A handful of the best games of the weekend – everything from College Football, to the English Premier League, to the NHL – and why you should watch.
National Basketball Association:
- Friday Jan. 21st
L.A. Lakers (31-13) @ Denver Nuggets (24-17) (Pepsi Center – Denver, CO) 10:30 PM ET – ESPN
Photo via zimbio.com
Kobe (pictured above) and the Lakers head to Denver having gone 8-2 in their last 10 games after struggling through a 6 game stretch during the Holidays. The Nuggets have been inconsistent especially with the Carmelo Anthony (pictured above) trade rumors swirling but have played well at home (19-4). Enjoy the clash between current Western Conference powers because the Nuggets could look like a drastically different team any day when they decide to trade Melo.
- Saturday Jan. 22nd
East vs West - East-West Shrine Game – (Citrus Bowl – Orlando, FL) 4:00 PM ET – NFL Network
This is considered the second tier (to the Senior Bowl) of the NFL prep weeks and games for college players hoping to play in the NFL. Obviously I’ll be watching to see how former Broncos Ryan Winterswyk, Jeron Johnson, Winston Venable, and Brandyn Thompson play. A few other player I’ll have my eye on are Jeff Mahel (Oregon), Kenny Rowe (Oregon), Tyrod Taylor (Va Tech), Chris Carter (Fresno St.), Vai Taua (Nevada), Terrence Toliver (LSU), and Shiloh Keo (GULP – Idaho). Here are the full rosters for the game.
National Hockey League:
- Sunday Jan. 23rd
Philadelphia Flyers (31-11-5 – 67 pts) @ Chicago Blackhawks (25-18-4 – 54 pts) (United Center – Chicago, IL) 12:30 PM ET – NBC
This is a re-match of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals in which the Blackhawks prevailed to win the Cup. However, Chicago has struggled through the roster turnover from last year, injuries this year and is currently sitting in 7th place in the West (as of Thursday night). The Flyers on the other hand struggled through their first eight games (3-4-1) but have played will since and are leading the Eastern Conference. Philly currently has four players with at least 40 points (Briere, Carter, Richards, & Giroux) and the Blackhawks have just one (Patrick Sharp). That said, despite the Stanley Cup hangover I’m sure the Blackhawks will show up on national TV Sunday morning.
National Football League:
- Sunday Jan. 23rd
Green Bay Packers (10-6) @ Chicago Bears (11-5) – NFC Championship Game - (Soldier Field – Chicago, IL) 3:00 PM ET – FOX
photo via zimbio.com
The NFC North Division rivals will play for a chance to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. The teams met to finish the regular season with the Packers winning 10-3 at Lambeau but the game was meaningless for the Bears and was a must-win for the Pack. Green Bay has been on a tear going 4-0 in must-win games since Aaron Rodgers returned in week 16 after a concussion. For the Bears to win Jay Cutler (pictured above) will need to take care of the ball – never an easy task for Cutler especially against Clay Matthews (pictured above), Charles Woodson, and the Packers defense – and keep Rodgers under control. I know you’ll be watching.
New York Jets (11-5) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (12-4) - AFC Championship Game - (Heinz Field – Pittsburgh, PA) 6:30 PM ET – CBS
As good as the Packers – Bears match-up is, I’d say this one is slightly more intriguing. The Jets just beat the Steelers in week 15 at Heinz Field 22-17 in a game the Jets needed to win. Both teams have great coaching, good quarterbacks, plenty of skill players to get the ball to, and mean, aggressive defenses. Believe it or not but Mark Sanchez has a playoff record of 4-1 (all on the road) so don’t be surprised if the Jets win in Pittsburgh especially after losing in the AFC Championship game last year. Keep an eye on Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu – he’s always around the ball and making big plays. Can’t wait!
English Premier League:
- Monday Jan. 24th
Chelsea (11-5-6 – 38 pts) @ Bolton Wanderers (7-9-7 – pts) (Reebok Stadium – Bolton, England) 3:00 PM ET – ESPN2
Bolton will be looking to avenge the 1-0 loss to the Blues on Dec. 29th at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea hopes to be rounding back into form with a 2-0 win over Blackburn last week after going 2-4-4 in their previous 10 EPL matches. To complicate things for the Blues – Frank Lampard reportedly suffered a calf injury this week but is expected to play. Bolton will have a chance on Monday night (in England) to separate themselves from the middle of the pack and close the gap on the top 5 teams in the league. Keep an eye on U.S. International Stuart Holden who has been playing very well for the Wanderers.
What games will you are watching this weekend?