It is Halloween but there is also another noteworthy event going on Tuesday as the 2006 NBA season opens tonight. Fans and sports bettors are being treated to a double header of games as the Chicago Bulls visit the Miami Heat and the Phoenix Suns travel to the Staples Center to square off against the Lakers. Maddux Sports will be releasing itâ€™s first member NBA picks of the season today so be sure to get on board for a daily or season package. But first letâ€™s get to a small preview for the 2 games.
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Yes– that’s the headline. Who would have thought it?! That in week 8 of the NFL season the lowly Oakland Raiders and the Super Bowl Championship Pittsburgh Steelers would have the exact same recordâ€”2 and 5? Not only that, but Oaklandâ€™s second win came against the Steelers! Ouch!
Itâ€™s official, QB Ben Rothlisberger will play today after suffering a concussion last week (his second such injury in six months). A report on ESPN.com today casts doubt on the NFLâ€™s policy regarding head injury and the man in charge of that policyâ€”Elliot Pellman.
The QB shuffle is an off-field play that certainly affects on-field play. In week eight of the 2006-07 NFL season, itâ€™s become a major preoccupation with certain teams either because of injury or poor performance or both. But one shuffle above all had more drama than any other. It was the one that occurred last Monday night and continues into this evening.
Last week, Steeler QB â€œBig Benâ€? Roethlisberger had his bell rung by the Atlanta Hawks and found himself on the sideline for the rest of the game. Backup, nine-year veteran QB Charlie Batch came in and, as he has done all season, acquitted himself well. In the six games that the 2- 4 Steelers have played this season, Batch has played in less than six quarters, yet he has as many touch down passes as Roethlisberger (five) and has thrown zero interceptions to Roethlisbergerâ€™s seven.
There will be a lot written and produced about basketball legend Red Auerbach in the coming days. The Celtics will dedicate this season to him and there will be innumerable tributes. For years Auerbach held the record for season wins (938) and playoff wins (99) by a coach. In season wins, heâ€™s been passed by Lenny Wilkins (1332), Larry Brown (1239), Don Nelson (1190), Pat Riley (1151), Jerry Sloan (984) and Bill Fitch (944). Phil Jackson (179), Pat Riley (179) and Larry Brown (120) have all passed him in playoff wins.
Last week, Michael Vick decided to do something the running backâ€¦ I mean quarterbackâ€¦ has rarely doneâ€”throw the ball for touchdowns! Opening his game up like he did against the Steelers should make this weekâ€™s opponent, the Bengals, wonder exactly how they should defend this usually run-happy offense. And didnâ€™t Atlanta front office folks look real smart in their signing of the ever-youthful kicker Morten Anderson about a month ago when their starting field goal man Michael Koenen showed more inconsistency than gas pump prices?
Both Cincinnati (AFC North) and Carolina (NFC South) are in second place in their conferencesâ€”Cincinnati is one-half game behind the AFC Northâ€™s leading Baltimore Ravens and Carolina is one game hind the NFC Southâ€™s top New Orleans Saints. Both Carolina and New Orleans have bye weeks and will play one another next week. The Bengals are given the 3-point home field edge in this one.
Rutgers (1-0 Big East, 6-0 Overall) is sitting right around 19th in all national polls (16th in the BCS). Pittsburgh (2-0 Big East, 6-1 Overall) is close to making it into the AP Top-25 (they were 26th this week). Both are in the Big East and both teams have given that conference more credence than itâ€™s had in recent years.
Georgia has lost two-in-a-row and this time to unranked and SEC East cellar dweller Vanderbilt! With last weekâ€™s loss to #13 Tennessee (51-33) and now a 24-22 loss to the Commodores, expect #16 Georgia to plummet further in the national rankings. Still on Georgiaâ€™s dance card are the toughest part of its season– #2 Florida, #11 Auburn and #13 Georgia Tech.