The Pulse: Can the Mets win it all without Pedro?

Updated: October 2, 2006, 6:02 PM ET
Friday, Sept. 29

Welcome to The Pulse, the place to find out what the sports world is thinking. Every day on ESPN.com, SportsNation registers its opinion on a wide range of topics by casting votes and offering opinions. We'll collect the daily highlights and create a running file throughout the week to measure The Pulse of SportsNation on a wide variety of issues. Check this page every day for an update of what the 'Nation is saying.

Friday's Big Questions

1. How will the loss of Pedro affect the Mets this postseason?
2. Which teams will win this week's big NFL games?


Pedro's loss is a big blow to the Mets' hopes.
As if New York Mets fans weren't worried enough about the prospects of entering the playoffs with their team's best pitcher obviously nowhere near 100 percent; now they have to get ready for an entire postseason without him. Pedro Martinez is out for the season with a torn tendon in his left calf, and may have taken the Mets' hopes for a World Series championship with him. At least, that's what most of SportsNation thinks.

How far will the Mets go without Pedro Martinez?
35% Lose in NLDS
33% Lose in NLCS
22% Lose in World Series
10% Win World Series

Am I delusional for thinking that the Mets could still take the weak National League even without Pedro? Or am I just woozy from banging my head on my desk after seeing today's New York sports pages with 'No Pedro!' splashed on them?
Michael (New York, NY)

Mets will roll until they see Houston. I think Houston has the best pitching.
Aaron (Chapel Hill, NC)

They will roll through the Cards, Padres or Dodgers, but Houston's rotation is the only one that can hold down that offense.
Tim (Indy)

The NL is weak enough for them to go to the World Series, but they're not winning it all without Pedro.
The King (Coming to a town near YOU!)

The Mets have now become the Texas Rangers. All bats, no pitching. They'll be heading out on vacation early this year, which is good 'cause a Subway Series would have been awful.
Jon (Malvern)



Rex Grossman hopes to take the Bears to 4-0.
This week's top NFL games feature a couple of matchups of unbeatens. In addition, the New England Patriots will be attempting to avoid losing consecutive games for the first time in four years. Also, the New Orleans Saints will try to improve to 4-0 as they visit Carolina. SportsNation's vote was reasonably close on three of the four games. Surprisingly, they give almost no shot to the Pats.

87% Cincinnati will beat New England
67% Chicago will beat Seattle
65% Carolina will beat New Orleans
56% San Diego will beat Baltimore

The Scouts, Inc. experts chimed in on each of the games, as well:

New England at Cincinnati
Ken Moll: I believe that Cincy will go deep if (the Patriots) give him a chance, but he'll take what the defense gives him. Bill Belichick is smart and may play loose coverage vs. the Cincy receivers. Cincy 24, New England 21.

Seattle at Chicago
Dean Dalton: Seattle will be without their starting running back, and they have been forced to switch almost the entire offensive line around due to injury so Hasselbeck will have a tough time getting his offense going and into the rhythm that makes them so good...Even with all the quality receivers on the Seahawks roster...da Bears.....da defense......da improved offense.....da special teams....da Bears should win.

New Orleans at Carolina
Keith Kidd: If the Saints can pull off the upset, it obviously improves them in the standings, but I'm not convinced they can win the NFC South. I think this team has some depth concerns and their schedule is going to start getting a lot, lot tougher in the next few weeks. Carolina 28, New Orleans 17.

San Diego at Baltimore
Jeremy Green: I like the Chargers this week. Both have the two best defenses in the NFL. I like the Chargers offense more, though, and that is the difference for me. The Ravens offense always looks the same. It doesn't matter if it's Dilfer, Boller, Banks, Stoney Case or McNair. I have never seen a system just destroy a QB.


Thursday's Big Questions

1. What do you expect in college football this weekend?
2. Are you ready for NBA Live 07?


Can Steve Spurrier beat Auburn?
It may not be a blockbuster week of games in college football, but there are enough intriguing pairings to keep fans happily ensconced on the couch for an entire Saturday. In fact, there's even enough action to get things started early, with a Thursday night SEC showdown between No. 2 Auburn and South Carolina.

SportsNation voters are extremely confident Auburn will handle this road test against Steve Spurrier's team, but there are some games splitting the electorate. Starting with No. 1 Ohio State. The Buckeyes are far from a sure thing in the eyes of voters, with almost one out of three picking Iowa to score the upset at home on Saturday. Notre Dame also faces its share of doubters in a game against Purdue, another unranked Big Ten team.

Among the surprisingly safe bets? Almost nobody gives Alabama a chance against Florida, and Oregon is a heavy fan favorite against Arizona State.

91% Auburn will beat South Carolina
86% Florida will beat Alabama
79% Notre Dame will beat Purdue
75% Oregon will beat Arizona State
67% Ohio State will beat Iowa

I'd take Auburn; they're gonna finally show some offense.
Sledge (Bham, Ala.)

Auburn by 27. No Blake Micthell, and Syvelle Newton can't come close to Auburn.
Mike (Georgia)

After watching SC against Georgia, there's no way they score seven points against Auburn.
Shaun (Madison, Wisc.)

Kenny Irons is still mad at Lou Holtz and SC about his demotion. Guess who one of the commentators is? Look for Kenny Irons to go for about 150 and two scores.
Joe (Huntsville, Ala.)


Tracy McGrady
Are you ready for some NBA basketball? No, not the real thing. Bonzi Wells may have landed in Houston, but the regular season is still weeks away. We're talking NBA Live 07. Gamers everywhere are excited about the newest hoops title from EA Sports, but SportsNation isn't sure the folks behind the game got things right.

LeBron James has the game's highest overall rating (97). Which of these players should have the highest rating?
41% Kobe Bryant
33% LeBron James
15% Dwyane Wade
6% Kevin Garnett
4% Allen Iverson
2% Tracy McGrady

Brandon Roy (76) is the highest-rated rookie on NBA Live 07. Which of these rookies should have the highest overall rating?
47% Adam Morrison
29% Brandon Roy
17% Randy Foye
7% Andrea Bargnani


Wednesday's Big Question

1. Could the Astros really catch the Cardinals in the NL Central?


Could Roger return to the playoffs?
A week ago, it might have sounded like a riddle without an answer: How could Roger Clemens get another start in front of fans in Houston and still retire for good in the offseason? Now it makes perfect sense.

In a perfect storm of wins and losses, the Astros have made up seven games in seven days on the Cardinals, closing the gap in the NL Central to 1.5 games. So will the run continue? More than half of SportsNation voters think so, with 41 percent picking the Astros to finish the job and 12 percent predicting the Reds, currently 2.5 games back, to win.

And as for Clemens? Chris Carpenter may win the Cy Young, but there's no debate over who SportsNation wants on the mound for a big game down the stretch.

77% Would rather have Roger Clemens starting big game than Chris Carpenter
53% Cardinals will not win the NL Central

Putting aside playoff scenarios for a moment, which team do voters think is most dangerous right now? The Mets have home-field advantage locked up, but the Astros are the most popular pick to pose a threat to Willie Randolph's team.

Which team would pose the biggest threat to the New York Mets in a playoff series?
29% Houston Astros
24% Philadelphia Phillies
22% Los Angeles Dodgers
13% St. Louis Cardinals
12% San Diego Padres

As a huge Mets fan, I do not want to face the Astros in a short series with that pitching.
Pete (New York)

How the heck are my Reds still in the playoff race? NL Central shouldn't be represented this year.
Matt (Cincinnati)

My team is the Mets, so like them, I'm just waiting for the World Series to start.
Messiah (New York)

Neither of my hometown teams are doing to good, but thanks for reminding me. Wanna ask me how Frank Thomas is doing next?
Tom (Chicago)

La Russa deserves to miss the playoffs. I don't care if Houston or the Reds can pull it off, just get the Cards out.
Nate (Pittsburgh)

I want the Padres to play well because they crush the Cards in a short series. But Houston? Eep. Let's pitch a rookie tonight, give the Cardinals some breathing room.
Rob (Washington, D.C.)

Should I hope for Tigers vs A's for the sake for the Tigers' chances to move on to the ALCS? Or should I hope for Tiger's Yankees, so I can go watch them play at the Stadium?
Tim (New York)


Tuesday's Big Questions

1. What did Monday night's game do for the city of New Orleans?
2. Is it already time for Matt Leinart to start in Arizona?


There was plenty to celebrate Monday night.
The NFL returned to the Superdome on Monday night, and the league did it up big. Green Day and U2 were on hand and fans were even buying jerseys of the now-departed Aaron Brooks, because all others were sold out. And the Saints certainly didn't disappoint the home fans, scoring on a blocked punt 90 seconds into the game. What does the return of the Saints to New Orleans mean for the city? How much did emotion play a role in the 23-3 victory over Atlanta? And are the Saints for real? SportsNation chimed in:

58% Emotion is the reason the Saints won the game
56% Saints will make the playoffs

In ESPN.com's Power Rankings, the Saints are 14th, despite their 3-0 mark. But SportsNation agrees to disagree, ranking them 6th.

SportsNation NFL Power Rankings
1. Indianapolis Colts
2. Cincinnati Bengals
3. Seattle Seahawks
4. Chicago Bears
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. New Orleans Saints

What do you think is more true of Monday's game in New Orleans and media coverage of it?
52% Overdone celebration that hides the city's real problems
48% Raises city's profile and reminds people work remains

NOTE: In Louisiana, 84% said that it raises the city's profile and reminds people work remains.



Is it time for the Cardinals to switch to Matt Leinart?
Kurt Warner is still the Cardinals' starting quarterback after all. One day after reports had Dennis Green making the switch to rookie signalcaller Matt Leinart, he announced Tuesday that the team will stick with Warner for the its Week 4 game in Atlanta. SportsNation is nearly split right down the middle on this change of heart:

Which quarterback should the Cardinals start in Week 4 against the Falcons?
50.2% Kurt Warner
49.7% Matt Leinart

And since this decision seems to mean more to fantasy owners than anyone else, Scott Engel addressed it today in his Week 4 edition of Waiver Wire Work:

He'll be another hot pickup, but do you really need him? He hasn't been named the starter yet, as Kurt Warner is still the No. 1 QB for the fourth week. Peruse your roster closely before you make the decision to add him and cut a solid backup. If you are thin at QB, adding Leinart isn't a bad move. But don't expect him to excel immediately if he starts soon because of his pedigree and wide receivers. You should only pick him up if you have the room to stash him on your bench. Leinart has yet to prove himself in regular season action. He's a viable addition only for depth in larger leagues.


Monday's Big Questions

1. Which teams stepped to the head of the class in the NFL?
2. Did any new teams jump into the SportsNation college Top 10?


Matt Hasselbeck jumped on the Giants secondary early and often on Sunday.
The college game had Separation Saturday last week. The NFL's version could have been called "Statement Sunday" and it certainly took place yesterday. Those that made positive statements were definitely Cincinnati and Indianapolis in the AFC, and Seattle and Chicago in the NFC. Those NFC heavies will meet this Sunday night. SportsNation is divided on which team is the class of each conference.

Until someone gets by that defense and scores more than 20 points, I'll take the Bears.
Jack (Toronto)

If the Bears can pass like this the whole season, then they are the team to beat.
Matt (Cincinnati)

Got to give it to the Seahawks until the Bears take it away. Hasselbeck is much more tested than Grossman. A couple good games doesn't make you great.
Aaron (Chapel Hill, NC)

Have the Bears even played a real team yet?
Jon (Malvern)

Bengals beat the Steelers with Chad Johnson only getting 1 catch. They are definitely more impressive.
Greg (CT)

I'd have to say Cincy. With each passing week, the Colts' win over the Giants carries less and less weight.
Clinton (Indianapolis)

Colts - Better schedule thus far. Bengals beat the Browns, Chiefs, and the irrelevant Steelers. Wow, Big Ben looks horrible!!
Chris (West Virginia)

As usual, Indy will be the best-looking team in the regular season... but come playoffs time will succumb to the Bengals, Jags or Chargers' far superior defense and running game
Matt (Fairfax)

SportsNation also weighed in with the following poll results from NFL Week 3:

65% Philadelphia Eagles are the favorite to win the NFC East.
60% None of the five 0-3 teams have any hope this season.
49% The Giants should just ignore Jeremy Shockey for his "outcoached" comments.
47% Bengals made the biggest statement among unbeaten teams.
42% Ben Roethlisberger is the QB that deserves the most heat for his team's defeat.



Troy Smith didn't have a big day, but he made the big play when needed.
The college football schedule had a hangover this week, following a fine Separation Saturday. But still a couple ranked teams were tested. Notre Dame somehow came back to stun Michigan State, which had dominated the first three quarters of play; Ohio State's 28-6 victory over Penn State wasn't nearly as decisive as the score indicates; Georgia had to rally at home after going scoreless for three quarters to defeat a struggling Colorado team; And Boston College played yet another nail-biter, falling this time to NC State. SportsNation only missed two of the 21 pick 'em games, continuing a fine season of prognostication. And the 'Nation's rankings didn't change much, either.

This weekend's results didn't change the teams in SportsNation's Top 10, but the order is a little different. West Virginia flip-flopped spots with Michigan in the top 5, and Georgia dropped to tenth after its sluggish effort in victory.

SportsNation Top 10
1. Ohio State
2. Auburn
3. USC
4. West Virginia
5. Michigan
6. Florida
7. Louisville
8. Texas
9. LSU
10. Georgia


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