Sunday, September 25, 2016

I try not to ask for too many things in life. But a Broncos loss and a Chiefs victory tomorrow would be really nice.

Of course now that I've said it, the chance of it happening go down. How the hell do I reverse jinx this...

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

I've talked myself into this: Only one of Colts/Texans will make the playoffs.

So I've got Pats, Steelers, Bengals, Chiefs, Broncos and the AFC South winner in. Whew. Don't have to worry about that anymore.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Projecting the AFC Playoff Race

Considering I bet on the Chiefs to win the AFC Championship this year, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the AFC playoff picture...after one week.

Good Teams

The Patriots are going to be really good. Already won one of their toughest games, on the road, without Brady.

The Steelers figure to be good as well. Two great RBs, a great QB, the best WR, plus they usually play good D.

The Bengals struggled but still figure to be good.

The Colts lost but should be good.

The Texans won, and Osweiler looks like he could be their missing piece.

Even the Jaguars looked good against Green Bay.

Chiefs, Broncos and Raiders all had to come back, but all did so. At this point, I think you still have to go Broncos, Chiefs, Raiders in that order.

I just named 9 good teams fighting for 6 playoff spots.

Bad Teams

Chargers. They lost Allen and a game they should have won. Bad start.

Browns. Bad.

Titans. Going to Struggle.

Frisky Teams

Jets, Bills, Dolphins, and Ravens will win some games, I'm penciling them in for between 5-11 and 8-8.

Playoff Predictions

Let's go ahead and write off the Jaguars. Too many other real good teams.

The Pats will win their division and a bye.

I'm guessing Steelers win the North.

Colts and Texans could be close.

I don't know who wins the West.

My gut says the Raiders are still a year away.

So I've got Pats and Steelers in.

And these five fighting for four spots: Bengals, Colts, Texans, Chiefs, Broncos.

One of these 7 teams isn't making the playoffs.

The only one who lost this week was the Colts, but I'm not writing them off. These games are going to be huge. Starting with...Chiefs v Texans this Sunday.

Anatomy of a Comeback: Chiefs Erase 21 Point Deficit

The Chiefs opened their season at home against the Chargers. Last year the Chargers went 4-12 and the Chiefs had won 4 in a row against San Diego coming in to today. The Chiefs were 7 point favorites.

After three possessions for each team, the score was 21-3 San Diego. Touchdown drives of 75, 80 and 38. No turnovers yet for either team. Just one team struggling on offense including a -18 yard drive. And the other team marching down the field at will.

The Chiefs defense finally got one stop after a punt pinned the Chargers inside their 10, but the Chiefs offense was unable to get anything going.

Rivers was 16 of 20 in the first half, 151 yards, 1 td, 0 int. There was no pass rush or coverage. He was completing everything. His #1 receiver, Keenan Allen went down right before the end of the first half.

Halftime: Chargers 21, Chiefs 3

The Chiefs first drive of the second half? -4 yards.

With 6 minutes to go in the 3rd, the Chargers tacked on a field goal. 24-3.

At this point, it looked like not only would the Chiefs lose this game, but it looked like their season was spiraling out of control. They looked so bad. If the Chargers were rolling through them like this, a team like Denver or Carolina could put up 50. And the Chiefs offense was no better. Alex Smith looked afraid to throw, taking sacks he shouldn't have. It was a mess.

It was time to unleash everything.

On the first play of the drive Smith goes deep to Ware. 45 yard completion.

But moments later, it's 4th and 5 at the SD 25. They're in field goal range but 3 points isn't good enough. Down three touchdowns, Reid goes for it with 4 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. Complete to Kelce. And two plays later, the Chiefs get their first TD, a screen pass to the rookie Hill.

I'm looking at the clock, 24-10 in the 3rd quarter isn't impossible anymore. You can get two stops and two scores, but little margin for error. And as I'm thinking this, Rivers completes a 38-yard pass and the Chargers in the red zone. A TD puts this game basically out of reach.

Chiefs D gets a stop and the Chargers settle for 3.

13 minutes to go. Chargers 27, Chiefs 10.

There's so much in football to explain to children. I'm telling the boys about that there's four quarters, and now that we're in the last quarter so there's only 13 minutes to go and the Chiefs are losing by 17 so they need to get 7 points very quickly when Alex Smith throws an interception. It was a really incredible play by Verrett. And that's when I think it's finally over.

The Chargers have the ball at our 44. They gain 8 yards on three plays and settle for a field goal attempt. Except they miss the 54-yarder. So we start on our own 44. The interception only cost us a minute and a half. Still alive, barely.

11 minutes to go. Chargers 27, Chiefs 10.

The Chiefs start a drive and I'm getting flashbacks to the playoff game against the Patriots. The one where the Chiefs were down two scores but take 10 minutes to get one touchdown and leave no time to get the ball back.

This time, the Chiefs go no huddle. They convert another 4th down. In the game, that's 5/14 on 3rd down, but 2/2 on 4th down.

And then Smith throws a perfect ball to Maclin at the pylon. Back shoulder throw and catch that I see Brady do all the time. It was amazing.

Even more amazing, there's over 9 minutes left. The whole interception, missed field goal, drive down the field only took a little over 3 minutes. It's a 10-point game with 9 to play.

First play for the Chargers is a 20 yard pass. But then they run it twice and can't pick up the 3rd down conversion. So they're punting.

KC takes over at their own 23 with 6:49 to go. Again, thinking back to the playoff game. We need to score quickly.

Chiefs convert two third downs on the drive but not three. They settle for a field goal from the SD 15, but 3 minutes left and Chiefs have two timeouts.

Run up the middle, 2 yards.
Pass right, -2 yards.
Pass left, no gain.

3 and out. And the punt, my god the punt!

Rookie Drew Kaser punting from his on 25, kicks it short and wobbly across midfield, but it bounces backward, rolling until it stops at the SD 42. A 17-yard punt.

After losing the whole game, the Chiefs had 1:49 and one timeout to go 42 yards.

From the 32, Smith fires down to the field. Placing it perfectly for Maclin. Completion plus penalty. Ware would rush it in on the next play.

Andy Reid, famed for not being able to manage the clock, had just scored 24 points in the last 17 minutes. Still has a timeout even.

1 minute to go. Chargers 27, Chiefs 27.

Now here's what I was worried about. It's very easy to make a few plays and get into field goal range. With the touchback, the Chargers had 1:03 from their own 25.

Dee Ford picked a good time to get the Chiefs first and only sack of the day. San Diego would punt on this drive as well ending regulation.

Overtime.

The Chiefs win the toss. I'm explaining to Brit how overtime isn't sudden death anymore when the Chargers are offside on the kickoff. KC starts at the 30.

And then Smith pulls this out of his ass. On the run, the ball traveling 30 yards in the air perfectly placed for Ware. Jesus.

They convert a 3rd down to Kelce and go back to him later for this beauty.

At this point, a field goal is a gimme. But they want to end this. Ware sets up a 3rd and goal from the 2. I was thinking if they don't get it in, would Reid go for it on 4th down from the 1 in OT? Or kick the field goal?

But he didn't have to. Because of Alex Smith.



Biggest comeback in franchise history. The Chiefs and Broncos are 1-0.

- - -

KC Possessions

Field Goal
Punt
Punt
Punt
Punt
---halftime---
Punt
Touchdown
Interception
Touchdown
Field Goal
Touchdown
---overtime---
Touchdown

SD Possessions

Touchdown
Touchdown
Touchdown
Punt
Kneel
---halftime---
Punt
Field Goal
Field Goal
Missed Field Goal
Punt
Punt
Punt

The KC defense gave up 5.25 points per drive in the first half, not counting the kneel down.
The KC defense gave up .85 points per drive in the second half.

The KC offense scored .6 points per drive in the first half.
The KC offense scored 4.28 points per drive in the second half and overtime.

- - -

Over the last 21 minutes of regulation here were the possessions:

Touchdown
Field Goal
Interception
Missed Field Goal
Touchdown
Punt
Field Goal
Punt
Touchdown
Punt
---overtime---
Touchdown

- - -

It's now a 5 game winning streak against the Chargers.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

Winners and Losers from College Football Week 1

LOSERS

Northwestern
A home game against Western Michigan. Down one late in the game, the QB is about to run it in for the winning touchdown. And he fumbles on the one-foot line. Hilarious.

LSU
Which is worse? Losing as a #5 team to an unranked Wisconsin? Or losing your cool and doing a cheap shot that makes you look classless?


Missouri
They lost 26-11 to West Virginia in the Redneck Bowl.

Oklahoma
Remember when people thought Oklahoma should go to the playoffs? Me either.

Tenneessee
The actually beat App. St. but it wasn't pretty. Should have lost. Their fall from grace will be coming any week now.

WINNERS

Alabama
They dismantled a ranked team. You can pencil them in the title game now.

Georgia
Were down 14-24 against North Carolina, but had a nice comeback to win comfortably.

Illinois
Lovie Smith now has the greatest winning percentage in college football history. Gets to face North Carolina and Western Michigan in the next two weeks. Win one of those and we're talking bowl games. Win both and watch out Alabama.




Houston
Not only made a national case for their playoff hopes by beating Oklahoma but probably secured an entrance to the Big12.

Colorado
Turned the Rocky Mountain Showdown against CSU into a Rocky Mountain Beatdown, 44-7.

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Hot Take Alert: Bradford to Vikings

Bradford is trash.
A QB can't learn a new system in a week.
The Vikings did this before with Josh Freeman and started him before he was ready, never giving him a real chance.
This will still be a wasted season and they gave up a first round pick that could be useful when Bridgewater comes back.
Dumb.

Friday, September 02, 2016

32 NFL Storylines

For some reason, I'm even more excited about the NFL this year. Maybe it's because the Chiefs should be a playoff team, I don't know. Just looking across the league, it seems like there's something to watch for with every team. I thought I would go team by team with my thoughts.

AFC

Patriots - With Tom Brady and good coaching, this team is always going to be a Super Bowl contender. Can they survive four games without Brady?

Bills - Tyrod Taylor, McCoy, Watkins...could the Bills actually be exciting? They were 8-8 last year, is this a wild card team?

Dolphins - Will Tannehill continue to be mediocre or will ever break out?

Jets - This seems like a clusterfuck. Will they look competent at all?

Bengals - They were good last year but stumbled in the playoffs. Are they actually good or was last year a fluke?

Steelers - They've been under the radar for a little while, but seem capable of manufacturing a deep playoff run. Will they?

Ravens - Even more under the radar, but also have a history of bouncing back. Could they surprise people?

Browns - They're building something slowly. I doubt it, but could RG3 return to former success? What about Gordon?

Texans - Will Osweiler actually be good and give this team the thing they were missing?

Colts - Andrew Luck has got to turn into a top tier quarterback, right...is this the year it comes together?

Jaguars - They're still a couple years away right?

Titans - Is Mariota a bust or a rising star?

Broncos - The returning Champs turn to an inexperienced quarterback. If he's terrible, how long before the defense loses faith?

Chiefs - Poised to take the division...can they execute? Can they get a playoff bye?

Raiders - With Carr, they're going to be good some day. Will they contend this year?

Chargers - How many great years does Rivers have in him?

NFC

Cowboys - Is Dak the future? How good can Dak, Dez and Zeke be this year?

Giants - Manning to Beckham. That seems fun.

Eagles - Seems like a rebuild is underway.

Washington - Another year of Kirk Cousins, will we like that?

Vikings - What could have been an up and coming team looks like a lost season.

Packers - Every year with Aaron Rodgers, they can be a Super Bowl contender. Yet he only has 1 SB appearance. Will he get back there?

Bears - How good is Langford? Still, yikes.

Lions - Never won a playoff game with Megatron. How good can they be without him?

Saints - Will Brees win the passing crown on a losing team again?

Bucs - Is Winston going to turn into a Pro Bowl QB?

Falcons - How much longer can Julio Jones be a dominant WR?

Panthers - Can they return to the Super Bowl?

Seahawks - Can they return to the Super Bowl?

Cardinals - They went 13-3, but Palmer and Fitz are getting old. Do they have one more playoff run in them?

49ers - They're bad, right?

Rams - How good is Gurley? What's it like to finally have a team back in LA?

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hot Take Alert: Kaep

So Kaep isn't standing for the National Anthem because, in his own words: “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

The first reaction of many people has been:


Deadspin later took a different angle, attacking Trump in a video saying that he shouldn't be criticizing America because America is where he got rich.

I think both of these angles are missing the point pretty badly.

- - -

Everyone is quick to jump on Kaep for saying that this country oppresses black people because he's a black person making millions of dollars. That because he is financially successful, he is not being financially oppressed himself, that he can't comment on oppression of any kind in America.

That seems pretty contrary to what we know and see often. LeBron has successfully raised awareness of Trayvon Martin, among others. Bill Gates, the richest person in the world does perhaps the most for the poor.

And when it comes to making social change in America, it often/usually requires support from people outside the people being affected to actually enact change. Same-sex marriage being legal across the U.S. required the support of some straight people. The Civil War and abolishment of slavery needed the support of some white people. For the Black Lives Matter movement to be truly successful it needs support from people of all races.

A person like Kaep is actually someone who can make a difference. Because reporters will listen to him. A random Black Lives Matter protester is not going to get the same kind of coverage that a NFL player will.

So the issue should not be that Kaep is not permitted to comment on oppression.

The issue should be: Is sitting during the National Anthem an effective/good comment on oppression?

My personal opinion is that it's not a very clear message. It can be easily interpreted as "I don't support America, I don't like America" instead of "there's an important problem in America that needs to be fixed." He faces the press every day, he could easily have made the same statement, he could wear a shirt supporting whatever message he wants, he could write a piece for The Players Tribune, he could make a website or foundation that inspires action. Instead he chooses to say that he can't take pride in a flag for a country that oppresses people of color.

- - -

As for Deadspin's Trump angle, it's pretty dumb. Presidential candidates are allowed to point out things they want to improve. Yes, I thought the RNC and his campaign in general is very doom and gloom, often trying to paint a picture worse than it really is. But of all the things to criticize Trump for, this is way down the list.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Prediction Recap

I'm going to go through the archives to check on older predictions.

1. Brit picks 2015 Chiefs to go 13-4. 

Including the playoffs, they were 12-5 through 17 games. Pretty good. I predicted 10-6 in the regular season.

2. Brit picks Ravens and Eagles to be good.

5-11 and 7-9. Not good.

3. Chiefs fans hate Mitch Morse pick.

Turns out Mitch Morse is awesome. We'll see if Strong develops into a good WR, 161 yards in his rookie year. Reminder not to get worked up during the NFL Draft.

4. Me calling Winston a semi-bust and Mariota the better pick. 

Too soon to say for sure, but it's not looking great for me at the moment.

5. Me predicting 2010-2014 Illinois Basketball team would be great.

We won a total of two tournament games, as a #9 seed and #7 seed. Not great.

So there you go. Predictions are hard.







Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Fixing The Summer Olympics

Some Olympics sports are unnecessary. Golf, tennis and soccer all come to mind that are redundant, because they are inferior versions of existing tournaments (majors and the World Cup.) Basketball is necessary because its world championship is inferior to the Olympic tournament. Equestrian can go just because it's not even a sport. And let's lose racewalking because honestly.

Before I get to the sports I'd like to add, holy shit look at this Field Hockey Game. That was brilliant. I only saw that researching this article to see if floor hockey as I know it would be different than field hockey. Let's just stick with field hockey.

The IOC is adding karate, skateboarding, baseball/softball, surfing and climbing. None of these get me excited.

Here are some sports I'd like to add.

Dodgeball
This is really the best one. Putting countries in direct competition with each other. I would watch the shit out of this.

Paintball
I would make it so that the course changes from day to day, forcing teams to develop new strategies on the fly. Basically this is simulated war between countries, but harmless!

Tug of War
I really liked Deadspin's plan for this, using Olympians from the existing roster. 

Beach Soccer & Futsal
Look, beach volleyball is more fun than regular volleyball. And we already have the World Cup so we don't need the real soccer teams. This would be fun.

Outdoor Basketball (3 on 3)
Likewise, I think 3 on 3 could be the beach volleyball version of basketball. I'd make it outdoor just for aesthetics.

Bowling Pin Knockdown 
This game may not be well known at all. I played it in middle school. We called it Handball but it's not the handball that's in the Olympics. It was played with a small dodgeball, with ultimate frisbee rules of catching and passing, and the goal was to knock down a bowling pin at the end of the court. It was awesome. It's probably too close to Handball but whatever. In researching this, I found something called Pin Knockover which is just a less war-like dodgeball. I'd watch that too.

Ultimate Frisbee
Why not?

Shuffleboard & Darts & Foosball
If we have ping-ping, why not other bar games?


Monday, August 22, 2016

State of Sports: 2016 Preview

I'm all in on sports. A huge part of this is the outlook of my teams. Let's go deeper, chronologically.

Illinois Football

For me, sports start on September 3rd. Illinois is hosting Murray State before facing off against North Carolina a week later. Someone got paid to predict that Illinois will go 2-10 this year. 


We went 5-7 last year with Cubit. We can't get 5 wins this year with Lovie? SBNation has us on par with Rutgers and Purdue as the only worse team. That seems a bit harsh.

I think we either get 5 or 6 wins most likely. 7+ would be holy shit! 4- would be shit. But it seems like we're going to get better and it should be exciting. For the record, @alioneye has penciled in October 12, 2019 as a key date for Illinois football, as in possibly undefeated and hosting ESPN Gameday in Champaign vs Michigan.

Kansas City Chiefs

Last year I was optimistic before the season started. I predicted 10-6. The won their first game. Then lost 5 in a row. I called them garbage. They would then win their next 11, including a playoff game, ending a terrible streak.

This year, people are split evenly whether the Chiefs or Broncos will win the division. Teams being predicted for the AFC Championship include Patriots, Steelers, Bengals and Colts. But I've got $160 that says the Chiefs will win the AFC Championship and go to the Super Bowl.


There are two kinds of playoff teams. One is a team like the R-E-L-A-X Packers. They're really good and capable of reeling off 8 out of 10 games, so they can overcome a fumble or penalty or whatever. The other kind of playoff team isn't as good. They can get to 10 even 11 wins, but they need some bounces to go their way. Even if they have two games left and only need to win one to secure the playoffs, you're not fully confident it's going to happen. Except for 2003, I've felt like the Chiefs have always been in the second camp. This year, I think they have a good shot of making the playoffs. The question will be are they a R-E-L-A-X team or not.

Illinois Basketball

In 2014, I predicted that Illinois would make it to the Final Four by 2019.
Since I made that prediction, Illinois has lost in the first round of the NIT and then didn't even get invited to the NIT.

So things are generally...not great. Most people would look at that paragraph and think that Illinois stinks and I'm crazy.

But wait...top talent has been committing to Illinois. 5-star Tillmon, 4-star Frazier, 4-star Williams (son of Frank). Take a look at the 2018-9 roster.


I know it's a ways away, but that team looks really good. 2019 Final Four. Let's do it.

Colorado Avalanche

Is it a good thing to not have a coach less than two months before the season starts? At this point, you'd have to assume they'll miss the playoffs, maybe finish 11th or 12th in the conference. Disappointing, considering they have talented players.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Where do I buy Chiefs' Super Bowl tickets?