Shanoff's Wake-Up Call: Pats, Jets, Artest

Today's Calls: Pats vs. Jets, T-Mac vs. Nash, Celtics vs. Lakers, Greg Oden vs. Rudy Fernandez, Papi vs. Manny, Maddon vs. Piniella, James Harden vs. Jrue Holiday, Charlie Weis vs. Jack Swarbrick. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: It's a lose-lose night for those of us who dislike both the Patriots and Brett Favre. And there are many of us. ↵

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↵Either the banged-up Pats will dispatch the strangely competitive Jets to take (perennial) command of the division ... ↵

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↵... Or Favre will lead the Jets to a win at Foxboro, giving New York the lead in the no-way-you-guessed-this-in-August AFC East. ↵

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↵The only respite for many of you is the NFL Network isn't widely available, so you might be able to pretend it's not happening. (I live in New York, where the NFL Network feed must be shown locally, so unfortunately I have no excuse.) ↵

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↵Pick: Pats 23, Jets 13. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Ron Artest's Rockets were involved in an on-court melee — but Ron-Ron wasn't involved! (+1 to Artest!) Consider this a huge signal of Artest's growth since The Palace brawl. ... T-Mac, meanwhile, could take a lesson — throwing down Nash? Not. Good. ↵

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↵Meanwhile:
Two hugely revealing games among top early-season teams last night ... ↵

↵Celtics nip Hawks at the buzzer: Boston's biggest playoff challenger from 2008 extends into a new season, with the C's winning on a Pierce buzzer-beater. More than anything it says about the defending champs, it signals that the Hawks are for real this season. ↵

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↵Lakers beat Hornets in New Orleans: L.A. remains unbeaten, knocking off their top rival in the West. Lakers never trailed. ↵

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↵Quote of the night comes from Kobe, on a dagger 3 he hit over James Posey: "I just wanted to shoot it in his face." ↵

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↵(Speaking of Kobe, is his interest in playing in either Greece or Italy for real? Because their interest in him apparently is.) ↵

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↵Greg Oden Watch: Last night, Oden had 16 minutes, 3 shots, 3 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks. (The real Blazers rookie to watch: Rudy Fernandez — 25 pts in 29 min.) ↵

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↵Fantasy Stud: Dwight Howard. 30 pts, 19 reb, 10 blocks, for the first triple-double of his career. (And that's a triple the hard way.) ↵

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↵Early candidate for NBA Breakout POY: Wilson Chandler, thriving in Mike D'Antoni's system (career-high 27 in win over Grizzlies). ↵

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↵Milestone: Shaq jumped John Havlicek to No. 10 on the all-time scoring list. (Dwarfed, obviously, by the Rockets-Suns scuffle.) ↵

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↵More NFL: Tony Romo ready for Redskins? That's what he says, and the Cowboys could sure use the boost. I'm not sold yet. ↵

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↵Romeo Crennel wants you to know that he, at least, is not a quitter. But just because he doesn't quit doesn't mean his team didn't. ↵

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↵MLB Hot Stove: Jake Peavy going to Atlanta? That's the report. All he has to do is sign off on it. It also would change the dynamic in the N.L. East. ↵

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↵MLB Awards Season: A.L. Cy! It will be Cleveland's Cliff Lee in a walk (ironic, given that Lee didn't hand out many this season). ... Hmm: When was the last time that both leagues' Cy winners came from entirely uncompetitive teams? ↵

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↵Maddon, Piniella named Managers of the Year: OK, which moron picked Ron Gardenhire ahead of Joe Maddon on his ballot? ↵

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↵Wow, Papi threw Manny under a bus. Didn't see that coming. From Schilling? Sure. From Ortiz? In mid-November? Funny timing. ↵

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↵CBB: James Harden is a stud, if off the radar because he is at Arizona State. Mike DeCourcy is spot-on naming him the nation's best 2-guard. ↵

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↵(But watch out for UCLA freshman Jrue Holliday, No. 8 on MD's list. Holiday scored 11 in his debut last night, a Bruins romp.) ↵

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↵Recruiting: UNC got a big haul on the first day of the early-signing period, led by Tampa's John Henson. ↵

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↵NASCAR: This is a lot of inside baseball (sorry: inside racing), but it's a pretty fascinating look at the state of the NASCAR business. ↵

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↵Here's something to watch: Consolidation. Example: DEI is merging teams with Ganassi. ↵

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↵Politics: Gilbert Arenas' Obama tattoo, now in convenient photographic form. (Ouch, that had to have been painful.) ↵

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↵The Last Word: "He's our head coach and I look forward to him being the head coach for a long time." — Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick on Charlie Weis. ↵

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↵It is as close to a rule in sports as it gets: Nothing says "You are SO fired" like the dreaded "vote of confidence" quote from your boss. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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