The Darth Plagueis novel was very unlike many other Star Wars literature I’ve read. It was light on action and heavy on political machinations by the Sith as they tipped the force inexorably in their favor. I was under the impression that Plagueis died well before Palpatine started his foray into politics but alas I was very wrong. I also assumed that the book would start with Plagueis training Palpatine from the start and again I was proven wrong. The book not only chronicles the apprenticeship of Sidious to Plagueis but also touches on the relationship between Plagueis and his own master Darth Tenebrous. There are a few other Darths mentioned throughout, but learning further about the Sith succession line is only a small portion of what makes up a fantastic book by Star Wars veteran James Luceno.
Labeled an outcast by his brainy family, a bouncer overcomes long odds to lead a team of under performing misfits to semi-pro hockey glory, beating the crap out of everything that stands in his way
Release Date: February 24th, 2012
Houston Texans (11-6) at Baltimore (12-4): 1:00 ET on CBS
If this game had a soundtrack it would definitely be supplied by Rush because we will be seeing a heavy dose of the ground game from both teams this weekend.
It’s not that Houston and Baltimore are lacking in talented wideouts it’s just that Ray Rice and Arian Foster are that good and Joe Flacco and T.J. Yates are that “just ok”. Rice ran for a leagues second best 1364 yards during the regular season and Foster finished with 1224 yards despite starting the season injured and 153 yards in his first playoff game.
These two teams are actually very similar to each other. They run the ball well, have good defenses, they both have “game manager” quarterbacks who aren’t going to steal the game but also aren’t generally going to kill you either. Houston finished the season in an unimpressive fashion losing to Carolina, Indianapolis and Tennessee respectively but looked much better against Cincinnati in the Wild Card Playoff game. Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels have had health issues all season long and their performance will be key in this weeks game in order to balance the Texans running game. Overall Houston seems to be more banged up on both sides of the ball which may wind up being the deciding factor in Sundays big game.
The Ravens have put together another impressive regular season with the only head-scratching loss being to Jacksonville in week 7. The Ravens and Texans met once in the regular season this year, a battle that Baltimore won after 3 close quarters of competition.
The Ravens are no longer the Defensive beast they once were as many of their key defensive players have packed on the years but they were still top four in rush defense, pass defense, yards against and points against so they are certainly still formidable. The greatest difference probably comes in their turnover ratio (+2) which has sunk to its lowest point in Joe Flacco’s career with the team. If the Ravens can limit the Texans running game this team should be good enough to carry them on to a probable Conference Championship versus the Patriots.
Prediction: Baltimore 27, Houston 17
So here we are again – Friday the 13th. And for most people whose brains are as riddled with graphic violence as mine is, that screams Jason Voorhees. With 32 credits on his IMDb page since 1980, it’s easy to see how he’s become a big part of popular culture. Jason is one of the most recognizable genre characters of all time, which is why we’ve seen him pop in other mediums. From Robot Chicken, The Simpsons and Family Guy, to The Arsenio Hall Show.
New Orleans (14-3) at San Francisco (13-3): 4:30 ET on Fox
These are two teams that match up against each other very well and should provide for a pretty entertaining start to the NFL Playoff weekend. The golden rule of NFL playoffs has been that Defense wins championships, and this match up should put a good test to that theory. The Saints have the number one rated pass attack in a season where they averaged 334.2 passing yards per game and Drew Brees shattered Dan Marino’s long-standing passing yard record. The Saints rushing game was solid as well averaging 132.9 yards per game, good enough to be sixth in the league.
The 49ers finished 13-3 with Alex Smith as their Quarterback, throwing for an average of only 183.1 (29th) yards per game. That and the fact that they held opponents to the league’s stinginess 77.2 rushing yards per game tells you enough about the Niners. They are about defense, running the ball and making the most of turnovers. The 49ers defense led the league with a +28 turnover ratio forcing 23 interceptions and 15 fumbles versus 5 of each from their side. Compare that with New Orleans -3 ratio and you can see what one of the major keys of the game is for San Francisco.
At face value and admittedly not having watched the majority of either the Saints or 49ers games I was pretty ready to make the bold prediction that the Niners would shut down the high-flying Saints and win a “we dominated more than the final score illustrates” kind of game. Looking at the regular season games however I may have to give the Saints more credit than I initially thought they deserved.