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Posted on 18 November 2014 by WNST Staff
Nestor caught up with old friend Mike Flynn to discuss the recent dominance of the New England Patriots. With another impressive win Sunday night, New England looks to be a favorite yet again to make a postseason run. LISTEN HERE.
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Posted on 26 August 2014 by Tom Federline
Thursday, August 21st – Birds up by 9 on the Spankee’s and 9 on the Boo Jays. Four (4) days later, August 25th – Birds up by 6 on the Spankee’s and 8 on the Boo Jays. Just when you start thinking – the Orioles (73 wins), might just be able to coast into the playoffs – BANG – O’s get swept/outplayed by the Chicago…….Cubs (58 wins). That downer coming right after riding high sweeping the Chicago……….White Sox (59 wins). Then to add salt into the wound, the Cubs sweep came at the hands of former Orioles, i.e. Jake “I’m on juice”” Arietta, Pedro “Strope Me Strope Me” and finally the guy who never pitched one inning for the O’s but collected a heckuva paycheck – “One hit” Wada. Up/down/hold on – roller coaster is at turn 1.
On top of being swept, lets add some more salt, O’s fans get the official news – Machado is gone for the rest of the year. Not that you didn’t know that already, especially if you had seen the knee buckle (live) that night. But you go, Orioles front office and media relations. You go, with your weak attempt to fill our minds with hope that it was only a “strained” ACL. The knee bent at almost a 45 degree angle and “it’s just a strain?” SO, during this past year we have learned Manny is not so “Mucho” Machado with week knees, week/slippery hands and bad aim. It’s a shame, Machado was just getting into playing shape, after missing preseason and over a month of the regular season. Machado threat gone joining the Wieters threat that was gone. Down and further down – keep holding on through turn 2.
When the O’s are hitting, there are moments of, “Man – the Orioles may actually have a shot, they got this.” Unfortunately, those moments are to few and far between. But……….. those moments…… are there. The Orioles are still in first place of the American League East. They didn’t get there by luck. They don’t give up, they show sporadic confidence and even with the injuries they are fairly solid in the field. At least CC Sabathia is out for the year, so he can’t sabotage the O’s by taking Markakis out for this years playoff run. Up/Up and Up – getting ready for turn 3.
The dilemma is, they are probably going to need more game saving catches (Nick). They are going to need late inning wins and walk off home runs. They are going to need someone to pick up the offensive slack (Steve Pearce). They are going to need some serious staring pitching (Chen?Tillman). They are going to need some “lights out” relief pitching (O’Day/Britton). They are going to need some Orioles Magic (Buck-Buck). Down/Up/Down/Up – through turn 4.
Can the pitching save the Orioles? It’s going to have to. I’m feeling better about Cruuuuuuuuuz. If any team had a decent pitching coach, Jones would be out 90% of the time. Feed him down and away and he’s toast. Davis needs a shot of “juicy juice”. Brady – where are you? Isn’t that your job – “Juice” without getting caught? Davis whiffs and the whole stadium feels a breeze, consistently. Can we get Mark Reynolds back? Whoops weak moment there – forget that one. When the opposing team gets Markakis out – their odds of winning the game quadruple. There is minimal threat left in the line-up. Wieters gone. Machado gone. Davis – no threat. I’m a big fan of Delmon Young – we need to see more of him. At least he is a major league hitter. Coast/Down/Coast/Up – getting set up for the final stretch.
Then there’s the secret weapon – the manager. The O’s have a shot with Buck-Buck. Buck-Buck is going to keep these boys focused. One of the few criticisms I have on Buck-Buck is, I wish he would get tossed more. Yes, I was and always will be an Earl Weaver fan. It’s going to take the leadership of Buck-Buck, Markakis, Jones and Hardy. If the O’ lose another key player – we are not going to be on any roller coaster ride. So you have your choice – The O’s Rollercoaster or the “Love Rollercoaster” – (Ohio Players). Both rides affect the blood pressure and adrenaline levels. I recommend jumping on both. Go O’s!
Posted on 09 June 2014 by Tom Federline
A little over one-third of the way in and this current Oriole team is no playoff contender. At this stage in the game, it does not even look like either of the two wild cards are going to come out of the east division. Don’t get me started on the TWO (2) wild card teams and one game winner-take all scenario. That is bogus! For future (and from a past) blog – I say 142 game season (players salaries adjusted/decreased), season is from mid-April to mid-September, 3 division winners/ 1 wild card, 3 out of 5 Division series, 3 out of 5 Championship series, 4 out of 7 World Series. Season over by 2nd week of October. Ok enough, had to get that out there. Bottom line – O’s at current rate there will be no October ball anyway.
Oriole Issues – challenged starting pitching, questionable middle relief, no closer threat (yet), minimal clutch hitting, to many men left on base, increased errors, no catcher and lack of team discipline. All that and they are in second place of the American League East with a 31 – 30 record. To put in perspective -that is the 7th best record out of 15 teams in the American League and 14th out of 30, in both leagues. It is amazing they have been able to hold on as long as they have, considering the inflated pitching ERA and loss of their major signal caller and part backbone of the team (Wieters).
I see a team not focused. Next time you’re at the Yards, check out the dugout, during and in between innings. Buck-Buck does NOT have a handle on the boys. There should be a rule – ‘No one goes down the tunnel unless you are due up and require warm-ups for your at-bat. No buffet snacking during game. No video games. Just stay out of the tunnel and all it’s amenities.” Watch game, with teammates, on bench. That should not be tough requirement for the over-paid, spoiled, self-indulged roster players. Buck-Buck should remind them of their hourly rate.
I see a major bust in Jimenez. BTW – nice move Orioles magazine editor – putting Ubaldo-more on the cover of the first Oriole magazine this year. See blog from Opening Day – “Play Ball”. One, maybe two decent games? He’s 2 -7 with a 5.01 ERA. Yeah, there’s a #2 starter for ya. “O” wait-a-minute, that’s right the weather has to warm up in order for him to perform at a comfortable level. Hmmm – seemed pretty warm to me for about a month now.
I saw a youngster breakdown and act his age this past weekend. Well, actually the over-paid, spoiled, self-indulged “star-in-the-making” acted more like a 10 year old. Team discipline? Manny-O-Manny, did you need your Mommy this weekend? Over -reaction on Friday night. Whined all weekend. Lackluster performance on his Bobblehead night annnnnnnnnd thennnnnnnn, yesterdays throwing of the bat. Fine him, suspend him, send him to his room with no snack before bed time. Maybe he was just miffed that they used a JJ Hardy look-a-like bobblehead instead of using the picture of himself he has hanging above his bed as the model.
Whatever the case, Machado still has some growing up to do. Ok, he’s still young, he will be 22 in July. Nope, not buying that one either. He needs a mentor. He needs a taste of Humble Pie. He needs a butt kicking. He also needs to be put in the 6th hole and out of the #2 spot. He’s an inning killer. In particular, the first inning. Markakis is rolling at that top spot and it’s getting wasted. This is a case for Buck-Buck, Jones or Markakis to take control in the clubhouse. Actually, it’s a job for his parental units. Enough of that embarrassing situation.
The team appears in disarray at the moment. The boys holding this thing together are: Markakis, Jones, Cruuuuuz (until they pop him for juicy juice again) and Hardy. Pitching: Thank you Wei-Yin Chen, Bud Norris and Zach Britton – saving graces. Wieters being out – hurts offensively and defensively. The captain on the field is out and it shows. If the Orioles stay at current pace, it’s going to be a frustrating year. It’s time for Buck-Buck to “Whip It” – Devo. And whip it good! Get the boys back on track. How about one step at a time – just beat the Bosox!
Posted on 17 January 2014 by Nick Dorsey
The divisional round of the NFL playoffs did not quite live up to the hype that Wild Card weekend provided for the fans. The match ups were great, but there weren’t any 28 point second half comebacks or any type of upsets. It is all good because the next round provides fans with the best possible championship games that anyone could have asked for. The NFL has had parity across the league this season, but the match ups for the upcoming championship weekend were predicted amongst many of the critics in the preseason. Before getting into the games predictions and analysis, I want to look back at what stood out in last weekend’s games.
There were common themes amongst the two number one seeds I noticed in both their games. The Seahawks and Broncos both got out to hot starts in their match ups and looked as if they were going to blow the other team out by half time. Great teams know how to put other teams away when they have an opportunity to do so, better known as a kill. We see the great Quarterbacks “kill”, if the opposing team is ineffective or making mistakes consistently, those great quarterbacks make them pay for those miscues and “kill” the other teams chances at a possible comeback. If you look at both these number one seeds, neither team could “kill” off the opposing team and put them out of the game. Drew Brees and his offense were not effective at moving the ball at all until the late fourth quarter. Once the rain slowed down and came to a halt, Brees was able to throw it around and began to put points up. Seattle had a 16-point lead, but was unable to continue to add to that lead for quite some time. They did not put away New Orleans, so when Brees led a scoring drive, all of the sudden a game that felt like it was one sided, was now a close game once again. Marshawn Lynch did later score a touchdown to increase the lead, but New Orleans did have a chance at the end of the game to make something happen to potentially tie the game.
Denver’s game was almost identical to Seattle’s. Denver had a 17-0 lead heading into the third quarter. San Diego was trying to run the ball throughout the contest, but they were ineffective for three quarters. The defense made key stops to keep the Chargers still in the game. Once they opened up the playbook and let Phillip Rivers throw the ball, their offense began to move the chains and score points. Denver scored another touchdown to extend their lead, but ultimately the Chargers almost had a shot at tying it. The defense forced a 3rd and 17 for Manning, but he made the conversion that ended the game. As stated above, a game that virtually felt like a blowout was still close when the Chargers scored a touchdown. Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos did not get the “kill” in the first half or third quarter, it took a 3rd and 17 conversion to get it.
Indianapolis almost seemed like the favorite heading into Foxboro after their 28-point comeback victory against the Chiefs. I mentioned in my last predictions post that this matchup was the easiest for me to pick and had New England by 13. Instead it was a 21-point rout by the Patriots, but one that no one could have ever predicted. They put up 43 points without Tom Brady throwing a touchdown pass. If you would have told me the score of the game before it started and said Brady would not have thrown a touchdown pass, Indianapolis would appear as the team that would have scored 43 points. That was not the case as the Patriots running game was tremendous, especially Blount. Along with the defense that was causing turnovers, Jamie Collins stood out the most. This is a different side of New England we have not seen in a long time, scary if your trying to game plan against them now.
The best match up of the weekend was a solid game across the board. Two great defenses against two of the better up and coming young quarterbacks. Everyone was more interested to see how Cam Newton would play in his playoff debut and I thought he did well. His last interception was a bad throw, but other than that he was good against a great 49ers defense. He had about 270 yards through the air and above 50 on the ground. I liked the way he was using his legs to get some yards at a time versus that defense, making third downs more manageable. What I did not like was the conservative feel to the play calling. Similar with the Chargers, I felt like the Panthers tried to run the ball too much at one point when it was not effective. Carolina has been great on offense this season because of their great balance, but after a while in the playoffs, you have to turn your best playmaker loose. I just felt that they never let Cam turn loose and let him make the big plays that we are accustomed to seeing. Its not like he did not have success early, his throw to Steve Smith for the first touchdown is as good a throw as your going to see. Also, the quarterback sneak on the goal line is a head scratcher. I like that call usually, but not against the 49ers linebackers. Move Cam around to the outside or run the Gator package and let Cam jump over the pile if anything. It is very clear the Carolina needs more weapons on the outside because Steve Smith isn’t getting any younger and Ted Ginn Jr. just does not quite cut it as a second option on the outside. Other than that, Carolina is a great young team and this wont be their last trip to the post season. Now with all that review done, onto the championship round predictions.
New England 33 Denver 31
Brady vs. Manning, what else could you ask for in the AFC championship? The two greatest quarterbacks of this era and one of the best quarterback rivalries ever, this championship will live up to the hype. Unfortunately for Denver, they will not live up to the hype. We saw what impact the loss of Chris Harris was last round; you know Tom Brady is well aware of that. The main reason why the Patriots will move on and Denver won’t, Bill Belichick will outcoach John Fox. Belichick is one of the greatest coaches of all time and he is a genius. He is going to come out with a game plan that will be the difference. Imagine how difficult it is for Fox to game plan against the Patriots, a week after they ran the ball that effectively. Tom Brady does not have the weapons offensively that Manning has, but he will make it work against the Broncos defense. I see New England running the ball effectively early, but turning Brady loose early on as well. If Brady can have the run game working his way, their play action passing game will deteriorate the Denver D. As for Manning and his offense, I see them scoring early and often too. It will have to come down to what defense is opportunistic and forces the key turnovers. I see the Patriots defense doing so, similar to what they did last week against the Colts. If Denver does get a lead early, it wont matter because if they don’t “kill” off Brady, he will come back to hurt you. Bottom line for this game, never count against Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
San Francisco 23 Seattle 17
The most fresh and best rivalry in the NFL owns the NFC championship game. San Fran comes in after two straight road wins and Seattle comes in after a home win vs. the Saints. Seattle has gotten the hype all of the preseason and during the regular season, as they should. They have a great defense led by the cocky secondary group known as the Legion of Boom. The Seahawks also have the toughest home crowd in the NFL, where they hardly lose. They have blown out the 49ers two straight seasons at home, but the third time is a charm. San Francisco is the most experience team out of the two and they were in the Super Bowl last season. They will get back by taking down the Super Bowl favorite Seahawks. Seattle comes into this game with all the pressure on them, which benefits San Fran. I have made it known throughout the regular season that when it all came down to this game, the 49ers would be victorious. They have the best personnel to match up against Seattle’s defense. Their secondary is tough, but Boldin, Crabtree and Davis are the perfect set of weapons to have facing them. The offensive line and Kaepernick’s legs will buy him time to throw to these weapons with the Seattle pass rush coming at him. As for Seattle’s offense, they are reliant on Marshawn Lynch to carry the load. The 49ers defense is yet to allow an individual one hundred yard rusher all season, that spells trouble for the Seahawks. If they are unable to run the ball, this forces them to be one-dimensional with Russell Wilson. That is not his game because he likes to utilize the play action to get him moving outside the pocket. Carlos Rogers looks to be back in the49ers secondary, which is great for that unit.
Percy Harvin as of Thursday has not been cleared to play. Throughout the regular season, the biggest point I tried to stress was who the bigger difference maker would be for their team when this match up came about. Percy Harvin and Michael Crabtree were injured throughout the majority of the regular season, but both were set to return at the tail end. There was a whole lot of buzz in the offseason when the Seahawks traded for Harvin, but I was not sold on it as much as every other expert in the country was. He has never shown he can stay consistently healthy and on the field. Crabtree’s impact on the other hand, is huge. That is Kaepernick’s number one target and we have seen that since he has made his return from a pre season Achilles injury. Crabtree will be the biggest difference maker in this game and one of the main reasons why San Francisco upsets Seattle at home to move on to the Super Bowl for a second straight season.
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Posted on 03 January 2014 by Nick Dorsey
Wild card weekend is just about upon us and the hunt for the Lombardi trophy is here. It has been a great NFL season with so much at stake the last week of the regular season. There were teams that have clinched long ago and also teams that got great fortune getting in to the big dance. It is time to make my playoff predictions for the whole entire playoffs, round by round.
Wild Card Weekend:
#3 Bengals defeat #6 Chargers
San Diego is a team that got the great fortune to be in this position. After losses by Miami, Baltimore and a crucial penalty that was not called in regulation, San Diego gets their shot at the Bengals. Phillip Rivers has been tremendous this season, deservedly so he is back at the Pro Bowl. He has done wonders with an offense that consists of Danny Woodhead, Eddie Royal and rookie Keenan Allen. I want to pick San Diego this game, but it’s about time the Bengals start living up to their consistent pre season hype. They have all the talent to go the distance; Andy Dalton is the ultimate wild card for that team. The defense is still very good despite the losses of Geno Atkins and Leon Hall. That defense and AJ Green will make the difference in this game, as well as Giovanni Bernard out of the backfield.
#4 Colts defeat #5 Chiefs
Andy Reid has turned around this team from number one overall pick to a wild card contender. Jamaal Charles has been as good as it gets in the NFL at running back. The defense has been a story as well for the Chiefs, led by Tamba Hali. Bottom line for this game, I’m taking Andrew Luck over Alex Smith to win this game. Smith is considered a “game manager” which he is for Kansas City, I just don’t see him being able to go out and win a game in the end when it counts. Andrew Luck is difficult to beat at home, despite his lack of talent surrounding him, lackluster offensive line and non-existent running game. I’m picking Luck to get his first career playoff win and it wont be his last.
#3 Eagles defeat #6 Saints
When Carolina sealed the deal for the NFC South division title, you knew it was trouble for the Saints. They consistently struggle on the road; they are a completely different team when they play indoors. Philadelphia is a team that is being overlooked. Chip Kelly’s offense has caught fire as of late, due to the great play of Nick Foles and a rejuvenated Lesean McCoy. Foles has only thrown two interceptions all season, I like that heading into the playoffs. A quarterback making good decisions with the leagues leading running back that is a dangerous combination.
#5 49ers defeat Packers
Aaron Rodgers made his return in Week 17 defeating Chicago to win the NFC North title. He played a great game and made the play at the end when it was needed the most. Temperatures in Green Bay for the game are going to be below freezing, which should favor the Packers. I like the 49ers in this game. Its asking a lot out of Rodgers to come back this late after an injury and expect him to take this team the distance, especially starting against this defense round one. San Fran does not typically play in this type of weather, but a team that has a rushing attack led by Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick get my pick.
#1 Broncos defeat Colts
Andrew Luck got the best of Peyton Manning when they first met early in the season at Lucas Oil stadium. That will not happen again. Denver is at home and loaded with offensive firepower. I cannot say the same for Andrew Luck. Ever since Reggie Wayne went down, the offense has struggled a lot more. I cannot imagine a scenario in which Luck can outscore Manning in a Denver shootout.
#2 Patriots defeat Bengals
Tom Brady should be in the MVP conversation, but he wont be because he doesn’t have the Peyton Manning stats. Brady has done way more with a whole let less and still has his team as the second seed. This is the time of year where Tom Brady shines and he will do it once again. Cincinnati has been banged up in the secondary, which does not bode well for them. I’m taking Brady at home because I don’t believe Andy Dalton has what it takes to be the difference at Foxboro.
#5 49ers defeat #1 Seattle
My biggest upset pick of the post-season. I have made it known throughout the whole season that if there is one team that can knock off the Hawks at home, it is San Fran. Seattle showed some weakness at home, losing to the Cardinals. The 49ers have the defense to contain Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson. Aldon Smith is back to being in his all-star form and he helps take that defense to a new level. Percy Harvin is finally back for Seattle, but how much of an impact can you really expect him to have at this point without hardly playing? I like the offensive combination of Crabtree, Boldin and Davis against the Seattle defense. Boldin has been big-time in the playoffs before, would not be shocked to see him do it again.
#5 Eagles defeat #2 Carolina
It has been a great year for Riverboat Ron and the Panthers organization. They are proof of how great drafting quickly translates to franchise success. Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly both won their rookie of the year honors in their rookie years. Cam Newton has been great all season, making smart decisions when throwing and showing better patience in the pocket. I don’t think they lose this game because of the offense. The defense in Carolina has gotten a lot of the attention throughout the season by the media. They have been great this season, but I still see a weakness that will get exposed. Their front seven is as good as it gets, but their secondary is shaky. Desean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Zach Ertz and Brent Celek will do their best to show that. If the front seven does not get consistent pressure on Nick Foles, it will be trouble for the Panthers. Nick Foles has been one of the NFL’s best QB’s when facing the blitz. So if Carolina cannot bring him down, watch out for the Eagles in the NFC championship game.
#2 Patriots defeat #1 Broncos
Even when odds seem all against him, never bet against Tom Brady. He does not have the best of weapons to work with, but don’t ever count him out. The pressure will be all on the Broncos to win this game, which favors the Patriots. We saw what happened earlier this season between the two teams, New England stormed back to win after a 24-point deficit. This will be another chapter to the epic Manning/Brady rivalry that we have been so fortunate to see. Bottom line, it will be cold in Denver, maybe even wintery weather. I’m taking Brady in this one over Manning. After this one, people might begin to wonder why they didn’t vote Brady for MVP.
#5 49ers defeat #3 Eagles
The Eagles have had a great season under first year head coach Chip Kelly, but the road ends here. San Fran was in the Super Bowl last season and I expect them to be back. Philly has been known for their constant trips to the NFC championship, but not for their trips to the Super Bowl. I like San Fran to shut down the run and force Foles to beat them. If you allow the 49ers to pin their ears back and get to the QB, that’s trouble. The 49ers make their return trip to the Super Bowl, fortunately for Jim Harbaugh, John wont be on the other sideline.
#5 49ers defeat #2 Patriots
It will take everything for New England to defeat the Broncos in Denver without Rob Gronkowski. I cannot imagine Tom Brady being able to squeeze out another big time win with the talent that surrounds him, especially against the 49ers defense. The Patriots defense will have trouble accounting for the balance of this 49ers offense. The running game is loaded and the weapons on the outside will be too much for New England. Kaepernick gets his first Super Bowl title, as does Jim Harbaugh. If Tom Brady can somehow win this game, he will be the greatest QB to ever play in the NFL. Unfortunately for him, San Fran will have too much firepower to win this game.
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