Houston Texans Tickets Playoff Bound?

The Houston Texans are trying to fill the void left by Peyton Manning in the AFC South. The Colts are winless, making Manning’s placement on the IR more and more likely. Meanwhile, the Texans are taking advantage of an impressive running game while the passing game heats up.

The Texans have jumped out to a 3-1 start with a pretty good defensive effort and a solid offense. The defense is allowing just 17.5 points a game and features the 10th ranked passing defense *(214.3 yards per game) and the 18th ranked rushing defense (108.8 yards per game). Though the defense is not able to hold back the rushing onslaught, they have been able to win the turnover battle, forcing three fumbles and picking off opposing quarterbacks four times. Their own offense has only turned the ball over four times.

Concerning the offense, many thought the aerial assault would resume with the return of QB Matt Schaub, WR Andre Johnson, and TE Owen Daniels. However, Houston has only managed to rank 20th in the league through the air. Schaub is not at fault. He has a 101.7 QB rating with 8.5 yards per pass, 7 touchdowns, and only 3 interceptions. Gary Kubiak has simply not had to air it as often.

Ben Tate filled in quite admirably for RB Arian Foster. Tate ran for 321 yards while Foster healed. Foster proved he is back after rushing for 155 yards on 30 carries against the Pittsburgh Steelers. With these two able to eat time on the clock and rack up first downs (28 between the both them), Schaub will be asked to do much less. This is a great development because the team will be without Andre Johnson for three weeks. This may anger fantasy football owners, but it could mean the franchise’s first trip to the playoffs.

First, Houston Texans tickets are available for a matchup with the Oakland Raiders in Week 5. The Raiders can stop neither the pass not the run. This gives Kubiak the freedom to tear this team apart. The Texans will have to be concerned with the best rushing offense in the league though. Darren McFadden is the lead back in an offense that picks up 178.7 yards a game. Given the lack of resistance by the Texans front seven, I would expect a stacked box to force Jason Campbell to beat them through the air.

Lion Tickets, Packers Tickets, Redskins Tickets, Oh My! Who Will Remain Undefeated

It has been two weeks and the NFL is down to seven undefeated teams, and three of them are in the AFC East. This really is incredible. The teams on the list are even more unbelievable. There are the typical teams like the Patriots and Packers, but then there are the Redskins, the Bills, the Lions, and the Texans (the Jets could really go either way here).

So, which of these teams are going to remain undefeated heading into Week 4?

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills Tickets

This head-to-head matchup of the unbeaten takes the Patriots to play the Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Absolutely no one expects the Bills to escape unscathed here. The Vegas Insider has the home team as eight-point underdogs. Apparently beating up on the AFC West (the Chiefs in Week 1 and the Raiders in Week 2) does not earn a football team much respect. The Patriots have not beaten anyone (yes, that includes the Chargers), but how could you possibly believe Ryan Fitzgerald is going to best Tom Brady?

Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints Tickets

Sure, the Saints defense looked pretty pathetic against the Packers, but the offense looked outstanding against both the Packers and Bears. The Texans have yet to play a team that can put up as many points as they can, so I am looking forward to a shootout. However, I expect the Texans to be overrun like the Alamo in the end.

Detroit Lions at Minnesota Vikings Tickets

Looks like the Lions are headed to 3-0 unless Donavan McNabb learns how to locate a receiver in the end zone. The Lions line is a beast and might actually show up for this game to stop one Adrian Peterson. Still, Detroit has the league’s fourth best passer in Matthew Stafford and he should shred a passing defense that allows 280 yards a game.

New York Jets at Oakland Raiders Tickets

Vegas may favor the Jets, but I like this as an upset special. I just have some sort of feeling that Darren McFadden is going to rush for 150 yards and a couple touchdowns while Mark Sanchez tests the good will he has garnered going 2-0 to start the season.

Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears Tickets

I may be a Bears fan, but no hometown bias is going to lead me to doubt that the Packers domination is going to lead to another drunken afternoon at Buffalo Wild Wings. This time I will be sulking in my Two Brothers Dumaine DuPage, instead of celebrating a season opening win though. My only consolation will be if the Bears keep Aaron Rodgers below 400 yards passing.

Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Tickets

Grudge matches mean records do not matter (ignore game above obviously). The Cowboys may have taken overtime to beat the 49ers last Sunday, but the Redskins beat the Cardinals by one point. Both games are hardly sparkling examples of dominant football teams. Still, Sexy Rexy seems to be pulling a Mark Rypien, which means he might earn an excessive contract before being relegated to back up for the rest of his career.

Eagles Tickets for the $200 Million Man

Gentleman, we can rebuild him. We have the short attention span and penchant for sports hero worship. We have the capability to rebuild the career of the world’s most dangerous fantasy football player. Michael Vick will be that man. Better than he was before. Better…more experienced reading blitzes before the snap…more accurate from the pocket.

Vick just signed the second $100 million contract of his career. The first contract was a 10-year, $130 million with the Atlanta Falcons and he only played 34 games into it before relinquishing his potential earnings and serving 19-months in prison. Now, the second contract is a six-year, $100 million deal with $40 million. It is front loaded, so he will potentially make $20 million this season before dropping to $12 million and evening out at $15.5 million for the four remaining years.

From a fantasy standpoint he is worth the money. He was the number one fantasy player last season, both a threat to throw a 50-yard touchdown pass on a whim and run one in from 30 yards out on a broken play. From a team standpoint he is worth the money, at least this season. He won eight of 11 games as a starter, he sells jerseys, the Philadelphia fans love rooting for a man with such a sordid past and are buying Eagles tickets to do so, and he could end his own career on one of those famous scrambles, freeing the team from most of the contract.

I would not count on that last possibility in the next couple of seasons. Vick appears physically able to continue playing his brand of football at the moment, but eventually he will have to learn to play in the pocket. Also, since he still owes his creditors $19 million he will be more than aptly motivated to reach every milestone in that contract and develop into a pocket passer just to pay the bills.

You figure between union fees, agent fees, managerial fees and taxes at most he can take home $50 million. That would still be a $31 million pay off for six years of work. As long as he is a bit wiser with his money he should be able to live just fine, just night quite as a extravagantly, at least until the sponsors feel he has done his due time and would no longer be a detriment to their brand name. At the very least he will strike some deals with local Philly businesses.

Of course, perhaps the best reason he is worth the money is that he fulfills the role of the redemptive man. He burned through his cash the first time and made deplorable moral decisions, but he did do his time and he appears to have grown up in the process. As a dog owner I am still disgusted by his actions, but I know there is something to celebrate if he has truly turned his life around. Yes, I am sure the potential $100 million payday is excessive, but celebrities, whether in entertainment, sports, or finances are overpaid, so I cannot focus on the amount of the check. Besides, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are still making more money and Brady gets to sleep with Gisele, and that kind of level of success makes me far more jealous.

Could Vikings Ticket and Titans Tickets be NFL Playoff Bound?

I am beginning to think the NFL should always operate on an abbreviated offseason. Last week I was intrigued by the Washington Redskins and this week I am contemplating the hopes of two teams that have remained committed to the run in the age of the pass. These two teams, the Minnesota Vikings and Tennessee Titans, obviously believe they should be playing in the postseason and have added veteran quarterbacks in hopes of proving that they are not fools for investing in the running game.

The Minnesota Vikings already had some success bringing in a veteran QB to play in the postseason. In 2009 they acquired Brett Favre and had an impressive run that ended at the NFC Championship game thanks to the team of destiny that season, the New Orleans Saints. However, Favre proved to be a distraction the next season. Yet, the front office believes they can once again deliver Minnesota Vikings tickets for the playoffs again, this time with the addition of Donovan McNabb.

Now, most of us remember the Redskins failure last season and are perhaps a little too quick to pass most of the blame onto McNabb. Donovan played much better than the football team’s 6-10 record. We forget that though he only threw 14 touchdowns, he also threw for over 3,000 yards with little more to target than 32-year-old wide receiver Santana Moss and tight end Chris Cooley. His addition and the fact that he still has wide receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, as well as a distraction by the name of Adrian Peterson to keep defenses busy, bodes pretty well for the Minnesota Vikings and McNabb.

The Tennessee Titans task is a bit more difficult. The AFC South has some steep competition with the Indianapolis Colts and Houston Texans. The Titans added quarterback Matt Hasselbeck to replace recently retired Kerry Collins and recently released Vince Young. Hasselbeck is no longer the Pro Bowl talent he once was, but he remains a better than average game manager, which should be more than enough with Chris Johnson in the backfield (assuming his holdout is over quickly).

Titans tickets could very well be available for the beginning of the postseason if the Hasselbeck is able to make due with Kenny Britt, Nate Washington, and Justin Cage (Randy Moss retired). At the very least, the Titans have a better offensive line than the Seahawks, so Hasselbeck should be able to stay on his feet comfortably in the pocket for longer.

This is going to be an interesting season for just every team in the NFL, but it appears the Vikes and Titans’ might actually return the franchises to the postseason.

Who Cares About the Best Ever Debate, Let?s Get Some NBA Finals Tickets

Is LeBron really the best player in NBA history? Who knows, he still potentially has a decade left until he retires. Choosing to live in the here and now I am more excited about this NBA Finals matchup! I know this pains the hyperbolic sports media, but they should really be dissecting the Heat-Mavericks rematch because this could be a better series than the beloved Lakers-Celtics finals of the past few seasons.

Better? How, these are the two most storied franchises in league history? So, who cares about a franchise’s pedigree? I am waiting to watch the two clearly best teams in the postseason meet in the finals. This is the Big Three experiment vs. the Big German and the Gang. This is a rematch of the 2006 finals in which Dwyane Wade brought his team back from 0-2 with one of the most dominant finals performances ever! This is a Mavericks team that finally appears to have the right mix of shooters, defenders, and veteran intelligence to win the championship and finally put an end to that choker reputation.

From the onset I am curious to see which team can control the terms of the game. If the Dallas Mavericks can, then the deep roster of shooters will be spreading the floor with four guys who knock down the three point shot. If the Heat can, then the Mavs will be forced to play just three shooters at a time with two offensive liabilities.

To me, this is a rare chance to see two coaches dictate just who is going to win the Larry O’Brien Trophy. I have no doubt that Dirk and LeBron are going to get their points and dominate on their offensive end of the court. This means it is up to Rick Carlisle and Eric Spoelstra to devise a team defense to shut down the rest of the opposition.

Apart from the two previously mentioned stars, each team has a single player to worry about. The Mavericks have to be concerned about Dwyane Wade. He has stepped aside at times in the 2011 postseason, letting LeBron make a run at the postseason MVP. Yet, he has also smoked the Boston Celtics. Now, the Celtics actually had a guy who could defend him, while Dallas does not. The options are Jason Kidd, JJ Barea, and DeShawn Stevenson, or too old, too small, and too bad. The best bet has to be Kidd. He is much slower than he used to be and has never really been a great individual defender, but he has the wisdom to frustrate Wade and the size to challenge Wade as he tries to post after his jumper fails to connect.

The player Miami should fear is far less sexy a name than Wade. Jose Juan Barea has been the game changer when he can penetrate and his ridiculous scoop shot is able to float over the outstretched arms of the seven footers around him and lightly kisses the very top of the backboard, gently falling through the cylinder. He is not an all star and will never be much more than a hero for those sub-six foot street ballers and gym rats, but he is quick enough to take both Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers off the dribble. Then, it is not his scoring, but his ability to throw a pass to the outside once the defense collapses that could be the downfall for the Heat.

Of course, everyone will be focusing on Dirk and LeBron instead since this is a league built on the superstars. That matchup could be interesting because the two players might actually be playing each other directly. Spoekstra spoke about using James on Dirk. James outplayed Rose and Pierce and could cement his status as an all-universe defender if he is able to throw the Big German off his game. Nowitzki has struggled against smaller athletic defenders who have the length and strength to pester him. LeBron could take it one step further and actually stop him since he is a genetic freak and may have the physical gifts to match Dirk’s uncanny athleticism.

So, really the NBA and the media should be moving on from the pre-coronation talks with King James and begin talking about just how phenomenal of a series this is theoretically shaping up to be.

Whether you want to find Miami Heat tickets for the games scheduled at the American Airlines Arena or Dallas Mavericks tickets to see the games at American Airlines Center, visit OnlineSeats so you can brag about witnessing one of the best finals in the 21st century in person and not just on a HD TV.

Yankees Tickets to One of the Best Offenses in Baseball

The New York Yankees are right where they belong, at least according to fans with season tickets to Yankees games, in first place. This AL East leading team came into the 2011 MLB season with valid criticism of the batting order and the pitching staff. Now, Yankee Stadium, in any incarnation, is no stranger to poor starting pitching, but to assess the offense as “lacking” felt quite foreign to anyone who has followed baseball since the 1990s.

So, why has the Yankees offense bucked those concerns (to date)? Well, combine the unappreciated ascendency of Robinson Cano with the rejuvenated play of Russell Martin and the “swing for the fences” mentality of at least half the batting order and this is a top five offensive team.

Second baseman Cano has been ready to take over as the face of the franchise since 2009. So far the current face, Derek Jeter, has persisted in his late career decline that marred last season. Thus, Cano should emerge as the fan favorite, at least once the nostalgia of rooting for a man struggling to hit .250 wears thin. Cano is hitting .320 with 8 homeruns, 21 RBI, and 18 runs in 24 games. All of those numbers are team leading stats.

Dodger fans fell into hysterical fits across Los Angeles when the Yankees acquired catcher Russell Martin. Martin had been a disappointment the last two seasons, both behind and at the plate. Well, apparently this native Canadian simply needed a return to chilly weather to find his swing. So far he is hitting a very respectable .293 with 6 homeruns. In fact, those numbers are all star worthy for a catcher, so if he is able to remain consistent, Martin should be returning the all star game for the first time since 2008 (and this will not just be a case of Yankees fans stuffing the ballot box!).

As a team the Yankees have hit 43 home runs (through Saturday), this is seven more than the next best slugging team, the Texas Rangers. Of course, to simply state that the Yankees have the best power hitting team in the league does not quite explain why this offense is so potent. New York is in the middle of the pack in terms of batting average, but they are sixth in the league in on base percentage.

As power hitting teams can attest, hitting solo shots does not win games. But make those fence clearing drives worth two or three runs and it is a different story. So, yes the Yankees are more than likely going to be a plodding team with a middle-of-the-road team batting average, but the talent at the plate is patient enough to draw a walk for Cano, Russell, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson to ruin a pitchers day.

The Yankees still have a long way to go before they can safely put the Tampa Bay Rays behind them. Heck the Blue Jays and Orioles have not even completely derailed their seasons yet and the Red Sox still have to make a midseason comeback to make things interesting. However, if this offense is able to continue rolling, then the Yankees team has enough to fire power to keep winning games, even after Freddy Garcia and Bartolo Colon come back down to Earth and their ERA balloon to above 5.


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A Turning Point for the New York Yankees Franchise: A Season Without Georg

As the 2011 MLB season kicks off I am still flummoxed by just how the perennial powerhouses have fallen, the New York Yankees. This is not to say that this fan base is going to have to endure losing seasons. Rather, it is how the baseball franchises that could once be counted on to take first place in their AL East each season (even when they were not winning World Series) have serious concerns.

The New York Yankees are embarking on a season without George the father. His two sons have inherited the empire and they may be well on their way to proving the axiom that sports ownership passed down along generations see glories squandered by the children. Certainly the Chicago Bears can attest to the McCaskey’s incompetence after George Halas created the Monsters of the Midway. The Yankees fandom suffered a dear loss with George’s passing last season and perhaps an even greater loss when his daughter divorced the heir apparent, Steve Swindal.

Now Hal is in charge and he has Brian Cashman running the franchise with dollar signs in mind before wins. The first sign of troubling times maybe ahead maybe that the Yankees allowed the Boston Red Sox to acquire Adrian Gonzalez. While the Gonzalez plays first and the Yankees already have a Mark Teixeira in place there with a hefty price tag, Gonzalez could have been the DH or Gonzalez and Teixeira could have taken turns in either position.

Still, this team has enough talent on the field to warrant spending money on New York Yankees tickets to Yankee Stadium, but this is a team that is a certain underdog in the AL East. The Boston Red Sox are the favorites to win the division, the pennant, and the World Series and the Tampa Bay Rays are thought of as equals to the Yankees. Maybe this is just what Hal needs to turn from reluctant owner to a rabid egomaniac hell bent on winning: an inspiration season after his father’s shadow has dissipated.

Guess What NBA, The East Has Arrived

Now that Carmelo Anthony has arrived it appears the balance of power may have shifted from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference for the first time since Michael Jordan was shooting Space Jam.

Think about. The Orlando Magic made a huge trade to essentially reinvent themselves as the East Coast Dallas Mavericks, the Big Three are partying it up in Miami (yes they are struggling this season, but it is the first season Wade and LeBron have had to work together), Boston remains at the top of the conference with four all stars, and Chicago appears to be a piece or two from officially arriving, and Carmelo finally arrived in New York, making Knicks tickets finally worth buying.

Meanwhile, back West, the Spurs, Mavericks, and Lakers are the only realistic title contenders this season. The Spurs are playing a more guard oriented offense which may diminish the team’s chances since Tim Duncan was just so good in the postseason when the game slowed down and became a half court marathon. The Mavericks can be counted on to implode like the drunken uncle at a Christmas party. Only the Lakers appear to have the pieces to remain championship contenders for more than a season longer.

Sure, the Oklahoma City Thunder are loaded and are perhaps the next young team to be considered serious title contenders, but there is little else to count to fill the void on West of the Mississippi River. Only if Dwight Howard truly decides to go West will the East suffer a loss they cannot brush off, but that team is likely going to be the Lakers and that will not make the West any deeper.

Of course, all this potential in the East will be for naught if the NBA goes into lockdown mode next season.

Knicks Tickets 2011: Is Carmelo Finally Coming?

An NBA trade, or the events leading up to the completion of an NBA, can be compared to many arduous or inclement events. It can be compared to building a pyramid over several generations or surviving a Category 5 hurricane. I like to think of it as a grotesque front office marathon. The talks begin a month into the season, ESPN prematurely reports and laments on potential deals, and the team that ends up with the coveted player is the last one mentioned in February. This February the player is Carmelo Anthony and the team appears to be the New York Knicks.

Now yes, I am going to source ESPN here (which may invalidate the rumor before it begins turning into a real boy!), but the late rumor is that the Knicks, Nuggets, and Timberwolves may be embarking in a ménage a trios that includes at least five players and a draft pick and is one piece from becoming a done deal.

The Knicks would be shipping Anthony Rudolph and Eddy Curry’s expiring eight–figure contract to the Timberwolves and Wilson Chandler to the Nuggets. The Timberwolves would send Corey Brewer and a first round draft pick to the Nuggets. The Knicks would receive Carmelo and Carmelo would receive a three-year $65 million extension.

So who wants the one piece? The Minnesota Timberwolves do. Really, how does a team with Kevin Love and Michael Beasley at the forward spots benefit from the addition of Anthony Randolph? Sure they will be able to keep their eight figures in cap space thanks to Curry’s contract, but what good does this do when no one wants to play in Minnesota? So, the question is: What will the Timberwolves receive to make this deal happen and will this bring in a fourth team?

The Timberwolves desperately need help at the point guard spot. Ricky Rubio is never coming over to play in the Land of a Thousand Lakes and Jonny Flynn has been usurped by Luke Ridnour as the starting point guard. Do the Nuggets or Knicks have any point guards Minnesota could whet their lips over? Yes, his name is Ty Lawson, but he is the heir apparent to Chauncey Billups.

Part of the Nuggets plan to rebuild the franchise post-Carmelo is to start Lawson. Alas, these are the cracks that quickly grow into impassable canyons over the course of NBA trade talks. So, how does this deal continue?

Well, Carmelo does not have to initiate this trade before the end of the season, but he wants a max contract and Denver does not want to become Toronto 2012. Both these key pieces want this deal done. Then, add the pressure the Knicks GM is receiving from the majority owner to complete this deal (despite it being cheaper to sign Carmelo after the season is over and possibly after the CBA negotiations ends any hopes of a 2011-2012 season). So, one of these teams is going to cough up a piece it does not want to, whether via the addition of a fourth team or with these three.

As a Chicago Bulls fan I would be ecstatic if the deal falls apart. While I was one of the throng of voices that did not want Carmelo ruining the Bulls team chemistry, I fear he would be the piece to put the New York over the top and transform them from a 6-8 seed and into the top four. I want no part of Knicks tickets for a second round series after Carmelo and Amare have had half a season to learn how to play with each other in Mike D’Antoni’s system. I want no part of them in the first round either (they have the Bulls number), but would choose the latter if forced.

So pay attention to every rumor over the next two-plus weeks and see if the Knicks or Nuggets are willing to give up a player key to the long term liver function of the franchise and complete this marathon. As a Bulls fan I hope not.

The Road to Super Bowl LXVI

The road to Super Bowl LXVI runs through Gillette Stadium in Foxboro on the AFC side of the playoffs and through the Georgia Dome on the NFC side, but the Super Bowl tickets will only be good for the game at Cowboys Stadium on February 6, 2011.

The first round begins Saturday with two games, the No. 6 New York Jets vs. the No. 3 Indianapolis Colts at the Lucas Oil Stadium and the No. 5 New Orleans Saints vs. the No. 4 Seattle Seahawks at Qwest Field. If the Colts are able to advance I have to assume it will be thanks to Manning’s will alone. If the Seahawks win it will be a not-so-small miracle.

Sunday, the No. 5 Baltimore Ravens travel to Arrowhead Stadium to play the Kansas City Chiefs and the No. 6 Green Bays Packers travel to Lincoln Financial Field to take on the No. 3 Philadelphia Eagles. The Ravens should effectively mitigate the Chiefs primary offensive strength, the running back duo of Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones, thanks to the fifth best running defense. The Packers and the Eagles is almost impossible to predict since both teams have a hot-or-cold disposition on the field. I want the Philly-Green Bay game to be the most ridiculous, highest scoring game of the postseason, but am fully aware it could come down to a battle of the special teams if both sides display even a decent pass rush.

The winners of the first slate of NFC games will play the Chicago Bears or the Atlanta Falcons. Both the Falcons and the Bears are hardly unbeatable. The Falcons have faced few challenges toward the end of the season, barely beating the Buccaneers in Week 13 and losing to a desperate Saints team Week 16. The Bears offense can disappear, but the Chicago defense focuses so much on stopping the run a team with a decent passing attack and a good offensive line can disarm this Cover-2 based defense with precision thorws along the seams.

The survivor of the first round of AFC games will play either the New England Patriots or the Pittsburgh Steelers. Nobody wants to play the Patriots. The offense is simply functioning on such a high level right now any defeat would be as shocking as the Giants win in 2007. The Steelers are the NFL’s version of True Grit. Roethlisberger is apparently playing on one foot and with a broken nose. I would not be surprised to learn of a dislocated throwing shoulder, a slight brain hemorrhage, and a battle with cancer in his small intestines. Big Ben will soldier on and continue to cultivate his legacy as the toughest quarterback of his generation.

No matter who survives this difficult path, I look forward to one of the best postseasons in recent history.