Sunday, January 07, 2018

Bills Come Up Short

In their first playoff game since I was in high school and before the existence of this blog, the Buffalo Bills came up just short in a valiant 10-3 loss. Neither Jacksonville nor Buffalo could mount much offense. The Bills scored first, notching a field goal after they had it first and goal from the one. Jacksonville managed to tie the game just before the half.

The best offense for either team was the Jaguars' Blake Bortles scrambling. Buffalo's Tyrod Taylor never threw the ball down the field. He is not a risk-taker. The all-time leader in fewest interception percentage per pass, Taylor usually opts to throw short. His interception today was a fluke; a ball tipped up into the air a few times.He is a good runner and very adept at avoiding sacks. Hes willing to throw the ball away rather than take a sack or force a pass into traffic.

Taylor's steady hand is appreciated, but without the potential of a big play, Jacksonville's defense could contain Taylor's short passes. Too often,. the Bills lost yardage. Losing yards is part of the price if risk is involved, but the Bills had far too many plays in which they lost yardage for such a conservative approach.

Taylor's injury on 4th and 3 with just over a minute to go was heartbreaking. Nathan Peterman came in and picked up the first down, but soon threw an "interception" to Jalen Ramsey, who first committed an uncalled pass interference, and then trapped the ball against the ground. Instant replay has not been kind to the Bills in their last two playoff games.

Bills linebacker Lorenzo Alexander came up big. He was impressive.

Hopefully, the Bills don't make wholesale changes. Taylor needs better pass-catching options, but Buffalo is on the right track.

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Boxing Fights I Want to See

Last year was a little better for boxing in terms of making the top fights everyone wants to see. Ward-Kovalev, Canelo-Govkin, Lomachenko-Rignodeax, Joshua-Klitschko, and Thurman-Garcia all fit the mold. In that same vain, here are the fights I'd like to see in 2018.

Heavyweight
Some combination of Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, and Joseph Parker. Please stop fighting Eric Molina!

Light Heavyweight
Adonis Stevenson vs. Sergey Kovalev for the legitimate light heavyweight championship.
Artur Beterbiev vs. Dmitry Bivol

Middleweight
Canelo-Golovkin 2
Billy Joe Saunders vs. Erislandy Lara (give me a skilled chess match any day)

Welterweights
Terence Crawford vs. Errol Spence, but Keith Thurman is currently the best in the division, so let Crawford or Spence fight Thurman and the other one fight Danny Garcia before Crawford and Spence face off.

Junior Welterweights
Mikey Garcia vs Regis Prograis (I'm high on Prograis and I wonder if Garcia can take a hard-punching 140 pounder's punch)

Lightweight
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Mikey Garcia

Junior Lightweight
Gervonta Davis vs. Gary Russell (Baltimore vs. DC)

Featherweight
Tournament
Leo Santa Cruz vs. Gary Russell
Carl Frampton vs. Abner Mares

Junior Bantamweight
Naoya Inoue vs Srisaket Sor Rungvisai-Juan Estrada winner

Friday, January 05, 2018

Best Boxing Referees and Judges

When these boxing referees are announced I feel confident there will be a fairly officiated fight.

Here's a list of the 6 best in alphabetical order:
Kenny Bayless
Harvey Dock
Michael Griffin
Jack Reiss
Tom Taylor
Tony Weeks


Fewer judges stand out.
Here are two that I feel the most confident in their scores:
Julie Lederman
Steve Weisfeld

Thursday, January 04, 2018

2018 NFL Playoff Predictions

AFC
Wild Card Round
6 Buffalo over 3 Jacksonville 21-10
4 Kansas City over 5 Tennessee 27-14

Divisional Round
1 New England over 6 Buffalo 24-23
2 Pittsburgh over 4 Kansas City 13-10

AFC Championship
2 Pittsburgh over 1 New England 17-13

NFC
Wild Card Round
6 Atlanta over 3 LA Rams 35-27
4 New Orleans over 5 Carolina 24-14

Divisional Round
6 Atlanta over 1 Philadelphia 28-3
4 New Orleans over 2 Minnesota 20-17

NFC Championship
4 New Orleans over 6 Atlanta 31-17

Super Bowl LII'
New Orleans over Pittsburgh 28-23

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

New Format Final Standings

If the NFL moved back to two divisions per conference, we would get fairer and more exciting playoff games.

NFC South and East
1) Philadelphia 13-3
2) New Orleans 11-5
3) Carolina 11-5
4) Atlanta 10-6
5) Dallas 9-7
6) Washington 7-9
7) Tampa Bay 5-11
8) NY Giants 3-13

NFC North and West
1) Minnesota 13-3
2) LA Rams 11-5
3) Detroit 9-7
4) Seattle 9-7
5) Arizona 8-8
6) Green Bay 7-9
7) Chicago 5-11
8) San Francisco 6-10

The playoff seeding would look like this:
1) Phi, 2) Min, 3) LAR, 4) NO, 5) Car, 6) Atl.

Int he new format, the division races wouldn't have been sewn up so quickly.

AFC North and East
1) New England 13-3
2) Pittsburgh 13-3
3) Buffalo 9-7
4) Baltimore 9-7
5) Cincinnati 7-9
6) Miami 6-10
7) NY Jets 5-11
8) Cleveland 0-16

AFC South and West
1) Jacksonville 10-6
2) Kansas City 10-6
3) Tennessee 9-7
4) LA Chargers 9-7
5) Oakland 6-10
6) Denver 5-11
7) Houston 4-12
8) Indianapolis 4-12

The playoff seeding would look like this:
1) NE, 2) Jax, 3) Pit, 4) KC, 5) Ten, 6) Buf.

The one situation in which the new format is less fair is when two teams from one division finish with the top two records. However, the new format would've made the run up to the playoffs far more exciting and competitive. NE and Pitt would jockey for the bye and so would Jacksonville and Kansas City.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Top Ten Pound-For-Pound

Here's my pound-for-pound list. I take into account ability and accomplishment. The previous list was posted on September 18.

1. Vasyl Lomachenko (10-1, 9 KOs) [9]
2. Terence Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs) [2]
3. Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) [3]
4. Saul Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) [4]
5. Sergey Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) [6]
6. Erislandy Lara (25-2-2, 14 KOs) [10]
7. Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) [7]
8. Keith Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) [8]
9. Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-1, 11 KOs) [6]
10. Leo Santa Cruz (34-1-1, 19 KOs( [Not ranked]

Exiting the list:
Andre Ward (32-0, 16 KOs) [1]

Ward exits the list on top after retiring.

Lomachenko's win over Rigondeaux convinced me that he's the best in the world. I value a fighter's resume, and Lomachenko's was not as good as the men above him. But after dominating a pound-for-pound top 5 fighter, the double Olympic gold medalist deserves to vault into the number one spot. In addition to Rigondeaux, Lomachenko badly beat fringe pound-for-pound contender Nicholas Walters and controlled the fight against the supremely talented Gary Russell.

Terence Crawford has a combination of boxing acumen and punching power that makes him one of the best fighters in the world. Better as a lefty, he has the ability to switch stances. But Crawford's resume is lacking compared to Lomachenko now. Crawford's best win was against the formidable Viktor Postol for the true junior welterweight championship. Otherwise, he's destroyed a lot of good opponents including Olympic gold medalists Yuriorkis Gamboa and Feliz Diaz, but doesn't have much experience on the next level

Gennady Golovkin's star has fallen somewhat after a tough win over Danny Jacobs and a draw with Canelo. But Jacobs is a top 3 middleweight and Canelo is a pound-for-pound top 5 boxer. GGG deserved a close win over Canelo in my mind. Besides Jacobs and Alvarez, Golovkin has knocked out a lot of decent opponents with his varied attack and heavy hands. His defense isn't as good as the two men above him.

Canelo Alvarez might have faced the most star opponents of anyone on this list. He's developed into a smart boxer who isn't afraid to mix it up. He's the only man to face both Floyd Mayweather and Golovkin. Officially he registered a split draw and a majority decision loss, but in reality, he lost both clearly. Wins over Miguel Cotto, Erislandy Lara, and Austin Trout were impressive, but the Lara and Trout decisions were controversial. Nevertheless, the other pound-for-pound contenders haven't faced as many top level fighters as Alvarez.

Sergey Kovalev was #2 until he lost twice to Andre Ward. The first decision loss was disputed; the second loss was a stoppage. Otherwise, it doesn't appear there's a boxer close to his weight division who can beat him. He's stopped Jean Pascal twice, Nathan Cleverly, and beat Bernard Hopkins.

Erislandy Lara's record is messy. I believe both of his losses were unjustified. I think he beat both Paul Williams and Canelo Alvarez. His draw against Carlos Molina should've been a loss. He's not the most exciting fighter, but he's one of the most skilled. A great defensive specialist and counter puncher, particularly with the overhand left.

Adonis Stevenson is the legitimate light heavyweight champion. His wins over Chad Dawson (especially) and Tavoris Cloud were big wins, but they were in 2013. Since then, he's fought some good guys, but no one great. He'll need to beat one of the many bona fide light heavyweight contenders to stay on this list. He has enough power in the left hand to do it.

Keith Thurman has impressive wins over Shawn Porter and pound-for-pound top ten contender Danny Garcia, but both were close decisions. Thurman has only beaten faded veterans and mediocre foreigners with padded records otherwise.

Guillermo Rigondeaux has supreme skills. His loss to Lomachenko shouldn't knock him out of the top 10. He beat top ten pound-for-pound boxer Nonito Donaire in 2013 and some other average guys around that win. Like his countrymen Lara, he is a southpaw defense specialist who counters well.

Leo Santa Cruz also has beaten some good guys. His split in two fights with Carl Frampton and win over Abner Mares place him over some other contenders who might be more skilled, but don't have the same resume. A pressure fighter, Santa Cruz is usually in high volume fights.

Honorable Mentions:

Errol Spence's best win was over Kell Brook. He's beaten average guys more impressively than other top fighters. Hopefully, he continues to fight top guys and vault onto the list.

Mikey Garcia has beaten a lot of quality guys, but no great ones. His best win was over Adrien Broner. No one in the top ten has such an unimpressive top victory. But Garcia is talented enough to make the list after acquiring a signature win.

Naoya Inoue's balance when throwing monster shots will see him make the list when he fights someone of note.

Oleksander Usdyk has some good wins. Krzysztof Glowacki was his best, which isn't too shabby. He's building a resume to make the top ten soon.

Srisaket Sor Rungvisai has two wins over former pound-for-pound contender Roman Gonzalez. The first fight was disputed, but the second one proved it was no fluke. While beating a great fighter twice rockets someone into the pound-for-pound conversation, SSR hardly has any other good wins. He has feasted on journeymen.

Anthony Joshua's epic win over Wladimir Klitschko puts him in contention. But Klitschko was 41, knocked Joshua down, and AJ doesn't have another win nearly as valuable. If he can beat both Joseph Parker and Deontay Wilder, he should be taken more seriously.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

The Babies are Growing

My babies are growing up. My daughter has extreme stranger danger which is heightened whenever she encounters life-size Santa decorations in the neighborhood. I've taught her well.

They're so big now that when I kiss their cheeks, I don't automatically poke them in the eye with my nose.

On Tuesday, they knocked me down, pulled my shirt up and tried to give me a pink belly. They're too weak to do any real damage, but I was pretty surprised that they were able to get me into that position.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Government is Banning Words

It became big news when it was reported that there were seven words you can't say at the CDC. They are shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits.

Well it turns out the White House has banned seven words also. They are empathy, competency, democracy, dissent, debate, dossier and dentures.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

New NFL Format Standings Update

An update on the standings. In the proposed format, there would be two divisions in each conference. In the AFC, the East and North would form one division and the South and West would constitute the other. In the NFC, the East and South combine, and the North and West would be the other.

Current AFC standings
1) NE 11-3
2) Pit 11-3
3) Jax 10-4
4) KC 8-6
5) Ten 8-6
6) Buf 8-6

AFC in New Format
1) NE 11-3
2) Jax 10-4
3) Pit 11-3
4) KC 8-6
5) Ten 8-6
6) Buf 8-6

The only scenario where the new format is less fair is when the top teams would be in the same division as is the case here with Pittsburgh and New England. Otherwise, instead of Kansas City coasting to the 4 seed, there would be a 4-way tie for 4th.

Current NFC standings
1) Phi 12-2
2) Min 11-3
3) LAR 10-4
4) NO 10-4
5) Car 10-4
6) Atl 9-5

NFC in New Format
1) Phi 12-2
2) Min 11-3
3) LAR 10-4
4) NO 10-4
5) Car 10-4
6) Atl 9-5

The seeds are the same in either format. The difference is the number of teams jockeying for position. The North and West division race would be tight between Min and LAR. More teams would be at play for the final four Wild Card spots.

Thursday, December 14, 2017

NFL Standings Update

An update on the standings. In the proposed format, there would be two divisions in each conference. In the AFC, the East and North would form one division and the South and West would constitute the other. In the NFC, the East and South combine, and the North and West would be the other.

Current AFC standings
1) Pit 11-2
2) NE 10-3
3) Jax 9-4
4) KC 7-6
5) Ten 8-5
6) Buf 7-6

AFC in New Format
1) Pit 11-2
2) Jax 9-4
3) NE 10-3
4) Ten 8-5
5) KC 7-6
6) Buf 7-6

The only scenario where the new format is less fair is when the top teams would be in the same division as is the case here with Pittsburgh and New England. Otherwise, instead of Kansas City having an undeserved home game in the wild car round, they would be on the road at Tennessee- a much fairer situation. There would be two out of two hot division races, and a four-way tie for the final spot.

Current NFC standings
1) Phi 11-2
2) Min 10-3
3) LAR 9-4
4) NO 9-4
5) Car 9-4
6) Atl 8-5

NFC in New Format
1) Phi 11-2
2) Min 10-3
3) LAR 9-4
4) NO 9-4
5) Car 9-4
6) Atl 8-5

The seeds are the same in either format. The difference is in the races. Currently there are 2 races in the 4 NFC divisions. In the new format, both divisions would have tight races.