Saturday’s 6-pack

NFL trends for this weekend’s games:

— Jets are 7-3-1 in last 11 games as a home underdog.

— Denver covered six of its last eight games.

— Eagles covered one of their last six road games.

— Atlanta covered twice in its last 11 games.

— Giants are 4-0-1 vs spread in their last five games.

— Chicago covered its last five games as a home favorite.

Quote of the Day
“The touchdown to Mike, our first touchdown, was that same play. We dressed it up a little bit, put Travis [Benjamin] over there, put all three receivers together, motioned Travis, and he ran to the other side. [We we’re hoping] they wouldn’t recognize it and they busted a coverage.”
Philip Rivers, talking about the game-winning 2-point play Thursday night.

Saturday’s quiz
Which NFL owner also owns the Denver Nuggets in the NBA and the Colorado Avalanche in the NHL?

Friday’s quiz
Philip Rivers played his college football at NC State.

Thursday’s quiz
Steph Curry played his college basketball at Davidson.


Saturday’s List of 13: Clearing out a cluttered mind…….

13) Interesting discussion on MLB Network during the Winter Meetings about the money guys get paid and might get paid soon— former GM John Hart was saying that “good clubhouse guys” don’t get extra consideration anymore in this age of analytics.

Think about it; these guys live/work/travel together for 7+ months; the Mariners imploded last year, with a post-game brawl in the clubhouse in front of the media. Being a good teammate is an important thing, and teams that diminish the importance of that are missing out.

12) But to a lot of teams, it is all about numbers, like my fantasy league. Last year, in one 3-game stretch, Nick Williams batted 5th one day, 3rd the next game, 8th the game after that, and the third game wasn’t against a lefty, so it wasn’t a platoon decision.

No matter what your numbers say, athletes have self-doubts too; screwing with their heads by jerking them around the lineup every day is not the way to maximize their production.

There is a middle ground between analytics and old-school thinking; the smart teams live on that middle ground.

11) Apparently they have a trade show at the Winter Meetings; you can buy a hat/jersey from any major/minor league team. That would be an expensive week for me.

10) Kansas City Chiefs lost their last six home playoff games; their last playoff win at Arrowhead was in 1993, when Joe Montana was their QB. They’ll get a chance to end that hideous streak next month.

9) Temple’s new football coach Manny Diaz used to be a production assistant at ESPN, at the same time Bill Parcells was doing a studio show there, 20 or so years ago. The two men would talk about football and how Diaz wanted to get into coaching— Parcells helped jumpstart his coaching career, with Florida State his first stop.

Diaz wound up being an assistant at eight colleges over the last 20 years, and now he is a head coach at Temple. His last stop was as an assistant at Miami; Diaz’ father used to be the mayor of Miami. Owls will be fun to follow going forward.

8) From the great NFL guru Gil Brandt:

Since 2000, there were 2,058 instances in which an NFL team trailed by 14+ points with 5:00 or less to play, and only once before had a team come from behind to pull out the win. Thats how rare the Chargers win in Kansas City was Thursday night.

7) I had always heard that NBA star Allen Iverson was a terrific high school football player, but I had never seen film of him playing until the other day.

He reminded me of Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray; fast as hell, pretty good arm, now this is in high school, and back when he was in high school, college teams didn’t pass as much as they do know, but Iverson has to watch today’s game and wonder where he would have fit in.

6) Spencer Dinwiddie gets a three-year, $34M contract extension from the Nets.

5) He is scoring 10.7 ppg in 27.4 mpg in his rookie season for the LA Clippers, but until this week, 20-year old Shai Gilgeous-Alexander didn’t have his driver’s license- he got it this week.

4) The Carlos Santana era in Seattle didn’t last long; ten days in December. Mariners got him from Philly, then dealt him back to Cleveland, where he played from 2010-17.

3) No one asked me, but if the money was equal, I’d rather have Bryce Harper than Manny Machado. If you have one of those guys on your fantasy team, you’re a little queasy about where they’re going to wind up. Machado is leaving a hitter’s paradise in Baltimore.

Machado’s brother-in-law is Yonder Alonso, who seems expendable now in Cleveland with the acquisition of Santana and Jake Bauers. Will they wind up on the same team? The baseball team in the Bronx needs a first baseman, and they supposedly want to sign Machado.

Update: Alonso apparently got traded to the White Sox Friday night.

2) San Diego Padres signed 2B Ian Kinsler, giving him $8M for two years.

1) Bowl season starts today, so thats fun. 39 bowls in all; they’re all going to be written up on this website eventually, so check out our college football page.