Out with the old and in with the new
Well as we enter 2017 , there are stories yet to be written and there are also stories yet to be finished. Nowhere is this now more relevant than within the NFL as stories continue to unfold , head coaches’ firings and all of the failed expectations of the teams who failed to make the postseason. Granted , we are now four days away from the beginning of the playoffs and the wildcard round of the postseason will begin. The top-two seeds within each conference will have a bye and will not enter the fray until the divisional round. A great deal is expected of the New England Patriots (14-2) as the number one seed within the AFC and they are closely followed by the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders respectively. Within the NFC , the Dallas Cowboys have proven themselves to be the best team within the conference , but the most dangerous team could very well be the Green Bay Packers , who have rolled off five consecutive victories to end their regular season schedule behind the arm of their Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers .
From my own perspective , I feel the Green Bay Packers could very well be the most dangerous team in the NFC this postseason, clearly endangering the ambitions of the Dallas Cowboys. For the Cowboys , their season has been one , where expectations were exceeded as they excelled behind the arm of their rookie quarterback Dak Prescott Now given the fact both Tony Romo and Mark Sanchez saw some playing time during the team’s final regular season game , it will be interesting to see if Dak Prescott will be given his first postseason start, when the Cowboys open up their postseason schedule in the divisional round.
Elsewhere within the NFL , it wasn’t really a great surprise to see coaching firings which actually took place. Rex Ryan rightfully , was shown the door at the Buffalo Bills , while Mike McCoy was jettisoned by the San Diego Chargers , Gus Bradley was let go by the Jacksonville Jaguars , Jeff Fisher was simply shoved out the door by the Los Angeles Louis Rams . Last , but not least was the non-too surprising move to fire both Chip Kelly of the San Francisco 49ers who was also followed by the team’s general manager Trent Baalke . It now begs the question , with their being calls for the York family to relinquish control of the Forty Niners and sell the franchise to someone who actually cares about the game , will the team CEO Jed York actually come to the decision to make this all a reality ? Forget about the idiocy and so-called distractions off the field concerning quarterback Colin Kaepernick , as the real issues for the Forty Niners came from the very fact they were very non-competitive on the field of play. Ending the season with a record of 2-14 with only the Cleveland Browns (1-15) with a worst record in the entire league. I am still at a loss as to why there were idiot fans around the NFL who were of the belief Chip Kelly was actually a great coach . He was an abysmal failure with the Philadelphia Eagles , where his teams played no defense and this trait was brought to San Francisco where again , his teams were an abysmal failure. Two years with the San Francisco 49ers and the franchise remains in complete disarray, while the York family as the owners continue to preside over this monumental mess of their own making.
The wildcard round of the NFL postseason provides the fans with some intriguing match-ups featuring the Oakland Raiders (12-4) taking on the Houston Texans (9-7) at Reliant Stadium in Houston , Texas on Saturday, 7th January. The second game of the day will feature Seattle Seahawks playing host to the Detroit Lions . Sunday’s contests will offer the fans the chance to see the Miami Dolphins match wits with the Pittsburgh Steelers , while the Green Bay Packers will entertain the New York Giants at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. If all four games are as entertaining as the wildcard games of last season, then fans will definitely be in for a real treat.
Far be it for me to suggest this College Football playoff format is the best thing which could be offered to the fans , but the final games leading up to the championship game taking place on the 9th January have proven to be an immense disappointment. Alabama steamrolled their way past Washington on New Year’s Even in what was meant to be the first of two thrilling semi-finals games played . The second of the two contests proved to be even less compelling as Clemson embarrassed an Ohio State team which was clearly outmatched and didn’t come to play . The national champion hip game will feature the top-two ranked teams in the nation as Alabama chases it fourth national title in the last eight years when they face off against the Clemson Tigers , led by their quarterback DeShaun Watson . I firmly believe if Watson has good showing in this game , even if Clemson falls , he will certainly be one of the top-two quarterbacks taken in the upcoming NFL Draft (2017) . Many analysts around the NFL may well feel Lamar Jackson leads the field alongside Jake Browning , but I do feel Watson has proven himself against a higher caliber and quality of opponent. Should Clemson upset the apple-cart and get the better of Alabama , which is not without merit , then DeShaun Watson can name his own price a s possibly the top pick in the NFL Draft.
The public have not been made aware as to the reason why Lane Kiffin was summarily dismissed as the lead assistant on the coaching staff of Nick Saban’s team at Alabama , but it does add a great deal of intrigue and speculation as to what might be the reasons why Kiffin was fired so close to the national championship game. Saban has yet to issue a public statement on the matter and Kiffin has remained tight-lipped as to the reasons why , but clearly something is amiss and likely to cause a distraction should the whole story become known to the public. Lane Kiffin has supposedly accepted a head coaching position with Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and was said to be assembling his staff for the new position instead of his role, as the offensive coordinator for the team . I find the whole episode somewhat asinine given the explanations now being given by the respective parties involved. It should be noted several years ago , Nick Saban in a deceitful act, lied to the members of the press in Miami , leaving the Miami Dolphins high and dry to accept his current position with Alabama. How soon the idiots seem to forget !!! Kiffin may well have reinvented himself , but as a pet project for Nick Saban , you just knew at some point the bow would break on this particular vessel . The jury is still out on another of Saban’s reclamation projects , former USC (Trojans) head coach Steve Sarkissian , whose sobriety and imbecilic behavior while at the school, became something of a national spectacle and a complete embarrassment for the program.
No bells and whistles as of yet, but something will be coming down the pike within the NBA , because all eyes are watching for the first head coaching casualty of the season. The Brooklyn Nets (8-25) , currently have the worst record in the league , though the likes of the Dallas Mavericks , Philadelphia 76ers and Phoenix Suns are by no means teams which should be admired for their poor play at this point of the season.
It is becoming abundantly clear the NBA really does have an image problem concerning its brand , even though many of the league’s leading stars are among the most admired and recognized athletes on the planet. While LeBron James continues to be the leading face of the league, having assumed the mantle of his idol Michael Jordan , a player who James’ game in many ways is modeled on . It remains to be seen if can garner the same sort of success achieved by his idol . The four-time League MVP and three-time time Finals MVP does want to emulate the achievements of Jordan in just about every way imaginable. His thirteen year career will be part of his legacy , as will any further accomplishments, as he seeks to win more championships on top the Cleveland Cavaliers being the reigning NBA champions . The first professional team title within the state of his in the last twenty-five years or more .
The Cleveland Cavaliers essentially have the Eastern Conference to themselves and have yet to be challenged by any team they have faced within the conference. In their last game the Cavaliers got by the New Orleans Pelicans , winning the contest by an eight-point margin 90-82 . The team’s last defeat came by way of a loss to the Detroit Pistons on the 26th December in a road game at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Detroit , Michigan. LeBron James might be lucky enough this time around. to be surrounded by a better cast of teammates than the championship winning team of last season . If there is to be a serious challenge to the Cleveland Cavaliers this season within the Eastern Conference, then it could very well come from either the Boston Celtics or the Toronto Raptors based on the current conference standings . Both of these teams have been highly competitive within the conference this season and clearly have to be seen as legitimate contenders. Brad Stevens and his Celtics’ team will be in action against the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night in a home game at the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston , Massachusetts , while the Raptors will face a tough battle on the road , when they tip-off against the San Antonio Spurs (27-7) .
They are still a young team at their core , but the Indiana Pacers are a franchise looking to recall their heyday when Reggie Miller led the franchise to their infamous battles with the New York Knicks during the regular and postseason . Larry Bird remains a pivotal element within the organization . Head coach Nate McMillan and the coaching staff know if the team is to be remotely competitive , then they will have to raise the level of their play over the course of the season. Whether or not the Pacers can seek the consistency sought will also be dependent upon the type of leadership seen from the team’s best player Paul George . He has hit his mark , while providing them with the assurance needed and the very fact the Pacers are not one of the highest paid teams in the NBA should point to the financial acumen also seen from the franchise.
This season’s League MVP race could be one of the toughest to decide in recent history . Steph Curry , the reigning two-time League MVP will be looking to make it a third consecutive win of the award , as he and the Golden State Warriors currently possess the best record in the league. There are many who feel the votes will be split , merely , because of the fact he has now been joined by Kevin Durant as a teammate on the Warriors’ roster . While this is valid , I do believe if the voters can see beyond that issue , then there is no reason why the player cannot win the award for a third consecutive season ! Granted , there are many other candidates to be considered , among them , LeBron James , Houston Rockets’ guard James Harden , Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers and perhaps the most electrifying player in the league at present , Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder . The point guard has been lighting up the scoreboard throughout much of the season , while leading the Thunder in many of the offensive categories which matter the most .
Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder will be on the court to face the Charlotte Hornets on the 4th January at the Spectrum Arena in Charlotte , North Carolina . This should prove to be a very competitive contest between the two opposing conference teams .
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With the NFL postseason now about to get into full swing , which teams do you feel are capable of rising to the occasion ? Also , of the two teams now left to decide who will become this year’s NCAA FBS champion , will Alabama claim another title in a lopsided victory or will Clemson pull of a surprise by derailing the Crimson Tide’s ambitions ? Finally , from your own observations of the NBA at this point of the season, do you believe the fans are getting their money’s worth from the teams and players ?
Related articles : https://tophatal.wordpress.com/2016/12/29/lets-take-a-walk-on-the-wild-side/
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