Fiddler's Facts: Saints have mountain to climb

Fred MacDonald
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The NFL heads into week three tomorrow and even this early in the season there are a number of haunting questions.

Are the Arizona Cardinals as good as they looked in last Sunday’s upset of New England Patriots? Are the New Orleans Saints good enough to get into the playoff picture after losing their first two games? Since 1990 only 12 per cent of the teams starting 0-2 made the playoffs, so the Saints have a big mountain to climb.

Can the Denver Broncos at home handle the 2-0 Houston Texans, who have the league’s best defence?

Lets see if we can answer some of those questions and take a closer look at this weekend’s matchups.

The Buffalo Bills travel to Cleveland to meet the young, tough Browns but in this game I like Buffalo’s newfound offence — bet the Bills.

The San Francisco 49ers take their 2-0 record to Minnesota, where I expect Randy Moss to have a big game — bet SanFran.

Houston travels to Denver and this is a big test for both clubs. Peyton Manning threw three picks Monday in Denver’s loss and I don’t see that happening again — bet Denver.

The New England Patriots visit Baltimore and I see a big game from Tom Brady and the Pats. They will not lose two in a row — bet the Pats.

As always, pay the mortgage first, the picks are for fun.

NHL labour

The National Hockey League lockout is now one week old and with no meetings between the league and the NHL Players Association scheduled for the foreseeable future, it looks like the NHL will be dark for quite some time.

Alex Ovechkin had an assist for Dynamo in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League Thursday night as did Evgeni Malkin, who would love to see his Pittsburgh Penguins teammate Sidney Crosby join him in the Russian league.

As long as Crosby is on this continent, there’s always the chance that the league and the NHLPA could be talking, at least that’s the hope for hockey fans. If and when Sid the Kid moves to the Kontinental league or another team in Europe, that will signal that the entire year could be in jeopardy. We shall see.

On the track

A large contingent of P.E.I. harness racing fans took in the Little Brown Jug at Delaware, Ohio, where Michael’s Power edged Bolt the Duer in the first heat and won the second heat over Sweet Lou in 1:50 for driver Scott Zeron and trainer Casie Coleman.

On the same card, Gold Cup and Saucer winner Eighteen was seventh in the senior jug for MM while Jody Jamieson drove Frenchfriedandvinegar to victory in the $148,000 trot on Jug day.

Among the Islanders in attendance was Richard Bradley, who was the paddock judge in Delaware for years, as well as Island trainer Earl Watts and prominent owner Wade Peconi who always displayed his antique tractor skills.

A great card here at Red Shores Charlottetown tonight with the $2,200 feature going in Race 11. It has All Turain, I D K, Wellthereyougo, Shock the Rock, Balanchine and Leading Candidate.

There’s also a terrific simulcast card from Mohawk tonight with a $130,000 Gold final for three-year-olds where Warrawee Needy and JJ look like the favourites.

The $348,000 Matron Stakes has attracted some of the best mares on the continent including Put On a Show and Krispy Apple.

Many of the best two year olds are in action with a pair of Gold eliminations, featuring Scott Zeron’s Tarpon Hanover and Anthony MacDonald’s Mach Pride.

Fred MacDonald’s column appears in The Guardian every Saturday.

Organizations: New England Patriots, National Hockey League, Arizona Cardinals New Orleans Saints Denver Broncos Houston Texans Buffalo Bills NHL Players Association Kontinental Hockey League Pittsburgh Penguins Islanders

Geographic location: Denver, Cleveland, Minnesota Baltimore Europe P.E.I. Delaware, Ohio

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