Sometimes you just have to focus on what is important. And despite the concern over the Jack Tatum like tendencies of those out of control thugs in Pittsburgh, the most important story this week is Dallas. And it is hard to figure which Dallas is having a crappier week, Cowboys or Clark. You see, the Dallas Cowboys, well, they suck. And Dallas Clark suffered a severe wrist injury, apparently during the fourth quarter of last Sunday’s win over the Redskins, that will require season ending surgery. This is a huge injury as Dallas Clark is Peyton Manning’s safety blanket, with a 100 catch year last season and well on the way to another one this year. Not just any catches either, Clark is clutch. Comes at a horrible time for the Peytons too, as wide receiver Austin Collie is out and running back Joseph Addai is nursing a shoulder with nerve issues. The Colts have a bye and it looks like they need it.
NFL: It is not really an appealing slate of games this week. By far really the best one looks to be the Vikes visiting the Geezer’s old stomping grounds at Lambeau. They still do not resemble the team they were last year, but the Vikings seem to be coming together a bit finally. The Packers were pegged by many as Super Bowl bound, but have been literally decimated by injuries and are a disappointing 3-3 after six games. Help may be on its way for Green Bay though, with Al Harris, Atari Bigby and Clay Matthews all expected to return to the field. That is a lot of help, so it should be a fair fight. What could be better than a Sunday night game in the late fall in Lambeau with the Geezer playing the foil? No clue who will win, but it ought to be a hell of a game.
The Giants at the Boys doesn’t exactly carry the weight it usually does, but Dallas is desperate, and NY can really make a step toward the top of the NFC with a win; for a team that was said to be in turmoil just a couple of weeks ago, the Giants are suddenly looking pretty solid. Pats visit the curiously flailing Bolts. Heck, the Chargers are such a wreck even their former stars are off the road. Pats are plugging along; the offense will always be there and you just know Bill Bel will have the defense gelling as the season progresses. Tough week for the Bolts to rebound, even though they are at home; I’ll take the Pats. Raiders at Broncos could be interesting – maybe – but it is at Mile High, so edge to the Donkos. Eagles at Titans and Skins at Bears are the only other games even worth mentioning. Both are hard to read. If I had to bet, I would ride with the two home teams, but my gut says both visitors may pull off wins.
MLB: In the National Pastime, the Texas Rangers just polished off the Evil Empire in the American League Championship Series. Down go the Yankees, Down go the Yankees! The Rangers just flat outplayed the big payroll Yanks in every phase of the game and deserved to win. And Mr. May, Alex Rodriquez, returned to the postseason form he has always been known for. It is the first trip in the history of the Rangers, coming after the first playoff series they had ever won, when they took out the Devil Rays last week. It has got to be pretty exciting for the Texas fans, and that is a cool thing. Yet to be determined is their opponent for the World Series, with the NLCS returning to Philadelphia for game six and, if necessary, game seven. The Phillies have Roy Oswalt going Saturday and Cole Hamels Sunday if they can hold off the Giants in game six. The Giants will counter with Sanchez and Matt Cain slotted for game seven. Roy Oswalt in Philly is going to be tough; decent chance it comes down to an exciting game seven and Cain versus Hamels would be a great matchup if it does.
F1 Korean Grand Prix: Well the football slate may be mostly a dud, but there is big excitement in Formula One. We have a brand new race in the Circus and a brand spanking new track where it will be run. And the circuit appears to be pretty good to, which is a relief after the disappointment of the two most recent additions to the series, the hideous Singapore course and the opulent, but almost garish Abu Dhabi facility. The Korean GP will make its home at the Korean International Circuit, a 5.62 km (3.49 mile) course located in Yeongam, South Jeolla, South Korea, which is 400 kilometres south of Seoul and near the port city of Mokpo. The facility is so new, they are literally still putting a few finishing touches on during race week and there was legitimate concern as to whether the joint would really be finished in time for the race to be run.
But the Korean International Circuit passed the tech inspection and received its FIA license a week ago and the race is on! And, surprisingly, the reviews are very good so far. Brad Spurgeon is an old hand at the Circus and was prepared to complain, but is really upbeat now that he is there. That is good news indeed. The race surface is quite slippery due to the newness, but should settle in nicely as the sheen is scrubbed off and some rubber is laid down on it from practice and qualifying. In fact, qualifying is going on as I write this and all looks good. Vettel and Webber have put their Red Bulls in the front row in P1 and P2 with Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg and Massa filling out P3-6 respectively. Hard to see how Vettel (or Alonso for that matter) is going to catch up Mark Webber for the drivers crown with a 14 point gap and only three races, and only two after Korea, remaining; but it is clear that Vettel is going to push to the end and we know the German youngster is not afraid to race his teammate hard. Should make for a great run in Korea and an exciting close down the final stretch of the 2010 season.
The race is on Speed TV, with coverage starting at 1:30am EST Sunday morning and 10:30 pm Saturday night for those like me on Pacific/FDL time.