Thoughtful Thursday 10.25.12

By: Kevin Cottrell Jr. @SportsVentz

Just a Thought…LIVEWRONG? If you had to live a lie for the sake of a greater cause, such as raising over $470 Million to fight the Cancer epidemic, would you be willing to do so? If you had to remain quiet while being hailed a hero, then face the music when the truth was revealed and now considered a zero, would you be strong enough to do it? Oh yeah, in the midst of it all could you overcome your own bout with cancer? These are things the 7-time Tour De France winner Lance Armstrong had to face. Armstrong was recently accused of doping during his 7-year run winning the top notch cycling tour. Some sports enthusiasts shake their heads, call him a cheater and view him with disgust, while cancer survivors and their families still view him as da man! I myself have lost loved ones to this awful disease yet whenever I see the bright yellow shirts, hats, bracelets, etc. with LIVESTRONG boldly centered on the apparel, I know that there is still hope and an organization, in which Armstrong launched with NIKE, doing all they can to fight the cause. While Armstrong may have used poor judgement and needs to own to any wrongdoing, winning the Tour De France was not as important as winning the Tour De France to bring awareness to a much bigger cause. While lying and cheating has nor will it ever be condoned in sports or in life, when it comes to fighting Cancer I think we can let this one instance slide by. Armstrong may not be inducted into any Sports or Moral Hall of Fame any time soon, but in the minds and hearts of those affected by any form of cancer he was enshrined into their Hall of Fame a very long time ago.

 

NFL WEEK 8 PREDICTIONS: Last week I went 10-3 in a week full of the good pulling away from the bad. The Bears did their best to keep pace with the undefeated Falcons in the NFC while the Texans clearly stated that they are the best team in the AFC (thru 8 weeks). There’s still a lot of football left so let’s not crown anyone yet but here’s a look at my Week 8 Predictions in the NFL!

 

PICK 6! (Bye Week: Bills, Bengals, Ravens and Texans)

(2-4) BUCCANEERS @ VIKINGS (4-2): In six games the road teams are 1-5 on Thursday night match ups. Now that doesn’t mean the Vikings are guaranteed to win but it does mean the odds are in their favor. Keep in mind the Bucs are coming off a tough loss to the Saints on an illegal touching call to end the game. Tampa now has to travel to the twin cities on a short week with only one day of “practice”. As for the Vikings they’ve found a way to win recently despite the poor play of QB Christian Ponder. While defense/special teams has been clicking, Ponder has thrown 6 interceptions in the last 3 games. This does not bode well for a Vikings team that leans on their running game since the Bucs are currently the third best rush defense in the league (7.0 yards allowed). So what gives? If the Vikings start off slow they can be in trouble since Tampa has big play potential with Freeman connecting with Vincent Jackson downfield. Freeman is coming off a career best 420 yards in the air in a losing effort. The Vikings are finally on national TV so everyone will get to see what they’re made of. We know about the run game but something tells me Christian will make us all Ponder just how legit they are. Prediction: BUCCANEERS by 4

(4-3) SEAHAWKS @ LIONS (2-4): After Monday’s struggles versus the Bears, the Detroit Lions are officially in panic mode. Defensively they did their best to disrupt the Bears flow holding them to 13 points. However, special teams could not seem to flip field position into their favor and the offense couldn’t seem to sustain a drive the entire game. Calvin Johnson was held in check the entire night and Nate Burleson was lost to a broken leg midway through the game. That’s behind them but another tough defense is headed to the Motor City as the Seahawks look to improve to 5-3. The Bears didn’t roll their coverage to Megatron but they did keep both safeties deep to prevent any big plays. Seattle will most likely take the same approach so someone, mainly Pettigrew, will have to step up to spring Johnson free. As for the Seahawks they tend to lean heavily on Marshawn Lynch. Coming off the tough loss to the Niners they will look to return to their winning ways by pressuring Stafford and having a well-balanced offensive attack ran by the mobile Wilson. This game will be interesting to watch because if Detroit fall behinds early this team may implode. Their pride is on the line and maybe even the coaches job. Memo to Coach Scwartz update your resume.Prediction: SEAHAWKS by 3

(5-2) GIANTS @ COWBOYS (3-3): This is a classic NFC East battle. The Giants opened the season with a home loss at the hands of the ‘Boys and they’ll be out for revenge. Since then Dallas has struggled to string together wins while the GMen continue to find creative ways to win games. In terms of the game within the game, the Cowboys will be without LB Sean Lee (Toe) for the remainder of the season. Lee leads the team with 77 tackles so Rob Ryan has some big shoes to fill. In terms of defending the run Dallas should still be solid but Lee’s ability to cover will be missed. The last two weeks we’ve seen both the Texans and Ravens lose their inside linebacker and their defense get gashed. We should expect the same results. The Giants struggled to run the ball last week so I expect for that to be corrected this Sunday allowing passing lanes for Manning to Cruz and Nicks. This game will be hard fought as usual but the team that controls the clock will come out on top. Something tells me the Giants will be more balanced and the Cowboys D will be lost without the Lee. Prediction: GIANTS by 7

(5-2) 49ERS @ CARDINALS (4-3): The NFC West has surprised us all this season as 3 of the 4 teams currently boast records above .500. The Cards have won despite the shuffling of both QBs in and out of lineup due to injury. And the Niners have won despite Alex Smith seemingly reverting back to his old ways of not producing. This week San Fran will visit Arizona in a Monday Night Showdown looking to get some breathing room in the division. The Cards simply want to get back in the win column having lost three straight after a 4-0 start. The Niners defense is too good for the struggling Cards offense to conquer so defense and special teams will be key. Can Arizona win the field position battle and find ways to control time of possession? If the answer is yes this game will be close, problem is I answered with an emphatic “NO.” Look for the Niners to establish themselves as the class of the division in all three phases of the game while handing the Cards their fourth consecutive loss of the season. Prediction: 49ERS by 10

(2-4) SAINTS @ BRONCOS (3-3): Brees and Manning will face off yet again in a game many would expect to exceed a total of 50 points. Both QBs are in mid season form while both defenses continue to struggle. Luckily for Denver, they’ve managed to sit in the driver’s seat in their division while the Saints are pretty much gasping for air in there’s. Which front seven can put pressure on the QB? The answer to that will be the winning team. Manning currently has the second highest QB rating in the L while Brees has the second most passing TDs. Defensively the edge is in favor of Denver since the Saints rank at the bottom in terms of points allowed (30.3). The Saints have some good news regaining the presence of their interim head coach (Joe Vitti) who finished serving his six game suspension. Nevertheless coming off a bye week the Peyton Manning’s should be primed to make a run after making it through a tough first half of their schedule. Remember this is a Monday Night game so don’t go to sleep! This should be a good one.  Prediction: BRONCOS by 4

 

**GAME OF THE WEEK**

(6-0) FALCONS @ EAGLES (3-3):  The game of the week would normally be tabbed as the Michael Vick bowl, except both sides have been there and done that. At this point, the Falcons are trying to preserve an unblemished record while the Eagles are trying to avoid disappointment for the second consecutive season by salvaging a rocky season by moving a game above .500. The Eagles fired their defensive coordinator, that’s cool but did they fire the coach responsible for turnovers on offense as well? The Eagles have committed 17 turnovers, tops in the NFC. The Eagles will have to take care of the ball and keep the balanced Falcons offense on the sideline. This is actually a trap game for Atlanta. The Falcons and Eagles are both coming off their bye week but Coach Andy Reid has a perfect 13-0 record coming off a bye. This does not bode well for a Falcons squad that has yet to experience a loss facing a Philly team that needs a win. 4 of 6 Falcons wins have come by 7 or less while the Eagles 3 wins have come by a total of 4 points and last two losses have been by a total of 5. Simply put this game will take 60 minutes to decide but the more desperate team (with home field) seems to have the edge. Keep Red Zone handy this game will be full of twists and turns. Prediction: EAGLES by 3

 

QUICK PICKS!
BEARS over Panthers
CHARGERS over Browns
PATRIOTS over Rams
JETS over Dolphins
STEELERS over Redskins
PACKERS over Jaguars
RAIDERS over Chiefs
TITANS over Colts

 

BUZZER BEATERS (NBA Edition)

The NBA Season is just days away! The Heat look to repeat, the OKC will look to bring the Thunder while the Lakers have retooled instead of rebuilt their roster. The C’s are out for blood and the Bulls are looking to hold down the fort till Rose #returns. Who will be the surprise team? Who will dethrone the King as MVP? Who will win the battle of New York? and Who when eventually win it all? Here’s a Look into the 2012-13 NBA Season.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE

  • HEAT: LeBron will take his game to another level this year.
  • PACERS: No D.Rose means the Central is the Pacers to lose.
  • CELTICS: I find it tough to pick against Boston in the Atlantic.
  • KNICKS: The battle of New York will determine home court
  • NETS: Something tells me the new pieces will struggle early
  • BULLS: If the Bulls can play good ball till Rose returns, look out!
  • SIXERS: Bynum may be the difference between playing last game in April or May
  • HAWKS: No Joe Johnson. No Problem? We will soon find out.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

  • THUNDER: OKC have been eliminated by last 3 Champs, is it there year?
  • LAKERS: Once this team gels they’re going to be a nightmare matchup
  • SPURS: Call them old, call them boring, but call them winners too.
  • CLIPPERS: There’s a log jam around the perimeter but could be a good thing.
  • GRIZZLES: Everyone is healthy in Memphis and hungry. Guess they got to eat!
  • NUGGETS: I like this team both defensively and offensively, hopefully it equals wins
  • MAVERICKS: Dirk needing surgery is not good, but getting it early is good enough
  • JAZZ: Utah will have to fend off the Wolves & Warriors their playoff experience helps

**NBA FINALS: LAKERS over HEAT

NBA AWARDS
MVP: Kevin Durant
Rookie of Year: Bradley Beal
Sixth Man of Year: Jason Terry
Most Improved: Klay Thompson
Defensive Player of Year: Dwight Howard
 

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