2015-16 NFL Predictions

Pats INT 2015

Football season is upon us. College football began last weekend and now the professionals will put on the pads and helmets and begin their quest for the Super Bowl. The regular season officially starts on Thursday night when the Pittsburgh Steelers will match up against the Super Bowl Champs (as predicted from last years blog) the New England Patriots. This season begins with a great game, but weird circumstances. Patriots RB1 Blount is suspended for the first game of the season and Steelers RB1 Bell and WR2 Bryant are suspended as well. Tom Brady who we all know after this long offseason was also originally suspended for the first 4 games of the season, which has now been lifted and will be ready to go which most likely gives the Pats a clear advantage. In my predictions below, I’ll list out my projected standings and records for this season, as well as last years record, record prediction, and (ranking).

Murray - Eagles

NFC East
1) Philadelphia Eagles (11-5)
(2014 projection: 10-6 (1); finished: 10-6 (2))
2) Dallas Cowboys (10-6)
(2014 projection: 7-9 (4); finished: 12-4 (1))
3) New York Giants (5-11)
(2014 projection: 9-7 (3); finished: 6-10 (3))
4) Washington Redskins (3-13)
(2014 projection: 10-6 (2); finished: 4-12 (4))
Snapshot Analysis: It pains me to say it being that I’m a Giants fan, but I would be impressed if they swing more than 5 wins this season. They have built up their offense and have some real potential with Eli’s arm and the ground game, but their defense is filled with injuries once again. The Eagles now have Murray and they have a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. It’s a coin flip with the Eagles and Cowboys and both should finish with good records and in the post-season.

Lacy - TD

NFC North
1) Green Bay Packers (12-4)
(2014 projection: 10-6 (3); finished: 12-4 (1))
2) Minnesota Vikings (11-5)
(2014 projection: 7-9 (4); finished: 7-9 (3))
3) Detroit Lions (8-8)
(2014 projection: 11-5 (1); finished: 11-5 (2))
4) Chicago Bears (6-10)
(2014 projection: 10-6 (2); finished: 5-11 (4))
Snapshot Analysis: I was pretty close with predicting this division last year, aside from the downfall of Chicago. I don’t foresee Chicago doing much this season either with the loss of Brandon Marshall and no real big key additions in the offseason. The Packers ran into a big injury to Jordy Nelson, but with Eddie Lacy and Aaaron Rodgers, they have plenty of support. Minnesota is my surprise team with Peterson coming back and Bridgewater with good offensive support will compete for division.


NFC South
1) New Orleans Saints (10-6)
(2014 projection: 13-3 (1); finished: 7-9 (2))
2) Carolina Panthers (8-8)
(2014 projection: 7-9 (3); finished: 7-8-1 (1))
3) Atlanta Falcons (6-10)
(2014 projection: 12-4 (2); finished: 6-10 (3))
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-12)
(2014 projection: 6-10 (4); finished: 2-14 (4))
Snapshot Analysis: So last year this division was pathetic. The winner of this division had a below .500 record and it appeared that every team didn’t want to play in the post season. The Saints probably have the most complete team and I see a decent comeback from them. The Panthers defense is solid, but have been dealt with a big injury to WR1 Benjamin, out for the year. The Falcons have a very questionable running game and may become more predictable on offense to make a huge splash. The Bucs should improve (can’t get much worse), but they at least have some support with rookie QB Winston by having Jackson and Evans on his side.


NFC West
1) Seattle Seahawks (13-3)
(2014 projection: 14-2 (1); finished: 12-4 (1))
2) St. Louis Rams (10-6)
(2014 projection: 9-7 (3); finished: 6-10 (4))
3) Arizona Cardinals (10-6)
(2014 projection: 8-8 (4); finished: 11-5 (2))
4) San Francisco 49ers (4-12)
(2014 projection: 12-4 (2); finished: 8-8 (3))
Snapshot Analysis: It’s hard to imagine the Seahawks can get better, but they are. They added Jimmy Graham and Russell Wilson is only getting better. They should be able to overcome the whole, “not handing the ball off to win the Super Bowl” thing and clinch the first spot easily. The Rams and Cardinals will essentially compete for 2nd place and a spot in the playoffs. Both have great defenses and really depends on the health of the Gurley for the Rams and Palmer for the Cardinals. Should be a fun division to watch regardless.

1) Seattle Seahawks
2) Green Bay Packers
3) Philadelphia Eagles
4) New Orleans Saints
5) Minnesota Vikings
6) Dallas Cowboys

NFC Champions: Seattle Seahawks
wilson seattle


AFC East
1) New England Patriots (11-5)
(2014 projection: 13-3 (1); finished: 12-4 (1))
2) Miami Dolphins (10-6)
(2014 projection: 9-7 (2); finished: 8-8 (3))
3) New York Jets (8-8)
(2014 projection: 4-12 (4); finished: 4-12 (4))
4) Buffalo Bills (7-9)
(2014 projection: 9-7 (3); finished: 9-7 (2))
Snapshot Analysis: I was pretty close with my predictions for this division last year and I think it’s going to be more interesting this season. Even if Brady was suspended for the first 4 games, I’d still have the Pats finishing in first, but it will be closer than usual. I think Miami will be their main competition this year with a loaded defensive line to put pressure on QB’s and young talented receivers. This may be Tannehill’s main breakout season. I think the Jets will be much improved and is a “blessing in disguise” without Geno Smith in the huddle. Watkins and McCoy on the Bills doesn’t change my thought on them. I’m not a fan of Rex Ryan and his decision and the Bills still do not have a consistent QB and that’s where they lack.

jeremy hill

AFC North
1) Cincinnati Bengals (10-6)
(2014 projection: 11-5 (1); finished: 10-5-1 (2))
2) Baltimore Ravens (9-7)
(2014 projection: 9-7 (3); finished: 10-6 (3))
3) Pittsburgh Steelers (7-9)
(2014 projection: 10-6 (2); finished: 11-5 (1))
4) Cleveland Browns (4-12)
(2014 projection: 4-12 (4); finished: 7-9 (4))
Snapshot Analysis: I think the weakest link with the Bengals is their most important position with Andy Dalton, but overall they have the strongest team. Pittsburgh may have the biggest fall and that’s with suspensions to Bell and Bryant and their defense lacking compared to previous seasons. A game here or there can swap the Steelers with the Ravens, but I see the hole too big for the Steelers to climb out of and make the post season.

NFL: AFC Wildcard Playoff-Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts

AFC South
1) Indianapolis Colts (14-2)
(2014 projection: 13-3 (1); finished: 11-5 (1))
2) Houston Texans (9-7)
(2014 projection: 8-8 (3); finished: 9-7 (2))
3) Jacksonville Jaguars (6-10)
(2014 projection: 7-9 (4); finished: 3-13 (3))
4) Tennessee Titans (3-13)
(2014 projection: 10-6 (2); finished: 2-14 (4))
Snapshot Analysis: This division is all about the Colts. Andrew Luck, Andre Johnson, TY Hilton, etc. Andrew Luck is superior in this division of QB’s and it will show. I think Jacksonville has the potential to finish with a better record than 6-10, but still a year or two away from competing for the post season. Tennessee was my bold pick for last year and that it was, but they are still very far from competing and my projection for this year reflects that.


AFC West
1) Denver Broncos (11-5)
(2014 projection: 11-5 (1); finished: 12-4 (1))
2) Kansas City Chiefs (10-6)
(2014 projection: 9-7 (3); finished: 9-7 (2))
3) Oakland Raiders (8-8)
(2014 projection: 3-13 (4); finished: 3-13 (4))
4) San Diego Chargers (6-10)
(2014 projection: 10-6 (2); finished: 9-7 (3))
Snapshot Analysis: The Broncos no longer have Julius Thomas or Wes Welker, but with Peyton, you know he will create his own targets and have the consistency of a great running game. The Chiefs added a big piece with Jeremy Maclin and still have Jamaal Charles, who is one of the best RB’s in the game. Oakland is my bold prediction to have a decent 8-8 record. Carr is going to unload and throw a lot being he has Cooper and Crabtree as receivers. He also has Murray who finished last year strong. San Diego is just a tad inconsistent for me to pick them to do anything. They drafted one of the strongest running backs with Melvin Gordon III, but Keenan Allen was wildly inconsistent and hard to predict.

1) Indianapolis Colts
2) New England Patriots
3) Denver Broncos
4) Cincinnati Bengals
5) Miami Dolphins
6) Kansas City Chiefs

AFC Champions: Indianapolis Colts

Wild Card Playoffs - Kansas City Chiefs v Indianapolis Colts

Super Bowl Champions: Seattle Seahawks


It really is hard to pick against a team who is so dominating at home. They should overcome what happened to them in the Super Bowl last year. The only thing in their way is going on the road and winning games within their tough division. If they reach their potential and grab the #1 spot and home field advantage in the playoffs, I can’t see any other team in the NFC going through Seattle and moving forward. I have them locking up against Indianapolis who is also very stacked this year. The Colts may have the upper hand this season if they can grab the best record in the AFC. I don’t see them beating the Patriots in Massachusetts, so therefore they need to win home field for me to have the confidence of advancing to the big game. They play in one of the weaker divisions, have one of the best QB’s, and made moves like signing Andre Johnson and Frank Gore. I only partly worry about the legs of Gore and if he can stay healthy all year. The biggest importance for Indy is to have balance between their passing and running games. If this is the match up we are rewarded with, it will be a treat, regardless of the victor.


2015 NHL Playoff Predictions – Cup Finals


These two teams didn’t belong here. We were handed two fantastic series’ in the conference finals with both series going the full length of 7 games. Both teams finding a way, in different ways, to win on the road in the decisive game 7 to collect their conference championship and advance to four wins away from winning the greatest prize in their sport, the Stanley Cup. The Lightning were 1-0-1 against the Blackhawks this season and their win was none other than a Bishop shutout. Time to talk analysis and make the final prediction of the NHL season.

Stanley Cup Finals

2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. 3) Chicago Blackhawks
3rd Round Prediction: Rangers in 7, Blackhawks in 6
3rd Round Outcome: Lightning in 7, Blackhawks in 7

TAMPA, FL - May 6: Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his game winning goal against goalie Carey Price #31 and P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Amalie Arena on May 6, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.  (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

TAMPA, FL – May 6: Tyler Johnson #9 of the Tampa Bay Lightning celebrates his game winning goal against goalie Carey Price #31 and P.K. Subban #76 of the Montreal Canadiens during the third period in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2015 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Amalie Arena on May 6, 2015 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Scott Audette/NHLI via Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning Analysis:

The Tampa Bay Lightning took care of business against this years Presidents Trophy champions and last years Eastern Conference Champion. If we take a step back, last year the Lightning were swept out of the first round by the Montreal Canadians. This year the Lightning are looking to go through most of the original 6, first by beating Detroit, then Montreal and New York, and lastly Chicago is on their list. Bishop has been outstanding in goal and really had to be better than Henrik Lundqvist, one of the best goaltenders in the league to advance. He not only beat the best team in the league, but put together two shut outs in game 5 and game 7, both in Madison Square Garden. I remember living in the Tampa Bay area when the Lightning last made the Cup Finals and eventually won the cup in 7 games against the Flames and one of the strengths of that team was to lay their body on the line and block shots. This team is much of the same and they have great young talent to be able to move to puck fast and get a lot of open looks. On top of that, they have young guns they can lean on and Stamkos has led that squad. They also have great talent with Filppula, Palat, and Kucherov. I didn’t name Boyle and Hedman intentionally because they have been leaders on the ice on the defensive front. I also didn’t name Tyler Johnson because he has been a stand alone the whole post season. The Blackhawks will need to contain Johnson and Stamkos most importantly, but I believe Ryan Callahan can be a sleeper. He hasn’t been a huge impact thus far, but watch for him to break out.

Toews scores

Chicago Blackhawks Analysis:

The Blackhawks had a different route in the playoffs. They were hot going into the post season and fought through a tough series with the Predators. They ripped through the Wild in a sweep and had a long break until they played the top seed of the West with the Anaheim Ducks. Anaheim basically wiped through their competition until getting to play Chicago. Anaheim looked as though they were going to be hard to beat going into the series, but the experience that Chicago had would lead into a great series and a great series we received. Chicago played in 3 OT games in the Anaheim series and won two of them. They managed to pull out 2 road victories including the game they won decisively in game 7. Unlike Bishop (aside from one game against the Rangers), Crawford has struggled a bit in the post season. Even with games the Blackhawks won, he was giving up 4 goals in games. The Blackhawks are also a fast team and more so a physical team and that’s their strength when they play Tampa and the way for them to slow the Bolts down. Where they may lack with a struggling goalie, Crawford still has more experience in this situation than Bishop does and they have a load of experience offensively/defensively. They are led by Toews, Kane, Sharp, Hossa, Keith, Seabrook, etc. The list of names go on and on and the playoff and cup finals experience for most of their players is with the Blackhawks and some from other teams like Brad Richards, who won the Cup when he played for Tampa back in 2004.

Stanley Cup Championship Prediction:

Road wins are not hard to come by for these two games and it’s experience versus youth and fast paced vs physicality. The series can go either way and I really don’t believe having home ice is the difference maker in a match up like this. Neither team is 100% healthy at this point in time and that’s not a factor in my prediction. I have no alliances in either of these teams and I’m rooting for a great and entertaining series. My pick is:

Lightning in 6
MVP: Ben Bishop

ben bishop

2015 NHL Playoff Predictions – Conference Finals


The second round of the playoffs were fishy because there was really only one good series and that was the Rangers/Capitals series. Though the Lightning won in 6 games, they went up 3-0 pretty quick and never got the sense the Habs would get back into it. For the West, there was a sweep and the other series only went 5 games because of a miracle comeback from Calgary that was eventually won in OT. After the Bolts got swept last year in the first round of the playoffs to Montreal, they beat the pulp out of them in the regular season and again the first 3 games. They are my hot team going into the Conference Finals, but they will match up against this years Presidents Trophy winners. Lets at least hope for two enjoyable series’ to watch as fans.

Eastern Conference

1) New York Rangers vs 2) Tampa Bay Lightning

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05:  Martin St. Louis #26 of the New York Rangers skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

NEW YORK, NY – MARCH 05: Martin St. Louis #26 of the New York Rangers skates against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Madison Square Garden on March 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Levy/NHLI via Getty Images)

2nd Round Prediction: Rangers in 6, Canadians in 7
2nd Round Outcome: Rangers in 7, Lightning in 6
Analysis: Both series went different ways and these teams took different routes to get to this point, but it will be a doozy. The Rangers battled back after being down in their series 3-1 to the Capitals and showed the type of team they can be in those 3 games. They won the series in OT of the seventh game at the Garden, and really their offense only broke out in game 6. They however put the puck on net and put a lot of pressure on goal and sooner or later those will fall in. Tampa on the other hand went up 3-0 in their series and really dominated the Canadians in all 3 of those wins. They fell in the next 2 games and then dominated once again to close out the series at home. Stamkos also finally broke out in the post season and Bishop looked his best in net. The series between these two teams is in favor of the Bolts winning 3-0-0 against NYR during the season, however the last time they squared off was all the way back on December 1st. The bad blood between the two teams should come out and a lot of former players facing each other. You have St. Louis and Boyle and Callahan who is looking to get back to play his former team. This series will be all about the goaltending and the pressure they can put on net. The Rangers struggled on the power play in their last series, but showed up killing it. Bishop will have to out play Henrik is the Lightning can stand a chance and this series can really go either way.
Pick: Rangers in 7

Western Conference

1) Anaheim Ducks vs. 3) Chicago Blackhawks

Jan 12, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) moves the puck with center Jonathan Toews (19) against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Jan 12, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) moves the puck with center Jonathan Toews (19) against the Edmonton Oilers during the second period at the United Center. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

2nd Round Prediction: Flames in 7, Wild in 6
2nd Round Outcome: Ducks in 5, Blackhawks in 4
Analysis: So my predictions were off for the West, but that’s okay because I have another shot at it. My skepticism of the Ducks for this post season has clearly been flawed as they have dominated in the first two rounds. They played a hot Flames team, who didn’t really belong to be there, with nothing to lose, and pretty much man handled them. They destroyed Calgary any time they hit the power play and they also picked apart Calgary’s power play. Andersen has played much better in goal than what I anticipated and have showed up to be that true #1 that they are. On the other side, I thought the Wild would show up as they have been eliminated from the playoffs the last two years by Chicago. Patrick Kane did his thing as usual against Minnesota and the ‘Hawks took the sweep. In three of the four games they scored 4 goals and the one they didn’t, they won by shutout. Their offense has showed up and that important as Crawford as struggled in net. Between the players on both Chicago and Anaheim, the playoff experience is tremendous and expect a great offensive show. Unlike the East, I think the focus point for this series is going to be on offense opposed to the actual goaltending. They played three times over the course of the regular season and Chicago is 2-1-0. Like the East, this series can go either way and would be surprised either way if it was a short series.
Pick: Blackhawks in 6

2015 NHL Playoffs Predictions – Round 2

capitals winner

As the first round comes to a close, there is one game left to play and as I’m writing this game 7 is being played between the Detroit Red Wings and the Tampa Bay Lightning. There were a few good series’ in round 1, but not as many for what we saw last season in the post season. One of the more thrilling series’ came out west with the Blackhawks and the Predators. Though it didn’t go all 7 games, two of the games hit triple OT. Let’s jump into the predictions for the 2nd round.

Eastern Conference

1) New York Rangers vs. 2) Washington Capitals

New York Rangers v Buffalo Sabres
1st Round Prediction: Rangers in 5, Capitals in 6
1st Round Outcome: Rangers in 5, Capitals in 7
Analysis: So I was off a tad with the Capitals/Islanders series. The Capitals surely wasn’t dominating in their series and raises some questions with their goaltending for this round. They made it through to the next round after holding the Islanders to no power play goals throughout the series. As for the Rangers, the played a Penguins team that limped into the playoffs and as the heavy favorites, they did not impress in dominating any game. All five games were decided by 1 goal and the last 2 games went to OT. Four of the five games the game ended 2-1 which at least shows how impressive Lundqvist has been. The Rangers finished with 12 more points than the Capitals in the regular season within the same division and went 3-1-0 against the Caps during the regular season. Even with Zuccarello out for possibly the whole series, I still foresee the Rangers winning this series, but it will be closer than the experts think if the Rangers struggle on the power play like the Islanders did last round.
Pick: Rangers in 6

1) Montreal Canadians vs. 2) Tampa Bay Lightning

Subban power

1st Round Prediction: Senators in 7, Lightning in 4
1st Round Outcome: Canadians in 6, Lightning in 7
Analysis: I went with Ottawa to upset the Canadians in the first round, and even though that series went to 6, it was decided early enough when Montreal went up 3-0. They outplayed Ottawa throughout the series and its clear they are the better team. They strive to have a rematch with the NY Rangers in the conference finals, but will have to get through the Tampa Bay Lightning first. As I was typing this blog, the Lightning wrapped up their 7 game series against the Red Wings by winning game 7 by shutout, 2-0. As I predicted Tampa to have considerably an easier time in way of a sweep, it went the opposite as it went the distance. Baring an unbelievable comeback in Detroit and winning in OT, they would have fell down 3-1, but that tied the series at 2 and then came back by winning 2 in a row to win the series. During the season, Montreal finished 2 points over Tampa in the Atlantic division however after Tampa got swept by the Canadiens in the first round last season, they went 5-0-0 against the Canadians during the season. It’s rare to see that type of domination during the course of 5 games spread out in the regular season. The post season is a different animal though, but should be a great series.
Pick: Canadians in 7

Western Conference

3) Chicago Blackhawks vs. 4) Minnesota Wild

1st Round Prediction: Blackhawks in 5, Blues in 7
1st Round Outcome: Blackhawks in 6, Wild in 6
Analysis: Yet, another disappointing quick exit for the St. Louis Blues. The Minnesota Wild made an upset last year against Colorado and it happened again this year against the Blues. I’m not surprised. It sets them up with a rematch to the series against Chicago from last year. I thought Chicago would have an easier time against Nashville, but was extended one extra game. It was tighter than even the 6 games as they went into OT for 2 games and most were high scoring. Their offense woke up, however the big question mark for Chicago is their goaltending. Crawford was highly worrisome and was pulled from a few games as Darling had to step in and take the responsibility in front of net. Chicago went 3-2-0 against Minnesota during the regular season, but lost their last two meetings as they struggled near the end of the season as the Wild picked up speed. Minnesota relies on two things and that’s their penalty kill and their goaltending. Dubnyk was night and day against the Blues, but when he’s good, he’s suffocating. It’s hard to go against Chicago’s deep talent and playoff experienced vets, but their goaltending is too big of a question mark.
Pick: Wild in 6

1) Anaheim Ducks vs 3) Calgary Flames

1st Round Prediction: Jets in 6, Flames in 6
1st Round Outcome: Ducks in 4, Flames in 6
Analysis: I took a big chance with picking the Jets over the Ducks in the first round and yeah, that didn’t happen, nor did the Jets decide to show up as they got swept. The Ducks beat down a team they were expected to beat down and the Flames beat their rivals from British Columbia, the Canucks. I called the upset and the # of games, so that makes up for my false pick on the Jets. Anyway, the Ducks finished 12 points ahead of the Flames in the standings and are the heavy favorites in this series also. Ducks goalie Andersen showed up in 3 out of the 4 games and got bailed out in 1 game with the offense letting loose and taking it in OT. They’ll have stronger competition with Calgary as they are more physical than Winnipeg and will face their former goalie, Hiller. The Flames were able to score on the power play against Vancouver and also gave up just 3 power play goals in 16 attempts. As long as they stay consistent on that front, the Flames will be in a better position than Winnipeg was. Also, Calgary was 2-3-0 against the Ducks during the course of the year, but they have more momentum and as I stated earlier, the playoffs are a different animal. Prepare for a confusing, but exciting series.
Pick: Flames in 7

2015 NHL Playoff Predictions – Round 1

Kings 2014 Champs

This year for the NHL playoffs features a team who lost in the finals last year as the best team in the league this season and the team who won it all being left out of the post season. The end of the season this season wasn’t as thrilling as last year, but does feature some potential collapses as well as some teams getting hot in the second half of the season. We have 5 Canadian hockey teams this postseason and 4 of them are facing each other in the first round. Lines up to be an exciting first round of the playoffs and my predictions for them are as follows:

Eastern Conference


1) New York Rangers vs. 4) Pittsburgh Penguins

Analysis: The Rangers made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals last year for the first time since 1994 and then dropped to the Los Angeles Kings. This year they came back with vengeance and won the President’s Trophy with the best record in all of hockey. They are lucky enough to play the Penguins first. Maybe that’s sarcastic and maybe it’s part truth. The Rangers were 3-0-1 against Pittsburgh this season with their only loss coming in a shootout way back in November. The Penguins skid into the playoffs and barely hung on over the Bruins to get in. The Penguins still have 43 wins this season and they have a guy name Sidney Crosby who can make a difference. The Rangers are clearly the stronger team and they carry more momentum over Pittsburgh as the Penguins managed to go 1-4-1 in the last month of the season.
Pick: Rangers in 5

Ovi - Caps

2) Washington Capitals vs. 3) New York Islanders

Analysis: This should be an excellent series and one of the best in the East. Unfortunately for the Islanders, they have to face off against one of the scariest teams in the East. The Isles and Caps went 2-0-2 in the regular season in which all but 1 went into OT. In fact, they are as even as it gets as they both finished with exactly the same number of points, 101. The Islanders took a bit of a collapse themselves as they lost 12 of their last 18. I give the edge to the Capitals goaltender which is most important in the postseason, but either way it will be punch for punch and wouldn’t be surprised with an incorrect pick in this one.
Pick: Capitals in 6

1004 sens habs 016.JPG

1) Montreal Canadians vs. 4) Ottawa Senators

Analysis: The Canadians missed the best record by just 3 points to the New York Rangers and they get the hottest team in the league in the first round because of it. This series features 2 of the 5 Canadian teams in the post season. Also, Ottawa owns the series during the course of the regular season by going 3-1-0 against Montreal which includes 3 of their last 4 and all by 2 goals or more. Impressive. Ottawa even won 21 of their last 27 games which includes a few winning streaks of 5 or more wins. Also impressive. The Canadians are the stronger team, but streaks in hockey, especially leading to the post season matter most. I’m playing the hot hand with my prediction.
Pick: Senators in 7


2) Tampa Bay Lightning vs. 3) Detroit Red Wings

Analysis: Tampa leads the regular season series 3-1-0 and lost the last meeting against Detroit by way of the shutout. Mike Babcock may be on his way out, but only time will tell. It is still weird for me to see the Red Wings in the East and even more weird to see the Red Wings not as mighty as they used to be. The Lightning had a great season and last year in the first round they got screwed out of a few calls which cost them a few games in their series against the Habs. Tampa had a 50 win season and 7 more points than they finished with last season. They have a strong goaltender in Bishop who was hurt for the post season last season and are obviously led with Stamkos. It was once difficult to pick against Detroit in the post season, but not so difficult this season.
Pick: Lightning in 4

Western Conference

Montreal Canadiens vs St. Louis Blues

1) St. Louis Blues vs. 4) Minnesota Wild

Analysis: Does everyone remember last season when the Wild were the strong underdogs against my beloved Colorado Avalanche? They were awful in the regular season against them, but they threw a ton of punches on the young team and they pulled them apart. This season series could have happened last year, but now we are rewarded this season. The regular season between the two teams is tied 2-2-0, however St. Louis favors the Wild by 9 points. The Blues are 5th in the league in scoring, led by Tarasenko and Steen, 4th in Goals Against led by Elliott, and 4th on their power play percentage. They are also a top 10 team in killing penalties. This is a strong hold for any team going into the playoffs. We all saw what Minnesota was capable of doing last season and they likely have a stronger, more experienced team this season. They had the ability to win on the road last season and they were able to punch their opponents in the mouth. This season will be no different, but I predict a different outcome. Minnesota is 1st in the NHL killing penalties, however they struggle when they have a man advantage. Those can be frustrating and really wear down a team and their momentum and may be the difference in this series.
Pick: Blues in 7


2) Nashville Predators vs. 3) Chicago Blackhawks

Analysis: These teams are separated by just 2 points and that gave Nashville home ice advantage. Shouldn’t matter. The talent on Chicago is extreme and their experience is greater. They both had remarkable seasons, however the Hawks lead the season series 3-1-0. Chicago is always dangerous in the playoffs when they are lead with Toews and Kane. They did struggle at times scoring goals which hurt their ranking, but as always their goals against is top 5 in the league. They have a strong defense and time and time again it’s proven that’s what ultimately wins a Cup. Nashville on the other hand got off to a hot start and was best in the league for a time, but tampered off during the second half. They are led by young Filip Forsberg and Rinne in net, but I just don’t think they have enough fire power to beat out Chicago this season.
Pick: Blackhawks in 5

andrew ladd

1) Anaheim Ducks vs. 4) Winnipeg Jets

Analysis: The Ducks are 10 points better than the Jets and though they only played three times during the regular season, Anaheim is 3-0-0 against the Jets. The Jets return to the playoffs for the first time since returning to Canada. But like last year, I think the Ducks will have their hands full in the first round. The Jets finished 5th in their division and in the NHL ranks they are a mere average team, however, they are led with some great talent. The crowd will come rocking, but they just have to hope they manage 1 victory in sunny California between the first two games of the series. The Ducks are strong, but they are also beatable. They don’t dominate any category amongst the rankings in the NHL, but they are also led with Getzlaf and Perry and they are dominating in the post season. I’m going with a big upset here, because it happens to be a hunch.
Pick: Jets in 6


2) Vancouver Canucks vs. 3) Calgary Flames

Analysis: I don’t know what the preseason predictions were from analysts, but I’m willing to bet that Calgary wasn’t on any of their lists to make the post season. This series features the last 2 Canadian teams and the second of the match ups in their country. The Flames return to the playoffs and they have an aggressive fan base that will light up the Saddle dome. In the regular season these teams were even and tied 2-2-0. The Flames failed to reach 100 points, but they are 20 points better than they were last season. They are led by a guy named by Jiri Hudler. If you don’t know his name yet, you should get to know it now. He has 76 points for Calgary this season and leads the team in goals and assists. He’s 31 years old, but he isn’t talked about much, but is finally having a great season in goals. Calgary has also been successful in net this season with Hiller. On the other end with Vancouver, they are back in the rankings of scoring over 100 points and they no longer have Luongo, which has been a struggle in the past during this time of year. As always they have the Sedin twins leading the way and I’m honestly not sure how this series will go, but I’ll take a shot in the dark.
Pick: Flames in 6

MLB Predictions – 2015

img_6778Giants WS

There’s nothing like the sound of a crack of a wooden bat when hitting a fastball down the middle of the plate. When spring arrives, so does baseball and the excitement is back. Excitement for your favorite team to make a run to win it all. Excitement for fantasy baseball, and excitement to master predictions. I waited until the last moment last year to make my predictions and I am doing the same this year. As usual I don’t like to watch spring training for prediction purposes as spring training is more for a young talent type of exhibition to make the major league level or to grab a spot on the roster or rotation. Also as usual I made my picks on the gambling front, but won’t let that get in the way of making my long-term predictions. Baseball is a long season of 162 games and is an obvious marathon and not a sprint. Lets jump right on into the American League divisions.

Mookie Betts

AL East
1) Boston Red Sox
2) Toronto Blue Jays
3) New York Yankees
4) Baltimore Orioles
5) Tampa Bay Rays
Analysis: For those that know me know that this selection is probably somewhat painful. Putting the Red Sox at top of this division makes me ill. They finished in last, last year, but they made the most notable off season moves. Their pitching staff is stronger and the young talent they have in the field could be a difference maker. The Jays usually fall off, but I feel they hold their ground and stay healthy for most of the season. Places three through five is a toss up, but the Yankees are the most likely team to make moves down the stretch and they always find a way to compete to stay in the playoff hunt.

Cespedes Tigers

AL Central
1) Detroit Tigers
2) Cleveland Indians
3) Kansas City Royals
4) Chicago White Sox
5) Minnesota Twins
Analysis: Detroit continues to have a beefy lineup and their pitching is solid even without Verlander in the rotation to start to season. Cleveland is my pick to be this year’s Kansas City. They have a young staff, but Francona will do his thing and get this team to compete for the division. I still like KC and think they have a great team without Butler and Shields, but the odds for a team to have back to back killer bullpen seasons is rare, but they certainly have the potential to compete with both the Tigers and the Indians. The White Sox also improved in their holes, but just don’t feel like they have enough to beat out the three teams above them. It’s clear that the Twins are rebuilding and I just don’t believe they have enough to move any higher than 4th.

MLB: Cleveland Indians at Seattle Mariners

AL West
1) Seattle Mariners
2) Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
3) Oakland Athletics
4) Houston Astros
5) Texas Rangers
Analysis: This division is interesting, but it’s Seattle’s to lose. They have the strongest overall team, starting pitching, bullpen, and their lineup that is. The Angels will slug their way to the 2nd spot and they may even grab the division if Seattle falters. But honestly, their starting pitching is weak and they will rely on their power hitters to lead them through the season. Oakland is the opposite of the Angels as they always seem to produce young pitching talent and this year is no different, however, their hitters may not be big powerhouse names, but small ball has always worked for Oakland. Houston is still too young and inexperienced for me to pick them to climb the rankings. The division they are in is tough, but if it means anything, they will be best in Texas.

AL Playoffs
1) Boston Red Sox
2) Detroit Tigers
3) Seattle Mariners
Wild Card
4) Cleveland Indians
5) Kansas City Royals

American League Analysis: My wild card teams are the Indians and the Royals and they will compete to get a full divisional series. The reason behind it is solely because they both still can compete for 1st in the Central and I think they will be in a tight race all year. They’ll beat out the Angels and I just don’t see the Angels getting in with their weak starting pitching staff unless they make a move during the season to alter their roster. I still think the Blue Jays will have a decent year, but with recent inconsistencies in the second half of the baseball season is concerning for me to pick them to beat out the AL Central trio. If the AL Central get 3 teams into the playoffs the odds are in their favor. My pick for the AL representative should not be too surprising, especially for a team to have a history in making moves at the deadline.

AL Champions: Detroit Tigers

Nationals Max

NL East
1) Washington Nationals
2) Miami Marlins
3) New York Mets
4) Atlanta Braves
5) Philadelphia Phillies
Analysis: This is a pretty easy division for me to predict. The easy ones seem to always turn out awful, but we will see. The Nationals are the favorite to get to the World Series from the National League and the main reason is because they will most likely beat up on the teams in their division. The Marlins are the second best team, but they won’t compete for first. The Mets are counting on Wright, Granderson, and Cuddyer to lead the way with their bats and their pitching has a lot of young talent including the return of Matt Harvey. The Braves won’t really compete for anything, but they will at least be slightly better than the Phillies who will compete with the Rangers for worst in baseball.

Wainwright action

NL Central
1) St. Louis Cardinals
2) Pittsburgh Pirates
3) Chicago Cubs
4) Cincinnati Reds
5) Milwaukee Brewers
Analysis: The Cardinals have too much for me to pick them to lose this division. Both their pitching and hitting is solid as usual and they are consistent through the season. The Pirates may give them a fight for the division title, but I just don’t trust their starting rotation to carry them through the season or even to beat the Cardinals in a series victory during the season. I may be overvaluing the Cubs and getting Lester in the offseason. It’s no secret the young talent they have and if they decide to bring up Bryant, Russell, and Baez up, which they most likely will, but will they all be effective is the bigger question. The Reds have killer hitters, but the consistency of their pitching staff concerns me in the long run. I don’t think the Brewers will have a bad year and I wouldn’t be surprised if they finished in 4th, but I don’t see them going much higher by years end.

Kershaw pitching

NL West
1) Los Angeles Dodgers
2) San Diego Padres
3) San Francisco Giants
4) Arizona Diamondbacks
5) Colorado Rockies
Analysis: Even without Hanley Rameriz, the Dodgers are the best team in this division with their killer depth in hitting and pitching. They made an improvement in the middle of the diamond with Kendrick and Rollins and shipping off Kemp to a division rival to make room for Joc Pederson. The Padres made a ton of movies in the offseason stacking up their pitching, having a reliable bullpen and their outfield is stacked. I don’t believe the Padres will compete late in the season for the division, but they’ll compete with World Series defending champs, Giants. Even in an odd numbered year I think the Giants will have a good year with a reliable pitching staff and depth with the bat.

NL Playoffs
1) Washington Nationals
2) Los Angeles Dodgers
3) St. Louis Cardinals
Wild Card
4) San Diego Padres
5) Pittsburgh Pirates

National League Analysis: The Padres are the “sexy” pick going into the season based on all the offseason moves they made, but I liked them as an underdog pick last year for this division, when in fact it was the Giants that emerged. The Padres are led with Shields in their pitching rotation, but really leads the way for young talent like Ross and Cashner. The Padres haven’t been known for their hitting in quite some time but have some strength going into this season. The bottom half of the division might be weak enough where they can beat up on them and get in for wild card status. The Pirates are a shoe-in for me and I think being in a tough division they won’t get home field for wild card. I think the only team with a chance to get in the wild card that will be looking in from the outside will be the San Francisco Giants. I think the Marlins will phase out toward the end of the year and the Cubs just don’t have the experience to get in this season.

NL Champions: Los Angeles Dodgers

World Series Champions: Detroit Tigers

Tigers celebrate

2014-15 NBA Predictions

That time of the year is back around where the NBA preseason is complete and the regular season starts tomorrow night. I waited until the last day to write these picks, but rest assured these picks were not just randomly put together and some thought went into it, though it may not seem that way if you check back in June. As of right now, there is no “#1 Prize” if a team folds their cards early and hopes for the first pick in the draft. Last year that pick was Wiggins, however, the Cavs won bigger than him by having LeBron James go back to Cleveland. I think by James leaving Miami, it may open up the East a little bit and NBA fans are starting to see the East getting more competitive. I think there is still a clear favorite in the West with the San Antonio Spurs, with the unbelievable emergence of Kawhi Leonard in the Finals, but they will be challenged by teams several teams in the West. Good luck to all teams, but here are my picks for this season!

Eastern Conference

Atlantic Division

1) Toronto Raptors
2) Brooklyn Nets
3) New York Knicks
4) Boston Celtics
5) Philadelphia 76ers
Analysis: Yes, this is exactly the standings of how last year ended and it’s basically how I think this year will end. Toronto are the clear favorites to win this division. Brooklyn is said to drop down and the Knicks would fight for first, but I just don’t believe that quite yet. I think Brooklyn has a little more depth and I like Lionel Hollins at coach. Boston is still young and they are without Rondo for some time, even if he comes back healthy, he may be traded. Everyone with any type of interest knows that Philly is tanking…again.

Central Division

1) Chicago Bulls
2) Cleveland Cavs
3) Detroit Pistons
4) Indiana Pacers
5) Milwaukee Bucks
Analysis: This is one of the more interesting divisions in the Eastern Conference. With LeBron going back to Cleveland, the early favorite most analysts are saying is Cleveland. I think LeBron will win yet another MVP this season, but as a team they have some work to do. They are built with a younger big 3 adding Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving as teammates, but defensively and collaborating isn’t all there yet. If Derrick Rose stays healthy..big IF, the Bulls will win this division and I don’t even think it will be close. The Pacers will really drop down with losing Paul George and I still think my sleeper is the Pistons. Stan Van Gundy is just the coaching piece they need to get into the playoffs with a young talented team.

Southeast Division

1) Washington Wizards
2) Charlotte Hornets
3) Miami Heat
4) Atlanta Hawks
5) Orlando Magic
Analysis: This kills me to write that I think the Magic will finish in last again. I still think they are a growing team with not a lot of experience and this is a growing division. The shake up in my opinion is real and will happen. The Wizards have the team to beat now that James is out of the division. The Hornets will surge into the playoffs after having a decent season last year and added a strong piece with Stephenson in the offseason. I think the Heat have the chance to still finish 1st or 2nd pending any injuries to stars on the the Hornets and the Wizards, but the aging Wade is a big factor for why I dropped them to third. I think Bosh will come out of his shell, but we will truly see how big of an impact player LeBron is and how much he will be missed.

Eastern Conference Playoffs

1) Chicago Bulls
2) Washington Wizards
3) Toronto Raptors
4) Cleveland Cavs
5) Charlotte Hornets
6) Miami Heat
7) Detroit Pistons
8) Brooklyn Nets

Eastern Conference ChampionsCleveland Cavs

Western Conference

Northwest Division

1) Portland Trailblazers
2) Oklahoma City Thunder
3) Denver Nuggets
4) Minnesota Timberwolves
5) Utah Jazz
Analysis: Not to brag, but I did predict the final standings for this division last year. I really liked Portland last year when not a lot of people did and I like them even more this year. A lot more experience and a lot of depth. This is a somewhat weak division aside from the obvious top 2 teams, but OkC will have a “down” year, which is still very good, but will miss Durant for the time he will be out of play. Minnesota will drop back a spot after losing a guy like Kevin Love. Another team with a lot of young talent, but they are too young for me to pick to get to the playoffs. Denver will have a better year as long as they stay healthy. I wouldn’t be too surprised if they were in the two spot by the halfway mark.

Pacific Division
1) Los Angeles Clippers
2) Golden State Warriors
3) Sacramento Kings
4) Phoenix Suns
5) Los Angeles Lakers
Analysis: Well, how the times have officially changed. The top 2 teams are obvious as this rivalry gets stronger and stronger every year. I think the Warriors have the potential to overtake the Clippers for first, but my uncertainty of how the team will be coached with Steve Kerr and not Mark Jackson holds that back. This is the year the Kings break through and have the best opportunity to get to the playoffs. I think they’ve built a strong core and should be another exciting team to show some flare. The Suns were a bit of a surprise team last year, but they don’t have a lot of front court depth that makes me confident on being consistent throughout the year. As for the Lakers, they are just bad. Who knows if they will have any team chemistry, which may possibly be Kobe’s last season. Steve Nash is already done for the season and have a lot of no-namers or aging players (Boozer). The Lakers should get that experience for Randle and look forward to next years draft.

Southwest Division
1) San Antonio Spurs
2) Dallas Mavericks
3) Houston Rockets
4) New Orleans Pelicans
5) Memphis Grizzlies
Analysis: My motto at this point is pick the Spurs until they fail. This is a tough division to pick for me as I think a lot of these teams are stacked to full potential. The Spurs depth is just insane and they have made a point to rest players throughout the year to be strong for the post season and almost always works. Dallas got stronger and deeper and I think they will pass Houston, who had struggled to defend. There’s a lot of movement of players within this division, which should make match ups throughout the year very enjoyable. The Pelicans are still young, but I feel they have stronger talent where they will pass the Grizz, but may still be a year away from the post season.

Western Conference Playoffs

1) Los Angeles Clippers
2) San Antonio Spurs
3) Portland Trailblazers
4) Dallas Mavericks
5) Oklahoma City Thunder
6) Golden State Warriors
7) Houston Rockets
8) Denver Nuggets

Western Conference Champions: Los Angeles Clippers

NBA Champions: Los Angeles Clippers

There you have it. I picked the Clippers to topple the Cavs in the NBA Finals this season and that would make a great series. It’s tougher to get out of the west and I was really thinking the Mavs might actually make a run in the playoffs, but not gutsy enough to pick a Mavs/Cavs Finals, as catchy as that is. I think the Cavs will put it all together by the time the playoffs start and though they won’t have home court, the experience from James may prevail. Regardless, I’m sure some will disagree with these picks, but they are only predictions, so give it a shot and hopefully this wasn’t your reaction to my picks…