Birds rule the day as 2 of the 3 "bird teams" are now safely through to the championship round of the NFL playoffs. And what a way for the Falcons to do it. A game that was a real yawner for the better part of 3 quarters turned out to be the best of the whole weekend. So, when are football coaches going to realize that calling time out to "ice" a kicker just doesn't work? We've seen more than a handful of times this season in both the college and pro game that calling that time out just prior to the snap has actually worked against the team wanting to stop the action and play games with the opponent's kicker's head, and it happened again yesterday when Matt Bryan missed his initial try. Bryant and the Falcons got a "do over" though as that didn't count because Coach Carroll, trying to be cagey, called for time out.
There's no other way around it. If you're going to try and pull some fancy stuff, don't wait till the last second. Let the kicking team get out there, get lined up and then call for time. Trying to wait until the last possible nanosecond puts you in the same unenviable position Carroll is in today where everybody in the world knows that his team would be in next week's championship game if it weren't for him calling that stupid time out.
THE NBA (4-3 yesterday)
SU WINNERS (5-2 yesterday)
CELTICS, BULLS, MAVS, JAZZ, Thunder and KINGS
We haven't had one for awhile so we might as well do it in a big way. There are 2 games showing up as ties in the statistical breakdown, and those would be Magic/WIZARDS and Clippers/GRIZZLIES.
TOTALS (1-6 yesterday)
OVERS - Magic/WIZARDS (193) and Cavs/KINGS (204 1/2)
UNDERS - Bobcats/CELTICS (189 1/2), Hawks/BULLS (184 1/2), Clippers/GRIZZLIES (194), Wolves/MAVS (197 1/2), Heat/JAZZ (197) and Thunder/SUNS (199)
BUTTA (1-0 yesterrday)
Thunder (-220) over SUNS - OkC is at (-5) for this game, and they're a team that's at least that many better than the Suns, but fatigue may be an issue. This will be the Thunder's 3rd game in 4 nights, and, as expected, they were a tad lackluster last night in Portland even though they did get the win. What puts the Thunder over here, other than the talent mismatch, is the fact that there's weariness on the Suns side too. I always like to stay away from home teams that are playing their 1st game back off a long road trip. The Suns weren't away from home all that long---only 5 days---but they played 4 games in that time, and this will also be their 6th game in 9 nights. It also doesn't hurt to know that the Thunder have won 7 of 8 meetings with the Suns over the last 3 years. Thunder 94, SUNS 86
ALL THE REST
1. Magic (+2) over WIZARDS - A bit of a strange scheduling scenario that has seen the Magic spending much of the last week on the left coast but heading all the way back into their own time zone in the same road trip. The Wiz are going to start showing a little better with John Wall back, but the kid is going to need time to get back in game shape. I don't like the Magic without Glen Davis, but this is a game they still should win. Magic 101, WIZARDS 101
2. CELTICS (-11 1/2) over Bobcats - I know the 'Cats are horrible, but doubles will never work for me, and in looking at this projection, this number cuts it way too close for comfort anyway. CELTICS 88, Bobcats 76
3. BULLS (-4) over Hawks - I had it in my head that the Bulls should get it done here, but I honestly don't know how anyone could side with either of these teams at this point in time. The Hawks are reeling, and Chicago is fresh off getting blown off their home court last Saturday night by a team that was playing it's 4th game in 5 nights. BULLS, Hawks 80
4. Clippers (+2) at GRIZZLIES - The Clips have so many weapons, but one thing that's been lost on them so far this season is how well they play defense. It's every bit as good as the Griz. Clippers 91, GRIZZLIES 91
5. Wolves (+7) at MAVS - Let's not get all excited about the Mavs after their runaway win over the Griz on Saturday night. Remember that a blind squirrel is going to get a nut every now and then, and if you recall, I called it when I said the Griz were ripe for the picking in that game. The Wolves aren't any bargain either without Kevin Love, so this one can't be anything else but a "pass" for me. MAVS 94, Wolves 89
6. JAZZ (+8 1/2) vs. Heat - It didn't seem to bother the Heat too much when these 2 teams met in Miami just before Christmas, but The Champs tend to struggle with teams that are big and active in the paint. The Jazz fits that bill, plus we all know that SLC has historically been a tough place for visitors. JAZZ 100, Heat 90
7. KINGS (-5) over Cavs - The Cavs are on the b2b tonight, and that's not a good spot for them. They're 1-12 overall in that situation so far this season and 1-7 when they close out consecutive games on the road. I can't deal with the Kings though. This is a game they probably should cruise in, but that has tended to work against them in the past. KINGS 110, Cavs 101
Have a great evening. I'll talk to you again tomorrow.