NFL 14: Week 9 Matchup Predictions

Now that we’re at the halfway point of the 2014 NFL season,  thing’s are going to get real serious; especially for those teams who are in contention. There really are no clear cut favorites after the Cowboys,  Ravens, Colts and Packers lost. Patriots seem to be hitting their stride, while Broncos have a much improved defensive unit. Which should be more than enough for ” The Great Manning.”  This week’s matchup predictions:

Saints @ Panthers:  Without a running game, Panthers are a one-man show with Cam; what a shame. Brees looks to be hitting his stride. Or is he?  PICK:  Saints

Buccaneers @ Browns:  Even in victory, Browns wins’ seem like an uphill battle; Lovie’s  D will be ready, but will his quarterback Glennon?  Home games are for establishing the culture. PICK:  Browns

Cardinals @ Cowboys: R-O-M-O-L-A-X!  Boys will be fine. Cleveland will really regret not gettin’  Bruce Arians if Cards pull this one out!  PICK: Cowboys

Eagles @ Texans:  Fitzpatrick is the only reason Texans are not SB  XLIX contenders. Depending on what Eagles team shows up, this could be a barn burner.  PICK:  Texans

Jets @ Chiefs:  Jets have the NFL’s version of Jim Buss;  Chiefs could win this one with Charles takin’ a spa day.  Countdown to Rex Ryan becoming a candidate for Browns D coordinator begins…

Jaguars @ Bengals:  As painful as it is for me to say, this is equivalent to a bye-week for the Bengals;  Jags are ” growing pains”  personified.  PICK:  Bengals

Chargers @ Dolphins:  Dr. Jeykell & Mr. Charger best describe the Bolts. One minute they look like a contender and the next minute they don’t LOOK at all. PICK:  Chargers

Redskins @ Vikings:  Is Colt a ” one trick pony?”  We’ll know after this one. Vikes are scrappy and poised – at the same time – behind Bridgewater.  PICK:  Vikings

Rams @ 49ers: All the thing’s that could go wrong, have gone wrong for the Rams. Niners flyin well beneath everyone’s radar. How ironic if they win SB XLIX  the year they’re not the favorites?!  PICK :  Niners

Broncos @ Patriots:  This is the game every NFL fan in America will be watching. Winner of this one is most likely to end up playing in the AFC Championship.  PICK:  Patriots

Raiders @ Seahawks:  In the NFL, anything is possible. Unless you’re the Raiders. PICK:  Seahawks

Ravens @ Steelers: Regardless of record, this rivalry lives on. A  ‘Purist’s Delight’ if I do say so myself. The ” In-Crowd” will be watchin’ Peyton and Brady, but I’ll be watchin ‘ this one. PICK: Ravens

Colts @ Giants: Colts would do better to stop wastin carries on Trent Richardson; Giants are no longer CRUZIN!!  PICK: Colts

Teams on a bye:  Falcons, Bills, Bears, Lions, Packers, Titans.

Read em’ and weep!!!!!   check us out at: http://www.theshopreport.com

NBA 2K 15: Teams 2 Watch (West)

While the Eastern Conference is vastly improved, make no mistake, the West is, and will always be– TOP DAWG!!!  And the NBA’s biggest money maker. Last time I checked, most of your foreign born players play out West; talk about going global!! Bottom line, watching East games can be a little ho-hum at times; better grab you a front row seat if there’s a West game on display. My West teams’ are as follows:

SPURS:  The term ”EVISCERATED” was used to describe what the Spurs did to not only the “2DayBA’s” (today’s NBA) best team, but certainly the NBA’s “Best on the Planet”, in one said LeBron James; the term eviscerated should not be synonomous with the 2DayBA’s best player, if in fact he is what most people think he is. It is because of this I believe the “Medieval” Spurs will once again hoist the gold ball. Coupled with the fact that Duncan says he’s out to get the one thing he has not accomplished throughout his entire run – A REPEAT.

MAVERICKS: This is the one team that gives me cause for trepidation when it comes to the Spurs. All the talk was centered around the additions of Chandler Parsons and Tyson Chandler (rightfully so), but it’s the not so mentioned Jameer Nelson  that may turn out to be just what the doctor ordered for these Mavs. The only possible weak spot I see is the bench; Devin Harris is too much the lose cannon. If Carlisle decides to move Harris to the 2-spot (shooting guard) and let Felton run the second unit, this is the only squad truly capable of dethroning the Spurs.

WARRIORS: As great a talent as he is (like Kyrie Irving),  Steph Curry is a turnover waitin to happen. And that can’t happen if the Warriors are to make some real noise come playoff time. New coach Steve Kerr undid what was former coach Mark Jackson’s undoing (I believe), and put Harrison Barnes back in the starting lineup. These cats can flat-out score with ANYBODY IN THE LEAGUE, BAR NONE!  Can they play D is the question.

BLAZERS: Have all the tools to win it all, but do they have the toughness? What will Thomas Robinson bring? Blazers will be in the thick of it because of the household names, but title contention this year may be askin a bit much.

CLIPPERS: Doc Rivers is a throwback coach if there ever was one, but not even he can fix DeAndre Jordan’s free-throw woes. Jordan was first in just about every defensive statistical category last season, and yet, is a major liability in the fourth quarter of games; How can one of the games best not be on the floor when it matters most??  I can’t put my finger on it right now, but something is missing from the Clippers. And it may turn out to be the thing that keeps them from gettin to the Finals – again.

ROCKETS: McHale is praying that the addition of Trevor Ariza can somehow make up for the loss of – star in the making – Chandler Parsons. Youth, and lack of defense could be the ultimate cause of their undoing; despite being fun to watch.

PELICANS: Monty Williams may now have the pieces necessary to make a significant run in the battle tested West. Unfortunately, injuries are still a major concern. Anderson, Davis, Gordon, and Holiday missed a combined 141 games last season!!  Can’t expect to contend if the core is broken. Still, I think there is enough here that the Pelicans will be a tough out, and no longer  NBA “Welcome” mats.

NUGGETS: These boys are gon’  get straight up medicinal on cats this season. Jusuf Nurkic and the return of Gallinari to go along with Mozgov, Lawson, Gary Harris (Mich St.), Chandler, McGee, Robinson, Faried,… Get the idea? Brian Shaw will have time to take a nap during games because these dudes will be that in control. Come playoff time, inexperience will tell the story.

Honorable Mention: Timberwolves – Rubio found a jumper, and newcomers Bennett, Lavine, Robinson the 3rd, Wiggins, and Gorgui Deng will have a big time impact.

Can’t wait to hear what ya’ll think!!  www.theshopreport.com

NBA 2K 15: Teams 2 Watch ( East)

When most NBA writers preview an upcoming season, they do so by covering all 30 teams. Not me.  If you watch NBA basketball like I do, you know who the bottom-feeders are, and why it can be rather boring spending time discussing the teams who’s only shot at contention -of any kind- is that of who gets first pick in next seasons’ draft!

No disrespect to the unfortunate “less thans”, but because today’s sports’ culture is all about  ” instant mashed potatoes”, I’ve decided to get right to the point and give my take on which teams’  will matter in the 2014-15 NBA season.

Starting with the East, here are the ‘Teams’ 2 Watch’ this season:

BULLS:  Every time I watch the Bulls, it is clear to see in Thibodeau the Spurs/Popovich pedigree. Despite the abscence of Rose and Deng last season, Thib’s still managed to get  48 wins out of a depleted “MASH UNIT.”  Add to this mix former Laker Pau Gasol, fifth ranked NCAA all-time Division I scorer Doug McDermott, and 6′ 10″  ‘Inside-Out’  Nikola Mirotic, and it’s no tellin’ just how much havoc Thib’s and co. will wreck this season; provided Rose can stay healthy the entire season.

RAPTORS:  DeMar DeRozan,  Kyle Lowery,  Amir Johnson,  Terrence Ross,  Jonas Valanciunas, and  Lou Williams are, and will be, a headache for whomever they play. Coach Casey has no excuse for this squad not to improve on last year’s success; need to get away from so many overtime games (1-6) last season.

KNICKS:  Phil Jackson is the only person I’ve seen to ever get NBA-ego’s to come together just long enough to win an NBA Title. So, excuse me for not understanding all the doubt folks had surrounding his return to basketball because he decided to claim a front office position (with the Knicks) instead of his customary seat on the bench, saying, ” Phil can’t be the difference for the Knicks unless he’s the coach!”  I say those folks don’t understand just how much damage an over-inflated NBA ego can cause. For a man of his stature to win multiple NBA Titles with some of the most volatile personalities the game has ever seen, it wouldn’t matter the capacity Phil chose, just so long as he’s somewhere in the building!

PISTONS: Recently acquired Stan Van Gundy will get the motor going in this city once again. Like him or not, Gundy understands how to get his players to play to their strengths. With a front-court every team in the NBA would dream of in Monroe and Drummond, the Pistons only need for Josh Smith to stop jackin’ so many trey’s and become the complete player he should be, and Jennings to understand the difference between point-guard and facilitator. Once that happens, Van Gundy’s version of the Pistons’ ain’t gon’ be nothin’ nice.

HAWKS:  Coach Budenholzer’s Hawks made unwanted press with the admission of co-owner Bruce Levenson’s, and GM Danny Ferry’s racist remarks regading Hawks fans. Sometimes, thing’s of this nature can unravel not only a franchise (regardless of sport) off the court, but on the court as well. Al Horford’s return, combined with Milsaps relentless play and Budenholzer’s  San Antonio pedigree, the Hawks will use the fallout from management’s ” brainlock” moment to re-establish the cohesiveness necessary  to make them contenders.

WIZARDS:  The Wizards are a ” round robin” lock simply because of their front-court of  Gortat and Nene. Beal’s wrist injury is not so serious that the wiz’ will falter in his abscence. Wall, Gortat, and Nene will keep the ship afloat til Beal gets back in the fold. There is one thing that I question; can Paul Pierce make more of a difference than Trevor Ariza?  We’ll see. If so, the capitol could be in for a big time celebration.

NETS: After Kidd’s exodus, Brooklyn went out and got one of the NBA’s best in Lionel Hollins. That said, the clock is ticking on Deron Williams and his band of merry men to finally put to good use all the money  Prokorov has dished out over the last few seasons. This team’s ticket to a Finals appearance is solely tied to their ability to rebound, which was second worst (38.1) in the NBA last season.

CAVS:  With all the “ready made” off-season moves, don’t talk to me about what this team does in the regular season or playoffs. With Love, Irving, and James, the only talk surrounding the new “Big-3” should be not 1… not 2… not 3…  CHAMPIONSHIP(s)! PERIOD.

Honorable Mention: Heat – Wade and Bosh will be out to prove something.  Hornets – Al  Jefferson is coming; forget the plantar this go round!

As always, let us know what you think: http://www.theshopreport.com

NFL 14: Week 8 Matchup Predictions

No need for the funny conversation today. Time to get down to bidness and make it all about the picks this week. Read em’ and weep!

Chargers @ Broncos: PICK: Broncos

Lions @ Falcons: PICK: Lions

Rams @ Chiefs: PICK: Chiefs

Texans@ Titans: PICK:  Texans

Vikings @ Buccaneers: PICK: Buccaneers

Seahawks @ Panthers: PICK: Panthers

Ravens @ Bengals: PICK: Ravens

Dolphins @ Jaguars: PICK:  Jaguars

Bears @ Patriots: PICK:  Bears

Bills @ Jets: PICK: Jets

Eagles @ Cardinals: PICK: Cardinals

Raiders @ Browns: PICK:  Browns

Colts @ Steelers: PICK: Colts

Packers @ Saints: PICK: Packers

Redskins @ Cowboys: PICK: Cowboys

Remember, don’t place any bets off my picks; losing your money will most likely be the end result!

What say you about your picks?  Let us know. http://www.theshopreport.com

NFL 14: Week 7 Matchup Predictions

Is this the year the Browns finally make it to the playoffs, and make some noise when they get there? Are the Eagles a lock to win Super Bowl 49? Are the Rams better than their 1-4 record?  Can the Colts make Peyton Manning a distant memory? Do the Patriots deserve the “Grandfathered” treatment because of their past success?  All this and more, is sure to be answered as the 2014 season unfolds, but one thing is for certain- my matchup predictions.

Jets @ Patriots: Boy oh boy, the Jets are a complete mess right now, and Rex Ryan looks to be the Browns number one choice (I hope) for defensive coordinator next season; division matchup aside, Pats have this one on lock. PICK: Patriots

Falcons @ Ravens: “Matty Ice” can’t- unfortunately- play both offense and defense, which is too bad for the Falcons. Ravens are my choice to represent the AFC in this year’s bowl. PICK: Ravens

Titans @ Redskins: Titans got away with another close one, and Redskins have a quarterback controversy by default. PICK: Whoever has the ball last

Seahawks @ Rams: Hawks got it handed to them by the Boys in such a fashion that they will most definitely be looking to take it out on the Rams. Rams would look like an entirely different squad with a better QB. PICK: Seahawks

Browns @ Jaguars: Browns can ill afford to fall asleep against the Jags. Take the the Jags lightly, and fans in Cleveland will most assuredly go back to cryin for Johnny. PICK: Browns

Bengals @ Colts: This is the contest I look forward to seeing more than any other. Bengals are starting to look typical under Marvin Lewis, and the Colts minimal attention from the national media seems to be just fine by them. PICK: Colts

Vikings @ Bills: The Bills are playin’ as if though they’d rather be in L.A.; Vikes are not really playin’ at all. PICK: EENIE MEENIE… you get the idea.

Dolphins @ Bears: Phins had the Pack on the ropes and couldn’t put em away. Bears are who I thought they were (an enigma), and I can’t let em off the hook. PICK: Bears

Saints @ Lions: Something is amiss with these Saints, and despite the Lions 4-2 record, no MEGATRON could end up being the diff. PICK: Saints

Panthers @ Packers: Aaron Rodgers; need I say more? PICK: Packers

Chiefs @ Chargers: Chargers don’t look as invincible as I once thought. On the other hand, Chiefs have a way of showin’ up when you least expect. PICK: Chargers-only because they’re at home.

Cardinals @ Raiders: Derek Carr looks to be far better than his brother (David) ever could. Arians, the coach folks in Cleveland said was too old, has the Cards playin some good ole fashion football. Did I mention Fitzgerald is startin’ to come alive? PICK: Cardinals

Giants @ Cowboys: Giants had me fooled; shame on me. Anybody who thinks the Boys are not for real is foolish! PICK: Cowboys

49ers @ Broncos: Manning is hard to beat at home. Maybe not so for the Niners. PICK: 49ers

Texans @ Steelers: If the Browns can make “Big Ben” look like one of his namesake sandwiches, just imagine what Watt will do. If you didn’t know now you do, J.J. IS DY-NO-MITE!!

For all you gamblers out there, I hope this weeks picks help you fair better. Let us know what you think at: http://www.theshopreport.com

NFL 14: Week 6 Matchup Predictions

Wow, wow, and wow again. I can’t quite get over the fact the Cleveland Browns are actually relevant after 5 weeks (4 due to the bye week) of an NFL season; and were on the right side of history in the process.  Can they keep it going, and -for the first time in what seems like forever- finish the season above .500?  After an improbable come from behind win against the Titans, I say this season has just become a lot more interesting than what many folks would’ve ever imagined. That being said, here are my predictions (picks) for week 6; not that they make any sense.

Colts @ Texans: Texans are formidable even without a “franchise type” QB; Luck is shaping up to be arguably the best QB to come out in any of the last 5 draft classes.  PICK: Colts

Jaguars @ Titans: Bortles is no doubt the future is Florida; Whisenhunt’s game plan against the Browns seemed to resemble the Browns, when Mangini, Davis, Crennel, and Chudzinski were coaching.  PICK: Titans

Ravens @ Buccaneers: Flacco  & co. will not struggle against the Bucs like they did against the Colts. How Lovie gets his guys prepared to play each week is beyond me.  PICK: Ravens

Broncos @ Jets: Peyton  rarely takes a loss in the regular season. It’s the playoffs that give him fits. Rex will wind up being some team’s D-Coordinator; I hope it’s with the Browns!  PICK: Broncos

Lions @ Vikings: Although this is a game we should EXPECT the Lions to win, they probably won’t; especially with Megatron most likely out. Asiata and Bridgewater could be enough. PICK: Vikings

Patriots @ Bills: This is a battle for AFC East supremacy- I guess. Pats are no longer invincible away from the razor blade. PICK: Bills

Panthers @ Bengals: Bengals are good at home, but not when it matters most. Cam with no running game is one dimensional. PICK: Bengals

Steelers @ Browns: Okay, no more messin round with these bums. If Browns are to be taken serious this season, beating the Steelers is beyond mandatory. 0-3 in the AFC North is never good. Steelers may once again see this as a rivalry after this one. PICK: Browns

Packers @ Dolphins: Phins are in disarray; Rodgers says R-E-L-A-X when you’re in the neighborhood. PICK: Packers

Chargers @ Raiders: The only thing that could possibly save what used to be the “commitment to excellence” is Mike Holmgren. Too bad he won’t be there in time to save the Raiders from Phillip Rivers. PICK: Chargers

Bears @ Falcons: If the Falcons had any kind of D, they would be legit SB contenders. Bears with Cutler are better on paper than they are on the field. PICK: Do you really care?

Cowboys @ Seahawks: This is the game that will determine if the boys are for real, and if the Hawks chances on a repeat are etched in stone. The 12th man is no joke. PICK: Seahawks (begrudgingly)

Redskins @ Cardinals: There is no shame in losing at Peyton’s place; it is a shame that no one can seem to figure out just what exactly is wrong with Carson’s shoulder. Carson is looking more like a bust than Barkevious Mingo. PICK: Cardinals

Giants @ Eagles: Coughlin knows how to win. All of a sudden, Chip’s Eagles don’t look so Herculean. PICK: Giants

49ers @ Rams: Despite all the turmoil in the frisco, Niners keep on pluggin away. Rams would be a much tougher out if they had a Hoyer- at least. PICK: Rams

Still here?  I ‘m not sure why, but since you are, let us know what you think!   http://www.theshopreport.com