Sunday, January 20, 2013

Dropping Links: Sunday, January 20, 2013

A few links for your perusal while you get ready for the NFL's Championship Sunday:

- Manti Te'o's first televised interview might be with Katie Couric. |Awful Announcing|

- Here are some Ravens fans doing a "Call Me Maybe" parody because that hasn't been done to death or anything. |With Leather|

- The original girl that Brent Musberger turned into a star, Jenn Sterger, has some advice for Katherine Webb. |Bob's Blitz|

- "SNL" came back from winter break with Jennifer Lawrence hosting and, apparently, it was pretty awful. |Warming Glow|

- MLB: The Show 13 will have an improved Diamond Dynasty mode. |Pastapadre|

NFL Championship Sunday Picks: SF @ ATL, BAL @ NE

San Francisco 49ers @ Atlanta Falcons, 3:00pm ET, FOX

The Falcons just can't seem to get any respect. Despite finishing the regular season 13-3, most people think the Falcons aren't as good as their record indicates. Count me in as one of those people.

Teams will eventually figure out Colin Kaepernick and the dynamic weapon that he is for the 49ers offense, but it might be too soon in this case. San Francisco's defense has always been their strength, and when you mix in a high powered offensive attack, that could spell disaster for Atlanta.

Pick: 49ers defeat the Falcons, 24-20

Baltimore Ravens @ New England Patriots, 6:30pm ET, CBS

The miracle run of the Baltimore Ravens might end today, as well as the career of Ray Lewis. The Patriots are just an offensive machine, and their defense is even better than when these two teams matched up in last year's AFC Championship game.

Pick: Patriots over Ravens, 31-14

(Image via TicketFly.com)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

NFL Divisional Weekend Picks: SEA @ ATL, HOU @ NE

It was another sad Saturday of NFL picks for me, as I incorrectly predicted that the Broncos and Packers would win their playoff matchups. Let's see if today my prognostications are any better.

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons, 1pm ET, FOX

Many don't trust the Falcons and they seem to be the least intimidating No. 1 seed in the past few seasons. Offensively, they have so many weapons that it may be a challenge for the Seahawks to shut them all down. But Seattle has offensive weapons of their own and things - from as early as the "Fail Mary" game to their late season surge - seem to be going their way.

Pick: Seahawks take down the Falcons, 24-17

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots, 4:30pm ET, CBS

The Patriots dominated the Texans in their regular season matchup and, while the Texans have had plenty of time to adjust, it may not mean much. They barely got past the Bengals last week in a purely ugly game of football and playing that way against the Patriots won't get you very far.

Pick: Patriots over Texans, 35-24

Saturday, January 12, 2013

NFL Divisional Weekend Picks: BAL @ DEN, GB @ SF

I went 2-for-4 picking last week's Wild Card playoff games, which puts me right in line with all the real "experts" out there, so let's take a stab at it again.

Baltimore Ravens @ Denver Broncos, 4:30pm ET, CBS

Much has been made of Peyton Manning NEVER WINNING A PLAYOFF GAME WHEN THE TEMPERATURE IS 40 DEGREES OR COLDER~! in a whopping three attempts, two of which were losses to the New England Patriots in 2004 and 2005, both years the Pats won the Super Bowl. So perhaps it has more to do with playing really good teams in the cold than just playing in the cold itself. All three of those losses were road games, also.

Either way, it wouldn't be modern day sports coverage without NARRATIVES so we get that and also Ray Lewis v. Peyton Manning, even though Lewis probably isn't the one Manning is most worried about.

As for the game itself, the Broncos are just an all around better team than the Ravens. Denver's defense is top caliber, offensively they are more dynamic than Baltimore, and the Broncos actually have a running game to lean on, something Peyton hasn't truly had before.

Pick: Broncos defeat Ravens, 31-16

Green Bay Packers @ San Francisco 49ers, 8:00pm ET, FOX

It seems like a long time ago that the 49ers walloped the Packers to open the season. Since then the team switched quarterbacks and the Green Bay Packers, after struggling to open the season, turned right back into the offensive powerhouse that we all expected. Aaron Rodgers should be hyped up for this one, his first meaningful game in San Francisco, against the team that he grew up rooting for and wished his vengeance upon in 2005 when they passed up drafting him.

Pick: Packers over 49ers, 35-21

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Dropping Links: Sunday, January 6, 2013

Just a few links from around the web, while you wait for today's Wild Card matchups.

- FOX used double box advertising during Friday's Cotton Bowl, which was a nice feature and might be infiltrating sports broadcasts all over the place soon. |Awful Announcing|

- Lionel Messi scored 91 goals in one calendar year, so here's an infographic breaking it all down. |BuzzFeed|

- 2K released another Week Nine NBA 2K13 roster update. |Pastapadre|

- Anthony Bourdain will appear on the upcoming season of Archer. |Warming Glow|

- A match listing and details of WWE's upcoming Best of Monday Nitro Volume 2 release. |Ringside Rants|

NFL Wild Card Sunday Picks: IND @ BAL, SEA @ WSH

After a mediocre 1-for-2 day predicting yesterday's Wild Card games, let's take a stab at it again, with today's contests featuring three rookie quarterbacks.

Indianapolis Colts @ Baltimore Ravens, 1pm ET, CBS

Did you know the Colts used to be in Baltimore? I wasn't sure if you noticed that the 1,000 or so times it's been mentioned, and undoubtedly will continued to be mentioned today. Also, the winner will head to Denver to face Peyton Manning and the Broncos, so get ready to have the Luck v. Manning chatter slammed into your head for three hours as well. Finally, the "Ray Lewis is the greatest player and man in the history of the universe" theme should dominate all pregame coverage and the game broadcast.

Just so you know what you're in for.

As for the on-the-field battle, the Ravens offense has looked both anemic and explosive at times this season, but unfortunately for Baltimore it's been the former more often that the latter. If the "bad Ravens" show up today, look for Andrew Luck to continue his impressive rookie season, leading the Colts out of Baltimore and on to Denver.

Pick: Colts defeat Ravens, 24-17

Seattle Seahawks @ Washington Redskins, 4:30pm ET, FOX

The Redskins are on a tear, with rookies Alfred Morris and RG3 playing great football. Playing in Washington - well, Landover, MD, actually - will surely help the Skins but Seattle's defense might just be able to contain Griffin. If that happens, and Seattle can control the tempo of the game, Russell Wilson and company should take care of business.

Pick: Seahawks win, 28-24

Saturday, January 5, 2013

NFL Wild Card Saturday Picks: CIN @ HOU, MIN @ GB

The playoffs are upon us, with a Wild Card Saturday composed of two rematches, one from last year's playoffs and one from a week ago. Below are some quick thoughts and predictions for today's contests.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Houston Texans, 4:30pm ET, NBC

The Texans are probably the better all-around team, but the Bengals are riding a hot streak while Houston has stumbled down the stretch. After holding the top seed in the AFC almost all year long, the Texans fell from No. 1 to No. 3 in Week 17.

Pick: The Bengals avenge last year's playoff loss to the Texans, winning 24-13

Minnesota Vikings @ Green Bay Packers, 8:00pm ET, NBC

Even though the Vikings were able to stave off the Packers last week in Minnesota and make the playoffs thanks to a victory against the Packers, this week is a whole different animal. It's unlikely that Adrian Peterson rushes for nearly 200 yards again and even more unlikely that the Packers lose to the same team two weeks in a row.

Pick: The Packers avenge last week's loss to the Vikings, defeating Minnesota 37-31

(Image courtesy NBC)