2013: The best year in Kansas City sports

Kansas City is home to me and I intently watch as much KC sports as I possibly can.  Now it is the last month of the 2013 calendar year and after watching the Chiefs, Royals, and Sporting KC play all year I can say with confidence that 2013 has been the best year in Kansas City sports since I have been alive.  In years past one of the three major league teams in Kansas City might have had a good year but the Chiefs have not won a playoff game since I was 4 years old in 1993 and the Royals have never been to the playoffs while I have been alive.  Sporting KC, formally known as the KC Wizards, won the MLS Cup for the second time in team history this December after waiting over 10 years in between titles.  The Royals still did not make the MLB post season but they were fighting to get into the playoffs up until the final couple games of the MLB season.  While to most baseball teams an 86-76 record may not be satisfactory to the Royals it was a big step in the right direction.  It was the first time since 1994 that the Royals finished the season with a winning record.  And while there are still weaknesses on the team they are on the upswing and when they do make the playoffs all the years of losing will be briefly forgotten as joy takes over.  The Chiefs are my favorite Kansas City sports team and they are having an incredible turn around, one of historic proportions in fact.  After a 2-14 season in 2012 the 2013 offseason brought widespread change to the Chiefs.  First Andy Reid was brought in to coach then John Dorsey to be general manager and finally the Chiefs traded two draft picks for shunned San Francisco QB Alex Smith.  With the new leadership in place and 6 pro bowlers from the 2012 team the 2013 Chiefs hopped out to a league best 9-0 start and are now 10-3 with three games left.  If the Chiefs win a playoff game in the playoffs it will end the NFL’s second longest playoff win drought.  But in the 2013 calendar year the Chiefs have won more regular season NFL games than they had the two previous season combined.  To me that spells success no matter how you look at it.  As for Sporting KC they are champions of the MLS and it has been behind the play of goal keeper Jimmy Nielsen and midfielder Graham Zusi.  Nielsen may have played his last season as a professional goal keeper but he was the reason KC won its first MLS title in 12 years after he played brilliantly in the shootout to decide the MLS Cup.  Graham Zusi is an emerging US mens national team star and is poised to be the next face of American soccer.  These past 12 months of watching Kansas City sports has been surreal for me after years of watching losing teams all three major league teams have winning records and the city has one title and is hanging their hopes on the Chiefs to make a playoff run to New York for a Super Bowl.  The future is looking bright in Kansas City and if KC sports begin to sustain winning teams people will look back and say 2013 was the year it all started.

NFL Predictions: Week 13

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It is Thanksgiving week and that means non-stop football from Thursday through Sunday.  Some of those games of course are college football games but it is football nonetheless.  104-70-1 is my record for the year after the Vikings and Packers tied in week 12.  The bye weeks are now officially behind us and every team will play each week from here on out.

 

Nov. 28th Thanksgiving

 Packers at Lions 11:30am/CT – The Packers are still without Aaron Rodgers and I don’t think they will get any wins while he is still on the bench.  The Lions have been slipping the last couple weeks with losses to the Buccaneers and Steelers.  The Lions play on Thanksgiving every year and I think they will have the advantage at home against their divisional foes.

 Lions 28-17 

Raiders at Cowboys 3:30pm/CT – The Cowboys are in a fight for the NFC East title and will need every win down the stretch.  The Raiders are last in the AFC West and are still trying to find out who their QB of the future is Terrelle Pryor or Matt McGloin.  I don’t think the Raiders are good enough to win on the road on a short week so I’ll take the Cowboys.

 Cowboys 31-17

 Steelers at Ravens 7:30pm/CT – These two teams have seemed to find their strides late in the season and are battling it out with numerous other teams for the 6th seed in the AFC playoffs.  The Ravens are the more complete team and I think their defense will be able to handle Big Ben.  When these two teams meet it always seems to be a good game but I think the Ravens will win at home.

 Ravens 21-13

 Sunday Dec. 1st

 Noon Games

Jaguars at Browns – The Jaguars have met their win total of 2012 and are now looking for their third win of the season.  The Browns have shown some promise this season but the QB carrousel has put their offense in a tough spot.  I think the Browns defense will pull them through in this game as the Jaguars are not a very tough opponent.

 Browns 17-14

 Bears at Vikings – The Bears looked nothing like themselves last week against the Rams and will be looking to bounce back against the Vikings in Minnesota.  The Vikings are hard to predict but the Chicago defense has had success against Christian Ponder and I look for that to continue this week.

 Bears 27-21

 Titans at Colts – The Colts have looked absolutely awful in the first half of games during the month of November.  The Titans currently hold the 6th seed in the AFC and if they are going to make the playoffs they will need this win.  The Colts have struggled recently but they will bounce back this week with a statement game.

 Colts 35-17

 Cardinals at Eagles – The Eagles are tied for the NFC East lead with the Cowboys but this week they are facing a very tough defense and we will see how well Chip Kelly’s offense matches up with a top tier defense.  The Cardinals have won four straight games and I think their winning ways continue in Philly.

 Cardinals 31-27

 Buccaneers at Panthers – The Carolina Panthers are quickly becoming a media darling because of their winning streak.  They struggled a bit last week against the Dolphins but ultimately pulled out the win in the finals minutes of the game.  The Bucs have put together a couple good wins as well but in this divisional game I think they will struggle.

 Panthers 21-17

 Patriots at Texans – Andre Johnson put it best when he said “We suck.” That is exactly what the Texans are doing as they have gone from first to worst in the AFC South.  The Patriots pulled off one of the best comebacks of the year last week against the Broncos and I doubt they will have trouble with the Texans.

 Patriots 35-17

 Dolphins at Jets – This game is going to be one full of mistakes and it will be a boring game to say the least.  I’m taking a shot in the dark on this one but I think the Dolphins will come out victorious.

 Dolphins 17-14

 3:30 Games

 Rams at 49ers – The Rams defense has looked very impressive lately and the 49ers offense has become nothing special as the year has progressed.  The Rams could be a playoff team if Sam Bradford was not injured.  I think the 49ers have the edge at Candlestick Park and will win a low scoring game.

 49ers 20-17

 Falcons at Bills – The Falcons continue to disappoint and the Bills are a rebuilding team.  The Falcons offense is terrible without Julio Jones and Steven Jackson has been a letdown as well.  The Bills play solid defense and if they limit their offensive mistakes they will win this game.

 Bills 24-21

 Bengals at Chargers – The Chargers won last week at Arrowhead and ruined my prediction of a perfect home record for the Chiefs.  The offense looked good against a banged up Chiefs defense and I think they will have success against the Bengals defense without Geno Atkins.  The Bengals have been inconsistent from week to week but I think they take care of business in San Diego.

 Bengals 31-28

 Broncos at Chiefs – Both of these teams are battling injuries to key players as the Chiefs lost Justin Houston and Tamba Hali last week in a rough loss to the Chargers.  The Broncos have injuries to Knowshon Moreno, Champ Bailey, and Kevin Vickerson.  I expect this to be a very good game and if the Chiefs crowd gets into it it will be a tough day for Peyton Manning and the Denver offense.  I think the Chiefs will have the edge as the Patriots comeback against the Broncos last week will be hard for the Broncos to forget.  The winner of this game will be in the drivers seat for the #1 seed and home field advantage in the AFC.

 Chiefs 31-28

 Sunday Night Football

 Giants at Redskins – The two worst teams in the leagues worst division face each other in primetime.  Hooray!!!!  This game will be a bore and I expect the Giants to win since they have found a running game to take the stress off of Eli Manning.

 Giants 24-21

 Monday Dec. 2nd

Monday Night Football

Saints at Seahawks – The NFC’s best offense against the NFC’s best defense.  This game is going to be an incredible test for both teams and will give us a preview of what these teams will be like in the playoffs.  I think the Saints offense is going to be able to put up points on the Seahawks but they will have to keep the turnovers to a minimum.  The real key matchup will be the Saints improved defense against Russell Wilson and Percy Harvin.  I think the Saints prove they are the best team in the NFC with a tough fought road win.

 Saints 28-24

NFL Predictions: Week 12

It’s hard to believe we are only a month and a half away from the end of the NFL regular season.  Last week was another bad week for my predictions and my record is now 98-63.  Week 12 is the last week of bye weeks and the teams with byes this week are the Seahawks, Bengals, Bills, and Eagles.  

 

Thursday Nov. 21st

Thursday Night Football 7:30pm CT

Saints at Falcons – This one is a tale of two completely opposite teams.  The Saints are playing for home field advantage and the NFC South title.  Atlanta is in shambles and even though the week one matchup was a good game this one looks to be an easy game for the Saints. 

Saints 38-17

Sunday Nov. 24th

Noon Games

Jets at Ravens – The Jets are still somehow in the playoff race but the Ravens aren’t far behind and are trying to sneak into the playoffs this year.  Last week the Jets got a terrible game out of Geno Smith as he threw 3 interceptions and the Jets got killed by the Bills.  The Ravens had a weird game in Chicago and after a two hour delay they lost to the Bears in overtime. Ravens won’t have as much trouble with the Jets this week.

Ravens 24-14

Steelers at Browns – The Steelers looked good last week and Ben Roethlisberger looked like his old self throwing for 4 TDs in a win over the Lions.  The Browns have had their ups and downs on offense but the defense has been solid all year.  I believe they will continue their good play at home and beat the Steelers in Cleveland.

Browns 21-17

Buccaneers at Lions – The Lions have shown some cracks the last two weeks but they are still a legit playoff threat in the NFC.  The Buccaneers have won two straight games and are no longer last in their own division.  Nonetheless the Bucs only have two wins for a reason.  It will be interesting to see Calvin Johnson matchup against Derrelle Revis.  Lions are the better team, they win.

Lions 35-20

Vikings at Packers – The Packers are lost without Aaron Rodgers and the Vikings are just trying to survive the rest of the season.  If this game is on in your local market I feel sad for you.  This games is sure to be boring and I think the Vikings have the advantage because they do not have to face Aaron Rodgers.

Vikings 24-21

Jaguars at Texans – If the Jaguars are going to win another game this year it will be against the Titans again or the Texans, but not in Houston.  The Texans are the AFC equivalent of the Atlanta Falcons but they are having more QB problems then most teams and they are on a losing streak that has to stop sometime.  This week is where the streak comes to an end.

Texans 28-17

Chargers at Chiefs – Phillip Rivers has never had it easy when he visits Arrowhead and it will be even more brutal this week as the Chiefs return home after their first loss of the season at Denver on Sunday Night Football last week.  The Chiefs need to show some improvement across the offensive line and also need to show they can still get to the quarterback as they have not recorded a sack in the last two weeks.  Ultimately I stand by what I said earlier in the year, the Chiefs will not lose at home this season.

Chiefs 24-17

Panthers at Dolphins – The Panthers may have gotten away with a lucky call at the end of the Patriots game last week but they won’t need that sort of luck against the Dolphins.  The Dolphins surprised me by beating the Chargers last week but the Chargers defense is nowhere near the same caliber as the Panthers. Carolina takes care of business.

Panthers 28-14

Bears at Rams – The Rams are getting better each week but the loss of Sam Bradford for the year is just too much for this team to overcome.  The Bears are finding ways to win while Jay Cutler is on the bench and I believe they will win this game with a tough defense and a good running game.

Bears 17-10

3:30 Games

Colts at Cardinals – Bruce Arians faces off against the team he coached last year while Chuck Pagano was battling cancer.  This game is critical for Arizona’s playoff chances and the Colts need to return to their winning ways.  The Cardinals defense has the edge in this one as Bruce Arians knows the Colts very well.  I think the Cardinals will win in a close one at home.

Cardinals 27-24

Titans at Raiders – Matt McGloin looked like a real NFL QB in his first start last week against Houston.  Oakland returns to the Black Hole to face another AFC South foe and I think they will not have too much trouble against Ryan Fitzpatrick.  If the Titans are going to win it will have to come from the offense because the defense has not stepped up the last couple of weeks.

Raiders 24-17

Cowboys at Giants –  The Giants have seemed to find thier stride but it may be too little too late. The Cowboys are coming off their bye week and are trying to keep pace with the Eagles for the NFC East lead.  I think the Cowboys will end up winning this one but the only way they can do that is by having a great offensive game.  The Dallas defense is not very good and without Sean Lee they have major problems.  I think they overcome those obstacles and win on the road.

Cowboys 31-28

Sunday Night Football

Broncos at Patriots – The Patriots got robbed in Carolina in week 11 and they will be out for revenge against the AFC leading Broncos.  Tom Brady has had Peyton Manning’s number through the years but I don’t know if the New England defense is good enough to slow down the Broncos offense.  If the Patriots are going to win Aqib Talib will have to have a huge game to shut down Demarius Thomas.  The Broncos only loss this year came on the road and I doubt they lose another game in Denver.  This game is gonna be a shootout but I think the Denver defense is just good enough to come up with a couple stops against Tom Brady.

Broncos 38-31

Monday Nov. 25th

49ers at Redskins –  The Redskins defense is not good enough to slow down the ground and pound offense of San Francisco.  Colin Kaepernick has not been as good in the air as he was last year and now many in the bay area questioning letting go of Alex Smith.  The Redskins defense is terrible and will make Kaepernick look good this week as the 49ers win on the road.

49ers 28-21

NFL Predictions: Week 11

Last week was a terrible week for me as far as predictions go as I had a losing record for week 10.  After last week’s abysmal 6-8 I now sit at 90-56 for the season.  There are only two teams with bye weeks and they are the Dallas Cowboys and the St. Louis Rams.

Thursday Nov. 14th

Thursday Night Football

Colts at Titans 7:30pm/CT – In week 10 the Colts had a big letdown as they were blown out in Indianapolis by the Rams.  Andrew Luck had his worst game of the year and he will have to forget it as he plays on Thursday night this week.  The Titans offense is going through some tough times as Jake Locker is out for the season and now Ryan Fitzpatrick will start at QB.  I think the Colts will be out to prove that last week was a fluke and come out passing.  The Titans defense is good and Thursday night games have been sloppy this year.  The Titans have a chance but ultimately I think the Colts will pull away.

Colts 27-20

Sunday Nov. 17th 

Noon Games

Jets at Bills – The Jets just signed Ed Reed and the Bills are trying to get rookie QB EJ Manuel comfortable again as he just came back from a knee injury last week.  The Jets are in the thick of the wildcard race and if the season ended today they would be the 6th seed.  This is an AFC East divisional game and it will be closer than most expect.  The Jets have been inconsistent but should be able to pull this one out.

Jets 21-13

Ravens at Bears – The Ravens are tied with the Browns for second in the AFC North and the Bears are trying to move on without Jay Cutler under center.  The Ravens have had good and bad games but they are not going to be able to string together a winning streak if they can’t get the run game going.  If the Ravens cannot run the ball they become one dimensional and that is something you cannot do against the Bears.  I see the Bears winning at home.

Bears 21-13

Browns at Bengals – The AFC North leading Bengals have been up and down the last couple weeks and will be looking to bounce back at home against the second place Browns.  I think the Browns defense is underrated and has kept them in games this year.  If the offense can keep up they could pull off an upset like they did last week.  Although the Browns have improved this year I think AJ Green and Andy Dalton will be too much to handle.

Bengals 28-24

Raiders at Texans – This is the week the Texans losing streak comes to an end.  The Raiders have been slowly falling apart and have lost the last two weeks against the Eagles and Giants.  The Texans seem to be playing a lot better with Case Keenum as QB but losing Arian Foster for the rest of the year really hurts.  If Keenum can continue to develop his chemistry with Andre Johnson they could be a formidable duo.  Terrelle Pryor is a young QB who wowed early in the year but has since fallen back to Earth.  Texans win at home.

Texans 31-17

Cardinals at Jaguars – The Jaguars will not be 0-16 but that is only a small victory as it will still be very hard for them to win another game.  The Cardinals are in the hunt in the NFC wildcard race and will need every win they can get as their schedule gets pretty tough down the stretch.  I think the Cardinals defense will dominate the Jaguars as they win on the road.

Cardinals 27-14

Chargers at Dolphins – The Richie Incognito/Johnathan Martin incident seems to have become enough of a distraction as the Dolphins dropped the ball against the Bucs last week.  The Chargers held the Broncos to under 30 points for the first time this season and will look to improve on defense and continue to impress on offense.  If Mike Glennon can beat the Dolphins so can Phillip Rivers.

Chargers 35-21

Redskins at Eagles – The Redskins were media darlings last year but have quickly shown last year was a lucky run.  RGIII was supposed to turn this team into a contender for years to come but he can’t do that from his back and he can’t play defense.  The Redskins seem to be falling apart at the wrong time while the Eagles are gelling at the right time.  Nick Foles is a very good pocket passer and is trying to become Philadelphia’s franchise QB.  In this NFC East matchup I see the Eagles winning at home and ending a 10 game losing streak at Lincoln Financial Field.

Eagles 31-17

Lions at Steelers – The Steelers are one of those teams you expect to contend every year.  This year not so much as they have only mustered together three wins through nine games. On the other hand the Lions are in sole possession of first place in the NFC North and Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson are having quite a year together.  The Lions shouldn’t have too much trouble with the Steelers even in Pittsburgh.

Lions 38-17

Falcons at Buccaneers – The Bucs are not winless anymore as they beat the Dolphins last week.  The Falcons are playing for nothing but pride at this point and are trying to avoid going first to worst in the NFC South.  If they are to do that they must win this game because with Tampa’s win last week they are only a game ahead of the lowly Bucs.  I think the Bucs will be excited after last week but this game will still be a hard one to win.  I think Harry Douglas will have a big game unless he is covered by Revis Island.  The Falcons win on the road.

Falcons 21-17

3:30 Games

Packers at Giants – Thankfully the NFL has flexible scheduling in weeks 10-17 because this game was originally the Sunday Night Football game.  The Packers are just trying to survive while Aaron Rodgers is injured.  The Giants look to have turned the corner as they now have Andre Brown back and he has provided a spark for the New York running game.  In the end I think the Giants have the edge at home.

Giants 24-21

49ers at Saints –  In a potential playoff preview the 49ers travel to New Orleans to face the Saints.  The 49ers offense was horrendous last week against the Panthers and the Saints offense put up an NFL record 40 first downs last week.  The Niners defense is much better than the Cowboys and while they will be harder to score on I believe the Saints offense will win this game in the 4th quarter.

Saints 35-27

Vikings at Seahawks – The Seahawks are nearly unbeatable at home and I highly doubt the Vikings will give them a whole lot of trouble.  Then again the last time I said that the Buccaneers forced the Seahawks to overtime before Seattle could pull off the win.  I doubt that happens again.

Seahawks 28-17

Sunday Night Football

Chiefs at Broncos –  I could talk or write about this game for a very long time but I will try to make this short.  The Chiefs are the number one scoring defense and the Broncos are the number one scoring offense.  That is the biggest matchup in this game and will be the difference in this game.  However the Chiefs very average offense(16th overall) facing off against the Denver defense will be just as interesting to watch.  The Broncos run defense is ranked very high but that is because most teams are forced to play catchup through the air.  And that is where we find the Broncos biggest weakness, pass defense. The Broncos are ranked 31st against the pass and if the Chiefs can exploit that they could come out of Denver with a two game lead in the AFC West.  Another key to the Chiefs game plan will have to be to stop the run.  They had trouble against Buffalo in week 9 as they gave up over 200 yards rushing.  In order to stop Peyton Manning they will have to first stop Knowshon Moreno.  I believe the Chiefs will be able to stop Denver’s rushing attack and will put pressure on Peyton Manning with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston rushing the edge.  If the Chiefs can put up more than 24 points they can win this game and I think they will do just that.

Chiefs 27-24

Monday Nov. 18th

Monday Night Football

Patriots at Panthers – Tom Brady vs the Carolina defense will be an intriguing matchup and New England will need Rob Gronkowski to have a big game if they are going to win on the road.  The Panthers are hot right now as they have won 5 straight games.  I think the Patriots will have the edge in this one as they are coming off the bye week and Bill Belichick having two weeks to prepare for a team is definitely an advantage.  I think this is the week the Panthers winning streak ends.

Patriots 27-21

 

NFL Predictions: Week 10

We are now entering the back stretch of the NFL season and so far my prediction record is 84-48.  To put that into perspective I am correctly guessing 63% of the games.  The teams with bye weeks in week 10 are the Browns, Chiefs, Patriots, and Jets.

Thursday Nov. 7th

Thursday Night Football

Redskins at Vikings 7pm/CT – The Redskins are coming off of a solid win at home against the Chargers.  Minnesota is looking to not get embarrassed on national TV again while looking for their second win of the season.  I think the Redskins have the better team because of their offense. Neither team really has a good defense so this could be a RGIII vs Adrian Peterson battle.  I think the Redskins will come out on top in the end.

Redskins 27-17

Sunday Nov. 10th

Noon Games

Seahawks at Falcons – The Falcons are one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this year as they had high expectations after reaching the NFC championship game last year.  The Seahawks are 8-1 but have squeaked out two wins the last two weeks that have exposed some weaknesses in their defense.  The Falcons defense is mediocre at best and their offense is going to have to be explosive if they are to pull off the upset at home.  The Seahawks have been shaky on the road this season and if Atlanta can move the ball early the Seahawks could find themselves in a battle.  That being said I think the Falcons have too many injury issues on offense to pull off this one.

Seahawks 24-21

Bengals at Ravens – This AFC North division battle is going to be an interesting game for several reasons.  Can the Bengals assert themselves as a top team in the AFC? Or will the Ravens find a way to turn around their season and beat their division rivals.  I think the Bengals defense will help them by forcing a couple turnovers that will lead to points.  The Ravens are doing a poor job of defending their Super Bowl crown and if they lose this one they may as well kiss their post season hopes good bye.  This is a must win for Baltimore and I believe they will throw everything they can at Cincy.  However it wont be enough as Andy Dalton and the Bengals will put a stranglehold on the AFC North.

Bengals 28-20

Lions at Bears – Last week the Bears beat the Packers and now they are tied with the Lions atop the NFC North.  This game is for the division lead and the last time these two met the Lions won in a shootout 40-32.  Jay Cutler is expected to be back this week and it will make a huge difference for the Bears as they square off against the Lions and their high powered offense.  I think the Lions are a bit underrated and I think they will end up winning the NFC North and this game will prove it.

Lions 38-31

Eagles at Packers – Nick Foles tied an NFL record last week throwing for 7 TDs in one game.  The Packers lost Aaron Rodgers last week as he injured his collar bone and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks.  The Eagles are hard to put faith in as they have played very well and very poor at times this season.  However with all the injuries to the Packers offense and the Eagles seemingly finding a rhythm with their offense I think the Eagles will come out on top in Green Bay.

Eagles 31-24

Rams at Colts –  The Colts survived a tough test from the Houston Texans last week on the road and are looking to secure the AFC South.  The Rams have played admirably the last two weeks but have come up just short to both the Titans and Seahawks.  I think Andrew Luck will get pressured a lot this game by Robert Quinn and Chris Long.  On the other hand Kellen Clemens will also be pressured by Robert Mathis and I think Luck will be able to handle the pressure better than Clemens and that will lead to a Colts victory at home.

Colts 27-14

Raiders at Giants – This game is a snoozer and I don’t expect either team to dominate this game.  The Raider pass defense looked atrocious in week 9 as they gave up 7 TDs to Nick Foles.  Eli Manning is a better QB than Nick Foles and the Raiders are a bad road team. I think this game will go the home team’s way.

Giants 21-17

Bills at Steelers –  The Bills sure could have used EJ Manuel a week earlier as they had the undefeated Chiefs on the ropes last week.  The Steelers are coming off the worst performance their defense has ever had and will be looking to take out their anger on the rookie QB returning this week from injury.  I think this game will be a defensive struggle as the Steelers offense is going nowhere fast under Todd Haley and EJ Manuel will be looking to regain his confidence.  I think the Bills will squeeze this one out late.

Bills 21-20

Jaguars at Titans – Chris Johnson finally seemed to have a break out game last week and the Titans are gaining confidence with Jake Locker back under center.  The Jaguars are likely to go 0-16.

Titans 35-21

3:30 Games 

Panthers at 49ers – Both teams are riding multiple game win streaks coming into this game.  The Panthers have won 4 straight but to considerably less talented teams than the 49ers.  San Francisco has won 5 straight but none of those teams they have played have winning records.  This game should be interesting as the QBs are very similar.  Cam Newton has the better arm but Colin Kaepernick is the more athletic runner.  I think the 49ers defense will make the difference as they find a way to slow down Cam and the Panthers.

49ers 35-31

Texans at Cardinals – The Texans put on an offensive show as Case Keenum had a special night with Andre Johnson.  The Cardinals have a good secondary and it will be fun to see how they attack Keenum.  Offensively the Cardinals have an emerging running back in Andre Ellington but QB Carson Palmer is clearly past his prime and is holding Larry Fitzgerald back.  I think the Texans will win on the road as Case Keenum continues to prove he is a capable NFL QB.

Texans 24-21

Broncos at Chargers – This game will be an intense one as the Broncos are looking to keep pace with the Chiefs and the Chargers are battling for a wild card spot.  I believe this game will be a shootout and much like Denver’s game in Dallas I think it will come down to who has the ball last.  The big question that the media will focus on in this game is how will the Broncos play without John Fox on the sideline.  It is hard for me to think it will affect them a whole lot as John Fox doesn’t call plays on either side of the ball.  This game will come down to one thing, turnovers.  If the Broncos do not turn the ball over on offense they will win this game, but if they give Phillip Rivers extra chances I think the Chargers can pull off the upset.  Peyton Manning never seems to play well against the Chargers so this should be a good game but I think ultimately the Broncos will win and set up the game of the year against the Chiefs in week 11.

Broncos 38-35

Sunday Night Football 

Cowboys at Saints 7:30pm/CT – The Cowboys are leading their division but are about to face a Saints team that is coming off a very disappointing game in New York last week.  I think the Saints home field advantage is incredible and the Cowboys who have a very potent offense will make this game interesting but in the end I think the Saints offense will be too much for the Cowboys defense to handle. Demarcus Ware is back and should help the defense but will it be enough?

Saints 38-31

Monday Nov. 11th

Monday Night Football

Dolphins at Bucs 7:30pm/CT – This game will get little to no coverage of the actual game leading up to the game as more people are interested in talking about the Dolphins “bullying” scandal.  The Bucs are winless and I expect it will stay this way as the Dolphins will use the whole Incognito vs Martin ordeal as motivation.

Dolphins 24-14

Interview Critique

After watching my interview with Haley Brisben I could definitely tell there were things I could work on in my interviewing skills.  While most of my questions where good open ended questions that let my interview subject answer her questions with good detail towards the end my questions tailed off in quality.  I could also have asked more follow up questions and seemed to rely on my notecards too much.  At the end of the interview I stumbled after she said she didn’t know any Italian I still managed to ask if she had taken an Italian class before.  The aspects of the interview that I thought went well were that my first question was a good opening question that got the interview going.  I also thought I did a decent job of letting the interview subject answer without interrupting her with ums or uh huhs.  In the end there was definitely room for improvement but overall it was a good bud not great interview with room for improvement.  If I had to give myself a grade I would give myself a 22/25.  

NFL Predictions: Week 9

Happy Halloween everyone I am starting to get frighteningly good at predicting these games with an overall record of 76- 43.  This week the teams with a bye are Broncos, Lions, Giants, Cardinals, 49ers, and Jaguars.

 

Thursday Oct. 31st

Bengals vs Dolphins 7pm – These two teams are heading in completely different directions.  The Bengals started off the year a little shaky with mediocre offensive play and a loss against the Browns in a game they really should have won.  The Dolphins started 3-0 but have quickly dropped 4 straight games and are on the outside looking in on the AFC East race.  I expect the trends for both of these teams to continue and the Bengals to win in south Florida.

Bengals 35-21

 

Sunday Nov. 3rd

Noon Games 

Chiefs at Bills –  The Chiefs take their perfect record on the road as they travel to Buffalo to take on a injury ridden Bills team.  Historically the Chiefs have struggled against the Bills but this Chiefs team is different.  They are having the best turnaround of any North American sports team ever.  Let that sink in.  I think Andy Reid will have his bunch ready to go against the Bills as the Chiefs must now realize every game is a must win if they want the number 1 seed in the AFC.  Bills have stuck close in all of their games but the Chiefs defense will be too much on Sunday.

Chiefs 24-17

Falcons at Panthers – The Falcons are one of the most disappointing teams of the year and the Panthers are above .500 for the first time since 2008.  I think the Panthers are fighting for an NFC wild card spot and will show it at home on Sunday.  The Falcons are having too many injury issues on the offensive side of the ball and the defense has not been their strong point in the last couple years let alone this year.

Panthers 27-21

Vikings at Cowboys – The Vikings continue to plummet into obscurity and the Cowboys are still in first in the NFC East after a heartbreaking loss at Detroit.  I expect the fire Dez Bryant showed on the sideline last week to inspire his team to a win at home in week 9 and further cement Dallas as the NFC East leader.

Cowboys 38-21

Saints at Jets – The Saints are showing they are the best team in the NFC.  Their offense is unstoppable and Drew Brees is to the NFC as Peyton Manning is to the AFC.  The defense in New Orleans is much improved from last year and Rob Ryan has his bunch playing great football.  The Jets are a Jekyll and Hyde type of team, one week you praise them the next they fall on their face.  I think the Saints will be too much for the Jets to handle.

Saints 35-20

Titans at Rams – The Rams defense looks legit as their young pass rushers Robert Quinn and Chris Long showed up big on Monday Night Football last week.  The Titans are coming off a bye week and it will be hard to gauge what they will look like.  Jake Locker is making his second start after coming back from injury and he will lead his team to a tough road win.

Titans 24-21

Chargers at Redskins – Washington has looked confused in most of their games and their offense made Denver’s defense look elite last week.  The Chargers offense under Mike McCoy has looked a lot more consistent than they have in recent memory and I expect Phillip Rivers to have a big day.

Chargers 27-13

3:30 games

Eagles at Raiders – The Raiders are another team that is hard to put my finger on and the Eagles are having a QB merry-go-round as it seems someone new is starting every week.  I think the Raiders will win because they have been more consistent. 

Raiders 28-14

Bucs at Seahawks – The Seahawks are very good when they are at home.  The Bucs are just plain bad.  Greg Schiano is surely going to be canned soon.

Seahawks 35-17

Ravens at Browns – The Ravens are an on again off again type of team and the Browns will have some confidence at home after taking the Chiefs to the wire last week at Arrowhead.  I think the Browns defense is good enough to carry them to a win and the Ravens are still yet to find any sort of cohesiveness on offense.

Browns 27-21

Steelers at Patriots – A few years ago this would have been the matchup of the week but now it is sadly just another game.  The Patriots are still getting used to having Rob Gronkowski back and I think we will see him have a big game in the red zone as the Patriots take care of business at home.

Patriots 24-14

Sunday Night Football

Colts at Texans –  Case Keenum has officially been named the starter for Houston and Matt Schaub is riding the bench like so many fans asked for.  The Colts are coming off of a bye week but just lost Reggie Wayne for the season.  I think the Colts defense will be the key in this game.  If they can pressure Keenum early and often they will win otherwise the Texans will find a way to creep back into the game.

Colts 28-24

Monday Nov. 4

Monday Night Football

Bears at Packers –  The Bears are going to have a rough time while Jay Cutler is injured.  Aaron Rodgers is spreading the ball around nicely and Eddie Lacy has taken some pressure off the QB to carry the offense.  I like the Packers in this one.

Packers 31-21

NFL Predictions: Week 8

We are officially at the halfway point of the NFL season and my record for predictions is a respectable 66-41.  To put that into perspective I looked at Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller and Michael Schottey and their prediction records.  Matt Miller is doing very well at 73-34 and Michael Schottey is 65-42.  I think I have a good grasp on the NFL and my record seems to show that.  Teams with a week 8 bye are the Bears, Titans, Colts, Chargers, Ravens, and Texans.  

Thursday Oct. 24th

Panthers at Buccaneers 7:00pm CT – The Panthers have a solid defense and Cam Newton.  The Bucs are one of the worst teams in the league and Greg Schiano is on the hot seat if they cannot get a win.  I think this one will be another boring game as the Thursday night games seem to be mediocre at best with the players playing on a short week.  Carolina has the better team and should be able to pull out a win on the road.

Panthers 28-13

Sunday Oct. 27th

Noon Games

Cowboys at Lions – This game should be one of the better games of the day and could be a shoot out as neither team’s defense is dominating.  The Lions are coming off of a loss at home to the Bengals last week and their secondary has had some trouble with big name receivers.  I think the Cowboys will be better once Demarcus Ware gets back but until then they have no real pass rushing threat.  I believe the Lions will win this one at home in a high scoring game.  

Lions 42-38

49ers at Jaguars – Well you certainly are welcome London, we really care about making a good impression with you as we try to expand the NFL over seas thats why we chose to send the Jacksonville Jaguars to showcase our wonderful product.  This game could make the UK forever hate NFL football if it turns out to way many expect.  49ers will make mincemeat of the lowly Jaguars in London.

49ers 35-17

Browns at Chiefs – The Chiefs are the only unbeaten team left in the NFL and it will continue this week.  I am going to take this time to make a bold prediction but one I truly believe in.  The Chiefs will not lose at Arrowhead this year.  That includes this week then home games against the Broncos, Chargers and Colts.  The Chiefs are a good team but if they want to make a deep playoff run it will have to be done at Arrowhead.  The Browns are starting their 3rd different QB this season with Jason Campbell under center and he will have his hands full with Tamba Hali and Justin Houston applying pressure off the edge.  The Browns have a good defense of their own and look like they could be good if they had a proper starting QB.  In the end the Chiefs will win convincingly.

Chiefs 28-14

Dolphins at Patriots – The Patriots are going to be angry after last week and they will take it out on the Dolphins in New England.  The Dolphins started out the year 3-0 but have now lost three in a row.  The defense has been the major problem and Ryan Tannehill has been making some questionable decisions throwing the ball.  I think the Patriots will get Rob Gronkowski involved heavily in the red zone and win this one at home.

Patriots 31-21

Bills at Saints – The Saints are in my opinion the best team in the NFC.  Drew Brees and Sean Payton have the Saints offense looking like the offense that helped them win the Super Bowl in 2009.  The Bills have had a rough start to their year with an injury to EJ Manual and CJ Spiller not producing up to expectations.  The Saints have one of the best home field advantages in the NFL and it will show again this Sunday.

Saints 38-17

Giants at Eagles – The Giants finally got their first win but it was against the Vikings and they still didn’t look that good.  The Eagles are having trouble keeping their QBs healthy but Michael Vick is set to return this week and he is the best QB for Chip Kelly’s offense.  The Eagles already beat the Giants once this year and shouldn’t have a problem winning for a second time.  

Eagles 28-21

3:30 Games

Steelers at Raiders – The Steelers have now won two straight games as their defense has gotten better each week.  The Raiders are coming off a bye week and it is still hard to pinpoint what kind of a team they are.  Nonetheless I think the Steelers will win on the road in a close low scoring game.  

Steelers 20-13

Jets at Bengals – The Jets have had some thrilling 4th quarter wins this year and are trying to challenge the Patriots for the AFC East title.  The Bengals are 5-2 with loses to the Bears and Browns but they are undefeated at home and it will stay that way as they beat the Jets in Cincinnati.

Bengals 27-21

Falcons at Cardinals – The Cardinals offense has been mediocre all year as Carson Palmer looks to have been a bad decision.  The Falcons have struggled out of the gates but have the talent to turn their season around and make the playoffs as a wildcard.  I think the Falcons will win the turnover battle and it will lead to a road win for Atlanta.

Falcons 28-17

Redskins at Broncos –  The Broncos defense has holes in it and Von Miller will take a bit of time to get back to his Pro Bowl level.  The Redskins offense looked like it was returning to prominence last week as they put up 45 on the Bears and they longer RG3 stays healthy the more dangerous the skins get.  The Broncos are returning home before their bye week and will be looking to get the bad taste of last weeks loss out of their mouths.  Peyton Manning will not have a hard time putting points up against a middle of the road defense and the Broncos will win at home.  Although I will make it known I will be hoping the Redskins can pull out a win.

Broncos 42-31

Sunday Night Football

Packers vs Vikings –  Wow the NFL really messed up the primetime schedule this year as the Vikings are playing in primetime for the second straight week.  The Packers have some injury issues but Aaron Rodgers is still finding ways to spread the ball around on offense.  I don’t see the Viking putting up much of a fight. 

Packers 35-14

Monday Oct. 28th

Seahawks at Rams – The Rams just lost Sam Bradford for the year and apparently reached out to Brett Favre to play for them.  The Seahawks are considered one of the best teams in the NFL and although they are not the best team on the road they will do fine against a depleted Rams team in St. Louis.

Seahawks 28-14

 

Hockey: America’s Most Underrated Sport

 

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The NHL season officially kicked off at the beginning of October and there have been some great stories already in the young season.  The Colorado Avalanche are 6-1-0 and in first place in the Central Division after picking first in the NHL draft and have Hall of Famer Patrick Roy steering them in the right direction.  The NHL season is off to a great start but the other day I was watching Sportscenter and noticed that hockey gets little to no coverage.  This is a shame because hockey is a great game and I feel like many people in this country just brush it aside because they associate hockey with Canada.  To me hockey is a blue collar sport with beauty and grace.  Hockey combines the physicality of football with the finesse and anticipation of soccer.  The action in non stop as the teams don’t call timeouts to substitute they just have line changes during the flow of the game.  Hockey is also a brilliant sport because of the traditions in the game.  The Stanley Cup is one of the greatest if not the greatest trophy in all of sports and the NHL has rivalries that have been alive since the 1930’s and 40’s.  If you enjoy hard hitting, smooth skating, and beautiful scoring hockey may be the sport for you.  I am a person who found hockey because I was sick and tired of the NBA regular season.  Coming from a town where there is no professional basketball I became bored with the pick up game pace of regular season NBA games.  Hockey has now become my sport of choice after the NFL season is over.  Not to say I don’t watch during the NFL season just that I prefer the NFL over NHL during the fall.  Another reason hockey is a great sport is the playoffs.  If you watched any game of the 2012-2013 NHL playoffs you would understand that hockey has the best playoffs in any sport hands down.  Every game I watched from the opening round to the epic final had heart stopping moments that I couldn’t believe.  In the Western Conference Finals the Chicago Blackhawks game back from a 3-1 series deficit to win in seven games.  In the third period of game six Chicago scored 3 unanswered goals to win 4-3 and force a game seven which turned out to be an incredible game.  Hockey also has survived through some tough times like the 2004-2005 lockout in which no hockey was played the entire year.  This scare happened again in 2012 but the NHL and its players were able to some to an agreement and the season was shortened.  I think the biggest reason that hockey is not as popular as say baseball, basketball, or even NASCAR is that it is a winter sport and most people who don’t live in the northern states of America can’t relate or find hockey to confusing to follow.  This is simply not true,  hockey is fast paced with non stop action and plus it is the only team sport in which fights are tolerated. Another reason hockey is a great sport is that it is filled with honest working class guys who play the sport they love for the sport and not the money.  Hardly ever do you hear about an NHL player getting arrested or whining that he isn’t being paid enough money by his team.  This seems to happen all too often in the NFL and NBA where every other offseason someone isn’t happy being paid $10 million.  So if you are looking for a new sport to watch this year give hockey a try.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.

NFL Predictions: Week 7

So we are almost halfway through the NFL season and I have a 57-35 record with my weekly predictions.  There are only two undefeated teams left in the league and I think one of them may go down this week.  Teams with a bye week are the Oakland Raiders and New Orleans Saints.

 

Thursday Oct. 17th

Seahawks at Cardinals 7pm – The Seahawks have looked vulnerable on the road this season.  The Cardinals have struggled to put up a lot of points this season as Carson Palmer has not looked like his old self.  I think this game will be a defensive struggle and it will come down to who can produce more turnovers.  The Cardinals defense will keep them in this one but ultimately I think the Seahawks win on the road.

Seahawks 21-17

Sunday Oct. 20th

Noon Games

Bucs at Falcons – The Falcons have been one of the biggest disappointments this season as they already have more losses than they did all of last year.  The Buccaneers have yet to win a game and head coach Greg Schiano’s job security has come into question.  If either team is going to salvage this season it has to start this week.  With that being said I think the Falcons are going to struggle the rest of the season without Julio Jones.  The Falcons are coming off of a bye week and I think the fact they are playing at home will help them win this game.

Falcons 24-14

Rams at Panthers – The Panthers offense looked dangerous last week against the Vikings, but then again that was the Vikings.  The Rams pulled off the surprise of week 6 when they beat Houston on the road and Sam Bradford looked comfortable against a good defense.  However the Rams defense has been terrible recently and is going to face a tough test in containing Cam Newton.  This game is a hard one to predict but I’ll take the Panthers at home.

Panthers 28-24

Bengals at Lions – The Lions are quietly putting together a good season and are in first place in the NFC North. The Bengals are currently in first in the AFC North but have had some inconsistency issues week to week.  I believe that the Lions defensive line is going to stifle the Bengals run game forcing Andy Dalton to throw more than he wants to.  Matt Stafford has found a new target in Joseph Fauria and being at home will help the Lions’ confidence, leading them to a win. 

Lions 35-21

Chargers at Jaguars – The Chargers are an on again off again type of team and this could be a trap game for them if they are not careful.  The Jaguars looked much improved on both sides of the ball against Denver but in the end couldn’t pull off the upset of the year.  I think the Jaguars will be better off with Chad Henne under center but they will have to have a complete game with no turnovers to get a win. The offensive line of Jacksonville took a huge blow when 1st round pick Luke Joeckel went down for the season and they traded away another starting lineman.  The Jags are poised to be picking number one in the draft again and I think they will lose this game to continue their winless streak.

Chargers 31-21

Bills at Dolphins – The Dolphins are trying not to fall behind in the AFC East after two straight losses and a 3-0 start.  The Bills are just trying to get by while EJ Manuel is injured.  Divisional games seem to always bring the best out of NFL players and I think this will be the case for the Dolphins at home.  Ryan Tannehill is coming into his own as a QB and the Miami defense is improved from last year.  

Miami 27-17

Patriots at Jets – The Patriots won a thriller at home last week as Tom Brady led another 4th quarter comeback.  The Jets have been a hard team to pin down as they have been inconsistent at best.  I think the Jets will put up a fight in this rivalry game but in the end the Patriots will be too much to handle.  

Patriots 35-21

Cowboys at Eagles – This game has huge implications as it is for first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys are banged up after they lost Demarcus Ware and Demarco Murray last week against the Redskins. The Eagles have Nick Foles starting and the media has quickly decided there is a quarterback controversy brewing in Philly. I think Vick will remain the starter once he is healthy due to his running ability.  This game could be high scoring as both teams have high powered offenses and neither defense is dominant. I think this game will come down to which offense has the ball last.  I like Tony Romo to continue to put the Denver game in the rearview by throwing three touchdowns and no interceptions.  Nick Foles if he has a good game could become trade fodder for a team who is desperate for a QB.  I think the Cowboys take the lead in the NFC East with a road win this week.

Cowboys 38-31

3:30 Games

Texans at Chiefs – The Texans have named a new starting QB for the week and his name is Case Keenum.  The Chiefs have the leagues best defense and the NFL’s loudest fans.  Sounds to me like Mr. Keenum has one hell of a test in his first NFL start.  I believe the Chiefs will win this game but the offense is going to have to show some improvement against the Texans defense which is leading the league in yards allowed.  The Chiefs defense will try and keep Houston’s pick six streak alive with a relentless pass rush and aggressive man coverage.  I will be at this game so I gotta go with my hometown team.

Chiefs 28-17

Bears at Redskins – The Redskins have struggled mightily out of the gates this season and their schedule is only getting harder.  The Bears are in second place in the NFC North and are getting better each week as they get accustomed to Marc Trestman’s system.  I think RGIII will be better once he is 100% but the Bears defense has been a consistent top 10 defense for a while and at the end of the day they will keep the second year QB in check.

Bears 27-17

49ers at Titans – This game features two teams heading in opposite directions.  After a solid 3-1 start to the season Tennessee has dropped two straight games, but they lost to the Chiefs(6-0) and Seahawks(5-1). The 49ers have started to play up to their standards with three straight wins.  I think the Titans could have a chance in this one if their defense can contain Colin Kaepernick and force a couple of turnovers.  The 49ers have only played two road games so far and I think being away from home could affect them this week.  However the Titans are playing without Jake Locker and the 49ers defense is a top 5 unit. 49ers on the road.

49ers 24-21

Browns at Packers – The Packers are banged up as they head home having lost wide receivers James Jones and Randall Cobb for multiple weeks.  The Browns have become the feel good story of the NFL as they are looking to turn around the franchise after many disappointing seasons.  They have turned things around a little bit but their schedule is going to get harder as the season progresses.  I think the Browns could pull off an upset if their defense can force Aaron Rodgers into some interceptions.  I am going to be ballsy on this one and call the Browns on the road. 

Browns 28-24

Ravens at Steelers – Normally this would be the game of the week as these two bitter rivals get together for the first time this season.  The Steelers got their first win of the season last week and forced their first turnovers with two interceptions.  The Ravens barely lost to the Packers in week 6.  I think the Steelers will have a hard time winning games as long as Todd Haley is offensive coordinator and is clashing with Big Ben.  The Ravens are hard to predict week to week and I think this week I’m going against my gut.

Steelers 24-21

Sunday Night Football

Broncos at Colts – The Broncos showed some weaknesses last week against the Jaguars and their defense is vulnerable.  Peyton Manning’s homecoming to Indy will be the main storyline here and will be over analyzed and talked about to death before the game is over.  I think the Colts have a very good chance in this game because of the pass rush capabilities of Robert Mathis.  With Ryan Clady out for the season teams will target Peyton Manning’s blind side by lining up their best pass rusher on Orlando Franklin.  Robert Mathis is tied for the league lead in sacks and is known for forcing fumbles and hurried throws.  Von Miller returns for the Broncos defense and although he is a premier pass rusher he is the Broncos only real pass rushing threat which will make it harder for him to get to the QB as Elvis Dumervil is now in Baltimore.  I think the Colts can pull off the upset here because they are out to prove that they are a legitimate contender in the AFC and that last week against the Chargers was an off game.  

Colts 38-35

Monday Oct. 21st

Vikings at Giants – These two teams have combined for an impressive 1 win on the season.  The Vikings brought in Tampa Bay Bucs throwaway Josh Freeman and he is now the starting man in Minnesota after Christian Ponder got injured and Matt Cassel couldn’t cut it under center.  The Giants are a mess and Eli Manning is having one of his worst years as a pro.  I bet this is hardly watched by anyone outside of the two teams fanbases.  I know I wont watch but I’m predicting the Giants to continue their epic downfall.

Vikings 24-14