Davidson's Sports Preview: A Test for Kobe and Cutler

Kavitha A. Davidson is a former Bloomberg View columnist.
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Here's what's coming up this weekend in the world of sports:

Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder, Friday at 8 p.m. EST
In just his third game back from a torn Achilles tendon, Kobe Bryant will find himself in unfamiliar territory, as the Lakers' starting point guard because of Steve Blake's elbow injury. Bryant faces a major challenge tonight, going up against the Thunder's Russell Westbrook, who is averaging 21.2 points per game.

Navy Midshipmen at Army Black Knights, Saturday at 3 p.m. EST
The 114th annual Army-Navy game boasts a lot of uncertainty off the field, both in the military futures of the players as well as the future of embattled Army coach, Rich Ellerson. On the field, look for Navy to continue its recent dominance in this traditional rivalry.

Pittsburgh Penguins at Detroit Red Wings, Saturday at 7 p.m. EST
If the playoffs were to start today, these teams would meet in the first round, a rematch of the 2008 and 2009 Stanley Cup Finals. The first of three matchups in this budding rivalry will demonstrate how each team deals with injury, with Pittsburgh's decimated blue line and Detroit missing its captain, Henrik Zetterberg.

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, Sunday at 1 p.m. EST
With the Denver Broncos' 27-20 loss to the San Diego Chargers last night, the Patriots control their destiny. The road to the AFC's top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs begins in Miami this weekend.

Chicago Bears at Cleveland Browns, Sunday at 1 p.m. EST
This game is a must-win for the Bears and a test for Jay Cutler, who's returning from injury. It's also a test of the decision-making skills of head coach Marc Trestman, who named Cutler his starting quarterback despite the admirable play of backup Josh McCown.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of Bloomberg View's editorial board or Bloomberg LP, its owners and investors.

To contact the author on this story:
Kavitha A Davidson at kdavidson19@bloomberg.net