Best pitcher in MLB history

One can make an argument over who the best pitcher of all time was Nolan Ryan and his 5,714 Ks – how about Cy Young, I mean the award for being the best pitcher is named after him, after all.  And then we have pitchers like Randy Johnson and Roger Clemens who were both phenomenal. Come on, we’re looking at 9,547 strikeouts between the 2 of them.

But let’s look at some other numbers, let’s look at other attributes. Firstly, I feel that choosing the best pitcher is definitely going to be relative to their era. Sports have evolved, and changed over the years, pitchers used to pitch 150 times in a game, in this day and age they’re getting pulled after 80. The longer a pitcher stays in the game, the more chances and more opportunities he would have of throwing more balls and walking more players. It’s tough to compare Clayton Kershaw versus Steve Carlton when they played in very different eras of baseball.

I definitely feel that for a pitcher to be considered as the greatest of all time, they have to have received the Cy Young Award. I mean, it is the pinnacle of individual awards for a MLB pitcher. I also think that the record has to stand for something. Did they win games, did they bring victories? And of course, how many strikeouts did they have, did they sit batters? And honestly could a team count on them, if they needed them to shut down a team, in the most crucial times of a game?

I know that Nolan Ryan had 324 W’s along with 5,714 strikeouts, but the fact is he lost a lot of games and he also never won the Cy Young Award. So during 27 seasons, he was never considered the best in the majors, for any  season. It makes you think that maybe, longevity was his greatest attribute.

As we are talking about pitching, I only think there’s one correct answer, and that’s Greg Maddux.  When it came to ERA, throwing inning after inning, and winning when needed, he was money.  The Bulldog was sheer terror over 23 seasons, as he racked up All Stars, Cy Youngs, including 355 wins and 3300+ Ks.  He also played in an era when people were hitting home runs like Ken Griffey Jr. and Barry Bonds.

The records that Nolan Ryan put up are likely never going to be touched. His records will never be broken, amassing 5,714 Ks and 7 no hitters. Especially in an era today when pitchers are pulled after 6 innings of perfect baseball. And having records that will never be broken, certainly stands for something. Ryan was the best at overpowering hitters. But when it comes to just outstanding mound work, Greg Maddux is the GOAT with his finesse.

There’s obviously many to choose from for this conversation but Maddux cannot be forgotten, he truly was the best of the best with a complete game.  It wasn’t just about striking out players, it was about winning the big games shutting bats down. What’s even more amazing, let’s take a look and see what we think over the next 20 years. Ohtani very well could be one of the best we’ve ever seen, for many other reasons, but that’s a whole other conversation.

3 reasons why the SD Padres are good

In 2021 the Padres bumbled along  with a 79 – 83 record, finishing third in the National League West.
A whopping 28 games behind 1st place, the most games out for a 3rd place team in the majors.

But so far in 2022 they’re sitting on top in the National League West. What are the biggest reasons why they went from a team that you probably marked as a win against, when you saw them on the calendar, to a top quality baseball team.

3. We cannot look at the turnaround this year and not start off with improvements when playing on the road. In 2021 the Padres were just 34-47 when playing away from their home field, Petco Park. Now granted, home field advantage might not always be the biggest advantage in baseball, based on the crowd, but the ability to take your team elsewhere and still win… is. Last year, the Padres lost 13 games by 5 or more runs on the road. Which means they were vastly in games that weren’t even close. This year, they have already won 7 games by 5 or more runs when playing on the road, that’s a huge number.

2. For being completely honest 2021 Manny Machado had numerous inconsistencies.  This year, Machado has brought his game back. The 29 year old 3rd baseman has always shown great vision and power over 10 seasons. Last year and knocked out 28 home runs, this year he’s on pace for around 30, again. He also batted .278 in 2021 – so far this year sitting at .327, which if he ends the season the way he’s been so far, will be a career-high.
That’s a big difference.

1. The biggest and best reason for their improvement this year is their pitching. In 2021 they had a team ERA of 4.10 which sat at 14th – and in 2022 they improved to 5th in the majors with a team 3.43 ERA. Joe Musgrove has been absolutely spectacular in 2022 with a minuscule 1.59 ERA and an 8-0 record as of this article, he has absolutely been a huge reason for this turnaround. Last year he was still their best pitcher with consistent starts, with a 3.18 ERA with a 11-9 record in the win-loss column – but he has been so much better this year.  Yu Darvish is also seeming to be getting himself back on track after an 8-11 season in 2021. His ERA has improved and so has his ability to not get rocked at the plate. Last year he had a tendency of giving up home runs, where he gave up 28 in the season.  This year he has greatly diminished that.

The Padres have shown a lot of improvements this year between the team’s ability to travel & their pitching in particular. For San Diego fans they can enjoy it, because you deserve it.  After a miserable year last year and having them fight and be tops in their division now is certainly a huge welcome. Playing in the National League with other teams like the Mets and the Dodgers, it’s going to be tough to see who comes out.  And the fact that they have been doing so well without their Superstar Fernando Tatis is even more exceptional, how much better can this team get? At this point, they have to feel just as good about their chances as anyone. 

Has the NBA changed too much?

Games change over the years all the time, regardless of the sport, there are often subtle changes that occur.
Most of the time, I would think, even for traditionalists of a specific sport that is going through a change, there are some changes that are often accepted. But then there are other things about a game that change over time, that definitely just don’t sit right. Sometimes there are changes that just start to make the sport very different. To the point that a sport actually has effectively changed.

We know in the NFL, physicality has been greatly adjusted. We know, quarterbacks barely need to be touched at times for a flag to be thrown, and CBs are at a great disadvantage on defense now. Although we understand the reasoning behind some of the changes. I think there needs to be a happy medium because it’s gotten a bit overboard.
Those were changes that were specifically made by the league.
We are going to discuss changes that have just “evolved” in the NBA game.

One of the biggest changes that has occurred in today’s NBA is bigs playing in the post. It’s very rare to see a big fella with his back to the basket and his hand up jockeying for position in the box. Players had a position over history, and they all had a duty that was assigned to that position that they played. The PG handled the ball, they were usually the best ball-handlers and kept the team’s flow and rhythm. Your SG’s were scorers. The frontcourt hit the glass and your bigs played inside out. Today’s game, not so much. There are pros and cons to that – it shows the great ability and skills this generation of talent has – but it has also lowered the position value. Where would Shaq play today? Would he still get the ball in the post with all of the 3-pt shooting today?

Hand-checking was great.  It brought some physicality and the ability to feel out your defender.  And it gave the defender a feel and  flow playing defense, it made scorers have to play a little harder on offense.  Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t want the defense just throwing elbows and jacking people, but physical play was always part of basketball.  Basketball is a physical sport. When you box out, you throw your rear end into the guy, you bodied guys up. Boxing out itself was a very physical part of the game, and there’s not nearly as much of that in today’s game.

There was a lot more pure competitiveness back in the day. The top teams battled, and it was warfare. It wasn’t all hugs and kisses with everybody friending each other on social media. They seemed to play with much more pride and loyalty to the team they played for. Teams really wanted to beat each other. When the Lakers and the Celtics played, they had respect for each other, when the Pistons and the Bulls played, they had respect for each other, but make no mistake about it, those organizations weren’t buddies. They weren’t pals, they wanted to destroy each other. The teams usually didn’t even like each other.

The best players truly wanted to compete against each other, they wanted to beat the other best players.  Not join up with them to make a championship caliber team instantly. Players today, as we all know, now seem to be much more interested in the path of least resistance. It’s not necessarily about being the man to lead your team, it’s about who you can get together to win. I think for most people that’s the biggest and most disappointing change that we’ve seen in the NBA these last several years. The lack of leadership and heart that these players seem to have.

When a player was drafted by a team, his job was to make the team better, that player took it as a compliment that he was chosen to make the team better, and yes, that includes going to a crummy team without a lot of good players.
They drafted him to help them, not stick around for 3 years, complain about the team, and then fight to go somewhere else with other stars. They drafted you to help get the team championships. It was much more about the team, not as much about the individual player.

And of course, the flopping. I’m not quite sure when it became okay for players to give up and fold like a lawn chair anytime they get bumped, instead of wanting to stand their ground, and be a man. I get it, players have always exaggerated fouls a little bit to get to the line. But let’s be honest, again, these guys are not just exaggerating, they’re putting in work for an Academy Award.

Change is okay in increments. But when it starts to completely upend and change the way the game is even played it can be a little disconcerting. Realistically, for those who enjoy the game, we’re going to still watch it. We might complain a little bit more and we might want to see a different style of play a little more often.  But, we’re still going to watch it, because it’s still a sport we enjoy and it’s still entertaining just the same.  I’m just really hoping that someday we get a good throwback player who plays the game a little “differently” again.

TOP 5 LEFT-HANDED STARTERS AGE 27 OR YOUNGER IN 2022

The elite left-handed starters have a big advantage just for the simple fact that most players see a lot more right-handed pitching. Look for teams that have not faced a Quality Left-handed starter for some time (five games or more) and you will have a nice winning investment. Here are my Top 5 Left-handed starting pitchers age 27 or younger for the 2022 season. Baseball is back baby!

No. 1 Julio Urias (LA Dodgers) AGE: 25 (2021: 20-3, 2.96 ERA, 1.01 WHIP)

Was No. 3 on this list in 2020-21 and will occupy the top spot until he’s no longer eligible. Julio had a breakout year for the Blue Crew last season. For his career, Urias has 427 strikeouts in 424.2 innings with a 32-10 record and 3.09 ERA. The Dodgers have refused every trade when teams asked for Julio ever since his rookie year back in 2016. At age 25, he is no longer on a restricted pitch count, although the Dodgers are extremely analytical in their decision making. His “stuff” is dynamic featuring a mid to upper 90s fastball, cutter, slider, curve-ball and devastating change-up. I would expect another tremendous season. The Dodgers’ offense looks unstoppable (especially with DH), so reaching 20 wins seems obtainable. Dodger Stadium ranked the 12th toughest in runs scored last year according to ESPN Park Factors. Grab him as an Ace in the 2nd round. Love him!

No. 2 Trevor Rogers (Miami Marlins) AGE: 24 (2021: 7-8, 2.71 ERA, 1.16 WHIP)

Trevor is about to have his best season of his career. Thanks, Captain Obvious! Last season, Rogers recorded 157 strikeouts in just 133 IP. If he gets more run support this year, you’re looking at 15-20 wins. I would expect a slight regression in ERA and WHIP on the road. At home, Marlins Park ranked the toughest stadium in runs scored by ESPN Park Factors. The strikeouts will always be there with a sterling 28.8% K-rate. Huge in fantasy. Good for straight wagers too especially as underdogs. You can draft him in the 2nd to sixth round depending on your needs. Don’t miss out. These young stud lefties are hard to find. Should be an All-Star in 2022!

No. 3 Aaron Ashby (Milwaukee Brewers) AGE: 23 (2021: 3-2, 4.55 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)

Appeared in 13 games (4 starts) last season and recorded 39 strikeouts in 31.2 innings. Ashby averaged 96.5 MPH on his sinking fastball last season, while routinely touching 97-99. His slider is devastating (82-85 MPH), with sharp break leading to a 42% strikeout rate. His third best pitch is an above average upper 80s diving change-up that produces a lot of strikeouts. Ashby also has an upper 70s looping curve-ball which is just for show. The Brewers want less walks from Ashby which should come with more experience. The Brewers are high on him and you should be too. Ashby will be battling for the 5th spot this spring. He’s too talented not to crack the rotation at some point. Keep an eye on him. Don’t forget, at least 50% of all starters will land on the IL at some point. He’s unlikely to win 15-20 games, but 8-10 wins with 175 K’s in 150 IP will help your team. Mid to Late round steal!

No. 4 Tarik Skubal (Detroit Tigers) AGE: 25 (2021: 8-12, 4.34 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)

Tarik Skubal will be the fourth starter to begin the season. His numbers have improved in each of his first two big-league seasons. Last year, Skubal continued his upward trend with 164 strikeouts in 149.1 IP. His 26.1% career K-rate is very impressive. Skubal allowed 35 Home Runs last season, but don’t let that scare you from backing or drafting him. Young pitchers only get better with more innings, and Detroit’s home stadium ranked as the 6th-toughest in runs scored last year. A lot of that had to with the Tigers’ offense. I get that. Detroit’s offense should be better with the addition Baez and Schoop. Look for a “breakout” season in terms of Innings, strikeouts, and hopefully 10+ wins. Another mid to late round steal!

No. 5 Jesus Luzardo (Miami Marlins) AGE: 24 (2021: 6-9, 6.61 ERA, 1.61 WHIP)

Another Marlin! The numbers don’t jump off the page, but even the best pitchers can struggle early in careers. The Marlins are very exited of what they will see from this highly touted prospect. Jesus throws in the upper 90s, with a tremendous slider, curve-ball, and change-up. Last year, he recorded 98 strikeouts in 95.1 innings shuffling between the bullpen and starter. The Marlins have Luzardo listed as their fifth starter, which should help his mental game. Marlins Park surrendered the fewest runs in all of baseball last season according to ESPN Park Factors. Look for 10-15 wins with more strikeouts than innings pitched in 2022. The Marlins should also be better on offense. PECOTA projects 707 runs scored, which is more than they scored last season (623). Late round sleeper with ginormous upside!

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Expectations are high this year for the Yankees 

It’s easy to forget that just a short while ago, the New York Yankees were tabbed by many to be possible favorites in this division. After winning 92 games last year, this year I think that a +8-10 game change is very likely.

Their pitching should be good again. Gerrit Cole got off to a very good start and was the cog for the New York Yankees pitching staff overall. He posted a 3.23 ERA along with 243 Ks and he amazingly won games even when the offense scored 3 or less runs. His return brings them steadiness on the bump. Then there is the quintessential X-Factor. Which is Jordan Montgomery. He immediately springs to mind with his sinker that abuses the plate, and his wicked changeup that dances over the plate when it cruises over it. As long as he can continue what he is good at, and get some decent offensive help, he can be a huge key to this team’s season. While it’s far too early to say what kind of run the 30 year old pitcher is going to have, but after what we saw last year with his 162 Ks, his ERA, and innings pitched – all which were top 3 on the team, it’s easy to say why just a couple of tweaks here and there, could make him a real surprise stud.

The team also has to feel good about what they saw from Gleyber Torres during the 2021 campaign, in the time he got, he racked up a .259 avg and a solid .697 OPS. Although with a little more work he could be really productive for this team, as long as he keeps confidence at the plate, with his smooth swing and excellent hand-eye coordination, it wouldn’t surprise me for him to knock out 25+ HRs and rack up another 85 RBI again. Torres is on his way to becoming a great player – and him possibly moving to 2B could be a key – with good discipline along with more than just adequate plate coverage.  

Aaron Judge showed awesome power, yet again, and excellent hitting with 39 slammers and 98 RBI. The 6-7 powerhouse struggled early in the season, hitting just .246 in the first 30 games, then went off during the rest of the season, hitting .298 adding 80 RBI. The key for him will be trying to start off ready to go, and riding it for the year. If he can get off early, it would be a great help.

The Yankees are going to be betting on Judge and Torres coming through for them this year and I fully expect them to do as such. If they do as expected, they will be looking at a postseason berth. I wouldn’t be surprised if Judge gets at least 40 HRs if he gets the chance to open it up, and if Torres can stay confident it is going to be tough to handle this squad.

The Yankees turned it around later in the year, they played better baseball over the middle of the summer, getting red hot in July and August, plowing along at a 35-17 record. Helping them to finish 3rd in the AL East. They had a slow start going just 41-39 through June 2021, and that start definitely put them behind in the race. If they managed to play as well as they played for the middle of the season, during the first part of the year, they probably would have finished with around 100-105 wins. Expectations for New York this season should be a lot higher than they were in 2021 – now that they have shown what they can do. The Rays better be careful, because this team has a very high chance of causing some chaos in the division and getting to be the Top Dog in MLB.

Tips for Mastering your Bracket

This is the most exciting time of the college basketball season and the most anticipated and watched event in sports next to the Super Bowl.

I have correctly pegged 2 of the 4 teams who made it to the FINAL FOUR in 12 out of 14 years.

This year I am giving you some of my top advice on what it takes to be a Champion.

Of course, you can never foresee injuries, suspensions, foul trouble, poor officiating, etc. throughout the big dance. Everyone likes underdogs and Cinderella teams but you have to look at the team records, their strengths and the conferences that they play in. There is usually one team that surprises everyone but fails to win it in the end, such as Utah in 1998 vs. Kentucky and Butler coming up short in 2010 and 2011.

Since 1998, the Championship team has not been seeded lower than a #4 and in 1997 Arizona was a #4 seed and won it all.

As you can see in the past 22 tournaments, the top teams usually go all the way. Digging even deeper you have to go back to 1988 when a #6 seed Kansas team coached by Larry Brown won it all, but things were different back then as players didn’t bolt to the NBA after one season in college. As much as I like to select a solid #4 or #5 to go all the way, it’s not a smart idea. 21 of the last 24 National Champs have been a #1 or #2 seed.  Villanova won it as a #1 seed.

 Before I start to bore you with all of my numbers and trends, let me share some of my top tips for picking your brackets.

Great teams do not lose more than 7 games in a season, so if a team has 8 or more losses, stay away from them.

Also, each of the past 25 champs were from one of the major 6 conferences. 

The teams in these conferences play the toughest games night in and night out on a regular basis and have been more battle tested. Mid majors/small schools tend to make it to the Sweet 16 or Elite 8, but not to the FINAL FOUR.  Illinois-Chicago was a #11 a few years ago and did make it to the FINAL FOUR but lost to Michigan.  

So, look at the teams who lost 7 or fewer games this season, play in a major conference, and are seeded #3 or better this year, you can narrow down your Final Four selections from this list of 11 teams.  Highlighted are the 4 teams I like to make it to the FINAL FOUR.

GONZAGA 

Duke

KENTUCKY

ARIZONA

Purdue

Kansas

AUBURN

Wisconsin

Villanova

Tennessee

Baylor

From here, I would look at how these teams faired on neutral courts and on the road during their season. It is also important to consider each team’s starting guards, their defensive strength, team rebounding, experience, coaching, and if they can make their foul shots. Teams who take over 35% of their shots from 3-pt land also do not fair well.

From my 24 years of experience, I offer you my professional advice and helpful tips. My hope is that this article has fed your excitement for the tournament while giving you a competitive edge to turn some heads in your company or online pools!  Enjoy the tournament and remember, pick with your head, not with your heart!

My Sleeper picks to turn a few heads and win a few games and maybe get to the SWEET 16 or ELITE 8 are: ST MARYS and UCONN and you can get some good Vegas Odds on those.

DeMar DeRozan has had a rebirth in Chicago

DeMar DeRozan was a top-notch player when playing in Toronto for 9 seasons, he was scoring almost 20 a night playing for the Raptors – and then he ramped it up and took his scoring ability to the next level – when he played for San Antonio at the age of 29. When he played for the Spurs from 2018 to 2020 he was their best player putting up 22 and 6 dimes every night, he actually has been getting better with age, like a fine wine. The guy has scored 20 or more pts / game in a season since 2013, and he is extremely durable. He has been the X-Factor for the Chicago Bulls so far this season.

Derozan has shown to be one of the best mid-range shooters in the game today, he can take players off the dribble and is also very dangerous off of the screen. With a career scoring average of 20.5 / game, and a career shooting percentage of 46%. With a sweet stroke and great timing – which is the reason why he’s been hitting 48% or better of his shots for the last 4 seasons. He has the ability to knock down 4 or 5 shots in a row especially when the team needs it, which is a great way to kickstart a team when not playing as well as expected.

When he arrived in Chicago he was automatically being put into position with another very good talent in 26 yr old Zach LaVine. Now, LaVine is a very good scorer but just hasn’t shown to have the leadership ability that a veteran like Derozan brings to the team. The Bulls were not able to get past 31 wins with LaVine being their team leader. Don’t get me wrong, LaVine is a very good young player – a guy who is easily able to score 30 or more on any given night – but he hasn’t shown to have the ability to lead. Now with DeRozan added to the lineup it gives them a legit leader with a guy who can score at seemingly any moment to help them win the games that need a little extra. Giving the Bulls 2 explosive scoring options to a team that is sitting at 7th in the NBA in scoring /game – where they were only at 21st last season.

Chicago has not won 43 or more games in 7 years, they have lacked team unity and excitement for quite some time. They will be tough once the NBA Playoffs begin.
DeRozan now hopes that they can become legitimate contenders for the Eastern Conference Championship again, and I firmly believe that they are in serious contention for the Conference title, Chicago hasn’t found itself in legit contention since 2014. DeRozan brings them the veteran leadership and a smooth and easy scoring game to bring them to the next level – they have shown that they have the game to play with the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference. This team has played excellently this year. They absolutely have the team that can make it to the Conference Championship.

If you’re not paying attention to this Chicago team this year – you better start.

2022 NFL Super Bowl Preview

This year’s Super Bowl is a matchup of incredible anticipation. The golden child, which is the Los Angeles Rams based on their huge offseason signings & Hollywood vibes vs the oddball kid but nobody saw coming. The Rams we’re a team destined for greatness this year. Having some top notch WRs and then getting 33 year old Matt Stafford as their field general. The Bengals on the other hand, were coming off of a 4 win season, have a very young team, and haven’t gotten past the NFL wildcard round of the playoffs since 1990. Cincinnati was not a favorite to come out of the AFC with teams like Buffalo and Kansas City standing in their way. 
But here we are. 
This is going to be a good one. We’re going to take a look at some of the key positions, and which team hold the advantage. 

QB; Cincinnati Bengals. 
I think the vast majority of NFL fans I’ve always understood that Matt Stafford was a stud. He was stuck on a dismal Detroit Lions team for 12 long seasons. Then he went to the Los Angeles Rams and had a phenomenal season with 41 TDs, 4886 YDs, including the most TD passes he has thrown since 2011. Then we have Joe Burrow, the 25-year old, number one pick in 2020. Having a season-ending injury last year, after having what was looking like what was going to be a very successful rookie campaign. And then this year, he bounced back with a fantastic year – taking a team that was winning an average of 5 games a year for the previous 5 years, to the Superbowl. Burrow quietly has a better interception rate, passing completion and higher QB rating than Stafford as well – he wins this matchup by a link.

RB; Cincinnati Bengals. 
Neither team is known for any exceptional running back play, both teams turn out roughly a steady 4 yards per carry. 
But the biggest difference is the ability for the running game to find the end zone. Which at the end of the day is going to be a huge advantage for Cincinnati. The Rams only put the ball in the end zone by the ground, 10 times on the whole year. Cincinnati was able to break the plane 16 times. Now granted, the Rams have not had the healthiest of back fields. But that also has to come into play. Give me 1200 yard rusher, Joe Mixon and his 13 TDs on the ground, any day, over what the Rams have in their backfield. 

WR; Cincinnati Bengals. 
This is one of the toughest to review, both teams are very talented at the wide receiver position. The Rams have the 1900+ YD WR in Cooper Kupp, that alone, is very hard to compete with, then on top of that, they also have 9 year veteran, Odell Beckham, who has been revitalized in Los Angeles. But before we give this victory to Los Angeles let’s take a look at Cincinnati. 21 yr old Jamarr Chase has been beyond expectations lighting up the NFL for 1455 YDs & 13 TDs this year. Then we also have 23 year old Tee Higgins who has been excellent in his first 2 years and now has a lethal counterpart in Chase, between the 2 of them alone they have 2500+ yards and 19 touchdowns. The key is the 3rd WR – slot Tyler Boyd, a secret weapon who also has the ability to break off a big play and also runs great routes across the middle of the field. Boyd has had 13 games of 4 or more catches this year you can certainly be a huge X Factor. 

OLINE; Los Angeles Rams
This one is one of the easier ones to reveal. Cincinnati has been notoriously bad with keeping Burrow standing upright. 
Joe sadly has been put to the dirt 51 times this year, an astonishing 8.9% sack percentage. Stafford, on the other hand, has been protected very well.  Having only been sacked 30 times for a measly 4.8% sack percentage. A QB with the opportunity to stand in the pocket and deliver, obviously has a very big advantage. 

DLINE; Cincinnati Bengals. 
Now hear me out before all of the hate comes at me. Yes, of course, I know that Aaron Donald plays for the Rams.  Aaron Donald is an easy walk in Hall of Famer when he retires, and quite honestly, one of the most difficult DTs to handle that I’ve ever seen. But after him on the defensive front the Rams are honestly pretty average. Cincinnati on the other hand, has three guys across that front that can cause a problem. The number one guy Trey Hendrickson at DE has been vicious on QBs this year and then on the other end they have Sam Hubbard who has also been a problem.  And then they have underrated Larry Ogunjobi at DT who also has 49 tackles and 7 sacks on the year. Cincinnati quietly has 36 sacks for their front line – opposed to 22 sacks to the front line of Los Angeles. 

LBs; Los Angeles Rams. 
This is another spot where the Rams truly excel. 
Leonard Floyd has been outstanding this year at the linebacker position with 9.5 sacks and 18 QB hits. Then they added 32 year old future hall-of-famer Von Miller, and he came in and tossed in 5 sacks in 8 games. In the short amount of time Miller has been with Los Angeles he also is 2nd on the team for TFL. 

SECONDARY; Los Angeles Rams. 
The Rams secondary has been tough as nails this year with 19 interceptions. Between Jalen Ramsey and Taylor Rapp they are very hard to beat in the air. Ramsey has 16 pases defended, and also has a forced fumble. Astonishingly, he also is 3rd on the team with 9 tackles for loss. Taylor Rapp is second on the team with 94 tackles and they also have Jordan Fuller at safety with a whopping 113. The Bengals truly don’t have anybody who competes with their secondary. 

So there you have it whether you agree, disagree, or have different views – make up your own mind. One thing but I think we can all agree on, is the game is going to be a lot of fun to watch. There is starpower all over the field, we have the favorite child in the Rams, and we have the unexpected love child in the Bengals. 
Let’s get ready to enjoy the show. 

Are the Bengals the most dangerous offensive team in the playoffs

The NFL playoffs are here and it’s time to see who are going to be the favorites to win it all.  Who are going to let down their fan base, and who forget to show up at the bus. You often hear how defense wins championships and in many cases this is absolutely true, as a defense with a top 10 ranking has been champion in 8 of the last 10.  
But I’ve always been a fan of the offensive scheme.
Personally, I feel a better offense has a slight advantage over a better defense. My reasoning – the offense knows exactly what the play is – the defense has to adjust. On the other hand, a team with the top 10 ranking scoring wise, has been champion 9 out of 10 seasons. So take your pick – what’s your preference? Bottom line – you typically need to be able to play well on both sides of the ball, but the age old saying that “defense wins championships” does not hold true as the sole cog behind a championship team – as scoring the ball is just as important in this day and age.

So what we’re going to examine here is – who has and who could be the most feared offensive team in the playoffs this year.

After their 26-19 win vs the Raiders on 1.15.2022 – the Cincinnati Bengals showed some great stuff when facing a tough Las Vegas team. The Bengals play in the division with Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Baltimore – all teams that are very tough to beat, and they all have a defense that is problematic to deal with. When you know your team is going against a viable and competitive defensive team, and you’re still hanging 27 points a game, that says something.

Cincinnati has seemed to thrive when it comes to needing to put points on the board. Their ability to not shrink when the pressure is on – has been spectacular. With the weapons the Bengals have on offense in JaMarr Chase & Tee Higgins, in particular, how can they not feel comfortable needing to score 30, if they need to?

They have looked even far better than I think most people expected them to look this year. They ended the season averaging 27 /game after scoring just 19 /game last year. Cincinnati also seems to have patience – whereas if things aren’t going smoothly early, they have a running game that’s more than capable of trudging along, until it’s time for Joe Burrow to let it rip. Their running game is only at 23rd for rushing yards – but it’s been proven that Joe Mixon can get yards, with his 1205 rushing YDs and 13 rushing TDs – he’s often actually overlooked because of the explosive weapons on the outside that they have. Having that as yet, another option, is an immense push in their favor.

Tee Higgins has phenomenal hands and makes some ridiculous catches in double teams. JaMarr Chase has such scorching, blazing speed that when he gets the ball he’s a constant threat to take off for a 50-yarder. And Tyler Boyd is such a good WR3 for them as he quietly has put up 67 catches and 828 YDs this season. And this is with a subpar Oline. The Bengals are a very dangerous team especially on big play ability. Their ability to score from 30 or 40 yds out at any given time is incredible. Chase had 22 plays of 20 or more yards this year and Higgins had 17 plays of 20 or more yards this year. They are very difficult to deal with – for even the best DBs. When Burrow has a little bit of time in that pocket and he can find his guys. Get down on your favorite picks now at AmericasBookie.
Look out!

The ATL Falcons need a new QB 

The Falcons have been a real tricky team to understand this year – which has been frustrating for their fans to say the least. Playing poorly during the first few drives of a game is almost tolerable – but when it starts to become a habit, that is where it can become a troubling concern for a team. Atlanta has been flat in almost every game, starting slow in almost every game –  as well as looking unprepared.

People have to stop making excuses for former MVP Matt Ryan, he has been a pro-bowler and has been a top notch QB many times in his 14 seasons, but his play against the better defenses this season hasn’t been very good where he has has gone 0-4 leading the Falcons to putting up just 8.25ppg and 216.75 YD /game, with 2 TDs and 7 picks. Ryan has also had problems struggling to beat teams on their home turf, with a 1-5 record, which is where he and the team should be thriving. So – if we break it down – it has been a train wreck for the Atlanta Falcons.

He doesn’t have the fastest feet, so when the front breaks down and gets through – he often eats the sack, as he has been put down 26 times so far. If he does have some time – he has been able to play adequately – but it clearly looks as if his lack of a superior Oline and subpar WRs are hindering him. The 6-4 QB has had a problem waiting for an open receiver to get open, but when his Oline breaks away the way it does, that is going to be a challenge.

It could be beneficial for them to have a more mobile QB who could possibly make a play with his feet when things break down. Would Atlanta be any worse off with a more mobile QB than where they are now?
Probably not.
The Falcons might need a QB that can handle the heat, when the front starts collapsing, a guy who can scramble and maybe make some plays. Atlanta doesn’t have the fortunes of having greatly talented WRs, or a top 5 Oline – which is why a mobile and better footed QB might work better for Atlanta. Having a mobile QB would be more preferable, for when things break down on the Oline –  and when Atlanta is getting too much pressure, having a more mobile QB who might be able to pick up 7-8 yards when things fall apart, and see what happens. A guy like that – could then be able to keep the defenses they face a little more unbalanced. They know Ryan isn’t a threat to move, let alone run for 10 yards. Tom Brady isn’t mobile, or have fast feet – but he also plays behind an Oline that is very strong and has great WRs for him to fire the ball to.

The Falcons Oline needs some work  – which is why having a mobile QB would probably be a benefit for them especially when their pocket passer is getting smacked around like he has. Atlanta knows the type of QB Matt Ryan is – yet they have not given him WRs that could help him, his receiving corps isn’t the group he needs around him, as he is now 36 years old and with 14 years of experience behind him. Between letting Julio go and the ongoing issues with Calvin Ridley, who they believed was going to be “their guy”  – they haven’t been able to recover with any real threats at the WR position.  Russell Gage has been inconsistent with 3 games of 6 catches of more, and 3 games with 30 or less yards, he either looks like a decent WR2 option or he is nonexistent, as his best receiver has been his TE Kyle Pitts this year with 709 YDs and 14.5 YPC.

Atlanta has underperformed this season, only scoring 18 /game. and the lack of Oline play for an aging QB has caused a ton of problems. Their 36 year old field general hasn’t had a ton of time to throw the ball – along with the team seemingly having no intention to fix this issue for their QB. Those kinds of problems can be the kiss of death for a team. Look for ATL to upgrade at QB with a top pick in the next draft.
Regardless of who the QB is.