Posts Tagged ‘Sports Analysis’


Stiltz:
Ush, let’s start with the NFC East, one of the more talked about divisions in the NFL. There is always a lot of hype around the NFC East but lately it has been a battle of mediocrity. Let’s take a look at last season’s standings:
Philly 10-6
Dallas 8-8
NYG 7-9
Washington 3-13

2014 Schedule: NFC West(GIANT RED FLAG!!!!!!!!!! Potential four losses), AFC South
Eagles:
Last year was Chip Kelly’s first year in the NFL, and it was a successful transition for the former Duck. The Eagles will come out even faster this year, in my opinion, now that they are in year two of Chip’s system. Also, Chip is starting to build a team with his guys.
Even though they lost one of their stars in DeSean Jackson, they added some young blood in Matthews and Huff. Also, they made a nice trade acquiring Darren Sproles who should fit perfectly into Chip’s system. A concern for me is the Eagles’ secondary, they really didn’t get better this offseason. I’m not sure if Chip is trying to offset his subpar secondary with a strong front seven that will put a lot of pressure on the QB, but they need to be better this year. Last year they were ranked 32nd against the pass whereas they were a top ten team in rushing and passing offense, and rushing defense.

Dallas:
Dallas had a nice run at 8-8 the last couple of years and now it is time for a rebuild. They have some cap issues and really need to getter better through drafting and developing if they want to return to glory. I don’t know if Jerry will ever have patience for that, but that’s how the old Cowboys dynasty was built and it’s their only chance to get back in the playoffs.
Romo is coming off a back injury and fans are still coming off a disappointing draft that had the world holding its collective breath in anticipation of a potential JFF arrival into Jerry world. Is this a sign of Jerry changing? Nahhhh, he still has his hand up Jason Garrett’s ass as he controls the team from the owner’s box. After being stripped from playcalling duties, I would have just left if I was Garrett. This roster screams 4 wins to me. An already weak defense, suffered a major loss in Sean Lee and I don’t know where the playmaking will come from. Like always Romo will have a lot of pressure on his back, let’s hope it holds up.

New York GIANTS:
The Giants, can anybody figure them out? Everybody thought they were lulling us into their usual trap as a notorious late starter….just make it into the playoffs and then we’ll show up. Eli was the anti-Peyton last year and seemed on a mission to throw 50 interceptions. He ended up throwing 27! But still, he scares the hell out of all opponents in crunch time.
The Giants D should be even better this year, and their offense HAS to be better if they want to make the playoffs. Their O-line was atrocious last season and their running game was non-existent. I expect Eli to have a better year and like the addition of Beckham Jr., Rashad Jennings, and Rodgers-Cromartie. The Giants will surely need their Bye week in week 8 to prepare for a brutal three game schedule of home vs the Colts, @Seattle, and back home for the Niners. Seattle and the Niners in consecutive weeks, the football gods took a nice steamy dump on the city of New Yoooooorrk. Hey, at least they have two titles in the past 10 years.

Washington:
I love the hire of Gruden, and expect big things from their offense this year. RG3 obviously rushed back from his injury and he should be closer to the 2012 version that ignited the NFL world. He missed a lot of throws in the pocket last year, and it was hard to watch at times. He seems like a perfectionist, so there should be no reason for a repeat of that stinker. They gave up so much to get him in the draft and if he is not playing like an All-Pro they have ZERO chance.
The Redskins didn’t have a draft pick until the second round and they drafted some O-lineman to beef up that line. They really tried to add some defensive playmakers in free agency with Hatcher and Porter, in addition to the big signing of DJax. The Redskins have a formidable receiving corps now, and RG3 has no reason not to succeed. The Bengals offense rolled with Andy Dalton behind center, so I’m expecting the Redskins to be in the top 10 easily this year.
Prediction:
Eagles 10-6*
Redskins 9-7
Giants 6-10
Cowboys 4-12
*Playoff team

Tough pull for the NFC East, playing the NFC West is no easy task. I expect the Eagles to be better this year, even though their record remains the same. 10-6 is no reason to be ashamed. They would be in the driver’s seat again hosting a playoff game in January. What do you see happening in the NFC East this year, Ush?

USH:
Stiltz, great start to the NFL previews, and we agree for sure on the NFC East. I think this will almost certainly be an Eagles/Redskins race for the division, and I’m not sure why but as of now I’m going to give the nod to the Redskins here.

I really feel as though this division race can be decided by one or two key injuries for either team. These are especially of concern given the fact that these teams have to face the hard hitting, pain inflicting defenses of the NFC West. I’m giving the nod to the Redskins because of the new hire, and the impact that it will have on RG3. A blind man could see that RG3 and the Shanahan family had issues before, and even though they were able to say the right things in the media most of the time, the weight and impact of that relationship on their quarterback had to be extremely taxing, both on and off the field. Having a supportive and quarterback friendly coach is going to take RG3 to the next level this year. (Adding Desean Jackson doesn’t hurt)

So, this means that I have the Eagles coming in the two spot, but I do think they will compete for the lone wildcard spot left after the NFC West runner-up claims one. I could see it being the Eagles/NFC South runner-up vying for this spot, and it will really depend on Chip’s offense pulling one or two games out against their non conference opponents from the West. I’m still not sold on Chip’s philosophy that his system is greater than the parts, and that he can plug and play whoever into his system and still be successful. I don’t think there are enough playmakers at WR and TE to stress the great defenses they will face, and think that may be where they struggle. **For what it’s worth, I REALLY like the young kid Matthews, but think he needs a year or two before he’s ready to be an impact player against the best defenses in the league**

What is there to say about the Giants? I think their entire season boils down to the OL. If the OL can protect Eli, then Eli doesn’t get happy feet. If Eli doesn’t get happy feet, Eli doesn’t throw 4 picks a game and single-handedly sabotage my FFL work league. With the additions of OBJ and Rashaad Jennings, the Giants offense has plenty of fire power, but they’ll need the horses up front to play well.

I anticipate a fire sale happening in Dallas this year. Their, shall we say generous, defense will be even more so with the loss of Sean Lee to injury, and the departure of DeMarcus Ware to the Broncos, but who knows, maybe some unheralded young guys with massive chips on their shoulder will step in and be the feel good stories of the year leading the Dallas defense. (Don’t hold your breath) The offense will be among the highest producers for points and yards, but that will be mostly because they’re often playing from behind and Romo is throwing it 50 times a game. That’ll be an issue with his surgically repaired back standing back their susceptible to hits. I don’t anticipate the Cowboys approaching .500 this year, and think it’s entirely possible that Jason Garret is gone before the season is over.

Well that’s the NFC East, crazy how this division once dictated success in the league and it sure feels like one of the weaker divisions in the league this year.

On the 11th Episode of the PT Sports Debate we are Podcasting during the Sweet Sixteen. We talk about some of our surprises/locks that have happened during the NCAA Tournament. Then, we move on to the NFL and catch up on a lot of Free Agency moves that have occurred in the past couple of weeks. Finally, we talk a little bit about the draft and Johnny Football’s pro day.

Cheers
Stiltz & Ush

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On the 7th Episode of the PT Sports Debate Stiltz and Ush talk about all sorts of things ranging from the Grammys to the State of the Union. During this episode, we also talk about the Pro Bowl, Super Bowl (Prop Bets, Predictions, MVP, Matchups), and everything in between. This is our longest podcast yet, lasting about 50 minutes so we hope you enjoy and somehow make it to the end. Thanks for listening everybody, cheers!

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Apologies for my Tony Soprano impersonation on the mic with the breathing. Check out the podcast, let us know what you think. You can subscribe on podbean or iTunes. Just search for PTSportsDebate. I think we are getting the hang of this podcasting.

Listen to Ep. 2 NFL Week 17 picks now!

E-mail exchange the past couple of days

STILTZ:

Hey Ush,

What was your biggest surprise from yesterday’s games? We tied this week in picks regardless of what happens tonight since we both have the Niners.

USH:

I had three big surprises yesterday. First, was the Seahawks/Arizona game. Being able to go on the road to Seattle, and grind out a victory in spite of my man Heisman Palmer was very impressive. It’s no secret that the Arizona defense is one of the best and most physical in the league, but to see them absolutely bully the Seahawks at home was unexpected. The Cardinals exposed the Seahawks weakness, which is their WR corps. By being physical and being disciplined in their pursuit of Russel Wilson, they were able to prevent the Seahawks from getting into a flow completely.

Secondly, I was surprised with the Saints/Panthers game. Not with the outcome, it was sure to be a close game between two of the top teams in the NFC, but first, the damn near hurricane that it was played in for much of the game, and then the fact that Cam Newton was able to engineer a closing seconds game winning drive to end it. It seemed like a reversal of roles to me. Cam looked uncomfortable and out of sync all game, but like the gamer that he is started slinging it with the game on the line to propel his team to victory. Two additional things: jesus did Carolina’s stadium look like an absolute sh*thole. There were clips of the water just pouring through holes in the upper decks onto the seats below which would have had me PISSED if I was anywhere near those seats. Also, no way anything that allows that much water to pour through can be safe. Second, Carolina’s Defense, and specifically Luke Keuchly is a damn beast.

**EDITOR’S NOTE: USH’S DREAM SEAT FOR THE PANTHERS GAME**

Third, was the absolute no shows by Chicago and Ravens. Both teams with a lot to play for, and they got their asses kicked. Inexcusable.

What about you man? Remember to pour some out for Tony Romo today, bummed to hear about his injury, but as a non Cowboys fan I hope that the fans realize what an awesome QB they have in him and appreciate him a little more when he comes back

STILTZ:

Yeah, the Romo injury sucks for all football fans. Whether you like him or not, the guy is a gamer. As much as the Eagles want to win the division, you know they wanted to beat the Cowboys with Romo at the helm. For as much crap as everybody gives the guy, he keeps the Cowboys in every game and that’s saying something with that horrendous defense they have this year. He throws the game winning touchdown yesterday, but the only story out of that game is his injury.

The Cardinals are easily one of the hottest teams in football and they may end up watching the playoffs from home. Top three defenses in the league right now: Seattle, Carolina and Arizona? I just love the way they are playing football, even with an over the hill Palmer. One of my biggest surprises is how vulnerable all of the potential playoff teams are looking. Seattle has some serious o-line issues and Percy Harvin missing the year has hurt them tremendously. They are desperate for a playmaker on the outside. Do you trust any of these teams?
We all know Denver’s defense has had the benefit of one of the top scoring offenses in the history of the NFL, and with Von Miller sidelined with a torn ACL I don’t know how far they can make it in the playoffs anymore. I’m wondering which team is going to step up here and make a run. With all of the injuries, it’s going to come down to good QB play, defense, and coaching. Of course it sounds simple, but there just aren’t many good coaches in the league or QBs for that matter.
So let’s get a list of pretenders or contenders. Here are mine, so I’m going to just predict who will be in the playoffs or not.
Pretenders:
Chiefs- Alex Smith can only get you so far. This week proved once again if the Chiefs are down, they are not coming back. They just can’t get the ball down the field fast enough. I don’t trust that defense, and their pass rush has done nothing as of late.
Bengals- Andy Dalton isn’t going to get it done. With an average QB like Dalton you really need an elite defense to mask his faults. Look at the 2003 Bucs, Brad Johnson at QB but they had the best defense in the league. 2000 Ravens, one of the best defenses of all time but Dilfer at QB. The Bengals defense is good but they aren’t great.
Carolina- I like their defense but question marks at Coach and QB for me. It was nice to see Cam make a game winning drive after playing poorly the entire game but I don’t think he’s ready to make any sort of run in the playoffs.
New Orleans- They’ve done it in the past but they had home field advantage that year. Saints having to potentially win 4 road games is too much to ask.
Dolphins- I don’t trust Tannehill in a big game, the Dolphins secondary, or the coach.
Contenders:
Seattle, San Fran, Pats- No reason needed
Eagles- Chip’s done a great job this year, the players have bought in and they love playing for him. Once that offense gets going we saw what could happen. The only thing that concerns me is the same thing that worried me when he was in the NCAA. We all saw what happened when the Ducks played Alabama/Stanford. Philly vs Seattle/San Fran, might be tough to watch for Eagles fans.
Colts- Last year they won all the close ones, this year they find ways to come back. They can be dominant on both sides of the ball and I love me some Andrew the giant. Sneaky AFC champ pick here
Broncos- Close to being a pretender with me just based off Peyton’s play in the winter and playoffs. You compound that with their defense and they aren’t that great. Only reason I have him here is the fact I think the AFC is soft so they can at least make it to the AFC Championship game.
Packers- Of course they turn into a pretender if Aaron doesn’t return. However, if he comes back that whole team will be playing with new life. Cobb even has a shot at returning in the playoffs which would make their offense that much better. Their defense is their weak spot, but with ARod and Lacy controlling TOP I think they can make a run.
7 contenders, 5 pretenders… Not bad. Thoughts on your contenders and pretenders?
USH:
To me, there are far less contenders, and way more pretenders. However, as we’ve seen in the past few years, one of these pretenders can get hot and win it all.

Contenders:
Seattle, Broncos, Colts, Pats
I was tempted to add both Carolina and New Orleans to this list, Carolina has a championship defense that will keep them in any game, and New Orleans has Drew Breeeeeeees. Cam and the defense are capable of leading them to the championship, but they lack the playmakers necessary, so they just miss. The Saints just have not been playing their best football late in the year, and that, combined with the fact that they will have to win games on the road, keeps them off the list for me.
Seattle is a contender for me for the obvious reasons: Sick defense, great running game, great young QB, best home field advantage in the NFL. All of these are legitimate reasons, but one reason I think they are MORE of a contender this week than they were a week ago is their loss to the Cardinals. I think it was a big wakeup call for them, and will be sobering enough to drive them to a championship. Their aura at home, along with Russel Wilson’s undefeated record, was broken. I think that this makes them step back as a team and realize that their ticket to the super bowl does not get punched when they clinch home field, and that will refocus this team when they may not have been before the loss.
The Broncos losing Von Miller obviously hurts them. Their defense has just been “good enough” all year as it is, and losing his ability to play in space and pressure the QB won’t help things. With the offense Peyton has, they will be in every game however. Welker will be healthy, and I think their loss to the Pats will teach them something about winning games in bad weather. During that game, the Broncos didn’t flex their normal game plan of passes to the perimeter and shots downfield. Those throws are most easily affected by the elements, and need to be pin point passes most often. What the Pats do when the weather gets bad is run a lot of dig routes to the inside, and quick hitches that allow Touchdown Tommy to drive the ball short distances and put it on his receivers. When the weather gets poor, I look for the Broncos to start doing this as well.
The Colts might be a surprising pick here, but this is how much I love Andrew Luck. Their defense is underrated, and with the emergence of Donald Brown they have been able to maintain a level of balance that helps Luck dominate. This is my pick for that lower seed to make a super bowl run.
New England will be a contender as long as they have Brady and Belichek. It is amazing how they have been able to adapt and cope with their injuries this year. Their three headed running game has been very effective recently, and Edelman and Amendola have provided the shiftiness and break off the line necessary to get the quick 5-8 yards hits that move the chains. Combine this with one of the best shut down defenders in the league, their ability to go into any environment and play well, and the coldest mo fo in the league under center and you have a super bowl combination. New England is likely the only team in the playoffs (ok maybe the Packers if they get there) that will be COMFORTABLE if its snowing or below zero out. That is a HUGE advantage.
Well Stiltz, Merry Christmas brother. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of our friends and troops downrange, as well as their families and friends at home.