Friday, November 24, 2017

Double Down, Sashi Brown!

The Cleveland Browns are 0-10.  They look horrible.  DeShone Kizer has thrown 14 interceptions and only 5 touchdowns, and has been benched twice.  Their analytics method has caused them to pass on Carson Wentz and DeShaun Watson- the former looking like a great QB in the making for the Philadelphia Eagles, while Watson looked fantastic until he was injured.  

The Browns seem like a mortal lock to finish 0-16 and with the #1 pick in the draft (along with the Texans, pick, like around #10).  There's a bunch of QBs in this draft that are likely to go in the first round- Sam Darnold of USC (if he doesn't stay in school another year), Josh Rosen of UCLA, Lamar Jackson of Louisville, Josh Allen of Wyoming, and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.  

Surely, the Browns should abandon this analytic approach, take a QB with the #1 pick.  Right?

My advice for Sashi Brown (the VP of the Browns)- don't draft a QB.  Double down on your method.

Which, of course, sounds insane.  Why double down on something that has led you to 0-16?  

Here's my reasons:

1)  Every single QB in the top tier has flaws.  Rosen supposedly isn't like by his teammates.  Darnold has not been impressive and may stay at USC another year.  Jackson has accuracy issues.  Allen is a project, as is Mayfield.  If you're grabbing a QB #1, that means that you think he's the best QB in the class- and none of them are standing out.

2)  The Browns do have alternatives to drafting a QB #1.  They could try to get a free agent (Kirk Cousins is on the market).  They could grab a veteran QB like Josh McCown (who has led the Jets to a 4-6 record to a team that was supposedly as bad as the Browns).  Or...

3)  They have a young QB- Kizer.  Yes, he's looked bad.  He also has had no wide receivers, a poor running game... and he's young.  Look at the improvement Jared Goff had last year.  Head Coach Hue Jackson is supposed to be a quarterback guru- let's put him to the test.

So what do you do instead?

4)  Grab Saquon Barkley with the #1 pick.  He's a RB and considered the best 'Sure Thing' in the draft.  

5)  With the Texans pick, grab one of the top two WR (Calvin Ridley or Courtland Sutton).  If both of them fail to make it, grab an offensive lineman or a defensive back.  But ideally, one of them should be available.

With that, you have Kizer with a year's NFL experience under his belt, a new RB, a new WR, Corey Coleman and Josh Gordon back healthy, and Joe Thomas back in the lineup.  

I think you have a better chance turning Kizer into a good NFL Quarterback than drafting a QB and starting over.

Do I expect them to do so?  No- I expect them to grab one of the QBs, start over, and then spend next year under a cloud of "Well, we should have grabbed (player X) or (player Y) or (Players A, B, C) instead."

Look- if Sashi Brown makes it to the draft, he only gets one more chance.  If you really think rookie QBs are overrated (and the way you traded down to avoid drafting Wentz and Watson, you do), then reversing course now is tantamount to admitting the last two years were horrifically wrong.  Stick to your guns.  It's not like you'll get another chance if you lead the Browns to a 3-13 season the next year.  Double down.  


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Top 10 albums on a deserted island

And the music challenge was made- list ten albums you'd want on a deserted island.  No "Greatest Hits" allowed.

I muddled this in my mind for a week before making my selections.  In no particular order:

* Pink Floyd- "Wish You Were Here"
* Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers- "Damn the Torpedoes"
* SJ Tucker- "Wonders"
* The Connells- "One Simple Word"
* Daft Punk- "Random Access Memories"
* Soundtrack to "Final Fantasy VIII"
* Animal Logic- "Animal Logic"
* Peter Gabriel- "So"
* Bruce Hornsby & the Range- "Scenes from the Southside"
* Rush, "Tom Sawyer"


Damn- And I'm sure I could have gone to 20 easily.


Monday, October 16, 2017

NBA Predictions 2017-2018

Eastern Conference:
1.     Cleveland
2.     Boston
3.     Toronto
4.     Washington
5.     Milwaukee
6.     Charlotte
7.     Philadelphia
8.     Detroit



9.     Miami
10.   New York
11.   Indiana
12.   Atlanta
13.   Brooklyn
14.   Chicago
15.   Orlando



Playoffs:
•             Cleveland over Detroit, Boston over Philadelphia, Toronto over Charlotte, Milwaukee over Washington
•             Cleveland over Milwaukee, Boston over Toronto
•             Cleveland over Boston.  This will be a war, and don't be surprised if there are suspensions in this game




Western Conference:
1.     Golden State
2.     San Antonio
3.     Houston
4.     Oklahoma City
5.     Utah
6.     Minnesota
7.     Denver
8.     Portland


9.     New Orleans
10.   Memphis
11.   Sacramento
12.   LA Clippers
13.   LA Lakers
14.   Dallas   
15.   Phoenix



Playoffs:
•             Golden State over Portland, San Antonio over Denver, Houston over Minnesota, Utah over OKC
•             Golden State over Utah, Houston over San Antonio
•             Golden State over Houston



More notes:
•             MVP?  I think this might be one of those years that there are six viable candidates.  I have a hard time seeing Harden or Westbrook repeating their numbers.  The young guys are still a year or two away.  I'll go with LeBron, because he'll always be a contender- but we might be arguing Leonard, Embiid, or even Rudy Gorbert
•             Cleveland/Boston is going to be an ugly bloodbath this year.  Between IT's anger at Aigne and Kyrie's statements about Cleveland, I think these two franchises will be hating each other.  
•             Here's the thing about Golden State; on paper, they should win 70+ games.  The core has been together for a year, they are all still young, no one has been able to figure them out.

But they've also been incredibly lucky in terms of injuries.  They haven't had an injury that took one of their core players out for a month during the playoffs (see what happened to Kawhi last year).  Eventually, that luck will run out- and they sacrificed their depth to sign Durant.

If I had to bet on one team winning the NBA finals, it's Golden State.  But Golden State vs. the field?  

I think someone beats them this year.  Officially, I'll put down Cleveland winning the title in 7 games.  But if you told me that Golden State would be at 100% health, I'll be on the Warriors repeating.  

Sunday, October 1, 2017

MLB Playoff and Awards Predictions

American League:

Minnesota Twins over New York Yankees (Wild Card)
Houston Astros over Boston Red Sox in 4 games
Cleveland Indians over Minnesota Twins in 4 games
Cleveland Indians over Houston Astros in 7 games

National League:
Colorado Rockies over Arizona Diamondbacks (Wild Card)
Washington Nationals over Chicago Cubs in 5 games
Los Angeles Dodgers over  Colorado Rockies in 3 games
Washington Nationals over Los Angeles Dodgers in 6 games

World Series:
Cleveland Indians over Washington Nationals in 6 games

AL Awards:
MVP:  Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
Cy Young:  Corey Kluber, Cleveland Indians
Rookie of the Year:  Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
Manager of the Year:  Paul Molitor, Minnesota Twins

NL Awards:
MVP:  Giancarlo Stanton, Miami Marlins
Cy Young:  Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
Rookie of the Year:  Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
Manager of the Year:  Dave Roberts, Los Angeles Dodgers

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

NFL Predictions: 2017-2018

NFC

East:

Dallas 9-7
Washington 8-8
NY Giants 8-8
Philadelphia 7-9

North:
Green Bay 12-4
Minnesota 9-7
Detroit 7-9
Chicago 4-12

South:
Atlanta 11-5

Tampa Bay 9-7 (Wild Card)
New Orleans 8-8
Carolina 7-9

West:
Seattle 11-5
Arizona 9-7  (Wild Card)
St. Louis 5-11
San Francisco 5-11

Playoffs:
Dallas over Arizona
Tampa Bay over Seattle

Atlanta over Dallas
Green Bay over Tampa Bay

Green Bay over Atlanta



AFC

East:
New England 13-3
Miami 7-9 

Buffalo 7-9
NY Jets 3-13


North:
Pittsburgh 12-4
Cleveland 6-10
Baltimore 6-10
Cincinnati 4-12



South:
Houston 10-6
Tennessee 10-6 (Wild Card)
Jacksonville 6-10
Indianapolis 5-11


West:
Oakland 13-3

Kansas City 11-5 (Wild Card)
Denver 9-7
San Diego 5-11

Playoffs:
Houston over Kansas City
Tennessee over Pittsburgh

New England over Houston
Oakland over Tennessee

New England over Oakland



Super Bowl: New England 41, Green Bay 38

Thursday, August 17, 2017

WWE Summerslam Predictions




WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match (Kickoff Match)
Akira Tozawa © vs. Neville

My Crazy Dream Booking: Neville regains the belt in an excellent match, takes the microphone, claims to be the greatest cruiserweight ever, and makes an open challenge that is answered the next night by... Kenny Omega.
What Should Happen: Tozawa retains and feuds with TJ Perkins. Neville moves to Smackdown and starts an epic war with Sami Zayn
What Will Happen: Tozawa wins, Neville moves to RAW, and spends three months winning matches while the WWE figures out what to do with him
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Neville regains the belt and starts cycling through everyone else in the Cruiserweight division again
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Neville regains the belt and feuds with Titus O'Neil


WWE Smackdown Tag Team match (Kickoff Match)
New Day © vs. Usos

My Crazy Dream Booking: New Day retains. Usos stay heel while feuding with Chad Gable and Mojo Rawley, while New Day is attacked by Dolph Ziggler and Zack Ryder, who do a takeoff of ACH and Ethan Page's Troll Boyz from EVOLVE
What Should Happen: New Day wins and both New Day and Usos move on to other feuds
What Will Happen: Usos win so THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Usos win so THIS FEUD MUST CONTINUE
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Xavier Woods turns on Big E and Kofi Kingston and joins the Usos


Six man match (Kickoff Match)
Miztourage vs. Hardy Boyz and Jason Jordan

My Crazy Dream Booking: Miztourage wins, Hardy Boyz continue on their path to being Broken, attacking Jordan after the match. Kurt Angle decides that Jordan, as his son, needs 'Tough Love'. For the next three months, Angle brings in a bunch of free agents (Indy wrestlers) to put Jordan through the paces- or even sends him to the Indy leagues to spend a few months.
What Should Happen: Jordan loks impressive- but Miztourage pin the Hardyz 

.OR.

Miztourage wins. Hardyz attack Jordan, blaming him. Chad Gable comes down to help his partner and reform American Alpha.

What Will Happen: Hardys and Jordan win to set up Miz/Jordan. Jordan looks good in the matches
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Hardys and Jordan win to set up Miz/Jordan. Jordan does not look ready
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Jordan attacks the Hardyz, then attacks Angle to become the next member of the Miztourage


WWE RAW Tag Team match
Cesaro and Sheamus © vs. Ambrose and Rollins

My Crazy Dream Booking: Ambrose and Rollins win the belts to set up the main event angle (see below)
What Should Happen: Thirty minute match with a double countout to let this feud continue
What Will Happen: Ambrose and Rollins win the titles
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Cesaro and Sheamus win and then the WWE realizes there are no other challengers until the Revival returs
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Ambrose and Rollins fight and feud... again


John Cena vs. Baron Corbin
My Crazy Dream Booking: Corbin is replaced, Cena makes an open challenge, and out comes Bobby Roode
What Should Happen: Corbin wins as Cena moves to RAW and Corbin gets set up as a challenger for the Smackdown title
What Will Happen: Cena wins, making Corbin look good in the process.
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Cena wins, Corbin looks bad in the process
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Cena and Crobin team up to take on the Singh brothers in the Smackdown title match


Finn Balor vs. Bray Wyatt
My Crazy Dream Booking: Balor goes in full Demon mode, wild match- Harper and Rowan come out to help Wyatt, and the Club comes out to attack them. Balor wins after a giant brawl that goes all over the arena.
What Should Happen: Balor goes to full Demon mode, pins Wyatt in a good match
What Will Happen: Balor goes to full Demon mode, pins Wyatt in a good match
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Balor goes to full Demon mode, pins Wyatt inside of three minutes
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Balor goes to full Demon mode, loses cleanly to Wyatt


Big Cass vs. Big Show
My Crazy Dream Booking: Short but energetic match- Cass wins and moves to a different feud
What Should Happen: Short but energetic match- Cass wins and moves to a different feud
What Will Happen: Cass wins and then beats up Enzo after the match
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Big Show wins, Cass attacks Enzo after the match
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Enzo manages Big Show and Big Cass as they go for the tag titles


Randy Orton vs. Rusev
My Crazy Dream Booking: they have suprising chemistry that reminds everyone why Rusev was a favorite just over a year ago
What Should Happen: Rusev wins- Orton is locked in, but a Rusev win can help establish him as a future title contender
What Will Happen: Rusev dominates, RKO out of nowhere to win
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Orton dominates, Orton wins
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Lana shows up and turns on Rusev, joining Orton


Smackdown US Title:
AJ Styles © vs. Kevin Owens
Special Referee: Shane McMahon

My Crazy Dream Booking: Owens and Styles set aside their differences to beat up Shane McMahon and start a heel rampage over Smackdown
What Should Happen: Owens wins and feuds with every face on the roster. Styles stays strong and wins the Royal Rumble to feud with Nakamura
What Will Happen: Styles retains, both move on to other feuds
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Shane McMahon causes one side to lose
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Shane McMahon forces them to team up like Sheamus and Cesaro did last year


Smackdown World Title:
Jinder Mahal © vs. Shinsuke Nakamura

My Crazy Dream Booking: I like Mahal- but he's not as good as Nakamura. Nakamura wins and goes on a dominant run leading to his match with Styles at Wrestlemania
What Should Happen: Nakamura wins
What Will Happen: Mahal wins through shenanigans so there is a rematch
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Corbin costs Mahal the title 
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Nakamura goes back to NXT after a bad match


RAW Women's Title:
Alexa Bliss © vs. Sasha Banks

My Crazy Dream Booking: Bliss retains and makes an open challenge... and here comes Asuka.
What Should Happen: Bliss retains in a great match and keeps the belt until Bayley takes it from her- and then Banks goes full Boss mode and attacks Bayley
What Will Happen: Banks wins the title
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Nia Jax costs Banks the match
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Stephanie McMahon decides she wants to challenge for the title


Smackdown Women's Title:
Naomi © vs. Natalya

My Crazy Dream Booking: Naomi retains and makes an open challenge... and here comes Asuka. (she challenges for, and wins, both titles)
What Should Happen: Naomi wins, keeping the belt until Survivor Series
What Will Happen: Natalya wins the title, then feuding with Charlotte
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: The match is forgotten about
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Lana wins the title and feuds with Carmella over both the belt and the loves of James Ellsworth



RAW World Title:
Brock Lesnar© vs. Roman Reigns vs. Samoa Joe vs. Braun Strowman

My Crazy Dream Booking: Massive battle, with Samoa Joe being the glue of the match. The others take pauses outside the ring, but Joe is inside for almost a half hour. He throws Lesnar out of the ring, locks Reigns in the Kokina Clutch... and here comes Ambrose and Rollins (now the tag team champions). Ambrose distracts the referee, Rollins bashes Joe with the belt, Reigns pins Joe, and the Shield is reformed as heels
What Should Happen: Joe wins the title and has a run as champion until the Royal Rumble. Paul Heyman may or may not turn on Lesnar to be Joe's manager.
What Will Happen: Reigns pins Strowman for the belt. After the match, Joe, Lesnar, and Strowman all attack Reigns, and here comes Ambrose and Rollins to chase them out. The Shield reforms as faces
What I’m Terrified Will Happen: Strowman wins the title
If I Was Booking This And I Hated You: Lesnar wins cleanly, brags there is no competition, then disappears until the Royal Rumble where he faces... Goldberg.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

NBA Finals Predictions

Cavaliers/Warriors III

Two years ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers took the Golden State Warriors to 6 games despite losing Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to injuries.  Cleveland fans swear that the Cavaliers could have won the series if healthy.

Last year, Golden State won a record 73 games during the regular season, and were up 3-1 on Cleveland before Cleveland won the last three games.  But Stephen Curry was banged up, and Draymond Green got suspended for game 5, and Golden State fans swear that the Warriors could have won the series if it hadn't been for those events.

Now after each team has won one series, they meet for a third time in a row in the NBA Finals.  A couple of interesting factors:

* The Warriors signed Kevin Durant as a free agent.  They took a chance- losing their bench to improve their starters.  It's a gamble that has paid off so far- the Warriors have been so dominant that they haven't tired off their starters

* The one Warrior who can't be on the floor is head coach Steve Kerr.  He's being replaced for this series by... Mike Brown, former coach of the Cavaliers.  I like Brown, but he's in a no-win situation: if the Warriors win, he gets no credit.  If they lose he'll get all of the blame.

* The Cavaliers are a great team- but the Warriors are phenomenal.  Curry and Durant are two of the five best players in the NBA.  Green and Thompson are two of the top twelve.  Put it this way- a team with LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving should almost never be considered an underdog- but Vegas clearly favors the Warriors. 

* Curry is one of the most popular players in the NBA, and so is Durant.  But the Warriors are so dominant- and Green has a reputation of a dirty player- that most NBA fans are rooting against the Warriors.

* I'm a Cleveland fan.  On paper, the Warriors should win- they have home field advantage.  And last year, Cleveland beat Golden States and outscored them by a total of FOUR points- and Golden State has added Kevin Durant to the team.  On paper, Golden State should win in 5 games.  And the only player who absolutely NEEDS to win this series is Durant- all of the other major players already have a title.

* But I believe in LeBron James.  Cleveland in 7.