The Sunday Report

Like I said, Seattle and Denver would advance and they sure did. After a sluggish first half, then losing Shaun Alexander for the game, Seattle stayed focused and pulled out the victory.

Redskins 10 – Seahawks 20

Denver wasn’t able to establish the run like I thought they were going to be able to, but Jake Plummer produced when they needed him to and the Broncos took advantage of the Patriots costly mistakes. The Patriots Reign at the top ends.

Patriots 13 – Broncos 27

My predictions for Sundays matchup’s as follows,

Steelers vs Colts 1 p.m.
The Steelers get their second crack at the Colts after getting beaten in every aspect of the game 26-7 on week 12. This will be a much different game. The biggest matchup of the game will be Peyton Manning vs Troy Polamalu. In the week 12 meeting, Polamalu was very unpredictable and confused Manning at times. It’s going to be fun to watch the mind games those two will play with each other. Big Ben is going to have to be even better than he was last weekend. I believe he will be and will keep the Steelers hanging around in the 4 th quarter. Rust will affect the Colts early , and this game goes down to the wire. The Steelers i mean colts, no I mean Steelers pull off the shocker of the playoffs and knock off the Super Bowl favorites 30-24 with a late field goal that seals the deal.

Panthers vs Bears
The bears are 9-2 in the last 11 games and are tough as nails at home. Carolina to counter are 7-2 on the road this season and have the playoff experience to win a game in the trenches like this one is going to be. Rex Grossman is going have a difficult time in this game, but the Bears need to come out throwing to try to give him some confidence. I do expect early success from him, but John Fox will adjust and start throwing different dime, nickel packages and Grossman’s inexperience will show late in this game. The Bears D will be on it’s game but it wont be enough the Panthers prevail 20-14.

Now to the Penguins….
After losing 5 straight games and being at the bottom of the standings in the Eastern Conference, the big question now is what direction does this team take. Lately I’ve heard the saying flying around lately , that it’s time to rebuild again. I don’t agree with that assumption at all. With a superstar in Sidney Crosby, hopefully the arrival of Malkin, a young #1 goaltender in Marc Andre Fleury who has the potential to be great, and a potential #1 or 2 D-man in Ryan Whitney, you have your nucleus to build around and losing this season might have been the best thing for next year. We’ve been able to find out that Surovy, Quellet Christiansen can all produce at the NHL level. Sooner or later management was going to see that the likes of Leclair, Palffy & Recchi just can’t produce like they could in years past, and it’s better now then them finding out next year, because no matter how well this team did this season, I felt the 06-07 season has a lot more potential than this season could have had, with Crosby having a year under his belt, the arrival of Malkin and Fleury developing into the franchise goaltender he will be. So maybe just maybe losing this season might turn into a good thing
… The bad thing is with that is well have to wait till next year to find out…

With Mario returning possibly returning this week, I would like to see him play with Crosby. He can be productive still playing with Crosby because Crosby like all great players do elevate players game, and I feel he can do the same to Mario. Other moves that need to happen is send Endicott back to the minors and never bring him back. It’s time for Eric Christiansen to come back up, I agreed it was good to send him down to regain his confidence, but this team is dying for offense, and he’s a much better option than Endicott in there. Another move I would like to see is the Pens work on developing Ryan Malone as a future #3 center. He’s got the size and I would hold on to him till the end of the season and play him every game at center. That’s one move i hope to see happen and them actually stick with it. When Mario returns these are the lines i would like to see

66-87-33
43-16-7
71-12-8
10-25-20

Other news and notes….
The New York Post is reporting Edzo is a strong candidate for the New Jersey Devils Head coach opening. That is very surprising, but Edzo is a young coach who did play the game and has lots of knowledge. Just because it didn’t work out here for him doesn’t mean he’s not a good coach. He has a lot of potential because of his people skills and Devils management know how to run a team and they must feel the same way. If he get’s the job i hope it works out for him.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to terms with rf Craig Wilson 1 yr 3.5 million.
i like the deal, they can use him as trade bait,or he could be a valuable asset. Jeremy Burnitz is 37 years old. He may not produce like they thought he was going to and another option with Wilson is playing him at lf if Chris Duffy doesn’t produce and moving Jason Bay to Center.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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