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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Sep 13, 2014 -- 11:16am


Miami over New England : Ryan Tanneyhill and his offensive line seem much improved. Cameron Wake when he is healthy, is one of the premier pass rushers in the game, his strip sack caused a fumble that turned this game around. Knowshon Moreno ran over around  and thru the Pats soft defense. Patriots have issues, their O-line can’t protect Brady, their run D is a sieve and Revis still isn’t all the way back, Mike Wallace had him beat for a TD but didn’t stay in bounds. Brady will not stay healthy if he keeps getting hit like he did in this game. Pats were totally dominated on both sides of the line of scrimmage.

Bengals over Ravens: Cincinnati’s defense still has bite, the Ravens had 28 yards of offense in the 1st quarter and just 97 yards for the half. Ravens did have a number of drops, especially Steve Smith, he must have been nervous playing for the 1st time with a new team. Bengals pass rush doesn’t seem as good this year without Michael Johnson. Vontez Burfet is one of my favorite players in the NFL, he plays with great hostility!  Andy Dalton looked okay, but this game, which was largely controlled by Cincinnati, should have been over by the 4th quarter, instead the Ravens had a 16-15 lead with 6 minutes left. Dalton throws too many dinks and dunks, needs to show more confidence in his arm.

Titans over Kansas City: I kept finding myself asking the same question while watching this blowout win for the Titans. Is Alex Smith worth the big money that the Chiefs just invested in him? Smith has to be in manageable 3rd downs, the offense must stay on schedule, because he doesn’t have the confidence to threaten down the field. The Titan defense sensed this and their secondary played so shallow that all the short stuff was taken away. When Smith tried to beat them deep twice, both balls were intercepted. The Chief’s total offense was a paltry 245 yards, that’s not going to get it done. Adding to this opening day disaster, they suffered 2 significant injuries to their defense, which was generating little or no pass rush, and like many teams in their first real action of the season, their tackling was shoddy. When you are a playoff team, like KC was last year, you don’t lose at home to mediocre teams like Tennesee , and the Chiefs got hammered!

Jets over Raiders: or the “Rat Trap” game : The Jets totally dominated this game and should have won big. Instead this was a 13-7 game in the 4th quarter. The Raiders of the lost cause, started a rookie qb who was in way over his head. The result was 75 yards of total offense in the 4th quarter, totally embarrassing! Geno Smith is a good athlete, has a nice arm, will make some nice throws, but his decision making leaves much to be desired. He forces throws into coverage, fumbles at the goaline, and loses 19 yards on a sack which takes his team out of field goal range late in the 4th quarter of a tight game. Jets could be a good football team if they stop shooting themselves in the foot with dumb penalties. MJD is lucky to still be alive after the hit he took from Quarales! The 2 things you must have in order to win in the NFL are a QB and a pass rush, the Raiders have neither, they might be the worst team in the league.

Bills over Bears: Bad loss for the Bears! Chicago’s defense is horrendous, they have no pass rush, can’t stop the run, and can’t cover rbs out of the backfield. When this Bears team plays some good offenses, like Green Bay and Detroit in their own division, their defense will get lit up like a Christmas tree! Jay Cutler can spin it with anyone, but he’ll make some hideous decisions. Cutler made as dumb a throw as you will see with 8 minutes left in a tie football game, then should have had another interception in the overtime. If the Bears suffer any injuries to their offense this year, they will crater like the Falcons last year. Sobering reality for the Bears, if you can’t beat a SLACKER team at home, you ARE one!

Eagles over Jaguars: The final score of this game was misleading, the score was tied with 8 minutes left. The Jags played dominating defense in the 1st half, went to the locker room up 17-0, and the score should have been worse. The Jaguars got constant pressure on Foles, 4 sacks in the first half, McCoy, the lowlife that doesn’t tip, had nowhere to run. But the defense tired in the 2nd half partly due to the Eagles pace, but mostly due to the ineptitude of Chad Henne, who was truly awful. The Jaguars have a championship level defense, it will be interesting to see how long the mule stubborn dullard Gus Bradley continues to sacrifice games by not playing Bortles.

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Sep 05, 2014 -- 2:39pm


2014 Dragon Con Coverage by Rob Jenners


It seems that every year the cultural phenomenon that is Dragon Con grows bigger and bigger – and this year was no exception. There was more costumes, vendors, celebrities and good natured mayhem than any previous year. And in the wake of such a huge turnout, the Dragon Con staff handled it better than ever.


Let’s start with the parade. There is nothing better on Labor Day weekend than climbing onto a MARTA train, wedging yourself into a seat between an Alabama football fan and a guy dressed like Deadpool (complete with plastic swords). Though they are from two different walks of life, they are both headed to the same place – a curbside along Peachtree to watch one of the biggest parades in the south. The streets are lined with young and old, children cheering on their favorite characters, and thousands of costumed participants marching down the middle of normally crowded Atlanta streets. It’s a spectacle, there’s no better way to describe it.


But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t looking forward to the costumes. Every year there are more unique and interesting creations, many I’ve never seen before. It boggles my mind how much time and money the gentlemen in the fully developed Groot costume spent on his creation – but the payoff was amazing. His picture, along with “Guardians of the Galaxy” writer and director James Gunn, was spread all across social media, drawing even more attention to the growing legacy of Dragon Con in Atlanta. Personally, I’ve never laughed harder than having to wait in line for the restroom behind three Storm Troopers, two Batmans and a Ghostbuster. Seeing them all lined up at the urinal was a sight to be seen. (No phots because, well, snapping photos in the restroom is a good way to insight a riot.)


When you round the corner into the Walk of Fame, you can’t help but be taken aback by the rows of celebrities having a great time with thousands of fans who’ve lined up to see them. Most impressive to me was the aforementioned James Gunn, writer and director of the summer’s smash hit “Guardians of the Galaxy”. What made him stand out? He wasn’t accepting money for pictures or autographs. I fully understand and support to charges to take photos with celebrities – but here was a guy so humbled by the response to his film, that he simply wanted to say thank you to the fans who supported him. It was refreshing, from a guy who has proven that he’s the genuine article in an otherwise jaded business.


Vendors were doling out their normal stash of impressive collectibles, and I spent way more money than I should have! For fans like us, though, that’s like Christmas. I also picked up some incredible original prints from the Artists Gallery, which was again overflowing with amazing talent and fresh perspective.


If you’re a regular of Dragon Con, than you know that the 2014 convention was the biggest we’ve ever seen. If you have plans to attend next year – start planning now! Hotels are selling out already. Yes, it’s become that big of an attraction. Just save me a spot on the floor and a handful of Spiderman t-shirts and I’m good for the weekend! Onward, fans – we’ll see you next year.

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College Football Observations

Sep 03, 2014 -- 4:34pm

Closing thoughts from the first week of college football:

GEORGIA- Looked like recent championship editions of Alabama, terrific O-line play, Gurley looked like an NFL running back like Ingram or Richardson, Hutson Mason was efficient like McCaron and the defense was suffocating in the 2ndhalf. It’s only one week but things look good.

CLEMSON- Dabo Sweeney is on the clock, let’s see how long it takes him to realize what I did in 1 series. That DeShaun Watson is a star in the making. He should be the Tiger starting QB not Stoudt.

FSU- Everyone needs to stop criticizing, yes, Winston is human and threw 2 picks, yes it was a 3 point game in the 4thquarter. This just in, winning every game isn’t easy. They beat a good team on a night when they didn’t play their best game. How tough will they be to beat when they turn it up? Remember, as defending champs their going to get everybody’s best shot.

AUBURN- Malzahn’s offense is scary good. Now they have depth at the QB position, this kid Jeremy Johnson can wing it. If Nick Marshall continues to improve, they’ll be very difficult to slow down. They need to tighten up the run defense.

ALABAMA- They go into the season with questions surrounding the QB position and still put up 33 points, and 538 yards! Blake Sims was solid considering that it was his first start. Saban still must prove that his defense has an answer for the spread offense.

LSU-Looked dead in the water down 24-7 in the 2ndhalf, credit to their superior depth for the comeback, and some dumb coaching by the opponent. Still question their O-line struggling against a completely inexperienced Wisconsin front 7. Do they have enough at Qb?

OHIO ST. and UCLA- These 2 pre-season favorites had better fix their offensive line issues or their seasons could crater early.

USC- 52 points, 700 yards , and 104 plays is cute versus Fresno State, prove something this weekend against Stanford, then I’ll be impressed.


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Into The Storm Review

Aug 10, 2014 -- 10:55am


This is one of those guilty pleasure movies, go to the theatre, buy some popcorn, turn your brain off and enjoy the disaster porn. It’s “Twister” with better special effects. The film harkens back to those disaster films of the 70’s, complete with laughable dialogue, 2 dimensional characters and ridiculous situations. But lets be real, the stars of this film are the tornadoes, and their epically huge and devastating. The director, Steven Quale uses the shaky-cam format, so everything is conceived as a point of view image, shot by one of the characters, and it does make it seem more real. Thankfully the film is relatively short, only 89 minutes, so the story moves along its predictable path, but has some genuine suspense. There’s a nice moment where 2 characters, who sense their demise, record farewells. In addition, 2 crazy characters, right out of Hee-Haw, who will do anything for You Tube hits, are seen throughout the movie for the necessary comic relief. As disaster films go, Into The Storm delivers, it’s well paced and the special effects are solid. Good dumb fun. **12 STARS 

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The Jokers Wild

Jul 08, 2014 -- 7:45pm

In an epic battle Novak Djokovic persevered and defeated Roger Federer in 5 thrilling sets 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, to capture his second Wimbledon title, and thus regain the world number 1 ranking, while denying Federer his record breaking 8thAll England championship. While compelling, I wouldn’t equate this match to the historic level of 1980 Borg-McEnroe or 2008 Nadal-Federer, which are perhaps the greatest finals in the long history of the tournament. Borg- McEnroe had John win the most famous tiebreaker ever 18-16 and then Bjorn shook that off and still prevailed in the 5thset 8-6. Remember also what was at stake, because Borg had won 4 in a row. In 2007 Federer had won 5 titles in a row and similar to Borg , Rafa overcame the adversity of losing 2 straight sets before winning 9-7 in the 5thset as darkness was setting in.

Sunday’s match featured great shifts in momentum, and high quality play, 68 winners for Novak and only 24 unforced errors, and more remarkable 75 winners versus only 29 unforced errors for Roger.  After splitting the first 2 tight sets, the third is where the Joker began to grasp victory. Federer really dominated the set. His serving was remarkable, even for him. He held his service very easily, pounding 13 aces and placing 83% of his first serves in. Nole ‘s service holds were more of a struggle, but he managed to grit his way thru it and get to the tiebreaker, where Federer made some uncustomary mistakes, spraying some forehands on key points. Roger had to be really discouraged after losing a set that he controlled.  Seizing the momentum, Novak jumped out to a 5-2 lead in the fourth, and it appeared as if the title would be his shortly. But, handling prosperity has been an issue for Djokovic lately in major finals, and Nole once again tightened up and lost 5 straight games to lose the set. After 4 great sets, the match was on even terms.

This is where Novak got some level of redemption. As I stated, Djokovic’s recent problems in major finals,[ 0-3 losing to Nadal in Paris and New York and to Murray last year here in London}, created the perception of a fragile psyche. Many at this point were questioning his Championship mettle, his 6-7 record in slam finals entering Sunday, was a testament to his seeming inability to seize the moment. For me, this is just nonsense. Djokovic is truly one of the all-time greats, he just has the misfortune of playing in the same era with perhaps the 2 greatest players in the open era{Nadal and Federer}. To his credit Novak overcame any doubts and outplayed Roger comprehensively in the 5thand decisive set. He captured his 7thmajor, which ties him with John McEnroe and Mats Wilander. That’s not too shabby folks.

For Roger, a great run this year falls short. I don’t know if at this stage of his remarkable career he can play any better. He served brilliantly, pulling out 29 aces and won 77% of his first serves in play, against an opponent who might be the best returner of serve to ever play. For a man of his age to look as good, with his balletic movement, power and precision, is just astonishing. However, there is a cold, stark and sobering reality here for the seven time champion. Like I always say on the show, championship tennis is a game for the young. Federer is about to turn 33 yrs old, which is fossilized in the world of tennis. Truthfully despite his great effort, Roger did finally start to show signs of fatigue in the 5thset, when he began to make several unforced mistakes. Additionally the weakest part of Federer’s game has always been his return of serve, especially on the backhand side, and against Djokovic Sunday, he really struggled.

The bottom line here is that Djokovic did what he was supposed to do. He is 5 years younger than Roger, which is an eternity in tennis. Federer was bidding to become the oldest Wimbledon Champion of the open era, while Novak is right in the middle of his prime. As is often the case, youth was served.


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Has Serena entered Tiger territory?

Jun 29, 2014 -- 6:26pm

No, I’m not suggesting that Serena, who is approaching 33 years of age, is starting to break down physically. What I’m referring to is being a victim of your own success. Serena through her incredible play, has set the bar so ridiculously high, {5 time Wimbledon Champion} that when she doesn’t win every major, people question, “what’s wrong”? Maybe it’s because she’s, you know, human? This weekend she lost 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 to the number 25 seed Alize’ Cornet of France. Cornet had gone winless in 13 previous matches versus top 20 opposition in majors. Serena is 0-3 in the majors this year, losing to Ivanovic in Austalia in the 4thround, and the shocking upset loss to Muguruza in Paris in the second round. So now, due to her advancing age, you’re hearing folks whisper about the end of Serena’s dominance.

Fair or not , age is a legitimate concern. As I always say, father time is still undefeated. History suggests that winning another major will be tough, only Martina Navratilova won a slam title after her 32ndbirthday. But my money is on Serena. I still think that when she is motivated and at her best, there is no one on the tour that can touch her. I also bet that when Maria Sharapova got the news that Serena has lost, she began doing cartwheels!  See you on the courts, I’m the fat guy grunting.....


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