafer looks tired and compromised as Rivera continues to post on his head and smash him right rights. Schafer finally turtles up, and Herb Dean warns him to fight back. Schafer stays turtled along the fence, and takes punches until the bout is halted. Jorge Rivera, in what he has announced as his retirement bout, is the winner by knockout at 1:31 of the second round.
Jorge announced his retirement from the Ultimate Fighting Championship prior to the fight finishing his career 20 wins, 9 losses and 0 draws. 14 TKO’s, 2 submissions, 4 decisions and 5 Knocks outs for Milford native Jorge El Conquistador Rivera in an excellent career with the UFC.
In the Main event Jim Miller choked out Melvin Guilliard early in the 1st round.
Boys Basketball: Hopedale High (7-3) VS Blackstone-Milleville Regional (2-9)
WEDNESDAY 7:00PM LIVE ON www.masportsweb.com
Hopedale JR/SR High School (7-4)
Win @ Marian 67-48
Win @ Tahanto Regional 88-46
Win VS Bromfield 59-46
Win VS Tahanto Regional 90-65
Loss VS Arlington Catholic 67-38
Loss VS Windham 63-53
Win VS Innovation Academy 50-12
Win @ Sutton 56-38
Win VS Douglas 80-62
Loss VS Whitinsville Christian 85-63
Wed @ Blackstone-Milleville L 56-70
Fri @ Nipmuc Regional 7:00pm
Blackstone-Milleville Regional H.S. (3-9)
Loss VS St. Bernard's C.C. 43-75
Loss @ Whitinsville Christian 22-62
Win VS North Smithfield, RI 56-51
Loss @ Northbridge 56-50
Loss @ Uxbridge 52-32
Win VS Bellingham 53-44
Loss VS Milford 42-74
Loss VS Batlett 71-95
Loss VS Nipmuc Regional 56-61
Loss @ Sutton 43-34
Loss VS Grafton Memorial 58-37
Wed VS Hopedale W 70-56
Fri VS Douglas 7:00pm
Hopedale 13-23-8-12 - 56
BMR 21-15-15-19 - 70
By: Jessica Dempsey
Who is Victor Cruz? Besides an adept salsa dancer, as we found out after his 44-yard reception for a touchdown in the Giants’ win over the Cowboys on Monday Night Football, Cruz is a former UMass Minuteman who may be the saving grace of the Giants’ season. Prior to this season, Cruz was an overlooked bench rider, but this season has been an integral part of the Giants, playing in all 16 games, receiving 82 passes for 1,536 yards and nine touchdowns. In the Giants’ last stand Monday night against the Dallas Cowboys, Cruz caught 6 passes for 178 yards and scored one touchdown that helped the Giants toward their 31-14 victory, clinching the NFC East title and a coveted spot in the playoffs.
Coach Tom Coughlin said that his new star started to show his brilliance once given an opportunity to play:
“He was willing and had the ability and put himself in positions where he could take full advantage – he just started to grow and develop … [multiple times Cruz has] given us a spark or put us in a position to win games – it is truly amazing.”
What’s even more incredible is, like many outstanding players these days, Victor Cruz did not play his college ball at Ohio State or Florida or Texas. He played at the University of Massachusetts Amherst for the Minutemen, a Division 1 team that, starting in 2012, will play in the Mid-American Conference, becoming bowl eligible in 2013. Despite not starting a game until his junior year, he finished his career at UMass with 131 catches for nearly 2,000 yards and 11 touchdowns, ranking him 4th all-time in receptions at UMass. Cruz went undrafted in the 2010 NFL Draft, but was later signed by the New York Giants. Good move, blue.
At the start of the 2010 preseason, Cruz garnered media attention by catching 6 passes for 145 yards and 3 touchdowns in a game against the New York Jets. At the end of the preseason, he led the NFL with 297 receiving yards. A hamstring injury would put him on the IR for the remainder of the season. Fans were left wanting more, having had a small taste of what the young wide receiver could accomplish.
Unlike Cam Newton, who was followed throughout his college career and into the NFL, Victor Cruz’s path is more like that of New England Patriots’ underdog success story Danny Woodhead. Skilled, but relatively unnoticed until given a chance – and it appears we have only scratched the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Cruz’s skills.
What role do you think Cruz will play in the Giants’ quest for another Super Bowl ring?
By: Tom Nappi
Here is the grades I give the teams eliminated from Super Bowl contention and why!
We are down to the final 8 in the playoffs, 22 teams are on vacation and this article is to show how they did this season overall. I will rank the other 8 teams as the playoffs proceed, obviously you can't rank the others until they win or go home.
A+ = Awesome,
A = Pretty Awesome,
A- = Sweet Season,
B+ = Not too shabby,
B = Not half bad,
B- = Pretty Good,
C+ = Future looks bright,
C = ehhh ok,
C- = Needs improvement,
D+ = Need a lot of improvement,
D = Disappointment,
D- = Just about a failure,
F= Failure and completely awful
New York Giants - They made it to the Super Bowl Win or Lose = A+
Philadelphia Eagles (8-8) - They spend massive amounts of money on defense such as the most notable signing CB Namdi Asomugha. They have Vick at QB, who was beat up and terrible most of the year, McCoy at Rb and Maclin and DeSean Jackson at WR. The Eagles were my Super Bowl favorite heading into the year and failed miserably finishing the season .500. No excuse for missing the playoffs.
GRADE - F
Dallas Cowboys (8-8) - Any year the Cowboys finish .500 with the talent they have on both sides of the ball is a failure, especially since they lost the last game of the season to the Giants to miss the playoffs.
GRADE - F
Washington Redskins (5-11) - They started off the year nice but finished as just about everyone expected, no surprises here. However they have spent way too much money for constant failure.
GRADE - D-
Green Bay Packers (16-2) - Packers were the overall favorite this year after winning 15 straight, but were shocked by the Chiefs in week 16, then they were beat by the Giants who have a habit of upsetting the elite. The Packers should have beat the Giants with home field advantage and should be a Super Bowl contender but there is always next year. BTW I told you Giants would win this game, DON'T FORGET WHERE YOU HEARD IT FIRST, however any time you have the roster Packers have, a shortened post season is a big negative! Packers must improve their defense.
Grade - B+
Detroit Lions (10-7) - The Lions made the playoffs but clearly did not have the defense to contain unbelievably good offenses such as the Saints and at times struggled offensively. They certainly fu-filled expectations this year and should be a good team for years to come with the amount of young talent on the roster, next year they will have to play more disciplined.
Grade = B
Chicago Bears (8-8) - Cutler went down, a once good season went to hell as Caleb Hanie sucked. Next year I am sure the Bears will look into a back up. The defense was solid and the play of the O-Line was much improved but they finished 8 and 8.
Grade = C-
Minnesota Vikings (3-13) - Donovan McNabb = Fail. The Vikings were o.k. when McNabb was not playing but had a very rough season finishing 3 and 13.
Grade = F
New Orleans Saints (14-4) - Another tough playoff loss for the Saints as Alex Smith shocked the world beating Drew Brees in an offensive bout 36-32. The Saints had the talent to go a lot further than they did this year but simply could not take the next step for the 2nd year in a row. Good season by the Saints, but the big easy only has a limited number of years left with Brees being an elite QB, so they must win soon. Saints must step up the defense next year!
Grade - B
Atlanta Falcons (10-7) - 3rd year in a row the Falcons were one and done in the playoffs, they were a Super Bowl favorite to start the season in the NFC with the addition of Julio Jones but ended up in the end as the Falcons typically do, losers!
Grade = D-
Carolina Panthers (6-10) - The expectations were not so high in Carolina and there was no reason for them to be but Cam Newton took the Panthers on his back to 6 wins, and the Panthers were competitive in nearly every game. The Panthers will get better and better as they surround Newton with weapons.
Grade = B+
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12) - Bucs were expected to be a competitor for a wild card spot after they had a nice season last year but instead they were a competitor for the number 1 draft pick, Freeman fell into his sophomore slump and 2011 was a disaster for the Bucs.
Grade = F
S.F. 49ers - Excellent season by a team that unexpectadly made the playoffs, I still am shocked Jim Harbaugh was able to get a 49ers team that went 4-12 last year into the NFC Championship, turn around of the year!
Grade - A+
Arizona Cardinals (8-8) - Kevin Kolb surprisingly failed, while John Skelton looked good, Cardinals were not expected to do much this year but in a what used to be weak before Jim Hardbaugh came to the 49ers. Cards have a lot of talent and should be a little better next year
Grade = C-
Seattle Seahawks (7-9) - I did not expect much more than what the Seahawks brought to the table, a couple impressive upset and competitive in most games, this is a team that should get better however as they looked good at the end of the season.
Grade = C-
St. Louis Rams (2-14) - What the hell happened to Sam Bradford and the Rams as a whole? After being competitive last year and showing signs of Rams on the rise, you would expect much better than 2 wins!
Grade = F
New England Patriots - They made it to the Super Bowl with a questionable defense, Win or Lose = A+
New York Jets (8-8) - This is the grade I could not wait to give, Rex Ryan talks, talks, talks but he could not even get the Jets into the post season this year. Oh yeah and Sanchez has not improved what so ever and could be the main hold back for the Jets, besides their cocky attitudes and bad team chemistry.
Grade = F
Miami Dolphins (6-10) - Did not really expect much, overall the Dolphins downgraded their roster this year. They did get better as the season went on however and should continue to get more competitive as long as they make some upgrades.
Grade = C-
Buffalo Bills (6-10) - Bills start off really good and even beat the Patriots once, Fitzpatrick signs a long term contract and they fall apart with injuries, Stevie Johnson antics on the field and their lack of talent showed in the end.
Grade = D
Baltimore Ravens - They made it to the AFC championship to lose by a field goal, great season by a 1960's looking team that plays ugly football but hey they win big games! However they had some losses to bad teams and it was coaching that cost them the game tying field goal, regardless of what the down clock said, they left a time out on the table so they get a slightly less than perfect grade.
Grade - A-
Pittsburgh Steelers (12-5) - Great season for the Steelers, but they lose to Tebow in the first round because of failure to change defensive scheme at anytime. Regardless of the injuries the Steelers had, you have to win against the Broncos as long as Big Ben can play.
Grade = D-
Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) - They beat 8 teams with below .500 records this year but their schedule is not their fault, they shockingly made the playoffs and although they lost to the Texans in the first round for the Bengals to make the playoffs with their roster and the loss of Carson Palmer is quite impressive.
Grade = A
Cleveland Browns (4-12) - Peyton Hillis showed to be a whiny baby uncompetitive loser this year and the whole Browns season pretty much evolved around the failure of Hillis. The Browns have a lack of talent, especially offensively and you should not expect much for years to come.
Grade = D-
Houston Texans (11-7) - Matt Schaub goes down midseason, 2nd string Matt Linehart goes down but yet T.J. Yates the 3rd string QB steps in and they are able to win the division, the first round of the playoffs and give the Ravens a challenge, that is an overall successful year under the circumstances. When Schaub returns next year look out! Great job with the defense Wade Phillips (wish the Pats had him as their defensive coordinator!)
Grade - A
Tennessee Titans (9-7) - Exceeded my hopes this year, being a competitive team and just barely missing the playoffs. Hasselbeck played pretty well and the Titans have some good momentum heading into next year.
Grade - A-
Jacksonville Jaguars (5-11) - I at least expected the Jags to be competitive and they simply were not at all, another terrible season for the Jags and I don't see the rain stopping anytime soon in Jag Town. This was the year with Peyton Manning out for the Jags to step up.
Grade - D-
Indianapolis Colts (2-14) - O.K. even with Peyton Manning out look at the Colts roster and tell me if they should have enough loses to get the 1st draft pick in 2012. Ridiculous season and the Colts need to wipe out the entire ownership group and whoever has anything to do with scouting and finding back up QB's. We watched an entire team fail this year because 1 guy was out, regardless of Manning being out the collapse of the Colts this year means the Colts were poorly assembled and are not well coached.
Grade - F
Denver Broncos (9-9) - Grade Pending, but the fact that Tebow beat the Steelers in the first round of the playoffs is unreal, so they will get an A. Year one goes to Felger, if you listen to the Sports Hub you will know what I am talking about. Tebow sucked against the Patriots but he single handedly turned the Broncos season around and got them past the Steelers, quite impressive but have no clue what to expect from Tebow next year, he must get better at passing, but year one goes to Tebow.
Grade - A
S.D. Chargers (8-8) - NORV TURNER SUCKS AND SO DOES PETER KING. Way to pick this A-hole team to win the Super Bowl, all the talent in the world and they cannot get over 8 wins, pitiful!
Grade - F
Oakland Raiders (8-8) - Raiders were competitive but uphold their reputation as the most undisciplined team in football. Also with Al Davis passing away who knows what the future of the Raiders is.
Grade - C-
Kansas City Cheifs (7-9) - Cassel went down, collapse insued, Romeo Crennel took over as head coach and restored life in Chief town, look out next year as Crennel is the permanent head coach. NICE MOVE BY THE CHIEFS!
Grade - C+
Comment on this article and have your comment posted to the site:
By: Jess Dempsey
Christian. Religious. NFL. If we were playing word association, you’d probably be thinking about Tim Tebow (QB – Broncos) right now. And although the Broncos fourth-quarter miracle-maker quarterback is probably the most outspoken about his faith, you would be hard pressed to watch an NFL game where at least one player does not point to the sky or take a knee after a touchdown to thank God. Christianity is very well represented in the National Football League. What gives? Is the profession conducive to inspiring faith among players? Do players convert each other in the locker room? Is it the abundance of NFL players that hail from the Bible Belt? Or, is God himself rewarding faith with success? I suppose how you answer that question would depend on your own personal beliefs. But, you have to think – why are there so many Christians in the NFL?
Statistics about religion in the NFL are hard to come by. I don’t know every player to call them up and ask about their faith, and many players choose to keep such matters private. Understandable, but for the purposes of this article, then, we’ll have to rely on the players who are outspoken about their religious preferences. You know about Tim Tebow. There’s also Ray Lewis, star linebacker for the Baltimore Ravens, who was featured on the cover of a 2006 issue of Sports Illustrated in a story about his Christian faith. Retired Quarterback Kurt Warner (Rams, Giants, Cardinals) was and is an outspoken evangelical Christian. Former corner and return specialist Deion Sanders is another well-known name who counts Jesus as his personal savior. Drew Brees, who only recently broke Dan Marino’s NFL single-season passing record, is also a devout Christian. One player who constantly, it seems, tweets about God and his faith is Cardinals wide receiver Chansi Stuckey. On his Twitter account, Stuckey describes himself as a Christ Ambassador first, Arizona Cardinal second. Matt Hasslebeck (Titans) and Chad Ochocinco (Patriots) also voice their faith via social media outlets. Beloved former Coach and current analyst (and all-around nice guy) Tony Dungy is very outspoken about his faith. As is Steelers star Troy Polamalu. There are hundreds more. Take the time to follow your favorite athlete on Facebook and Twitter, and pay attention to their posts. Most are thanking God after a great game (and praying after a loss.)
There are some who criticize the proud displays of faith, especially those performed on the football field. While a Heisman-winning Quarterback at Florida, Tebow frequently had white Bible verses etched into his eye black. In 2010, a rule known informally as the “Tebow Rule” was instituted by the NCAA that prohibited messages on eye paint. While messages on eye black have been banned by the NFL for a long time, it reasons that unless the display of faith is violent, perverse, offensive or otherwise undermines the sportsmanlike candor or play desired by the NFL, expressions of faith should be allowed in the league. This applies to not only Christians, but Buddhists, Muslims and those of other faiths as well.
Back to our friend Tim Tebow. What he may lack in finesse, he surely makes up for in leadership ability. His coaches love him, his teammates love him, and work harder for him – and the fans, well – his jersey sales speak volumes. The expression of faith should not add to, nor take away from, a player’s talent, integrity and leadership. Do people love Tebow because of his faith? Well, some may. But suffice it to say, most people who love Tebow, love his heart. If that heart is influenced by faith in God, who is to have a problem with that?
Comment on this article and have your comment posted to the site:
By: Tom Nappi
Well if you read my article, I was wrong about just about everything once again proving why the NFL is the best league on earth and the playoffs are the most fascinating.
Here is what I said in my last article that was completely False because I am willing to admit my faults:
I ranked Denver 12th in the playoff rankings last week and said this: "Tim Tebow has been revealed for what he truly is, an average Running Back at the Q.B. position, there is no way I can see the Broncos beating the Steelers in the 1st Round therefore they are ranked last."
Clearly that statement was False as Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards and had 2 touchdowns including a 80 yard game winning TD pass in the opening seconds of over time too Demaryius Thomas.
I ranked Houston 11th in the playoff rankings and said this: "The Texans have a good shot to upset the Bengals in the first round but after that, not to much of a chance at anything with T.J. Yates as their starting QB because Schaub is down, but look out next year."
I gave the Texans the benefit of the doubt against the Bengals but T.J. Yates is better than I thought and the Texans defense gives them a legitimate shot to beat the Ravens next Sunday if Flacco plays bad.
To Sum up from last week, if you want to see what else I said read the damn article it's 4 down from this one but I was half right about the Giants but I did say "They are too much of a shaky team to beat good opponents" This is kind of false, the Giants have a shot to beat the Packers next week, especially if Eli plays like he did against the Falcons and Jason Pierre-Paul is his usual self, I am picking Packers but upset alert is officially in affect on this one. The Bengals I was less than half right on but shame on me for crediting a team that is now 0 and 8 against opponents above .500, Bengals cannot beat good teams and will not be even close to a contender next year, this year was a fluke, they beat a bunch of tomato cans and made the playoffs. I think Andy Dalton will eventually be a good QB but the Bengals have a lot of show and tell to do next year in order to make me think differently.
Games This Week (My Picks are in Bold):
Sat 4:30pm New Orleans Saints @ S.F. 49ers
Sat 8:00pm Denver Broncos @ New England Patriots
Sun 1:00pm Houston Texans @ Baltimore Ravens
Sun 4:30pm New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers
Without further or do here is playoff week 2 Power Rankings of the Final 8, by the way do not take my advice into consideration while betting, there is a reason I do not bet anymore except on Super Bowl squares, I am damn good at those!!!
(#) - Last Week's ranking
8-(5) S.F. 49ers (13-3) - The 49ers have a shot to beat the Saints next week with there amazing defense, but with the way Drew Brees is playing and the Saints are playing overall, don't count on it, then again remember I am wrong a lot, but so is Peter King!!
7-(12) Denver Broncos (9-8) - The Broncos proved how wrong I could be, I know Mendenhall was out and Ben was not 100% but hey that's football and the Broncos won fair and square. Tim Tebow showed balls this game, pure brass balls as he threw 3-4 passes over 50 yards, 2 of them for touchdowns and showed he can do more than run and throw short slant routes. The dude can throw the long ball and with the Patriots past 2 years of one and done, Tim Tebow has a shot to beat them! I am picking Pats, but Tebow has a shot!
6-(11) Houston Texans (11-6) - The Texans proved that their defense is good enough to do it without Schaub. I also have a huge respect for T.J. Yates, the 3rd stringer looked pretty damn good against an average Bengals defense. If Flacco has a bad day Sunday and the Texans are able to produce a couple turnovers, do not count them out.
5-(8) New York Giants (10-7) - The Giants have the offense and the defense to upset the Packers and shock the world, they did it to the Patriots in 2007 and they have the skill set to upset the overall Super Bowl favorite this year as well. The Packers have been playing below average lately and with the way this season has gone, who knows what to expect in this matchup of 2 high powered offenses and 2 of the top 5 QB's this season. Yes I said it Eli is a top 5 QB, I know it sucks!
4-(4) Baltimore Ravens (12-4) - The Ravens have a shot to be upset by the Texans this week, I still pick Ravens to win, but Yates is looking good stepping in for Schaub and the Texans defense is outstanding. Big credit goes to Wade Phillips, expect him to be a head coach somewhere once again next season.
3-(2) New Orleans Saints (14-3) - The Saints are playing outstanding and completely trashed the Lions last week, the reason I move them below the Patriots is because I feel the 49ers have a better shot to beat the Saints than the Broncos do to beat the Patriots, it's that simple but I am picking Saints over 49ers this week.
2-(3) New England Patriots (13-3) - Patriots if you let me down against the Broncos and go one and done against this team, you are a disgrace. Losing to Giants, Ravens and Jets back to back to back in the playoffs is forgivable if you end Tebowmania, if you don't I am just about done with you.
1-(1) Green Bay Packers (15-1) - I had a hard time ranking the Packers number 1 this week with the upset bound Giants coming to town, but until someone beats Aaron Rodgers besides a fluky Kyle Orton and the Chiefs in a pointless game, they stay here and are still my Super Bowl favorites this year!
Comment on this article and have your comment posted to the site:
It is time for Final 4 action. I was pretty pumped I went 3 and 1 in picks last week, I don't think anyone saw the 49ers beating the Saints however and if you say otherwise you are lying. Now that Brady and Eli are the best Qb's left in the playoffs, the Pats have a great shot at the Super Bowl title, but do they have the best shot? Read below to find out.
4) S.F. 49ers - I am not counting out the 49ers against the Giants this week especially considering the way they played against the Saints last week. Alex Smith looked really good, the best he has ever looked (fact not opinion), but I am convinced the Saints are the NFC version of the Patriots, great offense, shaky at best defense. The 49ers have a chance to beat the G-Men but Eli is arguably playing better than anybody right now and the Giants offense looks unstoppable.
3) Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens defense is good in fact one of the best but they are substantially older and the way the Patriots offense is playing is ridiculous and they look unstoppable. I do not think the Ravens matchup well against the 3 headed monster in Gronk, Hernandez and Welker. Ravens have a legit shot to win the game if they get a couple of turn overs and if we find out the miraculous way the Pats defense played last week against the Broncos is a fluke, but I expect Pats to head to Indy.
2) New England Patriots - I hate to do it but I cannot say the Patriots or anyone else for that matter is playing hotter than the Giants right now. I do expect a Pats-Giants rematch in the Super Bowl although I may not pick that way on the Sports Blast because I need to come back in picks but if the Patriots even do half of what they did defensively against Flacco next week, hello Indianapolis!
1) New York Giants - They crush the Falcons and then the G-Men roll over everyones Super Bowl favorite Green Bay in extraordinary fashion shutting down Rodgers and all his weapons. Eli looks to be playing better than he ever has in his career and has a legit shot to surpass his brother Peyton in Super Bowl titles this year.
Patriots - 27 Baltimore - 17
Giants - 24 49ers - 17
Un-biased Super Bowl prediction
New York Giants - 37 New England Patriots - 30
By: Jessica Dempsey
The NFL Blackout Rule, which has been in effect since 1973 is decidedly anti-fan, and despite the rule’s intentions to drive fans into the stadiums and generate revenue, recent research conducted by Yale Professor Subrata Sen has concluded that television viewership actually dwarfs all other sources of team revenue. Meaning, the rule is no longer accomplishing its original goals.
Professor Sen and co-author William Putsis estimated the rule’s effect on individual revenues in their paper “Should NFL Blackouts Be Banned?” which was published in Applied Economics. The NFL Blackout Rule bars the local broadcast of games that aren’t sold out at least 72 hours prior to game time, leaving many teams’ fans in the dark.
“This is an outdated rule…that affects fans of teams like Tampa Bay and Cincinnati…but the Blackout Rule hasn’t gotten fans to buy more tickets,” argues ProFootballChick contributor Darran Davis.
In fact, in tough economic times, with ticket prices soaring, the policy does nothing but leave a bad taste in many fans’ mouths. Within the last month, legislation has been proposed and a petition filed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking to reverse the rule.
Professor Sen, who has studied the economic implications of NFL blackouts, states that “when [the rule] was imposed in the 1970s, its rationale was supported by the fact that non-television revenue contributed more than two-thirds of each team’s revenue.”
But, as stated in the beginning of this article, that is no longer the case. In the paper, authors Sen and Putsis calculated that blackouts increase a team’s game-day revenues by approximately $400,000 on average. However, by estimating the cost per television viewer and the intrinsic value that consumers place on being able to view the game on television, they found that the value to fans watching the game on television is much higher than the revenue gained from the imposition of blackouts.
NFL fan Sean Davey questions the rule, saying:
“It comes down to ticket prices and the cost of bringing people to games. Why spend $400 plus on tickets, in addition to parking, food and beverages, when you can watch the game from home or at a bar – especially if the team is not producing on the field? You would think that the league would want to eliminate the Blackout Rule as it would promote the team to the local market – and may even lead to selling some extra tickets. Those who are already at the stadium aren’t going to leave because the team is now on local television. They are at the game because they enjoy the experience, but not all fans have the ability (physical, monetary or otherwise) to attend games …”
This rule essentially denies fans who are unable (for whatever reason) to attend games in person the ability to cheer for their team. Loyalty should be rewarded, not punished. In the end, these teams may be losing fans, which, in the long run, will cost them a lot more than $400,000. However, as fan Jess Millward stated, “In markets where blackouts occur, they can’t give away tickets!” This is true, and as Millward accurately noted, in Florida, the Bucs are secondary to the Gators, in an environment that favors college football over the NFL.
Wherever you stand on the issue, what is clear to everyone is that the rule is certainly antiquated in the digital age and will hopefully be reversed by the FCC soon.
Tom Nappi, Craig D'Alessandro and Mark Mazzuchelli interviewed UFC Fighter Jorge Rivera. Jorge Rivera will fight Eric Schafer on Friday January 20th on FX. Listen to the Sports Blast to find out more information and to hear our interview with the Milford, MA native Jorge Rivera!
ITS THAT TIME OF YEAR! Down to 12 teams and we are ready for Wild Card Weekend Next week with a great slate of NFL games. BTW what a last week of the season, every game but 3 games meant something! With that being said the games this week our listed below along with the 12 teams ranked 12 to 1, 1 being the team with the best chance to bring home the Vince Lombardi Trophy!
Sat Jan 7th 4:30pm/et
Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans
Sat Jan 7th 8:00pm/et
Detroit Lions @ New Orleans Saints
Sun Jan 8th 1:00pm/et
Atlanta Falcons @ New York Giants
Sun Jan 8th 4:00pm/et
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Denver Broncos
Byes: New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, S.F. 49ers, Green Bay Packers
POST SEASON POWER RANKINGS
12) Denver Broncos (8-8) - Tim Tebow has been revealed for what he truly is, an average Running Back at the Q.B. position, their is no way I can see the Broncos beating the Steelers in the 1st Round therefore they are ranked last.
11) Houston Texans (10-6) - The Texans have a good shot to upset the Bengals in the first round but after that, not to much of a chance at anything with T.J. Yates as their starting QB because Schaub is down, but look out next year.
10) Detroit Lions (10-6) - If the Saints do not make the Lions one and done this week and they pull what they did last year against the Seahawks, I am going to start calling Drew Brees the Lebron of the NFL, this should be an easy Saints win, Stafford and the gang will keep it close, but don't expect much.
9) Cincinnati Bengals (9-7) - The Bengals have an interesting scenario, they have a Matt Schaubless Texans squad in the first round then could end up with a defenseless Patriots, the Bengals could upset their way to the AFC Championship, but if they make it to New England, I am picking Pats! A great season by the most surprising team of the year in the rookie QB led Bengals.
8) New York Giants (9-7) - I may even pick the Giants to beat the Falcons in the first round, but the Giants are way too much of a shaky team against good opponents to rank them any higher than this.
7) Atlanta Falcons (10-6) - The Falcons have had a questionable year, they started terrible and really turned things arounds especially once Julio Jones got back, beating the Giants will be no easy task however as I think this is an even matchup and both these teams match up well against each other on both sides of the ball.
6) Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) - No one knows how healthy Big Ben actually is and Rashard Mendenhall may have a torn ACL, this could cost the Steelers dearly, I expect them to get past Denver, but to beat New England again this year with those offensive injuries would really take a lot of luck or New England sleeping defensively.
5) S.F. 49ers (13-3) - The 49ers have arguably the best defense in the league at this current time, but with an unreliable Alex Smith and a very good but stoppable Frank Gore, if they meet a team like the Saints or Giants next round, it could be upset city in San Francisco. Also one other relevant point to make look at the teams that have won Super Bowls the past few years, Packers, Saints, Steelers, Colts, all have great QB's, Alex Smith is not in that category.
4) Baltimore Ravens (12-4) - The success of the Ravens will completely bank on what kind of Joe Flacco plays, will it be the kind that throws countless interceptions and miss fires 50% of his passes or will he be sharp and hit his targets, defensively they are fine, but offensively they have many questions with Flacco as their Q.B.
3) New England Patriots (13-3) - The Patriots have the best offense in the A.F.C. and could have an easy road to the Super Bowl with the 1 seed and home field locked up and the fact they may play the Bengals in the first round, but if the Patriots struggle defensively like they have all season and they end up with the Steelers next week, an upset is very possible.
2) New Orleans Saints (13-3) - In my opinion, the Saints are the only team besides the Patriots that could keep up scoring wise with the Packers, Drew Brees has played outstanding this year and I will not rule the Saints out of a matchup with Green Bay in the NFC championship pending they don't lose to someone ridiculous as they did in the playoffs last year to the 8 and 8 Seahawks.
1) Green Bay Packers (15-1) - Matt Flynn threw 6 touchdowns last week and the Green Bay Packer B Squad beat the Detroit Lions who were playing for a higher seed, I can't wait to see what the A Squad does in the playoffs, repeat more than likely in Cheesehead City!
There you have it folks, these will change next week, enjoy the NFL and read Craig's article below this one on what the Red Sox need to do as we are only 2 months or so away from Spring Training!
Comment on this article and have your comment posted to the site:
Andrew Bailey to Red Sox: 10 More Steps to Reclaiming AL East Throne for Boston
Andrew Bailey was finally dealt this off-season, exactly where everyone thought he would end up going. The Boston Red Sox dealt Josh Reddick and a pair of prospects Wednesday to the Oakland Athletics to land Bailey, along with outfielder Ryan Sweeney. The deal presumably solidifies the team's need for a closer since Jonathan Papelbon signed with the Phillies and helps the Sox’s plan to move Daniel Bard or Alfredo Aceves into the starting rotation for 2012.
The deal is a step forward for Boston. Sweeney and Reddick are more or less a wash, so they improved their bullpen substantially at the cost of only two mid-level prospects. They are now closer to winning the AL East in 2012 than they were Wednesday morning.
Still, there is work to be done in order for THIS Red Sox team to be a contender. Unless the Tampa Bay Rays throw up their hands and just slot Dan Johnson in at first base, and unless the New York Yankees stubbornly stick with their current starting rotation going forward, Boston is not the favorite in the AL East right now. They need to shore up their starting rotation and (probably) bolster their outfield, finding a partner for Sweeney in right field. Here are 10 things they must do in order to head to Florida in February as divisional favorites.
1. Fix Carl Crawford’s Plate Approach
Call it trying to do too much or simply reading pitches less well than he once did, but Carl Crawford's problems in 2011 trace back primarily to terrible plate discipline. He swung at drastically more pitches outside the strike zone in 2011 than he ever had before: 37.9 percent of all bad balls, up from a career average of 31.5 percent. Therefore, he posted the highest strikeout rate of his career (nearly 20 percent of all plate appearances), and his worst walk rate since 2005. In laymen’s terms, when ever the Red Sox didn’t need an out and Carl Crawford was at the plate, Crawford got out, whether it was a ground out, fly out, or strike out, Crawford always found a way to stop a rally in his first year in Boston.
It shouldn't be terribly hard to fix this. When Crawford chose pitches well, he could still drive them. Neither his bat nor his feet seemed markedly slower last season than they had been before. He simply couldn't find the right mental approach at home plate. Assuming the Sox can remedy that, Crawford should bounce back and make theirs, by an even wider margin, the league's best lineup.
2. Sign Edwin Jackson
Matt Garza is available, and Matt Garza is better than Edwin Jackson. He's maybe five or 10 percent better, though, and he's likely to cost 15 or 20 percent more than Jackson. The Chicago Cubs will not deal Garza for fewer than two long-term assets, and the Red Sox do not need to drain their farm system depth further just for that marginal advantage.
Instead, Ben Cherington should spend some money (hardly a scarce resource in Boston) on Jackson. He's underrated, really, a young guy with a top-flight fastball who makes life Hell for right-handed batters and who has pretty good control. He would slot in nicely in Boston.
Lets Look at Matt Garza and Edwin Jackson during the 2011 season:
Matt Garza went 10-10 with a 3.32 ERA in 31 games, 198 innings pitched with a Strikeout per 9 innings of 9
Edwin Jackson went 12-9 with a 3.79 ERA in 31 games, 199.2 innings pitched with a Strikeout per 9 innings of 6.7
Pretty similar if you ask me. The Key difference here is, Garza is going to take a lot more to get then Jackson and your basically getting the same result, why deplete your farm system even more then it already is when you can sign basically the same pitcher in free agency.
3. Trade for Marlon Byrd
The Garza deal would cost Boston more than it would be worth. This trade, however, could be the right one on which to pull the trigger, for both the Sox and their departed GM, Theo Epstein.
Your current right fielders signed for this season are Ryan Sweeny, Mike Aviles, Darnell McDonald and Ryan Kalish….not very exciting right?
Byrd could be part of an otherwise lopsided trade for an Epstein/Jason McLeod cheese ball, which would take care of compensation for Epstein's defection to the Cubs. Alternatively, the Sox could simply package two players to whom Epstein took a special shine and receive Byrd straight up.
Either way, the player they would receive would be a constant. Byrd will be paid $6.5 million in 2012, hardly a hardship, and would be a virtually ideal platoon partner with Ryan Sweeney.
He is a center fielder by trade, which would make him more than adequate to cover the cavern that is right field at Fenway Park, and he could rack up a bunch of doubles with his line-drive, pull-conscious right-handed swing. As a bonus, Byrd could be insurance against injury to Jacoby Ellsbury.
4. For Whichever reliever they try to convert into a starter, follow the Alex Ogando model
The Red Sox are going to attempt to turn one of if not both of their most effective relievers into a starter this upcoming Spring Training. If its Alfredo Aceves, it won’t be that much of a change, he has always been a starter and has handled it well, it was just the fact he worked so well out of the bullpen in recent years that the Red Sox decided to keep him there.
Daniel Bard on the other hand is a different story. While he had also been a starter while in college and in the minors, it never really worked out for him, at one time posting an ERA over 10 in a season, it was after this (and the discovery of a 100 MPH fastball) that the Red Sox decided to convert him into a reliever, where he has excelled over the past 3 seasons.
Daniel Bard has, in theory, three pitches. It's the effectiveness of his third pitch that seems to have captivated the Red Sox. They think they can make him an effective starter by simply asking him to pace himself and throw his decent changeup more often.
That's not the right model for this scenario, though. Instead, Boston should simply ask Bard to reel in his fastball a tad, and be the same two-pitch pitcher he has been the past three years. He just needs to do it every fifth day, to 25 batters, instead of every other day to five. The model, in fact, is Alexi Ogando.
Last season with Texas, Ogando moved from exclusive relief work to exclusive starting work without a change in repertoire at all. He threw his fastball three percent more often in 2011 than in 2010; his slider three percent less; and his changeup exactly as often, 4.8 percent of the time. If Bard follows that regimen, he has a chance to be a solid mid-rotation starter for the Sox, and if he does that, the Sox become AL East favorites.
5. Sign Darren Oliver
With the addition of Bailey, the Red Sox seem to have a strong overall bullpen. Mark Melancon now slides into a setup role. Bobby Jenks doesn't slide into anything, but he'll probably plop into more of a seventh-inning slot, pun intended. Alfredo Aceves is a terrific right-handed long man; Andrew Miller fills that role well from the left side.
Still, the relief corps is missing something. They need a lefty specialist, someone to get key outs against the likes of Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano. Darren Oliver is perfectly suited to that gig. Boston can bid a bit more for those services than other teams, so this is a no-brainer.
6. Take Control of the Clubhouse
Clubhouse factors are overstated. Teams get far too much credit for their cohesion when they win, and when collapses happen, those same squads get far too much blame for lacking focus.
That said, the Red Sox do have a lot of established veterans on the roster, and sometimes, getting those players to watch video, work on what's not working and stay in premium shape can be tough. Baseball is about day-to-day adjustments, and too many veterans get lazy about those things.
That's why Bobby Valentine was the team's choice to take over as manager. He's a man of boundless energy, the kind that rubs off on everyone he encounters. The Red Sox need his constant kinesis to keep themselves on the top of their game. If he can set the right tone for the team in the spring, they will be a more disciplined bunch come autumn.
7. Platoon to Kingdom Come
The Red Sox have depth, but too many American League teams fail to make the optimum use of their benches. Boston is in a position to be better.
In right field, Ryan Sweeney and some right-handed bat (Marlon Byrd, perhaps?) would make a terrific platoon. So would Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Kelly Shoppach behind the plate (At least untill Ryan Lavarnway is ready full time.)
The most intriguing platoon possibility, though, might be at shortstop. Both Marco Scutaro and Jose Iglesias bat right-handed, but whereas Scutaro is primarily an on-base threat for the bottom of the batting order, Iglesias is a prospect with elite defensive skills.
That creates an interesting opportunity. When ground-ball mavens Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz start, the Sox could put the glove wizard Iglesias at shortstop and save some runs. When Josh Beckett takes the mound, Scutaro could provide offensive punch without costing the club. This is the Ideal scenerio, however with Iglesias in my mind about a year away still (his offence is still terrible) I expect a lot of Nick Punto this season.
8. Rebuild the Training Staff
The 2011 Red Sox did lack pitching depth, but realistically, it never should have gotten as bad as it did for them. They had Josh Beckett, Jon Lester, Daisuke Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, John Lackey, Andrew Miller, Tim Wakefield and (after the trade deadline) Erik Bedard on hand.
Yet, those players had an awful time staying healthy down the stretch. Lackey's and Matsuzaka's problems were arm and workload-related, and likely inevitable.
In the cases of Beckett, Lester and Buchholz, though, the Sox lost starts that should have gone to their top hurlers, because they all recovered on a much slower schedule than expected. That failure traces back to the training staff. If the Red Sox can find a group of athletic trainers who will keep ankle and back injuries to the lowest level of impact possible, they will get much better.
9. Put together the Right Lineup
The Red Sox struggled to find the right lineup throughout 2011. The slow emergence of Jacoby Ellsbury as a superstar and the failure of Carl Crawford to find his usual rhythm made it hard to know where people belonged.
In 2012, more questions might pop up, but this is my ideal lineup set for the team come Opening Day:
v. RHP v. LHP
With those personnel in that arrangement, Boston should lead the AL in runs scored again in 2012.
10. Find pitching at the Trading Deadline
It's clear that the current market for starting pitching favors sellers. C.J. Wilson got more than he was worth. The Padres and A's extracted more from trading partners for Mat Latos, Trevor Cahill and Gio Gonzalez than anyone expected they would. Yu Darvish cost $51.7 million, and that was just to start talking.
Edwin Jackson is a great option, but even if they add him, Boston might need an extra arm down the stretch. The way to get it, though, would not be to continue paying through the nose and adding pitching at the current top-dollar prices.
Instead, if the Sox wait for July, they should be able to add Wandy Rodriguez or a comparable hurler at a much more reasonable cost.