Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The "Brett Favre Ruined My First Attempt at an NFL Preview" NFL Preview

So about 2 weeks ago, I started working on an NFL preview. I have to say, it was a pretty damn good preview. It was titled, "An Important NFL Preview" mainly because I revealed a number of topics that had to do with this upcoming season that I thought were discussion worthy. I touched on what I am calling "The Wrath of Peyton Manning" which basically is Peyton Manning avenging his Super Bowl choke job on the rest of the NFL this year. Mark my words, he will have his best season yet. I know he threw for over 4,500 yards and had 49 touchdowns in 2004, but just wait. He is going to be in Liam Neeson mode from Taken; slaughtering any European (NFL team) that gets in his way in order to find his daughter (a Super Bowl Title). Trust me, he will get his "Peyback". And by "Peyback" I mean passing for over 5,000 yards and leading the Colts to the leagues best record. I also talked about a number of players who are in new places this year and players who are in bigger roles. I feel like some players will have a terrific impact on their teams (Anquan Boldin in Baltimore, Julius Peppers in Chicago, Brandon Marshall in Miami, LaDainian Tomlinson in New York, Jason Campbell in Oakland) and those who won't be so successful (Matt Leinert now starting for Arizona for now... probably not though, Donovan McNabb in Washington, Thomas Jones in Kansas City, Terrell Owens in Cincinnati).

At the completion of this immaculate preview, I re-read it and was very happy with myself. I patted myself on the back and gave myself kudos. I was beside myself with glee and I felt like the cats pajamas!... And then Brett Favre happened. The man who accounts for more drama than the Jersey Shore crew came along and threw a monkey wrench into my plan. He cramped my style, and I am pissed about it. It's the same story every year. He is like the desperate woman on an afternoon soap opera who leaves her husband and then comes crawling back to him. By now it shouldn't be a surprise. He's done this for what, 5 years now? It's an annual summer routine. However, this year I was foolish and believed his abundance of crap and went all in doing an NFL preview not including him. Fool me once shame on you... There will not be any fooling me twice. I will continue to believe that Brett Favre is going to comeback every season until the man is 70. His stupid charade of "I'm actually done this time" finally got to me, and I'm paying for it. I have to write another damn NFL preview, re-calculating my fantasy football predictions and re-picking all games of the schedule. This is super sweet!

So, where should I start? I guess we'll go back to April. Like every NFL fan, I tuned into the schedule release special on ESPN and sat there aroused (not how you are thinking you perverts) as I saw the glorious contests of American Football I would be able to view every week from September until early January. I'm not sure if you do this or if just me because I am a sports nerd, but I go through each week and pick out the top 5 games each week. I also rank each week 1-17 in order of the quality of the games. Make fun of me, I don't care. But thanks to me, you are going to know what the ten most intriguing games of the season are.

Week 1- Minnesota at New Orleans: Opening night + Rematch of last years NFC championship + The fact that the New Orleans crowd will be absolutely INSANE = What a way to start the 2010-2011 season. Couldn't ask for anything better.
-Notice Brett Favre was not mentioned once in the above paragraph... Damn it, I just mentioned him!

Week 1- Baltimore at New York Jets: Possibly the best Monday Night Football game of the year kicks it all off. The Ravens and Jets are two of the AFC favorites and this could end up being the most physical game of the year.

Week 2/13- New England at New York Jets: Tom Brady's comments towards HBO's show Hard Knocks featuring the New York Jets poured fuel on the fire of what is now most likely the leagues most anger-filled rivalry. The clear cut best teams in the AFC East get to go to war two times, and that makes football fans like me very happy.

Week 3- Green Bay at Chicago: I honestly like how things look for my Chicago Bears. I know they have looked like the 2007 Elba Lancers in the pre season, but I'm trying to be optimistic. This week 3 Monday Night showdown versus their longtime rival Green Bay could be an early indicator of whether a newly implanted Mike Martz offense could lead Chicago back to the playoffs.

Week 4- Washington at Philadelphia: Both of these teams aren't going to make the playoffs in my opinion, but it's worth watching only because the Philadelphia crowd may get pretty aggressive with Donovan McNabb. They are known for being a cruel bunch of S.O.B.'s so it could get entertaining. Plus anytime Washington plays this year there is the possibilty that Albert Haynesworth beats up... or eats Mike Shanahan. I don't doubt that either of these occurances could happen.

Week 6- Dallas at Minnesota: In January, Minnesota beat the breaks off of Dallas in the NFC Divisional Round. Don't expect the story to be the same in mid October of this season.

Week 11- Indianapolis at New England: Has there been a better non division rivalry in recent NFL history? Perhaps the two most consistent teams of the last decade meet year in and year out, and the build up is always sky high. Last year there was huge build up and the game was not a let down. It's not too far fetched to think it could play out the same way this year.

Week 12- New Orleans at Dallas: Thanksgiving Football! How sweet is it they we might be getting an NFC playoff preview while we chow down our Thanksgiving dinner. Yum, stuffing. My stomach is growling already. But in all seriousness, this is the best Thanksgiving day game I can remember. There is a legitimate chance these two teams are at the top of the NFC playoff picture when they meet.

Week 13- Dallas at Indianapolis: The NFL schedule makers did Dallas no favors heading into the final stretch of the regular season. Hell, they have a crap schedule all season. Despite the fact Dallas is getting the shaft, this might not be the only time we see this match up this season *SPOILER ALERT*.

Week 17: Arizona at San Francisco: On paper, this one isn't too exciting. Neither of these teams have a chance of winning the Super Bowl. But this game could very well determine who secures a spot in the playoffs as champion of the NFC West.

Good games, right? Yeah, I know. I picked them. Now I am going to tell you WHO to pick in your fantasy draft. Fantasy football is as much apart of the NFL season as the games themselves. In fact, sometimes fantasy football means more to fans than games do. I have been in that position before. I feel like I have a parasite in my stomach when I find myself rooting for Adrian Peterson to have a huge game against my beloved Bears. But that's how meaningful it is.

Quarterbacks- 1. Peyton Manning, 2. Aaron Rodgers, 3. Drew Brees, 4. Tom Brady, 5. Tony Romo, 6. Matt Schaub, 7. Philip "Paul Clark Calls me Phil" Rivers, 8. Brett Favre, 9. Jay Cutler, 10. Joe Flacco
*Sleepers*- Chad Henne, Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford

Runningbacks- 1. Chris Johnson, 2. Adrian Peterson, 3. Ray Rice, 4. Maurice Jones-Drew, 5. Frank Gore, 6. Steven Jackson, 7. Ryan Grant, 8. DeAngelo Williams, 9. Michael Turner, 10. Shonn Greene
*Sleepers*- Felix Jones, CJ Spiller, Michael Bush

Wide Receivers- 1. Andre Johnson, 2. Reggie Wayne, 3. Randy Moss, 4. Miles Austin, 5. Calvin Johnson, 6. Larry Fitzgerald, 7. Greg Jennings, 8. Anquan Boldin, 9. Brandon Marshall, 10. Marques Colston
*Sleepers*- Devin Aromashodu, Pierre Garcon (soft C), Michael Crabtree

Tight Ends- 1. Dallas Clark, 2. Antonio Gates, 3. Vernon Davis, 4. Jason Witten, 5. Jermichael Finley

Kickers- 1. Nate Kaeding, 2. Ryan Longwell, 3. Garrett Hartley, 4. Stephen Gostkowski, 5. Mason Crosby

Defense- 1. New York Jets, 2. Minnesota Vikings, 3. San Francisco 49ers, 4. Green Bay Packers, 5. Baltimore Ravens

I feel like since I'm doing an NFL preview, I need to go out on a limb with some predictions. Since I'm way to cautious to risk totally botching my team record outcomes, I'll make 5 absolutely ludicrous predictions that most likely won't be right.

BOLD PREDICTION 1- Peyton Manning will break the record for either passing yards or passing touchdowns in a season. Don't forget the Wrath of Peyton Manning.

BOLD PREDICTION 2- Matt Leinart will fall off the face of the NFL earth similar to Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell. Leinart better hop into his Hot Tub Time Machine and get good like he was at USC.

BOLD PREDICTION 3- Carson Palmer will have a nervous breakdown due to Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco... Unlikely, but possible.

BOLD PREDICTION 4- Bill Belichick will call Rex Ryan fat. Belichick doesn't hold anything back, he speaks his mind. And after all, Rex is a little husky.

BOLD PREDICTION 5- No time will be missed in the 2011 season. Maybe its just wishful thinking. I just cannot picture not watching football on Sundays. I'm probably just terrified to find out what it would be like.

Now that you know what games you need to watch, the players you must have on your fantasy team and 5 Bold Predictions that may or may not come true, you probably want to hear about how this regular season is going to play out. Again, thanks to my main cat Brett Favre, I had to re pick the whole NFL schedule. If you are asking yourselves "why didn't he just pick Minnesota's games?" then you clearly don't know me. I am a freak when it comes to details. It would have ate me alive if I hadn't picked the whole schedule again.

AFC East- 1. New York Jets 12-4, 2. New England Patriots 10-6, 3. Miami Dolphins 9-7, 4. Buffalo Bills 4-12

AFC South- 1. Indianapolis Colts 13-3, 2. Tennessee Titans 9-7, 3. Houston Texans 8-8, 4. Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11

AFC West- 1. San Diego Chargers 10-6, 2. Denver Broncos 7-9, 3. Oakland Raiders 6-10, 4. Kansas City Chiefs 6-10

AFC North- 1. Baltimore Ravens 11-5, 2. Cincinnati Bengals 9-7, 3. Pittsburgh Steelers 7-9, 4. Cleveland Browns 3-13

NFC East- 1. Dallas Cowboys 12-4, 2. New York Giants 9-7, 3. Philadelphia Eagles 8-8, 4. Washington Redskins 5-11

NFC South- 1. New Orleans Saints 12-4, 2. Atlanta Falcons 8-8, 3. Carolina Panthers 6-10, 4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 4-12

NFC West- 1. San Francisco 49ers 9-7, 2. Arizona Cardinals 8-8, 3. Seattle Seahawks 5-11, 4. St. Louis Rams 2-14

NFC North- 1. Green Bay Packers 12-4, 2. Minnesota Vikings 11-5, 3. Chicago Bears 9-7, 4. Detroit Lions 4-12

Welcome to 2011! Confetti, Champagne, Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve and 4 months of football have passed. Time has flown so fast. Now it is time for the real season to start. The NFL playoffs are ready to begin. Typically my picks for the playoffs include the same exact teams as the year before. I'm too cautious to try to pick any differently. This year, I thought outside the box a little bit.

Wild Card Round- 3. Green Bay Packers over 6. Chicago Bears, 5. Minnesota Vikings over 4. San Francisco 49ers, 3. Baltimore Ravens over 6. Tennessee Titans, 5. New England Patriots over 4. San Diego Chargers

Divisional Round- 1. Dallas Cowboys over 5. Minnesota Vikings, 2. New Orleans Saints over 3. Green Bay Packers, 1. Indianapolis Colts over 5. New England Patriots, 2. New York Jets over 3. Baltimore Ravens

Championship Round- 1. Dallas Cowboys over 2. New Orleans Saints, 1. Indianapolis Colts over 2. New York Jets

Super Bowl- Indianapolis Colts over Dallas Cowboys

There you have it. Everyone is talking about the so called "Super Bowl Hangover" that the Colts are going to have. I don't buy it. I think if any player can recover from a tough Super Bowl loss like the Colts suffered last year, it's Peyton Manning. However, the fact that the Colts have a coach who shows as much emotion as a bucket of paint scares the hell out of me when making this prediction. For Peytons sake I wish he played for a coach like Bill Belichick or Rex Ryan, and that ultimately is why I had a really tough time deciding who would come out of the AFC. For the NFC, it was easier. Despite the fact that they face a horrible schedule, I feel like this is finally the year that Dallas gets a couple of playoff wins and Romo takes Dallas to the big stage, which this year is in the Cowboys home stadium. It's just a gut feeling. There are plenty of teams that could keep Dallas from getting this far. New Orleans can't be counted out. Their offense is electric and they are on cloud 9 from their Super Bowl win last year. Green Bay is a legitimate contender as well.

Oh yeah, some D-bag named Brett Favre can get in their way too.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

You're Going to Hate That I Love the Heat

Rewind back to July 7th, 1996: WCW held their third annual "Bash at the Beach" pay-per-view. The event was headlined by a six man tag match of Randy "Macho Man" Savage, Sting and Lex Luger vs. "The Outsiders" Scott Hall and Kevin Nash, and a mystery partner. For you non-wrestling fans, let me give you a quick summary of why this is being mentioned in a blog about the Miami Heat. "The Outsiders" Hall and Nash, formerly Razor Ramon (Latino Bad Boy) and Diesel (Tall Guy with a Mullet) in the World Wrestling Federation, entered the WCW as rebels who were trying to take over the company. Three of WCW's most popular stars Randy Savage (SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM, OH YEAHHHHH!) Sting (Face Painted Blonde) and Lex Luger (Roid Rage waiting to happen) were the defense to these outsiders. At the summer pay-per-view "Bash at the Beach" the "good" WCW guys fought the "bad" former WWF guys. However, it was a 2 vs. 3 situation, so the Outsiders got the opportunity to choose one more individual to be on their team. So the match is under way and Lex Luger has been taken to the back on a stretcher, so now it is all even at 2 on 2. The Outsiders are in control, when all of the sudden the ultimate wrestling hero, Hulk Hogan starts walking down the ramp. The crowd goes bananas thinking that Hogan is going to help defeat the bad guys for the 23,745th time of his career. Hogan gets in the ring and Hall and Nash exit immediately. Hogan stood in the ring for several seconds absorbing the cheers of the crowd and then BAM! The course of wrestling changed. Hogan leg dropped his former friend Savage a number of times, and thus creating the biggest face to heel turn in wrestling history. Hogan was the third member of The Outsiders. Over the next few years, Hogan, Nash and Hall (now the nWo- New World Order) along with other superstars that joined the group looked to take over the WCW. The nWo became the biggest heel group of all time, and Hogan went from being loved to being hated.

Fast forward 14 years and 1 day. July 8th, 2010: ESPN 9 p.m. The LeBron James Decision. Just like Hulk Hogan, LeBron James went from one of the most loved athletes to one of the most hated athletes in a matter of moments. In a matter of words really. All it took was LeBron saying "I'm taking my talents to South Beach" for the sports world to turn on the 25 year old athlete who prior to this had only been praised. He was called a traitor, a coward, selfish, and other names by Cavaliers fans that I'm not sure I could put in this blog. Even Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert sent a response letter out to the Cleveland fans bashing the "self titled former King". LeBron sealed his fate when he decided to have a 1 hour special telling the sports world he was going to leave his native Ohio to play for the Miami Heat. Instead of rising up and trying to lead a team to the promised land that was destined not to win, he took arguably the much easier way out to play with his friends Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. Much like the nWo transformation, their is no shortage of media and fan attention on this team. They've already generated the nicknames Miami Thrice, The South Beach Super Team, Triami, The Three Kings and the Super Best Friends. In reality, they are the NBA's version of the nWo. The Heat instantly became the NBA's most hated team and there is nothing they (LeBron in particular) could do about it. Instead of fighting this and trying to get on the good side of everyone, perhaps they are better off running with the "bad guy" role and also embracing it and encouraging it. How you ask...

First, Spoelsta needs to go. He might be a good coach, but Pat Riley looks exactly like the guy who should be at the head of this villainous team. He just looks like a creep. Secondly, they need to be in EFF You mode all season long. What is this exactly? This means getting ultra prepared during the upcoming months (commitment to defense, getting used to playing together, finding certain players certain roles, etc.) Once they have all of this down it will be gametime. Every game possible they need to run the score up. They have to be full throttle every night and have the mindset of "let's win by 40 tonight". If that means playing some of the starters in the 4th quarter when up by 20 then so be it. They need to win by 40. If you are still confused about what exactly EFF You mode is, just think about the 2007 Patriots. Once everyone sees they are in EFF You mode, they will be feared.

They also need to antagonize the crowds. When they get a breakaway dunk there needs to be alot of showboating afterward, the bench needs to stand and go crazy, you get the idea. And I don't think I need to mention that when Miami plays in Cleveland there better be some chalk at the scorers table. Speaking of Cleveland, there better be serious security in Cleveland when Miami comes to town, because there is a very good chance it could get violent otherwise. You can expect that capacity crowds in opposing teams arenas will be filled and booing like never before. But no make no mistake, everyone will be watching the super villains. They can reinforce this villain theme by wearing the black uniforms (my personal favorites, and also a typical villain color) as much as possible. The nWo wore black, I see no reason why the Heat shouldn't.

About a week ago, LeBron tweeted that he was taking "Mental Notes" of everyone who has took shots at him this summer. Finally twitter benefits an athlete instead of hurting him. I believe this was a fantastic move on LeBrons part. All he has to do now is back it up. This is a terrific first step in how this Heat team can use twitter to their benefit. Say stuff and back it up. If they are going to embrace being the most hated team in sports history, they can most definitely use twitter to help their cause. You cannot convince me that the "Bad Boy" Pistons or the Portland "Jail" Blazers wouldn't have talked some serious smack in their tweets had Twitter been around in their playing era. We know Bosh is up to getting involved in Twitter, LeBron has his account and so does Wade. Before every game why not talk a little trash on twitter. After a blow out win, brag about it to the twitter universe. People will get pissed and the spotlight on the Heat will be getting bigger and bigger. Exactly what those ego's want.

The final thing that Miami needs to do in order to be labelled the "Super Villains" of the NBA is win. If they aren't winning, they are just going to become losers, not super villains. It's not fun to root for a team that never wins. If they rack up wins and potentially break the single season record and win the NBA title, that's when people are going to hate the most. That's when it gets fun for the South Beach Super Team. That is when the ego's grow bigger.

Let us take a journey back to WCW. The nWo was running things big time, and who comes to the aid of the WCW? "The Nature Boy" Ric Flair. Why is this important? Looking back before Hogan made the heel turn and joined the nWo, he was the most popular guy in the business and Flair was the hated jerk of the company. This sound a bit familiar to anyone? Remember who everyone hated 4 years ago because of a certain incident in Colorado? KOBE BRYANT! Yes, just a few years ago LeBron was looking to take the torch from Kobe while also taking the crown of the most popular player in the league. Didn't quite happen as smoothly as I thought it would. Let's look at the WCW situation. What happened was Flair became the popular guy who the fans loved while Hogan was now hated. That sounds familiar. As soon as LeBron quit on the Cavs and Kobe won his 2nd straight title, he is now endeared by the league and the fans while LeBron is hated. Hogan/Flair comparison acceptable? I think so.

So what exactly am I saying? I'm not predicting that the NBA scenario will play out the same way it did with WCW (considering the WCW went out of business in 2001). I'm simply saying that the Heat are the nWo of the NBA, and that is not a bad thing. Why should we expect LeBron, Wade and Bosh to be the good guys? Maybe its more fun for people to hate them. That could be exactly what LeBron needed to light a fire under his ass. While everyone is hating on the Heat, I'm going to be sitting back and enjoying the show. Hopefully I'll be one of the few who is happy about the outcome of this NBA season.