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A few things things to believe in

Posted by Steve Silva, Boston.com Staff  November 5, 2012 11:43 AM

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Halfway through the football season, I believe the NFL is as unpredictable as it has been in any year of recent memory, that line between winning and losing is microscopically thin, which is to say that the Patriots are every bit as good as a number of teams in both the AFC and the NFC.

Of course, that also suggests the Patriots are no better.

As a result, I believe Aqib Talib was worth the price of a fourth-round draft pick, whether he succeeds here or not, because the Patriots have the youngest team of Bill Belichick's tenure and because they do not need another fourth-round draft pick.

What they need is someone who can cover.

Now.

I believe that David Ortiz should thank his lucky stars that the Red Sox agreed to give him a two-year contract for a guaranteed $26 million, no matter how small the relative risk for Boston, because I believe there was no team out there willing to give up a high draft pick to sign a soon-to-be 37-year-old designated hitter who just missed 72 games with an Achilles injury.

But I also believe that the Red Sox needed left-handed power in their lineup and that the free-agent market is thin, and that Ortiz isn't the kind of potentially damaging signee that Carl Crawford was.

I believe Barack Obama will win the Presidential election on Tuesday.

I believe that Scott Brown will win the local Senatorial election.

And I believe that neither one of those predictions should be regarded as any reflection on my beliefs or voting intentions.

I believe the NBA would be a better league if the Los Angeles Lakers fell completely on their faces because there are two players in the league no more unlikeable than Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard, no matter how many championships Bryant has won.

Though it is still worth noting that Howard has never won any.

I believe that NHL owners and players are on the brink of permanently damaging their league if they are not careful, that they should get back on the ice as quickly as possible.

Because I believe the Bruins are hurt as much as any team by this lockout, because the Bruins have a nucleus in place that should be able to contend for Stanley Cup Championships for years to come.

Unfortunately, I also believe that Gary Bettman and Donald Fehr are obstructionists to a deal more than conduits.

I believe the Red Sox should sign Cody Ross to nothing more than a two-year contract with some sort of option for a third season, vesting or otherwise, and that Ross' salary should fall somewhere in the range of $7-9 million per year.

Because, while I like Ross, I believe he's quite replaceable.

I believe the Red Sox' catching problems are far more significant that we are giving them credit for.

And that the Red Sox should look into trading Jarrod Saltalamacchia or Ryan Lavaranway and picking one or the other.

I believe the Celtics will need time to develop chemistry, but that people are overrating the club and its potential, and that the Celtics are not nearly as good as many think they are.

Because Kevin Garnett is another year older.

And because so is Paul Pierce.

I believe that Devin McCourty is a far better safety than he is a cornerback, that the Patriots would be far more prudent to keep McCourty at safety along with Patrick Chung, and to start Talib at the left cornerback position with Alfonzo Dennard on the right side.

I believe that Chandler Jones is certified, bona fide, and undeniable freak, which is to say that I believe Jones has the chance to go down as one of the most prolific defensive players in Patriots history if he stays healthy, keeps his head screwed on straight and is committed to getting better.

I believe the Atlanta Falcons are still a bit of a mirage.

And that the Houston Texans are the real deal.

And that the Denver Broncos are rapidly become one of the more intriguing teams in the league.

I believe that Tyler Seguin is having one whale of a team in Switzerland, because there is no better place than Europe for a 20-year-old bachelor with world class skills and a pile of money.

And that there is also no more dangerous one.

I believe that "Argo" is worth seeing.

And that most science fiction movies are not.

And that any film featuring Kevin James or Adam Sandler (or both) is generally a waste of time.

I believe that Mike Aviles is in Cleveland now because Terry Francona wanted him there, because Francona always had an affection for players like Aviles and Willie Bloomquist or Eric Hinske and Mark Kotsay, who could play in the infield and outfield and make his life easier.

The way most any manager would.

I believe the Celtics will get significantly better the day Avery Bradley returns to the team because I believe the energy Bradley brings on defense is something the Celtics currently lack terribly.

I believe that Ray Allen acted like a baby.

And that John Farrell will not.

And I believe, with little hesitation or doubt, that the golden age of Boston sports is far from complete, that we have entered a stage in our sports history where our teams will be expected to contend for championships year in and year out, because success fuels success.

And because winning is terribly, terribly hard to give up.

Tony's Top 5

Favorite blog entries

5
The final chapter on Teixeira and How Red Sox pitchers work the strike zone Jan. 7, 2009 and July 17, 2009. Some actual reporting – an obsession with Mark Teixeira and the art of pitching.
4
For 2011 Red Sox, there was plenty of blame to go around Oct. 1, 2011. The disgraceful collapse of the Red Sox stoked the fire in all of us.
3
Behind Garnett and James, Celtics and Heat are digging in June 4, 2012. Improbably, the Celtics pushed the Heat to the limit.
2
Thrill is back for Patriots Jan. 30, 2012. Another Super Bowl has even Bill Belichick musing.
1
You’ve got to believe June 15, 2011. On the morning of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals, we all had reason to believe.
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Updated: Mar 1, 07:24 AM

About Mazz

Tony Massarotti is a Globe sportswriter and has been writing about sports in Boston for the last 19 years. A lifelong Bostonian, Massarotti graduated from Waltham High School and Tufts University. He was voted the Massachusetts Sportswriter of the Year by his peers in 2000 and 2008 and has been a finalist for the award on several other occasions. This blog won a 2008 EPpy award for "Best Sports Blog".

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