NOTE TO ALL: NO BLOG ON THANKSGIVING OR ON FRIDAY.
Stay safe and enjoy the festivities with your family and your loved ones. My favorite holiday. No gifts, just family, friends, loved ones, food, and even some football. Just make sure you keep the Alka-Seltzer handy.
The Dolphins will be on the road this week to take on the Jets on Sunday. Game time is 1:00 pm, and the game will be televised by CBS, Channel 4 in Miami.
Here is the remaining schedule for the Fins:
12/01 @ NY Jets 1:00 pm CBS
12/08 @ Pittsburgh 1:00 pm CBS
12/15 New England 1:00 pm CBS
12/22 @ Buffalo 1:00 pm CBS
12/29 NY Jets 1:00 pm CBS
Let us try and recap what is wrong with the Dolphins.
They still cannot run the football behind that decimated offensive line, and the $60 million wide receiver cannot come up with a difficult catch. I don’t want to just lay it on Mike Wallace, but the elite wide receivers in the NFL make the difficult catches when needed. Rishard Matthews and the other “bargain basement” receivers can make the catches they have to make. Wallace and Brian Hartline are paid like elite wide receivers. They need to start playing like they belong in that category.
By the way, Mark Duper feels the same way. Here is Duper with Sun-Sentinel writer Dave Hyde with some very interesting observations and comments:
Some of the responsibility also has to fall on the shoulders of QB Ryan Tannehill. He has to grab the bull by the horns and start making plays, if not just with his arms, with his running ability. This guy runs the 40 in 4.57 seconds. He is a gifted runner that can make plays when the crappy offensive line shows its wares. It is incredible that the guy has survived the beatings he takes week in and week out.
Some blame also has to land on the desk of the offensive coordinator, Mike Sherman, and the head coach, Joe Philbin. Sherman has to make adjustments in his play calling to take advantage of his team’s strengths and cover some of their glaring weaknesses. When your running backs average just over one yard per rushing attempt, and your QB is going to set a record for number of sacks, it shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that there is a problem. Six straight games in which your offense doesn’t score in the fourth quarter should also raise some concerns, shouldn’t it? Philbin ran a very successful offense at Green Bay. He had a superstar QB in Aaron Rodgers, but never had much of a running game to fall back on. More involvement by him in the offense could help.
Dolphins owner Stephen Ross is still looking for his first winning season since he took over ownership of the team. More and more, it looks like he isn’t going to get it this season, although they still have a chance, albeit a remote chance. This team cannot afford to go into next season with general manager Jeff Ireland at the controls. Mr. Ross needs to bring in a new GM immediately, and start evaluating everything NOW, including the present coaching staff. With five regular season games left, four of them in your division, you have a chance to look at everything and make an intelligent decision for the future of this franchise. Please get a good football guy in here, preferably one with a hall-of-fame pedigree as a QB. A competitive guy with a fire burning in his belly to show that if John Elway can do it in Denver, he can do it in Miami. Get the message?
TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION: What is the Dolphins’ record when playing on Thanksgiving Day? The answer comes later, alligator.
MY TAKE ON THE DOLPHINS SITUATION:
I think that once this “investigation” is completed, the Dolphins will end up reinstating guard Richie Incognito. Whether it is by choice or by legal necessity, I don’t believe the team or the league has the right to keep this guy from playing and keep him suspended. If they want to release him, that is obviously their choice to make. Let’s hope that the investigation is completed soon and this doesn’t turn in to something like the NCAA and the Hurricanes fiasco.
Here’s more on the Dolphins:
More on the Dolphins from Armando Salguero:
Here is this week’s NFL schedule. Since there will be no blog on Thursday or Friday for Thanksgiving, here are my picks as well. I’m back to .500 for the season against the spread, 40-40-4 against the spread, and 48-36 straight up.
Green Bay @ Detroit -3 ½ 12:30 pm FOX
Normally, I would take Green Bay over the Lions, but, according to Packers’ head coach Mike McCarthy, the chances for Aaron Rodgers to play tomorrow are “slim and none”. Detroit is a horrific 1-15 against the Packers since December of 2005, and Lions QB Matthew Stafford is 0-6 against them since he came into the league in 2009. However, the Pack is 0-3-1 since Rodgers got injured. Thus, I will take the Lions at home minus the four points.
Oakland @ Dallas -8 ½ 4:30 pm CBS
The Cowboys are playing really well at home this season, where they are 4-1, while averaging just under 35 points per game. The Raiders, meanwhile, are 1-4 away from home, and had lost eight in a row on the road until they beat the lowly Houston Texans last week. I’ll take the Cowboys at home minus the points.
Pittsburgh @ Baltimore -3 ½ 8:30 pm NBC
This is probably the hardest game to pick on the schedule this week. The Steelers have been clicking on offense behind Ben Rothlisberger, and their defense has kicked it up a notch during their three-game winning streak. The Ravens’ offense has struggled, as evidenced by the fact that they are 31st in the NFL, averaging just over 4 ½ yards per offensive play. I’ll go with the Steelers on the road, plus the points.
Miami @ NY Jets -2 ½ 1:00 pm CBS
Call me a homer. I see a Dolphins defense that should have a great game against Jets QB Geno Smith. The Fins need to stop the Jets ground game in order to win this contest, and force Smith to beat them with his arm. Miami has to protect Ryan Tannehill from a very good Jets pass rush, and Lamar Miller has to step up and be the man. Mike Gillislee and Marcus Thigpen will get a lot of the playing time behind Miller after Daniel Thomas went down with an ankle injury. Tannehill needs to continue to air it out and make positive plays running when necessary. Again, call me a homer. I’ll go with the Dolphins on the road and take the points.
Jacksonville @ Cleveland -7 1:00 pm CBS
Tennessee @ Indianapolis -4 1:00 pm CBS
New England @ Houston +10 1:00 pm CBS
Chicago @ Minnesota -1 1:00 pm FOX
Arizona @ Philadelphia -3 1:00 pm FOX
Tampa Bay @ Carolina -8 1:00 pm FOX
Atlanta @ Buffalo -4 4:05 pm FOX
St. Louis @ San Francisco -10 4:05 pm FOX
Denver @ Kansas City + 3 ½ 4:25 pm CBS
Another tough game to handicap this week. Denver and KC both lost last week, and Denver’s loss was hard to take, after blowing a 24-0 halftime lead. The Broncos, however, were able to run the ball at will against a Patriots defense that was set on stopping Peyton Manning. I have a feeling that Manning and his offense will be much better over the full game this week against the Chiefs. I’ll go with the Broncos on the road, minus the points.
Cincinnati @ San Diego -1 4:25 pm CBS
NY Giants @ Washington +1 8:30 pm NBC
The NY Football Giants have their backs up against the wall as far as their season is concerned. Eli Manning and his troops should be able to recover against a very porous Washington defense. There is trouble in DC. I’ll stick with the Giants on the road.
New Orleans @ Seattle -5 8:30 pm ESPN
The Seahawks are 13-0 at home over the last two seasons. The Saints are 1-4 against the spread this season away from the Superdome. Love the Saints, but the Seahawks are scary, scary good. I’ll stick with Seattle at home minus the points.
Here’s ESPN’s NFL Nation Blog, with more news from all around the league:
Of course, we can all continue to sleep at night, knowing full well that Aaron Hernandez remains in jail, where he belongs.
The new nominees for the Hall of Fame were announced yesterday, and in that list are three pitchers who should make it. Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine should make it in on their first try, while Mike Mussina should get in, maybe not in his first year of eligibility. Frank Thomas is also eligible for the first time, as he joins other players from the so-called “steroid era”, such as Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, and Mark McGwire. It will be interesting to see if Jack Morris makes it in his last year of eligibility, as well as holdovers Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, and Mike Piazza, who all got over 58% of the vote last time. Among the choices in the “committee ballot” are Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, Joe Torre, George Steinbrenner, and former union chief Marvin Miller. Here are the details:
MY TAKE: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Orestes “Minnie” Miñoso, Luis Tiant, Tony Oliva, and Miguel Cuellar are still NOT in the hall of fame. Also missing in Cooperstown are Jim Kaat, Tommy John, and Pete Rose, whose exclusion as a player continues to be a travesty and a total joke.
Good news for the Braves, as the Cobb County Commission approved funding for their new stadium:
More from the HOT STOVE:
Free Agent moves:
I am hearing that the Colorado Rockies are “actively pursuing” free agent first baseman Justin Morneau to replace the retired Todd Helton. This would be a coup for the Rockies.
Another interesting item I am hearing comes from Atlanta. The Braves are going to have to replace departed catcher Brian McCann. Could Matt Wieters be in their sights? The Orioles may be interesting in shipping the 27-year-old backstop, and the Braves have enough relief pitching and minor league prospects, including catching prospect Christian Betancourt to ship to the O’s.
I am also hearing that the Braves are looking to unload Dan Uggla. Here are two names to ponder in one-for-one swaps - - - Rickie Weeks and Brandon Phillips. Don’t look for Uggla to end up back in Miami. That one is just not going to happen. Could it???
Speaking of “could it???”, the Marlins wouldn’t try and sign Robinson Cano, right? They do have plenty of “salary room”. Just saying . . .
Some positive news on the Marlins Beat. The Marlins added two executives to their scouting department. Super scout Jeff McAvoy comes over from the Tampa Bay Rays, and Mike Berger jumped from the Arizona D-Backs and joins the Fish as a VP. Let’s continue to hope that team owner Jeffrey Loria sells the team or at least dedicates his life full time to his art business and leaves the team to be run by the baseball people. We can only hope and pray.
The Marlins announced their 31-game Grapefruit League schedule. Pitchers and catchers report February 16th, position players arrive February 20th, and the games begin February 26th, when the Fish play the University of Miami Hurricanes. They will then play the FIU Panthers on the 27th. Both of those games will be in Jupiter. Here is the complete preseason schedule:
In college football, the University of Miami Hurricanes close out their season this Friday in Pittsburgh against the Pitt Panthers. Kickoff is at 3:30 pm, and the game will be televised nationally by ABC, Channel 10 in South Florida.
Manny Navarro and Susan Miller Degnan have more from Coral Gables:
The FIU Panthers are now 1-10 this season, and will mercifully close out their season in Boca Raton on Friday, the 29th, at 3:00 pm, in their annual crosstown battle against Florida Atlantic. A victory against the Owls would make FIU’s horrific 2013 season A LOT BETTER. The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 on your cable or satellite system.
Here’s all the latest from FIU, courtesy of David J. Neal:
Here’s the latest from Tallahassee and #2-ranked FSU:
From Gainesville and the University of Florida:
Here are the NCAA Football rankings for this week:
Here is the complete schedule in College Football for week 14, including TV listings:
Moving to the hardwood:
The Heat are on the road this Thanksgiving week, as they take on the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, before heading to Toronto for a game on Friday.
More Heat coverage:
Here is the Heat’s complete regular season schedule:
On the NHL ice, the Panthers return to the ice tonight as they host the NY Rangers, here at the BB&T Center. The Pittsburgh Penguins will be here on Saturday night. Both games will be televised by Fox Sports Florida.
In boxing news,
Here is Santos Perez’ weekly boxing spotlight column from the Miami Herald:
I’m selling three lots totaling a little over five acres in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, overlooking the New River, a quick 35-minute drive from Boone and Blowing Rock. Click here to see some photos and feel free to contact me if you have any questions:
THE ANSWER TO TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION: What is the Dolphins’ record when playing on Thanksgiving Day?
The Fins are 5-2 in Thanksgiving Day games.
1973 - Miami 14 Dallas Cowboys 7
1977 - Miami 55 St. Louis Cardinals 14
1993 - Miami 16 Dallas Cowboys 14
1999 - Dallas Cowboys 20 Miami 0
2003 - Miami 40 Dallas Cowboys 21
2006 - Miami 27 Detroit Lions 10
2011 - Dallas Cowboys 20 Miami 19
Behave yourselves, and always remember that tomorrow will bring us a brand new day. HAVE A VERY HAPPY AND BLESSED THANKSGIVING. We all have a lot to be thankful for.