Spurs vs. Pacers vs. Heat

Will Tim Duncan get his 5th ring?

Will Tim Duncan get his 5th ring?

Who would have thought that the San Antonio Spurs would sweep the series against the Grizzlies and that the Pacers would be tied 3-3 with the Miami Heat. While San Antonio rests, heals, and awaits to find out who they will be playing for their 4th NBA Championship in the last decade, the Heat and Pacers will meet again Monday night. Here’s a quick glance at the advantages each team has over the others and who the Spurs would rather play for the NBA Championship.

The Big Men:
After the Spurs seemingly manhandled one of the best duos down low in the NBA, you would be hard pressed to give any team the big man advantage over the Spurs. Roy Hibbert has been getting a lot of love for his performance against Miami. And is getting even more attention for throwing around gay slurs and calling the media motherf—–s in his post game conference. However, if you were going to ask me whether I’d have a duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph or Roy Hibbert and David West, I’ll take Gasol and Randolph any day of the week.  If San Antonio can deal with Z-bo and Gasol, they can handle Hibbert and West. Hibbert averaged 11.9 PPG and  8.3RPG during the season. Against Miami, he’s bumped that up to 22.8PPG and 10.8RPG. So how has Hibbert suddenly found himself and become an unstoppable threat down low? I’m going to say no.
Miami’s presence down low is abysmal. Chris Bosh has already been having a career low in rebounding, and against the Pacers is getting a whopping 3.7RPG. 3.7! That’s completely ridiculous for a 6’11 All-Star player. Look at Bosh’s RPG this season against teams with reputable centers or power forwards in the league. Against Brooklyn-3.3RPG, Indiana-3.3RPG, Utah-1.0RPG, Philadephia-3.3RPG. Chris Bosh doesn’t shut down opposing big men, he gets shut down and dominated. Possession control wins in the post season. Hibbert’s excellence right now is more a byproduct of Miami’s atrociousness at handling big men. Hell, if the Pacers leave Hibbert in game 1, James probably doesn’t get the game winning lay up at the buzzer and maybe there isn’t even a game 7. I don’t expect Hibbert to keep up this level of play against a team such as San Antonio. He’s a good center, but his regular season numbers speak volumes. As far as Miami goes, it’s not the big men that win games, its LeBron James.

Advantage: San Antonio Spurs
Whether it’s the Pacers or the Heat, San Antonio will have the advantage in the big man category. Obviously they would prefer to deal with Miami down low rather than the Pacers, but when you have the best power forward of all time playing alongside one of the leagues best coaches, you have the advantage. The Big Fundamental and a fundamentals coach made their statement against the Grizzlies. They can play down low against anyone in the league. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, its all about Timmy D, and he’s going to get his.

Small-Forward:
Kawhi Leonard is an ever-growing asset to the San Antonio franchise and seems to just be getting better and better. Paul George emerged this year as an All-Star and one of the best all around players in the league. But NOONE can argue that Miami does not have the advantage in the small forward position. LeBron James is the greatest basketball player on Earth. Both the Pacers and the Heat have the advantage against San Antonio in the Small Forward position, but the Spurs would rather face Paul George than LeBron James against them on the court.

Advantage: Miami Heat
You never want to play against LeBron James. Plain and Simple.

Shooting Guard:
It appears that the NBA gods decided to plague the shooting guards left in the playoffs. Dwayne Wade’s stats this post season are 13.6PPG, 4.6RPG, 5.1APG, Manu’s 11.5PPG, 4.5RPG, and 5.4APG, and Lance Stephenson 9.4PPG, 7.7RPG, and 3.2APG. Look at that again, Lance Stevenson is performing at nearly the same level of Manu Ginobili and Dwayne Wade. Throw that in with the injury worries of Ginobili and Wade, and Stevenson may be the one to fear. He has that NBA Live ‘He’s on Fire’ ability that gets the Indiana crowd going wild when playing t home. While he’s playing well right now, theres no way I’m going to put him above Wade and Ginobili. Both are perrenial All-Stars for a reason. Despite Wade’s abysmal performance these past few games and his knees that seem to aged 30 years, everyone remembers his Finals performance against Dallas that gave Miami their championship pre-LeBron. And Ginobili can go from having a horrible shooting performance, to nailing the game winning shot with no time left.

Advantage: No Team
If Dwayne Wade and Ginobili continue their sub par performances, they are nearly comparable to Lance Stephenson. I never thought he’d be in the conversation for advantage at shooting guard but he’s there. Not because he’s playing at an all star level, but because the other two have fallen. I’m not basing this on the potential or sheer talent of the players, but the way their performing this post season.

Point Guard:

Tony Parker is one of the most underrated point guards in the league. Without Tony Parker, there is no way that the Spurs are in the Finals. The Spurs offense begins and ends with him and he runs the pick-and-roll to near perfection. Parker’s averaging 23.0PPG, 3.9RPG, and 7.2APG, but his team role goes beyond the numbers. He facilitates the Spurs game plan and conducts the team perfectly. He’s carried his team to a championship and won Finals MVP and I won’t be surprised the least if he does it again.
Who would have thought that George Hill could potentially get to the NBA Finals the same year as a Pacer as he could have as a Spur. Popovich may be going against one of the players he mentored, and while he’s a good point guard and can run the offense, he’s no Tony Parker. He’s an efficient player and can do his job, but it won’t be at an All Star level.
We all remember Dwayne Wade yelling “Mario F—ing Chalmers” after his stellar performance against the Thunder last year. If it wasn’t for his potential to randomly go off for 20+ points, hit those game winning shots he’s been doing since he left Kansas, or for his ridiculous outfit in Miami’s Harlem Shake video, I wouldn’t even talk about him. Like Hill, Chalmers does his job and can randomly have scoring outbursts. Neither player though will take the game over and be the reason his team succeeds.

Advantage: San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker is one of the best point guards in the league while the others aren’t even in the conversation. As far as a game manager goes, it doesn’t get much better than Tony Parker.

Coaching:
Advantage: San Antonio Spurs
I’m not even going to give this one an elaborate explanation. I commend Frank Vogel and Erik Spoelstra for leading their teams to the Eastern Conference Finals but I’m not going to say they are better than Popovich. Popovich is that coach that never seems to panic and always gets the best out of his players. He commands respect from his players and his authority is never questioned. He is one of the main reasons that the Spurs have been one of the most dominant teams throughout the past decade. He’s one of the greatest coaches the NBA has seen and his coaching acumen cannot be questioned. The fact that every player seems to develop and improve under his coaching is testimony to his coaching skill.

Who would the Spurs rather face?
The Indiana Pacers

I don’t think that it’s the question that the Spurs would rather play the Indiana Pacers. Their make up is not much different than that of the Grizzlies. They operate an inside-out game plan with athletic wing players. Paul George may be able to give them some trouble but Kawahi Leonard is a fantastic on ball defender and could potentially contain him. If I hadn’t seen the Spurs perform so well against the Grizzlies and be able to grind out and win those close games, I may underestimate their ability to contain Indiana’s big men. A series sweep against one of the best teams in the West though speaks volumes. Throw that in with Popovich’s time to analyze the Pacer’s game tape the past week along with the Spurs’ players getting rest, and you have a team that can handle anyone in the Finals.
While many would argue that the Spurs may do better playing against the Heat in the Finals, they have the ultimate X-factor. I don’t think that any team wants to match up against the best player in the world. There is just too much that can go wrong. Also, the funk that Bosh and Wade are in can’t continue forever. If those two can turn it on and LeBron plays to his usual level, the Heat rattle off the wins. One of the most important factors though is that these two teams didn’t play against eachother in the season. The Spurs infamously sat Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili right before their away game against Miami, and Miami sat Wade and James away against the Spurs. Both games were close despite the missing All-Stars. While the Spurs would probably rather match up against the Pacers, a Spurs-Heat Finals is the one I’m hoping for.
I want to see the ultimate team ball against the star studded cast of the Miami Heat. A team that announced themselves with a rock concert versus the quiet reserved players of the Spurs. One of the most dominant teams for the past decade going against the team that plans to rattle off “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven” championships. The series could signal the closing of a dynasty or the beginning of a new one, and something all basketball fans should want to see.

__________________________________________________________________
Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Screen Shot 2013-02-10 at 9.12.08 PM

Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

The Draft Day Blues

blues

The Draft Day Blues

In the NHL, two of the most anticipated days of the year are the trade deadline, and the opening of free agency. Some of the most important and consequential franchise-altering moves that a team makes can be made on these days. Case in point, last summer, the Minnesota Wild signed Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to matching 13-year, $98 million contracts four days into free agency. When looked back upon in about 10 years that moment will either be the turning point that ushered in an era of success, or it will be looked at as the point in which they handcuffed their future by throwing too much money to two players who never lived up to expectations. I tend to believe that it will be the first stated outcome, but regardless, the first day of free agency 2012 was the beginning of the new Wild era and represents the thinking of many teams in the league.  In today’s professional sports, the income is in the billions and often times money is thrown around to make teams competitive NOW. The problem with this approach is that if too many teams are doing it (let’s face it, the majority of the teams try it), you wind up overpaying for players and not getting your money’s worth out of them. In the desperation to “win now” many teams have lost sight of how to truly build a strong team because they overpay for free agents and trade draft picks away at the trade deadline to land certain players. With all the fuss about trade deadline day and the opening of free agency, many have lost sight of the most effective way to build a contending team for a period of time —  the NHL entry draft. One team in the NHL today has drafted better than any other team; the St. Louis Blues.

Generally, when you think of draft-built NHL teams, you think of a team like the Edmonton Oilers who feature first overall picks Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov. In addition, other first-round picks like Jordan Eberle, Sam Gagner and Ales Hemsky are playing big roles.  The problem with the Oilers is they are not a competitive NHL team, although they are flashy and exciting to watch. As of Thursday night, the Oilers are second in the Northwest Division, with eleven points. This may prove to be the year they make the playoffs. However, they are coming off of three consecutive  seasons in which they earned the first overall pick. The Oilers are coming up, but they aren’t there yet.

The St. Louis Blues are here already and they are not going anywhere. Of its active roster today, 12 of St. Louis’ 23 active players are draft picks of the Blues and the majority of them play significant roles on the team. The number of home-grown draft picks now playing on the Blues speaks volumes of the people who constructed this team. While not responsible for every draft pick still playing with the Blues today, the architect of the St. Louis Blues that take the ice today is John Davidson. For many of our casual hockey fans, Davidson was an NHL goalie-turned broadcaster, and was hired as the president of hockey operations of the Blues in 2006. Davidson recently left the Blues to take over the same position with the Columbus Blue Jackets, but during his time with the Blues he took them from having the fewest points in the league to Central Division (arguably the toughest in all of hockey) champions last season. Davidson slowly built the Blues up through the draft, not rushing his draft picks along to hope they live up to their potential at the expense of their development, and at different stages along the way, made other key personnel changes such as hiring GM of the year (2012) Doug Armstrong and coach of the year (2012) Ken Hitchcock. John Davidson is not a name that you might recognize unless you are immersed in hockey, but as we look at the Blues, he is a name that must be mentioned and remembered.

Now that we have covered the builders of the team, let’s look at each home-grown player for St. Louis.

Center – David Backes – 6’3” 225 lbs. – 2003 2nd Round Pick (62 overall) Team Captain

1

Although he is a pre-Davidson pick, Backes serves as Blues captain and falls into the category of underrated. He is a big guy and he uses his body effectively. Backes is an all-around player who can score, posting 274 points in 450 career NHL games. Backes was drafted in ‘03 and played at Minnesota State-Mankato for three seasons until starting the 2006 season on St. Louis’ AHL team before being called up later that season. He now leads the Blues with his combination of tough, physical and agitating play, along with his offensive ability.

Center – Patrik Berglund – 6’4” 219 lbs.-2006 1st Round Pick (25 overall)

2

Another large body that they like to use on the forecheck, Berglund is an interesting player. Drafted as a first-round pick in 2006 (their second first-round pick of that draft), the expectations were high  on Berglund coming out of the Swedish Elite League. He was consistent 20-goal scorer in Sweden, but his offensive upside was never realized. Despite only missing a total of 18 games over four NHL seasons, Berglund has only totaled 78 goals, and 168 points in 316 NHL games. What’s kept him around then? He is pretty responsible defensively and he is a great skater. In addition, he carries a low cap hit of $2.25 million and with his potential and previous proven 20 goal-scoring ability, that is a very reasonable price.

Center – T.J. Oshie – 5’11” 195. Lbs. – 2005 1st Round Pick (24th Overall)

3

T.J. Oshie is one of the core players for the Blues, and will be for years to come. Oshie is on a 5-year contract that sees him signed through the 2016-2017 season at a cap hit of $4.175 million. In a mere 268 NHL games, Oshie has 66 goals and 180 points and Oshie is coming off of his first healthy season last year in which he played in all but one game. Despite not hulking over 6-foot-tall like many of his teammates, Oshie isn’t undersized, standing at 5-foot-eleven and weighing 198 pounds. He has great speed speed, pretty good hands and is a physical player. He goes to the front of the net and gets dirty goals, a knack for agitating the opponents, yet himself is very well disciplined, posting a total of 133 PIM over his entire career. Look for him to also be a staple on Team USA during international and Olympics play.

Winger – David Perron – 6’0” 200 lbs.- 2007 First Round Pick (26th Overall)

4

The 24-year old-star winger is perhaps the most skilled played in the Blues lineup. He can stick handle in a phone booth and has a fantastic wrist shot. The knock on Perron early was consistency, as his goals totaled 13, 15 and 20 in his first three seasons, until he suffered a major concussion during the 2010-11 season, playing in only 10 games. Perron wouldn’t return from the hit he received from Joe Thornton on November 4, 2010 for over a year, before returning on December 4, 2011. His return season saw him play in 57 games and post 21 goals and 42 points. This season, although only ten games in, he has two goals and eight points. If Perron can stay healthy, which it now looks like he can, look for him to lead the way in scoring.

Winger – Vladamir Tarasenko – 5’11” 202 lbs. – 2010 First Round Pick (16th Overall)

5

Without much of a body of work, this kid has made a HUGE impression on the NHL community. Getting his shot with the NHL club, Tarasenko has jumped out to a fantastic start. In ten games for the Blues this year, he has 5 goals and 5 assists. The goals have all been beautiful. The Russian got his start playing in the KHL since the 2008-09 season, starting in the league playing against grown men at 15 years old. This experience has left him ready for the NHL and fearless, despite being slightly undersized at 5 foot 11, although he does weigh a healthy 202 pounds. Tarasenko looks like he’s here to stay, so lets sit back and watch the fireworks.

Defenseman – Alex Pietrangelo – 6’3” 205 lbs. – 2008 First Round Pick (4th Overall)

6

One of the key pieces of St. Louis’ success already and moving forward, has to be Alex Pietrangelo. After being drafted fourth overall, expectations are high for this kid  and so far, he is living up to them. A big body at 6 foot 3, he anchors the Blues top-four defensemen and would have to be considered the franchise player. Pietrangelo does it all, hits, skates well, passes well, can score, his positioning is spot on and pretty much any other aspect of the game that you could name, the kid does well in. Pietrangelo has posted fantastic offensive numbers in his brief NHL career, netting 25 goals and 104 points in only 183 games played. One of the most unheralded young star players in the game today, his future, along with the Blues looks bright.

Defenseman – Barret Jackman – 6’ 205 lbs. – 1999 First Round Pick (17th Overall)

7

Barret Jackman is one of your old-school NHL defensemen. Cut from the same mold as Chris Pronger and Scott Stevens, Jackman is a veteran of the league and one of the last players from the generation of players that I have been watching my whole life. In hiseleventh season of his career, he has seen the best and worst of the St. Louis Blues. He is  left over from the Keith Tkachuk, Al MacInnis and Scott Mellanby era, an era that  saw St. Louis always in the playoff mix and has seen the lows of the Blues being cellar dwellers. He is a tough, physical presence on the blueline and a leader both on and off the ice. With his career reaching the latter stages, there is probably no one on the Blues more motivated win now than Jackman. As a hockey fan, Jackman is a guy you love to watch for the way he plays the game and if you’re a fan of a rival team, you probably hate him. Mean and nasty at times, he clears the front of his net and works his own defensive corners very well. He also has a blast of a shot and sees some power play time too.

The Others Playing

Jaden Schwartz – Winger – 2010 First Round Pick (14th Overall)

  • Another young guy playing on the NHL club full time. Due to the talent in front of him, he sees less ice time, but still is a staple in the lineup with tons of potential still to reach.

Ryan Reeves – Winger – 2005 Fifth Round Pick (156th Overall)

  • He’s the team goon, his stat line says it all: 93  GP 5 G 3 A 8 PTS and 221 PIM. I am still a believer that a tough guy is a needed person on your team and that it creates more room out there for the skilled players. Reeves, despite his size at 6 foot 1, 229 pounds, is a pretty good fourth liner.

Ian Cole – Defenseman – 2007 1st Round Pick (18th Overall)

  • Another first- round pick and another solid player. Despite not seeing the accelerated success of a Pietrangelo, Cole is still a solid D-Man and so far this year is averaging nearly 19 minutes of ice time per game.

Roman Polak – Defenseman – 2004 Sixth Round Pick (180th Overall)

  • A staple on the Blues blueline for a while now, Polak is a guy you may not notice, but that can be a good thing, a la Rob Scuderi.

As you can see, the Blues have had tremendous success on draft day and have turned dark years into excitement for years to come. Along with the players they have drafted, two huge additions to the team are in net with Jaroslav Halak and Brian Elliot. Perhaps the best tandem between the pipes in the league, these two can bail out the young Blues at any given time when mistakes are made. And don’t let the star players of the Blues fool you, while they have some young players making up their core, they also have great experienced veterans supplementing the youngsters, such as Scott Nichol and Alex Steen and former Cup winners Andy McDonald and Jamie Langenbrunner.

While we are on the subject of draft picks too, we can’t forget the trading of number one overall pick Erik Johnson to Colorado last season for the dynamic Kevin Shattenkirk on defense and prototypical power forward Chris Stewart, who adds more size to the forward ranks at 6 foot 2, 232 pounds.

So here we are, in the waning days of February in this shortened NHL season and the Blues sit in one point out of second place in the Central Division at 6-4. After knocking the perennial Western Conference contending Sharks out in the first round last playoffs, they were derailed by the eventual cup champion Kings in four games. Now that the youngsters have had a taste of playoff success and the veterans knowing what it takes to sustain that success in the playoffs, the draft day Blues are poised to contend for hockey’s holy grail this year, and for many years to come.

____________________________________________________________________________
Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Pat Davis
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

http://www.twitter.com/PatDavisRiley

Legend of Lebron

The Legend

The Legend

Sunday night officially signaled the end of the NFL, the most watched sport in America. If you are just starting to follow the NBA season after the NFL’s closure, you’ve missed out on a lot. As CBS cameras caught Joe Flacco saying Sunday night, this NBA season has been “f—ing awesome!” In case you were wondering though, LeBron James is still the best player in the NBA. The Heat took a later flight from Toronto so they wouldn’t miss the Super Bowl but you wouldn’t have known watching James on Monday night. LeBron dominated the Charlotte Bobcats going an insane 13-14 from the field and played with so much energy you would have thought that American Airlines Arena might experience a blackout. As if shooting a career high percentage wasn’t enough, LeBron tallied up 8 boards, 8 assists, and 2 steals to go along with it. It’s just another milestone for LeBron James, and a performance we’ve grown used too. So for all you NFL fans, who only follow basketball once the NFL season is over, welcome to the LeBron James show.

LeBron has put up such ridiculous lines so consistently over the years that we have become accustomed to his greatness. It’s like when you go see a movie with Daniel Day Lewis, if it’s not in the running for best picture, then it’s a letdown. We only expect the best. Critics of LeBron always brought up his inability to play in the post (which he’s fixed), disappearing at the end of games (also been fixed) and his poor handling of The Decision and assumption of the role of villain. When I saw this happen, it became clear that LeBron is no longer the villain many once considered him.

That is LeBron James emotionally celebrating the unlikely success of a man who just won $75,000 hitting a half-court hook shot during the game. James was absolutely thrilled for the good fortune of another — a villain wouldn’t be thrilled. We do not expect NBA players to get so giddy and excited that they jump on another man during a NBA game. That’s LeBron though. He continually does things we don’t expect any NBA player to do and he mesmerizes us.  The scariest thing about LeBron is not only has he continued matching our expectations of him, but he’s exceeding them. LeBron is like the flu. Every year opposing teams and coaches know that LeBron is going to do some damage and you can take precautions and try to contain him (similar to getting the flu shot), but he’s still going to ruin a good amount of people’s day.  You look forward to flu season ending and being healthy, but you know that next year it’s only going to come back stronger and you’re going to have to deal with the whole scenario again.

LeBron James’ fountain of basketball greatness seems never ending as he has again increased his efficiency again during the offseason. With the All-Star break coming up, LeBron is shooting a career-high 55 percent from the field. That’s better than what Lakers’ star Dwight Howard or Atlanta’s Josh Smith can shoot from the free-throw line. Throw this in with a 40 percent success rate from the three, a career low 2.8 turnovers and LeBron is having the most efficient season of his career. With this efficiency has come production as LeBron averages 26 PPG, 8 RPG, 7 APG. The only thing receding about LeBron is his hairline and I think he’ll accept that as long as his game improves. The king is fighting to keep his crown with a growing Kevin Durant chasing him (which will be one of the greatest rivalries of the next decade), but the reigning MVP is proving why he’s considered the best basketball player on the planet.

He can distribute the ball like a point guard, score like a shooting guard, or post up underneath the basket like a power forward. Along with all of this, he’s too big to be defended by a traditional guard and he’s too fast to be matched against a power forward or center. He’s the hybrid, power point guard, basketball monster that can only be described as LeBron. He’s a dominant physical specimen with an extremely developed basketball IQ. It’s like facing a big, extremely athletic Chris Paul nightly. He never stops getting better. Critique something about him or his game, he’ll spend the next summer making sure the fault doesn’t exist. LeBron has even been able to improve his likeability this year. While rated sixth on Forbes’ 2012 list of most hated athletes, everyone knows that Lance Armstrong will dominate the list next year. As long as LeBron doesn’t get busted for PEDs or marry a Kardashian, he’s looking at seventh place in a worst-case scenario.

Beyond his ridiculous efficiency and averages, LeBron has hit some notable milestones this season. LeBron began this season by scoring 20 or more points in the first 33 games of the season. He is only the second player to have achieved this since the 1976 NBA merger, only trailing George Gervin’s 45-game streak. What’s most impressive about this? If you go back to last season, the last game he scored fewer than 20 points was April 13 against the Bobcats when he registered 19 points. After that game, LeBron scored 20 or more points in the next 54 games when including last year’s postseason. The guy operates so consistently that he seems more like a machine than man. This consistency allowed him to become the youngest player to 20,000 points and in LeBronian fashion, he dished his 5,000th assist that same game. For LeBron, one milestone just isn’t enough.

That seems to be the story of LeBron’s career — it’s never enough. A championship, a finals MVP, 3 regular season MVPs and two Olympic golds isn’t enough. He consistently improves his play, maturity and ever-growing legend each year. He’s someone who is constantly pushing himself to get better and has developed into someone who can play or defend any position on the court. He’s by far the best and most complete player. When the other teams only hope to stop you is by you stopping yourself and having an off night, you’ve reached a special level. LeBron is looking at a fourth MVP, another NBA finals appearance and a chance to further his legacy. I’m petitioning to make 2 Chainz poetic “I’m Diffrent” the theme song of LeBron James since no song could describe him better -“I’m different, yeah I’m different, pull up to the scene with my ceiling missing, middle finga up to my competition!” LeBron James is different than any other player in the league and his greatness has no ceiling. If you’re going to try to compete against LeBron James, good luck trying to keep up with the king.

____________________________________________________________________________
Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

Super Bowl Party for Dummies: 10 Ways Not to Be THAT GUY

superbowl

It’s Super Bowl week so we want to have a little fun here at The Cover 4.

We all know someone who is going to be “that guy” at your Super Bowl party this weekend. Is that going to be you or is it one of your buddies? Regardless, here are the 10 ways to avoid being THAT GUY this weekend.

1. Don’t Show Up Empty Handed

– Don’t break this rule! People spend plenty of hours making food so that you can enjoy the party. Don’t be the guy who shows up empty handed and expects to eat and drink everything. Also, bringing a bag of $.99 chips or a 1-liter drink from 7-11 doesn’t count. Let’s be real here! Pull your weight buddy.

2. Don’t Wear a Jersey of Your Favorite Team

– Believe it or not, but the season is over for your team. Don’t be the guy who shows up to the Ravens vs. 49ers Super Bowl party rocking his San Diego Charger jersey; save that jersey for the Pro Bowl dude… (oh wait, no one from the Chargers was chosen!). This is a game where the winners of the season get to wear their jerseys in pride, don’t rain on their parade.

3. Don’t Be the Guy Who Talks During Commercials

– This is the biggest commercial day of the year. Companies are paying millions of dollars for 30 seconds of air time so we are expecting to see the best of the best commercials. Don’t be the guy who talks during them. We all have the friend who has to give their input after every commercial. Relax killer and watch the commercials!

4. Don’t Be the Guy Who Talks About His Football Past

– Get over it Uncle Rico. We don’t care about your high school all-star past or your “tremendous” college career as a back-up. The glory days are over. Don’t let watching the Super Bowl bring back your glory days.

5. Don’t Be The Sports Book Guy

– We all know you spent $1000 at the sports book this weekend judging by the 45 tickets you have in your hand. We don’t care that you have every scenario from the coin flip to the game-winning field goal. Don’t be the guy screaming to throw the ball to Dennis Pitta because you need the over on his three catches for the game or the guy screaming for a turnover because you picked the over on the fumbles. Keep it to yourself because we don’t need a play by play.

6. Don’t Try to Act Like You Know More Than You Really Do

– Yup, it is true. We all know the guy who screams for Matt Ryan’s release or trade after an interception. “Oh my, Matt Ryan, you are so terrible! Next year we are going to trade Ryan for Andrew Luck.” Don’t be that guy who continues to act like he knows football more than he really does.

7. Don’t Drink All The Beer (And Be Out of Hand)

– We all know the friend who — in connection with Rule 1 — shows up empty handed (or with a measly six-pack of junk beer) and is drinking the beer at a torrid pace. Bro, you can’t drink all those beers if you didn’t supply some for the rest of us. It is almost kickoff and you’re seven deep. COME ON MAN! On the tail end, don’t be the belligerent idiot who is blacking out before half-time. We don’t want you stumbling around here. Be an adult and hold your liquor.

8. Don’t Act Like You Should Be The Coach

-“Call timeout! Call timeout! What are you doing? A run on 3rd and 2 with Frank Gore? I woulda thrown the bomb to Randy Moss down the sideline for an easy touchdown.” Do us all a favor and shut your mouth. You are a college student/entry businessman/hotel agent/etc. essentially everything but a coach. Sit down and let the coaches do their job buddy. Just because you play a lot of Madden and NCAA doesn’t mean you know what you are talking about.

9. Don’t Be Mr. Bandwagon

– Nothing is worse than the guy who just jumped on the bandwagon, especially when he rolls in with his brand new jersey or t-shirt. “Yeah man, my mom is from there. I’ve been a fan of the team since I was a little kid”. Do us all a favor and go watch the game somewhere else. Oh, we all know they exist because my Twitter and Facebook feeds are blowing up with some people who I didn’t even know liked the sport.

10. Let the Commentators Commentate

– Nothing is worse than the guy who tries to be one step ahead of the commentators. Oh man, let the professionals do their jobs because the rest of us want to watch and listen to the game. Don’t be the guy who continues to yell and scream about what is happening. Newsflash, we are all watching and listening to the same game my man.

BONUS: No Crying When Your Team Wins/Loses

– At the end of the day, someone’s team is winning and someone’s is losing. As a result, crying is possible from both sides. Don’t be the guy whose team wins and you are crying like you just won the lottery; dude, life goes on. Just relax! The players and team don’t even know you exist, so you can chill out a little. As for the crying loser, don’t go and drink a ton of beers and/or throw things around because your team lost. I remember my team’s first Super Bowl loss…

 

____________________________________________________________________________
Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

James Kaikis
Chief Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

Super Bowl Props: A Gambler’s Delight

propbets

For an event like the Super Bowl, you can literally find anything on which to bet. And if there aren’t enough bets for you, then you have a gambling problem. We here at the Cover 4 decided to go through and highlight a few of the prop bets. Don’t have a nearby casino that has a sports book or an online account? Set up a pool with your buddies where everyone contributes $20 or $40 and everyone gets an imaginary $1000. Everyone goes through and decides how to distribute their $1000 on what props. Whoever would have won the most money gets the pot. Anyways, let’s take a look at a few of the things you can throw your money at this year.

The Harbaugh Bets * From Bovada.lv

If you haven’t heard WE HAVE TWO BROTHERS COACHING AGAINST EACH OTHER IN THE SUPERBOWL!! Online and Vegas casinos have gone nuts with this (along with ESPN and every sports other outlet) and are offering some interesting action on the brotherly love.

How many times will Jack Harbaugh be shown on TV during the game?

Over 2 (-150)

Under 2 (+110)

If you do not think Jack Harbaugh will be surrounded by CBS cameras watching every reaction to every play, realize it is 2013. The media is intrusive and repetitive. It’s what it does. I’m not saying Jack will get Katherine Webb-like coverage, but give me the over.

 

 

How long will the post game handshake/ hug last between Jim and John Harbaugh?

Over 7 seconds (-120)

Under 7 seconds (-120)

If you’re sitting next to your best friend or brother, give him a hug for 7 seconds. It’s a bit of time. Now imagine that they just won the girl of your dreams and left you with nothing but crushed dreams. Those 7 seconds seems like a hell of a long time. These men have dreamt about winning the Super Bowl their entire lives. They’ll talk at dinner the night after, not immediately following one of them just failed to make his dream a reality.

 

How many times will the game be referred to as the Harbaugh Bowl or Har Bowl or Super Baugh during the game?

Over 2.5 (Even)

Under 2.5 (-140)

If you watched ESPN how many times did you hear this today? 10? 15? 20? It will get said and I can’t wait until next year and we can call it the Super Bowl again.

 

The Quarterbacks *Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

Colin Kaepernick’s first rushing attempt:

Over 5.5 (-110)

Under 5.5 (-110)

 

He averaged 6.6 yards during the regular season and 11.2 yards this postseason. It’s the young stud versus an aging linebacker corps. With someone as big and fast as Kaepernick, I’ll put my money that he’ll be able to take a couple strides when he decides to scramble.

Total Rushing Yards by Colin Kaepernick:

Over 48.5 (-110)

Under 48.5 (-110)

 

16 rushes for 181 yards? Or 2 rushes for 21 yards, which Kaepernick will he be? The answer will rely more on the Ravens’ attack against the read option — will they key on Kaepernick or Frank Gore? Kaepernick has busted off three runs of 50 or more yards this year. Get ready to hold your breath every time he takes off if you bet against him, because he only may need one rush.

Total Rushing Yards by Flacco:

Over 2.5 (+105)

Under 2.5 (-125)

If Flacco cannot rush over 2.5 yards, I will get to see this picture all over twitter, which is a win for everyone.

 

Possible Kaepernick caption: “This guy ran for more yards than Flacco!”

Flacco response: “To get away from ever being held like that again.”

 

Will Joe Flacco throw an interception?

Yes (-155)

No (+135)

 

Joe Flacco is on a roll right now with an 8:0 touchdown to interception ratio this postseason. Anquan Boldin is playing like a monster right now and expect him to either catch the ball or manhandle the defender trying to make a play. When Flacco throws to Torrey Smith, it’s either 10 feet ahead of everyone or Smith is the only player on the field fast enough to run underneath and get there. Flacco becomes an elite quarterback if he throws a perfect game, but if he throws a pick in Ray Lewis’ last game, he falls back into that middle tier and Lewis will be chewing on more than grass.

 

The Running backs *Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

Total rushing yards by Ray Rice:

Over 63.5 (-110)

Under 63.5 (-110)

Bernard Pierce’s role is expanding and Rice will be facing a stout San Francisco defense.

No disrespect to Ray Rice but I don’t quite think he’ll get to 63 yards on Sunday.

 

Total rushing yards by Frank Gore:

Over 81.5 (-110)

Under 81.5 (-110)

 

The Ravens rushing defense just isn’t what it used to be. Before Stevan Ridley got knocked out during the AFC Championship he had rushed for 70 yards. If Baltimore takes away Kaepernick’s ability to run, expect him to hand the ball off to Gore a frequent amount of times.

Longest Rush by Frank Gore

Over 17.5 (-110)

Under 17.5 (-110)

17.5? Really? I’m not saying Gore’s incapable of busting off a run this length, but it will take a serious defensive lapse. With a good amount of rest and time for preparation, I think the Ravens will be ready to prevent the big rushing plays.

 

The Receivers * Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

 

Longest reception by Torrey Smith:

Over 27.5 (-110)

Under 27.5 (-110)

Flacco has a huge arm and Smith is the Ravens go-to deep threat. He averaged 17.4 yards per catch this season. If there’s one-on-one coverage against Smith, expect the throw and expect it deep. Take the over.

Total Receiving Yards by Torrey Smith:

Over 65.5 (-110)

Under 65.5 (-110)

If the Ravens win this game, it’s going to be through the air. Smith could possibly get this in one play. It’d be a hell of a pass but with his speed and being a deep-ball threat, it’s not impossible. If Smith isn’t able to get going, I don’t see the Ravens being able to pull off the W.

Total receiving yards by Michael Crabtree:

Over 82.5 (-110)

Under 82.5 (-110)

The DA agreed to not file charges so long as Crabtree wins the Super Bowl (just kidding). Either Crabtree or Vernon Davis is going to be big in the passing game this week. Crabtree had 119 yards against Green Bay but just 57 against Atlanta. I’m thinking that the Ravens will try to take away Davis in the middle leaving Crabtree with some one-on-ones meaning a good amount of yardage.

 

The Kickers: *Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

Will the first kickoff of SB XLVII Result in a Touchback?

Yes (-170)

No (+150)

 

Akers kicked the ball deep into the end zone multiple times against the Saints in Week 12 and all 5 for touchbacks against Atlanta in the NFC Championship. Tucker has a huge boot on him and in the Mercedes Benz Superdome, I expect them to fly into the end zone. Hopefully special teams stud Jacoby Jones doesn’t try to make a play from the get go and bring one out from deep in the end zone.

Longest made field goal of game:

Over 44.5 (-110)

Under 44.5 (-110)

 

If the Ravens have a shot at a field goal from 45-55 yards, they’ll send Tucker out and odds are he’ll nail it. He’s made 30 of 33 field goals this year. I wouldn’t count on Akers, as the Lakers are more likely to get a three-game winning streak than he is to put up three points. At this point, Jim Harbaugh would probably lean on Kaepernick to get closer than 45 yards before sending the kicker out.

 

Odds on Odds on Odds *Lines from Las Vegas Hotel & Casino Super Book

Will Ed Reed intercept a pass?

Yes +400

No -500

 

Ed Reed has 8 interceptions in 14 playoff games, yet he has failed to pick a ball off this postseason. Is he overdue?

 

No touchdown will be scored in Super Bowl XLVII:

200:1

 

Will defenses dominate the game? Will it be a match between David Akers and Justin Tucker? I’m pretty sure me and the rest of America hope it won’t be. Someone has to get a touchdown!

 

Will any Baltimore or San Francisco Player on Active roster be arrested before Super Bowl XLVII?

No (-500)
yes (+500)

 

First off, I don’t know who should be more ashamed of themselves for stereotyping NFL players. Should it be Bovada for offering the bet or the people who take the odds? Or is it not shameful at all? That being said its Mardi Gras, with Michael Crabtree, Ray Lewis and two NFL teams — yikes.

 

Will there be a safety?

Yes (+900)

No (-1300)

 

I’m wondering if last year’s Super Bowl safety that put the first points on the board and all the stories of huge payouts will cause people to be inclined to wager yes this year. Can lightning strike twice? I’m thinking no.

 

Will there be overtime?

Yes (+700)

No (-1000)

 

No Super Bowl has ever gone into overtime. Until this year however, no two brothers had coached against each other and deer antlers hadn’t been a headline on ESPN (Has football entered into doping in cycling — where we know stuff is used, just not being tested. Coming back from torn biceps so soon doesn’t seem exactly ‘natural’).

 

 

Will the game be decided by exactly 3 points?

Yes (+350)

No (-420)

 

In a game that nearly everyone predicts to be close, this might not be such a bad idea. Will Akers or Tucker kick a game-winning field goal? Can Flacco or Kaepernick drive the team down the field for a touchdown when down four?

 

 

The bets that your girlfriend will get a kick out of. *Bovada.lv

 

Will Alicia Keys add at least one word to the National Anthem?

Yes (+200)

No (-300)

 

Really? It’s the National Anthem. You’ve got to have some major cojones if you’re going to try to add a word to the National Anthem. It would just throw everything off.

 

What predominant color will Beyonce’s top be at the beginning of the Super Bowl Halftime show?

 

Black (9/4), Gold (11/4), Silver (7/2), White (5/1), Red (13/2), Pink (15/2), Orange (12/1), Blue (15/1), Green (15/1)

 

The only thing missing here are odds for none/nip slip. You would think that the Janet Jackson miscue would forever give us the ability to wager on a wardrobe malfunction.

 

Will Beyonce’s hair be Curly/Crimped or Straight at the beginning of the Super Bowl Half Time Show?

Straight (+150)

Curly/Crimpled (-200)

 

She went curly when she sang for the president. She’s got to switch it up right? Maybe? I have no idea.

 

Will Beyonce be joined by Jay-Z on Stage during the Super Bowl Half Time Show?

Yes +110

No -150

 

You think one of the biggest egos in the world will miss an opportunity like this? Please, HOVA is going to be up there with his baby mama. Go ahead and parlay this one with the over (.5) how many times Jay-Z will be shown on TV during the game.

 

What will happen with the Dow Jones the day after the Super Bowl?

Market Up (-140)

Market Down (Even)

 

Let’s see if everyone committing to one activity on Sunday will cause the market to go up on Monday. I personally plan on doing my part and spiking Coors stock up a bit. Everyone’s going to be buying Super Bowl goodies all weekend right?

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________
Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Tye Masters
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

Your Quarterback is Which Actor?

Your Quarterback is Which Actor?

There are always comparisons between quarterbacks, ranging from Andrew Luck to Peyton Manning or RG3 to Cam Newton. It is quite popular to compare an incumbent to their contemporaries to paint a picture to the public for the future.

Are we going to do that here?  Nope.  In lieu of comparing current NFL quarterbacks to their predecessors, we are going to compare them to actors.  Yes, actors.

For a little appetizer, think of Jamarcus Russell like Lindsay Lohan with all the potential and tools, but caught up in out-of-work trouble. Purple Drink!

Here we go:

NFC East

Eli Manning – Joaquin Phoenix

Both are extremely eclectic people that find ways to put on great performances in crucial times.  They are recognized as the most important person in their biggest career moments.  In Gladiator, Phoenix supported the role of Russell Crowe, much like Manning managed the Giants to their first Super Bowl win.  Next, each person rose to the starring role with Manning guiding the Giants over the Patriots for a second time and Phoenix presenting a remarkable performance in Walk the Line.

Tony Romo – Mark Wahlberg

Ever see someone begin from nothing but, when given their first shot, show such immense potential? Much like Romo, Wahlberg began great with the Italian Job, and continued to show prominence in Invincible and Shooter, but follows up with Ted and The Other Guys.  It is head scratching as much as Tony Romo, but it is undeniable that both men expose themselves to seriously low moments in their career that make you question them.

Michael Vick & Nick Foles – Jackie Chan & Chris Tucker

We have a flashy stunt man, who really does not know how to hone or master his craft (whether it be either acting or quarterbacking).  Their counterpart is serviceable, by carrying the traditional acting techniques, and although either are unproven or average, both Tucker and Foles show flashes of having potential.  Ultimately, neither actor nor quarterback is taken seriously in their profession.

Robert Griffin III – Justin Timberlake

Each person was successful in the early phase of their career, and transferred that into the next level of exposure and immediately succeeded.  RG3 won the Heisman at Baylor and JT went from the front man of Nsync to a prominent solo music career.  At their transition phases, RG3 led his Redskins to the playoffs in his rookie year, and Justin hit the big screen with a splash in The Social Network.  Great things are still to come from these two.

NFC North

Aaron Rodgers – Leonardo DiCaprio

Both of these men are at the top of their respective profession right now and are a must see on the big screen or the football field.  Rodgers continues to get better and better playing the position at such a consistent high level.  Concurrently, Leo manages to remain in elevated form by rolling out Catch Me If You Can, The Departed and Inception just to name a few.

Jay Cutler – Robert Downey Jr.

The overall “I don’t give a $h*!” attitude resemblance between these two is very uncanny.  At the same time, when focused and motivated, Downey and Cutler can put together stretches of absolute brilliance that remind you they are formidable in their respective fields.

Christian Ponder – Josh Hartnett

Essentially, both of these men peaked way too early.  Ponder was drafted well before he should have ever been considered and Hartnett has been on a steady decline since Black Hawk Down.  However, they both have capabilities to present manageable performances with Ponder being efficient and Hartnett with 40 Days and 40 Nights.

Matthew Stafford – Ben Affleck

Affleck and Stafford flourish with talent around them and in the right setting.  Stafford has been fortunate to have Calvin Johnson and numerous weapons to generate his massive yardage seasons.  As much as Affleck has captured us with Good Will Hunting and The Town, he has released some big flops like Gigli and Daredevil, resembling the disgusting sidearm sling Matthew Stafford continually resorts to.

 NFC South

.

Matt Ryan – Jeremy Renner

Matt Ryan revitalized a struggling franchise with his first NFL pass going for a touchdown and he has not looked back since.  The same can be said for Jeremy Renner, who really hit us with The Hurt Locker and continued to get better with The Town.  Each of these men is on the rise and aimed for greatness with their professions.

Cam Newton – Gerard Butler

Utterly mind-blowing physical specimens from their initial roles from 300 or Cam’s rookie year, but their dropoff cannot be argued.  It seems both get complacent with their initial success, and relies on their physical tools rather than developing their craft.

Drew Brees – Brad Pitt

Brees’ career began very prominent and flashy in San Diego, which is very reminiscent of Brad Pitt in Fight Club.  Although, each of them went through a dry spell or injury span, they both developed their potential into either a Super Bowl winner or hits with Benjamin Button and Inglorious Bastards.

Josh Freeman – Chris Hemsworth

The physical traits of both men naturally set them above the rest from the beginning. Additionally, they have displayed moments of brilliance in key moments.  Hemsworth separated himself from the bottom feeders of the comic remake world, and lined up multiple runs of Thor.  Freeman has shown to be more than clutch in critical moments leading the volatile Bucs to come from behind wins and fourth quarter drives.

 NFC West

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 12.44.04 AM

Alex Smith & Colin Kaepernick – Tobey Maguire & Jesse Eisenberg

Smith came in as a number one overall pick with the expectations to revive a franchise, but failed to do so.  The same result can be seen from Tobey Maguire’s attempt at the Spiderman series; an utter disaster.  Maguire was capable of carrying a movie throughout with Pleasantville or Seabiscuit, but failed to present anything spectacular.  Conversely, Colin Kaepernick has come in a thrived as an absolute star much like Eisenberg in The Social Network.  Look for both Kaepernick and Eisenberg to entertain us for the next generation of professionals.

Russell Wilson – Joseph Gordon Levitt

Levitt’s respectable beginning in TV started with 3rd Rock from the Sun and that can be comparable to Wilson’s stint in minor league baseball, but their adaptation to the professional level has better utterly amazing.  Whether it be Inception, Looper, or leading a Seahawks franchise to the playoffs with utter poise and composure; both of these future stars will be around for a long time to come.

Sam Bradford – Chris Pine Can

Chris Pine showed he was capable of supporting Denzel Washington in Unstoppable and left the public wanting more for the recreated Star Trek franchise.  Similar to Pine, when Bradford gets comfortable and gains weapons around him, the Rams will continue their positive direction to a reputable franchise again.

Kevin Kolb & Crew – Jon Heder, Jon Gries, Aaron Ruell

Coach put Uncle Rico in and we saw how that went….

 AFC East

Tom Brady – Denzel Washington

Thriving in roles with good looks and masterful performances symbolizes these two dynamic personalities perfectly.  Denzel began his career being acclaimed in a supporting role and prospered into a top leading man for an extended duration from Training Day to recently released Flight.  Brady stepped in for an injured Drew Bledsoe and never looked back creating a decade of dominance for the New England Patriots.

Ryan

Ryan Tannehill – Zac Efron

With a limited sample size with one year in college and a rookie NFL year, Ryan Tannehill has shown to have immense potential with absolutely no talent around him.  Looking past Efron’s High School Musical days, he has displayed some notable performances with 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud by showing he can exceed expectations and carry a movie throughout.  It is early, but both Tannehill and Efron have shown glimpses of having a reputable future in their industries.  Plus have you seen their girl friends or wife?  Bonus points!

Ryan Fitzpatrick – Vince Vaughn

Vince Vaughn’s natural sarcastic humor resembles the intelligence of a Harvard graduate like Fitzpatrick.  Essentially both are serviceable in their industry with spotty high moments, but won’t produce anything award winning.

Mark Sanchez – Colin Farrell

They try so hard but it does not work.  We can equate SWAT to Sanchez’s early years with nice playoffs runs, but it has been a steep decline ever since.  Sanchez tried to be an efficient manager but failed.  Farrell tried to match Brad Pitt’s Troy with Alexander, but that was a disaster.  They will remain in their industries, but will never prevail to anything special.

 AFC North

JoeJoe Flacco – Matt Damon

Damon’s character in the Ocean’s Eleven series represents Flacco beyond a reasonable doubt.  Damon struggled to be acknowledged as a main contributor, but gradually was given more respect as each movie continued.  At the same time, Damon carried an entertaining Bourne series for almost a decade and, although it wasn’t award winning, it was very entertaining.  Flacco has shown utter moments of brilliance in big moments, much like Damon in Good Will Hunting and The Departed.

Andy

Andy Dalton – John Cho

You may know Cho has Harold from the Harold and Kumar series, but he quietly has strung together a few noteworthy performances with American Beauty and Star Trek.  He looks to still be a constant within the revitalized Star Trek series, resembling Dalton’s potential lengthy and serviceable NFL career.  It is hard to tell what each person will ultimately become, but each has shown potential that they can be taken seriously looking forward in their future.

Ben Roethlisberger – Christian Bale

Bale and Big Ben can cause some controversy outside the office, but when focused, they compete to be the best in their fields.  Bale transformed the Batman series and was outstanding in The Fighter, while Roethlisberger led the Steelers to Super Bowl appearances and a victories after years of Tommy Maddox and Kordell Stewart.

Brandon Weeden – David Caruso

This one may be self explanatory.  Both were given a shot at an older age and it may work out for Weeden, but if it does expect nothing more than a Lieutenant Horatio Caine performance in CSI: Miami.

AFC South

Matt Schaub – Alec Baldwin

Neither was intended to take on a leading role at the highest level.  Baldwin is perfect at 30 Rock and Schaub was an effective back-up for an injury prone Michael Vick in Atlanta.  Schaub has never quite lived up to a franchise starting quarterback, much like Baldwin in the main character role of a major motion picture.  Both have had memorable moments from big games to priceless lines in The Departed.

Andrew Luck – Tom Hardy

Luck and Hardy came in with all of the physical and mental tools to be successful from the beginning, and lived up to the hype.  Luck led a 2-14 Colts team to the playoffs and Hardy thrived inInception, Warrior and The Dark Knight Rises.  Future success exudes from both of these professionals in such a short sample size already.

Blaine Gabbert & Jake Locker – Taylor Lautner & Robert Pattinson

Gabbert & Locker have proved they are products of the combine hype and beneficiaries of tremendous arm strength, as their on-field product has not been worthy of first-round draft picks.  Translate the aforementioned sentence to motion pictures, and you have Twilight.  The CFL and ABC Family cannot wait for these guys.

AFC West

Peyton Manning – Tom Hanks

Starting as the number one pick in the NFL draft and winning best actor in a children’s movie just conveys the early success of the methodical and surgical (Trent Dilfer talk) careers for Peyton Manning and Tom Hanks.  Both men bring extremely dedicated and intellectual approaches to their roles transcending generations that made up for any physical deficiencies.

Phillip Rivers – Sam Worthington

Has anyone hit the big screen faster and harder than Sam Worthington?  In the blink of an eye, he starred in Terminator and Avatar, but then dramatically took steps down with Clash of the Titans and Man on a Ledge.  This sounds eerily similar to Chargers’ quarterback Phillip Rivers, with his tremendous start under Marty Schottenheimer to his most recent two season decline.  Both began to enter the “elite” conversation, but have quickly entered the above average.

Carson Palmer – Nicholas Cage

This is one of my favorites.  Cage showed some flashes of brilliance when next to Sean Connery in The Rock similar to Carson Palmer surrounded with weapons in Cincinnati.  Both of them believed themselves to be far more talented than what they really are, but show their true worth either in Oakland or anything Nicholas Cage does.  Cage is veteran garbage like Palmer.

Matt Cassel – Seann William Scott

Do you remember Steve Stiffler from the American Pie series?  He was barely in the first one, but his roles progressively grew in an entertaining fashion.  Unfortunately, Seann William Scott cannot be a lead actor. He was amazing in Role Models because he fed off of Paul Rudd.  The Chiefs gave Cassel the keys to the car and how did that turn out?

 Note from the Chief : I believe this to be one of the coolest and funniest articles I have ever seen. I would appreciate it if you would help us spread the word on this article more-so than others. With the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl upon us, this is a perfect time to bring some excitement to the game. Thank you

____________________________________________________________________________
Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Long Island Sound
Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4

Our Final Installment: Week 17 NFL Predictions

Like it or not, all eyes are on Tony Romo this week.

Like it or not, all eyes are on Tony Romo this week.

Can you believe it? We are already in week 17 of the NFL season and the new year is right around the corner. The smell of playoff football is in the air; who will be peaking at the right time to make it to the Super Bowl?

I will commend the NFL on doing the scheduling changes a few years ago, I love watching meaningful games in the last week of the season. Dallas v Washington for the division?! Two years in a row Cowboy fans. Is this year going to be different?

For fantasy reasons, I love watching players play meaningful games in week 15, 16 & 17 because it allows me to win my fantasy football league. Won 1 of 4 – not bad. Pay me Long Island Sound!

From the Cover 4 to our readers, thank you for following along this season; it has had its ups and downs and plenty of changes to meet the demands of our fans but we have enjoyed every minute of it.

THE COVER 4: PHI, CHI, GB, WAS

We hope that you continue to read our website and follow along for some of the best, and most interesting, sports articles out there right now. We aren’t your typical mainstream sports website ; we are for the fans, by the fans. Period!

__________________________________________________________________________

New York Jets @ Buffalo Bills (-3) 

Jesse – NYJ –  Both teams are terrible, so I’ll take the points.

Long Island Sound – NYJ – Sanchez will provide a good performance versus a below average defense to prove his worth.

Plumb – NYJ – With McElroy out and Sanchez back, this may be Sanchez’s last time to prove he can play in the big leagues.

James – NYJ – Mark Sanchez is going to play the best game of his life…… maybe?

__________________________________________________________________________

Miami Dolphins @ New England Patriots (-10)

Jesse – MIA – I expect Miami to play New England tough and cover the 10 points.

Long Island Sound – NE – Hate big lines, but Miami going to NE never works out well for them.

Plumb – MIA – Well last time around New England overlooked Miami and division games are always tough to win, let alone cover. Dolphins make one last push to cap off a decent season.

James – NE – I like Coach Billy in this matchup; coach always wants to send a message.

__________________________________________________________________________

Baltimore Ravens @ Cincinnati Bengals (-2½)

Jesse – BAL – Baltimore destroyed the Bengals back in their Week 1 meeting, and they should be playing for playoff momentum after their drudging of the Giants last week. Baltimore’s the better team & getting points.

Long Island Sound – CIN –  Baltimore is a pretender that faced a Giants team that has been rolling over for the last 2 weeks.

Plumb – CIN – After coming off impressive wins and clinching playoff berths, Cincy is the only team in this matchup that has something to play for.

James – BAL – Maybe its my perception, and familiarity, with the AFC North but I know that when it matters Baltimore will beat the Bungals. I like AJ Green a lot but I think the Ravens cover in this one.

__________________________________________________________________________

Cleveland Browns @ Pittsburgh Steelers (No Line)

Jesse – PIT – Pittsburgh is out of the playoff hunt, but I don’t expect Tomlin’s team to quit. They should cover whatever number the casinos put up with Cleveland starting Thaddeus Lewis (who?) at QB & Montario Hardesty at RB.

Long Island Sound – PIT – Cleveland’s 3rd string QB versus a disgruntled Mike Tomlin.

Plumb – PIT – Tomlin will have the team ready for this week after last week disappointing loss. Expect Steelers blowout.

James – PIT – Steelers rarely lose to the Browns; it won’t happen twice in one year….

__________________________________________________________________________

Houston Texans (-7) @ Indianapolis Colts

Jesse – HOU – Houston NEEDS this win to lock up #1 in the AFC while Indy is locked into the 5th-seed no matter what. On top of that, Houston was flat-out embarrassed by the Vikings at home last week. If they want to prove to the nation that they’re a true contender, it starts this Sunday.

Long Island Sound – IND – Andrew Luck at home.

Plumb – IND – Both are jocking for seeding but Indy is tough at home and getting points makes it even more enticing. The Colts have Luck on their side.

James – HOU – I like Indy but I think Houston takes care of business this week and gets things rolling into the playoffs. If Houston doesn’t cover, it will be because the Colts get a garbage td or two.

__________________________________________________________________________

Jacksonville Jaguars @ Tennessee Titans (-4½)

Jesse – JAC – Jacksonville showed life last week vs. Patriots, while Tennessee wet the bed at Green Bay. I refuse to lay more than 4 points with this Tennessee squad after last week’s performance.

Long Island Sound – JAC – Henne has this team playing hard.

Plumb – JAC – Well the worst game on the schedule this week and someone’s gotta win. I’ll take the points just because Henne is showing he can still play and will be fighting for a job next season.

James – JAC – Toilet Bowl of Week 17.

__________________________________________________________________________

Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants (-7½)

Jesse – PHI – One of Philly’s 4 wins this season was against these NY Giants and came with Vick at the helm & McCoy in the backfield. Well, they’re back & there’s no reason they can’t keep this game close and cover the TD+ or even perhaps win.

Long Island Sound – PHI – Giants at home against a divisional opponent. Vick gives the Giants trouble.

Plumb – PHI – After Philly lost Nick Foles last week to injury, Vick is back which means two things: unpredictability and dog fighting (j/k PETA). Tough division matchup and the ½ is always a favorites kryptonite. This is a dog’s game (Corny Mike Vick humor). Eagles cover and Vick proves he is still a starter in the League.

James – PHI – This game scares me because the Giants are so unpredictable. I think Vick comes out and takes care of business in his last game in Phili.

__________________________________________________________________________

Chicago Bears (-3) @ Detroit Lions

Jesse – CHI – Chicago needs this win +MINN loss to make the playoffs as the 6th-seed, so they’ll be ready for this contest. Pro-bowl CB Tim Jennings (shoulder) should be back & RB Forte (ankle) is optimistic about playing while Detroit is reeling having lost 7-straight.

Long Island Sound – CHI – Cutler and Marshall are in a groove that will not be stopped by the Lions D.

Plumb – CHI – Tough defense, must win game, and Brandon Marshall. Too many factors against the home team in this one.

James – CHI – MUST WIN. Time to put up or shut up Chicago.

__________________________________________________________________________

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings

Jesse – GB – Green Bay is ready for their playoff run & earning a 1st round bye would bode well for them. Since starting the season 2-3, Packers have only lost 1 game. They’ll get Minnesota’s best efforts, but they won’t be enough. Green Bay will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

Long Island Sound – GB – Finally healthy and Rodgers is back to his unreal form.

Plumb – GB – A very important game for both teams in this matchup. Minnesota fighting for the last playoff berth alongside AP attempting to break the single season rushing record, and Green Bay attempting to clinch a first round bye with a W. Expect this to be a hard nose and close game. Deciding factor: Aaron Rodgers dominant play in domes.

James – GB – I really hope AP can break this record but my PRESEASON Super Bowl pick is looking pretty good right now. I think Rodgers gives the Viking defense his discount double check.

__________________________________________________________________________

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Atlanta Falcons (No Line)

Jesse – TB – There’s no line on this game because Atlanta might rest their starters. They’ve locked up home-field in the NFC and have no reason to play for anything. I’ll take Tampa, especially if they’re getting points.

Long Island Sound – ATL – Ryan and the Falcons at home. Don’t believe they will sit starts much based on previous playoff woes.

Plumb – ATL – Atlanta is tough at home as they are undefeated in the Georgia Dome.

James – ATL – I don’t care if Chris Chandler is going to be playing quarterback this week, I can’t take the shaky and free-falling Buccs. ATL will play its players for the majority of this one as they aren’t going to rest for two weeks.

__________________________________________________________________________

Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (-5)

Jesse – CAR (ML +205) – I personally think these two teams are relatively even. Carolina’s actually been playing better of late –winners of 3-straight — so I’m getting value with the Panthers, as the spread should be NO -3. Carolina will win this game outright saving Ron Rivera’s job.

Long Island Sound – NO – Should be a shoot-out, but Brees should cover here.

Plumb – CAR – Panthers defense > Saints defense. Plus Carolina has won 3 straight.

James – CAR – Carolina may not get the W but they cover in this one.

__________________________________________________________________________

Kansas City Chiefs @ Denver Broncos (-16)

Jesse – KC – I cannot get myself to lay 16 points, even if it’s with the perceived “best team in the NFL.”

Long Island Sound – KC – Too big of a spread.

Plumb – KC – Wow this spread is high. I expect Peyton and Co. to play till halftime and call it a day. If this happens, expect KC to capitalize.

James – KC – I know the Chiefs are bad, and I mean bad. I realize the Broncos are really good. I just don’t wanna put 16 on this game. I’ll stay conservative and take KC.

__________________________________________________________________________

Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers (No Line)

Jesse – SD – Oakland has quit. Before beating KC two weeks ago, Oakland was losers of 6-straight. They didn’t score a single TD in their 15-0 win over KC in that aforementioned meeting & failed to score a TD last week vs. Panthers. To add insult to injury, Terrelle Pryor will be starting for the injured Palmer (ribs).

Long Island Sound – SD – Just a bad game with a bad team and a very undisciplined team. I’ll take the potential versus the bad.

Plumb – SD – Are you putting your hard earned money on the Oakland Raiders? Yeah, neither am I because I can’t trust them.

James – SD – Norv Turner and AJ Smith get a W in their last game with the organization; Turner has already said he is okay with being an OC again after this year. Smell Yah.

__________________________________________________________________________

Arizona Cardinals @ San Francisco 49ers (-16½)

Jesse – SF – Ok, I lied; I will lay -16 in certain situations. Maybe this is me betting with my heart; maybe not. This season following a loss or tie, the 49ers have beaten their opponents by a combined score of 106-26.

Long Island Sound – ARI – Not taking that line in the NFL out of principle.

Plumb – ARI – This is probably the hardest game to pick this week. On one hand you have the Niners who must win to clinch the division as well as a potential second seed in the conference. My only question is how hard are they going to play the Cards without risking injury? Then you have the Cards who may or may not show up at home let alone score a point. The gut wants the Niners but the numbers say Cards.

James – ARI – 16+? What? Luckily its week 17 and this will be the first, and last, time I think the Cardinals will do something good.

__________________________________________________________________________

St. Louis Rams @ Seattle Seahawks (-10½)

Jesse – SEA – If Seattle wins this game and 49ers somehow slip up and lose vs. Cardinals, then Seattle wins the NFC West and the #3 seed in the NFC. They have everything to play for, and are playing extremely well especially down in the trenches.

Long Island Sound – STL – This team finds ways to cover.

Plumb – SEA – I made this mistake last week and it burned me. SEAHAWKS AT HOME = WIN.

James – SEA – I don’t think I can go any other way with the way this team has been playing.

__________________________________________________________________________

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington Redskins (-3)

Jesse – WAS – Stop me when you’ve heard this before: Dallas in a must-win? I’ll take the other side.

Long Island Sound – WAS – Washington looking to capture a division title will be ready to play.

Plumb – WAS – Dallas Cowboys! Big Games! Tony Romo fumbling meaningful snaps! Means one thing: Choke artists. Skins win and take the Division.

James – WAS – Maybe this is the year the Cowboys finally win a meaningful game at the end of the season? Naw, I’m going RGIII.

____________________________________________________________________________
Thanks for checking out our picks. Dont forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.
James Kaikis
Chief Sports Activist for The Cover 4
http://www.facebook.com/thecover4
http://www.twitter.com/thecover4
http://www.facebook.com/jameskaikis

%d bloggers like this: