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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 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NFL Predictions

AFC

1. Chiefs 12-4 
2. Patriots 12-4 
3. Bengals 10-5-1 
4. Colts 10-6 
5. Broncos 10-6 
6. Dolphins 10-6 

Playoffs (home team listed first) 


Wild Card Round 

Bengals 7-31 Dolphins 

Colts 34-38 Broncos 


Divisional Round 

Chiefs 21-27 Dolphins 

Patriots 37-28 Broncos 


Conference Championship 

Patriots 30-21 Dolphins 

NFC 

1. Packers 13-3 
2. Eagles 12-4 
3. Cardinals 12-4 
4. Falcons 7-9
5. Cowboys 12-4 
6. 49ers 11-5 

Playoffs (home team listed first)


Wild Card Round 

Cardinals 14-17 49ers 

Falcons 30-27 Cowboys (in overtime)


Divisional Round 

Packers 38-24 49ers 

Eagles 48-23 Falcons 


Conference Championship 

Packers 41-31 Eagles 


Super Bowl 

New England Patriots 34-38 Green Bay Packers 
Super Bowl MVP: Green Bay Quarterback Aaron Rodgers 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Starting QB Rankings


1. Aaron Rodgers 
2. Phillip Rivers 
3. Andrew Luck 
4. Peyton Manning 
5. Matt Ryan 
6. Drew Brees 
7. Russell Wilson 
8. Matthew Stafford 
9. Eli Manning 
10. Tom Brady 
11. Jay Cutler 
12. Tony Romo 
13. Joe Flacco 
14. Austin Davis 
15. Colin Kaepernick 
16. Brian Hoyer 
17. Alex Smith 
18. Ben Roethlisberger 
19. Geno Smith 
20. Andy Dalton 
21. Mike Glennon 
22. Cam Newton 
23. Kirk Cousins 
24. Nick Foles 
25. Blake Bortles 
26. Ryan Tannehill 
27. Kyle Orton 
28. Derek Carr 
29. Teddy Bridgewater 
30. Carson Palmer 
31. Ryan Fitzpatrick 
32. Charlie Whitehurst 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

NFL Predictions

AFC 

East 

New England Patriots 
Wins Over/Under: 11.5 

Buffalo Bills 
Wins Over/Under: 8.5 

Miami Dolphins 
Wins Over/Under: 7.5 

New York Jets 
Wins Over/Under: 7.5 


North 

Cleveland Browns 
Wins Over/Under: 8.5 

Pittsburgh Steelers 
Wins Over/Under: 8.5 

Cincinnati Bengals
Wins Over/Under: 8.5 

Baltimore Ravens 
Wins Over/Under: 7.5 


South 

Indianapolis Colts 
Wins Over/Under: 10.5 

Houston Texans 
Wins Over/Under: 7.5 

Tennessee Titans 
Wins Over/Under: 5.5 

Jacksonville Jaguars 
Wins Over/Under: 4.5 


West 

Denver Broncos 
Wins Over/Under: 10.5 

Oakland Raiders 
Wins Over/Under: 7.5 

San Diego Chargers 
Wins Over/Under: 7.5 

Kansas City Chiefs 
Wins Over/Under: 5.5 


NFC 

East 

New York Giants 
Wins Over/Under: 8.5 

Philadelphia Eagles
Wins Over/Under: 8.5 

Washington Redskins 
Wins Over/Under: 6.5 

Dallas Cowboys 
Wins Over/Under: 5.5 


North 

Green Bay Packers 
Wins Over/Under: 11.5 

Chicago Bears 
Wins Over/Under: 9.5 

Minnesota Vikings 
Wins Over/Under: 6.5 

Detroit Lions 
Wins Over/Under: 4.5 


South 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 
Wins Over/Under: 9.5 

New Orleans Saints 
Wins Over/Under: 9.5 

Atlanta Falcons 
Wins Over/Under: 8.5 

Carolina Panthers 
Wins Over/Under: 6.5 


West 

Seattle Seahawks 
Wins Over/Under: 11.5 

Arizona Cardinals 
Wins Over/Under: 10.5 

San Francisco 49ers 
Wins Over/Under: 9.5 

St. Louis Rams 
Wins Over/Under: 5.5 


Playoffs 

AFC 
1. New England Patriots 12-4 
2. Indianapolis Colts 11-5 
3. Denver Broncos 10-6
4. Cleveland Browns 9-7 
5. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 
6. Buffalo Bills 8-8 


Wild Card Round 

Denver Broncos 20-23 Buffalo Bills 

Cleveland Browns 17-20 Pittsburgh Steelers 


Divisional Round 

New England Patriots 34-24 Buffalo Bills 

Indianapolis Colts 28-27 Pittsburgh Steelers 


Conference Championship 

New England Patriots 27-20 Indianapolis Colts 


NFC 
1. Green Bay Packers 12-4 
2. Seattle Seahawks 12-4 
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
4. New York Giants 9-7 
5. Chicago Bears 10-6
6. New Orleans Saints 10-6


Wild Card Round 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21-35 New Orleans Saints 

New York Giants 24-21 Chicago Bears 


Divisional Round 

Green Bay Packers 35-34 New Orleans Saints 

Seattle Seahawks 31-3 New York Giants 


Conference Championship 

Green Bay Packers 20-17 Seattle Seahawks 


Super Bowl 

New England Patriots 24-27 Green Bay Packers 

Super Bowl MVP: Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers 


Award Picks 

League MVP: QB Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers 

Defensive Player of the Year: CB Joe Haden, Cleveland Browns 

Offensive Player of the Year: QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints 

Rookie of the Year: QB Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns 

Coach of the Year: Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 







Monday, August 18, 2014

Taking a break

I'll be taking a break for the rest of August. 

Be back in September,

The Sports Kid 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Eli Manning Entering Make-or-Break Year

He's won Super Bowl MVP twice. But he's also been top-two in league interceptions twice, including leading the league in picks last year. Now, at the age of 33, Eli Manning is entering a make-or break season. A season in which he will either rejuvenate his storied career, or enter a sharp decline from which he will never return. That's what this year looks like for the starting Quarterback of the New York Giants. 

The news broke on Monday. The news that David Wilson would be joining Chris Snee in retirement. Snee, a former Pro-Bowler and longtime Giant retired after an offseason back injury, saying he physically couldn't go through the grind of playing anymore. Wilson, at just 23 years of age, was also forced into retirement by an injury. He had spinal neck fusion surgery this offseason, and after announcing he was cleared to play just a few weeks ago, was told by doctors after suffering a practice injury that he could be permanently paralyzed if he ever played in the NFL again. Not only were these injuries devastating to the players that suffered them, they were also devastating to the Giants' 2014 season hopes. 

The loss of Snee makes an already appalling offensive line even worse. While the loss of Wilson not only weakens the Giants' already-poor running game, it also hurts the team's spirit. If that breaks at any point during the season, it may be too much for Tom Coughlin & co. to handle. 

Now: back to Manning. In a recent study, one sportswriter/mathematician did a study and found that if you do a study of all 27 of Eli Manning's interceptions last year, do you know how many were actually his fault? Two. That's right, two of Eli Manning's 27 interceptions last year were his fault. He threw an interception on 4.9 percent of his passes that year, an abysmally high number, especially for a Quarterback with such high prestige league-wide.

But, and there always is one, if you use the metric in which just two of his interceptions are his fault (which I firmly believe to be true), then his interception rate drops from 4.9 percent to a whopping 0.362 percent. That would put him ahead of Aaron Rodgers (2.1), his brother Peyton Manning (1.5), and even the league leader in this statistic for that year, Nick Foles, who had a 0.6 interception rate. 

It's really important that we know just how many of a Quarterback's interceptions are actually his fault before judging him on that statistic. 

Eli Manning played with the following wide receivers last year: Victor Cruz (double-teamed every game), Hakeem Nicks (zero touchdowns in what was supposed to be his breakout year), and Reuben Randle (wildly inconsistent and an above-average third Wide Receiver at best). That is the grand list of the New York Giants' 2013 receivers. 

Meanwhile, Eli's older brother, Peyton, had three Pro Bowl wideouts (Demaryius Thomas, Wes Welker, Eric Decker), as well as a Pro Bowl Tight End ("Orange" Julius Thomas), and a Pro Bowl running back (Knowshon Moreno). The younger Manning had to settle for Brandon Myers at Tight End and Peyton Hillis at Running Back. 

Hillis is perhaps the worst Running Back to start an NFL game in recent memory. Said Hillis after being signed by the Giants, "I stopped working out. I pretty much knew my NFL career was over, and I was living on my couch." Wow. That's not even a joke. The New York Giants starting Running Back for a lot of last season was working harder to get into shape than he was on actually scoring touchdowns. While Peyton Manning had Knowshon Moreno to hand-off to when in doubt, the younger Manning was handing the pigskin to a guy who had been signed off his couch, a guy who was still rounding himself into shape. 

Offensive lines matter, too. That's why the loss of Chris Snee is so huge. Manning was sacked 39 times last season with Snee blocking for him. Imagine what the line will look like this year without him. Those 39 sacks are not an outlier; the offensive line is also a big reason why Manning threw so many interceptions. If I was him I'd throw the ball too to avoid being smashed by a 300-pound monster too. And as I said earlier, a lot if times when he threw the ball with pressure on him he threw to an open man, only to see the ball be tipped and intercepted. 

The Giants brought in a new offensive coordinator in Ben McAdoo this offseason, to replace the fading Kevin Gilibride. McAdoo has said that  Manning's goal for this year is to complete 70 percent of his passes. While implausible, this is not entirely impossible. (The most recent person to do it was then-49ers Quarterback Alex Smith, who was benched that same year.) I don't know whether Manning will have a bounce-back year or another 20-plus interception year, but I do know this: it's a make-or-break year for Eli Manning, and this year may just decide the rest of his career.