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NFL 2017 Predictions for Regular Season and the Playoffs

Here are my picks for each Division:

AFC East: New England. Hard to seriously consider any other teams in the AFC East as long as Bill Belichick is coaching and Tom Brady is playing QB (This is exactly what I wrote last season. No need to change anything.)

AFC North: Pittsburgh-Choice here between Steelers and the Bengals. Have to go with Big Ben and the Steelers.

AFC South: Tennessee-Houston should be improved, especially with the return of All-World DE JJ Watt, but I think the Titans are the better team and have big edge at the QB position.

AFC West: Kansas City-This division will be a total dog fight. You could make a case for every team in the division winning. I think you could make a case for every team in the division winning it. Oakland has the best QB, but I think Chiefs have the best all around team. I will be pleasantly surprised if the Los Angeles Chargers find a way to win the division. I still find it very hard to call them the “Los Angeles Chargers–As a former San Diegan and loyal Chargers fan. I would love to see Philip Rivers win a Super Bowl before his great career comes to an end.

NFC East: New York- The NFC East will be another total dog fight. The Giants and the Cowboys are the best teams in the division, but the Redskins and the Eagles will competitive as well.

NFC North: Green Bay-The Packers are the best team in the division. Aaron Rodgers is still in his prime

NFC South: Atlanta-After very nearly winning the Super Bowl I think Atlanta may lose a few more games than they did last season, simply because the more teams will be gunning for them as the defending NFC Champs.

NFC West: Seattle-The Seahawks should win this division and will be a serious threat to go all the way to the Super Bowl.

AFC Conference Champion: New England–Very tough choice here. I don’t have a high degree of confidence that the Patriots are going to make it as far as the Super Bowl. Wining the AFC East should be fairly easy for NE, but then things will get much more difficult.

NFC Conference Champion: Green Bay–Toss up pick here. I think there probably at least 3 or 4 other NFC teams that are good enough to make it to the Super Bowl, depending on the breaks. In addition to the Packers, I would include the Seahawks, Cowboys, Giants and the Atlanta Hawks.

Super Bowl Champion: New England–Last year I wrote the following: “Any doubts about Belichick and Brady both being GOAT’s  will be put to rest when the Patriots win Super Bowl LI in Houston.”

Well, I think it is fair to say that doubts about Brady and Belichick being GOATs were indeed put to rest. Will the Patriots win number SB number 6 this season?? I don’t think they will. I can’t point to one specific thing that I think will cause the Patriots to fall short,  but think something or multiple things are going to catch up with them this season.

I think it is very likely that I will have to revise my playoff predictions by the time the playoffs start, but as it stands right now I’ll go with the Packers and Patriots meeting in Minneapolis for Super Bowl L II and I predict that Aaron Rodgers will lead the Packers to victory. 

 

 

 

Visit To Yankee Stadium

I attended my first New York Yankees game at the new Yankee Stadium this past Wednesday, when the Yankees played the Cleveland Indians. I went to the game with my mother, which was only fitting, because she brought me to my first Yankee game way back in 1970’s at the old Yankee Stadium when we lived in northern New Jersey. The Yankee team of my youth was one with Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, Thurman Munson, Greg Nettles, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers, Lou Piniella  and Manager Billy Martin.

Babe Ruth sign at YS

Our trip to the new Yankee Stadium was a first for the both us. Visiting the new stadium has been on my to-do list since I moved back to Pennsylvania from San Diego a few years ago, but I didn’t want to go the last couple of seasons because the Yankees were not playing real well. This year the team has shown a significant improvement and look like a they should at least secure the wild-card slot in the American League playoffs.

Yankee Stadium Gate 6

I knew the stadium would be impressive based on what I had read about and the pictures I have seen of it and the many times I’ve seen the stadium on television, but seeing it in person exceeded my expectations. As soon as you emerge from the D train subway stop at 161st street in Bronx you can see the massive limestone facade of the stadium and imposing Gate 6 stand right across the street. The building seems like a temple to baseball, which is appropriate for the baseball team with the richest history and tradition in Major League Baseball. The stadium is filled with tributes to multiple generations of great Yankee players that have played on teams that have won a total of 27 World Championships during the storied history of the team. There is a museum at the stadium that includes displays for the Yankee greats spanning the generations.

All in all, I had a great time and I look forward to future visits to this magnificent stadium

 

 

 

 

Here is the view from section 209 as the fans sing Take Me Out To The Ballgame..

My Prediction and Thoughts on Mayweather vs McGregor – Las Vegas

Fight Prediction

Floyd Mayweather vs Conor McGregor

This is a very tough call for me because it presents a head vs heart dilemma. My head tells me that Mayweather has too many advantages inside the boxing ring over McGregor and that he will likely win the match. My heart is with McGregor because I have admired him since he joined the UFC and also because I been have a huge MMA fan for at least 10 years.

I made a video last night and recorded my thoughts on the fight in a little more depth. As I explain in the video below I see the most likely scenario as one in which Floyd wins somewhere in the middle rounds. However, I definitely think Conor has a real chance of winning. If I had to put a number on it I would say Conor has at least a 20% chance of winning.

On paper it seems like impossible task for any MMA fighter to beat a boxer with Mayweather experience and credentials, but if any MMA fighter can pull off an upset it would be the 29 yr old Notorious Conor McGregor. He is at his peak in every way as an MMA fighter and the 40 yr old Floyd is not at his peak, although he still appears to be in excellent condition. But, Father Time catches up with all athletes at some point and renders them incapable of doing what they once did.

There are a lot fascinating questions with this fight and they will be answered soon.

POST FIGHT THOUGHTS:

Well, I can’t say the outcome of this fight surprised me in least. I predicted that the most likely scenario for this fight was Mayweather winning by TKO/KO somewhere in the middle rounds. I did not think the fight would go distance, but going 10 rounds was a bit unexpected to me. I have to give Conor McGregor a lot credit for taking Mayweather 10 rounds and giving him a real challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts on the 2017 NBA Championship and the Future of the Golden State Warriors

Well, I can honestly say the NBA Playoffs ended the way I thought they would end back at the beginning of the season. I wrote the following in my NBA pre-season blog post of 26 Oct 2016:

“I am tempted to really pick an underdog to take out the Warriors or the Cavaliers, but I simply can’t .

So,  barring major injuries, I think we will see yet another classic battle between Golden State and Cleveland. The addition of Kevin Durant to the Warriors will make Golden State too much for the Cavaliers and the rest of the league to handle. KD will finally get his first ring.

I was hardly alone in that prediction. Of course, a lot basketball analysts, writers and fans thought the Warriors with KD would  be unbeatable in the end, but it  was still highly entertaining to see Golden State actually live up to the high expectations, defeating a very formidable opponent in the Cavaliers.

With the Golden State Warriors winning another championship and 2 out of the of the last three Finals versus the Cleveland Cavaliers is it justifiable to state that a new dynasty has been born in the NBA? I think it may be a little premature to describe the Warriors as a dynasty, but I think it is likely that we will look back in a couple of years and describe this era as the Warriors dynasty. When you look back at NBA history and other great teams that have been described as dynasties they have all won at least three championships. So, right now I would say the Warriors are on the cusp of becoming a dynasty team , but I think they have to win at least one more championship to be put in that category.

Has Kevin Durant surpassed Lebron James?

Is LeBron James still the best player in the NBA or has there been a changing of the guard? Has the torch been passed? Has Kevin Durant now surpassed LeBron James with his brilliant performance in Finals? I can’t say that I think Durant has surpassed LBJ, but there is clearly not much separating the two superstars. Durant’s MVP award for the Finals was well deserved, but I think it is fair to say that he had the stronger supporting cast. What would have happened if LBJ and KD had switched teams? I think the Warriors would have won the series just as decisively, if not more so.

Can the Cleveland Cavaliers improve their team to regain the title next season?

Honestly, I don’t see how the Cav’s can make changes for next season that would ultimately result in a team that would be capable of defeating the Warriors, but it will very interesting to see what moves they make in the off-season. There has been some speculation that they might trade PF Kevin Love in order to bring in another elite player, but I think the only way that the Cav’s will have any hope of defeating the Warriors in a seven game series would be to add an elite player without giving up Love. If the Cav’s could add an elite swingman and bolster their bench with greater offensive threats than they have right now that could put them back in contention.

 

 

 

 

NBA Playoffs – 2017

I really should have published my NBA playoff prediction post right before the playoffs started, but things have pretty much played out as I thought they would and it looks like the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavs are headed to a rematch in the Finals. That is what a predicted in the pre-season and I’m sticking with that, although I would concede that each team could face some serious challenges along the way. However, baring the loss of a key player to injury, I don’t see either teams being defeated within their own conference.

The NCCA Men’s Basketball Finals: North Carolina vs Gonzaga

University of North Carolina -1.5 over Gonzaga University

I am truly looking forward to NCAA Finals tomorrow night. The NCAA Men’s Basketball tournament is one my favorite events in all of sports. I always find this event extremely interesting because of the high level of the competition in the tourney and all the interesting subplots that develop as tournament narrows to just two teams.

This year my Final Four were comprised of Kansas, Duke, UCLA  and Gonzaga. I picked UCLA to make it to the Finals and face Gonzaga. Well, as we now know only the Bulldogs of Gonzaga made it to the Final Four. However, am I still feeling pretty good about my selections because I picked Gonzaga to win the whole thing this year and they stand poised to do just that. Overall, my bracket is in pretty good shape.  I have picked 41 out of 62 games correctly so far.

I recognize that fellow #1 seed UNC will pose a great challenge to Gonzaga. Clearly the oddsmakers think that as well, with Vegas installing the Tar Heels as a 1.5 point favorite. I really like Gonzaga ‘s chance in this game. I think Gonzaga is on of the few teams in the tourney that has the size, speed and overall balance to beat the perennial powerhouse Tar Heels.

 

 

 

 

Super Bowl LI: New England vs Atlanta

The Championship Round games certainly weren’t as competitive as most fans, including myself, expected them to be, but the I think the decisive fashion in which both New England and Atlanta leaves no doubt that the best teams from each conference remain and that will set the stage for a potentially great Super Bowl Game.

I think Vegas installing the Patriots -3 as the favorite is about right. I picked the Patriots to win the whole thing in a pre-season blog post and I’m not changing that prediction now. Here is what I wrote last September…

AFC Conference Champion: New England–Steelers, Bengals, as well as Kansas City and possibly Denver could provide tough tests to the Patriots in the play-0ffs. It will be interesting to see how the Patriots fare with Jimmy G at QB. If they go 2-2 with Garoppolo at the helm I think there a good chance that they will be able to amass the best record in the AFC and secure home field advantage in the play-offs and that will be important.

NFC Conference Champion: Green Bay–I think there are at least four teams that have a good shot at winning the NFC. In  addition to Packers I would add Arizona, Seattle and, of course, the defending NFC champions, the Carolina Panthers. I won’t be at all surprised if any of those wins the NFC, I’m going to go with the Packers.

Superbowl Champion: New England–Any doubts about Belichick and Brady both being GOAT’s  will be put to rest when the Patriots win Super Bowl LI in Houston.

 
Packers came close, but obviously collapsed in the end. I must admit that I did not see the rise of the Falcons coming. They really exceeded expectations this season.  I am concerned about the Falcons because of their prolific offense. I think highly the Falcons coaching staff and I like Ryan. He was definitely the league’s MVP this season.
However, I think Belichick and his coaching staff will have the Pat’s well prepared and they will take away a few of Ryan’s weapons on offense. They may not be able to shut down star WR Julio Jones, but they will stop other guys. I also expect the Patriots to limit the Falcons offense simply by keeping it off the field. I know, easier send than done, but I think NE’s offense can do that. I expect they will run the ball a lot and Brady will throw a lot of short passes to pile up 1st downs and time of possession.
If the Falcons offense does drop bombs early and they jump out to a big lead the Pat’s will be in deep trouble, but I think they can avoid that.
So, I’m going to take Patriots -3.
The Over/Under is a SB high 59 and I will take the Under.
Patriots 31 Falcons 27

 

 


George M. Fattell.

The gmf journal is a general subject blog that reflects my thoughts and opinions on a variety of topics that are of interest to me. Current home base is Easton, Pennsylvania, USA. Retweets do not equal an endorsement.

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