Posts Tagged ‘nfl playoffs’

Over last weekend the NFL held it’s divisional round of the playoffs. The Atlanta Falcons, Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots and Pittsburgh Steelers all advanced to the Conference championship games this Sunday. Green Bay is at Atlanta for the first game on Sunday with a scheduled kickoff time of 2:05 p.m. Pittsburgh is at New England in the later game which has a scheduled 5:40 p.m. Of course the winners of these games will move on to face each other in the Super Bowl.

So how did we do with our picks in the divisional round. Well Schaumburg Stu and Mr. Fantasy went 3-1 while Dan the Man and I ended up 2-2. For the playoffs Schaumburg Stu is 7-1, Mr. Fantasy and I are 6-2 while Dan the Man is 5-3. Let’s see how we do with the Conference championship games.

It seems as though if you wanted to get to this point in the NFL playoffs you needed a top quarterback. Aaron Rodgers, Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Tom Brady are the four quarterbacks who have led there teams this far and they could be the best four quarterbacks on the NFL right now. I don’t think anyone would be surprised if Rodgers, Ryan or Brady takes home the M.V.P. trophy and Roethlisberger wasn’t that far off. Rodgers led the NFL in passing touchdowns with 40. Matt Ryan was 2nd with 38 while Roethlisberger was 6th with 29 and Brady was 7th with 28. Don’t forget that Brady missed the first four games of this season while Roethlisberger missed two games with an injury this season. In total QBR Ryan is #1 at 83.3 with Brady right behind him at 83.1. Rodgers was 4th at 76.9 while Roethlisberger finished 10th at 66.2. There are some people out there who are trying to push this group as the best four quarterbacks to ever play in the Conference championship. While these four are all very good quarterbacks I’m not going that far as making them the best. You have to figure that Brady and Rodgers are future Hall of Fame inductees and Roethlisberger isn’t too far off from making it. Ryan is the quarterback with something to prove. Ryan is the only one of these four quarterbacks that hasn’t won a Super Bowl. Without going back and breaking down every group of quarterbacks that made the Conference championship I’ll say that this is a good group, but not the best.

QBR stands for Total Quarterback rating. This stat was actually invented by ESPN to measure quarterback performance and it’s suppose to be a more meaningful alternative to passer rating.

On Monday night the Golden State Warriors blew out the Cleveland Cavaliers 126-91. For some reason the experts started making excuses for the Cavaliers loss. It’s an NBA regular season game; why do we need an excuse for why one team lost. Apparently since this was the last game of the Cavaliers road trip they where tired or whatever other excuse they want to use for them getting beat. This was the 6th game of that road trip for Cleveland that they ended up going 3-3 on, but they did have two full days off before the game with Golden State. I think that every NBA fan knows that barring some major upset in the playoffs we’re going to see these two teams meet for the 3rd time in the NBA Finals.

Now there was a little bit of an incident in this game. LeBron James was headed up court with the basketball and it looked as he was trying to lead the break. Draymond Green came from James’ right and fouled him hard. There was no doubt that this was a foul, but Green was accessed a Flagrant 1 foul and I don’t think it was that bad of a foul. James had one of the all time flops in NBA history. If you’re a fan of professional wrestling picture James going down like one of your favorite or not so favorite wrestler getting clotheslined. James laid face down at center court for a few minutes like he had been knocked out. I know the NBA has a policy in effect for players that flop, but I have a feeling that James won’t be one of the guys who gets fined for his flop.

On Monday night Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul sprained his left thumb in the 2nd quarter of the Clippers game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. X-rays on the thumb were negative, but an MRI on Tuesday revealed the torn ligament. On Wednesday Paul will undergo surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. He is expected to be sidelined six to eight weeks. Paul was defending Russell Westbrook and sprained the thumb fighting over a screen set by Joffrey Lauvergne. The Clippers called a timeout shortly after, and Paul immediately walked off the court, kicking the bench as he exited. Paul could be seen on the TNT broadcast shaking his head at Clippers team trainer Jasen Powell as they walked through the players tunnel to the locker room.This is not the first time Paul has undergone a procedure on his thumb. He underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb during the 2012 offseason. Paul played part of the 2011-12 season and the 2012 Summer Olympics with the thumb wrapped in tape. The Clippers have been beset by injuries this season. Star forward Blake Griffin missed his 13th game Monday night as he recovers from arthroscopic knee surgery. Sharpshooter J. J. Reddick missed two games because of a sore left hamstring. And Paul missed seven games in a two-week span because of a strained left hamstring. Since the start of last season, the Clippers are just 3-9 in games without both Paul and Griffin. The Clippers are 29-14 and currently in 4th place in the Western Conference. The Clipper will play there first full game without Paul on Thursday night when they host the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Today is the day that the baseball Hall of Fane announces if they will have any new members inducted this summer. In early voting returns it looked good for Tim Raines, Jeff Bagwell and Ivan Rodriguez, but there where still votes to be counted. It looks as though they’ll be making the announcement around 5:00 p.m. That’s Central time.

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The Divisional round of the NFL playoffs kicks off today with two games. The other two games are Sunday. Just like last week I’m going to put your Saturday picks in here to keep us honest. Mr. Fantasy and I will let you know who we’re all going with on Sunday’s podcast. The first game has the Seattle Seahawks at the Atlanta Falcons. We are split on this game as Mr. Fantasy and Schaumburg Stu are going with the Falcons and Dan the Man and I are taking the Seahawks. The second game today has the Houston Texans at the New England Patriots. This was the only game this weekend we all agreed on and no surprise we all picked the Patriots to win this one.

Because of the weather in the Kansas City area the NFL adjusted the Sunday schedule to try and make travel safer for everyone getting to and from the game. The Pittsburgh Steelers at the Kansas City Chiefs game was originally scheduled to kickoff at 12:05 p.m. but with the weather situation in the area the game has been moved to a 7:20 p.m. kickoff time. The other game on Sunday hasn’t been moved. It’s still a 3:40 p.m. kickoff time for the Green Bay Packers at the Dallas Cowboys.

Back in Week 6 the Seahawks beat the Falcons 26-24 in Seattle. Atlanta was driving at the end of the game and with the clock running down Matt Ryan tried to hit Julio Jones with a long pass down the middle of the field. It appeared as though Richard Sherman interfered with Jones on the play, but there was no penalty called. What I’m trying to figure out is why everyone thinks that if pass interference would’ve been called on that play that Atlanta would’ve won it. Even if the penalty had been called the football would’ve been at the Seattle 35 yard line. Now that means it would’ve been a 52 yard field goal that Matt Bryant would’ve needed to make for the Falcons to win the game. What I’m not understanding is why everyone thinks that a 52 yard field goal is a gimme and that Atlanta would win. Bryant is a very good kicker. He made 34 of 37 field goal attempts with a long of 59 yards, but two of his three misses on the season where from 50+ yards. Bryant also missed one extra point this season. Apparently the first game between these two teams featured the only missed call by a referee in the NFL this season and then a guarantee that a kicker would make a 52 yard field goal. I can’t be the only one who thinks this is ridiculous.

The Patriots/Texans game is also a rematch from the regular season. In Week 3 the Patriots beat the Texans 27-0 in New England. Since this game was back in Week 3 Tom Brady was suspended and Jimmy Garoppolo was injured; so that means Jacoby Brissett was the Patriots quarterback for the game. Now neither team is the same as they where back in Week 3, but New England is favorite by 15 1/2 to 17 points in the betting lines. That’s a very big point spread for a playoff game. Brock Osweiler started the game in Week 3 and he’ll be under center for Houston tonight. Osweiler went 24 of 41 for 196 yards with an interception in Week 3. Lamar Miller ran for 80 yards on 21 carries in that game and Ryan Griffin caught 8 passes for the Texans. Houston is also coming into this game with the #1 ranked defense in the NFL. Now back in Week 14 the Patriots faced the #1 defense of the Baltimore Ravens. Tom Brady threw for 406 yards against that defense as New England won 30-23. We’ll have to see if we get a good game or if we get the big win that the odds are predicting.

There was a marquee match up in the NHL last night as the Washington capitals hosted the Chicago Blackhawks. Both teams had 59 points coming into the game, but you wouldn’t know that by the way the game went. Washington totally embarrassed Chicago skating to a very easy 6-0 win. The Capitals put the game away very early as they scored three goals in the 1st period. Jay Beagle started the scoring for Washington with his 7th goal of the year. :13 seconds later Nicholas Backstrom made it 2-0 with his 12th goal of the season. Brett Connolly picked up his 6th goal of the season to make to score 3-0 with just under three minutes left in the 1st period. The Blackhawks managed to hold the Capitals to just one goal in the 2nd period. Tom Wilson scored for Washington with three minutes left in the period. It was Wilson 3rd goal of the season putting Washington up 4-0 after two periods. T.J. Oshie scored his 12th goal of the game just about eight minutes in to the 3rd period to make the score 5-0. Beagle then picked up his 2nd goal of the night and his 8th on the season with about 1:30 left to play.

Braden Holtby made 24 saves to post his league leading 6th shutout. With the shoutout Holtby’s Goals Against Average dropped to 1.85 for the season. All-Star Corey Crawford was a joke in goal for the Blackhawks as he allowed 5 goals on 30 shots. Even the Blackhawks back up goaltender Scott Darling found a way to give up a goal as he was beaten 1 time out of the 4 shots he faced.

It would be great if Blackhawks fans could say that the team was just looking ahead to there game against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, but I don’t think that was the case. Now Minnesota is just two points behind the Blackhawks in the Central division standings of the Western Conference and if Minnesota wins there game tonight against the Dallas Stars the teams each have 59 points when they met on Sunday.

The NBA regular season is just about halfway over and Russell Westbrook just picked up his 19th triple-double of the season. Westbrook had 21 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, but also had 10 turnovers as the Oklahoma City Thunder lost to the Minnesota Timberwolves 96-86 last night. Westbrook had a rough shooting night going 7 of 23 in the game and just 1 of 10 from behind the 3-point line.

According to records; Westbrook is the only player since 1973-74 to record multiple triple-doubles with at least 10 turnovers in a single season.

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com but you can also listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime

Have you ever seen a worst weekend of playoff football? The last game of the set of four featuring the Green bay Packers beating the Washington Redskins was a decent game, but the other 3 stunk. The Kansas City Chiefs/Houston Texans game was over after the opening kickoff; we just didn’t know that yet. Even though the Chiefs went in leading at halftime 13-0; it seemed like Houston had no chance to get back into the game. There are obvious reasons the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Cincinnati Bengals game was terrible. Besides the 2 penalties decided the game there was the fact that these 2 teams combined to score just 34 points. I thought for sure that one of these teams would score 34 points; in no way did I think it would take both of them to get to that number. The Seattle Seahawks vs. the Minnesota Vikings game was 3-0 at halftime with Minnesota in the lead. They saved all the excitement for the last field goal attempt by the Vikings when Blair Walsh missed a 26-yarder to allow Seattle to hang on to a 10-9 victory. It was just bad football from start to finish on wild card weekend; so here’s hoping that the divisional round this weekend has some better games. Kansas City gets to start the weekend off again, but this time they are on the road to play the New England Patriots. It’s schedule to be a 3:35 p.m. kickoff on Saturday. Game 2 has the Green Bay Packers against the Arizona Cardinals with a kickoff time scheduled at 7:15 p.m. It’s the first meeting this season for the Chiefs and the Patriots, but the Packers and the Cardinals met in Week 16 when Arizona dominated the game and handed Green Bay a 38-8 loss. The Sunday games are both rematches. The first game has the Seattle Seahawks at the Caroline Panthers. In Week 6 the Panthers went into Seattle and won the game 27-23. This game is scheduled to be the Noon kickoff on Sunday. The second game is a scheduled 3:40 p.m. kickoff has the Pittsburgh Steelers vs. the Denver Broncos. These two teams played in Week 15 in Pittsburgh and the Steelers came away with a 34-27 victory. After last week I’m just not sure if any of these will be good match ups or if they’ll turn ingot good games. Of course like everyone else I’ll be sitting in front of the television watching even if it’s bad football; again!

Who had Gerardo Parra coming off the free agent market before Justin Upton or Yoenis Cespedes? Yesterday Parra got a 3-year $27.5 million dollar deal with from the Colorado Rockies. It was a bit of a surprise that the Rockies made this signing since their outfield looked set. Colorado has Carlos Gonzalez in right field, Charlie Blackmon in center field and Corey Dickerson in left field. Now quite a few teams use a 4 man outfield, but right after this signing the rumors started that one of the Colorado outfielders would be traded. There have been some rumors about the St. Louis Cardinals and Gonzalez, but nothing solid. It seemed that yesterday Blackmon’s name came up more and more with the Detroit Tigers seeming to be the team interested. Of course these are all just rumors right now. I thinking ti also could lead to Gonzalez playing some 1st base to help him stay in the line up. Gonzalez stayed healthy last season playing in 153 games and hit 40 homers. If Blackmon or Gonzalez is dealt you’d have to think that the Rockies would like to get some quality young pitching in return. So with Parra off the board how much longer will it be before Upton and Cespedes sign deals?

In what I think you could say is another surprise signing it was the Miami Marlins who stepped up and signing left-hander Wei-Yin Chen to a 5-year $80 million dollar deal. Chen’s deal does have an opt out after the second season. Last season Chen went 11-8 with a 3.34 ERA over 31 starts. Chen did go 16-6 in 2014. One of Chen’s most impressive stats is the fact that over 117 career starts he has walked just 172 hitters; 4 of which where intentional. The Marlins needed someone to fill the #2 spot in the rotation behind Jose Fernandez and you have to wonder with the Chen signing if will hear anymore about a possible Fernandez trade. There was a report out yesterday that the Marlins are no longer interested in trading center fielder Marcell Ozuna. The Marlins also added veteran infielder Chris Johnson yesterday. Johnson was let go by the Cleveland Indians after the 2015 season. Johnson should add some left handed as a back up at 3rd and 1st base. Terms of Johnson’s deal were not disclosed as the Indians are on the hook for $7.5 million this season and $9 million next season. Who knows if these moves will be enough for Miami to contend on the N.L. East next season, but remember no one had the New York Met winning that division last season.

The NBA is coming up on it’s halfway point and the Chicago Bulls find themselves at 22-15 in 4th place overall in the Eastern Conference. This is pretty much right where the Bulls found themselves last season under coach Tom Thibodeau. Now the Bulls front office team of john Paxton and Gar Foreman couldn’t wait to get rid of Thibodeau after last season. They even managed to set things up so Thibodeau was pretty much closed out of any other head coaching position for the 2015-16 season. With Thibodeau gone Paxton and Foreman went out and got their guy Fred Hoiberg. Now is Hoiberg the guy to lead this team t an NBA championship? He’s suppose to be an offensive coach, but the Bulls are only 11th in scoring averaging 102.1 points per game. The Bulls used to be a top defensive team under Thibodeau, but now they give up 100.8 points per game. That ranks right in the middle or 15th overall for the average of points given up. So under Hoiberg the Bulls aren’t a top offensive team and they’re no linger a top defensive team. After a 6 game winning streak the Bulls have now looked bad in 3 straight losses. Chicago lost 120-105 to the Atlanta Hawks; a team that is ahead of them in the standings. Then they turned around and played very poorly in a 114-100 loss to the Washington Wizards. To add to it last night the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Bulls 106-101. Now the Wizards are 17-19 and the Bucks are 16-24 with neither team being in the Top 8 of the Eastern Conference. The Bulls take the court tomorrow (Thursday) against the 4-36 Philadelphia 76ers. With the way te Bulls have played these last 3 games and with the game being in Philadelphia; could the Bulls become the 76ers 5th victory of the season?

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The NFL regular season wrapped up on Sunday and so did our pick competition. Week 17 saw Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I all go 10-6 for the week. Dan the Man was 8-8. For the regular season I won with a record of 158-97. Mr. Fantasy was able to come all the way back and tie Dan the Man for 2nd place at 147-108. Sadly it was Schaumburg Stu who ended the regular season in the cellar at 145-110. As we move into the playoffs we’ll wipe the slate clean and see how our playoff picks go.

The last game of the NFL regular season featured the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers. The winner of the game would take 1st place in the NFC North while the other would get a wild card spot and be seeded #5. Minnesota won the game 20-13 and will get to host a playoff game. The Packers as a wild card team will go on the road to play the Washington Redskins. The Vikings get to host the other wild card team the Seattle Seahawks. Looking at this did the Packers get the better end of the scheduling? Even though they have to go on the road. The Redskins did win their division, but we’re talking about the NFC East which may have been the worst division in football. For winning there division the Vikings get to play the team that has represented the NFC in the last 2 Super Bowls. In Week 13 the Seahawks went into Minnesota and beat the Vikings 38-7. Now I am in the camp that you should get something for winning your division; even if it’s a bad decision. The Redskins did go 9-7 on the season and where 6-2 at home; so maybe the match ups aren’t as one sided as they seem. If you’re a Vikings fan; who would you rather play this Sunday the Seahawks or the Redskins? These 2 NFC games will be played on Sunday with the Seahawks/Vikings game kicking off at Noon and the Packers/Redskins game scheduled to start around 3:40 p.m.

It’s the AFC who gets to get the wild card weekend started on Saturday. The Kansas City Chiefs are at the Houston Texans to get things started. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:20 p.m. Kansas City is the hottest tam in the NFL entering the playoffs. Kansas City started the season 1-5 and I had cast them off. The Chiefs then proceeded to win their next 10 games to finish 11-5 and grab #5 seed in the AFC. The Saturday night wild card game features a AFC North match up as the Pittsburgh Steelers take on the Cincinnati Bengals. In Week 8 the Bengals went into Pittsburgh and beat the Steelers 16-10. Then in Week 14 the Steelers returned the favor by going into Cincinnati and beating the Bengals 33-20. Even though the game is in Houston the Chiefs opened as a 3 point favorite. Kansas City isn’t the only team coming into this game on a winning streak. While it’s not as long as the Chiefs winning streak Houston did win their last 3 games to close out the regular season and win the AFC South. The deciding factor in the Steelers/Bengals game might be which injured players make there return for the game. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton had the cast removed from his thumb yesterday, but Cincinnati is still saying they’re preparing like A.J. McCarron will be the starter. For Pittsburgh DeAngelo Williams exited Sunday’s game with an ankle injury. Williams was due to have an MRI on that ankle, but the results haven’t been released and his status is unknown. Now Dalton has struggled in the playoffs; do you think it would be better for Cincinnati to stick with McCarron? Dalton could be rusty since he hasn’t played since Week 14 loss to the Steelers. Cincinnati started off as just a 1 point favorite for the game.

In the Saturday blog I’ll reveal our picks for the Saturday games. Well I should say I’ll let you know who Schaumburg Stu, Dan the Man and I are picking in these games. If Mr. Fantasy gets me his picks for Saturday in time for the blog I’ll include them.

Today they’ll announce the new members to the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. It appears as Ken Griffey Jr. is the only lock t get in. Mike Piazza is the top returning player on the ballot. Piazza got 69.9% of the vote last year. You need 75% of the vote to get into the Hall of Fame. There are a couple other players still on the ballot who might get in or closer to getting in this time around. Jeff Bagwell had 55.7% of the vote last time and Tim Raines was at 55% last year. It’s Alan Trammell and Mark McGuire, but it doesn’t look like either will get to that 75% mark. Trammell was at 25.1% last year and McGuire was at 10% last year. In their first year on the ballot Jim Edmonds, Trevor Hoffman and Billy Wagner should get quite a few votes, but I don;t think any of them will get enough to get in on the first try. Of course the big question when it comes to the Hall of Fame ballot is what about Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens. Bonds received 36.8% of the vote last year while Clemens got 37.5 % of the vote. With the changes that have been made to who if doing the Hall of fame voting now it will be interesting to see if Bonds and Clemens pick up some more support. There were 100 voters remove this year. The where voters who haven’t covered baseball in over 10 years. At least I believe that’s what I heard. You would think as the voters become younger Bonds and Clemens will find more support and may find there way into the Hall of Fame. I’m still in the camp of I don;t think they belong in the Hall of Fame or if they do go in there should be an asterisk or something that explains what they did or accused of doing. They where both great players and you have to wonder why they choose to go the route they did. Would you put Bonds and Clemens in the Hall of Fame?

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There’s only one week left in the NFL regular season; so that means there’s only one week left for us to make picks. Well I guess that’s not totally true as we will try to pick the winners in the playoff games. Anyway Mr. Fantasy won Week 16 with a record of 12-4. Schaumburg Stu was 2nd with a record of 11-5 while I was 3rd at 10-6. Dan the Man picked a bad time t go into a slump as he finished with an 8-8 record for the week. Overall I am hanging onto 1st place with a record of 148-91. Dan the Man is holding on to 2nd with a record of 139-100, but Mr. Fantasy is gaining ground with a record of 137-102 and Schaumburg Stu is still in the running with a record of 135-102. There’s no Thursday night or Monday night games; so the Sunday night game the Minnesota Vikings at the Green Bay Packers will end the regular season.

The playoff picture in the NFC has taken shape for the most part except the NFC Central. The reason that Vikings/Packers game was moved to Sunday night is because the winner goes int the playoffs as the #3 seed and NFC North champion while the loser of the game goes into one of the wild card spot. If Minnesota loses they would actually fall to the 6th seed; I’m not sure where the Packers go as a wild card, but I believe they would be the 5th seed. All the NFC teams are set it’s just which seeds will they end up in. Over in the AFC there are still two playoff spots open. The Houston Texans hold a 1 game lead in the AFC South over the Indianapolis Colts. So for Houston it’s simply win and there in. If the Colts win and the Texans lose it will come down t to a tiebreaker. The teams split the season series 1-1 and I have no clue what the next tiebreaker the NFL might use is. They have quite a few to choose from. The New York Jets also have a win and your in set up. The Jet have a 1 game lead over the Pittsburgh Steelers for the last AFC wild card spot. The Steelers where in control of that last wild card spot until they choked last week against the Baltimore Ravens. The AFC will also have to shake out their seeding after this week, but the teams are narrowed down.

One game short of 3 seasons and the Philadelphia Eagles decided to relieve Chip Kelly of his coaching and player personnel duties. In 2013 Kelly’s Eagles went 10-6 and won the NFC East. They did lose in the wild card round to the New Orleans Saints. In 2014 the Eagles again finished 10-6, but didn’t make the playoffs. Through 15 games this season the Eagles are 6-9 behind Kelly and while they are in 2nd place in their division, but nowhere close to being a playoff team. Kelly took over all player personnel decisions last off season and made whole sale changes to the team. Judging from this years 6-9 record maybe Kelly the player personnel director should of been let go, but Kelly the coach might’ve been alright to keep. I’m not going to go through all the moves Kelly made as personnel director, but what I’m interested in is how tough will he be to replace. Kelly and the Eagles play a style that no one else does in the NFL on a full time basis. Whoever ends up with this head coaching job will have to have a completely new system in and will they have the personnel to fit it. You’ll hear a lot of the same names that you always hear when a head coaching job opens up. I’d bet money that someone has already said Jon Gruden’s name. I’d be shocked if this is the team that brings Gruden back to the NFL sideline. Maybe this is a landing spot for Sean Payton. There’s a lot of talk that this may be Payton’s last season in New Orleans and if wants to continue to coach this could be the place. Maybe Josh McDaniels would like to take another shot at being a head coach. You’d have to figure he’s the coach in waiting in New England, but this job is open now; so maybe. There will be a ton of other names that will come up for this job, but look out for Chicago Bears offensive coordinator Adam Gase. Gase was a pretty hot name last off season and after having success with Jay Cutler this season Gas’s stock has to have went even higher. Whoever gets the job will have some talent to work with, but that question will be can the new system fit the players Kelly has brought in.

How long after the New Year do you think it will take for one of the top free agent outfielders to sign? Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Gordon seem to be the most talked about, but don’t forget about Justin Upton. Upton is the youngest of the 3 at 28 while Cespedes is 30 and Gordon is 32. While Cespedes has played the other outfield positions they are all at their best defensively in left field. It seems as though just about every team has been linked to these guys; so it will be interesting to see who ends up where and how much money they end up getting. Once these 3 players find homes it should open up the market for players like Dexter Fowler, Gerardo Parra and Dan the Man’s guy Denard Span to find teams. Besides the big outfielders 1st baseman Chris Davis is still out on the free agent market. Davis got the big money long term deal from the Baltimore Orioles that he turned down or was taken off the table depending on who you believe. If your favorite tams starting 8 are all set and it’s starting pitching you’re looking for there’s still a couple of I guess you’d call them second tier free agents out there. Scott Kazmir, Wei-Yin Chen and Japanese free agent Kenta Maeda are all still available. There always seems to be a bit of a break in signings between Christmas and New Year’s; so maybe next week things will heat up on some of these players as we’re just a couple of months away from spring training opening.

Have a safe and Happy New Year.

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

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Today (Saturday) starts round 2 of the NFL playoffs. In our picks last week Mr. Fantasy grabbed a one game lead at 3 – 1. Dan the Man is right behind him at 2 – 2. Sadly my week didn’t go as well as I ended up 1 – 3. Our first game today has the New Orleans Saints going to Seattle to take on the Seahawks. On the show last night (Friday) we all picked Seattle to win this game. This is a rematch of a week 13 game that Seattle won 34 – 7. The second game today has the Indianapolis Colts traveling to Massachusetts to take on the New England Patriots. Mr. Fantasy and I have taken the Patriots to win this game, but Dan the Man believes the Colts will pull out a road win. Sunday’s games have the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Carolina Panthers and the San Diego Chargers vs. the Denver Broncos. To get out picks on these games and a review of Saturday’s games you can listen to Mr. Fantasy and I at 11:00 a.m. Sunday morning on http://www.blogtalktradio.com.

The Masahiro Tanaka sweepstakes officially got under way this week when Tanaka had his first meeting with a major league team. In a bit of a surprise the Chicago White Sox where the first team to make their pitch to Tanaka. Living in the Chicago area the talk was more that the Cubs where the team that was going to go after Tanaka and the White Sox where hardly even mentioned. I’m sure this is just the start of team after team making their pitches to try to sign Tanaka.

The Hall of Fame added three more members this week as Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and Frank Thomas won election into the hall. All three where on the ballot for the first time. Craig Biggio missed getting into the Hall of Fame by just two votes. The sad part of this is that there hasn’t been a lot of talk about how great Maddux, Glavine and Thomas are, but of the stunt that one voter pulled. Dan the Man and I went back and forth about this on Tuesday’s show; so I don’t want to get into all of the details here. I know there’s been a lot of talk about the voting process, but my question is what do you think they got wrong? Is there someone in the Hall of Fame that shouldn’t be or is there someone not in that should be.

There was a story out there this week that the NHL may stop sending players to the Olympic games. While it’s nice to see the various NHL players go to the Olympics and represent their country, but what you have to understand is this happens during the regular NHL season. No other sport shuts down its regular season games to allow players to go and play for another team even though it is the Olympics. I enjoying watching the Chicago Blackhawks play for their countries in the Olympics, but I understand why the owners don’t want to continue to let them go and play. I think the bigger question might be if the NHL players stop going to the Olympics will hockey continue to be an Olympic sport.

So how was your week?

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I’ve heard lots of talk this week on the various sports shows I watch that they don’t like the way the 1st round of the NFL playoffs are set up. The complaint is the San Francisco 49ers who had a 12 – 4 record this season have to go on the road to play the Green bay Packers who had a 8 – 7 – 1 record. The Packers won the NFC North while the 49ers finished a game behind the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC West. The other NFC 1st round match up has the same set up as the new Orleans Saints who finished the regular season at 11 – 5 have to play the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia. The Eagles had a 10 – 6 record, but won the NFC east. So if you take these home games away from division winners; what do you get for winning your division? If winning a division doesn’t matter why do we have them? If this is changed, the NFL should just go to two conferences the NFC and the AFC because winning your division or even being in a division would become meaningless. Yes its a tough break the 49ers and the Saints have to go on the road for the 1st round of the playoffs, but if they didn’t want to travel they should’ve won their division. Dan the Man and I talked about this on Friday’s show and I just believe that a team deserves a home game for winning it’s division.

We have two games today (Saturday) and two games tomorrow (Sunday) to start wild card weekend. Do they still call it that? Game 1 had the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Indianapolis Colts. This is a rematch of a week 16 game which Indianapolis won 23 – 7. Andrew luck threw for 241 yards and 1 touchdown while Donald Brown scored the other Colts touchdown and led the team in rushing with 79 yards. Jamaal Charles scored the Chiefs lone touchdown and had 106 yards on 13 carries. Can Indianapolis repeat this and get another win?

Saturday’s game 2, is one of the games I mentioned before the New Orleans Saints vs the Philadelphia Eagles. LeSean McCoy led the NFL in rushing yards with 1607 yards and Nick Foles has been a surprise at quarterback since taking over the starting job. While Foles threw for 27 touchdowns during the season the amazing stat is that he only threw 2 interceptions the entire year. The Saints have ruled out leading rusher Pierre Thomas for this game with an injury. You’d think that Mark Ingram would get an added work load with Thomas out but Darren Sproles may see a few more carries as well. Of course the Saints go as Drew Brees goes 5162 passing yards and 39 touchdowns for Brees this season. The weather may get rough during this game; so will have to see if it affects either of these high-powered offenses.

On Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. Mr. Fantasy and I will cover the games for that day. The first game is the San Diego chargers vs. the Cincinnati Bengals. Game two is the San Francisco 49ers vs. the Green Bay Packers.

Just so we’re on the record here since two of these games will be played before you hear us on air are picks are. Dan the Man has the Colts and the Saints for Saturday’s games. Mr. Fantasy has the Chiefs and the Saints and I’m going with the Colts and the Eagles. To find out our picks for Sunday you’ll have to tune in and find out. Sports Time Radio

I’ve decided that this Masahiro Tanaka talk is out of control. There are so many reports about which teams are in the running for him and who might not pay as much. Just yesterday I heard that the Seattle Mariners where the new front-runner but it’s being reported in Chicago that the Cubs won’t be out bid for Tanaka. The dark horse team seems to be the Arizona Diamondbacks while reports are the Yankees and the Dodgers won’t pay as much as people have been saying they would. It’s looking more and more like Tanaka will be getting over $20 million dollars a season for as much as 7 years. While he is only 25 that’s a long time to lock up a pitcher who hasn’t proven himself in the majors. Maybe someone should ask the Boston red Sox about Daisuke Matsuzaka. Remember him?

While the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Dallas Mavericks Friday night 119 – 112 they suffered a big loss. Point Guard Chris Paul suffered a separated should and is going to miss 3 to 5 weeks. Paul is considered by most experts to be the best point guard in the NBA. Paul was averaging 19.6 points per game and a league high 11.2 assists per game. If you’re looking to plug a hole in your fantasy line up with Paul out Darren Collison should be the guy to fill in while Paul is out.

So; how was your week?

You can follow me on Twitter @burketime8

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