Tuesday, August 23, 2016

NFC North Preview: 2016

            There are plenty of storylines heading into the season for the NFC North. Calvin Johnson retiring, Aaron Rodgers and Olivia Munn doing some wacky activity together, the Vikings getting a new stadium, Jay Cutler getting picked off. There are plenty of reasons to keep an eye on the NFC North this year. Who'll win the division, though?


  1. Green Bay Packers: In order for Green Bay to make it back to the Super Bowl, they'll need Eddie Lacy to be in top shape. Lacy underwhelmed last season with 758 yards on 187 carries and three touchdowns. Green will also need players like Justin Perillo and Jeff Janis to step up in the offense. Defensively, the Packers should be set with Ha-Ha Clinton Dix (100 tackles, three sacks), Julius Peppers (10.5 sacks), and Clay Matthews (66 tackles, seven tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks). Matthews might not be around due to alleged steroid use from an Al-Jazeera documentary.
  2. *Minnesota Vikings: Adrian Peterson got some retribution as a running back, rushing for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns on 327 carries. He'll be an essential part of the Minnesota offense as Minnesota looks to take the next step. One thing the Vikings will need to work on is moving the chains: Minnesota was tied for 28th in the NFL with 297 first downs.
  3. Detroit Lions: With Calvin Johnson retiring and Bob Quinn taking the reins of the front office, a new era has dawned in Detroit football. Quinn brought in Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin to fill in the holes at receiver. Granted, they won't have as big of an impact as Johnson did in his career. However, both are nice pickups that'll give Matthew Stafford options.
  4. Chicago Bears: The Bears Matt Forte to the Jets and Martellus Bennett to the Patriots, so the Bears have some holes to fill. Their pass rush is underrated, though. With a great set of linebackers in Pernell McGhee (53 combined tackles, a forced fumble, six sacks), Lamarr Houston (42 combined tackles, eight sacks), and Willie Young (30 combined tackles, one interception, 6.5 sacks), Chicago could see a revitalization of "The Monsters of the Midway".

Sunday, August 21, 2016

NFC East Preview: 2016

            Continuing my preview of the 2016 NFL season, I delve into the NFC. The NFC is a bit more competitive in terms of teams, featuring plenty of Super Bowl contenders. However, it seems the NFC East only has one Super Bowl contender. Let's preview the NFC East and see what to expect this year.


  1. Dallas Cowboys: Last year, the Cowboys were riddled with injuries left and right. Tony Romo was out and so was Dez Bryant. Dallas will be getting both back this year and picked up Alfred Morris and Ezekiel Elliott to bolster their running game. The Cowboys should have sufficient protection and blocking from their offensive line to muster enough of a running attack and to protect Romo. The Cowboys are excited about their quarterback-in-the-wings in Dak Prescott, though. Prescott has been impressive this preseason.
  2. New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. will continue to amaze. Unfortunately, their defense won't do the same; the Giants were 31st in first downs allowed with 367. New York also had the worst secondary in the NFL last season (4,783 total passing yards allowed) and the 24th-best pass rush (1.942 total rushing yards allowed). If the Giants are to contend for the NFC East this year, they need to improve defensively.
  3. Washington Redskins: Keep an eye out for Redskins tight end Jordan Reed. He is one of the more underrated tight ends in the NFL, posting 87 receptions for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns last season. Reed's size will prove to be a critical asset for Washington's blocking game. 
  4. Philadelphia Eagles: Carson Wentz was waiting in the wings for the future starting quarterback role for the Eagles. That dream faced a real scare when Wentz suffered an injury to his ribs. The Eagles are hoping that Wentz can develop into a Joe Flacco-like quarterback, making the transition from the FCS ranks into a respectable starting quarterback. 


Thursday, August 18, 2016

AFC West Preview: 2016

            I wrap up our preview of the AFC with a look at the AFC West. This division is surprisingly deeper than you think, with any team having a legitimate case to finish first. It contains the defending Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos, the underrated Oakland Raiders, the playoff-contending Kansas City Chiefs, and the upbeat San Diego Chargers. Who will emerge on top of the AFC West? You'll be surprised by who's picked first.


  1. Oakland Raiders: You read that right, now hear me out. I'm picking Oakland to surprise everyone and finish atop the AFC West. That's right. The team that was formerly a laughingstock of the NFL will finish first in the AFC West. Why? Because their offense is underrated. Latavius Murray (266 carries, 1,066 yards, six touchdowns) is one of the more underrated running backs in the NFL. Plus, It'll depend on how well Derek Carr does this year. Carr should only get better with the likes of Amari Cooper (72 receptions, 1,070 yards, six touchdowns) and Michael Crabtree (85 receptions, 922 yards, nine touchdowns) as his receivers. The Raiders also added Reggie Nelson to assist on a defense that's led by Khalil Mack (77 tackles, 2nd-most sacks in the NFL with 15, 12 tackles for loss) and Malcolm Smith (122 yards, four sacks, ten tackles for loss).
  2. Denver Broncos: A part of why I've picked Oakland over Denver in the AFC West this year isn't just because the Raiders actually have a formidable team this year. It's because of the fact that both Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler are gone. Now, both an aging Manning and Osweiler both aren't world-stoppers. However, having Mark Sanchez (Yes, THAT Mark Sanchez) compete for a starting job with a rookie in Paxton Lynch isn't an ideal quarterback battle that the defending champs want. Still, Denver's defense and slew of receivers should ease the pain and keep the Broncos in contention up until the last week (Perhaps they'll prove me wrong and win the division after all).
  3. Kansas City Chiefs: Defense is the name of the game in the AFC West and the Chiefs are no exception. The Chiefs have a solid young secondary with defensive back Marcus Peters (60 combined tackles, a forced fumbles, and led the league in interceptions with eight). Kansas City still has a strong pass rush as well in spite of Justin Houston having a down year compared to his 2014 season (7.5 sacks, 30 combined tackles). Still, this Chiefs team should be hard to score on. It's just a matter of whether they can score points on their own.
  4. San Diego Chargers: Little known fact: San Diego only allowed 299 first downs last season, good for 7th in the NFL. Their stinginess will be in full effect again as the Chargers look to rebound from an abysmal season last year. They'll also get Keenan Allen back, which will help their offense immensely. San Diego must hope that the injury bug doesn't sting key players like last season.
Photo Courtesy of Raiders.com

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

AFC South Preview: 2016

            Let us move on with our NFL preview to a division that is on the rise. The AFC South is expected to be competitive in the future with budding superstars and developing strengths. Here's how the AFC South is predicted to hash out.


  1. Houston Texans: J.J. Watt anchors a stout defense once again and Houston found their quarterback (supposedly) in Brock Osweiler. Osweiler will have some big help in DeAndre Hopkins (111 receptions, 1,521 yards, 11 touchdowns), who is one of the NFL's most underrated receivers. 
  2. Indianapolis Colts: Can Andrew Luck live up to the new contract he signed? Does Frank Gore (260 carries, 967 yards, six touchdowns) have another respectable season in him? Can the Colts rebound from last season's disappointing result? These are a few questions that will be answered when the Colts' season rolls around in less than a month. 
  3. Jacksonville Jaguars: Many pundits are picking the Jaguars to be the surprise team of the NFL this season and with good reason. Allen Robinson (80 receptions, 1,400 yards, 14 touchdowns) and Allen Hurns (64 receptions, 1,031 yards, ten touchdowns) are one of the best young receiving tandems in the NFL and the Jaguars have one of the more underrated linebacker groups in the NFL. They also made some moves in the offseason that bolstered their defense even more. Don't be surprised if the Jaguars take the AFC South this season. 
  4. Tennessee Titans: Tennessee's headed in the right direction as well. It's just that it'll take some time for the younger players to develop. The Titans did add DeMarco Murray to make this season somewhat bearable for their fans, though.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

AFC North Preview: 2016

            Our next division is one that is always one of the NFL's most competitive: The AFC North. This division features a historic franchise in Pittsburgh, a consistent franchise in Baltimore, a competitive franchise in Cincinnati... and a franchise in Cleveland. This is a division where the finishing ranks sans Cleveland can go any way and playoff spots will likely come down to the last week of the season. Here's how the AFC North will break down this year.


  1. Baltimore Ravens: Injuries hampered the Ravens for most of last year. But the hope is that players like Justin Forsett (151 carries, 641 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and crew can return to form. One thing that Baltimore must work on is protecting Joe Flacco better: Flacco was sacked 16 times in the ten games he played last season.
  2. *Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals had one bone-headed Vontaze Burfict play too many as they were minutes from finally escaping the wild-card round. They lost CB Reggie Nelson (14 passes deflected, eight interceptions) to Oakland and WR Marvin Jones (65 receptions, 816 yards, four touchdowns) to Detroit, so there will be some holes present on the Bengals. Still, this will be a dynamic team in the regular season. The question remains: Can Marvin Lewis get this team out of the wild-card round?
  3. *Pittsburgh Steelers: There's no denying that the Steelers will be one of the most exciting offenses to watch this year. After all, they do have one of the best receivers in the game in Antonio Brown. The third-best passing offense from last year (4,603 yards, 8.2 yards per game) will again be hard to stop.
  4. Cleveland Browns: I don't think the question will be if the Browns can make the playoffs. The real question is if Cleveland will actually win a game this season. 

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

AFC East Preview: 2016

            It's hard to believe that football season is around the corner, but this should be a time of celebrating for everyone. It'll be time to dedicate your Sundays to watching a flying pigskin this fall and gorging on snacks. With that being said, let us kick off the 2016 NFL preview with a look at the AFC East!!!


  1. New England Patriots: Tom Brady has been suspended for the first four games of this season due to the fallout from DeflateGate. New England's first four games consist of a road contest at Arizona and home games versus Miami, Houston, and Buffalo. The Patriots have a good chance of doing no better than 3-1 in these four games. While there is the drama involving Julian Edelman and his tweaked foot at training camp, New England does have a new red zone weapon in Martellus Bennett.
  2. New York Jets: For once, the Jets finally have a wide receiver in Brandon Marshall (1,502 receiving yards, 109 receptions, 14 touchdowns). Marshall has proven to be reliable every time he gets a look. Not only that, but he has a formidable sidekick in Eric Decker (1,027 yards, 80 receptions, 12 touchdowns)! Gang Green could be an exciting air show to watch this season. 
  3. Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins' defense didn't really live up to expectations, placing 18th in give/take (-3), 21st in opponent's receiving yards (4,225), and 28th in opponent's rushing yards (2,019). So the Dolphins added corner Chris Culliver as a veteran presence, defensive end Mario Williams to join Ndamukong Suh, and linebacker Kiko Alonso in hopes that Alonso duplicates his 2013 season with Buffalo. 
  4. Buffalo Bills: Rex Ryan isn't well known for turning water into wine regarding quarterbacks. He'll have a dilemma in his hands regarding Tyrod Taylor and E.J. Manuel, two somewhat-young quarterbacks who haven't necessarily made it big in Buffalo. One positive is that Richie Incognito has proven to be a great addition to the Buffalo offensive line.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

MLB Award Predictions

            It's hard to believe that the MLB season is getting close to winding down with pennant chases happening and October baseball around the corner. Also, football season is going to be kicking off soon. So we need to get excited for that! Anyways, I'm going to make some predictions for who I think will take home what awards.

AL MVP
David Ortiz, Boston Red Sox: It's only befitting for Big Papi to get this award in his last hurrah considering the type of season he's having. Ortiz is hitting with a .309 average, 25 homers, 87 RBI, and an OPS of 1.013 at the age of 40. I would like to throw an honorable mention to Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros, who's having a remarkable season himself. He's batting .355 with 19 homers, 66 RBI, 25 stolen bases, and an OBP of .422.
AL Cy Young
Zach Britton, Baltimore Orioles: There have been relievers who have won this award in the past. Willie Hernandez and Eric Gagne are names that come to mind. Why not Zach Britton? He has an ERA of 0.58 along with 34 saves and a WHIP of 0.75. Not only that, but he's been perfect in every save opportunity this season.
AL Rookie of the Year
Michael Fulmer, Detroit Tigers: The Tigers are nipping at the heels of a playoff spot not just because of Justin Verlander's reemergence. Michael Fulmer has been a huge asset for the Tigers in the rotation, throwing for an ERA of 2.42, a WHIP of 1.08, and a record of 9-2.
AL Manager of the Year
Jeff Bannister, Texas Rangers: Even through all of the injuries to their rotation (and suspensions to players like Rougned Odor), the Rangers are still atop the AL West. Jeff Bannister is starting to come into his own as a manager and could lead Texas to a World Series title in the near future.
NL MVP
Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs: Or Anthony Rizzo. This choice can be switchable. Either way, both players are having spectacular seasons in what could be a big haul for the Cubbies regarding awards. Bryant's batting .284 with 26 homers and 68 RBI, while Rizzo's batting .285 with 24 homers and 79 RBIs. Keep an eye out for Daniel Murphy of the Nationals, who leads the NL in batting average at .350 and has 81 RBI on the season.
NL Cy Young
Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals: This is another tough choice that has plenty of candidates for the award. Madison Bumgarner's having a terrific season. Jake Arrieta hasn't lost a step. Clayton Kershaw was great before getting hurt. But Strasburg has a record of 15-2 that is backed up by an ERA of 2.80, a WHIP of 1.01, and 169 strikeouts. Plus, opposing batters are just hitting .202 against him.
NL Rookie of the Year
Almedys Diaz, St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals shortstop has had a stellar season, batting .312 with 14 homers and 57 RBI. He also has an OBP of .376 and has been a big part of why the Cardinals are in a playoff race once again. The award will likely go to Corey Seager of the Dodgers, but I'm just thinking of who should get the award besides Seager.
NL Manager of the Year
Joe Maddon, Chicago Cubs: Really, there isn't much of a choice here. Cubs are doing well (this is their year, after all) and Maddon's strategies have paid off for Chicago. Again, there are plenty of Cubs that are in the mix for awards in the offseason.