Monthly Archives: October 2012

NBA Storylines & Predictions

Just think, a year ago we were all telling jokes about how LeBron James had no rings, no killer instinct, and couldn’t put the team on his back.  Now after he won the NBA Championship, MVP, NBA Finals MVP, and an Olympic Gold Medal in the past year we are now asking what’s next?  Can LeBron take himself to MJ levels?  Can he be the greatest of all-time?  And that has to be the main storyline for the upcoming 2012-13 season.

The Miami Heat:  The Heat come into 2013 as the defending champions and all the pressure is on them to take control of the NBA like they did last year.  The big storyline is can they repeat?  If so, can they go on a historic run like Jordan did with the Bulls and win multiple titles in a row?  Miami not only has the best player in the NBA, LeBron, but they now surrounded that man with shooters all around him signing the best 3-point shooter off all-time, Ray Allen.  Last year in the Playoffs, the Heat figured out who they are and it only took them two years to do it!  The Heat run an unprecedented offense with “no positions”, it will consist of LeBron doing whatever he wants and surrounding him with shooters.  The Miami Heat are clearly the team to beat in the NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers: Arguably the next biggest storyline of the off-season was the Lakers making trades to give a three-year window to allow Kobe Bryant to at least (and hopefully surpass) Michael Jordan’s six NBA Titles.  The Lakers shocked the world by not only getting Steve Nash (the best point guard that Kobe will ever play with), they traded for the much maligned and best Center in the NBA, Dwight Howard.  The Lakers are now four-deep in their starting lineup with potential Hall-of-Famers, and the Artest formerly known as Ron, Metta World Peace will only have to be a spot up shooter and play defense.  The question is can this team gel and do they have enough in their legs to last a grueling 82 game season with a long playoff run?  Dwight Howard is the great equalizer and one of the best defenders in the NBA who can clog the middle.  The Lakers will be learning to play with each other on the run and are installing the new Princeton offense.  The Lakers will start slow but will hit their stride later in the season, don’t panic if the start off around .500.

James Harden Trade:  The Los Angeles Lakers main competition to represent the Western Conference in the NBA Finals to a big step when the Oklahoma City Thunder abruptly traded James Harden to the Houston Rockets.  As a small market team, the Thunder “said” they couldn’t have three max players and decided to low-ball James Harden after paying Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge  .  In the short-term, the Thunder are hurt by this trade in the Western Conference, they get a big-time scorer in Kevin Martin and a developmental two-guard with Jeremy Lamb, but that won’t replace the Sixth-Man of the Year.  In the long-term the Thunder might be better off.  Westbrook and Durant are still in their early 20’s and will eventually have to sign another contract, Sam Presti and the Thunder want to make sure that the talent they have will get better and they know in three years that the Lakers will potentially be without Nash and Bryant.

The Takeover of New York:  The New York Knicks used to own New York, despite being terrible mediocre for the past two decades, having an incompetent owner and now getting rid of a potentially great and marketable Point Guard (Jeremy Lin), who they replaced with Jason “Please Ice My Knees” Kidd and Raymond “Man Titty” Felton.  Not only that, the Knicks are now without Amar’e Stoudamire for at least six weeks and this team is in trouble in the East.  But here come the Brooklyn Nets — they’ve moved into the Barclays Center (if it’s still in one piece after Hurricane Sandy — and they have an owner who may not go to games, but has the deepest checkbook in the NBA.  The Nets signed Deron Williams to a $100 million contract, traded for Joe Johnson and the $90 million left on his contract, gave Brook Lopez a max-contract (I can’t type that with a straight face) and resigned Gerald Wallace to $40 contract (still laughing).  The Battle for New York will be a funny mediocre one!

Derrick Rose Comeback:  Despite being the top team in the Eastern Conference last year, the Chicago Bulls fought off the injury bug all season, none-worse than Derrick Rose tearing his ACL in the first round of the playoffs.  Rose has a long comeback ahead of him and the Bulls are hoping he’s back by midseason.  The Bulls are talented enough to stay afloat and potentially be a 2-4 seed while he’s out, but what will DRose be when he comes back?  Are the Bulls going to be ready to unseed the Miami Heat? Lots of questions in Chicago.

David Stern Farewell Tour:  The man with potentially the biggest ego in all of sports is finally taking his Swan Song and retiring in 2014 after thirty years of being the NBA Commissioner.  Stern has taken the NBA to unseen levels of popularity,  after the booming 90s, the NBA now has a chance to pass the Golden Age of the 90s into the Platinum Age of the 2010s.  The NBA has never had as many marketable superstars and great rivalries than it does now.  Stern will look to solidify his legacy by bringing a franchise back to Seattle after he helped the former Sonics leave to Oklahoma City.  The Dictatorship may be ending soon, but Stern still has a bunch of tricks of that sleeve of his.

Predictions:

Western Conference Playoff Teams (no particular order): Lakers, Jazz, Thunder, Denver, Clippers, Spurs, Grizzlies, Rockets.

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams (no particular order): Heat, Bulls, 76ers, Celtics, Pacers, Nets, Pistons, Knicks.

NBA Finals: Miami Heat def. Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

– Lance Cartelli

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Ryan Pedersen: Local Winners and Losers

Losers: Chargers- Even in a bye week, the Chargers still find way to make news. The NFL may come down on the Bolts for using a sticky substance that was deemed illegal after the 1980’s. Allegedly the culprit is a towel the team has been using for 10 seasons to clean off game balls and gloves. Coach Turner and the Chargers denied these allegations. Even in a bye week the Chargers get caught for “cheating”?. SMH. Look for a possible draft pick loss or fine coming if guilty.

Winners: Padres- The new owners of the Padres finally makes a move the fans have wanted since Petco Park opened. The deepest parks of the park are being moved in from 402 feet to 390 feet. The visitor bullpen, that was located on the right field foul territory, is being moved to the bullpen next to the Pads bullpen. This is great and all but if the bulk of the roster still can’t drive in runs this move won’t matter, regardless of weather.

Loser: Bill Johnston- For those of you who don’t know he is, he’s the head PR Director for the San Diego Chargers. Johnston recently wrote an article after one of the most difficult losses in team history telling the fan base to “Take a Chill Pill” and asks “What’s wrong with you people?” I for one thought his article was spot on, but even though I agree with Johnston, lots of fans were at an uproar, after all the fans are what make the NFL possible. Well just add this to the annual list of “It’s A.J. and Norv’s fault”

Winners: San Diego State Basketball- Both Men’s and Women’s basketball teams were projected to finish 1st in the Mountain West Conference with the Men’s team ranked 20th in Preseason Poll while the Women’s ranked 25th in the Nation. Looks like a new favorite has emerged in our little town of Saint Diago.

Ultimate Winner: Former hometown stars- Vincent Jackson seems to love the room he has in Tampa after a 217-yard game. Darren Sproles with Drew Brees continue to do well even in a Goddell handicapped season. Former Padre manager Bruce Bochy has now made his second World Series appearance in three years.

Chargers will face our other cursed sports city leper cousin Cleveland when the Browns host the Chargers Sunday. (Least the Bolts win the best “off-season weather city” award).

#TRUUUUUUUUUU,

Ryan Pedersen

Ryan Pedersen: Orange Crushed; Chargers 3-3 at the Bye

Well I hate to break the bad news to you Charger fans, but Aztec basketball season tickets are sold out for the season but there are wonderful seats left for the “Yale of the North County” CSUSM Cougars game I’m sure. (Yes, I made up that nickname) Oh and judging by Facebook and my lovely Monday night spent at the Q, the Chargers lost and lost real bad.

The Chargers once again continue to find ways to let teams back into games in the 2nd half. I remember saying at halftime with a 24-0 lead over Denver, that Peyton would come back (same against New England, Atlanta..) and judging by the first drive of the 2nd half I knew it was way too easy and Peyton had a whole new approach to what looked like a tired Charger team in the 2nd half. Maybe Atari Bigby was getting his Rasta on in the locker room at halftime, I don’t know.

How you lose a lead like that is beyond me, that one will be tough to get over but it’s all about how you bounce back. What kind of team are the Chargers? Going into the second half of the season, will their confidence disappear or will they rise up? It all starts in two weeks where they will take on the Dawg Pound and the Cleveland Browns.

Game Ball: Peyton Manning (lets go insurance adjusters, lets go!: youtube it)

Honorable Mention: The fans that had to sit next to this guy all game, props.

Dolt(s) of the Game: San Diego Chargers (Seriously Cason, stop celebrating after you make a play, you’re the worst corner in the galaxy.)

GGGGGGGGGGG G-Unit,

Ryan Pedersen

The Worst Loss of the Week

We all experience it.  That bitter feeling of defeat, that punch in the gut where your whole week is ruined because something that you have been looking forward to for awhile (for me, its been 9 months in the making) is taken from you and ruined.  And even worse, you know what’s coming — the Facebook posts, the Twitter tweets, the text messages, the Snapchat’s of people laughing at you, and if people still use it — the phone calls of people giving you shit because your beloved team lost.

So I’m here — mainly because I needed to blog and Kavon wanted me to write something — to rank the worst defeats of the week.  So, if one of your teams lost in dramatic fashion, a blow out, or your favorite player got hurt, then get all your sharp objects away from you because we are all on suicide watch.

Warning:  If you are in a good mood, no that’s too happy, if you are in a mediocre mood don’t read this you will become extremely depressed and may cut your wrists and black your eyes while listening to the Dashboard Confessionals.

The Candidates: 

  • The San Francisco 49ers blow out loss to the New York Giants – Well, we might as well start with my number one reason for depression of the week.  It started on a cold January afternoon (actually it was like 65 degrees in San Diego, suck it non-Californians), but the 49ers were in position to advance to their first Super Bowl since defeating the San Diego “Super” Chargers in 1995 and all did not exactly go well.  In case you’ve been living in a cave or have been so inebriated for 9 months then you probably know that the 49ers lost that game because of a couple fumbles here and there and an inept offense.  Okay, I’m officially teary eyed…must power through.  Well, the 49ers had a chance for a little bit of revenge on Sunday.  They had the defending Super Bowl Champions – who the Niners thought had their championship – in their home stadium again and laid a complete egg.  Dominated 26-3, the 49ers threw three interceptions, recorded zero sacks and got one (!) hit on Eli “Mouth Breather” Manning and didn’t even reach the Red Zone.  It felt like I was watching a Cleveland Browns game.  Okay, now I’ve gone from teary eyed to weeping like I’m watching Click or Air Bud (Fun Fact: those are the only two movies I’ve openly cried too).  Level of Depression: Getting drunk and bashing your head while yelling “Oops” like you’re on Real World.  (PS: RIP to that guy in previous video).
  • The New York Yankees and Derek Jeter – Not only did the New York Yankees lose the first two games of the ALCS at home, they lost Mr. Yankee Derek “How Could You End it With Minka Kelly” Jeter to a broken ankle.  But don’t worry Yankee fans you still have Alex Rodriguez.  Wait…he’s not on the juice anymore and 37 years old and strikes out almost every time a pitcher throws him a pitch?  Well, shit.  They can still win tonight though, right?!  Oh…Justin Verlander is pitching?  Shoot…I’m trying to find a silver lining…I got nothing.  Level of Depression: Find someone to feed you popcorn because popcorn makes everyone feel better! Right A-Rod? 
  • How Bout ‘Dem Cowboys – Ah, I’ve totally forgotten the first bullet point and I have reached a happy medium after the Cowboys loss (Sorry Levi).  The Cowboys ran the ball down the throats of the Baltimore Ravens, managed to injure Ray Lewis and LaDarius Webb for the rest of the year and injured Haloti Ngata for the remainder of their game and still couldn’t pull off the win.  Dez Bryant had arguably the best game of his career – something Cowboy fans have been waiting for since he was drafted – but with every high their is a low, and that low is a Dez Bryant dropped two point conversion.  Down two, the Cowboys recovered an onside kick, got a pass interference call, but wait, here comes that low, terrible clock management from Head Coach Jason Garrett set up the Cowboys for a long field goal that Dan Bailey missed wide left.  But hey, at least they caught the snap! Level of Depression:  Actually, I don’t know how depressed Cowboy fans are, they have to be used to this, right?
  • The San Diego “Super” Chargers – Okay, now I’m completely over that first bullet point, what 49er loss?  I had to save the best – or worst, depending how you look at it – for last.  The Chargers dominated the first half 24-0, mainly because the Broncos thought the football like it was Hulk Hogan’s disgusting Sex Tape.  After that debacle, the Philip Rivers decided to revert to 2011-Philip Rivers where he thought being on offense was a dumb idea and he liked giving it away.  The Broncos stormed back to score 35 unanswered to defeat the Chargers 35-24.  The Chargers became the first team in NFL history to be up by 24 points at the half only to lose by double digits.  Ouch.  The loss inspired some great Facebook and Twitter posts along with the hashtag – #FireNorv (the only one suitable for your eyes).  All is not bad Charger fans, they are tied for first in the AFC Worst West at 3-3.  Level of Depression:  From what I read on social networks, it is not depression that San Diegites? San Diegans? are suffering from it’s more rage, so Norv and Philip, if you’re reading this lock your million dollar homes, there is a mob coming for you.  I think Rivers has enough kids to build a tiny army though.

– Lance Cartelli

Ryan Pedersen: Bayou Blame Game, Chargers Fall to 3-2

Before the 2012 season started here on the Casual Ginger Blogging Network, I made some predictions on the 2012 San Diego Chargers season. My good friend Alexander Hand had quite a what the kids call a “LOL” when he saw my prediction to beat dem’ Saints in the Benz Dome. Xander, I’m a man to admit you were right. Not only did former Charger Drew Brees lead his Saints from a deficit in the 4th quarter to the Saints first win on the year. (Give credit to NOLA they are way better than what their record shows despite an atrocious defense)

So far my record is on point with the Bolts with some backwards picks but 3-2 is where I had them at this point going into this coming Monday showdown with Peyton and the Broncos.

Oak – L
Tenn – W
Atl – L
KC – W
NO – W

I can gripe on for days about how that game finished, from Gaither trying to tough out a groin injury on the final drive to (Ingram’s hit on Brees). But 3-2 is what the record is and San Diego, thanks to New England’s win on Denver, has potentially the biggest division game of the season. A battle for the AFC Worst lead (or tie) is on the line and if the predictions I had from a couple months back are true, the Bolts will need help from Denver’s opponents to win the West this year.

Game Ball: Drew Brees
Honorable Mention: Ryan Mathews
Dolt(s) of the game: Chargers secondary

Bigby Rastafari Jah Dig,

RP

Week 6 NFL Power Rankings: West Coast the Best Coast?

Where Does Your Team Rank?

Remember those cute little puns about the NFC West this past decade or so?  The NFC Worst?  Not anymore.  The NFC West is now the NFC Best.  Every single team in the NFC West is above .500 in the division.  Yes, the Rams, Seahawks, Cardinals, and 49ers are all ABOVE .500, no other division boasts that.

At the top of the division is one of the best teams in the NFL, the 49ers.  Against the Buffalo Bills, the 49ers racked up 300+ yards passing AND rushing in a 45-3 shellacking.  Read that sentence again.  An incredible feat that has never happened, EVER in the NFL.  In a league that has already transformed into a spread offense, pass happy league, the 49ers run the ball at an amazing clip of 6.1 yards per carry through five games, even when teams know what is coming they cannot stop it.  Since San Francisco lost to the surprising Minnesota Vikings, the 49ers had a wake up call, they have outscored their past two opponents 79-3.  And it hasn’t even felt that close.  Alex Smith leads the NFL in passer rating, yes, THAT Alex Smith and he had his first ever win throwing for 300+ yards and three touchdown passes.

The rest of the division possesses potential top-10 defenses with a lackluster passing game.  The Arizona Cardinals may have the worst offensive line in the NFL, with one of the worst quarterbacks under pressure, Kevin Kolb.  Now with the loss of both starting running backs Ryan Williams and Beanie Wells, the run game will be even less effective for the Cardinals.  But they exhibit an elite defense at all three levels that will keep them in the game and with Patrick Peterson, the most dynamic return man in the game, returning punts and kicks, the Cardinals will compete for a playoff spot.  The Seattle Seahawks also exhibit a great defense that has been lifted to potential greatness with first round pick Bruce Irvin as the bookend pass rusher opposite of Chris Clemons.  The difference between them and the Cardinals is they can actually run the ball.  Marshawn Lynch is a beast and Robert Turbin has potential to be one of the better back-up running backs in the NFL.  The Seahawks weakness is that they lack any kind of passing attack.  Russell Wilson has been a nice story, but he’s a rookie and is holding back the Seahawks, we may see Matt Flynn soon.  Tied for third place with the Seahawks is the St. Louis Rams.  The Rams are building in the right direction, but lack any kind of explosiveness from their skilled positions on offense.  The Rams with multiple early round picks in the coming years will be a force to be reckoned with as long as Sam Bradford transforms from injury riddled “Captain Checkdown” to a more explosive passer.

Week 6 NFL Power Rankings:

1. Houston Texans (5-0) – One of the most well rounded teams, but in a very easy division and without a signature win, they are first (for now).

2. Atlanta Falcons (5-0) – The Falcons pass game has been incredible and the defensive secondary has really improved, but when they need to run it can you really trust Michael “Where’s My Cheeseburger” Turner?

3. San Francisco 49ers (4-1) – The most balanced offense in the NFL. The offense is catching up to its defense, a loss the Vikes might have been a blessing in disguise.

4. Minnesota Vikings (4-1) – The surprise team in the NFL.  Christian Ponder has developed into a good quarterback who doesn’t make mistakes, and Percy Harvin is turning into an MVP candidate. My Fantasy team thanks you.

5. New England Patriots (3-2) – Despite being 3-2, the Pats have a solid run game and defense that this team has lacked the past few years. Thankfully Tom Brady’s nose is still intact.

6. Baltimore Ravens (4-1) – The defense isn’t the same this year, and Flacco is hit or miss, but they are still a top-3 team in the weak AFC.

7. Chicago Bears (4-1) – Right now, the best defense in the NFL and they possess the best cornerback tandem as well.  With the Packers slipping up, can they usurp them?

8. Arizona Cardinals (4-1) – A great defense, but Kevin Kolb and a terrible offensive line scare me.  I see a drop off eventually.

9. New York Giants (3-2) – The Giants depth at receiver and running back has been huge for them to stay above water while dealing with the injury bug.  A big test against the 49ers this week in a rematch of the NFC Championship Game.

10. Philadelphia Eagles (3-2) – The Eagles have won every game by two points or less and Mike Vick seems to be afraid of the ball, they will have to win inside their division to make the playoffs.

11. Seattle Seahawks (3-2) – Should be 2-3, and the worst passing offense in the NFL, the Seahawks must rely on their defense, special teams, and running game to win.

12. San Diego Chargers (3-2) – The Chargers lead the AFC West, but their three wins are against the Raiders, Titans, and the Chiefs.  McKayla is not impressed.

13. Cincinnati Bengals (3-2) – AJ Green has been the best receiver in the NFL and they have the best Ginger QB in the NFL, so they have that going for them.

14. Pittsburgh Steelers (2-2) – Big Ben has been really good with one of the best receiver corps in the NFL, but another injury to Troy Polamalu spells trouble for this aging defense.

15. Indianapolis Colts (2-2) – Andrew Luck has not need any luck, he’s been very impressive and his first signature win against the Packers on Sunday proves it.  They also have the “I’m Winning for My Coach with Leukemia, You Can’t Beat Us” going for them and that’s scary.

16. Dallas Cowboys (2-2) – The Cowboys are tied for the least amount of points in the NFL, the offensive line has been a disaster, but the Defense is much improved.  Can Romo save the day?

17. St. Louis Rams (3-2) – The Rams did the 49ers a favor by beating the Cardinals, but their lack of offense is not good, especially with Danny Amendola out for an extended amount of time.

18. Green Bay Packers (2-3) – Yikes.  This was a team that was supposed to be angry after a loss to the Giants in the playoffs, now they are struggling just to get back there.  Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy don’t even look at each other…#Drama?

19. Denver Broncos (2-3) – The Broncos have had a murderous row of a schedule, but they will battle the San Diego Chargers for first place in the AFC West next week, hopefully I’ll be able to watch it? #Blackout

20. Miami Dolphins (2-3) – Ryan Tannehill has looked just as good as Luck and RG3 and has less weapons, the Dolphins defense has also been very good.  They are clearly the second best team in the AFC East.

21. New Orleans Saints (1-4) – The Saints finally got their first victory of the season.  All they needed was a buncha calls from the officials, and their exiled coach to be there for support.  Good luck the rest of the way Saints!

22. Washington Redskins (2-3) – The way RG3 plays you can’t expect him to last the season.  Also, the Redskins couldn’t cover a dead fly or kick a field goal for their lives.  Yet they are only a game out of first in the East.

23. Oakland Raiders (1-3) – The Raiders offense is improving with Carson Palmer and a bye week will help them with their injuries, but their defense still leaves a lot be desired.  They are not on the same tier as the Broncos or Chargers in the AFC West.

24. Detroit Lions (1-3) – The Lions had a great opportunity to take the next step and to win the NFC North, yet they have taken a step back and have no running game or secondary.

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) – The Bucs are playing (a lot harder) for their new coach, even until the end of the game.  Too soon Giants?  But they still lack talent at some major positions.

26. New York Jets (2-3) – The Jets bounced back with a stronger performance on Monday against the best team in the NFL, but when your starting skilled players are Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schillens, a Tight End named Cumberland, and Shonn Greene then it’s not all Mark Sanchez fault. But still I WANT TEBOW!!!!

27. Carolina Panthers (1-3) – Cam Newton has hit the Sophomore Slump, but their defense is so bad they are years away.

28. Kansas City Chiefs (1-4) – I hurt my head when I was facepalming myself watching them play the game of Football, I could hear the fans cheering my injury all the way from Kansas City.

29. Buffalo Bills (2-3) – Easily the worst defense in the NFL.  Spending 100+ millions of dollars on your defense didn’t really seem to work out, they’re like the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

30. Tennessee Titans (1-4) – CJ0K you are dead to me!

31. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-4) – Well looks like the Blaine “My Hair is Perfect” Gabbert era is quickly coming to an end.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-5) – Well, Cleveland you’re used to this, right?

Ryan Pedersen: Six is Bliss; Chargers Improve to 3-1

You sunk my Battleship!

The San Diego Chargers defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 37-20 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO yesterday. Just about the only thing cooking besides the BBQ was the Chargers Defense forcing SIX! (Chargers Defense?) Yes, Six turnovers, five of those in the first half, something the Chiefs O haven’t done in a long time (Congrats?)

The only thing that really bothered Chargers fans that day, on really a day you can’t complain about was that the Chargers kind of took the foot off the gas towards halftime. Sure there was a comfortable lead but, it’s something that fans who knock on Head Coach Norv Turner about and just fuels the fire. San Diego could’ve knocked the Chiefs out of their misery earlier in that game (Until Matt Cassel ultimately hands the ball over). You’d have to think after such a bad loss to Atlanta the week before at home, they would thrive at the chance to score on every drive.

A division win is key, 2-0 record in the AFC West for the Bolts (3-1 overall) something the last couple years the Chargers have struggled with. But don’t look ahead just yet to that mouth-watering matchup with Peyton. Chargers head into a HUGE trap game (let out your inner Admiral Ackbar “It’s a trap!”) against a starving 0-4 Aint’s team looking for some sort of break. It’s a Sunday night game where the “Who Dat” nation will be loud in the dome.. Deaumx? Even in a loss, Drew Brees still looks good.

Game ball: Chargers D
Honorable mention: Jackie Battle
Dolt of the game: Matt Cassel

You stay classy, Planet Earth!

Ryan Pedersen

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