The Raptors will win NBA O’Brien Trophy

Raptors win game one.

The Toronto Raptors have one goal throughout this entire playoff run. Win. They have been in the shadow of the Cavaliers, the Celtics for too long and need one thing to go their way.  They need to show the world that game one against the Washington Wizards isn’t a problem.

Historically, the Raptors have had some very bad luck.  In their nine playoff round one games, they have never come away with a win.  Surprising for a team that has been a top of the eastern conference leaderboard for the last three years, breaking record, after record.

Another big pylon they will have to jump will be the fact last time the Raptors faced the Wizards in the playoffs, they were swept within four games.  Paul Pierce drained three, after three and upset the Raptors in an incredible fashion.

But one thing is for sure different this time then most.  They are vastly different then the years prior. 

This year the Raptors finished first in the Eastern conference for the first time in Raptors history, they finished with a record of 59-23, a franchise win high.  They have changed up their game year after year and this is the first time Toronto fans have felt like this is their year.

DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry have been the same.  They both went to the All-Star game and proved they had deserved the accolades.  They also have been the leadership and top scorers as well.  Without them they wouldn’t have come as far as they have.

But since there is more to a team than just two players, their starting rotation has more than played their part.  Jonas Valanciunas has put his game to an entire new level.  The seven-foot centre is rebounding better, playing better and surprisingly shooting threes better.  Over the course of the year, Jonas Valanciunas has attempted 74 three point shots and came down with an astounding 30 of them.  The big centre had a fourty percent three-point percentage.  For centre’s alone that is very impressive.

Serge Ibaka, a.k.a. Serge I-block-a has been a defensive monster for the Raptors.  Not to mention his three point capabilities puts his above the rest. He has blocked multiple balls and has come up big on their side of the court to stop the opposing team. 

The rest of the team has come from the bench or rotated within the final spot but what they have done is beyond the norm.  Usually in the NBA, the starters take a crazy amount of minutes because they are the best and the coaches rely heavily on them.  But with Dwane Casey’s coaching style, and the development of the bench has changed everyone’s minds.

Fred van Vleet and Delon Wright have been replacing the All-Star back court and shown a new combination.  They drive up to the basket in different ways and still get points. 

Pascal Siakam has been a one man machine and incomparable to find another player who takes shots from literally anywhere.  He has improved his game to a point where he could be a starter on other teams.

CJ Miles, the legitimate three-machine, was brought in during the off-season to improve the Raptor shots from behind the arc, and he has done exactly that.  He’s been throwing down threes from every angle imaginable and with incredible ease.

Jakob Poeltl has been the power centre that most teams wish they had as a back up.  He drives to the net with such aggressiveness, the other team can hardly forget it’s only his second year in the NBA.

But probably the most important part of this team has to be head coach Dwane Casey.  He has developed these players to a point where no one thought it was possible.  They have all bought into his scheme of playing as a team, where any player can be the best on the court at anytime. 

But it all starts on Satirday night if they can take Game one of the NBA playoffs. Will they stun the NBA and the world, and take home the Championship.

Absolutely.

 

Super Bowl's David vs. Goliath

        Super Bowl 52 is only a few days away and everyone is wondering, will this be the tale of David versus Goliath?  Nick Foles has proven he can compete in the playoffs by scoring three touchdowns against one of the best defences, the Vikings.  The mid-season addition of Jay Ajayi pushed them ahead of the curve, especially when compared to the Patriots running back committee.  On the other hand, you can't deny the legacy that Tom Brady has set for himself in this league. Winning five Super Bowls, heading toward his sixth AND are a four and a half point favourite.  They have always found a way to win with the coaching mind that is Bill Belichick.

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  But the one thing that the Eagles have that the Patriots don't... is the defence.  Philly had one of the best defences this year.  They have the ability to shut quarterbacks down and consume them with pressure.  In the playoffs so far, the Eagles have only allowed 17 points scored against them, the Patriots have let 34 and 20 of them were against the Jaguars two weeks ago.  Yes, I can understand that the big picture is whether or not Nick Foles will be able to produce in the biggest game of his career.  Thus far, how can you doubt him?  He has been playing phenomenally in the post season with a QB rating of 122!  34 points higher than the league average.  So people doubting the fact that the Eagles are going to be trampled by the dynasty, will be shocked to see a much closer game, with the underdogs fighting their way through for a win, and becoming the one and only Super Bowl Champions.  David will defeat Goliath.

Super Bowl Contender: Los Angeles Rams

           The Rams have been nothing but surprising this season as they have been an absolute powerhouse.  They are now one of the favourites to win it all with the top offense in the entire NFL.  At the beginning of the year the Rams were ranked 29th out of 32 in the NFL Power Rankings.  Now they sit at number 2 heading into week 10.  The Rams lead the entire NFL in points per game averaging 32.9.  And it all starts with their amazing offense.

           Lead by second year pro quarterback Jared Goff, he has a very strong QB rating of 97.9 ranking 7th among active quarterbacks.  He is seen as a playmaker and has proven himself especially last week where he put up an amazing 311 yards and 4 touchdowns.  He also has had a lot of help from their starting running back too.

           Todd Gurley is in charge of the backfield where he has rushed for 686 yards and 7 touchdowns for the season on the ground alone.  When he leaves the backfield he can also make some room in the air catching the ball for 338 yards and 3 touchdowns.  He is the complete back and has proven it day in and day out.  But when he gets stumped they rely on the rest of their offensive weapons.

           In the deep wide receiving core Tavon Austin, Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods lead the air attack.  Rookie wide receiver Cooper Kupp rounds out the core and has already amassed 370 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Watkins and Woods were brought in from the Buffalo Bills to increase the height of the group with Woods leading the group with 451 yards.

           Tight end wise Tyler Higbee, the second year pro, has been efficiently improving doubling his previous year stats in half the amount of games.  But the real story is about the other side of the ball where the Rams really show off their talent.

           The Rams defense allow a low amount of 19.4 points per game tying for ninth best.  They have been very consistent this year and because of their offensive help they have the best point differential in the entire league with 108.

           As a team the Rams are tied for third with 27 touchdowns and lead their division with a 6-2 record.  They are surprising the rest of the league but they have one big challenge left before they can officially be called the best team in the league.  In week 14 they may have the hardest challenge yet where they face the only team ranked higher than them, the Eagles.

           But if the Rams can do anything it is definitely proving to the league that they should never be underestimated.  Because no one knows what can happen in football.  Especially when it comes to the Super Bowl.  Can they do it? Just wait and see.

NBA: Raps and Wolves

            I think you guys can already see where I’m going with this.  The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors are the best teams in the league.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a Raptor fan for a long time now but I just can’t see any other team making the finals for the 4th straight year!  The 3-point ability from Golden State is second to none and the Cavs have arguably the best player to have bounced a basketball.  In the playoffs if you played either of these teams it was a blowout and unwatchable.  Even Charles Barkley stated how he would rather watch hockey than his own beloved sport.  So instead of going over whom I think would win in the all-star match up I’m going to go over a few teams who will be just awesome to watch and have unreal talent.

            When you take a look at the Minnesota Timberwolves they have a roster that would make any other team scarce.  With the up and coming Andrew Wiggins who has already proven himself in his first two years.  Karl Anthony-Towns who is a beast in the middle, and then the newly acquired Jimmy Butler who adds the veteran presence the young team needed.  This team is coming into their own and I don’t see them being stopped in the near future. 

            Now this may be a little biased but I do believe this team will be so much fun to watch.  THE… Toronto Raptors.  After signing both Kyle Lowry and Serge Ibaka this team finally has a big 3, which has been needed for a long time now.  DeMar DeRozan is a beast when getting to the rim, and Norman Powell is really starting to sprout his wings in the offense and can just flat out fly.  They have the tools necessary but they will need to mesh together as a team fully if want to prove themselves to the rest of the division.

            Now imagine in the near future we see these two teams go at it.  That would be an amazing game! And yes, I know it’s a long shot but hey, stranger things can happen.

            

NFL: Top to Bottom

            What a start to the NFL season.  Who would have thought that out of the TWO teams that remain undefeated, one would be Kansas City?  Not I.  The Atlanta Falcons are the only other team, but who didn’t see that coming?  Kansas City looks like a much stronger team than meets the eye.  After getting rid of Jeremy Maclin it looked like they were giving too much attention to Tyreek Hill who had one great year exploding onto the scene.  Spencer Ware was a good back but wasn’t a star, Alex Smith was known as being a play-making quarter back and their one bright spot was with tight-end Travis Kelce.  We were very wrong.   Tyreek is proving to be an outstanding player who can shine in the spotlight.  The out of nowhere rookie play of Kareem Hunt is amazing to watch.  Alex Smith is producing and against the Patriots he showed how he could be more than a playmaker.  Don’t forget about their stellar defense as well.  Even without pro bowler Eric Berry they still get down to the ball and mess with the opposing quarterbacks head.  The Chiefs have something special going on and it also has a lot to do with the coaching of Andy Reid.  I think they are going to be a team to go all the way with the strongest teams they might face along the way being the Raiders and the Broncos.  16 and 0 yes I am stating it now. They. Can. Do it. 

            On the other side of it, one team that has completely lost themselves are the Bengals.  With a team that is full of powerhouse players like A.J. Green, rookie Joe Mixon and the great defense they have, they just can’t figure out how to win.  I can understand losing to a team like Packers but not being able to put up points against teams like Baltimore AND Houston its kind of weird.  They have to keep throwing to Green and take advantage of the monster he is.  I have only seen a few people who can do what he can do with contested air balls and almost all of them are in the Hall of Fame or will be in the future.  In saying that, throw him the ball.  The man can flat out catch. Run after the catch ain’t so bad either.  Joe Mixon and the Cinci backfield are awesome.  When you have 3 running backs that can get down the field and know how to catch it should be a no brainer.  Thankfully they changed up their offensive coordinator but if they don’t get another win and soon I don’t see the Bengals making the play-offs again.  But hey, crazier things can always happen.