Seahawks Stomp Rams

When Richard Sherman claimed earlier in the week that Thursday Night Football is a “poopfest”, he is 100% correct. It was a rather one sided affair once again in a 24 to 3 Seattle Seahawks victory over the Los Angeles Rams. With the win, the Seattle Seahawks clinch the NFC West crown.

Early in the first quarter, Jared Goff threw a deep ball to Mike Thomas, and he dropped it. It would have been a touchdown. On the same drive, Goff missed a throw in the endzone to Brian Quick. Then on a 4th down play, Todd Gurley was stuffed. That has been basically the Rams season in a nut shell.

In the second quarter, Russell Wilson threw a 8-yard touchdown pass to Luke Wilson. On the Rams next drive, they tried to fake a punt, but the pass was incomplete.

With the Seahawks up 10 to 3 in the third-quarter, Wilson threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Doug Baldwin. Baldwin finished with 5 catches for 35 yards receiving and 1 touchdown.

In the fourth quarter, the Seahawks put the icing on the cake when Wilson threw a 57-yard touchdown pass to Tyler Lockett. Lockett finished with 7 catches for 130 yards receiving and 1 touchdown. Wilson finished with 229 passing yards 3 touchdowns and 1 interception.

Later in the quarter, Seahawks punter Jon Ryan, faked a punt and ran up the middle for 26 yards and then he was injured on the play. He had a longer run than Rams running back, Todd Gurley (22 yards).

The Seahawks will host the Arizona Cardinals (5-7-1) next Sunday.

 

What to Expect From Jake Guentzel in the NHL

This morning, the Pittsburgh Penguins called one of their most promising prospects up to the NHL to fill in for the injured Chris Kunitz. Jake Guentzel will be with the Penguins as they face off against the Rangers. He could just be a healthy scratch tonight, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Mike Sullivan and Jim Rutherford give Guentzel some playing time over the next week or so just to see what he’s got. So, what exactly should Penguins fans be expecting from one of the most promising Baby Penguins? Let’s take a look.

Guentzel is a forward with impressive scoring ability. In three years at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Guentzel was a 1.10 point per game player. After his final season of NCAA hockey ended last spring, he joined the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for their playoff run, tallying 2 goals and 6 points in 11 games. 2016-17 is his first full professional season, and thus far he has put up 7 goals, 10 assists and 17 points in 16 games for the Baby Penguins, leading the team in all categories.

Guentzel is a pretty small build at just 5’10, 168 lb., but he’s fast, and if there’s one thing that last season’s Cup-winning team taught us, it’s that speed is greater than size.

I suspect that if Guentzel does see playing time in this NHL stint, he’ll play somewhat of a sheltered role at first, maybe seeing 10 minutes of ice time on a bottom 6 line. However, just by watching him play, Guentzel looks like one of those guys who could jump right in and play the NHL way without flaw instantly, and if he can impress early, I wouldn’t be too shocked if they give him some looks with Crosby.

I don’t think Geuntzel’s stay in the NHL will be permanent this time. I think he will prove that he’s the real deal and will be back full time before the end of this season, but the Penguins are pretty healthy for the most part now and Guentzel’s contract can be moved from AHL to NHL freely, so he’s a flexible piece for Rutherford to move around when it comes to the salary cap.

It will certainly be exciting to see what Guentzel’s got in the tank because without a doubt we’ll be watching a future NHLer on the ice.

College Football Power Ranking/Predictions – Week 14

Power Ranking

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Ohio State

4. Washington

5. Michigan

6. Penn State

7. Wisconsin

8. Oklahoma

9. Colorado

10. Oklahoma State

11. West Virginia

12. Western Michigan

13. USC

14. Florida State

15. Louisville

16. Navy

17. Boise State

18. Stanford

19. Florida

20. Nebraska

21. Virginia Tech

22. Houston

23. LSU

24. Utah

25. Auburn

I think so far it is a pretty easy task to pick who should be in the playoff. They have mostly been near the top all year.  A couple of little flaws in the system will be Ohio State making it, and not actually winning or even getting to conference championship. In reality two spots are up for grabs, the Clemson and Washington games are the ones to watch. If both teams win, the playoff will be set with Alabama facing Washington and Clemson facing Ohio State.  The Clemson versus Ohio State would be a great game.

Heisman

1. QB Lamar Jackson – Louisville

2. QB Deshaun Watson – Clemson

3. WR Dede Westbrook – Oklahoma

4. RB D’Onta Foreman – Texas

5. RB Donnel Pumphrey – San Diego State

Honorable Mentions – Baker Mayfield, Jalen Hurts, Jabrill Peppers, Jake Browning

The race has tightened up with end of the year struggles by Louisville and Lamar Jackson.  He has put up some impressive numbers this year and it would take a big time performance from the other candidates to win it. Deshaun Watson has the best chance after a big South Carolina game and with the championship game coming up.

Predictions

Friday

Western Michigan VS Ohio – Western Michigan

Colorado VS Washington – Washington

Saturday

Temple VS Navy – Navy

Oklahoma State VS Oklahoma – Oklahoma

Baylor VS West Virginia – West Virginia

Alabama VS Florida – Alabama

Clemson VS Virginia Tech – Clemson

Wisconsin VS Penn State – Penn State

Potential Upset – Virginia Tech, Oklahoma State

Best Game – Wisconsin VS Penn State

On paper the team higher ranked and best teams should win. There will be upsets so be prepared to watch it just to see the excitement.  If either Clemson or Washington lose someone will sneak into the playoff potentially, which would make for pretty exciting playoff selection show.

NFL Playoff Predictions

AFC

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Houston Texans
  4. Baltimore Ravens
  5. Oakland Raiders
  6. Denver Broncos

NFC

  1. Dallas Cowboys
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. Detroit Lions
  5. New York Giants
  6. Washington Redskins

Wildcard Round

Denver Broncos @ Houston Texans:

Broncos 7 – Texans 21

Washington Redskins @ Atlanta Falcons:

Redskins 35 – Falcons 28

Oakland Raiders @ Baltimore Ravens:

Raiders 31- Ravens 20

New York Giants @ Detroit Lions

Giants 17 – Lions 14

Divisional Round

Oakland Raiders @ New England Patriots:

Raiders 13 – Patriots 10

Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys:

Redskins 27 – Cowboys 24

Houston Texans @ Kansas City Chiefs:

Texans 17 – Chiefs 20

New York Giants @ Seattle Seahawks:

Giants 28 – Seahawks 30

Conference Round

Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs:

Raiders 13- Chiefs 20

Washington Redskins @ Seattle Seahawks

Redskins 17 – Seahawks 20

Super Bowl

Kansas City Chiefs vs Seattle Seahawks:

Chiefs 20 – Seahawks 23

Kershaw’s Dominant Performance

If you didn’t watch Clayton Kershaw last night, then you missed a dominant performance. The left-handed ace threw a phenomenal 7 innings, giving u just 2 hits and having 6 strikeouts. Kershaw has missed games during the season due to a herniated disc, but that is hard to believe the way he has pitched this postseason.

The Dodgers got on the board early in the 3rd, as lefty slugger, Adrian Gonzalez, sent a solo homer into left-center field. His solo homer was the only run scored by the Dodgers. Adrian is having himself a series so far. Game 1 he had clutch hit, late in the game, sending a single up the middle to score 2 runs.

As any pitcher who’s pitched, Kershaw’s tank was running on E. He started off the 7th inning with a walk to Anthony Rizzo, giving the Cubs hope to score in the inning. Catcher Yasmani Grandal dropped a sure out behind the plate, which had Dodgers fans on the edge of their seat for the rest of the inning. Kershaw’s dominant performance was being put to the test. Kershaw’s last out was a loud fly ball from Javier Baez. I immediately dropped my head, waiting for Joe Buck to call the homer, but as I looked up I saw Joc Pederson right under the fly ball to make the final out of the inning.

The 8th and 9th inning was a complete shutout from Kenley Janson. The Cubs seemed absolutely terrified of Janson’s cutter, which dominated the late innings. The Cubs went down without a fight. The Dodgers now have the momentum, as Game 3 will be held in Los Angeles.

Carolina Panthers Need To Make Major Changes

Sitting at 1-4 and pretty much out of the season before it even began, the Carolina Panthers need to start making some big changes, and make them quickly, to even have any chance, no matter how slim it is.

One of the first changes that absolutely needs to be made is to the offense, and that all starts with the offensive coordinator Mike Shula. Shula’s very poor play calling so far in 2016 came to a head against  the Tampa Bay Bucs on Monday Night Football. Around three minutes remaining, a great drive going that had they scored would have given the Panthers a 21-14 lead. It’s 1st down and two from the two yard line. Panthers running back Cameron Artis-Payne had been unstoppable on the drive, yet from the two yard line, Shula decides on a pass instead of keeping the success on the ground going, FROM THE TWO YARD LINE. Absolutely terrible play call, and simply cost the Panthers  the game, and absolutely summed up the 1-4 start to the season. So first order of business, fire OC Mike Shula.

Defensive line and secondary have also been a major issue for the Panthers defense this season. The secondary, minus now Redskin Josh Norman, wasn’t that great last year, but the Panthers dominate from seven was able to get pressure on the quarterback and disrupt plays, which allowed the secondary to overachieve. Now yes, the Panthers secondary is very young, but they were young last year. The difference? A pass rush. So order of business, get some help on the defensive line, generate pressure, and you’ll be amazing at what the secondary can do.

Stop filling the hole with cheap, bottom of the barrel veterans. Yes it worked last season, but you cannot continuously win when you try to plug holes while shopping at the “Dollar Store”. It’s time for the Panthers to go after a to-tier cornerback and a top-tier defensive end. If Gettleman keeps letting all the great players leave or pass him by, the Panthers are in a very bad situation. Solution? Get a big name free agent or two via trade or free agency. But it must be a DE or CB.

Last but not least, the players, the captains need to take things into their own hands right now. Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, Greg Olsen, Cam Newton, Ryan Kalil. Somebody needs to call a players meeting just like Steve Smith did in 2013 after the Panthers started 1-3, but ended up 12-4. That players only meeting in 2013 came after the 1-3 start. So the Panthers leaders seriously need to step up and make it known that more of the same that has been the Panthers through five games this year is completely UNACCEPTABLE.

And YES, there are more problems with the Panthers, I just felt that these listed above would help turn the team around much faster.

Falcons Down Denver, Can They Be Stopped?

In what could’ve been a game where the Denver defense proved their dominance, instead turned into another Falcon victory. They showed early on that they would be able to move the ball against this defense, as Matt Ryan led a 9 play, 75 yard drive for a touchdown to start the game.

The Falcons scored on 3 of 5 first half drives, taking a 13-3 lead into the half. Certainly not the type of offensive efficiency you would expect the Broncos defense to give up.

Perhaps even more surprising the complete lack of offense from Denver until the fourth quarter. Vic Beasley and the Atlanta pass rush ensured that Paxton Lynch never got comfortable in the pocket, sacking him 6 times.

If a silver lining can be found for Denver, it is that they were able to shut down Julio Jones ( 2 receptions, 29 yards) just a week after he had 300 yards receiving. However, Tevin Coleman found more than enough room to operate, turning his 8 touches into 163 yards and 1 touchdown. The Falcons showed that even if their superstar Jones isn’t on his game, that they can find offense else where.

The question then becomes, when will the Falcons be stopped?

We may see it happen this upcoming weekend.

Atlanta will travel to face the Seattle Seahawks, who own the third best scoring defense in the league, allowing just 13.5 points per game. Furthermore, the Seahawks will have a unique advantage that no other teams have, the Seattle 12th Man.

Seattle is undefeated at home this season and will need that crowd advantage to stop Atlanta. I bet against the Falcons last week and lost. I’m gonna try my luck one more time and say that they will lose this week, 13-10 to the Seahawks.