NFL Predictions Week 7

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Photo source: http://vikingswire.usatoday.com

Inspired by Fourth Quarter Sports, (it’s a great blog; check it out!) I am starting my own weekly post of NFL predictions/picks/conjectures/not-at-all-wild guesses. Week 7 is the first of these to be subject to disapp—er, discussion.

Chiefs vs. Raiders

Derek Carr looked awful in Oakland’s narrow loss to the Chargers, and I expect that to continue against one of the NFL’s finest secondaries.

Ravens vs. Vikings

As many of you know, I am a die-hard Vikings fan. Minnesota is in control of the NFC North after dominating the Packers, and the Ravens look out of shape. SKOL Vikes!

Saints vs. Packers

Brett Hundley is a decent quarterback, no doubt. Green Bay’s defense is. . . well, still Green Bay’s defense, and Drew Brees should have a field day. The Packers can’t match New Orleans score for score.

Jets vs. Dolphins

Miami figured something out last week in a terrific come-from-behind win against the Atlanta Falcons. A win ties them with the Patriots atop the AFC East, and the Jets like tanking.

Panthers vs. Bears 

No discussion. Chicago can’t cope with Cam Newton and Co.

Cardinals vs. Rams

Jared Goff has looked mediocre against star-studded defenses, but Arizona isn’t banged up. Look for S—.er, Los Angeles to take control of the game.

Buccaneers vs. Bills

Tampa Bay consistently rolls over against strong defenses, and Buffalo is looking to get back on track in the playoff race. The Bills win, but it will be close.

Jaguars vs. Colts

Jacksonville’s defense is very, very good. Now they face Indianapolis.

I’ll take the Jags!

Titans vs. Browns

It won’t be long until Cleveland wins another game. I think. Maybe?

Cowboys vs. 49ers

Dallas will take a boost from Ezekiel Elliott’s off-field problems being somewhat resolved, and Dak Prescott stands to benefit the most. The Niners haven’t played well against multi-dimensional offenses.

Bengals vs. Steelers

Cincinnati lives and dies by A.J. Green’s production. It should be a wild game against the team that beat Kansas City at Arrowhead. Pittsburgh will prevail due to its explosive offense.

Seahawks vs. Giants

Do you expect Seattle to give the Giants their first win? I don’t. Russell Wilson leads a competent offense that will do enough on the backs of the Seahawk defense.

Broncos vs. Chargers

Where is this mentality coming from? The Chargers are 2-4! Yet everyone expects San D—er, Los Angeles to destroy one of the best defenses in the league. Not happening!

Falcons vs. Patriots

This one is tough to call. Atlanta is angry they let a 17 point lead slip to the Dolphins and need a win. But it’s still New England. I expect Matt Ryan to lead Atlanta past the champions in a tight, medium scoring game.

Redskins vs. Eagles 🦅 

Philadelphia is on a roll, and Carson Wentz should rip apart Washington’s below average defense.

That concludes my first NFL predictions article. Leave a like if you enjoyed, and let me know what you think in the comments!

Takeaways from NBA Opening Night

A buzzer-beater wiped off, a rookie putting up 25, a forward coming off the bench to drain six threes. . . basketball is back.

Cavaliers 102-99 Celtics

LeBron James did exactly what he needed to propel Cleveland to victory. It was a game marred by Gordon Hayward’s horrific leg injury, and someone needed to fill the hole. Jaylen Brown put up 25 points to give Boston a fighting chance, and Jayson Tatum’s double-double kept it close. The Cavs escape with a narrow victory over a terrific opponent.

 

Rockets 122-121 Warriors

While the late start probably shifted viewers to the early game, the West’s two best teams produced a thriller. Nick Young came off the bench to drain six three-pointers for Golden State, and James Harden did—well, James Harden things. A last-second Kevin Durant shot appeared to beat the buzzer and give the Warriors a dramatic victory. . . but it was wiped off. The champs are 0-1.

 

What are your opinions of last night’s games? Let me know in the comments. Leave a like if you enjoyed, and come back tomorrow for more!

College Football Power Rankings Week 7

Week 7 was our reminder of why we follow this crazy sport. Four top ten teams lost, all to unranked opponents. Missouri put up three first half touchdowns on Georgia’s vaunted defense, and the state of Virginia has three ranked teams.

1. Alabama 

The Crimson Tide remained unblemished in a week of upsets, destroying Arkansas 41-9. They take the top spot after Clemson’s loss.

2. Georgia

I said in last week’s post that the SEC might go 1-2 in my power rankings at some point. Did I expect Clemson to lose to Syracuse? No, but Georgia took advantage. Missouri matched the Bulldogs score for score in the first half, but the second was a different story. Does 53-28 sound familiar?

3. Penn State

The Lions must be happy to have had their bye last week. They leap to third. . . but face both Michigan teams and Ohio State the next three weeks. Have fun!

4. TCU

The Horny Toads decided to destroy Kansas State, to the tune of 26-6. All it takes is one Penn State loss (root for Michigan) and TCU will be third. Their best case scenario is winning everything in the Big 12. . . and hoping things break their way in the SEC. If Auburn beats Alabama, look out!

5. Clemson

Calm down. Syracuse is a good team, and would be ranked if not for their three losses. Clemson is going to be just fine, and the surprising strength of the ACC will only boost the Tigers’ resume.

6. Miami

Malik Rosier has done it again. Georgia Tech gave the Hurricanes all they could handle before the star quarterback led Miami down the field for another game-winning drive. Miami benefits from half of the top 10 falling on their faces, and the ACC Championship Game could be superb. Virginia Tech looms.

7. Oklahoma

Texas is better than most think. Oklahoma delivered a 29-24 victory, and a win is a win. Unless it’s a game decided by a referee screwup on a lateral attempt.

I’m sure Duke doesn’t mind.

8. Ohio State

At this point everybody’s beating Nebraska by 40+ points. It’s not surprising.

9. USC

See Oklahoma and substitute Utah for Texas.

10. Wisconsin

The Badgers faced their first real test of the season against Purdue. The offense fell flat on their faces, but the defense came through. Wisconsin is the third B1G team in the top ten this week.

11. North Carolina State

Nobody expected the Wolfpack to be in the top 25 this year, much less leading the ACC. If NC State beats Clemson on November 4th. . .

12. Auburn

Out of all the SEC teams, the Tigers had to lose to LSU. The team that lost to Troy. Auburn had to lose at the last minute on national television.

In fairness LSU played well, and a close loss to an SEC team is never a terrible thing. But now Auburn can’t lose again if they want to make the Playoff.

13. Washington

Jake Browning was limited to 139 yards passing by Arizona State, the defense that had given up more than 30 points to the opposition in every single game. . . until the Sun Devils held Washington to seven.

14. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys did as expected, demolishing a horrendous Baylor team 59-16. Mason Rudolph and Co. move up due to upsets and Michigan.

15. Michigan

Indiana forced the Wolverines to overtime before Michigan prevailed. They’ll have to be much better they have any hope of a top 10 place.

16. Virginia Tech

The Hokies were on their bye week. Virginia Tech remains stationary in the rankings.

17. Notre Dame

The Irish also rested on their bye week, but rise one spot due to Washington State’s collapse.

18. South Florida

USF took care of Cincinnati with shutdown defense. UCF looms.

19. UCF

Speaking of the Golden Knights, UCF’s explosive offense ran up and down the field against East Carolina, winning 63-21. Whoever wins their matchup with USF should make the New Year’s Six.

20. Stanford

Oregon isn’t that bad. Stanford beat them by 42 points. How’s that for replacing Christian McCaffrey?

21. Washington State

They lost 37-3 to Cal.

Weber State lost by 13 to Cal.

22. Michigan State

The Minnesota game wasn’t anywhere close until the final minute. MSU dominated for 50 minutes against a solid Gophers team.

23. West Virginia

Back into the rankings comes West Virginia, who put up 46 on Texas Tech. The Mountaineers played a good game against TCU two weeks ago, and could move higher.

24. Memphis

The one-loss Tigers defeated a good Navy team with ease, and the AAC might not be a two-horse race.

25. Virginia

The Cavaliers have some quality wins over ACC teams, and we all know how stacked the ACC is this year. Virginia enters the rankings, but might not be here for long. Miami waits.

 

NC State is first in the ACC!

Syracuse is my favorite college team besides Minnesota. They just need to stop blowing up my power rankings.

We interrupt your chaotic evening to inform you NC State blew out Pittsburgh 35-17 earlier. This is significant because Clemson lost to Syracuse.

The Wolfpack are first in the ACC.

One sentence paragraphs, yay!

WHAT THE ACTUAL HECK?

 

Visiting a Timberwolves Scrimmage

Last night I had the pleasure of visiting a Minnesota Timberwolves scrimmage where I had the opportunity to see most of the roster play. Today I examine the highlights of a fun night.

1. Guard play

Jeff Teague and Tyus Jones had a fun unofficial three-point competition during warmups, and both played very well. Rookie Melo Trimble showed flashes of his time at Maryland, and Aaron Brooks wants a roster spot—bad.

2. Veteran leadership

Former Sixth Man of the Year Jamal Crawford will ply his trade in Minnesota this year, providing leadership to one of the youngest teams in the NBA. Along with Teague and Jimmy Butler, the veterans form a talented group in the Timberwolves organization.

3. The Big Three

Butler, Towns, and Wiggins. Those are some talented players we have, aren’t they?

4. Huh?

 

IMG_1277
That’s not how you rebound, Tyus.

Generally you don’t stand under the basket when you’re going to jump for the ball. . .

The USMNT is doomed? Try again.

Remember the halfway point?

Sadness. . .

Last night the United States faced their final game of FIFA World Cup qualifying. Win and go to Russia. . . or lose and go home.

The opponent was Trinidad and Tobago, two small islands from the Caribbean whose backup goalkeeper is still in college. A winnable game? Yes. Did they win? No, they played like they didn’t care. Clint Dempsey didn’t break the goalscoring record. Christian Pulisic’s heroics didn’t rescue the United States. Small, lonely T&T knocked off the land of “fake news”.

Naturally people are bound to overreact, and of course I get to rip this apart. A common phrase sweeping around the Internet is “the USMNT are doomed!” Clint Dempsey will be 38 in four years. Michael Bradley will be 34. Tim Howard will be ancient. How could we possibly recover?

Look at the players coming up through the youth system. Club Brugge’s Ethan Horvath has proved himself a decent shot stopper for one of the Belgian Pro League’s finest sides. He’s only 22. We don’t have to talk about 19 year old Pulisic. We can mention Darlington Nagbe, a 27 year old energetic playmaker that burst onto the scene last summer, and should fill Bradley’s shoes.

Remember the name Weston McKennie. The lively 19 year old midfielder is making waves in the Bundesliga, and Schalke 04 have rewarded him with a five year contract extension. He’s appeared in six of Schalke’s eight games since the end of preseason, and is creating chance after chance for Leon Goretzka and Co.

I can’t wait to see him play alongside Pulisic in the red, white, and blue. Both will be 24 when Qatar rolls around, and even Gedion Zelalem might take strides at mighty Arsenal. To everyone who thinks the USMNT are doomed:

McKennie — Nagbe — Pulisic

 

 

Look out.