Month: September 2014

NFL 2014 – Week 4 Preview

Following what was a perfect week for me, prediction-wise, we go into a week full of action – particularly over here in Europe – as the Oakland Raiders get ready to dismantle a stuttering Miami Dolphins team. We also enter a week wherein we’ll see the great rivalry of the National Football League – the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears – both are storied franchises, the former with one of the best quarterbacks in our day and age, and the latter with a stellar receiving team. Neither the Packers nor the Bears are without problems – and that’ll undoubtedly lead to turnovers. I will predict the outcome of the aforementioned matches, along with two other games that I find peculiar; but first, let’s look at the new and improved I’m Jeffrey Rex Power Ranking. As always a pretender, the best team of last week, as well as the worst, will be highlighted.

 

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Cincinnati Bengals
  4. Arizona Cardinals
  5. Atlanta Falcons
  6. Indianapolis Colts
  7. San Diego Chargers
  8. Philadelphia Eagles
  9. New England Patriots
  10. Chicago Bears
  11. San Francisco 49ers
  12. Carolina Panthers
  13. Baltimore Ravens
  14. New Orleans Saints
  15. Pittsburgh Steelers
  16. Buffalo Bills
  17. Detroit Lions
  18. Kansas City Chiefs
  19. Green Bay Packers
  20. Washington Redskins
  21. Miami Dolphins
  22. Cleveland Browns
  23. Minnesota Vikings
  24. Houston Texans
  25. New York Giants
  26. Dallas Cowboys
  27. Louis Rams
  28. New York Jets
  29. Oakland Raiders
  30. Tennessee Titans
  31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  32. Jacksonville Jaguars

 

Week 4 Predictions

  • Not so Eli-te, but still a Manning. Remember when the hot topic in the National Football League was whether Eli Manning was indeed elite, or perhaps if he was even better than his brother? If you don’t, then you’re one lucky camper. For two years, Eli Manning has been performing extremely poorly – and he can no longer call himself an elite quarterback. Thankfully, for the Giants, they aren’t facing one when they meet the Redskins. With Robert Griffin III out injured, the biggest position in sports will be filled by the Chad Pennington-lookalike Kirk Cousins. Don’t get me wrong, I like him – but I’m taking a Coughlin-led Giants team over a rookie head coach w/ a backup quarterback any day of the week.
  • Raiding London. A disgruntled Miami team goes to London to battle a rookie-led Raiders team. I see Derek Carr beat the Tannehill-led Dolphins.
  • Saint Survival. New Orleans have been poor, disappointing in truth, but I see them getting a tough win against a running-Dallas team.
  • Cutler’s Takeover. The Bears have a great opportunity this week. They are able to push Green Bay to a 1-3 record, whilst maintaining their own top position in the North. Aaron Rodgers will have to perform to his best ability if he is to beat the potentially deadly Bears offense. And I? I doubt the Packers will be able to handle it. Bears win.
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What Am I Reading? 5 of 6

The following post is the fifth of six revolving around what I am reading (mostly comics) in 2014. Every post will cover two months, and therefore this one will cover September and October.

So, my third semester at the University of Copenhagen has begun – and that means most of my reading is study based. As you should be able to see, the top picture for this post is the cover of The Great Gatsby – that’s because it’s part of my curriculum. That will take up a substantial amount of time this semester. What’s being read early on in this semester has primarily been LeRoy Ashby’s With Amusement For All – which is about US Popular culture in the 19th and 20th century. I’m enjoying it. Sadly, that leaves little room for comics. However…

With the movie having already been green-lit, I’m trying to catch up on Dr. Stephen Strange – much like I did with the Guardians of the Galaxy when it was announced a very, very long time ago. So far, I’m liking what I’m reading – and there’s a lot of potential here. As for now, though, I’m not ready to dive into origin reviews and such.

The year’s almost over, if you know of any comic and/or a literary work I simply HAVE to read – Please do leave a comment.

NFL 2014 – Week 3 Preview

My overall prediction score is still at 75%, and I go into this week with four new week predictions. This week I’ll once again note an updated Power Ranking, and a pretender. New this week, I’m naming the best team of last week, as well as the worst.

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. Cincinnati Bengals
  4. San Francisco 49ers
  5. Carolina Panthers
  6. San Diego Chargers
  7. New England Patriots
  8. Arizona Cardinals
  9. Chicago Bears
  10. Philadelphia Eagles
  11. Atlanta Falcons
  12. Green Bay Packers
  13. Baltimore Ravens
  14. Buffalo Bills
  15. Indianapolis Colts
  16. Miami Dolphins
  17. Minnesota Vikings
  18. St. Louis Rams
  19. New Orleans Saints
  20. Pittsburgh Steelers
  21. Washington Redskins
  22. Houston Texans
  23. Cleveland Browns
  24. Detroit Lions
  25. New York Jets
  26. Kansas City Chiefs
  27. Tennessee Titans
  28. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  29. New York Giants
  30. Dallas Cowboys
  31. Jacksonville Jaguars
  32. Oakland Raiders

Week 3 Predictions

  • Unbalanced Lovie: So far this season, Tampa Bay has not done anything truly spectacular. As we saw in Chicago, Lovie Smith is not a good coach for the offense – and one wonders if this trend will continue in Tampa. When the Bucs go to Atlanta, they will be beaten by a much better offense. Matt Ryan takes the win.
  • The Saints Are Coming: I predict that the New Orleans Saints will get back on track by beating Minnesota – and getting their first win.
  • Started From The Bottom…: I believe, and predict, that the Bears will beat the New York Jets on Monday Night Football, and keep control of their division – tied for 1st place.
  • Motor City Win: My final prediction of the week is that the Green Bay Packers will drop to 1-2, by losing to the Detroit Lions. I don’t see anything special in Green Bay, other than their no. 12. Detroit will win.

NFL 2014 – Week 2 Preview

After getting 75% of my predictions for Week 1 correct, I’m feeling pretty confident. Today, I’ll release my newest power ranking, as well as release the usual 4 weekly predictions. Firstly, here is the update power ranking – note that I’m testing some new team categories, this week I will name one ‘pretender‘ team that is overrated or will be sooner rather than later (I’ve overrated them, accordingly):

  1. Seattle Seahawks ↔
  2. Denver Broncos ↔
  3. San Francisco 49ers ↔
  4. Cincinnati Bengals ↑
  5. Indianapolis Colts ↑
  6. Atlanta Falcons ↑
  7. Miami Dolphins ↑
  8. New England Patriots ↓
  9. Carolina Panthers ↓
  10. Philadelphia Eagles ↓
  11. Minnesota Vikings
  12. New Orleans Saints ↓
  13. Green Bay Packers ↔
  14. Pittsburgh Steelers ↑
  15. Arizona Cardinals ↑
  16. Chicago Bears ↓
  17. Baltimore Ravens ↓
  18. Buffalo Bills ↑
  19. Detroit Lions ↔
  20. Washington Redskins ↓
  21. San Diego Chargers ↓
  22. St. Louis Rams ↓
  23. Kansas City Chiefs ↓
  24. Tennessee Titans ↑
  25. Houston Texans ↑
  26. Tampa Bay Buccaneers ↓
  27. Cleveland Browns ↔
  28. New York Giants ↓
  29. Jacksonville Jaguars ↓
  30. Dallas Cowboys ↑
  31. New York Jets ↓
  32. Oakland Raiders ↓

Week 2 Predictions

  • Nevermore: In what will be a tough matchup between the Ravens and the Steelers, the Ravens will ultimately beat the Steelers in Maryland. But as we now know, they shall see Rice play… Nevermore.
  • Kuechly Takes Over: Regardless of the starting quarterback, the Carolina Panthers will beat the Detroit Lions – due, in part, to a commanding defensive performance.
  • Titanium: In Tennessee, the Dallas Cowboys will once again look into the abyss – as they lose to Jake Locker’s Titans.
  • Melted Matty Ice: The cool Atlanta QB, Matt Ryan, will melt in Cincinnati as the Red Rifle will turn into the Red Hot Rifle, and liquify the Falcons’ QB. Bengals beat the Falcons.

Foreign Perspective – Chicago Bears – Week One 2014


In this ‘essay-like’ series under the name ‘Foreign Perspective’ – I’m trying to elaborate on views of a European, when seeing traditional American news or results. This includes, but is not limited to, potential political topics. My main focus, however, is the Chicago Bears – an American Football team that I love. How do I see the recent news and results lining up? Do I even understand this sporting mentality? Find out in the Essay Series ‘Foreign Perspective – Chicago Bears’.

On Sunday September 7th, the Chicago Bears opened their NFL Regular Season (2014/2015) against the AFC East Buffalo Bills. At Soldier Field, expectations were big – seeing as the Bears have been stellar against the Bills at home, and generally in the opening game. However, the Bears proved that this year won’t be as good as most people expected. I, perhaps infamously, predicted a 12-4 season – I drank the kool-aid, and believed the hype. But the Bears ultimately fell to the Buffalo Bills 23-20. Now, I have a couple of notes and views on the game. This week’s Bears Essay is entitled: The Good, The Bad and The Inexcusable.

Most of the things we saw at Soldier Field were bad, but it’s important to remember that it didn’t start that way. The Bears opened the season by forcing the Buffalo Bills 3-and-out. The Defense we wanted to see. When the Bears got the ball, they were fast and furious – an on-point Jay Cutler led the Bears down the field, and finished it off with a Touchdown to Martellus Bennett – a Tight End who had a big role to play in the opening week. It all went downhill from there.

Did the Bears think it was an easy win? Well, the game proved to be a trap-game. E.J. Manuel took his team down the field, by exploiting the Bears’ defensive holes – using Robert Woods to perfection, for one. The Bears let the Bills take an easy Touchdown. Tied at 7-7, I wasn’t panicking – not at all. But then the Bears offense made the same mistake that the defense did – thinking it was too easy? Sure, maybe. Hubris? Definitely. Trying that flea-flicker was obnoxious – and the playcalling was essentially terrible following the opening Touchdown-drive.

The Bills quickly went up 17-7, and the Bears were booed going into the half. And Cutler’s first interception of the season, directly led to a C.J. Spiller Touchdown. What happened during that play? I think Martellus Bennett was running a hitch-route, but failed to turn around and catch the ball Cutler was throwing – a missed play by Bennett. These missed plays continued, as Cutler was unable to lead the Bears back to a win. It wasn’t made easy for him, though – as Garza, Slauson, Morgan, Jeffery and Marshall all had injuries during the game.

Now, Martellus Bennett is not the bad, the good or the inexcusable. He had an average day, and his performance had both plusses and minusses at the end of the day. The Good was Matt Forte. He ended up with a total yardage of 169 yards – and was the one positive aspect of a game, wherein I expected very little from Forte following a mixed pre-season.

I label Jared Allen as ‘the bad’. But in reality, the defensive line should be labeled so. Jared Allen was particularly disappointing – and maybe both Allen and, the new Packer, Peppers are over-the-hill. As for the inexcusable? Jay Cutler. He did okay early in the game, and I don’t blame him for the first interception. But he did hold onto the ball too long, he did make two throws that easily could’ve been picked. And his second interception forced me to label him as inexcusable.He’s got his big deal, he’s got the big receivers – his type of coach. He didn’t take home the win – and he has no excuses when he throws directly to Kyle Williams. Throw it away, Jay.

Next week the Bears face the San Francisco 49ers, and they look good – like I expected – but it’s probably the best chance the Bears have had of pulling off an upset in San Francisco in a long time – with the defensive lack of health and new stadium in mind.

Go Bears.

NFL 2014 – Week 1 Preview

This year I’ll be trying to release a preview of each Regular Season week – and in these previews I’ll have a Power Ranking & a few predictions each week. Without further ado…

 

Power Ranking Pre-Week 1

  1. Seattle Seahawks
  2. Denver Broncos
  3. San Francisco 49ers
  4. New England Patriots
  5. New Orleans Saints
  6. Cincinnati Bengals
  7. Indianapolis Colts
  8. Carolina Panthers
  9. Philadelphia Eagles
  10. Washington Redskins
  11. Chicago Bears
  12. St. Louis Rams
  13. Green Bay Packers
  14. Baltimore Ravens
  15. Atlanta Falcons
  16. San Diego Chargers
  17. Arizona Cardinals
  18. Pittsburgh Steelers
  19. Detroit Lions
  20. Kansas City Chiefs
  21. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  22. Minnesota Vikings
  23. Miami Dolphins
  24. New York Giants
  25. Buffalo Bills
  26. Jacksonville Jaguars
  27. Cleveland Browns
  28. Oakland Raiders
  29. New York Jets
  30. Tennessee Titans
  31. Dallas Cowboys
  32. Houston Texans

Week 1 Predictions

  • Student Becomes The Master: I predict that Ron Rivera will outshine and beat Lovie Smith’s Tampa Bay team.
  • Home Field Advantage: I predict that the Seattle Seahawks will defend their turf, and beat the Green Bay Packers in the opening round of the 2014 season.
  • Bad News Bears: I predict that while the Bears beat the Bills, Matt Forte will underperform severely.
  • Good Start: I predict that Bill O’Brien will lead his new Houston Texans team to a week 1 win against the Gruden-led Redskins.

Predicting the 2014/2015 NFL Season

That Empty Feeling…

Last season went by super fast, and now we only have a few days until we’re really back in action. Before the greatest sport in the world begins again. Everyone should know by now that I’m a Bears fan, and at times my bias may show – but I’ve always felt I’m fair in the playoff predictions. Now, just like last year, my prediction process functions like this: I start by writing down every game, every week. Then I go over each and every game, and pick a winner for the game in question. That leaves me with a record for every team, following that I predict the playoffs, as it would play out with my predictions in mind. That is how I give you my complete predictions for this NFL Season. Final note before we begin, I’ve added a section for some specific awards I’ve tried to predict already – enjoy.

American Football Conference

Can Brady Pick The Broncos Apart?

Going over this division by Division, and I’m leading with the AFC North. I’m really starting to like what Coach Lewis is building in Cincinnati, and I’m stating that truthfully, well knowing that Andy Dalton got a deal that was.. Uhm.. Too big. I like what he has to work with though, and the Red Rifle HAS to start delivering big time. I think he will this year. I have him winning this division at 12-4 – and heading into the playoffs with the Baltimore Ravens (wildcard) at 9-7. These two teams beat out a lackluster Steelers team (7-9), and an overrated Cleveland Browns (3-13) team.

Now, going into the south we spot my division winners, the Indianapolis Colts (9-7). This division is not very good, frankly. The Colts are rather good, and limp into the playoffs with the defensively led Texans (9-7), through to the promised land through a wildcard. The Titans are irregular (4-12), and I don’t feel they have much to offer this year. I really like what Khan’s Jaguars are doing, building an interesting team – hopefully with Blake Bortles this year – however, I don’t see them getting more than 5 wins.

In the AFC Wild Wild West, the Denver Broncos are kings. And that does NOT change this year. I have them finishing 14-2, and they’re going straight into the AFC Playoffs with the no. 1 seed. The Chargers (7-9), Raiders (5-11) and Chiefs (6-10) all miss the playoffs – they’re just not that good… Yet. I see something in the Chargers; however, I don’t think they’re ready.

Finally, the AFC East features only one playoff contender – seeing as the wildcard spots have already been taken by the Ravens and the Texans. Here in the eastern division, I see the Patriots slowly, but surely, becoming very strong and very confident. They’re much better than the rest of their division I’m afraid. The Jets (3-13), Bills (4-12) & Dolphins (5-11) will have a tough year, and they could end up losing some coaches at the end of the year. Take all of this with a grain of salt though, as I’m primarily an ‘expert’ in the NFC North. If you can even say that.

National Football Conference

Go Deep…

Beginning with the NFC North, my Bears will have an interesting season. Going up against a tough division with a new-look defense, after an abysmal season. However, Cutler has got an amazing offense to work with, and if the defense is league average – they can go far. I have them winning the division and going 12-4. Now, I have a few surprises in the NFC predictions – and the first one is that the Green Bay Packers won’t go to the Playoffs this year. I have them finishing 2nd in the division at 11-5, but you’re going to see better 2nd ranking records than that. To finish off the division I have the Lions (6-10) and Vikings (5-11) finishing 3rd and 4th.

This year I have high expectations for the NFC South. To me, it is one of the toughest years for the division contenders in a long time. Some things don’t change however, and the New Orleans Saints take the division at 14-2; Drew Brees is becoming the best quarterback in the league. I have the Panthers as a top team this year, and rank them at 12-4, and taking a wildcard spot in the playoffs. Finally, Lovie Smith’s Bucs (6-10) and Mike Smith’s Falcons (9-7) finish 4th and 3rd.

The strongest division in the NFL, the NFC West, will once again have participation in the playoffs from Seattle (13-3) and San Francisco (12-4) – but don’t count out the rest. I have a very strong Cardinals team finishing 7-9, and that’s not their season ceiling at all – while the Rams finish 10-6. If the 49’ers perform worse than 12-4, the Packers/Bears or Rams will take their wildcard spot.

Finally, the NFC East features a battle-hardened Washington squad, get ready to see RGIII take the division title. I have them finishing 10-6, beating out the 7-9 Eagles, who fall to the floor after a great rookie HC season for Chip Kelly. The Giants and Cowboys are not ready yet, at all, and both finish 4-12. However, the Giants could surprise some people if they get their quarterback some confidence.

Championships

Who Will Play At The University of Phoenix Stadium?

In the AFC Wildcard Round, the Ravens faces off with the Indianapolis Colts – and Joe Flacco’s experience and proven playoff success will lead them past Luck’s Colts. Meanwhile, the Patriots take a win, by beating the Houston Texans – who can only perform defensively against the NE-units. In the NFC Wildcard Round, the 49ers and Bears beat the Redskins and Panthers respectively.

The real competition begins in the divisional round, as I have the Broncos and Patriots knocking the Ravens and Bengals out, respectively. In the NFC, I have to make some tough decisions as my Bears face the New Orleans Saints and the defending Super Bowl champions face the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers will fall to the Seahawks, due to home-field-advantage – but it shouldn’t be the most entertaining game this round. The Bears offense will be doing everything possible to keep up with the Saints offense, but in the end will fall short…

For the AFC and NFC Championships, the matchups are as follows: The Patriots vs. the Broncos & the Saints vs. the Seahawks. All four quarterbacks has at least one Super Bowl ring, but it won’t be the offensive talents that decide these games. The defensive units in Denver and Seattle, will give us a Super Bowl rematch between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos.

This is what Peyton Manning needs, another try at another Super Bowl ring – trying to solidify his place in NFL history as the best ever. But it won’t be easy. The Seattle defense has NOT gotten worse, and they will have to do something special to keep up. In what I predict to be a very tight game, I have the Seattle Seahawks defending their Super Bowl title from last season – not due to Sherman, necessarily. But this team is set-up to win; and they will.

Awards


This year I’ve written a list of players that will be viewed as award-material. On the following list you’ll probably see some surprises that will shock you, or maybe you’re still infuriated at my Playoff Prediction – sound off in the comments. Some of the names have notes added to them, just in case you were wondering where I’m coming from when making these predictions.

  • Most Valuable Player – Drew Brees, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints. For me, Drew is becoming the best quarterback in the NFL – I only see one guy better than him – Peyton. This year will be big for Brees – future Hall of Famer.
  • Offensive Player of the Year – Drew Brees, Quarterback, New Orleans Saints.
  • Offensive Rookie of the Year – Kelvin Benjamin, Wide Receiver, Carolina Panthers. Now, I almost picked Blake Bortles here in stead – a great young QB, but I’ve been liking what I’ve seen from Benjamin, and I cannot wait to see him in the regular season.
  • Defensive Player of the Year – Luke Kuechly, Linebacker, Carolina Panthers. The best middle linebacker in the NFL.
  • Defensive Rookie of the Year – Jadeveon Clowney, Defensive End, Houston Texans. They may have some trouble offensively, but defensively they’re rock solid. This pick will go over well in Houston. Star.
  • Coach of the Year – Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints.
  • Comeback Player of the Year – Jay Cutler, Quarterback, Chicago Bears. Cutler’s last full season was in 2009 – and he only played 11 games in the regular season last year. Jay Cutler will return with a bang – with the best receiving duo in the NFL, Bennett & Forte. This unit has to succeed. Quick stat prediction? 25 Touchdowns, 16 Interceptions – 4.500 yards.