Face Off

Question 1: Rumors are circulating this week that Lance Armstrong will return to the bike in 2009 to ride several races, including the Tour de France. How do you feel about Lance’s comeback, and how do you think he will fare?


Is it a coincidence that Armstrong decided to cycle off into the sunset after his record seventh consecutive Tour de France title just as the anti-doping policy grew teeth?

Maybe, maybe not.

What we do know is that he gave up a sport in which he was unbeatable in exchange for multi-million dollar endorsement deals and flings with Sheryl Crow, Kate Hudson and – take a deep breath – Ashley Olsen.

I’d like to give Mr. Livestrong the benefit of the doubt after beating cancer and being a pillar of strength for so many people across the world, but I need proof. I bet he wins the 2009 title, but the bigger question is can he silence the doubters and win it all-natural?


I always have great respect for athletes who try to come back past their prime, but I don’t always understand it.

Lance claims his return is to raise awareness for cancer, but ultimately it comes down to each great athlete’s itch to compete.

The guy went out on top winning seven straight Tour de Frances. Now if he doesn’t win in 2009, it will tarnish his legacy.

It’s just like Michael Jordan, who retired as a champion after the 1998 NBA finals and came back only to have two forgettable seasons with the Wizards. I have a feeling that if Lance races again, it will be another one of those forgettable falls from the top.

Score: Prediction: Lance takes down the ’09 Tour and Mary Kate.

Josh: 1, Eli 0

Question 2: With Tom Brady now out for the season, the AFC race has opened up completely. Who do you see as the favorites to come out of that conference?


Call me crazy but I’m sticking with the Pats.

As devastating as Brady’s season-ending injury is, if one team can overcome such a loss it’s, New England.

They still possess the best receiving tandem in the league, a punishing defense and an unrelenting ground game (not to mention the best coach of our generation). The Pats haven’t been questioned in a long time and with the cards stacked against them, Belichick’s boys are fueled like never before.

It certainly won’t be easy, but I envision the Pats defying the odds en route to immortality, just as the 2002 Cinderella team dismantled the Greatest Show on Turf when everyone said it was impossible.


The AFC is up in the air right now and the team that is looking the hottest after week one is Buffalo.

Special Teams is the most underrated weapon in football, and the Bills are the best in the league in that category. They dominate the trenches and are turnover free. The Bills have rising stars in QB Trent Edwards and WR Lee Evans.

The Pats will be strong, but their pass defense is shaky and can give up big plays. Also, they won’t have the explosive offense to compensate without Brady.

Finally, Brett Favre’s return from retirement won’t be enough to salvage a mediocre Jets team who could barely squeak by the lowly Dolphins.

Question 3: The Mets lost closer Billy Wagner for the rest of 2008 and all of 2009 last week due to a torn MCL in his pitching elbow. How do you like the Mets’ chances in the postseason without ‘The Sandman?’


Before we get ahead of ourselves, the Metropolitans have to make the playoffs first. With last year’s epic collapse in mind, their slim lead in the NL East over the Phillies looks like it’ll be a fight to the finish.

However, the one difference maker is Johan Santana. In a short series, he can win two games by himself, assuming he actually gets some run support.

The team’s wildcard is Pedro Martinez. If he can gut out a couple games in the postseason the Mets could be dangerous.

Still, the loss of Wagner hurts immensely. I predict a first round exit in October at the hands of CC Sabathia, Ben Sheets and the Brew Crew.


Billy Wagner’s absence may hurt the Mets in the playoffs, but I don’t really see anyone that will challenge them for the division.

They have a relatively easy division schedule down the stretch, playing only NL East cellar dwellers Atlanta and Washington.

If the Phillies remain close behind throughout this month, a lot may hinge on the Mets’ series with the Cubs in late September.

I think they’ll be able to hold on behind consisÂtent hitting and just good enough pitching to carry them into October.

Score: Closers are overrated and so is The Sandman

Josh 1, Eli 2