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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
We come into the second round of the playoffs after seeing one of the best NBA series’ in the past decade. What a series between the San Antonio and LA! That series showed exactly what playoff basketball is. It’s about three things: the team must play defense, the must get rebounds especially offensive ones, and the team must play as a TEAM. Individual players get their teams to the playoffs, but I’m sure you notice they never win it all. You may want to go ask Allen Iverson or the LeBron in his first trip to Cleveland.
Three teams in the first round earned my respect and have me excited to see them next year. New Orleans, Milwaukee, and Boston have all made strides that frankly no one thought was possible.
Jason Kidd has had both a coaching turnaround and has led his team to one as well. Though the Bucks were under .500, they did make the playoffs after finishing without their best player, Jabari Parker. The squad was able to push the Bulls to six games before being destroyed. This team showed spunk and tenacity that I expect will linger into next season.
I, like most people, thought that the Celtics were beginning to tank once the trade of Rajon Rondo happened, but in reality they cut out a cancer. They got rid of a very talented plaayer that ruined his career in Dallas. Brad Stevens is already making his mark in only his second season. They also finished under .500 but in the final three games they pushed Cleveland to the brink. Next season expect them to finish above .500 but not much more. The East should be more respectable as the Indiana Pacers will be healthy and the Charlotte Hornets will be back off of their year long vacation.
The New Orleans Pelicans have a nucleus that will soon be tough to contend with. Anthony Davis is already the best big man in the game that can play around the basket and make jump shots. He also has talented players around him. Jrue Holiday has been a great addition to the team. If you pair them with Tyreke Evans, Eric Gordon, and Ryan Anderson the team will sure be a top tier team in the loaded West.
Enough of the past, let’s look at the teams that will be playing in the second round.
Washington v Atlanta
Let’s be blunt, Washington killed Toronto. Now we do not know if the Wizards are just that good or if the Raptors played that bad. John Wall continues to lead this team. I must say that I thought he was an overrated player his first few years in the league, but he has grown into being one of the best point guards in the league.
Atlanta comes into the series hobbling after just getting past the Nets. It is clear that the Hawks are not as good as their record indicates. However, in the second round they will have to come out with more energy than they displayed in Brooklyn.
Chicago v Cleveland
Will this be the best matchup of the semi-finals? No, but these two teams will throw down.
Chicago proved how good they were when in game 6 they defeated the Bucks 120-66. The Bulls showed they could be dominant if they play within themselves. They have to limit their turnovers and exploit the depth of the team. They will need to steal one of the first couple of games on the road.
The Cavaliers have all but said that Kevin Love has been no help to them all season. Now they will get a chance to prove themselves. This is why LeBron went back home. Can he lead this team to the Conference Final? We will have to see, but they will have to play the first couple of games without the pain in the arse, JR Smith.
Memphis v Golden State
The Grizzlies took advantage of the hurt Trail Blazers and will now have to play the best team in the league. Frankly, it will be tough for them to defeat the Warriors, but they will have to utilize their height inside and prevent GS from getting into a shooting groove, which is nearly impossible.
Golden State was challenged in the final three games of their first round series against the Pels. Steph Curry played like the MVP. Like all season long, the team was able to make jump shots from everywhere. However, the old phrase is you live by the jump shot and you die by it.
Los Angeles v Houston
This will be the best series. The Clippers are coming off of a franchise defining series. They were able to defeat the defeat the defending champs back to back to clinch the series. They also had to win two games in San Antonio, which does not always happen. We do not know about Chris Paul’s hamstring, as he was able to play after appearing to pull it. De’Andre Jordan will have to stay away from the line if the Clips want to win.
The Rockets took advantage of the old and depressing Mavericks. James Harden continues perform at a high level. Josh Smith showed up and has become a phenomenal sixth man and spark off of the bench. Dwight Howard averaged a double double in the first round and will have to resume his great play.
It is no surprise that DeAndre Jordan absolutely sucks at the free throw line, and San Antonio is taking advantage of it. That’s just something that they are supposed to do as competitors.
In the regular season he shot 39%.
This scheme is boring and it lengthens the game far too much. Seeing a fast paced first half get slowed down near intermission is depressing. Especially, if you our on the east coast and the clock has already struck midnight. Not to mention those watching internationally.
The method has worked through half time of game one, as Jordan is 5/12 from the charity stripe.
Overall, I believe in “Hack-A-_____ method. You cannot punish a team for intentionally fouling someone who is a bad free throw shooter. The best way to eliminate this problem is to teach said player how to shoot a free throw.
I have to say that I have not been this excited about the NBA playoffs in a long time. No one knows who is going to take the title home.
The Eastern Conference seems to be more chalk as compared to the West.
The teams out west are so comparable any team can represent the side in the championship series.
8 New Orleans v 1 Golden State
The Pels may have saved Monty Williams’ job by making it to the postseason for the first time in four years, but I’m sure they did not want to go against the best team in the NBA in the first round (record). New Orleans is young and they have a great nucleus, but it is not enough to defeat the Warriors.
7 Dallas v 2 Houston
Earlier this season, Dallas put all of their eggs in one basket so that they could win a title this year, but the experiment flopped. Rajon Rondo never became that spark plug that was going to distribute to Dirk, Parsons, and Ellis.
James Harden has had to lead the Rockets past a lot of people’s expectations. No one thought that they would get home court advantage and the number two seed with Dwight Howard only playing in 41 games. This series will be highly contested as both teams want to make the claim as being the “Best in Texas”.
6 San Antonio v 3 LA Clippers
The defending champs will have to start each round on the road if they want to repeat. The Spurs would have had the number two seed if they had beaten the Pelicans in the regular season finale. This team is experienced and rested enough to make a push this postseason.
The Clippers have solidified their position as being the best team in LA and will try to make it to the second round. Chris Paul played in all 82 games this season for the first time in his career. This team will be seen as a failure if they can not get over the hurdle once again.
4 Portland v 5 Memphis
I believe this will be the most compelling series in the Western Conference. Though Portland is the higher seed, they will not have home-court advantage as Memphis won their division.
The Blazers will need to have a healthy LaMarcus Aldridge to contend, but if he can’t they stand no chance. He missed three of the last six games because of a foot injury. Portland comes into the playoffs losing five of their last six contests.
Memphis is not healthy either. Mike Conley and Tony Allen need to get well for them to continue. I would think that Memphis will try to win this series by going to the paint.
5 Washington v 4 Toronto
Both teams enter the postseason warm and it seems that they’ve hit their stride at the right time.
Paul Pierce is using is veteran knowledge to call out his young teammates who need his guidance. John Wall has worked his way into the discussion of the best point guard in the league.
The Raptors seem to be happy just making it. This team is deep. They are also winners of 4 out of 5.
Note: Toronto also has Drake on their sideline. (Hey, he’s better than Spike Lee.)
We may look back at the end of this series and say it was a classic.
The bottom three teams in the East are not over .500 and do not deserve to be mentioned, however congratulations on making to the playoffs by beating the Knicks and 76ers. Expect no upsets here.
After going a perfect 4-0 last week I return to inform everyone of what’s going to occur during the 2015 divisional round of the NFL playoffs. The “few notes section” does come from ESPN.
Baltimore vs. New England 4:35 EST NBC
Personally, I believe the first game of the divisional round will be the best one.
Joe Flacco leads a hot Ravens squad into Foxboro. He passed for nearly 4,000 yards over the regular season and Justin Forsett rushed for over 1,200. Their balanced attack has been elevated thanks to the Smith twins, Steve and Torry. The biggest weapon that Baltimore has, however, is the defense. No one will run the ball against them. NOBODY! Which means it will be tough for the non-existent Pats running game. Jonas Gray and LaGarrette Blount will not rush for over 50 yards combined.
New England does have Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Do they need any more? I can’t tell you anything you do not know about what they will do. Expect Gronk to have at least 6 receptions for 120.
Tom Brady is 1-2 in his postseason career at home against the Ravens, and 11-1 against everyone else.
Joe Flacco has 10 playoff wins (5 straight) since he entered the league in 2008, twice as many as any other QB in the NFL. His 7 road playoff wins and 11 road playoff starts are most by any QB in NFL history.
In Tom Brady’s career, he has 7 postseason game-winning drives, more than 3 times the amount of any other remaining QB in the playoffs. In fact, if you added up the total game-winning drives in the playoffs from the other 7 QB in the postseason, Flacco, Wilson, Romo, Manning, Luck, Rodgers and Newton they would equal…7…the same amount of game-winning postseason drives as Brady.
Baltimore rolls once again. The defense will win it for them and Flacco won’t lose it. Brady will at least have two picks.
Carolina vs. Seattle 8:15 EST FOX
It’s the battle of the read offense and the two best mobile quarterbacks in the NFL.
The Panthers are riding a five game winning streak and Cam is looking better than ever. Who knew that getting in a wreck could be a good thing? Carolina has always been a running team and the help of healthy running backs, Stewart and Williams, the Panthers could be a tough out.
The defending champs seem to be everyone’s pick to win it all. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because they have home field advantage and the Legion of Doom is back. Russell Wilson is carrying the offense because he doesn’t have a respectable receiver. Doug Baldwin has been MIA for the majority of the season.
The Panthers and Seahawks follow the same plan: run the ball and play defense. Since Week 12, the two teams have been the best in several key rushing and defensive stats.
At least one road team was won in the Divisional playoffs in the previous nine seasons (2005-13), the second-longest streak in NFL history (road team won in 13 straight years from 1975-87). 2004 was the last season in which all four home teams won on Divisional weekend.
The Panthers and Seahawks have combined for 69 points in their previous three meetings and the two teams have only scored touchdowns on two of their 15 red-zone drives.
This will be a tough defensive game. The score will be tight. Seattle will soar.
Dallas vs. Green Bay 1:05 FOX
This game will be played on the frooooozen tundra. The running backs will be the feature of this contest. I see big games for both Eddie Lacy and DeMarco Murray.
Dallas was lead by the great of the referees last week. That was not professional, but the ‘boys should have lost. I still can’t ignore the great play of Tony Romo. He has lead this team far better than in years before. In the second half last week, it was fair for spectators to assume he was going to throw a costly interception but he didn’t.
Green Bay has a gigantic quarterback question. Is Aaron Rodgers healthy? We will be able to see how good that leg is after kickoff. Lacy will have to be driving force behind the Packers offense.
Aaron Rodgers’ calf injury could limit his mobility. No QB has more Pass TD (33) from out of the pocket than Rodgers the last 5 seasons.
Including playoffs, Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown an interception at home in his last 477 pass attempts. He’s played 16 games since his last interception at home, throwing 38 Pass TD in that time.
The Cowboys went 8-0 on the road this season. The Packers went 8-0 at home this season. According to Elias, only once since the merger has an unbeaten home team hosted an unbeaten road team in the playoffs. In 1972 the Dolphins (7-0 on the road) defeated the Steelers (7-0 at home) 21-17 in the AFC Conference Championship game.
How Bout Dem Cowboys?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Especially, if Chris Christie shows up.
Indianapolis vs. Denver 4:40 EST CBS
This is the battle of old versus new. Many people have already proclaimed Andrew Luck as a Hall of Famer and G.O.A.T. but he will still has yet to go to a conference championship. Is he Peyton Manning? No!
As I stated last week, it will be difficult for Indy to do anything on offense because of their ability to run the ball. He will have to pass over 45 times if his team wants an opportunity and his defense will have to show up and stop the run for once. CJ Anderson cannot have a huge game. If he does, the Colts don’t stand a chance.
The Broncos have Peyton Manning. End of story.
Over the last five weeks of the regular season, Peyton Manning ranked 30th in red zone completion percentage (39 percent) and 22nd in red zone Total QBR (18) out of 32 qualified quarterbacks. Manning ranked first in both completion percentage (78 percent) and Total QBR (97) in the red zone in the season’s first 12 weeks.
Peyton Manning was off target on seven of his 16 red zone passes to Demaryius Thomas in the last five weeks of the regular season. Thomas had more drops (2) than receptions (1) in the red zone during that span.
The 2015 NFL Wild Card round is will begin this weekend and there will be four great contests. All of the “few notes” are from ESPN Stats and Information.
Arizona vs. Carolina
I would not want to face the Panthers in the post season. This team is smoking hot. They’re riding a four game win streak and the defense is firing on all cylinders. They beat Atlanta 34-3 last week to get into the playoffs. Just because they are 7-8-1 DO NOT take this team lightly. Since Cam Newton’s wreck they have seemed to be invincible.
For the banged up Cards, they must be feeling like they are the most underrated team remaining. Injuries have mounted at nearly every skill position, but they have been able to implement the next man up philosophy. Ryan Lindley is a third string quarterback who will have to lead this team to possibly four victories. Is it possible?
Over the last 10 seasons, the Panthers are the 5th team to make the playoffs with a record of .500 or worse…each of the previous 3 teams went on to win in the Wild Card round.
Teams that finished .500 or worse in the regular season have won 5 of their last 6 Wild Card games. No team that finished .500 or worse has made it past the Divisional Playoffs, however.
From Elias: If Ryan Lindleystarts for the Cardinals, he will be the 7th QB since the 1970 merger to start a playoff game after having 1-or-fewer regular-season wins as a starter. Those QBs are a combined 2-4 and haven’t won since Gifford Nielsen won in 1979 for the Oilers.
I believe that this game will not be close. Bruce Arians has done a phenomenal job at motivating his team and preparing his troops for the next battle. However, Carolina is clicking and it will be tough for Arizona to stay in it.
Baltimore vs. Pittsburgh
This is the only divisional contest this weekend and it is fueled by hatred and that alone. The squads split the regular season contests by both winning on their home turf. Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 17-14.
Baltimore clinched the final playoff spot by defeating the Browns in there finale 20-10. They have a balanced offense that is being fueled by the strong running of Justin Forsett. He shockingly ran for over 1200 yards.
It’s still no secret that I have had it in for the Steelers all season. The Philadelphia 76ers have been more consistent than the Steelers. Remember this is the same team that lost to both the Bucs and Jets. They have won four games straight so they will be looking to keep their spark lit. The biggest question mark for Pitt is the health of arguably the best running back in the NFL, Le’Veon Bell. He has a right knee injury and he did not practice on Thursday.
Bell said, “I feel really good. I didn’t expect to be feeling this well this early. But I am, so I’m just going to take it day by day and see where it goes.”
Pittsburgh leads the all-time series 17-14
The Steelers were an NFL-best 6-1 against teams that finished over .500 this season.
The Ravens are 6-1 in the Wild Card Playoffs in team history, the best record in the NFL among the 29 teams to play at least 4 Wild Card games.
Well if I have not been that excited the Steelers through the regular season, do you really think I pick them now. Baltimore wins by a field goal.
Cincinnati vs. Indianapolis
I have no idea what to expect in this contest. Both teams have the ability to put up points, but they can also stink up the joint. On paper we can expect a high scoring game, but if it is low scoring I would not be surprised.
The only way Cincinnati can win is if AJ Green plays. He did not practice on Friday due to the NFL concussion protocol. Can Andy Dalton lead this team to victory win it counts? Will the Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard run for at least 150 to take some pressure off of Dalton? There are way too many questions and I have no answers.
I have the same doubts about Indy. They can’t run the ball. The defense is more off pitch than Idina Menzel singing at a New Year’s Eve performance. Click here for the performance.
Marvin Lewis has lost his 1st 5 postseason games as head coach. Lewis has won 100 games in the regular season and joins Jim Mora as the only coaches with at least 100 wins and 0 postseason wins in NFL history.
The Colts defense allowed just 7 pass TD and a 27.1 Total QBR at home this season, both best in the NFL.
The Bengals had 135 yards of offense and went 1-of-13 on 3rd down in the Week 7 shutout loss to the Colts. It was the Bengals worst offensive performance since getting shutout in Week 17 against the Jets in 2009, when the starters didn’t play the full game.
Andrew Luck has thrown 8 interceptions in 3 career playoff games. Luck is the 1st QB to throw 8+ interceptions in his 1st 3 playoff games since Dan Fouts (1979-80 seasons).
By default I have to give the win to the Colts.
Detroit vs. Dallas
This will be the best matchup over the course of the weekend. This will be a battle of the lines. Can the Cowboys o-line stop the Detroit d-line? The Lions have been the best team against the run this season only allowing 69 yards per outing.
Matthew Stafford will have to have a perfect game if he wants to beat the ‘Boys. I’m sure Joique Bell and Reggie Bush will some pressure off of Stafford, but he cannot have another playoff letdown.
Dallas very well may be the best team in the league. They can pass, run, and defend. Murray and Romo have both made claims for the MVP award. They finished 6-1 to polish a very good regular season.
If history tells us anything, the Cowboys should go ahead and pack their bags for Green Bay. Matthew Staffordis 0-16 in road games against teams that finished the season with a winning record, the 3rd-most losses without a win in such games for any quarterback since the 1970 merger.
The Lions allowed an NFL-low 3.3 yards per rush on first down during the regular season. Only three teams have allowed fewer yards per rush on first down in a season in the last five years.
With Nick Fairleyreturning to practice, the Lions run defense could get another boost after Ndamukong Suh’s suspension was overturned earlier in the week. The Lions allowed 2.48 yards per rush against 86 carries with that duo on the field together this season. Those numbers dropped off significantly when 1, or both were out of the game.
There is a big bear in the room and we need to address it. I like Jay Cutler there I said it. (See week 11 post and week 8) Should he have been the highest paid offensive player in the league? No, but who else could Chicago have gotten to be their starter. This has been a let down season for Cutler, but this is not completely his fault. I blame coaching and defense. When the defense allows so many points, the quarterback must take more risks to catch back up. Matt Forte is one of the best backs in the league, why is he not touching the ball? It’s a shame Jay played better under Lovie Smith, a defensive minded coach, than Marc Trestman. The entire front office should be cleared out.
Jimmy Clausen will get the start this Sunday.
Crazy Stat of Day: Jay Cutler is making $22.5 million this year, more than Wilson, Luck, Rodgers, Newton and Sanchez COMBINED.
The Marcus Mariota Bowl will be on Thursday, as the Titans will face the Jags. Is that a reason to watch? Uh no.
Really, who wants to win the NFC South?
Can RG3 save his Washington roster spot?
Will DeMarco Murray play just days after having hand surgery?
Is Phillip Rivers healthy enough to lead his team to a possible playoff spot?
Offensive Rookie of the Year
Odell Beckham Jr.
I don’t understand the argument against JJ Watt winning the MVP. The Texans would still be a contender for the number one pick without Watt. According to ESPN Watt has 16.5 sacks, 64 combined tackles, 5 fumble recoveries, and 5 total touchdowns. I think of JJ the way I think of a pitcher in baseball A pitcher has a specialty but they can affect the scoreboard and momentum and the same applies to Watt. Clayton Kershaw (in the regular season) = JJ Watt.
The former Oakland and Tampa Bay coach announced Monday night that he signed an extension to remain in the Monday Night Football booth through 2021. Hopefully, this puts an end to all of the rumors about him heading back to the sidelines. This is a huge announcement for the Gruden family. His brother Jay, coach of Washington, may need a new gig in the next couple of years.
Head Coaching Vacancies
These are the jobs that are certain to be open on Black Monday:
New York (N)
New York (A)
Possibly Tennessee & Jacksonville
Last Week: 12-4
JACKSONVILLE over Tennessee
Philadelphia over WASHINGTON
San Diego over SAN FRANCISCO
Baltimore over HOUSTON
Detroit over CHICAGO
Kansas City over PITTSBURGH
New England over NEW YORK (A)
CAROLINA over Cleveland
Green Bay over TAMPA BAY
MIAMI over Minnesota
Atlanta over NEW ORLEANS
Buffalo over OAKLAND
ST. LOUIS over New York (N)
Indianapolis over DALLAS
Seattle over ARIZONA
CINCINNATI over Denver
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Remember the phrase, “Any given Sunday”? Any team did win in week 14, Who would have believed that Carolina would go ahead and steamroll New Orleans in New Orleans? Oh, wait I did. Seattle only allowed fourteen points to the highflying Eagles. The Raiders yes the Raiders won the Battle of the Bay 24-13. Finally, Pittsburgh went into Cincy and doubled em’ up. The last three weeks of the season is sure to be exciting and action packed.
Is the Legion of Boom really back?
Is Jay Gruden really on the hot seat after one season?
Can St. Louis continue its hot streak?
Will the Green Bay winning streak continue?
Can Derek Anderson lead the Panthers to another win without Cam Newton?
The Cards were able to hold off the Kansas City Chiefs last week to capture they’re tenth victory of the season. I believe it was the teams last win. There are just too many holes in this boat and not enough gum. Carson Palmer and Andre Ellington are gone for the season. Tyrann Mathieu will not play this week. On the bright side it does look like Larry Fitzgerald will be on the field.
To finish the season, the Arizona must go to St. Louis, play Seattle at home, and then travel to San Francisco. That schedule should seem impossible for a team that is fourteenth in the league in passing and thirtieth in rushing.
The Chiefs safety was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma earlier this week. The fifth year player only played in six games this season where he had thirty- seven combined tackles. According to the Chiefs website, Hodgkin Lymphoma is treatable and potentially curable. Get well, Eric!
Since 1999, the Cleveland Browns have had twenty starting quarterbacks. Let me reiterate that. Since 1999, the Cleveland Browns have had twenty quarterbacks. Some how this sorry excuse of a team finds themselves in a quarterback controversy. Brian Hoyer has led the team to a 7-5 record. 7-5 is outstanding for the Browns and it’s all because of Brian Hoyer.
Because the team was down by 17 in the fourth quarter last week head coach, Mike Pettine, decided to put in Johnny Manziel who led the team down field and scored a touchdown. Oh, happy day.
This organization has been looked down upon more than any other team in the NFL since the team resurfaced. They have an opportunity to go to the playoffs, but they will eventually cater to what people want instead of what works.
Last time I checked Johnny Manziel is not Aaron Rodgers, Steve Young or Doug Flutie. Hell, he’s no Earl Morrall. Those players just waited. Their Hall of Fame head coaches knew when the right time was to put them in and not a second sooner.
Cleveland may never experience success like this again. Ride the horse that brought you to the dance. If Manziel is the guy for next year play him then. Until then, stifle yourselves!
Is the beginning of another miserable December for the Cowboys?
Will someone actually step in front of the NFC South?
Will the Cardinals get a much-needed win against the Chiefs?
Can the Bengals extend their AFC North lead?
Can the Giants ever play like a NFL quality team?
Last week, Rice was reinstated back into the NFL like he should have been. Calm down please. This guy did the time he was originally awarded and then some. No one cares about public opinion. He has the right to make a living just like everyone else. Any team in the league can pick him up. If a team does not want to be surrounded with his baggage they have the option to not sign him.
I don’t believe Ray Rice will be signed this season because it’s just too late. However, he will be signed right after the draft next year. Expect him to be a vengeful player.
Which team in the NFL lost to New Orleans, Tampa Bay, and the Jets this season? Yep, that would be Pittsburgh. Well, I said it in week 11, but no one believed me. The Steelers are worse than the Philadelphia 76ers. Good thing the team remains dedicated to their coaches because Mike Tomlin would have been fired with any other team.
The team that may be trending at the right time has to be the Lions. If Matthew Stafford can place the ball in the receiver’s hands this team may be unbeatable in January. I like the way Joique Bell is running and that defensive line is nasty. Be on the lookout.
The Seahawks seem to be playing like the Seahawks again. Their defense shut down San Fran on Thanksgiving and it seems is though the running game is what’s moving the ball. It’s never been mentioned, but is Russell Wilson a MVP contender? Without him Seattle may be 4-12.
Why would the Niners consider trading Jim Harbaugh? Yes, he may be a pain in the behind, but he wins every place he goes. He even brought this team to the Super Bowl and they are not appreciative. At some point in time we all have to step outside of our comfort zone. Apparently, Frisco is not wiling to do that.
The Pro Bowler will miss the last four games of the season because of the use of Adderall. The defensive leader will be missed. We will see how the team reacts in a must win game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Hot Seat part 2
It appears as though Rex Ryan is a lame duck, so he is excused from this conversation.
Mike Smith- The head coach of the Falcons on their way to another disappointing season. Though Atlanta is still tied for the NFC South lead, they are still an awful team. The defense is dismal and the high-powered offense is weaker than Dodge Charger with a Ford Pinto motor. I believe the writing is on the wall for Smith.
Marc Trestman- Da Bears are possibly a bigger disappointment than the Falcons. Jay Cutler has underperformed and their defense has allowed over 149 points since week 8. I don’t believe his position is savable under any circumstance.
For other Hot Seat candidates please see my post from week 9.
RIP Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch
On Thursday, December 4, the world lost one of the best sports journalists of our time. Maybe you have read his column in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch or you could have possibly seen him on ESPN’s The Sports Reporters. Burwell was 59.
This is a sports blog, but we can not ignore what has been happening in Ferguson, MO. Only two people will truly ever know the complete truth of what happened the evening that Michael Brown was killed. I may not be the smartest person but even I know that violence plus violence does not equal peace.
Let’s get back to football.
Will the loser of the Seattle/San Fran game not make the playoffs?
Who’s really the exceptional team in the NFC East?
Will we get a SB preview when NE goes against GB?
Can San Diego make a comeback and win the AFC West?
This division is arguably the most competitive group of four teams. Each team is still mathematically alive to win the division even though there is a possibility that no one will finish with a winning record. I still have Atlanta winning the NFC South. Cam Newton can’t stay on his feet and Tampa Bay is worth less than a $2 steak. Frankly, New Orleans never had a chance!
Jive Turkeys of the Year
This honor was fairly simple to award this year. Ray and Janay Rice truly deserve this prestigious distinction more than other couple on the planet. You know the story so I don’t need to go there again. He’s an ignorant imbecile while she is a dummy. They belong together.
Congrats on the award!
Presidential Turkey Pardon
If you are a weekly reader of Down the Line Sports you know that do not believe in the hardship that the NFL has put Adrian Peterson through. He should be reinstated into the NFL ASAP. There is no reason as why he is being put through hell.
Adrian Peterson, you have been officially pardoned.
Last Week: 12-3
Week 13 Picks
DETROIT over Chicago
DALLAS over Philadelphia
SAN FRANCISCO over Seattle
BUFFALO over Cleveland
BALTIMORE over San Diego
Carolina over MINNESOTA
Cincinnati over TAMPA BAY
HOUSTON over Tennessee
INDIANAPOLIS over Washington
JACKSONVILLE over New York (N)
PITTSBURGH over New Orleans
ST. LOUIS over Oakland If you watch this game you seriously need a life!
I have had enough of the football world saying that the Odell Beckham Jr. was the greatest catch ever. It was spectacular and it has never been done before, but it was meaningless. The last time I checked the 3-8 New York Giants are going no where this season Personally, I will place any great catch that has been made in the postseason above the Beckham grab. In due time we will forget about the catch from last week, but those listed below will never be forgotten. They are in no particular order.
As we head into the second half of the NFL season the quarterback position becomes even more important. Several teams have backups in at the most important position in all of sports. Which one is the best? Frankly. who knows. Mark Sanchez is leading the 1st place Eagles. Can the butt-fumble guy lead his team into the playoffs? Some say that Sanchez was the best Philly QB during the preseason.
Because no one knows what will happen with Tony Romo. The only way Dallas will make the postseason will be if he plays. Brandon Weeden may play if the Cowboys up early. Romo will get the start in England against the Jags. Hopefully, he will not re-aggravate his injury.
Week 10 Storylines
Why play Tony Romo against the Jags?
Will Oakland pull of an upset?
Can the Big Ben hot streak continue?
Which team will survive the NFC East?
Can San Fran get a much-needed win in the Big Easy?
Are the Bears still worth watching?
Coach of the Year Race
Mike Pettine- Cleveland, yes Cleveland is having a great and surprising year. The Browns are 6-3 and are tied for first place in the AFC North. They are having a great season and their best player has not played a down yet this season. Wide receiver, Josh Gordon will return to action in a couple of weeks. It seems as if he made the right decision by starting Brian Hoyer over Johnny Manziel.
Bruce Ariens- The Arizona Cardinals has the best record in the NFL, which automatically qualifies him for the award. Expect his team to be competitive against the remaining squads on their schedule, which includes Seattle, San Francisco, and St. Louis.
Bill Belichick- Just a few weeks ago, his team was ruled out. Now, New England is on fire. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are clicking on all cylinders. Mind you they are doing this with a weak offensive line and average receivers.
The Washington football team once again could not get a victory. They had an opportunity to get a late win in Minnesota but fell short in the final minutes. Prior to the game beginning, rumors surfaced about the support for RG3. Reports surfaced saying that players felt as though the team should have started Colt McCoy, who had won the past two games for the team. Other reports claim that upper management, Dan Snyder, decided to play Griffin.
I would start the player who is winning me games. Washington is 3-6 with no chance of possibly making the playoffs. The franchise quarterback may be Griffin, but he has not earned the title on the field in the past two seasons. The job should be up for grabs. Kirk Cousins has proven to be good enough to be the quarterback for the Raiders or the Jets. He sucks he really really sucks. Griffin and McCoy should compete for the rest of the season to determine who should be the leader in the nation’s capital.
The starting QB job is should be the least of their concerns. The team was welcomed at TCF Bank Stadium by a group of protestors. Over 5,000 people showed up for the meaningful event. This will end will when the team eventually changes the name. There is a such thing as a right and wrong side of history and apparently this organization is hell bent on taking the iniquitous approach.
Well the NBA season returns this week, and I must say that I am extremely excited. I’m excited because this has been an extremely long offseason that has only had a few storylines that have been covered for far too long by the media. C’mon you know what I’m talking about.
Where’s LeBron going?
Can D. Rose come back healthy?
Is Phil Jackson going to return as the head coach of the Knicks?
Are the 76ers going to win five games in the 14-15 season?
For the most part we already knew how those questions were going to pan out. Am I surprised that LeBron went back to Cleveland? Not really. He has a much better chance to win an NBA title and he can bring glory to his home city. Cleveland has not celebrated a championship since 1964. Jim Brown led the then Cleveland Browns to the NFL Championship.
Let’s examine the teams:
As previously mentioned, LeBron James did return home. He is team up with Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving. I believe Love is the best big man in the NBA because he can rebound and he can score from anywhere on the court. However, Chris Bosh was also a deadly big man as well who took a minor role to play alongside LeBron. I don’t see Love putting up the same numbers that he did when in Minnesota just because he doesn’t have to. I can hope that he is still effective on both sides of the court. Kyrie Irving is arguably the best point guard in the league. He can score and stretch the court. The Cavs also have a great bench who is made up of good scorers.
However, on the bad side the Cavs do a have a rookie coach, David Blatt. He is a respected coach. Blatt comes with a great resume. He’s a four time Israeli League Coach of the Year, six time Israeli Cup Champion, Italian Cup Champion, and Euroleague Champion. It will be interesting to see him bring an international flair to the NBA and see how he reacts to the nuances a new league.
For all of the friendly folks who pretended to be Miami Heat fans, please know that your presence will not be missed. It was just a few years ago where the Heat were in this same position. The leader of the team was Dwayne Wade and he had a mediocre supporting cast. Now players who actually have talent will surround Wade. Chris Bosh can be a beast within the paint again. He does not have to be on the perimeter to stretch the defense. I believe that Luol Deng is one of the most disrespected players in the league. He can score, play defense on log major minutes.
The million-dollar question with this team is their health. Wade must play in at least 70 games. If Danny Granger can return healthy they may have a chance at a playoff spot.
With all that being said the next time that the Miami Heat win a championship will be when LeBron James has a full head hair. It’s not gonna be anytime soon.
Derrick Rose appears to be back and playing like Derrick Rose. He’s making cuts and driving hard to the basket. My only concern about this team is the health of the former league MVP. Rose has had an ACL tear in the past and a torn meniscus. To play this sport you must have a good foundation and hopefully he has that.
The Bulls brought in a Pau Gasol during the free agency period. It will be hard for teams to matchup on the Bulls double-headed monster in the post. Gasol will play side by side with Joakim Noah. Noah carried the Bulls all of last season in the absence of Rose.
Chicago reminds me most of San Antonio. Meaning that this group of people plays great together. If and only if Rose is healthy will this team win the NBA title.
Paul George broke his leg while playing for team USA during the offseason. He will be out the entire 2014-2015 season. George says that he can possibly be back for the playoffs if needed. This team has no chance of making the playoffs in the easiest conference. The Pacers were disgusting in the postseason last spring. Roy Hibbert, proved his worth as he had games where he did not record a basket or a rebound. A 7’2 you can’t get a rebound. I have a great aunt over 80 who can play better. David West is the only person on this team that I trust. He will play hard, too bad his team won’t.
New York Knicks
We found out over the offseason that Carmelo Anthony cares more about money than winning a championship. He signed a five-year $124 million to stay in the Big Apple. It is understood that Melo does not pass the ball. It is also understood that he has no one to pass to. Amar’e Stoudemire is supposed to be his help, but Stoudemire can’t stay on the field. He has played in 55 games per season since signing with the Knicks. That ain’t gonna cut it. Derek Fisher is they’re new head coach. Oh, he knows absolutely nothing about coaching. He knows the triangle offense, but does he know that he has no talented players on his team. If New York makes the playoffs it will be in a very low position.
Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe Bryant is the Los Angeles Lakers. If Kobe Bryant stays healthy the Lakers can win 30 games. If he is not healthy the Lakers win 12. It’s as simple as that. The team sucks, and there is nothing that Bryant can do about it. Then there’s Nick Young. Who cares about Nick Young? Carlos Boozer is washed up! Steve Nash is out for the season. Truly, that’s a good thing. He would have made them worse. Jeremy Lin is overrated and the owners are delusional. Here’s a clip of Jeanie Buss on First Take last week. She thinks her team will make the playoffs. Excuse me. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.
San Antonio Spurs
The defending champs will look to do the same thing they do every year. Except, this year they will catch no one by surprise. They’ve been to the finals the last two season and many are expecting them to go back there again. There really is no story here. This is a great team. Expect them to be in the mix.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Kevin Durant will miss at least the first month of competition. When he comes back the Thunder return to be the force that they truly are. But instead of talking about the league’s second best player let’s talk about Russell Westbrook. Westbrook is one of the best young players in the NBA. I believe that he has a very bright future in front of him, but he really needs to know his role. He is not the best player in Oklahoma City and never will be. I believe he is the modern day Penny Hardaway. Hardaway just knew he was better than Shaq and got a rude awakening once he found out he was not. Shaquille O’Neal went on to get four titles. Durant will get his championships with or without the help of Russell Westbrook.
Eastern Conference Standings
Western Conference Standings
Los Angeles Clippers
In the East, may the Knicks will play their way in. Look out for Orlando. They are a young talented team that will be on the way this year. The West is stacked. Memphis and Phoenix both made compelling arguments for being my eighth seed. I believe in Brian Shaw as a head coach and he will lead the Nuggets to a top eighth seed.
Finals: Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Clippers
Champs: Chicago Bulls (If Derrick Rose stays healthy.)
The second round of the Major League Baseball playoffs begin tonight.
The post season will continue to be interesting. There are several complete teams and the ones that aren’t complete still figure out ways to win ball games. Let’s get started with LA and Cinderella, also known as KC.
Los Angeles Angels vs. Kansas City Royals
After a brilliant come back victory, the Royals will try to continue their miraculous playoff run. Kansas City battled back from a 7-3 deficit to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth inning. They then won the franchise’s first playoff game in over 28 years 9-8 in the in front of over 40,000 fans in Kauffman Stadium. This was my first time seeing KC in the post season, and I hope not the last.
Now that KC has their one win they will need three more to move on past the Angels. The Angels very well may be the favorites to win the whole thing, but they never go deep in the postseason and I don’t expect that to change this year. The team is stacked, but I don’t see them living up to expectations.
The season series was split. I believe the Royals will pull out the series in 4 games. What’s next? The Cubs win the World Series! Haha, not in my lifetime.
Detroit Tigers vs. Baltimore Orioles
Detroit has a phenomenal starting rotation with great hitting to back it up. This team can be unbeatable in the first round if Justin Verlander shows up and plays like a quality third starter. The Tigers can also hit with the best of teams.
Baltimore has had many injuries this year, thus why I can’t name one batter in their lineup. However, the team keeps on winning. Can this continue? I doubt it.
Expect the Tigers to sweep.
St. Louis Cardinals vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
Every year the Cardinals are in the mix. Don’t you get tired of em’? It shows that when a baseball team has a foolproof system they will always be hard to beat. I often compare the to the San Antonio Spurs. Don’t count them out either. The big story is about Clayton Kershaw. He’s the no brainer to win the CY Young and MVP, but he can only play in a maximum of two games. The rest of the rotation will have to keep the St. Louis bats at bay. And the Dodgers can do it.
The only thing I love about writing about having my own blog: my opinion. I HATE the Dodgers! So I will be puling for the Cards in 4, but we all know that this series can go the distance.
San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals
The Giants got to this game by playing a flawless playoff game against the Pirates. One swing of the bat deafened an entire city that. The last time Pittsburgh was that quite the Tampa Bay Bucs were scoring a touchdown last Sunday to pick up their first victory. Too soon? San Francisco brings experience into this series and a lot of momentum, which in baseball is all you need. Not to mention, Tim Lincecum will be in the bullpen where he flourishes. I am an Atlanta Braves fan and I hate the Nationals.
MVP and Offensive Player of the Year: Peyton Manning, again.
Until another power player comes along and puts an entire team on his back, this award will always go to Peyton Manning. He is the difference maker and he puts the most time and effort into preparing for a contest on a weekly basis. Reminder for the past two seasons he played with the same talent that Tim Tebow was privileged to.
Defensive Player of the Year: JJ Watt
His team was possibly the biggest disappointment in all of the NFL last season. There is no question that he is the best player on the defensive side of the ball for the Houston Texans. Because of that he will be a huge motivator and leader for his team. Expect the Texans to be in the playoff race.
Offensive Rookie of the Year Johnny Manziel..HAHA I made a funny. Zach Mettenberger is your winner:
I like Jake Locker, but something will happen that will force him out of the lineup. I’m thinking of another injury. There is a tremendous amount of talent at the wide receiver position for the Titans. Someone will have to get them the ball and I believe Metternberger will start at the helm by week 4.
Defensive Rookie of the Year Jadeveon Clowney:
I think that he and JJ Watt will be Batman and Robin. Clowney will get to the quarterback with no problem.
Coach of the Year Jay Gruden:
Washington went 3-13 last season. It’s pretty hard not to improve upon that. RG3 is healthy and the wide receiver core has been improved. They are in the worst division, which will help them out.