Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Cowher Tells Jets Thanks But No Thanks

After an initial agreement to meet by his agents that was followed by 24 hours of speculation that the Jets were on pace to make Bill Cowher their next head coach, the former Steelers coach told the Jets, in effect, thanks, but no thanks. Cowher will not be the next head coach of the New York Jets.

"After reaching out to Coach Cowher's representatives, we were informed tonight that he is not a candidate for the position," Jets spokesman Bruce Speight told the Associated Press on Tuesday night (ESPN).

So, where does this leave the Jets? In panic mode, one would think. The Jets will now turn to other options like Giants Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnoulu, who has gained popularity in New York for his part in the Giants Super Bowl title last season but has no pervious head coaching experience.

The Jets could also look within to Brian Schottenheimer, who has drawn the ire of Jet fans for his rather stale offensive play-calling. The Jets could also look to Brian's father, Marty Schottenheimer, who has not coached in over two years since his shocking dismisal from San Diego. The elder Shottenheimer would not be a popular choice among fans because it would mean his son would stay on as the offensive coordinator and de-facto head coach of the future.

If Woody Johnson is still obsessed with finding the next Bill Parcells or Bill Bellichick, he could look to New England Patriots Offensive Coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is only 32. Bringing in McDaniels would make the Jets look really bad, considering they just fired a young head coach who comes from the Parcells/Bellichick tree.

If the Jets are still interested in bringing in a credible head coach, then Mike Shanahan would be the next best choice after Cowher. Shanahan was fired Tuesday by the Denver Broncos after a disappointing 8-8 season. Shanahan won two Super Bowls with Denver in the late 1990's, and is said to still have the desire to coach after 15 years with the Broncos. If Gang Green is interested in Shanahan, they better hurry up before someone like the Kansas City Chiefs or Dallas Cowboys come calling on him.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cowher Set To Talk To Jets

According to New York sports radio WFAN, the Jets have made contact with Bill Cowher's agent and the two sides have agreed to meet and discuss the coaching vacancy.

It is not known what demands Cowher has for the job, i.e. money, years, front office positions; but, those issues will be brought up when the two sides meet.

According to ESPN, Cowher wants to have power in deciding who the General Manager will be, and the Jets, apparently. are more than willing to accomidate his desires. ESPN also reports that Cowher may address the situation on Sunday when he goes on the air for CBS's coverage of the Miami Dolphins/Baltimore Ravens Wild Card game.

Other candidates include Giants Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnoulu and former Chargers Head Coach Marty Shottenheimer, whose son, Brian, is the Jets Offensive Coordinator.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Mangini Has Been Fired By Jets

It is offically over for Eric Mangini.

The young Head Coach, who was the toast of the town in his first season, is now looking for new work after his Jets collapsed down the stretch despite starting 8-3, resulting in Magini's firing.

Mangini became iconic for his unemotional and lifeless stare on the sidelines, as he failed to motivate his ball club when he needed to most.

The 2008 season was a huge gamble for Mangini and company. They got rid of the albatros that was Chad Pennington and his ineffective arm in favor of the Hall of Fame arm of Brett Favre. Ironically, the Jets got a tired and selfish old man in Favre and watched Pennington lead the Dolphins to the AFC East division title.

Clearly, the Jets have a lot of work to do. Not only will they need a new coaching staff, but they may have to rip apart the roster. Favre is likely gone, and Laverneous Coles might be next after he became a clubhouse cancer in refusing to cooperate with the aging quarterback.

Overall, Mangini went 23-26 in his three years with the Jets. Unfortunately, it was a tenure marked by missed opportunies and frustration.

Jets Coaching Wish List

If Woody Johnson does indeed decide to drop the axe on coach Eric Mangini after a disapointing 9-7 finish to a season that was supposed to be a whole lot more, here is a list of possible replacements.

Most of these coaches are probably pipe dreams, but they must be considered nontheless.

1) Bill Cowher: Former Steelers coach is rumored to be talking to the Browns about their head coaching job, but if he decides to stay closer to family (his daughter goes to college in New Jersey), he could opt to come to the Garden State. Cowher would bring instant credibility to any franchise and would demand that his players show pride and heart each and every week of the season, even if they don't make the playoffs. Cowher has spent the last two years working for CBS in New York as a part of the NFL Today pre-game show, so he is no stranger of what makes New York tick.

2) Brian Billick: If Gang Green loses out on Cowher, they should look at Billick. Billick won a Super Bowl his first season in Baltimore but failed to develop a quarterback, boucning between Trent Dilfer, Kyle Boller and Elvis Gerbac during his long stay there. Unlike Mangini, Billick gets into people's faces and lets people know when he is unhappy. If Jet fans want a screamer, this guy is it.

3) Jim Fassel: Former Giants coach has not been a head coach since the 2003 season. The plus about Fassel is that he knows how to win in New York, having won a couple of division titles with Big Blue and havinh taken them to Super Bowl XXXV. The negative is that he has not coached in a long time, but he is due for a second chance.

4) Steve Spagnuolo: Current Giants defensive coordinator has developed the reputation as a master motivator. When his defense was failing to stop anyone the first three weeks of the 2007 season, Spagnuolo was credited with getting into the minds of his players and got them to pick up their game. The Giants defense picked it up so much that they were the main reason Big Blue is a defending champion today.

5) Steve Mariucci: If the Jets want to find a way to keep Brett Favre here, then bringing in Mariucci could do it. Mariucci was Favre's quarterback coach back in Green Bay in the early 1990's. Mariucci is known as a guy who develops quarterbacks: i.e. Favre and Jeff Garcia, so that should bode well for either Kellen Clemens, or rookie Brett Ratliff, or someone who is not on the Jets roster right now.

6) Jon Gruden: Another coach who worked with Favre in the early 90's, if that is a priority for the Jets front office. If not, the Jets should look at Gruden anyway. He could be in trouble in Tampa Bay after the Buccaneers choked away their season this year and may be in need of a change of scenery. Gruden is the type of guy who would be popular among the Jet fans because of his animated nature, and his desire to win NOW. Gruden does have a Super Bowl to his name but is not known as a guy who will develop a young quarterback.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Parcells May Not Be Long For Miami

In an intersting blog from, there is a power struggle at the top of the Miami Dolphins organization, and it could affect whether Bill Parcells stays in South Beach.

Miami owner Wayne Huizenga is expected to transfer control of the team to new owner Stephen Ross, and both are hoping that Parcells does not decide to opt out of his contract and take his money because of the dramatic change.

Parcells has a four year contract with Miami, and if he decides to leave after the 2008 season, he will collect $9 million up front.

Parcells has easily been the executive of the year after reshaping the Dolphins in his image and sending them to the top of the AFC East. In fact, in all of Parcells' inaugural seasons, he has never had a year this good.

In his first year with the Giants, he went 3-12-1. In his first year with New England, he made it to the playoffs as a wild card at 10-6. In 1997, his first with the Jets, he lost the season finale to Detroit, costing the Jets a playoff berth. In his first year with Dallas, the Cowboys went 10-6 and made it in as a wild card team. This year, far and away, is the fastest turn around by Parcells in his 25 plus years of working in the NFL.

If he leaves, it would really damage Miami's future.

Jets End Embarrassing Season


If someone walked up to you on August 7 and told you that the Brett Favre would bomb with the New York Jets, and that Chad Pennington would go to Miami and seek and get revenge on the Jets for letting him go, you probably would think this person was a little crazy.

It was not that long ago that New York and New Jersey were giddy over the fact that the Jets had acquired Favre from the Green Bay Packers. Everyone expected Gang Green to finally break the chains of futility and make that oh so improbable Super Bowl appearance. In the end, it is 40 years and counting for Gang Green.

The Jets showed absolutely no heart, no guts, no feeling whatsoever in their 24-17 debacle against the Dolphins Sunday evening. Favre was terrible, underthrowing and overthrowing his receivers. The only time he hit someone in the numbers for a reception it was Dolphins defensive end Phillip Merling who dashed into the end zone to give the Fish a 14-6 lead.

Favre, who earlier in the week sounded like a man resigned to the fact that his career was over, played like it was. He will likely take coach Eric Mangini and his staff with him because it is unacceptable for a team with seven Pro-Bowlers to miss the postseason.

As for Pennington, he was brilliant. The former Jet, haunted his old mates all day long. He hit wide open receivers in the flat, fooled the Jets secondary on several different occasions and was accurate and percise with every throw. Overall, Pennington was 22 of 30 for 200 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdown throws were beauties. First, he hit Ted Ginn Jr. in the back of the end zone from 27 yards out to give Miami a 7-6 lead. Later, he found Anthony Fasano from 20 yards out to give the Dolphins a 21-17 lead, all but icing the game. Pennington even found ways to shut up the Jet fans who wanted him out for so many years. With the Jets up 17-14, Pennington, from his own 20 yard line, threw a bomb down the middle of the field into the hands of Ginn Jr. for a first down at the Jets 36 yard line. It was a virtuoso performance.

The Dolphins are AFC East champions, and a lot of the credit has to go to Bill Parcells, who was the ultimate puppet master. Not only did he bring in Pennington, but he brought in a virtual unknown in Tony Sparano, who was a tight-ends coach on Parcells' staff in Dallas, to coach the team on the sideline. For once, this Frankenstein project didn't attack its creator; it attacked and destroyed everyone else.

As for the Jets, they have no future. Favre is likely on his way back to Mississippi, so he can think about whether he wants to play again or not. Expect Favre to come back ... in a different uniform in 2009. As for Mangini, he should be fired. As we have seen from teams like the Mets, coaches who have been involved in chokes are doomed for eventual failure. Willie Randolph was a dead duck after the Mets collapse in 2007, but ownership refused to fire him, instead giving Willie a short leash. Randolph was finally fired on June 17 of this year.

The Jets must make a decision and make it as soon as possible on Mangini. The fact remains that this team choked on his watch, and he must pay the price.

After that, the Jets better get a big time head coach, or it could be years and years and years of misery ahead. 41 and counting.

Giants Play It Safe In Loss To Vikings


What can the Giants take away from their regular season finale against the Vikings? Nothing, really. The game meant nothing to Big Blue and they played like that, with most of their starters sitting out the contest.

Still, the Giants had a chance to win this game. They grabbed a 16-10 lead in the third quarter when David Carr hit Domenik Hixon in the endbzone from 23 yards out. The Giants built a 19-10 but watched it melt away as Minnesota stormed back in the fourth quarter.

Quarterback Travaris Jackson hit a wide open Bernard Berrian for a 54 yard touchdown to get the Vikings to within 19-17.

The Giants had a chance to put the game away late in the fourth, but John Carney's field goal was wide of the field goalpost, giving Minnesota the ball with great field position.
The Vikings drove the ball methodically to the New York 32 yard line, then settled for a Ryan Longwell field goal to win the game.

The victory gives Minnesota the NFC North division title. As for the Giants, their playoff future is secure as the number one seed in the NFC. The only concern for Big Blue going into the postseason is the fact that they are not going in as hot as they did last year. The Giants have lost three of their last four and will need to address this before playing again in two weeks. This does not bode well.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Final NFL Playoff Scenerios

Wtih one week to go, there is still some ambiguity as to who will make the NFL playoffs in 2008-2009.

Here are the final formuli:

Dolphins win against the Jets and they are the division champs. Even if the Patriots beat Buffalo to improve to 11-5, the Dolphins own a better conference record than New England.

If the Jets beat the Dolphins and the Bills beat the Patriots, then the Jets win the AFC East at 10-6.

If the Patriots win against the Bills, and the Jets defeat the Dolphins the Patriots make it to the playoffs at 11-5.

AFC Wild Card Sixth Seed:
The Ravens become the sixth seed if they beat the Jaguars, or the Patriots and Jets lose their games.

The Jets become the wild card if they beat Miami, and Baltimore loses.

The Patriots become the wild card if they beat Buffalo and Baltimore and the Jets lose their respective games.

AFC West:
Broncos and Chargers will square off in an AFC West Title game to determine the division winner. The winner will be the AFC's number four seed and will host the Colts next Saturday night.

NFC South:
The Carolina Panthers clinch the South with a win against the Saints, or a Falcons loss to the Rams on Sunday.

The Atlanta Falcons become division champs if they beat the Rams and the Panthers lose to the Saints on Sunday.

The loser of the NFC South division title will be the automatic number five seed in the NFC at 11-5, which is the best of the wild card records.

NFC North:
The Vikings can clinch the North with a win against the Giants.

If that does not happen and Minnesota loses to the Giants, they have to hope that the Bears lose to the Texans for the Vikings to back into the division title.

If the Vikings lose and the Bears win against the Texans, then the Bears become the NFC North champs and the number three seed in the NFC.

Wild Card number six seed:

The Buccaneers clinch the sixth seed with a win against Oakland and a loss by the Cowboys against the Eagles or losses by the Vikings and Bears.

The Cowboys clinch the sixth seed with a win in Philadelphia and a loss by the Buccaneers or losses by the Bears and Vikings.

The Bears clinch the sixth seed with a win in Houston and losses by the Cowboys and Buccaneers.

The Eagles clinch the sixth seed with a win against the Cowboys and losses by the Bears, or Vikings, and the Buccaneers.

Cohen's Week 17 Selections

It amazes me how fast the NFL regular season passes. For seemingly a minute, it is week one or two, and before you blink, it is Thanksgiving and the season begins to wind down. It has been a wacky season this year. The AFC has seen some dramatic changes with Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sidelined for the year with a knee injury and slow starts by the Colts and Chargers. Couple that with Brett Favre's rise and fall with the New York Jets, and Chad Pennington's rebirth with the Miami Dolphins.

In the NFC, the Giants have picked up where they left off in 2007, winning 12 games and capturing the conference's number one playoff seed. Meanwhile, likely challengers like the Cowboys, Packers, Redskins, Seahawks and Eagles have all had mediocre to bad seasons. New faces in Atlanta and Arizona have revitalized those franchises. Now the playoffs are upon us, and in five weeks America will know who is the best of the best.

GIANTS (12-3) @ VIKINGS (9-6): Much has been made about the Giants resting their starters, but let's not forget that last season the Giants played their starters in the season finale against New England and nearly pulled out the victory. That loss to the Patriots, propelled the Giants to Super Bowl fame weeks later, so don't be suprised if Tom Coughlin bets on it happening again.

Meanwhile, the Vikings have everything to play for. They need to beat the Giants in order to win the NFC North. If not, they need to pray that the Houston Texans defeat the Bears, so they can back into the playoffs. A Bears victory and a Vikings loss will give the Bears the division. Look for the Vikings to play desperate football on Sunday. PICK: VIKINGS 28, GIANTS 21.

PATRIOTS (10-5) @ BILLS (7-8): The Patriots need to win against the Bills and get a lot of help. They will need to rely on the Jets to beat the Dolphins, or the Jaguars to beat the Ravens. If either happens, then the Patriots could be in the playoffs as either a wild card or division champ. A lot to ask for if you ask me. The Patriots have been a resilient all season, and, in a way, it would be a shame not to see them in the postseason party. Matt Cassel has been brilliant the last six weeks and will command a lot of money in free-agency. Have no fear, New England, even if you don't make the playoffs this year, glamour boy is coming back real soon! PICK: PATRIOTS 38, BILLS 14.

Dolphins (10-5) @ JETS (9-6): Talk about irony and reversal of fourtune. The Dolphins were 1-15 a year ago and looked like a franchise lost for good. Then, Bill Parcells came in and he has saved the fish from drowning, bringing with him not only stability and accountabilty, but Jets castoff Chad Pennington as well. Together, Parcells and Pennington have the Dolphins primed for a playoff run, and all they have to do is beat their former team the Jets on Sunday.

As for Gang Green, it has been a tormenting month for coach Eric Mangini and the fans. The Jets have fallen off the radar, after a promising 8-3 start and will not make the playoffs unless the Christmas miracle of all Christmas miracles happens on Sunday. Because of the collapse, fans have been calling for Mangini's head and the it appears that he has lost his players who have shown absolutely no heart in this time of crisis. A change might be in store for Gang Green, and unless they get a big time coach, or a quarterback that is as good as Brett Favre, they will be destined for 4-12 and 5-11 seasons for years to come. 40 years and counting, Jet fans! PICK: DOLPHINS 24, JETS 14.

COWBOYS (10-5) @ EAGLES (8-6-1): Two teams on the brink of failure. The Cowboys finished their stay in Texas Stadium in Mets-like fashion after losing big time to Ravens a week ago and will need to win and get a lot of help to qualify for the playoffs. Tony Romo has been sick, and Jerry Jones might be sick of watching this circus.

As for the Eagles, jobs are on the line,too. Donoan McNabb and the Eagles came up small yet again in a 10-3 loss to Redskins,killing their postseason dreams. All the Eagles can do is beat Dallas and earn some pride back and some trust of the ownership that could be weighing the futures of both coach Andy Ried and McNabb. PICK: EAGLES 31, COWBOYS 17.

BRONCOS (8-7) @ CHARGERS (7-8): Talk about two teams who do not deserve to be in the playoffs. This game might well be called the AFC West Championship game because the winner will win the West and qualify for the postseason. The loser goes home. The Broncos have tried desperately to not win the division. Losses at home to Oakland, Miami, Buffalo and Jacksonville have spelled doom for Denver, and it should spell the end of Mike Shannahan's run with the Broncos. Ever since making the move to Jay Cutler in 2006, the Broncos have been underwhelming, and it appears as time goes on, the move was a huge mistake. Culter has a bigger mouth than a big arm.

As for San Diego, you have to give credit to this team. They are tough. A few weeks ago, the Bolts lost to the Colts, dropping San Diego to 4-8. It looked like the Chargers were doomed for failure, but they have rallied off three straight wins to get back into contention. Phillip Rivers has been great for San Diego; he threw four touchdown passes in last weeks win in Tampa Bay. Watch out for the Chargers; they could be the most dangerous 8-8 team in postseason history if they get in. PICK: CHARGERS 31, BRONCOS 27.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas From Cohen's Corner Sports

So this is Christmas.

It has been a wild and wacky year in sports in 2008 for New York teams, so it's time to see who has been naughty and who has been nice this year.

Tom Coughlin: Giants head coach has become the toast of town after taking Big Blue to a World Championship in the 2007-2008 season and is well on his way to doing it again in 2008-2009. The Giants are 12-3 and the number one seed in the NFC.

Eli Manning: Giants quarterback went from chump to champ in a year's time. As early as last November, people were ready to run Manning out of town, but after coming to form in last year's playoffs and performing at a Pro Bowl level this year, Manning is clearly one of the league's best quarterbacks.

Brandon Jacobs: Has had a terrific season this year with Big Blue. His impact on the Giants can be summed up in the last two weeks. Without him, the Giants have little punch on offense, i.e. the G-Men's dismal effort against Dallas. With him, the Giants are unstoppable, i.e. last weeks thriller against Carolina.

Thomas Jones: Jets running back has had an awesome year, in spite of everyone else on the team. Jones leads the AFC in rushing for 1,289 yards this year. Jones also set a Jets franchise record with 15 touchdowns from a running back.

Leon Washington: Next to Jones, Washington is the Jets best offensive weapon. He leads the team in return yards with 1,139 yards and he has six touchdowns overall this year. If only Gang Green used him more often.

Brian Cashman: Yankees GM has done a great job of taking advantage of a bad economy. He has brought C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeria to the Bronx, making the Yankees an early favorite in their division. Now they have to prove it.

Eric Mangini: Jets coach will get a lump of coal this Christmas, not to mention a possible pink slip for New Year's. Not exactly a way to ring in the new year, eh? Mangini has lost his ball club and his season after a fantastic start. It is sad to see a good man go out like this, but Woody Johnson may have no choice after spending $140 million in the summer and bringing in Brett Favre.

Laverneous Coles: Wide receiver has not helped matters this year after refusing to practice and work with Favre, creating great tension among the two. Did Coles drop that huge fourth down pass intentionally last week? You have to wonder.

Brett Favre: He would have been on the good list for Santa this year, but six interceptions in the last four games, and only one win to show for it has done him in this Christmas. Favre looks finished; don't expect him to return to the Jets, even if he wants to keep playing.

Jose Reyes: Stop dancing Jose and start playing baseball. Reyes, once again was the target loathing hatred from Mets opponents in 2008. He didn't hit at all down the stretch once again, when his bat was needed. Reyes may be on a short leash this year if he chokes again in September.

David Wright: Speaking of not showing up, Wright disappeared when the Mets needed him most in September. Wright looked disheveled by season's end; his normally clean cut look had vanished for a heavy beard by the last day of the season. He wasn't there for his team and he knew it too.

The Knicks: Just let Stephan Marbury walk ... please!! Move on; it's the only way this franchise can get out of the cellar.
So, just remember: be good kids because Santa Claus is coming to town.
To All A Merry Christmas and To All A Good Night!!!!

Pennington Looks To Stick It To Jets

Six years ago, the Jets were in a very familiar position. They needed to win their season finale and pray to the gods of football that the New England Patriots would defeat the Miami Dolphins in order to give the Jets the division title.

The Jets were led by Chad Pennington in that season, his first as a starter. Pennington helped resurrect a Jets team that started 2-5 that year to an 8-7 record. They had to square off against the Green Bay Packers and some quarterback named Brett Favre in that season finale -- a scenerio that did not look too favorable for Gang Green.

Giants Stadium was packed that cold evening; on the jumbotron, minutes before the Jets/Packers kick off, a live feed appeared of the Pats/Dolphins game. Adam Vinatieri kicked the game winning field goal for New England, killing Miami's postseason dreams and giving the Jets hope. Giants Stadium roared with pleasure as the score was announced. The Jet players fed off that energy and beat up Favre and Packers, 42-17. Pennington became the new hero of New York, leading the Jets to the postseason. A week later, he helped the Jets thump Peyton Manning and the Colts 41-0 in front of an equally rabid Jets nation.

Now the roles have been reversed. The Jets are, once again, in need of a victory and a Patriots loss or a Ravens loss in order to qualify for the playoffs. Once again the final game will be Brett Favre vs. Chad Pennington; only this time, Favre will lead the Jets, while Pennington will lead the hated Miami Dolphins.

Talk about irony. Pennington will not only look to clinch Miami's first division title since 2000, he will look to stab the Jets in the heart for letting him go this summer in favor of Favre.

It has been well documented since the trade was made to get Favre on August 6, about this new rivarly. Favre got the better of Pennington on opening day, as New York won 20-14. In fact, it looked as if Favre and the Jets got the better of the deal a week before Thanksgiving after they destroyed the once unbeaten Tennessee Titans 34-13 to improve to 8-3.

However, Favre has aged before our eyes; coach Eric Mangini looks more and more like a dead man walking with each passing week, and the Jets are one loss away from being eliminated from the playoffs at 9-7.

As for Pennington, he is having a career year with over 3,400 yards passing, 17 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. You could make the argument that he is the leauge MVP this year.

This game will tell America a lot about the Jets now, in the future and, maybe, forever. A loss and the franchise will be set back for years to come. Miss the playoffs and that uncertain future awaits as well. And to think that the quarterback that they wanted out will be laughing his way into the postseason.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Teixeria Is A Yankee

After much deliberation and speculation that first baseman Mark Teixeria would sign with either the Washington Nationals or the Anahiem Angels, or the Boston Red Sox, it is the New York Yankees who came up as winners in the Teixeria sweepstakes.

According to Sports Illustrated's and WFAN's Jon Heyman, the Yankees have signed Tiexiera to a eight year $180 million contract, the richest contract for a first baseman in history.

Teixeria hit .308 with 33 homeruns and and 121 RBI and 102 runs scored last year, splitting time with the Atlanta Braves and Angels.

He is a lifetime .290 hitter, with a gold glove to add to his trophy case. He is only 28 years old and will be a Yankee until the age of 36. The Yankees are now the team to beat in MLB.

Idiot Ellis Fined For Snowball Fight

It is time for the Jets to cut ties with Shaun Ellis once and for all. After the Jets disgraceful 13-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, the defensive end decided to retaliate against a couple of drunk Seattle fans snowball tossing by throwing a gigantic ice ball onto top of a fan.

Apparently fans were throwing snowballs at the Jets as they walked off the field after the game. There is no excuse for what the fans did to the Jets, but the fact that Ellis had the audacity to pick up a chunk of ice and snow and drop it on paying specators is an absolute joke.

Ellis was fined $10,000 by the NFL for the fiasco.


Watch Alternate VIDEO (close up view)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Manuel Must Prevent Mets Participation in WBC

One of the most important concepts in building a winning team in any sport is chemistry. It is the one science that is the difference between winners and losers, and the New York Mets ought to know a lot about that.

For the better part of the past two years, fans have heard rumors that the clubhouse had been divided among the players. For example, in 2007 Paul Lo Duca made an insulting comment about the Hispanic players in the room when he told the media that they, too, spoke English. Then last year, Billy Wagner wondered why the media kept interviewing him and proceeded to throw his Hispanic teammates, Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes, under the bus, when he remarked, "Oh, gee, what a shock they are not here" in frustration that he had to answer for them.

It is this divide that might have spelled doom for the Mets in both 2007 and 2008, and in 2009 Manager Jerry Manuel has to ... better yet ... must find a way to get these players to work together and develop chemistry. That is why he must coax his players into NOT participating in the useless World Baseball Classic to be held during Spring Training.

The so-called classic rips ball players from their regular teams to instead work out with other players representing their home country in idiotic exhibition games. Right now, Reyes is scheduled to play for the Dominican Republic team; Delgado, Beltran and reliever Pedro Feliciano will play for the Puerto Rican team; David Wright will play for team USA, and, as if to make Met fans sweat even more, ace Johan Santana and closer K-Rod (Francisco Rodriguez) will play for the Venezuelan team.

In short, all the key pieces that must be in Port St. Lucie this February and March to fix what went wrong in 2008, will, instead, be in different parts of the planet, working with players they will never play with again and playing games that mean absoultely nothing except money and good PR for Major Leauge Baseball.
Granted all major leauge teams will suffer when the WBC comes like the plague this spring, but the Mets know that time is wasting and jobs are on the line in 2009. They have to win the NL East this year. They have to beat the Philadelphia Phillies and show them who's boss. They have to get to know each other again, trust each other and begin to rely on each other. The race to October begins in March, and the Mets must emphasize team chemistry and commitment if they are to turn their star-crossed fortunes around this season.
The only way to do that is to have all of their players sit out the World Baseball Classic and get right to work for the team that they all represent together, and not the country, or language, or race with which they associate themselves.

Lowlights of Jets vs. Seahawks Game

Here are some scary highlights Jet fans. Take a view of the death of the Jets 2008 season, a 13-3 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. WATCH MOVIE!

It will not be a Merry Christmas for coach Eric Mangini and company, who will need to beat the Dolphins and hope and pray that the Patriots and Ravens lose to inferior opponents next Sunday.

Highlights of Giants vs. Panthers Game

Here are some great highlights of the Giants come from behind victory against the Carolina Panthers from Sunday night, December 21, 2008.

It was a classic game between two outstanding ball clubs. I hope both teams find a way to meet up again either in the divisional or championship round of the playoffs because if this game is any indication, America will be in for an all-out brawl.


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Giants Are Kings After Giant Classic vs. Panthers


Champions are not always great; they are only great when the have to be. That is the phrase that best describes the 2008 New York Giants. After a PR disaster that was the Plaxico Burress/Antonio Pierce mess, and a two game losing streak, the Giants got right back on track with a classic 31-28 overtime victory over the Carolina Panthers. The win secured home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs for Big Blue, meaning that the next time the Giants hit the road after their game in Minnesota, it will have to be in Tampa Bay for Super Bowl XLIII. Unlike last year, the Giants will play all their playoff games at Giants Stadium this January.

The Giants did not get off to a good start in this one. The Panthers had their way with the Giants in the first half, as DeAngelo Williams and Jonahtan Stewart ate up the Giants defense, something we have not seen from any Giant opponent this season. Williams rushed for 103 yards in the game with four touchdowns. Meanwhile, Jake Delhomme was sharp, completing 11 of 18 passes for 185 yards, including a huge 60 yard completion to Mushin Muhammad.

As for Williams, three of his four touchdowns in the first half gave the Panthers a 21-10 lead before half time. It appeared that the Giants were deflated and might be in store for their third straight defeat, but they rallied. With the score now 20-13, Eli Manning orchestrated a brilliant 13 play 84 yard drive that ate up over eight minutes of the third quarter, ending with a Manning touchdown pass to Kevin Boss to get the Giants to within 21-20.

Still, the Panthers would not be deterred. They answered back when Williams dashed through the Giants defensive line for a 30 yard touchdown to give Carolina a 28-20 lead.

But, don't count out Big Blue. Manning hit Amani Toomer for a 15 yard completion to spot the ball at the Carolina 22 yard line. Manning then hit Boss from 12 yards out to get the ball to the Panthers 5. Brandon Jacobs then took it in from five yards out to get the Giants to within 28-26. Manning next hit Dominec Hixon for the two-point-conversion to tie it at 28.

The Panthers did have a chance to win it in regulation. Delhomme hit Stewart for a 13 yard gain in the flat to move the ball to the Giants 49. Later, Dehomme hit Muhammad for 11 to get the ball to the Giant 37; however, Carolina would stall and had to settle for a 50 yard field goal to try for the win. The kick was long enough, but the cross-winds in Giants Stadium pulled the ball left of the goal post, keeping the game tied and sending both teams and 78,000 crazy fans into overtime.

In OT, Derrick Ward took over. Ward sprinted down the sideline for a 51 yard gain to get the ball to the Carolina 36 yard line, putting the Giants in position to win the game. Ward then had carries of 14 and 17 to get the ball to the Panthers one yard line. Jacobs finished it off as he dived into the end zone for the winning touchdown. 34-28 G-Men!

It was a classic ball game between two outstanding ballclubs. If the Panthers can beat the Saints next week and lock up the number two seed and NFC South, don't be suprised if there is a re-match between these two exactly one month from now in the NFC Championship game.

LOST: Jets Season Snowballed


If we learn anything from this disastrous Jets season it is this: money doesn't always buy happiness. It is well documented that the Jets spent more than $140 million to reshape the franchise in the off-season and shipped out Chad Pennington in favor of Brett Favre. Expectations were high; people wanted a division title and a deep playoff run. Then, after a terrific 8-3 start, the fans were dreaming of the Super Bowl, and a possible matchup with their stadium mates the Giants. That was what it was ... a pipe-dream. The Jets in 2008 are offically dead!

After a dismal and heartless 13-3 loss to the 4-11 Seattle Seahawks, the Jets can kiss their playoff dreams goodbye, because both the Patriots and Dolphins won, making things very difficult for New York. The Jets now have to win against Miami and hope that the Buffalo Bills come up with enough of an effort to beat the Patriots. If that scenerio plays out, the Jets would win the division at 10-6. That is highly unlikely; instead, the same Chad Pennington who was jettisoned in August will come into the Meadowlands looking to capture Miami's first division title since the 1999 season.

Oh the irony. Oh the pain.

The Jets did very little against Seattle. The Seahawks put tremendous pressure on Brett Favre, sacking him four times and forcing two interceptions. Favre was mediocre, underthrowing receivers all day long. The biggest irony of the night came with 1:37 to play, when Favre hit Laverneous Coles down the middle of the field. Coles had it and then dropped it, ending the game and ending the Jets season. It was a microcosm of the relationship between Favre and Coles, which has been an icy one since day one.

As for the Seahawk offense, they were brilliant. Seneca Wallace had all day to throw and never faced any pressure from the Jets defense. He completed 18 of 25 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. Wallace showed great poise and was accurate with his throws. The games lone touchdown came on a fade by Wallace to tight end John Carlson in the back of the end zone, just before half time, to make it 7-3 Seattle.

Still, blame has to go to Eric Mangini, who continues to look disinterested and bored on the sideline. His play calling comes into question with a fourth and one inside Seattle territory. Mangini decided not to go for it and settled for the three. Later, the Jets faced another fourth down at the Seattle 35. Feeley trotted out to kick a 45 yard field goal to cut the Seattle lead to 10-6, but the Jets were called for a delay of game penalty. Instead of settleing for a 50 yard field goal, Mangini decided to punt, killing New York's chances of getting closer in the game.

Kudos to a job well done by Seattle coach Mike Holmgren whose career comes to an end in Seattle. It is fitting that Holmgren beat his old quarterback Brett Favre in what should be their last game against each other. Holmgren is a class act, and he will be missed.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Cohen's Week 16 Selections

There is not much left to say about this 2008 season. It has been very special; we have seen a lot of upstarts, like the Dolphins and Falcons, and we have seen the old guard teams, like the Colts and Patriots, stumble out of the gate but still find a way back into post season play. Now let the REAL games begin.

DOLPHINS (9-5) @ CHIEFS (2-12): The suddenly mighty Fish have been winning games by the skin of their teeth this season. Two points over Seattle and Oakland, four points over St. Louis and five points over San Francisco. A bounce here and there and the Dolphins could be 5-9 and not 9-5. Still, you have to give credit to Chad Pennington for finding a way to lead a bunch of no-names and never-will-be's to this very point. They are two wins away from a division title, and with the Jets falling all over themselves, Miami can taste the booze.

But don't get too ahead of yourselves. The Chiefs have played tight games all year, losing most of them. Kansas City has lost six games by seven points or less, and quarterback Tyler Thigpen, ever since breaking out in a 28-24 loss to the Jets in October, has been playing well. This game will be closer than the experts think and it could go either way. PICK: DOLPHINS 24, CHIEFS 17

FALCONS (9-5) @ VIKINGS (9-5): Practically a playoff game before the playoffs even start. The Falcons have been impressive all season led by rookie coach Mike Smith and rookie quarterback Matt Ryan. Still, the dirty birds will need to win out and get some help if they are to make it to the post season party. They will need losses by the Buccaneers and Cowboys to even sniff the post season as a wild card.

As for the Vikings, they might be the hottest team in the NFL, not named the Indianapolis Colts. Adrain Peterson has been getting better as the year has worn on, rushing for over 1500 yards, leading the NFL in that statistic. Also, quarterback Travis Jackson was impressive in a 35-14 win in Arizona, throwing for a career high four touchdowns in a game. The Vikings also boast the NFL's eighth best defense in the league, and it will interesting to see how they do against Atlanta's Michael Turner. PICK: VIKINGS 27, FALCONS 24.

JETS (9-5) @ SEAHAWKS (3-11): The Jets are a hard team to figure out. They should have lost last week to Buffalo, but a bad play call by Dick Jaroun gift-wrapped the Jets a victory 12 days before Christmas. Now, the Jets will have to fly out west one more time. The Jets are 0-3 out west and have not played a game in Seattle since the opening game of the 1997 season, a game the Jets won 41-3. The Jets hope that this trip will be that easy, but chances are it won't be.

Brett Favre has been madly inconsistent and looks more and more like a 40-year-old man then the hop - skip and jump Favre we have been used to seeing for years. Coach Mike Holmgren is used to seeing that Favre too and will hope that his former quarterback will deliver him a wonderful Christmas, going away present. A couple of interceptions could be in the works for this one.

Still, the Seahawks have their own problems. Matt Hasslebeck is out and Seneca Wallace will start at quarterback. He should be under a heavy blitz because the Seahawks are starting an offensive line that is off the scrap heap. It should be intersting to watch the Seahawks 32nd rank pass offense against the Jets 31st ranked pass defense. Something has got to give. PICK: JETS 21, SEAHAWKS 20.

STEELERS (11-3) @ TITANS (12-2): Now the match-up we have been waiting for all season. The Titans have had the best record in the AFC, but the fact remains that the Titans have no offense. Kerry Collins is ... well l... Kerry Collins, and the receiving corps doesn't exactly scare anyone; in fact, a group of beer-bellied old men could do a good job covering the Titans receivers. The Titans have taken advantage of easy schedule, and now find themselves facing a team that is really good in the Steelers.

The Steelers are 11-3 and have accomplished this against the toughest schedule in the NF; in fact, their schedule was the toughest in decades for any team. It is hard to imagine that the Steelers will shrink under pressure if they are trailing at any point in this game. Expect the Steelers to take advantage of a Titans defense that is missing the oft-injured Albert Haynesworth due to knee problems. This one won't even be close. PICK: STEELERS 34, TITANS 16.

PANTHERS (11-3) @ GIANTS (11-3): All week the Giants have heard people question their mental toughness, question whether they have peaked too early, and question if they are good enough now to make it to the Super Bowl. All of those questions are legitimate, but for at least one more night the Giants will look like defending champs. Expect Big Blue to get a heavy pass rush on quarterback Jake Delhomme and force him to make mistakes.

The key for the Giants will be stopping running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. If the Panthers run wild in this one, they should win the game and a ticket to home-field in the NFC. If the Giants can contain them, they should be able to squeak it out. Should be a lot of fun. By the way, the winner of this game is not guaranteed a trip to Tampa Bay; these two teams will likely meet again before January comes to a close. PICK: GIANTS 29, PANTHERS 24.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jets Not Guaranteed Division Title With Win In Seattle

One more wrinkle to keep track of this week as the Jets head to the northwest and Miami plays in Kansas City and New England plays host to Arizona: even if Miami and New England should lose and the Jets win this week, the Jets do not clinch a division title.

Here's why:

The Jets are currently 7-4 in conference, while Miami is 6-4 and New England is 6-5. A Jet win in Seattle does not count as a conference victory since the Seahawks are in the NFC. So, if the above-mentioned scenerio played out, the Jets would be 7-4 against the AFC, while Miami and New England would both be 6-5 going into the final week.

The Jets will have to win against Miami to win that tiebreaker, giving them a 8-4 in confernce record over Miami's 6-6. If Miami should beat the Jets, giving both a 7-5 AFC record, the Dolphins would win the division because they have an edge in victories over common opponents. The Jets lost to San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego. Miami has victories against each of those three teams.

As for New England, if they lose to Arizona, it, too, does not count as an conference loss because the Cards are in the NFC as well. A Patriot win against the Bills will not be enough to clinch a division title since both Miami and New York own a common opponent tie-breaker against the Pats.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Giants Lowlights Video

Shield the eyes of your children Giants fans; here is a highlight, or better yet, lowlight video of the Giants debacle in Dallas on Sunday Night. The Cowboys beat the Giants 20-8.


Jets Highlight Videos Are Back!!

After went through a period of three weeks where their NFL Replay - Recutter tool was not saving its videos properly, I have finally been successful in making a new highlight video for the Jets.

This one covers the improbable victory against the Buffalo Bills from Sunday.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

13 New York Players Make Pro Bowl

Even if New York is not represented at all in the Super Bowl this year, it certainly will be in the Pro Bowl. Talk about a downer.

13 total players from both the Giants and Jets have been selected to the meaningless post-Super Bowl scrimmage in Hawaii.

The Giants sent only one Pro Bowler last year in their Super Bowl season; this year they are sending six.

Offensive linemen Chris Snee and Shaun O'Hara will be there. Snee will start at guard, while O'Hara will be a reserve center.

Eli Manning made it to his first pro bowl as a backup quarterback. It marks the first time that both Eli and Peyton Manning will square off in the Pro Bowl, but if you ask both, they would rather square off in the Super Bowl.

Justin Tuck who has had a monster season at defensive end in place of Michael Strahan and Osi Umienyora, will be there as well. Punter Jeff Feagles and kicker John Carney will lead the NFC's special teams.

As for the Jets, they didn't send a single player to Hawaii last year, deservingly so since they went 4-12 last year. This year, the Jets are sending seven players to the game. This is the most Pro-Bowlers from a single team this season. That is pretty good for a team that may not even sniff the playoffs!

Brett Favre will be there. No suprise since the fans voted him in as soon as he annoucned his return in August. Even leading the NFL in interceptions was not enough to keep him from going to the Bowl.

Thomas Jones and Leon Washington will both go the Pro Bowl. Both players are deserving. Jones is leading the AFC in rushing and Washington is the best player on the Jets entire roster. Center Nick Mangold will finally make a Pro-Bowl appeareance.

Kris Jenkins makes it as the starting defensive tackle. He deserves it after a good first half. Joining Jenkins and Co. will be guard Alan Faneca and cornerback Darrell Revis.


As for the other Pro Bowl representatives: Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner will start for the NFC. Warner has helped resurrect a once-shameful franchise and led them to the NFC West title. Vikings running back Adrian Peterson makes it to his second straight Pro Bowl after leading the NFL in rushing in 2008.

As for the AFC defense, nine of the 17 defensive players are from the top three defenses in the league. The Steelers, Ravens and Titans are placing three players each into the defensive lineup.

The dreadful game will be aired the week after the Super Bowl, on Februray 8; if you are bored and don't know what to do with yourself, watch it. It will be broadcast on NBC.

Jets, Dolphins and Patriots Playoff Breakdown

Here are the formuli that could get the Jets into and out of the playoff party this season:

1) If the Jets win against Seattle and Miami, they win the AFC East based on a better conference record (8-4) than the New England Patriots, even if New England wins out as well.

2) If the Patriots win out and the Dolphins win out and finish at 11-5, the Jets would be 10-6, or 9-7, and probably out of the playoffs. Both New England and Miami would make the playoffs, with the Dolphins as a divison winner and the Patriots as a wild card. The Patriots make the postseason if Baltimore loses one of its final two games.

3) If the Patriots win out and the Dolphins and Jets split, then the Patriots win the AFC East. The Jets will have to hope that they beat Miami to win that tie-breaker and, further, hope that they have a better conference record than the Baltimore Ravens in order to clinch the sixth seed.

4) If the Patriots and Ravens win out and the Dolphins and Jets split their final two games, then the Jets and Dolphins would miss the playoffs. The Patriots would win the AFC East, and the Ravens would be the sixth seed.

5) If the Dolphins win out and the Ravens win out, and the Jets and Patriots lose at least one game, then both Miami and Baltimore will make the playoffs.

6) If the Dolphins, Ravens and Patriots win out, the Jets are out of the playoffs. The Dolphins win the AFC East, and the Ravens win the wild card over the Patriots, because of a better conference record.

7) If the Jets, Patriots, and Ravens win out, the Dolphins are out of the playoffs. The Jets would win the AFC East, and the Ravens would be the wild card, knocking the Patriots out of the playoffs.

8) If the Jets and Patriots win out, and the Ravens and Dolphins lose at least one game, then the Jets win the AFC East, and the Patriots win the wild card.

9) If the Patriots, Jets and Dolphins all lose a game and finish tied at 10-6, then the Jets win the AFC East, and the Dolphins would have an edge over the Patriots for the wild card. The Dolphins will then have to hope that the Ravens lose their last two games in order to clinch the wild card. If the Ravens finish 10-6 or 11-5, then the Ravens will be the wild card and the Dolphins would be out.

10) If the Patriots lose a game, they are automatically eliminated from the postseason.

11) If the Jets finish 10-6 and win the division based on a three-way tie with the Dolphins and Patriots, then the Denver Broncos would be the number three seed if they, too, finish at 10-6. The Broncos own a head-to-head tie-breaker against the Jets.

In short, don't waste your time buying playoff tickets at this juncture. The AFC East is way too clouded and the chances that the one of these teams will play a home game is quite small.

Cohen's NFL Rankings Through Week 15

This is the time of the year when teams need to begin to play at their best, heading into the postseason. History has shown that playing well in December can translate into playing for Championships in January. Just look at last year's Giants team that got hot in the final two weeks of the regular season and used that momentum to win four straight road games to win the Super Bowl. In other words, anything can happen. Could the same happen for the 8-5-1 Eagles? Or the 9-5 Falcons? Or the 9-5 Patriots? It sure can.

1) Pittsburgh Steelers (11-3): No team is tougher mentally and physically than the Steelers. Pittsburgh's huge comeback victory against the Ravens proved that the Steelers are the best team in the AFC. Now they go down to Tennessee and prove it for real this weekend, with home-field advantage on the line.

2) Carolina Panthers (11-3): No team is hotter than the Panthers. The Panthers have won three straight and six of seven. Early in the season, rookies DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were the story for the Panthers; now the rest of the offense is catching up. Steve Smith had nine catches for 165 against Denver, giving Carolina a complete offense. They go for home-field advantage in the NFC in a game against the suddenly slumping Giants.

3) Indianapolis Colts (10-4): The Colts are red hot. They have won seven straight and look poised to finish the season 12-4, clearly the most dangerous team in the AFC playoffs. In spite of the 30th ranked rushing game, Peyton Manning has managed to throw for 3,543 yards and 23 touchdowns. The Colts passing attack is ranked sixth in the league, which is remarkable for such a bad ground attack.

4) N.Y. Giants (11-3): They are in big trouble. Not only have the Giants failed to deal with the Plaxico Burress situation, on the field, they have been banged up lately. Brandon Jacobs missed the Cowboys game due to a knee injury and is questionable for Sunday. The offensive line is also beat up, and it showed as Eli Manning was sacked eight times Sunday. It appears the Giants are suddenly going in reverse at the wrong time of the year.

5) Tennessee Titans (12-2): The Titans are showing signs that they are really not that good. Down 13-12 to the Texans, Jeff Fisher decided to put the ball in the hands of Kerry Collins, instead of kicking a winning field goal. Result: Big Mistake. Collins overthrew his intended receiver on fourth down, ending the game. Anytime a team has Collins as its quarterback, and a receiving corps where Justin McCareins is the only big name on the team, it means bad things can happen.

6) Dallas Cowboys (9-5): The Cowboys are really playing well. The Boys defense had eight sacks of Eli Manning on Sunday and has surrendered 20 points only twice in the last five games. Even with Terrell Owens causing so many distractions, the Boys are still in position to make the playoffs.

7) Philadelphia Eagles (8-5-1): The Eagles are starting to take off. After Donovan McNabb's benching in a 36-7 loss to the Ravens in mid November, the Eagles are beginning to figure things out. First, it was a blowout victory against the Cardinals, a gutsy win against the Giants and a laugher against the Browns. If the Eagles win out, they will make the playoffs. The tie they had early in the season will give them an slight advantage over any team that is 10-6.

8) Minnesota Vikings (9-5): The Vikings are starting to catch fire. In fact, behind Carolina, the Vikings are the hottest team in the NFC. They have won four straight, and are poised to win out and finish 11-5. The Vikings even have a shot at the number two seed and bye week, if the Giants lose out. Adrian Peterson has been great this year, leading the league in rushing with 1,581 yards. The quarterback tandem of Tavaris Jackson and Guss Frerotte have been decent this year. In relief of Frerrotte a week ago, Jackson went 11 for 17 for 163 yards and four touchdowns.

9) Miami Dolphins (9-5): Chad Pennington has the Fish on fire. The Dolphins find ways to squeak games out, so, with that, they are in a position to win the AFC East if they win out. The Dolphins have to focus this week against the lowly Kansas City Chiefs; they don't want to get caught looking ahead to the Jets in the season finale.

10) New England Patriots (9-5): In the end, it didn't matter that Tom Brady didn't play this season. You think the Pats would have been better than this if Brady were healthy? Maybe by a game or two, but not by much. Bill Belichick might deserve coach of the year honors more than anyone else for keeping this team focused after its leader went down in week one. Matt Cassel has developed into a legitimate number one quarterback throwing for 3,270 yards and 18 touchdowns. Don't be shocked to see the Patriots in the playoffs in two weeks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Jauron To Keep Job In Spite of Stupidity

Even though he put in one of the dumbest play calls one can make to end a football game, Dick Jauron will be employed in 2009.

The Buffalo Bills head coach, who has seen his team lose seven of its last eight games, including an inexplicable 31-27 loss to the Jets on Sunday, signed a three year extension with the ballclub late Monday afternoon.

Jauron is not exactly the model of a winning coach. In four years with the Bears, he had only one winning season, 13-3 in 2005, only to see his team get upended by the Carolina Panthers in the Bears opening playoff game that year. He went 36-48 in those years with Chicago.

In three years with the Bills, he has failed to live up to high expectations. The Bills showed improvement in 2007, winning seven games and looking like a team on the rise with young stars in running back Marshawn Lynch, quarterback Trent Edwards, defensive end Aaron Schobel and receiver Lee Evans.

The Bills got off to a fast start in 2008, opening 5-1 before suffering a string of bad fortune, including two injuries to Edwards. Overall, Jauron is 20-26 with the Bills since the 2006 season.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Things Fall Apart. Giants Season Dying?


As the song "Extreme Ways" goes in it's third stanza, "Then it fell apart, it fell apart." That might be the theme of this the 2008 New York Giants season.

A season that had been full of so much promise for a repeat trip to the Super Bowl on February 1st, looks more destined for golf on Februrary 1st for many of the Giants players. At a time of the year when a team must play its best football, the Giants are not doing that at the moment.

The Cowboys not only beat the Giants, they physically and psyhcologically beat them. Tony Romo, who was beat up all night long by the Giants defense, and even suffered a back injury, toughed it out and played well, throwing for 244 yards and two touchdowns.

The same can't be said for Eli Manning, who was sacked eight times in the game. The once vaunted Giants offensive line was no match for the Cowboys violent pass rush which harrassed Manning all night, not allowing the Super Bowl MVP to do anything. It was also obvious that the Giants missed Brandon Jacobs. Without Jacobs, the Giants rushed for only 72 yards total on the night, with Derrek Ward getting 64 of them.

With the game still scoreless, Romo rolled to his right, back injury and all, and heaved the ball over the head of rookie corner Kenny Phillips into the hands of a wide open Patrick Crayton for the touchdown.

Later, with Dallas up 14-8, Tasard Choice, turned out to be the right choice for the Cowboys, as he dashed right through the Giants defense for a 38 yard touchdown run to give the Cowboys a commanding 20-8 lead.

The Giants fall to 11-3 on the season and are no longer guaranteed home field through the playoffs. They are currently tied with the red hot Carolina Panthers for the number one seed. Both teams square off next week at the Meadowlands in a semi-playoff game. The winner clinches home field advantage throughout. The loser is the number two seed. If the Giants lose and fall to 11-4, and go into their regular season finale against a 10-5 Minnesota Vikings team, a loss to the Vikings would cost the Giants a bye week. The Vikings would be the number two seed, and the Giants will have to play on Wild Card weekend. How the mighty fall fast ... like a stone through water.

Dumb Luck. Bills Gift Wrap Jets a Victory


Don't get too excited Jet fans; your team is plain vanilla lucky to be 9-5 today. The Jets were well on their way to losing their third straight game, as well as all but flushing their playoff hopes down the toilet, when Bills coach Dick Jouran decided to make one of the dumbest play calls one can make, and J.P. Losman made one of the dumbest plays a quarterback can make. With the game all but wrapped, the Bills faced a second and five at their own 27 yard line with 2:06 to go. All Buffalo had to do was run the ball for a first down, let the clock run to 2:00 and the victory would have been theirs. Instead, Jouran decided to put in a pass play. Losman, in typical Losman fashion, botched the play when he was sacked by Jets saftey Abram Elam, causing Losman to fumble the football. Shaun Ellis picked up the loose ball and stumbled into the end zone for the game winning touchdown.

It was one of the most improbable plays in NFL history; right up there with David Tyree's helment catch in the Super Bowl and Tom Brady's phantom tuck rule performance in 2001 against the Raiders. The Jets had no business winning this football game. In fact, they didn't deserve to win.

Nevertheless, the Bills were the ones who shot themselves in the foot. Other than the fumble, Rossco Parrish returned a punt for a touchdown early in the third quarter, but it was called back becasue of holding penalty against Buffalo. Overall, Buffalo committed four penalties for 33 yards, all of which were drive killing penalties.

The Jets had no answer for Losman, who had all day to throw, and when he connected with a receiver, he managed to pick apart the worst secondary in football. Losman was 24 for 39 on the day for 148 yards with a touchdown and three picks, but two of the those interceptions came in the final 1:30 of the game.

Marshawn Lynch had a huge game for Buffalo, grinding out 127 yards on just 21 carries. Lynch had such a good afternoon, it remains a mystery why he didn't get the ball to end the game. Even Fred Jackson had a big day, running for 31 yards on seven carries, including a touchdown from 11 yards out; he carried eight Jet defenders to the end zone.

Offensively, the Jets were invisible. Brett Favre was awful, completing only 17 passes for 207 yards and two interceptions. He overthrew and underthrew his receivers all day. Still, his receivers didn't help much, not getting open and dropping balls. Thomas Jones did absoultely nothing on the ground, gaining only 78 yards on the day. The only reason the Jets were even close to putting up 31 points was Leon Washington. Washington's 47 yard touchdown before halftime to give the Jets a 21-17 lead was huge for New York.

The Jets are very fortunate to be alive for a division title tonight. This is a soft, vanilla football team that lacks an ounce of toughness. It is a reflection of their coach, who applauded the bad play after the game, and their fans, who didn't show up to support the team. More than half of Giants Stadium was filled with Buffalo Bill fans. Don't be shocked if the Jets lose their last two games in Seattle and home to Miami.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Mets Dump Schoeneweis On Diamondbacks

After the Scott Schoeneweis-for-Jason Marquis deal fell through on Thursday, the Mets turned around and ended up trading Schoeneweis, instead, to the Arizona Diamondbacks for minor league pitcher Conor Robertson and cash.

The Mets had to get rid of Schoeneweis who had become a cancer in the Mets beleaguered bullpen, blowing big games and failing to hold onto the leads. Could the Mets have gotten more for Schoeneweis? Yes, they could have had Marquis if Chicago were willing to pay some of his salary, but that did not happen.

It is not known what contribution, if any, Robertson will make in 2009. It doesn't matter because he could be included in a trade package for something better.

Yankees Tap Burnett For 5 Years $82 Million

The Yankees continue to defy economic odds as they continually throw money at starting pitching.

The Yankees signed former Florida Marlin and Toronto Blue Jay A. J. Burnett to a five year $82 million contract. The Yankees hope Burnett will be more successful than another Florida Marlin, Carl Pavano, who stole millions of dollars from the Yankees after serving most of his five year contract on the disabled list.

Burnett went 18-10 with a 4.07 ERA last year for Toronto, but what caught the Yankee's eye was Burnett's domination of the Bronx Bombers in 2008. He was 5-0 against the Yankees last season.

The Yankees now have to hope that Andy Pettite signs a one year $10 million contract that would solidify the rotation with C.C. Sabathia and Chien Ming Wang already slotted into the top two slots.

Cohen's Week 15 Selections & Predicting the Death of the Jets

Now that the playoff picture in the NFL is really developing, it is starting to look more likely that neither New York football team will have much of an impact when the playoffs begin. The Giants, having had their victory parade derailed last week against the Eagles, is one thing, but when it appears that the club is falling apart due to the Plaxico Burress/Antonio Pierce fiasco, it is hard to believe that this team will remain focused for another big stretch run.

Add to this the fact that running back Brandon Jacobs will likely be side lined for a while because of a couple of banged up knees, and that, outside of Amani Toomer, the Giants have no real deep threat at receiver left on the team. One has to wonder when, not how, the Giants will be picked off in the playoffs.

Keep in mind, during the Giants great run this season they have not seen a team from the NFC South, which is a better division than the NFC East. The Panthers have the best ground game in the league, and a receiving duo of Steve Smith and Mushin Muhammad that is as good as anything the Giants have to offer. The Cats are quickly taking the G-Men's place as the top team in the NFC. Big Blue better take note if they are to hold onto their Super Bowl title belt.

As for the Jets ... ah the Jets ... how should I say this ... the Favre giveth and the Mangini taketh away. It is only a matter of time before the Jets finally suffer their annual stroke and choke on another potential playoff seed. Even $140 million spent in the off season in addition to Brett Favre was not enough to keep the Jets from themselves. The clubhouse is in tatters due to Laverenues Coles discordance with Favre; coach Eric Mangini's coaching decisions look more questionable by the minute. The Jets may tease their fans this week against Buffalo, but they know better; Death is coming after Christmas, and his first name is Chad.

Now for Some Picks:

BILLS (6-7) @ JETS (8-5): The Jets will somehow figure out a way to squeek by the Bills and they will try to convince us all that things have turned around. I believe that as much as I believe that Brett Favre will retire again after the season. He will leave the Jets after this disaster comes to a fitting conclusion and will run like the wind to the Buccaneers, Vikings, or 49ers in 2009. That puts the Jets in a familiar spot ... absolutely nowhere! PICK: JETS 20, BILLS 9.

BUCCANEERS (9-4) @ FALCONS (8-5): How about that vaunted Buccaneers defense? Can you emphasize the word "old" as in old school. The Bucs are, indeed, old, so it might be time for Ronde Barber, Derrick Brooks and the rest of the Bucs D to look for a wheelchair, if not a retirement home after the Panthers racked up 300 yards on the ground on Monday night. Offensively, the Bucs somehow found a way to score 23 points and hang with the explosive Panthers, but I don't buy this either. Quarterback Jeff Garcia is as good a quarterback as cardboard makes for a good sandwich.

As for the Falcons, they might be coming back to reality. They finally lost a game to a better team in New Orleans a week ago and face a difficult schedule down the stretch. It might be asking a lot of rookie quarterback Matt Ryan to take this young team into the postseason. PICK: FALCONS 27, BUCCANEERS 24.

49ERS (5-8) @ DOLPHINS (8-5): The 49ers are a good looking young team. They have won three of their last four and have really picked it up under new coach Mike Singletary. Shaun Hill has looked good so far throwing 10 touchdowns and only four interceptions in six games as the starting quarterback. That being said, the 49ers will not be able to stomach a second trip to the East Coast in three weeks.

Meanwhile, the Dolphins have been impressive all year long, and it won't stop here. Expect Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams to run all over a tired 49ers defense and expect Chad Pennington to do something Brett Favre couldn't do ... pick apart the 49ers young secondary. PICK: DOLPHINS 21, 49ERS 14.

STEELERS (10-3) @ RAVENS (9-4): Talk about smash mouth football! This should be the most violent and bloodiest game of the week. If CBS had to put its TV parental ratings on for this one, it would be TV-MA for brutal, physical defense and jaw-dropping hits. The Steelers have been the best in the AFC this season (sorry Tennessee, I know you really suck, even with 12 wins). They are led by the number one defense in all of football. The Steelers surrender only 241 yards a game and only 73 yards on the ground.

The Ravens are right behind them. They are ranked second in the NFL in total defense, yielding 253 yards a game and only 77 yards on the ground. Should be a lot of fun to watch. Both Ben Roethlisberger and Joe Flacco will be running for their lives in this game, as long as they don't tuck tail and run into the end zone for a safety and then out of the building. Expect a low scoring affair, but keep in mind the winner of this game may not necessarily win the division due to tie breakers. PICK: RAVENS 13, STEELERS 10.

GIANTS (11-2) @ COWBOYS (8-5): You thought the Giants had problems; nothing could be more disturbing than the problems the Cowboys are facing right now. Terrell Owens has finally turned on Tony Romo, and it is not because he is jealous of Jessica Simpson. He is jealous of tight end Jason Witten, citing that the tight end gets more balls thrown in his direction than he does. Poor T.O., and to think, a year ago he was crying for his quarterback after the Giants squashed him in the playoffs.

Just goes to show that T.O. has nothing better to do than drag teams down into the pits of Hell. It was only a matter of time before he did the same in Dallas as he has done in Philadelphia and San Francisco. This controversy might be the best thing for the Giants. Admist their own problems, the Giants can take advantage of a really distracted Cowboy team. PICK: GIANTS 31, COWBOYS 28.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Mets Close To Acquiring Marquis From Cubs

The Mets continue to wheel and deal, even on the plane back to New York after a successful week in Vegas.

The Mets are close to finalizing a deal with the Chicago Cubs to acquire starting pitcher Jason Marquis. Marquis was 11-9 last season for Chicago with a 4:53 ERA. Marquis caught the Mets attention at the end of the 2008 season when he cranked a homerun to deep right field to beat the Mets as they began another September swoon.

Marquis is a native New Yorker, born in Manhasset, so no one has to sell him on living in the big city or in Queens. It was his back yard as a kid.

Marquis will fit nicely as the Mets number four or five starter, depending on what they plan to do with free agent Oliver Perez.

Scott Schoeneweis, who also drew the ire of Met fans this season with his lackluster performaces out of the bullpen, will be dealt to Chicago in return.

The deal is not offically done. When it is, the exact terms and players will be published.

Yankees Acquire Former Met Mike Cameron

In a move to keep C.C. Sabathia happy about his decision to sign with the Yankees, the Bronx Bombers swong a deal with the Milwaukee Brewers to acquire centerfielder Mike Cameron, one of Sabathia's old teammates and best friends.

Cameron is a reliable outfielder, and is arguably the best outfielder on the team now, with the aging Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui set to play left and right field respectively.

All the Yankees had to give up was center fielder Melky Cabrera, who was too small to play center and did not hit much either last season.

Cameron is no stranger to New York, he spent three years with the Mets from 2003 - 2005. He had some good moments, but is best remembered for crashing head first into Carlos Beltran in 2005. Both suffered severe head injuries, but Cameron got the worse of the hit, ending his season and career with the Metropolitans.

Cameron is also a good guy to add to the clubhouse. He is known for keeping teammates loose, something that will be important in a Yankee clubhouse that is full of stiffs.
Last season Cameron hit .243 with 25 homeruns for the Brewers. The Yankees will be Mike's sixth team. He has spent time with the Mariners, Reds, Mets, Padres and Brewers in succession through his career.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Mets Dump Hielman & Chavez On Mariners; Get Closer Putz

Omar Minaya is a genius once again.
The Mets general manager, determined to rid the ballclub of the stentch and pressence of relief pitcher Aaron Heilman, and the dead weight bat of Endy Chavez just completed a three-team deal with the Seattle Mariners and Cleveland Indians to get Mariners closer J.J. Putz.

The Mets sent Heilman, who had become the eye of hatred for Mets fans with his sour expression and even more sour pitching performances, to Seattle with outfielder Endy Chavez. Chavez made one of the most overrated catches in Mets history when he robbed then-Cardinals third baseman Scott Rolen of a homerun in the 2006 NLCS, a game the Mets would lose anyway.

The Mets also sent firstbase prospect Mike Carp to Seattle, while the Indians countered with outfielder Franklin Gutierrez going to the Mariners as well.

The Mets also sent relief pitcher Joe Smith to Clevleand, while Seattle shipped second baseman Luis Vabuena to the Indians to join Smith.

In return for these moves, the Mets received Putz, who was the Mariners closer for the past handful of years, but had a down year in 2008 with only 15 saves and a 3.88 ERA. In 2007, Putz was an All Star with 40 saves and a 1.38 ERA. The Mets also got reliever Sean Green and outfielder Jeremey Reed from the Mariners as well. Green will likely replace Smith's spot in the bullpen as a middle innings reliever, while Reed will be add depth to the Mets bench. Putz, will of course, be the set-up man for K-Rod, Fransico Rodriguez.

This gives the Mets a dynamic eighth and ninth inning duo. They will start with the hard-throwing Putz in the eighth and finish the game with the third best closer in baseball behind Mariano Rivera and Boston's Jonathon Papelbon, in Rodriguez.