Thursday, October 20, 2016

NFL: Thoughts on the season through Week 6

Hello, all. 6 weeks of the 2016 NFL season have come and gone. I think now is an approprite time for Joseph Arthur Smeltzer to recap the best, and worst of the season thus far, starting with the AFC.

Team: New England Patriots

How could anybody argue? The American Football Conference has seen better days. Coming into the season, I felt that the 3 best teams in the AFC were, in no order; New England, Denver and Pittsburgh. The Broncos and Steelers have had their struggles and question marks, while the Patriots are the Patriots. New England has the conference's best record at 5-1, and 3 of those wins happened without the greatest quarterback God ever created under center. Discredit them all you want; it dosen't matter. New England is the best.

Team: Cleveland Browns 

Too easy. But I will say this about the Cleveland Browns; although they are 0-6 and, frankly, a bad football team, it's not as if they are getting blown away in every single game. They have been competitive in 4 of their six losses, and could easily be 3-3. Also, they are much easier to watch than they were one year ago, meaning that they have improved fundamentally. Cleveland has a long way to go to compete with the Cavs and Indians as far as winning goes, but records can be somewhat misleading.

Best Coach: Jack Del Rio 
Wrong Del Rio

If you read my NFL Preview's, you know that I have developed a love for the Oakland Raiders, and am very pleased to see them off to a 4-2 start. I also love the job that Jack Del Rio has done with the silver and black. If you think about it, this team and this coach are made for each other. The Raiders string of losing started in 2003. Jack Del Rio's head coaching career started in 2003. The Raiders have been were a franhicse that was once glorious, but had lost their touch. Jack Del Rio had some sucess with the Jacksonville Jags, making the playoffs twice, but then he lost his touch, ending his reign in Jacksonville with 4 straight losing season. The Raiders were virtually exiled from the NFL, being thought of as the villians for the past 40 years or so. Jack Del Rio was banished from the sunshine state when the Jaguares gave him the boot.

When Del Rio was hired in 2015, he was taking over a frachise in shambles, coming off a 3-13 season in 2014. Del Rio's age (51) and record (68-71) did not provide much reason to think he would be the man to right the ship. Oakland made strides in 2015, going 7-9, and this year, The Raiders are 4-2 and tied for first in the AFC West. It remains to been seen what will become of Del Rio and this young team, but here's hoping good things are ahead.

Worst Coach: Chuck Pagano 

This hurts to write, as I admire Chuck Pagano for his courage and character. However, I'm afraid he may have worn out his welcome in ''Naptown.'' There is no reason that the Indianapolis Colts should not be atop the horrendous AFC South. None. Before the season, the Colts and the Houston Texans were the only teams that had a remote chance to win this abomination of a division. The Texans (4-2) have been ok, but certainly nothing spectacular. Certainly, nothing that the 2014 AFC Runner-Ups can't handle. But nonetheless, the Texans are 4-2 with Brock Osweiler, and the Colts are 2-4 with Andrew Luck.

It doesn't help that both of Indy's wins have been against teams with a combined record of 3-9 (Chargers and Bears) and by a combined total of 10 points. The Colts are not dead yet. They can still make a push in the AFC South. But Pagano just hasn't been able to get his team and his quarterback to where they expect to be, and it almost cost him his job last season. It might be enough to cost him his job this season.

Most Surprising Team: Buffalo Bills 

Buffalo's got a spirit, talking proud, talking proud. Yes, the Bills are rolling. After starting the season 0-2, many left the Bills and, in particular, Rex Ryan, for dead. But Buffalo has made a comeback, led by their fabulous running back, LeSean McCoy, and a solid defense, led by Zach and Preston Brown. As with Oakland, we don't yet know what will transpire, but getting a Wildcard spot in the weak cheese AFC is far from out of the question. Enjoy it while you can, Rex, and try not to screw it up.

Most Disappointing Team: New York Jets

I would give this to the Colts, but since I talked about them above, I'm going to speak about the Jets. Maybe I was a fool for thinking that Ryan Fitzpatrick could carry over his solid 2015 season into 2016. Nonetheless, the team that almost stole a playoff spot from my Steelers 7 months ago is now an awful 1-5. To make matters worse, only one of those losses have been by less than 10 points, so the Jets have been every bit as bad of their record would indicate. Todd Bowels is a good coach, and I don't think New York will show him the door, but this appears to be a lost season for the AFC team in the Meadowlands.

Now, on to the National Football Conference
Team: Dallas Cowboys 
Dak was always a boss (photo creds to Si.Com

How bout em? As much as some of us hate hearing about them, the Cowboys are rolling at 5-1. Dak Prescott and Big Zeke Elliot have been both productive and electric, and they have done it without the human reality show that is Dez Bryant. Both the Seahawks (4-1) and Vikings (5-0) also have a case as the best team in the NFC right now, but I'm going with Dallas because I feel that their success is the most sustainable because of their offensive firepower. The Redskins think that they run the NFC East. That is just not true.

Team: San Fransico 49ers
1-5. 5 straight losses. A coach who probably wants out of the NFL at this point. Yeah, the 49ers tradition is going strong, and forcing out Jim Harbaugh hasn't caused any problems at all.

Best Coach: Mike Zimmer

What Mike Zimmer has been doing is remarkable. Before the season started, he lost his quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater, for the season with a torn ACL. In Week 2, he lost his running back and leader, Adrian Peterson, likely for the season with a torn meniscus. But even with Sam Bradford at quarterback and Matt Asiata as running back, the Vikings have done nothing but win. They are 5-0, and Zimmer deserves all the credit in the world.

Worst Coach: Ron Rivera 
I like Ron Rivera. But the truth is, He just hasn't accomplished a whole lot as a head coach in the National Football League. Since 2011, the Panthers have had just two winning seasons, and it looks like it might stay that way after 2016, as Carolina is off to a horrid 1-5 start.

Much like Chuck Pagano, I'd like to put a less likable guy as my worst coach, but the Panthers have been so disappointing that I can't do it any other way.

Most Suprising Team: Minnesota Vikings
I've already talked about why the Vikings are a surprise, and now I'll to talk about what makes them win. The answer is defense.

Xavier Rhodes, Terrance Newman, and Harrison Smith have all played significant roles in the Vikings secondary, while Lineval Joseph, Everson Griffen, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr have all been forces on the front seven. The Vikings unit is the best in football, and both Mike Zimmer and defensive coordinator George Edwards deserve mad props. The Purple People Eaters are back, baby.

Most Disappointing Team: Carolina Panthers

Carolina has lost 5 times as many games this season as they did last season, and we are not even halfway done. I don't have to say anymore after that, but I will. Has Carolina been victims of bad luck? Sure. 3 of their 5 losses have been by a field goal or less. But is it more that they are unlucky in 2016, or they were very lucky in 2015?

Carolina was the best team in football in the regular season last year. But they weren't as dominant as their 15-1 record would have you believe. 7 of their 15 wins were by less than 10 points, with 4 of them being by 5 points of less. In 2014, they were 7-8-1, and 3-2-1 through 6 games. The point I am trying to get at here is; are the Carolina Panthers really just another team that rubbed a genie in a bottle the right way a year ago?

Have the 2016 Carolina Panthers been unlucky? Yes. Do they wish they had paid Josh Norman? Probably. But maybe, Cammy Cam and friends have come back down to earth.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

2016 Pittsburgh Penguins Season Preview: 7 (sorta) Bold Predictions

By: Joe Smeltzer
Hello, all. Yes, I am aware that the NHL season has already started. But I don't care. Here are 7 predictions for the 2016-17 Pittsburgh Penguins hockey season, from the mind of Joseph Arthur Smeltzer
#1. Fans will start to complain about Mike Sullivan
Photo Creds to

Pittsburgh sports fans have a short memory. They like to complain, and as far as the head coach goes, it seems to be the worst in hockey, as there are plenty of games and, as a result, plenty of bumps in the road. Should the Penguins stumble at any point, the currently respected head coach Mike Sullivan will be the target of abuse from yinzers. I don't want to see it, but it is inevitable.
#2. Conor Sheary develops into a star

If you watched the Pittsburgh Penguins last season, you saw the potential that Conor Sheary has. He is smart, he is quick, and he is capable. I think Sheary's first full season will be one with a lot of excitement and encouragement as far as the future of the Penguins goes. Sheary has the combination of talent and hard work that should lead to him being a solid player in this league.

#3 Phill Kessel wins the Rocket Richard Trophy 
Photo creds to HFBoards

Phill Kessel is a sniper. This is a bold prediction, with guys like Alexander Ovechkin routinely scoring 40+ goals, but I have a gut feeling that Phill Kessel will have the best year of his career, banging home 41 goals to lead NHL. Kessel is a great player, and I feel that he is due to win some major individual hardware.

#4 Both goalies split playing time 
Photo creds to CBC

Once Marc-Andre Flury is in net, it's hard to get him out. Once Matt Murray is in net, it's hard to get him out. So, in my opinion, once Murray gets back from injury, he and flower will split playing time, with Fleury getting more starts. It won't be, say, alternating between games, but a 3-for-1 type of deal, with Fleury starting three games to Murry's 1, is not out of the question. By doing this, Mike Sullivan will keep both goaltenders fresh for when the games start to count in the postseason.

#5 Geno's temper holds him back
Photo creds to

Evgeni Malkin has always had the potential to be a top 5 player in the world. The two main factors that have kept this from happening are;
1. Injuries
2. His temper
How many times have we seen Geno take a dumb penalty? What separates him from his teammate, Sidney Crosby, is that Sid can turn the other cheek and just play the game. Malkin is not able to do that for whatever reason. Until Malkin learns just to play the game, he will never reach his full potential on the ice.

#6 Sidney Crosby will win the Art Ross and Heart
Photo creds to

Yes, the concussion issues are always a concern. But Sidney Crosby has already cemented his legacy as an all-time great, putting all doubt to rest with his playoff performance this spring. I feel that, if not for a slow start, Crosby could have taken home some of the NHL's most prestigious individual hardware last season. This season, Sid will not start slow. Once he is cleared, he will pick up right where he left off, and leave no doubt as to who the best player in the world is.

#7 The Penguins season will end with a loss in the Eastern Conference Finals 
The Penguins have Stanley Cup talent. So much so that I think they are the best team in the NHL. However, one cannot understate how difficult it is to repeat in the National Hockey League. No team has been able to go back-to-back since the 1998 Detroit Redwings. Over the past decade, the Penguins have shown themselves to be better off when they fly under the radar. This season, they are not under the radar. Instead, we expect a lot from them, and they have the target on their back. I hope I am wrong, but the strain of being repeat champs, in my opinion, would be too much for the Pittsburgh Penguins to overcome.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Steelers Fans: You should know the drill by now

Photo creds to WTAE.Com
Let's be clear on one thing right away; every Pittsburgh Steeler fan on this planet has every right to be frustrated by what transpired at Hard Rock Stadium (yes, that is an actual stadium name) on Sunday afternoon. The Pittsburgh Steelers were flat. They couldn't stop the run. The couldn't move the ball, partly due to Todd Haley abandoning the running game for whatever reason. They got utterly clowned by an average at best Miami Dolphins team. So, October 16th, 2016, was not a good day for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With all of that said, one question I have is; did we learn anything about the Steelers that we didn't already know?

5-6. Since 2014, that's what the Steelers record is against teams that finished the season with a .500 record or below, and that does not include win/loss records at the time of the game. If you watch the Pittsburgh Steelers on a regular basis, you know that this team tends to play to the level of its competition. I don't know why this is, but games like the one on Sunday have happened too often over the past two years to be considered merely a coincidence. The Steelers lost to a bad team, and we know that Pittsburgh has a habit of doing that. So, what exactly was different about Sunday afternoon?

Ok, so the Steelers typically decent run defense was torn apart by Jay Ajayi, who wasn't even respected enough to be starting on Joseph Arthur Smeltzer's fantasy team (I mean, he is about to be 6-0, but still), rushed for 204 yards and two touchdowns. That's not okay. It's also true that the Dolphins quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, who had been sacked 17 times in Miami's first five games, did not hit the ground once. That's not okay, either. But the Steelers defense is what it is. Pittsburgh's defense, most of the time, should be at least adequate not to negate their historically good offensive attack. It is also worth noting that Ryan Shazier and Cam Heyward, the two best players in the front seven, were not on the field.

I was watching ESPN's First Take this morning, and one of the debate topics was ''are the Steelers overrated?'' Everybody is entitled to their opinion, but I don't see how this Steelers team can be considered overrated. They are 4-2, and still, in my view, the second-best team in the AFC. Last season, the Steelers finished at 10-6. The year before that, 11-5. Through 6 games in 2015, the Steelers were 4-2. In 2014, they were 3-3. If the Steelers were to finish with an 11-5 or even a 10-6 record, it would almost certainly be enough to win the AFC North (the Steelers could win that division by accident at this point) and might even suffice the #2 seed in the AFC.

In the eyes of most so-called ''experts'', the preseason top 3 teams in the American Football Conference were, in no set order; Pittsburgh, New England, and Denver. Through 6 weeks of the season, is there any reason to believe those are not still the top 3 teams in the AFC? Both the AFC East (minus New England)  and the AFC South are terrible, and the Steelers run the AFC North. That leaves us the AFC West. Sure, 3 of those teams have a winning record. But can anybody look me in the eye and tell me that the Oakland Raiders or the Kansas City Chiefs are on Pittsburgh's level? The Steelers wrecked KC 43-14 just two weeks ago, and the Chiefs pounded the 4-2 Raiders yesterday. Knowing that both Oakland and Kansas City are in the top half of the conference is telling of where the Steelers stand.

The primary concern that fans should have, and likely do have right now is the health of Big Ben Roethlisberger. #7 suffered a torn meniscus in his knee and underwent surgery on Monday, which means that he will miss the mega-clash with Tom Brady and the Pats this Sunday at Heinz Field. With Pittsburgh having a bye, and Ben not needing his knees as much due to being a pocket passer, there is a reasonable possibility that Roethlisberger could be back for the November 6th tilt with the Dirty Birds in Baltimore. While it is true that Ben might not be back that quickly and could be out for a while, what good does it do us fans to over speculate? Whatever happens with Big Ben's health will occur, so let's just wait and see how this plays out.

The Steelers offense was dead on Sunday. But it's worth noting that due to injuries to Sammy Coates and Markus Wheaton, the Miami defense was able to key on Antonio Brown, making him a non-factor. The thing that bothered me most about the offense was the putrid play of the offensive line. However, the Steelers O-Line was even worse three weeks ago in Philadelphia and was able to bounce back the next two weeks. So, I think the Big Bois will be just fine.

So are the Steelers overrated? If you're judging them by the standards of the 1970's and early-mid 2000s, then yes. But this is 2016. The Steelers are a relatively one-dimensional team, and a franchise known to slip against its inferiors. But if you judge the Pittsburgh Steelers by the standards of every AFC team outside of Massachutes and Colorado, then they are doing pretty well for themselves. We have played six games, and there are ten more to play. So buckle up. There will be plenty of ups, and maybe a few downs, ahead for the Men of Steel.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

NFL Week 6 Preview/Predictions

Hello, all. Week 6 is here, and the boys all have something to say. Let's get into it.

Sort of a Rivalry
Eagles (3-1) at Redskins (3-2) 

Joe: Yes, Philly was cut down by the lowly Lions. But Carson Wentz is still a stud who will pick apart the suspect Skins defense, and the Eagles D-Line will make life hell for Kirk Cousins. No, he will not like that.

Eagles 34, Redskins 17

 Eagles will win because Carson Wentz is legit.  Washington has struggled this year, especially the defense.  Big day for Carson Wentz.

Jeff: Philly's defense will stop the Redskins offense.

''Who the Hell Cares?'' Part I

Jaguars (1-3) at Bears (1-4)
Joe: Both of these teams stink, but at least Jacksonville is headed in the right direction. The Bears are going nowhere, not that I care.

Jags 34, Bears 25

Brad: Jags will finally get a winning streak going, and I am going to stand by my prediction of a Jaguar Super Bowl this year.
Jeff: The Jags won't be able to stop Brian Hoyer and the Bears


Browns (0-5) at Titans (1-4) 
Joe: Cleveland sucks.... at football. Focus on the Indians.

Brad: The Browns are horrible, yes.  But, the Titans are horrible too, and the Browns have been extremely competitive this year.

Jeff:This will be a close game, but the Browns have to win at one eventually.

Will the Patriots lose?
Bengals (2-3) at Patriots (4-1) 

Joe: The Bungles are again playing like the Bungles of old, while for New England, the King is back in his castle. So, the answer is no.
Pats 38, Bengals 14

Patriots don't seem to want to lose, and the Bengals aspire no confidence.

Jeff: Tom Brady is Tom Brady.

49ers (1-4) at Bills (3-2) 
Joe: Say what you will about Colin Kaepernick off the field, but on the field, he is the best man to be the starting QB for the San Francisco 49ers. The Bills recent hot streak is bound to come to an end, and I think that the QB switch from Blaine Gabbert to Colin Kaepernick will refresh the 49ers offense, at least temporarily.

49ers 31, Bills 24

Colin Kaepernick won't beat LeSean McCoy, who is giving free tickets to police officers.

Jeff: Buffalo's defense will crush Colin Kaepernick's whinny little body to the ground in a blowout.

Ravens (3-2) at Giants (2-3)
Joe: Yuck. I hate both of these teams. But since the Giants are playing at home, and Odell Beckham is due to break out, I think that the G-Men will get a much-needed W against what it, frankly, an overrated and mediocre Baltimore team.

Giants 28, Ravens 22

I don't see the Giants to be that good, but the Ravens are finding ways to win.  Sometimes that is enough and it will be this week.

Jeff: Hopefully OBJ can have fun again.

This is somewhat interesting 

Rams (3-2) at Lions (2-3) 
Joe: Yes, Theo Riddick and the Lions looked good against the Eagles last week. Yes, Case Keenum and the Rams looked awful against Buffalo last week. But the Rams are, at the very worst, an average football team, while I still believe that the Lions stink. LA will keep their winning ways going and improve to a surprising 4-2.

Rams 21, Lions 13

Both of these teams are playing well, but the Lions have been better overall.

Jeff: This is my ''who the hell cares?'' game of the week.

Excitingly Dull
Panthers (1-4) at Saints (1-3)
Joe:  Carolina is clearly not the same team as the one that went 15-1 and was champs of the NFC last year. In fact, there is a good chance that they miss out on the playoffs. Although New Orleans has an awful record of 1-4, they can keep games close. I think that Drew Brees will be able to exploit a struggling Carolina defense, and New Orleans will put some points on the board. However, a man named Cam Newton is back, and his Panthers will put just a few more points on the board to avoid falling to 1-5.

Panthers 34, Saints 31

 Carolina has been god awful this year.  I mean, they lost to the Bucs.  The Saints are better than Tampa Bay and will win at home.

Jeff: Who can't beat the Panthers at this point? 

Remember the AFL?

Raiders (4-1) at Chiefs (2-2) 
Joe:  I love the Raiders. I love Derek Carr. I love Amari Cooper. For that reason, I am picking against the Silver and Black. Although the Raiders have been good this season, they have also been lucky, and that is a big reason why they are 4-1. I think that Oakland is still growing up as a winning team, and this will be a humbling experience for Jack Del Rio's squad. As for Kansas City, an inconsistent team will experience one of the highs of a roller coaster season.
Chiefs 30, Raiders 27

The Raiders are playing well this season.  Kansas City, on the other hand, is getting off to slow starts and that leads to issues.

Jeff: Jamaal Charles is back. Expect the Chiefs offense to get back on track.

Dez caught the ball
Cowboys (4-1)  at Packers (3-1) 
Joe: As much as I love the rookie tandem of Dak Prescott and Big Zeke Elliot, I also love Aaron Rodgers. When a football game is played at Lambeau Field, it's difficult to expect anything less than a Green Bay victory.
Packers 30, Cowboys 20

 The Boys' are really good this year and in what will be the best game of the week.  Ezekiel Elliott will lead the Cowboys to victory.

Jeff: Dak is going to make some mistakes in this one, and it's going to cost Dallas.

Overall game of the Week
Falcons (4-1) at Seahawks (3-1)  
Joe: Atlanta has been one of the bigger surprises of the 2016 season, but, they are going into one of the most intense environments in American sports. This is the time of year when the Seahawks turn up the heat, and Atlanta will learn that the hard way today.

Brad:  The Seahawks are just a better team overall.

Jeff:This should be a good game, but the Seahawks defense is too good.

''Who the Hell Cares?'' Part III
Colts vs Texans:
Joe: Horrible Sunday Night matchup. Houston is at home and at least somewhat respectable, so I give them the win against a reeling Colts team.
Brad: The Colts have been horrible this year.  The Texans have been half decent.  The Texans will win this game.
Jeff: Houston's offense will shine.

Part IV

Jets vs Cards:
Brad:  Do I really need to explain why the Cards will win.
Joe: What he Said. 
Jeff:  jets can't seem to beat anybody and Won't beat the cards

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Steelers-Dolphins: 3 Keys to Victory

By: Joe Smeltzer
Hello, all. Welcome to the second of 3 straight contests between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the AFC East. This week, Pittsburgh will travel to the land of Miami, Florida to take on the 1-4 Miami Dolphins. Here are three things that the Steelers can do to ensure a 3rd straight victory.

Key #1: Make sure Bad Ryan Tannehill shows up
Photo creds to Cbs Sports

The 5th year man from Texas A&M has had an up-and-down NFL career and has shown flashes of the brilliance that made him the 8th overall pick in 2012. This is the second straight week in which the Steelers defense will be up against a Jekell and Hyde QB. They handled Ryan Fitzpatrick well last week, and if  the Steelers pressure Tannehill into making rushed, poor decisions, and the corners can contain Miami's receivers (the Dolphins wideouts also contain themselves sometimes), then it will be hard for the Dolphins sub-par offense to get much of anything going.

Odds of execution: Solid 

Key #2: Atone for the loss of Cam Heyward 
Photo creds to Pittsburgh Post Gazette

In my opinion, Cam Heyward is the most important player on the Steelers defense. He is out this week with a hamstring injury, so that means the rest of the Steelers defensive line will have to have a motive. Stephon Tuitt, Ricardo Matthews, and Javon Hargrave all show promise, and all 3 of them will have to be on their A game in the absence of #97. Luckily, the Dolphins offense does not put fear into the hearts of anybody.

Odds of excution: Fantastic 

Key #3: Don't play at Miami's leval. 
We've seen the Steelers slip up against bad teams far too often in the past two years, and Pittsburgh needs to keep their momentum going with a mega-clash with New England just two weeks away. Miami should not beat the Steelers. Miami is not better than the Steelers. Miami is not very good. Therefore, the only way the Steelers can lose is if they come out flat.

Final Prediction
Steelers 24, Dolphins 14
This will be a victory, but not a convincing one. The Steelers defense will continue their run of form and limit the mediocre Miami attack. I expect a good, but not overly convincing performance from the Steelers offensive juggernaut. Pittsburgh won't play a flawless game, but they will do enough to beat Miami and move to 5-1 on the season.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

A Brave New Ballgame

A Brave New Ballgame:

How the Warriors continue to push basketball’s limits
Image result for curry thompson green durant
The Golden State Warriors are in a strange position this year. They could have had the chance to go for a three-peat this last season. This would have cemented their legacy as one of the best teams of all time. Yet somehow, they might even be better than that. On a recent Podcast with NBA journalist Zach Lowe, Steve Kerr was asked a fascinating question, “If god came to you on the night of game seven last year, and said, “You can either win this game, or loose and sign Kevin Durant, which would you have picked?” Kerr, smartly, didn’t pick either. He just replied by saying, “Time will tell.” He’s right, the Warrior’s could easily run off a new three-peat if everything breaks right, or this could be an unstable chemistry experiment that ends with Durant opting out of the second year of his deal. Experiment is a good word for what the Warriors will be doing this season. Since this core group has been working together, they’ve been making us all question what “winning” basketball looks like. This is the year it could go from chem-lab to mad science.  

   The style they play, much to the ire of many retired players, is very perimeter centric. Conventional wisdom has always held that you need a surefire way of producing baskets inside in order to win at the highest level. Shooting, no matter how great, is much more erratic, and therefore cannot always be relied upon to win you games. To say the Warriors are some live by the long ball team on a perpetual hot streak is greatly underselling the beauty of Kerr’s system and the skills of the players within it. The Warriors do produce buckets in the paint, but they just do it by ball and player movement as opposed to much more conventional post ups. Though their success speaks for itself, these critics were somewhat validated on the final play of the Warriors season. With the clock winding down, point guard Stephen Curry, laid out a combination of ineffective dribble moves, and hoisted a fading three over Kevin Love. Curry makes these shots on a routine basis, but with everything riding on the percentage of that shot going in it's understandable to prefer a simple post up 10-feet from the basket.  

Durant solves this problem. Besides Shaun Livingston, the Warriors have almost never posted the ball to score in the last two seasons. Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut are and were great playmakers out of the post, but you were never going to throw it to them in order to get a basket late in the game. Durant is a walking mismatch. In the post or on the perimeter, giving him the ball and getting out of the way will almost always produce a high quality look.  Unlike in Oklahoma City, where Durant was simply one of two threats to score, the thing that will make this team unlike anything we’ve seen before is the sheer amount of passing and shooting skill they will be able to put on the court at once.

Durant is a very heady basketball player, something that gets overshadowed because of his scoring ability, and should be able to fit right in with the other offensive weapons around him. On paper, it looks like they have thrown conventional basketball to the wind. With Bogut in the lineup, they always had some kind of insurance against teams with dominating big men. Though Zaza Pachulia is a very good replacement for him in wake of the Durant signing, he isn't the same defensive player that Bogut is. The Warriors are going all in on this bet now. A bet that a combination of heady, undersized basketball players will be able to beat a physically larger team more often than not. The result will probably cast ripples across the basketball landscape for years to come, and watching how it play out will be fascinating.             

Sunday, October 9, 2016

NFL Week 5 Preview

Patriots at Browns:
Joe: The king is back. The Browns are dead 

Jeff: just wait on it!

Brad: Brady's back.

Philadelphia at Detroit:
Joe: Will the Eagles come back to earth? Eventually. But the Lions are a joke, and they will not be the first team to stop Carson "Big Ben 2.0" Wentz

Eagles 33, Lions 14

Jeff: somehow they are doing pretty good this year!

Brad:  The Eagles are a good team, not a great one.  But the Lions are no match for them.  Eagles will win, probably big.

Chicago at Indianapolis: 
Joe: Two terrible teams. But the thing is, one of them actually has a chance of turning things 
around. And it ain't the Bears. 

Colts 35, Bears 20

Jeff: Colts defense couldn't stop the jags, won't stop the Bears

Brad:  Indianapolis has been awful this season.  That will continue against a mediocre Bears team.  

Tennessee at Miami:

Joe: Who cares? Tennessee, I guess. 

Jeff: Dolphins dont look too impressive, I think the Titans will run the ball like crazy and beat em

Brad:  Dolphins will be able to beat the Titans.  I expect Lamar Miller to have a huge day against this 
defense.  It will be a good game, but the Fins will pull away late.

Houston at Minnesota:
Joe: The Vikings are a good football team, but my gut tells me they are due for a bit of a reality check. I'm high on Brock Osweiler and the Texans, and see them getting a big road W here.

Texans 17, Minnesota 10

Jeff: Vikings have played well all year and the Texans have not

Brad:  The Vikings are 4-0 because of their defense who have shut down star after star this season.  No way is Brock Osweiler able to crack the code.

NY Jets at Pittsburgh:
Joe: I made a separate preview for this one, pal. 

Jeff: Jets will hold them close but the steelers will pull away In the second half

Brad: I see this as a potentail trap game for the Steelers, but Bell & Co. won't be stopped. Brandon Marshall should just leave the car at Antonio Brown's place while he is already in Pittsburgh.

Washington at Baltimore:
Joe: The Redskins are, at best, a mediocre football team. The Ravens are 3-1, but have not been 
impressive. Fairly uninteresting game, but I'll take the Ravens. Flacco will give his heart to the hometown fans.

Ravens 31, Redskins 21 

Jeff: redskins didn't look too impressive last week.

Brad: The Redskins almost lost to the Browns.  Nuff said.

Atlanta at Denver:
Joe: The Falcons have had a nice little run, but they are playing the champs in their backyard. Regardless of who is playing QB, Demver's defense can shut down anybody. Atlanta's hot streak will be halted at the hands of Von Miller and co. 

Jeff: they are really good and Paxton Lynch will play great replacing Seiman

Brad: Denver will win because their defense is better than the Falcons offense.  And the Broncos' offense is better than the Falcons defense.

Cincinnati at Dallas:
Joe: This is a toss up, but I think that Cincy is due for a big win. Dallas ha not played a team like the Bungles yet, and although I don't want it to happen, I think the Cowboys offense will have a roadblock against Cincy's impressive D. 

Bungles 28, Cowboys 17
Jeff: Cowboys can run the ball and I think they will run all over the bengals

Brad:  This is a must win game against the Bengals and I expect Elliott to have trouble facing the 
Cincinnati defense. 

San Diego at Oakland:
Joe: If you've read my earlier previews, you know how I feel about Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. The pitiful Chargers will not slow down the Silver and Black attack.

Raiders 34, Chargers 14. 

Jeff: Raiders don't have enough offense to beat the chargers

Brad:  I seem to pick the Chargers every week and they let me down last week.  This is the week they can hold their lead.  I think?

Buffalo at Los Angeles:
Joe: No, Jeff. It is the Bills who "aren't that good". While I'm not sold on LA quite yet,I still like them enough to take out a suspect Buffalo team at home. The Rams defense wok shut down Tyrod Taylor, and the LA Express will keep rolling along. 

Rams 20, Bills 10 
Jeff: Rams just aren't that good

Brad:  The Rams were able to defeat the Seahawks.  I see no reason why they would lose to Buffalo.

NY Giants at Green Bay:
Joe: Aaron Rodgers. Primetime. Ball game. 

Packers 35, Giants 20. 

Jeff: should be an easy win for the pack

Brad:  The Packers are just a better team than the Giants.  I expect a close game, but the Packers will end up winning.

Tampa Bay at Carolina:
Joe: Jameis Winston> Derek Anderson. It will be close,but the loss of Super Cam will be too much for the reeling Panthers do overcome. I don't know if anybody saw a 1-4 start coming for Carolina, but it just light be happening.

Bucs 20, Panthers 13
Jeff: should be a really good MNF game, expect the panthers d to disappoint again

Brad:  The Panthers have been a let down this year.  But Derek Anderson will right the ship.  Yes I believe that.  I expect a blow out win for Carolina and there will even be a QB controversy for next week's game against the Saints.