Matthews: The Answer Man Tells It Like It Is


QUESTION: You’ve been extremely tough on the offense of the Buffalo Bills this season. Do you have any bright ideas to improve the situation?

ANSWER: With this roster? No. I’m the Answer Man, not the Miracle Man.

QUESTION: What do you think about Syracuse’s No. 16 spot in the Associated Press pre-season college basketball rankings?

ANSWER: I think the voters are selling SU short, again – and coach Jim Boeheim must love it. He relishes the nobody-respects-us role.

QUESTION: What was your reaction to LA Dodgers manager Dave Roberts getting burned by analytics when pinch-hitter Eduardo Nunez’s three-run HR gave Boston an 8-4 lead in Game 1 of the World Series?

ANSWER: I sort of liked it. No MLB team relies on analytics more than the Dodgers and they got burned. I think too many teams rely too much on analytics. They inspire the overkill on the use of relief pitchers, make the games longer and make the sport more boring to average fans. Bottom line: I prefer old-fashioned baseball and wouldn’t mind seeing 20-man rosters in the World Series.

QUESTION: If the New York Yankees could sign one expensive free agent this offseason, should it be Bryce Harper or Manny Machado?

ANSWER:  Machado, because an infielder is more valuable than a corner outfielder, particularly with shortstop Didi Gregorius likely to miss much of next season after Tommy John surgery. Harper would be the better attraction at the gate and in cable TV ratings, but the Yankees don’t need to worry about things like that.

QUESTION: The Los Angeles Lakers are off to a 0-3 start. Should LeBron James be concerned?

ANSWER: No, not yet. But it would be tougher to erase an early deficit in the standings in the loaded Western Conference than in the Eastern Conference, where LeBron played until now.  If the Lakers do make the playoffs, they probably wouldn’t last for long: too soft on defense and too few perimeter shooters.

QUESTION: Can the Dodgers afford to start Austin Barnes at catcher?

ANSWER: No, not against a team as potent as the Boston Red Sox. LA needs as much offense as it can muster and Barnes is pretty much an automatic out against quality pitching. Yasmani Grandal was awful in the NL playoffs – at the plate and behind the plate. But he’s a streaky hitter and I’d go with him instead of Barnes.

QUESTION: What will be our next pro team to fold?

ANSWER: The RazorSharks? If they play at all this season in mysterious The Basketball League it probably won’t be at Blue Cross Arena at the War Memorial. A smaller venue wouldn’t be a bad thing. The Sharks wouldn’t be an elite team like their fans were accustomed to before last year.

QUESTION: Any chance Red Wins MVP and Most Popular Player Willians Astudillio returns to Rochester next season?

ANSWER: Probably not. He made the most of his 29 games with the Twins this season (.355 batting average (33-for-93); 4 doubles; 1 triple; 3 HRs; 21 RBI; 2 walks; 3 strikeouts) and already is a huge favorite with the fans, media and management.

QUESTION: How about Blake Griffin’s 50-point game for Detroit Tuesday night?

ANSWER: Not a shock. He’s very talented, it’s early in the season and he’s playing for the Pistons. But I’ve long considered Griffin to be the NBA’s most-overrated “superstar”player. His stats often are more impressive than what he does for his team. I watched the underachieving Clippers play late games on cable TV too many times to count. He seldom was a clutch player late in close games. The Clippers usually disappointed in the playoffs and he was the main reason. In my opinion.

QUESTION: What do you think about our proposed $250-million performing arts center?

ANSWER:  Flush any dreams of a new arena for a long, long time. No one can say the PAC is a $250-million band-aid. I wish Tom Golisano liked sports more than the arts. Nothing against the arts, but I really like sports. And lots of people like concerts for crowds of 10,000-plus...I’m wondering if the $250 million number for the PAC complex was announced so that if the powers-to-be making these decisions could look fiscally responsible if they pare it down to $200 million.

QUESTION: How many more games will the Bills win this season?

ANSWER: A maximum of one – probably a low-scoring affair, maybe 12-10.

QUESTION: What would be your dream Super Bowl 33 matchup?

ANSWER: Los Angeles Rams versus Kansas City Chiefs. I think the Rams are the most-talented NFL team and the Chiefs are the most fun team to watch.  prefer offense. That why it is so painful spending Sunday afternoons tweeting during Bills games.


The Houston Texans are the sixth NFL team since 1970 to start 0-2 and then win the next four games. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is getting healthier and he finally got some pass protection last week. Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and running back Lamar Miller are capable of lighting up Miami.

Miami quarterback Brock Osweiler will be facing one of the league’s most fierce pass rushes and he’ll miss injured receivers Albert Wilson and Kenny Stills. The Dolphins are 4-9 against the point spread in their last 13 games against teams with winning records.

Thursday night’s “Best Bet”: HOUSTON (-7 ½) 27, Miami 14.


The FiveThirtyEight ELO computer‘s updated Super Bowl 33 win probabilities: Kansas City 18 percent...LA Rams 16 percent...New England 13 percent...New Orleans 10 percent...Milnnesota 6 percent...Pittsburgh 5 percent...Baltimore 5 percent...Carolina 4 percent...LA Chargers 4 percent...Atlanta 2 percent...Seattle 2 percent...Detroit 2 percent...Washington 2 percent...Dallas 1 percent...Cincinnati 1 percent.

The ELO computers AFC East projections (it must have some parts made in Buffalo):

Records – Patriots 11.3-4.7; Dolphins 8.1-7.9; Jets 6.7-9.3; Bills 5.8-10.2

Point differential – Patriots +98.9; Dolphins -39.9; Jets -232.6; Bills -120.3

Make the playoffs – Patriots 91 percent; Dolphins 10 percent; Jets 9 percent; Bills 4 percent

Win the division – Patriots 95 percent; Dolphins 4 percent; Jets 4 percent; Bills 2 percent

Win Super Bowl 33 – Patriots 13 percent; Dolphins, jets and Bills all under 1 percent.


Home teams are 65-40-2 outright and 50-43-4 against the Las Vegas point spread (ATS)

Las Vegas favorites are 69-36-2 outright and 53-49-2 ATS

Teams scoring first are 65-40-2

Teams leading at halftime are 82-18

Teams leading after three quarters are 86-16

Teams winning the turnover battle are 63-18

Teams with the better record entering the game are 41-30

Teams with the most rushing yards are 76-29-2

Teams with the most passing yards are 52-50-2

Teams with the fewest penalties are 50-44-2

Teams with the fewest yards penalized are 56-48-2

Teams leading time of possession are 76-29-2

Of the 107 games played, 32 were decided by 3 points or less and 62 were decided by 7 points or less

The AFC and NFC are tied 15-15 in 30 inter-league play

There have been 10 overtime games and 3 shutouts

The average game has produced 49.1 points

There have been 35 individual 100-yard rushing performances. The teams with those players were 29-5-1 in those games...There have been 112 individual 100-yard pass receiving performances. The teams with those players were 59-49-4 in those games...There have been 74 individual 300-yard passing performances. The teams with those players were 36-36-2 in those games.


Wednesday, October 24

Rafael Devers 22...Jaylen Brown 22...Jalen Ramsey 24...Nikola Vucevic 28...Eric Hosmer 29...Chris Hogan 30...Wayne Rooney 33....Chris Colabello 35...Rafael Furcal 41...Arthur Rhodes 49...Jay Novacek 56...Ron Gardenhire 61...Jim “Seaweed” Pettie 65.Drake 32 and Kevin Kline 71 are invited to the birthday party.

Thursday, October 25

Juan Soto 20...Chandler Parsons 30...Colt Anderson 33...Pedro Martinez 47...Corey Harris 49...Wendel Clark 52...Pat Swilling 54...David Woodley 60...Danny Darwin 63...Dirt Winston 63...Terry Martin 63...Dave Cowens 70...Dan Issel 70. Katy Perry 34 is invited to the birthday party.


October 24

79 years ago (1939), Joe DiMaggio outpolled Jimmie Foxx for American League Most Valuable Player...78 years ago (1940), Japan eliminated American terms from baseball, including strike and play ball...30 years ago (1988), New York Islanders superstar Mike Bossy retired...26 years ago (1992), the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Atlanta Braves in Game 6 to win the World Series.

October 25

113 years ago (1905), Navy beat Maryland 17-0 at Annapolis in the first college football Crab Bowl...54 years ago (1964), Minnesota’s Jim Marshall scored a safety for the opposing team on his famous 66-yard “The Wrong Way Run.”...40 years ago (1978), San Diego’s Gaylord Perry became the first pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in both leagues...31 years ago (1987), the Minnesota Twins won their first World Series, 4 games to 3 over the St. Louis Cardinals...28 years ago (1990), Evander Holyfield beat Buster Douglas in 3 for the heavyweight boxing title...15 years ago (2003), the Florida Marlins beat the New York Yankees 2-0 in Game 6 for their second World Series title.

Bob Matthews' Column

Bob Matthews' Column

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