What To Watch This Week In US Sports: 10 November 2012
Another busy week gone and another big one to come! The past week gave us some riveting drama in College Football, some amazing inspiration in the NFL and the continuation of some delicious storylines in the NBA.
Lets have a look at the week ahead in US Sports…
Must Watch Game
- Live: ONE, ESPN HD and ESPN – Monday November 12, 12.15pm (see TV Guide for info)
- Replay: ESPN2 HD and ESPN2 – Monday November 12, 7.30pm (see TV Guide for info)
Oh what a game this will be! The game of the season so far will be played at Soldier Field on Monday between two of the three best teams in the league at the moment. The Texans came into the season with great expectations – last year they made a playoff run despite cruelly losing Matt Schaub to injury late in the year. The Bears came in full of uncertainty – which Jay Cutler would show up week-to-week – Good Jay or Bad Jay? Well, they’ve both delivered stellar years so far and Monday will produce a statement win for one of these Superbowl contenders. So, what has made these two teams so good this year? The short answer is two wonderful defences – the Bears led by Charles Tillman and the Texans by JJ Watt. If you want a closer look, then have a look at the full preview here.
How this will play out: I see the Texans defence and the Bears offence being about equal and cancelling each other out. I think the Bears secondary will lock down on Andre Johnson, not give up any long passes and Matt Schaub will be well aware of how extraordinary Tillman has been this year and not throw anywhere near him.
In short though, my key to the game being how the Bears front seven handles Arian Foster and Owen Daniels. Daniels is a favourite target of Schaub’s – he’s had 37 receptions and 5 TDs on the season so far, with most coming on short- to mid-range passing routes. But it’s Foster’s effective running that has allowed the Texans to control the clock and the tempo of the game. If they can do that against the Bears, I think they’ll win the game.
My Tip: The Texans in a fantastic game 21-17.
Other Big Games:
- Live: Fox Sports 3 HD and Fox Sports 3 – Monday 5:00am (see TV Guide for info)
- Replay: Fox Sports 3 HD and Fox Sports 3 – Monday 4:30pm (see TV Guide for info)
The undefeated Falcons travel to play at the Superdome against the Saints. Normally, a matchup of the best team in the league against a 3-5 team wouldn’t be considered interesting, but the Saints are an exception. They’re offence lead by Drew Brees and Co is still turbocharged and ranks 5th in the league, but their defence truly stinks – they’re ranked dead last! Historically, Atlanta has struggled on the road, winning only one of their last six games in the Big Easy but this year is a whole different deal.
This game will be an absolute shootout decided on one thing alone – can the Saints defence stop embarrassing themselves and give Drew Brees a shot at winning them the game.
My Tip: NOLA for the upset over the Falcons, 37-35.
- Live: ONE – Monday, 8.15am (see TV Guide for info)
Two marquee NFL teams with massive fan bases that demand success of their team every single year. Two teams that have been struggling to find ways to win this year. Two teams with players and coaches on the hot seat. Storylines everywhere here – can Michael Vick finally dazzle again instead of sizzle and if he doesn’t, could he lose his starting QB job to promising rookie Nick Foles? Will a loss by the Eagles finally see Andy Reid fired? What about Jason Garrett – widely criticized for his game management and play calling, can he find a way to win in Philly where the home fans will be craving a win over their bitter rival. Can the Cowboys find another way to heartbreakingly lose another game and give their fans a stroke? All this and much more to watch for in this one.
My Tip: The Cowboys are due for a win and I think they get one here, 26-14.
Must Watch Game
- Live: ESPN HD and ESPN, Thursday Midday (see TV Guide for info)
- Replay: ESPN2 HD and ESPN2, Thursday 8:00pm (see TV Guide for info)
This should be a good matchup of two Western Conference teams that will be there major players come playoff time.
We all know about the Thunder – they’ve lost James Harden, putting more pressure on the Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Westbrook has a track record of being a little emotionally fragile at times, so how he responds to the pressure will be a big factor in the coming weeks. It’s true that the Thunder are a team that is just starting to find it’s groove again with the turnover of personnel, but a couple of established players in Kendrick Perkins and Thabo Sefolosha need to start stepping up a little more.
The Griz have looked really good so far this year. Marc Gasol continues to prove that he’s one of the best five centres in the game and the awesomely fun Z-Bo (Zach Randolph) looks healthy and hungry, averaging 16 points and 15 rebounds per game so far this year.
Look out for the Grizzlies to go big a lot here and try and turn this into a grind, while the Thunder will want to do what they do so well – run and gun, letting KDTrey5 and Russ off the chain to score at will.
My Tip: The Thunder to run the Griz ragged and win this by 7.
Wooo…..last week was massive in College Football. Here’s what happened to the big four undefeated teams:
No. 1 ranked Alabama (9-0) finally didn’t look invincible, needing a final two minute TD drive from ever more impressive QB AJ McCarron to snatch the win from No. 7 LSU, 21-17. This was the first time that ‘Bama has been challenged this year and they were up to the task – the win firming them as near locks to play in the SEC Championship and then National Title games.
No. 2 ranked Kansas State (9-0) had a comfortable win against No. 24 Oklahoma State 44-30, that did their National Championship aspirations no harm at all.
No. 3 ranked Notre Dame (9-0) beat unranked Pittsburgh – but it took them coming back from 10 points down in the 4th quarter to win in TRIPLE OVERTIME! It was one hell of a scare for the Irish, because a loss would have definitely meant they plummeted in the rankings and lost all hope of a shot at the National Championship.
I’ve mentioned No. 4 Oregon and its nuclear powered offence a lot in my past previews and they managed to hang 62 POINTS (!) up on No. 17 USC. The only little problem for Oregon is that they gave up 51 points themselves, but there’s no shame in that as USC is considered one of the top offences in the nation as well (USC’s QB Matt Barkley is projected to be the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft next year). The win saw by the Ducks leap up to No. 3 in the rankings this week.
Must Watch Game
No. 15 Texas A&M (7-2) @ No. 1 Alabama (9-0)
After that tight win over LSU, Alabama face another tough test against the Aggies. Nobody expected much out of the Aggies this year, but they’ve found a real superstar in Johnny Manziel. Nicknamed “Johnny Football” (how good are football nicknames from the Deep South of the USA?!), Manziel is a redshirt Freshman playing his first season in the NCAA, who’s an electrifying dual-threat QB. Behind Manziel’s arm (16 TDs, 2527 yards, 8 INTs) and legs (922 yards and 15 TDs), as well as their excellent coach Kevin Sumlin – Texas A&M have a potent offence and a solid defence. So much so, that some commentators like Johnny Football to give the top ranked Crimson Tide a scare.
I’ve got to tell you though, I just don’t see it. The team closest in quality to Alabama that Texas A&M have had to play against this year is LSU – they lost that game with Manziel struggling, throwing 0 TDs, 3 INTs and rushing for a season low 27 yards.
My Pick: ‘Bama to win this one 31-14.
Other Big Games
Keep an eye out for No. 2 Kansas State (9-0) @ TCU (6-3). TCU have struggled a little this year, mainly because their starting QB Casey Pachall was suspended for illicit drug use and is now in rehab. However, TCU have a brilliant coach in Gary Patterson and their defence is still good, so they’ve managed to hang tough against good opposition. I like them to keep it close, but K-State to come through in the 4th quarter.
My Tip: Kansas State 30-21.
So, that’s it for now – drop us a line in the comment box below and tell us what you think!