Category Archives: Super Bowl

NFL Playoffs: Super Bowl LI Prediction!

Pepsi Zero Sugar Super Bowl LI Halftime Show Press Conference

“I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk awaaaaaaaaaaaaay….”

 

By: Elias McMillan

Conference Championships: 0-2

Playoffs: 4-6

Super Bowl 51 from NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas

New England Patriots vs. Atlanta Falcons

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, or Lady Gaga as you may know her, has had a long road to music super stardom. Early in her life, music was a huge part of who she was and who she eventually wanted to be. She began to play the piano at the young age of four and was playing open mics around NYC by the time she was 14. At 17, she was allowed early admission into the top school for the arts at NYU. Two years later, she dropped out of NYU to focus on finding her sound as a professional musician. After creating a cult like following in the NYC Underground music scene, she was signed and then quickly dropped from Def Jam. The experience was heartbreaking but it encouraged her to begin experimenting further with her sound as a performer and with her overall image. Soon after, she found herself on an imprint of Interscope Records where R&B superstar, Akon, recognized her abilities and featured her vocals on one of his albums. Akon then told Interscope executives that Gaga had the potential to be a “franchise player” and a year later, her debut album began production.

“The Fame” debuted in August of 2008 and included mega dance-pop hits like Just “Dance”, “Poker Face”, “LoveGame”, & “Paparazzi”. The debut was a monster success for Gaga who went on to win multiple awards at the Grammys. “The Fame” was named one of the 100 Greatest Debut Albums by Rolling Stone magazine. A year later, “The Fame” was reissued as “The Fame Monster” and included new hits like “Bad Romance” & “Telephone” featuring Beyoncé.

Gaga’s official second LP was “Born This Way” and it proved to be an excellent follow up to her debut. The electric rock & techno influenced record continued Gaga’s streak of massive hits with songs like the title single “Born This Way”, and “The Edge of Glory”.

Gaga’s third studio album “ArtPop” featured hits “Applause” and “Do What U Want” featuring R. Kelly but was considered lackluster by many music critics. Soon after that release, she left her long time manager and began a new chapter to her career. She collaborated with long time friend and music legend Tony Bennett and released “Cheek to Cheek”. The joint album reintroduced Bennett to a younger audience and was received well by critics, winning at the Grammys that year.

After exploring some ventures in front of the camera as an actress, Gaga returned with a brand new album last October. “Joanne” was released as a much softer version of Gaga’s previous’ works but still featured her incredible vocal ability and her unique sound that creates hit records. Singles “Perfect Illusion” and “Million Reasons” have already shot to the top of the charts and now, Gaga is preparing for her biggest and greatest stage yet, the Super Bowl 51 halftime show.

Prediction: Patriots 34 – Falcons 24

NFL Playoffs: 2017 Conference Championship Sunday Predictions!

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Super Steelers? It does appear that way.

 

By: Elias McMillan

 

Divisional Round: 2-2

Playoffs: 4-4

Conference Championship Sunday

NFC Championship Game

Green Bay @ Atlanta – The Packers and the Falcons will be riding their high-powered offenses into Championship Sunday. I’m not giving either defenses much of a chance at being the difference makers in this contest. Atlanta’s offense is a lot more balanced that Green Bay’s. The Falcons have a great vertical passing attack led by QB Matt Ryan. WR’s Julio Jones, Mohamed Sanu, and Taylor Gabriel have done a great job at stretching the field on the outside and in the middle of defenses. But unlike the Packers, Atlanta has two legit RB’s while Green Bay has none. Devonta Freeman is a tough runner between the tackles and Tevin Coleman can do similar things but is also a threat as a receiver. Atlanta’s offense is set up to make a Super Bowl run. But the Falcons will have to come out sharp against this Green Bay defense. Dallas didn’t do that last week and that was one of the reasons they lost. Atlanta has had a stigma for a while now for falling short in big games. The Falcons offense is going to have to be the driving force to make sure that doesn’t happen. Green Bay receives decent play from their outside LB’s Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and Nick Perry. Those guys can affect the Atlanta pass game by pressuring Ryan but they are also good against the run. But as a unit, Green Bay doesn’t defend the run or the pass very well. Atlanta will have the opportunity to set the tone on offense in this game. For the Packers, their offense will also have a great chance at success on Sunday. QB Aaron Rodgers was very much the best QB of the league last week as he is playing at a very high level. The Packers have multiple threats down the field at WR and TE even without Jordy Nelson. Atlanta’s defense is average at best and I feel confident that Rodgers can have a big day through the air against them. Green Bay may not have much of a run game but Atlanta isn’t exactly a run-stuffing defense. I think Atlanta’s defense, especially the front seven, could be a bit underrated. I think their LB’s do a good job and outside rusher Vic Beasley is a difference maker on passing downs. Green Bay’s offensive line did a good job last week but Beasley will present a greater challenge for them on Sunday. This game will come down to which defense I trust more at making more stops or which offense do I trust more at performing at a high level for 60 minutes. I don’t think Atlanta is ready defensively to stop Aaron Rodgers. Green Bay does not have a great defense but they are experienced and Atlanta has been prone to let downs in the past. It just feels like this is Aaron Rodgers’ time. This Packers team has come a long way from being embarrassed on Monday Night Football by Washington months ago. I have the Packers advancing to the Super Bowl in the first game. Prediction: Packers 36 – Falcons 31

AFC Championship Game

Pittsburgh @ New England – At the beginning of this season, many pegged the Steelers as a Super Bowl favorite. In fact, in my pre season predictions, I had the Steelers making it out of the AFC over the same Patriots team they will be facing on Sunday. The Steelers have had their issues this season. After falling to 4-5 when they lost to Dallas at home, those Super Bowl predictions took a serious hit. Since then, the Steelers have been able to get back on track, their defense has improved, and the offense look impossible to stop with the way Le’Veon Bell is running the ball. I’ve heard many people say this week that for the Steelers to beat New England in Foxboro on Sunday, they will need a vintage big time performance from Ben Roethlisberger. I don’t feel that way at all. Roethlisberger hasn’t exactly been lighting in up in the playoffs but he doesn’t have to. The most important weapon in this ball game on Sunday will be RB Le’Veon Bell. I think New England’s defense can be underrated at times but I don’t see them being able to shutdown Bell for 4 quarters. I think New England’s front seven could present some issues for the Steelers in terms of stuffing the run and pressuring the QB. I’m a big fan of DT Malcolm Brown who is playing great right now. Edge rushers Trey Flowers and veteran Rob Ninkovich are capable of getting after the QB. But the Steelers offensive line has done a great job for most of the season in the run and in pass protection. New England’s secondary isn’t exactly great either. With time, I think Roethlisberger would find success down the field. CB Malcolm Butler will try his best at shadowing WR Antonio Brown but that is a matchup that I would expect seeing Brown to win. Though Le’Veon Bell might be the best player on the field on Sunday, the New England running game might poise a bigger threat than Pittsburgh’s. New England has a great RB duo in LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis. Blount is a tough guy to bring down once he gets going and Lewis is a great receiving threat coming out from the backfield. Lewis is also a difference maker in special teams as a returner. We saw that last week. I think the Steelers defense could potential have their hands full with both of those backs. The Steelers will have to key on pressuring Tom Brady as well. Hopefully, the Patriots have learned their lesson from last year’s AFC Championship Game where they allowed Denver’s ace pass rusher harass Brady for most of the game. New England’s offensive line cannot let James Harrison do what Von Miller did last year. I guess we have to give the Steelers secondary credit for playing great against Matt Moore and Alex Smith but we have to believe that Brady will present a greater challenge for them. But again, that unit for Pittsburgh has done a decent job recently. Can we really expect Julian Edelman to be the big play receiver that the Steelers wont have an answer for? I think Brady could play well in this game but I think this offense will really miss Rob Gronkowski on Sunday. The Patriots are gonna need Martellus Bennett to make some big plays but Steeler LB’s Ryan Shazier and Lawrence Timmons have done a great job recently in pass coverage. I’m said before that I think the Patriots defense is under rated but right now, I think I trust the Pittsburgh defense more. Which is saying a lot because, I still don’t believe that the Steelers defense is that good. But they are kind of on a roll right now and I think I have that continuing this Sunday. This will be good game with a classic ending. I said last week that the winner of Pittsburgh-Kansas City is going to the Super Bowl. Plus, I had Pittsburgh making it this far in the pre season. Can’t turn back now. Prediction: Steelers 28 – Patriots 24

NFL Playoffs: 2017 NFL Divisional Round Predictions!

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Atlanta hasn’t forgot about what happened when they faced Seattle earlier this season. They will be hoping for some revenge at home this weekend in the NFL Playoffs.

By: Elias McMillan

 

Wild-Card Round: 2-2

Playoffs: 2-2

Divisional Round

Seattle @ Atlanta – This first divisional playoff matchup this weekend is a rematch from a closely contested game earlier this season, which saw the Seahawks get the victory in a close one. Atlanta actually impressed many in that game as they were able to hang with Seattle on the road and how they might have won that game if not for a botch PI penalty that wasn’t called late in the 4th quarter. Both teams have changed since then but I think Atlanta will definitely have revenge on their minds this Saturday. Seattle was able to take care of Detroit last weekend but on Saturday they will face a much more talented and balanced offense in Atlanta. The Falcons are powered on offense by their dynamic passing game led by QB Matt Ryan and his lead target WR Julio Jones. But don’t sleep on the way Atlanta can run the ball. RB’s Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman are as a dynamic running duo as any other one in the league. We all know about how good this Atlanta offense can be but history dictates that really good offenses usually fall to good defenses in the playoffs. I think Seattle’s defense will put up a great challenge for Atlanta but they are not at full strength with Earl Thomas out of the line up. Even with Thomas in the secondary, the Falcons were still able to put up production in that first meeting earlier this season. Seattle will have to fight hard on both sides of the ball to compete with Atlanta on Saturday. Last weekend, Seattle ran the ball very well behind RB Thomas Rawls and with that running game; they were able to control the tempo for most of the contest. Seattle might have to implement that game plan again on Saturday, as Atlanta is just an average defense at defending the run. They might help QB Russell Wilson in terms of protecting himself from Atlanta’s pass rush. Edge rusher Vic Beasley was the league leader in sack this season and with the state of Seattle’s offensive line, I think he will be in pursuit of Wilson for the majority of this Saturday afternoon. But if Wilson can find time, he will be throwing against a Falcons secondary that ranked near the bottom this season. I think Seattle will have a good shot at winning on the road this weekend but the Seahawks have historically had let down on the road in the regular season and in the playoffs. I think Atlanta will jump out on top early and they’ll be able to hold off a Seahawks comeback late. Much like the last time these teams played in the post season in Atlanta. Prediction: Falcons 28 – Seahawks 24

Houston @ New England – I guess we have to give Houston credit for beating up on an injured Oakland team last week. But on to this week where no one on earth is giving the Texans a chance at going up to Foxboro on Saturday night and leaving with a victory. I don’t know if Houston has a real chance or not but I’ll try my best to sell that to you. First, the Texans have the number one ranked defense in the NFL. DE Jadeveon Clowney was a real difference maker last week and he will be used in a similar way this week against a Patriots offensive line that can struggle against the premier pass rushers in this league. Houston also has a stingy secondary. They will get physical with New England’s smaller receivers and create tough passing windows for QB Tom Brady. And my third point: the Texans coaching staff is made up from Bill Belichick disciples. Bill O’Brien is the head coach and Romeo Crennel is the defensive coordinator. They know Belichick. They know their offense. Could this prove to be an advantage for Houston? I don’t know. Also, I’m not going to bet on it. I think New England will use this game to prove why they are favored by so much in this game. I think New England will be aggressive offensively and they will tire out the Texans up front with their running game. New England’s defense is also unheralded and they will have the opportunity to appear to be really good against Houston’s offense. I think Houston’s defense might be able to keep the Texans in this game but I have no faith in QB Brock Osweiler going toe to toe with Tom Brady in terms of offensive production. The Patriots will dominate in this one. Prediction: Patriots 35 – Texans 17

Green Bay @ Dallas – On Sunday, the marathon of rematches from the regular season will continue. Green Bay won last week at home convincingly against the Giants and they are feeling pretty good going into this matchup in Jerry’s World. They maybe feeling good about there chances but they may not be feeling so good health wise. Green Bay is banged up on both sides of the ball while the Cowboys are rested and are as healthy as they’ve been all season. A lot of people like the Packers right now because of the play of QB Aaron Rodgers and I can’t blame them. Rodgers is having one of those seasons that is proving that he is the best QB in football. Even with the Jordy Nelson injury, the Packers are well equipped at the WR position with players like DeVante Adams, Randall Cobb, and TE Jarred Cook. Adams had a big game against the Cowboys 2 years ago in the playoffs in memory serves me correctly. Green Bay isn’t going to beat anyone in the ground game but Ty Montgomery’s ability as a versatile runner and receiver from out of the backfield will make him into a player that the Cowboys defense will have to account for. Montgomery is a Dallas native and he will have the extra motivation to show out in front of his family. I don’t know how the Packers held the Giants to only 13 points last week. Green Bay has some talented players on defense like Clay Matthews, Julius Peppers, and safety HaHa Clinton-Dix. But as a unit, Green Bay isn’t very good defensively. That banged up secondary will mean that the Packers will have to lean on their front 7 to created stops and turnovers. The Cowboys offensive line handled the Packers front 7 quite easily in their matchup earlier this season. I don’t think the Packers will have an answer for rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott and the Dallas run game. In passing situations, I am scared to death of the matchup between Peppers and right tackle Doug Free. But rookie QB Dak Prescott had a decent day passing against the Packers earlier this season and he was able to play well even without WR Dez Bryant. With the current state of the Packers secondary, I fully expect Bryant to be a difference maker down the field in a way that Odell Beckham Jr wasn’t last week. The Cowboys have a highly ranked defense but really, those numbers aren’t as impressive if you’ve watched the Cowboys this season. Rodgers will have a chance at creating some big plays down the field against a defense that struggles to provide pressure or create turnovers. But the Dallas defense this season has been known for bending but not breaking. I think the Cowboys defense could be a weakness but it is a unit that is better than it was in 2014. The Cowboys had an impressive regular season but they are now approaching rare air for them. This is a franchise that hasn’t advanced to Conference Championship Sunday in 21 years. This is a huge game for the entire franchise and I believe that they will not let their inexperience of Aaron Rodgers squander their opportunity. Many of the talking heads like Green Bay on Sunday but I’m thinking that is just more wishful thinking than really believing that Dallas will lose this game. The opportunity will be too big for this team to miss. I like the Cowboys at home. Prediction: Cowboys 33 – Packers 24

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City – I’m glad that this game was pushed back into primetime for the safety of the fans traveling to Kansas City and also I can now sleep in on Sunday without fear of missing any of the NFL Playoff action. This matchup should be a good one in Kansas City in a great atmosphere like Arrowhead Stadium. That place will be packed and rocking. I also want to say this first: I think the winner of this game will end up advancing to the Super Bowl. That being said, it is going to be really hard for me to not pick the Steelers to win this game. Pittsburgh was a pre season favorite going into this season but they kind of lost their way and found themselves with a 4-5 record after 9 games. They may not have had a tough schedule to close out the season but that doesn’t matter really. We have to give them credit for the run they are currently on and they did have to overcome some adversity against division rivals Cincinnati and Baltimore. The reason why the Steelers were pre season Super Bowl favorites was because of the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball. And that talent was on full display last week against Miami. I know that Miami isnt a good team and they kind of backed into the playoffs but WR Antonio Brown and RB Le’Veon Bell looked unstoppable last week. QB Ben Roethlisberger also had an impressive outing. I guess we can talk about the defense starting to play better even though last week they were hardly tested against an one-dimensional offense led by a backup QB. But still, that defense improving will be key if the Steelers want to make it to the Super Bowl. And that unit is improving. But here comes the bad news Pittsburgh fans: Kansas City isn’t Miami. I liked Kansas City all season. I like their defense. I like their ball control offense. I like Andy Reid and his experience. Limiting the combo of Bell, Brown, and Big Ben maybe a huge chore for the Chiefs defense but I think they will at least be up to it. I like Kansas City up front on defense. They have three really good pass rushers in Tamba Hali, Dee Ford, and Justin Houston. I think they will be able to pressure Big Ben in a way that he hasn’t felt in a while. Though on the other hand, the Pittsburgh offensive line has been performing well this season and they do not get enough credit. Protecting Ben will be a huge part of this game especially when you figure in Ben’s ankle injury. The Chiefs suffered a tough injury near the end of the season to LB Derrick Johnson. Since then, the Chiefs have struggled at stopping the run. I think they better figure out a way to slow Bell and the Pittsburgh running attack. If Bell can get loose, he will control the tempo of this game. Antonio Brown is the best WR in the league but KC’s secondary is really good. CB Marcus Peters is a tough player who has the knack at creating big plays. Safety Eric Berry is probably the best at his position in the league and he will be an issue in the box defending the run and covering the deep ball. Many people are saying that they cannot count on QB Alex Smith and the Chiefs offense out scoring the Steelers with their many offensive weapons. Alex Smith has been forever slept on especially in the playoffs and I think he will prove on Sunday night to be better than what most people believe. Even without Jamaal Charles, the Chiefs have a decent run game. Plus, Smith has some pretty good receivers to go to as well. TE Travis Kelce is a difference maker down the field. WR Jeremy Maclin is good on his own right. And rookie WR Tyreek Hill is a speedster who can affect the game as a kick returner. I think the Chiefs offense is more capable than what people believe. It has been a long time since the Chiefs have won a home playoff game and Andy Reid as a coach has a great record when coming off of the bye week. Earlier this season, the Steelers squashed the Chiefs at home. KC then went on the bye week and returned to go on a great run which led them to the AFC West crown. I don’t think the Chiefs have forgot about that Sunday night beat down in Heinz Field. I think that the KC front seven on defense will find a way to bother Roethlisberger and they will come up with more stops than the Steelers defense will produce. It will be close but I’m taking the Chiefs at Arrowhead. Prediction: Chiefs 24 – Steelers 20

Super Bowl 50 Prediction!

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Will Peyton Manning get the story book ending to his career or will the Panthers defense dropkick him into retirement?

By: Elias McMillan

 

Conference Championship: 1-1

Playoffs: 7-3

Super Bowl 50 from Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California

Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos

I’m starting to think that the two-week break from Conference Championship Sunday and the Super Bowl is too long. Because now there are a lot of different angles that we could take when talking about this year’s big game because there was so much time for the media to create pointless plotlines. I choose to just focus on the actual game because it probably will be a pretty good one. With the issues Denver had this season at offense, I didn’t see their run to the Super Bowl coming. But you have to give them a lot of credit for taking home field advantage and making the most of it in playoffs. In the NFC, Carolina has been the dominant team all season. They are the favorites on Sunday and for good reason.

I think the most entertaining matchup in this game will be between the Carolina offense and the Denver defense. If you have watched the Broncos this season, you know that they are playing in this game because of their defense. They’ve had the number one ranked defense for most of the season and that unit looked really strong last week against Tom Brady and the Patriots. They are led on defense by two of the best pass rushers in the game today, Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware. Miller, Ware, and the younger inside rusher Derek Wolfe will give the Panthers a hard time on passing downs. Denver is tough to run on as well. Denver’s secondary has been banged up recently and they have some holes. They don’t cover the deep ball well but they are as physical of a group as one Carolina has faced all season. Denver’s defense is great but they’ll also have their hands full with the league MVP, QB Cam Newton. Newton has been in a zone all season and if he continues to play comfortable and loose, good things will continue to happen for this Panthers offense. RB Jonathan Stewart has been sort of an unsung hero for the Panthers this season. Carolina has seen a lot of success in the running game this year and Stewart will hope to continue that on Sunday. If Stewart gets the normal amount of touches, he could produce some of the games biggest plays on Sunday. The critics have been harping on the Panthers receivers all season. They might not have any future Hall of Famers but that group has stepped up in a huge way this season. WR’s Ted Ginn Jr. and Corey Brown have game breaking speed and Ginn offers something to watch for in the special teams area as well. In terms of catching the football this season from Newton, the real star has been TE Greg Olsen. Olsen is a big play target in any situation. Cam will continue to call his number in order to get down the field or in the red zone.

I do think the matchup between the Denver offense and the Carolina defense will determine this game though. I think QB Peyton Manning has benefitted from opponents not expecting much from him in recent games. Manning clearly isn’t his old self and he could be playing in his last game on Sunday, but as you saw two weeks ago, Manning still has some ability left when it comes to driving the ball down the field. I think Carolina’s defense is good enough to defend Manning as if he was his old self but they can’t forget about Denver’s running game. Denver has quietly ran the ball at a decent pace this season. RB’s C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman are tough runners between the tackles and they can turn on the jets in the open field. Manning also has a great group at the WR position. WR Demaryius Thomas is the prototypical big outside target that is hard to defend and WR Emmanuel Sanders is a quick game breaker with the ball in his hands. But I think the Carolina defense will be able to dictate how successful Peyton Manning will be in this game. Carolina has the ability to pressure Manning from all angles at the line of scrimmage. They don’t have a dynamic outside pass rusher from the past like Greg Hardy or Julius Peppers but they have tough grinders who can take up blockers and shoot the gaps into the backfield. DE Charles Johnson is a name you might hear on Sunday as well as veteran Jared Allen who has an outstanding rep as a pass rusher. I love Carolina’s interior defensive lineman as well. Kawaan Short and Star Lotulelei are both as good at stuffing the run as they are at making plays in the backfield. Carolina also has an outstanding group at linebacker led by defensive POY candidate Luke Kuechly. LB Thomas Davis might be playing with a broken arm but he is one of the fastest LB’s in football so if his speed and quickness is still at 100%, he’ll be able to make an impact in this game. Carolina’s secondary has really overachieved this season I think and they’ll continue to play great as long as the front seven does its job. CB Josh Norman has been playing lights out this season. Norman is the mouthpiece of the defense and he may not be as good as Richard Sherman but this year, he has been as effective. I think Carolina’s defense will be able to control the pace of the Denver offense and the game as a whole.

If Carolina can stop the run like they can, they will force Peyton Manning to go beyond his means. I think Denver has the tools to be successful in the passing game on Sunday but this Carolina defense doesn’t give many chances for offenses to have success. I think Carolina will force some mistakes from the Denver offense and in return, there’s offense will take care of business with the short field. I don’t think that this game will be a blow out. I think this Denver team is good enough to be in striking distance at least in the 4th quarter. I think Carolina will start out hot and gain a double-digit lead. Denver will slowly crawl back into the game in the second half but Cam Newton and Carolina’s ball control offense will deliver the game deciding blow.

It should be a good enough game that will definitely overshadow the hype, the commercials and the halftime show. Here’s some advice: watch as many of the new commercials online before Sunday. The Super Bowl commercials are usually corny or just flat out suck. And as for halftime: who gives a crap about Coldplay? I don’t care if they bring out Beyoncé or Bruno Mars. The NFL really dropped the ball this year by not letting Migos headline the halftime show. But anyway, my point is that this game will be a great one with Carolina coming out on top. I hope this win will catapult Cam Newton as the new face of the NFL for years to come. Prediction: Panthers 34 – Broncos 24

NFL 2015: Mid-Season Report

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At the mid-season mark, what’s not to like about this Carolina Panthers squad?

By: Elias McMillan

Now that every team has played at least 8 games, here are my top 5 surprises and disappointments in this 2015 NFL Season. Also, I have mid-season awards and a REVISED prediction for Super Bowl 50.

Top Five Surprising Teams

  1. Carolina Panthers (8-0) – Before the season started, I believed that the Panthers could still repeat as NFC South champions this season. But I couldn’t imagine them being without a loss at the half point of the season. I had no doubts that the defense in Carolina would be very good but I thought that the lack of offensive weapons would have kept them from being serious title contenders this year. But the offense, led by Cam Newton, has done just enough to win games and beat some of the better teams in the NFC. Carolina looks like they’ll have a clear path to home field advantage in this season’s playoffs.
  2. Cincinnati Bengals (8-0) – I thought that the Bengals would take a serious step back before the season started. Cincinnati has a lot of talent but I thought because of past failures, they wouldn’t be able to put it all together for one more playoff run. Instead, Cincy has improved play on their defensive line and the offense is still able to strike quickly and often. The Bengals look to be a lock to make the playoffs again but time will tell if they will actually be able to advance pass the first round this time around.
  3. New York Jets (5-3) – The Jets were supposed to stink this year. Instead, new head coach Todd Bowles has reenergized the team and they are now sitting in second place in the AFC East. There was a lot of hype surrounding Buffalo and Miami before the season started but the Jets have successfully risen up from behind the radar. The strength behind this Jets team has been the defensive front seven and the return of their power running game behind RB Chris Ivory. The Jets will have a tough road in the second half of the season but they might actually have a good chance at returning to the playoffs.
  4. Atlanta Falcons (6-3) – Atlanta was an early season surprise before they started to cool down significantly recently. Atlanta’s defense was playing way above expectations and RB Devonta Freeman was the breakout star on this offense. Atlanta has started to fall back to earth but they still might be able to ride their big play offense into the playoffs. They still have two games left on the schedule against the division leading Panthers.
  5. New England Patriots (8-0) – Yea, I know that the undefeated Patriots aren’t that big of a surprise but I didn’t think they would be this good of a team because of all their losses on the defensive side of the ball. Tom Brady hasn’t missed a game this season and the Patriots offense is the usual machine that it has always been. But for whatever reason, the defense hasn’t let down like I thought they would. The Patriots actually rank third in the league in rush defense.

Top Five Disappointing Teams

  1. Baltimore Ravens (2-6) – I had the Ravens competing for the AFC North title this season. A lot of people have been saying that the turning point of this season for the Ravens was when Terrell Suggs was lost due to injury. I think the bigger loss happened before the season when Baltimore traded away Haloti Ngata. Baltimore’s defense has regressed this season and the offense hasn’t been able to put it together. Joe Flacco has regressed and his receivers have been dropping like flies. This has been a truly lost season for John Harbaugh.
  2. Indianapolis Colts (4-5) – I realize that the Colts will still probably win the AFC South but there are an under .500 team and I had them winning it all before the season started. The Colts have severely under performed this season from the head coach, to the QB, and to the defense. The Colts are fortunate to be in the AFC South but they wont be the title contenders that I thought they would be at the start of the season.
  3. Miami Dolphins (3-5) – At the start of the season, I said that the Dolphins had “underachiever” written all over them. And for the most part, I was right. The defense has really let the entire team down and Ryan Tannehill isnt having the breakout season that we all thought he would be having. Good news is that they at least fired that stiff of a head coach. I hope Dan Campbell can turn it around and the Dolphins can finish off the season respectfully.
  4. Dallas Cowboys (2-6) – The Cowboys season has been completely wreck due to injuries but they still belong on this list. When Tony Romo went down, the belief was there that they had the talent to at least tread water until he returns. Instead, the Cowboys have lost 6 straight without Romo. The plan at backup QB has been a disaster, as well as the plan to replace DeMarco Murray. Whats even more disappointing is that the defense is even under performing. Because the NFC East stinks, Dallas literally has one more chance to maybe save the season this Sunday in Tampa. It’s a slim chance but a chance nonetheless.
  5. Detroit Lions (1-7) – With all the losses on the defensive line, I knew that Detroit would take a step back in 2015. But I didn’t think it would be this bad. Despite all of the talent of the offensive side of the ball and the additions to the offensive line, Detroit has completely flew off the handle and now, wholesale changes are on the horizon.

Mid-Season Awards

MVP: Tom Brady (QB – Patriots) – New England is probably the best team in the AFC and it’s because of the play of their QB. Brady has returned with a vengeance and is showing no signs of slowing down. I don’t think of his play as much as a “revenge tour” though that is a cool idea. But Brady has been what he has always been, a future Hall of Famer with a killer instinct. In the offseason, the AFC East teams stacked their defensive lines in order to stop Brady. Nothing has worked as of yet.

Offensive MVP: Antonio Brown (WR – Steelers) – I’m still kind of in awe of the game that Brown had a couple days ago. With Le’Veon Bell out, Brown will be the engine that will keep the Pittsburgh offense going into the post-season. No one on the league works harder than Brown and his numbers reflect that.

Defensive MVP: Charles Woodson (S – Raiders) – Woodson is having a renaissance of a season in 2015. He leads the league in interceptions and is a reason for Oakland’s recent turn around.

My REVISED Prediction for Super Bowl 50

In the NFC, I don’t see my preseason pick, Seattle, making it out. They might still eventually win the NFC West but they don’t look like the same team they were last season. The offensive line play and the unpredictability of Russell Wilson will probably cost them in the playoffs. Green Bay is a contender but I don’t trust their defense or their offensive line. Carolina maybe beatable because of their inexperience but they are clearly the lone stand out in the conference. In the AFC, I had the Colts coming out of the conference and winning it all. They probably wont happen though the Colts will win their division. Pittsburgh has so much freaking talent. I mean, how else are they still winning ball games with all the injuries they have. Pittsburgh’s defense isn’t getting enough credit but they still have significant weaknesses in the secondary. Roethlisberger may get healthy again but I’m not sure if I can trust them in playoffs especially if they cant catch the Bengals. Thinking of the Bengals, they might be sitting pretty in the AFC when its all set and done. I think it will come down to Cincinnati and New England in the AFC. And Cincy might stand a good chance if their defensive line and bother Tom Brady. The closer will be the fact that I don’t trust Andy Dalton at all in the post season. Remember the run that Joe Flacco had in his Super Bowl season? Do you think Dalton has that in him? I don’t. You can’t also forget about the Broncos. Denver has the best defense in football but the inconsistencies of offense might keep them from making the Super Bowl. New England is beatable, much like last season. But if they can overcome the defenses of Cincinnati and Denver, they will back their way into yet another Super Bowl appearance. REVISED Super Bowl 50 Prediction: Panthers over Patriots

Super Bowl XLIX Prediction!

USP NFL: SUPER BOWL XLIX-HALFTIME SHOW PRESS CONFE S FBN ENT USA AZ

Katy Perry will easily be the fan favorite nation wide on Sunday.

By: Elias McMillan

Conference Championships: 1-1

Playoffs: 7-3

Super Bowl XLIX from University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona

New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks

Katy Perry rose up to the top of the pop music scene in 2008 with her first single “I Kissed a Girl”. That would be just the beginning of a career that would see Perry become one of the biggest, most selling pop artists in the last 7 years. Oh. Did you think I would be breaking down the matchups between the Patriots and the Seahawks? Naw. Sorry. Ok. Maybe later. But lets be real, who wants to talk about either of these teams in the Super Bowl outside of Boston and Seattle? In terms of national appeal, Katy Perry is probably the more interesting and most popular figure performing on Sunday. So, yeah. Later for all that football talk. Time for some more about Ms. Katy Perry and the halftime show.

Katy Perry has been included in the Forbes list of top-earning women in music for four straight years now. Throughout her career, Perry has sold over 11 million albums and 81 million singles worldwide. That’s impressive but not all that surprising once you run down her long list of hit records. Hot n Cold, Waking Up in Vegas, Teenage Dream, Last Friday Night, California Gurls, Firework, E.T., Part of Me, Roar, Birthday, and Dark Horse. That’s a murders row of hit records that have ripped and rampaged through the Billboard top pop music charts in the last 7-8 years. The only other female artists that can rival her success in that same time period would be Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga. That’s really good company to be in. And now, this Sunday night will be the pinnacle of her career as she will perform in front of a sold out stadium with over 100 million watching worldwide. With Lenny Kravitz by her side, its going to be exciting to see what song she opens with, which of her hit records will be in the set list, and which surprise artists will join her on stage. The rumors surrounding that last point are at an all-time high now with names like Kanye West, Missy Elliott, and Juicy J being mentioned. Two more things to consider going into this historic halftime performance by Katy Perry: will she debut a new song and how many wardrobe changes she will go through during the performance. Oh yeah, there’s also going to be a football game sandwiched around the concert, which is kind of weird but hey.

“Last Friday Night” (Well, almost Friday night really), the Patriots held a press conference to discuss the ongoing controversy that is “Deflate Gate”. I feel that every second spent thinking about “Deflate Gate” by New England has hurt their preparation for this game vs. Seattle. The controversy has been way over blown from the start and is pretty much a non-factor. If people want to seriously discredit the achievements of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady once their careers are over then so be it. Let idiots be idiots. I see the Patriots offense performing well on Sunday. Seattle’s strength is their defense but they aren’t nearly as dominant as they were last season. They are vulnerable against the run and key members of the “Legion of Boom” are fighting injuries going into this game. New England is the type of team that blatantly looks for any advantage to take so I can see them attacking this defense from the start to set the tone. Seattle can still bring pressure up front so protecting Brady will be key for New England. Getting the ball to TE Rob Gronkowski will get the Patriots to light up the scoreboard like “Fireworks”. Defenders trying to tackle Gronk often feel like “Waking Up in Vegas” afterwards. Are these Katy Perry puns doing anything for you? People in the media might not understand Seahawks RB Marshall Lynch and try to paint him as an “E.T.” But Lynch is just simply a football player and he will be key for Seattle’s success on Sunday. New England is short handed at the LB position and they are known for their struggles stopping the run. I can see Russell Wilson and the Seattle rushing attack playing ball control football, keeping Brady on the bench, and hammering this Patriots defense. I don’t like the matchup between Seattle’s receivers and the New England secondary. Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner are two of the league’s best corners. Seattle’s group of receivers are under rated but I’m learning that the term “under rated” really means “not that good”. Doug Baldwin can continue to have these “Teenage Dreams” about being an elite receiver in this league but he is simply not. I think Wilson will be able to get around New England’s pass rush and make some plays outside of the pocket on Sunday. But more importantly, this game will be about Lynch imposing his will in the 4th quarter. Beast Mode will most definitely “Roar” as he will make the difference in this game and earn MVP honors. It will feel like Pete Carroll’s “Birthday” as the confetti and “the big, big balloons” fall upon the field when the clock reaches triple zero. Prediction: Seahawks 31 – Patriots 24

NFL 2015: Conference Championship Sunday Predictions!

Divisional Playoffs - Indianapolis Colts v Denver Broncos

Chuck Pagano and his Colts are this postseason’s Cinderella.

By: Elias McMillan

Divisional Round: 2-2

Playoffs: 6-2

NFC Championship Game

Green Bay @ Seattle – No matter how they won last week, you have to give Green Bay credit. I didn’t think Aaron Rodgers was that hurt going into the game but you could clearly see that he wasn’t at 100%. Despite that, his offensive line did a great job against a weak Dallas pass rush and in the second half, Rodgers appeared to be much sharper. That was a nice moment for Rodgers next week but unfortunately, that did nothing to prepare him for what he is going to face this Sunday. The Seattle front seven will get after Rodgers in a way that Dallas couldn’t do last week. They will hit him. They will hurt him. Rodgers and the passing game will have a tough time. Not to mention that Seattle’s secondary is also a beast. If Rodgers doesn’t come out sharp, those bad throws will turn into interceptions against L.O.B. I think the Seattle defense will have great chance at stealing the early momentum in this game and not giving it back. Green Bay will have a chance if they feed the RB Eddie Lacy. Green Bay should at least try to ride the running game and try to tire out the Seattle defense. The Seahawks defense is vulnerable against the run so this might not be a bad idea. Green Bay’s defense is underrated but they don’t have enough playmakers. Clay Matthews was invisible last week except for a couple of times where he hit Romo late (no flag, of course). The one guy that did supply the Packers with some big plays last week was the veteran Julius Peppers. Peppers may be older but he might be athletic enough to keep tabs on the elusive QB Russell Wilson. I don’t think the Packers will have an answer inside for RB Marshawn Lynch. As always, Seattle’s passing game will be about Wilson making plays and not about any of the receivers. Wilson will lead the offense and play a masterful game in front of a raucous home crowd. Green Bay is not the team that can match up well with Seattle in Seattle. The team in the NFC that could do that is at the crib. Prediction: Seahawks 31 – Packers 17

AFC Championship Game

Indianapolis @ New England – The award for most unlikely run in January this postseason goes to Chuck Pagano and the Indianapolis Colts. Going into the playoffs, the Colts didn’t have much of a defense or a running game. Two things that usually breed success in the playoffs. But despite that, here they are playing in Foxboro this Sunday against the Patriots for the right to play for a championship. Andrew Luck and passing game has been enough to get the Colts this far. And I think that unit can find success this Sunday. New England has two great CB’s in Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis but they are still not impossible to pass on. The real question in this game is if the Colts defense can play as tough as they did last week. Honestly, I don’t see why they cant. New England has been the most consistent team in the AFC this season but really nothing about them puts them head and shoulders over a lot of teams in the conference. The Colts front seven is playing great right now. New England isn’t able to play ball control football with their running game. When they played Indy earlier in the season, it was a coming out party for RB Jonus Gray but we haven’t seen much of him since that game in November. Pagano is a great defensive mind and he’ll find a way to get after Brady. The key will be limiting New England’s scoring chances. The Colts are playing with great confidence right now especially on the defensive side of the ball. I’m going out on a limb here but I think we’ll see an upset in New England this weekend in a classic, close ball game. For the second straight year, we’ll see the league’s top passing offense in the Super Bowl facing the league’s top defense. Prediction: Colts 35 – Patriots 33