Sunday, July 31, 2016

BUFFALO BILLS - 2016 Season Preview

BUFFALO BILLS                                                                                      
2015 Record: 8-8-0

Head Coach: Rex Ryan

New Faces for 2016 - Zach Brown (LB), Sterling Moore (CB), Corey White (CB), Robert Blanton (S)

OFFENSE: Tyrod Taylor (3,035 passing yards with 20 TD and six INT while also rushing for 568 yards and four scores) will be the starting quarterback with E.J. Manuel (561, 3, 3) backing up once again for the Bills. The running backs are LeSean McCoy, who rushed for 895 yards (4.4 ypc) with three scores while catching 32 passes with two touchdowns. Karlos Williams is an able backup, running for 517 yards (5.6 ypc) and he scored seven touchdowns.
Sammy Watkins (60 receptions, 1,047 yards and nine TD) and Robert Woods (47, 552, three TD) appear to be the starting receiving tandem entering training camp. Charles Clay is the tight end and he had 51 receptions last season for 528 yards and three scores.

DEFENSE: Up front for Buffalo in the 3-4 set will be Marcell Dareus (nose) along with ends Adolphus Washington (rookie from Ohio State) and Kyle Williams. Mario Williams was let go during the off-season after a very subpar year.
The linebacking unit features rookie Shaq Lawson (Clemson) and Jerry Hughes (five QB sacks) on the outside while Preston Brown and Reggie Ragland (rookie from Alabama) man the inside spots. Zach Brown, Manny Lawson, IK Enemkpali and Kevin Reddick provide depth.
Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore (three interceptions) man the corners while Aaron Williams and Corey Graham are the safeties.

OUTLOOK:  The Bills are banking on quarterback Tyrod Taylor turning the corner and leading them back to the playoffs for the first time since 1999 when Doug Flutie and Rob Johnson were lining up under center.
A bounce back season from McCoy is a must to bolster the offense, though the running game was the top ranked unit in the NFL, averaging 152 yards per game. Taylor is a dual threat at QB, but he must improve in his passing abilities with the receiving tandem he has.
The defense lagged last season and Head Coach Rex Ryan, who hails himself as a defensive guru hired his brother Rob to help out this season for a team that had just 21 QB sacks a year ago after amassing 54 in the 2014 season.
The Bills will be depending on three highly touted rookies to fill the bill on the defense, which was mediocre at best last season, ranking 19th overall (356 yards allowed per game) while allowing 22.4 points per game. Improving on last year's pathetic pass rush is a must.

Fearless forecast -  8-8 this year

Week 1 - at Baltimore
Week 2 - vs. NY Jets
Week 3 - vs. Arizona
Week 4 - at New England
Week 5 - at Los Angeles
Week 6 - vs. San Francisco
Week 7 - at Miami
Week 8 - vs. New England
Week 9 - at Seattle
Week 10 - BYE
Week 11 - at Cincinnati
Week 12 - vs. Jacksonville
Week 13 - at Oakland
Week 14 - vs. Pittsburgh
Week 15 - vs. Cleveland
Week 16 - vs. Miami
Week 17 - at NY Jets

Friday, July 29, 2016

BALTIMORE RAVENS - 2016 Season Preview

BALTIMORE  RAVENS                                                                             
2015 Record: 5-11-0

Head Coach: John Harbaugh

New Faces for 2016 - Eric Weddle (DB), Mike Wallace (WR), Benjamin Watson (TE)

OFFENSE: Joe Flacco is returning in 2016 after injuries cut short last season for the veteran quarterback. Flacco threw for 2,791 yards with 14 touchdowns and 12 interceptions before going down for the season in November. Ryan Mallett (566 yards passing with two TD and two INT) is the backup.
Running backs include Justin Forsett and Javorius Allen. Forsett was limited to just 151 carries last year after a huge 2014 season. He ran for 641 yards in 2015 for a 4.2 average with just two touchdowns. Allen gained 514 yards (3.8 ypc) and also had 45 receptions out of the backfield.
Kamar Aiken led the team with 75 receptions a year ago (944 yards with five TD) and along with Mike Wallace (39, 473, two TD in Minnesota) and Steve Smith (who decided against retiring after a devastating knee injury last year) forms the wide receiving corps. Smith caught 46 passes for 670 yards and had three TD before going down.
Benjamin Watson (74, 825 yards and six TD) is the new tight end after a big season with the Saints last year.

DEFENSE:  The Ravens will look to go with the 3-4 set and have Brandon Williams at nose tackle with Tim Jernigan and Lawrence Guy playing the end spots. The linebackers will likely be C.J. Mosley and Zachary Orr on the inside with veterans Elvis Dumervil (six QB sacks) and Terrell Suggs manning the outside. Suggs played just one game in 2015 and is looking for a big bounce back season after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon for the second time.
The secondary features Shareece Wright and Jimmy Smith (three INT, one for a TD) at the corner spots while Lardarius Webb and free agent signee Eric Weddle (from San Diego) will play the safety positions.

OUTLOOK: The Ravens play in the always tough AFC North where Pittsburgh and Cincinnati reside and both of those teams made the playoffs last season. If the Ravens want to contend for the division title or even a wild card spot, they have to stay healthy.
Too many injuries crippled their 2015 season and Head Coach John Harbaugh had to make due with what talent was on hand with so many key players on the sidelines.
Flacco needs to get back some of the magic he displayed in past seasons (2012, 2014) if this team is to be taken serious in the AFC this year. The running game needs a boost as well so the spotlight will be on Forsett.
If they can avoid serious injuries to key people in 2016 and the defense resembles past units, the Baltimore Ravens can contend for a playoff spot. A lot has to go right for them to have that happen.

Fearless forecast -  8-8 this year

Week 1 - vs. Buffalo
Week 2 - at Cleveland
Week 3 - at Jacksonville
Week 4 - vs. Oakland
Week 5 - vs. Washington
Week 6 - at NY Giants
Week 7 - at NY Jets
Week 8 - BYE
Week 9 - vs. Pittsburgh
Week 10 - vs. Cleveland
Week 11 - at Dallas
Week 12 - vs. Cincinnati
Week 13 - vs. Miami
Week 14 - at New England
Week 15 - vs. Philadelphia
Week 16 - at Pittsburgh
Week 17 - at Cincinnati 

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Hillary Clinton Picks Tim Kaine As VP Running Mate

Hillary Clinton selected Tim Kaine (Virginia) as her  Vice Presidential running mate for the Democratic party in the upcoming November election.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Monday, July 11, 2016

Tim Duncan - The Big Fundamental Retires From NBA

The Big Three for the Spurs- Duncan, Parker, Ginobili
The NBA lost one of the best players ever when Tim Duncan announced his retirement from the league earlier today, ending a 19-year career, all with the San Antonio Spurs.
Nicknamed "The Big Fundamental" because of his manner of play with the patented bank shot, along with superb defense and rebounding and stellar passing in the fluid San Antonio offense through the years, Duncan will easily be a Hall-of-Famer while racking up five championship titles (in six trips to the NBA Finals) along with two league MVP awards and three NBA Finals MVP awards.

Coach "Pops" and Duncan enjoy the Spurs' 2014 NBA title.
Along with guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, Duncan formed "The Big Three" for the Spurs for 14 seasons, and the trio won four NBA titles together. Let's not forget the 1999 title either, when Duncan and "The Admiral"  Hall-of-Famer center/forward David Robinson formed the "Twin Towers" in San Antonio.  That 1999 NBA championship was the first ever for the San Antonio Spurs.
Along with Head Coach Gregg Popovich, Duncan and "Pops" are synonymous with Spurs basketball. Five NBA titles during their 19 years together in the Lone Star state.

Watch and enjoy the brilliance of Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs.

Enjoy your retirement Timmy!

You have definitely earned it...  Next stop - the NBA Hall-of-Fame.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

It's MLB All-Star Break - Some Observations

The Major League Baseball All-Star break is upon us once again as mid-July rolls around and the season is just past the halfway mark.
As usual, there has been some surprises as well as some disappointments with the 30 MLB teams so far this season. Streaks seem to be in vogue in 2016 as both of the Chicago ball clubs can attest to.
The Cubs started out 25-6 and since then have played just around .500 baseball, but still maintain a 6-1/2 game lead over Pittsburgh as of today, the last day before the four day break as baseball's top players gather in San Diego for the All-Star Game.
The Cubs have lost five in a row and nine out of ten games recently while the Bucs have reeled off nine of ten games with wins to gain EIGHT games in ten days.
However, the Pirates were also reeling just before their current hot streak and fell as many as 15 games out of first place after keeping things close in the National League Central race the first two months. Likewise, the St. Louis Cardinals have been rolling of late (in spite of injuries) and are just seven games back of the Cubs.
The second half should make for an interesting race, especially after the trade deadline on August 1st, when the teams in the pennant races make their moves ... or not.
Over in the American League, the Chicago White Sox burst from the gate with a 23-10 start and held a six game lead in the AL Central before crashing back to earth with a six-week slump that saw them fall below the .500 mark briefly as they slipped behind three other teams in the division, falling as far back as eight-plus games behind the Cleveland Indians.
The Tribe ran off 14 consecutive wins to wrestle away control of the division from the Chisox, Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers.
Around the league, the Baltimore Orioles and their power-laden lineup lead the AL East by a mere two games in front of Boston and Toronto as they have seen a 5-1/2 game lead melt away in the past two weeks.
Just another example of streakiness around baseball this season.
By the way, the New York Yankees have been a big disappointment so far, currently under the .500 mark and languishing in fourth place in the division race.
In the AL West, the Texas Rangers have cooled off after a torrid June in which they led by as many as nine games in the division race. But now it's the Houston Astros soaring into orbit as they have closed to within 6-1/2 games of the Rangers after a putrid start to their season.
Back in the National League, the see saw race in the Eastern division has seen the streaky Washington Nationals get hot lately after losing seven straight games at the end of June to garner a five game lead ahead of the New York Mets and six games in front of the Miami Marlins.
Out West in the National League, the San Francisco Giants have cooled slightly after ripping through an unbelievable streak from mid-May to late June to take over the division lead and find themselves with a 6-1/2 game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have hung in there in spite of numerous injuries on the pitching staff, including ace starter Clayton Kershaw, currently on the disabled list.
All in all, it should be a good second half this season as the races will get going again next weekend and the trade deadline looming in just three weeks.
Who will be on the move as the teams gear up for the pennant push?
All three teams in the AL East race could use pitching help and the Red Sox already made a move to bolster their bullpen by acquiring Brad Ziegler from the Arizona Diamondbacks this weekend.
Yes, questions abound for the second half indeed . . .  Will the Cubs get things turned around?  Can the Indians maintain their lead after their huge winning streak?  Will the Blue Jays catch fire as they did last year with big moves at the trade deadline?  Can the Red Sox get their starting pitching in form to get back to the post-season?
Stay tuned baseball fans. 

Monday, July 4, 2016

The NBA Is Now Officially A Joke

Kevin Durant announces he is going to sign with the Golden State Warriors and further tilt the scales of power among the top teams and bottom feeders in the NBA.
What a joke the league is becoming once again.
The standard franchise of the NBA since Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls were dominating the league some 20 years ago is the San Antonio Spurs (17 consecutive seasons of 50 wins or more and FIVE NBA titles in that span) and even they have shown their age in the last two seasons in the playoffs as legends Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili give way to Father Time.
Yes, Durant and teammate Russell Westbrook took it to the Spurs in the NBA playoffs as the Oklahoma City Thunder won that series before blowing a three games to one lead against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
Then Golden State did the exact same thing against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals as LeBron James and company won the title.
So now Durant is joining the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green out in California to try and win a title for himself. He has NO championship rings in OKC and now will look to get one with Golden State.
LeBron James did the same thing six years ago when he joined forces with Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami and two years later, the Heat beat Durant and OKC in the NBA Finals to win the championship.
However, just amassing talent doesn't always equate with a championship title.
Just ask the Spurs, who signed LaMarcus Aldridge last summer and then fell short of winning a SIXTH NBA title this past season.
 How about Miami too?
Yes, the Heat and LeBron did get their coveted title in 2012 against OKC (and luckily again in 2013 when San Antonio blew Game Six in the NBA Finals) but that came after getting their prima dona asses handed to them by the Dallas Maverixks in the 2011 NBA Finals, the first season LeBron James was in Miami.
Point is Durant is looking to win a championship with a new team, but there are no guarantees this will happen.
The NBA is top heavy with the current state of free agency and it will only get worse next year when the salary cap goes upward and the haves will continue to pillage the talent from the smaller market teams.
What a joke the league is becoming again. Yep, greed rearing its ugly head once again  in the world of professional sports.
Good luck Kevin Durant and Golden State in the upcoming season.
One more thing, the 1990's Chicago Bulls did it the correct way, building around Michael Jordan and winning SIX championships in an eight year period in that decade.
Likewise, the LA Lakers built around Kobe Bryant (albeit through getting another superstar in Shaquille O' Neal) to win five titles in the 2000's decade.  The Spurs won three titles as well from 2003 to 2007 period.
Yes, Curry, Durant, Thompson and Green will be formidable, BUT there is only one ball on the court and the team must earn the championship.
Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 2, 2016