Posts Tagged ‘sports’

Don't look now, but Tom Brady (12) and the New England Patriots are on a roll and back to their winning ways.

Don’t look now, but Tom Brady (12) and the New England Patriots are on a roll and back to their winning ways.

By @BrooksWeekly 

In the first three games of the season, you couldn’t tell apart Tom Brady from Mike Brady. But the 3-time Super Bowl winner and one-time MVP has found success in his reinvented tight end bunch.

When New England traded six-time Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for tight end Tim Wright and a fourth-round draft pick in 2015, everyone reactions was, “who?” Wright caught 54 passes as a rookie in Tampa Bay and  displayed a knack for finding open seams on the field. After his breakout 5 reception, 85 yard and one touchdown performance against the Bengals, Wright had one catch for one yard. But Brady will continue to look for the athletic tight end.

If not Wright, Brady also has the option of tight end Rob Gronkowski who has combined for 13 receptions, 194 yards and a score in his last two games.

Thursday night football: Patriots over Jets, if you didn’t guess.


Week 6 Prediction Results

Brooks: 10-4; Overall: 56-34

Perez: 11-3; Overall: 60-30

Wooten: 11-3; Overall: 54-36


Week 7 matchups Brooks Perez
NYJ @ NE NE(W) NE(W)
ATL @ BAL BAL(W) BAL(W)
TEN @ WSH WSH(W) WSH(W)
SEA @ STL SEA(L) SEA(L)
CLE @ JAX CLE CLE
CIN @ IND IND IND
MIN @ BUF BUF BUF
MIA @ CHI CHI CHI
NO @ DET DET(W) NO(L)
CAR @ GB GB(W) GB(W)
KC @ SD SD SD
ARI @ OAK ARI ARI
NYG @ DAL DAL DAL
SF @ DEN DEN DEN
HOU @ PIT PIT PIT

 

 

Brooks’ Bits

Cleveland Browns @ Jacksonville Jaguars 

The Cleveland Browns are on the verge of a three game winning streak. It’s early, but the Browns are a contender.

At 3-2, the Browns have managed to beat Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, overcame a 25-point deficit to beat the Tennessee Titans 29-28, which was the largest comeback in league history by a road team, and made quick work of the Pittsburgh Steelers (who they should’ve beaten twice).

Cleveland is winning with old methods compared to today’s fast-paced offenses in the NFL, smart quarterback play from Brian Hoyer and a 3rd-ranked sound running game led by the trio of Ben Tate, Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. All three running backs have over 230 rushing on the season.

The 0-6 Jaguars are looking to pick up their first win of the season behind rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. As talented as the No. 3 overall pick is, he can’t complete passes laying on his back. Jacksonville has given up 27 sacks in six games. Bortles has been sacked 11 time since taking over as the starter.

With Baltimore facing a head-scratching Falcons team and Cincinnati taking on Andrew Luck and the Colts, Cleveland could soon find themselves atop of the AFC North.

Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts 

In six years, the Cincinnati Bengals have ended a game in a tie.

While those numbers may not scream a trending pattern, there have been five total ties in the NFL in the past 12 years, including the 37-37 tie this past Sunday between the Bengals and Carolina Panthers.

Now 3-1-1, the Bengals take their high wire act to the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Andy Dalton is missing his star receiver AJ Green with a toe injury, but WR Mohamed Sanu took his place at the top pass catcher in Green’s absence, hauling in 10 passes for 120 yards and a touchdown against the Panthers.

All three of Bengals QB Andy Dalton’s interceptions have come at home. Dalton has completed 64 percent of his passes for 505 yards, three touchdowns and 0 interceptions on the road. The Colts are tied for 12th in the league with six. But this game will come down to the arm of Luck, who is the league leader in yards per game, averaging 328.7.

Luck will dismantle the Bengals aggressive pass defense.

 

 Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Arizona Cardinals @ Oakland Raiders

People have to start recognizing. The Arizona Cardinals deserve to be mentioned up there with the best of the NFC.

While the Cardinals do not have the vaunted offense the Denver Broncos boast, Carson Palmer has plenty to work with. Michael Floyd is an up and coming receiver, and Larry Fitzgerald is still a threat despite his age. What really makes the Cards a menace is their stout defense.

The Oakland Raiders are a mess of an organization. They have talent, but front office and coaching chaos can ruin anything.

Cards win this one, easily.

Houston Texans @ Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh has lost some head-scratchers. The Steelers lost to the Browns. Before that, they lost to the lowly Buccaneers.

The Steelers have a good running game with Le’Veon Bell. Ben Roethlisberger has a legitimate No. 1 receiver in Antonio Brown. They’re a force to be reckoned with on any given Sunday – or Monday. Or even a Thursday.

Houston (3-3) comes into the Steel City with the same record as the Steelers. But with journeyman Ryan Fitzpatrick under center, I do not see them winning.

Jamaal Charles has been on a tear as of late. Could Charles leapfrog Peyton Manning as the MVP favorite?

Jamaal Charles has been on a tear as of late. Could Charles leapfrog Peyton Manning as the MVP favorite?

With only one week away from the final week of the regular season, here are the current leaders of each division:

AFC North: Cincinnati Bengals ( 9-5), South: Indianapolis Colts (9-5), East: New England Patriots (10-4), and the West: Denver Broncos: (11-3). NFC North: Chicago Bears (8-6), South: New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panther are tied at (10-4), East: Philadelphia Eagles: (8-6), and West: Seattle Seahawks (12-4).

With two divisional leaders facing off this week (NO @ CAR and CHI @ PHI), and a slew of divisional matchups that will cause for more drama headed into week 17, this week will be a roller coaster ride for league and for fans.

Week 15 Predictions Results

Brooks: 10-6; Overall: 133-90

Perez: 9-7; Overall: 126-85

Wooten: 7-9; Overall: 120-101

Game Picks

Week 16 Game Picks Brooks Perez  Wooten
Miami Dolphins @ Buffalo Bills MIA(L)  MIA(L)  MIA(L)
Minnesota Vikings @ Cincinnati Bengals CIN(W)  CIN(W)  CIN(W)
Indianapolis Colts @ Kansas City Chiefs KC(L)  KC(L)  KC(L)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ St. Louis Rams STL(W)  STL(W)  STL(W)
Cleveland Browns @ NY Jets CLE(L)  NYJ(W)  NYJ(W)
Dallas Cowboys @ Washington DAL(W)  DAL(W)  DAL(W)
New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers CAR(W)  NO(L)  NO(L)
Tennessee Titans @ Jacksonville Jaguars TEN(W)  TEN(W)  TEN(W)
Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans DEN(W)  DEN(W)  DEN(W)
NY Giants @ Detroit Lions DET(L)  DET(L)  DET(L)
Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks SEA(L)  SEA(L)  SEA(L)
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Green Bay Packers PIT(W)  PIT(W)  PIT(W)
Oakland Raiders @ San Diego Chargers SD(W)  SD(W) SD(W)
New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens BAL(L)  NE(W)  NE(W)
Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles PHI(W)  CHI(L)  CHI(L)
Atlanta Falcons @ San Francisco 49ers SF(W)  SF(W)  SF(W)

Brooks Bits’

Indianapolis Colts  @ Kansas City Chiefs

The Colts haven’t had a 3-plus game winning streak since defeating the 49ers, Jaguars and the Seahwaks in weeks 3 through 5. During that span, they were considered one of the league’s best. Now, the Colts are Jekyll and Hyde, alternating wins since week 9.

But after a 25-3 win over a Texans team that’s destined for the no. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Indianapolis will once flip-flop wins and losses. The Colts have developed a nasty habit of playing to the competition level of the opponent, but after embarrassing losses to formidable teams like Cincinnati and Arizona, not to mention the beat down they took from St. Louis, the Colts have  slim chance of winning at Arrowhead Stadium.

Led by MVP candidate Jamaal Charles, who is second in the league in yards per scrimmage (1,836), fourth in rushing yards (1,181),  and first in rushing touchdowns (11), the Chiefs would be tied for the no. 1 seed in the playoffs if the were not in the same division as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.

The Colts have averaged 14 points in its last four losses., and that’s all they might get against the Chiefs defense.

New England Patriots @ Baltimore Ravens

How fitting, a rematch of the AFC Championship game.

The Raves are winners of four straight after previously losing four of its last five games. The six field goal victory over the Lions Monday night wasn’t the least bit impressive, but the Ravens have a knack at figuring out the Patriots. The Ravens are on some sort of a fluke run that mirrors last season. The three wild wins in a row, first the Steelers, Mike Tomlin stepping on the field of play, the snow game against the Vikings, and Justin Tucker kicking a booming 61-yard field goal to beat the Lions.

I’m not saying Baltimore will take this run to the Super Bowl, but this run has that fluke feel.

The Patriots may have Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson, which is a bright spot, but they won’t help the defense. New England has the 31st run defense, the perfect recipe for Ray Rice and Bernard Pierce who have been struggling to get the ground game going averaging a pitiful 82.9 ypg (29th).

Eddie P’s Philosophical Take

Arizona Cardinals @ Seattle Seahawks

Some people might not see it the same way, but this game will be a pretty good one. Seattle has one of the league’s best defense and a potent offense. Arizona boasts a top ten defensive unit as well, in addition to an offense with dangerous receivers.

The Cardinals might be without superstar receiver Larry Fitzgerald who is dealing with a concussion. Seattle will be without two of their top three cornerbacks. Walter Thurmond is serving a four-game suspension and starter Brandon Browner is suspended indefinitely (a messy topic on its own). Seattle will most likely be without Percy Harvin as well.

Despite missing several key players, Seattle still poses more of a threat. Arizona is good, but not Seattle good.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Green Bay Packers

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off a victory over divisional foe, the Cincinnati Bengal. Green Bay is coming off a close win, squeaking pass the Dallas Cowboys by one point.

Matt Flynn played good last week, throwing four touchdowns. Running back Eddie Lacy had a huge day as well, racking up 141 yards on the ground.

On the flip side, Pittsburgh’s defense stood up well against a good offense last week, only allowing 57 yards on the ground and 230 through the air.

Words From Wooten

New Orleans Saints @ Carolina Panthers

Looks like we have us a rematch of a not so stellar game from a few weeks ago. I’m talking about Carolina, of course. Drew Brees is looking very good at this point in the season. The offense possesses a chemistry that almost no team had last season. Look for Brees to air it out against Carolina again.

For Carolina, they need to find a way to get to Brees. If they can’t then they can expect the same results from a few weeks ago. For them to have a top 5 defense, Drew Brees made it look like a bottom 5. All in all, Drew Brees is going in to Carolina hoping to win and he’s leaving Carolina with a win.

Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans

I feel so bad for Houston at this point of the season. JJ Watt isn’t playing on the same level as he did last season. I feel like no one is except for Andre Johnson. In fact, many of the major pieces they had last season are injured or their stinking up the place, like Matt Schaub. And speaking of Schaub, his days may be numbered in Houston now.

With a loss to Denver and a Washington win(which may happen if you know how the Cowboys operate) then they will secure Teddy Bridgewater… excuse me, I mean the number one pick in the 2014 draft. Denver is coming in Houston with no a worries at all. They’re playing Houston of all teams. I feel like they’re the new Jacksonville Jaguars now. Or at least for this season.

Dallas Cowboys @ Washington

One of the best rivalries in sports history go head-to-head again. On one side, we have a quarterback who can’t get the job done. And on the other side, we have a young quarterback who is hoping to get the job done.

When it boils down, I feel like this one is going to Dallas. Washington just isn’t looking good this season. Last season, they won the NFC East, for whatever that is worth, and now they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel with their beloved top-5 in the 2014 draft pick going to St. Louis. The only way they can build is through free agency and no one knows what that will look like this season. In the end, look forward to Tony Romo throwing a few TD’s and possibly a few picks as well, knowing Romo.

NFL-2012-Week-1

The NFL season is slated to start Sept. 5 in a primetime opener between the defending Super Bowl champions and the Peyton Manning-led Broncos.

Football fans everyone have been tirelessly waiting to see the promise of this year’s version of their team or prepare for an embarrassing and failed season. As the season approaches, I figured I should take another crack at it and predict division winners, MVPs, the Super Bowl winner and more. Here is what I did last year. You may have a clue of who my division winners are if you read my Best Teams In Each Division article, but without further ado, let’s get to it.

AFC North: 

cincinnatibengals1. Cincinnati Bengals: 11-5

Two postseason appearances in two consecutive seasons has given this team the confidence to overthrow the Ravens and Steelers. Equipped with the game-changing wide receiver A.J. Green, recently drafted tight end Tyler Eifert and Giovani Bernard–who has impressed in the preseason–Cincinnati may now have the offense to match their stellar defense. Their offense sputtered down the stretch in 2012 averaging 16.3 points per game. It’s time for quarterback Andy Dalton to show if he’s a game-changer or just another middle of the pack quarterback

2. Baltimore Ravens: 9-7

Joe Flacco was one blown coverage away from being labeled an average quarterback, but Cool Joe went on to become the Super Bowl MVP. Since then, a rash of changes and injuries have stunned the Ravens including key departures from Ray Lewis (retired), Ed Reed (signed w/ Texans), Anquan Boldin (Trade w/ 49ers)  and Dennis Pitta (hip injury) who was becoming Flacco’s most dependable target. The addition of sack master Elvis Dummervil is a plus on the defensive side of the ball, but the Ravens will find it hard to recover from the Super Bowl hangover. And not to mention Flacco having to live up to his $100 million contract.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers: 7-9

The Steelers defense is not as old as people say they are, their average age on defensive is 27. 6 years old, the same as the Ravens. What worries me about the Steelers is the depth of their offensive line and the countless amount of injuries to their running backs. Losing second-round pick Le’Veon Bell to a foot injury was a major blow and Ben Roethlisberger can’t throw all his passes on the run or from the ground is offensive line doesn’t hold up. Antonio Brown and Emanuel Sanders have shown they are capable of making plays on the outside at their wide receiver position, but aside from those two, the Steelers don’t have much to offer besides the aged Jerricho Cotchery.

4. Cleveland Browns: 6-10

The Norv Turner and Brandon Weeden  connection has created some buzz in the Dawg Pound, but the Browns still are ways away from becoming a serious threat in the North. A healthy Trent RIchardson will bolster the ground game and drafting Barkevious Mingo to pair alongside Paul Kruger  will add to an already rising defense. Cleveland is on the upswing, but 2013 won’t be their year.

AFC South:

5931. Indianapolis Colts: 11-5

The same record as last year, but the Colts are much improved, especially on defense. The two new starters up front in Ricky Jean Francios and Aubrayo Franklin will aid the Colts 29th-ranked rushing defense. They still have been gashed on the ground in the preseason, but that can be attributed to the play calling. As long as Andrew Luck is the starting quarterback, the Colts will again become a perennial playoff team. He may already be the best quarterback in the division.

2. Houston Texans: 11-5

On paper, the Texans are arguably the best team in the NFL. They were in the top-10 offensively and defensively, but what will continuously keep Houston in the same spot is Matt Schuab. Schuab is a very good quarterback, but nothing more. You wouldn’t put him in the class as Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers or Drew Brees. He has the weapons in Arian Foster, Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and now DeAndre Hopkins, but the Texans will be another first round exit.

3. Tennessee Titans: 7-9

Unlike others, I’m high on Titans quarterback Jake Locker. He suffered the proverbial sophomore slump missing six games because of injury and was knocked out of the week 4 matchup against the Texans. He showed a lot of inconsistencies with accuracy and held on to the ball too long trying to make a play. To make matters worse, Chris Johnson was not his usual explosive self. The emergence of rookie power guard Chance Warmack and prized free agent Andy Levitre will open up holes for Johnson and create passing lanes for Locker.

4. Jacksonville Jaguars: 3-13

This team has too many holes and are unsettled at the quarterback position. I can’t even say they are  in the rebuilding mode because they can’t rebuild as long as Blaine Gabbert is under center. Jacksonville finished 29th in offense and 30th in defense. The return of Maurice Jones-Drew is refreshing, but not even he can carry this franchise on his back.

AFC East:

new-england-patriots-logo1. New England Patriots: 12-4

The Patriots have had a tumultuous offseason to say the least, but wherever there is Tom Brady, there is life. He enters the season with five new receivers and two new tight ends. The only star receiver Brady has ever had was Randy Moss. If Amendola can remain healthy, which is a big if, he easy amass 100 receptions with Brady. New England will be more balanced on offense as Stevan Ridley hopes to have another 1,000 yard season. The Patriots are playing themselves for the AFC East crown.

2. Buffalo Bills: 7-9

I really like what I see out of the 6-foot-4, 237-pound E.J. Manuel. The Bills suffered a setback with his minor knee procedure, but he still hasn’t been officially ruled out for week 1. Seven wins may seem one the high end for a rookie head coach and quarterback, but Buffalo has one of the best running backs in the NFL in C.J. Spiller . Adrian Peterson single handedly took the Vikings to the postseason last year. I’m not saying Spiller is Peterson, but he did lead the NFL in yards per carry averaging six yards a pop. He can have that same affect on his team.

3. Miami Dolphins: 6-10

Miami has been way overhyped due to their flashy offseason acquisitions. Mike Wallace was a big pick up, but he isn’t a wide receiver that can take over a game. Ryan Tannehill has a strong arm with upside, but he played in the shadows of fellow rookies Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Luck. The departure of Reggie Bush isn’t too big of a blow with the elusive Lamar Miller taking over the reigns, but the lost of Jake Long may prove bigger.

4. New York Jets: 2-14

With the no. 1 pick, the New York Jets select Jadeveon Clowney. You can etch it in stone. With how poorly Rex Ryan has managed his team, he might not even make it through the season. Where do you start with this team? The ongoing quarterback saga is a mess with Mark Sanchez and  Geno Smith who has shown he’s not ready. Veteran cornerback Antonio Cromartie has already called out top pick DeMarcus Milliner and last year’s top pick Quinton Coples is out with an ankle injury. The Jets are in for a long season. If only Tim Tebow was still there.

AFC West:

denver-broncos-betting1. Denver Broncos: 14-2

The prohibited Super Bowl favorite. I picked them to win it all last year. It’s hard to pick against Peyton Manning even more now that he has Wes Welker in the slot. The only problem lies on defense  with the loss of Dummervil because of a fax machine issue and Von Miller who will miss the first 6 games of the season because of suspension. But the Broncos might not need much help on defense with Peyton lighting up the scoreboard.

2. Kansas City Chiefs: 9-7

The Andy Reid and Alex Smith relationship doesn’t seem to mesh well as far as their style of play. Reid likes to have his quarterbacks chunk it up and down the field, but Smith is more of a dink and dunk guy. He is best fit to throw the ball between 20-25 times, but Reid is known for passing more that running. However, this 2-14 team sent six players to the Pro Bowl last season. The talent is their on the roster. Jamal Charles is one jump-cut away from a touchdown on every single play and Dwayne led the NFL in touchdowns two seasons ago.

3. San Diego Chargers: 6-10

San Diego has completely fell from the top ranks. It was only a few years ago when they were considered favorites to represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. Their top wide, Danario Alexander, is out for the season and running back Ryan Matthews hasn’t come close to replacing LaDanian Tomlinson. Their offensive line is still in shambles and quarterback Phillip Rivers is steadily regressing. The Chargers may start to look for his replacement next season.

4. Oakland Raiders: 5-11

This is a whole new team on offense and defense. Giving them 5 wins is one more than they had last year. Credit that one extra win to Terrelle Pryor. It’s looking like Matt Flynn will once again lose the job handed to him. It’s Pryor’s job to lose. Their isn’t much to cheer about in Oakland, but letting Pryor loose is a risk that can turn into a reward.

NFC East:

new-york-giants-logo1. New York Giants: 10-6

The Giants have shown they are one of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL, but they still have a two-time Super Bowl champion in Eli Manning. With RGIII and the Redskins garnering all of the headlines, this has the makings of a strong season by the Giants. They excel in the underdog role. They have been getting production out of last year’s top picks in running back David Wilson and three of their top picks in the 2013 draft will all make a significant impact (Justin Pugh/OT, Johnathan Hankins/DT, Demantre Moore/DE).

2. Washington Redskins: 9-7

It’s a lot riding on Griffin’s ACL, and that will slow down his production in the beginning of the season without taking a snap throughout the preseason. If RGIII is healthy, then the Redskins can once again repeat as division champs. Griffin wasn’t the only rookie sensation on his team. Alfred Morris was 2nd  in the NFL in rushing with 1,613 yards. Washington drafted two safeties and cornerback with their first pick to sure up their 30th-ranked passing defense.

3. Philadelphia Eagles: 8-8

A three win improvement in Chip Kelly’s track 15 seconds or less offense will be one of the top surprises in the NFL. In this offense, the Eagles will go as far a Michael Vick take them, that’s if he can stay healthy. Vick has vowed to run more and play to his strength. The only season Vick played a full 16 game season was the same year he ran for 1,000 yards.

4. Dallas Cowboys 7-9

A lot like the Texans, the Cowboys look good every year on paper. They have a game-breaking wide receiver in Dez Bryant and a reliable tight end in Jason Witten. Drafting the mammoth tight end Gavin Escobar has the potential to flourish under Witten’s tutelage. What worries me is their middle of their pack defense, but their defense suffered because of injuries. They also have problems at running back with often-injured DeMarco Murray. The Cowboys finished next to last in rushing averaging 79.1 yards per game. Quarterback Tony Romo has proven time and time again he breaks down in defining moments. The Cowboys won’t become more than what they are right now until Romo is no longer under center or when Jerry Jones steps down.

NFC West:

seattle-seahawks-logo1. Seattle Seahawks: 11-5

With all the pieces the Seahawks have added in the offseason, the Super Bowl favorites are looking even better than they did last year. The Seahawks secondary contains three Pro Bowl players who can force turnovers, deliver big hits and blanket wide receivers. The offense is led by second year quarterback Russell Wilson who led all rookies in passing touchdowns with 26. Adding Christine Michael’s speed to the power of Marshawn Lynch, the ground game will only get better.

2. St. Louis Rams: 10-6

Every year there is a team who comes out of no where and this year that team will be the Rams. Last year St. Louis went 4-1-1 in the best division in football splitting with the Seahawks and win and a tie with the 49ers. Their young defense was tied for first in the NFL with 52 sacks. The defense isn’t a concern for the Rams, it all comes down to Sam Bradford and the offense. With Tavon Austin and Jared Cook at his disposal, Bradford now has the weapons to put points on the board.

3.  San Francisco 49ers: 10-6

One of the biggest questions for this team is how Colin Kaepernick look in a full 16 game season. They are dominant on both sides of the ball, especially in the ground game behind Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter and LaMichael James. I’m anxious to see how Aldon Smith plays this season after going six straight games without a sack to end the season. The loss of Michael Crabtree and the recovery of Mario Mannigham was a blow to the offense, but the 49ers have more than enough pieces to do without.

4. Arizona Cardinal: 6-10

There is no doubt the Cardinals will be better with last year’s coach of the year Bruce Arians calling the shots, but something doesn’t add up with this team. Carson Palmer has shown he can put up gaudy numbers. Now armed with Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and rookie Stephen Taylor at running back, the Cardinals can surprise this season. They began the season 4-0 last year, then ended up losing 11 out of their last 12. Arizona will fair well outside the conference, but I don’t see them keeping pace with their division counterparts.

NFC North:

chicago_bears_logo_39901. Chicago Bears: 11-5

If we judge quarterbacks solely on arm talent, Jay Cutler is a top-5 quarterback. His gunslinger mentality gets him into worlds of trouble at times, but he has the skill set to throw out of harm’s way. The facts he’s in his contract year will only motivate him to perform. Rookie linebacker Jon Bostic looks to man the middle for years to come and the Charles Tillman-led defense is still the team strength. The Bears have four new starters on the offensive line including first-round pick Kyle Long. If targets other than Brandon Marshall show up, the Bears can become a dangerous team.

2. Green Bay Packers: 10-6

Drafting Eddie Lacy was a huge addition for a team that gave up 51 sacks NFL last season, but losing their best lineman in Bryan Bulaga spells trouble for Aaron Rodgers again. Lacy and Jonathan Franklin will provide the offensive balance the Packers have been lacking. Rodgers can win 8 games by himself, but the way they were physically dominated in the Divisional Round against the 49ers has labeled them as a soft team. It’s up to the defense if this team wish to make a deep playoff run.

3. Minnesota Vikings: 7-9

Adrian Peterson literally ran away with the MVP coming up 8 yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s all-time rushing mark. The defense is solid, but young with Shariff Floyd at defensive tackle and Xavier Rhodes in the secondary. Cordarrelle Patterson was one of the most explosive players in the draft, but rookie receivers seldom make an impact in their first year. Christian Ponder needs to step up and become the quarterback the Vikings drafted him to be, but I think this is the year he shows he is not. The Vikings overachieved at 10-6 last season,

4. Detroit Lions: 7-9

The Lions are one of the biggest head-scratchers in the NFL. They have arguably the best player in the NFL in Calvin Johnson and easily the best wide receiver. They have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and they have a top-15 quarterback in Matthew Stafford, but throwing the ball 727 times won’t lead to much success. Even with the signing of Reggie Bush, this offense still has no balance. Bush has never been a inside runner and is best used as a receiving option out the backfield.

NFC South: 

Atlanta-Falcons-Logo-300x300Atlanta Falcons: 12-4

The Falcons are also a trendy pick to represent the NFC acquiring the all-pro running back Steven Jackson and convincing Tony Gonzales to hold of retirement for one more year. However they still have many questions on the defensive side of the ball. How much does Osi Umenyiora have left in the tank? Can their two rookie corners along with veteran Asante Samuel stop the bleeding in their secondary? Who will step up and stop opposing rushers? The Falcons gave up 123. 2 yards per game last year.

New Orleans Saints: 10-6

New Orleans will welcome back coach Sean Payton with open arms this season as he returns from the Bountygate suspension. His presence in the locker room will lift the spirit of his players, but that won’t be enough o improve their defense. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is in charge of the reclamation project to improve the statistically worst defense in NFL history. The Saints gave up a total of 7, 042 yards on defense.

Carolina Panthers: 8-8

In the offseason, the Panthers general manager called out quarterback Cam Newton telling him “it’s time to win.” The former Heisman and no. 1 overall pick has all the tools to become a top quarterback in this league. He broke Peyton Manning’s passing record as a rookie and set the touchdown mark for quarterbacks with 14. As great as Newton is on the ground, he can’t continue to lead them in rushing (Newton: 741 yds; DeAngelo Williams: 737 yds). The Panthers are a talented team, but they’re not ready for primetime yet.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers : 6-10

A lot like the Lions, the Bucs’ have the necessary pieces to succeed, but they have to figure out how to blend them. Josh Freeman’s 39 interceptions over the past two seasons directly contributes to the team’s inconsistency. The have two studs at wide receiver in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams, the muscle hamster in Doug Martin and they finished first in run defense. The passing defense was a difference story allowing a league worst 297. 4 yards per game. The acquisition of Darrelle Revis and Dashon Goldson–who will line up to last years stand out rookie Mark Barron–Tampa Bay could go from worst to first.

Award Winners:

Offensive Rookie of the Year: Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams

Defensive Rookie of the Year: Ziggy Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions

Comeback Player of the Year: Alex Smith, QB, Chiefs

Coach of the Year: Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

MVP: Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

Offensive Player of the Year: C.J. Spiller, RB, Bills

Defensive Player of the Year: Richard Sherman, CB, Seattle Seahawks

SUPER BOWL XLVIII

Broncos over Bears

Peyton faces the Bears for a second time in the Super Bowl to capture his second ring in Eli’s home stadium.

This video was shot earlier in the week.

UPDATE: Oklahoma City Thunder defeated the Houston Rockets in 6 games. Series: 4-2

UPDATE: Golden State Warriors defeated Denver Nuggets in 6 games. Series: 4-2

UPDATE: New York Knicks defeated Boston Celtics in 6 games. Series: 4-2

I wanted to give you something informative and enjoyable to watch. As much as I love print, broadcast has also been calling my name. I’ll continue to work at it. I’m becoming more passionate doing on-camera work by the day. Follow me @BrooksWeekly and @DevynAire who also played a vital part in the photography and production. Check him out djonesum.tumblr.com

CONTINUE WATCHING FOR THE BLOOPER BREAKDOWN. You will get a nice laugh from it. Comment and like.

Curry

Can the sharp shooting Stephen Curry lead his team pass the uptempo Denver Nuggets?

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Miami Heat vs. (8) Milwaukee Bucks: Heat 2 -Bucks 0

The Bucks’ sub .500 regular season record (38-44) alone shows how undeserving they are to even be in the playoffs, let alone on the same court with the defending champs. Outmanned, outmatched and outclassed, this is a warm up series for Miami. Have the “Heatles” even broken a sweat?

(2) New York Knicks vs. (7) Boston Celtics: Knicks 2 – Celtics 0

How cliche would it sound if I said, Melo on a Mission? Determined to advance to the second round, Carmelo Anthony will do all he can, even if he has to give his Knicks a piggyback ride to face Indiana in round two more than likely. The Celtics simply do not matchup well against this high-powered offense. In the words of Kobe Bryant, Boston looks “old and slow.” Paul Piece is a mere shell of himself, this may be Kevin Garnett’s last year and Avery Bradley just isn’t ready. The Celtics are much more dominant when Jeff Green plays more assertive. Doc Rivers has to get him going early.

Even though they lost the first game 85-78, Green scored 26 points in a relatively tight game with his penetration in the lane and adding constant pressure on the Knicks’ sometiming defense. The second outing was a different story. Green hopes to erase a pitiful 10 point showing going 3 of 11 from the field. His second game letdown led to a 16 point loss by the hands of Melo and the Knicks. Coincidence? I think not.

(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks: Pacers 2  – Hawks 0 

The Hawks are always in the middle/lower of the pack. They are just, well, there. The Hawks are just not good enough. While I like to improve play of point guard Jeff Teague and an underrated Al Horford, the Hawks never do enough. Nothing about them leaps off the page. Nothing is special about this team. Josh Smith is an all-star, not a superstar.

Indiana’s emerging Paul George is well deserving of the NBA Most Improved Player Award. His opening round triple-double cemented the honors. The Pacers true test will come against the Knicks in round two. Unless Larry Bird comes running through the tunnels of TD Bank Garden arena, Boston won’t see round two.

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(4) Brooklyn Nets (5) Chicago Bulls: Nets 1 – Bulls 1

This matchup reels in my interest simply because of Deron Williams. When healthy, Williams is arguably the best point guard in the NBA. Before the playoffs began, he was looking like the Williams of the Salt Lake City days. His 22 pts and 7 ast performance in game one led me to believe the Bulls were in a world of trouble.

But silly me forgetting about Tom Thibodeau and Chicago’s suffocating defense. Williams did dish out 10 assist, but they hacked and corralled Williams to a 1 for 9 night. This series has the making to go the distance.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs. (8) Houston Rockets: Thunder 2 – Rockets 0

Poor James Harden. Having to play his former team in the opening rounds of the playoffs. He wants nothing more than get back at the team that shipped him coldheartedly out of Oklahoma City. What a great achievement it was to reach the playoffs in his first year in Houston, but they stand no chance against Kevin Durant and the Thunder. The only thing standing in the way of Oklahoma City is one of their own, Russell Westbrook.

(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers: Spurs 1 – Lakers 0 (Now 2-0) 

Call me delusional, but I actually picked the Lakers to win in 7 games largely because of the injuries and deficiencies of the Spurs. I figured the aging Tim Duncan couldn’t continue drinking from the fountain of youth, Tony Parker’s gimpy ankles wouldn’t hold up and Manu Ginobili was essentially done because of his nagging hamstring injuries.

Can I get a mulligan?

Ginobili came out hot and hit 18 points in 19 minutes in game one. Parker looked like his old self totaling 18 pts and 8 ast in game one. And Duncan? The best power forward in NBA history? He took another swig from the mythical fountain compiling 17 pts 10 rebs and 3 stls.

(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Golden State Warriors: Nuggets 1 – Warriors 1

Smooth? Silky? Butter? Feel free to use whatever superlative or adjective at your discretion to describe Stephen Curry’s shooting stroke. I’m a firm believer that superstars prevail and triumph. While Denver has a premier supporting cast and  talented roll players, no one on that team is a superstar. The Warriors have a legit superstar in Curry. The baby faced assassin has lived up to the billing in his first taste of playoff action. Curry easily can lead the league in scoring while arguably becoming the best point guard in the NBA.

This series is far from over, but with Curry and the rest of his poachers taking aim beyond the arch, this 6th seed has what it takes to upset the Nuggets.

(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies: Clippers 2 – Grizzlies 0

Dating back to my superstar logic, the Grizzlies do not have any. Yes, they have the league stingiest defense and the Defensive Player of the Year in Marc Gasol, but the Grizzlies can’t overcome Lob City. Last year’s playoff meeting between the two was brutal, but I had gut feeling the Clippers were not having that this year. They’re too talented and athletic for the Memphis. And did I forget to mention Chris Paul?

-Kelton

#BrooksWeekly

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If the Lakers make the playoffs, how will they fair without their fallen star?

They say time waits for no man, not even the competitive, driven warrior that is Kobe Bryant.

How can one fathom the thought of the Los Angeles Lakers without Bryant? In his illustrious 17 seasons of wearing purple and gold,  he has played in 1,239 of 1,346 possible regular season games and 220 of 223 playoff games. Besides his impeccable game winning step-back jumpers, sheer will to win and five NBA titles, his grit and durability belongs in a category of its own.

Due to the sad events that transpired April 12th against the Golden State Warriors, the Lakers  will have to move on without Bryant because of an Achilles tendon tear. Throughout the turmoil of the Lakers season, Bryant “guaranteed” his team will make the playoffs. True, Kobe has been playing in a youthful manner as of late, but how long could his injury riddled body at the age of 34 sustain the grind of the NBA? Many analyst, commentators and experts say his increased minutes of play doesn’t coincide with the injury.

Come again?

In his last 7 games, he has played 48, 47, 43, 47, 41, 48, 45, and headed towards another 48 minutes of play.

And that doesn’t equals to an Achilles tendon tear of the battled, future first ballot Hall-of-Famer who constantly played through a slew of injuries?

According to WebMD, an Achilles tendon injury might be caused by:

  • Overuse
  • Stepping up your level of physical activity too quickly
  • Not stretching enough before exercise
  • Wearing high heels, which increases the stress on the tendon (Doubt Kobe wears heels)
  • Problems with the feet. An Achilles tendon injury can result from flat feet, also known as fallen arches or overpronation. In this condition, the impact of a step causes the arch of your foot to collapse, stretching the muscles and tendons.
  • Muscles or tendons in the leg that are too tight

You’re more likely to tear an Achilles tendon when you start moving suddenly. For instance, a sprinter might get one at the start of a race. The abrupt tensing of the muscle can be too much for the tendon to handle. Men older than age 30 are particularly prone to Achilles tendon injuries.

Bryant aims to return next year, and the timetable for his return is six to nine months. He would most likely miss the start of the 2013-14 season, but he could possibly return during the middle of the season. In the meantime, LA will have to find a way to play without him.

Not only will the Lakers miss his 27.3 points a game, but the Lake Show will be without  32.6% of the its points production, 31.4% of the team’s field-goal attempts, and 34.9% of their free throw attempts. While I understand Bryant’s increased minutes were fueled by the chances to make a playoff push, I’d hate to play the blame game, but how can the Lakers organization not be at fault?

They opted to bring in Steve Nash who is a shell of himself and his coach in Mike D’Antoni who Bryant respects, but I wouldn’t say listens to. Phil Jackson was the only coach who could get in the head of Kobe and force him to rest on the bench. They drove Kobe into the ground. However, I will admit that I’m curious to see the impact of Nash’s return when he has both 7-footers at his disposal in Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol.

The Lakers have put out 41 different lineups this season with 32 of them including Bryant. While LA awaits for the return of Nash, if the playoffs started today, the starting lineup would be Steve Blake, Jodie Meeks, Earl Clark, Gasol and Howard. Not the scenario D’Antoni envisioned.

The obvious key factor for the Lakers survival, and their future, is Howard.

But in my opinion, Dwight cannot lead a team on his own. He’s too nice, not into the game at times, not the demanding, dominating, killer instinctive player like Bryant, but who is? And we can’t forget about the mess that went down in Orlando. While Howard unquestionably has the skill set, I can’t see him as the face of the franchise for the Lakers.

The Lakers will eventually have to part ways with the Black Mamba, but right now, the Lakers need Bryant. Especially going up against the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. Can they even make it a series against either team without Bryant if they make the playoffs?

That remains to be seen, but the loss of Kobe and his impact on the team and organization is huge to say the least.

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More likely to lead his team to a championship in 2013, Carmelo Anthony or Kobe Bryant? 

Only 6 days away until the end of the regular season, teams are now resting players, fine tuning their roster or clinging on to everlasting hope as teams battle it out for the no. 8 seed.

As the playoff picture is quickly revealing itself, let’s take a look at the matchups if the playoffs started today:

EASTERN CONFERENCE 

No. 1 seed: Miami Heat

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vs.

No. 8 seed: Milwaukee Bucks

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The Heat are 3-1 against the Bucks this season. At times, the defending champs struggle with the speed and tenacity of the Bucks’ dynamic duo backcourt. Barring an unforeseen, all-time performance by Brandon Jennings and Montae Ellis, I don’t see why LeBron James and the Heat won’t pull out the broom against a sub .500 team.

Series Winner: Miami in 4

No. 2 seed: New York Knicks

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No. 7 seed: Boston Celtics

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The Knicks have reached 50 victories for the first time since the 1999-2000 season. Carmelo Anthony is playing out of his mind and scoring at will right now. My only concern is what will happen to the Knicks when Amar’e Stoudemire returns to the lineup? When Melo doesn’t have to defer, is when he is at his best. Regardless of the friction between the two stars, New York’s onslaught of 3-pointers and athleticism will prove to be too much of a hassle for Boston.

Series Winner: New York in 6

No. 3 seed: Indiana Pacers

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No. 6 seed: Atlanta Hawks

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After this season, the Hawks are due for a major makeover. For the past couple of seasons, Atlanta is consistently in the middle of the pack. While teams are improving, they have either remained the same or gotten worse. I do enjoy the improved play of point guard Jeff Teague, but neither him nor Josh Smith are ready to endure Indiana’s physical style of play. They tied the season series at two games apiece, so the Hawks won’t go down without a fight.

Series Winner: Indiana in 6

No. 4 seed: Brooklyn Nets

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vs.

No. 5 seed: Chicago Bulls

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Unless Derrick Rose comes running out the tunnel of the United Center, the Bulls are destined for a one-and-done in the playoffs. In this league, superstars prevail. The Nets superstar point guard Deron Williams has been picking up steam as of late and looks to carry his performance into the postseason. The Bulls have a 3 games to 1 regular season record against Brooklyn, but I look for the Nets to flip the script in a long, fought series.

Series Winner: Brooklyn in 7

WESTERN CONFERENCE 

No. 1 seed: Oklahoma City Thunder

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vs.

No. 8 seed: Los Angeles Lakers

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Honestly, there is no clear cut favorite to come out the West, but this is a matchup the Lakers are hoping to avoid. The Thunder ran the Lakers off the court beating them in 5 games in the playoffs last year. Oklahoma has too much speed on the court for a team that Kobe Bryant called old and slow. Bryant guaranteed his Lakers will make the playoffs, but playing 40+ minutes a night with his recent rash of injuries? This future Hall-of-Famer may not have what it takes to shock the Thunder. My only concern with OKC is Kevin Durant’s passiveness. Night after night Durant is becoming second fiddle to Russell Westbrook as the charismatic point guard is taking more shots than arguably the best player in the NBA. Message to Kevin Durant: You are the best player on your team, demand the ball and become more assertive.

Series Winner: Thunder in 6

No. 2 seed: San Antonio Spurs

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No. 7 seed: Houston Rockets

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Nothing like a good ole Texas showdown. The Spurs need to get healthy, and quick. The absence of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili have led the Spurs to a 5-5 mark in their last 10 games. Sharp shooting Danny Greene is taking full advantage of his increased time on the court, but the Spurs must lean on their stars for a deep playoff run.  Tim Duncan has taken a dip into the fountain of youth, but at this stage of his career, he can no longer carry a team by himself. James Harden has elevated himself to a top-10 player in the league as she shows he has what it takes as the main attraction. IF the Spurs are healthy, they will win this series, but if not, I’m taking Houston with the upset.

Series Winner: Houston in 7

No. 3 seed: Denver Nuggets

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No. 6 seed: Golden State Warriors

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The baby faced assassin will make his first appearance into the postseason and head coach Mark Jackson deserves coach of the year honors. This may be the most entertaining first round matchup we have seen in a while. In there four meetings, 100 points was scored in every game. The loss of Danilo Gallinari is a tough pill to swallow for the Nuggets, but Wilson Chandler is more than capable of picking up the slack.

Series Winner: Denver in 6

No. 4 seed: Los Angeles Clippers

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vs.

No. 5 seed: Memphis Grizzlies

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Another heavyweight bout in the making. Last year’s epic 7 game series proved to be memorable as both teams refused to yield. Lob City is more poised this year to challenge for a legitimate shot at the championship. The Clippers currently lead the regular season series 2-1 with one more game left between the two conference foes. Perhaps a statement game by the Clippers is in order to prove they are worthy to compete for a title.

Series Winner: Clippers in 6

Thanks for reading.

#BrooksWeekly

-Kelton