2016 Sports Year In Review

2016 was a great year in sports.  Today I’ll be talking about the highlights in sports this year.  Also, if you have been checking back regularly or followed me this year, I’d like to thank you.  2016 has been the biggest year for Boston Sports Mania so far, with over 5,000 views from over 3,000 people throughout the year.  

Now, let’s go back to some of the best sports moments of 2016.  
Note: The Numbers Next to The Stories Show if They Made the Top 10 Stories of the year.  I will show that full list at the end.  
January 2016

Bruins host Winter Classic

The Bruins hosted the 2016 Winter Classic at Gillette Stadium for the first time in a while.  Even with the Canadiens battling injuries, the Bruins fell to Montreal, 3-2.  

Patriots Advance to Playoffs with No. 2 Seed 

The Patriots were upset by the Dolphins in Week 17.  Hopefully, this won’t happen again in 2016 but the Patriots did have good news come out of this.  They still advanced to the playoffs for the 8th straight year.  

After Big Win Over Chiefs, Pats fall to Denver in AFC Championship 

This was a historic game.  It was the final match between Brady and Manning.  It was a good game worth noting as a good Boston sports moment.  The Pats stayed in it the whole time, but their 2015 team just couldn’t keep up.  I think this year’s team is a lot better, and Denver is QB-less now after a fail in free agency.  But this loss caused me to stop blogging for 2 weeks.  It was heart-breaking for many Pats fans. 

February 2016

Broncos defeat Panthers in 50th Super Bowl (8)

I don’t care how it ended, this is historic. It’s the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl.  The Broncos really were the best last year, even though the Panthers looked like it.  The Pats could’ve beaten the Panthers, because like Carolina’s shown this season, they have flaws. 

Avery Bradley Makes Game Winning Shot As Celtics Defeat Cavs (5)

This was a great game.  You would expect the Cavs to annihilate the Celtics but Avery Bradley made a last minute shot that won the Celtics the game.  

Jerod Mayo and many other NFL legends retire

Patriots LB Jerod Mayo, along with Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch, Raiders S Charles Woodson, Lions WR Calvin Johnson, Steelers TE Heath Miller and Broncos QB Peyton Manning and many others retired from the NFL after the 2015 season.  It was sad to see them go, but they had their time to shine, and in a couple months, many more stars would enter the NFL.  

March 2016

Patriots Sign Chris Long and Chris Hogan, Trade for Martellus Bennett

The Patriots were beginning to fine-tune their team to make sure they had improved after losing in the AFC Championship last year.  They also hired Dante Scarnecchia to get their o-line in shape.  

April 2016
Villanova wins NCAAM Championship

Villanova surprised me when they won the March Madness tournament.  My pick, Michigan State, got upset very early on.  

Celtics clinch Playoffs 

The Celtics advanced to the playoffs after a much better season.  The question was, how far would they go? 
Red Sox look iffy to begin season

The Red Sox made a lot of offseason moves to make sure a better season was underway, but it was a rough start as they split the series with the Indians.  David Price looked good in game one, but things went south in game two.  Game three was postponed by rain.  

Celtics lose to Hawks in quarterfinals 

The Celtics didn’t make it any further than last year.  They had a problem when Isaiah Thomas was out, and ended up losing to the Hawks, ending their season.  

Brady’s Suspension Reinistated By Court 

Tom Brady’s 4 game suspension was reinistated.  I thought DeflateGate would be over.  At first I found this stupid.  

Pats Select Jacoby Brissett, Cyrus Jones, Joe Thuney and Malcolm Mitchell in 2016 NFL Draft 

Most of these selections paid off. RB Ezekiel Elliott, QB Dak Prescott, QB Carson Wentz, TE Hunter Henry, DE Joey Bosa and CB Jalen Ramsey were also good draft picks around the league.  

May 2016

JBJ Goes on 28 Game Hitting Streak (3)

The Red Sox lineup was on fire at this point in the season and was winning the Sox more game.  However David Price was struggling, and a weak rotation became a problem.  
June 2016

Red Sox Select Jason Groome in MLB Draft

Groome was originally one of the top pitchers in the draft but fell due to reports of anger issues.  

Cavs Beat Warriors In Second NBA Finals Series 

The Cleveland Cavaliers beat out the Warriors this time, getting them back for the 2015 NBA Finals.  Stephen Curry was out for a lot of the playoffs, and the Warriors just weren’t at their best, even after a 73-9 regular season.  

Celtics Select Jaylen Brown in NBA Draft 

After missing out on the Top 2 picks in the lottery, the Celtics went with Brown over Kris Dunn, Dragan Bender or Buddy Hield.  The Top 2 picks left the option of the 2 clear best guys, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram.  

Xander Bogaerts goes on 26 game hitting streak (4)

The Red Sox lineup continued to do well through June as the entire team began to look better heading into the all star break.  

July 2016

Bruins Sign David Backes

Backes has been in some of the Bruins’ 2016-17 starting lines, at center or wing. 
Celtics Sign Al Horford, but miss out on Kevin Durant (7)

This is pretty ironic considering the Celts lost to the Hawks in the playoffs.  I thought Kevin Durant knew better than to sign with the Warriors.  I still think that move was dumb by him, although it does pay off for Golden State.  
Red Sox Have 6 Players to Represent Themselves in AL ASG win

David Ortiz, Mookie Betts, JBJ and Xander Bogaerts started and knuckleballer Steven Wright and closer Craig Kimbrel also made it.  

Red Sox Trade for Aaron Hill, Brad Ziegler, Drew Pomeranz and Fernando Abad as trade deadline approaches (10)

The Red Sox made a large series of trades in July.  Some helped lead them to the playoffs and others didn’t work out.  They gave up a lot of players.  
Mookie Betts wins AL Player of the Month 

This was a big achievement for Mookie, who had been playing hard all month long.  He really succeeded in July. 
Tim Duncan Retires Along With Former Celtics Paul Pierce and Ray Allen

All of these players had legendary careers, and it’s sad to see them go.  

August 2016

Tom Brady takes his suspension, ends DeflateGate for good 

This was a very interesting choice by Brady.  Jimmy Garoppolo did well in his absence, and then he got hurt, and they had to deal with Jacoby Brissett starting for a couple games.  
Red Sox Call Up Andrew Benintendi 

Benintendi made a big splash when called up and will be a big part of Boston’s future.  He was a very good use of their 2015 1st round pick.  
Mookie Betts wins Player of the Month again

Betts continued his hot streak in August, and it paid off.  Many people thought this would lead up to Mookie Betts winning the MVP.  
September 2016

Patriots Trade for Eric Rowe

Rowe has been a big contributor to the secondary this season.  
Jimmy Garoppolo Gets Hurt 2 Games In, but Jacoby Brissett Shuts Out Texans

Maybe the future for the Pats won’t be so bad after all under such a good coach.  
Red Sox Clinch AL East, Playoffs (9)

The Red Sox had a great season.  There lineup was on fire and their rotation got better as the year went on.  
October 2016

Tom Brady Returns Strong from His Suspension 

After Jacoby Brissett got shutout by the Bills in his second game, Tom Brady had a great first month back, winning games against three AFC North foes.  
Red Sox lose in ALDS to Indians

Tom Brady was able to beat out the Browns in Cleveland, but the Indians were much tougher, and the Sox couldn’t hold on.  

November 2016

Indians go on to World Series, but lose 
The Cubs really were the best 2016 team although the Indians surprised many for a while.  
Dion Lewis Returns, But Brady and Pats lose 2nd game to Seahawks

Seattle got revenge on the Patriots for beating them in Super Bowl XLIX.  Dion Lewis made more contributions in the next game.  

Celtics Start Slow After Losing Crowder, Horford to Injuries Early

The Celtics have since done a lot better, but it was tough for them to start the year.  

Giovani Bernard Tears ACL

This took a big hit on my fantasy team, and was one of a few injuries that did.  

Rick Porcello Wins Cy Young (2)

Porcello truly bounced back from a horrendous first season.  

Andrew’s Hunters (my fantasy team) clinches up playoffs

It was a great year for my team.  I went 9-4, won my division, and grabbed the 2nd seed.  
December 2016
Tom Brady gets 201st win, breaks record for most wins (1)

This is another historic milestone in Brady’s career.  If the Pats win the Super Bowl this year, he will be considered the best football player ever.  

Rob Gronkowski loses his season to back surgery

Gronk is a great player, but he’s injury prone, and this injury proved it.  Martellus Bennett really stepped it up in his place. 

Pats get revenge on Broncos, rout Jets to wrap up great December

The Pats have historically been good in December, and these wins continued that trend.  

Red Sox Trade for Chris Sale (6)

This was big move that will really help the Red Sox’s rotation.  
Red Sox Sign Mitch Moreland

Moreland should be able to take over at DH throughout the season, unless the Papi returns rumors are true.  
Pats clinch playoff berth, division and first round bye 

Most people were expecting this, but the first round bye is big.
Andrew’s Hunters advances to fantasy Super Bowl

This was a big win for the Hunters, but I lost in my last fantasy Super Bowl in 2014. 
Derek Carr, T.J. Yeldon and Charles Sims placed on IR, Malcolm Mitchell doubtful

Andrew’s Hunters isn’t looking great going into Week 17, but has a 13 point lead.  
The Top 10

10. Red Sox Trade for Aaron Hill, Brad Ziegler, Drew Pomeranz and Fernando Abad as trade deadline approaches

9. Red Sox Clinch AL East, Playoffs 

8. Broncos defeat Panthers in 50th Super Bowl

7. Celtics Sign Al Horford, but miss out on Kevin Durant

6. Red Sox Trade for Chris Sale

5. Avery Bradley Makes Game Winning Shot As Celtics Defeat Cavs

4. Xander Bogaerts goes on 26 game hitting streak

3. JBJ Goes on 28 Game Hitting Streak

2. Rick Porcello Wins Cy Young

1. Tom Brady gets 201st win, breaks record for most wins

2016 was a historic year in sports.  Happy New Year!

NFL Week 16 Picks: The Final Playoff Picture Begins to Develop

Welcome to my NFL Week 16 Picks. This week, games are on Saturday, and they mean a lot. By the end of today, the playoff picture could look very different. I’m 139-84-2. How will I do this week? Keep reading, then feel free to comment your thoughts.

 Lock Of The Week
Patriots, 34, Jets, 16

How could the Jets win in New England with no sophisticated QB? Their hole at QB has took a big hit on their scoring, receiver performance, and overall record. They are not the same team without a QB. The Patriots offense will easily outplay the Jets’ offense, so no matter what the score is, the Pats should win by a lot. Also, Brandon Marshall is really struggling, and Malcolm Mitchell is on fire. Things like that are going to extend the Pats’ lead. By the 4th quarter, it’ll already be far in the Patriots’ favor, and they will just be able to run the ball. I think their backfield could get them a couple of TDs, despite the Jets run defense being alright. Dion Lewis and James White are the kind of guys that can speed past them, work through them, and Blount can just push through defenses for first downs. The Pats backfield is anything but defense friendly, and with that, it’ll definitely be over for the Jets.  

Upset Of The Week
Jaguars, 31, Titans, 24 

I’ve gotten a lot of grief about picks like this. I know I need to give up on the Jaguars, but games between them and the Titans are always close, and at home, I think this is a match-up they have a chance in. The Titans defense isn’t great, and offenses like the Jags’ that are ready to breakout can easily do it on a defense like this. It doesn’t matter how much Marcus Mariota scores on them, in certain cases, breakout offense is breakout offense. Against defenses like this, the Jags’ offense should be able to break out and even keep the lead. I just have a feeling that things won’t go as most people expect. If any of you that areTitans fans are upset with this pick, the Titans can still make the playoffs as a wild card if they lose this one and win next week. However, they’d also need a Dolphins loss vs. the Pats next week (which will only happen if Oakland wins), and a Denver loss this week or next week. Cincinnati and Pittsburgh also have to hold off Baltimore for them to get in. If they lose today, it’s an unlikely scenario, but the Titans could get the wild card, and I think they will.  

The Other Games
Bills, 23, Dolphins, 20 

The Dolphins really don’t have much of a secondary and the Bills are ready to take advantage of that. LeSean McCoy may also be too much for the Dolphins run defense. The Bills offense is fit for this game, and should win them it. The Dolphins offense will not have it easy against a Bills defense that’s also in the right position to cover their best players.  

Panthers, 30, Falcons, 24

I think with Julio Jones injured, the Falcons offense won’t be quite as good. They’ll have problems rushing the ball against a good rush defense and won’t have many other passing options despite Carolina’s hole at corner. Unfortunately for them, it will be hard for them to take advantage of that, and meanwhile, Carolina’s offense should rebound against an Atlanta defense that isn’t really stacked at any particular position. That will basically mean that the Panthers won’t have much between them and the end zone.  

Redskins, 27, Bears, 9

The Redskins lost embarrassingly last week. It should help Carolina’s momentum against Atlanta, which could work To Washington’s advantage. But they need to win their games too. This one could go either way. The Bears will be in it the whole time, and won’t look all that bad, but I think eventually, since the Redskins are the better team offensively and defensively, that the Redskins will take a significant lead.  

Chargers, 24, Browns, 19

It’ll be close, but there is no way on earth that I would pick the Browns to win another game this year. This team is so bad, that it’s almost as if they’re meant to be 0-16. Maybe they’re worse than the 2008 Lions. We’ll just have to see. How they do in this game will show it. A loss will show that they really are that bad, and a win would prove that the Browns aren’t great, but aren’t the worst team in history. The Chargers have proven, even with all these injuries that their offense can thrive. Even with Melvin Gordon now hurt, will that happen this game? I don’t think they’ll be as good, but the guys they do have should score a couple TDs on the Browns D. That’s all they need, don’t expect the Browns to get more than a TD or two, even against another weak defense. Their offense does not have much in them at this point, so it’ll be hard to do more than that.  

Packers, 23, Vikings, 16

No Adrian Peterson, no Vikings win. The Vikings offense isn’t very good without Teddy Bridgewater and AP. Unfortunately for Christmas lovers, I do not think Kyle Rudolph will be extra productive in this Christmas Eve game. The Packers offense has been better lately, and should definitely outscore the Vikings, especially without AP. They may have problems running the ball against a tough Minnesota defense, but should be able to throw for a couple TDs, which should get them in position to win.  

Saints, 22, Buccaneers, 16

No matter how bad the Saints defense plays in this game, the Bucs defense isn’t going to do much better. This will really be a battle of who plays better offense. That’s definitely something the Saints have the advantage of, and at home, that should be enough to get them the win this time around.  

Raiders, 26, Colts, 20

The Colts did great last game, but that was against a terrible offense. The Raiders offense should take full advantage of the bad Colts D, and win this game. The Colts will challenge them and stay in the game, but the Raiders should win in the end. They have the better offense and the better defense.  

Rams, 27, 49ers, 23

The 49ers got their only win when hosting LA in Week 1, but this game is in LA, so I think the Rams will win this one. Against a mediocre 49ers D, Todd Gurley should be able to run more easily, and with Jared Goff starting, their passing offense just might be better. The 49ers will score a decent amount, and stay close, but in the end, the Rams defense is a lot better than the Niners’ defense, and with the Rams at home, that will make a difference.  

Seahawks, 20, Cardinals, 18

The Seahawks will win at home easily. They are undefeated at home. But this will be a low scoring game. The Seahawks offense isn’t the kind of offense that scores 30 points on a team, I know that about them. But Seattle’s defense will do enough to hold the Cardinals’ dominant offense, under 20 points. They do usually score around 30, but are not the same offense under the pressure of a great defense like Seattle’s. Based on the fact that they’re 5-8-1, I guess it really has hurt them badly this year.  

Texans, 26, Bengals, 23

The Bengals have been good even without Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green, but I don’t think their offense is a match for a tough Texans team. The Texans’ run defense is really good, and they have an offense now. Even with Brock Osweiler not working out, hopefully Tom Savage leads good RBs, WRs and TEs to a good game. I can see that happening, which will give them the win with the defense taking care of Cincinnati well. If Savage struggles, Osweiler will return, and hopefully do enough to get Houston the win.  

Steelers, 31, Ravens, 29

This is one of the two games actually on Christmas Day this Sunday. The Steelers are going to win this division, and this game. The Ravens offense may be better but the Steelers’ offense is unbelievable. Pittsburgh’s only flaw is defense. So expect a high scoring game. However, even with how good the Ravens defense is, especially at home, the Steelers’ offense has the capacity to outplay them.  

Chiefs, 33, Broncos, 30

This game means a lot to the playoffs. If the Chiefs beat Denver on the road though, they’ll beat them at home. Each of these teams has found new ways to work around each other’s defenses, and it’s resulting in higher scoring games. The Chiefs have done that better though, resulting in them edging out these wins. I think the same result will be true tomorrow night.  

Cowboys, 34, Lions, 33

Both these defenses aren’t so good, so this will be an offensive shootout. The Lions offense will do very well in this game, but it won’t be enough to top a Cowboys offense that also puts up almost 35 points. With the home field advantage, the Cowboys should hold the Lions off, especially after what happened last week. If Detroit loses to Green Bay too (which I don’t think they will), they could be out of the playoff picture.  

Thursday Night’s Game

Giants, 30, Eagles, 27

I was surprised by the result of this game. The Eagles took an easy lead early. I saw a close one the Giants pull away in. The Eagles offense did establish themselves again like I predicted, but they ended up holding up the Giants’ playoff clinching as well.  

NFL Week 15 Picks: It All Leads Up To The Playoffs

This week is all about playoff scenarios. They’re within the games. This week, my picks mean more than wins and losses. They mean who’s in and who’s out. I’m 130-77-2 this year. How do you think I’ll do this week? Keep reading, then comment your thoughts.
Lock Of The Week
Packers, 34, Bears, 20
The Packers haven’t been great this year, but the Bears have been disgracefully bad. I do not think they’ll be able to handle a tough Packers offense, even with the home field advantage. As for the Bears offense, I think the attempted rebuild has failed. Jordan Howard has had to step in at RB with Jeremy Langford regressively struggling, Zach Miller and Jay Cutler are hurt, and their receiver options have been slim. They do have Alshon Jeffery back, but with Matt Barkley at QB, that doesn’t mean much for Chicago. The Packers should win by far.
Upset Of The Week
Bengals, 24, Steelers, 22
The Bengals may be without Giovani Bernard and A.J. Green, but they’ve actually been pretty good offensively. The Steelers rely too much on their offense, and that could open the door for Cincinnati. Their defense is not very good, and that will hurt them in this game. The Bengals have a very good defense that could stop the Steelers offense from scoring as much as it normally does. On the other hand, the Bengals offense does not have much in their way, which puts them in a position where they could pull an upset.
Ravens, 30, Eagles, 27
 Image result for ravens offense vs eagles defense
The Eagles defense, especially the secondary is overrated and the revamped Ravens offense should work around the entire defense. That should be enough for Baltimore to win the game, but the Eagles will put up a fight.
Bills, 24, Browns, 15
The Bills may have problems passing, but who cares in this game? The Browns offense will fail to score a touchdown on the Bills defense, and LeSean McCoy will go wild on Cleveland’s defense. This pick is looking like a no-brainer. I almost chose it as my lock.
Texans, 26, Jaguars, 23
The Texans defense will overwhelm the Jags. I don’t think that Jacksonville’s offense can handle them. To add to it, the Texans have a decent offense of their own and could score a lot on Jacksonville. This game should go to Houston, but and upset is more likely here than in the Bills game.
Chiefs, 30, Titans, 22
Image result for marcus mariota vs chiefs
In order for the Pats to clinch the home field advantage, they need 3 times where they win or the Chiefs and Raiders both lose.  I just don’t think this is the game for the Chiefs to lose.  The Chiefs is facing an easy defense this week, and their defense will overwhelm a young Titans team that is usually high scoring.  This is not set up in the Titans’ favor in any way.  The Chiefs even have home field advantage in this game.
Vikings, 26, Colts, 22
Image result for adrian peterson vs colts
This is going to be an interesting match-up.  Two teams, one just outside the playoff picture, the other that’s in “state of emergency” in terms of making the playoffs.  They are hanging in there because of just a crazy tiebreaker that would go in their favor if they won their last three, and Miami, Denver, Baltimore and Tennessee each lost at least 2 games. However, the Vikings aren’t going to make it easy.  Adrian Peterson is back so the offense will be better.  They will be overwhelming on defense, and work around a weak Colts defense.  They should also force lots of turnovers.
Giants, 34, Lions, 30
Image result for eli manning vs lions
This game means a lot.  With a win and a Packers loss, the Lions clinch the division.  The Giants can clinch a playoff berth with a win, and losses for the Redskins, Vikings, and Packers.  The Packers losing, is that going to happen this week?!  Probably not.  But still, this win means a lot in these teams’ playoff campaigns.  I think the Giants offense will be too much for the Lions D, and grab a win at home.
Cardinals, 31, Saints, 30
Image result for cardinals vs saints
The Cardinals released Michael Floyd this week.  Will that cost them this game?  I don’t think the release will cost Arizona the game, but it will narrow their options at receiver.  However, it will be J.J. Nelson’s time to shine, and he could very well come through.  Jermaine Gresham is another option.  But if either of these teams lose, they are out of playoff contention.  It will be tough for both teams, the Cardinals will have trouble with the Saints offense, and the Saints defense leaves an opportunity for an easy Cardinals win.  I don’t feel like the Cardinals defense is the defense to blow a win like that.
Patriots, 22, Broncos, 19
Image result for tom brady vs denver defense
The rivalry of Brady and Manning is gone, but Brady’s still looking for revenge on the team that ended two of his last three seasons.  They won’t be the same team, they still have a very strong defense that will keep this scoring, but if the Patriots defense can build on its performance on Monday, then covering the Broncos will be easy if they can win the turnover game and get to Denver’s QB.  I think either team will win, but this isn’t just another win if the Pats win. The win would clinch the AFC East for the Pats, and a first round bye.
Raiders, 35, Chargers, 20
Image result for derek carr vs chargers
Against a weak Chargers defense, Derek Carr and a revamped Raiders offense is ready to annihilate San Diego.  The Chargers offense can’t do much about it.  They are without Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead and now Melvin Gordon.  The Raiders will be too much for their entire team to handle.
Falcons, 24, 49ers, 22
I don’t think the Falcons are that good,  by they have a seriously easy schedule, and this game should be an easy win for Atlanta.  The 49ers offense just won’t be able to score enough to outscore a strong Falcons offense, that shouldn’t be limited too badly by the Niners D.
Sunday Night Football
Cowboys, 33, Buccaneers, 23
The Cowboys did lose to the Giants, but they’re not losing this game, against the Bucs.  The Bucs are doing well, but don’t match up to the Cowboys in Dallas.  Maybe the Giants have the Cowboys’ formula, but they should win their other games.  At a record of 11-2, you’d expect them to continue to dominate on offense and win this home game.
Monday Night Football
Redskins, 31, Panthers, 26
Image result for josh norman redskins
The Panthers have been slightly better, but the Redskins have actually done pretty well, and Josh Norman will look for revenge on his old team.  The Panthers are no match for the Redskins, especially without Josh Norman.  It’s like if you took Josh Norman out of this game, it would all be a snooze fest and both these teams would be bad.  But the Redskins have signed him, and it’s paying off, especially when their receiver depth will help them against a weak Panthers secondary.  That could cost Carolina the game, not having a good corner.
Seahawks, 20, Rams, 15
I knew this would be pretty low scoring.  The Seahawks offense didn’t need to score that much, their defense was just too good for LA.  Like I thought, the Rams couldn’t score a touchdown.
Saturday Night’s Game
Jets, 26, Dolphins, 20 Final OT
It was actually very hard to pick this game.  It was Bryce Petty vs. Matt Moore. I ended up just taking the home team.  But really, the rest of the Dolphins’ team is a whole lot better.  They have a better run defense, better receivers (with Eric Decker on IR), and a running back that is now better.

Melican Boys Secure Big Win Over Dudley

It was a big game for the Melican Roadrunners boys basketball team. They beat the Dudley Titans 73-26. Melican had the lead the whole game, and was shutting Dudley out through most of the 1st quarter. For one thing, the defense was really good. They were pressuring the Dudley players attempting to score, and with the fans help, they held Dudley to a very small amount of points. Another thing that helped keep the shutout going is that there were no fouls on Melican until late in the 1st quarter.

In the first quarter, Melican’s #23 Zachary quickly contributed with 7 points. #4 Beau and other starters helped contribute to a lot of these baskets, not just early in the game, but throughout. Early on, a lot of the scoring was on assist-less shots, but the other players helped out the scoring players later on. #33 Greg, #31 Harrim, and #22 Brendan each scored an additional 4 points. Dudley’s only basket went to #15. Melican continued to rebound the ball after the missed shots by Dudley, helping them score more points. Melican had the 21-2 lead to end the quarter.

Melican continued to dominate through the 2nd quarter. #33 Greg got 4 more points and was the quarter’s main contributor. There was a lot more assisted baskets, as the team worked together better. Dudley had multiple fouls in the 2nd, and #5 Gabe was doing well on the foul shots, picking up additional points for the team. Melican was leading 32-12 at the half after Dudley began to put up some points. #20 and #22 both scored 3 pointers in the quarter, the first two 3 point FGs of the game.

Things were looking good for Melican as they continued to keep up a high scoring game in the 3rd quarter. There were more assisted baskets in this quarter. #5 Gabe continued to make his foul shots, and #10 James (5 points) and #23 Zachary (3 points) along with #32 Ethan (4 points), #33 Greg and #22 Brendan (2 point each) all were major shooting contributors, and Melican ended up with a total of 19 points in the quarter, and took a 51-22 lead. The issue for Melican was that Dudley was scoring at a close rate to their own, and at the time had a slim chance at a comeback. #5 Brooks had scored 8 points in the period!

That all changed in the final minutes of the game. In the 4th quarter, Melican out scored Dudley 22-4. #33 Greg continued to help score, getting 5 points, and almost the whole team contributed to the scoring. #4 Beau got an impressive 3-pointer, Melican’s only 3 point FG. The team won, 73-26.

Stats For Melican

# Name Pts Fouls

3 Jacob  –    –

4 Beau   3    1

5 Gabe 3       1

10 James 7    1

12 Chris 4     3

13 Aaron 7    2

14 James 2    –

21 Nathaniel  –  –

22 Brendan      8   1

23 Zachary       10   1

24 Ian                  4    1

31 Harrim           6 1

32 Ethan          4   1

33 Greg             15 1

TOTAL             73 14

Stats For Dudley

# Pts Fouls

3 —         —

4  1          2

5  10        2

10   —     1

11     3      —

12     —     1

13      — —

15        2    1

20        5 —

21         — 2

22           3  1

23           2  1

24         — —

25          2.  —

TOTAL 26 11

Ravens @ Patriots Preview: T-Shirt Day No Longer Possible, But Pats Need Win

The Ravens and Pats have quite the history. They’ve faced each other in the playoffs three times in the last five years. The first time, in the 2011-12 season, the Pats beat the Ravens after Billy Cundiff missed the historic last second field goal that lost his team the game. It’s ironic because today these two teams arguably have the best kickers in the league. The Patriots advanced to Super Bowl XLVI that year but lost to the Giants.

In 2012-13, the Patriots lost to the Ravens in the AFC Championship. The Ravens went on to win the Super Bowl that year but struggled the following season. The Ravens did rebound in 2014-15, and tried to end the Pats amazing season when facing them in the Divisional Round of the playoffs. But the 10-6 Ravens failed and the Patriots went on to beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX in dramatic fashion.  The Ravens did play the Pats in 2013 regular season but got hammered 41-7. The Ravens did terribly through many injuries last year but have once again rebounded and are now a decent team fighting for the AFC North.

Today the Ravens are coming off a win over Miami. They started the season very well but then began to slump. Since the slump ended they have done well and are once again in the division race.

The Patriots recently lost Gronk for the season due to a herniated disc but the Pats offense had adjustment time last week against the Rams, and they put on a clinic with the Gronk-less offense. Will the Patriots keep up their strong season or will the Ravens upset them and stay in the middle of the playoff race? Read on and then watch the game tonight at 8:30 to find out.

Playoff Scenarios
Patriots: A win and a MIA loss or win next week clinches the division for New England. A win and MIA loss this week would’ve also done it but Miami won despite their star QB’s mid game injury

Ravens: A win would put the Ravens in the current playoff picture with a 3rd seed. A loss would hurt their playoff chances since the Steelers already won

The Keys To The Game

1. The front seven needs to be prepared. Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West will try to bust through them, but they cannot let that happen.
2. The Pats need a running game. If the Gronk-less offense is going to work, they need to work around tough run defenses like the Ravens.
3. Keep it up Malcolm Mitchell! Malcolm Mitchell needs to keep his hot streak up and Chris Hogan needs to make some contributions with Danny Amendola out. Mitchell should be able to make up for some of Gronk’s reps, but Martellus Bennett needs to step it up too!


1. Gronk or no Gronk, the Patriots are going to throw the ball a lot. The Ravens need to have a better secondary. They only have one solidified corner, Jimmy Smith, and they need to keep their eye on Bennett, Edelman, Mitchell and Hogan. They may have problems tonight.
2. The Ravens also need to take advantage of the Pats’ recent defensive struggles.  If the Ravens o-line can keep the Pats away from Flacco they could put up a good amount of points especially with Eric Rowe out.
3. The Ravens have so much depth on offense and need to use it! They need to mix up their run game and spread the ball out to many different receivers like Steve Smith Sr., Mike Wallace, Kamar Aiken and Dennis Pitta.

What Do The Stats Say? (Analysis of NFL.com provided stats)

The Ravens may be #1 in total defense but Brady is 6-0 against #1 defenses at home, with a 66.2 completion percentage, 334.2 passing yards per game, a 12-3 TD-INT ratio and 99.9 passer rating. The Ravens have only allowed 3.4 yards per rush and 73.8 rush yards per game and in both stats they are best in the NFL. They are 7-1 when allowing 24 points or fewer this year, but 0-4 when they allow more. LeGarrette Blount has scored 13 rush TDs this year but the Ravens have allowed just 4.
Tom Brady is also this season’s passer rating leader overall and also on 3rd down, against the blitz and in the red zone. Brady had 9.3 air yards per attempt with Gronk but only 7.7 without. The Patriots defense Is playing bend don’t break again as they are allowing just 17 points per game, tied for 2nd best in the NFL with Baltimore. As for the Ravens, they have a +37 point differential in the 1st quarter. However, offensive struggles, especially in the run game and under pressure or in 3rd down have occurred. The Ravens average just 3.8 yards per rush (26th in league) and 89.7 yards per game (28th in league), not much more than they allow. Baltimore is the second to worst in the league on third down, converting on just 34.1 percent of third down situations. Flacco did his best last week though, with 300+ yards and a passer rating of 119.2

Bold Prediction
Tom Brady will throw 4 TDs and for 300+ yards. Julian Edelman, Malcolm Mitchell and Martellus Bennett will combine for 200 yards and 3 TDs.

The Pick
Patriots, 37, Ravens, 26
The Patriots aren’t going to let the Ravens upest them at home! Despite bad defense of late, their offense should destroy the Ravens defense in an offensive shootout. The Ravens defense is good but not good enough for the Pats. The defenses will do some of the work but most of it should be offense. These defenses just haven’t been good lately, especially the Pats, who need to step it up on D.  Despite a good record and offensive performance this year, especially since Brady returned, the offense needs help from the defense.  If they keep Flacco down, they will have more scoring opportunities.  It’s the up to the Pats pass rush and they will step up to beat Baltimore.
RB Javorious Allen

RB Lorenzo Taliaferro

TE Crockett Gillmore

OG Ryan Jensen

LB Za’Darius Smith

CB Chris Lewis-Harris

RB D.J. Foster

WR Danny Amendola

WR Griff Whalen

T LaAdrian Waddle

DT Woodrow Hamilton

CB Eric Rowe

SS Jordan Richards

NFL Week 14 Picks

NFL Week 14 Picks
Week 1: 9-7
Week 2: 9-7
Week 3: 9-7
Week 4: 8-7
Week 5: 9-5
Week 6: 9-6
Week 7: 9-5-1
Week 8: 6-6-1
Week 9: 10-3
Week 10: 7-7
Week 11: 10-4
Week 12: 12-4
Week 13: 12-3
Total: 120-71-2 (Including TNF Week 14)
Playoff scenarios are intact this week, and my picks are back with analysis on all the games. Think I’m right? Comment your thoughts and tell me how you think I’ll do.

Lock Of The Week

Lions, 27, Bears, 17

At this point, the Lions have a great enough edge on the Bears that you could call this a lock. The Lions offense has been great. It is sure to overwhelm the Bears. The defense has even been okay despite a bad recent past. The Bears, on the other hand, have failed at an offensive rebuild, and are left with one of the worst teams in the league on both sides of the ball. The Lions will definitely outscore the Bears, and I don’t know how much of an impact defense will have, but the Lions’ offense should win them this game. They have a good running back in Theo Riddick, three good receivers in Golden Tate, Marvin Jones and Anquan Boldin, and a strength at tight end with a Eric Ebron. Most importantly, Matthew Stafford has been great. This one should definitely go to the Lions.  
Upset Of The Week

Texans, 23, Colts, 19

The Texans have struggled, but the Colts struggle on defense, and their offense does not match-up to a good Houston D. Houston’s offense has been doing well, and I think Houston will break out of their slump, and top the Colts in this game. They will outscore them, due to good defense and good offense. The Colts may have more weapons on offense but the Texans offense is star studded, and the defense should stop a Colts offense that lacks stars. I had a friend that said the Texans wouldn’t win another game. Come on! Their schedule doesn’t look bad, and this is an easily winnable game. They just need to find the Colts’ weak spot, knock them out of their momentum, and the Colts will go back to being their same, terrible selves from early in the year.  
The Other Games

Bills, 30, Steelers, 29

The Steelers may have their star-studded offense back, but the Bills are recovering from all their injuries, and could overwhelm the Steelers defense while a decent defense of their own nips at the Steelers’ point total.  

Panthers, 41, Chargers, 34

The Panthers are bad, but they will show some signs of their old selves in this game, especially on offense, against one of the worst defenses in the league. The Chargers offense is good, but especially after suffering so many injuries, their running game looks better than their receivers. Carolina has more of a pass rush than a secondary, much more. Carolina should win in an offensive shootout.  

Bengals, 24, Browns, 19

There is a chance that the Browns will win their one game here, protecting themselves from an 0-16 season, but the Bengals looked good last week, and they may not be contenders, but they should beat the Browns. The Browns do have offense, a good run game, and a decent receiver and tight end, but they’re going up against a healthy Bengals defense, and they don’t have the best defense of their own.  

Jaguars, 26, Vikings, 18

The Vikings defense has been good, but their offense is pathetic. I think the Jaguars should win this game after doing something on offense and not having much to do on defense, as the Vikings struggle to score, and lose the game for themselves. This will be more of a Vikings loss than it will be a Jags win. The Jags are mathematically eliminated anyways.  

Cardinals, 24, Dolphins, 20

The Dolphins have been impressive, but they got knocked out of their momentum last week, and it will show this week. Jay Ajayi shouldn’t be as good, and the rest of the offense might be a little out of their system. They’ll be decent offensively, but their defense will give up some decent points to a good Cardinals offense, and blow the game. 
Eagles, 26, Redskins, 23

I know the Eagles have really slumped, and haven’t looked good for a while, but they just need to get back on track. At home against the Redskins, these teams will be pretty evenly matched, and if Carson Wentz does better, the Eagles will have slight advantage. I expect the Eagles offense to semi-rebound against the Redskins while the Eagles D doesn’t completely go wild, but does slow down Washington’s scoring process. So, the Eagles could be able to pick up the win at home, and I think that’s the more likely scenario. I do, however, could see a Redskins improvement in upcoming weeks, potentially leading to playoff contention.  

Broncos, 16, Titans, 15
The Titans are at home in this one, and I know the Denver offense has struggled, but the Titans defense is pathetic. The only reason the Titans have done well is offense. They are not a team that could succeed in the playoffs, and I know it. The Broncos defense will be all over Tennessee’s offense, and drop this game. The Titans are the perfect match for the Broncos. The perfect match for the Broncos to annihilate. Due to their lack of offense lately, I don’t see a blowout, but a do see a secure lead throughout the game for Denver, leading to a victory.  

49ers, 23, Jets, 20

Is this game even watchable? Even mentionable? Two mathematically eliminated teams, battling for a win that means nothing? It’s not really, but for those fans who don’t care about playoffs and just want a good game, or fantasy football players like me in their playoffs with players in this game (I have Brandon Marshall starting), this will be an interesting back and forth, as long as these teams are trying. With Bryce Petty starting on the road, I see no way that the Jets are going to win, but other fans see differently. The only reason I have Marshall starting is for a close game. What if these teams don’t even try, and just try and boost their stats, or tank? Who knows how it will end if that happens. But in my opinion, the 49ers are the logical team to pick, and I’m just going to go with logic here.  

Buccaneers, 24, Saints, 20

I know the Saints offense is really good this year, and have lots of depth, but the Saints have been struggling lately, and I don’t trust them on the road against the Bucs. The Bucs have Doug Martin back, and are building up to be a good offense. Even through a ton of injuries, the Bucs have found a way to keep winning games. Especially in Tampa, I don’t see this week being any different. I still see the Bucs defense as a good D ready to break through, but stopping a struggling Saints team that was already bad should be easy. The Saints defense is also not great and will give up a good amount of points to the Bucs.  

Packers, 33, Seahawks, 27

I actually think the Green Bay Packers still have a chance to make the playoffs. The issue is, they would likely need to win the rest of their games to get any playoff spot. This one will be a tough one to win. The Packers offense is very good typically, but they have struggled, and the Seahawks defense could give them a beating. However, the Packers defense isn’t bad, and the Seahawks have trouble putting up points. The only reason this will be high scoring is because the offenses will be extra motivated to fight back after being surprised by the other team’s lead. The Packers should win at home after a game that looks pretty evenly matched.  

Falcons, 33, Rams, 30

The Falcons offense has been a lot better than expected this year. I know I thought the Falcons would do terrible, but in this game and this season, I’ve pretty much changed my mind. The Rams don’t have quite enough offense to top Atlanta’s strong Big 3. The Rams defense may try to stop them, but this year they’ve just been too relentless to be stopped by that. As long as the opposing offense isn’t doing great, then the Falcons are capable of winning, even sometimes on the road.  
Sunday Night Football

Giants, 29, Cowboys, 26

The Cowboys have an impressive 11 game win streak, but the Giants have been very good as well, and at home, I think they will end this Cowboys streak. I think the Cowboys will finish well and advance far in the playoffs still, but they’re not going to be winning every single game anymore! The Giants offense will be overwhelming, while a better Giants D takes care of the Cowboys offense, and holds them back at least enough for New York to grab a win.  

Monday Night Football

Patriots, 37, Ravens, 26

The Patriots aren’t going to let the Ravens disturb them at home! Despite bad defense of late, their offense should destroy the Ravens defense in an offensive shootout. The defenses will do some of the work, but most of it should be offense. These defenses just haven’t been good lately! Especially the pass rush for New England and the secondary for Baltimore.  

Thursday Night’s Game

Chiefs, 23, Raiders, 22

This was really a good Raiders offense against a strong Chiefs defense. Defense wins games. They had a really good game against the Raiders as expected, Derek Carr struggled again (I stupidly ran out of time to bench him), and the Chiefs went out there and their defensive excellence led to them sweeping the Raiders this year.

NFL Three Quarter Report: Patriots Current State and My Playoff Machine Scenario

The Patriots have continued to thrive since the second half began.  Sure, they’ve had some flaws.  The defense has been worrying me lately.  They dropped a home game to Seattle because of it.  Their offense had looked a little bit different, more under pressure than usual.  They haven’t been throwing to guys like Martellus Bennett.  Most of the passes are now going to Julian Edelman and emerging receiver Malcolm Mitchell.  Mitchell has been a main factor in the Pats receiving game since the bye.  Dion Lewis is now back, creating some depth in the run game, which they’re using to their advantage.

In Week 10 however, Gronk took a serious hit in the head.  We later found out that he also took a hit to the lung.  He was looking ready to go in Week 13, but doctors found that he had a herniated disc, and needed back surgery. He was out for the season, placed on IR.  Last week against the Rams, the Patriots showed that their new offense was still a scoring offense, and that their run game could help contribute to that.  The Patriots won the game 26-10.  It was a clinic.  The Pats shut them out 17-0 in the 1st half, and continued a long streak of wins in a row at home when leading at halftime, despite being outscored in the 2nd half as the Rams attempted at a comeback.  With Tavon Austin, they might have had two TDs, but this was a good game.  It gives me higher hopes about this Monday night’s game.  It gives me higher hopes for the remainder of the year.  If the Pats want that home field advantage bad enough, they’ll go out there, win 3 or 4 games, and work hard and do their job through all 4.

Playing Around With The Playoff Machine

There are a lot of what if’s when it comes to the playoffs.  Lots of scenarios.  Well, by making my best predictions I could of the next 4 weeks, I simulated what in my opinion, is the most likely playoff scenario.  The question is, who’s in, and who’s out?

Who’s In

Denver Broncos; 8-4, Projection: 11-5

This Denver offense has been terrible.  But they’re 8-4 with one of the best defenses in the league.  Their remaining schedule is at the Titans, vs. the Patriots, at the Chiefs and vs. the Raiders.  Personally, I think those games are winnable, if they produce on offense.  They should win some, and lose some.  I think they should come out victorious in at least two.  Derek Carr usually struggles against Denver, and the Patriots haven’t won in Denver in a while.  They will probably beat two of the three match-ups besides the tough one in KC.  That looks like a one way ticket to playoff town.

Pittsburgh Steelers; 7-5; Projection: 9-7

Sure, the Steelers don’t have the greatest remaining schedule.  It is okay though, and their only division competitor, the Ravens, have a very tough remaining schedule, so it will be tough for them to match up to Pittsburgh in these last 4 weeks, as Pittsburgh should navigate their schedule decently.

Houston Texans; 6-6; Projection; 9-7

A friend of mine said that he thinks the Texans aren’t winning another game this year.  I don’t think so.  They are 6-6, but they have an easy remaining schedule.  The Colts, Jaguars, Bengals and Titans remain.  The Titans could pose a challenge, but I think the Texans will pull a big upset over the Colts this week.  Brock Osweiler will lead them to the top of their division, despite a potential loss in Tennessee to tighten the race.  By that point it will already be too late.  The Texans will have clinched their weak division.

Atlanta Falcons; 7-5; Projection: 10-6

I have been giving the Falcons hate all year, but honestly, let’s face the facts.  Their remaining schedule is against the Rams, Niners, Panthers and Saints, some of the worst NFC teams.  They should win at least two or three of those games.  That should be enough to get past Tampa Bay, who still has a game against Dallas, and can’t count on sweeping New Orleans or Carolina.  The Falcons have safer match-ups.  They play the 49ers, and the Rams!  So they’ve earned themselves a playoff spot, as long as they take advantage of these easily winnable games.

Washington Redskins; 6-5-1; Projection: 9-6-1

The Redskins have what would’ve looked like a tough schedule to end the year, if Carolina and Philly hadn’t completely flopped since.  The Giants could also lose to Washington at home.  The Redskins can produce on offense, and have a great defense now.  I could see them taking advantage of that and squeezing into the playoffs last-minute.

Detroit Lions; 8-4; Projection: 10-6

The Lions have themselves a secure spot as long as they win an easy match-up against the Bears this week, and can beat the Packers.  Beating the Packers doesn’t seem like as big a challenge to them as it would’ve in Week 1.  It’s a home game, and the Lions are 5-1 at home this year.  They also face a now problematic Packers team that isn’t going to be as tough to face.  The Lions should win the NFC North and grab their playoff spot.

Who’s Out

Buffalo Bills; 6-6; Projection: 10-6

The Bills are only 6-6 for a reason.  They have only played 5 home games so far.  The rest of their schedule looks somewhat easy.  The issue is, they’ve already gotten themselves out of contention by losing 6 games early on and they have tough competition for the wild card with in the AFC.  They aren’t beating the Pats out in the division, and they aren’t beating out Oakland and Denver in a tough wild card race.

Baltimore Ravens; 7-5; Projection: 8-8

Like I said before, the Ravens have a really tough schedule for the rest of this year, and with that, it will be hard to beat out a powerful Steelers offensive team for a division title.  Although the Bengals are out of it, they have been really good lately and could bring losses to Baltimore and Pittsburgh at home.  Baltimore also goes to Pittsburgh, so they’re at a disadvantage.

Green Bay Packers; 6-6; Projection: 9-7

Originally I thought the Packers could still have a shot at the playoffs, and I thought that these struggles were a fluke, but, boy, I was so wrong.  The Packers are at the point where they need to win all their remaining games to get to the playoffs.  It’s going to be tough for them to get in.  They’re not the same team.  I think if they can grab a win this week at home, all they need to get

Tampa Bay Buccaneers; 7-5; Projection: 9-7

The Buccaneers have been on fire since their bye, but the remaining schedule could be tough.  I’d be shocked if they can beat the Cowboys in Dallas, the team with an 11 game win streak.  They also have three divisional games left, one on the road in New Orleans.  It’s not just some tough games for them, as their schedule isn’t too bad overall, it’s that the Falcons have one of the easiest remaining schedules.

Minnesota Vikings; 6-6; Projection: 8-8

Minnesota now finds themselves in a tough division.  The Lions are flying, and the Packers are still decent, so it’ll be tough for them to get in, especially with the Giants feeling good in that 5th seed.  The mediocre schedule doesn’t help, all the teams they face aren’t terrible, and both their road games could go either way.  The way their offense has been doing isn’t promising, despite bad D.  I think that the Jaguars will even outscore them this week.

Miami Dolphins; 7-5; Projection: 8-8

The Dolphins did look impressive during their winning streak.  But that’s over.  They got annihilated last week, knocking them out of their system.  They now face a tough remaining schedule, with no current momentum.  They could continue to collapse and get annihilated, and after the loss, I don’t think the playoffs is happening for them.

Have different thoughts?  Comment your thoughts, or send me your Playoff Machine or Playoff Predictor simulations.