St. Louis Blues hockey, the NBA is underway, NCAA Bowl Picks, and a great lineup of NFL games head the Daily Grind.
The Blues have a pair of tough games ahead. After losing a heartbreaker in Detroit Tuesday, the Blues head home to play the surging Nashville Predators. Nashville is 19-14-4 and is 7th in the Western Conference with 42 points. There is an outside chance defensemen
Shea Weber returns to the ice after sustaining a concussion. Weber’s absence leaves a crater in the Predators lineup.
After Nashville, the Blues travel back to the Joe Louis Arena. A quirky schedule has the Blues back in Detroit just three days removed. The Central Division is strong and these games are extremely important.
The Blues let one get away Tuesday. The snowball started after a Matt D’Agostini penalty. Nicklas Lidstrom netted his 8th goal of the season to cut the deficit to one, before Detroit scored 2 goals just 56 seconds apart in the 3rd period. Detroit took advantage of goaltender Jimmy Howard’s block party. Howard was fantastic stopping 29 St. Louis shots to earn his league leading 22nd win.
January offers a favorable schedule for St. Louis. They will play 9 of 11 games at the Scottrade Center, where they are 14-3-1. Meanwhile, their 7-8-3-road record needs to improve.
I am thoroughly enjoying the World Junior Championships on the NHL Network. These are the next wave of elite NHL players. Team USA is 1-1 after losing to Finland 4-1 earlier today. Between the WJC’s, HBO’s 24/7: Road to the Winter Classic, and games, the NHL is getting a ton of national attention.
The Association is under way, and what a start to “where amazing happens”. The Miami Heat, 3-0, looks unstoppable. Rookie PG Norris Cole, whose 20 points (14 in 4th quarter) led to MVP chants in a win over the Boston Celtics.
Speaking of Boston, they are 0-3 after losing to the Chris Paul-Less New Orleans Hornets. The reigning NBA champions, Dallas Mavericks, are 0-2.
Here are my Bowl Picks for college football.
A quick take on the Jon Gruden/A.J. Smith rumors.
This would be huge for the Rams if they could land the duo. Under Smith since 2003, the Chargers have won 87 games and five AFC West championships. Gruden would certainly have a presence. He would not coddle underachievers. Plus, he has a Super Bowl ring as the head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
At this point anything would suffice over Steve Spagnuolo’s .213 winning % and this maniac.
What a great weekend of games:
Baltimore (11-4) @ Cincinnati (9-6): Ray Lewis called it a playoff game. If the Bengals win, they are in as a wild card team.
Prediction CIN 24 BAL 17
Kansas City (6-9) @ Denver (8-7): Kyle Orton has a chance to crush his former teammates. If Denver loses, and the Raiders win at home against San Diego, the Broncos would miss the playoffs. Orton was ousted in favor of Tim Tebow earlier this season. Karma.
Prediction DEN 20 KC 13
Dallas (8-7) @ New York Giants (8-7): Primetime Sunday Night rematch of the Week 14 thriller in which Eli Manning led the Giants to two scores in the final 3:14 to win at Dallas. QB Tony Romo’s has a hurt hand and his health will have a huge impact.
Prediction NYG 31 DAL 20
Also, the Indianapolis Colts (2-13) face the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-11)…with St. Louis having no shot at home against San Francisco, if the Colts win the #1 overall draft pick would belong to the Rams. How’s that sound? Smith, Gruden, and a first overall pick.
Thanks for reading.