Leelanau Sports Guy at sportspig.com

Leelanau Traverse City Northern Michigan Detroit Sports Blog by Leelanau Sports Guy

Overview of Germany 2014 World Cup squad. Strengths, weaknesses and more.

Leelanau Sports Guy's World on RSS Feed

Advertise on sportspig.com! 50% Normal Advertising Rates until the end of May! Email jeremy@sportspig.com Today!

NEW: Detroit Pistons own paint in opening night victory

author Posted by: Leelanau Sports Guy on date Oct 31st, 2013 | filed Filed under: Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons used a 56-28 advantage in the paint to secure an opening night 113-102 victory over the Washington Wizards. The Pistons, who were without the services of Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey, relied heavily on the frontcourt and they came up huge.

Greg Monroe led the way with his fourth straight double-double versus the Wizards scoring 24 points and snatching 16 rebounds. Moose also played a game high 41 minutes and went 12-15 from the charity stripe. Monroe was the Pistons workhorse tonight from the center spot as Drummond sat most of the second half because of foul trouble.

Statistically speaking, Monroe was the Pistons most impressive player, but the play of Josh Smith gave the team just enough to get over the hump tonight. Smith was a force on both ends of the floor and played like the guy the Pistons imagined when they gave him all that money this summer. Smith scored 19 points on 8-12 shooting and had five rebounds and five assists. The most impressive aspect of his game tonight was his ability to create and set up his fellow bigs for easy layups and dunks.

The Pistons’ frontcourt did an exceptional job all-around passing the rock and that’s something that will continue to improve as the season progresses.

Andre Drummond was the recipient of numerous set-up feeds for dunks and finished the night with 12 points and eight rebounds. Drummond did find himself in foul trouble with some tic-tac calls and spent much of the second half on the pine and finished with only 26 minutes played. There was a lot of skepticism this offseason whether Drummond could stay out of foul trouble and give the team valuable minutes late and tonight wasn’t a good start in that direction. When Drummond was on the floor he proved he could be a major difference maker this season on the offensive glass.

Because of the injuries in the backcourt, Will Bynum and Chauncey Billups started tonight’s game. Bynum finished with 19 points and five assists and Billups had 16 points and five assists.

Billups showed off why he earned the nickname “Mr. Big Shot” as he knocked down four of five triples, two of which were back-to-back in the mid-stages of the fourth quarter. Not only did he hit clutch shots, he played at his controlled and methodical pace which was crucial in protecting the lead late. Billups finished with only one turnover in 31 minutes of action.

Bynum was equally as impressive showing off his explosiveness getting to the rim and setting up the bigs with easy flushes. Although he did so much well, he at times played a bit out of control and turned the ball over carelessly in a few different situations. But, one can’t argue with the type of production he brings as a guard that’s listed on the bottom of the depth chart.

Game Ball: Josh Smith

Unsung Hero: Kyle Singler 

Rough Night at the Office: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope 

Next contest: Friday night @ Memphis 8:00 P.M.

Be sure to check out other great articles at isportsweb.

Detroit Tigers’ Jim Leyland steps down as manager after 22-year MLB career

Posted on date Oct 22nd, 2013 | filed Filed under: Detroit Tigers

Jim Leyland announced on October 21 that he’s stepping down as the manager of the Detroit Tigers. The 68-year-old said he’ll remain with the American League ball club in a new position that’s yet to be decided upon. Leyland said he actually came to his decision back on September 7 when his team was blown out by the Kansas City Royals. He then informed his players after the Tigers were eliminated from the  American League Championship Series by the Boston Red Sox on October 19.

Leyland enjoyed a 22-year managerial career in MLB with the last eight of them being in Detroit. He claimed that he didn’t have the same energy and passion for the game anymore and puts that down to his age. He stated that he didn’t think it was fair to the organization and the fans to hang onto the job just for the sake of it. He said the same thing when he resigned from the Colorado Rockies back in 1999, but it’s doubtful he’ll change his mind this time.

Mike Ilitch, the owner of the Tigers, thanked Leyland for all of his hard work with the club and added that he’s been an instrumental person for the franchise both on and off of the ball diamond. Ilitch said there’s still room in the organization for the former Minor League catcher and they’ll soon decide what the best position for him is. Leyland managed in Detroit’s farm system for more than 10 years before getting a break as a Major League coach with the Chicago White Sox early in the 1980s.

His first managerial job came with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He led the team to three straight National League East championships from 1990 to 1992. He joined the Florida Marlins in 1997 and led the club to their first-ever postseason appearance and then to the World Series title. However, the team was blown apart during the offseason and lost 108 games the following year. He then joined the Rockies for the 1999 season and intended to call it quits at the end of the campaign.

Leyland always wanted to manage the Tigers though and was hired to take over the team prior to the 2006 season. Detroit hadn’t won a World Series since 1984 and hadn’t made the playoffs since 1993. He led them to the World Series in his first season with the Tigers after securing a wild card playoff spot, but they dropped the series in five games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

In eight seasons with Detroit, Leyland made the postseason four times and the team posted a winning record six times. He won the AL Central title three times and made it back to the World Series in 2012, but were swept by the San Francisco Giants. Leyland won 700 regular-season games with Detroit, which ranks him third on the all-time list. He won a total 1,769 ball games during his career, which is 15th best in MLB history. Also, he made the playoffs eight times, which ranks him tied for seventh place.

For the latest odds on MLB Baseball please visit http://sports.visitorium.com/bet365/

Mid-Season Report Cards: American League Central

Posted on date Jul 17th, 2013 | filed Filed under: Detroit Tigers

Midway through the season and I must admit that I am not surprised where things stand in the American League Central. The Detroit Tigers are in first place in the division, the Cleveland Indians are right behind them in the standings under new manger Terry Francona, and the Chicago White Sox are in last place, a position I thought they would be in after their unexpected second place finish last season. If you’re looking for help with odds, check out Top Betting Action.

But those are just general statements of some of the teams in the Central, as I will now give you each teams mid-season report card grade.

Detroit Tigers (52-42) 1st Place in Central- Grade (B+ )

The Detroit Tigers find themselves in a position they thought they would be in before the All-Star break: 1st place in the American League Central. The only problem is, they are only 1.5 games ahead of the second place Cleveland Indians.

I find it difficult trying to explain why a team like the Tigers are only 10 games over .500 going into the All-Star break. They rank 1st overall in team batting average (.281), 2nd overall in on-base percentage (.348) and runs (477), and 3rd overall in slugging percentage (.437).

Their pitchers have done their job also. Detroit Tigers pitchers rank in the top ten in quality starts, WHIP, and opponents’ batting averages.

So the only answer I can come up with for this Detroit Tigers club only being 10 games over .500 is that both sides of the ball have been inconsistent throughout the year. And let’s not forget for a team that has playoff expectations, the Tigers have the shakiest closer situation in all of baseball. It doesn’t help that the Tigers are ranked as one of the top teams who have the highest percentages of blowing a lead going into the 7th inning and beyond.

Cleveland Indians (51-44) 2nd Place in Central- Grade (A-)

Welcome to the Francona effect Cleveland Indians fans. The moment I heard that the Indians reached an agreement with former Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona, I knew this team would be able to turn it around after their second-to-last finish the previous year in the division.

It also helps when you have an All-Star pitcher such as Justin Masterson on your team who leads the MLB in shutouts (3) and is tied for 2nd in complete games (3).

It also helps to be in the top ten in the MLB in runs scored, slugging percentage and on base percentage.

With new acquisitions such as Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher, Mark Reynolds, Scott Kazmir, Drew Stubbs and Jason Giambi, from free agency and via trade, you can expect this 2013 Cleveland Indians team to compete with the Tigers for the division title until the end of the season.

Kansas City Royals (43-49) 3rd Place in Central- Grade (C+)

I figured that the Royals would be much improved from last year after adding depth to their starting pitching with players such as James Shields, Ervin Santana, and last year’s trade acquisition, Jeremy Guthrie, who they acquired from the Colorado Rockies.

But after 92 games into the season, the Royals still find themselves below .500. Their staring pitching hasn’t really been the issue, since they rank 9th in the MLB in quality starts.

It has been the Royals offense that has this team 8 games back of the first place Detroit Tigers. The Royals rank 14th in batting average, 19th in on base percentage, 24th in overall runs scored and 28th in slugging percentage. Those offensive numbers won’t cut it, even in the worst division in baseball.

Minnesota Twins (39-53) 4th Place in Central- Grade (D+)

Ron Gardenhire’s magic touch with making his no-named Minnesota Twins teams into legit contenders for the American League Central Division Title have long since faded away.

In the entire MLB, his Twins ballclub ranks 29th in team ERA, 29th in team WHIP, 30th in quality starts, and 30th in opponents’ batting average.

If it wasn’t for the Chicago White Sox and the Houston Astros, the Minnesota Twins would be finding themselves as the worst team in the American League.

Chicago White Sox (37-55) 5th Place in Central- Grade (D-)

The Only thing that is stopping the Chicago White Sox from getting a failure grade is All-Star pitcher Chris Sale; but his ballclub has failed on him.

Sale has a 6-8 record with a 2.85 ERA. How can a pitcher have a losing record with the stuff and ERA Chris Sale has, you may ask? Well his team has given him an average of 2.76 runs per game, that’s how. Pretty disappointing if you ask me, especially for a stud like Sale.

The White Sox as a team rank 29th in runs scored, 27th in on-base percentage and 24th in slugging percentage.

Going into the All-Star break last season, the White Sox were ranked in first place in the American League Central with a 2.5 game lead over the second place Detroit Tigers.

This season, if it wasn’t for those beat down Houston Astros, the White Sox would be the worst team in the American League.

Are Tigers One Arm Away from World Series Crown?

Posted on date Jul 11th, 2013 | filed Filed under: Detroit Tigers

Expectations for the Detroit Tigers were sky-high coming into the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

Last year the Tigers won 88 games, the American League Central division crown and swept the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series – before losing to the San Francisco Giants in the World Series.

As 2013 began, there was no reason to think that the Tigers were anything less than the class of the AL Central again – and a World Series candidate.

Thus far, they have lived up to that billing.

As far as “star power” goes, there are few teams that can rival the Detroit Tigers. They have one of the nastiest three-four hitter combinations in 2012 AL MVP and Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera (.363 batting average, 29 home runs, 92 runs batted in) and first basemen Prince Fielder (.262, 15, 66).

The Tigers can also count on workhorse Justin Verlander, who has proven that he’s easily one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Yet the Tigers’ depth this year has been perhaps the most pleasant surprise. Proving it’s not just the “Cabrera and Fielder Show,” both Torii Hunter (.304, 6, 42) and Jhonny Peralta (.303, 7, 42) will make the trip to New York for the All-Star game next week.

Outside of the quartet of all-stars, the Tigers are getting great production from leadoff hitter Austin Jackson (.286, 5, 22), as well as second baseman Omar Infante (.309, 6, 27).

With Victor Martinez continuing to improve – after missing all of 2012 with an ACL injury – and C Brayan Pena filling in admirably for former all-star Alex Avila, the Tigers offense is in the top three – in the majors – for: runs, batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and OPS.

Starting pitching has also been a strength. With Verlander actually struggling (by his high standards) to a 9-6 record and 3.71 ERA, Max Scherzer has picked up the slack. Scherzer has always had the talent, but he’s currently on pace to have a historic season.

He owns a perfect 13-0 record with a 3.06 ERA and 146 strikeouts – compared to only 29 walks. Here’s something impressive: He’s held opponents to a .200 batting average.

While Anibal Sanchez is on the disabled list at the moment, he’s gone 7-5 with a 2.70 ERA and 105 strikeouts in only 86.1 innings pitched. When you add in fourth and fifth starters Doug Fister and Rick Porcello, it is easy to see why the Tigers rank first in the American League in ERA, starter wins and strikeouts.

Of course, the Tigers do have some concerns. While their offense is stout, the tradeoff comes in the form of shaky team defense. Cabrera is not playing his natural position at third base (he should be either a first basemen or a designated hitter), and he’s a defensive liability.

In addition, Fielder plays a very pedestrian first base – and won’t be confused with any of the league’s elite. Unfortunately for Detroit, with Victor Martinez manning the DH spot, Cabrera and Fielder are stuck at the corners.

The Tigers’ bullpen is also a concern heading into the second half. The situation has grown so dire, in fact, that the Tigers went back to Jose Valverde, who was stripped of the closer role during the 2012 post season.

The Tigers could make a move at the trade deadline. Look for the Tigers to find someone who will become their closer down the stretch. Names that have been mentioned include the Phillies’ Jonathan Papelbon, the Cubs’ Kevin Gregg and Jesse Crain of the White Sox.

If the Tigers stand pat, they have enough offense and starting pitching to win one of the weakest divisions in baseball – and contend for the American League pennant.

However, if they land a powerful arm to hold down their bullpen, they will be the favorite to give the Motor City its first World Series since 1984.

Lions add three years to Stafford’s contract

Posted on date Jul 10th, 2013 | filed Filed under: Detroit Lions

Here’s the latest from Draft Sharks on the Detroit Lions adding three years to quarterback Matthew Stafford’s contract…

Matt Stafford gets 3-year extension

** The Lions and QB Matt Stafford have agreed to a 3-year, $53 million extension. It tacks on to the 2 years remaining on his current deal. In total, Stafford will earn $76.5 million over the next 5 seasons in Detroit. That $15.3 million annual salary ain’t chump change, but it’s considerably lower than Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers’ recent contracts. The deal is also interesting because it only extends through the 2017 season. Stafford will be just 29 at that point. If he’s healthy and has continued to pile up numbers, he’ll be in line for another big pay day. For now, though, he remains hitched to stud WR Calvin Johnson. That’s great news for Stafford’s fantasy outlook.

My View: Good move by the Lions as it really helps them out presently with some cap relief. Stafford is the franchise quarterback the Lions have been waiting for and no reason not to lock him up. Look for big things from Stafford this year.

Major League Baseball’s Latest PED Scandal Could Lead To Epic Suspensions

Posted on date Jun 15th, 2013 | filed Filed under: Detroit Tigers

By: Rich Bergeron

Major League Baseball is gearing up to suspend at least 20 players for up to 100 games according to recent reports by ESPN regarding a Florida anti-aging clinic that allegedly distributed performance enhancing drugs to multiple major leaguers. The now-defunct clinic run by Anthony Bosch is being investigated by MLB officials and could wind up being the target of a federal government probe before the dust settles. Bosch reportedly consulted with attorneys and gathered documents for a sit down last Friday with MLB representatives, though there have not been any reports detailing exactly what he had to offer.

Yankee Alex Rodriguez and Brewer Ryan Braun top the list of players with purported connections to Bosch, but the scandal also implicates additional players with some reportedly referenced in Bosch’s records under code names. Braun also is adamant that he only consulted with Bosch’s Biogenesis clinic for advice regarding a positive drugs test he successfully appealed, which is a claim Bosch himself confirmed. 

Bosch apparently decided to cooperate with MLB officials due to bounting debt from legal fees resulting from a tortious interference lawsuit filed against him by the league. Players implicated could sit out for as much as 100 games if they previously gave dishonest answers about using PEDs and Bosch can confirm they were using banned substances.

ESPN reported last week that discussions between Bosch and MLB were put on hold while Bosch’s lawyers spoke to the U.S. Attorney’s office to get a sense of what sort of criminal legal penalties Bosch might face. Before he would agree to a deal, he reportedly sought assurances that MLB could help mitigate any criminal charges that may result.

Major League Baseball became aware of Bosch’s potential link to PEDs in 2009, and officials have had access to a list of 20 names connected to Bosch and Biogenesis for over a month. Recent reports suggest that as many as 25 players could wind up in serious trouble if Bosch can pinpoint exactly what banned substances they used and when.

Bosch’s connection to this growing scandal exploded last summer after Melky Cabrera, Bartolo Colon, and Yasmani Grandall were slapped with 50-game suspensions for testing positive for excessive testosterone levels. ESPN dug into the positive tests and asked MLB officials about a potential connection to Bosch, so MLB launched a full investigation. Minor league player Cesar Carillo also wound up in hot water when he denied having any connection to Bosch or Biogenesis despite being confronted with documented evidence to the contrary. He already received a 100-game suspension, but at the minor league level there is no appeals process. Major leaguers implicated in the scandal will most likely file lengthy appeals and fight any huge suspensions through arbitration, which is why MLB officials have been treating this investigation with special care.

In addition to Bosch, the league’s investigators are also interviewing associates and colleagues of Bosch, other witnesses to the PED program operating through Biogenesis, and players themselves. In this situation a player will not escape punishment by not testing positive for any banned substance. The league would be enforcing a policy that outlaws the mere possession or attempt to possess such substances. Any players who at any point denied connections to Bosch and his clinic could also be ensnared by other records being sought through subpoenas like phone and shipping records.

Players who may face suspensions currently include: Ryan Braun (Brewers), Everth Cabrera (Padres), Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays), Francisco Cervelli (Yankees), Bartolo Colon (Athletics), Nelson Cruz (Rangers), Fautino de los Santos (Free Agent), Yasmani Grandal (Padres), Fernando Martinez (Astros), Jesus Montero (Mariners), Jordan Norberto (Free Agent), Jhonny Peralta (Tigers), Cesar Puello (Mets), and Alex Rodriguez (Yankees). More names could be added to the list upon corroboration from Bosch and other evidence confirming his confessions.

When the dust settles this could be one of the most widespread PED cases to ever impact major league baseball, and it could have a significant effect on Hall of Fame inductions in the future when these players retire. Unfortunately, any records set by these players while under the influence of banned substances aren’t likely to be erased. One of two outcomes is likely to follow in the wake of the epic player suspensions that will come out of this case: either more players will shy away from using banned substances for fear of being named and shamed, or players who do choose to cheat will become way more careful about who and what they work with to achieve their baseball goals through PED use.  

Maurice Cheeks Named New Pistons Head Coach

Posted on date Jun 13th, 2013 | filed Filed under: Detroit Pistons

After coaching stints with the Philadelphia 76ers and Portland Trail Blazers, Maurice Cheeks is getting a third shot as an NBA head coach. For the past four seasons, he was an assistant in Oklahoma City. The team announced Monday that Cheeks has agreed to take over the responsibilities of Lawrence Frank.

“After spending some time with Maurice, I was very impressed not only with his basketball knowledge but his communication and leadership skills,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement. “We are very excited to have someone of his experience and talent help take this franchise into the future.”

Cheeks has a career coaching record of 284-286, consisting of three first-round playoff exits in his six seasons as head coach. Hawks coach Larry Drew, former Blazers head coach Nate McMillan, former Suns interim coach Lindsey Hunter, Spurs assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and Knicks assistant Darrell Walker are others that were interviewed for the position.

Betting tips for European basketball

Posted on date Jun 10th, 2013 | filed Filed under: Sports (Pro/Semi-Pro/Minor Leagues)

While the Euroleague basketball season is in the off season, it is a good time to study up on tips for placing successful wagers on the sport. As with most sports, Euroleague basketball can have several different kinds of wagers placed on it. While many bettors understand betting on the winners of each game, there are actually other kinds of bets to consider. However, it is prudent when placing sports bets to never place a type of bet you do not understand. This could end up being a costly mistake.

Many bettors are unaware of totals bets, which can also be known as over and unders. Actually, this is a simple type of bet to make. The focus is simply on the combined total score of the game. Prior to the commencement of a game, a sportsbook will place a line for that game. Bettors have two choice. They can opt to bet on the final score being over this line or under this line. Ties do not occur with this kind of bet because an exact number is not used but rather a decimal which can never be a resulting total score. For instance, a sportsbook might list an over/under line as 157.5. The over bets win if the total score is 158 or more whereas the under bets win if the total score is 157 or less. While brushing up on your betting tips during the off season, you can also enjoy some fun basketball themed games at online casinos.

One such game would be a scratch card game known as Slam Funk. This game is a good choice to also to play during a televised Euroleague game. It’s quick to play and requires little concentration, and you can find the game in http://www.luckynuggetcasino.com/au/online-pokies/. Since the game moves along rather quickly, it is easy to get several games in even if during a commercial break or timeout. Another time saving option of this game is that it offers a reveal all button. Rather than clicking each panel individually, this button will reveal all of the hidden symbols at once.

Detroit Lions’ Schedule Analysis: Tough Start, Brutal Finish Make for 8-8 2013 Season

Posted on date Apr 20th, 2013 | filed Filed under: Detroit Lions

Yesterday, the 2013 NFL schedule was finally released which, in a football starved community, had all the reverberations of a major holiday. When the veil was finally lifted, however, it was revealed the Detroit Lions might have a very tough road to hoe after a miserable 2012 year, including a Monday Night Football clash with the defending champion Baltimore Ravens.

Let’s delve in to next year’s schedule, go game by game and make some predictions. At this point, given the tough nature of Detroit’s start and finish, there’s no reason to expect anything better than 8-8.

Week 1: Minnesota Vikings. The Lions dropped both games to the Vikings last season, including a closely contested game at Ford Field where Percy Harvin’s kickoff return made all the difference. It will be a huge test out of the chute for Detroit, who will have to show they can stop Adrian Peterson and Christian Ponder on defense right away. The Lions will win, though, and atone for last fall. Detroit, W (1-0)

Week 2: at Arizona Cardinals. Detroit makes a return trip to the desert, where they were embarrassed late last season, meaning this isn’t a game to take lightly. The Cardinals have made a few significant changes, both at quarterback and coaching. The Lions need to view this game as a must win, given their big loss there in December 2012. In the end, the Lions have a few too many play makers and are properly motivated. Detroit, W (2-0)

Week 3: at Washington Redskins. A second straight road test comes for the Lions in the form of Robert Griffin III and Washington, a surprise playoff team last season. This will be tough for the Lions, and they’ll struggle to keep up in a tough road environment. This leads to the first loss of the season. Washington, W (2-1)

Week 4: Chicago Bears. Another team the Lions lost twice to last season, the Bears will have a few notable holes defensively without Brian Urlacher, but will keep their offensive potency. This helps to do Detroit in, as they struggle to get over the top at home against a classically tough rival. Chicago, W. (2-2)

Week 5: at Green Bay Packers. The Lions haven’t won in Green Bay since 1991, and fortunately, this season, they’ll play the Packers at a time when the weather should be much better than last December. That doesn’t matter, though, as Detroit cant’ seem to get over the hump at Lambeau Field. What else is new, the Lions lose on the road. Green Bay, W (2-3)

Week 6: at Cleveland Browns. Finally, a “break” in the schedule. The Lions make a regular season trip to Cleveland, where they’ll find a Browns team with a few players to watch. Detroit has the better, more complete team, though, and wins going away. Detroit, W (3-3)

Week 7: Cincinnati Bengals. The second straight AFC North matchup comes against the Bengals, who come to Detroit for the first time since the “Millen Man March” in 2005. These Lions are different than those, and they prove it to the Bengals with an offensive outpouring and some tough defense. Detroit, W (4-3)

Week 8: Dallas Cowboys. Finally, the Cowboys visit the Lions at Ford Field, and Tony Romo gets a rude awakening. Detroit’s defense pressures him, and Dallas loses a shootout in Detroit which could be critical for NFC playoff positioning. Detroit, W (5-3)

Week 9: Bye Week

Week 10: at Chicago Bears. Another bad location where the Lions just don’t win is Soldier Field. That trend continues, as Detroit earns a season split with Chicago thanks to a tough, blowout fashion loss. Chicago, W (5-4)

Week 11: at Pittsburgh Steelers. This is a rough road game even though the Steelers have been taking a step back during this offseason. Pittsburgh’s defense is still too elite, and the weather in November likely won’t be fantastic for this sloppy outdoor game. The Lions lose again and slip back to the pack. Pittsburgh, W (5-5)

Week 12: Tampa Bay Buccaneers. A tough home game, the Lions respond to two losses by smothering the Bucs at home. They’ve had Tampa’s number the last few years, and respond well by grabbing a big comeback win. Detroit, W (6-5)

Week 13: Green Bay Packers (Thanksgiving Day). These games haven’t been kind to the Lions in the past, but Detroit manages to get the job done this Thanksgiving and atone for plenty of past sins on the holiday. Their passion carries them against a good Packer team, and Lions’ fans can give thanks for a holiday win once again. Detroit, W (7-5)

Week 14: at Philadelphia Eagles. The Lions gutted out a big win against the Eagles last season, and this year’s version of the team will be going through a lot of turnover. Detroit’s experience and stability pays off in this one, and they get a big road win nearing the end of the season. Detroit, W (8-5)

Week 15: Baltimore Ravens (Monday Night Football). The defending champions enter the jungle on Monday Night Football, and had better be prepared for a fight. They’re the deeper, more physical team, though, and teach the Lions a lesson in front of a revved up crowd. Baltimore, W (8-6)

Week 16: New York Giants. Another stern test visits Ford Field in the form of the Giants, and the second Super Bowl champion takes Detroit to task. The Lions lose a critical, late season NFC game and begin to leak plenty of oil down the stretch. New York, W (8-7)

Week 17: at Minnesota Vikings. Quite possibly, the Lions will be fighting Minnesota for playoff positioning, and that sets up a huge final game in our scenario. Detroit got back to their losing ways in Minnesota last year after breaking an elongated curse, and they are unable to get the job done on the road again. A hot and cold season comes to an end with a season ending loss which kicks the Lions from playoff contention. They finish .500, but the results could have been much better. Minnesota, W, (8-8)

Max DeMara is the managing editor of Lions 101. You can find him on his personal Twitter account @SportsGuyTheMax or on this site’s Twitter @detroitlions101

Check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

1994 Michigan Boys Class C Final – Layup at the buzzer wins it

Posted on date Apr 16th, 2013 | filed Filed under: Boys Basketball

This was one of the best games I’ve ever attended in person. It was an amazing finish!

YouTube Preview Image

1986 Michigan Boys Class B Final – Coles 55-foot shot wins it

Posted on date Apr 3rd, 2013 | filed Filed under: Boys Basketball

Was just talking about this game last night with a buddy of mine and had to pull it up on Youtube and share. Amazing!

YouTube Preview Image

And here’s a look back at the hero Chris Coles…

YouTube Preview Image

The Kentucky Derby

Posted on date Apr 2nd, 2013 | filed Filed under: Sports Guy says...

In 1997 I worked in Louisville, Kentucky for about 3 months managing a sports memorabilia store. Louisville was a cool town with lots to do, but the one thing I’ll never forget is how big of a deal the Kentucky Derby was and still is. While I didn’t get to attend the actual race, being in town the two months leading up to it was amazing.

Over the years of all the major professional sports I have attended more Detroit Tigers game than any other. My favorite memories are of sitting in the upper deck in left field at old Tiger Stadium. I did attend a few Detroit Lions games in the Silverdome when it was sold out and that was a fun time as well. I was able to attend a parade celebrating a Detroit Red Wings Stanley Cup Championship, but none captured the electricity going on in Louisville that spring.

I’ll never forget the excitement in our store and downtown everywhere you went. Signs were up everywhere and everyone was talking about the upcoming race. I remember many people talking about two horses one named “Silver Charm” and the other named “Free House”. Needless to say they didn’t disappoint and here was what I watched while working…

YouTube Preview Image

…and I wasn’t alone. Our store was packed with people watching on our TV’s. It was amazing, and it was an great race with Silver Charm pulling out a win by inches. I don’t follow much horse racing, but I always pay attention to the Kentucky Derby and this year will be no different. I’m still not sure who my pick will be yet, but I’m leaning towards “Hear the Ghost”. Let me know in the comments who you think will win the Derby this year.

Before we know it we’ll be hearing the famous “…and down the stretch they come!”

Lions offseason updates

Posted on date Feb 22nd, 2013 | filed Filed under: Detroit Lions

Here are three updates from Draft Sharks about the Detroit Lions. Draft Sharks is one of the best fantasy football sites out there! Check them out if you get a chance.

The first update is about one of the Lions best players…

Lions insider Chris McCosky has learned that WR Calvin Johnson played through 2 fractured fingers “most of last season.” It’s unclear exactly when the injury occurred, but it only makes Megatron’s record-breaking 2012 campaign even more impressive. His 122 catches were a personal best, and his 1,964 receiving yards were the most in NFL history. It is worth noting that Johnson was charged with a career-high 14 drops. The broken fingers likely had a lot to do with that. Johnson will be ready for the Lions’ offseason program, though, and the injury won’t be a factor in 2013. He’s the clear-cut #1 WR in fantasy football.

Like McCosky says it makes Johnson’s 2012 season even more impressive. If any receiver is going to pass 2,000 yards in a season it will be Johnson. A healthy Johnson means the Lions have a shot.

Lions HC Jim Schwartz wants to see more explosion from RB Mikel Leshoure in 2013. “He flashed enough highs that gives us optimism that he can (be explosive), but he also had enough inconsistency to say that he’s not there yet,” Schwartz said. “We still have high hopes for him and expect him to make a big jump.” Leshoure’s longest run all last year was just 16 yards. He averaged a sluggish 3.7 yards-a-pop. But remember that he tore his Achilles in August of 2011 — an injury that’s tough to return from. It’s certainly possible that Leshoure regains some explosion as he puts that injury further in his rear-view mirror. This guy averaged 6+ yards per carry in each of his final 2 college seasons, with 7 runs of 40+ yards.

If Leshoure can find his “explosive” side again and make some big plays, then he could be the guy in the backfield. If he ends up with a low yards per carry, then look for the Lions to find an answer for some speed at the running back spot.

Lions WR Nate Burleson has agreed to a restructured contract. It means he’s more than likely to remain in Detroit for 2013, which wasn’t the case with the $4.5 million he was originally scheduled to make. Burleson will turn 32 this August and is coming off a broken leg suffered last October. He hauled in 73 balls in 2011, though, and was on an early pace for 83 before going down last year. With Titus Young gone and Ryan Broyles recovering from a torn ACL, Burleson will be counted on to play a significant role again in 2013.

Smart move by Burleson. It makes it likely he will be in Detroit for the year now and also makes him the #2 receiver to Megatron. If he stays healthy he could put up some big numbers and land one more decent contract. Maybe not from Detroit, but somewhere else. So he’s motivated and that’s a good thing!

Go Lions!

Spartans clash with Wolverines on Tuesday

Posted on date Feb 11th, 2013 | filed Filed under: Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines

I’ve been waiting for this game now for a couple of weeks. Michigan State and Michigan are both battling for the Big Ten lead with the first of two regular season meetings at the Breslin Center in East Lansing on Tuesday night. While the 2013 March Madness tournament bracket will be here before we know it, both of these teams take very seriously in winning the Big Ten regular season crown. Michigan has been ranked in the top 5 in the last few weeks, even holding down the #1 spot briefly, while Michigan State has slowly climbed up to the edge of the top 10. The two key players in this matchup are at the point guard position, the Wolverines Trey Burke and the Spartans Keith Appling. Both help run their teams in the half-court and get them running as well. I’m predicting a fairly low scoring game with great defense and physical up-front play, but the offensive execution by the two point guards will be fun to watch.

As we get closer to live betting on March Madness the Big Ten should come down to the wire. The Big Ten has seen some great basketball and that should continue as the great teams, Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, and Michigan State, will continue to battle and as shown by their great coaching staffs, get better and stronger as we get closer to the tournament.

Should be a fun game on Tuesday night and I’m hoping for a Spartans win!

Torii Hunter talks about joining Tigers

Posted on date Nov 19th, 2012 | filed Filed under: Detroit Tigers