Friday, October 16, 2009

Free Kicks: Making up for Light Blogging Edition

Alright, so this week has been a bit light on the blogging angle, but hopefully we will be able to rebound next week. Work called for Windsor, Falco and I, so this Free Kicks will try to make up for it. Let’s line up for the kick…

No Preview this Week…
But I will at least take a stab at predicting the game this weekend. Believe it or not, I think that the prime weakness for this team is the defense, just when the offense has come around. This offense has the ability to score, and will tweak things here and there to get the production that the squad did over the first 3 games. The defense has not looked great in any of the 5 games so far this season, and after a certain point one has to look at production of the unit so far. I am terrified of what Brett Favre could do against this secondary, but one also has to wait for Brett to “Favre” a game away at some point this season. With Adrian Peterson running the ball, Favre’s best efforts to lose the game might be a moot point. Offensively, the Ravens could struggle against the Minnesota front 4, especially if Gaither isn’t at full strength. Anytime you have to shuffle the line around to replace a single player there is a big change in chemistry and it is not preferable against a talented group like the Vikings. This may go to Joe Flacco’s arm to win it… and if Aaron Rodgers can’t win it with his arm, I don’t think Joe can. If this was at home for the Ravens, I might look at it differently, but I think the Ravens will find ways to score, but not quite enough. Favre will either make this close or blow this one out; I go for the former.

The nod goes to the Vikings, 23-21.

The Phillies take Game 1 from the Dodgers
Boy, did I ever miss that Dodgers-Cardinals series! Either way, the defending champions are quietly showing the rest of major league baseball that they shouldn’t be overlooked- I have never seen a defending champ so undercovered when they have performed so well this season. While I still worry about the back end of the Phillies bullpen, Brad Lidge is 3 for 3 in save opportunities in the postseason. I still think the Dodgers will come back and make this series interesting (6 games), but I feel like the Phillies are the better team. They have been more consistent throughout the season, they have a deeper pitching staff (which doesn’t count for as much as it should with all these off-days), and have a lineup that one has to respect 1-8. Today’s game will be worth watching if you can get it at its 3:30 start time (Who does that for an MLB playoff game?) when Pedro Martinez takes the mound. Who would have thought at the beginning of the year that Pedro would get the ball for Game 2 of the NLCS. He wanted to play for a contender, and he has helped keep them one. We will see if the veteran has enough in the tank for a strong postseason performance. My bet is he does.

Cincinnati Takes Down South Florida, Boise State Escapes Against Tulsa
The unusual suspects keep marching toward the BCS headquarters, though Boise State has a significantly easier path there. Cincy defeated a very talented South Florida team, though one has to wonder whether Matt Grothe would have been able to put up a better fight against the Bearcats. Having seen both these games, I think Boise State was a bit off their game against the Golden Hurricane, and I think that a malaise could start to form for a team that is expected to win out. For Cincinnati, the Big East is not what it used to be (or ever was), but there are some very good teams in the conference. Pollsters are already criticizing Cincy for their schedule, citing the lack of many ranked teams. However, Pitt and West Virginia could easily be ranked by the time the play Cincinnati. Regardless, neither team has “Oklahoma” or “Ohio State” or “Notre Dame” on their jerseys, so let’s not get too excited. That Rutgers evisceration in Week 1 is looking better and better as the Scarlet Knights have been undefeated since. I don’t like Brian Kelly in the slightest, but I dislike the BCS even more.

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