AFC VS NFC 2011 NFL Pro Bowl Free Pick & Preview: Give me the AFC in this one. I like the Vick/Brees dynamic for the NFC, but Peyton Manning and Phillip Rivers give the AFC a nice chance to do work through the air. I doubt Vick will be running all that much, so the threat there isn’t as great. The NFC has nice running backs, but with Chris Johnson, Foster, and Jamaal Charles, the AFC is loaded with game breakers that should do well in this format. I also just think the AFC is the tougher conference, no NFC West on that side. I like them to win this week.
I also think the NFC loses more star power in the Super Bowl. I mean, the Steelers didn’t get a receiver in the pro bowl, Big Ben wasn’t voted in, Mendenhall had a great season, but he wasn’t voted in. I guess they lose something defensively, but the Steelers are full of blitzling linebackers and the Pro Bowl is 4-3 based. Both sides will miss big playmaking stars that are Super Bowl bound, but I think the NFC loses the most with the Packers’ players missing the game.
The AFC just has the tougher group of guys defensively, at least guys that are too competitive to play soft, even in a game like this. They have those key play-makers that I mentioned earlier, CJ and Charles (among many others) and with Manning and Rivers leading the way, accuracy won’t be missing from the AFC.
I like the AFC by a touchdown.
AFC (+1.5) @ NFC
Orlando Magic @ Chicago Bulls Friday Night NBA Basketball Pick: The Magic and the Bulls are two of the best after the Celtics and Heat, and many people see both as possible players for the Eastern Conference Title. I know the Bulls are without Noah, a player who means a ton to them, especially against a guy like Howard – but this game still has some intrigue. Are the Magic playing well enough as a team to get Derrick Rose and the Bulls?
Last time these two teams played, December 1st, the Magic won 107-78 in Chicago, embarrassing the Bulls by out-rebounding them 44-21. That’s one of the most lopsided rebounding games I’ve seen all season. And that was when the Bulls had both Boozer and Noah healthy (though Boozer was just getting his legs under him and Noah did pull down ZERO rebounds in 25 minutes). The Magic also had a different roster as Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, and Marcin Gortat were still on the team. But I don’t see them getting out-worked by Chicago on the glass despite the different circumstances now. The Bulls are without Noah, and the Magic play a better rebounder (Bass) more now that Lewis is in Washington.
The Bulls have won 8 of 10 while the Magic are just 6-4 in their last 10 games. Derrick Rose has been very impressive and Kurt Thomas has filled in nicely of late, though I don’t know who has a chance against Dwight Howard in this one.
Expect the Magic to pound it in the post and win easily if Dwight stays out of foul trouble. Rose is also “questionable” so that’s just one more piece of the puzzle working for the Magic.
Orlando Magic (-1) @ Chicago Bulls (1/28)