Posts Tagged ‘Denver Broncos’

Let’s Call it Wednesday

Posted: September 7, 2016 by Sports Time Radio in sports
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I hope you’re ready for it; because it starts tomorrow. That’s right the Carolina Panthers are at the Denver Broncos in a rematch from last seasons Super Bowl to kick off the NFL season.

Now both teams should bring top defenses to the game, but the offenses from each team will look a little bit different. The biggest change for the Broncos is under Center. Peyton Manning did retire after the Super Bowl win and it looked like Mark Sanchez was going to take over at quarterback. The Broncos signed Sanchez as a free agent, but he didn’t play all that well in the pre-season and ended up being released. Now the Broncos did draft Paxton Lynch in the 1st round of the draft, but he’s not the starter either. Denver is going with Trevor Siemian. Siemian is in his 2nd season with the Broncos; he took 1 snap last season, but it was a kneel down. Siemian is making his 1st career NFL start against one of the toughest defensive in the leagues. Siemian still has a pair of top wide receivers to work with in Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Virgil Green is the starting tight end, but he hasn’t really broken though in the passing game. C.J. Anderson was resigned in the off season and should get the majority of the carries when the Broncos run the football. Now there has been a lot of talk that the Broncos like rookie Devontae Booker; so expect him to get some carries as head coach Gary Kubiak is known to use more than one running back. As a new quarterback Siemian will have some weapons to work with; so as he goes so should the Broncos offense.

Now the biggest change for the Carolina offense is health. They’ll get wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin back after missing all of last season with a knee injury. Tight end Greg Olsen was dinged up pretty much all of pre-season and may start the regular season injured. Olsen produced as the feature receiver in Carolina’s offense last season and they need him to be healthy to start the season. Ted Ginn Jr. looks like the receiver teams thought he would be years ago and Devin Funchess will also catch some passes for quarterback Cam Newton. Newton should be an MVP contender this season. Jonathan Stewart is the #1 running back for the Panthers, but Mike Tolbert is still on the roster to get those tough yards and short touchdowns. If Newton continues to mature as a quarterback and if his legs are good to go the Panthers look to have one of the top offenses in the NFL and should be the NFC front runner to got to the Super Bowl.

On the defensive side of the football Denver did lose defensive tackle Malik Jackson in free agency this off season, but they where able to work out a long term deal with Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. Miller will man the strong side linebacker spot and cause havoc for quarterbacks league wide. DeMarcus Ware is going to start the season on a play count, but you can bet he’ll be on the field in all passing situations. The other key for the Broncos last season was the defensive backfield. Aqib Talib, Chris Harris Jr. and T.J. Ward all return in the secondary where they’ll be joined by Darian Stewart. Denver’s defense should be one of the better ones in the NFL and with a young quarterback it may be counted on to keep them in games early in the season.

Josh Norman was the top cornerback in the NFL last season as part of this Panthers defense. He signed a big money deal with the Washington Redskins; so the Panthers will have to replace him. James Bradberry, Daryl Worley, Robert McClain, Teddy Williams and Bene Benwikre will be the guys looking to fill that role. Luckily the secondary may be working with the best group of linebackers in the NFL. Luke Kuechely is the top linebacker in the NFL and Thomas Davis is very good as well. Shaq Thompson fills out this trio of linebackers and his play will dictate how this group is ranked. Kony Early played well in the Super Bowl, but will that carry over into this season. It’s a good group and should be one of the top defenses in the NFL.

The Miami Marlins entered play last night 5 games out of the 2nd wild card spot in the National League. Before last nights 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies the Marlins activated 1st baseman Justin Bour and outfielder Giancarlo Stanton from the disabled list. Both player pinch hit in last nights game. Bour drew a walk on 4 pitches while Stanton single in his at bat. The loss last night did drop the Marlins to 6 games back in the wild card race and with just 23 games left in the regular season and three teams to get past; is there enough time for the Marlins to get into a wild card spot? I don’t think the Marlins can get there. Here’s the rest of their schedule and you can tell me what you think. They wrap up their series with the Phillies today then the Los Angeles Dodgers are in Miami for 3 games. Then it’s on the road for 3 against the Atlanta Braves and then 3 in Philadelphia. The Marlins return home for 3 against the Washington Nationals,3 against the Braves and 3 against the New York Mets. The finish the season with 3 games in Washington against the Nationals. I don’t think they have a very favorable schedule and they are still dealing with some pitching injuries. Don’t forget that Wei-Yon Chen, Adam Conley and David Phelps are all still on the disabled list. They do still have Jose Fernandez in the rotation, but he can’t pitch everyday. Can Andrew Cashner, Tom Koehler and Jose Urena support Fernandez enough to get the Marlins in the playoffs; sorry I just don’t see it.

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Did Kevin Durant signing with the Golden State Warriors ruin the upcoming NBA season? I’ll be the first to say that I don’t like what Durant did, but in the end it was his choice. I’m not a fan of players chasing a championship and I like to see them earn them where they’re playing at. Now I’ve seen a lot of experts and just other people I know that are saying let’s just skip the NBA season and get right to the finals of Warriors vs. Cleveland Cavaliers. Now the Warriors are coming off the best regular season in the history of the NBA, but a failure to win the title more or less makes the season an asterisk. Now Golden State has added Durant to a line up of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Now Golden State did have to trade Andrew Bogut to get Durant’s contract under the salary cap. This Golden State team could end up being the highest scoring team in NBA history and I actually heard one expert say they wouldn’t lose a regular season game next season and sadly he wasn’t kidding.

What I am wondering now is if the way to beat the Warriors is to beat the Warriors up. Physical play isn’t really something you see in the NBA anymore, but Golden State is going to be a small team and you have to wonder if teams will see that and try to go that route. While Bogut wasn’t any type of offensive force with the way the Warriors play he was a true rim protector on defense. Now Durant is a 7-footer he now that type of a defender. Can Festus Ezeli fill that role of rim protector or will Golden State need to try and resign Marreese Speights or Anderson Varejao to try and do that job. It wouldn’t be a big surprise to see either Speights or Varejao brought back as Ezeli is the only center currently listed on the Warriors roster. There really isn’t a big time center left on the free agent market.It is possible that a veteran like Kendrick Perkins would take a low dollar contract to play with the Warriors and have a chance at another title, but how much help would he be?  I’m sure there are NBA head coaches especially in the Western Conference that are already looking at ways to beat Golden State. Would physical play be the answer and would the referees allow a tam to play physical enough against Golden State to beat them. Right now the only thing I’m looking forward to this coming NBA season is to see how a team beats Golden State. Is there anything else to look forward to?

After sitting out the last two NBA seasons there are reports that Ray Allen could be interested in returning to the league. The report said that Allen’s representatives reached out to two teams; the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Allen turns 41 on July 20th and while he’s not absolutely sure he wants to return he is intrigued by the possibility of playing for another championship. While the Warriors and Cavaliers have been contacted to see if they are interested in Allen’s services the report said that Allen would also consider joining the Los Angeles Clippers or San Antonio Spurs. Allen averaged 9.6 points per game for the Miami Heat in 2013-14, his final season. For his career Allen averaged 18.9 points per game and shot 40 percent from the 3-point line. Allen is a 10-time All-Star and won championships with Boston in 2008 and Miami in 2013.

Can the Denver Broncos and Von Miller come to a contract agreement before the July 15th deadline for franchise players to come to terms on long-term deals. Broncos General Manager John Elway reached out to Miller over the 4th of July holiday weekend and the two had a 10-15 minute conversation on the phone. Elway wanted to let his franchise player know that the Broncos still love him and still want to re-sign him, league sources said. Elway told Miller that Denver would reach out to his agents this week in an effort to jump start talks and procure a long-term deal, a source said. Until this weekend, the last time the two sides spoke was June 7. About a month ago Miller stated that he would not play this season under the franchise tag, and all contact between the sides had ceased. The Broncos placed the exclusive franchise tag on Miller March 1st. Unless Miller and Denver can reach agreement on a long term deal by July 15, Miller will make the average of the top-five salaries of his position for this year. And since it’s an exclusive tag, that will prohibit Miller from talking to any other teams. Miller had 11 sacks, 35 tackles and four forced fumbles and was elected to his fourth Pro Bowl selection in 2015. He has 60 career regular-season sacks. Miller was the MVP of the Super Bowl 50 as the Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers. Miller had 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in the Super Bowl. Miller also recorded also had 2.5 sacks and an interception in the Broncos’ win over the Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

The Major League Baseball All-Star teams where announced yesterday. As always there where players that belong on the team that didn’t make it, but when you use fan voting like baseball does you’re going to get that. There is still one open spot on each roster and there are five players in each league up for it. In the American League it’s between Ian Kinsler of the Detroit Tigers, Evan Longoria of the Tampa Bay Rays, Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox, Michael Saunders of the Toronto Blue Jays and George Springer of the Houston Astros. Over in the National League the five are Brandon Belt of the San Francisco Giants, Ryan Braun of the Milwaukee Brewers, Jake Lamb of the Arizona Diamondbacks, Starling Marte of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies. Who do you got for the last spot in each league?

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The Denver Broncos won Super Bowl 50 over the Carolina Panthers 24-10 on Sunday. Denver used the best defense in the NFL to shutdown the Cam Newton led Panthers offense. Newton was sacked 6 times threw an interception and was hit 13 other times on top of the sacks. It was the first time all season that the Carolina offense was shutdown like it was in the Super Bowl. The Broncos defense actually had 7 sacks on the night, but one of them was on Ted Ginn Jr. on a trick play that the Panthers where trying to run. Newton ended the game 18 of 41 for 265 yards. Newton also ended the game as the Panthers leading rusher. Newton had 45 yards on 6 rushing attempts. The Carolina offense also fumbled the football 4 times losing 3 of them. Carolina’s receivers where producing, but they just couldn’t string any plays together because of the pressure Newton was under all game. Corey (Philly) Brown, Greg Olson and Ginn all had 4 receptions in the game. Brown went for 80 yards and looked like he was in position to be the key to Carolina’s offense, but had to leave the game with concussion symptoms. Carolina’s defense played a good game as well and actually kept them in it. Peyton Manning was 13 for 23 for just a 141 yards with 1 interception. Manning was also sacked 5 times. Even Denver’s running game couldn’t really get going. C.J. Anderson did carry the football 23 times for 90 yards and 1 touchdown; he only averaged 3.9 yards per carry. To be fair Anderson’s rushing touchdown was a gift from the Broncos defense and if T.J. Ward would’ve been able to stand up he would’ve scored that touchdown. Emmanuel Sanders was Manning’s main target as he had 6 receptions for 83 yards. Anderson did add 4 catches as well, but went for just 10 yards on those catches. With the game playing out the way it did you knew that someone from the Broncos defense would be the MVP The award went to Von Miller who had  tackles, 2 1/2 sacks and a forced fumble. Miller set the tone for the game as he just took the football away from Newton down on the goal line and Malik Jackson recovered it in the end zone for the 1st score of the game. Miller was far and away the best player on the Broncos and deserved the award. I believe that if the Panthers would’ve found a way t comeback and win the game Kony Early would’ve been the MVP. Early had 3 sacks and 1 interception for the Panthers defense. Of course I was happy to see Miller get the MVP as he was my pick in the Saturday blog.

Our Super Bowl predictions where decent this season. Mr. Fantasy and I had Denver winning and I mentioned that I some how got the MVP right. Sadly Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu had Carolina winning. No one got the final score right, but Mr. Fantasy did have Denver’s point total correct. Overall for our playoff predictions Mr. Fantasy and I went 8-4, but since he got Denver’s point total right he would win the tiebreaker. Dan the Man went 7-5 for the playoffs and Schaumburg Stu finished at 6-6 overall.

With the game being a defensive battle there where a lot of people complaining that they didn’t like it. I’m sure everyone and even the NFL expected more of an offensive battle, but both defenses controlled the action. Neither team had an answer for the others pass rush and turnovers made the difference in the game. I don’t have the energy to go through the post game stuff that went on wit Cam Newton, but what I want to know is did you enjoy the game?

The Ottawa Senators made a deal yesterday with the Toronto Maple Leafs to try to get themselves into the playoffs. It was a 9-player deal between the 2 teams with the center piece being Dion Phaneuf going from Toronto to Ottawa. Along with Phanuef the Senators received forward Matt Frattin, forward Casey Bailey, forward Ryan Rupert and defense prospect Cody Donaghey from the Maple Leafs. In return the Maple Leafs got defenseman Jared Cowen, forwards Colin Greening, Milan Michalek and Tobias Lindberg, and Ottawa’s second-round pick in the 2017 NHL draft. What may have been the biggest key to the deal for the Maple Leafs is that Ottawa was willing to pick up the remainder of Phanuef’s contract which has 5 years still on it and is a salary cap hit of $7 million. As it appears Toronto will rebuild with the extra salary cap room will the Maple Leafs go after free agent to be Steven Stamkos now of the Tampa Bay Lighting. Phaneuf spent the first four-plus years of his career in Calgary before being traded to Toronto in January 2010. The three-time All-Star has 45 goals, 151 assists and is a minus-30 in his career. This may be the first of a few deals the Maple Leafs are involved in if they’re going to try and clear some salary cap room.

The Senators are currently 25-23-6 on the season for 56 points. That puts them 5 points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins and 6 points behind the Boston Bruins for a Eastern Conference wild card spot. Ottawa has won it’s last 2 games putting up 11 goals total in those games. The Senators will play 3 games in 4 days starting tonight against the Detroit Red Wings in Detroit. They head home for Thursday’s game against the Colorado Avalanche and then Ottawa has a day off before going back on the road to play the Columbus Blue Jackets. That’s a tough set of games; so we’ll have to see if the Senators can make up some ground in the wild card race over these next 4 days.

Is anyone else confused by the Sacramento Kings. At the start of the season there was talk that they where going to fire head coach George Karl. That move seemed to stem from Karl’s suggestion of trading Sacramento’s best player DeMarcus Cousins. The team got off to a good start and the firing talk went away. Well as soon as the team hit a bad stretch the talk of removing Karl as coach came right back. There where quite a few reports that Karl would be removed over the All-Star break which is this weekend. Then there was a report yesterday that Karl met with the Kings owner and he would remain coach for the rest of the season. I guess at this point in time; why would Karl want to coach this team? Sacramento is 21-31 and is 5 games out of the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Here you go; say the Kings rebound and get themselves into that #8 seed and make the playoffs. How do you think they would do against the Golden State Warriors in the 1st round of the playoffs?

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Believe it or not the Golden State Warriors did it to another contender. This time the San Antonio Spurs fell victim to a 30 point Warriors blow out 120-90 on Monday night. Tim Duncan was held out of the game due to a knee issue, but even if Duncan had played it wouldn’t of changed the outcome of the game. The Warriors took a 6-point lead after the 1st quarter 29-23. Golden State added 9 points to the lead going into halftime 62-47. The Warriors out the game away in the 3rd quarter adding 14 points to there lead 95-66. The Golden State lead was big enough after 3 quarters for Stephan Curry to sit out the entire 4th quarter. Even without Curry in the 4th the Warriors outscored the Spurs 25-24 to get another 30 point victory over a team many experts thought might be an NBA title contender.

Curry led the way for Golden State with 37 points in 28 minutes of game action. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were the other Warriors starters scoring in double figures with 11 points apiece. Brandon Rush and Shaun Livingston came off the Warriors bench to score 13 points; Marreese Speights added 12 points off the Golden State bench as well. Green led Golden State in both rebounds with 9 and assists with 6.

San Antonio was led by Kawhi Leonard in scoring with 16 points. David West was the only other Spurs starter to score in double figures with 12. but Boban Marjanovic did come off the San Antonio bench to score 12 points. Marjanovic also grabbed a team high 6 rebounds while Tony Parker, Danny Green and Manu Ginobili all tied for the team lead in assists with 3.

The Warriors improved to 21-0 at home and 41-4 overall. The loss was the Spurs 7th of the season; all on the road and there record dropped to 38-7. Golden State is back in action tonight as they play host to the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks are 26-21 on the season, but just 13-13 on the road. Can they be the team to hand the Warriors their 1st home loss of the season? If Golden State gets a win tonight over Dallas they’ll take their winning streak on a 3 game road trip starting Saturday in Philadelphia against the 76ers. The game against the 76ers is the first of a back to back as Sunday night the Warriors face off against the New York Knicks. After the back to back the Warriors get a couple of days off before going up against the Washington Wizards to end the road trip. Philadelphia is 7-39 on the season and it would be the biggest upset in I don’t know how long if they beat the Warriors. Back to backs are always tough for teams; so maybe the Knicks have an outside shot at getting a win against Golden State. The Knicks are 22-25, but do have a winning record (13-10) at home. The Wizards have been a bit of a disappointment this season. They’re 20-23 this season and have actually played better on the road than they have at home. Don’t forget that the Warriors did stumble on their last road trip and lost a game to the Detroit Pistons. Could we see something like that happen on this road trip? It’s doubtful with the match ups they have; Detroit is 24-21 and looking to grab an Eastern Conference playoff spot this season.

There are 4 games left on the NHL schedule tonight before the teams head into the All-Star break. The Toronto Maple Leafs take on the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Philadelphia Flyers take on the Washington Capitals. The Nashville Predators take on the Calgary Flames and the night wraps up with the Colorado Avalanche against the Los Angeles Kings. Win or lose tonight the Capitals will head into the All-Star break with the most points. Washington has 73 points heading into tonight’s game against Philadelphia. Washington is followed by the Chicago Blackhawks with 70 points. The Dallas Stars are next with 67 points. Then the St. Louis Blues have 64 points while the Kings and the Florida Panthers are tied at 63 points. Three of the those teams (Blackhawks, Stars and Blues) all come from the Western Conference Central division.

The Blackhawks Patrick Kane leads the NHL in scoring with 73 points. Kane also leads in goals with 30 and assists with 43. Jamie Benn of the Stars is 2nd in scoring with 58 points and his teammate Tyler Seguin is 3rd with 53 points. Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson is 4th in scoring with 52 points and Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks rounds out the Top 5 scorers with 49 points. Benn and Washington’s Alex Ovechkin trail Kane by 2 goals with 28 each then comes Sequin, Pavelski and the Blues Vladimir Tarasenko with 26 goals each. Karlsson trails Kane by 2 assists with 41 on the season. Blake Wheeler of the Winnipeg Jets is 3rd with 35 assists. John Klingberg from the Stars is 4th with 34 assists and then P.K. Subban of the Montreal Canadiens and Evgeny Kuznetsov of the Capitals are tied for 5th with 33 assists.

Washington’s Braden Holtby leads all goaltenders in wins with 30. Chicago’s Corey Crawford is next with 28 wins then Jonathan Quick of the Kings comes in with 26 wins.  Henrik Lundqvist of the New York Rangers and Martin Jones of the Sharks are tied with 23 wins. John Gibson of the Anaheim Ducks has the best Goals Against Average at 1.91. Holtby is next at 2.01 with Ben Bishop of the Tampa Bay Lighting eight behind him at 2.02. Peter Mrazek of the Detroit Red Wings and Cory Schneider of the New Jersey Devils are tied at 2.03. Chicago’s Crawford leads all goaltenders with 7 shutouts on the season. Jake Allen of the Blues is next with 5 shutouts while there are 7 goalies tied with 4 shutouts.

I’m sure you noticed going through the stats, but the teams with the better records seem to have the most players on top of the stat sheet. If your favorite is doing well they’ll need their top players to continue to produce to stay in playoff contention.

We’ve got our Super Bowl match up. It will be the #1 seeds from each conference as the Denver Broncos will represent the AFC as they take on the Carolina Panthers of the NFC. The Broncos had a little tougher time getting to the Super Bowl as they held on for a 20-18 victory over the New England Patriots. The Panthers had a much easier time advancing to the Super Bowl as they cruised to a 49-15 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. There’s plenty of time to break this game down; so I’m not going to start on it today. What I will tell you is Carolina opened as a 4 point favorite for the game with the over/under being set at 44 1/2 points.

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Our Week 2 picks in the NFL didn’t get off to a good start for Dan the Man Mr. Fantasy and I as we all took the Kansas City Chiefs to win the first Thursday night football game of the NFL season on CBS. Schaumburg Stu was the only one of us smart enough to take the Denver Broncos to win which they did 31-24 on one of the odder plays to end an NFL game that will probably see this season. Maybe picking the Thursday night game wrong will be better for me this week. I picked last week’s game right and then went on to have a sub .500 week.

Back to that odd ending. Kansas City had the football with about :30 seconds to go in the game and the score tied at 24. Instead of taking a knee Kansas City decided to run a play and they handed the football off to Jamaal Charles. Charles is one of the better running backs in the NFL and a lot of people rate him as the best duel threat back in the league with his ability to catch the football out of the backfield. Charles is also thought to be one of those type of players that can score any time he has the football in his hands. So it makes some sense to get the ball into Charles hands and see if he can gain enough yards to allow the Chiefs to win the game in regulation. Alex Smith hands the football off to Charles and while he’s on his way to the ground he’s hit by a Broncos defender and the football pops out. Bradley Roby of the Broncos was right there when the ball came out and was able to pick it up and return it 21 yards for a touchdown and a Denver win. This is where it all starts. I’m sure before both teams got off the field there where people questioning Chiefs head coach Andy Reid’s decision t run a play and not just kneel down and tale the game into overtime. One of the first things I heard was people comparing it t a play that happened in a game quite a few years ago between the New York Giants and the Philadelphia Eagles. The big difference there was the Giants where down on their own goal line when they ran there play. So right away Reid is taking all the blame for this loss and as a head coach he accepts it for his team, but is it really his fault? While Reid did call the play he wasn’t the one who put the football on the ground. I think that Charles has to take the majority of the blame for this loss, but it doesn’t seem to be going that way. People point to the fact that Charles had fumbled earlier in the game as reason for the Chiefs to just kneel down and head into overtime. In 2013 Charles led the NFL in fumbles with 19 and last season (2014) he fumbled 14 times. Charles averaged a fumble every 17 touches last season. Now think of how people would’ve reacted had Charles broken the run off and it help Kansas City get into field goal range and win the game. They’d be touting Reid as the greatest coach in the NFL today and it would’ve been a great play call. I’d also like to see a little bit of blame given to Smith as well. Smith was the last Chiefs player with a chance to stop Roby from scoring and he had a clean shot at him. Now I know that teams don’t like their starting quarterbacks to even try to make tackles and earlier in the game Peyton Manning just watched as Marcus Peters picked off one of his passes and returned it 55 yards for a touchdown, but this situation is a little different. Now even if Smith makes the tackle there’s a better than average chance that Denver just kicks a field goal to win the game, but there’s also a chance they miss that field goal and the game goes into over time. I’m not even sure if Smith touched Roby and after he got past Smith there was nothing between him and winning the game.

It’s a tough loss for the Chiefs who jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the game only to watch Denver come back and tie it up. After the teams traded field goals it looked like Knile Davis’ 8 yard touchdown run to give the Chiefs a 24-17 lead might be the game winner. Manning responded by taking the Broncos on a 10 play 80 yard drive capped off by a 19 yard touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders to tie the game at 24 which led to the Charles fumble and the game winning return.

Fantasy wise Manning threw for 3 touchdowns and 256 yards in the game, but did throw 1 interception. Smith wasn’t much help for your fantasy team as he threw for 191 yards, but was picked off 2 times in the game. He did add 15 yards rushing for you. Denver’s running backs won’t end up being much help to you this week. Ronnie Hillman was their leading rusher with 34 yards on 9 carries and they didn’t have a rushing touchdown. Despite the fumble Charles had 21 carries for 125 yards and a touchdown. Sanders and Demaryius Thomas each had 8 catches for Denver and while Thomas had more yards (116) Sanders caught 2 touchdown passes to go with 87 yards. Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin each had 4 catches to lead the Chiefs. Kelce had 1 more yard  receiving than Maclin 58 to 57. Don’t forget that both teams defenses scored in this game.

It looked like Dallas Keuchel was going to have a chance to establish himself as the top candidate for the AL Cy Young if he had a good outing against the Texas Rangers on Wednesday. Keuchel’s team the Houston Astros had just fallen out of 1st place in the AL West by losing the first two games of there series against the Rangers, but a win would put them right back in 1st place. Keuchel lasted 4 2/3rd innings giving up 9 runs on 11 hits; 3 of which where home runs. It was Keuchel’s shortest outing of the season and it couldn’t of come at a worse time for him or his team. If the door is open for someone else to join the Cy Young race who would it be. David Price may  be that next pitcher in line. Price is 16-5 and leads the AL in ERA at 2.42. Price is also 4th in the AL in strikeouts with 212. Keuchel of course may still be the front runner as he is tied for the AL lead in wins with 17 and is 2nd behind Price in ERA at 2.56. Is it a 2 man race or are there any other contenders. Sonny Gray is tied for 2nd in ERA with Keuchel and is 13-7 on the season, but his team isn’t contending and voters seem to lean towards players on winning teams. Felix Hernandez is tied with Keuchel with 17 wins, but he’s also on a non-contending team. Colby Lewis is 16-8 for the 1st place Rangers, but he has an ERA of 4.41. Chris Archer has had a solid year 12-12 with an ERA of 2.95 and is 2nd in the AL in strikeouts with 243, but with Tampa bay fading in the wild card race he may be over looked. Let’s look some place Cy Young voters  never seem to look; the bullpen. How about Andrew Miller. The Yankees closer has saved 34 of 35 games this season. He has an ERA of 1.80 covering 55 innings in 54 games. Miller has a WHIP of 0.800 and a strikeouts per 9 innings rate of 14.6. It seems difficult for Cy Young voters to vote for a reliever, but with no starting pitcher running away with the award this might be the year to look that way.

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We’ve spent some time here looking at the NBA top teams and how the playoff match ups might go. Let’s turn our attention to the other end of the standings and teams that will be in the draft lottery. I started thinking about this after I heard some experts on television debating if the Boston Celtics should “tank” the rest of the season to get back into the draft lottery. The Celtics currently hold the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern conference. So your team gets into the draft lottery and by chance they win the #1 overall selection; great right. Not so fast; do you know the last #1 overall pick to win a NBA championship was LeBron (more…)

The NFL season starts tomorrow in Seattle as the defending champion Seattle Seahawks take on the Green Bay Packers. There have been a ton of suspensions this off seasons; some injuries here and there and it looks like only one rookie quarterback starting Week 1. Everybody has their predictions of how the season is going to go; so here are ours. Let’s see how we do. If you see a (WC) next to a team’s name that means they where that person wild card choice.

Let’s start with the AFC.

How Dan the Man see’s the AFC East. 1st New England Patriots, 2nd New York Jets, 3rd Miami Dolphins and 4th Buffalo Bills.
Schaumburg Stu has 1st New England Patriots, 2nd New York Jets, 3rd Miami Dolphins and 4th Buffalo Bills.
Mr. Fantasy has 1st New England Patriots, 2nd New York Jets, 3rd Miami Dolphins and 4th Buffalo Bills.
Here’s how I have it; 1st New England Patriots, 2nd Miami Dolphins, 3rd Buffalo Bills and 4th New York Jets.

How Dan the Man see’s the AFC North. 1st Baltimore Ravens, 2nd Cincinnati Bengals (WC), 3rd Pittsburgh Steelers and 4th Cleveland Browns.
Schaumburg Stu has 1st Baltimore Ravens, 2nd Cincinnati Bengals (WC), 3rd Pittsburgh Steelers and 4th Cleveland Browns.
Mr. Fantasy has 1st Pittsburgh Steelers, 2nd Cincinnati Bengals (WC), 3rd Baltimore Ravens and 4th Cleveland Browns.
Here’s how I have it. 1st Pittsburgh Steelers, 2nd Baltimore Ravens (WC), 3rd Cincinnati Bengals and 4th Cleveland Browns.

How Dan the Man see’s the AFC South. 1st Indianapolis Colts, 2nd Jacksonville Jaquars, 3rd Houston Texans and 4th Tennessee Titans.
Schaumburg Stu has 1st Indianapolis Colts. 2nd Houston Texans, 3rd Jacksonville Jaquars and 4th Tennessee Titans.
Mr. Fantasy has 1st Indianapolis Colts, 2nd Jacksonville Jaquars, 3rd Tennessee Titans and 4th Houston Texans.
Here’s how I have it 1st Indianapolis Colts, 2nd Jacksonville Jaquars, 3rd Tennessee Titans and 4th Houston Texans.

How Dan the Man see’s the AFC West. 1st Denver Broncos, 2nd Kansas City Chiefs (WC), 3rd San Diego Chargers and 4th Oakland Raiders.
Schaumburg Stu has 1st Denver Broncos, 2nd Kansas City Chiefs (WC), 3rd San Diego Chargers and 4th Oakland Raiders.
Mr. Fantasy has 1st Denver Broncos, 2nd San Diego Chargers (WC), 3rd Kansas City Chiefs and 4th Oakland Raiders.
Here’s how I have it. 1st Denver Broncos, 2nd San Diego Chargers (WC), 3rd Oakland Raiders and 4th Kansas City Chiefs.

Now let’s go through our NFC picks.

How Dan the Man see’s the NFC East. 1st Washington Redskins, 2nd Philadelphia Eagles, 3rd Dallas Cowboys and 4th New York Giants.
Schaumburg Stu has 1st Philadelphia Eagles, 2nd New York Giants, 3rd Dallas Cowboys and 4th Washington Redskins.
Mr. Fantasy has 1st Philadelphia Eagles, 2nd Washington Redskins, 3rd New York giants and 4th Dallas Cowboys.
Here’s how I have it. 1st Philadelphia Eagles, 2nd New York Giants, 3rd Dallas Cowboys and 4th Washington Redskins.

How Dan the Man see’s the NFC North. 1st Chicago Bears, 2nd Green Bay Packers (WC), 3rd Detroit Lions and 4th Minnesota Vikings.
Schaumburg Stu has 1st Green Bay Packers, 2nd Detroit Lions (WC), 3rd Chicago Bears and 4th Minnesota Vikings.
Mr. Fantasy has 1st Green Bay Packers, 2nd Chicago Bears (WC), 3rd Detroit Lions and 4th Minnesota Vikings.
Here’s how I have it. 1st Green Bay Packers, 2nd Chicago Bears, 3rd Detroit Lions and 4th Minnesota Vikings.

Here’s how Dan the Man see’s the NFC South. 1st New Orleans Saints, 2nd Atlanta Falcons, 3rd Tampa bay Buccaneers and 4th Carolina Panthers.
Schaumburg Stu has 1st New Orleans Saints, 2nd Carolina Panthers, 3rd Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 4th Atlanta Falcons.
Mr. Fantasy has 1st New Orleans Saints, 2nd Atlanta Falcons, 3rd Tampa Bay Buccaneers and 4th Carolina Panthers.
Here’s how I have it. 1st New Orleans Saints, 2nd Carolina Panthers, 3rd Atlanta Falcons and 4th Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Here;s how Dan the Man see’s the NFC West. 1st San Francisco 49ers, 2nd Seattle Seahawks (WC), 3rd Arizona Cardinals and 4th St. Louis Rams.
Schaumburg Stu has 1st Seattle Seahawks, 2nd San Francisco 49ers (WC), 3rd Arizona Cardinals and 4th St. Louis Rams.
Mr. Fantasy has 1st Seattle Seahawks, 2nd Arizona Cardinals (WC), 3rd San Francisco 49ers and 4th St. Louis Rams.
Here’s how I have it. 1st Seattle Seahawks, 2nd Arizona Cardinals (WC), 3rd San Francisco 49ers (WC) and 4th St. Louis Rams.

Let’s review our playoff teams starting in the AFC.
Dan the Man has New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis and Denver as division winners with Cincinnati and Kansas City as wild card teams.
Schaumburg Stu has New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis and Denver as division winners with Cincinnati and Kansas City as wild card teams.
Mr. Fantasy has New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Denver as division winners with Cincinnati and San Diego as wild card teams.
Here’s what I have. New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis and Denver as division winners with Baltimore and San Diego as wild card teams.

In the NFC here’s what we ended up with.
Dan the Man has Washington, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco as division winners with Green Bay and Seattle as wild card teams.
Schaumburg Stu has Philadelphia, Green Bay, New Orleans and Seattle as division winners with Detroit and San Francisco as wild card teams.
Mr. Fantasy has Philadelphia, Green Bay, New Orleans and Seattle as division winners with Chicago and Arizona as wild card teams.
Here’s what I have. Philadelphia, Green Bay, New Orleans and Seattle as division winners with Arizona and San Francisco as wild card teams.

Finally here are our Super Bowl picks.

Dan the Man has New England vs. New Orleans with New Orleans winning.
Schaumburg Stu has New England vs. Seattle with New England winning.
Mr. Fantasy has a rematch from last season. Denver vs. Seattle, but with Denver winning this time.
I have Indianapolis vs. Seattle with Seattle repeating as Super Bowl champions.

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