ESPN's Bottom Line - Version 2.0

Saturday, September 6, 2014

NFL Week 1

21 Green Bay at Seattle 27

Please don't overthink this one, guys. Seattle at home. Russ and Lynch against a Green Bay D that was 24th against the pass and 25th against the run last year. A Green Bay D that is now even worse without nose tackle B.J. Raji. Don't overanalyze. Seattle goes to 1-0.

20 New Orleans at Atlanta 23

I love Atlanta to come out and make a statement in this one. Last year was an anomaly. Julio is healthy. Roddy is healthy. SJax is healthy. And most importantly, Bryan Cox's sex life is healthy. The Falcons even brought in some defensive cogs for new D line coach Cox to work with in Dolphins DT Paul Soliai and Chiefs DE Tyson Jackson. And these pieces will also help second year Falcons Osi Umenyiora have a comeback year. The Falcons are back to their bread-and-butter. Potent offense, mediocre defense. They pull the upset at home.

14 Minnesota at St. Louis 20

17 Cleveland at Pittsburgh 16

Unlike many analysts, I'm low on Big Ben and the Steelers this year. I love Cleveland to head into Pitt and get the upset. Last year in week one, I predicted the Steelers to breeze by the Titans at home and, yeah, that prediction didn't turn up too well. I'm not making the same mistake again. Pitt has a very weak secondary and an overrated D-line. I predict Ben Tate to have over 100 rush yards, Brian Hoyer to throw for one TD, one INT and 240 yards, and Josh Gordon to sell a vintage Ford convertible to an unsuspecting Norwegian family.

13 Jacksonville at Philadelphia 23

Philly won't lose at home to Jacksonville. Just isn't gonna happen. But I like the Jags to make it interesting and hold the Eagles to only a couple of touchdowns and 3 field goals. You gotta love Jags coach Gus Bradley swaying his old Seahawks defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant to come join him in Jacksonville. No idea how he pulled off that sales pitch. Must've hid some chocolate cake in their lockers or some shit. God knows Red Bryant can't say no to that. 

10 Oakland at NY Jets 31

I played this one out on Madden. I used the Jets and won 31-10 (they scored their TD in garbage time) on All-Pro with 9 min quarters (no acceleration). No big deal. I shut offenses down. Anyway, I like the Jets to shut down the Raiders offense come Sunday. Derek Carr will be cautious and risk-averse in his debut but I love the Jets to get a ton of sacks. And the Sons of Anarchy will shut down MJD in the run game. J-E-T-S. Let's go with the same score.

28 Cincinnati at Baltimore 34

Most analysts have Cincy winning the division (yawn) which would be the 4th straight year the Dalton/Lewis combo has found themselves in the playoffs. I say "found themselves" because the Bengals are so inconsistent and frustrating on a week-to-week basis that don't deserve "making" the playoffs. They merely find themselves there, get confused, and lay-down in the wild-card round so a superior team can move along. So Dalton has never missed the playoffs but he has also never won a playoff game. And Marvin Lewis has coached the Bengals for 11 years but has never won a playoff game, even with tons of talent. Simply put, I think this is the year the Bengals either take it to the next level or fall apart. Yeah, I know the Bengals look good on paper but I think Giovanni Bernard is overrated (in his last 4 games of the 2013 season, counting the playoffs, Bernard had 51 carries for 120 yards (2.35 ypc) and a lost fumble in the playoff game) and Jeremy Hill's hype is overblown. The Bengals are also thin at receiver behind A.J. "I once only tweeted a hashtag" Green as #2 receiver Marvin Jones is out for at least 4 weeks. Baltimore, on the other hand, has flown completely under-the-radar this offseason. Joe Flacco now has some new toys to play with as tight end Dennis Pitta is healthy, and locker-room presence/still-decent receiver Steve Smith, now Steve Smith Sr., was brought in from Carolina. And, oh by the way, the Bengals have lost 4 straight games in Baltimore. New offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak will have this group in rhythm starting week one. Even without Ray Rice. I love the Ravens to fly under-the-radar all year to a division title. But let's start with a week one victory.

13 Buffalo at Chicago 23

17 Washington at Houston 27

The Texans haven't won a real NFL game since September 15th. That's almost a year. It's like that lady from "Hitch" who screams out at the speed-dating party, "AND I HAVEN'T GOT LAID IN A YEAR!" and just quiets the whole room down. That's Houston. Looking to laid. I mean looking to get off the snide. Same thing. Texans roll. 

20 Tennessee at Kansas City 16

I am all-in on Tennessee this year. I picked KC to be my big sleeper last year, when I predicted them to improve from 2 to 11 wins, and I absolutely nailed it. I figured I needed another big sleeper this year and I was between Tennessee and Tampa. I picked the Titans for these reasons.

1) Their devastating O-line (Michael Oher comes over from Baltimore to join powerhouses Michael Roos, Andy Levtire and Chance Warmack).
2) New head coach Ken Whisenhunt (he's done great work in both Arizona and San Diego)
3) Jake Locker's potential (We don't really know Locker isn't good yet, do we?)

I think the Titans could work in a similar mold to the Chiefs last year. Coincidentally, they are playing the Chiefs in week one. I think both offenses will play conservatively and avoid turnovers. Look for a lot of punts.

38 New England at Miami 17

For a preview of this game, check out this blog post I wrote for my Sports Journalism class.

16 Carolina at Tampa Bay 17

31 San Francisco at Dallas 24

14 Indianapolis at Denver 41

23 NY Giants at Detroit 38

16 San Diego at Arizona 37

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NFL Season Predictions

Here we go...

AFC East

1. New England Patriots* 13-3
2. New York Jets* 9-7
3. Miami Dolphins 8-8
4. Buffalo Bills 4-12

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Big Dance

Ah, March Madness. A three-week stretch when heart rates elevate, GPA’s drop and benchwarmers slay air guitar solos after timely three-point shots. No, seriously. Those scrubs can rock a bass with the best of them.

You’ll hear legendary broadcaster Dick Vitale yelling, in his trademark voice, about “mid-majors” and “diaper dandies.” You’ll see a very short man, claiming to be a “bracketologist,” predicting which teams get bids to the tournament. 

But what is all this “hoopla” about?

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Extra Point

The likelihood that the National Football League’s Point After Touchdown try, known as the PAT or the extra point, will be successful is akin to the likelihood that Taylor Swift will awkwardly dance at an award show. If you like music, celebrities, or crashing celebrity award shows and claiming you’re a famous director, you’ll know that this is a pretty high probability.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Post Super Bowl Sports to Watch

          So the Super Bowl is over, and I’m sure you’re asking, why even watch sports anymore? THAT’S THE BEST YOU CAN DO AMERICA? A 43-8 blowout? Sure, the Manning Face is a nice gag once in a while, but it should never be the main attraction. Roger Goodell should have known better.  
             I’m here to tell you not to lose hope. Even if you don’t care about the chaos that is this year’s college basketball, the stacked NBA western conference, the (now apparently only outdoors) NHL, some of the most fascinating Premier League and La Liga title races in a decade, or the Winter Olympics, I’m here to tell you there’s hope. Here’s what you should be watching now that the NFL is done.