Facets Focus: NFC EAST

And so we begin! Training camps are off, and alas, it’s going to be another tough year predicting the NFC East. So here I am, ready to give my best effort!

1. Philadelphia Eagles

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Signing Mark Sanchez puts this team over the edge to instant Super Bowl contenders. Joking, but all joking aside, the division winners from a year ago are likely headed towards the same result once again. There most notable signing, outside of Mark Sanchez, was safety Malcolm Jenkins who’s started 54 games in the past 4 seasons. That’s 13.5 games per season, fairly durable. He was second all-pro team in 2010, his most notable award, but sures up a Philly defense that, according to oddsshark.com, ranked below league average. Philly also got versatile Mr. Do everything, Darren Sproles from New Orleans. Sproles can literally do it all. He’s a dangerous, dangerous player in the return game, running attack and can play out wide like a wide receiver and catch countless passes. Those passes, coming from 2013 standout, Nick Foles. Foles had one of the better QB seasons of recent years throwing 27 touchdowns and a measly 2 interceptions. Coming off that great season, Foles will be without his favorite target, DeSean Jackson, who took his talents to Washington. Foles and D-Jack connected on over 70% of passes thrown, and now the Eagles are looking to fill that void. With a healthy Jeremy Maclin returning, along with the resigning of Riley Cooper, the Eagles still have a potent air attack. Shady McCoy, in some peoples eyes may be the best back in the league, and has the numbers to prove it over the past couple seasons. It’s year 2 in the Chip Kelly system, and I believe Chip will be 2 for 2 in division titles by the end of the season.

  • Record Prediction: 10-6
  • Offensive MVP: LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy
  • Defensive MVP: Mychal Kendricks

2. New York Giants

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Giants fans are in for a ton of new faces offensively, defensively and on special teams. Giants GM Jerry Reese didn’t get shorted on off-season signings and that’s for sure as he signed well over 15 players that will all contribute this upcoming season. Along with player signings, Big Blue brought in a new offensive coordinator, Ben McAdoo, former Green Bay Packers QB coach. McAdoo has brought in the West Coast Offense to East Rutherford, New Jersey and seems to be very exciting. New Giants starting running-back Rashad Jennings said the G-Men could run the entire offense with no huddle. The key to the offense, no matter a new running-back in the aforementioned Jennings, or rookie wide-receiver Odell Beckham Jr., the Giants offense will rely heavily on two things; Eli Manning and the offensive line blocking for him. One of the worst lines a year ago, the G-Men have a few new starters up front and they’re the key to helping Eli get back on track. But, the bread and butter as it seems headed into preseason shortly, is the New York Giants secondary. The Giants brought back ball-hawk safety, Stevie Brown, acquired safety and return man Will Demps and two notable corners in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Walter Thurmond. The Giants now have one of the better secondaries in the entire NFL, but it’s definitely going to be needed during their divisional games with each team having impressive wide-out cores.

  • Record Prediction: 9-7
  • Offensive MVP: Victor Cruz
  • Defensive MVP: Prince Amukamara

3. Washington Redskins

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We could go on for days about RG3, is he okay? Is he ever going to perform like he did his rookie year again? and so on and so forth. But the weapons around him are completely in place, so we might find out how good Robert Griffin III really is. New acquisition DeSean Jackson adds to the firepower of Pierre Garcon, Alfred Morris, Jordan Reed and company. One of the more potent offenses in the entire league you’d think are going to put up points. The question about the Redskins will be about their defense. Long time captain and middle linebacker London Fletcher is gone (retired) so now this has become Brian Orakpo’s defense. He and DeAngelo Hall are their 2 clear cut best defenders and they’re going to have to be defensive standouts if Washington hopes to compete for a division in 2014. Will they still be the Redskins by seasons start? I believe so, but that remains to be seen.

  • Record Prediction: 8-8
  • Offensive MVP: Alfred Morris
  • Defensive MVP: Brian Orakpo

4. Dallas Cowboys

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It could be a really long season in Jerry World. We could see a head coach firing midway through the season in Dallas. Everything Dallas does, Tony Romo will be in the spotlight, good or bad. That being said, this season, it shouldn’t be. The Dallas defense is not going to be very good by any means. They lost there 2 best defensive players, DeMarcus Ware via free agency, and Sean Lee to a season ending injury. The 6th worst defense in the NFL from a year ago, with Ware and Lee for part of the season, isn’t going to improve by losing 2 all-pro players on that side of the ball. Their offense, on the other hand, is going to be just fine. Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams is a very nice 1-2 punch for Romo to throw too, along with Mr. Consistency, Jason Witten. I don’t expect Jason Garrett to make it through the entire season the head football coach of the Dallas Cowboys.

  • Record Prediction: 6-10
  • Offensive MVP: Tony Romo
  • Defensive MVP: Brandon Carr

Ten Best NBA Offseasons To Date

In no specific order here are the ten BEST off-seasons so far.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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The best player in the WORLD is on his way back home. LeBron James makes any teams off-season instantly great but that’s not the only thing we should zero in on. Cleveland landed the first pick in the lotto and took Andrew Wiggins, who has been compared to LeBron himself in the past. Dan Gilbert and management did a wonderful job dealing Jarrett Jack along with a few others in a trade to clear enough space for LBJ’s max contract. They gave their point guard of the future a big extension hoping he and LeBron can help bring a championship to the city of Cleveland. I can’t forget Cleveland went outside the states to bring in there new head coach, David Blatt, who was considered the best coach outside of the states.

 

Chicago Bulls

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The Bulls have had a good draft and a good free agency thus far. They traded there two first round picks (16 & 19) for McDermott who was selected 11th overall. He’s played two straight dominant offensive games for the Chicago summer league team scoring 30 and than 20 points in consecutive games. But the draft isn’t the only thing Chicago can hang there hats about. They’ve attacked the free agent market, such a non-Bullsy thing to do. They made a serious play at Carmelo Anthony, ultimately falling short, but went straight to plan b when they scooped Pau Gasol right up on a three year deal. Not only did they acquire Pau, but they brought over the best overseas player in the game in Nikola Mirotic. A 6’10 stretch PF, Mirotic has a very polished offensive game and adds to the depth the Bulls have in the front-court.

 

Charlotte Hornets

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The formally known Bobcats have had a wonderful off-season. Michael Jordan has been criticized for some of the previous moves he’s made in the draft or free agency but he’s nailed it on the head this season. Newly acquiring Lance Stephenson today really gives Charlotte a nice core with he, Kemba, and Big Al Jefferson. It allows Kemba to play off the ball more, which is only going to help them late in games, having two potent ball-handlers. They had a solid draft taking Noah Vonleh who A LOT of people were high on during the draft and sharp shooter P.J Hairston. Charlotte addressed needs that were imminent headed into the off-season and Jordan has pushed all the right buttons so far.

 

New York Knicks

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Phil Jackson has started off his tenure very, very well. He even got Melo to take a five million dollar pay-cut! But in all seriousness, Phil has done well. Replacing Raymond Felton with Jose Calderon, huge upgrade, Sam Dalembert for Tyson Chandler who were VERY similar players based on offensive and defensive ratings last year and Dalembert is a lot cheaper! Cleanthony Early slipped to the second round and the Knicks didn’t hesitate to pull the trigger on what I think, was the steal of the draft at pick number 32. Phil has Melo buying in to the future. Maybe it was for the money, Melo will never admit that, but resigning him and making these positive moves is a very good sign going forward for the Knickerbockers.

 

San Antonio Spurs

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How can you even deny how masterful a job every single person in this organization does any longer? San Antonio has made zero major splashes but they’ve quietly kept there championship winning team together. Tim Duncan opted into his deal, Boris Diaw re-signed, Patty Mills who could have probably gone somewhere and possibly started re-signed as well. They drafted talented prospect from UCLA Kyle Anderson and scoring machine Bryce Cotton. There is no denying that guys that could leave to go get more money elsewhere, don’t care because how well they’re treated and how much desire the Spurs have to just flat out win.

 

Dallas Mavericks

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Dallas got a borderline top ten player of all-time, still an elite scorer in the NBA, to take a paycut at eight million dollars per so he gets a final run at a championship. Kudos, Mark Cuban. But alas, that’s not all! They brought back Tyson Chandler, as I previously mentioned because Dirk simply needs support at the rim behind him. They put out an offer sheet, that wasn’t matched by Houston, on Chandler Parsons coming off a career year and a guy who can do anything and everything on the court in order to win games. The biggest asset Dallas lost is Jose Calderon but the re-signing of former All-Star Devin Harris will quickly fill that void left at the point guard position. What moves does Cuban have in store for the rest of Free Agency?

 

Utah Jazz

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Utah has so much young talent. After getting combo guard Dante Exum in the draft along with combo guard forward out of Duke, Rodney Hood, the Jazz keep loading up on the young talent. After Charlotte offered Gordon Hayward a healthy contract, Utah decided it was in there best interest going forward to match the offer sheet to bring Gordon back. They brought in veteran three-point specialist Steve Novak who adds to the multitude of shooters Utah has, as well. A young core of Burke, Exum, Hayward, and Favors is very promising going forward. They may not thrive right this season, but in a couple of years I wouldn’t doubt Utah being a playoff team in a tough Western Conference.

 

Miami Heat

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I know it’s hard to consider the Heat as one of the ten best offseasons to date losing the best player in the world, but every other move has been very productive. Up until this point, the Heat have signed eight players, and drafted one. The new Miami Heat core has two familiar faces, and one ex-Bull in Luol Deng. Although Shabazz Napier hasn’t performed well at all during summer league, the Heat got who they wanted in the draft and they haven’t shy’d away from it just because he’s struggled a bit. Adding two veterans in Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger are two very good pieces now that they’re not in any limelight type role, especially Granger. I don’t think Pat Riley and the Heat are done in free agency just yet, but he’s put together a very formidable team down in Miami.

 

Toronto Raptors

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Like the Spurs, Toronto kept a lot of there own. They re-signed breakout point guard Kyle Lowry, backup point guard and one time starter Greivis Vasquez, and the always reliable Patrick Patterson. An underrated move by Masai Uriji who may be the best general manager in the sport, the Raptors acquired Lou Williams who a few years back was one of the best sixth men across the entire NBA. They moved him for John Salmons showing you how much of an upgrade off the bench that makes. Is Toronto content with their roster in place? Can they build on being the third seed in the eastern conference just a season ago?

Boston Celtics

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The Boston Celtics have had another one of those quiet, but solid off-seasons. They haven’t lost anyone other than Kris Humphries via sign and trade but they’ve gained-a-plenty! Getting guards Marcus Smart and Jon Young in the first round of the draft were both solid picks by Danny Ainge and the C’s organization. Re-signing one of the better on ball defenders, who’s offensive game continues to get better in Avery Bradley was a solid move too go along with two nice pieces acquired in the trade variety: Marcus Thornton and Tyler Zeller. This team will go with Rajon Rondo and Jeff Green, but all the pieces whether they are used as trade bait or for the future are nicely put together.

MLB Awards On July First

AL MVP

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Mike Trout – Fish boy has simply been all world since he arrived to the major leagues, the second time, on April 28th of 2012. 2014 has been no different. He’s 6th in average (.313), 3rd in runs (55), 5th in HR’s (19), 5th in RBI (62), 2nd in OBP (.407), 1st in OPS (1.022), and is a perfect 10 out of ten swiping bags. The endless things you can say about Mike start to get repetitive because how consistently great he is. He’s created the most runs in the AL based on everything he does and that’s a great contribution to the 2nd best record in the AL along with the 3rd greatest run differential at +55. Remember when people said he came into last season overweight? Right. Me neither.

AL Cy Young

Felix Hernandez

Felix Hernandez - This AL Cy Young race is basically a 1a and 1b type race between he and Masahiro Tanaka. At this point, Felix and Tanaka and tied for 1st in ERA (2.10), the king leads by .03 at .92 in WHIP, 2nd in K’s (137), has only allowed 30 runs in 128 innings pitched and the opponents batting average against Hernandez is an outstanding .206, which is 3rd in the AL. The Mariners have the 4th best record in the AL and King Felix has been all that and more.

 

NL MVP

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Troy Tulowitzki – Troy has flat out been the best hitter in the NL. He was up near .400 into June, has dipped to a slightly lowered average at .354, which is fairly decent. Tulo leads in a lot of major statistical categories including batting average (.354), OBP (.445), SLG (.618), OPS (1.064), and WAR (5.1). The Rockies after a hot start have fallen way out of contention in the National League but not because of Tulowitzki. When somebody is in the top 10 of every single major statistical category, you open your eyes and realize how great they’ve been.

NL Cy Young

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Johnny Cueto – With Clayton Kershaw and Adam Wainwright hot on his tail, Johnny is still ahead of the pack in the National League Cy Young Race. Clayton isn’t qualified, or he’d be in the lead thanks to his sparkling June, but Johnny has been healthy all year and has been producing every 5 days. Cueto leads baseball, not just the NL, in ERA (1.88), WHIP, (0.84) and BAA (.171). Cueto gets almost a full run less of run support than Wainwright and that’s such a telling sign to why W/L records is a very fluky way to judge a pitcher.

NBA Offseason: Who’s Going Where?

The two of us here at All Facets Of The Game give our opinions on where certain players land this off-season!

The_Real_Grande                                                 Jessedoyle7

  • LeBron James – 49-10066-Y           49-10066-Y
  • Dwyane Wade – 49-10066-Y         49-10066-Y
  • Carmelo Anthony – nyk       Houstonrockets_logo_old
  • Kevin Love – chicago-bulls-logo2           chicago-bulls-logo2
  • Chris Bosh – 49-10066-Y                49-10066-Y
  • Dirk Nowitzki – nbadallasmav_whang_500g       nbadallasmav_whang_500g
  • Kyle Lowry –  Los_Angeles_Lakers_Alternate_Logo        49-10066-Y
  • Eric Bledsoe – sunslogo_15_crop_exact     sunslogo_15_crop_exact
  • Luol Deng –   nbadallasmav_whang_500g
  • Pau Gasol – sunslogo_15_crop_exactsunslogo_15_crop_exact
  • Lance Stephenson –    
  • Gordon Hayward – CelticsLogo_History     CelticsLogo_History

NBA First Round Mock Draft: 1.0

With the draft closing in on Thursday, it is time to finally release our first edition of our mock draft.

 

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  1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins
  2. Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker
  3. Philadelphia 76ers – Marcus Smart
  4. Orlando Magic – Dante Exum
  5. Utah Jazz – Joel Embiid
  6. Boston Celtics – Noah Vonley
  7. Los Angeles Lakers – Julius Randle
  8. Sacramento Kings – Doug McDermott
  9. Charlotte Hornets – Aaron Gordon
  10. Philadelphia 76ers – Nik Stauskas
  11. Denver Nuggets – Dario Saric
  12. Orlando Magic – Zach LaVine
  13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Gary Harris
  14. Phoenix Suns – T.J. Warren
  15. Atlanta Hawks – James Young
  16. Chicago Bulls – Rodney Hood
  17. Boston Celtics – Elfrid Payton
  18. Phoenix Suns – Jusuf Nurkic
  19. Chicago Bulls – Jordan Adams
  20. Toronto Raptors – Tyler Ennis
  21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Adreian Payne
  22. Memphis Grizzlies – P.J Hairston
  23. Utah Jazz – Kyle Anderson
  24. Charlotte Hornets – Jeremi Grant
  25. Houston Rockets – K.J McDaniels
  26. Miami Heat – Shabazz Napier
  27. Phoenix Suns – Jarnell Stokes
  28. Los Angeles Clippers – Cleanthony Early
  29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Mitch McGeary
  30. San Antonio Spurs – Clint Capela

Remembering Tony Gwynn

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Today while I was going on with my daily life I received some news that froze me in the middle of what I was doing. Hall of Fame outfielder Tony Gwynn passed away this morning at the age of 54 years of age after a long battle with cancer. Now this personally hit me pretty hard. Being born in 1992 Tony Gwynn is debatably the best hitter I have ever seen in my short lifetime. The list of accolades that Gwynn accomplished in his 20 year career with the Padres could go on for ever, but for time sake here are just a few.

Tony Gwynn was an Eight time batting champion in the National League. This is tied for the most of all time with the great Honus Wagner. He also led in hits for seven seasons, and this is only tied with Pete Rose. Gwynn was also a fifteen time Allstar in his twenty year career. As well as the stunning numbers with the bat Gwynn also wasn’t afraid to flash a little bit of leather. Gwynn had 5 gold glove awards in his career as well. Although all of these accomplishments are nothing shy of spectacular “Mr. Padre” had 19 consecutive seasons of hitting above a .300 average. This one stands out to me especially when I was younger watching his games I never knew how significant this was. I would be very surprised to see a man hit above .300 for 19 straight seasons in my lifetime again. Another part of this incredible feat was his 1994 season in which he hit .394, which was the highest in the National League since 1930. That same season there was a strike so he possibly could have been above .400. All of these feat led him to a career .338 batting average as well membership to baseballs sacred 3,000 hit club. He finished his career with 3,141 hits. Gwynn was rewarded for his career with a first ballot election to the baseball Hall of Fame in 2007. His %97.6 voting it best for seventh all time in baseball history.

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Gwynn had an impact on the field, but his impact off the field was also huge. So huge that there is a statue outside of the Petco Park fence of Gwynn. As well as being an impact figure on his children’s life, he also spent part of his post playing career as the San Diego State University baseball coach. Along with this he got to spend time watching his son Tony Gwynn Jr., who is currently a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Most people remember Tony Gwynn for his feats on the field, but closer friends remember him for his smile and infectious laugh. He was loved on and off the field by all, and friends such as teammate Joe Carter said it would he hard to say anything bad about him. Baseball lost a true icon today in “Mr. Padre.”, Tony Gwynn.

2014 FIFA World Cup Preview:

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The biggest sporting event in the world is upon us and now it is time to preview the 2014 FIFA World Cup!

Here is a look at each group!

Group A: Brazil (Host), Mexico, Cameroon, Croatia

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia

Group C: Columbia, Greece, Côte De’Ivoire, Japan

Group D: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy

Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria

Group G(Group of Death)Germany, Portugal, Ghana, *USA*

Group H: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic

The Round of 16! (Predictions)

 Group A: Brazil (Host), Mexico

Group B: Spain, Chile

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Two college students talking any and all sports, to anybody that will listen.

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