Browsing Posts published in October, 2012

When the New York Islanders were so aptly named, ownership figured that they may as well have been called the Long Island Islanders with their ties all across the island just off the mainland of the rest of the state of New York. There isn’t a heck of a lot going on right now on the ice, but one of the announcements that was made is that, assuming that there is hockey by that point, the Isles are going to be moving to Brooklyn to the new Barclays Center for the 2015-16 campaign.

The 25-mile trek down the Belt Parkway keeps the Islanders on the Island, and it takes them out of a dilapidated Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and puts them in the much cushier state of the art Barclays Center, which is just opening its doors this week to the Brooklyn Nets.

It’s going to be a sin to see the Coliseum go, knowing that this was the venue that saw so many magical moments when the Islanders won the Stanley Cup in 1980, 1981, 1982, and 1983. However, a failure to be able to upgrade the venue has really forced the team to move once its lease is up.

Though the Islanders haven’t been to the playoffs since 2007 and haven’t won a playoff series since 1992, they have a heck of a lot of young talent that they are going to be bringing with them to Brooklyn in all likelihood.

John Tavares will be in the prime of his career by the 2015-16 season move, and he is coming off of a season last year in which he led the team with 50 assists and 81 points. The top goal scorer, Matt Moulson will be 32 by them, but if he can keep this production up, he might still be a star. Parlay in there Pa Parenteau, Frans Nielsen, Kyle Okposo, and so many of the other young up and comers on this team, and there is definitely hope that the Islanders will be great to make your NHL picks on when they move to Brooklyn in just a few seasons.

About the only good thing that the Buffalo Bills can say coming into this week’s matchup with the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium is that they are coming off of their bye week and should be ready for the game. However, Houston is also coming off of its bye, and it will be amped up to get back to action in its chase for the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Buffalo is a 10-point underdog on the NFL odds in Week 9, and if the history continues to follow it, this could be a long game for the visitors.

Over the course of the last two and a half seasons, the Bills have been underdog by at least nine points four times. This stretch started in 2010 when they were +9 against the New England Patriots at home, only to lose 34-3. Last year, their one game as double-digit dogs ended in a 49-21 loss to the same Pats, while earlier that year, a road game against the New York Jets ended in a cover in a 28-24 defeat. This year though, the only time that Buffalo was catching this many points was the team’s most disastrous loss on the season, a 45-3 romp at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers.

All told, the Bills are 0-4 SU and just 1-3 ATS in their last four games when they are dogs of this type.

To make matters even worse, the last time that the Bills played against the Texans was at Ralph Wilson Stadium in 2009. Houston came out that day as 3 ½-point favorites and smacked the hosts 31-10 in a game in which little known RB Ryan Moats rushed for 126 yards and three TDs.

Kickoff on Sunday at Reliant Stadium is set for 1:00 p.m. (ET).

While there’s still an abundance of talent left in the Big Apple, there are obviously still plenty of question marks remaining for the New York Knicks heading into the regular season.

The Knicks made some interesting moves during the offseason. First and foremost, they let Jeremy Lin, who had quickly become a bonafide NBA star, move on and he signed on with the Houston Rockets.

In his place, New York brought Raymond Felton back. Felton had one of his best seasons of his career when playing for the Knicks and the organization is hoping he can replicate some of that magic this season.

Felton will be backed up by Jason Kidd, a veteran who was also signed as a free agent. He spurned an offer from Mark Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks for a contract extension, and instead latched on with the Knicks. Kidd will provide a lot of experience for the team.

At shooting guard, it looks like J.R. Smith has locked up the starting spot, with Ronnie Brewer and Iman Shumpert also set to get playing time.

The other three positions are also locks, with Carmelo Anthony at the three, Amar’e Stoudemire at the four, and Tyson Chandler at the five. Stoudemire, however, will be sidelined to start the season, meaning we could see Anthony move over to power forward quite a bit.

Backups include sharpshooter Steve Novak and experienced bigs in Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby.

The main question mark for the Knicks: will they finally be able to forge some chemistry? Stoudemire and Anthony have yet to really click when on the court together, and that’s something that simply has to happen if New York is to contend.

Still, you’ll want to keep an eye on the Knicks for your NBA picks. They should be able to lock down a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, assuming there aren’t any major injuries.

The New York Jets are set to take on the Miami Dolphins on Sunday as one-point favorites on the NFL odds. However, the line on the game and the game’s results could change drastically if Hurricane Sandy ends up coming close to the Jersey Shore by the time this one kicks off.

If that’s the case, it could be absolutely devastating news for QB Mark Sanchez. The first problem that he is going to have is that his defense has had just no answers for opposing ground games this year. Miami rushed for over 180 yards when these two teams met a few weeks ago, and that means that he is going to end up possessing the ball for a heck of a lot less time.

On top of that, the wind and the rain is going to get the hometown crowd going against him if this is another one of these games where he completes less than half of his passes. Over the course of the last two weeks, Sanchez completed over 65% of his pass attempts, but we also have to remember that he only had to throw for 82 yards against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 6. In games in which he has thrown more than 20 passes, Sanchez has completed less than 47 percent of his attempts in four games and greater than that just twice.

Dare we say that it could finally be Tebow Time?

It makes a heck of a lot of sense, knowing that OC Tony Sparano would love to bust out a wrinkle in such an important AFC East game against the team that basically booted him out of town unceremoniously in the middle of last season. Add in the rain, the wind, and the fact that both RB Bilal Powell and RB Joe McKnight are battling injuries, and the time might finally be here that Sanchez ends up having a reduced role in favor of No. 15.

Are the New York Knicks primed for a much-improved season? Will Amare Sotudemire and Carmelo Anthony be able to mesh well on the court? It’s time to address some pressing questions as we head into the regular season.

First things first: we’ll have to wait a little bit until we see both Amare and Melo out there together.

Stoudemire has a ruptured popliteal cyst, meaning he will miss two-to-three weeks of action. That means extended minutes for both Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby to start off the season.

When Stoudemire returns, it’ll obviously be a big lift offensively. Though his numbers were down across the board last season, we saw what Stoudemire was capable of in 2010 when he averaged 25.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game for the Knicks.

That being said, his defensive ability is limited at best, and New York should actually be much better off with some sort of combo of Thomas/Camby and Tyson Chandler. Plus, Carmelo Anthony could play the four too if the Knicks want to play a little small ball.

Anthony has proven he can succeed at any position and remains one of the best pure scorers in the NBA.

The star small forward has battled injuries over the past couple seasons, which is why his numbers have regressed somewhat. We’re expecting a big bounce-back from Anthony though, as there’s no doubt that this is his team now that Jeremy Lin is gone and Amare will start the season sidelined.

Anthony is at his best when the team is counting on him.

Whether that makes the Knicks reliable in future NBA picks remains to be seen, but the first few games should give us a good indication of how this New York team will fare. There’s a lot of veteran talent here, so we’ll see.

Time is starting to run out for Carlos Boozer in the Windy City, or has it already run out? There are trade rumors circulating around the league involving the ex-Duke forward, but for now it appears Boozer will stay on in Chicago.

Boozer hasn’t exactly lived up to expectations for the Bulls. He had been a force of nature for the Utah Jazz, averaging a double-double for four straight seasons from 2006 to 2010.

He was solid in his first season in Chicago, averaging 17.5 points and 9.6 rebounds, but his numbers went down again last season.

Boozer averaged 15.0 PPG and 8.5 RPG in 29.5 minutes per game, the lowest amount of playing time he’s logged since his rookie season in 2002. The Bulls gave plenty of court time to Taj Gibson, a much better defender, and Boozer’s PT suffered because of it.

That’s why the Bulls wouldn’t mind shopping Boozer and his sizable contract.

The Brooklyn Nets have been rumored as a possible destination and would love to add another scorer to their frontcourt. As of now, Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez are the starters at power forward and center, but Humphries has yet to show he can be a consistently effective starting big and Lopez is coming off one of his worst seasons ever.

Assuming Boozer sticks around, which seems all the more likely with the regular season fast approaching, the Bulls have to get more out of their investment. That’s even more true now with Derrick Rose shelved for at least another few months.

There are always rumors abound in the association, but moving Boozer at some point this season seems to be a legitimate possibility, especially if he fails to live up to the hype again. 

For Chicago to be a viable selection in everyone’s NBA picks, they have to keep up with the times. If that means letting Boozer go, then so be it.

When the New York Jets battled it out with the Miami Dolphins just a few weeks ago, they had no business beating the NFL odds as 1-point road favorites. They got the job done and won in overtime, but they had all sorts of troubles with the Fins and their ground attack. Matters might be even more difficult this Sunday when the two teams have their second clash of the season at MetLife Stadium.

The Jets rank 30th in the NFL against opposing ground games at 147.4 yards per game. The unit has allowed at least 130 yards just to opposing running backs five times in seven games this year, including when it allowed 40 carries, 182 yards, and two touchdowns to the combination of RB Reggie Bush, RB Jorvorskie Lane, RB Daniel Thomas, and RB Lamar Miller back in Week 3. All three numbers were season-highs against the New York defense.

The good news is that DT Sione Po’uha might be back in the fold this week after he has sat out three straight games with a back injury. He is the cog in the middle of the Jets’ front line, and with him out of the lineup, DT Mike DeVito has had to step into a starting role, something that he probably isn’t suited to do.

More good news for New York is that Thomas might not be able to suit for Miami. The Dolphins’ second leading rusher suffered a concussion three weeks ago, and he has not been in the lineup since that point. Still, the Dolphins average 119.5 yards per game on the ground, and they are going to remain committed to the rush regardless of who is carrying the ball.

The Jets are once again favored by a single point for this 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff in the Garden State.

The New York Jets did everything that they could on the road against the New England Patriots on Sunday, but they ultimately came up short by a field goal in overtime. Give all of the credit in the world to QB Mark Sanchez for fighting off adversity to get the team into that spot, but in the end, it was his fumble that cost the team a shot at tying or winning the game in overtime.

Now, it’s back home to MetLife Stadium for the Jets in Week 8, as they entertain the visiting Miami Dolphins, who come to town as 2 ½-point underdogs on the NFL odds.

The Fins had New York dead to rights when these two teams met at Sun Life Stadium back in Week 3. The Jets ended up winning on a K Nick Folk field goal in overtime, but that only came after K Dan Carpenter missed what would have been the game winner just before it.

Both rushing attacks had their moments of greatness. RB Bilal Powell led the way for the Jets with 45 yards on 10 carries, while RB Shonn Greene also had 40 yards on 19 carries. RB Daniel Thomas, RB Reggie Bush, and RB Lamar Miller combined for 38 carries, 178 yards, and a touchdown for the Fins.

Meanwhile, for the Jets, the importance of this game cannot be understated. In spite of their good effort against the Patriots, they are still just 3-4 and know that they are in some big trouble in the AFC playoff race. A win would give them the advantage over the Dolphins in the season series and a .500 mark going into their bye in Week 9. A loss would leave them crippled at just 3-5 and likely needing to go at least 6-2, if not 7-1 in the final seven games of the campaign to get into the second season.

The Nets couldn’t have asked for a much better start to exhibition play as they’ve won all three of their games thus far.

Brooklyn started off with a 108-105 overtime win over the Philadelphia 76ers, before beating the Washington Wizards 98-88 in the first official game at Barclays Center.

On Tuesday the Nets squeaked past the Boston Celtics 97-96 at the TD Garden, with Mirza Teletovic hitting the winning free throw with under five seconds remaining.

It was a very promising win for Brooklyn considering they rested all five of their starters. Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Brook Lopez, Gerald Wallace and Kris Humphries all sat out, while MarShon Brooks was sidelined with right foot tendinitis.

In their place, Teletovic, Andray Blatche, and Reggie Evans stepped up. Teletovic had 18 points off the bench, Blatche put up 23 points and nine boards and Evans was good for eight points, 10 boards and two steals.

What’s more, the Celtics actually fielded a strong team, with all five of their starters seeing action.

Still, the early signs are definitely looking good for the new-look Nets. Lopez has looked strong in two preseason appearances, averaging 18.5 points, 56.5 percent shooting, and 10.0 rebounds per game. Blatche is putting up 17.0 PPG and 7.3 RPG, while Williams, Johnson, Wallace and C.J. Watson have all averaged in the double figures as well.

Avery Johnson has to be very pleased with what he’s getting out of his team as the regular season marches on. Does that make them a viable option with the public’s NBA picks?

Maybe we should hold off on that for now, but tracking the Nets this season is certainly going to be interesting. They have the talent now to secure a seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, and it will be fun to see if they can out-perform the crosstown New York Knicks.

Week 7 of the NFL season is going to be quite interesting, as there are a slew of matchups that are going to have a massive effect on the 2012 playoff race. Two teams that are on the outside looking in at the moment, the Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans are going to square off as a part of that Week 7 slate, a game in which Buffalo is favored by a field goal.

The Bills might be favored by three on the NFL odds, but that doesn’t mean that they are going to have the advantage when push comes to shove.

History is definitely on the side of the Titans, knowing that they have won four straight games in this series and have covered three in a row. Tennessee has also gone 7-1 SU and 6-2 ATS dating back to 1995 against the Bills. In the last four, the Titans have averaged 30.5 points per game.

QB Jake Locker probably isn’t quite set to be back in the fold yet, but QB Matt Hasselbeck and his Titans are coming off of their best game of the year against the Pittsburgh Steelers. RB Chris Johnson had one of the best games that he has had in a win in quite some time, as he rushed for 91 yards and had another 23 as a receiver. WR Kenny Britt had his first touchdown of the year as well. Hasselbeck also had four completed passes of at least 25 yards.

More good news for the Titans? Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has turned the ball over three times and has just one touchdown against Tennessee in two games in his career.

Kickoff from Ralph Wilson Stadium takes place at 1:00 p.m. ET in a game that will be shown regionally on CBS