2016 NFL Conference Championship Previews and Predictions

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Sunday, January 22nd at 3:05 PM: #4 Green Bay Packers @ #2 Atlanta Falcons (-4)

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The NFC Championship may feature the best quarterback battle in recent playoff memory as red hot Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers fly south to Atlanta to take on MVP candidate Matt Ryan and the Falcons’ #1 scoring offense. Green Bay got off to a hot start in Dallas before barely hanging on at the end, while the Falcons were rarely tested in a blowout of Seattle. This game may come down to which defense makes a play during the final drive, as I expect both teams’ offenses to tee off on the opposing defense. I think the Packers’ defense has been very vulnerable and Matt Ryan, who is one of the bests QB’s when playing on his home turf, will make big plays to Julio Jones and Mohammed Sanu. The Falcons defense does have a decent pass rush and if they can stall one or two key packer drives with a sack or negative play, Atlanta will have a great chance to move on. However, Aaron Rodgers is playing out of his mind and will carry the Packers to a 38-34 win.

Sunday, January 22nd at 6:40 PM: #3 Pittsburgh Steelers at #1 New England Patriots (-5.5)

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Arguably the two most successful franchises and quarterbacks in recent memory will clash on Sunday as Big Ben and the Steelers take on Tom Brady and the Patriots. These teams have combined for 10 Super Bowl titles while the quarterbacks alone have combined for  6 rings. The winner of this matchup will set an NFL record with their 9th Super Bowl appearance. The key to this game will be each team’s gameplan on defense. The Patriots will have to figure out how to stop Antonio Brown and Leveon Bell while the Steelers will have to pass rush Tom Brady and game plan for a myriad of offensive weapons that includes Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis. Tom Brady has had great success against the Steelers throughout his career including two victories over them in the AFC Championship, and has never lost to current Steelers coach Mike Tomlin. The Patriots will play a hard fought game and Bill Belichick will ultimately outcoach Mike Tomlin while Malcolm Butler contains Antonio Brown and the Pats run defense steps up. Patriots advance to Super Bowl LI 27-23.

Let me know your predictions in the comments down below!

Jeff

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2016 NFL Divisional Round Previews and Predictions

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Saturday, January 14th at 4:30 PM: #3 Seattle Seahawks at #2 Atlanta Falcons (-6.5)

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The Seahawks travel to Atlanta to face the Falcons in a regular season rematch won by Seattle 26-24. Russell Wilson and Richard Sherman lead a Seahawks team that will be without Earl Thomas who suffered a season ending injury mid-season. Meanwhile, the Falcons are healthy and rested and Matt Ryan will be looking for his first playoff win since he beat the Seahawks back in 2012. The Falcons offense has been outstanding all season long as likely MVP Matt Ryan and superstar Julio Jones lead an offense that averaged an NFL best 34.8 points per game and only used one starting offensive line combination all season. However, the veteran Seattle defense will not be intimidated as they are no stranger to big playoff games. I think Atlanta’s defense will play well in this game and contain Wilson while the offense goes to work and puts up points in a 30-17 Atlanta win.

Saturday, January 14th at 8:15 PM: #4 Houston Texans at #1 New England Patriots (-16)

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Houston travels to New England as the biggest playoff underdog since 1998. These teams met back in Week 3 where a Jacoby Brissett led Patriots team throttled them 27-0. Now the Patriots have Tom Brady and a much improved defense that has rested and had two weeks to prepare for a Texans team without their best player in JJ Watt. The Patriots are simply far superior in every aspect of the game: offense, defense, special teams, and coaching. Jadaveon Clowney will have to have some monster hits on Tom Brady or a major injury will have to occur for this game to even be close. Patriots advance 34-10.

Sunday, January 15th at 4:40 PM: #4 Green Bay Packers at #1 Dallas Cowboys (-4.5)

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The red hot Packers roll into Big D to take on rookie sensations Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliot, and a Cowboys team that finished with the best record in the NFC a year after going 4-12. The Cowboys won the regular season matchup by Green Bay has won 7 straight games after steam-rolling the Giants last week and will be looking for revenge. Aaron Rodgers won’t have Jordy Nelson this game but has been incredible during the second half of the season and into the playoffs. The Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliot easily led the NFL in rushing as a rookie behind a dominant offensive line and Dak Prescott will try to take advantage of a Green Bay secondary that has shown flaws by getting the ball to the trio of Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and Cole Beasley. The Cowboys may be the more talented team but Green Bay is on a roll right now and knows how to win in the playoffs. Packers win it 28-24.

Sunday, January 15th at 8:20 PM: #3 Pittsburgh Steelers at #2 Kansas City Chiefs (-1.5)

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The closest matchup in terms of the spread is also a game that was the biggest blowout of the 4 rematches from the regular season. The Steelers steamrolled the Chiefs 43-14 early on in the season but Kansas City played very well down the stretch, stealing the division from Oakland in the last week to earn a bye and home playoff game. Pittsburgh has been hot as well winning 8 straight behind their star trio of Ben Roethlisberger, Leveon Bell, and Antonio Brown. However, the defense has been very bad at times and I think Kansas City’s offense can make big plays with receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce. Justin Houston and KC defense will do enough to slow down Big Ben as the Chiefs win 27-21.

Let me know your predictions in the comments down below!

Jeff

 

 

 

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2016 CFP National Championship Preview and Prediction

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Monday, January 9th at 8:00 PM: #1 Alabama Crimson Tide (-6.5) vs. #2 Clemson Tigers

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The rematch is set as Jalen Hurts and Alabama face off against Deshaun Watson and Clemson for the second straight year in the College Football Playoff National Championship. Clemson got off to a slow start early but hit their stride late as Deshaun Watson made a run at the Heisman trophy. The Tigers lone loss was to Pitt but they rolled to the ACC title including a big win against Louisville along the way. After steamrolling Ohio State in the Fiesta Bowl, Clemson has all the confidence they need to avenge last year’s 45-40 national championship loss. Meanwhile, Alabama destroyed USC to start the season and cruised to the SEC title and Peach Bowl behind rookie quarterback sensation Jalen Hurts and a legendary defense led by national defensive player of the year Jonathan Allen. A relatively easy win over Washington in the Peach bowl gave the Crimson Tide it’s second straight championship appearance.

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Alabama has dominated all season long and is clearly the best team in the country this year. However, if there’s a team out there that can pull the upset, it’s the Clemson Tigers. Deshaun Watson thrives in the spotlight and has championship experience while coach Dabo Swinney has the brains to go to head to head with Nick Saban. I think Clemson’s defense can make enough plays to rattle Jalen Hurts and grab an early lead, which is critical to having any chance against Alabama. Deshaun Watson will make clutch plays down the stretch and the Tigers will play like the team that just wants to win it all a little bit more than the defending champs. Clemson defeats Alabama 31-30 and Watson wins the MVP as the ACC defeats the SEC to win it all for the second time in four years (FSU over Auburn, 2013).

Let me know what your prediction is in the comments down below!

Thanks,
Jeff
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2016 NFL Wild Card Weekend Preview and Predictions

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Saturday, January 7th at 4:35 PM: #5 Oakland Raiders @ #4 Houston Texans (-3.5)

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The Oakland Raiders return to the playoffs for the first time since 2002 to take on a Texans team that won their division for the second straight year. The Raiders have been one of the best teams in the NFL all season long but late injury to MVP candidate and breakout star Derek Carr took the team from having the #2 seed in the AFC to being underdogs on the road in the first weekend. Latavius Murray, Amari Cooper, and Michael Crabtree have been weapons on a high scoring offense but it will most likely be third string rookie QB Connor Cook that will be tasked with getting them the ball. Defensive end Kahlil Mack has been a monster on defense as well this year with 11 sacks 5 forced fumbles and an INT. Houston is dealing with QB injuries as well but has gotten to the playoffs on the strength of its defense and a weak division after a disappointing year for Brock Osweiler. I think Oakland still has enough talent on both sides of the ball to advance to the next round. Raiders win 16-13.

 

Saturday, January 7th at 8:15 PM: #6 Detroit Lions @ #3 Seattle Seahawks (-8)

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The Lions are back in the playoffs for the second time in 3 years while Seattle returned to the top of the NFC West this year to earn the right to a home playoff game. Although the Seahawks have been a historically great home team, they enter this year’s playoffs banged up with injuries and not playing their best football. Earl Thomas, Tyler Lockett, Michael Bennett, and C.J. Prosise are all dealing with injuries while Russell Wilson and Thomas Rawls also dealt with injuries throughout the season. The Lions have been the ultimate comeback kings this year with 8 come from behind wins led by the clutch play of Matthew Stafford. I think Detroit’s high powered offense will be able to find just enough holes in the Seahawks D and it’s defense led by Darius Slay will be able to contain Russell Wilson and a short handed offense. Detroit pulls the upset 24-22.

 

Sunday, January 8th at 1:05 PM: #6 Miami Dolphins @ #3 Pittsburgh (-10)

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You wouldn’t know it by the point spread, but the Dolphins actually beat the Steelers in their head to head matchup this season. However, that was in Miami in a game in which Roethlisberger was coming back from injury and not sharp at all. The rematch will be in Pittsburgh where backup quarterback Matt Moore will have to find a way to outscore a high powered Pittsburgh offense led by Le’veon Bell and Antonio Brown. The defense for Pittsburgh hasn’t been overly impressive this season but has been playing better of late. The Dolphins will have to get production on the ground from Jay Ajayi if they want to keep this game close and Matt Moore will need to get the ball to Jarvis Landry and count on him to make some big plays. At the end of the day, I don’t see any way the banged up Dolphins (who’s only win against a team with a winning record was that Pittsburgh game) come into Pittsburgh and beat a veteran Steelers team. Pittsburgh wins 31-10.

 

Sunday, January 8th at 4:40 PM: #5 New York Giants @ #4 Green Bay Packers (-4)

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A New York Giants team who’s defense is playing lights out toward the end of the season has historically meant a Super Bowl run. However, the only team hotter than the Giants right now might be Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense, who won 6 straight to close the season and capture the NFC North. The Packers beat NY 23-16 back in October, and I think the rematch will be even closer. I think Rodgers will have extra motivation to avenge a loss in the team’s previous playoff matchup back in the 2011 season when Green Bay went 15-1 but lost to the Giants at home in the divisional round. Jordy Nelson has been the best wide receiver in the second half of the season and running game has made big strides as of late. On the other end, rookie star Landon Collins and the Giants pass rush will have to harass and pressure Rodgers the entire game to have a chance. Eli Manning will have opportunities to make big plays with Odell Beckham against a Packers secondary that has been weak at times. I think Green Bay wins a close game 30-27 in OT.

Let me know what your predictions are in the comments down below!

-Jeff

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Reaction to the 2016 Presidential Election

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Back in August I wrote the following blog on the Trump Effect: https://jpierro21blog.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/the-trump-effect/?iframe=true&theme_preview=true. I mention this because it is the main reason for the result of the presidential election. Donald Trump didn’t necessarily win the election based on specific policies or stances on certain issues, he won the presidency because he is not a politician and that is the message that came across loud and clear last night.

Politicians are lying, greedy, corrupt, hypocritical scumbags that use their power and the government to exploit the people for their own personal gain. That is simply a straight up fact. How can you possibly blame anyone for being disgusted with the current system? Donald Trump has hammered home this point over and over again. He’s called out politicians for being liars. He’s called them out for being corrupt criminals. He’s called them out for achieving nothing in Washington while being bought out by Wall Street and big corporations. Trump is a billionaire who will be in his 70s for most of his presidency. He could live out his life in retirement however he wanted, yet he chose to take on the most difficult job in the world because he, like many Americans, are sick of the government and needed a change.

Has Donald Trump always spoken like and acted like a great leader? Not necessarily, but that doesn’t matter. In fact, you could easily make the case that anti-Trump people are far more deplorable than Trump supporters. This entire election cycle has featured hatred and judgment from Democrats and supporters of Hillary Clinton. Being told that you are automatically a racist and sexist because you support Trump is extremely unfair and fueled the fire. Those supporting Trump gave a giant “Fuck you” to politicians, “Fuck you” to the media, “Fuck you” to all the hatred and judgment coming at them, and “Fuck you” to the PC liberal culture that is without a doubt ruining our country.

Whether you are happy with the election result or not, what happened last night is without a doubt a great thing for our country. If you were on the winning end, you know that a great opportunity for change awaits and all you can ask for is opportunity. If you were on the losing end, this should be a giant wakeup call and message from the people that American politics will not be tolerated in its current state. People would rather elect someone accused of sexual assault and discrimination than hear the same old bullshit lies and be taken advantage of by a corrupt government. If you are crying or protesting today, it is only reassuring those who voted for Trump that they made the right decision, because they don’t want to live in a world of crying sore loser babies who get offended by everything and protest anything that doesn’t benefit them personally.

In my personal opinion, not much will really change over the next four years. I am fortunate to be one of the few people that understands and realizes it, and I look forward to writing the blog about how I have been 100% correct on everything relating to politics this entire time.

Jeff

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2016 World Series Preview and Prediction

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AL Champion Cleveland Indians vs. NL Champion Chicago Cubs (-175)

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It has been well documented that Chicago is making it’s first World Series appearance since 1945 and is currently riding the longest championship drought in any of the 4 major pro sports at 107 years. However, the Indians come in right behind them with the second longest championship drought at 67 years. One of these long suffering fan bases will get to rejoice for the first time in a lifetime and that should make this a very entertaining World Series. It’s only fitting that the men behind the players – Terry Francona on the Indians and Theo Epstein on the Cubs – were both part of the Red Sox team that broke what was an 86 year drought back in 2004.

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Wild Card Game - Chicago Cubs v Pittsburgh Pirates

The Indians lineup thrives of getting on base and running. Jason Kipnis and Francisco Lindor provide the speed and runs at the top of the lineup, while Mike Napoli’s 34 HR 101 RBI bat provides power in the cleanup spot for an overall well-rounded lineup. Meanwhile for the Cubs, they boast a lineup without many weaknesses from 1-8, and if Jake Arrieta is on the mound then you can make that 1-9. Likely NL MVP Kris Bryant along with Anthony Rizzo and Javier Baez lead a dynamic Cubs offense that ranked third in the majors this season. Despite the temporary power outage in back to back shutouts during games 2 and 3 of the NLCS against the Dodgers, there is too much talent for the Cubs lineup not to deliver during this World Series.

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MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago Cubs

Each team boasts a former Cy Young winner in their starting rotation for this World Series. For the Indians, it’s Corey Kluber, who has been dominant this postseason. However, the story of the Indians pitching this postseason has been the unexpected performances from Trevor Bauer, Josh Tomlin, and even rookie Ryan Merritt. With injuries to probable #2 and #3 starters Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, the rest of the rotation has stepped up big time. Their best pitcher right now is in the bullpen though, ALCS MVP Andrew Miller. With the ability to pitch multiple shut down innings, expect to see Miller in key situations late in games this series. For the Cubs, their former Cy Young winner Jake Arrieta is #3 in the rotation, behind Cy Young candidates for this year Jon Lester and Kyle Hendricks. Lester has postseason experience and Hendricks has been lights out so far this postseason. Add in flamethrower Aroldis Chapman to close things out and the Cubs have a complete pitching staff.

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The managers in this World Series are two of the best in the game – 2 time champion Terry Francona and Joe Maddon who took the lowly Rays to the World Series back in 2008. Even though the Cubs are significant favorite, I think this will be a close and hard fought series. The Indians have had time to rest and will begin the World Series at home, but the Cubs are battle tested and desperate to break professional sports’ last great curse. I predict that the Cubs will win the World Series in 7 games and Kyle Hendricks will be named MVP with a 2-0 record and 1.80 ERA.

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2016 ALCS and NLCS Preview and Predictions

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ALCS: Wild Card Toronto Blue Jays @ #2 Cleveland Indians

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Both teams enter this showdown coming off series sweeps of the ALDS. Toronto’s power lineup featuring Donaldson, Bautista, and Encarnacion has carried them along with great starts from starters Marcus Stroman and Marco Estrada. The Blue Jays also have playoff experience on their side, having reached the ALCS last year before losing to eventual World Series champion Kansas City. Cleveland, despite missing two starters in Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco, still has excellent pitching which includes former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber along with Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. This trio was able to silence the Red Sox #1 offense holding them to under 10 runs total in the ALDS. Cleveland also has an advantage at manager, with two time World Series champion Terry Francona who has plenty of playoff experience. Despite sweeping the Red Sox, I still think Cleveland is being underrated in this series partly due to the flashy and more exciting Blue Jays. However, I like Cleveland to win this series in 5 games and advance to the World Series.

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NLCS: #3 Los Angeles Dodgers @ #1 Chicago Cubs

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Much like the Toronto Blue Jays, the Chicago Cubs are also one step away from the World Series for the second consecutive year. Clearly the 103 win powerhouse Cubs are the odds on favorite to win the World Series, so the only question is if they can handle the pressure and actually deliver. For a young team, having had previous postseason experience last year will make a big difference this time around. Kris Bryant has emerged as an MVP candidate this season, the starting pitching is lights out with Lester/Hendricks/Arrieta, and the acquisition of closer Aroldis Chapman at the deadline has the Cubs a complete team. For the Dodgers, their chances in this series will come down to how Clayton Kershaw is able to perform. Kershaw is the best pitcher in the game, but has had consistent postseason struggles. He will need to deliver 2 lights out performances against the high powered Cubs offense to give them a chance. I think the Chicago Cubs ultimately win this series in 6 games.

 

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