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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

NBA Playoff Picture 1.7

East 

1. Atlanta Hawks 
2. Chicago Bulls 
3. Toronto Raptors 
4. Washington Wizards 
5. Cleveland Cavaliers 
6. Detroit Pistons 
7. Miami Heat 
8. Indiana Pacers 

Round One 
#1 Hawks 4-0 #8 Pacers
#2 Bulls 4-2 #7 Heat 
#6 Pistons 4-2 #3 Raptors 
#4 Wizards 4-1 #5 Cavaliers 

Round Two 
#1 Hawks 4-1 #4 Wizards 
#2 Bulls 4-3 #6 Pistons 

Round Three 
#2 Bulls 4-3 #1 Hawks 


West 

1. Golden State Warriors 
2. Memphis Grizzlies 
3. Portland Trailblazers 
4. Los Angeles Clippers 
5. San Antonio Spurs 
6. Houston Rockets
7. Dallas Mavericks 
8. Oklahoma City Thunder 

Round One 
 #8 Thunder 4-2 #1 Warriors 
#2 Grizzlies 4-3 #7 Mavericks 
#3 Trailblazers 4-3 #6 Rockets 
#4 Clippers 4-3 #5 Spurs 

Round Two 
#8 Thunder 4-2 #4 Clippers 
#2 Grizzlies 4-1 #3 Trailblazers 

Round Three 
#8 Thunder 4-3 #2 Grizzlies 


NBA Finals 
Game 1: Bulls 
Game 2: Thunder 
Game 3: Bulls 
Game 4: Thunder 
Game 5: Thunder 
Game 6: Thunder 
Thunder In Six 
Finals MVP: Thunder Forward Kevin Durant 
League MVP: Rockets Guard James Harden 


Saturday, January 17, 2015

NFL Championship Games

Sorry, I didn't have time to write out why I thought the teams that I picked to win would win. But here's my picks below, anyway. 

Green Bay Packers @ Seattle Seahawks 
Packers 20, Seahawks 37 

Indianapolis Colts @ New England Patriots
Colts 24, Patriots 42


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Ronaldo Wins Ballon d'Or

Real Madrid/Portugal Forward Cristiano Ronaldo won the 2014 FIFA Ballon d'Or award, given each year to the best, most valuable player of the year. It was Ronaldo's second year in a row of winning the award, and his third time overall. He scored 31 goals in 30 appearances last season for Real Madrid, before struggling in the World Cup because of multiple injuries. The other finalists that Ronaldo edged out were Barcelona/Argentina Forward Lionel Messi and FC Bayern/Germany Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

NFL Divisional Round Preview

Editor's note: The number beside the team's names are not their seed but their ranking in the Sports Kid Power Rankings. 

(Home team listed in CAPITAL LETTERS)

#6 Baltimore Ravens (11-6) @ #2 New England Patriots (12-4) 
Saturday 4:35 PM ET, NBC 

I said it before the season started and I'll say it again, I think the New England Patriots are the team that's going to be hoisting the Lombardi trophy for the first time this decade at the end of the year. With that said, I'm not ready to rule the Ravens out just yet, especially considering the fact that I consider Baltimore the Patriots' biggest threat in the AFC. The Ravens match up very well with New England. Here's why. It doesn't exactly take a super trained eye to realize that Baltimore has the worst secondary in the league. You may be thinking, "Oh...ouch. Worst secondary in the league + Tom Brady= 40+ points." Wrong. Although he could effortlessly chuck up a beautiful 60 yard pass when he was 27, 37 year old Tom Brady is not 27 year old Tom Brady. Below is an illustration of Brady's completion percentage for the 2014 season for each different length of his pass attempts. 
                          
 A big part of New England's completion percentage is because Tom Brady is 37 years old and on the backend of an amazing career. But the other reason is that tight end Rob Gronkowski is the only legitimate deep threat the Patriots have. "The Gronk" leads New England in both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns with 1,124 yards and 12 touchdowns, and that's with him being on a limited snap count because of past injury for the first three games of the season. Gronkowski really truly got fully healthy again in week 5. Before that? The Patriots were 2-2. Afterwards? 10-2. The Ravens may have trouble covering the deep ball, but they certainly won't have to worry about that against this Patriots team. Barring injuries, I predict this will be a closer game than most people would expect, but I still like the Big 3 of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Bill Belichick (the best Big 3 in the league by the way ;) to get the job done against an inferior Ravens secondary. 
PATRIOTS 34, Ravens 31



#8 Carolina Panthers (8-8-1) @ #1 Seattle Seahawks (12-4) 
Saturday 8:15 PM ET FOX 

The Seahawks are 7-1 at home while the Panthers are 3-4-1 on the road. The Seahawks are #1 in fewest passing yards allowed per game, and #1 in most rushing yard per game while the Panthers are 19th in in passing yards per game and 16th in fewest rushing yards allowed per game. Basically, I don't exactly expect this to be much of a nail biter. 
SEAHAWKS 41, Panthers 17 


***GAME OF THE WEEK*** 
#3 Dallas Cowboys (13-4) @ #4 Green Bay Packers (12-4) 
Sunday 1:05 PM ET FOX 

This is the game I'm most looking forward to watching. It's also the hardest pick of the week. Just a few weeks ago, I liked the Packers to be the team that came out of the NFC and advanced to the Super Bowl. But now I'm not so sure. Green Bay may be 8-0 at home, but the Cowboys match their perfection with an unscathed 8-0 road record. The key for Dallas is to get out to an early lead. Why? Well, take a look at Aaron Rodgers' stats below,name the comparison between when his team is winning, and when they're trailing. 
                             
Rodgers has an inhuman 22 touchdowns and zero interceptions when winning, but just 7 touchdowns and 4 interceptions when trailing. When winning, his yards per attempt is an astounding 8.92. When losing? An average 6.85. The biggest difference, however, is in his passer rating. When his team is winning it stands at an amazing 126.1 but when the Packers fall behind it drops all the way to an earthly 88.6. The problem is the Cowboys are a mediocre 26th in passing yards allowed per game, which plays right into the hands of Rodgers and the pass-happy Packers. Which means that my pick would have to be Green Bay, if Aaron Rodgers were healthy. If Aaron Rodgers were healthy. But Rodgers has not practiced all week, and although he's expected to play this week, he'll be limited by a hamstring injury on the same leg that suffered an injury that kept him out for 10 weeks last year. The Cowboys are a force to be reckoned with and not to be taken lightly, so unless Rodgers can miraculously play at (or even near) 100 percent, I like Dallas to pull off the upset on the road. 
Cowboys 45, PACKERS 34 


#7 Indianapolis Colts (12-5) @ #4 Denver Broncos (12-4) 
4:40 PM ET CBS 

You may not want to think about it, but it's true. You probably don't want it to happen, but it's happening right now. Something is definitely wrong with Peyton Manning. Take a look at this stat of Peyton Manning's: 
                              
Not to mention the fact that in December, Manning's passer rating dropped to a mediocre 76.8 and he posted a jaw-droppingly in-Manningly poor 3 touchdowns to go with an awful 6 interceptions. So it's apparent that we're definitely nearing the end of the Peyton Manning era. But, the Colts are middle of the pack (18th) in fewest rushing yards allowed per game and that is where the Broncos have been dominating recently. In fact, they've been going out of their way to establish the running game early on, almost as if Peyton Manning weren't fully healthy (;). They had 753 yards rushing in the first half of the season and 1,032 in the second. The main difference maker for Denver has been  the emergence of running back C.J. Anderson. Here are his season splits: 
                           
What's interesting, though, is that he hasn't been more effective in the second half of the season than he was in the first. He averaged 4.7 yards per carry in the first half and 4.8 in the second. It's just the volume at which Denver has used him that has changed considerably. Look for a the Broncos to try and establish Anderson early on, because if there's anything I've learned through all the Colts games I've watched, it's that you can definitely run on them. Although they're primarily known as an offensive powerhouse, Denver's defense may be even better. They're 2nd in fewest rushing yards allowed per game (79.8), so that definitely doesn't help the Colts, who have the 22nd most rushing yards per game (100.8). So Indianapolis will need to rely heavily on Andrew Luck and their #1 ranked pass offense (305.9 yards per game.) Even though it's talked up more than it should be, there's no denying the Broncos have a top-five offense, meaning the Colts will have to put a lot of points up to keep up with Denver and C.J. Anderson. Since we've already established that Indianapolis' running game will likely be neutralized by Denver's defense, Andrew Luck will need to throw for at least 400 yards to keep up with the Denver offense. But the Broncos are an above-average pass defense team (9th in the league), unlike the AFC South teams Andrew Luck is used to beating up on and the Bengals team he beat last week (20th in the league, by the way.) That means that 300 yards is a more accurate projection for a Colts team that will throw the ball 40+ times. I think this game will end up being a lot like when these teams played in the regular season (the Broncos won 31-28) when Denver jumped out to an early lead, then let their guard down, letting Indianapolis make a comeback, but ultimately the Broncos snapped out of their funk and held on to win. 
BRONCOS 28, Colts 20 
     

    


 





Tuesday, January 6, 2015

NBA Playoff Picture 1.0

East

1. Chicago Bulls 
2. Toronto Raptors 
3. Atlanta Hawks 
4. Cleveland Cavaliers 
5. Washington Wizards 
6. Miami Heat 
7. Detroit Pistons 
8. Indiana Pacers 

Round One 
#1 Bulls 4-1 #8 Pacers
#2 Raptors 4-1 #7 Pistons 
#3 Hawks 4-3 #6 Heat 
#4 Cavaliers 4-2 #5 Wizards 

Round Two 
#1 Bulls 4-2 #4 Cavaliers 
#3 Hawks 4-3 #2 Raptors 

Round Three 
#3 Hawks 4-3 #1 Bulls 

West 

1. Golden State Warriors 
2. Dallas Mavericks 
3. Portland Trailblazers 
4. San Antonio Spurs 
5. Los Angeles Clippers 
6. Memphis Grizzlies 
7. Houston Rockets 
8. Oklahoma City Thunder 

Round One 
#8 Thunder 4-2 #1 Warriors 
#2 Mavericks 4-1 #7 Rockets 
#6 Grizzlies 4-2 #3 Trailblazers 
#4 Spurs 4-3 #5 Clippers 

Round Two 
#8 Thunder 4-3 #4 Spurs 
#2 Mavericks 4-3 #6 Grizzlies 

Round Three 
#2 Mavericks 4-3 #8 Thunder 

NBA Finals 
Game 1: Hawks 
Game 2: Mavericks 
Game 3: Mavericks 
Game 4: Hawks 
Game 5: Hawks 
Game 6: Mavericks 
Game 7: Mavericks 
Finals MVP: Mavericks PF Dirk Nowitzki 






Monday, December 1, 2014

NBA Power Rankings #1

1. Memphis Grizzlies 15-2
2. Golden State Warriors 14-2
3. San Antonio Spurs 12-4
4. Dallas Mavericks 13-5
5. Houston Rockets 13-4
6. Toronto Raptors 13-4
7. Portland Trailblazers 13-4
8. Los Angeles Clippers 11-5
9. Chicago Bulls 11-6
10. Washington Wizards 10-5
11. Miami Heat 9-7
12. Cleveland Cavaliers 8-7
13. Phoenix Suns 10-8
14. Atlanta Hawks 9-6
15. Milwaukee Bucks 10-8
16. Sacramento Kings 9-8
17. New Orleans Pelicans 7-8
18. Denver Nuggets 8-8
19. Brooklyn Nets 6-9
20. Indiana Pacers 7-10
21. Orlando Magic 7-12
22. Utah Jazz 5-12
23. Oklahoma City Thunder 5-12
24. Boston Celtics 4-10
25. Minnesota Timberwolves 4-11
26. Los Angeles Lakers 4-13
27. New York Knicks 4-14
28. Charlotte Hornets 4-14
29. Detroit Pistons 3-14
30. Philadelphia 76ers 0-16

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Showdown of the Favorites

The two favorites to make it to Super Bowl 49, the Green Bay Packers and the New England Patriots, will meet this Sunday. The 9-2 Patriots are atop the AFC standings, while the Packers are 8-3 and 1 game back from the 9-2 Cardinals for 1st place in the NFC. That's the same Cardinals team that just lost much-maligned-yet-miraculously-rejuvenated starting quarterback Carson Palmer to a season-ending ACL tear, but hey at least they have a good backup quarterback. Their backup and fill-in starter is Drew Stanton, one of 5 quarterbacks to start for the 0-16 Lions team back in 2008. OUCH. The point is, it appears that, at least at the moment, these two teams will likely be standing atop their respective conferences at year's end. Alas, this IS the NFL, and one play can change a team's entire season. So although it's not a given, these teams look like the two best teams in their conferences. Green Bay's road to the NFC's #1 seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs would be hindered, and possibly destroyed, if they lost to New England this week. The Patriots, meanwhile, are on an 8 game winning streak ever since all the "experts" counted them out, and denounced Tom Brady as in "steady decline." This is not that team. They dismantled their two biggest threats, the Denver Broncos and the Indianapolis Colts, in smashing fashion. They beat emerging star Andrew Luck's Colts 42-20 and Peyton Manning and the Broncos 43-21. The Packers are also on a hot streak, having looked shaky in the first couple weeks, they have been simply sensational since superstar quarterback and leading MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers went on the radio and told Packers fans to "Relax." All this game really comes down to is one simple thing: home-field. It seems to me that these teams are equally matched, with the Patriots maybe being slightly better, simply on the merit of much superior coaching. While on a neutral field New England is. at the moment, the better team, this game will be played in Green Bay on the Packers home field in front of a rowdily ecstatic crowd, so I'll take Green Bay and their thousands of cheering supporters in this one. Plus, the Packers simply need it more. As I touched on earlier, the Packers are in a tense race with the Cardinals [and maybe even the Eagles, over whom they would own a potential tiebreaker, thanks to their 53-20 victory in [score]], for 1st place in the NFC and losing this game, assuming the Cardinals win this week against the lowly 4-7 Falcons [who in the putrid NFC south are winning their division] would put them 2 games back from home-field advantage throughout the playoffs and that coveted #1 seed. The Patriots, meanwhile, look as though, barring a total meltdown, they will clinch the #1 seed. The Colts, well, the Colts have simply fallen apart, although it's been subtle. They're 7-4 this year with wins against the Jaguars [twice], Titans, Ravens, Texans, Bengals, and Giants. Two wins against teams over .500, the Ravens and the Bengals, both of whom are fighting for a playoff spot, and could be on the outside looking in when the playoffs start. Their losses? To the Broncos, Eagles, Steelers, and Patriots. Two of those losses were by 17 or more points and they gave up over 30 points in all 4. Simply put, with an reasonable schedule for the rest of the season, when Indianapolis finishes 11-5, it won't be a legitimate 11-5, it'll be a shaky 11-5. The Broncos, meanwhile, are not doing so hot themselves. They lost two weeks ago to the 4-7 Rams 22-7. the lowest output of points for Peyton Manning in his entire career with the Broncos. Last week, they narrowly defeated the frisky-and-underrated-possible-contender-yet-maybe-not-there-yet Miami Dolphins, 39-36, in a game that could of gone either way, and likely would have gone the other way had it been played on a neutral field. Speaking of the Dolphins, since nearly losing his job, third-year quarterback Ryan Tannehill has become rejuvenated and the Dolphins are officially a legitimate contender. However, I don't believe this is their year, they've been too inconsistent which is to be expected of such a young team. It should be noted, however, that Miami almost beat the scorching Packers earlier this year, in fact, it even came down to the final play. They also beat the stacked Patriots in week 1 33-20; yet another signature showing by an underrated team. At 6-5, the Dolphins are on the playoff bubble. Anyway, back to the Broncos, they go into Sunday's game at 7-4 Kansas City in a dangerous position. Should they lose, they'd be tied with the Chiefs record-wise, holding the tiebreaker because of a better in-division record. Then there's the Chargers, who also stand at 7-4, who with a win this week and a Broncos loss, would be part of a three-way tie for 1st place in the AFC west. After this week's showdown in Kansas City, the Broncos will have to travel to Cincinnati to face the 7-3-1 Bengals, and also travel to San Diego to face the Chargers. They do however, have two gimmes at home against the Bills and Raiders. So let's say that Denver lose this week, then goes 1-1 in their remaining road games and 2-0 in their remaining home games. That leaves them at 11-5 for the season. The Chiefs, meanwhile, are much better than that loss they suffered to the Raiders last week in the ultimate trap game. Here's their remaining schedule and my prediction for each game:   

vs. Denver: Win 

@ Arizona: Loss

vs. Oakland: Win 

@ Pittsburgh: Loss 

vs. San Diego: Win 

That leaves them at 10-6 for the season, which may or may not be enough for a playoff spot with the 7-4 Steelers and Ravens and the 6-5 Dolphins and Bills breathing down their neck. Here's what San 

@ Baltimore: Loss

vs. New England: Win 

vs. Denver: Win 

@ San Francisco: Win 

@ Kansas City: Loss 

That would put them at 10-6 for the season as well, so while I do still see the Broncos winning the AFC west, a little slip-up could change everything. My pick for this week's Green Bay-New England game and all the other games [besides the ones on Thanksgiving] can be found below: 

[Home team in capital letters] 

COLTS 34-23 Redskins 

TEXANS 34-14 Titans 

BILLS 24-17 Browns 

RAVENS 41-31 Chargers 

Giants 37-16 JAGUARS 

BUCCANEERS 20-17 Bengals [In Overtime] 

RAMS 44-7 Raiders 

STEELERS 45-27 Saints 

VIKINGS 14-9 Panthers 

Cardinals 30-17 FALCONS 

PACKERS 37-34 Patriots 

CHIEFS 27-20 Broncos 

Dolphins 31-30 JETS 

Enjoy a great weekend of football everybody!

The Sports Kid