THIS WEEK’S BEST BET:
SEATTLE vs. DENVER, At East Rutherford, N.J., Sunday at 3:15 p.m., Channel 11:
How do you take your NFL championship games, in Celsius or Fahrenheit?
Our latest Accuweather.com forecast shows cloudy skies, highs in the 50s, with periods of rain. But that’s just for L.A. — which is all we really care about, and, under those conditions, translates into a real mess outside. So how the elements will play out in Jersey? It’s elementary.
A likely high of 33 we know now, but be sure you’ll get up-to-the-nanosecond updates by anyone with a thermometer sticking out of his pocket.
We’ve seen almost every kind of Doppler doppelganger try to tell us how the atmosphere will cooperate, including ESPN putting stat geek/political forecaster Nate Silver from FiveThirtyEight.com out in front of Met Life Stadium with a stocking cap to explain how “climatology” works based on past weather records (is that pre- or post-global warming?) Such as: There’s only a 21 percent chance that the temps will be 25 degrees or below, and the same chance for precipitation — snow, rain, sleet or hail. Maybe we should ask the U.S. Postal Service to choose up sides.
“If I were a betting man, I would put some money on the wind,” said Silver, constructing a sentence that likely hasn’t been used in Las Vegas before. He said there’s a 31 percent chance of having winds at 50 mph or higher, which would affect the passing game and any field goal attempts. “In other words, this ain’t the Rose Bowl,” said Silver. Which also begs the question: Why aren’t we playing this thing in the Rose Bowl? It already had the Jan. 1 game, and then the BCS title game. Why not cram this Super Bowl in as well? “Fortunately, there’s only 3 percent chance of blizzard-like conditions (in Jersey),” Silver noted.
Too bad. A recent ESPN SportsNation poll asked what weather conditions would fans prefer. The majority vote in 48 of the 50 states, and in all votes taken internationally, was “blizzard.” Only in Washington, where most sided with “wintry, but nothing too disruptive,” and in Colorado, where they went with “pleasant,” did opinion deviate. You’ve got to look out for your best interests, apparently.
If public safety is at risk, NFL executive VP of business operations Eric Grubman, right, says the game could always be moved up earlier — we’re all for that — or it could be pushed back to Monday. And who wouldn’t be ready for some Monday Night Football right about now?
BEST OF THE REST:
NHL: KINGS at SAN JOSE, 7 p.m., NBC Sports Net:
Nope, we’ll go indoors. To the Shark Tank. NBC will have to be satisfied with that, even if the Kings, on a five-game losing streak, continue to feel they’ve been shark-bit by the schedule. Le Sharks, meanwhile, have won six straight.
NBA: CLIPPERS at MILWAUKEE, 5 p.m., Prime:
Larry Drews’ Bucks are the only team left in the Association with single-digit victories, with a league-worst 91 points a game average. That still doesn’t guarantee the No. 1 draft pick, you know?
NBA: LAKERS vs. INDIANA, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
The Lakers are back from the extended Grammy trip, seven games on the road without Kobe Bryant taking off his street clothes. After he’s examined early this week, there’s still the process of getting practice in. Meanwhile, more than keeping pace, the Pacers have the league’s best mark, even if that just dipped under the .800 mark for the first time.
NHL: KINGS at PHOENIX, 6 p.m., FSW:
Let’s invite Wayne Gretzky to drop the puck for this one, too. If that’s not too awkward.
NHL: N.Y. RANGERS vs. N.Y. ISLANDERS, at Yankee Stadium, 4:30 p.m., NBC Sports Net:
Yo, how come the Rangers get two outdoor games on the Yankee Stadium infield? Because they can. And it’s Super Bowl week in New York anyway.
NBA: CLIPPERS vs. WASHINGTON, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., Prime:
The Wiz might consider putting up a pay wall on their website for anyone who wants to check out John Wall’s impressive stats.
NHL: KINGS vs. PITTSBURGH, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., FSW:
Penguins star Sidney Crosby has already been named captain of Team Canada for the upcoming Winter Olympics. By the time this game takes place, will Team USA coach (and Penguins coach, and former Kings player) Dan Bylsma decide that the Kings’ Dustin Brown will be captain for the American squad? Brown was the assistant cap on the 2010 team that won a silver medal. As for this one, the Penguins are first in the league in power play and in penalty killing. It’s why they lead the Eastern Conference’s Metropolitan Division, and are 7-0-1 against the Pacific Division and 10-3-1 against the Western Conference this season so far.
NBA: CLIPPERS at GOLDEN STATE, 7:30 p.m., TNT:
Chris Paul’s 26 points and 11 assists kept the Clippers close against the Warriors when they last met (a 105-103 loss at Golden State on Christmas night, when Klay Thompson blocked Paul’s shot to tie it with 1 second left, then got into Jamal Crawford’s line of fire as he tried a 3-pointer to win it at the buzzer. That’s also the game where Blake Griffin was kicked out after his second technical foul when he got tied up with Andrew Bogut. Griffin called the Warriors “cowardly” for how they duped the officials. “It all boils down to they (the referees) fell for it. I don’t know their intentions, but it worked. I got two technicals for nothing.” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said jokingly: “It’s good, old-fashioned basketball between two teams that are playing for something.” And still are, although Paul will be missing from this one. The Warriors, despite their ability to fire from long range, had been winning lately with a tougher defense. But that went out the window when Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant scored 54 against them in the Thunders’ 127-121 win on Jan. 17.
COLLEGE BASKETBALL: UCLA at OREGON, 6 p.m., ESPN, USC at OREGON STATE, 6 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The Ducks won their first 13 games this season, then dropped five conference contests in a row going into Sunday night at Washington State. Last season, the Bruins lost twice to the Ducks, once during the regular Pac-12 schedule (76-67 at home) and then in the conference tournament title game in Las Vegas (78-69). This season, they meet twice, including Feb. 27 at Pauley Pavilion. Oregon guard Jason Calliste is fourth in the country in 3-point shooting (54.3 percent, 25 of 46).
TENNIS: DAVIS CUP: U.S. vs. GREAT BRITAIN, at Petco Park in San Diego, first day’s singles matches, 2:30 p.m., Tennis Channel:
Aside from the fact there’s Andy Murray on one side going against the Jim Courier-led team of John Isner, Sam Querrery and the Bryan brothers on the other side, seeing how tennis looks inside the Padres’ home ballpark will be a key reason to tune in. They’ve planted a red clay court in left field, and set up grand stands all around it. Seems like it should be a sand court.
NBA: LAKERS vs. CHARLOTTE, Staples Center, 7:30 p.m., TWC SportsNet:
Bobcats, Hornets … no matter what they’re called, they’ve got the Lakers’ number.
NHL: KINGS vs. PHILADELPHIA, Staples Center, 1 p.m., FSW:
Former King Wayne Simmonds leads the Flyers in goals. Philly stops by Anaheim on Thursday before arriving here.
NBA: CLIPPERS vs. UTAH, Staples Center, Saturday at 7:30 p.m.:
Blake Griffin scored 40 points in an eight-point win over the Jazz in their last meeting a few weeks ago.
BASEBALL: DODGERS FAN FEST, 10 a.m., Dodger Stadium:
In Lots P and B, expect to see Yasiel Puig, Don Mattingly, Carl Crawford, Dan Haren, Dee Gordon, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Scott Van Slyke and Mark McGwire, with some of them signing autographs – for $10 each. With a ticket purchased ahead of time. With the funds going to the Dodgers Foundation. And you have to print out and sign a waiver before you go in. And you must leave by 4 p.m. How festive.
PRO FOOTBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2014 ELECTION: 8 p.m., Channel 11:
Derrick Brooks, Charles Haley, Marvin Harrison, Walter Jones and Michael Strahan are the favorites to have their name called for Hall entrance. But former coach Tony Dungy could get in if he gets 80 percent of the vote. So, too, could Jerome Bettis, Tim Brown or Morten Andersen. Ray Guy? The former Raiders punter made the final 15. That may be as far as it goes. Fox will make the announcement as part of their “NFL Honors” two-hour show from New York.
UCLA at OREGON STATE, 11:30 a.m., ESPNU
USC at OREGON, 5 p.m., Pac-12 Network:
The Ducks nearly blew a 10-point lead in the game’s final three minutes, but hung on for a 76-74 victory at USC a year ago.
MONSTER ENERGY SUPERCROSS: Angel Stadium, 7 p.m., Fox Sports 1:
It’s the last of three loud-n-proud motocross events at the Anaheim facility this month. Dig in.
GOLF: PGA WASTE MANAGEMENT PHOENIX OPEN, at Scottsdale, Ariz., final round, noon, Channel 2:
Such a waste to air this amidst all the football going on. But the stadium atmosphere is something to at least give a listen to. Golf Channel has the first two rounds Thursday and Friday. CBS has the third round Saturday at noon.