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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.
PATRIOTS OVER BILLS (+11) IS THE “BEST BET”
WHO DID BASILIO OUTPOLL FOR THE 1957 HICKOK BELT?
ARE THE ATLANTA FALCONS 16-0 GOOD?
The last thing the beleaguered Buffalo Bills needed was a road game Sunday against New England.
The Patriots have owned the Bills for a long time – 17-1 in the last 18 meetings. New England is 19-4 in its last 23 home games and Buffalo is 2-10 in its last 12 road games.
New England embarrassed the Bills 52-28 in Buffalo Sept. 30. What have the Bills done since to suggest they’re capable of turning the tables at Gillette Stadium (opened in 2002), where they’ve never won?
Bill Belichick had a bye week to prepare for the Bills – not that he needed it.
This week’s “Best Bet”: NEW ENGLAND (-11) 42, Buffalo 20.
Sunday’s other games
(home team in CAPS)
Detroit 24, MINNESOTA (+1) 20 – The passing game of the Lions is coming around and the Vikings are 2-6-1 against the spread (ATS) in their last 9 home games.
New York Giants 27, CINCINNATI (+4) 17 – The Giants are one of the NFL’s toughest teams on the road and the disappointing Bengals are 3-11-3 ATS in their last 17 games.
Denver 30, CAROLINA (+4) 21 – Peyton Manning is in the running for his fifth league MVP award and Cam Newton has struggled for most of his sophomore NFL season.
Atlanta 33, NEW ORLEANS (+2 ½) 27 – The Falcons have too many offensive weapons for the NFL’s worst defense to contain. ..Warning: The Saints are 10-2 in the last 12 meetings.
MIAMI (-6) 23, Tennessee 20 – Chris Johnson is back in top form and gives the Titans a chance to make this a close game.
TAMPA BAY (-3) 30, San Diego 24 – The Buccaneers are on a roll and the Chargers don’t travel well….Warning: Tampa Bay is 2-6 in its last 8 home games and the Chargers won ll five of the previous meetings.
SAN FRANCISCO (-11) 27, St. Louis 10 – The 49ers are much better than the Rams on both sides of the ball.
Dallas 24, PHILADELPHIA (+1) 17 – The Cowboys are due for some breaks and Michael Vick is even more reckless with the football than Tony Romo and gets less help from his offensive line.
BALTIMORE (-7 ½) 28, Oakland 15 – The Ravens have slipped a bit but they’re still much better than the Raiders. Baltimore has won 14 straight home games (19-1 in the last 20 home games).
SEATTLE (-6 1/2) 24, New York Jets 10 – Seattle’s defense at home vs. Mark Sanchez looks like a mismatch. Seahawks rookie QB Russell Wilson has 9 TD passes and 0 INTs at home.
Houston 27, CHICAGO (-1) 21 – The Texans are much better than they looked in last week’s home win over Buffalo. They can upset the opportunistic Bears with fewer than two giveaways. The Bears have an NFL-best +16 turnover margin and 7 TDs on INT returns.
Monday night’s game:
PITTSBURGH (-12) 23, Kansas City 7 – The Chiefs have been the NFL’s worst team this season and the Steelers should easily pad their 39-23 record on Monday Night Football. They haven’t lost at home on MNF since 1991.
Thursday night’s pick (on WHAM radio Thursday night)
Indianapolis 27, JACKSONVILLE (+3) 13 – The Jaguars are hurting minus Maurice Jones-Drew and Colts QB Andrew Luck might make the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
LAST WEEK’S RESULTS: 9-5 picking winning teams outright (78-54 this season)…8-6 picking winners against the Las Vegas point spread (54-74-4 this season)…The “Best Bet” is 6-2-1 outright and 4-4-1 against the spread as 4-point favored Denver beat Cincinnati9 by 8 points (31-23).
NFL NOTES, STATS AND OPINIONS:
Four NFL teams are at least +10 in turnover differential: Bears +16…Giants +14…Patriots +13…Atlanta +10. Combined record 28-7)…Three teams have turnover differentials of at least -10: Kansas City -20…Dallas -11..Indianapolis -10. Combined record 9-15)…ESPN’s Monday Night Football schedule usually seems to be a cut below Sunday Night Football on NBC. Monday night is an extreme example: Kansas City at Pittsburgh.
CARMEN BASILIO WAS IN IMPRESSIVE HICKOK BELT COMPANY
What did the late Carmen Basilio have in common with Rocky Marciano, Ingemar Johansson and Muhammad Ali?
They were the only boxers to win the Hickok Belt (1950 through 1976).
Basilio won against formidable competition in 1957. Here was the voting by sports editors and sports writers:
Carmen Basilio, boxing… 218 points (48 first-place votes)
Lew Burdette, baseball (won three games in the World Series)…186 points (32)
Ted Williams, baseball…129 ½ points (22)
Dick Mayer, golf…51 points (3)
Jim Brown, football…18 points (1)
Bill Hartack, jockey…15 points (2)
Tobin Rote, football…12 points (0)
Sam Hanks, auto racing…11 points (2)
Bob Pettit, baseball…5 (0).
CAN THE ATLANTA FALCONS FINISH 16-0?
The Atlanta Falcons are the 20th team of the Super Bowl Era to start a season 8-0 (ESPN Stats and Information). Of the 19 previous teams to start 8-0 in the Super Bowl Era, 12 reached the Super Bowl and 8 of those won it.
Falcons veteran WR Roddy White this week said the team has “the pedigree” to finish the regular season 16-0.
I’m not buying it.
The Falcons are a very good team. I particularly like the offensive skill players (QB, RB, two WRs, TE). But I don’t believe they’re a potentially great team.
Atlanta’s winning margins have been 16, 6, 24, 2, 7, 3, 13 and 6 points.
The Falcons rank 8th in total defense (376.6 yards per game), 8th in pass offense (278.1), 25th in rush offense (98.5)… 7th in scoring defense (27.5).
They rank 19th in total defense (356.3 yards allowed per game)… 14th in pass offense (222.8)... 24th in rush defense (127.5)…5th in scoring defense (17.9).
Atlanta’s yardage differential is +20.3 yards per game and the scoring margin is +9.6 points per game.
Most of those stats are less than dominant.
Atlanta’s remaining schedule is fairly difficult: at New Orleans, Arizona, at Tampa Bay, New Orleans, at Carolina, New York Giants, at Detroit, Tampa Bay.
I think Atlanta is much more likely to finish the regular season 13-3 or 14-2 than 16-0.
John Clayton’s (ESPN) mid-season All-AFC East team includes four Buffalo Bills: RB C.J. Spiller, LG Andy Levitre, free safety Jairus Byrd and kick returner Leodis McKelvin
Clean Jean, a four-year-old filly at Finger Lakes Race Track, won the third race Tuesday . It was her 10th victory of 2012, the most among thoroughbreds racing in America. In 20 starts this season, she has 10 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds. She has earned $123,536.
The Amerks are 6th in the 30-team AHL in average home attendance (6,674 through 5 games). They ranked 7th on the power play (21.3 percent; 13x61) and 20th in penalty killing (79.2 percent; 42x53).
Dion Waiters (Syracuse U.) through five games (all starts) with the NBA Cleveland Cavaliers: 15.4 points per game; 29 minutes per game; .446 field-goal percentage; .520 three-point percentage (13x25).
This note from Mike Schopp: The Bills are 13-27 under Chan Gailey and 12 of the losses were by lat least 20 points.