The Dr of the NFL’s Fearless Forecast

AFC Championship Game-New England @ Denver
Is there some sort of immutable law that states that if, in the pre-season, you pick a team to go to the Super Bowl, that you are not allowed to pick against them in the championship game? If so, I’m in a difficult spot. Before the year began, my prognostication was a Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl, more on Seattle shortly, but I’m leaning against Brady and company today. Here’s why. Too much is being made about last week when New England ran over Indianapolis. As we pointed out, Indy couldn’t stop the run all year, so let’s make LeGarrett Blount out to be Jim Brown just yet. The Broncos run defense has been stout all year [ranked 7th in NFL] and they will provide much more resistance than the Colts did. Look for Brady to come out throwing in this game vs. a porous Broncos secondary that just lost its’ best corner in Chris Harris and is without their best pass rusher in Von Miller. I fully expect the Pats to consistently move the ball and Brady to amass at least 350 yards passing.
Bill Bellichick has a conundrum in this match up vs. Peyton, if he stacks his chips to stop Denver’s running game, Manning will devour his secondary, and if he stays in a cover 2 to prevent the big play, Peyton will audible into a run and Knowshon Moreno and company will run up and down the field on a terrible Patriot run defense [ranked 30th in NFL]. People forget that because the Colts couldn’t take advantage of it because they were a poor running team, Denver will.
In what promises to be a high scoring shootout, TD’s over FG’s will be the difference. Which team will convert in the Red Zone? Peyton completed 72% of his Red Zone passes and threw 37 red zone TD’s with zero INT’s during the regular season, look for that trend to continue. In addition, New England will be playing a road playoff game for the first time in 7 years. The Patriots are 1-5 vs. the spread in their last 6 road contests, and are 0-5 vs the number in their last 5 games played on glass. Broncos advance to the Super Bowl.
Denver 37 New England 30.

NFC Championship Game-San Francisco @ Seattle
I’ve been going back and forth on this one all week. Seattle’s been the best team all year but the 49ers are red hot and playing better right now. Home field is huge in this one but the 49ers front 7 vs. Seattle’s erratic O-line can quiet things down. Russell Wilson concerns me, he’s not played well the last 4 or 5 games and he’ll be without Percy Harvin. But Colin Kaepernick has been awful in both games he’s played in this building.
As good as Seattle’s defense is, you can run it occasionally on them. The 49ers ran for 163 yards in week 14 win against Seattle, can Gore and company repeat this on the road? This is the key to the game, if Gore is producing, the 49ers can sneak out with a win, if not, Seattle will pressure Kaepernick, contain his rushing lanes, and force him into mistakes. Much has been made of the 49ers resurgence on offense since the return of Michael Crabtree, but Richard Sherman will effectively eliminate him and Vernon Davis will have his hands full with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas who are the best Safety tandem in the league.
I think San Francisco must get off to a healthy start to take the crowd out of it, otherwise things could snowball. Kaepernick completes just 54% of his passes when he’s trailing. Their offense is built for long drives, not short ones. This is why Gore is the key to the game, by establishing the run and sending a physical message, it could set the 49ers up for the upset. We all know that Seattle is near invincible at home but San Francisco is better equipped than any other team to pull this off.
So who wins? In a game that promises to be a tight, low scoring affair, I think it’s Seattle’s year. I trust Russell Wilson more in this spot not to make a critical error than I do Kaepernick. If both teams struggle to run it, which I expect, it gets to which QB will avoid the big mistake. No defense is better than Seattle’s at stopping the opposing QB, with the combination of pass rush and coverage ability. Look for Seattle’s secondary to get the best of Kaepernick and with the homefield to back them, Seattle returns to the Super Bowl.
Seattle 19 San Francisco 13

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The Dr of the NFL's Fearless Forecast

Jan 20, 2014 -- 12:40pm

The Dr of the NFL’s Fearless Forecast

AFC Championship Game-New England @ Denver
Is there some sort of immutable law that states that if, in the pre-season, you pick a team to go to the Super Bowl, that you are not allowed to pick against them in the championship game? If so, I’m in a difficult spot. Before the year began, my prognostication was a Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl, more on Seattle shortly, but I’m leaning against Brady and company today. Here’s why. Too much is being made about last week when New England ran over Indianapolis. As we pointed out, Indy couldn’t stop the run all year, so let’s make LeGarrett Blount out to be Jim Brown just yet. The Broncos run defense has been stout all year [ranked 7th in NFL] and they will provide much more resistance than the Colts did. Look for Brady to come out throwing in this game vs. a porous Broncos secondary that just lost its’ best corner in Chris Harris and is without their best pass rusher in Von Miller. I fully expect the Pats to consistently move the ball and Brady to amass at least 350 yards passing.
Bill Bellichick has a conundrum in this match up vs. Peyton, if he stacks his chips to stop Denver’s running game, Manning will devour his secondary, and if he stays in a cover 2 to prevent the big play, Peyton will audible into a run and Knowshon Moreno and company will run up and down the field on a terrible Patriot run defense [ranked 30th in NFL]. People forget that because the Colts couldn’t take advantage of it because they were a poor running team, Denver will.
In what promises to be a high scoring shootout, TD’s over FG’s will be the difference. Which team will convert in the Red Zone? Peyton completed 72% of his Red Zone passes and threw 37 red zone TD’s with zero INT’s during the regular season, look for that trend to continue. In addition, New England will be playing a road playoff game for the first time in 7 years. The Patriots are 1-5 vs. the spread in their last 6 road contests, and are 0-5 vs the number in their last 5 games played on glass. Broncos advance to the Super Bowl.
Denver 37 New England 30.

NFC Championship Game-San Francisco @ Seattle
I’ve been going back and forth on this one all week. Seattle’s been the best team all year but the 49ers are red hot and playing better right now. Home field is huge in this one but the 49ers front 7 vs. Seattle’s erratic O-line can quiet things down. Russell Wilson concerns me, he’s not played well the last 4 or 5 games and he’ll be without Percy Harvin. But Colin Kaepernick has been awful in both games he’s played in this building.
As good as Seattle’s defense is, you can run it occasionally on them. The 49ers ran for 163 yards in week 14 win against Seattle, can Gore and company repeat this on the road? This is the key to the game, if Gore is producing, the 49ers can sneak out with a win, if not, Seattle will pressure Kaepernick, contain his rushing lanes, and force him into mistakes. Much has been made of the 49ers resurgence on offense since the return of Michael Crabtree, but Richard Sherman will effectively eliminate him and Vernon Davis will have his hands full with Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas who are the best Safety tandem in the league.
I think San Francisco must get off to a healthy start to take the crowd out of it, otherwise things could snowball. Kaepernick completes just 54% of his passes when he’s trailing. Their offense is built for long drives, not short ones. This is why Gore is the key to the game, by establishing the run and sending a physical message, it could set the 49ers up for the upset. We all know that Seattle is near invincible at home but San Francisco is better equipped than any other team to pull this off.
So who wins? In a game that promises to be a tight, low scoring affair, I think it’s Seattle’s year. I trust Russell Wilson more in this spot not to make a critical error than I do Kaepernick. If both teams struggle to run it, which I expect, it gets to which QB will avoid the big mistake. No defense is better than Seattle’s at stopping the opposing QB, with the combination of pass rush and coverage ability. Look for Seattle’s secondary to get the best of Kaepernick and with the homefield to back them, Seattle returns to the Super Bowl.
Seattle 19 San Francisco 13

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The Dr of the NFLs divisional playoff predictions

Jan 13, 2014 -- 10:12am

The Dr of the NFL’s divisional playoff predictions

 

 

NFC

Saints at Seahawks.

In order for the Saints to pull off the upset, they must be able to run the football like last week vs. the Eagles. If Drew Brees doesn’t have some balance and throws it 50 times, expect a couple of interceptions and a thumping similar to the first time these two teams met. Meantime, Seattle’s offense has struggled toward the end of the season. I think the return of Percy Harvin will open up the field for Golden Tate, Zach Miller, and Doug Baldwin, plus New Orleans defense has been decimated by injuries to all 3 linebackers and 3 starting defensive backs. I picked Seattle in the pre-season to go to the Super Bowl and I see no reason to change now. Seattle 23 New Orleans 20.

49ers at Panthers.

The 49ers might be peaking at the right time, they’ve won 7 in a row and they play well on the road [7-2]. This match-up features 2 championship caliber defenses, and the game should be a slug-fest. Both defenses should be able to contain each other’s running game and both must be mindful of QB scrambles. They must keep Kaepernick and Newton home in the pocket and not lose contain because both QB’s can kill a defense with their legs. The difference to me is that San Francisco has more weapons outside at their disposal, especially with the return of Michael Crabtree. The Panthers will be limited due to Steve Smith’s injury, therefore, Brandon Lafell and Ted Ginn must make plays to help Cam out. Despite the fact that Cam has 4 fourth quarter comebacks this year, I think San Francisco will learn from the loss earlier in the year against Carolina and Harbaugh will make some adjustments. The 49ers will enact revenge setting up and NFC title game with Seattle. Would be fitting since both have been the best teams in the conference all year. San Francisco 24 Carolina 13.

AFC

Colts at Patriots.

The mere presence of both teams in this playoff game is really a testament to the excellence of both QB’s. They lead teams with modestly talented  defenses and banged up receiving options.  I believe the winner of the game will be decided by the team that is able to run the ball most effectively. I think LaGarrette Blount and Steven Ridley will be the difference in a tight game. The Colts’ defense has really struggled to stop the run [26th in NFL]. Look for the Colts to have success running it as well. The Pats’ interior defense has really been compromised by injuries, losing WIlfork, Tommy Kelly, and Brandon Spikes. This game will come down to the 4th quarter and many think this could be the passing of the torch at QB. I think it’s coming, but not just yet. Patriots 30 Colts 27.

Chargers at Broncos.

Those that believe that San Diego doesn’t have a chance in this game haven’t been paying attention. These are divisional opponents that are very familiar with each other. These teams have split 2 games, and in those 2 games, The Chargers were able to dominate time of possession and keep Peyton off the field. Look for more of the same. Denver’s defense is suspect to begin with and without Von Miller, they’ll get no pass rush vs. Philip Rivers who, in his last 7 games is on fire [14 TDS. 2 INTS]. While I expect this to be up for grabs in the 4th Quarter, I still think Denver prevails because Manning will score TDS while Rivers will kick field goals in a tightly contested game. Denver 37 Chargers 31

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Aging Like Fine Wine

Oct 22, 2013 -- 7:35pm

Christie Brinkley has always been one of my favorites.

 

Here she is circa 1980

....and 33 years later

Ladies, you can still be hot at 60!

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Insidious -Chapter 2

Sep 24, 2013 -- 9:11pm

Special Guest Blogger, Trent Laurentino

2 out of 4 Stars

Can anybody ever make a good horror sequel? I guess not.

With the horror film-maker of our time, James Wan, behind the camera for this incredibly anticipated contribution to the genre, the expectations were sky-high. After putting together creative interpretations such as Saw and the first Insidious, it seemed he could do no wrong.

Then the movie started.

And with a muddled combination of sleazy screen-writing and cliché horror spooks, Insidious Chapter 2 was about as entertaining as a run-down Nintendo videogame from the 70’s. The rushed script included ridiculous story twists and lackadaisical dialogue that made me shiver on occasion but not nearly as much as the already used plot lines from his two previous entries, Insidious and the The Conjuring, which happens to be the over-whelming flaw of the film. If it weren’t for the amount of already used material from his two previous films, then maybe Insidious 2 would’ve had a chance of sliding with me but unfortunately, the narcissism was too blatantly obvious. The failure of the film was in the writing and everything that proceeds just turns out humdrum and officiously identical to Insidious and The Conjuring. Although, being an avid horror geek, a film such as this still falls under the category that pictures such as Gareth Edward’s Monsters and Wan’s The Conjuring do, which is decent considering the garbage that is released in modern day for horror. With manageable dialogue [for the most part], and actors who don’t make you actually want to kill them yourself, the movie is watchable, which is already better than the average horror film. All that said, I did enjoy the petrifying performance of Lin Shaye reprising her role as Elise just as well as child actor, Ty Simpkons, who gives another surprisingly pleasant performance as Dalton. Overall, Insidious Chapter 2 is a bumpy ride that might make you jump a few times but still, nothing nearly as special as its’ predecessor. If there was any hope for horror fans such as me looking for the first great horror sequel [not including James Cameron’s Aliens, which I consider to be an action film rather than a horror piece], then this was it, and Wan failed. Maybe we should go back and watch Dario Argento’s Inferno, then it might make us feel good about Insidious Chapter 2.

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RETURN OF THE CHAMPION

Sep 11, 2013 -- 8:23pm

 

 

Rafael Nadal defeated Novak Djokovic Monday in the U.S. Open mens final. It was another epic battle between the 2 best players on the planet, featuring a dizzying display of power, speed, athleticism and toughness. In victory Nadal captures his 13thmajor title. He now sits 3rdall time behind only Pete Sampras and Roger Federer. Rafa remains undefeated this year on hard courts and caps off one of the greatest months in his career, completing the sweep of all 3 ATP hard court events in Montreal, Cincinnati and Flushing Meadows. He also effectively ended Novak’s run as the number one player in the world. By turning the tables on Djokovic { he has beaten him 6 of the last 7 times} he has re-established himself as the best player in the world, this after missing 7 months due to his knee injury.

How has Nadal accomplished this? He has tweaked his game. Being widely regarded as the greatest clay court player ever, might be enough for most, but not Rafa. He realized, to his credit, that his normally brilliant defensive game was not enough on a hard court vs. the talented Djokovic. Rather than stubbornly refusing to accept this, Rafa adapted. He’s become more aggressive on hard courts, taking bigger cuts on his return of serve, flattening out some of his strokes, standing closer to the baseline and taking the ball earlier.

Now at age 27 having won his 13thmajor, the question is, can Nadal catch Federer’s all time record of 17 slams? It occurs to me that Tiger Woods trails Jack Nicklaus by the same amount of 4 majors. Who has the better chance Tiger or Rafa?

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DRAGON CON 2013 RECAP

Sep 04, 2013 -- 4:00pm

 It’s not often you can stand in a bathroom in downtown Atlanta, at some of the finest hotels, and share the bathroom with a Storm Trooper, a goblin, and what appears to be a zombie with a severed head prop resting by the sink. But what can you say? Labor Day weekend in Atlanta is unlike anything you’ll experience anywhere else.

 Between the AT&T Kickoff Concert, the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game, the Braves in action at Turner Field, the big NASCAR race at AMS… it’s a lot to navigate. But the biggest attraction of the weekend for many is, of course, Dragon Con! And again this year, Greg Euston, Dan Carroll and the unbelievable Dragon Con staff managed to put on the biggest event to date with flawless execution.

 Friday night at Dragon Con has become a destination. Looking down from the eighth floor of the Marriot Marquis, you cannot even see the carpet beneath the sea of costumes, fan boys and pop culture enthusiasts – it’s just that crazy. They flood the hotels, spill off into the streets, and the party of the weekend is officially underway. And the vibe is especially awesome. Everyone is upbeat, extremely engaged in the scene and complimentary of the time and effort that were put in to the various costumes. I swear at one point I saw Han Solo and Spock sharing a drink at Twenty-Two Storys in the Hyatt. Last call comes quickly (or so it seems) and the bartender tells Harry Potter and the gaggle of zombies to put in for their final drinks.

Saturday morning is the real event. We wake early, clean ourselves up and get downstairs to pick out a prime spot along the parade route. The Dragon Con parade is now the largest this city hosts on an annual basis, and a chance for the weekend’s most ardent visitors to showcase their costumes as they march through the normally crowded streets in the city. There are people along every sidewalk, 5-10 people deep, snapping as many pictures as their phones and cameras will allow. It’s almost as if this army of costumed party-goers had won some sort of pop culture World Series, the way the crowd hollers and cheers for them as they pass.

 Then it’s on to the vendors, which this year were moved into the AT&T America Mart – which was a perfect spot for them. I personally spend WAY outside of my budgeted amount on shirts, collectibles and a SHIELD messenger bag that will now take over as my work bag at 680. We move on to the Walk of Fame, which now consumes most of the Marriot downstairs, and I get the chance to shake the hands of some real legends, like Billy Dee Williams and Ed Asner to name two. The Hilton is buzzing with gamers, card games and role play going on everywhere. You could easily burn an entire day sitting across from people you’d just met and battling them to the proverbial death through cards and guide books.

 Not to mention the panels, the autographs, the pictures… it’s almost unfair to put it into just one weekend, because there’s just too much to see and do.

 The 2013 scene at Dragon Con was electric, and not enough can be said about their staff, organizers and security personnel. They are top notch, and make the chaos of 50,000 people spread out across three hotels seem as organized as a school fire drill. It’s a blast – and if you can pry yourself away from sports for a weekend to do some serious people watching, this is the weekend to do it!

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