QUIPS FOR THIS WEEK
Injury woes continue in the NBA. This past week, Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook had a third surgery on the same knee that troubled him since last year’s playoffs. Hopefully, Westbrook will be back by the February All-Star break. The Atlanta Hawks also lost forward Al Horford to a torn pectoral muscle that will unfortunately leave him out indefinitely. Finally, New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez will have surgery on a broken foot that will keep him out the rest of the season.
After being suspended for conduct detrimental to the team, Andrew Bynum has been placed on paid leave from the Cleveland Cavaliers indefinitely. Will he be traded or return to the team? That remains a good question.
Closing out 2013 and roughly the first trimester of the NBA season, the same teams remain standouts. In the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers hold the top spot followed by the Miami Heat. Both teams remain head and shoulders above the rest. In the Western Conference, the race for the top is much closer. The Oklahoma City Thunder remains on top followed by the Portland Trail Blazers and San Antonio Spurs. Look for things to get even more interesting in 2014.
Talk about a great last weekend in the NFL. On the NFC side, the Carolina Panthers beat the Atlanta Falcons to win the NFC South and to claim a first round bye as the overall #2 seed in the NFC playoffs. In another great week 17 game, a healthy Aaron Rodgers returned from a broken collarbone injury and led the Green Bay Packers to a key victory against the Chicago Bears to win the NFC North title. And to round up news in the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles beat the Dallas Cowboys and Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan got fired.
On the AFC side, the Denver Broncos not only clinched the overall #1 seed in the AFC playoffs with a win over the Oakland Raiders, but Peyton Manning set a couple of huge single season records in NFL history. He finished the season with a record 5,477 passing yards and a record 55 touchdowns. Just another day…
It’s go time. The NFL playoffs are finally here. On the NFC side, the #1 Seattle Seahawks and the #2 Carolina Panthers will have a first round bye until the NFC Divisional Round on January 11th/12th. On the AFC side, the #1 Denver Broncos and the #2 New England Patriots will have a first bye until the AFC Divisional Round on January 11th/12th. This is how the first round matchups shake out:
AFC Wild-card Round (January 4th/5th)
- #5 Kansas City Chiefs at #4 Indianapolis Colts (January 4th 4:35pm)
- #6 San Diego Chargers at #3 Cincinnati Bengals (January 5th 1:05pm)
NFC Wild-card Round (January 4th/5th):
- #5 San Francisco 49ers at #4 Green Bay Packers (January 4th 8:10pm)
- #6 New Orleans Saints at #3 Philadelphia Eagles (January 5th 4:40pm)
Bowl game season continues this week a number of great games. Close out 2013 with the Chick-fil-A Bowl, where #24 Duke takes on Johnny Manziel and #21 Texas A&M on New Years Eve. This could be Johnny Football’s last college game, should he go pro after the season, so stay tuned. 2014 then kicks off with #5 Stanford versus #4Michigan State in the Rose Bowl and #15 UCF versus #6 Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl on January 1st. On January 2nd #11 Oklahoma takes on #3 Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, and on January 3rd, #13 Oklahoma State takes on #8 Missouri in the Cotton Bowl and #7 Ohio State takes on #12 Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
College Football season will officially come to a close on Monday, January 6th when #1 Florida State faces off with the #2 Auburn in the BCS National Championship game. This one is for all the marbles.
After a quiet week for college hoops, #18 Kentucky beat rival #6 Louisville at home in Lexington on Saturday and in the battle of unbeaten teams, #2 Syracuse defeated #8 Villanova at the Carrier Dome. Look for a low key last week of 2013, as season heats up and teams gear up for conference play in the New Year.
JUST FOR FUN
NBA Takes Tacky Christmas Sweater Partying to the Next Level
Laugh out loud to these hilarious tweets about the bizarre Christmas Day NBA game jerseys
STORIES FOR INSIGHTS, COOL FACTOR + DEBATE
Everyone Contributes to the Big “W”
Coach K makes sure to give every player credit for the Blue Devils’ win against UCLA
Although the post-game buzz focused on Jabari Parker, Krzyzewski praised his whole starting line-up and his two seniors for their performance
You Never Forget Your First Time
Some things (like your country, your team… and hockey) are worth fighting for
The rivalry between USA and Canada women’s hockey is deep-rooted, and every player remembers their first USA-Canada clash
SPOTLIGHT ON THE POWER OF SPORTS FOR SOCIETAL CHANGE
Do you know that sports play a key part in UNICEF’s work? Not only does UNICEF leverage the power of sports celebrities to bring attention to vital issues, but its Sport for Development (S4D) is a vehicle for addressing UNICEF’s millennium priorities. S4D focuses on Sport AND: young child survival and development; quality education; gender equality; HIV/AIDS; child protection; disability; adolescent development and participation; and conflict, post-conflict and emergencies.