Hotard: NFL Postseason Picks

The NFL preseason teases people more than the girl who “friend zoned” you in high school. As I told my buddies in high school, it gets better. All the teasing comes to an end this Thursday when the defending champion New England Patriots host the Pittsburgh Steelers. As exciting as the offseason and preseason were, from Geno Smith getting punched out of 10 games (literally) to Deflategate, the real thing is FINALLY upon us. It is going to be glorious. With that being said, every year there is always so much uncertainty looming around the NFL season.

Now is the time for fans and analysts to make all of their predictions regarding their favorite teams and players for the upcoming season, just so we can laugh at every blunder from now until February. According to NFL.com, at least four new teams have made the playoffs each year since 1990, with that number climbing more toward five in the last decade. The landscape is constantly changing in the NFL, which is why I believe people seem to crave it more with every season. It also helps that there is not 82 or 162 games. Each week becomes more meaningful than the next. That is what makes the NFL special.

Without further ado, I will introduce my lucky 12 teams to earn a playoff birth, along with my conference championship and Super Bowl teams.

AFC

1- New England Patriots 13-3

Is it really hard to understand why I take the Patriots as the top team in the AFC? Tom Brady had his four-game suspension lifted and I believe he will have a fantastic year because he is competitive to a fault. I feel like he wants to stick it to the commissioner. He is climbing in age and certainly isn’t the guy he was in 2007, but he still finds ways to win games. Since taking over the starting role for Drew Bledsoe in what seems like centuries ago, he has made the conference title game practically every other year (not an exaggeration).

2- Indianapolis Colts 12-4

The Colts made some great signings this offseason adding longtime Texans receiver and future Hall of Famer Andre Johnson, along with former 49ers running back Frank Gore. I think some veteran presence is exactly what the Colts need and they got it. I also loved them picking Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett in the draft. They still have issues on the offensive line, but that hasn’t seemed to phase Andrew Luck yet.

3- Baltimore Ravens 10-6

The Ravens are just a sound football team and its built from the ground up, which is why they seem to be at their best come playoff time. A solid front seven on defense and a solid offensive front is enough reason for me to believe Ravens will once again find themselves deep in the postseason.

4- Denver Broncos 10-6

Much like Brady, Peyton Manning has been winning for so long that it seems impossible to bet against him. I just have to wonder if the Peyton every football guru gushes over actually shows up. If he does, how long does it last? His first half of the season last year was typical Peyton numbers. He was erratic for the last 8 games due to injuries. So which guy are we going to get? He is still one of the best to ever play, no question, but age is definitely catching up.

5- Miami Dolphins 11-5

Yes, I love the Phins this year. Ndamakung Suh was a big win for Miami. Pairing him on that front line with Oliver Vernon and Cameron Wake will certainly be a trio that is tough to stop. Former LSU star, Jarvis Landry posted a solid rookie campaign with over 700 yards and five touchdowns. Miami was aggressive to get pass catchers this offseason as they snagged receivers Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings, as well as tight end Jordan Cameron. As icing on the cake, they drafted the speedster from Louisville Devante Parker in the first round. All I can say for the latest big money quarterback Ryan Tannehill is…pick your poison.

6- Buffalo Bills 10-6

A lot of people don’t like Rex Ryan as a head coach, but I do. Although I am unsure about Tyrod Taylor as a starting quarterback, it doesn’t matter. That offense is set up for success with running back Lesean McCoy and receiver Sammy Watkins. IF Percy Harvin can stay healthy, that offense is going to be a lot of fun to watch. Defensively, they did lose linebacker Kiko Alonso as part of the McCoy trade, but they still have a front four that includes Marcel Dareus and Mario Williams. With Sexy Rex running the show, that defense won’t miss a beat.

NFC

1- Green Bay Packers 12-4

I know receiver Jordy Nelson is out for the year, but Aaron Rodgers was a fantastic quarterback prior to having Nelson and it won’t change now. Donald Adams showed some flashes of potential last season and he finally gets to showcase it. Plus they still have a healthy Randall Cobb. Not saying you can just replace Nelson, but the best quarterback in the game will be just fine. Unless 12 goes down, they’re still the top dog this year.

2- Philadelphia Eagles 12-4

Unfortunately Sam Bradford has one massive question mark on his head. I was listening to The Herd on Fox Sports today and Troy Aikman said if he stays healthy, Bradford could be an MVP candidate. I don’t know if I am buying that, but I am not selling it either. I hope the former Sooner can stay healthy because I want to see the fireworks that follow.

3- Seattle Seahawks 11-5

Losing center Max Unger in the trade for tight end Jimmy Graham will be tough on the offensive side. Although, I do love that Russell Wilson finally has a big name to throw the rock to. The big question is coming on defense though. Safety Earl Thomas is expected to play in the season opener. Great news for Seattle fans, however, fellow safety Kam Chancellor is unhappy and plans to hold out. The team is still loaded, but that hurts and is why I have them dropping to 11-5.

4- New Orleans Saints 10-6

I feel like I am being a bit of a homer here, but the Saints have a favorable schedule so I think they can manage to sneak out of the division with the title. There are just so many questions. How will the defense rebound with all the injuries? Who is the go-to-guy on offense? Are they really going to focus heavily on the run game? I love that the offensive line is looking damn good again, on paper. The reason Dallas looked like the best team in football come playoff time was their offensive line and of course Demarco Murray. The defense was below average, but it was masked because they were rarely on the field. I think the Saints could use a similar formula to reach the playoffs again.

5- Arizona Cardinals 11-5

Defensively, the Cardinals won’t miss a beat. Offensively, it comes down to Carson Palmer. Much like Sam Bradford, if Palmer can put together a healthy year, this is a dangerous football team. Cardinals already had a solid offensive line and they wound up getting former 49ers guard Mike Iupati, which only boosts the offense.

6- Minnesota Vikings 10-6

Adrian Peterson makes his triumphant return and he finally has a solid signal caller to play off of. Teams will not be able to just stack the box anymore. Good luck covering Mike Wallace if you choose to do so. Teddy Bridgewater was fantastic toward the end of last season notching in a pair of three-hundred-yard outings and managed to not dip below a 68 percent completion rate in the final five contests.

Championship Sunday Picks: 

AFC- Ravens @ Colts

NFC- Seahawks @ Packers

Super Bowl Pick: 

Packers over Colts –

MVP- Aaron Rodgers

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Is golf interesting again?

Is it me, or has it been a hell of a lot more exciting to watch the PGA Tour this weekend?

For the first time in a long time I cannot only hear the reaction of a crowd, but I can also feel the emotion that they are radiating. Quite frankly, it’s because of Tiger Woods.

Now I have not had the chance to look at television ratings yet, but I’m pretty sure that viewership is up a great deal. It is good to see him contend. Typically, I say it’s good to see him make a cut.

People are tuned in for one of two reasons. They either want to see Tiger succeed or fail. That’s it. It is one or the other. Jason Gore has been a quality player some time now, but no one is looking forward to watching his round.

This is the first time in a long time I actually planned a weekend around watching golf and one of my favorite athletes. Woods will be catapulted back into the main event picture he can pull this win off.

Can the guy in red and black make a come back? Do you want to see him win?

Here’s what other bloggers had to say…

Empowered Living with Jeff Crume

Studiotj

Photo: Golf Channel

TBT 8/6/15 1996 Music

Mariah Carey- Fantasy 


No Doubt- Just A Girl 


LL Cool J- Doin’ It 


Oasis- Wonderwall 


Mary J. Blige- Not Gon Cry 


Celine Dion- Because You Loved Me 


Los Del Rio- Macarena 


Bone Thugs N Harmony- Crossroads 


Sheryl Crow- If It Makes You Happy 


Metallica- Until It Sleeps 


Other bloggers talking about TBT:

Who Am I xxKathyxxR

The Cola

Aries the Great

A Beat A Day 365 

LBoggie’s Pop World

Rantings of a Third Kind

Choked Out Radio LIVE with guest Kervin Delgado from YEP! I Like Wrestling Group

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/chokedoutradiolive/2015/08/01/rippiper-special-choked-out-radio-live
Jairo-Mites,

Please check out this Choked Out Radio LIVE special with guest Kervin Delgado from YEP! I Like Wrestling Group.

We discuss the career and impact of Roddy Piper etc.

Enjoy,
Jairo, Choked Out Radio

 

Top Rope Talk: Most Underrated Wrestlers of All-Time

Regis teams up once again with Vito, the Host of TalkTanks, for another draft edition of Top Rope Talk. This time they discuss the most underrated wrestlers of all-time. This may be the most subjective and debatable draft thus far. Who do you agree with? Who do you believe is underrated?

Pick Regis Vito
1 Arn Anderson Shane McMahon
2 Owen Hart Raven Reverse
3 Jake Roberts Brian Pillman
4 Big Show Scott Hall Reverse
5 Lance Storm Kane

Top Rope Talk: Most Overrated Wrestlers of All-Time

Regis and Vito reunite to draft some of the most overhyped wrestlers. The agree to disagree, but mostly, the disagree. This draft is very subjective we would love your input.


Pick Vito Regis
1 Rey Mysterio Jr. Hulk Hogan
2 JBL Andre The Giant Reverse
3 Scott Steiner Kevin Nash
4 Edge Ultimate Warrior Reverse
5 Chris Jericho Lex Lugar

Be sure to keep up with Vito’s blog. Click here to go to his page.

Hotard- 10 Best Athletes I have ever seen

As I was driving home from work, an idea popped in my head. I began thinking about the best athletes I have seen during my 24 years in this world and I decided to put together a list of the top 10.
My brainstorming came to 20 total athletes ranging from four different sports: basketball, baseball, football and soccer.
While soccer, baseball and football have always been in my wheelhouse from the time I was a young child, basketball really began to come into the mix around 2009-10. I always followed it, just not as in depth as I do now.
After much self debate and narrowing down, I finally have it. I can confidently say that performing surgery might have been easier.
Before reading ahead, please make notes that I set several ground rules for myself before coming up with the list…
-The athlete must play in a team sport. That means superstars like Michael Phelps and Tiger Woods are ineligible. Trust me, both of them would be on the list otherwise.
-You had to watch the athlete with your own two eyes and understand what you were seeing. Sorry to the people my age who will complain that my list doesn’t have the great Michael Jordan. Why you ask? Because I was 7 when he won his last title. The only recollection I have from Michael Jordan is Space Jam, which trolls may say is reason enough for him to make the list.
-The athlete may not have translated to the professional realm, but perhaps you loved watching them so much in college and it is two to four years you wish you could have back.
The parameters are set. Let’s do it!

Honorable Mention

fullycoveredsports.com

Ken Griffey Jr, Outfielder, Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox
Career Stats: .284, 630 Home Runs, 1,836 RBIs

Junior will be the only honorable mention for my list because I feel dirty leaving him off. He was THE GUY growing up in the late 1990’s. Let’s be honest, who didn’t love Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball on Nintendo 64? He was truly a transcendent star because of his “I am here to have fun” kind of attitude. He also had one of the smoothest swings I have ever seen to go along with his smooth demeanor. Unfortunately, the second half of his career was injury-plagued. I always wonder how good his numbers could have been if he stayed healthy? Either way, the Kid will always be one of the greats that I will never forget.

10- Randy Moss, Wide Receiver, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, New England Patriots, Tennessee Titans, San Francisco 49ers
Career Stats: 982 rec, 15,292 yards, 156 TDs

It did not take Moss long to show his talent. The first round pick from Marshall caught 17 touchdowns in his rookie season. From 1998 to 2004, Moss only had one season where he didn’t reach double digits in touchdowns and under 1,200 yards. Everyone thought his career was dead when he joined the Oakland Raiders (Rightfully so). After two long seasons, he returned to form and set the bar for receiving touchdowns in a season with 23 when he jumped ship to the New England Patriots. How many times have you heard someone scream that a defender got “Mossed” in a pick up game? There is a reason for that. Personally, I am glad he revitalized his career when he joined the Patriots because people began to forget how good he really was because of his off the field antics and his two years in limbo.

kobe-bryant-2419- Kobe Bryant, Shooting Guard, Los Angeles Lakers
Career Stats: 25.4 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, 5.4 rebounds per game

Unfortunately, basketball was not a top priority for me when he and Shaq three-peated and tore up the league. However, the black mamba has had enough in the tank to sustain greatness for the last 18 years. The last two or three have been rough though. I started to really get into a basketball around the time of Kobe’s second run with Pau Gasol. Bryant has that “killer instinct” you always hear about. He is also one of the most gifted scorers in the history of the league. Unlike some of the elite scorers of today, like the Houston Rocket’s James Harden, Bryant gave the Lakers both ends of the floor. Because of his scoring ability, I feel like a lot of fans forget that he has accolades for his defensive prowess, like 9 time All-NBA defensive team. Much like Moss, when people shoot turn around jumpers, there’s a reason they yell “Kobe” in your local recreation leagues. He is a true transcendent star of the NBA.

ladainian_tomlinson-3638- LaDainian Tomlinson, Running Back, San Diego Chargers and New York Jets
Career Stats: 13,684 rush yards, 145 rush TDs, 4,772 rec yards, 17 TDs

Size, speed, power, the total package for a running back. LT was a blessing to watch through the early 2000’s. The three-time first team all-pro running back played in a time where the backfield fueled the offenses. He currently sits at fifth for most rushing yards and third in total touchdowns for a career. He also holds the record for touchdowns scored in a single season with 31. In 2003, he became the first and only running back to have over 1,000 yards rushing and catch 100 passes. I am just not sure there will ever be another running back who has a 9 year stretch of dominance the way LT did.

soc_g_wambacha_5767- Abby Wambach, United States Forward
Career Stats: 183 international goals, World Cup Champion, Three-time Gold Medalist

The girl has a knack for scoring goals as she holds the international record for women. Not only did she score, she scored when it mattered most. I saw it happen time and time again. The header she sailed in the net during the 122nd minute against Brazil in the 2011 World Cup quarterfinal match will always be a play I remember. It sent the game to a shootout, which the United States went on to win. I remember when Wambach first stormed onto the scene, she garnered comparisons to the great Mia Hamm. Wambach certainly lived up to all of the hype and it was amazing to see her finally get her first and only World Cup as a player.

15556320-mmmain6. Derek Jeter, Shortstop, New York Yankees
Career Stats: .310, 3,465 hits, 260 Home Runs, 1,311 RBIs

Loyalty. Honor. Respect. Jeter epitomizes the type of athlete you want your favorite organization to have. Spending his entire career with the New York Yankees, he helped them claim five World Series Titles. He was probably the most consistent athlete I have seen in my lifetime thus far. I mean, how many times did we see him poke a ball into right field for a base hit? His last at bat EVER was a freaking walk-off hit through the gap between first and second base. I have only seen one Major League Baseball game, which was in Tampa for Jeter’s last season. The second he announced 2014 would be his last year, I knew I had to go see the captain play. In that game, he made the same game winning RBI single he had made his entire career.

FBL-ESP-CUP-BARCELONA-GETAFE5- Lionel Messi, Forward, Barcelona and Argentina
Career Stats: 286 Club Goals, 46 International Goals, Four-Time Footballer of the Year

Messi is the biggest football/soccer star in the world right now. Messi is a god with a soccer ball. How is he so fast, yet so effective in keeping the ball attached to his feet? I have gone on Youtube binges in awe of his highlights. He knows how to slice defenders like butter and then finish at the goal. Despite the Argentine not winning a World Cup, he still receives recognition for arguably being the greatest of all time. He certainly is the best player that I have ever seen.

cnbc_sports_defectors_bonds24- Barry Bonds, Outfield, Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants
Career Stats: .298, 762 Home Runs, 1,996 RBIs, 514 Stolen Bases

To all the baseball purists who would scoff that I have Bonds on this list, stop. He was great before he started taking PEDs and he was great after. Baseball was infested with doping and I am tired of the argument so save it. Although I think Bonds is an arrogant jerk, good God he was talented. People forget that before his head and body swelled like a balloon from all the steroids, he was a 30 home run and 30 steal kind of player. On top of the that, he was a phenomenal defender. In 2001, he finished the season with 156 hits, 73 were Home Runs. People can try to erase what he did in his career, but my eyes and mind will always have vivid memories of Bonds crushing the crap out of the ball at the most pitcher-friendly ball park in the MLB.

bloody-tebow3- Tim Tebow, Quarterback ,Florida Gators
Career Stats: 8,927 passing yards, 83 TDs/16 Ints, 2,947 rushing yards, 57 Rush TDs, Heisman Trophy Winner, Three-time Heisman finalist, Two-time National Champion

He is the greatest college football player that I have ever seen, period. Look above to the accolades and it is fairly easy to see why I believe that. His NFL career may not have panned out, but you can’t take away what he did at the college level. Urban Meyer knew he had a special talent in Tebow, which is why he used his QB as his main running back as well. At 6’3 and 240 plus pounds, Tebow is a monster and tough to bring down. If you stacked the box, he had weapons such as Riley Cooper, Percy Harvin and Aaron Hernandez to throw to. Tebow made it damn near impossible to stop Florida’s offense. I always loved his spirit and competitive nature. There will always be a spot in my memory bank for number 15.

peyton-manning2- Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos
Career Stats: 69,691 Passing Yards, 530 TDs/234 INTs, Five-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl Champion

Peyton Manning was the face of the NFL growing up. You could find him on every other commercial on NFL Sundays. There is a good reason for it, he helped change the game into what the quarterback position is now. Quarterbacks now need a greater understanding for the position before a snap is even taken. They now have to control the line of scrimmage and make pre-snap reads and audible if need be. Still to this day, I don’t believe there is a quarterback in the league who is nearly as good at the line of scrimmage. Towards the end of the season, Manning underperforms due to his age. If the latter for him is 35+ touchdowns and 4,600+ yards, most guys can’t do that in their best season. That’s not too shabby.

AP_lebron3_ml_140711_16x9_9921- LeBron James, Forward, Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat
Career Stats: 27.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 6.9 apg, Four-time NBA MVP, Two-time NBA Champion

Since being drafted in 2003, he has been the most decorated player since Michael Jordan. He has also been the most criticized athlete I have ever seen. He has reached the finals five straight years, which is incredible. It is mesmerizing watching him play every year. There isn’t a single athlete who I have enjoyed more than LeBron. At 6’8 and 260+ pounds, he is a mammoth of a man. The fact he can dribble and pass the basketball like a point guard is amazing. There is no weakness in his overall game. He can score, rebound, pass and defend. He can literally do it all. Because of his size, speed and overall athleticism, he can defend a team’s best player regardless of position. That is sick. Even though Cleveland lost this past year’s NBA finals, watching LeBron do what he did during that run is something I don’t think we will ever see again. For all those who hate on him because you worship Michael Jordan, stop and enjoy the show. Put your fists away for a minute and enjoy the talent. There will never be a greater specimen than LeBron James.

BONUS…

While a lot of thought went into my top 10, I started thinking about the top 5 athletes of tomorrow. I will give you a short list of five young stars who I think could make their way onto this top 10 by the time their career is finished.

neymar-may-not-score-as-many-goals-for-barcelona-as-messi-but-he-might-end-up-a-better-international-star-than-even-pele5- Neymar, 23, Forward, Brazil and Barcelona
Career Stats: 44 International Goals, 31 Club Goals

He is one of the brightest young stars in soccer at just 23. Neymar helped lead Brazil all the way to the 2014 Fifa World Cup Finals where they were demolished by Germany in his absence. The fact he is playing alongside Messi on Barcelona will only help him long term.

MLB: NLDS-San Francisco Giants at Washington Nationals4- Bryce Harper, 22, Outfield, Washington Nationals
Career: .284, 82 Home Runs, 211 RBIs

I have been following Harper since he was in high school. Hype always surrounded him because of his ability to hit the long ball. So far, he has not been a disappointment. Harper is having a magnificent season in 2015 with a .330 average, 27 home runs and 64 RBIs.

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks3- Russell Wilson, 26, Quarterback Seattle Seahawks
Career Stats: 9.950 Pass yards, 72 TDs/26 INTs, 1,877 Rush yds, 11 rush TDs, Super Bowl Champion

Since coming to Seattle in 2012, he has been to two Super Bowls. I understand he has a great running back in Marshawn Lynch and one of the best defenses of all-time. I seem to remember a young guy by the name of Patriots Tom Brady having a similar set up early in his career, so let’s not use that as a write off to how good Wilson is. The 5’11 quarterback knows how to manipulate the pocket and make plays on the run. I see it about four or five times a game where makes a throw 25-30 yards downfield placing it in a perfect spot to where only the receiver can get to it. I am excited to see what he does with a legitimate go-to guy in Jimmy Graham.

anthony-davis-nba-boston-celtics-new-orleans-pelicans-850x5602- Anthony Davis, 22, Forward, New Orleans Pelicans
Career: 19.7 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2.5 bpg

Davis is coming off of a fantastic 2015 campaign where he finished with 24 ppg, 10 rpg and nearly 3 bpg. With new head coach, Alvin Gentry, Davis is about to be milked into an even bigger star now that a high octane offense is coming to the Big Easy and I can’t wait to watch.

Andrew-Luck_crop_north1- Andrew Luck, 25, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts
Career Stats: 12,957 Pass yards, 86 TDs/43 INTs

When Luck was drafted three years ago, I believed all the hype that he was destined to be a Hall of Fame QB and maybe the greatest to ever play. He took a 3-13 Colts team and made them a playoff contender. In his first three seasons, the Colts have yet to miss the playoffs and he has improved each year working with limited weapons and an abysmal offensive line. No signal caller has been pressured or hit more since Luck has entered the league. Luck has been knocked down or sacked 352 times in three years. Yet, he has not missed the playoffs and also managed to throw 40 touchdowns last season. Yep, I am still believing he could be the greatest of all time 10 years from now.

Leave your thoughts and comments below.

Peter Oosterhuis diagnosed with Alzheimer’s

It was sad to hear that one of my favorite golf broadcasters now has early onset Alzheimer’s disease.

The reason I liked the Oosterhuis, Nick Faldo, and David Feherty style of broadcasting is because for some reason internationals make golf sound more interesting. Do they know more? That’ s debatable. Peter would be on the course describing the ball position and all other scenerios like no other.

“I feel it is the right time to step away to focus on things in life that I have always wanted to do.” Oosterhuis said when he retired in January.

I wish he and his family the best of luck as his story yet to be finished. Keep fighting Peter!

Photo: Golf Channel

10 storylines heading into NBA Free Agency

It seems as if the 2015 free agency period has the potential to flip the league on its axis. Some teams with restricted players will have to dish out some serious cash to keep a key player. While some playoff teams will no longer be playoff teams after major subtractions.

  1. What will happen in Cleveland? Coach LeBron James is now using the “wait-and –see” approach as if he doesn’t know what he will do. James will stay with the team and he will put his general manager cap. He obviously wants David Blatt gone and more depth added to the team. It doesn’t look like James wants to team up with Kevin Love anymore as the experiment did not work. (Sidebar: Love is capable of getting 20 points and 20 boards each night. He cannot do that by playing on the wing. Just because he can shoot from the perimeter, inaccurately, does mean you should put him there.) James has gone on the record saying that he wants to see Tristan Thompson come back and be a Cavalier for live. For the record, LeBron has not been a Cavalier for life. It is Cleveland after all. That city can screw up a 911 call dialing 119. BTW we will be previewing all 32 NFL teams in 31 days. The first team up is the Cleveland Browns. There are so many great things to not say about this franchise.
  1. Jimmy Butler has singlehandedly carried the Chicago Bulls in the absence of Derrick Rose. Butler is developing into a superstar shooting guard who will have the ability to make another team an instant threat if he were to leave the Windy City. Most likely he will be offered a max salary that Chicago should match. The Bulls would be placed in a tough position if he were to leave. They already are in need of shooters. This team could go from a championship contender to a middle of the pack team. It is the East where a .500 record can get you in the playoffs.
  2. In the past two seasons Portland has had its best record since the Nate McMillan days. The Blazers will lose at least one star. LaMarcus Aldridge has already put his home up for sale and informed the team he won’t be returning. He will become a max player early in free agency. Wesley Matthews is also an unrestricted free agent who happens to be recovering from a torn Achilles tendon. If he is 100% healthy he can make a team better over night. The only notable player that may be left in Portland is Damien Lillard who happens to be going into his final year of his contract.
  3. The Los Angeles Lakers will be spending George Steinbrenner money this offseason. Rumor has it that they will be making a serious push for Kevin Love, Jimmy Butler, LaMarcus Aldridge, amongst others. Can they become ShowTime again? Who knows? Expect Kobe to still put 40 shots a night.
  4. My favorite NBA owner, Mark Cuban, will also be looking to spend some dineros this offseason as he is still trying to win another championship for Dirk Nowitzki. It is rumored that they also want Aldridge, C DeAndre Jordan and PG Goran Dragic. It is safe to say the Rajon Rondo will not be returning to the team as he was a bud Rick Carlisle was happy to nip (People thought the Rondo addition would guarantee them a title. Silly rabbit). The team will most likely not get Monta Ellis back.
  5. Then there are the New York Knickabockers. I, like everyone else, have no clue as to what this team/Phil Jackson is attempting to do. It’s clear Carmelo Anthony does not care about winning. He proved that last year when he decided to resign. It was no surprise to see the team perform to horrifically. It appears as if Greg Monroe is going to join the team and continue to be a part of a below .500 team. It’s a shame to see a team with such a good fan base be so irresponsible.
  6. The Spurs will be resigning Manu Ginobili and Tim Duncan and hoping that they have enough left over to go after Aldridge. Remember Kawhi Leonard is a restricted free agent. It’s not often San Antonio has to make salary and personnel decisions during the offseason.
  7. Boston is going to look to get bigger. Last season they tried unsuccessfully to get Kevin Love. Expect them to land a big name person to go in the post. Brad Stevens and Danny Ainge have done a great job thus far of putting this team together. They came a long way in such a short period of time.
  8. I want to see the Charlotte Hornets pick up someone. Anyone. This team was the biggest disappointment last season. There is a lot of talent, but they can’t put it together. When Michael Jordan, THE GREATEST NBA PLAYER OF ALL-TIME, at age 52 says that he can beat every player on his team there is a serious problem.
  9. Will Dwayne Wade stay in Miami? It would be hard to see him a different jersey next season. Would it matter if he left though? Yes, if Chris Bosh would have been healthy at the end of the season the Heat would have been a playoff team. However, Wade will be one year older this season and if healthy he can give a team a maximum 50-60 games? D-Wade should leave to try to win another title. He should join a team where he would need to play about 30 minutes a night.

Bonus: The Philadelphia 76ers will be looking to add Slava Medvedenko, Nick Young, Mark Madson, Brad Miller, and Kwame Brown. You can never have to many centers and other worthless players, right?

Other bloggers talking about free agency:

Instant Sports Net 

Off My Podium

Pistons Nation

The Athletes Hub

Hoops of America

Blues of Nine

Smirfitts Speech

Photo: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

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The Championships, Wimbledon 2015 Gentlemen’s Preview and Winner

Event Name:   The Championships, Wimbledon 2015
Where: London, England
Dates: June 29- July 12
Surface: Grass
Tour: WTA & ATP
Defending Champ: Novak Djokovic
Runner-up:      Roger Federer

Roger Federer returns to the All-England Club one season after losing a heartbreaking fifth & final set to Novak Djokovic. It was the last time Fed was able to be in the final of a major. However, this is 2015 and the No. 2 seed has another opportunity to win his eighth title. Will this be his last chance to win a major? Hopefully not, I would love to see him finish his career like Pete Sampras did.

To see preview of the Ladies side you can click here.

Novak Djokovic comes into the tourney disappointed he could not claim a career grand slam at the French Open earlier this month. If there is a favorite to win the tile it must be Djok, right? He has been in both grand slam finals thus far this season and won one. Novak is also the defending champ.

People are writing off Rafael Nadal. Some have gone as far as saying that his career is over based on his horrible showing during the clay season. I would think that Rafa is allowed to have on bad year on clay. The guy has won nine French Opens and people think he can win another. It’s no secret that grass is not his favorite surface, but can he be called an underdog?

Stan Wawrinka proved all the haters wrong in Paris, as he was able to pick up his second major. He has the ability to push all of the other top players. He will be an interesting player to watch.

David Ferrer will not win because he can’t beat a player better than him. He doesn’t even pick up an occasional upset over the top players.

It appears once again that my favorite country, USA, will not be bringing home a major any time soon. John Isner is the best bet we have, but he is like Ferrer. It’s like he freezes against bigger named players.

Notable gentlemen in the field

Seed Players
1 Novak Djokovic
2 Roger Federer
3 Andy Murray
4 Stan Wawrinka
5 Kei Nishikori
6 Tomas Berdych
7 Milos Raonic
8 David Ferer
9 Marin Cilic
10 Rafael Nadal
11 Grigor Dimitrov
12 Gilles Simon
13 Jo-Wilfred Tsonga
14 Kevin Anderson
15 Feliciano Lopez
16 David Goffin
17 John Isner
18 Gael Monfils
19 Tommy Robredo
20 Roberto Bautista Agut
21 Richard Gasquet
22 Viktor Troicki
23 Ivo Karlovic
24 Leonardo Mayer
25 Andreas Seppi
26 Nick Kyrgios
27 Bernard Tomic
28 Pablo Cuevas
29 Guillermo Garcia-Lopez
30 Fabio Fognini
31 Jack Sock
32 Dominic Thiem

After all of that it is time for my pick. Drum roll please…

I’m going with No. 3 seed Andy Murray to pick up the win. Shocker, I hope not. He is the equal to Djok, Federer, Wawrinka and every other player in the field. Amélie Mauresmo has been an outstanding coach for him. For those of us that had the chance to watch Amélie play, it is easy to compare her game and circumstance to Murray. It has not been easy for him to overcome the other top players en route to his two major victories. Mauresmo had to beat players like Serena Williams and Justine Henin.

Who do you have winning The Championships?

Other bloggers talking about Wimbledon:

Tennis Kibitzer

Nico Mahut Fans

Game Set Match

Moo’s Tennis Blog

Joel Orme Sports

Photo: CARL COURT / AFP/GETTY IMAGES

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The Championships, Wimbledon 2015 Ladies Preview and Winner

Event Name:   The Championships, Wimbledon 2015
Where: London, England
Dates: June 29- July 12
Surface: Grass
Tour: WTA & ATP
Defending Champ: Petra Kvitova
Runner-up:      Eugenie Bouchard

When I think of Wimbledon every year I think of strawberries and cream. It looks so good. I’ll have to try it whenever I go to London. However, that has nothing to do with The Championships this year.

Once again the favorite is Serena Williams. The only person that can possibly beat her is Serena Williams. Every opponent she may have in the tournament will have to play their A+++++ game and have Serena commit a lot of unforced errors. Williams is 69-8 against the current top 10 players in the world. Is that a form of intimidation or a lack of motivation for the other ladies? With a Wimbledon win Serena will:

  1. Complete her second Serena Slam (win all four majors consecutively, but not in the same year.
  2. Be one major shy of completing the season grand slam. This feat has been done three times (Maureen Connolly Brinker in 1953, Margaret Court in 1970, & Steffi Graf in 1988) Graf actually completed the Golden Slam that season. She won an Olympic Gold medal that season as well.
  3. Will only be one major behind Graf for the most all-time in the Open era.
  4. Pick up her 6th win at the All- England Club. She would then be three back of Martina Navratilova.

You can see the gentlemen’s preview here.

The matches are played on the court and not on paper and that’s why these people may have an outside chance of winning if Serena is unable to get the job done:

  • Petra Kvitova is the defending champion and has won two of these titles in the past four years. She will need to play strong in the early rounds to gain momentum. She does have tendencies to get upset early in majors.
  • Maria Sharapova would love more than to be the person to stop Serena as she has already accomplished this feat in 2004 to claim her first major. Sharapova also has the ability to get upset. She is my favorite is Serena goes out.
  • Caroline Wozniacki has been playing great since breaking up with Rory McIlroy last season. However, she still has yet to win a major. She has the ability to fly under the radar to win the title.
  • Venus Williams has won this championship on five separate occasions and may still have some magic left in the bottle. Sloane Stevens knocked her out in the first round of the French Open. Venus didn’t play bad in the match. Stephens outplayed the veteran.
  • Madison Keys is my dark horse pick. She has the power and pace needed to contend on this surface. Keys proved earlier this season at the Australian that she belongs in the conversation of players for the future.
  • Finally, there is a young woman named Vika. Victoria Azarenka is much better than her ranking. Reminder, it is because of her injuries last season. She has played great since coming and I expect that to resume.

Notable ladies in the field:

Seed Players
1 Serena Williams
2 Petra Kvitova
3 Simona Halep
4 Maria Sharapova
5 Caroline Wozniacki
6 Lucie Safarova
7 Ana Ivanovic
8 Ekaterina Makarova
9 Carla Suarez-Navarro
10 Angelique Kerber
11 Karolina Pliskova
12 Eugenie Bouchard
13 Aga Radwanska
14 Andrea Petkovic
15 Timea Bacsinszky
16 Venus Williams
17 Elina Svitolina
18 Sabine Lisicki
19 Sara Errani
20 Garbine Muguruza
21 Madison Keys
22 Sam Stosur
23 Victoria Azarenka
24 Flavia Pennetta
25 Alize Cornet
26 Svetlana Kuznetsova
27 Barbora Strycova
28 Jelena Jankovic
29 Irina-Camelia Begu
30 Belinda Bencic
31 Camila Giorgi
32 Caroline Garcia

After all of that it is time for my pick. Drum roll please…

Of course I’m going with Serena. She is playing out of her mind. As tennis players mature in age they are supposed to regress in skills (i.e. Roger Federer) but Williams has gotten stronger. She knows what a win this year means in respect to history and I do not expect any person to be able to prevent her from winning Wimbledon.

Who do you have winning The Championships?

Other bloggers talking about Wimbledon:

Iain’s Football and Tennis Blog

Tennis Kibitzer

Tennis Abides 

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AP Photo/Anja Niedringhaus

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TBT 6/25/15 1986 Music

Lionel Richie- Say You, Say Me 


Huey Lewis- Stuck With You 


Bangles- Walk Like An Egyptian 


Madonna- Papa Don’t Preach 


Whitney Houston- How Will I Know 


Billy Ocean- There’ll Be Sad Songs (To Make You Cry) 


Journey- Be Good to Yourself 


Rod Stewart- Every Beat of My Heart 


Doug E. Fresh/ f. Slick Rick- The Show 


Cameo- Word Up 


Other bloggers talking about TBT:

Young(ish) Baltimore

Of Opinions

My Daily Blog

Indie Ball

Am I the only one losing patience with Tiger?

Embed from Getty Images

I cannot articulate my feelings as I watched arguably the greatest golfer play the fourth worst round of his career for well over four hours. I am a Tiger Woods fan, but my patience is wearing quite thin.

The guy looked defeated at Chamber Bay. His body language communicated to the world that he was living up to his 195th official world golf ranking.

From 1996- 2014, Woods had only one 80+ round. He has had three 80+ rounds in 2015 alone.

In every tournament I notice that he is going to play in I say to myself and others, “Tiger will turn it around this week!” Apparently, I am a chronic liar. If only I were a politician I could be paid to say those inaccurate words.

To make his day even worse there was banner that said “Cheater” that flew above him while he was playing.

He was not been able to hit fairways and greens consistently like a player of his caliber should. Woods did sprinkle in a few good looking shots, but not enough to save his amateur-like round.

I believe it’s because he does not play enough. Tiger should play in more tourneys. That is the only way he can gain some type of momentum. What, if anything, do you believe is his problem?

TBT 5/18/15

Jaheim- Finding My Way Back (2010) 


Rascal Flatts- Bless The Broken Road (2004) 


Tupac- Dear Mama (1995) 


Trin-i-tee 5:7- God’s Grace (1998) 


Heather Headley- i Wish I Wasn’t (2002) 


Brooks & Dunn- Neon Moon (1992) 


Selena- Bidi Bidi Boom Boom (1994) 


Elvis- Burning Love (1973) 


Dream- He Loves You Not (2001) 


Marvin Winans- Just Don’t Wanna Know (2007) 


Matchbox Twenty- Unwell (2003) 


Other bloggers reflecting on TBT

Red Leaf Gold Teeth 

Girl About Film

What Kumquat 

Single Woman Chronicles (Apparently, the ladies need me in the ATL. 80,000, really?)

BillingMusic

OxenTrot 

Scarecrow Grin

Feeling Ducky 

Ridin’ The Pine

Flypinions

Random Music Blog

Product Review: Midori Spring Ceremonial (GOLD) Matcha Green Tea

Product Midori Spring Ceremonial (GOLD) Matcha Green Tea
Price $24.99
Size 30g (1.06 oz)

I recently had the chance to try Midori Spring Ceremonial (GOLD) Matcha Green Tea and came away with mixed feelings.

Pro: There was a true taste of natural green tea. Some green tea products don’t taste fresh, but this one tastes authentic.

Cons: It did not dissolve well. I mixed the tea in the W shape that was listed in the directions for minutes and could not get the powder and water to completely come together. My experience would have been much better if I could did not have a lot of wet powder at the bottom of my cup.

My Recommendation: I would not purchase Midori Spring Ceremonial (GOLD) Matcha Green Tea because of the powder not resolving. The first half of the drink was fine, but the second half was not pleasurable.

To find out more information about this premium product you can click here.

Down The Line Sports Entertainment did receive this product free for an unbiased and honest opinion.

TBT 6/11/15

Kindred The Family Soul- Far Away (2007) 


Martina McBride- Independence Day (1994) 


Marvin Sapp- My Testimony (2012) 


Brad Paisley- Mud on the Tires (2003) 


En Vogue- My Lovin’ (1994) 


Lena Horne- Stormy Weather (1943) 


Glen Campbell- Wichita Lineman (1968)


Lil Wayne- A Milli (2008) 


Alien Ant Farm- Smooth Criminal (2001) 


Sade- Sweetest Taboo (1985) 


Other Bloggers talking about TBT:

Nine Circles

NinoCalloway 

Rkskyers

Movie Blah Blah  

Little Number 

Writergurlny

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