Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Boomer's Diamond/Gridiron Notes: Dodgers rule the West & Three weeks left in the NFL

Magic Johnson & Co. continue to make the LA Dodgers,
the "Yankees of the West".
Like stealing a blueprint to a well-architect structure, the LA Dodgers are doing their best, to build an empire out West, like the NY Yankees have for so many years back here on the East coast.

With the conclusion of the winter baseball meetings in Nashville, the LA Dodgers & KC Royals made some noticeable deals over this past weekend.

The Dodgers went out and landed this year's top FA pitcher in Zack Greinke, who had pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers and the team across the freeway, the LA Angels of Anaheim in 2012. Greinke, the  2009 AL Cy Young award winner, then with the Kansas City Royals, signed a 6-year deal with the Dodgers, to move across town and pitch in the National League. Now with Greinke signed, the focus turns to the biggest free agent this year in outfielder Josh Hamilton. Hamilton, meant with a number of teams last week during the winter meetings. It was reported, that his current team, the Texas Rangers, were looking to resign the left-handed slugger and that a return to Texas was "not out of the question", despite his checkered past with the organization, who acquired him back in December 2007 via a trade with the Cincinnati Reds.

MLB News & Notes:

New England Patriots (10-3) with their 28-point blowout win over the Houston Texans (11-2), once again provided that they are unbeatable at home in the month of December, and that they will be the team to beat in the AFC come playoff time. Once again, the Texans were bitten by an elite QB on primetime (losing to Aaron Rodgers & the Packers, 42-24 back on Week 6) dropped just their 2nd game of the season and 1st on the road. With three weeks left in the regular season, the upcoming weeks are very important for a number of teams around the league, battling for playoff positioning.

Games to keep an eye on in Week 15: (Complete Week 15 Schedule)

NY Giants at Atlanta, Hot A-T-L, has a good one this week. Following the Giants, 52-point performance vs. NFC South foe NO Saints last week at the Meadowlands, the G-men, look for a repeat performance against Matt Ryan & the Falcons. Playoff positioning looms large in this one, as the Falcons look to hang on to the top seed in the NFC, while the Giants try and stay ahead of the Redskins & Cowboys in the NFC East race.

Green Bay at Chicago, These two old school division rivals clash in the windy city, another game with division/playoff implications. The Packers, with a win will gain the season-sweep vs. the Bears and all but certainly wrap up the NFC North division title. The Bears, who were once 7-1 this season, are in the mist of a 1-4 stretch, could find themselves stumbling right out of the NFC playoffs, with two of their last three on the road.

Denver at Baltimore, Two AFC divisional leaders, one team that is trending up, and the other trending down. The Broncos, led by Peyton Manning have won 8-straight games, with a win would own the tiebreaker vs. Baltimore in the AFC playoff seeding, if it came down to that. As for the Ravens, following a two-game skid, fired their OC Cam Cameron, are struggling finishing out games as of late, both on the offense and defense sides of the ball.

Indianapolis at Houston, The AFC South division race is going to be interesting, as the Colts and Texans play each other twice in the final three weeks of the season. The surprising Colts, led by rookie QB Andrew Luck are on the verge of making the playoffs, after their 2-win season just a year ago. With a two-game lead, the Texans, who are coming off an embarrassing 28-point loss on MNF will host the Colts this week, then the two teams will meet once again, Week 17 in Indy.

Pittsburgh at Dallas, From their classic Super Bowl matchups in the 1970's, these two storied franchise look to keep their playoff hopes alive with a win over each other down in Jerry's World. The Steelers, welcomed back Big Ben last week, only to suffer a home-defeat to the lowly San Diego Chargers, 34-24. As for the Cowboys, they will look for their second-straight win over an AFC North foe, following their come from behind 20-19 win in Cincinnati last week.

San Francisco at New England, A Super Bowl preview? Perhaps. The Niners make the trip across the country for this SNF showdown in Foxboro. Speaking of Foxboro, the Patriots look to continue their home dominance in the month of December, will look to win back-to-back home primetime games vs. arguably the top toughest defenses in the NFL.