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Week 2 NFL Psychics

Sep 24, 2016 -- 8:39pm

After a push during week 1, the Two Minute Warning gang is back at it once again. Everyone posted a 9-7 record, so let's see how this week turns out.

 

 

Benesch

Risser

Stenberg

NYJ @ BUF

BUF

NYJ

BUF

BAL @ CLE

BAL

BAL

BAL

CIN @ PIT

PIT

PIT

PIT

TEN @ DET

TEN*

DET

DET

DAL @ WAS

WAS

DAL

WAS

NO @ NYG

NYG

NYG

NYG

SF @ CAR

CAR

CAR

CAR

MIA @ NE

NE

NE

NE

KC @ HOU

KC

KC

HOU

SEA @ LA

SEA

SEA

SEA

TB @ ARZ

TB

ARZ

ARZ

JAX @ SD

JAX

JAX*

JAX

IND @ DEN

DEN

DEN

DEN

ATL @ OAK

OAK

OAK

OAK

GB @ MIN

GB

GB

GB

PHI @ CHI

CHI

CHI

PHI*

*Upset Special

 

Week 1 Records:                        Upsets:                        Total

 

Stenberg   (9-7)                           (1-1)                            (18-14)

A.J.           (9-7)                          (0-2)                            (18-14)

Benesch    (7-9)                           (1-1)                            (16-16)

 

 

Week 1 NFL Psychics

Sep 24, 2016 -- 8:06pm

 

The Two Minute Warning gang is back at it again for another season of NFL football. Here were the results last year:

*Upset Special

 

Week 17 Records:                        Upsets:                        Total

 

Stenberg   (10-6)                           (5-11)                         (153-87)

Benesch    (9-7)                             (5-11)                         (142-98)

A.J.            (11-5)                           (7-9)                           (142-98)

Can Stenberg defend his title as the 2016 psychic? Or will Benesch and Risser take his place? 

Let's find out!

 

Benesch

Risser

Stenberg

CAR @ DEN

CAR

CAR

CAR

MIN @ TEN

MIN

MIN

MIN

CHI @ HOU

HOU

HOU

CHI

CLE @ PHI

CLE

PHI

PHI

BUF @ BAL

BUF

BAL

BAL

SD @ KC

SD

KC

KC

OAK @ NO

OAK

NO

OAK

TB @ ATL

ATL

ATL

ATL

CIN @ NYJ

CIN

CIN

CIN

NYG @ DAL

NYG

NYG

NYG

DET @ IND

IND

IND

IND

GB @ JAX

GB

JAX

GB

MIA @ SEA

SEA

SEA

SEA

NE @ ARZ

ARZ

ARZ

ARZ

PIT @ WAS

PIT

SF

WAS

LA @ SF

SF

LA

LA

*Upset Special

 

Week 1 Records:                        Upsets:                        Total

 

Stenberg   (9-7)                           (0-1)                            (9-7)

Benesch    (9-7)                          (0-1)                            (9-7)

A.J.            (9-7)                          (0-1)                            (9-7)

Top 5 NFL Wide Receivers

Aug 02, 2016 -- 1:49pm
 
 
 
Wide receiver drama is nothing new at NFL training camps across the country. Thanks to guys like Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens, we've all come to expect noise from our star wideouts. So far this year, that has been no different. Training camps are hardly a week old and we are already have conflict involving two of the game's best pass catchers.
 
Antonio Brown has made his desire for a new contract known within the Pittsburgh Steelers organization. DeAndre Hopkins decided to take a stand.....for a day. He held out against the idea of holding out. He's now back in camp with the Houston Texans, but he's still looking for a fat new deal.
 
With Brown and Hopkins in my mind and fantasy football drafts right around the corner, I've come up with my list of top 5 NFL receivers heading into the 2016 NFL season:
 
5. DEZ BRYANT. This was the toughest ranking by far. Dez barely edges out DeAndre Hopkins because I am ranking these players by past production and future performance. Unfortunately for DeAndre Hopkins - just like his entire career, he will have another unknown throwing him the ball. Brock Osweiler is a wildcard without much history of success in this league. Dez, on the other hand, gets Tony Romo back. With Romo under center, Dez put up some of the best numbers in the NFL from 2012-2014. Bryant posted more than 1,200 yards in each season with a total of 31 TDS. He is still 27 years old and the Cowboys' offense will try to mirror the success of their 2014 team with a solid O-line and run game. That is something that will benefit Dez Bryant more than anyone.
 
4. AJ GREEN. He is sort of the forgotten man when it comes to wideout debates amongst fans. Green has steadily improved every season since entering the league in 2011 (he was injured in the 2014 season). He has put together three years of at least 86 receptions and nearly 1,300 yards. He has also hit the 10 TD plateau three times in his young career. His QB, Andy Dalton was on pace for his best season ever before getting injured late in 2015. Look for Dalton and Green to pick up right where they left off this season.
 
3. ODELL BECKHAM JR. Outside of an infamous game-long scuffle with Josh Norman, ODB was suspiciously under the radar last year, wasn't he? That likely had to do with following up the best rookie wideout season since Randy Moss of 1998. While fans came to expect one-handed 50 yard TDs on every play, Beckham quitely became one of the league's most complete wideouts last year. A re-vived Eli Manning helped Beckham to 96 catches, 1,450 yards and 13 TDs last season. He looks to improve on those numbers in 2016.  A healthy Victor Cruz on the opposite side could help ODB out tremendously as well.
 
2. JULIO JONES. With Calvin Johnson now retired, Jones can take the title of biggest matchup nightmare across the league. He lead all wideouts in receptions and yards in 2015. He also did that with little help in the passing offense. Roddy White struggled mightily and the Falcons never found a consistent threat opposite Jones. Now, the team brings in Mohamed Sanu from the Bengals in hopes of taking eyes away from Jones. Since getting healthy in 2015, Jones has emerged as the biggest home run threat in the NFL. He has amassed 240 catches in the past two seasons.
 
1. ANTONIO BROWN. He is not only the best wideout in the game; he is also a likely candidate to go number one overall in most fantasy football drafts. Even without a completely healthy Big Ben, Brown managed to put up astounding numbers in 2015: 136 receptions, 1,834 yards to go along with 10 scores. Brown is the best offensive weapon in the league at just age 28. The former sixth round pick has an incredible 375 grabs since 2014. With a new contract on his mind, look for Brown to have the best season of his career starting in September.
 
Just missed the cut:
 
- DeAndre Hopkins, Texans
- Demaryius Thomas, Broncos
- Brandon Marshall, Jets
- Allen Robinson, Jaguars
 
Breakout candidates:
 
- Jarvis Landry, Dolphins
- Sammy Watkins, Bills
- Amari Cooper, Raiders
- Mike Evans, Buccaneers
 
 
- Brian Benesch (On Twitter: @IMean_ThisGuy)

Cin City

Jul 27, 2016 -- 2:06pm

It's that time of the year again. Dead season is coming to an end and every NFL team sits with a 0-0 record and endless expectations. On Monday's Nick Cattles Show, we did our bold predictions for the upcoming football season. Mine was bold, if not dumb. I said, not only do they finally win a playoff game; the Cincinatti Bengals will win the Super Bowl this year. 

 
It sounds crazy, but is it any crazier than my 2015 prediction of the Falcons going to the Super Bowl? (I looked like a genius for the first six weeks of the season by the way). We all associate the Bengals with postseason failure throughout the team's history. I'm only looking at last season though, which saw the Bengals start 8-0 and finish with the third best record in the entire league, 12-4. Had it not been for an injured Andy Dalton, I think Cincy could've made a deep run in the postseason. But, I'll at least acknowledge that I may be alone with that theory. Most NFL fans refuse to buy into the Bengals and I understand why... 
 
Two causes for concern:
 
Marvin Lewis
 
Whenever someone makes the easy point of, "he hasn't won a playoff game," be sure to remind that person that Lewis coordinated the 2000 Ravens defense that won the Super Bowl. I've never seen a guy gets less credit for assembling one of the all-time greatest units the NFL has ever seen. Lewis took over the Bengals in 2003. Since then, he has posted a 112-94 career record. His .543 win percentage is better than notable coaches like Jon Gruden, Dan Reeves, Dick Vermeil, Tom Coughlin and Jeff Fisher. Lewis receives most criticism for how his team performs after the regular season though. After the Bengals won their division in 2005, Carson Palmer went down with a game-ending injury on his first pass of the game against the Steelers in the postseason. They fell to the Jets in 2009 and the dark playoff cloud began to rain hard on Lewis and the Bengals after that. Two consecutive losses at Houston were followed by absolute no-shows against the Chargers and Colts in back-to-back years. 2015 nearly erased history for Lewis though. His team was less than a minute away from beating the Steelers with their backup QB until Vontaze Burfict and Pacman Jones took matters into their own hands. Anyone who blames Lewis for those miscues is irrational, yet, of course, everything seemingly falls on Lewis' shoulders.
 
Andy Dalton
 
Before being injured, Dalton quietly racked up some of the best passing numbers in the league last year. Project his 3,250 passing yards to a full season and you have exactly 4,000 yards through the air. That's more than Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers and Cam Newton. His 7 interceptions were fewest in the league amongst QBs that threw at least 386 passes. Dalton's career record of 50-26-1 bests other notable QBs drafted alongside him in 2011 such as, Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick. Dalton's early career playoff woes also put him in some elite company. Peyton Manning lost his first three playoff games. With 124 TDs compared to just 73 picks, simply put, Dalton has been one of the most productive passers in the league since entering the pros. 
 
Two reasons for optimism:
 
AFC
 
The AFC could be weak this season. It wasn't exactly tough last season; a broken-down Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl, if you'll recall. There is no way the Broncos can match last year's record of 12-4. The Patriots will be without Tom Brady for four games. The Pittsburgh Steelers will once again enter the year without Le'Veon Bell. Who knows what to expect from Andrew Luck and the Colts. Is Brock Osweiler really the missing piece in Houston and will the Bills, Jets and Dolphins continue to be the Bills, Jets and Dolphins?
 
Strength of Schedule
 
The Bengals have the 4th easiest schedule in the entire NFL and get perhaps four of their toughest games out of the way in the first 6 weeks - at Pittsburgh, vs Denver, at Dallas, at New England. They could be sitting pretty in the AFC North by the time the end of November rolls around and they only have the Bills, Eagles, Browns, and Ravens left to face. It's also quite possible that Cincy won't even need 12 wins to take the division this year. The Steelers finished second last season with a 10-6 record and relied on a Jets loss in week 17 just to qualify for postseason play.
 
 
All factors considered, my Bengals Super Bowl pick is a much safer bet than my Falcons hunch of 2015. Am I crazy for picking Cncy to win it all? No, I'm not crazy or as the Joker would say, "I'm not a monster, I'm just ahead of the curve."
 
- Brian Benesch (@IMean_ThisGuy)

Thunder and Lightning

Jun 28, 2016 -- 2:24pm
 
While the majority of the sports' world has been monitoring the contract status of Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder for nearly a year, the NHL has quietly produced their biggest free agent of all-time. 26 year-old Tampa Bay Lightning center, Steven Stamkos is poised to hit the open market this Friday seeking perhaps the largest deal in league history. His current team has made efforts to keep the superstar, but with so many other good players to take care of, the Lightning have little choice but to let the former 60 goal scorer walk.
 
Only three NHL players earn at least ten million dollars per season; the Hawks' Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews as well as the Kings' Anze Kopitar. Stamkos' 312 goals to go along with his nearly point-per-game career pace are likely to put him in the ten million dollar range or beyond. There are question marks though. His mysterious blood clot injury may scare a few teams, but his passion will never be questioned after he returned for game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals while clearly not at 100% health.
 
Like last season with head coach, Mike Babcock, there appears to be a big-three emerging as potential suitors for Stamkos. And just like a year ago, the big-three are exactly the same; Detroit, Toronto and Buffalo. Here are Stamkos options ranked from most likely to least likely:
 
1. Toronto: Even while finishing as the league's worst team in 2016, the Maple Leafs do not have an abundance of cap room. With that said, Lou Lamoriello and company will surely find a way to make Stamkos' cap hit fit. Thier rebuild is in full swing and the drafting of Auston Matthews will help the Maple Leafs become a contender in the near future. They already possess the league's best bench boss in Babcock, who will look to turn around this squad as fast as possible. Add in the fact that Tornoto is merely a half hour drive from Stamkos' hometown of Markham and it makes the Leafs the clear favorite for his services. Winning a Cup for an original-six team for the first time since 1967 and being hailed as the savior of one of the most storied franchises has to make Toronto the most appealing option in free agency.
 
2. Detroit: It took a lot of creativity and magic for the Red Wings to get to this point. GM Ken Holland was able to dump soon to be retired, Pavel Datsyuk's 7.5 million dollar cap hit off on the Coyotes. This gives the Wings the salary cap room they need to chase the most coveted free agent in league history. Unlike Toronto and Buffalo, Detroit had success last season. They have some good young talent as well in Gustav Nyquist and Dylan Larkin. If Stamkos' desire is to play for an original-six team, the Red Wings will do. The Wings would also soon become Stamkos' team after Datsyuk retired and as the career of 35 year-old Henrik Zetterberg winds down as well. 
 
3. Buffalo: The Sabres will try to catch "the big fish" once again in free agency. Last season, the team made a strong push for Mike Babcock and at the very least, drove his price up to unseen levels. The one thing Buffalo can offer more than any team is salary and term. Owner Terry Pegula will be more than willing to make Stamkos' the highest paid player in the league with an expected offer of 11-12 million per. Buffalo is a short ride for Stamkos to visit family in Canada as well. The one thing that may work against the Sabres is Stamkos' desire to play center rather than wing. The Sabres are set with top two centers, Jack Eichel and Ryan O'Reilly. Would the team be willing to move O'Reilly to the wing if position becomes a sticking point for Stamkos?
 
Other teams with rumored interest in Stamkos:
 
- Boston Bruins
- New York Rangers
- Vancouver Canucks
 
 

~ Brian Benesch (@IMean_ThisGuy)

2015-16 Stanley Cup Final Preview

Jun 02, 2016 -- 9:54am
 
Hockey history may be on the side of the Pittsburgh Penguins in this year's Stanley Cup Final. The last time this team switched coaches midway through a season, they won a Stanley Cup. Could Mike Sullivan have the same fate as Dan Bylsma, who took over behind the Pens' bench in 2008-09? Sidney Crosby also elected to touch the Prince of Wales Trophy that same season. He repeated that controversial action last week in the hopes of the same outcome. 
 
Another piece of history that could or could not be on the Penguins' side is the Western Conference's dominance as of late. The Boston Bruins are the last Eastern Conference team to win the Cup; that was back in the 2011 season. Could this be the season that Lord Stanley's Cup finally makes its way back East?
 
History has yet to be on the side of the San Jose Sharks' organization. This is the team's first Stanley Cup appearance since they came into existence in the 1991-92 season. Center Joe Thornton is the current holder of the unfortunate title of, "best player to never win a Stanley Cup." After being nearly a point-per-game player throughout his 1,300-plus games career, The future hall of famer's production inexplicably drops off in the postseason; only 27 goals in 151 career playoff games. These playoffs have been a different story for Thornton so far with 18 points in 19 games. Can he continue that trend of changing the narrative by winning his first Cup in his 19th NHL campaign?
 
How Pittsburgh can win: Not many teams in league history have ever had the luxury of putting a player like Phil Kessel on their third line. So far this postseason, Kessel has excelled into a Conn Smythe candidate with 18 points in 19 games so far. Pittsburgh's offensive depth could put them over the top. After you deal with world-class talents like Crosby and Evgeni Malkin, you must shut down upstart playmakers like Carl Hagelin, Nick Bonino and Bryan Rust. The Sharks' defense is very good, but can they completely shut out three scoring lines that the Penguins present?
 
X-Factor: With 11 points in 19 postseason contests, Patric Hornqvist has not been one the Pens' most dominant forwards. But, the 29 year-old winger has been a consistent offensive performer throughout his career; scoring at least 21 goals in each of the six seasons that he's played 64 games or more. Hornqvist's biggest asset comes in handy most in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. He constantly creates havoc in front of the opposing net. He attracts the attention of the defense and becomes the target of their frustration, which is quite impressive when one of his linemates is named Crosby.
 
How San Jose can win: The Sharks' impressive run through the Western Conference Playoffs will help them out tremendously against Pittsburgh. They exercised their demons by beating the L.A. Kings in round one. San Jose followed that up by downing a tough Predators team and a Blues squad that was more than capable of winning the Cup themselves. Logan Couture, Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski have all been point-per-game players throughout this postseason. Veterans, Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau have waited nearly twenty years for their shot at a title. The Sharks have the offensive depth to go toe to toe with Pittsburgh, but, do they have enough left in the tank to beat Crosby and company or are we still awaiting an inevitable Sharks' postseason collapse?
 
X-Factor: Joel Ward proves time after time that he can score goals in the big moments. Ward helped spark a surprising postseason run for the Washington Capitals last year with a few timely tallies. So far this postseason, Ward has done the same. He has 6 goals and 11 points for a loaded offensive unit. And much like Hornqvist, Ward draws defenders' attention down low to help create space for better playmakers along the boards. 
 
 
Prediction: Penguins in 7. Think my prediction comes too late? Here's proof that I'm sticking with my original pick:
 
@IMean_ThisGuy
Prediction: Pens in 7 (from the guy who said the Ducks would win it all). #StanleyCupFinal
5/30/16 8:03pm
 
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