BOB MATTHEWS SPORTS TALK
Weeknights 6:00PM - 8:00PM
on WHAM 1180
Email Bob here.
For over 25 years, Bob Matthews has held the title of Rochester's most popular sports writer/commentator. For over 20 years, Bob has hosted WHAM's nightly sports talk program...consistently ranked at the top of his time slot!
From 1978 to 2012, Bob Matthews was a sports columnist for the Times-Union and Democrat and Chronicle and a regular "As the Sports World Turns" contributor to the Gannett News Service. He is the only person to be selected Press-Radio Club Sportswriter of the Year (five times) and Sportscaster of the Year, and was a pioneer inductee into the Frontier Field Walk of Fame.
A Rochester native, Bob graduated from Brighton High School where he played varsity baseball, basketball and served as student council V-P. Bob is also a veteran, serving his country in Vietnam.
Always opinionated and outspoken, Bob's proudest accomplishment is advocating for Frontier Field. His all-time favorite athlete...former Red Wing Luke Easter. One of his sports regrets……not being around for the glory year of the Rochester Royals.
BILLS LIFT HAPPINESS LEVEL IN WESTERN NEW YORK
HOW BAD FOR THE JETS? RAMS ARE “BEST BET”
HOW GOOD ARE THE KNICKS?
TOUTING MARCUS MARIOTA FOR HEISMAN TROPHY
HONEST YANKEES FANS…THE BLUE JAYS ARE BETTER
Nothing like a Buffalo Bills victory to boost morale in western New York.
At home. In prime time, no less.
Bills 19, Miami Dolphins 14 Thursday night.
One bad streak ended. The Bills had managed to lose their previous 11 prime-time games since 2001.
Now about that other streak. The Big One. Twelve straight non-playoff seasons.
The Bills now are 4-6 with six games to go.
In most seasons, projecting a trip to the playoffs would be silly. But there is some hope.
There is light at the end of the tunnel – a very dim light at the end of a very long tunnel – because:
1-The AFC is so lousy this season that 9-7 – or even 8-8 – could be good enough to make the playoffs
2-Buffalo’s remaining schedule looks soft – on paper:
Nov. 25 – at Indianapolis
Dec. 2 – Home vs. Jacksonville
Dec. 9 – Home against St. Louis
Dec. 16 v—vs. Seattle in Toronto
Dec. 23 – at Miami
Dec. 30 – Home against the New York Jets.
So there is a glimmer of hope. Bills fans have lived on hope for a long time.
Some other thought’s on Thursday night’s victory:
The Bills were 1-point favorites most of the week. Big money poured in on Buffalo late and the official line at kickoff was Bills favored by 3. The “smart money” was right. It usually is.
The Bills appear to be a better all-around team than the Dolphins. Miami was touted as the more physical team but it wasn’t Thursday night. Rookie QB Ryan Tannehill has a better arm than Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, but at this stage of their careers, I prefer Fitz.
Miami’s receiving corps is worse than Buffalo’s.
Buffalo is the second-best team in the AFC East – way behind New England but slightly ahead of Miami and the Jets. Buffalo’s near-future also appears brighter than Miami’s and the Jets.
C.J. Spiller had 25 touches for 130 yards and survived. Thank you coach Chan Gailey for seeing the light.
Spiller is the main reason the Bills could be included on next season’s non-Thursday prime-time TV schedule.
Spiller, free safety Jairus Byrd and kick returner Leodis McKelvin boosted their Pro Bowl stock.
The Bills and their fans will have a much better Thanksgiving coming off Thursday night’s victory.
RAMS “BEST BET” OVER THE JETS
The Jets have lost their last two games by a combined 58-16. The injured reserve list is overflowing and some of the healthy players are bad-mouthing Tim Tebow, who hasn’t played enough to be blamed for anything except media overexposure – and that isn’t his fault. Even coach Rex Ryan isn’t talking big anymore.
St. Louis isn’t a good team but the Rams at least have better chemistry and a decent offensive nucleus with QB Sam Bradford, running backs Steven Jackson and Daryl Richardson, and healthy wide receiver and sparkplug Danny Amendola.
The Rams have the home-field advantage and are Week 11’s “Best Bet”: ST. LOUIS (-3) 27, New York Jets 15.
Sunday’s other games (home team in CAPS)
Green Bay 30, DETROIT (+3) 24 – The Packers are hurting but coming off a bye week should help and QB Aaron Rodgers is in top form. The Lions are 4-11-1 against the spread(ATS) in their last 16 games and 1-12 straight up in the last 13 games vs. Green Bay.
Cincinnati 24, KANSAS CITY (+3) 13 – The Bengals are coming off a huge home win over the Giants and face a relatively soft remaining schedule in their quest for a playoff berth. The Chiefs have very little to play for.
Tampa Bay 35, CAROLINA (+1) 30 – The Buccaneers have scored 38, 28, 36, 42 and 34 points in their last five games and should have a slight edge defensively in a high-scoring affair.
WASHINGTON (-3 ½) 28, Philadelphia 20 – Eagles rookie QB Nick Foles replaces injured Michael Vick. He’s no match vs. Redskins rookie QB Robert Griffin III....Warning: Washington is 1-5-1 ATS in its last 7 home games.
HOUSTON (-15) 38, Jacksonville 10 – That’s a hugs spot, but the Texans could be the NFL’s best team and the Jaguars could the worst. The Texas easily won 27-7 in Jacksonville Week 2. Houston has improved and Jacksonville has regressed.
ATLANTA (-9 ½) 33, Arizona 10 – The Falcons are 4-0 at home by slim margins of 27-21, 30-238, 23-20 and 19-13 this season. Coming off their first loss of the season (31-27 at New Orleans), they figure to roll up the score on the Cardinals (0-5 with 53 points since a surprising 4-0 start).
DALLAS (-8) 28, Cleveland 14 – The Cowboys are due for an easy win and QB Tony Romo is due for a solid home game (2 TD passes and 10 INTs at home this season….Warning: Dallas is 0-5 ATS in its last five home games.
NEW ORLEANS (-4 ½) 35, Oakland 20 – The Saints aren’t going to win any defensive duels but figure to easily outscore Oakland with star running back Darren McFadden hurting. The Raiders have lost seven straight games in the Eastern time zone.
NEW ENGLAND (-9) 37, Indianapolis 17 – The Colts and rookie Andrew Luck have won four straight games against cupcakes (Browns, Titans, Dolphins and Jaguars) compared to the Patriots….WARNING: New England is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 home games.
DENVER (-7 ½) 27, San Diego 24 – The Chargers usually play well in Denver (5-1 in the last six road games against the Broncos) and have enough talent to keep this game competitive all the way.
Baltimore 23, PITTSBURGH (+ 3 ½) – I 5think we’ll find out in this game have much sidelined QB Benj Roethlisberger means to the Steelers.
Monday night’s game
SAN FRANCISCO (-6) 22, Chicago 10 – The defensive units both are solid but San Francisco’s offense should be the difference. The 49ers have won the last seven meeting at home.
Thursday night’s game (picked on WHAM radio Thursday pre-game) : Miami 24, BUFFALO (-3) 20 – The Dolphins swept Buffalo last season and has the rush defense to stymie C.J. Spiller.
Last week’s results: 9-4-1 picking winning teams outright (87-58-1 this season)…7-7 pickiing winners against the Las Vergas point spread (61-81-4 this season)…The “Best Bet” is 7-2-1 outright and 4-5-1 against the spread after 11-point favored New England beat Buffalo by only 6 points (37-31).
KNICKS NBA’S BEST TEAM – AT LEAST FOR THE MOMENT
It has been a long time since anyone could argue that the New York Knicks are the NBA’s best team. But they deserve that tag until at least Friday night – when they play at Memphis (9:30 on ESPN). I believe they’ll lose Friday night. But I thought they’d lose Thursday night in n San Antonio, too.
The Knicks are 6-0 after an impressive 104-100 come-from-behind victory at San Antonio.
They lead the NBA in point differential (+13.7 per game) and rank 2nd in scoring (103.5) and scoring defense (89.8).
Why are they playing so well?
They have the go-to super scorer (Carmelo Anthony).
The go-to super scorer is playing honest defense and hustling at both ends of the court (usually).
They play hard-nosed team defense – yes, I‘m talking about the Knicks -- keyed by center Tyson Chandler (we’re seeing why he makes the Olympic teams).
The front office unloaded a lot of overrated or useless players (including – sorry Jeremy Lin fans – Jeremy Lin, Landry Fields, Iman Shumpert, Toney Douglas, Baron Davis, Bill Walker, Josh Harrellson, Renaldo Blackman, Henry Bibby) in favor of better players, particularly Raymond Felton, J.R. Smith and Ronnie Brewer, plus savvy veterans such as Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby and Kurt Thomas. They don’t have much left but they’ve been winners and know their roles and how to play.
I don’t know when Amar’e Stoudemire’s ailing left knee will allow him to play again, but he’ll make the team even deeper.
I like this Knicks team. I can’t remember the last time I said that.
OREGON’S MARIOTA DESERVES SOME HEISMAN LOVE
Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein is the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy. I wonder why he has so much more support than distant also-ran Oregon QB Marcus Mariota. They’re both on 9-0 teams.
Here’s how they compare this season:
Klein – 167.44 pass efficiency (8th in FBS: Bowl Subdivision)…145x298 (69.1 completion percentage)…2,020 yards passing…9.71 yards per attempt…12 TD passes…3 INTs…154 carries for 748 net yards (4.86 yards per carry)…19 TD runs
Mariota – 176.9 pass efficiency (1st in FBS)…180x251 (71.71 completion percentage)…2,164 yards passing…8.62 yards per attempt…28 TD passes…5 INTs…78 carries for 516 net yards (6.62 yards per carry)…3 TD runs…1 catch for a 2-yard TD.
Klein is a senior and Mariota is a redshirt freshman. That might be an advantage to Klein in the minds of the voters – but it shouldn’t be.
R.A. DICKEY FIFTH EX-RED WING TO WIN A CY YOUNG AWARD
New York Mets on Wednesday became the first knuckleball pitcher and the fifth former Rochester Red Wing to win a Cy Young Award (began in 1956):
Bob Gibson (NL St. Louis ) 1968, 1970…He was a Red Wing in 1958 (5-5 record; 2.45 ERA in 20 games) and 1960 (2-3 record; 2.85 ERA in 6 games)
Jim Palmer (AL Baltimore) 1973, 1975, 1976…In two rehab assignments in 1967 and 1968 with Rochester, he was 0-0 with a 12.27 ERA in four starts
Mike Flanagan (AL Baltimore) 1979…In 37 games (including 35 starts) for Rochester in 1975, 1976 and 1987, he had a 19-5 record and a 2.44 ERA
Fernando Valenzuela (NL Los Angeles) 1981…In one 4-inning road rehab start for the Red Wings in 1993, he lost and had a 10.80 ERA
Dickey was 2-1 with a 5.13 ERA for Rochester late in the 2009 season after being demoted by Minnesota.
CAN NFL MVP BE A RUNNING BACK FOR A CHANGE?
Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is making a strong bid for NFL Most Valuable Player.
That honor doesn’t always go to a quarterback – it only seems that way. QBs have accounted for 35 NFL MVP awards since 1961. Here are the other MVPs by position:
Running backs – Jim Brown ( 1965)…Paul Hornung (1961)…Jim Taylor (1962)…Larry Brown (1972)…O.J. Simpson (1973)…Walter Payton (1977)…Earl Campbell (1979)…Marcus Allen (1985)…Thurman Thomas (1991)…Emmitt Smith (1993)….Barry Sanders 1997; co-MVP with QB Brett Favre)…Terrell Davis 1998…Marshall Faulk (2000)…Shaun Alexander (2005)…LaDainian Tomlinson (2006)
Defensive tackle – Alan Page (1971)
Linebacker – Lawrence Taylor (1986)
Kicker – Mark Moseley (1982).
This might seem prematurely cruel, but the 2013 non-division schedule for the Buffalo Bills looks pretty tough. They’ll play Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta and Carolina at home; and Pttsburgh, New Orleans, Tampa Bay and Cleveland on the road. The other two non-division games will be home vs. the same-place finisher in the AFC West and away against the same-place finisher in the AFC South.
In Saturday night’s UFC welterweight championship main event in Montreal, hometown hero Georges St. Pierre is the favorite (bet $360 to win $100) over Carlos Condit (bet $100 to win $300)…In the co-main event, a welterweight title eliminator, Johny Hendricks is favored (bet $145 to win $100)…odds from William Hill sports books.
The NHL is fighting a proposed legislation that would legalize betting on pro games in Canada. The bill would repeal the criminal code section that prohibits wagering on a single sporting event. If passed into law, each province would decide whether to allow single-game betting. The NHL says the game’s integrity is essential to its popularity and that the bill would be bad for sports.
Cheers to Stacy Lewis for being chosen the LPGA Tour’s Player of the Year. Sher’s the American so honored since Beth Daniel in 1994. Lewis tied for 2nd in this year’s Wegmans LPGA Championship at Locust Hill, 2 shots behind winner Shanshan Fang.
ADMIT IT YANKEES FANS…TORONTO LOOKS BETTER (for now at least)
I know most New York Yankees think it is ludicrous to project the Yankees to finish fourth or fifth in the 2013 American League East.
Right now, on paper, the Yankees appear more likely to finish fifth than first. They aren’t going to stand pat, but a self-proclaimed player payroll ceiling of $189 million would prevent them from making any high-profile additions ( a la Josh Hamilton).
Before this week’s blockbuster trade between Toronto and Miami. I thought the Yankees were better than the Blue Jays. But now – no way.
Toronto’s new-look lineup looks like this: SS Jose Reyes…3B Brett Lawrie….RF Jose Bautista…DH Edwin Encarnacion…1B Adam Lind…CF Colby Rasmus….2B Kelly Johnson…C J.P. Arencibia/John Buck…LF RFajai Davis.
Emilio Bonifacio is a top=notch utility player.
The starting rotation is much-improved: Brandon Morrow, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Carlos Villanueva, Aaron Laffey or Ricky Romero. Casey Janssen is a solid closer. Brandon Lyon is a good set=up man. I’m not crazy about Toronto’s bullpen depth, but the Yankees aren’t much better
Right now, I project Tampa Bay and Toronto battling for first place in the AL East, with the improved Boston Red Sox, Yankees and Baltimore in the second tier. All in all, the best division in baseball – again.