Thursday, March 27, 2014

2014 MLB Preview and Unbiased Predictions

MLB Preview and Unbiased Predictions

AL East                                                             
Tampa Bay Rays          92-70 (#1 Seed)
Boston Red Sox           88-74 (Wild Card #1)    
New York Yankees      83-79                   
Toronto Blue Jays        79-83                      
Baltimore Orioles        78-84      

Quick thoughts: The AL East is up for grabs, but I think the Rays flaws are less than that of the rest and I don't think the Red Sox have the exact same magic from a year before.                      

AL Central
Detroit Tigers               90-72 (#2 Seed)                                                       
Kansas City Royals      86-76 (Wild Card #2)                      
Cleveland Indians        78-84                       
Chicago White Sox      73-89                   
Minnesota Twins         71-91    

Quick thoughts: Again its the Tigers to lose, but the gap over the Royals is possibly gone and I wouldn't be surprised if they overtake Detroit if Cabrera is hampered by injury again.                 

AL West
Los Angeles Angels   87-75 (#3 Seed)    
Oakland Athletics       84-78
Texas Rangers            83-79
Seattle Mariners         79-83                            
Houston Astos            69-93          

Quick thoughts: I wanted to pick Oakland, but Jarrod Parker going down eliminated that. I wanted to pick Texas, but look at their injury concerns. I defaulted to the Angels because of Mike Trout and Jered Weaver.                  

NL East                                                               
Washington Nationals   89-73 (#3 Seed) 
Atlanta Braves              86-76 (Wild Card #2)           
New York Mets           77-85                          
Philadelphia Phillies       72-90                               
Miami Marlins               71-91              

Quick thoughts: Two horse race and right now the Nationals are the heathier team and should be able to hold off the Braves.           

NL Central
St. Louis Cardinals      94-68 (#1 Seed)        
Cincinnati Reds           88-74 (Wild Card #1)                           
Pittsburgh Pirates        85-77                   
Milwaukee Brewers    74-88                  
Chicago Cubs              66-96        

 Quick thoughts: St. Louis is so deep and talented that I just can't see Cincinnati or Pittsburgh keeping pace. All three will feast off the Brewers and lowly Cubs.                

NL West
Los Angeles Dodgers       93-69 (#2 Seed) 
Arizona Diamondbacks    84-78
Colorado Rockies            81-81                 
San Francisco Giants       78-84                        
San Diego Padres            72-90

Quick thoughts: The only no-brainer division winner. The Dodgers will have nearly two weeks to rest up after clinching in September.

Awards
AL ROY: Masahiro Tanaka (Yordano Ventura 2nd)
AL Cy Young: David Price (Yu Darvish 2nd)
AL MVP: Mike Trout (Prince Fielder 2nd)

Quick thoughts: Tanaka wins because he's on the Yankees and already will have the world watching although Ventura and Jose Abreu of the White Sox will fare well. I'm all in on Tampa Bay and David Price this year. Mike Trout finally wins what he deserves.

NL ROY: Billy Hamilton (by default b/c there are a ton of guys who could win IMO)
NL Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw (Stephen Strasburg 2nd)
NL MVP: Paul Goldschmidt (Andrew McCutchen 2nd)

Quick thoughts: I really don't think the NL ROY is going to start on a major league roster in April. That being the case, anyone can win. As for Cy Young, the NL is very deep at stud pitchers, but I think Kershaw/Strasburg will get the most ink thoughout the season. I couldn't go with Bryce Harper at MVP because I don't think he's well liked enough to win.

Playoffs

American Leauge
Royals over Red Sox in the play-in game

Rays over Royals in 6 games
Tigers over Rangers in 7 games

Rays over Tigers in 6 games

National League
Braves over Reds in the play-in game

Cardinals over Braves in 5 games
Nationals over Dodgers in 7 games (Please be Strasburg vs. Kershaw!!!)

Cardinals over Nationals in 6 games

World Series

Cardinals over Rays in 6 games

World Series MVP Matt Carpenter

                          

Friday, March 7, 2014

Sports Bucket List

Now that I'm inching towards the halfway point of the average life expectancy (77.4 years as of 2008 per Wikipedia) for men I figured I'd better start piecing together my Sports Bucket List. Everyone will probably create some type of bucket list during their lifetime and I'm sure I'll do one as well that is not centered around sports, but for now this is what I want to do/see/visit/enjoy before I'm laid to rest. 

What a morbid topic Jason...let me tell you what got me thinking about this. I was watching the first UNC v Duke men's basketball game this year and tweeted to @midatlanticbias (another Jason) who happens to be a Duke fan that we should watch a season series of UNC/Duke with each other. Him walking into the palace that is the Dean Dome and me slithering into the cramped, overheated high school gym that is Cameron Indoor Stadium. Now I have already watched a game in each of the two locations. About a decade ago I went with a high school friend to watch a U. of Maryland vs Duke game near the height of their rivalry. I wore a red t-shirt with the words 'Kick Their Ass' written on it in the heart of the 'Cameron Crazies.' Outside of the ticket taker, not one student said a mean word to me. I didn't even get that many dirty looks. Duke won which probably kept me from getting into a shoving match post game, but the experience was fun. Just last month I finally got to see UNC play at home when they defeated Pitt. The place was loud and it was nice to be surrounded by a bunch of fans rooting for the same team unlike my previous three UNC games that I had seen in person: 1) at Princeton 2) in DC during the ACC tournament with a mixed bag of fans 3) at the ACC Championship game last season with a bunch of Miami fans in my section as the Hurricanes won the title.

Okay I'm getting off track...back to the bucket list.

The easiest way for me will be going from sport to sport (whether you like it or not, I will be including poker as a sport).

Baseball

1) Attend a Game 7 - any Game 7 (bonus points to it including the Oakland Athletics or Washington Nationals). I was fortunate enough to see a playoff game finally two seasons ago when Jayson Werth hit a walk-off HR in Game 4 against St. Louis for the Nationals. I don't remember what ever came of that Game 5 though.

2) See the All-Star festivities - Mainly I want to watch a HR derby. Yes I'm an old soul when it comes to baseball and I thoroughly enjoy a good old fashioned HR derby. I'd go to the All Star game too, but the derby does it for me more so.

3) 30 games in 30 (or 31) days - Maybe not like this one, but something similar without the plane flights. Me and three other people in a camper going coast to coast. It can be done with the right scheduling by MLB as long as the teams who share cities play on the same day and night so you can hit both in one day. I'll blog it if somebody's wants to pay for it :)

4) Throw live to a major league hitter - This one is about 4 years expired as my shoulder has gone to hell, but what I wouldn't have given to throw live to any MLBer during my prime. Sure they would've crushed me, but what fun I would've had.

5) Spend a week with my High School pals in Arizona for Spring Training - My core high school group of friends included two A's fans, a Cubs fan, a Brewers fan, a Yankees fan and a Tigers fan. 4-2 Arizona to Florida (plus I've been to spring training in Florida). 

6) Go to Opening Day - This seems like an easy one to accomplish, but I have never gotten around to doing it. Shame on me.

Football

1) Watch the Redskins play (and win) an NFC Championship Game at home - This has many factors that 20 years ago looked to be a distinct possibility, but now looks near impossible. The Redskins have hosted just two playoff games since moving out of DC. I could be sitting on this one for a while.

2) Go to a Super Bowl when the Redskins aren't playing - Jokes aside about how easy this one could be, I don't think I'd like to be in house while the Redskins are playing in a Super Bowl. I'd much rather be around my friends and family. Football is the one sport that I like watching in a social atmosphere. I cuss far too much when watching baseball, hockey and college basketball to be around people I care about.

3) See JMU make the jump to Division 1 and watch UNC play for a National Championship - JMU seems on the cusp of making the leap away from 1-AA (I'm not using the proper terminology for a reason). Then when they beat Virginia Tech it won't be as much as a shock. UNC had a great season in 1997 and have been up and down since (with some help from some boosters and tutors). My hope is they at least play in a BCS level game in the next few years and possibly have that one magical season within the next 10-15 years.

Basketball

1) Go to a Final Four - I possibly could stomach watching UNC live there, but I'd probably be escorted out of the building before the first television timeout. There was a distinct possibility that I was going to get to go to the Final Four in New Orleans in 2012 through a work connection via my sister if UNC had gone, but stupid ass Creighton had to go and injure Kendall Marshall and derail a probable UNC/UK rematch. Still, and forever, bitter.

2) Watch UNC/Duke in both arenas - Already discussed above.

3) Be on UNC's campus during a Final Four/Championship victory - I have been on campus for four UNC games in my life. I was there when UNC lost to Duke, I was there when UNC lost the 1998 Final Four to Utah and I was there when UNC lost to Florida in the 2000 Final Four. Thankfully UNC beat Pitt last month or I may have never gone back.

4) Watch JMU become the next GMU/VCU/Wichita St. - I went to James Madison University (shocking as that is with my affinity to UNC throughout this blog) from 1996-2000. After making the NCAA Tournament in 1994 which was the culmination of 5 straight CAA regular season titles, I had hopes that JMU might be really good while I was there. After all they had legendary head coach Lefty Driesell at the helm. He had spoken to the freshman during orientation in 1996 and then promptly stepped down after our freshman year to go to Georgia St.. JMU won 16 games my freshman year, 11 my sophomore year, 16 my junior year and then had a great senior year with 20 wins. They didn't make the NCAA throughout until breaking a lengthy drought with an appearance last season where they picked up a play-in (1st round) win before losing to Indiana. What I want to see is JMU become the darling of the nation for three weekends in March/April. They don't have to win it all, but to emulate what fellow CAA members GMU and VCU have done would be nice (as long as they don't step on UNC like GMU did).

5) Witness the Washington Bullets Wizards return to glory - The reason I'm a Detroit Pistons fan is because the Washington franchise was just too embarrassing when I was a youth. I like the direction they are finally heading in with youthful talent and hopefully they're getting good enough to woo a veteran superstar to get them over the hump. No I don't think LeBron is headed to D.C., but I just can't understand why people won't consider playing here now that Washington has a couple of pieces in place to win.

Hockey

1) Go to the Winter Classic in 2015 - There is only one item on my Christmas list this year and it's to go to the spectacle that is the Winter Classic. With the Washington Capitals trending downward, next year could be a major crossroads for the franchise. Which leads me into the only bucket list item that matters for this category...

2) Witness a Stanley Cup for the Capitals franchise - I've been to regular season games, 1st round playoff games, 2nd round playoff games and even an Eastern Conference Final game back in 1998. I've sat through four overtime horror shows and screamed in excitement after a Game 7 OT game winner (thank you Joel Ward). The highs have been high and the lows have been soul crushing. I know I will literally weep like a baby if the Capitals ever hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. 

3) Watch a Game 7 playoff game live when the Capitals win - I've never been to Game 7 in the playoffs and for good reason as a Capitals fan. It hasn't been pretty. One year I'll suck it up and go to try and break the trend, but the fan in me knows what will happen.

Poker

1) Play in the WSOP Main Event - $10,000 buy in with the longest odds of winning millions of dollars. I just want the chance.

2) Play in a $5,000 WPT Event - 1/2 the cost, much better odds of winning. 

Obviously I better start making some more $$ if I want either of those to come true.

Golf

1) Hit a hole-in-one - It's every golfers dream and I got within 10 feet once when I used to play a bit more. Simple dream, difficult to achieve.

2) Watch the Masters in person - It's not spring until I start seeing commercials for the Masters on CBS. The best looking course in the world with the best players competing, what more could one ask for?

Soccer

1) Watch the USA win the World Cup - I was fortunate to go to a World Cup match back in 1994 when Mexico and Norway played at RFK in D.C.. I love international soccer (really any international competition when the best are playing the best in any event) and just once the USA will make that magical run to shock the world.

Olypmics

1) Go to an Olympics: Summer or Winter or both - I love the Olympics for the same reason I love the World Cup. I'm a competition junkie. I took off of work during the 2nd week of the Winter Olympics once again to watch the Men's Hockey tournament in peace and quiet. It's what I do. The USA is due to host the Summer Olympics within the next 20 years and I'm in wherever they may be. Same goes for the Winter Olympics and especially the Men's Hockey....

2) Watch the USA men win Gold Medal in the Olympics - The one sporting event I wish I had been at live would easily have been the 'Miracle on Ice' in 1980. While the USA winning a gold medal won't reach the fervor that occurred in 1980, it'll still be fantastic.

Horse Racing

1) Go to the Kentucky Derby - I have already asked my wife to book a trip to Kentucky for my 40th birthday which just happens to be the next time that the Derby falls on my birthday. Perfect. I'll see you there in 2018. I'll be betting on the 5 horse and the 10 horse.

I'm sure I'm missing stuff like going to the Big House to watch a Michigan game or tailgating before an Auburn v Alabama game in college football. I want to go to Dodger Stadium and sit in the 5th upper level or just sit with Vin Scully for nine innings. I'd love to meet a ton of people including Dean Smith even with his heartbreaking mental state right now. I'm sure my list could go on and on because outside of my personal favorite teams, I just love sports.

I know I'd love to sit in with Bill Belichick or any other NFL head coach for a week and see what exactly goes into game planning for a week. Obviously coaching a single MLB game would be ridiculous.

So many things to do so little time and money to do them.

I have knocked some items off the list:

1) Visit Fenway/Wrigley Field
2) Go to the College World Series (although going and seeing UNC win would be perfection)
3) Play basketball on a NBA court (sure I was 12, but I got to shake Charles Barkley's hand)
4) Visit Notre Dame
5) See the Oakland A's play in Oakland (I've also seen them play at Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Chicago (both White Sox and Cubs) and Pittsburgh).

I would enjoy any feedback and any of my reader's bucket list items. Maybe it'll jog my ever crumbling mind on things I have forgotten. 


 

Monday, February 3, 2014

NFL Recap

Congratulations to the Seattle Seahawks on finally bringing another championship to the Pacific Northwest. Not since the now defunct Seattle Supersonics took down the nearly defunct Washington Bullets (now Wizards) in five game in 1979 has Seattle had a chance to party. Oh marijuana is legal there you say? Forget that. I just hope the Denver Broncos don't suffer the same fate as a franchise the way that the Washington basketball franchise has seen. In the 34 full seasons (not counting the current season) since that loss to Seattle, Washington has won just 41% (1128-1612) of their games which would be a 6.5 win season in the NFL. Not only that but Washington has won just two playoff series and has had 16 head coaches. Times could get tough in the Mile High City.

You think this can't happen to a proud franchise like Denver? They're not going to have Peyton Manning much longer if at all anymore. If they don't find another franchise quarterback who knows how long it could take to get back to elite status. To bring it full circle, the Washington Redskins have played 22 seasons since their last Super Bowl appearance. They have won 149 games of the 352 played. That's a winning percentage of .42 or 6.7 wins per season. The Redskins have won just three playoff games and have had eight different head coaches (nine if you count Gibbs' second term). Welcome to my own personal hell Broncos fans.

So let's look back at my predictions from my 3rd annual NFL Crystal Ball and see how bad they were.

Breakout Candidates

T.Y. Hilton - He caught more passes, for more yards, but had fewer touchdown receptions. Even with teammate and default WR1 Reggie Wayne going down with and injury, Hilton never exploded on a consistent basis.

Daryl Richardson - UGH...he killed me here and in the fantasy football world. What a utter disaster. I was correct that the Rams would produce a fantasy sleeper darling at the RB position, but that went to Zac Stacy. Richardson was a bust in all senses of the word.

Ben Tate - It was a good bounce back season for Tate, but Arian Foster didn't stay injured long enough and even when Foster went down, so did Tate. His 2013 season was very similar to his rookie campaign, but not good enough to be a breakout player.

Dwayne Bowe - The KC Chiefs were my breakout team and they did very well. Dwayne Bowe on the other hand took a step back from his 2012 campaign. His style is just not a good fit for what Andy Reid wanted to do with the passing game. Maybe the Redskins will trade a future 1st round pick for him...I kid I kid.

So yeah not so good Jason.

Busts

C.J. Spiller - Now we're talking! Taken in the first round in most every fantasy draft, Spiller was relegated to backup status behind Fred Jackson in Buffalo. He had moments of glory, but he had fewer total yards this season than he had rushing yards last season and scored just two times.

Vincent Jackson - Right shape, wrong size. I thought the downfall of Josh Freeman would lead to the downfall of Vincent Jackson, but Freeman's departure only helped Jackson. He put up very similar stats to his 2012 campaign with rookie Mike Glennon at the helm.

DeSean Jackson - As we'll see I was dead wrong on the Eagles as a whole. DeSean would have been an ideal fit for my 'breakout' category. He nearly doubled his receiving yards and caught 9 touchdowns compared to 2 in 2012. I thought he had one foot out of the league and instead he was playing in the Pro Bowl.

Carson Palmer - I suppose the bar was relatively low for Palmer and he did a pretty decent job in Arizona. Sure the interceptions were there with 22, but he also started all 16 games and threw 24 touchdowns for a team that went 10-6. Not too shabby.

MVP

I had high hopes for Colin Kaepernick, but after Week 1's explosion is was mostly downhill for his stat line. My runner-up, Peyton Manning, took home the prize with his record breaking season.

Standings and Predicted Records (actual records in parenthesis) 

NFC EAST

Washington Redskins 10-6 (3-13)
New York Giants 9-7 (7-9)
Dallas Cowboys 8-8 (8-8)
Philadelphia Eagles 7-9 (10-6)

NFC NORTH

Detroit Lions 11-5 (7-9)
Green Bay Packers 10-6 (8-7-1)
Chicago Bears 7-9 (8-8)
Minnesota Vikings 5-11 (5-10-1)

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons 12-4 (4-12)
New Orleans Saints 11-5 (11-5)
Carolina Panthers 7-9 (12-4)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 5-11 (4-12)

NFC WEST

San Francisco 49ers 12-4 (12-4)
Seattle Seahawks 11-5 (13-3)
St. Louis Rams 9-7 (7-9)
Arizona Cardinals 2-14 (10-6)

AFC EAST

New England Patriots 13-3 (12-4)
Miami Dolphins 6-10 (8-8)
New York Jets 3-13 (8-8)
Buffalo Bills 3-13 (6-10)

AFC NORTH

Cincinnati Bengals 11-5 (11-5)
Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7 (8-8)
Baltimore Ravens 8-8 (8-8)
Cleveland Browns 8-8 (4-12)

AFC SOUTH

Indianapolis Colts 13-3 (11-5)
Houston Texans 11-5 (2-14)
Tennessee Titans 5-11 (7-9)
Jacksonville Jaguars 4-12 (4-12)

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos 12-4 (13-3)
Kansas City Chiefs 10-6 (11-5)
Oakland Raiders 3-13 (4-12)
San Diego Chargers 2-14 (9-7)

I went 4 for 8 in Division winners taking an 0-fer in the NFC and going a perfect 4-4 in the AFC. That is two consecutive years going perfect in the AFC.

Biggest misses were Arizona, Washington and Philadelphia in the NFC and the Texans and Chargers in the AFC.

As for the playoffs my prediction of Denver over Atlanta didn't come true, but my Denver over Seattle from February of 2013 was much better.

As for my all too early Super Bowl 49 prediction (with the hopes of going back to back on picking the correct two teams) will be....Seattle becoming the first repeat champion since the Cowboys in the 90's over the New England Patriots who get their last Super Bowl run with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Who will win Super Bowl 48?

Back in February of 2013 I already predicted what was going to happen come Sunday night. You don't believe me? Read HERE. Basically I had determined that Peyton would win that elusive second trophy over the Seahawks and then promptly retire. Of course I had amended that bold and correct prediction by September because ESPN came out with the same prediction in their NFL preview. I changed it to Denver vs. Atlanta and...well let's not discuss that any further.

Last night I was bored and decided to look back at all the Super Bowls and see if I could find a common theme between the outcomes and the participants based on three very key factors: being the Vegas favorite, being the more experienced franchise (played in more SBs) and having a QB that has started more Super Bowls than his opponent.

That's all I used to hear about when it came to pundits discussing which team had the edge. But was it really accurate or just conjecture? Here are the results:

Super Bowl Favorites are 32-15 (68%).
More experienced franchises are 26-14 (65%)
The more experienced starting QB is 16-13 (55%)....Denver is looking good as they are all 3 of these.

For quarterbacks who are starting their second or more Super Bowl against a quarterback who has never started a Super Bowl (Peyton vs R Wilson) they are 13-8 (62%).

Through Super Bowl 41 the numbers were much better for the experienced and the favorites. Things change drastically starting with the first Brady/Eli Manning - Patriots/Giants Super Bowl #42. Since then:

Favorites are 2-4
More Experienced franchises are 1-5
More Experienced QBs are 0-5!! (including 0-3 for 2+ starts vs first timers)

Remember...Denver is the favorite, they are the more experienced Super Bowl franchise and they have the more experience Super Bowl quarterback.

This has happened 14 times in Super Bowl history.

Teams are 11-3 when they have all three of those markers on their side.

Here's the kicker: all three times that a team has lost in this situation a Manning was involved!

Twice Tom Brady lost to Eli Manning and the NY Giants and once Peyton Manning lost to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

I hope that didn't just make you cancel your bet on the Broncos.

The fact is things have certainly changed. Experience (both franchise/quarterback) means less now than it used to and being the Vegas favorite isn't a telltale sign anymore. As stated, favorites have lost 4 times in the last 6 games. Before that, favorites lost 4 times in 19 games! Vegas...get your act together!

If you're looking to bet on the Vegas line...STOP! Even though favorites are 32-15 overall, they are just 23-21-3 against the line...stay away.

Of course if you're all in on Denver this year as they have the three markers on their side...of the 11 teams who did win, 7 of them covered so there's that.

I'm sticking with my prediction of the Broncos winning it all. Denver 27 Seattle 24

Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 NFL Playoff Preview

Outside of March Madness, the NFL playoffs are the best sports spectacle around. Four weekends of the best teams squaring off where anything can happen (ask the Denver secondary). There are plenty of story lines worth writing about and each team has its own motivation for winning (outside of the glory and the trophy and the fame of course). I have already gone on file saying that Denver would beat Seattle this year. I wrote that 11 months ago and nothing that I have seen has changed my mind. Now is that the Super Bowl I want to watch? Possibly. It would make me look smart and I could get invested in rooting for Peyton Manning, but on the 'sexiness' scale it may not rank as high as other possible matchups.

There are 12 teams that can win the Super Bowl this year. I'm going to rank them in order of pure 'sexiness' taking into account possible story lines and historical implications.

From worst to best:

12) San Diego Chargers - Lucky to even be in the playoffs thanks to KC kicker Ryan Succop choking on a last second field goal, San Diego is still trying to win its first Super Bowl. Philip Rivers is not a likable person, but Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead would make for some interesting stories.

11) Carolina Panthers - Just like San Diego they have been to one Super Bowl and lost it. If they went to this years Super Bowl I think everyone would be sick and tired of Cam Newton and the possible Auburn double dip story lines come kick off. They just don't do it for me.

10) Indianapolis Colts - Andrew Luck has that possible 'it' factor, but not until he shaves the neck beard. Until Peyton retires I'm sure there is a good percentage of Colts fans wishing that Peyton and not Luck were 'manning' this team. Who would be discussed more during Super Bowl week: Peyton or Andrew?

9) Cincinnati Bengals - They finally ousted both Pittsburgh and Baltimore in their division, but are they ready to take the next step? Doubtful. Andy Dalton is too streaky IMO to run the gauntlet in the AFC. Gio Bernard is a personal favorite of mine and A.J. Green has star power. The Bengals are the third team still vying for Super Bowl #1.

8) San Francisco 49ers - I'm ready to be completely Harbaugh-less as soon as possible. Taking nothing away from Colin Kaepernick and the stout Niners defense, I just couldn't stomach coach Harbaugh for another month. Plus they've won enough as a franchise.

7) Green Bay Packers - The Packers went from heavy favorites to injury riddled to a Cinderella story all in the span of a single season. Aaron Rodgers and his 'discount double check' story line will be written to death. Eddie Lacy gives them a chance to stay balanced on offense. I can understand people loving them and hating them so they get a middling spot in this list.

6) Seattle Seahawks - When they play in Seattle they are downright nasty. When they play outside of their friendly confines they're just pretty good. Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are great, but with so many substance abuse allegations from their secondary I have a feeling it'll all fell a bit tainted. They are the 4th team looking for their franchises first Super Bowl.

5) Philadelphia Eagles - The fifth and final first time possible Super Bowl winner. Chip Kelly has brought to Philadelphia the same thing the RGIII brought to Washington a year earlier in the NFC East...hope. Nick Foles is an unknown and he'll keep the spotlight away from backup Michael Vick. The Eagles could win a Super Bowl on one of their rivals home field which add extra juice to their story.

4) Kansas City Chiefs - It's fitting that Andy Reid is placed right next to his former team. The Chiefs have trailed off after a 9-0 start finishing 2-5. I don't have high hopes for them to piece it back together, but the story lines are there. Andy Reid and Alex Smith cast off from fellow playoff teams Philadelphia and San Francisco. Jamaal Charles and his speed and greatness. The Chiefs big play defense which has been hampered by injury in the second half of the season.

3) New Orleans Saints - Just a year after suspensions and sanctions derailed this franchise at its peak, the Saints return with a massive chip on their shoulder. Unfortunately they have to play on the road this playoff season which makes the job that much harder, but if they get to the Super Bowl it'll be an awkward two weeks of publicity. Just imagine Sean Payton taking the Lombardi Trophy from Roger Goodell.

2) New England Patriots - I'm sure plenty of people are quite finished with New England. Brady. Belichick. The Tuck Rule. Spygate. 2007s offense. Aaron Hernandez. Gronk. It goes on and on. You have to give it to Brady and Belichick though. With all the distractions that this season brought, they still found a way to go 12-4, get a BYE and are in line for another Super Bowl run. This has all the makings.

1) Denver Broncos - It all leads up to this. Peyton Manning and company breaking all the offensive records in the NFL. The failure of the defense a year ago is still the teams Achilles heel. Peyton Manning could win that elusive second Super Bowl on his younger brothers home field. This team was built to win this year and anything less will be seen as an epic failure.

Now that we've covered that let's look at some possible Super Bowl games that could be fun:

Kansas City vs Philadelphia: The Andy Reid Bowl
Kansas City vs San Francisco: The Alex Smith Bowl
New England vs New Orleans: The 'Cheaters' Bowl
Denver vs Philadelphia: The Defense optional Bowl
Denver vs Green Bay: The NFL Spokesperson Bowl

Here are some Super Bowls I'd rather not watch:

Carolina vs San Diego: Blech
San Francisco vs New England: The Most Annoying Coaches Bowl
Carolina vs Kansas City: First one to double digits wins Bowl
Seattle vs Cincinnati: Least Nationally Sexy Bowl
Seattle/San Francisco vs San Diego: Two West Coast teams on the East Coast Bowl

Now for predictions!!!!

Kansas City over Indianapolis
Philadelphia over New Orleans
Cincinnati over San Diego
Green Bay over San Francisco

Denver over Kansas City
New England over Cincinnati
Seattle over Green Bay
Philadelphia over Carolina

Denver over New England
Seattle over Philadelphia

Denver over Seattle...still.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

FCNPFFL: 2013 Championship

Another season in the books. This marks the leagues 17th season and my 16th as commissioner. We had easily the most exciting end to a regular season for that last playoff spot and another dominant team for the record books.

All in all I hope everyone enjoyed the season and I do expect everyone back next year. Of course if life intervenes and you cannot join us for year 18 let me know as soon as possible.

I have some rule changes in mind for next year which I will bring to the floor before next seasons draft. If you have can think of anything you would like changed please feel free to let me know whenever you want.

Okay onto the Championship Game between #1 Seed Adam and #6 Seed Nate:

In the QB battle Kirk Cousins narrowly edged out Tom Brady 13-12 giving Nate a one point lead. At RB Nate extended his lead with 29 total points from DeMarco Murray and Bobby Rainey while Adam got just 18 points from Jamaal Charles and Pierre Thomas (who posted a big fat zero). At WR Nate watched his lead disappear. The usually stout combo of Vincent Jackson and Andre Johnson mustered just 10 points while Eric Decker doubled that by himself with 20 points and Julian Edelman tacked on 5 points. Adam now held a three point lead. Neither player had a decent TE showing as Nate scored the only point from Heath Miller. Vernon Davis gave Adam his second zero of the Championship. Each team got 13 from their kickers Nick Novak and Matt Prater. With a two point lead it would come down to the defenses for Adam to hang on and win. He started the Bengals D and they came through with a DTD, 4 turnovers and 4 sacks to post 14 points. Nate would need a minor miracle from the Lions D to win. Although they forced two turnovers, two sacks and had a safety it was only good for 8 points. Adam completes his dream season at 14-1 and takes home his 2nd FCNPFFL  Championship!!! Congrats Adam on a great season.

Final Score: Biggums' 'Basers 82 The Bounchers 74

(as a reminder my predicted score was 84-73...so yeah)

 In the 3rd place game, big brother Joel took down baby brother Luke behind 16 from Ryan Mathews, 12 from Matt Flynn and 11 from Julius Thomas. Luke saw his three Lions fail once again combining for just 16 points. Frank Gore did add 15 in a losing effort.

Final Score: Nikachu 67 Deathtongue 40

Until next August...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

FCNPFFL: Playoffs Week 2 - Semifinals

Bad news: the fantasy football season is almost over.

More bad news: there's no Thursday night football to bridge us to the weekend

Who said this is the most wonderful time of the year? I for one am very sad. I'm probably the only fantasy owner in the world that not only lost WITH Jamaal Charles (another league), but got blown out 179-153. My last ditch effort last night was needing Megatron to outscore Justin Tucker by 15 points...how did that work out?

Okay back to this league where I could continue to whine and vent, but I won't (much). Let's keep the focus on the people who are actually still vying for a championship and not a whole bunch of what ifs.

The 'under card' of the week pitted defending champion and #6 Seed Nate against the Detroit Lions #2 Seed team coached by Luke. You have to hand it to Nate who started 1-4, then went 5-1, then 0-2 and backed into the last spot for not giving up all year. He won his first round playoff game with RGIII being benched in a blowout loss and then went into the semis without RGIII who has been shutdown. Nate plucked Kirk Cousins from the waivers and inserted him into the biggest game of the year and boy did he respond with a game high 31 points. He also got 20 from DeMarco Murray and 9 each from VJax and Nick Novak. Luke had a pretty deep hole to crawl out of with only Kendall Wright eclipsing double digits by the time the games stopped on Sunday. With three Detroit Lions left to play, Luke needed 53 points to win. He got 23. The good news is he didn't even have to sweat it out and be heartbroken down the stretch. The Lions just crapped the bed and ended Luke's season. Nate moves on to defend his title. We have only had two franchises reach a championship game the year after winning. Ben is the only team to win back-to-back and he did that way back in 2000-01 (long before free agency balanced out the league). The other franchise was Jody who won in 1999 and then lost to Ben in 2000. So it's safe to say that it's been awhile since this has happened. Kudos again to Nate who will be making his fourth appearance in the championship game. He is 2-1 so far.

Last season Nate beat Adam to win his championship. With a 10th (or 11th*) straight win, he'd get his chance at revenge. Standing in his way was another Hardi, this time Luke's big brother in Joel. Last week Joel went crazy with scoring, so Adam sent a note to his best player, Jamaal Charles, and asked for help. Five touchdowns and 51 fantasy points later, Adam was running away with this game. He also got 25 from Tom Brady, 17 from Vernon Davis and 15 from Julian Edelman to lead the league in scoring for the week. Joel gave it a great effort getting 29 from Matt Flynn, 18 from Ryan Mathews, 13 from Keenan Allen and 11 from the Cardinals D. Adam moves to 13-1 and hasn't scored less than 94 points in the last four weeks. He will be the heavy favorite to win his 2nd championship in his fourth appearance (1-2 so far). It's been a great run so far for Adam, but next week is the big one.

The matchup should look like this:

#1 Seed Adam               v               #6 Seed Nate

QB Tom Brady                              QB Kirk Cousins
RB Jamaal Charles                         RB DeMarco Murray
RB Pierre Thomas                          RB Bobby Rainey
WR Eric Decker                             WR Andre Johnson
WR Julian Edleman                         WR Vincent Jackson
TE Vernon Davis                            TE   Heath Miller
K   Matt Prater                                K Nick Novak
D   Cincy                                         D Chicago??

Commish predicted score: 84-73 Adam

It's gotta be like looking into a mirror from last year for Nate who steamrolled through the competition winning his last 13 games.

Best of luck to you two.

Luke and Joel square off in the 3rd/4th place game as the only other true Week 16 game.

In other games from Week 15:

5th/6th place: Nick G defeated Ben 82-82...tie broken by the higher seed.
7th/8th place: John used 25 from Drew Brees to beat Mike 84-50
9th/10th place: Nick B rolled through Matt with 22 from Cam Newton 100-86
11th/12th place: I destroyed Ike behind seven double digit scorers 109-56

And finally....

Jody and Alex squared off in the Toilet Bowl Championship. Loser runs the draft board during the 2014 draft. Alex got 23 each from his two Cowboys, Tony Romo and Dan Bailey to defeat Jody who topped out with 16 from Philip Rivers. The stickers await DoggNutz.

Final Score: The Worthless Peons 76 DoggNutz 64