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Week 4 NFL Predictions

Posted: September 29, 2012 by Shawn in NFL, Sports
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So far this year has been anything but predictable. There are some huge match ups this week so we will do our best decipher them.

New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills: The Pats are coming off two last minute losses and are under .500 for the first time in almost a decade. The Bills however have rebounded with concecutive wins after a disappointing week one against the Jets. New England lost in Buffalo last year but it is hard to see Tom Brady losing three games in a row, but the Bills have a tremendous pass rush and Ryan Fitzpatrick has look solid at quarterback since week one. Can’t imagine this being a low scoring game considering both teams suspect secondaries, Pats win a close divisional matchup and move to 2-2.

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets: The 9ers had a shocking loss in Minnesota last week and the Jets looked about as unimpressive as possible in a win at the Dolphins. West coast teams generally don’t fair well when traveling across the country and playing at 1:00, however this San Francisco team has been the exception over the past few years. Mark Sanchez has the lowest completion percentage put of any QB in the league and if continues playing at such a low level Tebow Time might become a reality once again. The Jets will want to run the ball and 49ers will not allow that to happen and Alex Smith shouldn’t have too hard of a time with New York’s defense although Antonio Cromartie has shut Randy Moss down in the past. San Fran should have their way in this one and win by double digits.

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans: The Texans have looked like the most balanced team in the league through the first three weeks. Tennessee on the other hand has been up and down but had one of the more amazing wins last week at home against Detroit. If Houston wants to continue their strangle hold on the AFC South like they have for the past two years they need to win games like this. The Titans will have to resurrect Chris Johnson to take the pressure off Jake Locker but against a Wade Philips defense that is not an easy thing to do. Division games are never easy and I think that this game will be close but the Texans just have too much talent on both sides of the ball for Tennessee to handle.

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers: This is the most intriguing matchup of the week, because once it is over both teams will be 1-3 or the record setting Saints will be 0-4. New Orleans has been unable to close the deal late in games and has proven the loss of head coach Sean Payton is a much bigger deal than anyone predicted before the season. Everyone has seen the interception turned touchdown that caused the Packers to lose last Monday Night in Seattle but one positive is the NFL Referees are back because of this blunder. QB Arron Rogers has been very outspoken this week and I believe that him and his team are going to make a statement and win convincingly and shut the door of the Saints’ season just after four games.

New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles: The Giants have played nearly perfect football the last six quarters while the Eagles got completely dominated last week against the undefeated Cardinals. Michael Vick has proven that he cannot handle a heavy pass rush and that is exactly what the G-Men have and unless Andy Reed decides to give the ball to LeSean McCoy, Philly is going to have another long day. Eli Manning looks like the best quarterback in the league right now but he has struggled in the past against the Eagles but this week will be different.

Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys: Expect to see some of Jay Cutlers patented facial expressions this Monday Night because Rob Ryan shows more looks than another defensive coordinator and Demarcus Ware will have his way with the offensive line of the Bears. Tony Romo will also have his hands full because the Cowboys’ o-line has been porous too but Romo is much better at getting the ball away under pressure than Cutler is and that should be the difference in the game.

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Here is the break down the premiere match-ups this week and then pick a winning for each game. Games are in no particular order.

1. Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers: The Bears are coming off of an impressive win in week one against the Colts. The Packers however lost their home opener to the 49ers and got manhandled in the process. I heard an analyst this morning calling this game a “must win” for Green Bay, don’t be ridiculous there is no such thing as a week two must win but if the Packers do lose at home for the second straight week it puts them two games behind Chicago in the division already and would double their lost total from last year. A lot of people are overreacting about the loss to San Fran, who was the best defensive team last year and have done nothing but improve on both sides of the ball. Although the Bears did look good in week 1 it was against Indy and Brian Urlacher didn’t look like his normal self out on the field. I believe that this Thursday Green Bay will rebound win a solid win (around 10 points) and quite any doubters.

Video Prediction: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hBlH2kbN8c

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2012 AFC Division and Wild Card Predictions

Posted: September 3, 2012 by Shawn in NFL, Sports
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AFC East:

Shawn: Barring a catastrophic injury, there is no reason why the New England Patriots will not continue their dominance in the division epically with their defensive issues by the looks of things taken care of. I expect the Jets to take a step back this year and finish third with the Bills coming in second.

Rob: The Patriots are clearly the favorite to win the AFC East in 2012. After coming 1 play short of a Super bowl trophy in 2011, the Pats loaded up on defensive help, and added a new weapon for Tom Brady in the form of Brandon Lloyd.

Jon: Patriots

AFC North:

Shawn: Even with the loss of Terrell Suggs, the Baltimore Ravens should pick up were they left off last season and win the division for the second straight year.

Rob: Getting Mike Wallace back will only help Ben Roethlisberger. The Steelers defense is aging, but can still get the job done. I see Pittsburgh winning the North in another tight division race.

Jon: Steelers (more…)

NFL Replacement Referees

Posted: August 24, 2012 by Shawn in NFL, Sports
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For the second year in a row there is a lock-out in the National Football League, however this time it does not involve the players, instead it is the referees. It is already week 3 of the preseason and the replacement referees have looked anything but professional up to this point as there have numerous blown calls that would seem obvious to even a casual fan.

The problem isn’t the fact that these new referees do not know football, as they have all refereed at other levels and also taken NFL training. The problem is that no other place they have ever been can equal the pressure these men (and now woman) are under now. Before they were in the NFL, if they made a mistake before a team would get upset about it but it would not drag on like how it does now because of the microscope that is put on them by the media and fans. The use of instant replay does not help them either, now when they make a mistake it is shown on the stadiums’s jumbotron only seconds later. Add all this to the fact that because these are in fact replacement officials not mistake will go unnoticed and they will never get the benefit of the doubt.

Besides the quarterback and coach, referees might be the most scrutinized group of people in all of football. The official NFL referees are not perfect by any means but there is a reason why they are in the NFL and that is because they are the best. These new referees are giving it there best but they are simply not as good right now and unfortunately fans like myself do not want to give them a learning curve. ESPN’s Herm Edward brought up a good point (I know that’s and oxymoron) when he said that normally when a new referee is used he is surrounded by veterans refs to help him out and guide him throughout the game, however now they are all rookies.

I never thought that I would say this but we need to have Ed Hochuli’s schmedium shirts and five minute explanations of off-sides back. Time is running out, there is less than two weeks until opening night, and if the NFL is serious as it claims it is about player safety they should be doing everything humanly possible to get the “good-guys” back.

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With a 104-98 victory in Game 4 the Miami Heat won their third straight game in the 2012 NBA Finals and haven taken a commanding 3-1 series lead vs. the Oklahoma City Thunder. No team in NBA history has ever came back to win the NBA Finals after being down 3-1 (0-30), therefore the Thunder’s chances are dim at best. To view an analysis of Game 4 click here.

If Oklahoma wants to send this series back home then they need to stop double-teaming LeBron James every time he touches the ball, because he is too good of a passer and always seem to find an open teammate for a three pointer. With the way the Miami has been shooting from distance in these playoffs the Thunder cannot afford to give wide-open looks (especially to Battier!)  because of defensive breakdowns. Late in Game 4, while James was on the bench with leg-crampings, the Heat ran the same pick-and-roll with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade three straight positions and the Thunder got burnt each time. Serge Ibaka (Bosh’s defender) was too worried about Wade getting around him off the pick, so he over helped which gave Bosh a wide-open lane to the basket.

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With back-to-back wins the Miami Heat have secured a 2-1 series lead in the 2012 NBA Finals. Game 3 was another impressive win for Miami, who have shown the resiliency to bounce back after the the going gets tough, which has been the major difference from last year. Oklahoma City cannot afford to lose their third game in a row in Game 4, if they do it will almost certainly be the end of their season.

Kevin Durant needs to find a way to stay aggressive on both ends of the floor without getting into foul trouble like he has the past two games. Durant is unstoppable on the offensive end of the court, he even told Dwayne Wade that he is too short to guard him. As dominating of a force that Durant is on offense, he is a liability on defense against Lebron James. James has changed the way he has played the past two games (both of them wins for Miami), and has decided to take the ball to the hole and has stopped settling for jump-shots. Durant is not strong enough to guard LeBron when he has this mindset (but neither is anyone on Earth), therefore the Thunder should put Thabo Sefolosha and James Harden on him. Neither of the two will be able to stop LeBron but it is a tradeoff the Thunder will have to accept because they need Durant on the floor at the end of the game. When Durant got his fourth foul in Game 3 he was forced to sit down in the third, which was the same time the Heat made their run that was ultimately the deciding factor. (more…)

The Miami Heat were able to hang on to Game 2 in Oklahoma City to tie the 2012 NBA Finals at one game each. An important thing to keep in mind is that the NBA Finals has a different game layout, due to travel difficulties, then the previous three rounds. Instead of playing in a 2-2-1-1-1 format, the Finals is in a 2-3-2 format, meaning in this series the first two games are at Oklahoma City then the next three are at Miami and the final two games (if necessary) will be back in Oklahoma City. This gives an advantage to the Thunder because even if they are down 2-3 the final two games are at the “Thunder Dome.”

Many are placing the Game 2 loss on Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, Stephen A. Smith and Magic Johnson even said it was the worst point guard play that they have ever seen in a Finals game. Magic must have forgot why people gave him the nickname “Tragic Magic” in the 1984 Finals against the Celtics. Westbrook’s stats for Game 2 are 27 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists, a steal and only two turnovers! The problem that people are having is that Westbrook shoots too much, this is not breaking news because he has been doing this ever since he has been in the league. The Thunder had a better record in the regular season when Westbrook took more shots than Durant compared to when Durant shot more that Westbrook. This is just a classic case of people over reacting to a few possessions where Westbrook was out of control. (more…)