The Sports Guru: Picks and Analysis
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The Sports Guru: Picks and Analysis
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[The Sports Guru] My Super Bowl Pick
I know, I know - the Super Bowl isn't until next week. But I can't wait that long to make my prediction. I'm doing it now. Denver Broncos Everyone knew the Broncos were a legitimate Super Bowl contender at the very beginning of the season. They are an extremely balanced team and they have proved it all season long. Their defense is almost unquestionably the best in the NFL, and that's why they're here. They were able to shut down Tom Brady last week against the Patriots and that's not an easy thing to do. Their pass rush is absolutely ferocious and they have great coverage in the secondary, too. Offensively, it looks like this is the last game of Peyton Manning's illustrious career. He's been a beast for Indianapolis and Denver in his career, and while this season has been far from his best, he is still an incredible competitor. He's been injured and slightly less effective than usual this year, but you can't count him out. He's going to do his absolute best to inspire Denver's offense and end his career in the best way imaginable. Carolina Panthers I'm not sure too many people picked the Panthers to make it to the Super Bowl, much less lose only 1 game all season en route to the big game. But they have proven the doubters wrong week in and week out this season - this team is for real. They have absolutely crushed their opponents in both playoff games this year, running up and down the field on Seattle and Arizona. Their offense is completely unstoppable, led by sure-fire MVP Cam Newton. He can beat you with his arm and with his legs, and that's what makes him so dangerous. You can never take your eye off Cam as a defender, and there's no telling what he'll do next. Defensively they slipped up a bit against Seattle, allowing them to come back into the game, but let's not forget that they have been a top defense all season long. They've got the league's best CB - and one of the best defensive players overall - in Josh Norman, and he can shut down any WR that comes his way. Look out, Demaryius Thomas. They can stop the run, the pass, and get to the CB. Tough to game plan against these guys - they are that good. My pick It's got to be Carolina. Honestly, they are just too good to beat. I didn't see this season coming, but it's here, and it's Carolina's time. Cam will not be stopped. It'll be tough for Peyton to end his career on this note, but I just don't think Denver can get it done. Carolina 29, Denver 22. Who are you taking in the Super Bowl? Do you agree with me? @Starbell808 @karencorchado @BrookieyElba @ValerieAlissaPa @Link4TW @sanazsanaz @TravisBeck @Shippudenguy21 @gatorchick96 @MatthewBoughton @MarcusJiles @BrandonMcNeil @KyleBerke @DerekGumtow @havic @Straightshooter @yaakattackk @RodneyYoung @DreJones @JonathanKerns @TravisManning @GalacticChakra @smothgreen @afxs @johnnolastname @ChristopherKenn @ChasePage @coreywriley91 @MrTenThirty @JasonNilsson @addri @ChrisStephens @AniBreo @VeronicaArtino @TomasVasquez @oct6eg10 @Darlin972 @ALEXCAMACHO @GabrielaAlvarez @strawhatblakley @Silver925 @RyanGraham96 @brolyxxrborn @martinesquivel @TiffanyPerez @PASCUASIO @ShoMoPayton @mackenzieorr186 @EvanYannetti @RaulGamboa @in4mtoxic006 @PaulFotiadis @sanRico @BlakeKaler @lilleonz @misterE @shagnasty360 @Bobs @CheyenneHorton @TylerDurso @ChrisSantiago
[Discussion] Who will win the EPL?
This weekend, the EPL takes a break from regular league play to shift focus to the FA Cup. That gives us a minute to step back and take a look at the league so far. With 23 of 38 rounds in the books, who is going to win the league? The way I see it, there are four real challengers. Leicester City Leicester are the team that shocks the world more and more each week as they inch closer to the title. They currently hold a 3 point lead in the league, sitting on 47 points. It has been a remarkable season for a team that was nearly relegated last season and didn't appear to get all that better over the summer. But they have been inspired by Riyad Mahrez, N'Golo Kante and Jamie Vardy and look to be ready to make a legitimate race toward the end. Despite everyone's reservations, Leicester are in it to win it. Arsenal At this point it seems that Arsenal are favorites. While they are 3 points behind Leicester, they are just now getting many of their injured players back (Alexis Sanchez, Francis Coquelin) and they have a very experienced roster, full of players who are used to playing in huge matches. That experience could prove invaluable for a team that is looking to win its first league title in ages and ages. The fan base wants it, and this could be the year that Arsenal break their curse. Manchester City City are another team with a great pedigree. They are full of experience and talent, and many of the players on this team were around when City last won the league a few season ago. They are no doubt hungry to repeat that success, and are level with Arsenal on points. However, they just got news that superstar newcomer Kevin de Bruyne will be out 6 weeks, which could seriously hurt their chances. He has been one of their star performers this season. Tottenham Spurs are the sleepers in this race, sitting 5 points behind leaders Leicester. But their form has been superb. They have one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Hugo Lloris and a terrific defense to boot, not to mention their talisman Harry Kane and the blossoming midfielder Dele Alli proving to be one of the most exciting players around. Many see Spurs as more pretenders than contenders, but I'm not ready to count them out. My money is on Arsenal. I think they have the squad depth required to make it happen, with the experience and quality they have on their roster. I'm not counting out any of these teams and I honestly think anyone could win, but for the moment, I'm picking Arsenal. Who do you think will win the league when it's all said and done? @InPlainSight @AbdulrahmanSaad @trinityarcangel @thefeels @MarcusJiles @DerekGumtow @havic @yaakattackk @bnzatton @SherzTYCi @krishntejanand @addri @mishthi @andwas @NimishMathur @Sydsocquet @starli @kyleatekwana @BenjiPhilip @Eduardo14 @AshfakEjaaz @EmanueleYagoda @Bobs
EPL Match of the Week: ARSENAL vs. Chelsea
This week we've got a real gem to look forward to as Chelsea face Arsenal at the Emirates in the EPL. Here's how it all looks to me: Arsenal This could be the return to action for winger Alexis Sanchez, who has been out with injury since November. Arsenal have been playing great football even without him, but when he's healthy he can be easily one of the best players in the league. He can be a huge boost for an Arsenal team attempting to mount a major title challenge and fight off tough competition from Leicester City, Man City and Spurs. Their defense has been really solid with the emerging Hector Bellerin, while the midfield has the strings pulled by Mesut Ozil, who continues to prove that he is one of the best in the whole world. He leads the league in assists and is a real joy to watch. Chelsea We all know about Chelsea's struggles this season. They have been better since Guus Hiddink took over as manager, but still sit in 14th place. For me, a large part of their struggles comes down to the horrible form of Eden Hazard, who has completely failed to live up to the expectations he set for himself during last seasons' PFA Player of the Year winning campaign. He needs to be better, and if he is, Chelsea can mount a challenge toward the upper end of the table. Champions League football is out of the question, but they can still challenge for Europe and it may well start with a big match against Arsenal this weekend. My pick Chelsea have been looking better, but Arsenal are the best team in the league getting their best player back from injury. For me, that settles it. Arsenal 2, Chelsea 1. Who takes it for you? @InPlainSight @AbdulrahmanSaad @trinityarcangel @thefeels @MarcusJiles @DerekGumtow @havic @yaakattackk @bnzatton @SherzTYCi @krishntejanand @addri @mishthi @andwas @NimishMathur @Sydsocquet @starli @kyleatekwana @BenjiPhilip @Eduardo14 @AshfakEjaaz @EmanueleYagoda @Bobs
[The Sports Guru] PANTHERS vs. Cardinals
The NFL Championship game comes to us from Carolina at 5:40pm ET on Sunday afternoon, as the Cardinals travel across the country to face off against the Panthers. Here's how I see it. Cardinals Arizona almost lost it last weekend, as they let the Packers storm back and complete a miraculous Hail Mary to send it to OT. But they immediately sealed it up in the extra period thanks to the ageless wonder Larry Fitzgerald. Carson Palmer did not look as good as he has throughout the season in last week's game, but there's no question that the Cards' passing offense is among the best in the league. With rookie playmaker David Johnson in the backfield, they have some serious big-play ability. Their defense has also been a strong point this season, though it really is the offense that powers this team. They say defense wins championships, but Arizona will be hoping to turn that around and overpower the hosts Carolina with a fiery offensive attack. Can Palmer dial back the clock and get it done? Panthers Carolina seems to be the team that no one wants to trust, but I say it's time we start giving them credit for being the undisputed Super Bowl favorites and best team in the league. They have a monstrous offense that is borderline unstoppable - and they owe it all to Cam Newton. With Ted Ginn Jr. as their #1 wideout, I never would have expected this team to make a deep run, but Cam's dominance, the terrific work by TE Greg Olsen and their methodical, punishing run game has powered this offense all season long to near the top of the charts in all categories. Defensively, Carolina could be the league's best. They dominate opponents, as they showed in last week's win over Seattle, jumping out to a 31-0 lead and scoring on a pick-six. However, they may be prone to lapses, as also became clear last week, when they allowed 24 unanswered by the Seahawks in the second half. They nearly let it slip. My pick Carolina has my confidence. They will simply be too much for the Cardinals. They are brash and aggressive, and they have the best team in the league. That will prevail over an Arizona team that will fight hard, but simply won't have enough to pull out the road win. Panthers 28, Cardinals 19. And, my Super Bowl pick: Carolina uses this win to win it all. But more on that in a future card! @Starbell808 @karencorchado @BrookieyElba @ValerieAlissaPa @Link4TW @sanazsanaz @TravisBeck @Shippudenguy21 @gatorchick96 @MatthewBoughton @MarcusJiles @BrandonMcNeil @KyleBerke @DerekGumtow @havic @Straightshooter @yaakattackk @RodneyYoung @DreJones @JonathanKerns @TravisManning @GalacticChakra @smothgreen @afxs @johnnolastname @ChristopherKenn @ChasePage @coreywriley91 @MrTenThirty @JasonNilsson @addri @ChrisStephens @AniBreo @VeronicaArtino @TomasVasquez @oct6eg10 @Darlin972 @ALEXCAMACHO @GabrielaAlvarez @strawhatblakley @Silver925 @RyanGraham96 @brolyxxrborn @martinesquivel @TiffanyPerez @PASCUASIO @ShoMoPayton @mackenzieorr186 @EvanYannetti @RaulGamboa @in4mtoxic006 @PaulFotiadis @sanRico @BlakeKaler @lilleonz @misterE @shagnasty360 @Bobs @CheyenneHorton @TylerDurso
[The Sports Guru] BRONCOS vs. Patriots
The NFL Championship Round is upon us, and the first game of the weekend is Sunday at 2:05pm ET with the Broncos playing host to the Patriots. Here's my analysis. Patriots You can never count out New England. That is the number one rule of the NFL playoffs, and has been for more than a decade. Last week, they put an end to the Chiefs' 11-game winning streak despite a fierce comeback by Kansas City and successfully moved on to the Championship game. Now, though, they face a tougher competition. They're used to playing at home in the playoffs, but this time they'll be on the road in Denver, a very tough place to play. They have suffered countless injuries this season and even with their great defense and the immortal Tom Brady at QB, they aren't as good as they have been in years past. They've still got Edelman, Gronkowski and Brady, making their passing offense a real force, but they have virtually no running game to speak of and are very one dimensional. This is going to be a really, really tough game for them. Broncos Denver looked really strong in their win last week against the Steelers, which is impressive given that they had to deal with the ever-controversial first round bye and the way it tends to ruin momentum. Now that they're back on a normal schedule of playing a game 7 days after the previous one, I think they can find their rhythm. Peyton Manning wasn't amazing vs. Pittsburgh, but he was good enough, and the rejuvenated running game with CJ Anderson has the ability to bust a big play here and there. Combined with the superstar ability of WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, it's tough to stop the Broncos' offense. Defensively, Denver has the best unit in the league, and they have played that way all season. They leave no doubt that they can just about anyone down, with a superb passing defense and a great pass rush led by Von Miller and Demarcus Ware. My pick Denver's going to take this one. It's really hard to win in Denver, especially as the weather turns cold, and while the Patriots are a great team with a coach that always has them prepared, I think Denver has enough in them to make it to the Super Bowl. Broncos 22, Patriots 19. Who do you say wins this installment of the Manning - Brady rivalry? @Starbell808 @karencorchado @BrookieyElba @ValerieAlissaPa @Link4TW @sanazsanaz @TravisBeck @Shippudenguy21 @gatorchick96 @MatthewBoughton @MarcusJiles @BrandonMcNeil @KyleBerke @DerekGumtow @havic @Straightshooter @yaakattackk @RodneyYoung @DreJones @JonathanKerns @TravisManning @GalacticChakra @smothgreen @afxs @johnnolastname @ChristopherKenn @ChasePage @coreywriley91 @MrTenThirty @JasonNilsson @addri @ChrisStephens @AniBreo @VeronicaArtino @TomasVasquez @oct6eg10 @Darlin972 @ALEXCAMACHO @GabrielaAlvarez @strawhatblakley @Silver925 @RyanGraham96 @brolyxxrborn @martinesquivel @TiffanyPerez @PASCUASIO @ShoMoPayton @mackenzieorr186 @EvanYannetti @RaulGamboa @in4mtoxic006 @PaulFotiadis @sanRico @BlakeKaler @lilleonz @misterE @shagnasty360 @Bobs @CheyenneHorton @TylerDurso
NFL Divisional Round wrap-up
Woah, what a great weekend of games in the NFL. This is what the playoffs are all about. Here's how it all went down. Patriots fight off Chiefs I thought Kansas City was going to give New England a great game, and they did. New England pulled this one out, though, 27-20. KC just didn't quite have the firepower on offense and their defense was on the field too much of the game to come up with critical stops at the end of the game when they really needed it. New England looked really strong for most of this game and despite their injuries it looks like they may be doing what they always do: convincing people that they may not be that good during the regular season, and turning things right around in the playoffs to make a deep run. They are going to be tough to beat with their veteran leadership. Cardinals win a thriller This was one of the most exciting games I've ever seen, period. Aaron Rodgers came up with ANOTHER Hail Mary TD to send this game into overtime - truly one of the best throws ever - and then Arizona won the game three plays into OT. Larry Fitzgerald took a short pass and ran 75 yards with it to set up the Cardinals inside the 10, then took a shovel pass from Carson Palmer the rest of the way to finish this one off. It was a brutal loss for the Packers, but these two teams put on quite a show. Seahawks come up short Another crazy game in Carolina, as the Panthers went up to a 31-0 halftime lead, only to see Seattle come roaring back and nearly pull it out. They outscored the NFC's #1 seed 24-0 in the second half to come within a touchdown, but couldn't finish the job, and Carolina escapes, barely. They'll feel great about how they played in the first half and will work to replicate that, but their performance in the second half has to be worrying for the team and its fans. They were exposed, big time. For Seattle, their consecutive Super Bowl run ends at 2, and they'll reboot next year, probably without Marshawn Lynch this time around. Russell Wilson, though, is only getting better. They'll be back. Broncos too much for injured Steelers Just as I feared, the Steelers' injuries were too much to overcome, and the team I picked to win it all are out at the hands of the AFC's #1 overall Denver Broncos. There were 8 field goals in this game as neither offense really got it going, but Denver's defense showed again why it's the league's best and got the job done. Not having Antonio Brown really hurt Pittsburgh, while Peyton Manning made some classic veteran plays and rewarded the coach's decision to give him the start. He may not be as good as he once was, but he's still got every right to try to bring this team a Super Bowl. Denver's crowd is excited and it won't be easy to beat them at home. After going 4-0 last week, my picks were just 1-3 this time around. Not so impressive, I know. But I'll be back next week, don't you worry! How did your picks do this week? @Starbell808 @karencorchado @BrookieyElba @ValerieAlissaPa @Link4TW @sanazsanaz @TravisBeck @Shippudenguy21 @gatorchick96 @MatthewBoughton @MarcusJiles @BrandonMcNeil @KyleBerke @DerekGumtow @havic @Straightshooter @yaakattackk @RodneyYoung @DreJones @JonathanKerns @TravisManning @GalacticChakra @smothgreen @afxs @johnnolastname @ChristopherKenn @ChasePage @coreywriley91 @MrTenThirty @JasonNilsson @addri @ChrisStephens @AniBreo @VeronicaArtino @TomasVasquez @oct6eg10 @Darlin972 @ALEXCAMACHO @GabrielaAlvarez @strawhatblakley @Silver925 @RyanGraham96 @brolyxxrborn @martinesquivel @TiffanyPerez @PASCUASIO @ShoMoPayton @mackenzieorr186 @EvanYannetti @RaulGamboa @in4mtoxic006 @PaulFotiadis @sanRico @BlakeKaler @lilleonz @misterE @shagnasty360
[The Sports Guru] SEAHAWKS vs. Panthers
Sunday brings us the second game of the Divisional Round in the NFC, with the reigning NFC champion Seattle Seahawks traveling to play the Carolina Panthers. @mchlyang made a challenge card for this one, so I'm going to do some analysis and make my pick. Seahawks Seattle was lucky as lucky comes in the Wild Card round against Minnesota. It was a great game - Seattle was down the whole time and made a 4th quarter comeback, but Minnesota had their chance to win it with an easy FG at the very end. Kicker Blair Walsh blew it and Seattle moves on. They've been one of the hottest teams in the league over the past two months. Last week was something of an anomaly because it was so darn cold in Minnesota - I don't think we can count that game for much. Seattle did what they had to do and now get the chance to play in more reasonable conditions, where their offense and QB Russell Wilson should thrive. We've seen how difficult it is to beat this team in the playoffs recently, as they've made the Super Bowl two years in a row. They're on the road this time, but the team hasn't changed much. They are rock solid. Panthers So hard to pick against the Panthers. They were 15-1 in this season and their only loss was a total fluke against the Falcons; it may be easy to forget that they were unquestionably the best team in the league this year for the entire season. Their offense is unstoppable and everything runs through MVP-frontrunner Cam Newton. Stopping him? Good luck. Their defense is also among the league's best and has won them plenty of games in its own right this season. The Panthers are a really complete team and they will attack in so many ways. They lack experience, though, and that could be a factor here. There's a lot of pressure on this team to keep up their amazing season and finish it with a Super Bowl. My pick I think experience is really going to come into play here. Seattle has got it, Carolina doesn't. Plus, it looks like superstar RB Marshawn Lynch is finally ready to return for Seattle, which gives their offense a massive boost. This one is really hard to pick, but Seattle is boosted by their lucky win last week, while Carolina could be cold from the start having had two full weeks off. I never thought that was an advantage, as momentum is everything in the playoffs. It shocks me to make this pick, but it's what I believe. Lots of offense in this one. Seahawks 28, Panthers 24. A really hard one to pick. It's the game I'm most looking forward to this week, I think. Who are you picking to win? @Starbell808 @karencorchado @BrookieyElba @ValerieAlissaPa @Link4TW @sanazsanaz @TravisBeck @Shippudenguy21 @gatorchick96 @MatthewBoughton @MarcusJiles @BrandonMcNeil @KyleBerke @DerekGumtow @havic @Straightshooter @yaakattackk @RodneyYoung @DreJones @JonathanKerns @TravisManning @GalacticChakra @smothgreen @afxs @johnnolastname @ChristopherKenn @ChasePage @coreywriley91 @MrTenThirty @JasonNilsson @addri @ChrisStephens @AniBreo @VeronicaArtino @TomasVasquez @oct6eg10 @Darlin972 @ALEXCAMACHO @GabrielaAlvarez @strawhatblakley @Silver925 @RyanGraham96 @brolyxxrborn @martinesquivel @TiffanyPerez @PASCUASIO @ShoMoPayton @mackenzieorr186 @EvanYannetti @RaulGamboa @in4mtoxic006 @PaulFotiadis @sanRico @BlakeKaler @lilleonz @misterE
[The Sports Guru] STEELERS vs. Broncos
It's The Sports Guru back with more picks and analysis as we get closer and closer to the NFL Divisional Round games this weekend. This card is my pick for the game between the Denver Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers, being played in Denver at 4:40pm ET on Sunday. Steelers Pittsburgh can consider itself very lucky to be here after Cincinnati imploded and basically handed the Steelers the game last week at the last minute. Two personal foul penalties brought Pittsburgh within range of an easy, last-minute field goal and the kicker converted to give them the win. It was a shocking game but the result is all that matters, and the Steelers are on to the next round. The big question in this one is the health of Pittsburgh's players. And it's pretty serious, as their two most important players are a doubt for this one. QB Ben Roethlisberger is fighting a painful shoulder injury and is in a race to play. Antonio Brown, the league's best WR (yup, I said it) is under the NFL's concussion protocol and is also a doubt for this one. It's too early to know if either will suit up, but their status is going to define this game. Broncos The Broncos have home field advantage throughout the playoffs as they stole the #1 seed from New England in the last game of the season. Home field advantage is huge in the playoffs, especially for a team like Denver who is used to playing in their high altitude home stadium, where visiting teams tend to struggle. Denver welcomes back Peyton Manning in this one after he made a brief return in Week 17, but the question on everyone's mind is: is Peyton really the best option they have? Denver did a great job under backup Brock Osweiler and some say he should remain the starter. But I say give the ball to one of the best of all time, and Peyton is getting the start indeed. Denver's defense is the best in the league and has been all season, and with Peyton back at the helm, they're tough to beat. My pick This one is tough to call so early in the week due to the questionable status of Roethlisberger and Brown for Pittsburgh. But I'm going to make my pick as if they'll be ready to play, because I know they'll do everything in their power to be on the field. It's going to be a really tight game and is the one I'm most looking forward to. But if you've been reading my cards to this point, you know that Pittsburgh is my Super Bowl pick, which means there's only one way I can call this one: Pittsburgh 19, Denver 13. Here goes nothin'. I'm just not sure about this one. @Starbell808 @karencorchado @BrookieyElba @ValerieAlissaPa @Link4TW @sanazsanaz @TravisBeck @Shippudenguy21 @gatorchick96 @MatthewBoughton @MarcusJiles @BrandonMcNeil @KyleBerke @DerekGumtow @havic @Straightshooter @yaakattackk @RodneyYoung @DreJones @JonathanKerns @TravisManning @GalacticChakra @smothgreen @afxs @johnnolastname @ChristopherKenn @ChasePage @coreywriley91 @MrTenThirty @JasonNilsson @addri @ChrisStephens @AniBreo @VeronicaArtino @TomasVasquez @oct6eg10 @Darlin972 @ALEXCAMACHO @GabrielaAlvarez @strawhatblakley @Silver925 @RyanGraham96 @brolyxxrborn @martinesquivel @TiffanyPerez @PASCUASIO @ShoMoPayton @mackenzieorr186 @EvanYannetti @RaulGamboa @in4mtoxic006 @PaulFotiadis @sanRico @BlakeKaler @lilleonz @misterE