Broncos D Comes Up Big – AGAIN

super-bowl-50The Denver Broncos have made idiots out of almost everyone (including me) once again.

One would think that we all would have learned our lesson from picking against the Broncos in the playoffs after they took apart New England (though I was one of the few who predicted a Denver win).  Nevertheless, almost everyone and their mamas (including me) predicted a win for the Carolina Panthers.  In some cases, a Panthers’ blowout.

But just like the AFC Championship game, the Broncos D overwhelmed the Panthers’ offense.

NFL MVP Cam Newton was running for his life most of the game.  Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware abused Carolina’s offensive linemen and terrorized the hell of Newton, to the tune of 4 1/2 of the six sacks against Newton.

Denver’s defense stuffed the Panthers’ running game for most of the game.  None of Carolina’s running backs had over 30 yards rushing.

With the running game rendered null and void, Newton was not able to have any room for his play-action passing.  He had to resort to generating a bit of offense via his legs – and the Broncos’ D held THAT in check as well.

In short, the Broncos’ defense clearly won the Super Bowl for Peyton Manning and Co.

Speaking of which, it is good to see Manning have the chance to ride off into the sunset as a winner.

Manning defied the odds this season.  With spotty performances throughout the 2015 regular season, it was easy for the media and fans to write him off.  I mean, NO ONE expected him to bounce back after that horrific four-interception outing vs. the Chiefs in November.

And while some folks were split on his Broncos’ chances against my Steelers in the divisional round, hardly anyone thought that Manning would outplay Tom Brady and prevail over the Patriots in the AFC Championship game.

So while I – and most of the fans and media members – continue to lick my wounds over such a bad Super Bowl pick, I will not hesitate to give Manning and the Broncos’ D for winning Super Bowl 50.

Much respect…

Enough with Johnny Football

Johnny-Manziel-Cleveland-BrownsWell, well, well – Johnny Football is in the news.  Again.

This time Johnny Manziel allegedly struck his ex-girlfriend several times during an incident at the Hotel ZaZa in downtown Dallas early Saturday morning.  That news bit came out after an initial report of a simple dispute between the two.

(And now there is a report that Manziel threatened to kill her and himself!)

Now the Cleveland Browns are planning to release Manziel in March, when his cap figure will be lower.  Given what he has done during his tenure with the Browns, I guess they’ve FINALLY had enough.

Why is it that everything this dude does is considered breaking news?  Hell, why are we STILL paying attention to this guy?  Have we all forgotten that Manziel is a backup quarterback for the Browns?

Not only should the Browns have cut Manziel’s ass a long time ago, I don’t think he has a future in the NFL.  His priority should be getting the help he needs, not getting back onto the field.

Look, I’m not going to belabor the subject matter in this rant.  Until he gets the help he needs, let’s stop with the Manziel madness.  NOW!

Super Bowl 50 Preview

super-bowl-50.jpgCarolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos

Two teams.  Two great defensive teams.

While the second sentence would seemingly dictate a low-scoring game, Super Bowl 50 has the potential to be a high-scoring affair.

The Panthers’ secondary is the weak link on their top-5 defense.  It has been the main culprit in blown leads this season (see the Giants game and the playoff game vs. the Seahawks for reference).  The Broncos’ offense is not built to score a lot of points, and if they do not take care of the football vs. the Panthers’ opportunistic defense, look the hell out.

I think this game will be won in the trenches.  If Carolina successfully stop Denver’s running game and make its offense one-dimensional, this game will be a blowout.  It’s hard to believe that any team would dare Peyton Manning to beat it, but the Broncos do not want Peyton attempting more than 30 passes against THAT defense.

Similarly, the Broncos need to slow down the Panthers’ running game.  It will be easier said than done with running back Jonathan Stewart and MVP candidate Cam Newton leading the way.

Newton feeds off of the running game in the forms of play-action and his own running abilities.  The running game allows the passing lanes to open for Newton, giving him time to connect with a top-2 tight end in Greg Olsen, and an unheralded wide receiving core led by Ted Ginn, Jr.

And here is another element that will make Broncos fans cringe: Carolina’s defense is SO similar to Seattle’s in Super Bowl XLVIII.  Both teams were strong in the trenches, had athletic linebackers, and could force turnovers and score off of them.  And we all remembered what Seattle’s D did to Peyton and co. that night.

While I do not think it will be as bad as the “ass-whupping heard around the world” that night, I do think the Broncos will handled by the Panthers.  That’s right America, Peyton Manning will not go out on top as we all would like…  Panthers 27, Broncos 17.

Postseason record to date
Last week: 2-0
Overall: 8-2

It’s Time to Give Cam Newton His Due

cam newtonweb19s-1-webRight now, it doesn’t hurt to be Cameron Newton.

He led his Carolina Panthers to the best record in football during the regular season (15-1).  He lit up two reputable defenses in the playoffs (Seattle and Arizona).  And now he has his team on the doorstep of a Super Bowl championship.

You wouldn’t know it by all the hate Newton received from some fans and “experts” in the media.

Remember that open letter written by some chick in Tennessee after Cam and the Panthers dabbed on the Titans?  How about that was followed up by ANOTHER open letter written by ANOTHER stupid fan (this time from Seattle) bitching about Newton tearing down a a “12th Man” flag at the end of the Panthers’ playoff win over the Seahawks – AT HOME.

That’s right, my man Newton got criticized by an opposing fan for tearing down her”12th Man” rag – that again, was flying at Newton’s HOME STADIUM – and tossing it aside.  And I loved how much she wanted to guilt-trip Cam by saying how much it affected her cancer-stricken daughter.

And, I know this is a few years old now, but check out what former Bleacher Report writer Jim Folsom opined on Newton’s chances as a pro shortly after he was drafted.  Here is a snippet of Folsom’s infinite wisdom at the time:

“Cam Newton is a sure-fire bust. I am so certain of this that if he is the Panthers’ starting quarterback in 2016, I will buy a Cam Newton jersey and stand in the stadium parking lot in my underwear when the Panthers come to Tampa Bay and hold a sign proclaiming that Auburn rules over Florida and Carolina rules over Tampa Bay.”

Look, even though Folsom later offered a mea culpa of sorts, it’s clear that Newton still has a legion of haters.  Whether it’s for a perceived braggadocios attitude, the fact that he may be TOO handsome (lmao), or that good ‘ol racial element that those offending folks love to deny, it’s clear that Newton just can’t win.

But unfortunately for those haters, Newton might just cash this thing in.  His team is 17-1 (counting the playoffs), he is spearheading the highest scoring team in the NFL.  His Panthers are favored (and rightfully so) to win the Super Bowl.  And get this, he may be the MVP of the Super Bowl and announce that he is going to Disneyland.

So sorry haters, can’t hate on Cam any more.  Dude is here to stay, and he is only getting better.

Oh, and in case if you all are wondering if my man Folsom will live up to his promise, he has something for y’all:

Ah, seeing funny crap like this makes it such a great day to be a football fan…

2016 NFL Playoff Preview: Conference Championships

NFL-LogoAFC

New England Patriots at Denver Broncos.  This is awesome.  Tom Brady vs. Peyton Manning, Part 17.  Sure, I know Brady has essentially owned Manning, especially in the playoffs.  And yes, I know Manning’s arm is essentially a glorified noodle, while Brady is STILL going strong.  And yes, the Patriots are favored by many to win this game.

So why should we still watch?

The Broncos have the best defense in football.  It’s always fascinating to watch the best D in the NFL go against one of the most efficient offenses, especially with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line.

Brady essentially uses the short passing games as runs, with Julian Edelman at times turning 4 yard slants into 12-yard gains.  And of course there is the “Gronk factor”.  Rob Gronkowski cannot be stopped, he can only be contained.  Just how the Broncos’ D can contain him is a huge key.

As much as I would love to see Manning pull out a win that would make the ultimate redemption story, many people do not think it will happen.

But I do.

The Pats had key personnel on defense leave last week’s game and not return.  If they do not have the horses to stop Denver’s running game and Demaryius Thomas, it’s going to be a long day for the Pats.

Look for the Broncos do enough on offense and defense to help send Manning to the Super Bowl in what may be his last season.  It will be a beauty to watch…  Broncos 20, Patriots 17.

NFC

Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers.  This may be considered the undercard of the two conference championship matchups, but this is still intriguing to me.  This is another classic “great offense (Cardinals) vs. great defense (Panthers)” matchup.

The biggest question to me is how Arizona’s high-octane offense will perform in the harsh cold environment in Charlotte.  Lots of snow fell in Charlotte from the blizzard that is smacking the hell out of the east coast, and the temperature of the game will be in the 30s.

We all know the Panthers’ D will come out to play, but will they be able to hold a lead THIS time with a Super Bowl berth on the line?  Will Cam Newton put on a show that validates his MVP award?

I think the Panthers will win this game, on the strength of them playing at home.  It will be a good one, but man home-field advantage is something else…  Panthers 24, Cardinals 20.

Postseason record to date
Last week: 4-0
Overall: 6-2

LeBron Is the Real Coach of the Cavs

cleveland_cavaliers_logo-1024x768To those people who are crowing over the Cleveland Cavaliers giving coach David Blatt the ax earlier today, I ask the following question: where the hell have you been?

Anyone who had been paying attention to the Cavs the last two seasons knew that Blatt’s firing was only a matter of when.

Blatt was new to the NBA, having coached overseas for several seasons.  He didn’t have the experience of game planning on the NBA level.  He was out-coached by the likes of Gregg Popovich, Rick Carlisle, Luke Walton, and Doc Rivers just to name a few.  And to make matters worse, Blatt never coached a superstar such as LeBron James.

Before I continue, let me extol Blatt’s accomplishments.  He had a winning record during his coaching tenure in the NBA (83-40 regular season record).  His Cavs won the Central Division and was two games (and perhaps two major injuries) away from winning the NBA Finals.  Oh yeah, Blatt led the Cavs to a 30-11 record THIS SEASON which was good enough to be the best in the Eastern Conference!

Yet with all those accomplishments, Blatt never seemed to have the respect of the players in the Cavs’ locker room.

LeBron never respected Blatt.  He’d constantly questioned and overruled Blatt’s decisions.  Remember the times LeBron would wave off substitutions Blatt would send in the game?

Hell, the players seemed to respect top assistant Tyrone Lue more than Blatt.  That was why management signed Lue to a three-year contract on the heels of Blatt’s firing.

Now do I think that management panicked when the Cavs got their asses kicked by the Golden State Warriors on national television?  Perhaps.

Do I think Blatt is a good coach who got a raw deal in Cleveland?  Maybe.

I do know this – it sure smells like LeBron wanted the team to get Blatt the hell out of town.

And yeah, I know the Cavs’ general manager David Griffin maintains he consulted only with owner Dan Gilbert – not LeBron – before breaking off Blatt.

“I’m not somebody who believes we don’t talk to the family before we make changes.  We do. And I’ve told you that. I talk to many players when we make decisions of magnitude that will change the locker room.

“This was one where I didn’t need to ask them because I’ve watched them interact with each other for a very long period of time under a lot of different circumstances. I know what something that’s not right looks like, and I believe this was the right decision to make. And it’s very possible that it’s the wrong decision to make. You may hear that from our players tomorrow. And I’m open-minded to that. They don’t have to like it. They have to respect that this is what we’re trying to do.”

I’m going to call bullshit on that one.

There is no way in the hell that a team makes a big move like this without consulting their players, let alone a superstar.  LeBron is too important for the Cavs to do fire a very successful coach in Blatt.

And they gave Lue a new three-year contract, thus bypassing the “interim” stage?  YOu think Cavs management did that without discussing that with LeBron?  C’mon y’all.

It’s no secret that LeBron highly respects and loves Lue.  As I said earlier, the team respects Lue more so than Blatt.  Trust me when I say LeBron and the players are happy that Lue is now leading the troops.

As bad as I feel for Blatt, I’m not surprised he got his ass canned.  He and LeBron were a bad match from the beginning.

Let’s hope that LeBron doesn’t pull another power play and back-stabs his boy Lue…

 

It’s All About the West in the NBA

nbaLeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers has a golden opportunity last night.

They had the opportunity to show the rest of the NBA that they can compete against the elite teams of the NBA.  They had the opportunity to show everyone that they will be a force to be reckoned with when the NBA Finals roll around.

And more importantly, the Cavs had a chance to make a statement against Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and the defending champion Golden State Warriors.  After all the smack talk Curry espoused before the game (Curry said he hoped the visitors locker room “still smells a little bit like champagne”), one would think Cleveland would come out swinging.  And while I don’t know if Green said anything, you knew he was talking shit.

Instead, the Cavs laid down like dogs on national television.  Actually, saying that they “laid down like dogs” was being too nice.

The Cavs got violated.  Taken advantage of.  Curb-stomped.  Pimp-slapped.

Last night proved that no matter how competitive the Eastern Conference is this season, and how better the East looks overall, the title favorites still resides in the Western Conference.

The best three teams in the NBA are the Warriors, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder.  No one thinks the Cavs should be considered as one of the elites.

The Cavs lost by over 30 to the Warriors.  OVER 30!

LeBron was upstaged by Curry.  Kyrie Irving had a horrible offensive night.  And last, but not least, max-salary player Kevin Love simply didn’t show up.

Love went 1-5 last night, scoring only three points.  Three points!  That dude has to be the softest max player in the NBA.

David Blatt keeps proving that he is only the coach of the Cavs in name only.  Everyone knows LeBron is the coach of that team.  Did you see him wave off a substitution (or two)?  Most of the team trusts assistant coach Tyrone Lue instead of Blatt.

Coupled with the loss last week to the Spurs, the Cavs are simply not ready for prime time. As it stands now, the best team in the East cannot hang with the top two dogs (and possibly the Thunder) in the West.

So until proven otherwise, the East champion will serve as a sacrificial lamb to the winner of the West.

 

 

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