NFL Championship Sunday predictions

Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski
Photo by Steven Senne/AP

Jaguars @ Patriots

No one really knows what’s going on with Brady’s hand and there is no reason to believe Belichick doesn’t have whatever magic it might take to get Brian Hoyer to win and AFC Championship game. I think people make too much of Tom Coughlin’s influence on the Jaguars and how it might mean they’ll beat the Patriots like the Giants have in the past. That said, are Blake Bortles and Eli Manning that much different? So, just for fun, I’m going to buy the Jaguars hype, believe Brady is actually hurt, and assume Hoyer is just as bad on the Pat’s roster as he has been since he left the team… and predict that the Jacksonville Jaguars will be going to Super Bowl 52.

Prediction: Jaguars win

 

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Photo by Mark Zaleski/AP

Vikings @ Eagles

Well, I didn’t trust Case Keenum nor Nick Foles to win last weekend and they both did. I guess I trust Keenum more. The Eagles’ defense seems to play better at home and if they can keep the Vikings under 20 points, they might be able to pull this off. That said, I still think Keenum having so much confidence and a whole season of experience with this team and coaching staff will make a difference. I think the Vikings win, but only if they can put points on the board. If the Eagles can make it an ugly game, it’s theirs.

Prediction: Vikings win

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NFL Divisional Playoffs Predictions

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Photo by Eric Hartline – USA Today

Falcons @ Eagles

It’s almost impossible to trust the Falcons to win a playoff game, but it’s somehow even harder to trust Nick Foles to win a playoff game. The Falcons should win this one, the Eagles defense seemed to decline towards the end of the season and Nick Foles just couldn’t run the offense effectively. The Falcons SHOULD have confidence after than win over the Rams and have the more talented Quarterback. But, they’re the Falcons, so they could find a way to blow this. My guess is that they don’t do that just yet though.

Prediction: Falcons win

 

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Photo by David Butler II – USA Today

Titans @ Patriots

The Titans don’t have a chance in hell, but after Mariota’s performance last week, I expect them to put up a good fight. But, there’s not much mystery as to who wins this one.

Prediction: Patriots win

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Photo by Phillip G. Pavely / USA Today

Jaguars @ Steelers

The Jaguars annihilated the Steelers in Pittsburgh in Week 5, but their performance against the Bills, especially Bortles’, shouldn’t inspire much confidence. I think the Jags have a shot if Bortles plays like he did at his peak in the middle of the season and Antonio Brown isn’t quite himself. But, the Steelers’ offense, even against the Jag’s excellent defense, will probably score too much for the Jaguars to keep up.

Prediction: Steelers win

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Photo by Scott Takushi / Pioneer Press

Saints @ Vikings

The Vikings beat the Saints at home in Week 1, but that was Week 1 and since then Sam Bradford got injured and now the Vikings are starting Case Keenum. Also since then, Alvin Kamara has had a breakout year (as has the Vikings’ Adam Thielen). Either way, it’s hard to know if the result will be the same and Drew Brees has had a few monster games this season that make me feel like he’ll be able to turn it up in a playoff game in a way that Case Keenum won’t.

Prediction: Saints win

NFL Wild Card Weekend Predictions

NFL: Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs

Photo by Denny Medley – USA Today

Titans @ Chiefs

While it’s tough to trust Alex Smith and Andy Reid in a playoff game, they should be able to beat up on the weak opponent that is the Tennessee Titans. This might be slightly less depressing than the Raiders vs. Texans game last year, but less one-sided than Chiefs vs. Texans from the year before.

Prediction: Chiefs win

 

Falcons @ Rams

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Photo by Dilip Vishwanat – Getty Images

The Falcons were able to squeak out a few good wins and slide into the last Wild Card spot, but they’re desperate to be put out of their misery. The Rams might be young and inexperienced, but they actually want to win. This might start off close, but I expect the Rams to blow this open in the 2nd half, if not the 2nd quarter. I hope we get to see a few awesome Todd Gurley playoff games.

Prediction: Rams win

 

Bills @ Jaguars

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Photo by Kevin Hoffman

As much as I love that one of these teams HAS to win, I hate that one of them has to lose. The Bills have a pretty good chance of winning if LeSean McCoy can play. The Bills have the better Quarterback and possibly the better running back, depending on health. If the Bills defense plays decently or if Blake Bortles gives them the ball more than he does to his own team (I’m a Bortles Believer, but also not blind).  I think the Jags ultimately win, but this has a decent chance of going either way.

Prediction: Jaguars win

 

Panthers @ Saints

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Photo by AJ Sisco – UPO

The Saints have had a great year and won both of their regular season games against the Panthers. The Panthers have been inconsistent, but I think the Panthers are the better team and Cam can win this one by himself if he has to. Of course it’s possible Brees and Kamara both have great games and pull off another win against the Panthers, but I don’t think they pull it off a third time this season.

Prediction: Panthers win

2017 World Series Prediction

I’ve incorrectly predicted the Dodgers to lose in every series, and the Astros proved they need Home-Field advantage in the last series. But, I’m tripling down anyway, I think the Astros win this. Verlander is ready, Altuve is ready, even Josh Reddick is ready.

Astros in 6

NBA 2017-2018 Regular Season Predictions

Full Standings

17-18

 

Western Conference

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1. Golden State Warriors – 70-12

They probably won’t have the same slow-ish start that they did last year, and if there’s no long-time Durant injury, 70 actually seems reasonable, even with rest at the end of the season.

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2. Oklahoma City Thunder – 58-24

They might have a slow start, but this team could be great, and likely would be a championship contender under almost any other circumstance. It could also totally fall apart because their three best players need the ball a lot. But, all of these guys have played with other great players and I think this will work out.

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3. Houston Rockets – 55-27

Similar to the Thunder, the Rockets might need some time to get their game worked out, but should be great. The “one ball” thing, as much as it’s really just a joke, may apply to this team more than the Thunder. CP3 is certainly better than Dwight, but we have seen what happens when Harden tries to run the offense and someone else needs the ball. I think they’ll win a lot of games because they have to with this talent, but I’m not sold on them as a potential threat to the Warriors even as much as I barely am with the Thunder.

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4. San Antonio Spurs – 52-30

I don’t know how, but the Spurs will figure out a way to get 50+ wins. Kawhi will be great. Maybe LaMarcus Aldridge will snap out of it. Rudy Gay will probably be decent. I can’t expect Manu, Tony, and Pau to do much, but they’ll help win a few along the way.

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5. Utah Jazz – 46-36

I’m not saying anything totally controversial when I say that the Jazz haven’t lost their best player, because that’s Rudy Gobert. That’s not to say that Gordon Hayward isn’t a great player and they won’t take a step back without him. But, their identity is defensive, and Gobert is a top 3 defensive player in the league. They should be in the playoffs again.

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6. New Orleans Pelicans – 45-37

We can’t take much from the few games Anthony Davis and Boogie actually got to play together. But, I realize this is a big if, IF those two and Jrue Holiday can stay on the court, they’ll be a mid-40 win team, at least.

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7. Portland Trailblazers 43-39

I’m guessing the Blazers have a funky start and some time after Christmas have an unbelievable run to put themselves back in the playoff race. Just seems to be their thing.

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8. Minnesota Timberwolves – 41-41

I keep mentioning rough starts because we have so many teams without real continuity. The Wolves are no exception. They’ve added some great players, but I don’t think it all works out so quick. Hopefully it will in time to get this team out of the lottery.

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9. Denver Nuggets 39-43

This could totally be a breakout year, and I honestly hope it is. But, I worry this is another “almost” year. I think Mike Malone is a great coach, but there’s always something weird going on, whether it’s with Nurkic, Faried, or whoever. I just think that kind of dysfunction derails another season with potential.

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10. Los Angeles Clippers – 38-44

Blake Griffin is still pretty good. But, he’s going to miss time this season. Probably a couple different stretches, and this time, Chris Paul won’t be there to hold the team together. If DeAndre, Blake, and Patrick Beverley stay healthy for 82 games, they have a shot at mid to high 40’s wins, but, I think high 30’s is more likely with the injury history.

 

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11. Dallas Mavericks – 36-46

I know Mark Cuban has said the Mavs might tank seasons in the past, but I just don’t believe Rick Carlisle and Dirk are capable of doing that. They’ll be a mediocre team and it’ll be too bad because it could very well be Dirk’s last season.

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12. Los Angeles Lakers – 33-49

They’re not making the playoffs, but if they’re not actively trying to lose, this team will be decent and actually entertaining. It’s a tough league for young guys so their core will make mistakes that cost them games, but it won’t be a recurring nightmare to watch.

 

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13. Memphis Grizzlies – 30-52

It’s going to be rough to see this team lose a lot more than we’ve become accustomed do over the last few years. But I don’t see many of their guys being able to stay on the court much. Conley and Gasol will have nights where they find a way to beat the best teams in the league, and those will certainly be fun. But, unfortunately, those won’t be the norm.

 

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14. Sacramento Kings – 28-54

This team should be fun to watch. No expectations, a good mix of solid young talent and great vets.

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15. Phoenix Suns – 25-57

I feel like this team SHOULD improve, but for some reason I think they’ve got at least another season at the bottom before their breakout. Booker will put together a few great games though.

Eastern Conference

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1. Washington Wizards – 56-26

Continuity definitely matters in the regular season. This team has that more than any of the other top Eastern Conference teams. I don’t know if that means they’re a real challenger to the Cavs in the post-season, but it’ll definitely give them a head start in the regular season.

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2. Cleveland Cavaliers – 54-28

Their regular season was truly bizarre last year. This will be another slow start team because they have so many additions and Isaiah Thomas won’t be back until Christmas or later. But, it might be easier to click without Kyrie and this team should run through a terrible Eastern Conference.

 

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3. Boston Celtics – 52-30

They have the talent of a 60+ win team, but it’ll take some time to make it work. They’ve got a great coach, so it might not take long at all though.

 

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4. Toronto Raptors – 49-33

The Raptors can be one of the most confusing teams in the NBA. But they usually do well in the regular season. They may end up a top 3 seed, but it’s hard to predict that with the talent on the Wizards’, Celtics’, and Cavs’ rosters.

 

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5. Miami Heat – 47-35

 They had a terrible start last year but ended the season 30-11. I don’t think they’ll be a 60 win team this year, but they’ll be decent team in a terrible Eastern Conference.

 

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6. Milwaukee Bucks – 46-36

 I feel like this team should make a leap to a top 4 seed, but it feels like, despite their talent, it’s been such a slow process. An injury to one of the top 5 teams may boost the Bucks, but I think they’re headed for another 6th seed.

 

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7. Charlotte Hornets – 40-42

 They had a chance to be a mid-40’s team. Without Batum, they might barely win 40. In the Eastern Conference, that will still get you a 7th seed.

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8. Detroit Pistons – 38-44

 They lost KCP, who knows if Andre Drummond will finish the season there. They did add Avery Bradley. I think they’ll be bad but not terrible, again.

 

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9. Philadelphia 76ers – 36-46

 This is more a prediction about how long it takes for this team to click, and then how long Embiid stays on the court. If it takes them 20 games to find their footing and then Embiid only plays 50, they have 30 games as a great cohesive unit. They win a lot of those, lose some. They win a few on either side of that, you’re looking at mid-30’s wins.

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10. New York Knicks – 35-47

 Time to see if Kristaps can start to flourish on his own. Kanter will help them offensively, Michael Beasley might too. Considering how many bad teams there are in the East, and that getting the Phil-Melo drama out might be great for morale, this team might do fine. They still won’t make the playoffs, but it’ll be less depressing.

 

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11. Brooklyn Nets – 34-48

It’s another season with no reason to tank and D’Angelo Russell might be good. I think mid-30’s is totally possible.

 

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12. Atlanta Hawks – 32-50

 Hard to know where everything went wrong, but Kent Bazemore might be their best player (don’t get me wrong, I love Baze). I don’t know if this team can bottom out on purpose, but they definitely won’t be good.

 

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13. Indiana Pacers – 29-53

 Another team with no expectations and decent young talent. I think Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner will be pretty good. But the lack of outside shooting will make it tough to win many games.

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14. Orlando Magic – 24-58

 It’s depressing that this team just can’t climb out of the lottery, but they might just try to bottom out this year and make another go at a top pick while they still can. I will be delighted to watch Maureese Speights on this team either way.

 

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15. Chicago Bulls – 19-63

With Jimmy gone, I think management finally understands that this team is rebuilding. Maybe. Even though they’re trading picks for cash. But, even if they don’t, this team is going to be rough. I like Justin Holiday. I’m rooting for David Nwaba. Robin Lopez is still pretty good. I don’t know what else to say.

2017 NLCS Prediction

(photo by Jae C. Hong/AP)

Forgot to post this before the game yesterday. But I’ll keep it simple. The Dodgers demonstrated throughout most of the regular season they can beat anybody. Their playoff history tells a different story. This MIGHT be the year that all changes, but after seeing the Cubs in the NLDS, I just feel like they (warning: ultimate sports cliché incoming) know how to win. Their talent might not be enough to match the Dodgers, and probably shouldn’t get them through the World Series, but we’ve seen the Giants do this more than once. Sometimes a team can just make it work in the post-season. I know, I really can’t believe I’m saying that about the Cubs.

Cubs in 6

2017 ALCS Prediction

(photo by Yi-Chin Lee/Houston Chronicle)

The Astros have definitely been the better team throughout the season; but, if the Yankees were able to beat the Indians and their unbelievable pitching staff while Aaron Judge bats .050, I think the Yankees will have an easy time with the Astros. Regardless, it will be awesome to see two AL MVP candidates in Jose Altuve and Aaron Judge in this series.

Yankees in 6

MLB 2017 Divison Series Predictions:

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ALDS Predictions

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Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees

Logic would say the Indians are coming in hot and will annihilate the Yankees, but if Aaron Judge is “back” then these teams might be a little more evenly matched. I’m going to give in to Yankees exceptionalism (and their bullpen) and think they might just pull this off, mostly just to make it interesting.

Yankees in 4

 

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Photo by Michael Dwyer/AP

Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox have an unbelievable starting pitching staff. Neither team has been totally consistent this year. But, I hate the Red Sox and I predicted the Astros to go to the World Series, so I’m going with Houston.

Astros in 5

NLDS Predictions

at Dodger Stadium on July 5, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo by Harry How

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

The Dodgers season totally reminds me of 2014 A’s (except that melted down way earlier and barely limped into a Wild Card Game). I think the Dodgers ran out of juice and the Diamondbacks can totally win 3 out of 5.

Diamondbacks in 4

 

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Photo by Brad Mills/USA Today

Washington Nationals vs. Chicago Cubs

The Cubs are fine and the Nationals are dealing with some lingering injuries. But, it’s the Nats’ year, really!

Nationals in 4

 

NFL 2017 Season Predictions

Bay Area Teams

First, predictions for both Bay Area teams:

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Oakland Raiders: 10-6

The Raiders are going to win games with their offense, and lose them because of their defense. I don’t think they’ll necessarily be worse than last year, but they probably won’t go 12-4. They got to beat up on the AFC South and defenses weren’t quite as prepared for their lethal offense. This season they have a more balanced schedule and teams have a better idea of what to prepare for.

 

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San Francisco 49ers: 5-11

The 49ers will almost certainly win more than 2 games this year. Mostly because they have 4 games against the AFC South. They also still get to play the Rams twice. The one thing not in their favor is they don’t get that late Monday Night game. Either way, this team might be somewhat competent this year and it’ll work out in their favor a few times.

Division Winners

AFC

AFC East – New England Patriots

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Boring pick, but it’s the only reasonable one.

 

AFC North – Pittsburgh Steelers

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It’s not out of the realm of possibility that the Bengals or Ravens win the division, especially with Ben Roethlisberger seemingly having one foot out the door, but with Joe Flacco just coming back from injury, and a number of other Ravens players dealing with injuries, plus the Bengals’ Vontaze Burfict being suspended, no one else in the division seems to be in an advantageous position to sneak up on the Steelers.

 

AFC South – Houston Texans

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Somebody has to win this division and if Andrew Luck doesn’t come back early in the season at full health, we can cross the Colts off. I’m not falling for the Jaguars again, no matter how great I think Leonard Fournette is. The Titans seem to have the best chance to beat the Texans for the top spot, but if the Texans were able to win this division with Brock Osweiler last year, I have no doubts they can do it again with DeShawn Watson or Tom Savage.

AFC West – Oakland Raiders

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The Broncos’ haven’t improved. The Chargers aren’t going to be significantly better than they were last year. The Chiefs might win it again, but I’m not sold on Alex Smith’s continued success. I think the Raiders might struggle a little more this year than last year, but they’re still the most likely to win the division.

 

NFC

NFC East – New York Giants

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It’s unclear how many games Ezekiel Elliot will end up playing, but I think the Cowboys will take a big step back this year. The Giants, on the other hand, have paired quite possible the best receiver in the league, Odell Beckham, with another awesome receiver, Brandon Marshall. Eli will find ways to pass to the defense anyway, but I think he’ll still find ways to take advantage of these two at his disposal.

 

NFC North – Green Bay Packers

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It’s the safe pick, but that’s because no one else in the division is a totally solid team. The Vikings have lost an all-time great running back, and still have Sam Bradford as their starting quarterback. We know what Matthew Stafford and the Lions are. The Bears will be less depressing than they have been the past few years. This is one of the few divisions I would be shocked to see any other team win.

 

NFC South – Carolina Panthers

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It wouldn’t shock me if any of the four teams won this division. They all have legitimate starting quarterbacks, which is more than I can say for most teams in the league. I think Cam Newton having both Jonathan Stewart and Christian McCaffrey on the roster will mean he might not have to completely carry the offense. I don’t think they go 15-1 again, but I think this season, people remember how they did and how Cam won

 

NFC West – Seattle Seahawks

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The Seahawks will be good. The Carson Palmer is probably done, so the Cardinals probably won’t be great. The Rams and 49ers will probably be a little better than they were last year, but still not good. So the Seahawks, who might be the best team in the NFC, and might just be a pretty good team, should probably win this division.

 

Conference Champions

AFC – New England Patriots

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I would love for it to be pretty much ANY other AFC team. But this just doesn’t feel like the year another team breaks through and the other teams that might usually have a shot like the Steelers or Ravens, don’t seem to be in a place to win it. So yeah, the Patriots will probably be in the Super Bowl.

 

NFC – New York Giants

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I think the Packers are probably the better team, but their best receivers always seem to have trouble getting through the season. As much as Brady vs. Rodgers in the Super Bowl would be awesome, if the Giants beat the Patriots again, that would just be the best.

 

Super Bowl Champion

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This isn’t the most likely outcome, but it would just be so damn funny.

2017 NBA Finals Prediction

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Photo by Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

I don’t think there’s a single outcome that would really surprise me in this Finals. Warriors could sweep, Cavs could win in 6, and anything in between seems plausible. Things would have to really go the Cavs way again for them to pull this off, but it’s certainly possible. Two key Warriors would have to sustain an injuries that limited their play, another would have to be suspended (possibly based on fouls being retroactively upgraded to flagrants between games), another would have to go through an unbelievable cold streak, forcing rotations to go seriously out of whack in a Game 7. But that all happened last year.

One thing that would surprise me would be another suspension to a key contributor on either team. The NBA doesn’t totally shy away from things that fuel conspiracy theories, but it would be an unbelievably bad look to have that potentially determine the Finals two years in a row.

Unless things align in a way that is truly awful for the Warriors, I think they win this one convincingly, but LeBron James singlehandedly saves the team from total embarrassment by winning one or two on his own.

Warriors in 5