2014-2015 NBA Season Preview: Eastern Conference

254px-NBA_Logo.svg_The 2014-2015 NBA season is almost here!

Lots of storylines are abound this season.  Will LeBron James’ return to Cleveland be a successful homecoming?  Will Derrick Rose stay healthy this season?  Ditto for Dwyane Wade?  Will the Oklahoma City Thunder remain in the thick of things while Kevin Durant rehabs his injured foot?  Will Kobe Bryant be the Black Mamba of old (no pun intended)?

All in all, this should be one memorable season in the National Basketball Association (and it’s good to have the Hornets back in Charlotte).

Today I will preview the Eastern Conference, tomorrow the much more competitive Western Conference.  So without further ado…

Atlantic Division

  1. Toronto Raptors
  2. New York Knicks
  3. Brooklyn Nets
  4. Boston Celtics
  5. Philadelphia 76ers

Analysis:  Toronto is by far the class of this division.  Kyle Lowry, Terrence Ross, and Amir Johnson and Co. are back after leading their Raptors to a 48-win season.  After having a taste of the postseason in last year’s playoffs, I expect the Raptors to be improved – and hungrier.  My Knicks will be much-improved under the tuteledge of first-time coach Derek Fisher, a protege of Head of Basketball Ops Phil Jackson.  The Triangle Offense worked for Michael Jordan and later Kobe Bryant.  I expect it to do wonders for Carmelo Anthony.  The rest of the division are trending down a bit.  Brooklyn is a mess, from the top down.  Shaky front office + overrated, overpriced roster = bad news.  Boston and Philly are still young, and both these once-proud franchises will be getting their ass kicked again.

Central Division

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Indiana Pacers
  4. Milwaukee Bucks
  5. Detroit Pistons

Analysis:  This should be one fun division race to watch. A lot of people think that the Cavs and Bulls will rule this division, but I think that the Pacers will have a say on how this division will be settled – with or without Paul George.  Indiana is a well-coached team that was unfortunately doomed by poor chemistry.  I think Lance Stephenson got a bad rap, as he and David West by far were the heart and soul of the team.  The Pacers need better point guard play, and George Hill is not a damn point guard.  As for the Cavs and Bulls, we are looking at the two best teams in the East.  The new “Big Three” in James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving makes the Cavs the team to beat in the Central and the East.  However, if Rose could stay healthy the majority of the season, Chicago will have a lot to say about that.  As for the Bucks and Pistons, why bother showing up?  Both sucked last year, and both will stink up the joint again this season.

Southeast Division

  1. Charlotte Hornets
  2. Miami Heat
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Atlanta Hawks
  5. Orlando Magic

Analysis: In what may be a surprising – and frankly, head-scratching – pick, I think the Hornets are going to win the Southeast division. Hear me out on this. I liked the acquisition of Stephenson – A LOT. As I mentioned earlier, I thought he was one of two players who showed the most heart for the Pacers last season. His feistiness on both ends of the floor will be infectious on an up-and-coming team in Charlotte. The Hornets already have studs in Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker, and have a good coach in Steve Clifford. And one more thing about the Hornets, it feels good for me to see the nickname back in Charlotte. The vibe and energy has picked up around the Queen City, something I have not seen since growing up in the state. One could make the case for the Heat and Wizards for winning this division. If both teams are relatively healthy, they could win over 50 games. However, Wizards sharpshooter Bradley Beal will not play the first few games of the season. And I do not trust Wade’s health. The Hawks are a playoff contender with a healthy Al Horford. They already have studs in Jeff Teague (go Demon Deacons!) and Paul Milsap. As the case with Miami and Washington, it’s just a matter of Atlanta staying healthy. As for Orlando, not only does that team sucks – it SWALLOWS.  Nothing more needs to be said…

2014 NFL Week 8 Power Rankings

NFLHere it is ladies and gents: my top 10 NFL teams heading into Week 8…

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Arizona Cardinals
  4. Baltimore Ravens
  5. New England Patriots
  6. Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Indianapolis Colts
  8. Green Bay Packers
  9. San Diego Chargers
  10. Detroit Lions

Hammer away you sons of bitches!

2014 NFL Week 8 Preview

NFLGame of the Week

San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos.  It should go without saying that the AFC West is shaping up to be a two-horse race.  San Diego played Denver tough last season, and is looking to get a HUGE leg up on the Broncos.  The problem is I do not see many teams beating Peyton Manning at home (unless it is the playoffs – HEY-OOO!), and the Chargers is not going to be one of those teams.  Besides, one has to wonder where San Diego is at mentally after they dropped last week’s game to the Chiefs at home.  Broncos 27, Chargers 20.

“Your Ass Needs a New Hobby” Game of the Week

Minnesota Vikings at Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  Even if you are a fan of both of these God-awful teams, why even watch?  Oh yeah, gotta pick a “winner” for this snooze-fest…  Vikings over Bucs.

Sunday’s Games

Lions over Falcons
Chiefs over Rams
Texans over Titans
Seahawks over Panthers
Bengals over Ravens
Dolphins over Jaguars
Patriots over Bears
Bills over Jets
Cardinals over Eagles
Browns over Raiders
Colts over Steelers
Packers over Saints

Monday’s Game

Cowboys over Redskins

Last week’s record: 11-4 (Consistency – I love it!)
2014 record to date: 67-41-1 (Getting in the groove…)

2014 World Series Preview

mlbThe two participants in the 2014 World Series are wild card teams.  Both of those teams did not win over 90 games in the regular season – the first time it has happened in World Series history.  One of those teams made its first appearance in the playoffs in almost 30 years.

In short, this past season has been “bizarro world” in major league baseball.

And this should make for one interesting preview.  Speaking of which…

San Francisco Giants vs. Kansas City Royals.  Here we go again: it’s experience vs. youthful exuberance.  The Giants are playing in their third World Series in five years.  Let me say that again: the Giants are playing in their THIRD WORLD SERIES IN FIVE YEARS.  Giants manager Bruce Bochy has to be considered the best manager in baseball.  If he does deliver San Francisco its third World Series title of the decade, no one would dispute his standing.

On the other hand, the Royals keep surprising the hell out of me.  Looking back at the start of the post-season, I could easily say that Kansas City has no business advancing deep into the post-season – let alone the World Series.  The Royals hitting does not scare most pundits, and their starting pitching does not give many to pause.  Hell two of the teams they beat to get to this point (the Angels and Orioles) were far better teams on paper.

But the Royals have one thing that is totally immeasurable: heart.

Kansas City swept both Los Angeles and Baltimore, two of the best teams in all of baseball.  And sure the Royals have a speedy team that is deadly on the base pads, as well as arguably the best bullpen in baseball.  However, there was little doubt that toughness play a big role in the Royals reaching the World Series without even losing a game.

I’ve made the mistake of not picking the Royals in the AL Divisional and Championship Series, but I will not make the same mistake for the World Series.  Call it destiny, call it selling one’s soul to the devil, but I do not see the Giants derailing the Royals a World Series title.  Kansas City’s bullpen is way to strong to overcome, and it should put the finishing touches on what has been a magical season.

Royals in 6.

2014 NFL Week 7 Preview

NFLGame of the Week

San Francisco 49ers at Denver Broncos.  This is going to be one helluva game.  One of the league’s best defenses against one of the best offenses.  Patrick Willis vs. Peyton Manning.  Jim Harbaugh vs. John Fox.  Need I say more?  Well, I would except it’s midnight and I REALLY need to take my crusty ass to bed.  One more thing: Mile High will prove to be the Niners’ undoing.  Broncos 27, 49ers 24.

“Your Ass Needs a Hobby” Game of the Week

Tennessee Titans at Washington Redskins.  Do I REALLY have to pick a winner here?  Should I really give a damn?  Oh what the hell…  Redskins over Titans.

Thursday’s Game

Patriots over Jets

Sunday’s Games

Ravens over Falcons
Seahawks over Lambs
Browns over Jaguars
Colts over Bengals
Bills over Vi-Queens
Bears over Dolphins
Lions over Saints
Packers over Panthers
Chargers over Chiefs
Cardinals over Raiders
Cowboys over Giants

Monday’s Game

Steelers over Texans

Last week’s record: 11-3-1 (Getting the good ‘ol mojo back!)
2014 record to date: 56-37-1 (Still chopping that wood…)

2014 NFL Week 6 Preview

NFLGame of the Week

Dallas Cowboys over Seattle Seahawks.  Are the Cowboys for real?  We’ll find out after this game as it will mark the first time Dallas will face one of the best teams in the league.  If the Cowboys win, God bless my Twitter and Facebook timelines.  Thankfully for me I don’t think it’s going to end that way.  Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” will take away Dez Bryant and the passing game, and its front seven should neutralize DeMarco Murray and the running game.  This leads us to Tony Romo.  Asking him to win a game against Seattle’s ferocious defense on the road will be too tall of a task for Dallas.  It should be a good one though…  Seahawks 27, Cowboys 20.

Snore-fest of the Week

Titans over Jaguars.  Whoever is excited about this game either has a bad gambling habit or is in dire need of prayer – or maybe both…

Thursday Night’s Game

Colts over Texans

Sunday’s Games

Ravens over Buccaneers
Broncos over Jets
Lions over Vikings
Patriots over Bills
Bengals over Panthers
Steelers over Browns
Packers over Dolphins
Chargers over Raiders
Falcons over Bears
Cardinals over Redskins (gonna be tough sledding for Washington)
Eagles over Giants

Monday’s Game

49ers over Rams

Last week’s record: 13-2 (MUCH better, much fucking better!)
2014 record to date: 45-31 (Now THAT’S more like it…)

2014 MLB Playoff Preview: ALCS and NLCS

mlbThe championship series is here, and needless to say there were some surprises.

First of all, I should have known better but the St. Louis Cardinals, aka “Team Cockroach”, got me AGAIN.  The Cardinals simply out-played, out-hustled, and more importantly out-managed the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Speaking of the latter, manager Don Mattingly almost single-handedly lost Game 1 when he left Clayton Kershaw on there too long.

Secondly, the two best teams in baseball were unceremoniously bounced out of the playoffs.  The Washington Nationals were out-toughed by the San Francisco Giants, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim near El Segundo were swept – SWEPT – by the young and inexperienced Kansas City Royals.

All of that makes for an old-school “Final Four” in Major League Baseball’s championship round.  Let’s go…

American League

Baltimore Orioles vs. Kansas City Royals.  It’s nice to see the Royals competing for the AL pennant again.  Shades of George Brett and the 1980s are back and are likely here to stay.  However, the Orioles are simply better.  As long as Baltimore keeps Kansas City off the base pads where it could do some major damage with its running game, it will advance to the World Series.  Don’t forget that the Orioles can mash a helluva lot better than the Royals as well.  Orioles in 6.

National League

St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants.  Old-school matchup on all levels here in terms of style and personnel.  Both teams are grinders that look to wear opposing teams down.  This should be a classic, competitive series.  That said, I’m not going to pick against the Cardinals again.  Cardinals in 7.

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