Weekly Sports World Weekly Picks: NFL Championship Round

The Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs was absolutely more entertaining than the Wild Card Round, with each game being decided by seven points at the most. The Seattle vs. Carolina game even got entertaining after the Seahawks tried to make a comeback in the second half; scoring 24 unanswered points compared to the Panthers zero second half points. But, it wasn’t enough, as the Panthers went on to win it anyway. Now that we have our teams set, without further ado, here are Weekly Sports World’s Weekly Picks for the Championship Round of the NFL Playoffs;

New England Patriots vs. Denver Broncos: On Sunday, we are going to be seeing another installment of the Brady/Manning rivalry; which will take place in Denver for the AFC Championship. The Broncos are going into this game with the best defense remaining of the four teams versus, well, Tom Brady. But how good is Tom Brady normally in the postseason against top ranked defenses?

Well, according to Cameron DaSilva of Fox Sports, Tom Brady is currently undefeated (3-0) against top defenses in the playoffs. That’s especially something to be said with the ever-changing carousel of receivers that Brady goes through. It shows that even though the receivers change, Tom can still be the elite quarterback that he is and carve up even the best of defenses.

On the other side, we have Peyton Manning; (insert endorsement jingle). Peyton Manning came on strong recently, finishing his game against the Steelers with 222 yards on 56.8% completion. The problem with that is he did not throw a single touchdown in that game, with all of the Broncos offense coming from C.J. Anderson and the right leg of Brandon McManus.

Overall, the Patriots are currently favored by 3 for this game, and it’s really tough to pick against a quarterback as elite as Tom Brady. But, in the end, I think I’m going to have to go with the Broncos to win this game by a score of 27-24. Denver already beat New England earlier in the year in overtime, and I believe that they will repeat that magic and beat the Patriots once again. I also do not believe that the Patriots receivers will last against the elite secondary that Denver currently has.

Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina Panthers: These two teams were on complete opposite sides of the spectrum last week when it came to their respective games. Arizona, on one hand, had an extremely close game against the Green Bay Packers that had to be decided in overtime. Then Carolina, on the other hand, demolished the Seattle Seahawks to start the game; putting up 31 unanswered points. But, they started to take their foot off the gas, as they allowed Seattle to climb all the way back to within a touchdown before sealing the game up in the 4th.

Arizona, to start, had one of the best offenses this season; averaging a league leading 408.3 yards per game to go along with their second best 30.6 points per game. They were also in the Top 5 for defenses in the league, giving up an average of 321.7 YDS per game, and 19.6 points per game. The big problem that I have with them is that they had to go to overtime against a Green Bay team that hasn’t been the top notch team that we are use to seeing from them.

Then, you have Carolina, who has been the best team in the league for the entire season; finishing the year off at 15-1 and beating the Seattle Seahawks in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. When it comes to offense, the Cardinals might’ve had the second best scoring offense in the league; but the Panthers had THE BEST scoring offense at 31.3. We also saw how stellar their defense could be, holding Seattle to zero first half points last week. But, sticking with that game, we all saw that Carolina couldn’t hold off Seattle as the Seahawks were able to climb back to within 7.

In this game, we are going to be seeing two of the best offenses in the league squaring off for the right to be called NFC Champions. So with that being said, it looks like this is going to turn into a game centered around the defenses, and who can stand up the strongest. So because of that, and from what I saw last week, right now I am going with Carolina to win by a score of 27-24. This is going to be a relatively high scoring game, with both sides trading shots back and forth. But, in the end, I think Carolina will continue their dominance and move on to the Super Bowl to face the Denver Broncos. But, as a side note, don’t be surprised to see this game go into overtime, or even the Cardinals winning this game with the way we saw Carolina’s defense fall apart last week.

COMMENT BELOW with your picks!

 

THANKS TO:

DaSilva, Cameron. “Brady’s Record against No. 1 Defenses Is (probably) What You’d Expect.” FOX Sports. Fox Sports Interactive Media, LLC., 20 Jan. 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2016. <http://www.foxsports.com/nfl/story/new-england-patriots-denver-broncos-playoffs-tom-brady-defense-012016&gt;.
ESPN.com. “NFL Total Offense/Defense Statistics-2015.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 2016. Web. 21 Jan. 2016. <http://espn.go.com/nfl/statistics/team/_/stat/total/seasontype/2&gt;.

Jorge Soler Must Go; Javier Baez Must Stay!

The Chicago Cubs have had one of the best offseasons this winter, signing the likes of Jason Heyward, Ben Zobrist, and John Lackey to be a part of the team next year. But the question is, are there any other moves that Theo Epstein can make in order to boost an already stacked lineup. The answer to that is yes, yes there is, and that would be to trade Jorge Soler in order to bring in more relief pitching for the club. But to the people that think the Cubs need to trade Javier Baez, you need to get a clue, because the team needs him more than you think right now!

Jorge Soler saw a huge rise in games played as he split his time in right field with Chris Coghlin. To start the season, he had a pretty decent .265 average, but suffered an injury that kept him out of action for basically all of June and the first four games of July. After this stretch though, he really began to show improvement as he became more patient, waited for better pitches, and even saw his strikeout totals drop. But, that improvement was sort of put on hold, as he suffered another injury that kept him out from late August to mid September. But, going into the playoffs, he continued showing this improvement and became a more reliable option when offense/baserunners were needed the most.

With the addition of Jason Heyward this offseason, the current plan for the outfield is to put Heyward in center and keep Soler and Schwarber in right and left respectively. Even though Jorge Soler showed some improvement last season, the addition of Jason Heyward really made him the odd man out when it comes to the outfield. So, with that being said, the Cubs would be smart to ship Soler out in order to bring in more help for the bullpen. Yes, I know that the Cubs bullpen had the 8th best ERA in the MLB at 3.38. But, if you were to watch a large portion of Cubs games, you would see that although the bullpen had a good ERA, it came at a very inconsistent price. You would see guys get into jams and either get themselves out by a “nut hair” with minimal damage, or would need assistance to help finish off the inning. So, with that being said, an extra middle reliever would be really helpful to the pen in order to set up their two big guns in Pedro Strop and Hector Rondon at the tail end of the game.

In addition to bullpen help, shipping Soler to another team would also allow Jason Heyward to move over to his normal spot in right field, and leave center field open for when the Cubs decide to bring up their #5 prospect Albert Almora at some point during this upcoming season.

 

Then, there is Javier Baez. Baez, for those who don’t know, is a quick infielder who has the ability to drive the ball deep, and has great potential to be a top tier middle infielder in this league. Last year for Baez however, he saw a bit of a decline in his numbers due to the time he took off for personal reasons, as well as rehabbing and healing a broken finger. But, he still managed to hit .289 in the 28 games he did play in for the Cubs.

Right now, with Castro being traded to the Yankees, the Cubs really do need depth at second and shortstop. Right now, with Ben Zobrist being acquired through free agency, the Cubs only have three quality players to fill those spots; Zobrist, Addison Russell, and Javier Baez. (Yes, I know they have Tommy La Stella as well, but he’s more of a late game/utility man). If the Cubs were to give up Baez right now, then they would be giving up more power that could come off the bench, and they would be giving up another proven body that they could put in for Russell when they give him a day off. Now, if you could promise me another “Zobrist” type of guy for Baez, then that would be fine. But for right now, Baez needs to STAY PUT!

 

 

Weekly Sports World Weekly Picks: NFL Divisional Round

That, that was an interesting weekend for football; especially during the late game on Saturday between the Bengals and the Steelers. Besides the Chiefs and Texans game, the other three WildCard games that were played this past weekend were very entertaining to say the least; with the Steelers and Seahawks winning by a combined 3 points. In addition to that, even though the Packers did end up winning against the Redskins by a large margin, I was happy to see Washington keep it relatively close until the collapse late in the game. Hopefully, as we make our way into the second week of the playoffs, these games continue to be close and entertaining throughout. So, without further ado, here are Weekly Sports World’s Weekly Picks for the Divisional Round of the NFL Playoffs;

Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots: There are a few points on this game that I would like to hit real quick. One, Jeremy Maclin is questionable for the game, and he is one of their top two receivers next to TE Travis Kelce for Kansas City. Two, the Kansas City Chiefs ended the season with one of the best defenses in the league, while the Patriots finished with a 9th and 10th ranked defense for yards per game and points per game in the league respectively. With these two points in mind, even though the Patriots are favored by 4.5, I’m going to choose the underdog Chiefs to win in a NAIL-BITER by a score of 21-20.

Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals: It took a little bit, but the Packers really lit up the scoreboard at the end of their game this past weekend. But, going up against a tough Cardinals squad, I really do not see the Pack surviving and moving on to the next round of the playoffs. Even with “Honey Badger” not in the secondary for Arizona, I believe that Arizona’s defense will have enough talent to shut down the Packers like they did early in the year. In the end, I believe that Arizona will win in commanding fashion by a score of 31-14.

Seattle Seahawks vs. Carolina Panthers: Overall, with both squads having stellar offenses and pretty good defenses, this will end up being one of the closest games we will see this weekend. But personally, I think that Seattle is going to figure out the Panthers defense in order to win this game, even with Marshawn Lynch possibly not 100%. This is going to be a very close game and I really just want to call this a Pick ‘Em, or a Toss up! But in the end, I’m going to take the Seahawks to win by a score of 21-20.

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Denver Broncos: The Steelers are coming off of a tough WildCard game against the Cincinnati Bengals where they were basically in one big ol’ brawl from whistle to whistle…ish! So, now they have a well-rested Denver Broncos squad, in Denver, and possibly without their star wideout Antonio Brown. With Denver having arguably the best defense right now and Pittsburgh possibly losing their star for the game, I see Denver winning this game by a score of 21-17.

COMMENT BELOW your picks for this week!

Weekly Sports Worlds Weekly Picks: WildCard Round

It’s here everyone, the time of the year that we were all waiting for; it is playoff time! Ahh, playoff time; the time when the garbage is tossed aside and the best teams come out to play. It is also the time when teams with worse records than Wild Card teams end up hosting playoff games because they were the shiniest turd that rose to the top of their toilet bowl-like division. But regardless, it is still a great time of year with great football to be played.

For those who have been playing at home, Weekly Sports World finished the regular season with a total 146-106 record (minus the two Thursday Night games that I missed). Now, it’s time to move into the playoffs! So, without further ado, here are Weekly Sports World’s Weekly Picks for the first week of the 2015 NFL Playoffs;

Kansas City beats Houston: Kansas City is going into this game on a ten game winning streak, while Houston is squeaking into the playoffs after winning the lousy AFC South. I believe that KC will continue this run into the playoffs and beat Houston by a score of 24-17.

Cincinnati beats Pittsburgh: This will be an interesting matchup, with the Bengals more-than-likely starting AJ McCarron over the injured Andy Dalton. In addition to the injury conversation, the Steelers are currently keeping tabs on DeAngelo Williams after he left this previous week with an injured ankle. If he can’t go, this will become very challenging for Pittsburgh’s running game. But overall, I believe that the Bengals will prevail in a VERY CLOSE game; winning by a score of 21-17.

Seattle beats Minnesota: Minnesota gained the opportunity to host their first playoff game after defeating the Green Bay Packers in the last week of the regular season. But now, they face an even tougher opponent in the Seattle Seahawks, who have one of the top defenses in the league; especially against the rush. This will definitely put some pressure on Teddy Bridgewater, as AP will probably see a decrease in numbers because of the stout defense that Seattle has. Overall, I see Seattle moving on to the next round, as I have them winning this game in dominant fashion by a score of 31-17.

Green Bay beats Washington: This is going to be one of the closer games of the playoffs, as Green Bay hasn’t been themselves recently and Washington has been playing very well. Really, if I was setting up odds, I would call this a “pick-’em” game with how close they are. But, I believe that Aaron Rodgers is going to show up for this game and show why he is one of the most elite QB’s in the game today. In the end, this is going to be a shoot out, but I see the Pack winning this game by the hair; score 21-20.