At Section 123 –

It’s back, bitches!!!  I’m back!  After a long, intoxicating summer of grilling, golfing and tunes – it’s time to get back to writing.

  • Training Camp in Green Bay – Family Night (aka. glorified practice) – I like what I’ve seen thus far from the Packers.   Lacy looks strong, the defense has caused some turnovers.  I need to see Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson on the field in a pre-season game.  Not long, but to get some game speed before their opener at Jacksonville.
  • I have the Packers going 13-3 this year and the top seed in the NFC.  They’ll lose twice in the division, and to an AFC team they don’t normally see.  I’m guessing Houston.
  • NFL Predictions
    • NFC East
      • Dallas 10-6 – if healthy, the Cowboys are the best team in the division.  If healthy is the key.  Tony Romo could be brittle now from 2 collar bone injuries a year ago.  Ezekiel Elliott was a steal of a draft pick and should have a great rookie season behind a strong offensive line.
      • Washington 9-7 – could flip them and the Giants around.  I think it was a mistake letting Alfred Morris go.  The Redskins should still put up a lot of points here.
      • NY Giants 8-8 – We should do a drinking game with how many ‘Manning Faces’ are shown per game.  If you don’t know what a Manning Face is – here you go.  ManningFace  — yes, there is really a web site for this.
      • Philadelphia 5-11 – the key question here is how long will it take for an object to be thrown at any players from their outstanding fan base.  Our annual Packer away trip there in November will be, let’s say interesting.
    • NFC North
      • Green Bay 13-3 – the Packers offense should rebound after last year.  Jordy Nelson back from an ACL tear will be a little slow out of the gates, but will continue to get stronger as the year goes on.  Eddie Lacy looks strong again, which also opens things up for #12.  The biggest get is new TE Jared Cook – this will open up the middle of the field and get more opportunities outside.  The schedule sets up nicely, as well getting the NFC East and AFC South as cross-division opponents.
      • Minnesota 11-5 – I hate putting these clowns here.  Beat-your-son is 30 now, and that’s usually the line where running backs start to decline.  It will be interesting to see if that happens here.  The time is now for Teddy Bridgewater to show if he can be a top level quarterback.  Defense will be solid.
      • Chicago 8-8 – I think they may win a game or two they shouldn’t.  And lose a game or two they shouldn’t.  What else would you expect from the Packers 4th best quarterback in history?
      • Detroit 4-12 – Oy. Vey.  Tickets will be plentiful this year.
    • NFC South
      • Carolina 12-4 – If the WRs emerge, this team will be scary good again.  Kelvin Benjamin returns from an ACL and Devin Funchess should anchor that group.
      • Tampa Bay 8-8 – Does this team take the next step?
      • New Orleans 7-9 – this defense will have a huge drug problem.  Getting drug down the field, then drug down to the other side of the field.  Another wasted season for Drew Brees.
      • Atlanta 5-11 – Remind me why Atlanta is building a new stadium again?  Devonta Freeman and Julio Jones will be good for the Falcons….after that?  Oy.
    • NFC West
      • Arizona 11-5 – the Cardinals’ window is now.  They don’t win the whole thing this year, I think the door will slam shut…in a hurry.
      • Seattle 11-5 – Post Beast Mode era begins in Seattle.  The defense should be good as ever.  I’ll be curious to see how much more Russell Wilson has developed as a pocket passer.  Will Jimmy Graham be a factor?
      • LA Rams 7-9 – the team that not many will want to see later in the year.
      • San Francisco 4-12 – this train wreck will be funny to watch.
    • AFC East
      • New England 11-5 – they go 2-2 with PSI Brady out.  Any worse than that, and it could be interesting.
      • NY Jets 9-7. This is to Ryan Fitzpatrick…you’re NOT a $20 million quarterback.  And shave that damn beard – Duck Dynasty you are not.  However, there is enough here to make a run at the Wild Card.
      • Buffalo 7-9.  If anyone has any duct tape, send it to Buffalo and shut Rex Ryan up.  Glad you ‘won the offseason’, but that hasn’t exactly translated into the regular season.  Your job is on the line this year.
      • Miami 5-11 – Tickets will be real easy to come by before the 5th week of the season.  Time to inherit the help of Marlins Man tp draw people there!!!!  If you like fights, weed, and over half the people couldn’t speak a lick of English – the upper levels at SunLife Stadium is for you.
    • AFC North
      • Pittsburgh 12-4 – this team could be scary.  Even with the Bryant and Bell suspensions.
      • Cincinnati 11-5 – How many lives does Coach Marvin Lewis get before he actually WINS a playoff game?   Watching them vs. the Steelers this year will be fun.
      • Baltimore 7-9 – don’t see enough here to have them taking the next step.
      • Cleveland 3-13 – yep, you’re basing your season on Bobby Griffin the third.  Good luck with that.
    • AFC South
      • Houston 9-7 – I’m not sold on this choice, as this division is a crap shoot.  I do think Brock Osweiler will get the job done for the Texans.  I also think Lamar Miller needs to be huge for the Texans to repeat as division champs.
      • Indianapolis 8-8 – The Colts gave a boatload of cash to QB Andrew Luck during the offseason.  He’ll need to earn that cash as the Colts are going to need to win shootouts.
      • Jacksonville 7-9 – sorry, they’re still a year away.  They will be a tough out towards the end of the year.
      • Tennessee 4-12 – SLOW rebuild…..
    • AFC West
      • Kansas City 11-5 – should win this division…..should.
      • Oakland 8-8 – they should continue to improve as they have a good young core on this team.
      • Denver 8-8 – the defense is starting to get beat up, and they did lose a couple key components from free agency.  That, and if you think you need to rely on Mark Sanchez to win?  Well, if you do believe that, I have a bottle of 10-year-old ketchup I can sell you.
      • San Diego 6-10 – you have Philip Rivers.  And, you have Philip Rivers.  I’ll say this, Melvin Gordon needs to be huge for the Chargers this year, or this record could be worse.
  • Big Ten Predictions
    • West Division
      • Iowa – 10-2; 7-2.  This is by default due to an average division.  Count me in the group that would laugh if they got clipped by North Dakota State (like Minnesota, Kansas State, others in the past).
      • Nebraska – 8-4; 6-3.  I’m probably overstating them a bit, but the West Division isn’t exactly a murderers’ row this year.   Nice out of conference game with Oregon this year.
      • Northwestern – 8-4; 5-4.  See above.  I cringe putting them ahead of Wisconsin…but UW hasn’t won in Evanston since 1999.
      • Wisconsin – 7-5; 5-4.  I think the Badgers will be good, but that schedule…wow.  Whomever the Badgers pissed off in the scheduling department, let me know.   After LSU at Lambeau, they OPEN with at Michigan, at Michigan State, Ohio State, at Iowa, Nebraska and at Northwestern.  Ouch.  See you in Nashville, Dec. 30th.
      • Minnesota – 6-6; 4-5.  Highlight of their season?  See if they can actually fill TCF Bank Stadium.  They’ll also lose the Axe for the 13th year in a row.   Thanks for the free bottle of vodka!
      • Purdue – 4-8; 2-7.  I sense a coaching change coming here.
      • Illinois – 2-10; 1-9.  Rebuilding with Lovie!  Start by redoing your damn uniforms.  You’re orange and blue.  NOT gray!
    • East Division
      • Ohio State – they lose a lot, but they just reload every year.  Tough non-conference game at Oklahoma before the B1G season gets going.
      • Michigan – I wonder how long it will take for Harbaugh to sulk on the sidelines and make some accusations to piss off half the country.
      • Pedophile State – the Sanduskys may have enough to get past Sparty in the standings, but not enough to overtake the top two.
      • Michigan State – MSU should have a solid defense, but enough questions on offense.  I am dropping them a spot this year, and am curious how they are ‘pre-season’ ranked so high?   Games at Notre Dame and vs. BYU will get them ready for the conference.
      • Indiana – get rid of those dumb helmets.  They will put teams in shootouts all year, but again have a swiss cheese defense.
      • Maryland – don’t know much, or pretend to.  I keep reading they should be a little better this year.  We’ll see…  I still think they shouldn’t be in the Big Ten.
      • Rutgers – see Maryland.
  • Bowl Predictions – first, I think the Big Ten will be left out of the playoff.  So….
    • Rose Bowl – Ohio State vs. Stanford
    • Cotton Bowl – Michigan vs. Houston
    • Citrus Bowl – Iowa vs. Ole Miss
    • Outback Bowl – Michigan State vs. Tennessee
    • Holiday Bowl – Penn State vs. Utah
    • Music City Bowl – Wisconsin vs. Auburn (again)
    • Pinstripe Bowl – Nebraska vs. Louisville
    • Foster Farms Bowl – Northwestern vs. UCLA
    • Heart of Dallas Bowl – Indiana vs. Marshall
    • Detroit Bowl – Minnesota vs. Toledo
  • Playoffs:  1. Alabama vs. 4. Houston; 2. Clemson vs. 3. Oklahoma  – others to watch:  Georgia, LSU, TCU, Stanford, Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa, Houston

 

  • How I’d speed up baseball.  The #1 complaint I hear from people is baseball is so boring to watch on TV.  I enjoy this game, it’s a good time to get to the ballpark, watch a game with friends and drink a couple beers.  For a casual fan, I can understand the frustration as there may be a lack of action.

    Personally, I love the chess matches pitchers have with hitters, trying to pick up the spin of the ball and deciding whether to swing the bat in a really fast time (within a second sometimes).  When to set up a hit-and-run, or try to move a runner into scoring position.  The thought process into each situation makes the game fun.  That said, here’s what I would do to speed up the game and help improve overall.

    • 1. No readjusting your batting gloves / walking around the batters box between pitches.  You can look at the coach for signs, but we don’t need 2 minutes between pitches as you don’t think you’re warmed up enough.   That’s what the on deck circle is for.  One of the worst at this is Gummy (Ryan Braun).
    • 2. Time between pitches.  I’ve noticed some pitchers who take their sweet time between pitches – and that’s not counting the signs they shake off from the catcher.  20-30 seconds from when they get the ball back from the catcher.  Otherwise, it’s a ball.  This should test a pitchers’ conditioning as well.
    • 3. Instead of taking 2-3 minutes for an intentional walk, just send a signal to the hitter / umpire.
    • 4. Add umpires on the outfield lines as well.  This is true in the post-season.  Why not add them in the regular season.
    • 5. Get rid of the dumb home field advantage for the All-Star Game.   Have it played, but at the end of the season as well.
    • 6. Reduce the regular season to 154 games.
    • 7. Expand the ‘play-in’ game to a Best-of-3. and tighten the days between post-season games.
    • 8. Have more double-headers.
    • 9. Everyone has the day off on Opening Day  – make it a U.S. Holiday (hey, a guy can dream)
    • 10.  Add 2 teams.  I’d add franchises to Montreal and either Portland or Nashville.
  • Overall, I like the Olympics, but it seems like it’s gone on too long already.  Also – why isn’t basketball in the Winter Olympics?  Isn’t that a winter sport, technically?
  • Dumb ass of the week (summer, actually)
    • Any player who gets suspended for weed.  They know it’s illegal and get tested for that all the time.  I’m looking at you Marcell Dareus, Josh Gordon, Leveon Bell, Karlos Williams, etc.
    • Ryan Lochte – way to get hammered with your swimming buddies, break the door and high tail it.  Then you make up some story about being robbed?   Then get caught in the lie for covering up you were drunk idiots?   Jackass, the only thing you were robbed of is any dignity you may have had left.  Then on top of that, you bail the country so quickly and leave your ‘friends’ to deal with the aftermath.  Wow – I’ve read this cat is not exactly smart, but this nearly takes the cake!  Lochte is a piece of garbage that I would not want as a friend.

      We’ve all had drunk moments, well at least I know I have!  But at least own your mistakes!!
      If I’m the US Olympic Committee, I’m saying – ‘you’re done….no Tokyo (or any) Olympics for you going forward’

-That’s it for this week.  I’ll start this up weekly once football gets into full gear.  Happy Fantasy Football drafting and Labor Day!

-n

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