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Content tagged 'prediction'

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    With another season right around the corner, It's high time to essay forth another college try at forecasting the NBA, but I will be limiting myself to playoff teams. After all, who can be arsed to write about the sad-sack teams, much less read about them?
    Eastern Conference

    1. Cleveland Cavaliers. The Big Three of LBJ, Irving, and Love did not find a comfort zone last season, but once Irivng and Love went down with injuries in the playoffs, Coach Blatt found the magic formula by going with an old school big lineup with Mozgov, Thompson and LBJ up front. This season, since Love and Irving will be healthy, exactly how Coach Blatt deploys the roster will be the major narrative of the season, after whether LBJ will be the first player to lead his team to six straight Finals berth in the modern era.

    2. Atlanta Hawks. Despite surprising last season, too many pundits remain unconvinced, dismissing the Hawks as a one-season wonder, a fluke. They will win due to a great coaching staff, a fantastic system, and a loaded roster, although there's no superstar who can bail them out when necessary. DeMarre Carroll is gone, but he's easily replaceable, as long the other players do it collectively.

    3. Toronto Raptors. The GM Ujiri has turned around the Raptors since he arrived from the Denver Nuggets, and they upgraded on defense with pitbulls in Carroll and Biyombo. With PG Lowry rededicated to a new regiment, the Raptors may surprise and muscle their way into the top.

    4. Miami Heat. With a formidable starting unit (Whiteside, Dragic, Deng, Bosh and Wade), and if the max guys stay healthy, the Heat can rise and challenge the incumbents in Cleveland. But the starters are far too fragile to survive 82 games.

    5. Chicago Bulls. The Bulls could reach as high as the second seed or fall low enough and struggle to make the playoffs. Hence, this middling spot is just right. Pau Gasol was happy to escape from LA, but he won't be featured much in newcomer coach Hoiberg's run and gun attack. But ultimately, it doesn't look like Derrick Rose will ever rediscover his old MVP form. Moreover, the offense will be better under Hoiberg, but their defense will suffer, and that spells a slow decline and a down cycle.

    6. Washington Wizards. A dynamic backcourt in Wall and Beal will not be enough to offset a shitty offseason. It looks like the management at Washington is just spinning wheels until the free agent class of 2016 looks their way.

    7. Milwaukee Bucks. They used to laugh at Coach Kidd, but after a few shrewd moves in the last two years, nobody is laughing now. Moreover, free agent Greg Monroe will offset the losses of Pachulia and Ilyasova, but there's not enough experience and chemistry to muscle into the top ranks just yet. The Bucks' loaded roster are cursed with potential, and will remain a team of the future.

    8. Final Playoff Spot. The final playoff seed will be clinched by a .500 team or worse. Indiana Pacers, if George is back to his old form, could make it. Orlando Magic with a loaded backcourt and a hard ass for coach, has a shot. The Pistons under Van Gundy do, too, but I think the Boston Celtics have the most realistic shot since they are rebuilding the right way - piece by piece, with patience, instead of waiting for a homerun in the draft. Moreover, their playoff experience last year will help immeasurably over the other also-rans.

    Western Conference

    1. San Antonio Spurs. Now that the Spurs have signed 3 time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge, they will have the best and most consistent and versatile scoring option since Duncan was an MVP caliber player 10 years ago. As long the Spurs stay healthy and Coach Pop doesn't sacrifice too many games for sake of rest, the Spurs will be the best in the league.

    2. Golden State Warriors. Due to an improved western conference, it's unlikely that the Warriors will win 67 games again, but they will remain serious championship contenders. While most will monitor the Warriors' small ball lineup and three point attempts, the real secret is whether the Warriors will play defense as hard as ever, or succumb to the disease of more and rest on their laurels.

    3. Oklahoma City Thunder. Kevin Durant and Westbrook are by far the best one-two punch in the league. If KD returns to form and Westbrook stays healthy, the Thunder will embark on a season-long revenge tour. But I have little faith in Coach Donovan, because the NBA is far more sophisticated than college basketball, which means he has to lean heavily on his assistants (former head coach Maurice Cheeks and Monty Williams).

    4. Los Angeles Clippers. Chris Paul is a great player, but he is beginning to decline. His monopolizing of the ball forces everyone into dependents. Moreover, the undersized Paul wears down in the playoffs every year, because of this very fact - he holds onto the ball until he finds an opportunity to get rid of it, and opposing teams bully him for it. So, the Clippers must adjust by realizing that Blake Griffin is their best player, and make him control the game instead like Charles Barkley used to 20 years ago.

    5. Houston Rockets. The Rockets were lucky last year, because they finished 5th in point differential in the West and 7th overall, but clinched the second seed in the West and overcame a 3-1 hole vs the Clippers, only to get waxed by the Warriors. The Rockets will contend behind MVP caliber Harden, but it really depends on Howard and his health to vault them beyond the others.

    6. Memphis Grizzlies. Despite being extremely physical and built for the playoff grind, they still lack consistent outside shooting. That will allow opposing teams to clog the paint and slow down the Grizzlies' bigmen without worrying about getting burned from beyond the arc.

    7. New Orleans Pelicans. Although the Unibrow Anthony Davis has posted some historic numbers, he has to learn how to translate numbers into team success, and lift his team to new levels. If the Pelicans crack 55 wins, Davis will be an MVP finalist.

    8. Utah Jazz. The Jazz finished strong last year according to a sustainable formula: improved defense. Gobert and Favors are terrific talents in the frontcourt, and the swingman Gordon Hayward will continue to mature into an all-around talent.

    Dallas Mavericks? Despite making the playoffs 14 of the last 15 years, the loss of DeAndre Jordan will be too hard to overcome, since they lost Tyson Chandler to the Suns. And who really thinks that Deron Williams will ever get his game back?

    Sacramento Kings? No doubt, their roster is an interesting mix, and Coach Karl has a history of maxing out results from teams with strong personalities, but there's way too much volatility in the front office to expect a legitimate playoff bid.

    Los Angeles Lakers? If Kobe Bryant was 10 years younger, he could lead this mediocre team into the playoffs. At best, he will push them towards .500, but his body cannot hold up for 82 games.

  2. Post on NFL 2014 Week 4 Picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    After two solid weeks of picking straight up, I tumbled to a below average 9-7 in Week 3. Billy Zima is on the other line.

    But we are all about results, not excuses. Bring on Week 4!

    Thursday Game of the Week
    Giants @ Deadskins
    With QB Cousins at the helm, the Skins are completely legit. He's thrown for 677 yards and 5 strikes so far in two games. The Giants OTOH have an illegitimate QB at the helm. He just can't make any passes over 10 yards anymore.
    Skins by 9

    Game of the Week

    Eagles @ 40 Whiners
    Logic says the comeback team should beat the choke artists. But logic never works in the NFL. QB Kaepernick will feast on that substandard Eagles defense and the Santa Clarita franchise will finally protect a lead.
    40 Whiners by 4

    Rest of the Week
    Packers @ Bears
    The Packers have defied expectations. So have the Bears. But both in opposite directions – QB Cutler looks like an All-Pro with those two great receivers, whereas QB Rodgers no longer can carry his team.
    Bears by 3

    Bills @ Texans
    Two similar teams, in that they're both more talented on defense than on offense, but the Bills have the superior QB in Manuel. QB Fitzpatrick just plain sucks the sweat off donkey balls. Moreover, RB Foster isn't expected to suit up.
    Bills by 4

    Panthers @ Ravens
    The Panthers are too injured to survive a smashmouth game with the bullies from Baltimore. Their RB corps is depleted, and plus QB Newton isn't completely healed.
    Ravens by 6

    Saints @ Cowboys
    This game will not be a classic high-scoring shootout, cuz QB Romo isn't healthy and QB Brees hasn't clicked on offense this season. But the Saints are back on the road, and they cannot control the Cowboys' offensive threats. However, it all could come down to a Romocoaster styled interception. Or Not.
    Cowboys by 1

    Patriots @ Chiefs
    The Patriots are no longer the offensive powerhouse of the yesteryear. Is QB Brady losing his golden touch? Plus the Chiefs are actually legitimate on defense, and have excellent pass rushers in LBs Hali and Houston. Expect another close game in Arrowhead.
    Patriots by 1

    Lame of the Week
    Titans @ Colts
    The Titans are getting worse every week, and they just lost QB Locker to a wrist injury. And the Colts will be back at .500 come Sunday night.
    Colts by 13

    Lions @ Jets
    The Jets coulda shoulda been 3-0 if not for a couple of plays. But the NFL never rewards coulda shoulda woulda excuses. Plus the Jets' secondary don't even have a snowball's chance in hell of covering Megatron.
    Lions by 11

    Dolphins @ Raiders
    We apologize to the British for suffering through another Shame of the Week game between two inferior teams.

    Jaguars @ Chargers
    The Jaguars might surprise people because they're finally starting QB Bortles. But he's still starting behind a shitty OL, and against a legitimate playoff contender in the Chargers.
    Chargers by 11

    Falcons @ Vikings
    QB Bridgewater is starting for the first time vs the Falcons, and might have a decent game cuz that defense isn't much to write about. But can the Vikings keep up with that Falcons offensive machine? Even at home?
    Falcons by 3

    Shame of the Week

    Buccaneers @ Steelers
    The Buccaneers will make this closer than 56-14, but not enough to steal a win. They just plain suck.
    Steelers by 13

    Last week: 9-7
    Season to date: 29-19
  3. Post on NFL 2011 Week 16 picks in Play

    By The Heretic, posted
    Sweet. Fancy. Moses. I survived Upset Sunday with a punch-drunk 8-6 record. But the games are getting better and crazier the closer we get to the playoffs!

    Game(s) of the week

    Giants @ Jets
    QB Manning fell flat on his face vs the Skins, and he absolutely must find his game before the Jets find him. RB Bradshaw is capable of controlling the clock, but considered an afterthought in the Giants' offense. RB Greene is more reliable than the overrated Cover Boy Sanchez and should get a larger share of the load. Coach Ryan should have his boys fired up and all aggressive, slavering for blood. If the Giants unleash Pierre Paul, the Jets are staying home for the playoffs.
    Giants by 3

    Eagles @ Cowboys
    QB Vick seems healthier now and making Vick-like plays. He'll be aware of LB Ware at all times, who absolutely has to be double-teamed for 60 minutes. RB McCoy will run amok over the 'Boys' run D as a result. OTOH, if Dallas' OL stops Cole & Babin, they'll win the game. RB Jones & Morris are solid and should get more action to neutralize the Eagles' cover defense. QB Romo is playing terrific, but when he realizes it's December....

    Falcons @ Saints
    Indeed, QB Ryan has plenty of weapons to decimate the Saints' gambling D, but his OL must keep him upright and comfy. The Saints' D rely on their scheme and their offense to outscore the opposition. QB Brees will shatter Marino's legendary 84 season, but he's lucky that the Saints actually do have a running game. Falcons will try to plug in the gaps and stop the run game with Lofton & Weatherspoon.
    Falcons by 1

    Pre-playoff game of the week

    Raiders @ Chiefs
    Despite the loss of RB McFadden, the Raiders still have Palmer & Bush. Palmer cannot afford to gamble, cuz the Chiefs are solid at cornerback and linebacker, especially with Tamba Hall. QB Orton led the upset of the year over the previously undefeated Packers, and should continue to avoid mistakes.
    Chiefs by 4

    Chargers @ Lions
    RB Matthews is a dangerous running back who scares both teams. His fumblin' ways has QB Rivers burdened more than ever, and he'll be facing a nasty Detroit D. WR Johnson was rediscovered last week to be uncoverable, and QB Stafford will try to continue this resurrection. Chargers are plenty quick off the edge, but their run D may be exposed if the Lions spread them out.
    Lions by 3

    Bears @ Packers
    The Bears don't have a QB or a RB, and the Packers will take full advantage with LB Matthews & blitzing secondaries. The Pack will bounce back from last week's collective turd in KC. They're missing 2 starters on OL, and they're facing a superior DE in Peppers. Expect QB Rodgers to bomb away and victimize their secondary.
    Pack by 17

    If nothing else is on

    Texans @ Colts
    Last week, QB Yates was exposed, but he should be able to manage against a craptactular defense. He has plenty of help in RB Tate & Foster, and the Texans OL must control the Colt's swift DL. Colt's QB pulled out a victory last week, but he's facing a top ranked defense in the Texans, who got embarrassed by the Panthers. So expect the Texans to bounce back big.
    Texans by 21

    Dolphins @ Pats
    RB Bush has been completely rejuvenated, and will be carrying the Dolphins against the Pats. Dolphins should be able to gain yardage cuz the Pats are soft vs the run, and this neutralizes Brady's high-octane offense. Too bad the Pats lost DE Carter, which means their pass rush has gone flaccid. The Dolphin's D is geared to stop the Pats with speed and size, and will attack weak spots on the OL. But they have nobody to counter the amazing Pats TE brothers.
    Pats by 7

    Jags @ Titans
    QB Gabbert is still a giant pile of dog shit, but he's had zero help. Now he's facing a stout defense in Tennessee full of solid, dilligent and skilled players. Jags have no choice but to call on RB MJD's number, which only play into Titans' hands. It matters not whether QB Hasselbeck or Locker plays, for either one will annihilate the Jags secondary.
    Titans by 17

    Browns @ Ravens
    Does it matter who starts at QB for the Browns? Despite a solid game last week, RB Hillis won't have much luck vs the Ravens. Since the Browns' passing game sucks, there's no chance of moving the ball at all. RB Rice is tremendous so far, and will be the main performer against the Browns. His OL won't have trouble with the Browns' flimsy DL, and QB Flacco won't have to do anything except order coffee & danish.
    Ravens by 14

    Broncos @ Bills
    Tebow was mortal last week, but he'll find the Bills' swiss cheese D a lot more forgiving. However, they have a stubborn NT in Dareus, who can collapse the pocket and force Tebow into the flat. The Bills are forced to ask QB Fitzpatrick to perform heroics, but he has collapsed after Halloween something terrible. Worse yet, the Broncos have two ferocious Doberman PInchers in Von MIller & Dumervil.
    Broncos by 13

    49ers @ Hawks
    49ers must be aware that the Hawks have a stout D and the best homefield in the league. RB Gore will have more responsibility, and 49ers will dump it off often to avoid from SS Thomas & Chanchellor. RB Lynch seems to be the most violent runner today, but the Seahawks still start a liability at QB. 49ers will squash the Hawks' weak OL and neutralize Lynch.
    49ers by 3

    Find a new hobby

    Bucs @ Panthers
    QB Freeman isn't the same guy from last year. Injury, confidence, curse, whatever, he needs to figure it out in the off-season. For now, he's facing a resurgent D in the Panthers. RB Blount is a scrappy runner capable of carrying the pile and wear down the Panther defense. OTOH, the Bucs have nobody to scare QB Newton. A depleted secondary means WR Smith or TE Shockey or Olsen will run amok.
    Panthers by 6

    Cards @ Bengals
    Cards should go with QB Skelton cuz he has better chemistry with the great WR Fitzgerald. The Bengals' pass rush lost their mojo when Leon Hall got injured. Since WR AJ Green is out, QB Dalton will have to adjust and feed RB Benson and find WR Gresham. The Cards' youthful secondary is fast improving into a fearsome unit.
    Bengals by 3

    Vikings @ Redskins
    RB Peterson should be ready to victimize the Redskins, and help out a slumping QB Ponder who will have problems vs the Redskins' superior pass rush, since his blockers are a joke. Kerrigan & Orakpo will invent new sack dances by the end of the game. New RB Helu is consistent and versatile, although QB Grossman is still there. Luckily he's only playing the Vikings.
    Skins by 11

    Rams @ Steelers
    Rams will not even manage to total 200 yards. QB Roethlisberger should rest his bum ankle. Steelers should win going away regardless.
    Steelers by 21