Sports Calendar

Joe Montana raised the Lombardy Trophy 4 times
in January while winning 3 MVP's in those Super Bowls.
Montana was a perfect 4-0 in the big game.


Wayne Gretzky is widely known as the "greatest"
hockey player of all time. An 18 time All Star owning
practically every record in the NHL.


When I think of March Madness, John Calipari is the first 
name to come to mind. Known for turning Freshman into
Professionals, all eyes are on him during the tournament.

Jack Nicklaus "The Golden Bear" owned April
owns the record for most Majors (18) on the PGA
 tour. At age 46 he won his final Masters 1986.

There have been many great MLB players "The Say Hey Kid"
is absolutely one of them. Since it's May I figured its
appropriate for the 5 tool player to represent the 5th month.

June is the 6th month on the calendar & Michael
Jordan is a perfect 6 - 0 in NBA Championships.
Coincidence, yes! But MJ is on this calendar because
he owned June filling his fingers with rings.

Roger Federer has more Men's Singles Majors (17) than
any other Tennis player who ever lived. Wimbledon became
his personal backyard by winning 6 titles at Centre Court.

Serena Williams has dominated women's tennis for over a          
decade. She has 22 Major Titles overall & 6 at the 
 U.S. Open. August belongs to Serena.

Lionel Messi is one of the most decorated soccer
players in the history o the sport. He holds a bunch
of records throughout various futbol leagues including
most goals and assists in a single season.

Reggie Jackson is known for being a home run hitter.
In October of 1977 Jackson smacked 3 HR's in one game
to lea the Yankees to another WS title earning him the
nickname "Mr. October."

If Reggie Jackson is Mr. October then Derek Jeter
is Mr. November. A Yankee lifer, team captain &
one of the most beloved players in franchise history.
In 20 years Jeter had 3,465 hits, a B.A. of .310, 5 Gold Gloves
and more. The Hall of Fame awaits.

He may not be a big old jolly happy Santa Claus but
he does deliver presents every year. As head coach of the
Alabama Crimson Tide. He remains the only head coach
to win a National Championship with 2 different FBS schools.
The  other being LSU in 2003 and 4 in Alabama. He's been
one of the best coaches in the country since the millennium.

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The Season of Sports

There's no doubt that the 3 major professional sports leagues in America are the NFL, NBA and MLB.  Likely in that order as millennials have moved toward the more fast paced and high scoring aspects of basketball as opposed to the slow play in baseball and golf for example.  The point is that this is without a doubt the greatest time on the sports calendar.

We have the defending NBA champions raising their banner tonight in Cleveland as pro basketball gets underway.  The NFL is in mid season and as usual us die hard fans revolve our schedules around Sunday afternoons.  Not to mention our breakfast with the Thursday night game and the legendary entree in Monday Night Football.  And if the World Series isn't enough to get you going, how about a couple of historic franchises known more for losing and bad luck as opposed to championship rings.  We know one of these losing streaks will come to an end.

The Cleveland Indians haven't won a World Series since 1948 and until the Cavaliers won the title last season were considered perhaps the worst sports city in the country as far as production is concerned.  Chicago on the other hand saw the Bears win the Super Bowl in 1985, the Bulls winning 6 championships with Michael Jordan during the 90's and the Blackhawks have been perennial contenders since the NHL began and won their latest Stanley Cup just 2 years ago in the 2014 - 2015 season.  Even the White Sox had success in 2005 when they broke their own 88 year drought without a championship going back to 1917.

But this city and its fans have been waiting longer than any other professional sports franchise in the U.S. to finally be the best in their sport.  Chicago Cubs fans are as dedicated to a team as any fan base is in any sport.  Wrigley Field has become the Chicago Cubs fans backyard.  The stadium has kept it's beautiful old school vintage look with significant upgrades in the buildings structure.  Every American should get the experience of watching an afternoon game at Wrigley Field.

So it's obvious that this particular World Series has more meaning for each city as they've waited a combined 176 years between titles.  Wow!  The Cubs are looking to become America's team in professional baseball and it's working as the sympathetic baseball fans will undoubtedly be routing for the Cubbies to finally break the curse that has plagued this team for over a century.  To be exact, 108 years!

The NBA off season was pretty exciting especially with the move of one of the leagues best players going to the defending Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors.  Kevin Durant joined up with what was already considered a top 2 team in the NBA.  Most expect to see the Cavaliers and Warriors play in a 3rd straight NBA Finals.  With the addition of Kevin Durant to Golden State makes the Warriors the clear cut favorite to win the NBA title.  This team broke Jordan's Bulls NBA record of 72 wins in a season last year when the Warriors won 73 games during their magical run.  Now they have Durant who is a top five player himself.  Maybe they'll win 74 games this time!?

Then of course there's America's new favorite pastime, the NFL.  There's no debate my friends.  Professional football in this country is king.  Legends retire all the time and while we miss them the league will go on and on.  No Peyton Manning, no worries.  People will always watch football.  It's almost a religion.  We're dead smack in the middle of the regular season and we're separating the men from the boys.  Contenders and pretenders are becoming more clear and as usual the New England Patriots are the best team in football.  But that doesn't guarantee a Super Bowl which would be his record breaking 5th ring as a quarterback if they were to win.  Any given Sunday, right!  That's one of the beautiful things about football.  It comes down to one game and winner takes all.

Some say March Madness and that particular time of the sports calendar is the best.  Well I find that impossible since there isn't any pro football being played.  I understand that during this time the NBA and NHL playoffs get started, pitchers and catchers report to camp and golf lovers see Augusta around the corner.  Please!  No comparison.  Right here right now, we are in the middle of the greatest month of the sports calendar.  Appreciate it now because it goes by fast!
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NFL Week 5 Power Rankings

Best 3 Headed Monster in the NFL
After 5 weeks of NFL football we can begin to separate the pretenders from the contenders.  Old school football is making a comeback as teams like the Vikings, Broncos and Steelers are playing excellent defense, running the football and keeping turnovers at a minimum.  The Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl using this formula last season although they got away with a few turnovers because how great they played on the defensive side of the football.

Teams like the Falcons, Patriots and Raiders are winning by taking advantage of the league rules that benefit the offensive passing attack.  Ryan to Jones, Carr to Cooper and Brady to, well everyone!  If you can have a solid scoring offense and a defense that limits the opposition and create turnovers, you have a great chance to take home the Lombardi Trophy.

Through week 5 of the 2016 season we have a very good idea which teams will be playing come January.  Of course things can and will change due to injuries, especially to quarterbacks and other variables.  Despite these obstacles, the best teams in the league find a way to replace players and continue to win.  Two of the best examples of this are Pittsburgh and New England who keep winning even when All Pro's aren't on the field like Le'Veon Bell and Tom Brady. That's why they are top 5 teams.  Let's see how all 32 teams rank according to The Sports Prophet:

*On a side note the Cleveland Browns remain in the cellar of the NFL because they have the worst personnel in the league from owner to management to coaching and ultimately the horrific play on the grid iron.  It's truly sad...

1. Minnesota Vikings
2. New England Patriots
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. Atlanta Falcons
5. Denver Broncos
6. Green Bay Packers
7. Dallas Cowboys
8. Philadelphia Eagles
9. Oakland Raiders
10. Seattle Seahawks
11. Arizona Cardinals
12. Kansas City Chiefs
13. Buffalo Bills
14. Cincinnati Bengals
15. Houston Texans
16. Carolina Panthers
17. Washington Redskins
18. Tampa Bay Bucs
19. Detroit Lions
20. L.A. Rams
21. Tennessee Titans
22. Baltimore Ravens
23. San Diego Chargers
24. Indianapolis Colts
25. New York Giants
26. Chicago Bears
27. New York Jets
28. San Francisco 49ers
29. New Orleans Saints
30. Jacksonville Jaguars
31. Miami Dolphins
32. Cleveland Browns
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NFL Quarter Power Rankings

It's definitely too early to create your power rankings until at least a quarter of the season has been played.  Sill a few teams have only played 3 games but I'll guesstimate those teams as well as those who have played every game up til week 5.  I would assume that at the halfway point, the top ten teams will remain in the mix.  We'll see...

1. Denver Broncos
2. Minnesota Vikings
3. New England Patriots
4. Pittsburgh Steelers
5. Green Bay Packers
6. Philadelphia Eagles
7. Seattle Seahawks
8. Atlanta Falcons
9. Cincinnai Bengals
10. Dallas Cowboys
11. Oakland Raiders
12. Los Angeles Rams
13. Houston Texans
14. Baltimore Ravens
15. Kansas City Chiefs
16. Buffalo Bills
17. Arizona Cardinals
18. Carolina Panthers
19. San Diego Chargers
20. Washington Redskins
21. New York Giants
22. New York Jets
23. Tampa Bay Bucs
24. Indianapolis Colts
25. San Francisco 49ers
26. Chicago Bears
27. Detroit Lions
28. Tennessee Titans
29. New Orleans Saints
30. Miami Dolphins
31. Jacksonville Jaguars
32. Cleveland Browns
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Defending Champion Denver Broncos Get No Respect

Reigning Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos are feeling like the late great comedian Rodney Dangerfield.  They get no respect!  Why?  Well there are a few reasons but when you think about it, not much has changed since their 2015 championship season.

The Broncos bucked their way through the 2015 post season with average quarterback play at best.  They haven't lost since and the only thing that changed was the man taking the snaps behind center on game day.  Peyton Manning had his worst professional football season since he was a rookie last century.  Despite his poor play, Denver was able to ride a successful rushing attack and rely on one of the best defenses we've seen in the past decade.

Denver lost a few players like defensive star Malik Jackson to the Jaguars and others to retirement like Peyton.  The team also aged in a few key positions in the secondary and linebacker squad.  Yet they brought in Russell Okung to anchor the offensive line at the left tackle position and still have Super Bowl 50 MVP Von Miller.  But as always the talk comes down to the quarterback and most figure if you don't have a Tom Brady then you don't have a chance.

The Broncos fans didn't know who could replace Peyton Manning because you basically can't.  Nevertheless you must move on.  The Mark Sanchez experiment failed miserably, they couldn't or wouldn't resign Brock Osweiler and therefore were stuck choosing between their first round draft pick in Paxton Lynch or sophomore Trevor Siemian who's only NFL experience was taking a knee and I don't mean during the National Anthem.

Siemian ended up winning the job and fear began to strike the hearts of Broncos fans everywhere.  But their hearts quickly filled with joy after beating NFC champion Carolina Panthers in the 2016 season opener where Siemian played sound football by completing 18 of 26 passes with a touchdown.  People started to say that he could be a game manager and perhaps keep hope alive if they don't turn the ball over.

The sophomore QB then threw for 266 yards in a beat down over the Indianapolis Colts to go to 2 - 0.  With the Broncos first two games at Mile High and maybe some home field help, fans and experts figured Siemian would have some trouble in their 1st road game against a perennial playoff team in the Cincinnati Bengals.  Well 4 touchdowns and 312 yards later after a route on the Bengals those game manager and inexperience questions started to cease.

In week 4 the Broncos rode their perfect 3 - 0 record into Tampa Bay and their new QB was off to another hot start throwing TD's and moving the ball easily as he maintained control of the offense.  Unfortunately right before the first half ended Siemian went down with a shoulder injury to his non throwing arm and gave the fans a big scare.  In comes rookie Paxton Lynch and the team didn't miss a beat.  The rookie saw his first NFL action by tossing the football for 170 yards and a touchdown to boot!

Folks let's not forget that the Broncos defense is still the cream of the crop and their are skilled players all over the offense.  Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders can make any QB look good.  Maybe except for Mark Sanchez!  C.J. Anderson has run the ball well so far this season and the team isn't turning the ball over.  Despite the name on the quarterbacks jersey, this is a recipe for a Super Bowl contender.  Now that we know the name on the back of the QB's jersey, people should feel more comfortable with the Broncos chances of repeating as Super Bowl champs.

Yet all we hear out of the AFC is how amazing the Pittsburgh Steelers offense is who couldn't find the end zone against the Eagles last week.  And of course most of the chatter revolves around the return of Sir Thomas Brady.  But the defending champs aren't getting any love and no respect.  To those who think that way I say watch out because Denver has already proven they're a top team not only in the AFC but the entire NFL.
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NFL Week 1 Predictions

As I've said before, picking any week 1 game is more difficult than any other throughout the season.  Even the Super Bowl!  But I'm gonna make my picks anyway as I'm sure you fellow degenerate small time gamblers will as well.  Time to put our money where our mouth is.

It can be tough picking a game straight up because hey "any given Sunday!"  Now add the Las Vegas point spread into the equation and we're talking some serious thought.  With Vegas, the point spread is made for a reason.  They simply want to balance out the betting evenly and collect on the vig (interest).  Sometimes they'll get hurt like when the Broncos pulled out that upset Thursday night over the Panthers in Denver.  Let's see if we can best Vegas here ourselves.  Here are the NFL week 1 predictions including point spread and winner!

@ Atlanta - 2.5 vs Tampa Bay:  Buccaneers 22 - Falcons 16
Minnesota -2.5 vs @Tennessee:  Titans 32 - Vikings 27
@Philadelphia -3 vs Cleveland:  Browns 17 - 14
Cincinnati -1.5 vs NYJ:  Jets 24 - Bengals 20
@New Orleans -2.5 vs Oakland:  Saints 35 - Raiders 34
@ Kansas City -6.5 vs San Diego:  Chiefs 20 - Chargers 14
@Baltimore -3.5 vs Buffalo:  Ravens 16 - Bills 13
@Houston -5 vs Chicago:  Bears 16 - Texans 15
Green Bay -5 vs Jacksonville:  Packers 26 - Jags 23
@Seattle -10.5 vs Miami:  Seahawks:  20 - Dolphins 10
@Dallas (even) vs NYG:  Giants 34 - Cowboys 24
@Indianapolis -3 vs Detroit:  Colts 31 - Lions 24
@Arizona -7 vs New England:  Cardinals 33 - Patriots 17
@Pittsburgh -3 vs Washington:  Redskins 25 - Steelers 23
@Los Angeles -2.5 vs San Francisco:  49ers 18 - Rams 12

Best Bets:

  • 49ers +2.5 at home
  • Giants (pick em) too much offense for NYG
  • Browns +3 will beat a weak, rookie QB Philly team
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2016 NFL Kick Off - Broncos vs Panthers

The 2016 season kicks off with a rematch of last years Super Bowl.  Well kind of!  The biggest and most important difference is the quarterback situation in Denver.  The living legend in Peyton Manning has hung up his cleats for good. So the Broncos now need to hand the ball over to a guy in Trevor Siemian who's NFL experience adds up to a kneel down.

Despite the QB change, the 1st week of the season is always the hardest to predict because it's the first time teams will get to go full speed for 4 quarters or more.  Half of the people in Eliminator Challenge leagues will pick what looks like a lock game like Green Bay over Jacksonville and we get a major upset because week 1 is so unpredictable.  So my advice is don't gamble on NFL games so quickly.

Back to tonight's game and rematch of Super Bowl 50.  The Carolina Panthers are favored in Vegas by 3 points on the road in Denver.  People are jumping all over the Panthers because it appears their arrow is pointing upwards and the Broncos are a potential debacle behind center.  Here's a couple of things to take into account.  First is that Denver is one of the toughest places to play for road teams because of the thin air as visitors can become winded more quickly because they aren't as adapted as Broncos players to the climate.  It's also statistically proven that the team who won the Super Bowl the previous season usually wins week 1 of the following season.

The Broncos still have a great defense and it isn't as if they had great QB play in 2015 en route to the title.  The new version of the Orange Crush Denver defense carried the offense to the Lombardy Trophy.  It's also never a good idea to bet against a home underdog.  For some reason the favorite usually doesn't cover the points or loses outright.

Reigning MVP Cam Newton was the offense for the Panthers last season.  He tried to beat the Broncos in the Championship by himself due to lack of skilled personnel.  If that's the case again tonight then you can expect a similar result.  Luckily for Cam, he has his top wide receiver back in Kelvin Benjamin.  Benjamin may explode as he showed incredible promise in his 2014 rookie season.  Then again he may get off to a slow start. If the Panthers defense can play the way they did last season then they could possibly once again own the leagues best record.  They were 15 - 1 last year and while I doubt they'll reach that mark again, they could very well win 12 or more.

I'm worried about the Broncos.  I don't believe they'll make the playoffs.  The QB situation is a hot mess, they're running game can be suspect and Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders who are Pro Bowl receivers will see a certain drop in numbers.  I mean the quarterback issue in Denver is so bad that they actually cut Mark Sanchez.  Wow!

Despite what seems to be a lopsided game as America is salivating over Carolina tonight, the game will be much closer.  I honestly expect some sloppy play from both sides.  Siemian won't be asked to do much as Gary Kubiak loves to run the football.  But Denver will surely be in 3rd and 10 situations tonight and how much faith will Kubiak rest on his new QB to make a play to keep a drive going?

Now on the other hand the Panthers coach Ron Rivera will rely heavily upon his quarterback.  Cam Newton has risen to the top tier of QB's in the NFL.  I have him ranked as 4th going into 2016 behind Rodgers, Brady and Roethlisberger.  He can do it all and has incredible confidence in himself.  Hopefully the very few skilled talent around him will be healthy enough so Cam doesn't have to put his life on the line in order to win a game.  Between his talents on offense and a top level defense led by Luke Kuechly, we could be seeing the Panthers back in the Super Bowl.

If you've read my previous article you know I have the Cardinals defeating the Patriots in Super Bowl LI.  But it's not written in stone and Carolina has the goods.

So who will win tonight.  As long as Cam doesn't turn the ball over I see no reason why Carolina can't outscore the Broncos in a low scoring game.  I don't expect Denver to score more than 14 points.  I believe the Panthers can score close to 20.  I'm going against my natural instinct to take the home underdog but I like the Panthers tonight for all the reasons I mentioned plus revenge from February.

Final score: Panthers 24 - Broncos 13 
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