World Cup Round of 16 Predictions

By Zach Malamud

 

Uruguay vs Portugal, Saturday, 2:00 pm-
It was a rough group stage for Cristiano Ronaldo and company as they narrowly finished in second place with a win and two draws. They will have to step it up against a strong Uruguay side led by attackers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani and defenders Jose Maria Gimenez and Diego Godin. Uruguay finished the group stage undefeated in three fairly easy matchups against Russia(3-0), Egypt(1-0), and Saudi Arabia(1-0). The attacking and defensive forces of Uruguay will be too strong for this Portugal side and they will be sent home early in possibly Ronaldo’s final World Cup.
                                            
France vs Argentina, Saturday, 10:00 am-
The world was shocked when Messi and Argentina were on the brink of going out of the World Cup in the group stage but they found a way with Marcos Rojo’s 86th minute goal against Nigeria. Now sadly for Argentina it doesn’t get any easier. They will take on a French side who has had their ups and downs but is still no doubt one of the top teams in the world. France finished in the group with two wins and a draw but the opposition which included Peru, Denmark and Australia was not very challenging. We have yet to see the best of Lionel Messi so it should be interesting to see if he can step it up in this really tough game. That said, I think Jorge Sampaoli’s men just got a kickstart from the group stage and will move on in a very close game.
                                     

Spain vs Russia, Sunday, 10:00 am-
Spain went through a tough group stage surprisingly finishing with a win and two draws. Iago Aspas scored a last minute goal against Morocco in their thrilling last day of the group stage to help secure first place over Portugal in Group B.This could end up being a tough matchup against a Russian side that finished with two wins in the group stage. Denis Cheryshev and Alexander Golovin led the way for Russia and they have a slight chance of beating Spain. I don’t believe it will happen this time though even with the home field advantage. Spain will come out on top but not by much.
                                           
Croatia vs Denmark, Sunday, 2:00 pm-
What a start from Croatia! Luka Modric and company were unbelievable in the group stage. They beat Messi and Argentina 3-0 while also beating Nigeria and Iceland to go undefeated in the group. Croatia can really shock the world and go far into the knockout stages. They first have to beat a Denmark side led by world class midfielder Christian Eriksen. Denmark, who finished the group stage with one win and two draws are not gonna beat Croatia. The Croatians will move on to play Spain in the quarterfinals.
                                    
Brazil vs Mexico, Monday, 10:00 am-
This game should be an extremely exciting offensive affair. Both Brazil and Mexico have better attacks then defense. Hirving Lozano has been outstanding for the Mexico side on both offense and defense, putting his body on the line every time he has the chance. But, we saw Mexico’s struggles in their last game against Sweden when they lost 3–0, and their lack of a solid backend  will probably see them fall to Brazil. Brazil star left back Marcelo limped off 10 minutes into their final group stage matchup against Serbia with an apparent back injury. It doesn’t look to be that serious and he will most likely play. Brazil has done well so far finishing the group stage with two wins and a draw. They did have a close call in a very exciting matchup against Keylor Navas’ Costa Rica where Phillipe Coutinho scored in the 90th minute to get Brazil the win. Tite’s men should come out on top with Neymar having his best game of the tournament.
                               
Belgium vs Japan, Sunday, 2:00 pm-
This should be the most one sided game of the tournament. Belgium has been astounding so far going undefeated in the group stage scoring nine goals while only letting up two. Belgium was so dominating in their first two matches that they were able to rest most of their starting 11 for their final group stage victory over England. Japan had a shocking upset of Colombia in their opener when a Colombian red card left them with 10 men for most of the match. They finished the group stage with a draw and a loss. Belgium is undefeated in their last 22 games with 17 wins and five draws. I think they will add to that win column very easily. This matchup won’t be close, and Belgium should come out on top.
                                
Sweden vs Switzerland, Tuesday, 10:00 am-
This matchup could end up going into extra time or penalties. This is a very strong Sweden side that beat Mexico 3-0 and just couldn’t get a point from their second match because of a last second winner by Germany. They ended up finishing first in their group with two wins and a loss. Switzerland on the other hand, got a huge result with a tie against Brazil which really helped them secure a spot in the knockout stage. A last minute winner by Xherdan Shaqiri against Serbia also really helped this team to get to the knockout stage. Both teams are very strong but I believe Sweden will come out on top in a tight match that quite possibly needs extra time to determine the winner.

                                    

Colombia vs England, Tuesday, 2:00 pm-
Finally, the last round of 16 game will be Colombia taking on England. Colombia had an injury scare with James Rodriguez leaving their final group stage matchup after 30 minutes with an apparent calf injury. However, he should be able to play against a strong England side. England went through the group stage with two wins and a loss with their backups against Belgium. One of those wins was a staggering 6-1 win against Panama in their second group stage game. England will be a tough matchup for Colombia but I think James and his team will come out on top to play Sweden in the quarterfinals.

                                   

So that is it for the round of 16 predictions. Check back next weekend for the World Cup quarterfinals predictions. Here is what it could look like:

          

 

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World Cup Group Stage Predictions

By Zach Malamud

Group A

Country

W

D

L

Pts

Uruguay

3

0

0

9

Russia

2

0

1

6

Egypt

1

0

2

3

Saudi Arabia

0

0

3

0

The host of the 2018 World Cup, Russia is not the biggest name in group A. Uruguay with world-class strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez should come out on top pretty easily. Russia will put up a good fight winning against Egypt and Saudi Arabia but will lose to Uruguay to finish with six points. Egypt may be without Mohamed Salah for one or two games but if it ends up being two games he will miss both important games against Uruguay and Russia. Salah will most likely be there for the third and final game which will give Egypt their only win in the group against Saudi Arabia. Surprisingly, there will be no draws in the group as no teams are really even.

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Group B

Country

W

D

L

Pts

Spain

3

0

0

9

Portugal

1

1

1

4

Morocco

1

1

1

4

Iran

0

0

3

0

With the Iberian rivals squaring off on the second day, this is a very exciting group with world class players on both sides. Ronaldo’s men are coming off a Euro final win against France two summers ago but have dropped some key names from that squad including Nani, Eder, Renato Sanches, Eliseu and Andre Gomes. On the other hand, Spain will take first in group B and go far into the World Cup winning all three group stage games. The sleeper in the group is Morocco in their fifth World Cup appearance. Captain Medhi Benatia who is the starting center back on Italian giants Juventus, along with highly-rated Real Madrid prospect Achraf Hakimi are looking to get passed the group stage for the second time. Morocco will draw against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal but will fall short on goal-difference. Iran just has no chance in this group and they will lose all three games.

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Group C

Country

W

D

L

Pts

France

2

1

0

7

Denmark

1

1

1

4

Peru

0

3

0

3

Australia

0

1

2

1

Next up is group C with title contenders France who have added some of the best youngsters in the world including Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele and Thomas Lemar. But, this fight for second is going to be really close so France can’t go easy one bit. They will take first but they’ll draw against Peru who are without captain Paolo Guerrero. Peru though drew against Argentina twice and beat Uruguay and Croatia, so a draw against France will be good for the Peruvians. Denmark will come in second for the fourth time ever with stars Christian Eriksen and Andreas Christensen leading the way. Last is Australia who don’t have as much quality as the others in their group.

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Group D

Country

W

D

L

Pts

Argentina

2

1

0

7

Croatia

2

1

0

7

Iceland

1

0

2

3

Nigeria

0

0

3

0

It was such a tough game to lose for Argentina at the World Cup final in Rio, but Messi’s men have added a world-class talent in Paulo Dybala to make sure they are on the winning side this time. The attacking force of Argentina is unbelievable with star players including Lionel Messi, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria and Sergio Aguero. They will have tough competition though in the group stage with the sleepers of the tournament, Croatia, coming to spoil some dreams. Croatia led by Luka Modrić , Ivan Rakitić and Mario Mandžukić, can shock the world when they draw Argentina and go into the round of 16 as a two seed because of goal differential. A World Cup debut for Iceland won’t be the best, but they’ll get their first win against Victor Moses’ Nigeria who will lose all three games they play and go home with nothing.

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Group E

Country

W

D

L

Pts

Brazil

3

0

0

9

Serbia

2

0

1

6

Costa Rica

0

1

2

1

Switzerland

0

1

2

1

In group E, Brazil is without a doubt the standout team led by Neymar and world-class talent around different leagues. They will prove they are the best by winning all three group stage games by a large margin. Next, Serbia will show off their strong team in their 12th ever world cup appearance. They are led by Nemanja Matić and youngster Sergej Milinković-Savić. They will lose to Brazil but beat Costa Rica and Switzerland to get to the round of 16 for the first time since their country was officially named Serbia. Costa RIca led by Bryan Ruiz and Keylor Navas will put up a good fight but will have to go home early with just a draw in the books for their team. Switzerland and Xherdan Shaqiri will do the same as Costa Rica with losses to Brazil and Serbia, while getting the draw vs Costa Rica in an exciting matchup on the final day of the group stages.

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Group F

Country

W

D

L

Pts

Germany

2

1

0

7

Mexico

1

2

0

5

Sweden

1

1

1

4

Korea Republic

0

0

3

0

The World Cup Champions are back again for another fight to become the third team ever to win back to back World Cups and the first since Brazil in 1958 and 1962. We will see if the dropping of Manchester City star winger Leroy Sane will hurt Germany after manager Joachim Low picked Bayer Leverkusen winger Julian Brandt instead. A game changer in Sane and a player in Brandt that as Joachim Low said,”…can play multiple positions…”. We will see who was the right choice. In second, Mexico will get a huge win against Korea Republic while drawing against leaders Germany and third place Sweden. In third, Sweden, led by Victor Lindelöf will get two huge results one being a draw against Mexico on the last group stage matchday. But, it won’t be enough to move on with Mexico ending one point ahead of them. Korea Republic led by Heung Min Son will go out in last losing all three group stage games. They won’t stand a chance in this group since they are really a one man team.

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Group G

Country

W

D

L

Pts

Belgium

3

0

0

9

England

2

0

1

6

Tunisia

0

1

2

1

Panama

0

1

2

1

Arguably the toughest group of the World Cup, Group G should see the Belgians looking to move on in first place. They will do that while winning all three group stage games. Right behind them in second is England with all of their premier league stars including Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling. They will lose to Belgium after they beat Panama and Tunisia in the group. Third place will be Tunisia with two losses

to Belgium and England and a draw against Panama on the final day of the group stage. They’ll come in third ahead of Panama on goal differential. In last is Panama in their World Cup debut led by Luis Tejada. They like Tunisia will lose to both Belgium and England but draw against Tunisia on the final day. Sadly, they will come in last based on goal differential however, they will feel happy to be at their first World Cup.

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 7.44.21 PM

Group H

Country

W

D

L

Pts

Poland

2

1

0

7

Colombia

2

1

0

7

Senegal

1

0

2

3

Japan

0

0

3

0

The final group will be the shocker of the group stages with Poland taking first over Colombia. Poland is led by world class striker Robert Lewandowski and AS Monaco star center back Kamil Glik. They will beat both Senegal and Japan while drawing against Colombia in the second matches of the group stage which will allow them to come in first on goal differential. Colombia and James Rodriguez will have to deal with second place based on the draw against Poland. This might be disappointing for them as they may have to go up against Belgium in the round of 16. In third, Senegal led by Liverpool star Sadio Mané will lose to both Poland and Colombia but, they will get a win against Japan in their second match. Finally, in last is Japan who will lose all three games and go home really early.

Screen Shot 2018-06-11 at 7.44.36 PM

 

So here are the predictions for the round of 16. Check back at the end of the group stages to see the predictions for the knockout stages in the 2018 FIFA World Cup!!


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

NFL Mock Draft 2018

By Zach Malamud

Tonight, the NFL is again in the spotlight, as quarterback needy teams look to make a franchise-altering pick, that’ll slingshot their team to success in the next 15 years. Of course, this year’s mock was a fun one, and there isn’t one certain pick in this years draft. Other years there’s always that “oh he’s 100% going there. It’s a lock.” and this year, it’s all up in the air, and the Cleveland Browns will dictate how it goes as they make their first overall pick. Let’s get to it!

1.Cleveland Browns- Sam Darnold, QB, University of Southern California

The 0-16 Browns now have the number one pick for the second year in a row after a winless 2017 season. With the additions of offensive signings like Carlos Hyde and Jarvis Landry, the Browns could possibly take one of four highly rated quarterbacks at number one. Yes, the browns did trade a third round pick for Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor on March 9. However, Taylor will only be in Cleveland for the one year left on his contract while drafting arguably the most accurate quarterback in the draft (Darnold) could really mean a lot of touchdowns for wide receivers, Josh Gordon and Jarvis Landry.

sam-darnold

Darnold should be the top pick this year, but does Cleveland think so? (Via AP)

2.New York Giants- Bradley Chubb, DE, North Carolina State

A very unpredictable pick for the Giants with as many as four names being spattered around. But ever since the blockbuster deal that sent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to Tampa Bay, the Giants could use a defensive end to add to the 3-4 defense of new defensive coordinator, James Bettcher. Chubb, who has been described as the next Von Miller, is very likely to be a top five pick this Thursday.

 

3.New York Jets- Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma

Moving from 6 to 3 made a big statement that the Jets were once again looking for a franchise quarterback that could get them back to the playoffs. The injury problems of Mark Sanchez, major busts in Geno Smith and Christian Hackenberg, and undeveloped Bryce Petty, the Jets have not found their guy. An accurate and mobile quarterback in Mayfield could be a great addition to a keen Jets offense who just need the right man at the wheel.

 

4.(Trade) Buffalo Bills- Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming

After trading Tyrod Taylor, the Bills are looking to trade up for a quarterback. This pick could end up being the best available QB and Josh Allen could be at the top of the list. Allen has a rocket of an arm and with the speedy wide receivers of the Buffalo Bills, they will try to make it back to the playoffs for the second consecutive years after not getting to the playoffs previously since 1999.

 

5.Denver Broncos- Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State

After releasing C.J. Anderson, the Broncos still have Devontae Booker. But think how successful Denver could be if they add arguably the top running back in college football. Barkley ended his three-year Penn State career with 51 total touchdowns. Denver finished 27th in the league in points per game last year and to add someone who was as dominant in college as Cowboys’ running back Ezekiel Elliott could help send Denver back to the playoffs.

 

6.(Trade) Miami Dolphins- Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA

When Ryan Tannehill went down to a torn ACL and Miami signed Jay Cutler who came out of retirement, there was a very slim chance that they’d make the playoffs. Cutler had an iffy season that had Miami 3rd in the AFC East. Rosen, at this point in the draft, is the best quarterback available to them and he just might give some confidence to a struggling Dolphins offense that gave away top wide receiver Jarvis Landry during the offseason.

 

7.Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Derwin James, S, Florida State

Tampa Bay finished in dead last for most passing yards against per game last season. They have drafted a safety in the past two years and it hasn’t helped them at all. A quick and versatile safety like Derwin James can be the draft pick that could change this secondary. Derwin James most likely will stay in Florida unless he jumps to a higher pick.

 

8.Chicago Bears- Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame

The Bears are praying that this man drops to them with him potentially going to three teams picking right before them. A potential all-pro guard would be a great pick for Chicago who have a great run game in Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. But Chicago finished in last in passing yards per game last season so to put Nelson as a pass blocker could finally get the Bears offense rolling for the first time in a while.

 

9.San Francisco 49ers- Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State

With Richard Sherman recovering from injury, Jaquiski Tart and Jimmy Ward becoming free agents, San Francisco has a lot of spots to fill in their secondary. Denzel Ward is a perfect fit into a 49ers defense that let up the 8th most points and 9th most yards total in the league last season. The 49ers could finally be the real deal with the pairing of Sherman and Ward as the two starting cornerbacks

 

10.Oakland Raiders- Roquan Smith, LB, Georgia

Oakland at this point will take the best available. This could be a great pick to add another pass rusher to an Oakland defense that let up the 7th most passing yards in the league last year. To pair Smith with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, Oakland fans or soon to be Las Vegas fans could be in for a treat.

 

11.(Trade)Indianapolis Colts- Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech

With no real certainty of who the Colts are going to pick, it most likely is going to be defense. The Colts defense let up the 3rd most total yards in the league last year and while Andrew Luck is dealing with injury problems arguably the top linebacker in the draft could fit perfectly fine as a starter in a struggling defense.

 

12.(Trade) Cleveland Browns- Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama

This might be the least surprising pick of the first round if the Browns were to trade number four with Buffalo. The 0-16 browns most likely will have the best offseason in the NFL if they get their QB at number one to pair up with Carlos Hyde, Jarvis Landry and Josh Gordon. Switching over to defense with Myles Garrett, Minkah Fitzpatrick and Jabrill Peppers. The Browns could finally be the real deal this season but we will have to wait and see if they get this opportunity.

 

13.Washington Redskins- Vita Vea, DT, Washington
Washington are coming off an awful season from their defensive lineman. They finished in last in the category after letting up almost 135 rush yards per game last year. They definitely should be looking at a defensive lineman and the best defensive tackle in the draft would be the perfect option for this struggling defense.

 

14.Green Bay Packers- D.J. Moore, WR, Maryland

Green Bay could trade back but are really excited about the potential of Moore and what he could do if he is paired up with Aaron Rodgers who also has new signing Jimmy Graham as a top target in one of the best offenses in the NFL. Once Aaron Rodgers got hurt last season, Green Bay really had no chance to make it to the playoffs with backup quarterback Brett Hundley looking not ready to take that prestigious position. Jordy Nelson is in Oakland and Mike McCarthey can’t go wrong with another target for Rodgers.

 

15.Arizona Cardinals- Will Hernandez, G, University of Texas El-Paso

Last season, Arizona quarterbacks got sacked 52 times which was tied for the third most in the league. And the way to stop that is another offensive lineman. Hernandez would be the perfect choice for the cardinals to try and get back to being a top offensive team

 

16.Baltimore Ravens- Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State

Baltimore will most likely pick the best available guy and Vander Esch showed teams why he should be around a mid-first round pick. He was unbelievable at the combine and Baltimore might have the next Ray Lewis to pair up with Terrell Suggs while he is still there.

 

17.Los Angeles Chargers- Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville

The Chargers have been known for planning for the future at the draft. Philip Rivers is now 36 and both head coach Anthony Lynn and GM Tom Telesco have praised 2016 heisman trophy winner Lamar Jackson. A future duo between Lamar Jackson and Melvin Gordon could give the Chiefs and Broncos who gave up some key defensive guys during the offseason a run for their money in a couple of years.

 

18.Seattle Seahawks- Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa

With one of the best cornerbacks in the league in Richard Sherman leaving for their rival 49ers, Seattle needs someone to help their lately struggling secondary. Josh Jackson is the top option for Seattle so this will probably be an easy decision the Seahawks. Jackson does have some speed concerns but don’t think that will change this pick.

 

19.Dallas Cowboys- Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama

Everyone remembers 2 years ago when Dallas drafted Ezekiel Elliott when he was projected by most to be picked out of the top. Also, the shocker of the offseason with the Cowboys releasing pro bowl wide receiver Dez Bryant after spending 10 years in Dallas. Ridley had over 2,750 receiving yards with 224 receptions in his 3 years at Alabama under Nick Saban. Ridley would be the perfect pick for a Dallas team who definitely need a wide receiver.

 

20.Detroit Lions- Derrius Guice, RB, Louisiana State

Detroit came in dead last when it came to rushing yards per game last year. They don’t have a great running back in Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick is more of a passing option for Matthew Stafford. The Lions could use an explosive running back that can help a key missing piece in their offense.

 

21.Cincinnati Bengals- Billy Price, C, Ohio State

The Bengals had the second least rushing yards per game last season. That really hurt rookie Joe Mixon while Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill were basically invisible almost all season long. Price was the starting center at Ohio State when Ezekiel Elliott was breaking tackles left and right. Price could help change Cincinnati’s horrific run game and get them past the wild card round for the first time since 1990.

 

22.(Trade) Cleveland Browns-Mike McGlinchey, T, Notre Dame

Cleveland could be back for a potential 3rd first round if they can make that trade with Buffalo for the number 4 pick. Cleveland has never really had a great offensive line and now with star left tackle Joe Thomas retiring after 11 great NFL seasons, Cleveland could draft a tackle about a month and a half later and be ready to roll. McGlinchey would be a perfect pick to replace Joe Thomas but once again we will just have to wait and see.

 

23.New England Patriots- Courtland Sutton, WR, Southern Methodist University

With Ridley and Moore already off the board, New England could be looking for a wide receiver to replace Brandin Cooks with the pick they received from the Rams in the Cooks deal. Sutton finished off his 4-year career at SMU with over 3,000 receiving yards and a speedy receiver could never go wrong with the G.O.A.T.

 

24.Carolina Panthers- Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M

Ever since the Panthers drafted Cam Newton in 2011, they have drafted three top wide receivers while Steve Smith Sr. left for Baltimore. Those 3 are Kelvin Benjamin who is now in Buffalo, Curtis Samuel who had an ok rookie season and Devin Funchess who has probably fit in the best of the three. The panthers didn’t stand a chance in Super Bowl 50 against the Broncos and need an impactful players to get them back to the Super Bowl after two ok years.

 

25.Tennessee Titans- Marcus Davenport, DE, University of Texas-San Antonio

Tennessee had a very productive season all around that got them to the divisional round in the AFC. But they still let up the 8th most passing yards in the league last year so another pass rusher wouldn’t hurt. Davenport could be projected to go earlier but based on the competition he faced in a really unknown conference, these projections can still be wrong. This would be a great pick for a titans team who really doesn’t need much this offseason.

 

26.Atlanta Falcons- Taven Bryan, DT, Florida

Atlanta will probably go for the best available and they can add to their stellar defense from last season by adding another defensive lineman. It was disappointing last year when they went home after losing 15-10 to the 1st place Eagles who were without star quarterback Carson Wentz. Both defenses had great game and the Falcons could continue this with Bryan.

 

27.New Orleans- Harold Landry, DE/LB, Boston College

The Saints will probably be looking for the best available at this point in the draft. Landry is a versatile player that can help New Orleans get back to the playoffs. New Orleans wasn’t able to shut down opponents defensively in big games. Wide receiver Cameron Meredith was signed during the offseason so the offense doesn’t need much work with Drew Brees in charge.

 

28.Pittsburgh Steelers- Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama

Pittsburgh doesn’t need much but with Ryan Shazier out for probably all of this upcoming season the steelers could use another linebacker just to be safe. Evans who was great last season under Nick Saban can be a total game changer just like Shazier is for Pittsburgh.

 

29.Jacksonville Jaguars- Connor Williams, T, Texas

Jacksonville could still use a little more help on offense as the defense looks perfectly fine after an unbelievable season last year. Williams had a rough 2017 at Texas but it shouldn’t affect his draft status by looking at how great he played 2016.

 

30.Minnesota Vikings- Frank Ragnow, C, Arkansas

Minnesota are in need of an extra offensive lineman and Ragnow didn’t allow a sack during his time at Arkansas. Such a dominant offensive lineman definitely deserves to be a first round and could be a great fit for the Vikings who are trying to get back to the playoffs.

 

31.New England Patriots- Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State

Planning for the future after TOM BRADY already!! Yes, the patriots got rid of backups Jacoby Brissett and Jimmy Garoppolo last season. This could be one of the great qb draft classes for a while and why not take a shot on Mason Rudolph who could be one of the most underrated players in this draft class.

 

32.Philadelphia Eagles- Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville

The Super Bowl champion Eagles had a lot of problems in their secondary against NFC East wide receivers last season. Alexander is very strong and could stop these receivers from doing too much damage by joining one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. One of the reasons for them winning the super bowl.

January Transfer Targets: Tottenham

By Zach Malamud

Tottenham is just looking to get into a Champions league spot for next season as it doesn’t look like anyone is going to catch Manchester City. But, Spurs did go undefeated in the group stage of this year’s Champions League in what was so called the “Group of Death” with Real Madrid and German runner-ups Borussia Dortmund. To secure a top-four spot and even try to win the Champions League this year, here are some players that Tottenham can look at during the January transfer window:

#1. Cedric Bakambu- Villarreal

With Harry Kane on fire, Tottenham still have lost games where they have not scored many goals. Spurs are also looking for an extra striker as Fernando Llorente who they bought from Swansea over the summer, has not met expectations when Kane needs a rest. Bakambu is on fire to start the season with 14 goals in 21 appearances. Therefore, I do believe that Spurs have a shot to get the Congo striker if they give up a good chunk of money for one of the best strikers in La Liga so far this season.

#2. David Neres- Ajax

The 20-year old Brazilian has caught the attention of many teams as he is on absolute fire with 8 goals and 11 assists through just 16 appearances in Eredivisie. He has been given the name “Little Neymar” by the press and he could be headed to Spurs, Man United or AC Milan if he keeps this run up. He could be a big help for Spurs as a long term option with Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama having injury problems. He would be an extra midfielder that could help them stay in a Champions League spot and even try to make a run to the title in this year’s Champions League. Therefore, I do believe Spurs can get this young star in the January window.

#3. Ryan Sessegnon- Fulham

This is another defensive option for Spurs as they are looking for a stronger left back with the date of Toby Alderweireld’s return unknown. A young defender like Sessegnon who is also linked with a move to Real Madrid can be a long-term option. Spurs will have to pay a little more than expected if they are really interested in the 17-year old English defender. Therefore, he will be a good option for depth in the January window.

RyanSess

#4. Yannick Carrasco- Atletico Madrid

The 24-year old winger has so much potential to become a star. He has been through some fallouts this season with team-mates Koke and Gabi which means that he is free to leave Atletico during the January transfer window. The Belgian winger is also linked with a move to Arsenal, Chelsea and Bayern Munich which can make a move to Spurs a lot more expensive. Therefore, Spurs have a slim chance of securing the winger.

#5. Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace

Zaha is 25 and is in the best form of his life, but there is still room for improvement if he chooses to go to Spurs to play with world class players like Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen. Also, Crystal Palace are close to relegation and might not want to sell their top goal scorer with still another half of the season to go. Therefore, it is unlikely for him to move in this January window but it is a possibility for a move to Spurs, Arsenal, City or Chelsea over the summer.


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

January Transfer Targets: Chelsea

By Zach Malamud

Chelsea are 16 points behind league leaders Man City but are just 1 point behind 2nd place Man United. The premier league champions have struggled at some points this season as they have lost in games that most people would say the should’ve won. These games include a 2-1 loss to Crystal Palace who lost their first 7 games before winning this match for their first win of the season and a 1-0 loss to West Ham who was in the relegation zone at the time. With Antonio Conte giving up in the title race, here are some transfer targets that can help Chelsea secure a spot in the Champions League next season:

#1. Yannick Carrasco- Atletico Madrid

The 24-year old winger has so much potential to become a star. He has been through some fallouts this season with team-mates Koke and Gabi which means that he is free to leave Atletico during the January transfer window. The Belgian winger is also linked with a move to Arsenal, Tottenham and Bayern Munich which can make a move to Chelsea a lot more expensive. Therefore, Chelsea have a slim chance of securing the winger

#2. Jean Michaël Seri- Nice

Seri is another target of Antonio Conte and his look for an extra midfielder. The 26-year old midfielder would be a signing for more depth at that spot of the Chelsea squad. The Ivory Coast man can be an option for with Cesc Fabregas getting older. He has also been linked with a move to Liverpool, but with the signing of Virgil Van Dijk it seems that Liverpool are done with their January spending. Therefore, Seri could end up in a Chelsea uniform for the right amount of money.

#3. Arturo Vidal- Bayern Munich

This is a more surprising name to see on Chelsea’s shortlist but with Conte keen to bring his good friend Vidal to the bridge, the deal could end up happening in the January window. The Chilean midfielder is now 30 and has just 18 months left on his contract. With the Bundesliga winners bringing in a lot of young players, they could look to cash in and get around 50 million euros for their top class midfielder.

#4. Gareth Bale- Real Madrid

Challenging Manchester United for the Welshman’s signature, Chelsea are looking for another world-class winger with Eden Hazard on one side. Bale is now 28 and has had experience in the premier league when he played for Tottenham for 6 seasons before being sold to Real Madrid for 101 million euros in 2013. Bale can also help Chelsea in the Champions League where they will have to play La Liga leaders FC Barcelona in the round of 16. Therefore, I see Chelsea beating Man United to a deal for Bale.

Bale

Bale is certainly in the rumors to be on their way out, but is it to Chelsea? (via Goal)

#5. James Tarkowski- Burnley

Tarkowski is having the best season of his career and with Burnley in 7th place, a lot of the credit will go to him. This has gotten Chelsea interested into getting another center back with David Luiz reportedly close to a move to Real Madrid. The English defender would be a huge help and allow them to focus on a Champions League spot. However, I believe that Burnley’s key to success has been their defense coming up big in tough situations so I don’t think they will look to give up their top defender.


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

 

January Transfer Targets: Manchester United

By Zach Malamud

Now down 15 points to their arch rivals Manchester City, United might be more interested in staying in second place to secure a spot in the Champions League for next season. To help secure their spot in the Champions League, United have a couple of names they are looking to bring in during this January window:

#1. Malcom- Bordeaux

At the age of 20, Malcom can be a huge addition to the young wingers that Man United have brought up. Adding a goal scorer can definitely help win more games, especially because he could end up being a bargain due to Bordeaux’s financial problems. Malcom has also been linked with PSG which can make things a bit more challenging for United if the Brazilian winger would like to stay in France. This means United might end up spending a little more than they wanted to.

#2. Antoine Griezmann- Atletico Madrid

Griezmann is 26 and is arguably one of the best strikers in the world. But he might want a move somewhere else now that his team didn’t make it into the Champions League round of 16. Griezmann has been at Atletico since 2014 and just signed a huge contract extension over the summer. Man United are interested in him, therefore I don’t see them getting him in January due to the extension. There is a slight chance that they can get him over the summer though.

Antoine-Griezmann

Griezmann has been linked to United, but will a move happen in January? (via Daily Express)

#3. Danny Rose- Tottenham

The 27-year old defender would be a great fit for a United defense that has struggled this season with injuries to Eric Bailly and Ashley Young having to play at left back. The English defender can be a start of defensive signings for United as they are also in need of a center back which they will probably look at over the summer

#4. Ryan Sessegnon- Fulham

This is another defensive option for Man United as they are in need of a left back. A young defender like Sessegnon who is also linked with a move to Real Madrid can be a long-term option. United will have to pay a little more than expected if they are really interested in the 17-year old English defender. Therefore, he will be a good option in the January window.

#5. Gareth Bale- Real Madrid

With reports that Henrikh Mkhitaryan will leave by the end of the season, United can sign another winger like Gareth Bale. Bale is now 28 and has had experience in the premier league when he played for Tottenham for 6 seasons before being sold to Real Madrid for 101 million euros in 2013. Real Madrid have said that Man United and Chelsea will have to give them around 80 million euros to secure the Welshman. Therefore, buying Bale will slim the chances for United to buy targets Antoine Griezmann and Paulo Dybala.


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy

January Transfer Targets: Manchester City

By Zach Malamud

Now 15 points ahead of 2nd place Manchester United, the citizens are rolling through the premier league season dropping points just once in a draw at home against Everton on August 21. But, there is still room for improvement with another half of the season to play. Here are some transfer targets that the citizens can pounce on in the January window to help them secure their 3rd premier league title in the last six years:

#1. Milan Skriniar- Inter

At the age of 22, Skriniar can be a long-term help for Pep Guardiola’s side. City are in need of a center back considering the consistent injury problems of their captain Vincent Kompany. The Slovakian defender just joined Inter in the past summer window which can be a problem for City who might have to spend more than they wanted to.

#2. Iñigo Martínez- Real Sociedad

Martinez is one of Pep’s top targets and at the age of 26, he can also be a help to the in-need defense at Manchester City. The Spanish defender started his career playing for U19 Sociedad before moving to the A team and now could end up being a bargain for City who are valuing him at 7.5 million dollars.

#3. Jonny Evans- West Brom

Evans, who is 29 now is another center back option for Pep’s side to look at. The former Manchester United defender has a lot of experience in the premier league can help city in developing some of their younger center backs including John Stones and Tosin Adarabioyo. He won 3 league titles at Manchester United and can help win one for the blue side of Manchester.

#4. Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace

Zaha is 25 and is in the best form of his life, but he might get limited playtime in a filled attack at City. Also, Crystal Palace are close to relegation and might not want to sell their top goal scorer with still another half of the season to go. Therefore, it is unlikely for him to move in this January window but it is a possibility for a move to City, Arsenal, Spurs or Chelsea over the summer.

 

Sanchez

Will Alexis Sanchez finally make his move to Manchester City? (via TalkSport)

#5. Alexis Sanchez- Arsenal

Last summer, a move to the Etihad fell through as Arsenal couldn’t find a replacement like Thomas Lemar to go to the Emirates. An angry Alexis who was coached by Pep at Barcelona, wanted a move and didn’t get it. City and PSG are the two clubs interested in him. If PSG move for Alexis in January it will leave Pep no other choice to start agreeing to a pre contract as City’s attack is full.


Zach Malamud is a contributing writer for Dabuzzza. He is a radio host of The Plainview Blitz on WPOB 88.5 FM. He loves soccer and basketball and finds himself watching Manchester City on a regular basis. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Kevin De Bruyne. You can follow him on twitter at @Zachmalnyy