Top 5 MLB Trade Deadline Scenarios

The trade deadline is coming up.  Buyers and sellers have been determined.  Who will make the biggest deals of the weekend?

Well, I made a few trade predictions this week, and here are a few of the most likely trades.  

HM: Yonder Alonso to the Yankees for Chase Headley and a prospect


The A’s and Yankees will both be busy at the deadline.  The A’s will continue to sell while the Yankees try to become the best team in the AL East.  This trade does make sense.  The Yanks get a strong first baseman for veteran infielder Headley and some prospects.  The Yankees won’t need Headley with Frazier at third and Alonso at First.  It would make sense for the Yanks to also get Sonny Gray in this trade, but I can see them going after a different pitcher.  

5. Yu Darvish to the Yankees for 2 pitching prospects


Yup, the Yankees aren’t done after the Frazier and Alonso trades.  Yu Darvish did put ten teams on his no-trade clause, including the Rockies and Red Sox, but the Yankees were not on that list.  The Rangers are done at this point.  Time to sell.  Darvish should give the Yankees rotation a much needed boost.  With Pineda hurt, the rotation needs some more depth.  

4. Sonny Gray to the Rockies for 2 prospects


I would be shocked if Gray is still in Oakland by the end of the day on Monday.  The A’s need to rebuild, and there are other teams that need him more.  The Rockies have a fine young rotation, but a veteran mentor to boost the rotation would be helpful to this contending Rockies club.  The Rockies are likely in contention at this point, I do not see them as pretenders.  The Rockies just acquired reliever Pat Neshek, it’s time to upgrade the rotation next.  

3. Yangervis Solarte to the Cardinals for 3 prospects



The Padres have some young talent that can eventually lead their team.  But first, they have to get rid of the veterans.  It’s good to have veteran mentors, and they should hold on to Wil Myers, but Solarte has value in the market, and they can add to their farm system if they dish him off to teams like St. Louis or Boston.  Sure, the Cardinals are on the buyer/seller line, but they have done well lately and should bolster their team.  

2. Edinson Volquez to the Brewers for Jonathan Villar and a prospect


Once again, the Marlins came in with a nice team and ended up failing to push their record over .500 leading up to the deadline.  Time to sell, again.  The last few years, this team has sold at the deadline, but been active in the off-season to improve their roster.  They still haven’t had their breakthrough year.  The Brewers are looking to chase the Cubs in the NL Central. Without a trade, they could fall out of it.  The Marlins will trade at least one pitcher before the deadline, and I think Volquez will fit in in Milwaukee.  

1. Khris Davis to the Nationals for 2 prospects 


The A’s still have more good trade nuggets after these three trades.  The Athletics need to rebuild.  They are out of it.  Gray, Alonso and Davis have a lot of value in the market and should all be traded.  Lowrie may even be dished away.  The Nats need an outfielder with Eaton and Werth on the 60 day DL and Eaton done for the year.  They have some nice young outfielder, but a veteran who can hit for power is needed in Washington.  I actually thought Davis might be a nice trade target for the Red Sox back when JBJ was struggling, but the Nats need an outfielder much more.  
So, the trade deadline is tomorrow.  Which of these deals will be done?  Will there be more than this?  Find out tomorrow.  I will also be updating the Red Sox’s situation at the deadline tomorrow on sportalk.com, where I will start interning tomorrow.  If you are looking for a good experience to start your career in sports, apply to SPORTalk now.  

March Madness 2017: Previewing the Midwest Region

Welcome to Part Two of my March Madness bracket preview.  Last time, we took a look at the South Region I shared my South predictions.  Let’s get going on the next region. Today, we will look at the Midwest region.

Missed a previous post?  Check here.

March Madness 2017: Previewing the South Region

Curious about my whole bracket?  Here it is.

image1.JPG

 

Now let’s take a closer look at the Midwest portion of the field of 68.

 

#4 Purdue Related image vs. Image result for vermont catamounts logo colored background #13 Vermont

Thursday 3/16 @7:27 PM EST on truTV

Purdue has had a very good season, led by superstar player Caleb Swanigan.  They won the Big Ten in regular season play, Swanigan leading them to their best season in a while.  He led them to be a significant contender.  The Catamounts could be out to stop them though.  They have won so many games in a row, and it would be disappointing to see them lose.  Can they top Purdue though?  This could come down to the final minutes, and I could see Vermont upsetting Purdue, but there’s a good case for either team in this crucial match-up.

The Pick: Purdue

 

#5 Iowa State Related image vs. Image result for nevada wolf pack logo colored background #12 Nevada

Thursday 3/16 @9:57 PM EST on truTV

Iowa State really put on a show to end the season.  After Kansas was upset, they breezed through the Big 12 tournament and beat West Virginia in the finals.  Iowa State deserves some credit over West Virginia for that.  Nevada is in an overrated conference, so their win is not that big an accomplishment.  ISU is the better pick in my opinion, I think they will do well in this toruney.

The Pick: Iowa State

 

#7 Michigan Related image vs. osu.png #10 Oklahoma State

Friday 3/17 @12:15 PM EST on CBS

This is definitely one game I’ll be watching on Friday if I can before my ski trip this weekend.  The Wolverines are coming off an amazing tournament performance.  They are the lowest seed to win the Big Ten tourney.  Michigan could do very well in this tournament after a strong finish to the season.  However, Oklahoma State has struggled of late, but started the season very strongly.  Can Oklahoma State turn it around?  With how good Michigan’s been, it’ll be tough.

The Pick: Michigan

 

#3 Oregon Image result for oregon  logo colored background vs. Image result for iona gaels logo colored background #14 Iona

Friday 3/17 @2:00 PM EST on TBS

Iona is an interesting team and is always a challenge to play in the NCAA Tournament.  Can Oregon hold them off?  They recently lost Chris Boucher for the season to injury.  This banged up Oregon team could not beat Arizona in the Pac-12 championship.  I think Iona has a chance here.  Oregon is not at their best, and Iona will take advantage of that.  The fact that Oregon hasn’t won a game without Chris Boucher is a scary thought, and they are already an upset target with that.  Add in the fact that they’re playing Iona, a team that’s almost always been here lately and has pulled a couple upsets before and this game’s odds look a lot different.

The Pick: Iona

 

#2 Louisville Image result for louisville cardinals logo colored background vs. Image result for jacksonville state logo colored background #15 Jacksonville State

Friday 3/17 @2:45 PM EST on CBS

Jacksonville State is definitely a sleeper to watch, but come on.  The only reason they’re here is because of a good conference tourney run.  The Cardinals are one of the best teams in this year’s tourney.  They will not be stopped by a #15 seed.  Louisville is a serious contender.  Losing here would devastate them, but it won’t happen.  If you’re looking for a 15 seed to pull an upset, it won’t be in this year’s tourney, because I believe in all of the two seeds in this tournament.

The Pick: Louisville

 

#6 Creighton Image result for creighton logo colored background vs. Image result for rhode island rams logo blue background #11 Rhode Island

Friday 3/17 @4:30 PM EST on TBS

I watched Rhode Island in the Atlantic 10 championship, and even against a strong team VCU, they looked really good.  They are a serious upset candidate.  I think they have a chance against Creighton.  Creighton started the season well, but struggled in conference play.  They kind of fell apart, just not enough to lose their at-large spot.  Rhode Island is one of the highest trending teams right now, and they started this season ranked in the AP Poll.  Can they beat Creighton, a number 6 seed?  I think so.

The Pick: Rhode Island

 

#1 Kansas Image result for kansas jayhawks logo blue background vs. Image result for nc central eagles logo colored background Related image #16 NC Central/UC Davis

Friday 3/17 @6:50 PM EST on TNT

The Jayhawks are sure to beat NC Central or UC Davis.  No #16 seed has ever beaten a number one seed.  Both of these teams play in easy conferences and you can cut Kansas slack even after being upset in the conference tourney, they play in the Big 12!  The Jayhawks will definitely beat these teams, but could the Round of 32 be tougher for them?

The Pick: Kansas

 

#8 Miami Image result for miami fl hurricanes logo colored background vs. Image result for michigan state logo colored background #9 Michigan State

Friday 3/17 @9:20 PM EST on TNT

Both these teams have a chance to win, and both these teams are underrated.  The Spartans haven’t had the best season, but you never know with them.  It’s March Madness.  This is the same team that went to the Final Four as a #7 seed, but lost in Round 1 as the #2 seed.  However, Michigan State hasn’t done well since that 2016 upset.  The Hurricanes are good, but are also trending downwards, and that’s also been happening since the 2016 tourney.  I think despite their decline, the Spartans will come through this March.

The Pick: Michigan State

 

Round of 32 Preview

Here’s what the Round of 32 could look like:

#1 Kansas Image result for kansas jayhawks logo blue background vs. Image result for michigan state logo colored background #9 Michigan State

#4 Purdue Related image vs. Related image #5 Iowa State

#14 Iona Image result for iona gaels logo colored background vs. Image result for rhode island rams logo blue background #11 Rhode Island

#2 Louisville Image result for louisville cardinals logo colored background vs. Related image #7 Michigan

 

This would make for a very interesting and hard to pick Round of 32.  I like the potential URI has, so I’d put them in the Sweet 16.  Michigan and Michigan State will be a challenge for their opponents, but Kansas and Louisville are just too talented to be upset here, in the Second Round of the Big Dance.  Purdue and ISU would come down to the final seconds as well, but despite the potential the Cyclones have, I like Caleb Swanigan’s Boilermakers to win this game and advance to play Kansas in the Sweet 16.  Louisville and Rhode Island would play in the other Sweet 16 game.

 

And the projected Midwest champion is…

#2 Louisville Image result for louisville cardinals logo colored background

Louisville is a serious contender this year.  Why do I have them beating Kansas?  They have depth that really impresses me.  Quentin Snider, Donovan Mitchell and Deng Adel have helped make the Cardinals offense amazing, and Mangok Mathiang is always there on the rebound.  This is a very well rounded team that will go far, and has a serious chance to win it all.

 

 

That’s all for Part 2 of my March Madness preview.  Next stop, the East Region.

 

 

Ranking The Teams 6-1, My Version: The Dominant

Welcome to the 5th and final day of my MLB preseason power rankings.  We have finally made it to the top of the list.  The most dominant teams are here.  However, each of them had one Achilles Heel.  That will be revealed today.  Last time, we looked at some other contenders that had problems that were really holding them back.  This time, the problems aren’t as big, and because of that, these 6 teams will dominate.  Let’s get started with #6.

Missed a previous article?  Check below:

Ranking The Teams 30-25, My Version: The Ugly

Ranking The Teams 24-19, My Version: The Bad

Ranking The Teams 18-13, My Version: The Mediocre

Ranking The Teams 12-7, My Version: The Contending

 

Now that the series is over, you will be able to view all the articles under the “Ranking The Teams” tag.

6. cleveland-indians Cleveland Indians

Off-season Review

Image result for edwin encarnacion indians

The Indians had a very brief off-season, but the moves they did make made a big impact.  They signed Austin Jackson, Edwin Encarnacion, and Boone Logan.  Each of these players will help the team in a different way.  Jackson is a veteran mentor in the outfield that will rotate with the younger players.  His bat will be helpful for the Indians.  Edwin Encarnacion will play DH or first base, and his big bat will lead the Indians lineup.  Logan will be a late inning reliever and helps this bullpen’s depth.  These moves make the Indians look better than before and give them that last little push that makes them AL Central favorites.

The Case for the Indians

Image result for michael brantley

The Indians are in store for another strong season.  Despite small holes, the Indians’ lineup is looking better than before.  With Michael Brantley healthy, they could kick but.  The rotation’s top three will still kick butt, but there are problems in the 4 and 5 spots.  Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin aren’t the greatest options out there.  The Indians have always had bullpen depth issues as well, but helped resolve them by signing Boone Logan and claiming Tim Cooney off waivers.  The Indians made some big moves this off-season and will hope that leads to a bigger season.

The Achilles Heel

It’s hard to point out one singular Achilles Heel for the Indians.  The problems they have are all pretty small, but all together, they cause bigger problems.  If there was one clear weakness on this team to point out, it would probably be the outfield.  The rotation and bullpen aren’t that bad and have gotten better in recent years.  Most of the lineup is good, but the outfield could be a problem.  Michael Brantley should be good to go, but there aren’t many significant players around him.  This wouldn’t be a problem if Brantley was 100%.  But the Indians don’t have a good outfielder fully healthy.  Austin Jackson is getting older, and the Indians don’t have another significant outfielder to fill the last slot. The last slot will have to be filled by players who aren’t quite ready yet.  The choices are limited.

Best Case Scenario: The rotation thrives and a strong lineup leads the Indians back to the World Series.

Worst Case Scenario: The rotation struggles and the lineup can’t really do that much better as the Indians fail to win the AL Central.

Projected Finish: 92-70, 1st in AL Central

 

5. boston-red-sox Boston Red Sox

Off-season Review

Image result for chris sale red sox

 

Much like the Indians, the Red Sox had a very brief off-season but made the most of the moves they made.  With Big Papi retired, the Red Sox added Mitch Moreland to preserve the dominant status of their lineup.  They also traded away Yoan Moncada and three other prospects to the White Sox but got ace Chris Sale in return. Lastly, they traded Travis Shaw away for Tyler Thornburg.  Hopefully, a slimmed-down Pablo Sandoval will fill Shaw’s role.  Now, the lineup, rotation, and bullpen are better.

The Case for the Red Sox

The Red Sox are my team, so it’s hard not to be biased, but this is a very talented team.  The rotation is one of the best in the league now, led by three ace level pitchers who are all Cy Young candidates.  The lineup is still overpowered even without Big Papi, and if the back of the rotation struggles, the bullpen is improved as well.  This is a strong all-around team but could they have a weak spot?

The Achilles Heel

Image result for pablo sandoval red sox

Yes, even teams like this have an Achilles Heel.  Without David Ortiz, there is a strain put on the lineup.  Travis Shaw and Aaron Hill are also gone.  Hanley Ramirez will move to DH. Mitch Moreland will fill in at first.  But who plays third?  Pablo Sandoval has not proved himself worthy since he joined the Red Sox.  Maybe now that he lost some weight, he will have a bounce back year.  But it is pretty risky putting him in the full-time starting job at third.

Best Case Scenario: The lineup continues to do well, the rotation kicks butt, and the Red Sox win their fourth World Series since breaking the curse.

Worst Case Scenario: The lineup struggles without Big Papi, the rotation can’t find a rhythm, and the Red Sox struggle to make the playoffs.

Projected Finish: 92-70, 1st in AL East

 

4. St_Louis_Cardinals St. Louis Cardinals

Off-season Review

Image result for dexter fowler cardinals

Like many good teams, the Cardinals didn’t go all out this off-season but made a couple bold moves to improve.  They got the Cubs back and picked up Dexter Fowler, who will be a leader in a young outfield.  Now there’s competition in a tight NL Central.  They also signed Brett Cecil to add to a strong bullpen.  The Cardinals are in good shape.

The Case for the Cardinals

The Cardinals couldn’t compete with the Cubs in 2016, but they have gained on the Cubs.  The addition of Dexter Fowler has helped.  The bullpen is also better.  The rotation should improve most of all.  Lance Lynn is coming back, and I could see Mike Leake bouncing back.  That fills a strong rotation that will help lead the Cardinals.  The lineup is also better and after this off-season’s changes, the Cardinals will compete with the Cubs.

The Achilles Heel

The one problem with this team is that there’s too much pressure on the young guys to do well.  Consistency is tough for young players, and parts of their lineup include younger players like Stephen Piscotty, Randal Grichuk. and Aldemys Diaz.  You never know with these younger players.  Until players reach their prime, it’s hard to foresee how they will do.  That’s where the Cardinals are at, and they’ve been facing that problem since they decided to let their younger players take over.

Best Case Scenario: The rotation dominates, the lineup looks better and the Cardinals win the NL Central with ease.

Worst Case Scenario: The young team is inconsistent and struggles, leading them to miss the playoffs for a second straight year.

Projected Finish: 93-69, 2nd in NL Central

 

3. washington-nats Washington Nationals

Off-season Review

Image result for adam eaton nationals

Unlike most good teams, the Nationals were super busy this off-season.  They got two new catchers, Derek Norris and Matt Wieters.  They also signed Adam Lind and traded Lucas Giolito to Chicago for Adam Eaton.  They also upgraded their bullpen, signing several guys including Joe Nathan.  Will these moves be enough to finally win the Nats a World Series?

The Case for the Nationals

The Nationals are in good shape for 2017.  The rotation still looks pretty good and is led by the best duo of starters in the league.  The bullpen did have depth issues, but after this off-season, that shouldn’t be a problem.  The lineup is also looking a little bit better after an active off-season.  There could be a hole at shortstop if Trea Turner can’t play there, but Turner is the likely starter.  The Nats are looking better in 2017 and could run for a championship.

The Achilles Heel

The one problem with this team is the infield.  When Danny Espinosa left for LA, he left a hole.  Now, there are questions remaining.  Can Trea Turner adjust smoothly?  How will the lineup and infield fare without Espinosa?  Those questions must be answered, and if the Nats can say “yes” and “good” to those questions, they will do very well.

Best Case Scenario: The lineup looks better, the pitching dominates the league, and the Nationals go on to win the World Series.

Worst Case Scenario: The off-season’s lineup changes don’t work out, the rotation fails to stay healthy and the Nats fail to win the NL East.

Projected Finish: 93-69, 1st in NL East

 

2. texas-rangers Texas Rangers

Off-season Review

The Rangers are looking good after their off-season moves.  I know a lot of people think they’ll flop, but this team can be dominant, I can’t see them missing the playoffs.  They improved their rotation.  They signed former Padres pitchers Andrew Cashner and Tyson Ross to add to a strong top of the rotation.  The bullpen isn’t as good after losing Shawn Tolleson.  The Rangers also signed James Loney and Mike Napoli to fill the gaps that Prince Fielder and Mitch Moreland left.  They also resigned most of their key free agents, which preserved most of what they had last year.

The Case for the Rangers

This team is better than it looks.  You may think this lineup is getting older, but young stars are actually taking up a good part of it.  The lineup will dominate.  Meanwhile, the rotation has continued to improve.  After boosting the top of the rotation the last two years, they signed two more starters to fill out the rest of the rotation with Derek Holland gone.  The bullpen is looking better, but does it still need work.

The Achilles Heel

If you think that the lineup is the problem, you’re wrong.  The rotation isn’t perfect.  It can’t do everything.  The weak bullpen will be a problem.  It’s lacking depth, which can’t happen when the rotation is not completely solid.  This isn’t the best rotation in the MLB.  They can’t do the whole pitching job, and until they find some bullpen help in Texas, the pitching staff’s depth problems will be the Rangers Achilles Heel.

Best Case Scenario: The rotation is solid, the lineup is dominant, and the Rangers find themselves in the World Series.

Worst Case Scenario: The pitching staff holds the Rangers back, the lineup declines, and the Rangers are led to finish 3rd in the AL West.

Projected Finish: 94-68, 1st in AL West

 

1. Chicago_Cubs Chicago Cubs

Off-season Review

The Cubs did lose Jason Hammel, but they improved their depth in the rotation and bullpen.  They signed Brett Anderson and claimed Eddie Butler of waivers to help their rotation.  In order to upgrade the bullpen, they also signed Koji Uehara and traded away Jorge Soler for closer Wade Davis.  In addition, with Dexter Fowler leaving they signed Jon Jay. The Cubs are looking like World Series contenders for the third year in a row, can they make what they have into a dynasty for years to come?

The Case for the Cubs

The lineup here is looking as good as last year.  The fifth spot in the rotation could be a problem, but this team has so many bullpen options, and a few of them could compete for that 5th starting job.  This team looks ready to dominate again in 2017.  Their depth everywhere else isn’t as good as last year, but the lineup is solid, the rotation could be great, and the bullpen will help fill in the pitching’s holes.

The Achilles Heel

For such a perfect team, it’s hard to find an Achilles Heel without nitpicking.  There is one problem, though.  The lineup should be fine, but despite good options in the bullpen, if the Cubs don’t have a solid 5th starter, then the bullpen will start to get overtired, and this will cause widespread pitching staff issues.  These problems will only occur if the rest of the rotation can’t pitch a lot of innings and the 5th spot isn’t filled well., which may or may not happen.  This team is spotless for the most part.

Best Case Scenario: The lineup is at its best, the rotation dominates, and the Cubs are a lasting championship winning dynasty in years to come.

Worst Case Scenario: The rotation is problematic, depth of the lineup becomes a problem, and the Cubs lose in the ALDS.

Projected Finish: 96-66, 1st in NL Central

 

That’s it for my preseason power rankings.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Comment with your feedback and predictions.  Now, the first Baseball Bits of 2017 is coming soon, and be on the lookout for a Red Sox spring training article.

 

NFL Divisional Round Picks: Seahawks Win Again, Pittsburgh, Green Bay Just Lose

The playoffs have began to unfold, and at this point we have gotten to the Divisional Weekend.   This is the weekend that decides the final four teams, and the top 28 teams, maybe top 27 if the Pats lose, draft picks.  But I doubt it’ll be 27 because the Pats have the biggest lock of any favorite and seek revenge on the team that blew them out in 2014 like they did to the Texans last week.  Here’s an overview of all my score predictions.  Then I’ll talk about each individual game’s match-up.

NFL Postseason Schedule

Divisonal Round Playoffs Time (ET) Stadium TV
Sat, Jan 16
4:35 PM
Kansas City Chiefs
(11-5)
@ New England Patriots

(12-4)
Gillette Stadium CBS
Sat, Jan 16
8:15 PM
Green Bay Packers
(10-6)
@ Arizona Cardinals

(13-3)
University of Phoenix Stadium NBC
Sun, Jan 17
1:05 PM
Seattle Seahawks
(10-6)
@ Carolina Panthers

(15-1)
Bank of America Stadium FOX
Sun, Jan 17
4:40 PM
Pittsburgh Steelers
(10-6)
@ Denver Broncos

(12-4)
Sports Authority Field at Mile High CBS

Patriots, 30, Chiefs, 23

NEvsKC.jpg
Minitron stars and the defense steps up as the Pats get revenge on the Chiefs.

 

 

 

 

The last time these two teams played, the Pats lost to the Chiefs by 27 points.  But things are different this time.  First the rosters.  The Pats have gone younger, the Chiefs are without Jamaal Charles and Dwayne Bowe (gone now) and newbie Jeremy Maclin (questionable with injury).  Second, the place.  The game was in KC last time, but the Pats host them at Gillette this time around.  Third, the environment.  It was the regular season on Monday Night Football last time, this year it’s a 4:30 playoff game on a Saturday.  Fourth, the conditions.  It may be rainy again, but it will be colder, with more of sleet-ish showers.  The other difference is that it’s winter.  That all completely changes the game.

The Chiefs have plenty of offense, Charcandrick West, Travis Kelce, Albert Wilson, Knile Davis and Jeremy Maclin if he play, but this is a defense based team with an offense that has good individuals, but lack overall depth.  The Pats defense should be good enough to contain the Chiefs offense at least they can’t fully emerge and pick off Alex Smith, or return fumbles for touchdowns.  They’re good enough to limit them to 20 or 25 points.  The question is, is Tom Brady protected enough by a weak o-line and is the offense healthy enough to outscore that?

Some keys to the Pats offense doing well are the o-line providing enough protection, with or without Sea Bass.  They also need all their best receivers in the game, like Gronk and Edelman, to improve how the Pats do on 3rd down conversions and increase how often they score to what it was before the injuries got to this point of severity.  That is how they can get revenge.  Also, I could easily see that happening because the Pats are pumped up.  Belichick probably showed the tape from these two teams’ last meeting.  They want revenge and Belichick explained to them how to do it and had guys like Jimmy Garroppollo try to mimic Alex Smith and the Chiefs’ play style for the defense while backups on defense likely mimicked Justin Houston and Tamba Hali for the o-line and Brady to prepare.

Cardinals, 30, Packers, 26

GBvsARZ.jpg
The Packers try their hardest, but the Arizona offense and defense steps up and works as a team to win them the game.

Injuries have made a big impact on the playoffs.  I originally went with the Cards.  When I first broke it down, I changed my mind and went Packers.  But with Davante Adams out, I now have Arizona again, because I had Adams scoring the go-ahead touchdown.  Yup, injuries can decide a lot.  This game is a rematch of the ugly match-up in Week 16, when the Cards blew Green Bay out.  Aaron Rodgers struggled as the Arizona defense attacked him  Last week, Rodgers really shined.  Now he has a move on going and they might actually have a legitimate chance.  The Packers’ other issue though, is their own defense.  They have a ton of minor names that you may know but they don’t do much, like Damarious Randall, Sam Shields and Micah Hyde.

Carson Palmer and the Cardinals offense can surely score on them.  They have the weapons, Fitzy, Michael Floyd, John Brown, David Johnson and Andre Ellington, despite injuries and they have the teamwork.  Meanwhile, the Packers offense has began to really get a move on.  Guys like Aaron Rodgers, Eddie Lacy, James Starks, James Jones and Richard Rodgers struggled at one point but are all on their highest end of their seasons.  But the Cardinals defense, in some ways, can match up to them.  They got the RBs with a good rush D, but don’t have quite that good a secondary without Tyrann Mathieu healthy, not enough to even guard both Randall Cobb and Richard Rodgers, unless guys like Justin Bethel and Jerraud Powers step up, but for those reasons, the Cardinals will slip away and prevail.

 

Seahawks, 33, Panthers, 24

SEAvsCAR.jpg
Marshawn Lynch leads the Seahawks offense in his return and gets them the win.

 

If I was still doing lock and upset of the week, the Pats would be my lock, while this would be my upset.  But I say Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks keep rolling.  Lynch being back will really help.  Despite the fact that the Panthers beat the Seahawks, the Panthers only beat one other team with a record above .500.  The other 13 were against pretty bad teams.  So I thought they were the most likely to go one and done.  The Panthers have a pretty good offense,but the Seahawks defense matches up with them and will hold them up.  The Panthers defense is really good too, but I really think the Seahawks are bouncing back from a rough start and they will outlast the Panthers.  Even with Jonathan Stewart back, Beast Mode is too, and Beast Mode is boss.  He’s really good.  Top 5 running back in the league.  So Beast Mode leads the Seahawks offense and they earn a nice win.

 

Broncos, 27, Steelers, 20

PITvsDEN.jpg
The Broncos offense could struggle a bit, but the Steelers offense is too banged up and the Broncos defense is good enough anyways.

Again, injuries make an impact.  I would have went Pittsburgh if Antonio Brown was playing, Big Ben could even be out.  But the Steelers are battling a seriously banged up offense, and their offense is what took them to the playoffs.  Especially against an amazing, healthy Denver defense, the Steelers offense I don’t think will have enough power to score that much.

But the Denver offense is a little banged up itself, and it is very feast or famine, especially with Peyton Manning back in the mix.  Risk of them struggling is high, even against such a weak defense.  But I think the Denver offense has just enough in the tank to edge the Steelers.

 

So those are my picks for the Divisional Round.  Comment with your thoughts.

NFL Week 15 Match-Up Breakdown

Week 15 is a week full of playoff scenarios, grudge matches and more.  Below are some of my favorite match-ups of the week, and analysis on each of them.

carolina-panthers-logo.jpg AT  new-york-giants-logo

The Panthers take on the Giants in New York.  The Panthers fight to stay undefeated, while the Giants fight to stay relevant in playoff contention.  I personally think the Giants are still relevant and can win this game.  If games were only 58 minutes long, the Giants would be 11-2!  But unfortunately, they have to play those last two minutes, and they’ve blown 5 games in that span, including losses to the Falcons, Saints, Patriots, Redskins and Jets.  So they have to be at 6-7.  Here are some factors to a win.

Keys To A Win

Panthers

  1. Put pressure on Eli Manning.  If he can’t do well, how can this powerful offense argue?
  2. The defense needs to stay aware of not just a good passing game, but an underrated run game.  Keep those running backs in the pocket.
  3. The Panthers offense needs to look out for an underestimated Giants defense.  It’s no Panthers lock.

Giants

  1. The Panthers secondary is better than you might think.  Keep the receivers away from them, and make sure Eli doesn’t throw picks.
  2. The Giants have so many good weapons on offense.  Take advantage of that and use lots of different players on the offensive lineup.
  3. Watch out, Cam Newton can run.  He has the 6th most rushing TDs in the entire NFL.  Put some extra LBs on Newton to stop him when he runs with the ball.

Pick A Winner!

Me      My Dad     Jill

new-york-giants-logo.jpg     new-york-giants-logo.jpg       carolina-panthers-logo

chicago-bears-logo.jpg  AT Minnesota_Vikings_Logo

The Vikings try to stay relevant against the Bears today.  This actually brings a real challenge for Minnesota.  Despite the Bears’ 5-8 record, the Beras are just 1-6 at home, but 4-2 on the road, like today.  The Vikes are only 4-2 at home, despite being 8-5 overall.  Can the Bears challenge the Vikings to this division and defeat them?  Here’s how each of the teams can grab a victory.

Bears

  1. Don’t think the Vikings defense is a weakling defense.  Keep your eye out for a young, powerful monster of a defense.
  2. The backups on this offense have potential, despite having a weaker set of starters.  Split the offense equally between all players.

Vikings

  1. Stop that rush!!!  Running backs Matt Forte and Jeremy Langford have too much strength not to attract defensive attention.  Keep your eye out for those Chicago Bears running backs.
  2. Pass!!  A young but full Bears secondary will even be overwhelmed by the receiving depth this team has, including Stefon Diggs, Kyle Rudolph, Rhett Ellison, MyCole Pruitt, Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson.  AP is really the only good player in the backfield.  Pay more attention to Teddy Bridgewater and his receivers than the running game.
  3. Pressure Jay Cutler.  Cutler’s monster season has got to stop.  He struggles under pressure.

 

Pick A Winner!

Me    My Dad    Jill

Minnesota_Vikings_Logo      Minnesota_Vikings_Logo  Minnesota_Vikings_Logo

green-bay-packers-logo.jpg AT   oakland-raiders.jpg

The Packers take on the Raiders in Oakland.  The Packers fight to keep the division lead, while the Raiders fight to stay in playoff contention.  The Packers are favorites, but can the Raiders stay relevant and pull the upset handle?  There was a point when the Raiders were legit playoff contenders, above .500.  Can they go back to that or is it too late?  Keys to a win are below.

Packers

  1. The receivers, especially Davante Adams and James Jones, need to catch the darn ball.  Make sure that Aaron Rodgers doesn’t overthrow or underthrow the football too often, or this duo will fail to function.
  2. Keep Derek Carr and the rest of the Raiders offense under good pressure.  When this offense is pressured, they do absolutely nothing.
  3. Use the running game more frequently.  Eddie Lacy has potential to be a star again, and James Starks is developing into a solid player as well.

Raiders

  1. Get Derek Carr out of the pocket, and make sure he has open receivers.  That’s the Raiders’ offensive winning formula.
  2. Keep the defense ready, this Packers offense has lots of potential, yet it’s already really good.

Pick A Winner!

Me    My Dad    Jill

green-bay-packers-logo   oakland-raiders    green-bay-packers-logo

 

denver-broncos-logo.jpg  AT  pittsburgh-steelers-logo.jpg

The Broncos battle for a first round bye in Pittsburgh against the Steelers.  The Patriots can clinch a first round bye if Denver loses, so us Pats fans must root for the Steelers again, but do the Steelers have a shot?  Meanwhile, the Steelers are attempting to sneak into the playoffs.  Keys to each team’s victory is below.

Broncos

  1. Keep an eye out for not just Antonio Brown, but the rest of this strong receiving game.  Don’t focus this powerful defense too much on just the superstars.
  2. Brock Osweiler needs to keep doing whatever he’s doing.  His magic formula has made the Broncos go 3-1 under his command.

Steelers

  1. Use not just receivers, but DeAngelo Williams and the run game.  Williams has still been underused this season.
  2. The defense needs to stop the power of the Denver offense.

 

Pick A Winner

Me   My Dad   Jill

pittsburgh-steelers-logo  pittsburgh-steelers-logo      pittsburgh-steelers-logo

az-cards.jpg   AT  philadelphia-eagles-logo.jpg

Battle of the Birds!!!  The Cardinals aim for a first round bye while the Eagles fight to stay in the NFC East race.  This Sunday Night game could be a lock, upset or grudge match!  Who will win?  See the keys to a win below.

Eagles

  1. Keep Carson Palmer in the pocket to prevent too far of passes and keep him under pressure.
  2. The Cardinals secondary is more dangerous than you might think.  Keep some extra receivers open on all passing plays.
  3. Don’t underestimate the Cardinals defense in general.  Treat it like the 2013 Seattle defense.

Cardinals

  1. Also don’t underestimate the weak but young Eagles defense.
  2. Use the running game too, even though the Eagles have a weaker secondary than running game.

Pick A Winner!

Me       My Dad     Jill

philadelphia-eagles-logo.jpg   az-cards.jpg       az-cards.jpg

Want to talk about your favorite match-ups of the day?  Tell me in comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Detail:New York Yankees

This is my 23rd post in my MLB in detail daily post series this April.The Yankees fell apart last year and became temporalily stuck in the middle of nowhere.But this year the Yankees are the great and powerful Yankees again.They rebuilt during the offseason taking two former world series players,Red Sox base stealing machine Jacoby Ellsbury and Cardinals all star Carlos Beltran.My prediction for the Yanks is 2nd place(with a wild card),91-71,8th overall.The Yanks also have Jeter,Brian Roberts and Texiera ready for a good season.The Japanese crew of stars this year on the Yanks is Mashahiro Tanaka,Ichiro Suzuki and Hiroki Kuroda,all ready to star.Jeter will still have a good year even though it’s his last.The Yankees enemy and my favorite team the Red Sox will do better then them,so congrats to other Red Sox fans!The Yankees will have a good year,but they’re still not good enough for the Red Sox.