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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Complete NY Jets 2014 Schedule Leaked, Open vs. Raiders

As has been the pattern all afternoon, the NFL schedule has been leaking all over the place, with the league wide announcement still tabbed for 8:00 p.m. ET.

First the Giants announced their schedule around 4:30 this afternoon, nearly two and a half hours later the Jets were next. According to Gang Green Nation, the Jets open the season at home for the fifth consecutive season, this time against the Oakland Raiders on September 7. The Jets will get three primetime games, against Chicago (MNF), New England (Thurs) and Miami (MNF). The Jets will not have a Sunday night game, unless it gets flexed. The Jets finish the season in Miami for the second straight season.

Sept. 7 OAKLAND ........ 1:00 CBS
Sept. 14 @ Green Bay .... 4:25 CBS
Sept. 22 CHICAGO ....... 8:30 ESPN
Sept. 28 DETROIT ........ 1:00 FOX
Oct. 5 @ San Diego ....... 4:25 CBS
Oct. 12 DENVER .......... 4:25 CBS
Oct. 16 @ New England 8:30 CBS
Oct. 26 BUFFALO ......... 1:00 CBS
Nov. 3 @ Kansas City .... 1:00 CBS
Nov. 10 PITTSBURGH...1:00 CBS
Nov. 17 Bye Week
Nov. 23 @ Buffalo ........ 1:00 CBS
Dec. 1 MIAMI .............. 8:30 ESPN
Dec. 7 @ Minnesota ..... 1:00 CBS
Dec. 14 @ Tennessee ... 1:00 CBS
Dec. 21 NEW ENGLAND 1:00 CBS
Dec. 28 @ Miami ......... 1:00 CBS

Here is the entire NFL Schedule. Some notes. FOX and CBS will mix and match games this year. The Bills visit Chicago in week 1, typically a CBS game, that will now be on FOX. Chicago also visits Detroit on Thanksgiving, typically a game that would be on FOX. That will now be on CBS. Confused? Also, oddly enough, the NFL decided to put Broncos @ Seahawks on Sunday afternoon in week 3 on CBS, with Pittsburgh @ Carolina getting prime time on Sunday night. Weird. 

Jets have games against Bears and Lions Leaked, GB-SEA Open Season

CBS Sports is doing a bang up job breaking all the leaks on the 2014 NFL schedule. After the Giants schedule was leaked by Mike Francesa on WFAN, the floodgates were opened to other tidbits on the NFL slate.

The Detroit Lions entire schedule was released and in it, it was revealed that Detroit will travel to New York to play the Jets in week 4, the game will be on FOX. The Jets will also host the Chicago Bears in week 3 on Monday Night Football. The rest of the Jets schedule is under wraps.

Interestingly it had been assumed for a while that the Lions would host their Thanksgiving day clash against either the Bills or Dolphins, well, it turns out they will instead face the Bears on Fox. That might mean that Dallas will be getting a prime time game on Thanksgiving. We'll know soon.

Lost in all this mayhem, the Green Bay Packers and world champion Seattle Seahawks will open the entire regular season against one another on Thursday September 5 on NBC.

Giants Leak 2014 Schedule Hours Before Announcement

The Giants could always blame WFAN's Mike Francesa for this, but Big Blue's schedule was leaked hours before the 8:00 p.m. ET league wide announcement.

Inspite of a hideous 7-9 season in 2013, the Giants will have five games in primetime, including a stunning Monday Night Football season opener in Detroit. The Giants will also face the Redskins on Thursday Night Football, (yes, the game will be on CBS, which usually broadcasts AFC contests). Two Sunday night games against the Eagles and Cowboys, and a Monday night game in November against the Colts.

The Giants are barely home in December with only one home game scheduled for the final month of the season.

Sept. 8 @ Detroit ................. 7:00 ESPN
Sept. 14 ARIZONA ............ 1:00 FOX
Sept. 21 HOUSTON ............ 1:00 CBS
Sept. 25 @ Washington........ 8:30 CBS
Oct. 5 ATLANTA ............... 1:00 FOX
Oct. 12@ Philadelphia ........ 8:30 NBC
Oct. 19 @ Dallas ................ 4:25 FOX
Bye Week
Nov. 3 INDIANAPOLIS...... 8:30 NBC
Nov. 10 @ Seattle ............... 4:25 FOX
Nov. 17 SAN FRANCISCO 4:25 FOX
Nov. 23 DALLAS ............... 8:30 NBC
Nov. 30 @ Jacksonville ...... 1:00 FOX
Dec. 7 @ Tennessee ........... 1:00 FOX
Dec. 14 WASHINGTON .... 1:00 FOX
Dec. 21 @ St. Louis ........... 1:00 FOX
Dec. 28 PHILADELPHIA ... 1:00 FOX

The Jets schedule will be out soon. The NFL now has the right to take games from Week 5-10 and flex them, however only two games in that timeframe can get flexed to Sunday night. The regular flex schedule still goes into effect in week 11. NBC will now broadcast a Divisional playoff game this season, in addition to the Wild Card game and Super Bowl XLIX. CBS, partnered with the NFL Network and will take over the Thursday Night Football package for the first half of the year, giving CBS a chance to host exclusive NFC games for the first time since 1993. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Paul Pierce Guides Nets to Game 1 Victory in Toronto

NETS 94/RAPTORS 87

This is the reason why Billy King made that monster trade with the Boston Celtics last summer. He made that deal, because he knew that as soon as serious Spring Basketball started, veterans Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett would be at the ready.

Down the stretch Saturday, it was the two ex-Celtics that powered the Brooklyn Nets to a 94-87 victory in Toronto to take a 1-0 lead in the best of seven series.

While the Nets might be ranked as a number six seed, this match-up feels more like a battle between a four and five seed. These two teams are that close. However it was obvious from the get go Saturday afternoon, that the Nets playoff experience played a large roll in their victory, while Toronto's playoff inexperience may have been their ultimate undoing.

The Nets had flirted with disaster from time to time throughout the contest. They were terrible from behind the arch, and watch the Raptors were seemingly nailing every three pointer they attempted. Kyle Lowry nailed a buzzer beater at the end of the third quarter to cut the Nets lead to five. Then, Patrick Peterson nailed a corner three, and slammed home a pass by Lowry to tie it up with 9:49 to play.

Did the Nets panic? No sir.

The Nets relied on the guys who both carried them to this point, and then the older guys who have made the playoffs their annual playground in years past to get them past a spunky Raptor team.

After Mirza Teletovic and Shaun Livingston built a Nets lead of 75-73, Toronto answered with another three-pointer, this one from Gerivis Vasquez, who drilled a 25-foot jumper. The Raptors led 76-75.

Now it was up to the old guys to get the job done, and did they ever. Garnett who had been shutout all afternoon, hit a big two point bucket to give Brooklyn a three-point lead, 79-76, before Paul Pierce went absolutely insane on Toronto.

The former Finals MVP accounted for the next four Nets scores, including a monster three pointer to increase the Nets lead to six with 2:58 to go. After another Toronto turnover, he drilled a 19-foot jump shot to make it 86-78, and later, dropped down two more to answer another Vasquez basket to keep Brooklyn in front, 88-81.

Perhaps it was just meant to be Pierce's day. He opened the day with a loud three pointer for Brooklyn's first points of the day, and he kept it going from that point forward. It was his way of saying "hello, I am here for the playoffs." While Pierce's numbers don't blow you away, 15 points on 6-of-13 shooting, it was a heck of performance in the clutch.

In a way it overshadows the great job by Deron Williams who put up 20 points, 18 of which came in the first half, and Joe Johnson, who netted 24 points.

But, at the end of the day it doesn't matter. The Nets played like the cohesive, clutch unit everyone expected them to be all season.

Now Brooklyn has control of this series, and against a young Toronto team, one has to like the Nets chances.

Mets Cut Ties with Ike Davis, Ship 1B to Pirates

When Ike Davis failed to secure the first base job from Lucas Duda, who in many respects is a weaker defensive first baseman than Davis, the writing was on the wall that Ike was not long for the Mets and Citi Field.

On Friday, the Mets ended their turbulent relationship with Davis when they traded him to Pittsburgh for minor league reliever Zach Thorton and a player to be named later.

The trade ends months of speculation that the first baseman was on his way out. The Mets spent an entire off-season trying to trade him and failing, which led to Davis' father claiming the Mets screwed up his son's off-season.

The Davis vs. Mets battles became not only bizarre, but public. From Valley Fever to the secret injury that Davis didn't reveal until the start of Spring Training this year, it has been a wild ride. Remember when Davis shredded a New York Post reporter for breaking the story that he had withheld information from the Mets about an injury he played with all of last season? That too was another bizarre moment in Davis' stay in New York.

What made things worse for him was his inability to play consistently well. Davis never again became the hitter that showed so much promise his rookie year in 2010, when he hit 19 homers and .264. He instead became a guy who could never get his batting average over .220, sometimes he struggled to even get it to .200.

Last year he hit .205 for New York in 103 games, this year he was hitting .208 before the trade. It was time for Davis to go, and it was time for the Mets to part ways. Davis now heads to Pittsburgh; to a team that is winning, where he could settle in as either a bench player or part time first baseman. PNC Park is a lot smaller than Citi Field, so one would think that Davis will tee-off on the short porch in right for the Pirates.

As for the Mets, while the minor league pitcher they received in return may or may not ever make the major league squad, they had to unload Davis and end this nightmare.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Jets Ink Chris Johnson to 2-Year Deal

The New York Jets get their man. In desperate need to address their beleaguered running attack the Jets are reported to have completed a 2-year deal with former Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson.

Johnson, 29, who was released by the Titans a couple weeks ago, visited the Jets training facility in Florham Park on Tuesday, had a physical and was reported hanging out at a Brooklyn Nets game. On Wednesday he signed a two-year deal with New York; money was not disclosed as the story broke.

Johnson's release came from the fact that his productivity had been lagging the past few seasons, and there were reports that the new Titans regime was not crazy about his work ethic.

Whatever the case may be, the Jets are getting a serious upgrade in the backfield. He can generate big plays both in the backfield and in the passing game. With Chris Ivory as his understudy, Johnson will certainly have fresh legs when the Jets use him.

It wasn't that long ago that Johnson was one of the best running backs in the game. In 2009 he ran for 2,006 yards earning the nickname CJ2K. However, his numbers have declined since then. Twice in the last four seasons, he has just barely rushed for more than 1,000 yards. 2013 was his worst season, rushing for 1,077 yards and a 3.9 yards per carry average.

One would imagine that changing places and coming to the Jets might re-energize him. Plus the Jets have had success with aging backs in recent years. They got a lot out of Thomas Jones in 2009, and LaDainian Tomlinson in 2010. While, he is not old, Johnson is approaching the "decline" threshold of 30 years-old, this should be fun to see how he fools the experts.

The Jets offense looks better on paper now, then what it did months ago. They have a solid receiver in Eric Decker, likely a new starting quarterback in Michael Vick, and now Johnson. Look for Gang Green to go wide receiver and tight end in the draft to fill out the talent on the offensive side of the ball.

While, its a solid move, it's not one to get too excited about. We still have to see how Johnson adjusts to life in the Big City, and how this team comes together.

NOTES: NFL schedules will be released by the league on Tuesday, April 22. 

Giants Ink Josh Freeman to back-up Eli Manning

The Giants have a new back-up plan in case they ever need to worry about the health of quarterback Eli Manning, after signing Josh Freeman to a 1-year deal.

Manning, who is going under the knife with ankle surgery that will likely keep sidelined until late June. However, Manning was beaten up last year by defensive fronts for many reasons, but the biggest culprit was the poor play from his running game and offensive line; the former Super Bowl MVP had everything, plus the kitchen sink dumped on him in 2013.

It only makes sense that the Giants go out and get a decent back-up, just in case.

So Big Blue went out and inked Freeman. Freeman, the former quarterback of the Buccaneers and Vikings is at a new stage in his career. He was much maligned last fall as a poor clubhouse leader and was jettisoned by the Buccaneers; however the popular opinion is that Freeman was having issues getting along with former Bucs coach Greg Schiano.

So, Freeman moved on to Minnesota at mid-season, and spent the rest of the year playing a game of musical chairs with the Vikings and their hairy quarterback situation.

To say the least, he was the best option available to the Giants at this time, and he is a definite upgrade from Curtis Painter, who has been the back-up to Manning. Expect Painter to get his walking papers.

Freeman's best season came in 2010 when he threw 25 touchdowns to six interceptions for the Bucs.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jets Set to See Sanchez & Eagles In Preseason

The 2014 NFL preseason schedule has been released for all 32 NFL teams, and the Jets know when they will get a chance to see Mark Sanchez again, this time as an Eagle. After both teams basically exchanged back-up quarterbacks, the Jets and Eagles will face off in their traditional week 4 match-up in the preseason.

Usually the fourth game of the pre-season is pointless, but if Michael Vick and Mark Sanchez see any time in the contest, rest assure that the media will go nuts over it. Oh, by the way, the Giants and Jets will face each other in week three of the preseason.

Here is the schedule:

NYGiants Schedule
Aug. 3 vs. Buffalo (HOF) ..... 8:00 NBC
Aug. 9 PITTSBURGH ......... 8:00 WNBC
Aug. 15 @ Indianapolis ......... 8:00 WNBC
Aug. 23 @ NY Jets ............... 7:30 WCBS
Aug. 28 NEW ENGLAND ... 7:00 WNBC

NY JETS Schedule
Aug. 10 INDIANAPOLIS .... 8:00 WCBS
Aug. 15 @Cincinnati ............ 7:30 WCBS
Aug. 23 NY GIANTS .......... 7:30 WCBS
Aug. 28 @ Philadelphia ........ 6:30 WCBS

The regular season schedule will be coming out in a couple of weeks.