Predicting the 2015-2016 NFL Season

Sports

Preseason is just around the corner for the National Football League.

It’s that time of year to go ahead and make predictions. I will be wrong on a few things. I didn’t go through every teams schedule or single game to make these predictions. These are just based on how I feel the teams will do based on their additions over the offseason, their last season, or strength of schedule.

The teams with the toughest schedules this year are:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 147-107-2, .579
2. Cincinnati Bengals: 144-112, .563
3. San Francisco 49ers: 143-112-1, .561
4. Seattle Seahawks: 142-112-2, .559
5. Arizona Cardinals:142-113-1, .557

It’s not a shock three teams in the NFC west are in the top five, with the St. Louis Rams coming in at six.

So here we go.

AFC East Predictions

1. New England Patriots 12-4
2. Miami Dolphins 9-7
3. Buffalo Bills 8-8
4. New York Jets 5-11

Pretty obvious in my opinion. The Jets and Bills simply don’t have a quarterback. Credit to them for the moves they made elsewhere. I think both teams may have solid defenses as they both have the right personnel and offseason additions to vouch for that. But still, no quarterback, means not many wins. The Patriots (no brainer) and Dolphins both have quarterbacks who can win them games.

AFC North Predictions

1. Baltimore Ravens 11-5
2. Cincinnati Bengals 11-5
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7
4. Cleveland Browns 6-10

The Browns could be even worse than I realize. Josh McCown flat out sucks. That is their quarterback? Their defense and coaching are the only positive things about that whole organization. The Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens are miles ahead of them in the regular season and in terms of how well run each organization is. I think all three of them have a good chance to make the postseason. Meanwhile in Cleveland…yeah, no comment.

AFC South Predictions

1. Indianapolis Colts 13-3
2. Houston Texans 11-5
3. Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11
4. Tennessee Titans 2-14

There’s simply no hope for the Titans. I feel they may have the worst roster in the league. Nothing to note on defense, nothing really on offense except young Marcus Mariota. He’s being put into a position to fail as far as I’m concerned. Meanwhile Jacksonville is cursed and mourning the loss of first round draft pick Dante Fowler. Blake Bortles should have a much better year than he did last year though. As for the Texans and Colts, they will keep feasting on the unfortunate two below them. The Texans upgraded at their brutal quarterback position while the Colts upgraded their offense and made a few defensive additions.

AFC West Predictions

1. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
2. Denver Broncos 8-8
3. San Diego Chargers 8-8
4. Oakland Raiders 6-10

This is where I see things getting interesting in the league next year. I feel the Broncos will regress based on what we saw from them to end the year last year as well as their disastrous offseason this year. Such moves from them included the hiring of Gary Kubiak and Ryan Clady getting injured once again. Who will protect Peyton now?

The Chiefs are just getting better and better as far as I’m concerned. And the Chargers are the average Chargers. I do feel the Raiders will improve on their disastrous year last year. All that young talent and new coaching staff should tack on a few wins for them. In three years, look out, they may not be the laughing stock of the league anymore.

NFC East Predictions

1. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
2. Dallas Cowboys 11-5
3. New York Giants 5-11
4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The Redskins are years away from being solid team. I give them props for hiring McLoughlan as new general manager. He has won every where he’s gone and if given the time, he will turn them into a winner. It simply won’t happen in one year. Bob Griffin is probably going to stay stinking up the joint.

Then there’s the Giants who haven’t done anything to note in the regular season in a while and it appears there may not be much time left for Tom Coughlin. The Cowboys and Eagles are simply the two better teams. Whoever wins the division will be a toss up between them. I went bold and chose the Eagles but if quarterback Sam Bradford goes down, Dallas may easily win it.

NFC North Predictions

1. Green Bay Packers 13-3
2. Detroit Lions 10-6
3. Minnesota Vikings 9-7
4. Chicago Bears 4-12

The Bears…nothing positive to note there but a new coaching staff. But how many coaches can Jay Cutler go through before he starts winning games for the Bears? Their defense looks atrocious as well on paper.

Meanwhile the Vikings, Lions, and Packers all either stayed the same or improved. The Vikings did not bad for a team with a new coach last season. The Lions and Packers stayed the same or made minor additions to pick up where they left off from last year.

NFC South Predictions

1. Carolina Panthers 9-7
2. Atlanta Falcons 8-8
3. New Orleans Saints 7-9
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-10

Not sure how this division is going to exactly go. Don’t even be shocked if the Buccaneers manage to win it. Who knows how their offense will be with Jameis Winston at the helm or their defense with a season under their belt with new coach Lovie Smith.

NFC West Predictions

1. Seattle Seahawks 12-4
2. St. Louis Rams 10-6
3. Arizona Cardinals 10-6
4. San Francisco 49ers 4-12

Tough to predict this division as well. I think one thing is obvious: the Seahawks are the favourites to win the super bowl again this year and the 49ers have regressed.

It becomes a game of rotating the Rams or Cardinals. Jeff Fisher’s job is on the line this year. If they can’t improve from their 8-8 or 7-9 seasons, he could be gone. The talent is there, there is no excuse. The Cardinals meanwhile are a good team. It will be interesting to see how things end up between the two.

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How the San Antonio Spurs Won the NBA Offseason

Sports

Ladies and gentleman. I present to you the most well run organization in pro sports.

San Antonio is no big market. Yet since Gregg Popovich has taken over, the Spurs just win championships or contend every year. They never go under.

The fans thought after they demolished the Miami Heat in 2014 that their time was coming to an end. Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker were all getting old.

Kawhi Leonard is one of the few bright spots. I’d say he’s the most valuable player on the team now and reminds me of a young Scottie Pippen. He can defend and he can win games.

But one guy can not win it all for a team. The Los Angeles Clippers who took them out in seven games this year in the quarter finals were just flat out better as a squad.

So what did the Spurs do?

They won the offseason and became an even bigger contender next year.

David West took a one million a year contract in an attempt to win it all. He will be behind top five NBA player of all time Tim Duncan holding it down.

But who else did they get?

Lamarcus Aldridge. This guy just single handily changed the Spurs franchise around and will have them as big time contenders for years with Kawhi Leonard.

Wow. Not only is he damn good, is there a better big man player besides Anthony Davis hat can light it up outside the paint like Aldridge can?

He will fit Popovich’s system so well it’s not even funny. He can pass, he can shoot. He can even play inside and dominate.

He also came to San Antonio to just win.

Oklahoma City is a wild card and always a contender if Kevin Durant is healthy. Billy Donovan is a wild card as new head coach of the Thunder as well. I’m not quite sure I’d place money on them winning it all. Especially when they didn’t make the playoffs this year even with Durant on the sidelines.

Then you have Golden State who play the same style of game San Antonio does. I like to think the Spurs have heir number though in the games I’ve seen both teams play each other in. The Spurs would aim to shut the back court of Curry and Thompson down which leads Golden State ineffective. They could absolutely do it. I simply don’t see Golden State repeating again for those reasons. They will be a good team however.

And then there’s queen Lebron James and the rat pack in Cleveland. Whoever wins in the west will have a field day with that team. Like stated before, watching James lose in the NBA finals is a great past time for many. He simply won’t do it this year.

I’d like to throw in the Pelicans as a wild card. Anthony Davis may become the best player in the league soon.

So with these teams considered, I think the Spurs have a great shot at winning it all. Duncan thereafter will ride into the sunset with his six rings that put many players to shame and also the media who has never appreciated him. Yet they appreciate the losing culture on every Lebron James team.

To each his own.

The Seahawks Picked Up Where They Left Off

Sports

NFL season started on Thursday and the world champion Seattle Seahawks faced off against the Green Bay Packers live from Century Link.

The champions did not disappoint. Many have thought they could be the first team in a while to repeat as NFL champions this year.

I’m a Seahawks fan myself and have been for a while. Do I think they can repeat? I will say, I don’t know. I don’t want to be arrogant and say it’s given to them off the bat. Many things can happen in a season. Russell Wilson can go down. Percy Harvin probably will go down. There are also other teams in the league who are damn good. The New England Patriots and Denver Broncos control the AFC with the Indianpolis Colts rising as possible contenders this year. The New Orleans Saints made some fantastic draft moves this year and picked up Jairus Byrd. They will be better than last year, where they finished 11-5. The Carolina Panthers are also a question mark. They finished 12-4 and could either be just as good or come back down to earth.

Point being, the Seahawks played good. I wouldn’t say great. I’ve seen them play much better myself. The super bowl game against the Broncos is an example. But Percy Harvin showed how he elevates their offense. He stretches the field and is quick as hell. What a talent he is. And Marshawn Lynch is still just as good as he is last year. Even though the Packers defense is a joke, let’s not kid ourselves.

To me the real disappointment was Aaron Rodgers. I have respect for him and can see he is easily a top three quarterback in the league. But man did he not look like it yesterday.

It was 3rd and 4 or so and he could have easily ran it for a first down but chucked it out of bounds. That showed he was either mentally weak and not willing to take a hit, he was not making good decisions, or whatever the case may be. He did not look as sharp as he usually does. The Seahawks were good on the run. Their tackling could have been better. I’ve seen them play better defense. Rodgers looked mediocre.

Of course the Packers could bounce back next game. I still think they are the best team in the AFC north. It will be interesting to see the Bears against them this year. The Packers offensive line and defense need massive improvements and overhauls. Too injury riddled and not as effective as they both once were.

I think the Seahawks have a chance to get in as a high seed into the playoffs this year and possibly repeat what they did. They have to be scared of the Saints or 49ers getting in as higher seeds. Having to play the Saints at the superdome in the playoffs is a guaranteed loss. They are a different team at home. I also checked their schedule and honestly, they might be able to win at least thirteen of their games if they are better than last year.

Should be interesting to see how this season plays out.

The Seahawks Are Blowing the Roof Off the Building

Ramblings, Sports

It’s preseason, but the Hawks are thrashing the Bears like it’s nobodies business.

Does this sound similar to last season? The Hawks went 4-0 and won the super bowl. They looked dominant in the preseason. They lost to the Broncos this preseason but it was a close game. These last two preseason games at home they have obliterated the opposition. The Chargers and the Bears…not the worst teams.

I won’t be too quick to say they can repeat as champions. But I really do believe they will be in the running again. This team is nasty and built well from top to bottom. I said their offense would be better this season. They have Lane and Tharold Simon as reserves, extremely talented guys on defense.

I think the ones who should be worried about the NFL regular season are the Santa Clara Forty Whiners, also known as the 49ers lead by crybaby Jim Harbaugh. They have gotten their asses kicked this preseason and the St. Louis Rams are clearly on the rise in the NFC west.

What’s Up With the Detroit Tigers?

Sports

For a team that is ranked fifth in payrolls by team (probably much higher now that they took on David Price’s contract) and with such a star studded lineup, you’d think they would have not only won a few world series already but also be a no brainer to make the postseason this year. Anything short of the world series is a bust for this team.

But they aren’t even in place to be a wild card team (yet). They are second in their division behind the Kansas City Royals and now behind the Seattle Mariners in a wild card spot.

Quite embarrassing for a team with that payroll and star power. The Yankees and Phillies have higher payrolls and aren’t in the playoff picture really but let’s be honest, they don’t have the talent the Detroit Tigers do.

Miggy Cabrera who is an MVP candidate every year, Martinez, Hunter, the list goes on. They just picked up David Price to make their pitching rotation scary for the post season yet it isn’t.

I still say this team makes the playoffs, they are too talented not to. If they don’t I will gladly point and laugh at them. Like I said, this team should have won a few world series already by now.

Predicting the 2014-2015 NHL Standings

Sports

Season starts in October. Of course these will most likely not be perfect or right. As John Tortorella would say, I am just throwing shit on a wall and hoping it sticks.

Atlantic Division (Eastern Conference)
1. Tampa Bay Lightning
2. Boston Bruins
3. Montreal Canadiens
4. Detroit Red Wings
5. Toronto Maple Leafs
6. Ottawa Senators
7. Florida Panthers
8. Buffalo Sabres

A bit of a bold prediction here. I think the Lightning step up from the previous year. Coach Jon Cooper is a great coach. They have Stamkos coming back for a full year this time (most likely, let’s hope he doesn’t get injured as he’s great to watch). If Ben Bishop performs well and they step up from last year (which I think they will), they could take over the division. The Bruins are still a good team but I just think they will regress eventually. Montreal definitely has a playoff team on paper and with Price in net they are a no brainer. Detroit and Toronto will be interesting. Both are quite evenly matched. Detroit however was faced with huge, huge injuries last season and they have been trending downwards. I think they will battle Toronto for around a seventh-eighth seed spot. The bottom three teams are easy to predict. Buffalo is looking like a lottery team and their fans know it. If Ron Rolston was there for the whole season last year as coach they may have had the worst record for an NHL team since the 1995 lockout. The Florida Panthers made all these high picks and signed a bunch of guys but it’s not good enough to overtake the six teams I have ranked ahead of them. They suck and will continue to suck. Poor Luongo. The Senators have an awful roster on paper and could be a lottery team too. But with Karlsson still there, decent goaltending, and a great coach in Paul MacLean will make them not a lottery team but short of a playoff spot.

Metropolitan Division (Eastern Conference)

1. Pittsburgh Penguins
2. New York Rangers
3. Philadelphia Flyers
4. New Jersey Devils
5. New York Islanders
6. Columbus Blue Jackets
7. Washington Capitals
8. Carolina Hurricanes

This is actually quite a tough division to predict. When taking a look at things no doubt the Penguins, Rangers, and Flyers are the three best teams in the division. After them you can rotate the bottom five teams. When looking at last year the Devils lost thirteen shootouts. I highly doubt that happens again. Their roster looks quite awful but I think with Cory Schneider in net as the starter and no Brodeur they can be a playoff team or fall just short. Columbus has not impressed me much. I don’t think they repeat what they did last year. They played with a lot of heart and energy in the post season and to get there. I just don’t see it happening again this year. They might make me eat my words, who knows. I believe you could rotate them with the Devils but I’m going with the Devils this year. The Washington Capitals are a team I could see becoming a disaster by hiring Barry Trotz as a coach. He does not fit as a coach for that offensive styled team. He coaches an awful style. I see him lasting not long at all there. He coached some of the most boring hockey I have ever seen when he was in Nashville. As for Carolina, I’m not really sure if they will finish last in the division. I admittedly don’t follow them much to make a solid prediction. But I really don’t see them cracking the top eight in the conference either. They should realistically finish ahead of teams such as the Florida Panthers, Buffalo Sabres, and maybe Senators but not good enough to get into the postseason.

Central Division (Western Conference)
1. St. Louis Blues
2. Chicago Blackhawks
3. Minnesota Wild
4. Dallas Stars
5. Nashville Predators
6. Colorado Avalanche
7. Winnipeg Jets

Ah, the beauty as well as the hard times of being the western conference. Only 14 teams and 8 get to make it into the playoffs. But then most of those 14 teams are actually very good. Especially in the central division. That is going to be a tough division to play in. Perhaps the toughest in the league, tougher than the pacific division was last year. The Blues should remain as the top seed. They have been good in the regular season for years. They dumped Ryan Miller who was not working out for them and got Paul Statsny from Colorado, a solid addition to their team. Look for Tarasenko and Schwartz to be even better this year. The only problem is they have proven they can not win in the post season. That is outside the point. They will make it in as a high seed once again. The Blackhawks and Wild definitely will as well. As for the Dallas Stars, I really like what they are doing. They just added point per game player Jason Spezza to an already great offensive roster. They will be even better me thinks. Nashville has hired Peter Laviolette and left defensive minded loser Barry Trotz stranded in the desert. Great move. Laviolette has won everywhere he’s gone. He could make Nashville an exciting team to watch as well as a playoff team unlike doofus Trotz. He should go talk to John Tortorella in a steam bath about how to ruin a hockey team by playing dump and chase. End rant. The Avalanche were good last year but I just have a feeling they won’t be as good as the five teams I mentioned above them. There was a feeling as if they over achieved last year. They got off to a wickedly hot start and kept it up throughout the season. I just feel if there’s one team that won’t repeat what they did last year it is them. I hope they make me eat my words because they play an exciting brand of hockey and they are easy to root for. I just don’t have high hopes. The Jets as the worst team in this division is a no brainer. I’d be shocked if they get above seventh seed. Their roster lacks the talent the other teams in their division have.

Pacific Division (Western Conference)

1. Anaheim Ducks
2. San Jose Sharks
3. Los Angeles Kings
4. Vancouver Canucks
5. Calgary Flames
6. Arizona Coyotes
7. Edmonton Oilers

I said in a previous post on here of my most bold predictions for the year that the Canucks will make the playoffs. Of course I am sticking to that. I say they get in as a seventh or eighth seed. They will surprise people. The Kings are historically or lately not a dominant team in the season but they could care less. They’ve won two cups in three years, once as an eighth seed the other as a sixth seed. The Sharks were good in the regular season last year and have not really downgraded or anything like that. I think they could be in the same position they were in last year. They are a good team in the regular season but chokers in the post season. That’s again outside the point. They will make it to the playoffs. The Ducks are president trophy favourites this year and I think they will realistically win it. Getzlaf and Perry are still there and Boudreau is the right coach for this team…in the regular season that is. Not the playoffs where he’s never done anything. They also added Kesler and Clayton Stoner. They will be a good team in the season no question about it. Perhaps one of the most shocking picks one would see here is that I have Calgary ranked higher than Arizona. Arizona is well managed and coached but they do not have much talent at all to be a playoff team. I like what Calgary is doing. Hartley is a great coach and has them busting their asses off every game. This is coming from someone that hates Calgary as a whole. I think they will be rivals with Vancouver this season and both battling each other for that final playoff spot perhaps or a low seeded spot. The Oilers will never improve as long as Kevin Lowe is there, don’t think otherwise. Until he’s gone and out, they will continue to suck. A poorly managed organization from top to bottom.

To summarize the post season should look like:

Atlantic:
1. Tampa Bay Lightning .vs. 4. Detroit Red Wings/Toronto Maple Leafs/New York Islanders (dark horse pick)
2. Boston Bruins .vs. 3. Montreal Canadiens

Metropolitan:
1. Pittsburgh Penguins .vs. 4. New Jersey Devils
2. New York Rangers .vs .3. Philadelphia Flyers

Central:
1. St. Louis Blues .vs. 4. Dallas Stars
2. Chicago Blackhawks .vs. 3. Minnesota Wild

Pacific:
1. Anaheim Ducks .vs. 4. Vancouver Canucks/Nashville Predators (dark horse picks)
2. San Jose Sharks .vs. 3. Los Angeles Kings