What To Watch This Week In US Sports: 2 January 2013
HAPPY NEW YEAR! I hope that the year brings you NFL Playoffs, a College Football Championship Games and NBA games all over the place…oh wait – that’ll just be January!! Here we go:
Playoff time. The time to win or go home. The time where teams and players cement their legacy. The regular season is awesome, but if you want to be taken seriously by the world, be considered elite or clutch, then you have to perform in the post season or you’re considered to be nothing special (Mr Romo – I’m looking in your direction).
Must Watch Game – NFC Wildcard Game
Seattle Seahawks (11-5) @ Washington Redskins (10-6)
Time & Date: Monday January 7, 8:30am
Coverage: LIVE on ESPN, ESPN HD and ONE w/Replay on ESPN and ESPN2 at 7:30pm (See TV Guide for details)
This was an easy pick for a must watch game. Two ultra-hot teams with ultra-exciting rookie QBs in the playoffs? Yes please!
The Seahawks: Seattle won last weekend to remain undefeated at home for the season, disposing of the Rams in a game in which they had nothing to play for. They’re a complete team – a good QB in Russell Wilson, great RB in Marshawn Lynch, the fourth ranked defence in the league, good special teams and a great home field advantage. I really like this team.
The Redskins: Washington are all about their rushing game and their talisman – Robert Griffin III. Their playoffs in essence started a week early, having to beat the Cowboys in a primetime win-or-go-home matchup last week. They looked very good, especially their rookie RB out of Florida Atlantic University (!), Alfred Morris who had 200 yards and 3TDs.
Final word and prediction: The Redskins are hot and at home, but Seattle is such a complete team and RG3 doesn’t look at full fitness. I think that the Seahawks D will be able to blunt that potent rushing attack – Seattle to win 28-24.
I love this time of the year in the NBA. Christmas and New Year is when we get into the real meat of the season. Teams have settled in and are playing hard to establish themselves as playoff contenders, they know that the All-Star Break will be coming too.
So, who’s hot and not?
- THE LA CLIPPERS! 17 Straight wins! ‘nuff said!
- Oklahoma City Thunder – No James Harden – no problem! I think they’ve re-established themselves as the best team in the West (the Clippers are great, but I don’t think I can trust them just yet).
- Indiana Pacers – They’ve gone 8-2 in their last ten games and quietly made themselves a solid four seed at the moment. David West and Paul George have been great.
- Toronto and Portland – Two teams that have done almost exactly the same thing in their respective conferences – started very poorly and then gone 7-3 in their last ten games to make themselves into outside playoff contenders (especially Portland)
- Brooklyn Nets – After starting so well, they’ve been dropping like a stone and Avery Johnson has been fired, never a good thing.
- Chicago Bulls – A 5-5 record in their last ten games and they’re now starting to look like a team that’s missing Derek Rose a lot.
- Memphis Grizzlies – They’ve cooled off after their amazing start and are down to fourth in the West and the Warriors are only a half-game behind them.
Must Watch Game
LA Clippers (25-6) @ LA Lakers (15-15)
Time & Date: Saturday January 5, 2:30pm
Coverage: LIVE on ESPN and ESPN HD w/Replay at 8:00pm on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD (See TV Guide for details)
As mentioned above, the Clippers look awesome, but the Lakers have started to get their mojo back thanks to Steve Nash returning from injury. Nash is really amazing – when you watch the Lakers, you’re used to seeing their personality and demeanour dominated by Kobe. This often lead to prickly exchanges and generally unhappiness if Kobe didn’t feel like things were going well for him. Now watch them in a time out – Nash is the first guy there, high-fiving everyone and doling out encouragement and advice…and it’s infectious – even Kobe has started to do the same! Dwight and Pau look so much happier, but I’ve still got questions over their terrible defence – they’re too slow and Howard can’t do it all.
The Clippers play so deep down their bench. The drop-off is imperceptible when you take anyone but Chris Paul or Blake Griffin off the court. It looks like Lamar Odom (who has had a horrible last year and a bit), is getting back into shape and providing some good minutes again. They play with a real swagger and arrogance that is annoying to some, but definitely fun to watch. Oh, and here’s a great clip with CP3 and Blake:
My Tip: I think the Lakers will be so motivated here. I think Kobe will go nuts and assassinate the Clips. Lakers by ten.
Ok it’s finally here – the last week of the season and the BCS National Champion will be decided:
BCS National Championship Game – Miami, Florida
No. 1 Notre Dame Fighting Irish (12-0) vs No. 2 Alabama Crimson Tide
Time & Date: Tuesday January 8, 12:30pm
Coverage: LIVE on ESPN and ESPN HD, Replay 7:30pm on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD
This should be a brilliant game. Alabama are the defending champion and have an amazing defence, solid offence and beastly Australian, Jesse Williams on the field. They play in the SEC conference, that always sees itself as the best in college football and that’s all back on the line again. Notre Dame are also built around their great offence and have all the history of their famous name.
Why to bother watching: This is the culmination of all the games before it. Such passion for two teams with so many fans and great history and tradition. There will be NFL level talent all over the field.
My tip: I like Notre Dame in an upset here – 24-17.
Other game to watch:
Fiesta Bowl – Oregon Ducks v Kansas State Wildcats
Fiesta Bowl – Oregon Ducks vs Kansas State
Time & Date: Friday 4 January, 12:20pm
Coverage: LIVE on ESPN and ESPN HD, Replay on ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD 7:30pm
This is a straight shoot-out between the two teams that came SO SO close to playing for the Championship as well. A single loss late in the season put them out of contention. So, there’s two teams out for redemption here, Oregon with its mind-blowing offense and average defence and K-State who are solid everywhere.
Watch For: Oregon coach Chip Kelly and his style. Known as “Big Balls Chip” for his risk taking (especially on fourth down, Kelly is being pursued by EVERY NFL team without a coach right now.
Oki doki, another big week! Leave a comment and I’ll reply to anything at all! Have fun.