Sizing up the weekend
By Zac Jackson
FOX Sports Ohio
November 19, 2010
For the Cavaliers, it's welcome to the big time. Probably the two toughest games the Cavaliers have faced all season come the next two nights in New Orleans and San Antonio, the teams with the NBA's best record as both enter the weekend at 9-1. Tonight the Cavaliers must contain Chris Paul, hope his teammates miss from the perimeter and crash the glass to keep the Hornets one shot and done and create chances going the other way. They'll need the bench to keep playing well as Boobie Gibson has been great most of the year and the versatility of Antawn Jamison and Joey Graham can cause defensive fits. The Spurs have been scoring in bunches but are sitll one of the league's best teams in the halfcourt and are always very good on the glass. Getting one win in these two would make it a very successful weekend for the Good Guys.
For the Browns, it's welcome back to playing an opponent with a similar talent level. And welcome back to the road. It might be welcome to life without Joshua Cribbs, which we know isn't good. The Browns have to stop the run, keep David Garrard in the pocket and win the turnover battle. They're playing well and certainly have to feel like they can win this game. The Jags will mix up defensive looks and try to make Colt McCoy turn it over -- maybe The Kid is unflappable -- and will certainly use Maurice Jones-Drew in an attempt to punch those gimmick defenses right in the mouth. I think the Browns used too much energy and got too banged up last week. Jags 17, Browns 10.
For the Bengals, it's the worst nightmare come true. There are 16 NFL games this weekend and just two that don't mean something in regards to the playoff race: Lions-Cowboys (Happy Thanksgiving, TV execs!) and Bills-Bengals. The game is blacked out in Cincinnati to the surprise of, um, few. The Bengals need to show some heart, some cohesion, some pop in the running game and Carson Palmer needs to quit throwing it to the other team. The Bills have been in a lot of games and will play well for a while after winning last week. I think -- and I hate this pick -- the Bengals win a close one, 27-24.
For the Buckeyes, it's gut-check time. Tressel's Boys know winning the outright Big Ten title is a longshot, and they know Iowa is a talented team that's very good at home. But the OSU team that showed up in the second half last week is still as good as almost anybody, and a motivated OSU team can finish strong, grab a BCS berth and end up with a statement game in the Orange or Sugar Bowl. Sound like a deal? I think it does, and I think Northeast Ohio's own talented but mistake-prone Ricky Stanzi sets up the OSU defense with a game-changer in a 27-21 Buckeye victory. After all, you can't spell Stanzi without I-N-T...
For me, it's a great weekend to think about cleaning the house and organizing my life before the holidays. Or, I could just watch a lot of games. Lots. I think Byron Scott will have the Cavs in both games, I just don't know that they'll have enough. I think I'll watch lots of football in between Cavs games, snicker at Michigan's defense giving up 40+ to Wisconsin and cap the weekend with what should be a great one Sunday night between the Eagles and Giants. We'll be chatting here on FOXSportsOhio.com both nights during the Cavs game and I'll weigh in on the Browns Monday morning.
Enjoy the weekend, everybody.