Posted on: October 31, 2009 10:29 am

Happy Halloween - BURN of the Week 10/31/09

This will be my weekly "wrap-up" on the week that was. I'll usually try and cover a topic from 4 major sports. That includes college. This week, we have NBA, NFL, College Football, and Major League Baseball on the agenda. Let's get started.
  • NBA
There's been a lot of talk about the emergence of Brooke Lopez to challenge Dwight Howard as the best Center in the East. Maybe not this year, but in the future. People say that Lopez' offensive game is much more polished. So polished in fact, that he scored 11 points on 3-8 shooting. Dwight, however, only managed 20 points on 8-11 shooting. Lopez is supposed to be a great rebounder and defender also. So great, he managed as many personal fouls as rebounds: 5 a piece. Howard, on the other hand, managed 22 rebounds w/ only 3 personal fouls.

Let's look at the entire game here
  1. Howard: 20/22/1/4
  2. Lopez: 11/5/1/1
Howard had 9 more points, 17 more rebounds, and 3 more blocks. That's a pretty hefty margin for the top two centers in a conference, don't you think? Howard only had 1 assist, but when Carter went down, the offense only ran well when it ran through him. Lopez was so overmatched, the Nets had to double. Dwight's passing has improved and he made some great reads that got some superb ball movement opening up easy looks for Anderson/Carter, and even himself.

His offensive game has gotten much better as well. He dunked a lot last night, but he has moves now people. He's got soft touch. Against 
Samuel Dalembert and Brooke Lopez, two of the league's best defensive Center's, Dwight is averaging 21 points shooting at a 77% clip. Get ready league, the take-over has just begun.
  • NFL
Unfortunately for me, I'm a Tampa Bay Buccaneer fan. I know, there's a good chance that we go 0-16 this year. That would be our second ever winless season. It's heart-breaking and gut-wrenching for the fans. However, what it brought to my attention was the NFL's annual game in London.  After watching this game, I'm not a fan.

Even though the Bucs got destroyed by the Patriots, this game took away a HOME GAME from us Buccaneers fans. That's 100 dollars right down the drain. You have got to love NFL owners, right; especially ones that are 60 million dollars under the cap.

Another issue that I had was that the fans there really just didn't care. There was no real energy in the stadium. It would be like if Manchester United played some premiere league bottom feeder in Dallas' new stadium. Sure, people would watch, but no one would really be into it. It'd be just a flat atmosphere.

Now, I can't blame the NFL for putting a terrible team against a Super Bowl contender in this game considering when the decision was made. Tampa Bay was 9-3 and ranked as the third or fourth best team in the NFL. New England was also having a big year, and was set to return Tom Brady this year. It would be a clash of the titans. The, the Buccaneers blew up their team, and wa-la, you have what happened on Sunday. 

The England game takes too much planning, and as we saw last weekend, too much can happen in that time.
A common out-cry by football purists over the past couple weeks has been "defenses have finally caught up with the spread". That's just not true. They say that Texas Tech, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, the POWERS of the spread are all having down years offensively. Well, that's true, but it's not because "defenses have caught up with the spread". Let's take a look at some of the talent that these teams are missing this year, and we're not even including the offensive line.
  1. Florida - Percy Harvin (starting WR), Louis Murphy (starting WR)
  2. Texas - Quan Cosby (starting WR)
  3. Oklahoma - Joauin Iglesias (starting WR), Jermaine Gresham (starting TE), Sam Bradford (starting QB), Manny Johnson (starting WR)
  4. Texas Tech - Graham Harrell (starting QB), Michael Crabtree (starting WR)
All of these teams have taken heavy hits this year, especially Oklahoma. On that list are FOUR current or future NFL first round picks, and every single one other than Harrell is on an NFL roster. 

Now, look away from your traditional powers. Oklahoma State, who runs the spread, is putting up huge numbers. Auburn, who's converting over to a quazi-spread, has improved numbers. Houston is blowing people's minds right now.

The defenses have NOT caught up to the spread. It's a perfect system. Athletes in space are still athletes in space. The moment the defense tries to adapt and put a bunch of 5'9, 170 pound speedsters in the game, you're going to see a Tim Tebow or some big, powerful running back coming at you. 

The spread has too many options. It spreads you out. Think about paper. When you crumple paper up (i-formation), you can't really do anything so it. When you spread it out (spread), there are so many spots of weakness that you can have your way with it. The moment the NFL (other than New Orleans and New England) realizes that the spread is the future, you'll start to see great college players getting their dues and hopefully the end of these, "mediocre in college but has pro-tools" busts.
  • MLB:
Anyone else cheering for the Phillies just to see New York lose?
Posted on: July 26, 2008 12:14 pm

My NFL Power Rankings! 1-16

  1. New England Patriots - I think they have the best team and finally added some youth to the LB core with Jerrod Mayo out of Tennessee. Donte Stallworth will be missed, but I think Jabar Gaffney is a reliable 3rd option.
  2. New York Giants - The Super Bowl champs deserve to be top 5, and I put them here because I believe that Justin Tuck will help that defense from not missing a beat without Strahan, and a team that can win on the road is a solid team.
  3. Indianapolis Colts - This is a team that could slide. Peyton Manning is expected to be fully healthy, but infections and such are not little, minor things. That could have a big effect on his furutre career if he can't fully recover. Harrison is back, and the rest of the team is solid.
  4. Greenbay Packers - Even with Arron Rodgers at the helm, this team is great. They have a solid defense, and Ryan Grant is a phenomenal RB. Deshaun Wynn provides decent depth at that position. Brett Favre might not be gone for good, and I think that it will only take 1 mistake from Rodgers before Favre comes in.
  5. Jacksonville Jaguars. I think that this may be the year for them. The defensive line loses a little bit of bulk in the middle, but they add arguably the SEC's two best edge rushers in Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. They hurt with pass-rush off the edge last year and filled that need. They also needed a more reliable WR and they got that in Jerry Porter. He ain't great, but he's a solid upgrade.
  6. Dallas Cowboys - I'm not sold on this team because of them not coming through in the play-offs. They have the talent, but it seems like this team has more going on off the field than on the field. They got a skat-back to off-set Marion Barber's power style in Felix Jones, and they really boosted their corner play with Adam Jones, and Mike Jenkins out of USF. Offense is still solid.
  7. Pittsburgh Steelers - Another just absolutley solid team. They have the play-off expereince with the SB 3 years ago. big Ben is a great QB, and they get another RB in Johnothan Stewart. Defense is great, and Troy Polomanu is healthy. This is one of the best examples of a TEAM in the NFL
  8. Seattle Seahawks - I expect another good year from them taking the division with ease. Their biggest weakness last year was running back and they re-built that with the additions of Julius Jones and T.J. Duckett that will give a nice 1/2 punch of speed and power. Another team that is more of a TEAM than superstars.
  9. San Diego Chargers - This is a great team, but the injuries that thye endured at the end of the year raised some question marks about this year. Great talent, but without Michael Turner, how will they deal with a very possible tough injury to Ladanian Tomlinson?
  10. Cleveland Browns - This team can score with anyone, and now they have a re-vamped defensive line. This team already has an amazing offense led by Derrick Anderson who is the most under-appreciated player in the league, and now they should have a better defense. Look for them to be very good this year.
  11. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - This team's only significant loss was Brian Kelly. They adressed that hole by drafting Aqib Talib and converting Eugene Wilson to corner. Those two are more fillers for Phillip Buchanon whi is going to fill BK's hole. They may have the best safety duo in the NFL with Jermain Phillips and Tynard Jackson. Sabbi Pisceteli is back to provide depth at safety and they can go 3 deep at TE.
  12. Tennessee Titans - Vince Young could be a very solid QB, but his organization REFUSES to put a good offensive product around him. They have like 100 quality RB's and NO WR's. They drafted Chris Johnson out of ECU, and he may be able to be a receiving weapon out of the backfield, but he's not a full-time WR.
  13. New Orleans Saints - They had a down year last year, but I think they'll be better this year with the addition of Jeremy Shockey at TE and Deuce McCallister back at RB. Reggie Bush is a pure 3rd down back. The defense still is the biggest question mark, but they can put good pressure on the QB off the edges. I think the offense will be back to form this year, and they should contend the Bucs for the NFC south.
  14. Minnesota Vikings - I have them this low because I don't expect the same production out of Adrian Peterson. He'll be solid, but I don't see the record breaking performances on the horizon. The defensive line is the best in the NFL with Jared Allen now providing the rush of the edge to go with the Williams in the middle. Tavaris Jackson is a severe weakness for them, but if he plays at a somewhat high level or plays like Jeff Garcia last year and just keep his interceptions to a minimum, then the Vikings could be a force.
  15. Washington Redskins - They added Jason Taylor at DE to fill the injury holes, but this offense looks like it's built to much for the big play, especially at WR with Santana Moss and Antwan Randle El. Devin Thomas looks like a potential bust to me, but Malcom Kelly could be the big they need. Clinton Portis is a great back, but will the injury bug bite him again? I don't think that Jason Cambell can lead them to the play-offs.
  16. Cincinatti Bengals - I love this team this year. I think they'll be back. They've removed the legal distractions and the Chad Johnson off-season circus seems to be over. Their offense can score with anyone, and there's no way that the defense will get any worse. I'm not sure if they can be a play-off team, but they are worth noting.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com