The Curious Case of Eric Staal

It’s February 28th, 2016. Eric Staal is traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the New York Rangers after spending the first 12 years of his career in Raleigh. At the time, it appeared Staal’s career was on the down turn. After a 54-point campaign in 2014-15, Staal had just 10 goals through 63 games the next season, and was subsequently dealt to The Big Apple for a playoff push. In the final year of his contract, Staal scored just 3 goals in the last 20 games of the season, and the Rangers were booted in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual champion Pittsburgh Penguins. It was obvious the Rangers wouldn’t re-sign Staal, definitely not close to his previous cap hit of $8.2 million. Staal tested free agency, and signed a two-year deal with the Minnesota Wild with a cap hit of $3.5 million per season. It raised some eyebrows at the time, but now the Wild seem like geniuses.

In his first season with the Wild, Staal racked up 28 goals and 65 points in what was a rejuvenating year for the Thunder Bay product. The weird thing is that nobody outside of Minnesota really took notice. Jump to this season, and Staal continues to produce, as he has notched 33 goals and 64 points in 64 games this season, already matching his highest goal total since 2008-2009, nearly a decade ago. Once again, the hockey world has slept on the former Olympic gold medalist and Stanley Cup champion.

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Other than playing the bulk of his career in a small market, there’s not much reason for the hockey world to sleep on Staal. He’s the 2nd overall pick of the most stacked NHL draft in league history back in 2003, he scored 28 points in the 2006 playoffs, leading the Hurricanes to their only Stanley Cup, he was a part of the 2010 Canadian Olympic Team that won gold in Vancouer, and was a star in the league from the mid 2000’s all the way up to his final years in Carolina. Part of one of the most successful bloodlines in hockey, Staal has won pretty much everything there is to win in hockey, so maybe we shouldn’t have been so surprised when the Wild took a fairly expensive flyer on Staal back in the Summer of 2016.

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The one thing Staal hasn’t done since coming to the Wild, is make noise in the post-season. He was held pointless in the first round series against the Penguins back in 2016, and recorded just one assist for the Wild in their first round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, which they lost in five games. After the miraculous 2006 run with the Hurricanes, Staal has only seen playoff action three times, the last two being short appearances, with his only decent run besides the 2006 championship coming in 2009, when the Hurricanes lost in the conference finals to the Penguins. With the Wild currently hanging onto the final playoff spot in the Central Division, Minnesota is looking to rely on Staal’s veteran experience to get them into the playoffs, and help them take down the daunting Western Conference.

At 33 years old heading into free agency once again, it would be crazy for the Wild not to re-sign Staal for at least the next couple years, just to see if this crazy resurgence continues.

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi review

It’s been a week since the eighth installment of everyone’s favourite space opera hit the theatres, and while critics have generally concluded it’s one of the best Star Wars films ever, Star Wars: The Last Jedi has fans divided. Many point to Rian Johnson’s writing and vision for the film, which took on a new approach than we’ve previously seen. While a large majority of fans expected to see an Empire Strikes Back rehash much like the New Hope revamp we saw in The Force Awakens, Johnson went a completely different route, creating what almost felt like the conclusion of a trilogy rather than a bridge-gap film for the next installment.

WARNING: There will be spoilers mentioned in this article, I’ll begin with my spoiler-free review first.

First off, this is the best shot Star Wars film ever. It’s not even close. From the mirrors scene with Rey on Ahch-To, to the stunning red salt on the crystal planet of Crait, there are many scenes that are visually stunning. There’s also a scene where there’s about twenty seconds of dead silence, leaving the audience to gaze at the spectacular scene unfolding in front of them. Even the settings where stunning in their own way. Snoke’s lair was intimidating, while many fans are divided about the gambling planet of Canto Bight, there are also some pretty fascinating interior shots of the casino, definitely unexpected from a Star Wars film.

What also makes this film standout, is the incredible acting from Adam Driver as Kylo Ren. While he wore his mask for a large chunk of The Force Awakens, Rian Johnson decided to let Ren ditch the helmet in The Last Jedi, which was a brilliant move, as we once again saw the inner conflict within Kylo Ren tear him apart. Also, me and fellow contributor Nathan Hutton agreed that Kylo Ren is the best written Star Wars character, ever. While we’ve still got one film left to ultimately figure out the conclusion of Ren’s story arc, to this point, it’s been nothing short of fantastic. Once I get to my spoiler part I’ll be able to elaborate on this more, but at this point this entire trilogy feels centered around Kylo Ren, not Rey, which is where some people might be falsely accusing the film.

I went back and watched The Force Awakens last night, and I’m torn whether I prefer J.J. Abrams film or Rian Johnson’s newest take. What I believe it really comes down to is; Abrams’ whole vision was for The Force Awakens to be a crowd pleaser, and drew back from the well of A New Hope in order to satisfy both old fans, and the younger fans as well, intertwining call backs like Han Solo and the millennium falcon while introducing our new heroes like Rey, Finn, Poe Dameron and BB-8. As mentioned before, Johnson didn’t follow suit and went his own path, which will forever be a controversial decision. I still think The Force Awakens is more fun to just sit down and watch whenever, but The Last Jedi makes you focus much more on the story and dialogue compared to the previous film.

I went back and forth about how I felt about Finn and Rose’s adventures in the movie, it often felt a lot like filler while Rey and Luke’s story line carried a lot more weight and had a better chemistry as well. There was certain points in the movie where I was done with Finn and Rose’s part in the movie, and simply wanted to go back to Luke and Rey or Kylo instead. I also had a couple “why” moments with the pacing of this film as well. It feels like the First Order is just letting the Resistance get away from them for a large chunk of this film, why wouldn’t they just send another fleet in the opposite direction to catch the last of the Resistance? Why doesn’t the Resistance come up with a plan until half way through the movie? There was a lot of questionable motives in the movie, and I’m sure they could’ve cut out 15 or 20 minutes of a lengthy screen time just by shortening some of these scenes.

WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD, STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED THE FILM YET.

Okay, I understand certain people’s gripes about The Last Jedi. I cringed when I saw Leia fly through space like Superman, I’m not going to lie to you. Most fans are up in arms about the comedy in the film, but I had no problem with it. It was Disney comedy, don’t get me wrong, some of the lines felt like they were grabbed straight out of the Avengers’ films, but I think a bit of humour isn’t a bad thing, especially with the Caretakers on Ahch-To. While some people cried foul about Luke making some jokes and being “different than the Luke we all know,” the writing was on the wall since the first scene where Luke throws the lightsaber off the cliff. I for one was glad we didn’t have the goody-two-shoe farm-boy Luke from the original trilogy, Mark Hamill’s latest take on the character was very well done, and he plays the damaged hero to a tee. Some people have called the new Luke a “coward” for hiding away and refusing to go back to the real world, but it all makes sense the way Johnson spins it.

On top of that, Luke’s actions of trying to kill Kylo Ren on an instinct gives Kylo more of a reason for being against Luke and the Resistance. Add on top of that, Kylo killed his own leader in order to be with Rey and rule together, just for Rey to turn her back on him and throw away everything he just did. It’s such a fascinating conflict between Kylo and Rey, and Luke for that matter, it has to be one of the best story lines in Star Wars history.

I thought the final battle was well thought out, and it makes sure that Mark Hamill will return in Episode 9, which they’ll need since they won’t have Carrie Fisher to reprise her role. Some people were hoping for one last big hurrah from Luke in an intense lightsaber battle, but instead we got the exact opposite, a diversion for the Resistance to escape, much like what Ben Kenobi did for Luke and the gang back in A New Hope, had the same feel to it minus a few hacks.

Snoke was another downside for me in this film. It really did feel like Rian Johnson simply didn’t care for the character that J.J. Abrams created, so he just decided to kill him off rather than save him for another movie. All that mystery created in the Force Awakens about Snoke’s background and his rise to power, completely gone with one swift trick from Kylo Ren. And while Nathan pointed out that they’ll probably explain his importance in a book at some point, it wasn’t good enough for me. It was supposed to be a major twist in the plot, and because I didn’t really care about Snoke or see his major importance rather than just being “that big bad guy,” I didn’t really get the full impact of the moment as I maybe should have.

Another writing issue people have, is Rey’s background, which I don’t actually have a problem with, although I get why fans are upset. All throughout The Force Awakens, Rey talks about waiting for her parents to return to Jakku, and while Maz tells her that deep down she knows they’re not coming back, for Kylo to flat out tell Rey her origins, and that she knew it the whole time, kinda feels a little bit like a let down, just because it now comes across as a waste of time if you re-watch The Force Awakens and spend ten minutes sitting there while Rey tries to figure out her past, when she actually knows it the whole time. Movies are fun.

Now, people are upset that Rey has no heritage that ties in with famous jedi or sith that have been previously highlighted from the past trilogies, but I’m fine with her origins meaning nothing of importance. Honestly, I’d feel it would be a broken record for Rey and Kylo to be siblings, or Rey be a Kenobi or Skywalker somewhere down the line, just because George Lucas has gone that direction so many times before. And for those who gripe about that, just look at Kylo Ren. He’s the one who has all your heritage, and that’s another point of why I truly believe this trilogy is centered around Kylo Ren, not Rey. Also, not sure why they cast such a big name as Benecio Del Toro to play such a minor role, really felt like he didn’t get enough screen time or impact he probably should have.

I’m still trying to figure out where I’d rank this film amongst the rest of the Star Wars films, but I can already tell you I enjoyed it more than any of the prequels or Rogue One. The Last Jedi has it’s issues, but its story arc between Luke, Rey and Kylo Ren makes up where it faltered, and continued the momentum that the current trilogy has built since arriving back in 2015.

Why merging 20th Century Fox & Disney might ruin everything for the MCU

So, there’s news that there’s a deal in the works for Disney to acquire the TV & Film rights of most of 20th Century Fox for a reported $60 billion dollars, yeah, billion. While this reported deal in the works has most MCU fans going crazy (myself included), lets take a step back here and look at the effects this will have.

First, this would’ve worked out much better if this all happened about 5, 6 years ago. With the MCU moving into Phase 4 after the upcoming Infinity War film, many of Marvel’s biggest names could be getting killed off in the upcoming Avengers film, so we might miss out on Iron Man and Wolverine tearing it up together, or Captain America and Cyclops leading the way together. It just might seem weird if the X-Men and the Fantastic 4 randomly show up after the events of the Infinity War, leaving all the other super heroes forced to go “where were you guys?” While I’m still praying we get a Deadpool/Spider-Man team up at some point in the future, most of the big time team up storylines won’t be possible within the MCU, unless they play with the Multiverse angle and reverse time or something, which would be a lot of work for the big screen compared to how easy it is in the comics.

Second, 20th Century Fox has actually done quite a good job with the X-Men, Deadpool as well. Seeing these heroes transform from a 20th Century Fox label that lets a lot more edgy stuff go to the final cut to Disney, who tries to make their films family friendly, might take a hit on some of the characters. The biggest one being, of course, Deadpool. I’m trying to picture a Deadpool film under Disney’s umbrella that they would actually green-light, and I simply can’t. Maybe he’s just a cameo character once the transfer is done and Deadpool 2 hits the big screen, but it’s a shame, because Deadpool’s first instalment gave the superhero genre something entirely fresh. The same goes for Wolverine, good luck getting Disney to go ahead with a gory western film. The Fantastic Four on the other hand, are in desperate need of help from Disney and the MCU. Having Doctor Doom in the MCU would be huge for when Thanos is out of the picture, and if you read my article on the Secret Wars and how it could play into the MCU after the events of the Infinity War, the whole storyline is much easier with Doctor Doom and the Fantastic Four, in fact it really centralizes around them. So for the Fantastic Four, this is great news, for Deadpool and the X-Men, could mean some watering down in terms of storytelling and edginess.

While I’m super excited if this all comes together, and it’s not deemed illegal, there’s still some big warning signs from this deal, for superhero genre fans anyways. While it means we may finally see some of the biggest heroes from the X-Men teaming up with the Avengers, it could also mean some less intriguing characters and less darkness and edginess to their previous versions. While it’s a risk, it’s a risk I’m hoping they take, just because I need that Deadpool/Spider-Man crossover film.

Also, that Disney streaming service just got real, Netflix has some work to do.

Why Captain America must die in Infinity War

It’s been quite the run for Steve Rodgers since being thawed out from a 70 year slumber. He’s faced old enemies, new enemies, and led the Avengers in stopping not one, but two invasions of Earth. The old saying goes, “third times a charm,” and for Captain America, his time is coming. And it’s coming in the form of Thanos.

With the release of the new Avengers: Infinity War trailer, it seems pretty inevitable that a few of our heroes are going to bite the bullet at the hands of Thanos and his army. I mean, the mind stone is in the head of Vision, and we see it being extracted in the trailer, or at least attempting to. In addition, the story is apparently going to be split up into two parts, and the writing seems to be on the wall. It would make logical sense for part one to end with Thanos claiming victory over Earth, with all the infinity stones in his possession, and Earth’s, (and the Galaxy’s) mightiest heroes left defeated and with no hope of salvaging Thanos’ rule.

In order for this to happen in the first part, we’re going to have to see multiple casualties on the Avengers’ side of things. We don’t know who will all be in this movie for sure, and there even could be appearances from the small screen, all who aren’t safe from death in this film. Personally, I believe at least one of the big time players has to fall in order to make it a true revenge story come part two. And for me, that big time player is Captain America.

For one, he’s kind of replaceable. There’s already tones of rumours out there that Bucky Barnes or The Falcon can step into the role as Captain America when the next phase rolls in, my pick personally being The Winter Soldier, as I have a gut feeling that Falcon could be in trouble in the infinity war as well.

Part two is that the thing that makes Steve Rodgers Captain America, also has a ticking clock, and that’s a clock I believe that’s on its final ticks. The super serum that turned Steve Rodgers from a wimp to “the perfect man” doesn’t last forever, in fact in certain comics, it actually begins to poison him while wearing off. While I don’t think Marvel Studios will go with the latter, it’s still another reason that Cap won’t survive past Infinity War, not unless there’s a cure or something, but again, too far of a reach that Marvel Studios will go for that.

There has been speculation that maybe it’s Tony Stark who will be the one to take the fall in part one, but I see his future playing out a little longer with Peter Parker’s introduction into the MCU. Will his stay be long? I doubt it. But I think he’ll live past Infinity War and make appearances here and there until the next big Avengers instalment. But hey, nobody’s safe once Thanos reaches Earth.

It sucks that we’ll lose such a great hero and one of the biggest draws in the MCU, but Marvel has to pull the trigger on this in order to make the story arc have the impact that it deserves for these two films. If they repeated what they did with Civil War, there’s not as much drama and tension in part two as there should be. It’s just something that has to happen in order to raise the stakes to a “you have to see this monster get what he deserves” in part two.

That being said, now with Doctor Strange in the mix and the multiverse being a thing in the MCU, really anything is possible when you play with time and alternate dimensions. So this could be all for Steve Rodgers to be back at some point down the road. Who knows. Either way, Captain America isn’t making it past part one of Infinity War. And I’ll be sad.

Connor McDavid is the best hockey player on Earth

For some reason, there’s been discussion lately between Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid for the NHL’s best player. While I appreciate Crosby’s hardware case and the countless iconic goals he’s scored over his career, his time as hockey’s “face of the sport” is now over. With an Art Ross, Hart & Ted Lindsay already under his belt in his first full season in the NHL, McDavid is now poised to become the most dominant player we’ve seen since Wayne Gretzky. His speed, skill and overall hockey IQ puts him in a different league than everyone else.

Now, I get the argument about Crosby still being the top dog. He changed the game when he entered the league back in 2005, much like McDavid is now. He’s a three-time Stanley Cup Champion, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, a World Cup of Hockey champion and the winner of multiple individual awards in the NHL over his illustrious career. In terms of legacy, Sidney Crosby is still miles ahead of McDavid. But if we’re talking raw talent at this very moment, there’s nobody better than McDavid. Crosby’s edges, finesse and vision are still elite, and probably the best in all those regards, but McDavid’s speed, and what he can do at top speed, that makes him so deadly. He doesn’t have the best shot, but how he can make space for himself, with or without the puck, is also what makes him so special. While Gretzky’s greatest trait will always be his vision, and Crosby’s will always be his athleticism, McDavid’s killer trait will always be his speed.

We’re only one game into the season, and McDavid proved he’s the best, by scoring a hat-trick on opening night, with his second goal, being absolutely breathtaking.

McDavid topped out at 40 kilometres an hour, as he took the puck up the right wing, made T.J. Brodie look like he was skating in mud, before roofing it on Mike Smith at full speed. It’s goals like these that we’ve simply never seen before, not with this caliber of athletes anyways.  Jaromir Jagr recently said he thinks that McDavid could score 100 goals at some point in his career, and while it sounds crazy, is it really out of the question? Nobody’s come close to Gretzky’s record of 92, and I don’t think anyone ever will, but McDavid might have the best shot at coming close. It appears McDavid will probably be more of a playmaker rather than a straight up scorer through his career, but I could see him cracking 150 points at some point in his career, especially with guys like Leon Draisaitl on his line.

As a Canucks fan, it’s going to be a long 15 years with Connor McDavid in the division, but man what a treat he’s going to be to watch.

The Vancouver Canucks are enticing, but not ready to make the jump

The rebuilding process is never easy, and since 2015-16, the Vancouver Canucks have been learning that lesson the hard way. The Canucks have just 61 wins over the past two seasons, and aren’t on the track to making the playoffs for a very long time. Canucks GM Jim Benning didn’t reinvent the wheel this offseason, but he picked up some intriguing, young players in free agency that might not win the Canucks many games, but will put asses in seats and at least be worth the price of admission, even if the end result isn’t great. Oh, and they got rid of Luca Sbisa, so that’s a win too.

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Up front, the Canucks got some interesting acquisitions through free agency, but nothing that will ultimately bring them out of the basement in the Western Conference. Sam Gagner will be the most exciting to watch of the bunch, and will see some time on the power play as well as the occasional opportunity as a top-6 forward, and should be good for 40 points. Alex Burmistrov was an interesting signing by the Canucks, but he hasn’t showed much promise to this point, and I don’t see him sticking around for very long. Burmistrov’s deal is 1-way, so he’ll need to go through waivers if the Canucks want to send him down to Utica. He gets lost in the fold, but Thomas Vanek will also get an opportunity as a Top-9 forward for the Canucks this year. The 33-year-old signed a 1 year deal with Vancouver for $2 million back in September, and should also get a crack at the power play unity and could even see some Top-6 playing time if an injury occurs or he hits a hot streak. I see Travis Green using Vanek much like Alain Vigneault used to use Chris Higgins; a third line guy who can go anywhere in the line-up on any given night. You add these new acquisitions into the Canucks’ core of the Sedin twins, Horvat, Eriksson, Baertschi and Granlund, and the Canucks have enough to keep themselves out of last place in the West, but not enough to crack the playoffs.

The two most intriguing stories on offence this season will be Brock Boeser and Jake Virtanen. Boeser, who has been the most impressive Canuck throughout the pre-season, has been so good that I believe he can get some playing time on the top line with the Sedin twins if he keeps it up, given the Canucks current depth at right wing. Jake Virtanen looks revamped this year, obviously Travis Green got through to him after a very disappointing season last year. While he still has much to prove in the eyes of Canucks fans, but this pre-season has been a great sign for Virtanen’s future.

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On defence, the Canucks have their work cut out for them. Led once again by Alex Edler and Chris Tanev, the Canucks will be looking for consistency defensively from Michael Del Zotto, Ben Hutton and Troy Stecher. All three have offensive potential, but have been burned defensively in the past. For Stecher and Del Zotto, they will battle for the spot as power play quarterback, while Tanev, Edler and Gudbranson will be mainstays on the penalty kill unit. The Canucks are missing that #1 defenceman, who they are hoping to have in Olli Juolevi at some point in the future, but if they’re lucky, maybe they’ll have Rasmus Dahlin in the system to be that guy as well.

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In net, the Canucks don’t exactly have a #1 goalie, but rather two fringe starters. Jacob Markstrom will probably be given the reigns off the top due to being the lone returning guy, but Anders Nilsson will also be given many opportunities throughout the season to overthrow Markstrom from the #1 spot. For me personally, I see Thatcher Demko being given a shot this year as well at some point, not as a starter, but he should be given a handful of starts throughout the year to get his feet wet in the NHL. Demko will definitely be the guy in Utica this year, with the goal probably being ready for the NHL call up full-time next year. In terms of how they stack up against the rest of the league, the Canucks’ goaltending will be near the bottom of the NHL, and won’t be able to single-handedly win the Canucks games.

Overall, it’ll probably be more of the same for the Vancouver Canucks this season, another year of no playoffs, but some enticing prospects in Boeser, Virtanen and Demko will keep Canucks fans tuned in for what the future holds.

And Bo Horvat, he’s pretty fun to watch too.

MLB Postseason predictions

October is here, and that means playoff baseball is back. While my Toronto Blue Jays aren’t in the mix this year, the MLB playoffs never fail to disappoint. While we’re just minutes away from the first pitch of the AL Wild Card Game, I’m going to quickly give my predictions on how the postseason will play out.

AL Wild Card Game: #4 Yankees vs. #5 Twins

I’ve got the Yankees defeating the Twins by a pretty good margin tonight, because of two key players for me. Number one, is Luis Severino, who is taking the mound tonight for the Yankees. He’s in the discussion for the AL Cy Young this year, and I think he’s going to be brilliant tonight in front of his home crowd. The second key player, is Miguel Sano. The Twins slugger is not in the line-up tonight, and it will prove costly going up against a red hot Aaron Judge and Severino. Maybe if Byron Buxton or Brian Dozier has a big game the Twins can make something happen, but my money is on the Yankees.

Winner: Yankees

NL Wild Card Game: #4 Diamondbacks vs. #5 Rockies

If this game was being played at Coors Field, I might have more faith in the Colorado Rockies upsetting the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, the stars have simply aligned for the DBacks in this situation, and with home field, and Zack Grienke on the mound, there’s no way the Rockies hitters will be able to keep up with Jake Lamb and Paul Goldschmidt. Regardless, I believe this wild card game will be more entertaining than the AL side.

Winner: Diamondbacks

AL Divisional: #2 Astros vs. #3 Red Sox

Since we got a nice preview of the series last week, this prediction isn’t too hard for me. The Astros took 3 of 4 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, and really got to the Red Sox pitchers, including Chris Sale, who’s been off his game lately, and he picked a bad time to lose his mojo. With Carlos Correa back in the line-up, and recently acquired Justin Verlander on the hill with an already deep rotation, the Astros are all in, and with the Red Sox ace currently in a slump, and the Red Sox hitters not being able to make up for it, I believe the Astros will make fairly quick work of the Red Sox.

Winner: Astros in 4

NL Divisional: #2 Nationals vs. #3 Cubs

Ah, the Washington Nationals. So dominant, so stacked. Then, the postseason rolls around. I wish I could say I’d have more faith in the Nats, but I simply can’t put any trust into that team after the last 5 years of watching them crumble in the playoffs. I’ll go ahead and say that the Nationals give the Cubs a run for their money, but with the Cubs coming off a World Series Championship last year, I believe the Cubbies will come through in the clutch and take the Divisional Series in 5 games. Also, I think that after a fairly slow regular season, the 2017 postseason will be a Kris Bryant show. Just a feeling.

Winner: Cubs in 5

AL Divisional: #1 Indians vs. #4 Yankees

I’m not super high on the Cleveland Indians this year, not sure why, after they went out and won 22 straight games in September, but I just don’t know. I always get the feeling that the teams who go out and do something incredible in the regular season never keep it up once the playoffs roll around, (2016 Warriors, anyone?) Regardless, I’ll say the Indians take down the Yankees in 4, simply because of the Yankees’ lack of depth down the rotation, and I feel the bats will go cold against the likes of Corey Kluber and company. Still, a building block season for the young Yankees, who will definitely be back in 2018, as AL East Division champs.

Winner: Indians in 4

NL Divisional: #1 Dodgers vs. #4 Diamondbacks

There’s no better team in the majors than the Los Angeles Dodgers, simply put. Their roster is absolutely star studded from top to bottom, hitters to pitchers. While you can almost make the same case for the Dodgers as you can the Nationals, I believe the postseason jitters that have haunted Clayton Kershaw will be out the window this year. With Kershaw, Darvish and Wood all on top of their game, the DBacks hitters come up empty through 3 games, and with a couple timely hits from the likes of Bellinger and Turner, the Dodgers breeze through the divisional series.

Winner: Dodgers in 3

AL Championship: #1 Indians vs. #2 Astros

This is going to be a war, and I can’t wait. I believe these two teams match up very well, and it will be the series of the playoffs in terms of “wow” moments and theatrics. As I said earlier, I’m not super high on the Indians coming into the playoffs, so I’ve actually got the Astros upsetting the Indians in Game 7 at Progressive Field. As much as I want my guy Edwin Encarnacion to win a ring, it’s not the year for the Tribe. Again, with Correa on fire, Altuve, Verlander and Keuchel all doing their thing, the Astros win their first AL Championship banner, and make their first World Series appearance since 2005.

Winner: Astros in 7

NL Championship: #1 Dodgers vs. #3 Cubs

Another great series, some may take the Cubs simply because of the experience and the fact that they’re the defending champs. However, the Dodgers pure talent is what will see them through to the World Series. While Bryant, Rizzo and the rest of the Cubs will put up a good fight, it’ll simply come down to firepower in the later stages of the series, and the Dodgers simply have too many weapons to deal with. Again, another great series, but the Dodgers will make their first World Series appearance since 1988, and will look to bring home their 7th title in team history.

Winner: Dodgers in 6

World Series: #1 Dodgers vs. #2 Astros

I don’t believe this year’s World Series will live up to the 2016 series, simply because there’s too many “OMG” moments from the Cubs/Indians series last year to count, but it also won’t be a snoozefest. This is another series that stacks up so well in terms of key matchups, and the atmosphere in both teams’ stadiums will be absolutely insane. While I’m a huge fan of the roster the Astros have put together this season, there’s simply no stopping the Dodgers in a 7 game series with the pitching rotation that they’re running. I’ve got the Dodgers taking the World Series, their first in 29 years, in 6 games over the Astros. In terms of postseason MVP, I’ll take Justin Turner. I feel like his stats won’t be out of this world, but he’ll come up with all the clutch hits throughout the playoffs and put his team over the hump.

Winner: Dodgers in 6

Disagree? You probably do. Feel free to leave a comment below or tweet me @tbennz. Happy October!

 

Episode 8: Make Boxing Great Again

This week, Tyler Bennett and Hayden Trupish discuss the wildly entertaining fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor, and the implications it has on both fighters and their legacies moving forward. Plus, the guys weigh in on the Kyrie Irving trade, and if the Boston Celtics gave up too much for the star point guard. Plus, we talk about Madden NFL 18, and the new Longshot story mode, which is a huge hit with the fanbase. Plus, the guys discuss the upcoming standalone Joker film, that might throw another wrench into the DC Cinematic Universe. All this and more, tune in and don’t forget to follow us on twitter @SplitDecisionPC and subcsribe on iTunes!

The Ovechkin era in Washington is coming to an end

It’s been quite the run for Alex Ovechkin in Washington D.C. After being taken first overall in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Ovechkin would change the NHL with his explosiveness, size and raw ability to put the puck in the back of the net. Over 12 seasons in Washington, Ovechkin has tallied 558 goals and 1,035 points in 921 games with the Capitals, and is easily the best player in the franchise’s 43 year run. However, there’s something missing in Ovechkin’s long list of accomplishments and awards during his time in the NHL, a Stanley Cup ring. And if there’s no ring in his trophy case by the end of the 2017-18 season, Ovechkin is likely headed elsewhere.

It’s not Ovechkin’s fault, the Capitals have had some of the best teams in recent memory over the past decade, all with the 31 year old Russian at the helm of the team. However, a failure to lead his team deep into the playoffs has left a hole in his legacy, and to this point, it hasn’t been fixed. After taking home the President’s Trophy as the top regular season team for the second consecutive season, the Caps were once again bested by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round. The two teams have always been compared to one another since the Capitals took Ovechkin in 2004 and the Penguins drafted Crosby in 2005, and to this point, the Penguins have owned the Capitals over the last 12 years. While the Capitals are still a Stanley Cup contender heading into 2017-18, the room for error has vanished. Immediate results are expected from the Capitals this season, and after the blame has fallen on coaches and the front office in the past, it will be coming for the players if it doesn’t work out this season.

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With Ovechkin signed through the 2020-21 season, the Capitals will have a bit of a hard time unloading the Russian superstar given his cap hit is $9.5 million per season. However, If they’re willing to either take on a bad contract for a year or two or find a trade partner who isn’t tight to the cap, a deal is still reachable. Teams like the Colorado Avalanche, Boston Bruins and Columbus Blue Jackets all have enough cap room at the moment to make a deal seamlessly. Plus, Ovechkin is nearing the end of his prime years, and only has 3-4 seasons left of 40-50 goal seasons in him. Throw in the fact that Ovechkin could bolt back to Russia to play in the KHL at any time, and it seems like a given that the Capitals should move Ovechkin if a Stanley Cup isn’t in the picture.

The window is slowly closing for the Washington Capitals, and if they want a decent return for Ovechkin, the deal will have to be before Ovechkin turns 33. After that, with only one year left on his contract, and an aging star, the Capitals won’t be able to re-tool let alone re-build with the pieces they get in return.

To be honest, I can’t see Ovechkin in another NHL uniform, and he could just leave for Russia if the Capitals don’t win a cup in the next year or two, but my gut says his rights will at least be moved for 2018-19, even if he leaves for his home country in the offseason. With the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang nearing, and the NHL currently absent from the event, with Ovechkin’s intentions of playing in the games regardless, it could just throw another wrench into this whole argument.

Either way, whether it’s another NHL team or the KHL, I believe Alex Ovechkin’s time in Washington is nearly finished.

Tyler’s 2017-18 NFL regular season preview

It’s almost that time of the year, the NFL regular season is almost upon us. While I’m not a huge NFL fan, I still follow my Carolina Panthers very closely, and through fantasy football, I try and keep tabs on as much of the league as possible. That being said, I’m going to try and follow the NFL a lot more closely this year, which means waking up early on Sundays for a change. So, I’ve put together my regular season predictions, which I’m sure will be smashed into a million pieces by Week 4. If you wanna call me an idiot for this prediction, go right ahead. I’m probably on the same playing field as you are, if not lower. My knowledge of the defensive side of the ball is pretty limited, so keep that in mind as you go through this. Without further ado, here’s my predictions for the upcoming NFL season.

AFC EAST

Buffalo Bills (4-12)

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With the loss of Sammy Watkins to the Los Angeles Rams, the Buffalo Bills have officially lost their swagger. While they finished last season with a respectable record of 7-9, Tyrod Taylor has lost his favourite target (even though that target is hurt all the time.) Giving up 378 points last season, I don’t think much will change on that front, and I’m predicting a down year for Taylor and LeSean McCoy. Despite a hot start, I have the Bills falling off the wagon midway through the season.

Miami Dolphins (6-10)

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Nothing against Jay Cutler, I just don’t have much faith in the Dolphins. While they have some interesting options in Jay Ajayi and Jarvis Landry,  picking up a retired quarterback just days prior to the preseason simply isn’t a winning recipe. With Suh and Cameron Wake helping out on defence, the lack of offensive production from Cutler and company is the reason why I have them finishing well under .500. When Ryan Tannehill comes back next season, maybe the Dolphins resurge.

New England Patriots (14-2)

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Easily the most stacked team in the NFL, the New England Patriots will cruise through the regular season. With just two losses all season (Week 7 @ ATL & Week 15 @ PIT,) The Patriots are unanimously considered the Super Bowl favourites for the 2017 season, let alone the AFC East title. With the addition of Brandin Cooks and a star-studded cast on both sides of the ball, don’t be surprised if the Patriots flirt with 16-0 again this year.

New York Jets (0-16)

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From the best team in the NFL to the worst. And worst by a mile. The New York Jets are a disaster of a team headed into 2017. With Matt Forte being the only recognizable name on the Jets’ starting offensive group, it seems like it will be a committee of quarterbacks taking the helm over the course of the season. With many people speculating the Jets could go 0-16 on the season, I personally have them winless on the 2017 campaign.

AFC WEST

Denver Broncos (7-9)

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The Denver Broncos are an aging team that lives and dies off it’s defence. With Von Miller, T.J. Miller and Aqib Talib, the Broncos are relying on its air tight defence to win them ball games with the inexperienced Trevor Siemian at QB. I don’t know what it is about this team, but I just don’t see them doing well this season. C.J. Anderson is streaky, and I don’t see him having a big year with opposing defences eyeing on him, knowing Siemian can’t hit his receivers on a consistent basis. I’m not sure other people have the Broncos finishing this low, I just don’t see it happening this year.

Kansas City Chiefs (12-4)

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With Andy Reid behind the Chiefs, anything is possible. A man that has revamped Alex Smith into a reliable quarterback, Reid will have to deal with the loss of Jamaal Charles, but still has plenty of options on offence. With the tight end position (in my opinion) being the most valuable aside from the man in the pocket, Travis Kelce has proved to be one of the league’s elite, and will take the target off of receivers like Tyreek Hill and Demarcus Robinson. Defensively, the Chiefs are arguably even more stacked than they are on offence. With Eric Berry healthy, and a very formidable D-Line, the Chiefs offence should have quite the safety net, en route to another playoff appearance.

Los Angeles Chargers (5-11)

NFL: Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers

It will be more of the same for the Chargers, despite a new place to call home. With Phillip Rivers at the helm, it seems the Chargers will never compete for a division title, let alone the Super Bowl. With Joey Bosa on defence and some intriguing options on offence in Antonio Gates and Melvin Gordon, the Chargers have all the pieces to contend, but just won’t be able to put it all together.

Oakland Raiders (14-2)

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My pick to win the Super Bowl this year, the Oakland Raiders were on a similar path last season until Derek Carr went down. With Carr healthy, Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree at WR, with Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin at the line of scrimmage, the Raiders are set to challenge the Packers and Patriots for the top team in the league. If everyone stays healthy, there’s few teams who can overpower the Raiders.

AFC NORTH

Baltimore Ravens (5-11)

Miami Dolphins v Baltimore Ravens

Oh, Joe Flacco. Much like Phillip Rivers, Flacco is one of those quarterbacks I simply don’t have much faith in. And again, I believe in today’s NFL, you live and die by your starting QB. While Flacco may have lead the Ravens to a Super Bowl Championship all those years ago, it’s time for the Ravens to move on, and after posting a 5-11 record this season, it’ll become clear that the Flacco era in Baltimore is over.

Cincinatti Bengals (8-8)

Pittsburgh Steelers v Cincinnati Bengals

While the Bengals have some interesting pieces scattered throughout their roster, the Bengals never seem to pull it all together and develop into a real threat to contend. 2017-18 will be much more of the same for Cincinatti, as Andy Dalton and A.J. Green will continue to give opposing defensive coordinators headaches, but aside from that, the Bengals aren’t too intimidating. I have my skepticism about the Bengals defence, and that’s why I believe the Bengals will be a fringe team once again this year.

Cleveland Browns (2-14)

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Oh, the Cleveland Browns. At least they’re not going to be the worst team in the NFL this year, right? At least I think so. It’s still very early in the rebuilding process for the Cleveland Browns. The selection of Myles Garrett at #1 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft is a great start for the Browns, and the fact they also snagged Jabrill Peppers at #25 is a steal. With Brock Osweiler at quarterback with Josh Gordon as his main receiver, the Browns should muster a couple wins this year, but it will still be a couple more years before the Browns start making some real noise.

Pittsburgh Steelers (14-2)

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One of the NFL’s perennial powerhouses, the Pittsburgh Steelers will be a force to be reckoned with this season. With Le’veon Bell, Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger acting as the three-headed dragon on offence, and a bruising defence to follow suit, the Steelers will cruise through the regular season en route to an easy AFC North Championship and a lengthy postseason run.

AFC SOUTH

Houston Texans (10-6)

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One of the teams I’m most excited to watch this season, the Houston Texans have turned around the ship pretty quickly. After a 7-1 record at home last season, the Texans have made a huge upgrade at the quarterback position, with the selection of Deshaun Watson in the 2017 NFL Draft. I have a strong feeling Watson’s game will translate to the pro level very well, and will lead the Texans to a playoff berth this season. With DeAndre Hopkins as his main receiver, and J.J Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on defence, the Texans will continue to turn heads this season.

Indianapolis Colts (10-6)

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The Indianapolis Colts are one team that I might see doing a lot worse than others might predict. While Andrew Luck is one of the best throwing quarterbacks in the game, his team around him, for the most part, is getting up in age, and past their prime. While they’ll still be atop the AFC South by the end of the year, I don’t see the Colts making much noise in the postseason, and might look to make some changes around Luck for next year.

Jacksonville Jaguars (7-9)

Jacksonville Jaguars v New England Patriots

After a very disappointing season last year, the Jacksonville Jaguars will turn things around in 2017-18. With the addition of Leonard Fournette in the backfield, and Blake Bortles (who has been struggling as of late, but I’m hoping will turn things around), The Jaguars will benefit from a relatively weak division, and flirt with the .500 mark throughout the season. While they still won’t make the playoffs this year, 2017-18 should be a sign of good things to come.

Tennessee Titans (6-10)

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I want to believe in the Tennessee Titans so bad, but I just can’t. Marcus Mariota is still developing, and while the 1-2 punch of Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray in the backfield is intriguing, I just don’t think the winning culture in Tennessee is there yet. I have my doubts with the Titans’ defence, and I think the Titans will win some games, but the wheels will fall off the wagon in the second half of the season. But, I do think next year, with a strong draft and an acquisition or two, the Titans could be something.

NFC EAST

Dallas Cowboys (11-5)

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Until Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension came out, I actually had the Cowboys much higher than I have them now. But in a tough conference, and a tough division, without the services of their star running back, the Cowboys will hit a few bumps in the road in 2017-18. I’m a firm believer in the sophomore slump, and I think the Cowboys might suffer from extreme expectations after their coming out party last season. That being said, I still have them in the playoffs.

New York Giants (9-7)

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A lot of people have the New York Giants as NFC East champs next year, but I don’t see it. While Odell Beckham Jr. is the best receiver on the planet, and having Brandon Marshall as a partner is deadly, I have my doubts with Eli Manning. The Giants defence isn’t bad either, I just don’t have much faith in the Giants being the Super Bowl contender many people are playing them out to be.

Philadelphia Eagles (6-10)

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Alshon Jeffrey is a big pickup for the Philadelphia Eagles, but I think it’ll pay more dividends next year. Why? Remember what I said about the sophomore slumps? I have a gut feeling that Carson Wentz will have a bit of a down year, and the Eagles as a team still have some identity issues. The future is bright in Philly, I just don’t think this is their year to break out.

Washington Redskins (8-8)

NFL: St. Louis Rams at Washington Redskins

Another team that has all the pieces and just can’t seem to put it all together, the Washington Redskins will have a very similar year to the one they had in 2016-17. Kirk Cousins is a serviceable, but not elite quarterback, and Josh Norman will frustrate opposing teams’ top receivers, but Cousins doesn’t have much to throw to other than star TE Jordan Reed, who had many injury issues last year, and there’s a good chance he’ll be forced to miss more games this season. Washington needs one big acquisition to put them over the hump and into serious contention.

NFC WEST

Arizona Cardinals (4-12)

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Ouch. I have zero faith in Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinals making any noise this season, and taking a major step in the wrong direction as well. I simply believe that the Cardinals’ window of opportunity is closed, and while David Johnson will have another good year, the Cardinals just don’t have the talent to back that up and win football games. I have a feeling this could be Palmer’s final season as the Cardinals starting quarterback, in what will be an eye opening year for the Cardinals’ front office.

Los Angeles Rams (7-9)

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After a down year last season, Todd Gurley finally has someone to take some of the pressure off him, and his name is Sammy Watkins. The Los Angeles Rams hit the jackpot when they acquired Watkins from the Buffalo Bills in the offseason, and now they have to do what the Bills couldn’t, keep Watkins healthy. With a healthy Watkins, Gurley and Jared Goff finally having someone to throw to, the Rams will see a lot of improvement from last year, but no playoff berth.

San Francisco 49ers (2-14)

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It’ll be much more of the same from the San Francisco 49ers this year, as they failed to find a starting quarterback for the upcoming season. The thought of Brian Hoyer as a starting QB makes me cringe a little bit, and Pierre Garcon isn’t a good enough receiver to make up for that. Carlos Hyde needs someone to take the target off his back, and with Hoyer under the gun, teams will take their chances and continue to stuff the 49ers running game instead. Plus, the 49ers gave up a league-worst 480 points last year, so it’s not like the defence is going to save them either. It’s going to be a long process before the 49ers become playoff contenders once again.

Seattle Seahawks (13-3)

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While an injury to Russell Wilson limited the Seattle Seahawks last year, the Hawks still easily grabbed the NFC West division title last year, and they’ll do the same this year with a healthy Wilson. It seems Pete Carroll has finally figured out how to use Jimmy Graham in his offence, and with Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin rounding out Wilson’s options, the Seahawks will be a forced to reckoned with once again. On defence, the Seahawks are intimidating as they ever have been, and with their home field advantage in the 12th man, the Hawks will cruise into the playoffs and challenge for another Super Bowl championship.

NFC NORTH

Chicago Bears (8-8)

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One of my surprise picks for the upcoming season, I actually have the Chicago Bears flirting with .500 this year. The main factor is their rookie quarterback, Mitch Trubisky, who, like Deshaun Watson, I have a feeling will translate into the NFL very well. With their first legitimate starting QB in a long time, the Bears will benefit from one of the weaker divisions around the league, and finish the year with much optimism, and a possible playoff berth as well.

Detroit Lions (3-13)

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While the Detroit Lions finished 9-7 last season, I have the Lions taking a major step backwards in 2017-18. Matthew Stafford isn’t an elite quarterback in my opinion, and I believe Marvin Jones will have a very quiet year. I’m not sure why, I just don’t have much faith in this group, and see the Lions picking up just three wins all season.

Green Bay Packers (14-2)

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With Aaron Rodgers at the helm, the Green Bay Packers are always a threat to win it all. This year will be no different. With the addition of Martellus Bennett at the tight end position, Rodgers is that much more scarier with another throwing option to go to. Plus, the Packers’ defence is as strong as ever, and I believe the Packers will cruise to another NFC North division championship en route to a lengthy postseason run.

Minnesota Vikings (8-8)

Sam Bradford

With tonnes of depth, but no real star power, the Minnesota Vikings will miss the services of Adrian Peterson. With Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater battling for the starting quarterback role, they’ll have numerous options on offence, including the recently acquired Latavius Murray from the Oakland Raiders. Again, I don’t have much trust in the Vikings’ defence, and without a strong defence to compliment the offence, I believe the Vikings will start well, but after teams solve their offence, the Vikings will have a bad second half of the year, and wind up missing the playoffs.

NFC SOUTH

Atlanta Falcons (12-4)

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The reigning NFC Champions will have a tough act to follow, considering they should have a Super Bowl championship beside their names after being up 28-3 on the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl last year. With Matt Ryan and Julio Jones continuing to be one of the best QB-WR duos in the game, and Devonta Freeman on the ground, the Falcons’ offence will continue to be their bread and butter en route to their second straight NFC South division title. However, I don’t have them going back to the Super Bowl this year, because of their defence. Anyone who watched the Super Bowl knows why I say that. However, still a banner year for the Falcons.

Carolina Panthers (12-4)

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After a very disappointing season for my Carolina Panthers, the steal of the 2017 NFL Draft, and future NFL Rookie of the Year Christian McCaffrey will provide a huge boost for Cam Newton and the Panthers offence. With Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen rounding out the main core of receivers for Newton, and a healthy Luke Keuchly anchoring the defence, the Panthers should be right back in the Super Bowl contention conversation in 2017-18, and while they’ll have to do it from the wild card spot, the Panthers have all the pieces to win their first Super Bowl championship, after the disappointing failure in 2015. And hey, Julius Peppers is back, so that’s pretty awesome too.

New Orleans Saints (5-11)

Drew Brees

Maybe it’s my hatred for the Panthers’ division rivals, but I don’t see the New Orleans Saints turning the ship around this year. After a 7-9 record last season, I believe Father Time has finally come for Drew Brees. With the acquisition of Adrian Peterson, and a new deep threat in Ted Ginn Jr., Brees will have the help on offence, but on defence, I don’t see the Saints being able to keep up with their tough division.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (9-7)

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While I’m definitely not a fan of the Buccaneers, I must admit, they’re fun to watch. After a couple years under his belt Jameis Winston is ready to lead the Buccaneers into the postseason. But is the rest of the team? I don’t think so, not yet anyways. That being said, I still have them over .500 in one of the toughest divisions in football, so there’s definitely some positives for Tampa Bay fans for this season. DeSean Jackson will be a wildcard for the Bucs offence, and if they catch fire, look out.

FULL SCHEDULE

Week 1

New England 1-0 (W) vs. Kansas City 0-1 (L)

NY Jets 0-1 (L) vs. Buffalo 1-0 (W)

Atlanta 1-0 (W) vs. Chicago 0-1 (L)

Baltimore 1-0 (W) vs. Cincinatti 0-1 (L)

Pittsburgh 1-0 (W) vs. Cleveland 0-1 (L)

Arizona 1-0 (W) vs. Detroit 0-1 (L)

Jacksonville 0-1 (L) vs. Houston 1-0 (W)

Tampa Bay 1-0 (W) vs. Miami 0-1 (L)

Oakland 1-0 (W) vs. Tennessee 0-1 (L)

Philadelphia 1-0 (W) vs. Washington 0-1 (L)

Indianapolis 1-0 (W) vs. LA Rams 0-1 (L)

Seattle 0-1 (L) vs. Green Bay 1-0 (W)

Carolina 1-0 (W) vs. San Francisco 0-1 (L)

New Orleans 0-1 (L) vs. Minnesota 1-0 (W)

NY Giants 0-1 (L) vs. Dallas 1-0 (W)

LA Chargers 0-1 (L) vs. Denver 1-0 (W)

Week 2

Houston 1-1 (L) vs. Cincinatti 1-1 (W)

Cleveland 0-2 (L) vs. Baltimore 2-0 (W)

Buffalo 0-2 (L) vs. Carolina 2-0 (W)

Arizona 1-1 (L) vs. Indianapolis 2-0 (W)

Tennessee 0-2 (L) vs. Jacksonville 1-1 (W)

Philadelphia 1-1 (L) vs. Kansas City 1-1 (W)

New England 2-0 (W) vs. New Orleans 0-2 (L)

Minnesota 1-1 (L) vs. Pittsburgh 2-0 (W)

Chicago 0-2 (L) vs. Tampa Bay 2-0 (W)

Miami 0-2 (L) vs. LA Chargers 1-1 (W)

NY Jets 0-2 (L) vs. Oakland 2-0 (W)

Dallas 2-0 (W) vs. Denver 1-1 (L)

Washington 0-2 (L) vs. LA Rams 1-1 (W)

San Francisco 0-2 (L) vs. Seattle 1-1 (W)

Green Bay 2-0 (W) vs. Atlanta 1-1 (L)

Detroit 0-2 (L) vs. NY Giants 1-1 (W)

Week 3

LA Rams 2-1 (W) vs. San Francisco 0-3 (L)

Baltimore 2-1 (L) vs. Jacksonville 2-1 (W)

Denver 2-1 (W) vs. Buffalo 1-2 (L)

New Orleans 0-3 (L) vs. Carolina 3-0 (W)

Pittsburgh 3-0 (W) vs. Chicago 0-3 (L)

Atlanta 2-1 (W) vs. Detroit 0-3 (L)

Cleveland 0-3 (L) vs. Indianapolis 3-0 (W)

Tampa Bay 2-1 (L) vs. Minnesota 2-1 (W)

Houston 1-2 (L) vs. New England 3-0 (W)

Miami 1-2 (W) vs. NY Jets 0-3 (L)

NY Giants 1-2 (L) vs. Philadelphia 2-1 (W)

Seattle 2-1 (W) vs. Tennessee 0-3 (L)

Cincinatti 1-2 (L) vs. Green Bay 3-0 (W)

Kansas City 2-1 (W) vs. LA Chargers 1-2 (L)

Oakland 3-0 (W) vs. Washington 0-3 (L)

Dallas 3-0 (W) vs. Arizona 1-2 (L)

Week 4

Chicago 0-4 (L) vs. Green Bay 4-0 (W)

New Orleans 1-3 (W) vs. Miami 1-3 (L)

Buffalo 1-3 (L) vs. Atlanta 3-1 (W)

Pittsburgh 4-0 (W) vs. Baltimore 2-2 (L)

Cincinatti 2-2 (W) vs. Cleveland 0-4 (L)

LA Rams 2-2 (L) vs. Dallas 4-0 (W)

Tennessee 0-4 (L) vs. Houston 2-2 (W)

Detroit 0-4 (L) vs. Minnesota 3-1 (W)

Carolina 3-1 (L) vs. New England 4-0 (W)

Jacksonville 3-1 (W) vs. NY Jets 0-4 (L)

San Francisco 0-4 (L) vs. Arizona 2-2 (W)

Philadelphia 3-1 (W) vs. LA Chargers 1-3 (L)

NY Giants 1-3 (L) vs. Tampa Bay 3-1 (W)

Oakland 4-0 (W) vs. Denver 2-2 (L)

Indianapolis 3-1 (L) vs. Seattle 3-1 (W)

Washington 0-4 (L) vs. Kansas City 3-1 (W)

Week 5

New England 5-0 (W) vs. Tampa Bay 3-2 (L)

Buffalo 3-2 (W) vs. Cincinatti 2-3 (L)

NY Jets 0-5 (L) vs. Cleveland 1-4 (W)

Carolina 4-1 (W) vs. Detroit 0-5 (L)

San Francisco 0-5 (L) vs. Indianapolis 4-1 (W)

Tennessee 0-5 (L) vs. Miami 2-3 (W)

LA Chargers 1-4 (L) vs. NY Giants 2-3 (W)

Arizona 3-2 (W) vs. Philadelphia 3-2 (L)

Jacksonville 3-2 (L) vs. Pittsburgh 5-0 (W)

Seattle 4-1 (W) vs. LA Rams 2-3 (L)

Baltimore 2-3 (L) vs. Oakland 5-0 (W)

Green Bay 5-0 (W) vs. Dallas 4-1 (L)

Kansas City 4-1 (W) vs. Houston 2-3 (L)

Minnesota 4-1 (W) vs. Chicago 0-5 (L)

Week 6

Philadelphia 3-3 (L) vs. Carolina 5-1 (W)

Miami 2-4 (L) vs. Atlanta 4-1 (W)

Chicago 1-5 (W) vs. Baltimore 2-4 (L)

Cleveland 1-5 (L) vs. Houston 3-3 (W)

Green Bay 5-1 (L) vs. Minnesota 5-1 (W)

Detroit 1-5 (W) vs. New Orleans 1-4 (L)

New England 6-0 (W) vs. NY Jets 0-6 (L)

San Francisco 0-6 (L) vs. Washington 1-4 (W)

Tampa Bay 4-2 (W) vs. Arizona 3-3 (L)

LA Rams 2-4 (L) vs. Jacksonville 4-2 (W)

Pittsburgh 5-1 (L) vs. Kansas City 5-1 (W)

LA Chargers 1-5 (L) vs. Oakland 6-0 (W)

NY Giants 2-4 (L) vs. Denver 3-2 (W)

Indianapolis 5-1 (W) vs. Tennessee 0-6 (L)

Week 7

Kansas City 5-2 (L) vs. Oakland 7-0 (W)

Tampa Bay 5-2 (W) vs. Buffalo 3-3 (L)

Carolina 6-1 (W) vs. Chicago 0-7 (L)

Tennesse 1-6 (W) vs. Cleveland 1-6 (L)

New Orleans 1-5 (L) vs. Green Bay 6-1 (W)

Jacksonville 4-3 (L) vs. Indianapolis 6-1 (W)

Arizona 3-4 (L) vs. LA Rams 3-4 (W)

NY Jets 0-7 (L) vs. Miami 3-4 (W)

Baltimore 2-5 (L) vs. Minnesota 6-1 (W)

Cincinatti 2-4 (L) vs. Pittsburgh 6-1 (W)

Dallas 5-1 (W) vs. San Francisco 0-7 (L)

Denver 3-3 (W) vs. LA Chargers 1-6 (L)

Seattle 5-1 (W) vs. NY Giants 2-5 (L)

Atlanta 5-1 (W) vs. New England 6-1 (L)

Washington 2-4 (W) vs. Philadelphia (L) 3-4

Week 8

Miami 3-5 (L) vs. Baltimore 3-5 (W)

Minnesota 7-1 (W) vs. Cleveland 1-7 (L)

Oakland 8-0 (W) vs. Buffalo 3-4 (L)

Indianapolis 6-2 (L) vs. Cincinatti 3-4 (W)

LA Chargers 1-7 (L) vs. New England 7-1 (W)

Chicago 1-7 (W) vs. New Orleans 1-6 (L)

Atlanta 6-1 (W) vs. NY Jets 0-8 (L)

San Francisco 1-7 (W) vs. Philadelphia 3-5 (L)

Carolina 6-2 (L) vs. Tampa Bay 6-2 (W)

Houston 3-4 (L) vs. Seattle 6-1 (W)

Dallas 6-1 (W) vs. Washington 2-5 (L)

Pittsburgh 7-1 (W) vs. Detroit 1-6 (L)

Denver 3-4 (L) vs. Kansas City 6-2 (W)

Week 9

Buffalo 4-4 (W) vs. NY Jets 0-9 (L)

Atlanta 6-2 (L) vs. Carolina 7-2 (W)

Indianapolis 6-3 (L) vs. Houston 4-4 (W)

Cincinatti 4-4 (W) vs. Jacksonville 4-4 (L)

Tampa Bay 6-3 (L) vs. New Orleans 2-6 (W)

LA Rams 3-5 (L) vs. NY Giants 3-5 (W)

Denver 4-4 (W) vs. Philadelphia 3-6 (L)

Baltimore 4-5 (W) vs. Tennessee 1-7 (L)

Arizona 3-5 (L) vs. San Francisco 2-7 (W)

Washington 2-6 (L) vs. Seattle 7-1 (W)

Kansas City 6-3 (L) vs. Dallas 7-1 (W)

Oakland 9-0 (W) vs. Miami 3-6 (L)

Detroit 1-7 (L) vs. Green Bay 7-1 (W)

Week 10

Seattle 8-1 (W) vs. Arizona 3-6 (L)

New Orleans 3-6 (W) vs. Buffalo 4-5 (L)

Green Bay 7-2 (L) vs. Chicago 2-7 (W)

Cleveland 1-8 (L) vs. Detroit 2-7 (W)

Pittsburgh 8-1 (W) vs. Indianapolis 6-4 (L)

LA Chargers 2-7 (W) vs. Jacksonville 4-5 (L)

NY Jets 0-10 (L) vs. Tampa Bay 7-3 (W)

Cincinatti 4-5 (L) vs. Tennessee 2-7 (W)

Minnesota 7-2 (L) vs. Washington 3-6 (W)

Houston 5-4 (W) vs. LA Rams 3-6 (L)

Dallas 8-1 (W) vs. Atlanta 6-3 (L)

NY Giants 4-5 (W) vs. San Francisco 2-8 (L)

New England 8-1 (W) vs. Denver 4-5 (L)

Miami 3-7 (L) vs. Carolina 8-2 (W)

Week 11

Tennessee 2-8 (L) vs. Pittsburgh 9-1 (W)

Detroit 2-8 (L) vs. Chicago 3-7 (W)

Baltimore 4-6 (L) vs. Green Bay 8-2 (W)

Jacksonville 4-6 (L) vs. Cleveland 2-8 (W)

Arizona 3-7 (L) vs. Houston 6-4 (W)

LA Rams 4-6 (W) vs. Minnesota 7-3 (L)

Washington 4-6 (W) vs. New Orleans 3-7 (L)

Kansas City 7-3 (W) vs. NY Giants 4-6 (L)

Buffalo 4-6 (L) vs. LA Chargers 3-7 (W)

Cincinatti 4-6 (L) vs. Denver 5-5 (W)

New England 9-1 (W) vs. Oakland 9-1 (L)

Philadelphia 4-6 (W) vs. Dallas 8-2 (L)

Atlanta 7-3 (W)  vs. Seattle 8-2 (L)

Week 12

Minnesota 8-3 (W) vs. Detroit 2-9 (L)

LA Chargers 3-8 (L) vs. Dallas 9-2 (W)

NY Giants 5-6 (W) vs. Washington 4-7 (L)

Tampa Bay 7-4 (L) vs. Atlanta 8-3 (W)

Cleveland 2-9 (L) vs. Cincinatti 5-6 (W)

Tennessee 2-9 (L) vs. Indianapolis 7-4 (W)

Buffalo 4-7 (L) vs. Kansas City 8-3 (W)

Miami 3-8 (L) vs. New England 10-1 (W)

Carolina 9-2 (W) vs. NY Jets 0-11 (L)

Chicago 3-8 (L) vs. Philadelphia 5-6 (W)

New Orleans 3-8 (L) vs. LA Rams 5-6 (W)

Seattle 9-2 (W) vs. San Francisco 2-9 (L)

Jacksonville 4-7 (L) vs. Arizona 4-7 (W)

Denver 5-6 (L) vs. Oakland 10-1 (W)

Green Bay 9-2 (W) vs. Pittsburgh 9-2 (L)

Houston 7-4 (W) vs. Baltimore 4-7 (L)

Week 13

Washington 5-7 (W) vs. Dallas 9-3 (L)

Minnesota 8-4 (L) vs. Atlanta 9-3 (W)

Detroit 3-9 (W) vs. Baltimore 4-8 (L)

New England 11-1 (W) vs. Buffalo 4-8 (L)

San Francisco 2-10 (L) vs. Chicago 4-8 (W)

Tampa Bay 7-5 (L) vs. Green Bay 10-2 (W)

Indianapolis 7-5 (L) vs. Jacksonville 5-7 (W)

Denver 5-7 (L) vs. Miami 4-8 (W)

Carolina 10-2 (W) vs. New Orleans 3-9 (L)

Kansas City 9-3 (W) vs. NY Jets 0-12 (L)

Houston 7-5 (L) vs. Tennessee 3-9 (W)

Cleveland 2-10 (L) vs. LA Chargers 4-8 (W)

LA Rams 6-6 (W) vs. Arizona 4-8 (L)

NY Giants 5-7 (L) vs. Oakland 11-1 (W)

Philadelphia 5-7 (L) vs. Seattle 10-2 (W)

Pittsburgh 10-2 (W) vs. Cincinatti 5-7 (L)

Week 14

New Orleans 4-9 (W) vs. Atlanta 9-4 (L)

Indianapolis 8-5 (W) vs. Buffalo 4-9 (L)

Minnesota 8-5 (L) vs. Carolina 11-2 (W)

Chicago 5-8 (W) vs. Cincinatti 5-8 (L)

Green Bay 11-2 (W) vs. Cleveland 2-11 (L)

San Francisco 2-11 (L) vs. Houston 8-5 (W)

Seattle 11-2 (W) vs. Jacksonville 5-8 (L)

Oakland 11-2 (L) vs. Kansas City 10-3 (W)

Detroit 3-10 (L) vs. Tampa Bay 8-5 (W)

Tennessee 4-9 (W) vs. Arizona 4-9 (L)

NY Jets 0-13 (L) vs. Denver 6-7 (W)

Washington 6-7 (W) vs. LA Chargers 4-9 (L)

Philadelphia 6-7 (W) vs. LA Rams 6-7 (L)

Dallas 9-4 (L) vs. NY Giants 6-7 (W)

Baltimore 4-9 (L) vs. Pittsburgh 11-2 (W)

New England 12-1 (W) vs. Miami 4-9 (L)

Week 15

Denver 6-8 (L) vs. Indianapolis 9-5 (W)

Chicago 6-8 (W) vs. Detroit 3-11 (L)

LA Chargers 4-10 (L) vs. Kansas City 11-3 (W)

Miami 5-9 (W) vs. Buffalo 4-10 (L)

Green Bay 12-2 (W) vs. Carolina 11-3 (L)

Baltimore 5-9 (W) vs. Cleveland 2-12 (L)

Houston 9-5 (W) vs. Jacksonville 5-9 (L)

Cincinatti 6-8 (W) vs. Minnesota 8-6 (L)

NY Jets 0-14 (L) vs. New Orleans 5-9 (W)

Philadelphia 6-8 (L) vs. NY Giants 7-7 (W)

Arizona 4-10 (L) vs. Washington 7-7 (W)

LA Rams 6-8 (L) vs. Seattle 12-2 (W)

New England 12-2 (L) vs. Pittsburgh 12-2 (W)

Tennessee 5-9 (W) vs. San Francisco 2-12 (L)

Dallas 9-5 (L) vs. Oakland 12-2 (W)

Atlanta 10-4 (W) vs. Tampa Bay 8-6 (L)

Week 16

Indianapolis 10-5 (W) vs. Baltimore 5-10 (L)

Minnesota 8-7 (L) vs. Green Bay 13-2 (W)

Tampa Bay 8-7 (L) vs. Carolina 12-3 (W)

Cleveland 2-13 (L) vs. Chicago 7-8 (W)

Detroit 3-12 (L) vs. Cincinatti 7-8 (W)

Miami 5-10 (L) vs. Kansas City 12-3 (W)

Buffalo 4-11 (L) vs. New England 13-2 (W)

Atlanta 11-4 (W) vs. New Orleans 5-10 (L)

LA Chargers 5-10 (W) vs. NY Jets 0-15

LA Rams 6-9 (L) vs. Tennessee 6-9 (W)

Denver 6-9 (L) vs. Washington 8-7 (W)

Jacksonville 6-9 (W) vs. San Francisco 2-13 (L)

NY Giants 8-7 (W) vs. Arizona 4-11 (L)

Seattle 12-3 (L) vs. Dallas 10-5 (W)

Pittsburgh 13-2 (W) vs. Houston 9-6 (L)

Oakland 13-2 (W) vs. Philadelphia 6-9 (L)

Week 17

Carolina 12-4 (L) vs. Atlanta 12-4 (W)

Cincinatti 8-8 (W) vs. Baltimore 5-11 (L)

Green Bay 14-2 (W) vs. Detroit 3-13 (L)

Houston 10-6 (W) vs. Indianapolis 10-6 (L)

Buffalo 4-12 (L) vs. Miami 6-10 (W)

Chicago 8-8 (W) vs. Minnesota 8-8 (L)

NY Jets 0-16 (L) vs. New England 14-2 (W)

Washington 8-8 (L) vs. NY Giants 9-7 (W)

Dallas 11-5 (W) vs. Philadelphia 6-10 (L)

Cleveland 2-14 (L) vs. Pittsburgh 14-2 (W)

New Orleans 5-11 (L) vs. Tampa Bay 9-7 (W)

Jacksonville 7-9 (W) vs. Tennessee 6-10 (L)

Kansas City 12-4 (L) vs. Denver 7-9 (W)

Oakland 14-2 (W) vs. LA Chargers 5-11 (L)

San Francisco 2-14 (L) vs. LA Rams 7-9 (W)

Arizona 4-12 (L) vs. Seattle 13-3 (W)

There you have it. My predictions for the upcoming NFL season. Tell me I’m an idiot at @tbennz on twitter, or leave a comment below. Cheers!