By Dan Lagnado
Week 8 of the NFL season has come and gone. And so, as we have reached the halfway mark, it is naturally time to decide who wins what, all the way to the Super Bowl (though I wouldn’t recommend playing Vegas with what I have to say). This will be the first article in a series recapping and predicting about all divisions in the AFC.
Let’s begin with the AFC East:
Division winner: New England Patriots
Kind of an easy call here. Despite the “lack of chemistry” that Tom Brady has with his receivers, the Pats should easily take the division once again. They currently sit atop the division with a 6-2 record. The return of Rob Gronkowski will only help Brady, and as the game against New Orleans shows, that chemistry is getting much better. Bill Belichick also has managed to keep his defense competitive despite injuries to Vince Wilfork, Jerod Mayo and others.
The Miami Dolphins showed real promise in the first three weeks but have lost four straight since then to drop to 3-4. They may have made moves in the offseason such as adding Mike Wallace, as well as seen improvement in Ryan Tannehill off of a very solid rookie season, but they aren’t yet ready to take the next step in competing for a division title.
The Jets have literally been up and down the entire season, though they have fared better than many predicted at 4-4 (some people had only predicted four wins all season). They have dealt with many growing pains from rookie quarterback Geno Smith, but have also seen flashes of why many think he could have been drafted in the first round. The return of Santonio Holmes from injury will only help Smith, and Rex Ryan’s defense is once again one of the best in the league, led by third year defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. This team will surprise people and contend for a Wild Card spot.
As for the Buffalo Bills, there was some hope that brighter times were coming at the beginning of this season. A new quarterback in EJ Manuel, a new coach and some returning skill in Stevie Johnson and Mario Williams. That hope, however, was short lived. Injuries to Manuel and back-up Kevin Kolb left the Bills with Jeff Tuel and Thaddeus Lewis. Hardly the talent that’s needed to dethrone the Brady-Belichick Dynasty or even to turn this season around. They currently languish in the cellar of the division with a record of 3-5. That said, the future is bright for Buffalo’s offense, with the talent of Manuel, CJ Spiller and Stevie Johnson.
Expect New England to continue their recent dominance over the AFC East, though perhaps not for long. In the next few years this division should become hotly contested. But for now the Pats will gear up for another potentially deep playoff run. Both the Jets and the Dolphins both remain in the hunt for a Wild Card Spot, and even Buffalo’s chances do remain alive.
By: Matt Federbusch
It may be too early for Heisman talks but Florida State QB Jameis Winston seems like a good candidate. The true freshman from Bessemer, Alabama has been putting up videogame numbers for the Seminoles as of late and it doesn’t look like he’s going to cool down anytime soon. In every game so far, the Seminoles have scored more than 40 points and they practically routed every opponent. Winston is responsible for putting up most of these points and leading the Noles to 1st place in the ACC. Jameis already has 23 touchdowns and an unbelievable passer rating of 207.0.
He is not a guy that shies away from a challenge either. Just ask the Clemson Tigers. Against #3 Clemson on October 19, the Seminoles destroyed the Tigers, winning 51-14. Winston had 444 yards (Yes, you read that correctly), 3 passing touchdowns, and 1 rushing touchdown. This is an unbelievably talented athlete and the scary thing is that he is only a freshman. Will he be the Heisman winner? I’m not sure, Mariota and Manziel look pretty good too. All I know is you should fear the spear because this guy is for real.
By Sam Breiter
Yes, I said it. The New York Knicks will win the NBA Finals in 2013-2014 for a few simple reasons. While, it will not be easy for them as challenges and setbacks arise, I truly believe that at the end of the day, they are the best team in the NBA this year.
PG- Raymond Felton
SG- Iman Shumpert
SF- Carmelo Anthony
PF- Andrea Bargnani
Second Unit (Bench)
PG- Beno Udrih
SG- J.R Smith
SF- Metta World Peace
PF- Kenyon Martin
C- Amar’e Stoudemire
Not only do the Knicks have a strong starting lineup full of big shooters, but they also have a core of rebounders, and defensive players that will trouble strong offenses. If we look at the squad from last year, Iman Shumpert, who was my pick for most improved player this year, wasn’t even healthy until the middle of the season. Shumpert is not only an explosive threat, but gives the Knicks the defense they’ve always lacked at the guard position. Additionally, with the acquisition of Andrea Bargnani, the Knicks will have help inside the paint on defense, and on offense. He also poses a threat from outside the paint and shot .399 last season. Last year, they had Ronnie Brewer who gave little to no production while part of the team, and Jason Kidd who had some good moments, but his age and shape factored into why he is now an NBA coach.
Overall, the Knicks were definitely a success last year. They came in second place in the conference, a large improvement from past years, but fell short to Indiana missing the conference finals. They had depth, but through no names like Chris Copeland, and players on the verge of retiring from the game, such as Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Kurt Thomas, and Marcus Camby. Now, I am not saying these players didn’t help. Copeland proved to be a huge offensive aid for the Knicks, and the rest helped mentor the younger players through their years of experience in the league. Although, I believe most people would be more comfortable with Kenyon Martin, and Stoudemire rather than Kurt Thomas and Marcus Camby coming off the bench to grab boards. Yes, Amar’e is always an injury threat, but last year he barely even played and the Knicks played well without him. If the Knicks get a little more Stoudemire than last year, which shouldn’t be difficult, they will see improvements in both their pick and roll game and post defense.
Are you convinced yet? I haven’t even mentioned Carmelo Anthony, and J.R Smith, their two biggest shooters. Anthony, and Smith both achieved their goals last year. Anthony won his scoring title, and JR received the NBA’s sixth man of the year award. If Carmelo, and J.R continue to take 30 shots a game, and are comfortable with hitting only two out of every five shots, the Knicks will not excel in the playoffs or during the regular season. These huge offensive weapons will need to find a way to hold back on some of their normal shots, and find the open man. Last year, it was tough because the Knicks didn’t really have anyone who could make their own shot besides Anthony and Smith. Now with Bargnani, Shumpert, and Metta World Peace, more passing options will be available. Carmelo Anthony averaging 25 points, 5 assists, 5 rebounds and shooting 50 percent from the field per game seems possible, especially with the team surrounding him. This is Carmelo’s team, and he will always get to take the big shots he wants, but the Knicks will only win the finals if he keeps his head up, and notices the open man in the paint when being double-teamed.
To sum it up, the Knicks are faster, bigger, and younger than they were last year. With the old timers departing, some new key players joining the organization, and the health of the team improving, the Knicks will be unstoppable this year. Not only do they have one of the best offenses in the league, but now their defense will improve as well. Then, of course there are what ifs. What if Tim Hardaway Jr. has a break out rookie season? What if Amar’e stays healthy and goes back the 20 point 10 rebound guy he use to be? What if the Knicks find talent in a player like Chris Smith that they didn’t even know was possible? The possibilities for the Knicks are endless. This team is very underrated this year, and if it’s ever time for them to bring a championship back to New York it’s NOW!
The time has finally come. The NBA season starts today, and we’d like to make some predictions on what we think the NBA will have in store for you this year. We’ve included our picks for the playoffs, as well as the end of season awards. Feel free to comment with your own opinions, as these are simply ours. Without further ado, we present our 2013- 2014 NBA Season Predictions:
|Place||Sam Breiter||Brett Malamud|
|1||Miami Heat||Miami Heat|
|2||New York Knicks||Chicago Bulls|
|3||Chicago Bulls||Indiana Pacers|
|4||Brooklyn Nets||Brooklyn Nets|
|5||Indiana Pacers||New York Knicks|
|6||Detroit Pistons||Washington Wizards|
|7||Cleveland Cavaliers||Cleveland Cavaliers|
|8||Toronto Raptors||Detroit Pistons|
|Bubble Team (9th)||Boston Celtics||Atlanta Hawks|
|ECF||Miami Heat vs New York Knicks||Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers|
|Place||Sam Breiter||Brett Malamud|
|1||L.A Clippers||L.A. Clippers|
|2||Oklahoma City Thunder||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|3||San Antonio Spurs||San Antonio Spurs|
|4||Houston Rockets||Golden State Warriors|
|5||Golden State Warriors||Houston Rockets|
|6||Dallas Mavericks||Minnesota Timberwolves|
|7||Portland Trail Blazers||Dallas Mavericks|
|8||New Orleans Pelicans||New Orleans Pelicans|
|Bubble Team (9th)||Denver Nuggets||Portland Trail Blazers|
|WCF||L.A Clippers vs. Golden State Warriors||L.A. Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder|
|Champion and Awards|
|Sam Breiter||Brett Malamud|
|FINALS||New York Knicks vs LA Clippers||Miami Heat vs. L.A. Clippers|
|Champion||New York Knicks||L.A. Clippers|
|Defensive POY||Dwight Howard||Dwight Howard|
|Rookie of the Year||Victor Oladipo||Victor Oladipo|
|Coach of the Year||Doc Rivers||Doc Rivers|
|Most Improved||Iman Shumpert||Eric Bledsoe|
|MVP||LeBron James||LeBron James|
|Sixth Man of the Year||Tyreke Evans||Jamal Crawford|
We hope that this NBA season will be as fun for you as it will be for us. We look forward to keeping you covered this NBA season.
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