BOB MATTHEWS SPORTS TALK
Weeknights 6:00PM - 8:00PM
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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.
I’m thankful for my loyal listeners and readers. Please spread the word that I still have a column – Mondays and Fridays on WHAM1180.com and WHTK.com. This “Friday” column is right here.
HOUSTON TEXANS OVER LIONS THANKSGIVING’S “BEST BET”
ANDREW LUCK VS. FITZPATRICK IS NOT A MISMATCH
WINGS 2013 OUTFIELD IS LOOKING GOOD
CAN BOEHEIM WIN 1,000?
FIVE LPGA MAJORS IN 2013
Kicking off with NFL Week 12’s “Best Bets”:
(home team in CAPS):
Houston 35, DETROIT (+3)20 – There isn’t a great team in the NFL this season but the Texans probably have the fewest weaknesses and are this week’s “Best Bet.” The Lions are 4-12-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 17 games and 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games.
DALLAS (-3 1/2) 27, Washington 20 – Cowboys QB Tony Romo isn’t as flashy as Redskins rookie whiz Robert Griffin III but he has the stronger supporting cast. Dallas is 14-2 straight up in the last 16 home games vs. Washington.
New England 35, NEW YORK JETS (+5 ½) 20 – The Patriots are 11-2 ATS in their last 13 road games against the Jets and there is no reason to expect that trend to end in this game.
Minnesota 27, CHICAGO (-6) 21 – The Bears aren’t the same team minus QB Jay Cutler. Chicago is 2-4-1 ATS in its last 7 home games….Warning: Minnesota is 1-7-1 ATS in the last 9 games at Chicago.
CINCINNATI (-9 ½) 24, Oakland 13 – The Bengals are 5-11-3 ATS in their last 19 games but are smelling the playoffs.
CLEVELAND (+3 1/2) 20, Pittsburgh 17 – The Steelers aren’t nearly the same team minus sidelined QB Ben Roethlisberger. Pittsburgh is 2-7 ATS in its last 9 road games.
Buffalo 27, INDIANAPOLIS (-3) 24 – The Bills have more overall talent than the rebuilding Colts and should win if they can protect the football…Warning: Buffalo is 4-8-1 ATS in its last 13 road games.
Tennessee 23, JACKSONVILLE (+3) 10 – The Titans are 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games but haven’t faced many opponents as feeble as the Jaguars.
Denver 33, KANSAS CITY (+10) 17 – The Chiefs are 9-4 in their last 13 home games in this series. But that was before Peyton Manning joined the Broncos.
Seattle 24, MIAMI (+3) 13 – The Seahawks should post a rare road win against the fading Dolphins.
TAMPA BAY (+1) 23, Atlanta 20 – The red-hot Buccaneers are loaded with confidence and an NFL-best 8-2 ATS .
Baltimore 27, SAN DIEGO (+1) 20 – The disappointing Chargers aren’t likely to wake up against the Ravens….Warning: San Diego is 5-2 ATS in the last 7 home games vs. Baltimore.
ARIZONA (-1) 27, ST. Louis 23 – The Cardinals are 10-2 in the last 12 meetings and 7-3 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
San Francisco 28, NEW ORLEANS (+2 1/2) 24 – The Saints probably have slightly more offense but the 49ers play much better defense.
NEW YORK GIANTS (-2 ½) 24, Green Bay 17 – The Packers have won five straight games but the Giants are due for a top effort.
Monday night’s game
Carolina 30, PHILADELPHIA (-2 1/2) 20 – The underachieving Panthers should take out some frustration on the demoralized Beagles.
Last week’s results: 12-2 picking winning teams outright (99-60-1 this season)…8-6 picking winners against the point spread (69-87-4 this season)
…The “Best Bet” is 7-3-1 outright and 4-6-1 against the spread after St. Louis (-3) lost 27-13 at home to the New York Jets.
ON PAPER AT LEAST, ANDREW LUCK VS. FITZPATRICK IS NO MISMATCH
The Buffalo Bills will be the better football team man-for-man than the Indianapolis Colts when they kick off Sunday afternoon at Lucas Oil Stadium. The best hope for the Colts is rookie quarterback Andrew Luck. If he outplays Buffalo’s Ryan Fitzpatrick by a wide margin, Indianapolis probably will win.
Luck has the look of a future Hall of Famer, but Fitz has a big advantage in NFL experience and the tale-of-the-tape suggests he can at least hold his own in Sunday’s important showdown:
Passer rating – Fitzpatrick 87.0 (15th in the NFL)…Luck 77.2 (28th)
Completions – Fitzpatrick 202 (t18th)…Luck 235 (9th)
Completion percentage – Fitzpatrick 62.5 (13th)…Luck 57.0 (28th)
Yards passing – Fitzpatrick 2,179 (21st)…Luck 2,965 (7th)
Yards passing per game – Fitzpatrick 218 (22nd)…Luck 297 (7th)
Yards per pass attempt – Fitzpatrick 6.75 (25th)…Luck 7.20 (19th)
TD passes – Fitzpatrick 17 (t9th)…Luck 12 (t17th)
Most passes intercepted – Fitzpatrick 10 (t11th)…Luck 12 (t3rd)
Most times sacked – Fitzpatrick 18 (t23rd)…Luck 22 (t13th)
Rushing – Fitzpatrick 30x136 (4.5) 0 TD…Luck 35x163 (4.7) 5 TDs.
The big difference has been performance in the clutch. Luck tends to perform his best when it counts the most. Fitz sometimes plays his worst at the worst possible times.
HOW THE FOUR AFC EAST TEAMS MEASURE UP (rank in NFL in parentheses)
Total offense – Patriots 1st (431.9 yards per game)…Bills 16th (350.9)…Dolphins 28th (309.9)…Jets 29th (301.3)
Rush offense – Patriots 5th (142.9)…Bills 7th (140.8)…Jets 15th (108.6)…Dolphins 21st (100.9)
Pass offense – Patriots 4th (280.0)…Bills 23rd (210.1)…Dolphins 24th (209.0)…Jets 29th (192.7)
Scoring offense – Patriots 1st (35.8 points per game)…Bills 17th (23.0)…Jets 23rd (20.2)…Dolphins 26th (18.7).
Total defense – Jets 14th (342.0 yards allowed per game)…Dolphins 21st (363.1)…Bills 27th (387.4)…Patriots 28th (388.7)
Rush defense – Dolphins 9th (96.8)…Patriots 10th (99.0)…Jets 30th (141.9)…Bills 31st (153.3)
Pass defense – Jets 4th (200.1)…Bills 18th (234.1)…Dolphins 27th (266.3)…Patriots 30th (289.7)
Scoring defense – Dolphins 8th (20.5)…Patriots 16th (22.5)…Jets 21st (24.1)…Bills 30th (29.9).
HICKS AND ARCIA LIKELY STARTING OUTFIELDERS FOR RED WINGS
The Minnesota Twins announced the organization’s minor-league all-star team this week. Two of the three outfielders figure to start the 2013 season with the Rochester Red Wings:
Aaron Hicks (Minnesota’s No. 3 prospect) – 14th overall pick in the 2008 draft…23 years old.. Finally put it together last season at Double-A New Britain. He hit .286 with 21 doubles, 11 triples, 13 HRs and 61 RBI. He stole 32 bases.
Oswaldo Arcia (Minnesota’s No. 5 prospect) – Left-handed hitter…Split last season between Single-A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain. In 69 games for New Britain he hit .328 with 10 HRs and 67 RBI. He played in the Futures Game.
The rest of Minnesota’s organizational all-stars with estimated time of arrival in Rochester in parentheses:
Catcher – Josmil Pinto (2014).
1B – Carlos Colabello (2013)…29 years old…Came to New Britain after seven seasons in the independent Canadian-American Association…He hit .284 with 19 HRs, 98 RBI (2nd in Eastern League).
2B – Eddie Rosario (2015).
SS – Daniel Santana (2014).
3B – Miguel Sano (2015)…Twins’ top prospect…Expected to be a top slugger in the American League…Hit .258 with 28 doubles, a league-leading 28 HRs, a .521 slugging percentage and 100 RBI at Sinle-A Beloit.Selected Midwest League Prospect of the Year.
OF – Wilkin Ramirez (2013)…27 years old…in 113 games with Fort Myers (4), New Britain (11) and Rochester (98) last season, he hit .288 with 19 HRs.
Utility – Candido Pimentel (2015) – Appalachian League Player of the Year for Elizabethton.
RHP – B.J. Hermsen (2013).
LHP – Jason Wheeler (2014).
Reliever – Michael Tonkin ((2014)….97 strikeouts and 20 walks in 69 1/3 innings for Beloit and Fort Myers.
C.J. Spiller (Buffalo) continues to lead the NFL is yards per carry (6.6), followed by Robert Griffin III (6.6), Adrian Peterson (5.8), Daryl Richardson (5.6), Cam Newton (5.3) and Frank Gore (5.3)…Leodis McKelvin (Bills) leads the NFL in punt return average (21.9-yard average on 16 returns). No. 2 Adam Jones (Cincinnati) is averaging 16.5 yards on 13 returns.
--The best-ever finish in Heisman Trophy balloting by a pure defensive player was Hugh Green’s (Pittsburgh) second-place in 1980: George Rogers (South Carolina RB) 1128 total voting points (216 1st-place votes)…Hugh Green (Pittsburgh DL) 861 (179)…Herschel Walker (Georgia freshman RB) 683 (107).
--NFL draft hindsight is 20-20: In the 2011 draft, Buffalo selected CB Aaron Williams No. 34 overall. Cincinnati took QB Andy Dalton No. 35 and San Francisco took QB Colin Kaepernick No, 35. They’re both better than any QB the Bills figure to draft in 2013.
--Only three NFL teams will enter Week 12 ranked in the Top 10 in both total offense and total defense: Denver 3rd and 6th; Houston 6th and 4th; and Detroit 2nd-10th.
--Syracuse U. basketball coach Jim Boeheim enters Wednesday night vs. Princeton with 892 career wins. Is 1,000 wins completely out of the question?
--Amerks defenseman T.J. Brennan has 7 goals through 14 games this season. He had 16 goals in 52 games with Rochester last season. Rick Pagnutti has the team record with 18 goals as a defenseman in the 1972-73 season. Bob Hess scored a team-record 75 points as a defenseman in the 1980-81 season.
--The visiting Calgary Stampeders are 2 ½-point favorites over the Toronto Argonauts in the 100th Greg Cup Canadian Football League championship game (Sunday, 6:30 p.m.; NBC Sports Network). Calgary was 12-6 (outscored opponents 535-430) in the tougher West Division. Toronto was 9-9 and outscored by opponents 491-445 in the East Division.
--Soccer superstar David Beckham, 37, is leaving the Los Angeles Galaxy after six seasons. His final game will be the MLS Cup vs. the Houston Dynamo Dec. 1. He signed a five-year, $32.5 million contract to join the Galaxy and was expected to raise national interest in soccer (he almost certainly did but we don’t know by how much) and elevate the prestige of soccer internationally (Abby Wambach might have done as much).
--The Wegmans LPGA Championship will be one of the FIVE majors on the 2013 LPGA Tour. The Evian Masters in France has been elevated to major status.
--Jack Taylor of Division III Gninnell scored an NCAA-record 138 points Tuesday night in a 179-104 home romp over Faith Baptist Bible in Grinell, Iowa. He played 36 minutes. His shooting line: 52x108 (including 27x71 from 3-point range); 7x10 from the foul line; 138 points.
--The New York Knicks are off to an 8-1 start for the third time in their history. In 1969-70 and 1972-73, they went on to win NBA championships. That isn’t going to happen this season. That’s a guarantee. But at least they’re a fun team to watch.
--Now that the Toronto Blue Jays figure to be very good in 2013, I hope someone at Time Warner will contact MLB and/or the Blue Jays regarding the ridiculous blackout of Toronto home games on the Major League Baseball Ticket.
--Seems odd that no NBA games are scheduled for Thanksgiving Day. Even odder that there are no NHL standings on Thanksgiving Day.