Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Heisman Watch: Week 4

With the season now well underway, talk about the Heisman race can really heat up. No surprises, really, at this point in the season. Besides of course that so far I was spot on in my preseason predictions. Here's a list of top five Heisman candidates, contingent upon not just their current performance but how I see them playing (and thus making their case) in the next couple of weeks. I also tried to spice it up a little, positionally. 

Absolute no doubter
Marcus Mariota is a no doubter at the top of this list. It was a couple of weeks ago when the to date biggest game of the year was on display in Michigan St. vs Oregon, and Mariota did not hurt his case. As I was taught when a wee lad, Heisman moments make Heisman campaigns. Well, Mariota had his moment. Down 24-18 at the half, with the world whispering of an upset in the making and the producers on sports center licking their chops at some "not so mighty ducks" puns, Mariota came out of the locker room and played one of the better halves of football we've seen in a while. He dropped a casual 28 in a half to finish with a resounding 46-27 win over the then 7th ranked Spartans. Suffice it to say this was an awesome game, in which Mariota finished with 318 yards and 3 touchdowns, against one of the better defenses in the country. To top that off, last week he missed a grand total of 4 passes against Wyoming en route to a 48-14 victory, with four total touchdowns, good for an almost perfect performance. Not hurting his chances, certainly. Watch for Mariota to make another statement this week as the Ducks travel to Washington St, a respectable Pac 12 foe. For now, he's miles ahead of the pack. 

Kenny Hill, the sophomore quarterback from Texas A&M is a surprising candidate for the award this year. In this horse race, they're coming around the far turn and he's starting to make his move on the heavy favorite. But the more you think about it, the more it looks like the Heisman is his for the taking. He absolutely has the team for it, (the Aggies are currently ranked sixth and they don't look like they want to stop any time soon) and in the SEC he certainly has the schedule, with the likes of Alabama, Auburn, LSU and Missouri. All those teams are national contenders, and if Hill and the Aggies run the table (I'm not saying that's going to happen) it will be hard to deny that he's the most valuable player in college football. He has already exhibited that uncanny penchant for dazzling, diverse displays of offensive fireworks we see from, for example, the Ducks. The only thing that separates Mariota from Hill is currently Mariota's history; we know Mariota can and will drop video game numbers, because he's been doing it for a while now. Hill, to his credit, has 11 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, and 1,094 yards passing in 3 games this season, with a completion percentage nearing 70%, but the size of his sample size holds him back, for now. Still that's a trend we'd like to see continue. So watch him all season, because we'll see some great games in which he features as prominently as M&M's in trail mix. 
"Johnny Football who?"

Now we drop off a bit, but don't tell Jameis Winston that. Statistically, and unfairly, I don't think Winston has another trip to New York in him. He has of course been effective in two games so far this season, but has passed for only 3 touchdowns compared with 2 interceptions. Not a ratio that will win the award this season, with other outstanding quarterbacks in the mix. 

[Now the horses back here are gasping for breath, and we (the crowd) are vaguely aware that it is the same race, but on some level unsure if they're even viable contenders. We don't spend too much time worrying about them though, preferring the stallions who are something like 40 lengths ahead, for the moment.] 

He does that really, really well
Amari Cooper is the currently sexy Heisman pick, but he's by no one's measure the frontrunner. What he is is an outrageously athletic wideout on a great team, who made his debut a couple of years ago and has been in the back of mind ever since. He is also off to a blazing start, with 33 catches and 454 yards in three games. That's absolutely ridiculous on a team and under a coach that loves to run, against stingy SEC secondaries. He'll stay on my list of top five players until he cools off, and I can't predict when that'll happen. This guy's an animal. 

Todd Gurley is on my list as the best running back in contention. If I had my way, however, he wouldn't be up here. His sixth ranked Bulldogs just lost to rival 24 South Carolina, for starters, and that is a heavy mark against him already. He's averaging over 100 yards a game, and in the SEC that is worth watching of course, with statement performances brewing in the future, but that's a tough hit to take to your chances this early in the season. 






Sunday, September 14, 2014

NFL Week 2 Predictions

Last week: We went 9-7 with our prediction from last week, which amounts to a 56.25% win percentage. Clearly, we are hoping to do much better this week.

Ravens over Steelers: For the second straight week in a row, we correctly predicted the winner of the Thursday Night Football game. Our prediction to win the AFC North, the Baltimore Ravens, will be tied for first place in the division if Cincinnati loses their Week 2 game against Atlanta.

Bills over Dolphins: The Miami Dolphins managed to dethrone the New England Patriots last weekend from atop the AFC East by winning at home in a relatively dominant fashion. Yet the Buffalo Bills should not be taken lightly after defeating the Chicago Bears in Week 1.

Lions over Panthers: The Detroit Lions managed to thrash the New York Giants on Monday Night Football last game through the air, and will likely do the same this week against Carolina. While Carolina’s defense is much more talented, Detroit just has too many offensive weapons, and Detroit’s defensive line will also be able to pressure injured quarterback Cam Newton playing in his first game of the season.
Bengals over Falcons: Yes, the Falcons managed to beat their division rivals in Week 1, the New Orleans Saints, but now they will be travelling into Cincinnati, a place where the Bengals did not lose during the regular season in 2013. The Bengals have a much better defense than New Orleans, and the combination of Andy Dalton and AJ Green will be tough to beat.

Saints over Browns: Both teams lost in relatively close games during Week 1, but there is not doubt in my mind that the New Orleans Saints will be the better team on Sunday. Expect Drew Brees and Jimmy Graham to have big games.

Patriots over Vikings: Without star running back Adrian Peterson, this Vikings team will certainly have trouble getting anything going on offense. While the Patriots looked horrible in their season opener, I expect them to win this game in a dominant fashion. Mortal lock of the week.

Cardinals over Giants: The Arizona Cardinals managed to beat the San Diego Chargers, a playoff team last season, whereas the New York Giants looked horrendous offensively and defensively against the Lions. The Cardinals are one of the more underrated teams in football, and I expect them to win this game.

Cowboys over Titans: The Dallas Cowboys certainly looked bad in their season opener against San Francisco, but if Dez Bryant is able to play in the entire game this weekend, Dallas’ offense is sure to fair well against Tennessee; however, don’t take the Titans lightly, who defeated Kansas City in Week 1.

Redskins over Jaguars: After a poor showing against a strong pass rush in Houston, RGIII has a chance to prove himself against the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team not known for their defense. RGIII could very well have a great game.

Seahawks over Chargers: The San Diego Chargers have a very well rounded offense, but the Seattle Seahawks are possibly the most well-rounded team of the past 5 years. The Legion of Boom will likely be able to suppress Phillip Rivers and the San Diego passing game.

Buccaneers over Rams: Both teams have a massive hole to fill at quarterback, where St Louis’ second-string quarterback, Shaun Hill, is marked as questionable for Sunday’s game. This will be a tough game to predict, but I believe Tampa Bay has a reasonable amount of talent on this roster, enough to earn them the win.

Broncos over Chiefs: The Kansas City Chiefs looked horrendous in their season opener against the Titans, while the Denver Broncos played like Super Bowl contenders yet again. Plus, Wes Welker is set to return for Sunday’s game. Advantage Denver.

Packers over Jets: While the Jets managed to squeak by the Oakland Raiders in Week 1, they will be facing a much more talented team this week in Green Bay. Aaron Rodgers and Eddie Lacy both struggled on offense against Seattle, but I believe the will both bounce back to have above-average games.
Texans over Raiders: The Texans suffered an enormous loss last weekend in their victory over Washington, where defensive end Jadeveon Clowney is now expected to miss 6-8 weeks due to injury. Yet with Arian Foster back from his season ending injury, I believe they will be able to beat Oakland on the road.

49ers over Bears: The San Francisco offense was clicking on all cylinders last weekend against the Dallas Cowboys defense, and things are bound to continue into Week 2 with Chicago coming to town. Chicago did not play their best football against Tennessee last weekend, but even if they have a better performance against San Fran, it will be tough to defeat this 49ers team.

Colts over Eagles: While Peyton Manning and the Broncos got off to an early lead last Sunday Night, the Colts almost gave them a run for their money at the end, but to no avail. This week will be different, as Indy will dominate the Philadelphia Eagles defense throughout the majority of the game.

Last Week: 9-7 (56.25%)

Saturday, September 13, 2014

2014-2015 Start 'Em Sit 'Em (Week 2)

Start 'Em:

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Miami Dolphins - Coming into the season, it would have been advised to stay away from the Dolphins' running backs, considering both Moreno and Lamar Miller are fairly talented players and seemed destined to share the running burden equally. However, against the Patriots, Moreno received 23 carries to Miller's 11 and the Dolphins in general seemed extremely dedicated to the run game. This situation may turn into the sort of situation that we have in Detroit, where Joique Bell and Reggie Bush have managed to coexist as good valuable options by taking up different roles. Similarly, while Knowshon will dominate total carries and probably red zone carries, Miller may manage to make enough of a fantasy impact on third downs and passes to warrant consideration. Against a mediocre Bills defense this week expect Moreno (and Miller) to put up an impressive performance.

Andy Dalton, QB, Cincinnati Bengals - Dalton had an up-and-down week one, but one big play to A.J. Green completely redeemed him. You can expect that big play to rear its head again, as Dalton to Green may be the best deep ball combo in the league after Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson. Cincinnati's game against the Falcons this week should be a shootout, which plays directly into the hands of Dalton's fantasy owners as Dalton is likely to be airing the ball out early and often. Dalton may be your number one QB or he may be your number two, but either way you should seriously considering starting him this week.

Michael Floyd, WR, Arizona Cardinals - Week 1 saw Michael Floyd gain nearly six times as many yards as fellow wideout Larry Fitzgerald, which is huge in that it shows the Cardinals' dedication to feeding Floyd the ball. Of course, this lopsided production is not to be expected most weeks, but Floyd should expect to be fairly equal to Fitzgerald in terms of targets by the end of the year. Some weeks, it would be wise to let Floyd stay on the bench for your fantasy team, but going up against the Giants' horrible pass defense will allow for both Floyd and Fitzgerald to prosper, and maybe even get in the end zone.

Sit 'Em:

Zac Stacy, RB, St. Louis Rams - I actually liked Stacy a lot coming into the season, but his performance in week 1 will have owners remarkably worried. Stacy actually didn't play poorly, but he was only granted with 11 rushes, while Benjamin Cunningham, the team's other running back, was somehow on the field for more plays than Stacy. The Rams' stunning desire to play an undrafted free agent over an established player has to have fantasy owners extremely confused. While I still think that Stacy will put together a half-decent campaign this year, his production is now much more questionable than it was a week ago and owners should proceed with caution. A tough matchup against the Buccaneers defense isn't going to aid Stacy in his return to stardom, so I'd suggest letting him stay on your bench this week and reconsidering his status the following week.

Philip Rivers, QB, San Diego Chargers - It should be a given that any quarterback going up against the Seahawks defense needs to be out of your starting lineup, and Philip Rivers is no different. Rivers didn't look great against Arizona in week 1 and that probably won't improve much in week 2. The amount of viable fantasy football options at quarterback right now is incredible, so I'd scour the waiver wires for a better option because you can surely find one.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Buffalo Bills - Watkins' ribs are now healthy and he remains the Bills only legitimate receiving option, but I am still not ready to call him a legitimate fantasy receiving option. I do expect him to break out at some point, but until he does, I'd recommend keeping him on your bench. The Bills go up against the Dolphins this week, who managed to swallow up the Patriots' potent passing game last week, so don't expect big things out of Watkins just yet.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Adrian Peterson Indicted on Charges of Reckless or Negligent Injury to a Child

Earlier this afternoon, All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson was indicted in Texas on charges of reckless or negligent injury towards a child. According to police, Adrian Peterson has cooperated with law enforcement thus far, yet the running back has not been arrested despite the recently released warrant for his arrest. Supposedly, Peterson used a "switch" to spank his son as a form of punishment. The situation is somewhat similar to the Ray Rice beating from several months ago, an issue that was re-energized when the elevator video was released by TMZ during this past week. Within the past several minutes, the Vikings have announced that Peterson has been deactivated before Sunday's game against the Patriots.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

NFL Week 1 Predictions

Seahawks over Packers: Even though this game already happened, our original prediction for the Seahawks-Packers was a Seattle victory by a score of 14-13. While we got the score wrong, getting the first game right is a great way to start off the season.

Falcons over Saints: Even though the Falcons are coming off of an off-season (which might be an understatement), games against the Saints are aways a different story. Julio Jones is returning from his season-ending injury, so expect the Falcons' passing game to be in full form to start off the season.

Ravens over Bengals: The Baltimore Ravens have many new weapons at receiver for quarterback Joe Flacco, and while Rice may be suspended at running back, receiver Steve Smith and tight end Dennis Pitta are sure to add a new dimension to this offense.

Bears over Bills: The Chicago Bears have an excellent passing game thanks to receivers Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall, while they are also able to offset the pass thanks to Matt Forte at running back. Also, their defense has many big names on the roster. Mortal lock of the week.

Redskins over Texans: While the Texans may have a lot of great talent on their defensive line, the offense has too many question marks for me to give them the win over RGIII and the Redskins. Washington has many offensive weapons, which leads me to believe that they will start off the season on a high note.

Chiefs over Titans: The Kansas City Chiefs are certainly the more talented teams, and seeing how they are at home, there is no way the Tennessee Titans can march into Kansas City and beat Alex Smith and the Chiefs.

Patriots over Dolphins: The New England Patriots' offense almost always starts off the season slowly, and away games in Miami can also be a trap game for the Patriots, yet I believe the Patriots have so much talent on this roster that they will manage to get the W to start off the year.

Jets over Raiders: The New York Jets have a young but extremely talented defensive line that can push around rookie quarterback David Carr. Geno Smith is not a great starting QB, but he has several weapons that can make him be a relatively above-average quarterback.

Steelers over Browns: Ben Roethlisbereger and the Pittsburgh Steelers did not have the start they would have liked last year, but they are most definitely going to get the victory over Brian Hoyer and the Browns. By the end of the game, Cleveland fans will be yelling for Johnny Football to be put in.

Eagles over Jaguars: Quarterback Nick Foles had a sensational season last year when he threw for 27 touchdowns with just 2 interceptions. The Eagles managed to win the NFC East, in stark contrast to the Jacksonville Jaguars, who missed out on playoff contention yet again.

Rams over Vikings: While the Rams took a big hit at quarterback this offseason by losing Sam Bradford, they were still in the hunt for a wild card sport last season without him. The defensive line will do a decent job shutting down AP, but they will most certainly bump around Matt Cassel in the pocket.

49ers over Cowboys: The 49ers did not play well during the preseason, which has led some people to doubt this team entering Week 1; however, they clearly have more talent on their depth chart than the Cowboys, so I expect Kaepernick and the 49ers offense to thrash Dallas' defense.

Panthers over Buccaneers: The Carolina Panthers may very well be without Cam Newton in today's game, so if in fact he does not play, I predict the Tampa Buccaneers to get the win. Yet if Newton is playing, Carolina's superior offense and defense will earn them the victory over Tampa.

Broncos over Colts: While Andrew Luck and the Colts managed to beat the Broncos last season, the Broncos are tough to beat at home due to the higher altitude. Just look at last season: the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens let Peyton Manning score 7 touchdowns on opening night.

Lions over Giants: The Detroit Lions will likely have the best passing game in all of football this season thanks to weapons like Calvin Johnson, Eric Ebron, Golden Tate, and Reggie Bush at running back. The Giants have been implementing a new offense, so it will certainly take a few games to get used to.

Chargers over Cardinals: The Chargers have a ton of weapons of offense, with quarterback Phillip Rivers, running back Ryan Matthews, and receivers Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates. The Cardinals are certainly this year's sleeper team, but I think San Diego gets the W.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

2014-2015 Start 'Em Sit 'Em (Week 1)

Start 'Em:

Colin Kaepernick, QB, San Francisco 49ers - In many 8 or 10 team leagues, Kaepernick will have ended up as a high-end backup. However, this week he shouldn't be sitting on your bench, regardless of what quarterback you need to bench to make way for him in the starting lineup. Kaepernick is going up against a Cowboys defense that was one of the worst pass defenses in the entire NFL last season and did very little to improve that over the offseason.

Mark Ingram, RB, New Orleans Saints - The Saints' running back situation has been somewhat of a carousel over the last few years, with no one back able to cement himself as a reliable player at the position. This preseason, though, Mark Ingram has been dominant, and the 2011 first round draft pick is finally looking like he is going to live up to his potential. What's remarkable about this situation is that, despite the lack of premier running backs in the NFL, Ingram hasn't even been picked up in 100 percent of leagues. If he's still a free agent in your league, you need to pick him up NOW, and maybe even consider him for your RB2 or flex spot as he has a fairly easy matchup against the Falcons.

Marquise Lee, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars - Now that Cecil Shorts has been labeled as "out" for the game against the Eagles and Ace Sanders has been suspended for the first four games, Lee is the only half-respectable fantasy target for the Jags, and he's currently available in most ESPN leagues. You would have to be fairly desperate for a flex spot to pull this move, but he is going up against one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL (that of the Philadelphia Eagles) and Chad Henne has to throw to someone, right? Right? RIGHT?

Sit 'Em:

Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore Ravens - My honest pick for a "sit 'em" quarterback this week would have been Aaron Rodgers, but considering he already played and sorely underperformed, that would really be cheating. So, here I'll tell you to sit Joe Flacco, but only if you have a fairly strong backup. Flacco doesn't have a great matchup against the Bengals, but I doubt that he'll absolutely implode. Thus, proceed with caution when sitting Flacco, but, in many situations it would probably be the right move.

DeAngelo Williams, RB,  Carolina Panthers - Williams' yard totals should be decent enough this year, but with Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, and Cam Newton taking away from his red zone carries, he doesn't really hold much value unless one of the others gets injured or he has a great matchup. This week certainly isn't a good matchup, as Williams will go up against a Buccaneers' run defense that was one of the better run units in the entire league last year.

Golden Tate, WR, Detroit Lions - Tate was a legitimate WR2 last season, but that was in Seattle, where other wide receiver options were often scarce. In Detroit, other wide receiver options will be anything but scarce, as the best wide receiver in the NFL, Calvin Johnson, will demand most of the targets. In games against weak pass defenses Tate might be worth a look, but he goes up against the Giants this week, who were actually fairly impressive on pass defense last season. Tate may end up being a solid spot-start wide receiver, but this week is one of those weeks when you should keep him on your bench.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Notre Dame's Season on the Rocks: A Fan's Take

Every year without fail, Notre Dame provides a veritable fount of college football controversy and excitement. They've mattered since the beginning of the game, and nowadays that gives the anti-Domers ammunition, as they use favorite terms like archaic and irrelevant. But love them or hate them, you're talking about them, so they're important. While we (you should know from the outset that I am a loyal fan of the Irish, through thick and, yes, thin) still don't mention the great debacle of January 2013, this is a team that, when one neatly glances over that briefest of hiccups on a very national stage, has looked stronger and stronger recently. Going into the 2013 season, everyone had high hopes. Everett Golson had struggled late, sure, but it was his defense who carried the team to a national championship berth anyways (a defense led by, that's right, Manti Te'o. It's almost hard to continue at this point, but I'll try). Regardless, he had matured, the defense looked strong, and everything was rosy, even after an egg laying of tremendous proportions against Alabama.

Then Golson cheated. I used to know all the details, but a mercifully selective memory has erased them from my mind. An academic infraction? Really? The enormous, money making machine that is college football is going to take a big hit because some 19 year old had someone else write his final paper on his favorite chapter of Harry Potter? But suspended he was, to be exact because of "poor academic judgement" on a test.
Golson was suspended for the entire 2013 season. 
This is the life of a Notre Dame fan. I do in fact recall my reactions when I heard of Golson's suspension. I raised my eyes to the heavens, quietly walked out my door, screamed briefly, and went for a walk. This was the season! The trend! The quarterback! The stars had aligned, until Golson was out, and Tommy Rees (don't ask) led the team to a respectable 9-4 record, with a final AP ranking of 20th. This was not the Notre Dame season of my dreams, nor anyone's. Meanwhile a tiny voice in the back of my mind was quietly asking me if I was happy that my team applied this sort of standard for a student-athlete, even to its most important player. I couldn't really decide.

Already at the end of that 2013 season, I recall looking forward to this upcoming one with considerable interest, ever the optimist. The SEC had been vanquished on the national stage. The rising sophomore class was the best recruiting class in the country when they were first enrolled. These men can certainly make a difference, most notably outside linebacker Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame's best defensive player already. There was and is a lot to be excited about for the upcoming Irish season.

But of course, as soon as my hopes were raised, with equal, almost pitiful suddenness they were dashed. This came with the news that wideout DaVaris Daniels and defensive captain KeiVarae Russell were to be suspended for the season, for yet another "academic violation." Thankfully, since then it appears that the suspension is temporary and a reinstatement is likely. But for now their eligibility is in some doubt, and if ultimately these two men do not play Notre Dame will not have a legitimate chance at a playoff berth-Daniels was second on the team in receiving yards last year (behind TJ Jones, now drafted by the Lions) and Russell was one of the best cornerbacks in the country.
Some met this with glee, others dismay, and others frustration. I was inclined to a healthy mix of the last two. But more than just fans of Notre Dame should be sad to hear that their season is in peril. A good Notre Dame team is good for college football. Call me a homer, but I can hopefully provide a decent argument for this. As I have clearly shown above, Notre Dame, probably more than any other large football program in the country, values its student athletes as just that. For most top 25 programs in the country, the notion of the student athlete is a myth of laughable scale. Of course there is plenty of "academic support" for football players in Southbend, and I am not saying that every member of the team takes legitimate classes and works hard in the classroom, but I am absolutely saying that Notre Dame is very committed to academic standards. This is unequivocally proven by their commitment to the suspension of key players. Certainly I can't remember many other players at any other big football schools being suspended for cheating on tests and papers. Ask yourself honestly if an SEC school would suspend its starting quarterback (for an entire season!), top receiver, and defensive captain in the course of two years for anything other than a felony. The discrepancy is astonishing.

In comparison, a recent 146 word paper written by a UNC football player reads as follows, with no editing on my part. Note the grammatical prowess on display.

On the evening of December Rosa Parks decided that she was going to sit in the  white people section on the bus in Montgomery, Alabama. During this time blacks had to give up there seats to whites when more whites got on the bus. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Her and the bus driver began to talk and the conversation went like this. “Let me have those front seats” said the driver. She didn’t get up and told the driver that she was tired of giving her seat to white people. “I’m going to have you arrested,” said the driver. “You may do that,” Rosa Parks responded. Two white policemen came in and Rosa Parks asked them “why do you all push us around?” The police officer replied and said “I don’t know, but the law is the law and you’re under arrest.
The essay received an A minus, and it was the final and only grade for the class.  It was made scandalously public by a whistleblower who noted that UNC had created fake classes for its student athletes.

Most people can agree that this is wrong. Most can also say that some sort of academic standard should be imposed on student athletes, if we are to maintain the pretense of collegiate football. Notre Dame is the place that most quickly comes to mind when such arguments are made. A strong Notre Dame team means a strong year in college football. If you care to see college football preserved as it currently stands, in all its tradition and its history of the student athlete, an entirely different entity than any professional sport, you care to see Notre Dame succeed. Notre Dame's success proves, in effect, that the current college football model is effective. Without getting into the debate about payment or no payment (I'll do so at a later date) if you love college football then please, acknowledge some gratitude (however grudging) to the Fighting Irish for doing it right.
I rest my case, and Michigan sucks. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

2015 NBA Finals Prediction

          Last year the best team won the NBA Championship. This year, I predict the same will happen again. the San Antonio Spurs resigned all of their key players, and should stay atop the Western Conference until another proves that they can beat the defending champions. It is really hard to see that happening, as the Spurs have the defense, three-point shooting, strong bench play, veteran leadership and experience, and a core of proven winners who play incredibly well together for the best coach in the league.
          The Eastern Conference, on the other hand, has seen quite the mashup over the offseason, with the moving of LeBron James back home to Cleveland, and the balance of power shifting away from Miami to be more evenly spread out throughout the entire conference. The Cavaliers will be expected by many to win the conference, although the Bulls, Heat, and Wizards will have something to say about that. The Bulls have an incredibly talented roster, with a deep group of big men and some good young talent on the perimeter. They also have the former MVP of the league in Derrick Rose, who FINALLY seems to be healthy and ready to go. Although the injury-prone label certainly applies to him, if Rose is around when the playoffs start, that is all the matters and he is a true difference maker.

Spurs Predicted Lineup:

Tony Parker, PG
Danny Green, SG
Kawhi Leonard, SF
Tim Duncan, PF
Thiago Splitter, C

Key Reserves:

Manu Ginobili, SG
Boris Diaw, F/C
Marco Belinelli, SG
Patty Mills, PG
Kyle Anderson, G/F

Bulls Predicted Lineup:

Derrick Rose, PG
Jimmy Butler, SG
Mike Dunleavy, SF
Pau Gasol, PF
Joakim Noah, C

Key Reserves:

Taj Gibson, PF
Nikola Mirotic, PF
Kirk Hinrich, PG
Doug McDermott, SF

          Looking at these projected lineups, the Bulls have certainly enough talent to get them through the Eastern Conference, and have been together long enough with the same coach that they will gel immediately. The rookie Doug McDermott offers some intriguing possibilities for a team that is so strong defensively but last year needed other weapons on offense. With so much focus on Rose, McDermott should be able to thrive on the wing and put up some huge offensive numbers. The Spurs have a talented small forward of their own in Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who could very easily take the jump this year to become a league MVP candidate. He is an all-around talented player who will carry the Spurs this year in order to give their veterans some rest until the playoffs. The Spurs also have such depth on the bench that it seems impossible, even for Chicago and its solid role-players like Taj Gibson and Mike Dunleavy, for any other team to come out on top in a best-of-seven series.

Finals Prediction

Spurs over Bulls: 4-2

Friday, August 29, 2014

2015 Super Bowl Prediction

In our previous post, we stated that the New England Patriots and the San Francisco 49ers are the two teams that we think will play in the upcoming Super Bowl. Recently, the two teams have near identical track records in the postseason, where both New England and San Francisco have played in three consecutive AFC and NFC Championship Games, respectively. Both quarterbacks Tom Brady and Colin Kaepernick have played in a Super Bowl before, but while Kaep lost to the Ravens in his first and only appearance, Brady is 3-2 in the Super Bowl throughout his accomplished career. In an effort to provide a complete breakdown of this matchup, we will compare each aspect of the two teams' game, and giving the advantage to the superior team. By the end, we will give a prediction for the score of this game, thus crowning a champion of the 2014-2015 NFL season.
Comparisons

Quarterback: Colin Kaepernick is one of the most talented quarterbacks in all of football, and his incredible running ability adds a whole other dimension to his game; however, Tom Brady is a veteran in the NFL with plenty of experience in the postseason.
Advantage: New England Patriots

Running Back(s): The New England Patriots tend to rotate their young, inexperienced running backs throughout the season, so it is difficult to tell at this point in time who their starting running back will be in the Super Bowl. The 49ers have 31-year old running back Frank Gore behind quarterback Colin Kaepernick, but they also have rookie Carlos Hyde and speedy Oregon-alum LaMichael James who can be used in different situations.
Advantage: San Francisco 49ers  

Receiving Corp: Tom Brady struggled to grow accustomed to his relatively young, inexperienced group of receivers last season, a group that was also impacted by injuries. Tight end Rob Gronkowski is an absolute game changer for this Patriots' offense, and receivers Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola are able to catch plenty of short passes throughout any given game. Yet the San Francisco 49ers have a plethora of receivers, with names like Michael Crabtree, Vernon Davis, Brandon Lloyd, and Anquan Boldin on their depth chart.
Advantage: San Francisco 49ers

Offensive Line: New England's recent trade that sent All-Pro guard Logan Mankins left many fans scratching their heads, seeing how Mankins was a veteran blocker who had excellent chemistry with Tom Brady. While there is still other talent on this offensive line, it does not really compare to San Francisco group of O-linemen, quite possibly the best group in all of football.
Advantage: San Francisco 49ers

Front Seven: There is no doubt in my mind about which team has a superior front seven on defense. By the time the Super Bowl rolls around, five out of the seven defenders in San Francisco's front seven will have been named to an All-Pro team at some point in their careers. The Patriots can not match that accomplishment.
Advantage: San Francisco 49ers

Secondary: The New England Patriots now have one of the best cornerback duos in all of football after signing both Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis during this past offseason. San Francisco's two starting cornerbacks both played in all 16 games last season, but can not match the backfield seen in New England.
Advantage: New England Patriots

Coaching: Jim Harbaugh is 5-3 in the postseason since joining the San Francisco coaching staff three years ago, but his track record is nowhere near the likes of Bill Belichick. Belichick ranks third all time among coaches in both playoff games and playoff wins. There's a reason why the Patriots are always in the Super Bowl. Bill Belichick is that reason.
Advantage: New England Patriots

Prediction

In the end, this game is certainly going to come down to the wire. The recent additions of Revis and Browner for New England leads me to believe that San Francisco's passing game will struggle early on; however, the Patriots have struggled historically to contain mobile quarterbacks, as we saw most recently when the Patriots lost to Cam Newton and the Panthers last year, but also relatively recent losses to Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, as well as Kaepernick and the 49ers two years ago. The running game may chip away at New England's defense over the course of the game. As we have seen before, though, Tom Brady and the Patriots' offense always seem to respond, especially if Rob Gronkowski is healthy. Coach Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady have been working together for more than 14 years, and the strong connection that these two men have formed over time is unlike anything else in football. They are now beyond driven to win this franchise its fourth Super Bowl in franchise history, which leads me to believe that New England will beat San Francisco this February in Super Bowl XLIX.
Patriots over 49ers 24-23

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Complete 2015 NFL Playoff Predictions

Wild Card Round

(3) Colts over (6) Jets: Andrew Luck, unlike New York's quarterback duo of Geno Smith and Michael Vick, has proven himself as a winner in the postseason with his comeback victory over the Chiefs. The Jets team as a whole is too young to beat Indy and this incredible passing game.

(4) Ravens over (5) Bengals: Just two years ago, Joe Flacco caught fire in the postseason to lead his team over the 49ers in the Super Bowl. Baltimore's passing game may have trouble early against a relatively stingy Bengals defense, but Cincy's horrendous record in the postseason under Marvin Lewis will continue into 2015.
(6) Packers over (3) Bears: Aaron Rodgers, a Super Bowl winning quarterback, has repeatedly proven himself when it comes to clutch situations, as seen when he defeated Chicago in Week 17 of the 2013 regular season. Ironically, we have them playing Chicago once again with the same result.

(5) 49ers over (4) Eagles: The 49ers have made it to three straight NFC Championship Games, and are quite possibly the most talented wild card team of the past 5 years. Philadelphia doesn't stand a chance, even with home field advantage.

Divisional Round

(3) Colts over (2) Broncos: The third year for quarterbacks is almost always a breakout year in the NFL. With Reggie Wayne coming back from injury, and Hakeem Knicks arriving from New York, Luck has the offensive weapons  needed to knock off the Denver Broncos in January.
(1) Patriots over (4) Ravens: The Patriots and Ravens by now are used to playing each other in the postseason, but the Patriots are clearly far more talented than the Ravens, especially with their two new cornerbacks in Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis. Tom Brady is bound for yet another AFC Championship Game.

(1) Seahawks over (6) Packers: In a neutral location, I believe the Green Bay Packers would be capable of beating Seattle during the postseason; however, seeing how the game is in Seattle, it will be extremely difficult for Aaron Rodgers to overpower the Legion of Boom on the road. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense will be able to put up plenty of points against a mediocre Packers defense.

(5) 49ers over (2) Saints: Colin Kaepernick is surrounded by plenty of weapons on offense, including Anquan Boldin, Frank Gore, and Vernon Davis. Jim Harbaugh will find a way to quell the damage done by Drew Brees and New Orleans' passing game, and the 49ers will be playing in their fourth straight NFC Championship Game.

Championship Round

(1) Patriots over (3) Colts: The New England Patriots remain undefeated against Andrew Luck during his time in Indy, yet with Luck bound to improve during the regular season, these games are going to get a whole lot more competitive. With Revis and Browner both on the Patriots' roster, Luck will have more difficulty finding his three most talented targets--Knicks, Hilton, Wayne--but as we've seen, this quarterback can find a way. Tom Brady is becoming more experienced with his young wide receivers, and hopefully, Rob Gronkowski will be healthy for playoffs. The Logan Menkins trade left some people scratching their heads, but the aging offensive lineman was traded for a draft pick and a little-known tight end Tim Wright. Wright had 54 catches as an undrafted rookie, so this could be one of Brady's favorite targets later in the year. In the end, we have Tom Brady advancing to the sixth Super Bowl of his career.

(5) 49ers over (1) Seahawks: These two teams are coming out of the same division, yet clearly, they are the NFC's most talented teams. A rivalry has been born recently between San Francisco and Seattle, seeing how they have two of the league's most stifling defenses and battle within the same division. Luckily, the San Francisco 49ers are expecting to get linebacker NaVorro Bowman by Week 7, so he will be in midseason form just before the postseason. Seattle's offseason losses will have a bigger impact on this team than people seem to think, where receiver Golden Tate has left for Detroit, while Red Bryant and Chris Clemons have left for Jacksonville. Jim Harbaugh will be on the hot seat if San Francisco is unable to make the Super Bowl yet again, but luckily for 49ers fans, we see San Francisco topping their division rivals for a spot in the "Big Game."

Prediction for the Super Bowl will arrive within the next few days

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

2015 NFC Playoff Predictions

1. Seattle Seahawks (13-3): The defending Super Bowl Champions may still have A LOT of talent on their roster, but several relatively important players were lost this past offseason, such as Golden Tate, Brandon Browner, and Red Bryant. Yet with stars like Marshawn Lynch, Russell Wilson, and Percy Harvin on offense, as well as the entire "Legion of Boom" on defense (Sherman, Chancellor, Thomas), Seattle is surely in store for another deep playoff run.

2. New Orleans Saints (12-4): In his first full season back with the Saints since the bounty scandal, Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints went 11-5, thus finishing second in their division. Quarterback Drew Brees was one touchdown away from having three straight seasons with at least 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns. The loss of running back Darren Sproles could potentially hurt both the rushing and passing game, but I'm sure this offense will find a way to survive. The defense has managed to gain cornerback Champ Bailey and safety Jairus Byrd in an attempt to prove the pass defense, so expect the Saints to be contenders once again.
3. Chicago Bears (11-5): Seeing how the Bears were unable to make the playoffs last year, it is pretty risky for us to have them finishing third in the NFC next season; however, this team is very well-rounded. Jay Cutler struggled to stay healthy last season, but assuming he can play at least 14 games, he has the chance to be an MVP finalist thanks to receivers Alshon Jeffrey, Brandon Marshall, and Santonio Holmes. Also, Matt Forte and the running game will be able to take some pressure off of their quarterback. The defense may have lost Juluis Peppers, but defensive ends Jared Allen and Lamarr Houston join Jay Ratliff on the defensive line. Chicago is a surely a sleeper team in 2014, possibly enough to make a run at the NFC Championship Game.

4. Philadelphia Eagles (9-7): While Philadelphia made a quick exit from the playoffs last season, the major storyline for Philly fans was the emergence of quarterback Nick Foles as one of the game's most efficient passers. Foles passed for 27 touchdowns with 2 interceptions, while running back LeSean McCoy also had a career year. The Eagles lost DeSean Jackson after he left for Washington, so it will be interesting to see how Foles is able to adapt to the loss. The main problem for the Eagles is clearly the pass defenses, which ranked last in the league in 2013. While the Eagles did manage to sign safety Malcolm Jenkins, this pass defense is bound to struggle into 2014.

5. San Francisco 49ers (12-4): For the third straight year in a row, San Francisco made an appearance in the NFC Championship Game, but Richard Sherman's tipped ball that turned into an interception late in the game resulted in a loss for the Niners. San Francisco still has a top 10 offense, with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, running backs Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde, and wide receivers Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Vernon Davis, and Stevie Johnson. The defense has almost everyone returning, apart from Aldon Smith, who is awaiting a suspension. San Francisco may end up as the fifth seed, but they are a legitimate Super Bowl contender.

6. Green Bay Packers (11-5): The Green Bay Packers' receiving corp has gradually worsened over the past 5 years, where Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are the only two stars remaining; however, the Packers now have an excellent running game thanks to rookie running back Eddie Lacy. Defenses have struggled to shut down both Green Bay's passing game, pioneered by Aaron Rodgers, and their running game, which is how Lacy has managed to achieve such success. Green Bay's defense is slightly above mediocre, but things got even worse for Green Bay's defense by losing nose tackle B.J. Raji for the entire season. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

2014-2015 Fantasy Football Draft Do's and Don'ts

Football season is right around the corner, which means that Fantasy Football drafts are also right around the corner, which means that you are probably looking for an informed analyst to help with your draft strategy. Well... You've come to the right place. I'll be providing weekly fantasy football articles throughout the season and I guarantee that if you follow my advice you'll finish at the top of your league (disclaimer - fantasy football contains large amounts of luck and I have honestly no clue whether my insight will help your team or not). Before you can actually get to playing games, though, you need to have drafted a team, so here is my guide for your 2014-2015 Fantasy Football Draft.

Do - Draft a Running Back Very, Very High.
The running back position is extremely lacking in depth this year. After the first seven or eight there is a sharp drop, which is followed by another equally sharp drop around number 15. Simply put, if you don't pick up a running back in the first three rounds you are going to be living off of waiver-wire running backs, and that's not a very luxurious way to live. For those of you in two running back leagues, this advice is even more imperative - please pick a running back early.

Don't - Draft a Quarterback High (Unless His Name is Peyton Manning).
In my eight team league, Tony Romo, Matt Ryan, and Jay Cutler are all still on waivers following the draft. With that much depth at the quarterback position, there is no reason for you to be reaching for Russell Wilson with your third pick when you can pick up a statistically similar quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, with one of your last picks. Obviously, if you find yourself at the end of the first round, Peyton Manning might be an alright pick, considering he will be by far the best fantasy quarterback this year, but outside of him there is no need to go quarterback early. Be patient.

Do - Proceed With Caution When Drafting a Tight End.
There is absolutely no denying that the tight end position has top end talent, but there are questions about how much of that talent there is. Jimmy Graham should be a first round pick, which makes sense, Julius Thomas will probably go in the third or fourth, and Vernon Davis and Rob Gronkowski will probably be off the board by the fifth round. After that, unless you find Jason Witten or Jordan Cameron oddly dropping to the tenth or eleventh rounds, I would recommend passing on those 12 or 13 rounders including the likes of Martellus Bennett, Greg Olsen, and Dennis Pitta. Instead, wait until you can pick up a guy like Zach Ertz or Jordan Reed in the 15th or 16th. The best case scenario would be to draft a tight end high, but if that's not possible, don't panic and reach on a mid-level tight end.

Don't - Go on Autodraft.
This is certainly the case every year, but it is even more so this year. Seeing as ESPN doesn't update their player rankings to keep up with injuries and suspensions, you may end up drafting Josh Gordon, Le'Veon Bell, Ray Rice, and Sam Bradford if you're unlucky enough. Outside of the obvious desire to avoid players who are going to miss significant portions of time, your team is just going to be better if you're the one drafting it. For example, I'd much rather have Peyton Manning over Eddie Lacy, but ESPN's fantasy rankings have Lacy ranked higher - bummer.

Do - Pick For Value Over Need.
Most leagues nowadays have at least three flex spots per team, so, even if you feel like you need to fill up that running back slot, if there aren't any top-tier backs available, snatch up that star wide receiver who managed to slide down the board a bit. Flex spots are just as important as other spots and should be treated that way when drafting. Additionally, trades will allow you to acquire players in positions of need after the draft and the additional talent that you managed to nab will help you in your bargaining.

Don't - Pick a Defense Before Eighth or Ninth Round (Not Even the Seahawks).
Defenses are a fairly hard thing to predict considering how many variables they have, so why would you waste one of your first few picks on something so questionable. A large part of what makes a defense perform well or not is the opposition - searching the waiver wire for defenses who are coming up against dismal offenses (the Jets and Jaguars were great for this last year) will often yield you pretty solid results, and you may even end up finding a defense that you end up keeping for the rest of the year (see: last year's Chief's defense).

Monday, August 25, 2014

2015 AFC Playoff Predictions

1. New England Patriots (12-4): Now that the Patriots have added cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner, New England's pass defense has quickly become one of the most intimidating in all of football. While Chandler Jones and the New England pass rush ranked 5th in sacks, they ranked 22nd overall according to Football Outsiders in pass pressure, which will need to improve in 2014. Quarterback Tom Brady suffered from a dip in productivity last season while adjusting to his new group of receivers, but with injury-prone tight end Rob Gronkowski ready for Week 1, and the recent addition of Brandon LaFell from Carolina, Tom Brady is bound to do much better in 2014 now that he has more experience with this young receiving corp.

2. Denver Broncos (13-3): On paper, the Denver Broncos are the best team in all of football, seeing how they have the best quarterback, a plethora of talented wide receivers, and many big names on defense. While they may have lost receiver Eric Decker and running back Knowshon Moreno during the offseason, the Broncos still have Demaryius Thomas, Juluis Thomas, and Wes Welker to help their star quarterback. Denver also signed Pro-Bowlers Demarcus Ware, TJ Ward, and Aqib Talib to improve an already above-average defense. Expect Denver to be the number one seed in the playoffs for the third straight season.

3. Indianapolis Colts (12-4): Quarterback Andrew Luck may not have thrown for more more touchdowns or passing yards compared to his rookie season, but he certainly became more efficient. Luck's interception total dropped in half from 18 to 9, directly leading to a 10 point increase in his passer rating. Historically speaking, a quarterback's third season is the breakout year, and with the recent addition of Hakeem Knicks, as well as the return of Reggie Wayne, Indy's receiving corp is sure to be strong in 2014.

4. Baltimore Ravens (11-5): The Ravens managed to miss the playoffs by one game after winning the Super Bowl in 2012. Things got even worse for running back Ray Rice this past offseason. While Rice suffered from a severe decrease in productivity last season compared to 2013, he was then caught physically abusing his girlfriend on camera, resulting in a two game suspension. Quarterback Joe Flacco threw for the most interceptions of his career, as well as throw the lowest passer rating since he joined the NFL; however, with with Denis Pitta returning from injury, and receiver Steve Smith joining this already talented receiving corp, Baltimore's passing game is sure to improve from last year.  

5. Cincinnati Bengals (9-7): Andy Dalton recently signed a 6-year extension with the Bengals, which means despite his lack of success in the postseason, the Bengals are willing to stick with Dalton into the future. Receiver A.J. Green may be the star of this offense, but running back Giovani Bernard emerged as a breakout star in 2013. With the return of tackle Geno Atkins on defense, as will as the addition of cornerback Darqueze Dennard via the draft, the Bengals are still talented enough to earn a spot in the playoffs, but a run to the Super Bowl is very unlikely.

6. New York Jets (9-7): The New York Jets making the playoffs is certainly a gutsy prediction, seeing how the Jets are 14-18 in the past two seasons. While we would like to see Michael Vick as the starter, Geno Smith still led this team to an 8-8 season last year, and he is bound to do even better alongside Chris Johnson and Eric Decker. The defense has plenty of young talent, particularly their defensive line nicknamed the "Sons of Anarchy." Sheldon Richardson managed to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2013, and the defense as a whole certainly has a shot at propelling this team into the postseason.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Pre-season Heisman Watch List

With the AP top 25 just released, it appears that season is open on every possible college football analysis. With that in mind, I am inclined to present my Heisman watch list for the 2014 college football season. There are no real surprises on this list, but keep in mind that for two years running, the Heisman winner has been a freshman, so I give somewhere around a 60-40 chance that I have here given the winner.

Marcus Mariota: QB, Oregon
Mariota was the Heisman frontrunner for most of 2013 before fading down the stretch, suggesting he definitely has the potential to win the award. The athletic junior passed for over 3,600 yards last year and threw 31 touchdowns. Although he has to work on his consistency as a passer (3 games last season completing under 50% of his passes), he makes up for it with almost one rushing touchdown per game. The high powered spread offense around Mariota is of course enormously talented, and tailored almost perfectly to his skill set. Mariota will post Heisman numbers this season, but his campaign will hinge, as per usual, on big wins and big moments. He probably won't be able to win the Heisman if he loses a game, except a BCS playoff game.

Jameis Winston: QB, Florida State
"We strong:" They certainly are this year 
I don't think he'll repeat, but he'll come close. People tend now to forget just how exciting Winston was for all of last season, from the first game. With over 4,000 passing yards in a season and a national championship, he's definitely not the Messiah, but he can play football really well. He set freshman season records for the NCAA in passing yards and touchdowns (with 40, also an ACC single season record.) Winston will have great stats on a great team, behind what is probably the best offensive line in the country. In short, I don't have him first on this list simply because it would be a statistical anomaly.


Bryce Petty: QB, Baylor
Last year's first time starter dropped a casual 4,200 passing yards with 4 interceptions. Not a typo there. At the helm of a shiny and outrageous Baylor offense, which averaged 52.4 points per game, he went to a BCS bowl game and suffered a disappointing loss. Unfortunately, Petty's competition probably won't prove stiff enough to merit a Heisman award, but at one point his stats may speak simply for themselves. In a new stadium, with an upcoming team, Petty is definitely a player to watch this year.

TJ Yeldon: RB, Alabama
Yeldon isn't found close to this high on most lists, but most arguments against him hinge around one point: He has many talented backs behind him, and if his fumbling issues rear their ugly head early in the season, he may not get enough carries to fuel a Heisman campaign. This isn't really a legitimate argument, as that can be said about many players, regardless of depth chart. I hereby concede that yes, if Yeldon fumbles the ball a lot, he won't win a Heisman. That isn't rocket science, nor is it exclusive to the running back from Alabama. He is also vying for a national championship, which means a lot when considering this award. Ultimately, he will prove to be an offensive focal point for possibly the best team in the country, which screams Heisman candidate.
Count on seeing a lot of that this year. 

Brett Hundley: QB, UCLA
He moves, he passed for over 3,000 yards, he leads his team well, (a team which may be contending for the first time ever) and he isn't yet a finished product. He also has the strength of schedule to present the potential Heisman moment, notably against Oregon in week seven. All this means I'd be foolish not to put him on my list. While the hype was a little overdone last year, it wasn't that far off the mark. Definitely a player you'll hear a lot about this season, and in a great conference he should have his share of the limelight.

Dashing, there's no other word for it. 
My dark horse candidate has to be Maty Mauk, Missouri's quarterback for the second half of last season. Missouri was predicted to finish last in the SEC east at the beginning of last season, and instead behind Mauk they maintained a top 10 national ranking for several weeks, eventually reaching #5, and played in the SEC championship game after an 11-1 regular season. There they lost 59-42, but posting 42 points against Auburn's defense is a win when we're talking about Heisman potential. Although he isn't a topic of hot discussion, keep an eye on Mauk this season, as he finished up last season with an impressive win over Oklahoma State in the Cotton Bowl.

Notable omissions:
Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia
"He's athletic, and they lost Aaron Murray so he'll get tons of carries." Both of these are true, but this is a distinctly lame argument. He was also injured last year, which allows people to point to his decent numbers and say they suggest greatness. He'll play well, but he won't win, or stay in the conversation late.
Braxton Miller: QB, Ohio State
Again, injuries shouldn't insert players into this conversation. He hurt his knee and as a result missed 3 games, but 2,094 passing yards, even over that a shorter interval, does not suggest a Heisman winner. Of course he runs well, and plays for a good team, but the prediction I have seen of 2,500 passing yards, 1,000 rushing yards and 40 combined TD's lies entirely outside the realm of likelihood, in my opinion. However that would probably win the Heisman this year.
Mike Davis: RB, South Carolina
Another great player who won't win a Heisman. Steve Spurrier will rely on him heavily this season, but he's coming off an injury last year, and didn't post spectacular numbers. He's definitely explosive, but we have to be wary of pointing to on field flashiness as a predictor of a Heisman award. He needs great numbers, and probably won't get them. I will say that of these three, I can most easily see Davis staying in the conversation late.


Monday, August 4, 2014

Andy Dalton Signs New Deal with Bengals

According to Adam Schefter, quarterback Andy Dalton has signed a new deal with the Cincinnati Bengals. This upcoming season was set to be the final season of Dalton's rookie contract; however, this new contract is set to be worth $115 million over the course of six years. Dalton passed for more than 4,000 yards last season, and his passer rating has increased within each of the past three seasons. The Bengals have made the postseason in each of the past three seasons, but Dalton and the Bengals remain winless in that span.