Top 10 Hip Hop Albums of 2016


2016…what a year for music, what a year for Hip Hop. Last year writing this blog, I had trouble finiding 10 albums that I really enjoyed. This year I found myself having trouble narrowing it down to just 13 albums (13 albums because they are three ties). If you are a Hip Hop junkie like myself, you were smiling from ear to ear with your headphones in most of the year. This year brought listeners so much variety in Hip Hop. We saw veteran artists eveolve and change up their styles to create music we have never previously heard from them. We saw up and coming artists drop albums that put them on the industry’s map. We saw music touch on the social issues, feministic views and even the presidential election. From Kendrick Lamar to YG to Mac Miller to Isaiah Rashard and more, here are my rankings for the 10 best hip hop albums of 2016, and some honorable mentions that didn’t quite make the list.

Honorable Mentions:

 

“Awaken, My Love!” by Childish Gambino

Image result for awaken my love childish gambino In a year that seemed like everyone was trying a new style, Gambino continued the trend and brought a Disco type style to his latest album. It’s worth checking out.

 

 

 

Kairi Chanel by Dave East

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Dave East really burst onto the underground scene this year. Coming out of Harlem, East has an east coast style similar to A$AP Rocky and Jim Jones but with his own twist. Keep an eye out for his name to blow up in the up and coming years.

 

 

 

Atrocity Exhibition by Danny Brown

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Danny Brown is sort of an acquired taste. It’s like a hybrid of trap music and early old school hip hop. I enjoyed the album nonetheless. Check out the song “Really Doe” that features Kendrick Lamar, Ab-Soul, & Earl Sweatshirt.

 

 

 

Prima Donna by Vince Staples

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Vince Staples followed last year’s freshmen album with an EP this summer. I liked a handful of songs including “Smile” and “Loco” just to name a few. Solid project.

 

 

 

 

The Letter O by Dame D.O.L.L.A.

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Dame D.O.L.L.A., also known as Damian Lillard when he is working his other job, dropped an album this October before the NBA season began. For a professional athlete, it’s a good first album. Looks like Lillard is a man of many talents.

 

 

 

Cozy Tapes, Vol 1: Friends by A$AP Mob

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A solid album that features all the members of the A$AP Mob. A$AP Yams, who passed away during the creation of the album, was the one who had the idea for the album. There’s a couple songs on the album that really slap, so be sure to turn the bass down so you don’t blow out your stock speakers.

 

 

 

1992 by The Game

Image result for 1992 the gameThe Game has been a busy man dropping 4 projects and a documentary on A&E in the past year. The Game samples plenty of old school rap beats while telling his life story during the year 1992, hence the title.

 

 

 

 

Now onto the Albums that made the cut…

10. Life of Pablo by Kanye West

Image result for the life of pabloKanye West dropped one of the bigger albums of the beginning of the year on Valentine’s Day in February. For me, I will always be a bigger fan of early Kanye albums such as College Dropout and Late Registration but I was pretty pleased with this album. I liked it a lot better than his previous album, Yeezus. Kanye had plenty of great features on the album as well such as Chicago native Chance the Rapper, Kid Cudi, Chris Brown, Rihanna, Frank Ocean and more. The ‘Pablo’ Kanye is referring to in his album’s title is a combination of Pablo Picasso and Pablo Escobar, a mix of artistic masterpiece and the movement of product (his album) Kanye says. Recommended Tracks: “Real Friends”, “Famous”, “No More Parties in LA”, and “Ultralight Beam.”

9. Untitled Unmastered by Kendrick Lamar/ Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight by Travis Scott

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Our first tie. It was hard to choose between the two but I wanted both of these on the final list. Kendrick Lamar surprised fans by dropping Untitled Unmastered roughly a year after the release of To Pimp a Butterfly. Just like TPAB, Kendrick continues his jazzy, funk influenced hip hop style as he stated most of the songs on this album were unfinished demos that did not make the cut for TPAB. Recommended Tracks: “Untitled 08”, “Untitled 03”, and “Untitled 06.” I have never been a huge fan of Travis Scott and his previous projects but his most recent album changed my opinon on him. I could not even finish listening to his previous album, Rodeo, all the way through. But Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight was a really good album. This album was on constant repeat in my headphones during the month of September. Travis had a lot of good features on the album too like Kendrick Lamar, Andre 3000, The Weekend, Kid Cudi and more. I highly recommend you take a listen. Recommended Tracks: “goosebumps”, “wonderful”, “sweet sweet”, and “through the late night.”

8. Thirst 48, Pt. II by Boogie/ The Divine Feminine by Mac Miller

Image result for thirst 48 pt 2Image result for the divine feminine mac miller                                      Another tie as you must tell by now im not the most decisive blogger. But if you have not heard of Boogie yet, your are missing out. Another Compton rapper, whose young and has the potential to blow up in his own way, similar to YG, The Game, Problem and others from the city. In his mixtape, Boogie touches on plenty of current social issues that are prevelant in conversations around the country today. Keep an eye out for the up an coming rapper to blow up in the next couple of years. Recommended Tracks: “N**a Needs”, “Won’t be the Same”, “Two Days”, and “Slide on U.” Just like Travis Scott, I have never been the biggest fan of Mac Miller and his previous albums, but Mac incorporated a whole new style with this album. Slow jazzy beats with a gospel-rap type style similar to Chance the Rapper’s Coloring Book but with more romantic lyrics, hence the title. I have to give credit to KSSU for bringing this album to me as I was the DJ at the station in charge of writing a review for the album. I probably would not have thought to listen to this album on my own because of my previous disinterest with Mac Miller’s earlier music. Good production, clever style, and strong features such as Kendrick Lamar, Arianna Grande , Anderson Paak and CeeLo Green. Definitely an album worth buying. Recommended Tracks: “God is Fair, Sexy Nasty”, “My Favorite Part”, “Dang” and “Stay.”

7. Bobby Tarantino by Logic

Image result for bobby tarantino album cover After dropping The Incredible True Story last fall, Logic dropped a mixtape during the summer of 2016, a surprise meant for his true fans he said on social media. With his freshmen and sophmore albums, Logic has climbed up the ranks as one of the best lyricists in the hip hop industry. Logic has announced he is already working on his next album and this mixtape was just a “filler” for his fans to pass the time while the wait. Despite this being only a mixtape, it was still one of the better projects of 2016. I enjoyed the “A Word from our Sponsor” skit, a continuation of the ongoing skits with Marty Randolph. This mixtape was a solid listen for Logic fans like myself as we await Logic’s junior album. Recommended Tracks: “Deeper Than Money”, “Super Mario World”, and “Flexicution.”

6. Still Brazy by YG

Image result for still brazyThe third Compton rapper to make this year’s list is YG with his album Still Brazy. This was one of the bigger albums of the year as far as the media coverage it got in part to the subject of YG’s songs on the album and the relevance it had in society, the presidential election and more. “FDT”, a song bashing candidate Donald Trump, seemed to be the anthem of the summer for most Hip Hop fans. The rest of YG’s album is beautifully constructed with a combination of beats that range from  modern to old school gangsta rap. For an artist who is typically considered underground and does not receive much radio play, this album was a breakthrough for YG to the mainstream airwaves. If you are fan of gangsta rap, I highly recommend this album. Recommended Tracks: “FDT”, “She Wish She Was”, “Don’t Come to LA”, and “Still Brazy.”

5. The Sun’s Tirade by Isaiah Rashad

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As I mentioned earlier in the blog, there was a couple artists this year that really burst on to the scene. Isaiah Rashad was one of them. As a member of TDE, Isaiah sort of gets overshadowed by the other artists who are signed the the label. But with this album, Isaiah makes a strong case that his name belongs amongst the other TDE heavyweights. Coming from Tennessee, Isaiah Rashad bring his own southern, jazzy rap style in this album. He has a few members of TDE featured on the album such as SZA, Kendrick Lamar, Jay Rock and non TDE artists like SiR and Zacari. A strong freshmen album by Isaiah and I expect nothing less from him in the upcoming future. I luckliy have the chance to see him perform live when he comes to Sacramento on his tour in March, so I will be counting down the days to that. Recommended Track: “T**y and Dolla”, “Wat’s Wrong”, “Free Lunch”, and “Stuck in the Mud.”

4. 4 Your Eyez Only by J Cole

Image result for 4 your eyez only album coverVery late into the year, J Cole decides to bless us with another album, the first since 2014 Forest Hills Drive. Cole was clever too and dropped it on the same date, December 9th, as the day he dropped 2014 FHD. This album and another actually delayed my process in finishing this blog as I had to listen to this a couple times through before I could properly critique it. A lot of fans on social media are quick to say they did not like the album and some even go as far to say that they hated it. I completely disagree. Sure, it might not be as strong of an album as 2014 FHD, but this is still a top 5 album of the year nonetheless. The storytelling J Cole displays in this album is truly amazing. Listen to the lyrics, especially the final track on the song “4 Your Eyez Only” and you will be blown away. I’m a little dissapointed that his single “False Prophets” did not make the final tracklist but it still is a great album that did not quite crack the top 3 on my list. Recommended Tracks: “4 Your Eyez Only”, “Deja Vu”, “Ville Mentality”,  and “Neighbors.”

3. Blank Face LP by ScHoolboy Q/ We Got it from here…Thank You for your Service by A Tribe Called Quest

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Image result for we got it from here thank you for your service album cover

 

Another tie but its the last one I promise. Lets first start with ScHoolboy’s album, Blank Face LP. Want to know what its like growing up in South Central LA 21st century? Look no further than this album. His first studio album since Oxymoron, which dropped in the spring of 2014, ScHoolboy had fans waiting a long time for this one. Q wanted to show he’s capable of doing it on his own amongst the TDE heavyweights and did so successfully as he did not have a single Black Hippy member featured on the album. He still had a handful of big features including E-40, Vince Staples, Kanye West, Tha Dogg Pound, and Jadakiss to name a few. ScHoolboy Q also had a three part short film he released weeks before his album that were beautifully produced and acted as teasers to some of his album’s songs. Overall, one of my favorite albums of all time. Recommended Tracks: “Dope Dealer”, “Big Body”, “By Any Means”, and “John Muir.” Next album, I have to start off by saying RIP Phife Dawg who passed away earlier this year in March during the production of ATCQ’s album. You can’t find a better farewell album this year, and arguably one of the best of all time from a music group. Listening to this album will take you back to the 90’s and to one of the prime eras for Hip Hop music. They even had features like Busta Rhymes, Andre 3000, and Talib Kweli, guys who started their careers during that era. But they also included young rappers of the new school era with guys like Kendrick Lamar, Kanye West and Anderson Paak to give the album a solid mix of both. The albm was too good to not put in my top 3, thus the explanation for the tie. Recommended Tracks: “Conrad Tokyo”, “The Space Program”, “The Donald”, and “Black Spasmodic.”

2. Do What Thou Wilt by Ab-Soul

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In my opinion and the opinion’s of a couple others in my circle of friends, Ab-Soul won December 9th over J Cole. Still have not heard word if Ab-Soul released his album on the same day to make a statement, but in the heavyweight battle Soul being the underdog, I have to give Soul the belt. Ab-Soul is one of the most clever when it comes to play on words in his rhymes but this album took a little different twist that Ab-Soul’s past albums. Feminism was the main topic of a lot of his songs, which isn’t necesarily the case when it comes to the current Hip Hop industry. Ab-Soul said in an interview the weekend after his album dropped that “we have to respect the ladies more” which is something I can definitely stand behind. Dark but enlightening, is the best way to describe Soul’s style and he continues that with this album. Recommended Tracks: “Threatening Nature, “Beat the Case”, “The Law”, & “Huey Knew THEN”.

1. Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper

Image result for coloring book chance the rapperDrum roll please….and the best Hip Hop album of 2016 goes to Coloring Book by Chance the Rapper. I could go on and on about how great this album was but I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. As I mentioned earlier, in  year where artists came with different styles, no style changed up more than Chance the Rapper’s. Chance has grown and evolved into one of the top tier rappers in the industry and this album solidified his spot even higher on the list. The album can be similar to gospel rap as Chance talks about how he found god in his life and evolved as a person from it. Listen to Acid Rap, one of his early mixtapes, and then listen to this album. You will be surprised to know that is the same Chance the Rapper on both albums. The proudction, that artwork, the lyrics, the meanings of his song, everything about this album was great. I was fortunate enough to see Chance in concert on his tour this fall when he performed at UC Davis. My favorite album of the year and will be one of my favorite of all time. Recommended Tracks: “No Problem”, “Angels”, “All We Got” and “Smoke Break.”

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Superb Owl (The Big Game) Sunday


football

The 2015-2016 NFL season is wrapping up before we know it as only one game remains, the Superb Owl. Many Americans consider Superb Owl Sunday a national holiday. Whether you are in it for the football game, parties, foods, commercials, halftime shows, or some other reason, Superb Owl Sunday probably offers it. Regardless what you think of the teams or game itself, Superb Owl Sunday brings large diverse groups of people together unlike no other sporting even during the calendar year.

This year’s Superb Owl offers an intriguing match up between the Denver Broncos out of the AFC West and the Carolina Panthers out of the NFC South. Before we get into the match up between the two teams, lets go over how both teams reached this point.

Denver Broncos: The Broncos finished the regular season 12-4 and that record was good enough to claim the #1 seed in the AFC. The Broncos came out of the season gates strong as they started their season 7-0 before recieving their first loss against the Indianapolis Colts. The Broncos season was headlined by inconsistent play by their offense and a partial plantar fasciatis tear that caused star Quarterback Peyton Manning to miss 6.5 games. Backup Brock Osweiler shined enough in his opportunities that some critics were beginning to argue that Brock should remain the starter even when Peyton returned. But Osweiler had struggled down the stretch of the regular season and was benched for Peyton Manning in the last game of the regular season against the San Diego Chargers. Arguably the most consistent part of the this Denver Broncos team was their defense. Led by linebacker Von Miller and safety TJ Ward, this defense wreaked havoc all year in every aspect on the defensive side of the ball. The Broncos defense finished the regular season with 52 sacks, 14 interceptions, 5 defensive touchdowns, ranked #1 defense in fewest overall yards per game (YPG) allowed; and ranked #1 in fewest passing YPG allowed. This postseason their defense maybe took a step back but Peyton Manning and that Bronco offense were firing on all cylinders. In the divisional round, they snuck out a win against Pittsburgh 23-16. The Steelers were without leading rusher Deangelo Williams and leading reciever Antonio Brown but somehow kept it close and held a lead for a majority of the game. Going into the AFC championship, the Broncos were a huge underdog as the New England Patriots came to Denver for the 17th matchup between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. The Patriots had their way with the Kansas City Chiefs in the game prior while the Broncos struggled to beat a banged-up Steelers team. The Broncos came out strong offensively and their defense was suffocating Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense. Denver was helped out by a missed extra point by Patriots’ kicker Stephen Gostkowski early in the first quarter which led to New England needing a 2point conversion later in the fourth quarter…but they could not convert. Denver advances to Superb Owl with a 20-18 win over New England.

Carolina Panthers: The Carolina Panthers had arguably one of the most surprising seasons by an NFL team that I can remember in years’ passed. Before the season even started, they lost star Wide Receiver Kelvin Benjamin for the season to an ACL injury. Every NFL fan and critic (including myself) thought their season was done. I thought at best, they could finish with an 8-8 record. The Panthers have looked invincible in every aspect throughout the whole year. They started off 14-0 until the Atlanta Falcons ruined their perfect season. After that one loss, the Panthers have been playing on an “out of this world” level. At the end of the regular season, their defense finished in the top 6 in average points per game allowed, average YPG allowed, average rushing YPG allowed and not to mention an impressive +20 tunover ratio. That’s not all, their offense also finished with the highest points per game (PPG) average and finished with the 2nd most average rushing YPG. In the playoffs, the Panthers have not even been tested yet. In the divisional round, the Panthers jumped out to a 31-0 lead against the Seattle Seahawks before halftime! The Seahawks scored a couple touchdowns late to make the final score close but the game was well over by then, as the final score was 31-24. In the NFC championship game against the Arizona Cardinals, the Panthers had another huge lead at halftime as they lead 24-7. After halftime, they kept their foot on the gas pedal and scored 25 more points. The final score to that game was 49-15 and the Panthers advanced to the Superb Owl.

The Matchup: This Superb Owl matchup is another #1 defense (Broncos) vs #1 offense(Panthers), which in previous years, advantage goes to the defense. But the big difference in this matchup than the previous similar matchups is that the Panthers have a dominant defense themselves. Cam Newton this season has played on a superhuman type level and is redifining the position of quarterback as we speak. The key reason for his success this year is the play of his offensive line. Not only does the offensive line give him time in the pocket but they also creates lanes for the running game to excel allowing for a well-balanced offense. On the Broncos’ side, they have arguably the best pass rusher in the NFL right now in Von Miller. Pair him along with veteran Demarcus Ware and good interior lineman and linebackers, this Broncos front seven knows how to apply pressure to the quarterback. The X-Factor in this year’s matchup will be the matchup between the offensive line of the Panthers and the defensive front seven of the Denver Broncos. The last 2 games for the Panthers, Cam Newton was barely pressured by the Seahakws and Cardinals. The last game for the Broncos, they were having their way with the New England Patriots makeshift offensive line and were putting a beat down on Tom Brady every dropback. So keep an eye out for that matchup in the trenches. Those guys do not usually get a lot of credit, but whichever team wins the Superb Owl, one of those two groups are going to play a big part in the victory.

So that’s it for my Superb Owl preview. I hope you guys are excited for the many things Superb Owl Sunday brings. Enjoy the party foods, don’t change the channel on commercials, be ready for loud screams, don’t gamble all your money away, and wear clothes you do not mind getting a little dirty. And most importantly, remember it is a Sunday and you will have work, school or both the next day so don’t party to hard. Enjoy your Superb Owl Sundays!

Noah is a dj with KSSU

Best Hip Hop Album of 2015?


HipHop

As the end of the 2015 approaches, it is a good time to look back at all the great music that was produced in 2015. Just recently, the nominations for the Grammy awards were released previewing to the upcoming award show that will take place Monday, February 15  in 2016. Being the Hip-Hop enthusiast I am, every year I feel like that category is underrepresented in the Grammy award show. Who can forget the time Macklemore’s album The Heist won the Best Album of the Year award over Kendrick Lamar’s Good Kid, m.A.A.d City? Not to take anything away from Macklemore, but even he himself publicly announced that he thought Kendrick Lamar’s album should have won the award that year. Anyways, that it’s in the past now time to look at the present. 2015 was a pretty great year for Hip-Hop fans as there were more than 20 albums released this year. I could not possibly review and list every single one of them, so I am going to just list my top 10 Hip-Hop albums that were released this year.

10. Ludaversal -Ludacris

Who said rapping was a young man’s game? This march, Ludacris dropped his first album since his Battle of the Sexes album that was released in 2010. Luda has been keeping busy working as an actor in the Fast and Furious movies but many people, including myself, forgot that he is still a Hip-Hop artist. Ludaversal displayed many comical trash talk in his lyrics but also got pretty deep when talking about the rap industry and the adversity it comes with it in songs “Charge it to the Rap Game” and “This Has Been my World.” Myfavorite track off this album was “Beast Mode.” Overall, this was a solid album by Ludacris that has been long awaited.

9. Comtpon: A Soundtrack – Dr. Dre

Stream Dr. Dre – Compton: A Soundtrack By Dr. Dre | Atlnightspots

This summer brought us the movie, Straight Outta Compton, which documentated the famous rap group N.W.A.  and quickly became one of the best movies of the year. Rightfully so, Dr. Dre produced a soundtrack to go along with the movie that also retells his story as a young DJ in the group N.W.A. Dr. Dre brings 18 different artist on the album highlighted by artists like Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, and many more. My personal favorite off the album is the track “Issues” that features another former N.W.A. member, Ice Cube. Just like the movie, this album was definitely one of the best in 2015.

8. Tetsuo & Youth – Lupe Fiasco

The old Lupe came back during this album. Being a big Lupe Fiasco fan, I was excited when this album dropped in January and it did not dissapoint. Lupe continues to use his unique style of narrative rap with clever lyrics to describe his childhood and what it is like growing up in the ghetto of Chicago. Songs like “Deliver” and “Madonna” Lupe uses double meanings in his lyrics that the average Hip-Hop fan might not fully understand. As Lupe says in one of his singles a couple years ago, “Go to Harvard to become a Lupe fan”, saying that his lyrics may take some intellectual thinking to comprehend. My two favorite tracks off the album are “Deliver” and “They.Resurrect.Over.New (TRON)”, the latter featuring a good friend of Lupe’s, Ab-Soul. I definitely think this album went under the radar to most Hip-Hop fans, but trust me, listen to it once and you are not going to want to stop listening.

7. B4.Da.$$ – Joey Bada$$

First off, really clever album name as the title reads “Before Da Money” but at second glance, also looks like his stage name “Bada$$.” This was Joey’s debut album that released earlier this year in January. Joey Bada$$ comes from Brooklyn and raps with an east coast flow like many of the greats to come out of Brooklyn before him. Unlike many rap artists, Joey continued with his underground rap style in this album rather than “going mainstream” to get radio play. B4.Da.$$ contains 15 tracks, highlighted by my personal favorites, “Christ Conscious” and “No. 99.” This album along with Tetsuo & Youth were constantly on replay for me all through January & February.

6. At Long Last A$AP – A$AP Rocky

It felt like a long time since A$AP Rocky made any new music until the release of the album. But, the best things come to those that wait right? This album presented a little different version of A$AP Rocky. There were no songs with a Harlem-style beat that slapped, but instead smoother and jazzier instrumentals which is something we are not used to seeing from A$AP Rocky. The album features 16 other artists icnluding Schoolboy Q, Juicy J, Kanye West, Rod Stewart, and more. It’s pretty hard to find a better Hip-Hop album that was released this summer. Choosing a favorite track off this album was hard for me as it’s pretty much a tie between “Electric Body” featuring Schoolboy Q or “Everyday” that features Rod Stewart and Miguel.

5. The Incredible True Story – Logic

Let me start by saying it was really hard for me to choose the order of the remaining albums. The reason I put Logic’s album at the 5 spot was because of the amount of skits/scenes he had on his album. Granted, I loved a good storyline to albums but no one wants to hear 4-5 skits mixed in among the tracks. Besides that, this was a GREAT album by Logic. Logic proved that he can be recognized as one of the great lyricists of the rap game with his first album Under Pressure and displayed his skills again in this album. Logic gets creative and ties a Sci-Fi/Interstellar movie theme to the album that contains narators, Thomas and Kai, who are flying around space some time in the future. The skits are a little long for my liking but it gives the album a nice theme to play with. My favorite joints off the album are “Lord Willin” and “Stainless.” This album is definitely a must-listen.

4. Live & Grow – Casey Veggies

Out of all the albums this year, this was my most anticipated. I have been following Casey Veggies since my Junior year of high school and had the pleasure of meeting him twice in L.A. at his store. Very humble artist and a great person. His album, Live & Grow, lived up to my expectations. This was considered Casey Veggies’ freshmen album although he has released many projects before this. Songs like “Tied Up” featuring Dej Loaf and “Backflip” featuring Iamsu got plenty of radio play and exposed Casey Veggies to a larger audience of fans. Casey does a good job of narrating his life, making it out of Inglewood, and finally getting recognized as a talented young rapper in the industry. My favorite song off the album is “New Faces.” Overall, can’t express how proud I am of Casey and I am glad I got to see him progress to the rapper he is today.

3. The Documentary 2 & 2.5 -The Game

Anybody remember when the first Documentary The Game dropped back in ’05? Well this album is just as good…maybe EVEN BETTER. The Game hasn’t produced a great album since the R.E.D. Album back in 2011 but this album might be his best. With the release of the movie, Straight Outta Compton, and the rise of Kendrick Lamar, The Game was inspired to make another great album to put his name among CPT’s greatest. Both discs contain great features such as Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q, Dr. Dre, Nas, E-40 and many more greats. A little warning to future listeners, this album tells stories of gang violence in his life and can be pretty violent and explicitive in some parts. My two favorite songs of this album are “The Ghetto” featuring Nas and will.i.am and “On Me” featuring Kendrick Lamar.

2. 90059 – Jay Rock

Thought you wouldn’t get another album that bumped as hard as Schoolboy Q’s Oxymoron, well think again! Jay Rock dropped his album, 90059, this September and gave us TDE fans something to bump loud with the windows down. The album is titled after the zip code of Watts, California, the city that Jay Rock is from. After dropping the album, Follow Me Home, back in 2011, Jay Rock has remained relatively quiet as a rap artist. This album goes on to tell the story of what it was like for Jay Rock to grow up in one of the most dangerous parts of L.A. The album also brought us the 8th song that features all four Black Hippy members in “Vice City.” My personal favorites off the album are “Easy Bake” and “Money Trees Deuce.”

1. To Pimp a Butterfly – Kendrick Lamar

Hard to put any other album in front of Kendrick’s and that’s why To Pimp a Butterfly is on the top of my list. Arguably one of the greatest albums of all time and Kendrick continues to prove himself as one of the greatest rappers of all time as well. 11 Grammy nominations, 5 songs in radio rotation…not much else needs to be really said about this album. Kendrick got creative in the skits that ended each song, which lead to a poem that he read to Tupac at the end of “Mortal Men.” He then goes on to interview the deceased legend, Tupac, and the two discuss politics, black culture, racsism and many more. My favorite tracks on the album are “King Kunta” and “u.” HANDS DOWN album of 2015.

Honorable Mentions: Some albums this year that were good but did not make my top 10 list…

Big Sean’s Dark Sky Paradise, Kid Ink’s Full Speed, Fetty Wap’s Fetty Wap, Drake’s If You’re Reading this it’s too Late, Travis Scott’s Rodeo, & Wale’s The Album About Nothing.

KSSU

2015-16 NBA Season Preview


The NBA Season is upon us, which means high flying dunks, sick crossovers, crazy uniforms, the hilarious Inside the NBA cast, and some of the world’s most talented athletes are returning to action. After a wild 2014-15 NBA Season no one can predict who will come out on top this year. There are lots of new coaches, players on new teams, and not to mention the addition of an exciting rookie class too lookout for this year. Unlike the NFL, the NBA season is an 82 game “marathon” to the finish line in June. Will the Warriors repeat as champions? Are Lebron and the Cavs going to run the East? Can the Clippers end their postseason woes? Will the Triangle offense work in New York? Will this be the Black Mamba’s (aka Kobe Byrant) last season? Will the Spurs finally meet father time? So many team headlines this year, so I’m going to go ahead and give a brief analysis and predict the seedings of all 30 NBA teams in their respective conferences and then predict who I have winning it all next June.

Western Conference

1-Seed: Oklahoma City Thunder 66-16

“Guess whose back back, back again…” The Thunder came up short of the playoffs last season mainly due to numerous injuries to their star players Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Fans forget how dominant of a team they were when they had both their stars healthy. New head coach Billy Donovan takes over this season after having lots of success at the college level with the Florida Gators. I think Kevin Durant is on a mission this year to silence all his doubters and claim his first title. If he and the rest of the Oklahoma City team stay healthy, this will be the team to beat in the Western Conference.

2-Seed: Golden State Warriors 60-22

Right behind them will be the Golden State Warriors.  This is pretty much the same team as last year: the Splash Brothers, Igoudala, Bogut, and they resigned Draymond Green in the offseason. Only big question for them is how long will head coach Steve Kerr be out. For this reason I have Golden State starting off fairly slow the first couple months but after New Years this team will catch fire and look to repeat as Champions come June.

3-Seed: Memphis Grizzlies 58-24

The “Grindhouse” as they call them. Memphis has been the picture perfect definition of a solid team the last half decade or so but they seem to be lacking that final piece to put them over the top and into the Finals. They have a solid core group of guys in Marc Gasol, Zach “Z-Bo” Randolph and Mike Conley and with new additions from the offseason in Matt Barnes, Brandan Wright, and Jarrell Martin this Grizzlies team looks to make the next leap and earn a spot in the Finals.

4-Seed: San Antonio Spurs 57-25

Year after year the Spurs somehow find a way to defy father time. San Antonio also has a new look frontcourt with the additions of Lamarcus Aldridge and David West to go along side Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw. Fundamentals are the name of the game with the Spurs and with younger pieces in Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard, and Danny Green they add a little bit more athleticism to that starting lineup. Look for the Spurs to go under the radar (once again!) and possibly land a spot in the NBA Finals.

5-Seed: Los Angeles Clippers 56-26

The Clippers have been a really exciting team to watch during the regular season, but have not found a way to get past that 2nd round hump that keeps haunting them. Bearing any serious injuries, they can’t blame the lack of talent on their roster. This offseason they added Lance Stephenson, Wesley Johnson, “The Truth” Paul Pierce, Josh Smith, Cole Adrich, and DeAndre Jordan (even though he never really left although he did verbally committ to the Mavericks in the offseason). We’ll see if Doc Rivers can lead “Lob City” to the promise land this year.

6-Seed: Houston Rockets 51-31

Why are the Rockets ranked so low? Because their health of their big men are in question to start this season. Dwight Howard, Donatas Mantejunas & Clint Capela are all expected to miss some significant time at the beginning of this year. James Harden also put a figurative ‘X’ on his back this offseason when he claimed that he is the best player in the NBA and felt like he should’ve won the MVP last season. Rockets depth will be tested this season but I believe they still have enough talent to win 50+ games.

7-Seed: New Orleans Pelicans 49-33

Give the Pelicans some credit, they had a really good season last year and surprised everyone when earning the #8 seed. I have them improving one spot up from last year. They have a new coach this year too, Alvin Gentry, and with athletic superstar Anthony Davis coming in to his own, all they can do is improve on last year’s season.

8-Seed: Dallas Mavericks 45-37

Dallas was humiliated this offseason losing DeAndre Jordan after he had verbally comitted to sign with them this offseason and then changed his mind. Since they did not land their main target and lost Monta Ellis, they went out and brought in a bunch of good key role players instead. Wesley Matthews, Javale McGee, Samuel Dalembert, John Jenkins, Deron Williams, and Zaza Puchilia were who they brought in this offseason. The Mavs definitely have talent on their roster but I do not think this group of players will gell well together. I would not be surprised if this team even dropped out of the playoffs to a 9 seed.

9-Seed: Phoenix Suns 44-38

Sorry Suns fans, Phoenix will fall short of the playoffs once again this year. The Suns have the same problem they did last year, a lot of good, not great, guards, and a weakness in their frontcourt. They did bring in Tyson Chandler this offseason which will help them out defensively but not sure how much the 33 year old veteran will change this team all around.

10-Seed: Sacramento Kings 41-41

Sacramento that’s right, showing some love to the hometown team. The Kings owner may be a little in over his head when he says his team will make the playoffs but I think this team will definitely have big improvements this year. Even though there was some early conflict with Demarcus Cousins and new head coach George Karl, I think they both have moved passed that. They brought in Rajon Rondo and drafted Willie Cauley-Stein, both who I think will shine in Karl’s high tempo offense. Things do look good for the Kings if all their players and coaches stay on track.

11-Seed: Los Angeles Lakers 32-50

I have never been a huge fan of Kobe Bryant but it is a shame to see his career end like this. Plagued with season ending injuries last couple of years and the Lakers front office can hardly put a decent enough team around him anymore. Positives for the Lakers is Juluis Randle will be back healthy after missing all of his rookie season to go along with the newest rookie D’Angelo Russell. Roy Hibbert, Brandon Bass, Louis Williams, and Nick Young round up some of the other players that they have surrounded Kobe Bryant with.

12-Seed: Utah Jazz 27-55

The Jazz is a team trying to rebuild and are pretty far away from the finished product. Center Rudy Gobert looks to continue is recent success after breaking out last season. But outside of Gobert, Gordon Hayward, and Trey Burke, the Jazz need to develop the other players to play at a high level.

13-Seed:Portland Trailblazers 26-56

What Portland did this offseason truly broke my heart. The Trailblazers were an exciting playoff team to watch the past couple season but when they lost Lamarcus Aldridge to free agency this offseason, Portland’s front office decided to start fresh. Alongside Aldridge they lost Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews, and Nicholas Batum this offseason. It will be a frustrating year for rising star Damian Lillard who has been used to winning his first couple of seasons and now will be asked to lead a subpar team. Hopefully in a couple years we can see Lillard and the Trailblazers in the playoffs again.

14-Seed: Minnsota Timberwolves 23-59

Just like the other teams down here at the bottom of the Western Conference, Minnesota is in a rebuilding stage as well. Timberwolves do have a lot of impressive young players though. Andrew Wiggins, dunk champion Zach LaVine, the crafty Ricky Rubio and new rookie Karl Anthony-Towns look to have great seasons in the near future. And with the addition of bringing back veteran Kevin Garnett this offseason, I think he will serve as a great mentor for Towns, Adreian Payne, Gorgui Deng and the other young Minnesota big men.

15-Seed: Denver Nuggets 18-64

Plain and simple this could be the worst team in the NBA. Denver used to be very competitive in the George Karl era but since his firing, this team has looked like a lost puppy with no idea what to do. This offseason they traded away Ty Lawson and are now looking to rebuild. If the season gets really ugly for the Nuggets I would keep an eye out for them to trade away players like Danillo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Randy Foye for more draft picks.

Eastern Conference

1-Seed: Cleveland Cavaliers 67-15

Lebron James, Kevin Love, and Kyrie Irving…no surprise here that this team has the potential to be the best in the NBA. Last year Cleveland started off really slow, but now with a year under their belts I expect them to come out strong and at full strength from the beginning of the season. Their lack of depth could run them into trouble again with injuries like it did last year; however, I still believe this team will easily dominate the Eastern Conference.

2-Seed: Chicago Bulls 57-25

Sometimes I imagine a world where Derrick Rose never tore his ACL and wasn’t injury prone because that is the only thing holding the Bulls back from their chances at the NBA Finals. If Rose ever returns back to his MVP form from a couple seasons ago, this could be a dangerous team. With an improved supporting cast in Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol, Joakim Noah and a new head coach, this is easily the biggest threat in the East for the Cavaliers.

3-Seed: Atlanta Hawks 55-27

The Hawks are one of those teams that can play great in the regular season but come playoff time, they struggle to repeat that same success. Not many changes in Atlanta this offseason with the exception of signing Tiago Splitter and losing Demare Carroll to free agency. We’ll see if Atlanta can find an answer for their postseason struggles.

4-Seed: Indiana Pacers 51-31

Don’t sleep on the Indian Pacers this year guys. Paul (PG-13) George is returning from that grewsome leg injury that kept him out almost all of last season and many NBA fans forgot how good this Pacers team was with him healthy. This is a new look Pacers team without Roy Hibbert, David West, and Luis Scola as their big men but with the addition of guard Monta Ellis this gives Indiana an explosive backcourt. I expect the Pacers to go out and trade for a big man mid-season to boost them up to the top of the Eastern Conference.

5-Seed: Milwuakee Bucks 50-32

If you are looking for the ideal example of a team rebuilding done right, look no further than Milwuakee. A couple years ago this team decided to rebuild and 2 seasons later they are a serious threat in Eastern Conference. The new addition of Greg Monroe this offseason also gives the Bucks one of the tallest starting lineups in the NBA. Not to mention the sweet new jerseys they will rock this year. Look for this Milwuakee to make some noise in the east and maybe even pull of an upset or two in the playoffs.

6-Seed: Miami Heat 46-36

The Miami Heat will make a return to the playoffs this year. Dwayne Wade is no longer the superstar that leads this team but Miami has put a solid squad together. Hassan Whiteside will look to continue his recent success he had last year and alongside new additions of Goran Dragic, Gerald Green, and rookie Justice Winslow, this will be a solid team in the Eastern Conference.

7-Seed: Toronto Raptors 44-38

The team north of the border will struggle to find the same success in year’s past. They lost quite a bit of depth since the start of last season and I think that will be the main reason they struggle. They still have Kyle Lowry, Demar DeRozan and new addition Demare Carrol will all have to carry this team to the playoffs.

8-Seed: Boston Celt8ics 43-39

The Celtics don’t have a definitve superstar but they have about 11-13 players that are tough scrappy guys. Last postseason, even the Cavaliers admitted that their most physical series was against Boston. With their new big men Amir Johnson and David Lee to add to the very deep roster they had last year, this team is poised to make the playoffs again and possibly upset a top seeded team.

9-Seed: Charlotte Hornets 41-41

In a typical Eastern Conference scenario, a .500 record or right below is usually good enough to make the playoffs but not this year. With the improvement and return of some good teams in the East, I think the Hornets fall just short of making the playoffs. They will be a very competitive team and have a lot of good talent on their roster. They added Nicholas Batum, Frank Kaminsky, PJ Hairston, and Jeremy Lin this offseason and I think the Hornets are a year away from making the playoffs and climbing the rankings in the East.

10-Seed: Washington Wizards 40-42

This is a team we are used to seeing in the playoffs recently also but with the return of Indiana and Miami I think Washington gets left out. Losing Paul Pierce this offseason will have a bigger impact than most expect. Bradley Beal and John Wall are still one of the most dangerous backcourt tandems but will need a mid-season trade if they want to make it into the playoffs.

11-Seed: New York Knicks 32-50

Well, flat out, the Knicks were awful last season. A positive going into this year is they will get All-Star Carmelo Anthony back healthy. But New York is clearly in rebuilding mode and I think they are a couple pieces away from making the playoffs. I think Carmelo will do all he can this season and that’s why I have them winning 32 games, but in the end, it still won’t be enough.

12-Seed: Detroit Pistons 28-54

Since the dissemblement of that great Pistons team that lasted most of the 2000s, Detroit has struggled to find consistency. Last season they picked up Reggie Jackson at the trade deadline and also added Ersan Ilyasova, Stanley Johnson, Steve Blake, and Marcus Morris this offseason. Detroit also gets back Brandon Jennings back from his achilles injury around Christmas time, not to mention they also have big time Center Andre Drummond. This roster still needs some tuning up and additions for them to have any shot at the playoffs.

13-Seed: Orlando Magic 26-56

This team might not be good now, but be patient Magic fans, I think this Orlando team will be in the playoffs in the near future. They are in a rebuilding process but they have already found some quick success and actually remind me of the Milwuakee Bucks about a season or two ago. Elfrid Payton, Tobias Harris, Victor Oladipo, Nikola Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Mario Hezonja are a really solid group of guys they get to build a team around.

14-Seed: Brookyln Nets 24-58

I am a little surprised that I have the Nets ranked so low but I honestly can’t see them being better than any of the teams I ranked higher than them. They still have Joe Johnson, Thaddeus Young,  & Brook Lopez but I wouldn’t be surprised to see those guys get traded at the deadline if the front office decides to rebuild and collect draft picks.

15-Seed: Philadelphia 76ers 19-63

Here at the bottom of the barrell again is the 76ers. I questioned Philadelphia’s front office last season when they decided to trade away star point guard Michael Carter-Williams. If a team is trying to rebuild, you would assume that they would keep a young star they just drafted. 76ers have some big men with a lot of potential in Joel Embiid, Jhalil Okafor, and Nerlens Noel. This team’s goal though will be to tank and hopefully land another top pick in the draft lottery.

Now we can move onto the playoffs and since I already seeded the teams in my predicted order, we’ll go ahead and start in the second round because the first round match-ups can easily be figured out.

2nd Round of Playoffs

Eastern Conference

1. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. 4. Indiana Pacers, Cle wins 4-3

2. Chicago Bulls vs. 6. Miami Heat, Chi wins 4-2

Western Conference

1.Oklahoma City Thunder vs. 5. Los Angeles Clippers, OKC wins 4-1

3. Memphis Grizzlies vs. 2. Golden State Warriors, GSW wins 4-3

Western Conference Finals

2. Golden State Warriors vs. 1. Oklahoma City Thunder, OKC wins 4-3

Eastern Conference Finals

2. Chicago Bulls vs. 1. Cleveland Cavaliers, Chi wins 4-3

NBA Finals

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Chicago Bulls, OKC wins 4-3

I’m hoping Kevin Durant & Russell Westbrook finally figure it out and get their rings this season. Whether you agree with these predictions or not, I hope you are just as pumped for the NBA season to start as I am.

 

NOAH IS DJ WITH KSSU LISTEN AND STUFFS

MLB Playoff Preview


Well its October and we know what time it is. No not for pumpkin spice lattes, not for Halloween, not for haunted house…but for some PLAYOFF BASEBALL. Say what you want about baseball being a “boring” sport but when it comes to playoffs, it has to be one of the best in professional sports. All the dust has settled from the regular season and the 10 best teams are now fighting for the title of “Best Baseball team of 2015” and a trophy that will put them in the history books among some of the greatest. Temperatures may be dropping but the players adrenaline and focus levels are higher than ever. So why don’t we go ahead and jump into introducing each team and then I will give you projected winners through to the World Series.

Houston Astros: The Astros are back in the playoffs, I REPEAT THE ASTROS ARE BACK IN THE PLAYOFFS. The Astros youth movement took the MLB by storm this year winning 86 games and hitting the 2nd most Home Runs this season (230). Houston’s ace Dallas Kuechel won 20 games this season and is a strong candidate for the AL Cy Young award. Young shortstop Carlos Correa bursted onto the scene this year when he was called up in June with 22 Home Runs and pinched in 68 RBIs. Jose Altuve had another strong year batting .313. With a combination of young players in Dallas Kuechel, Carlos Correa, George Springer, & Jose Altuve and some savvy veterans in Evan Gattis, Carlos Gomez, Scott Kazmir, & Luke Gregerson, this Astros team can do big things this postseason.

New York Yankees: Veteran play was the reason for success when it came to the Yankees season. Alex Rodriguez had a great bounce back year from his one year suspension blasting 33 Home runs and driving in 86 runs. Set up man Drew Betances and closer Andrew Miller served as a dirty 1, 2 punch out of the bullpen to close out games. Although Mark Texeria is out for the remainder of the season, the Yankees have a handful of veterans including Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury, & Chase Headley to lead the charge in their playoff run.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays are the most feared team heading into this postseason and rightfully so. They hit the most home runs (232), best slugging percentage (.457), most RBIs (852), and had the 2nd best batting average (.269). The Blue Jays are the real deal when it comes to hitting the ball. With trade deadline acquisitions of Troy Tulowitzki, Ben Revere, and David Price, this team appears to  not have many weaknesses. When you have to face a lineup that has Josh Donaldson (41 home runs), Jose Bautista (40 home runs), & Edwin Encarnacion (39 Home runs)…well things are not looking to good for you and that’s why they are many people’s favorites to win it all this year.

Kansas City Royals: The team who had such a great run in the playoffs last year is back in it again this year but this time as AL Central champs. Royals won 95 games this year and had the same collective production formula that worked so well for them last year. Big move for the Royals at the trade deadline was acquiring Jonny Cueto from the Cincinnati Reds. Kansas City did lose closer Greg Holland to Tommy John surgery at the end of the year but look for Wade Davis to step up and fill the void. With the same players they had last year all healthy and coming so close to a World Series last year, this team is poised to great things again.

Texas Rangers: Two teams from Texas will be in the playoff hunt this October, one of them being the Rangers. Rangers finished the year really strong and actually went on to win the AL West when they trailed the Angels and the Astros for most of the year. Prince Fielder had a great year for Texas batting .305, hitting 23 home runs, and driving in 98 RBIs. Rangers also made a big move this trade deadline in acquiring Cole Hamels from the Phillies to be their ace. No true superstars in their lineup but they get a lot of production from a lot of different guys every night similar to the Royals. They’ll need guys like Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Sin-Soo Choo, & others if they hope to make a deep postseason run.

Chicago Cubs: Similar to the Astros, the Chicago Cubs are finally back in the playoffs largely in part to the terrific young players they have on their roster. The Cubs actually went on to win 97 games this year but that was only good enough to put them in the 2nd wild card spot because they play in the tough NL Central division. Starting pitcher Jake Arrieta struggled in the first half of the year but never looked backed since. He finished the season with 22 wins, a 1.77 ERA, 236 strikeouts, and a VERY strong candidate for NL Cy Young winner. The 2 youngsters that really lifted this team offensively were Anthony Rizzo (.278, 31 HRs, 101 RBIs) and rookie Kris Bryant (.275, 26 HRs, and 99 RBIs). The youngsters mixed with well experienced veterans like John Lester & Miguel Montero make the Cubs a serious threat even out of the Wild Card.

Pittsburgh Pirates: Its “Buc-tober” in Pittsburgh as they like to call it. Pittsburgh had another fine year this year winning 98 games, but just like the Cubs, that was not enough to get them a division title. Gerrit Cole could be in the candidate for Cy Young for the year he is having (19-8, 2.60, 202 Ks) if it weren’t for Zack Grienke or Jake Arrieta. Closer Mark Melancon finished the year with 51 saves as he proved to be one of the leagues best closers. Offensively the Pirates are led by McCutchen (.292 & 96 RBIs). Pedro Alvarez (27 HRs & 77 RBIs), & Starling Marte (19 HRs & 30 SBs). This a good Pirates team but they will need offensive production other than from their stars in hope to make a playoff run.

New York Mets: It was the year of the young phenoms taking the league by storm and the New York Mets had a handful of those phenoms. Mets finished off the season with 90 wins and fought off the Nationals largely in part to their starting pitching rotation. Jacob deGrom (14-8, 202 Ks, 2.54 ERA), Matt Harvey (13-8, 2.71 ERA), and Noah Syndergaard (14-9, 166 Ks) anchored the pitching rotation with the 2nd most quality starts and 4th lowest ERA in the MLB. Offensively it was a story of two halves for the Mets as the trade deadline move to bring in Yoenis Cespedes, Juan Uribe, & call up of Michael Conforto made this offensive a force to be reckoned with. Look for the young aces to carry the Mets in their playoff run.

 St. Louis Cardinals: Best team in baseball, seems like year after year they always find a way. The Cardinals were plagued by injuries this year but they still managed to win 100 games with players like Matt Holiday, Carlos Martinez, & Yadier Molina missing a significant amount of time. Hitting was very average but the Cardinals pitching staff was dominant this year as they posted the lowest team ERA (2.94), most saves (62) and most quality starts (106). Cardinals, as it seems almost every year, are favored by many to win the World Series this postseason.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers went on to win 92 games this season and it was highlighted by their 1,2 combination in their pitching roatation in Clayton Kershaw & Zack Grienke. Grienke pitched this season as if he was the ace and is a strong candidate for NL Cy Young award as he finished the year 19-3, 1.66 ERA, and striking out 200 batters. Outside of those 2 starters, the Dodgers were plagued with injuries or inconsistent performances. Offensively the Dodgers are led by 1st baseman Adrian Gonzalez but have a lot of talented players outside of him in Andre Either, Joc Pederson, Justin Turner Yasmani Grandal, & others. Dodgers also brought in Chase Utley at the trade deadline to reunite with former teammate in Philadelphia, Jimmy Rollins. Dodgers will need more  offense to help out their two aces and other pitchers to get wins in this postseason.

Predictions:

AL Wild Card: Houston Astros vs New York Yankees. Winner: Yankees. Astros sorta limped into the playoffs and they are not as strong on the road. Yankees have much more playoff experience as well.

NL Wild Card: Chicago Cubs vs Pittsburgh Pirates. Winner: Cubs. Cubs have had a magical season and I think they have more firepower on offense than the Pirates. Also, Jake Arrieta against the Pirates only allowed batters to hit .151 in 5 starts this season against him.

ALDS: Texas Rangers vs Toronto Blue Jays. Winner: Blue Jays 3-1. Blue Jays offense is way to explosive for Texas to keep up with and Texas’ pitching staff will have their hands full trying to keep their batters off base.

ALDS: New York Yankees vs Kansas City Royals. Winner: Royals 3-0. With Yankees having to burn their best arm in Tanaka for the Wild card game, I don’t think the other pitchers will find success against the Royals lineup. Royals are poised to make another deep postseason run after coming so close last season.

NLDS: New York Mets vs Los Angeles Dodgers. Winner: Mets 3-2. This will be a fun series to watch, both teams with really good pitchers resulting in low scoring ball games. I think Mets offense steps up when facing either Kershaw or Grienke and then jumps on the other two starters the Dodgers will throw. Not to mention the fact that Kershaw and the rest of the Dodgers tend to choke under the pressure of the playoffs.

Reggie Miller's choke sign to Spike Lee got inside the Knicks' heads ...

NLDS: Chicago Cubs vs St Louis Cardinals. Winner: Cardinals 3-1. Cardinals are too good all around for this young Cubs team. Cardinals also are getting key injured players back returning them to full strength. Cubs will get one at Wrigley when Arrieta pitches.

ALCS: Toronto Blue Jays vs Kansas City Royals. Winner: Royals 4-3. I have been waiting for this series since midsummer. If both teams make it past 1st round this has the potential to be one of the best playoff series in history. Only reason I have Royals edging out Toronto is because last postseason, the Royals hitters were extremely good in clutch situations and that will win them ball games late. Also, Royals pitching staff has the upper hand against the Blue Jays pitcher staff.

NLCS: New York Mets vs St Louis Cardinals. Winner: Cardinals 4-2. Again Cardinals will be too much to handle for a young team. Mets young pitchers are studs but have 0 playoff experience going against a Cardinals team that has hundreds of playoff game experience combined. I still believe this could be a fun series to watch because of the pitching match-ups.

World Series: Kansas City Royals vs St Louis Cardinals. Battle of Missouri for the title. I have a tough time picking who will this series once they get here. I think the Royals overall have a better team but the Cardinals are always savvy and find ways to win with less. Royals are hungry for a title after coming 90 feet from forcing extra innings in last years World Series Game 7. Cardinals are trying to make the most of their opportunity in the San Fransisco Giants’ “off year”. My heart has to go with the Royals because I was so disappointed to see them lose last postseason. Winner: Royals 4-3.

Either if none of my predictions go as planned, I will definitely still be tuning into the playoffs and looking forward to seeing which team will come out on top!

Noah is a DJ with KSSU

Show/NFL Preview


Hello blog readers, my name is Noah Alvarez and I am a new Volunteer DJ for KSSU radio this semester. I am a HUGE sports fan thus, my show will be formatted as a Sports talk show. Since I will talk about nothing but sports…I’m thinking of naming my show the “No.B.S. Hour” (acronym for Nothing But Sports of course). But I am still unsure about it.
A little background on myself, I was born in Santa Ana, CA and lived my whole life in Southern California. I went to Golden West JC where I declared to be a Communications major. After 2 1/2 years there I was able to transfer to Sacramento State University & am currently on my 2nd semester here.
I was always busy playing sports growing up as a kid. Football, karate, basketball, soccer, baseball, swimming, etc. any sport you can think of, I probably tried it, but I stuck with Football & Baseball  the longest. I played football through my freshmen year at Golden West and I am currently playing baseball still for the Sac State Club Baseball team (no not the D1 team but it is still competitive). Playing sports my whole life and following in my dad’s footsteps, I developed a strong passion for following professional sports.
Sports was not the only influence my dad had on me. my dad’s music also caught my attention as a child. One of my dad’s favorite genres of music(and mine as well) are Old School Hip Hop & Funk. Everything from Run DMC, Lakeside, NWA, George Clinton, Earth Wind & Fire, Prince, Public Enemy and many more were constantly played throughout my childhood. So during my show I plan on playing a couple of songs from that era as a tribute to my dad.

Now onto the second part of this blog post, a 32 NFL team preview. With the NFL season coming up I wanted to talk about what I like and dislike about each team and there chances this year. Lets get started…

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs past couple of years have had a really great defense and incredible run game headed by Jamaal Charles, but they’ve lacked the ability to really stretch the field vertically with Alex Smith at Quarterback. New WR Jeremy Maclin is a great deep threat but Alex Smith failed to throw a TD to any WR last season so Maclin might not get many targets. Like I stated earlier, Chiefs have a very strong defense that gets safety Eric Berry back from his battle with cancer. With dangerous offensive weapons in Jamaal Charles, Travis Kelce, & Jeremy Maclin the Chiefs are a real threat to win 10 or 11 games and possibly the AFC West.
San Diego (possibly LA??) Chargers: The Chargers got a little younger this offseason drafting rookie RB Melvin Gordon to fill the hole at the position after Ryan Mathews left for the Eagles. Philip Rivers loses long time target Eddie Royal so it will be up to Keenan Allen & Malcom Floyd to really step it up at WR. Rivers still has old reliable in Antonio Gates at the tight end position. The Chargers have a solid defense this year with a strong secondary led by Saftey Eric Weddle. But in years past, the defense has just been average for the most part, nothing spectacular. We all know that Philip Rivers is capable of playing really great…but also really bad at times as well. If we see good Philip Rivers for the majority of the year, Chargers will be in contention for a wild card spot in the AFC this season.

Denver Broncos: Last few years Denver has easily been one of the best NFL teams but do not have any Super Bowl victories to show for. They still have WRs Demaryius Thomas & Emmanuel Sanders but lost stud TE Julius Thomas to Jacksonville. New Head Coach Gary Kubiak will employ more of a run heavy style of offense than Denver has had in the past, in hope to take some of the workload off an aging Peyton Manning. Denver still has a star studded defense led by players like Von Miller, TJ Ward, Aqib Talib & Demarcus Ware. It will be interesting to see if Peyton can deliver a Super Bowl championship to Denver this season knowing that his career is coming to an end…
Oakland(maybe back to LA) Raiders: The Raiders are my candidate for Most Improved Team this upcoming season. Derek Carr in his 2nd year as starting Quarterback has new weapons at WR in Michael Crabtree & Amari Cooper. The RB position will be manned by Latavius Murray & Roy Helu Jr as former 3rd overall draft pick Trent Richardson did not make their 53 man roster. The Raiders defense looks to be very strong this year as young Linebacker Khalil Mack continues to take the league by storm. The secondary does still need some work but I think the Raiders this year are going to turn some heads and 8-8

.

Arizona Cardinals: Cardinals the past couple of years have been plagued with injuries. Carson Palmer, Tyranna Mathieu, Darnell Dockett, Andre Ellington, & John Abraham just to name off a few impact players that missed chunks of last season with injury. When healthy though, the Arizona Cardinals are a really good team. They lost genius Defensive coordinator Todd Bowles this offseason as he took the Jets Head coaching position, but I am sure their defense will not take a dip in production. They have one of the most elite secondary groups which allows them to play man coverage a lot & blitz more rushers with confidence. As long as Carson Palmer & Andre Ellington can stay healthy this year and give some balance to that offense they can easily win 10 to 12 games. But being in the same division as the Seahawks, that might not be enough to win the NFC West.

Seattle Seahawks: Seattle was literally INCHES away from winning back-to-back Super Bowls last postseason, but I am sure Seattle fans have forgotten about that and are looking forward to this upcoming season. They still have Beast Mode (Marshawn Lynch), they still have the crafty Russell Wilson, they still have the Legion of Boom (Sherman, Chancellor, & Thomas), they still have an elite front 7, AND they just traded for Jimmy Graham this offseason…well, the rich just got richer. They are most people’s favorite to win the Super Bowl and it is hard to disagree. Pete Carroll has turned this franchise around since taking over as head coach. Russell Wilson continues to impress the nation as an underdog being drafted late in the 2012 NFL Draft. Seattle this year could easily win 15-16 games and could possibly go undefeated all they way, bearing any serious injuries. This will be a scary good Seahawks team this year.

St. Louis Rams: The Rams have been getting better and better the past couple of seasons and I think this year they will fully bloom to their potential. This offseason they swapped Quarterbacks with the Philadelphia Eagles bringing in Nick Foles to lead the team. Foles is still a young Quarterback and has shown inconsistency, yes, but they were very lucky to be able to get rid of Sam Bradford. The Rams have been playin with backup Quarterbacks most of the time in their ‘Sam Bradford era’ because he just simply could not stay healthy. This year Nick Foles has some very explosive weapons around him in Brian Quick, Tavon Austin, Kenny Britt, Tre Mason, Jared Cook, and rookie RB Todd Gurley. And just like the previous two NFC West teams, they have an elite Defense and possibly the best D-line in the NFL. Chris Long, Michael Brockers, Aaron Donald, Robert Quinn & Nick Fairley are going to wreak havoc on opposing backfields this year. If Nick Foles can take care of the ball and stay healthy, the Rams could win anywhere from 9 to 11 games this year and earn a Wild Card spot. If they weren’t in the tough NFC West, they would be favorites to win almost any other division.

San Fransisco 49ers: The 49ers probably just had one of the WORST offseasons that I can remember in recent history. They lost…well pretty much almost everyone. Where do I begin: HC Jim Harbaugh went back to Michigan to coach, Frank Gore to the Colts, Mike Iupati to the Cardinals, Dan Skuta to the Jaguars, Perissh Cox to the Titans, Andy Lee to the Browns, Chris Culliver to the Redskins, Stevie Johnson to the Chargers, Michael Crabtree to the Raiders, released Aldon Smith due off field issues, & lost Patrick Willis, Jonathan Martin, Anthony Davis, Chris Borland, Justin Smith, & Marcus Lattimore all to retirement. But lets look at some positives, they did bring in Reggie Bush and Torrey Smith to provide explosiveness for the offense. In reality, 49er fans have to accept their team is going through a rebuilding phase. A key player to watch this year is Colin Kaepernick. His production has slowly declined since taking over as the starting Quarterback, as NFL defenses are starting to figure out how to defend his style of play. Since Jim Harbaugh was the one who started Kaepernick & stuck with him the past seasons and is no longer head coach, will Jim Tomsula bench Kaepernick if he starts struggling again? We all know Kaepernick has incredible speed but last season he really struggled throwing the ball to his WRs. In fact, he did not throw a 4th quarter touchdown all last season and as a team, you won’t win that many games with that happening. 49ers will be lucky to win 5 games this year as a top 10 draft pick is in their near future next offseason.

Baltimore Ravens: Now on to the AFC North which I think will be the best division in the NFL this year. Last year the Ravens surprised most people by making the playoffs despite losing their best RB, Ray Rice, to a suspension in preseason. Justin Forsett stepped up into the starting position and rushed for over 1200 yards last season. This offseason Ravens lost deep threat Torrey Smith to free agency. Now Joe Flacco’s targets include veteran (my favorite receiver)Steve Smith Sr., and bunch of young unknown WRs and TEs. Ravens this year will have a really tough time scoring the ball unless these young WRs step up big time. The Baltimore defense should be really solid this year. They lost big nose tackle Haloti Ngata but they still have great Linebackers in Terrell Suggs, Courtney Upshaw, Elmis Dumervil, & CJ Mosely. The run defense will suffer a bit but I think their linebacker core and secondary can carry the defense. Because their options are limited on offense, I only see the Ravens winning 7 to 9 games which will not be enough to sneak into the playoffs this year.

Cincinnati Bengals: Who Dey nation! Bengals the last couple of years have no trouble winning in the regular season…it’s when they get to the post season when they (and by ‘they’, I mean mainly Andy Dalton), they seem to forget how to play football. They have the best RB tandem in Giovanni Bernard & Jeremy Hill and a top 5 WR in AJ Green. But when defenses take away those 3 options, Quarterback Andy Dalton doesn’t have that good of options to get the ball too. The Bengals defense is arguably the best in the AFC North. A great D-line led by Geno Atkins, a solid Linebacking core led by veteran Rey Maualuga, and a deep secondary led by cornerback Leon Hall. This team definitely has the talent to make the playoffs again, but unless Mohamed Sanu, Tyler Eifert or somebody else on offense steps up as a solid threat, I predict another first round exit for the Bengals.

Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers are going to struggle the beginning part of season due to starters Le’Veon Bell & Martavis Bryant serving suspensions and center Maurkice Pouncey on IR/Designated to return. Once this offense gets all their starters back & healthy this will be one of the most dangerous offenses in the NFL. Antonio Brown tore secondaries apart last year with almost 1700 receiving yards. Le’Veon Bell is the best RB in the league (in my eyes), giving the Steelers great balance on offense meaning defenses can’t overplay the run or pass. And Big Ben…well he’s Big Ben & still one of the craftiest Quarterbacks in the league. The once “Steel Curtain” definitely has some holes now, especially in the secondary. Both Troy Polamalu and Ike Taylor retired this off-season and the defense will miss their leadership. The Steelers do have some great young Linebackers and in a couple years, Pittsburgh will return to having a top 5 defense. Due to a slow start this season, I predict Pittsburgh will only be able to win 8-10 games which won’t be enough to win the division but possibly grab a wild card spot.

Cleveland Browns: As long as Josh McCown is the starting Quarterback in Cleveland, the Browns have a really good chance to go 0-16 this season. The Browns have a solid Offensive line and brought in new WR weapons in Brian Hartline & Dwayne Bowe…but for Johnny Manziel to lead the offense, not Josh McCown. McCown had a horrific season last year in Tampa Bay turning the ball over 24 times in 11 games and finished with a QBR below 33. I know Manziel was inconsistent last season in his limited playing time as a starter, but last years Browns team had no offensive weapons for him to work with. This offseason Johnny reported to have matured as a person, and I think his upside is to big for him not to be starting over McCown. Back to the rest of Cleveland, the Browns do have a sneaky good defense this season with new additions Danny Shelton and Tramon Williams. In addition, Joe Haden has emerged as a top 3 man-to-man cornerback in this league. Having Paul Kruger & Barkevious Mingo both rushing off the edge gives Cleveland a great pass rush as well. It’s too early to have any kind of playoff hopes for the Browns but if Manziel gets a couple starts later in the season, I predict them winning 3 or 4 games.

Green Bay Packers: It does not matter who you line up at Wide receiver, if you have the best Quarterback in the NFL, you have a pretty good chance to win it all. Jordy Nelson tearing his ACL this preseason would be a huge loss, but Rodgers can make good receivers out of average ones. Eddie Lacy, Randall Cobb, Davante Adams, & (recently signed) James Jones are more than enough for Aaron Rodgers to work with. Biggest task for the rest of the Packers is going to be protecting Rodgers and giving up a  few amount of points. The defense did lose Linebacker AJ Hawk but they gained back Nose tackle BJ Raji from injury last season. This is a talented defense that has some big names such as Clay Mathews, Julius Peppers, Ha ha Clinton-Dix, Morgan Burnett, & Sam Shields. Bearing any huge injuries, this Packer team could win 12 to 14 games easily and earn that #2 playoff seed in the NFC.

Detroit Lions: The Lions were robbed of a playoff win last postseason against Dallas but they look to make some noise again this season. They still have the best WR in the NFL in Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, but the past couple years he has struggled to stay healthy for a full season. Shouldn’t matter too much because Matthew Stafford has a solid backup #2 option in Golden Tate. They lost Reggie Bush this offseason but drafted Ameer Abdullah out of Nebraska University who looks to be a promising NFL running back. The Detroit defense did take some major losses this year. Both defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley departed this offseason but they somewhat replaced that void with big Nose tackle from Baltimore, Haloti Ngata. Deandre Levy and Stephen Tulloch are both really good linebackers that make tackles all over the field. In the secondary, Safety Glover Quinn led the league last year with 7 interceptions and looks to duplicate that production. All in all, this team will go as far as Mathew Stafford can lead them. Detroit won’t have an as dominant defense this season so that puts a bit more pressure on Mathew Stafford’s shoulders. 9 to 11 wins is a realistic goal for Lions fans and that could be good enough for them to earn a wild card spot.

Minnesota Vikings: Teddy Bridgewater is the future! And guess what, the Vikings get Adrian Peterson back from  suspension last year. Remember the numbers AP put up that season after his ACL injury? Now he comes back with a whole year’s rest under his belt and looks to take back his title of best RB in the NFL. This Vikings team is going to be sneaky good. I don’t think they are ready to fully blossom just yet but in 2-3 years this is going to be an elite team. Having speed threat Mike Wallace gives Bridgewater a legit #1 target to throw too and it creates more running room for AP since defenses won’t be able to load the box. Kyle Rudolph is emerging as really good TE in this league as well. The Vikings defense was very underrated last year and is full of young players like Anthony Barr, Harrison Smith, & Xavier Rhodes, that are only going to keep getting better. Realistically this Vikings team can win anywhere from 7 to 12 games. Don’t be surprised if this Vikings team beats out your team for an NFC wild card spot this season.

Chicago Bears: Remember when the Bears year after year had better defenses than their offense…well that’s not the case anymore. The Bears defense was sorry last year giving up over 6000 yards of total offense and finishing the year with a -5 turnover ratio. The low turnover ratio was all the defense fault as you can thank quarterback Jay Cutler for contributing to that number as well. Jay Cutler had a rough season last year and was benched in the last game. It looks like another rough year for Jay Cutler as he lost favorite target Brandon Marshall this offseason. New Head Coach John Fox has already publicly announced his dislike for Jay Cutler as starting Quarterback, but no team was willing to trade with Chicago because of Cutler’s extremely high contract. Sort of a lose-lose situation for both parties. The positive for this team is that they still have young pieces to build around in Alshon Jeffrey, Matt Forte, Kevin White, Kyle Fuller, Lamar Houston, & John Bostic. Bears fans may not enjoy a 2 to 4 win season, but will enjoy the upcoming off-season when the Bears get a top 5 draft pick.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Now onto the most “up for grabs” division in the NFL, the NFC South. Tampa Bay made a splash this offseaon drafting Jamies Winston as their new franchise quarterback. Say what you want about the guy, his off the field issues, or his work ethic, but this guy can flat out win. Tampa Bay already has a really really good defense with arguably the 2nd best defensive tackle in the league Gerald McCoy. Jonathan Banks and Alterraun Verner are both good young cornerbacks manning the outside and Linebackers Lavonte David & rookie Kwon Alexander look to be a promising Linebacker tandem. This team went 2-14 last year mainly because of one reason…McCown kept turning the ball over. If Winston can limit the turnovers and get the ball to his weapons in Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, & Doug Martin out of the backfield, this could be a playoff team. Yes I said playoff team because honestly I believe an 8-8 record wins this division.

Carolina Panthers: Speaking of 8-8 records, the Carolina Panthers won this division last year going 7-8-1 (YES their is ties in football!). I would say the Panthers’ playoff hopes ended when star WR Kelvin Benjamin tore his ACL this preseason but all they have to do is reach 8-8. The Panthers still have a really solid & underrated defense. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis without a doubt are the best Linebacker duo in the NFL right now. The Panthers D-line is very deep as well but lost a big playmaker in Greg Hardy at DE. Keep a lookout for Cornerback Josh Norman to have a breakout year and emerge as a top 10 lockdown corner in the NFL. So no Benjamin this year means WR by committee on offense with guys like Jerricho Cotchery, Ted Ginn Jr, Philly Brown, and rookie WR Devin Funchess. The biggest need this offseason for Carolina was addressed as they brought in Michael Oher at left tackle. Cam Newton did not look the same last season mainly because he was under pressure so quickly and so frequently. Remember that Monday night game where the Eagles sacked him 9 TIMES! Just horrific. If Cam gets the protection, Jonathan Stewart stays healthy, & the receivers step up, Carolina can reach 8-8 and win this division for a 3rd year in a row.

New Orleans Saints: The Saints shocked the nation this offseason by trading away pro bowl tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks(…of all teams) for center Max Unger. Saints wanted to transition from a passing first offense to a run first offense this offseason and made moves accordingly. They resigned Mark Ingram to a long term contract & brought in CJ Spiller to play that “Darren Sproles” role they had a few years ago. Brandin Cooks looks to emerge as the Saints new #1 WR and is poised to have a breakout year. The Saints went with complete overhaul on defense bringing in Brandon Browner, Daniel Ellerbe, & Kevin Williams to help out Cameron Jordan & Kenny Vaccaro. Jarius Byrd also returns this year from his Achilles tear last season. Other than those names I mentioned, lots of these players on the defensive side are below average & not very well known players. It will be interesting to see how the defense meshes together and if Drew Brees can successfully lead a run first  offense to an 8-8 record.

Atlanta Falcons: Matty Ice and the Dirtybirds. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones, Roddy White, and…well really that’s kind of it. Not many household names in Atlanta this season. After Stephen Jackson didn’t work out at RB last year, Falcons are going with a platoon of young RBs such as Devonta Freeman & Tevin Coleman. Rookies Vic Beasley Jr. & Jalen Collins look to make an impact on an Atlanta defense that was not very good last year. The Falcons did bring in free agents like Justin Durant & Adrian Clayborn to help out the defense but who knows if that will be enough. The key to success for the Falcons is in the trenches. If their O-line or D-line can get some sort of push that they have lacked in the past years, they can bring some balance to the offense and the team as a whole. 8-8 is the goal for Atlanta although I think they are the least likely to win the division.

 Indianapolis Colts: Really the only team worth talking about in this division is the Colts. Andrew Luck has emerged as the second best quarterback in the NFL and is poised to have a huge year. The Colts brought in University of Miami teammates Andre Johnson & Frank Gore to help the cause. Along with T.Y. Hilton at receiver, the Colts have two good options at Tight end as well in Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen. The Colts’ defense isn’t spectacular but they do get elite pass rusher Robert Mathis back from injury this season. Vontae Davis has emerged as an elite cornerback in the NFL as well as help make the Colts’ secondary the strongest part of their defense. Maybe near the trade deadline they bring in someone else to help out that front seven. Even if they don’t, the Colts still have enough talent & potential to reach the Super Bowl and possibly win it all.

Houston Texans: The next best team in the division is the Texans but its not even a close race. The Texans do have a really good defense that contains a great front seven. Oh and don’t forget about JJ Watt. I think most people can agree he is the best player in the NFL right now. He did practically everything but play Quarterback for the Texans last year. But JJ Watt and this Texans defense can’t win many games on their own. The offense opening day will be lead by Brian Hoyer, not Ryan Mallet, as the starting quarterback. The Texans QB situation has just been a mess since the decline of Matt Schaub and Houston has not really been relevant since. Arian Foster is going to miss the first 4-6 games of the season too so they are already without their best offensive player. I think the Texans will be lucky to come away with 7 or 8 wins this season and miss the postseason for another year.

Tennessee Titans: Similar to the Texans, the Titans have been in a Quarterback carousel for a couple of years now. They hope they have found their answer in rookie quarterback out of Oregon, Marcus Mariota. Mariota is not surrounded by much talent as I’m sure he’s realized already. He’ll be sharing a backfield with Bishop Sankey & Dexter McCluster. His top targets are gunna be WRs Kendall Wright & Harry Douglas along with tight end Delanie Walker. Brian Orakpo, Jason McCourty, & Perrish Cox highlight the names they have on defense. Clear to say Tennessee is in rebuilding mode. Winning 3 to 5 games is what I predict the Titans will do.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars too are in a rebuilding phase but are one step ahead of the Titans because they got their franchise quarterback last draft. Blake Bortles had a pretty decent rookie season considering the weapons he was given to work with. The Jaguars added another stud rookie this year in T.J. Yeldo, running back out of Alabama University. Jaguars also gave Bortles a legit threat at tight end in Julius Thomas from the Broncos. On the defensive side, not too many recognizable names. Paul Posluszny has quietly gone under the radar but is a really good middle linebacker. Jaguars would be happy to win 3 to 5 games and get another top 5 draft pick to keep rebuilding.

Philadelphia Eagles: You want to talk about overhauls, then look no further at what Chip Kelly has done with the Eagles. In 3 years as head coach of the Eagles, Chip Kelly has gotten rid of:(be ready this list is long) Desean Jackson, Trent Cole, Jeremy Maclin, Lesean McCoy, Nick Foles, Byrce Brown, Evan Mathis, Michael Vick, Kurt Coleman, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Casey Mathews, Brandon Boykin, Cullen Jenkins, & Cary Williams. Phew that was a mouthful. Some Philly fans have faith in Chip Kelly trading for his own players, and others are a little skeptic and confused just like the rest of us are. Guys like McCoy & Desean Jackson I thought were perfect for that system. On to present day, the Eagles have a loaded offensive roster. Demarco Murray, Ryan Matthews, & Darren Sproles are all going to be sharing the load at running back. Sam Bradford is the new quarterback for this team and his main targets at WR will most likely be Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor. Miles Austin, Brett Celek, & Zach Ertz round up the other targets Mark Sanchez can throw too. Yes I said Mark Sanchez because Sam Bradford can’t stay healthy to save his life. On the defensive side the Eagles aren’t elite, but they do have a sneaky good defense. Conner Barwin, Kiko Alonso, Fletcher Cox, DeMeco Ryans, & Bryon Maxwell are some big names to keep an eye out for. Eagles will go as far as Sam Bradford stays healthy, if he plays all 16, Eagles can 11 or 12 games. But if Bradford misses significant time, I don’t see Mark Sanchez winning more than 5 games as a starter.

Washington Redskins: Remember when RG3 was good…yea neither do lots of people. It feels like ages ago when Robert Griffin III took the league by storm his rookie season. Since his ACL injury at the end of that season, RG3 simply has lost his magic and cannot stay healthy. This preseason, Redskins announced they are moving on with Kirk Cousins as their starting Quarterback. Looks like the RG3 era is done and so might be his career. Cousins has shined in some games coming off the bench and has great weapons to throw to in Desean Jackson, Pierre Garcon, Andre Roberts and Jordan Reed. If Cousins learns to stay within himself, this can be an above average offense. Washington’s defense is what fans should be worried about. They still have good Linebackers in Perry Riley Jr and Ryan Kerrigan but lost big time pass rusher Brian Orakpo. They brought in Chris Culliver, Dashon Goldson, Terrence Knighton, and Stephen Paea but the rest of this defense is still really young and inexperienced. This could be an ugly season for the Redskins. Best case scenario  I have them winning 5 games, but they should be looking forward to having a top 10 pick in this upcoming draft.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys really surprised some people this off-season by not resigning Demarco Murray and not really addressing the need at the position. Looks like they have faith in Joseph Randle and Run DMC (Darren McFadden) to fill the void. This Offensive line is great, and Dez Bryant is a great WR as well, but without a balanced offensive attack I don’t think Romo can lead this team to the playoffs. On the defensive side Cowboys get back pro bowl Linebacker Sean Lee back from injury. Later in the season they also get both Greg Hardy & Rolando McClain back from suspensions. So this can be a really good defensive team in the second half of the season. They did lose cornerback Orlando Scandrick for the season which leaves a huge void in their secondary that Claiborne & rookie Byron Jones will look to fill. But without Demarco Murray I don’t see this Cowboys team winning more than 8 games. Good news for them is that might be good enough to win division depending on the health of Sam Bradford in Philly…

New York Giants: Eli Manning reminds me of Phillip Rivers (except Eli has rings), they both can be potentially really great quarterbacks but then have times where they look worse than Josh McCown. Eli Manning flat out has a really really good offense this year. Victor Cruz, Odell Beckham Jr. (who only needs three fingers to catch a football), Rueben Randle, Larry Donnell, and then Rashad Jennings, Shane Vereen & Andre Williams in the backfield. OBJ is the real deal out in New York as he took the league by storm last year. There should be no one but himself to blame if Eli can’t score 20 or more points a game with this team. New York’s defense does have some big question marks though. The front seven seems to be vulnerable especially if Jason Pierre Paul does not play for the Giants this season after a firework incident caused him to have a finger amputated. The secondary will have to carry this defense led by players like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie & Prince Amukamara. Due to a lackluster defense, Giants win anywhere from 5-8 games this year which won’t be enough to top the Eagles or Cowboys for the Division.

New England Patriots: The AFC East should just be renamed the Patriots division am I right? Coming off a VERY lucky Super Bowl victory last season, Tom Brady and the Patriots look to duplicate their success. Tom Brady is also no longer suspended as he won his court case against the NFL for Deflate gate suspension. So the Patriots gets away with cheating (AGAIN) and have another controversial Super Bowl victory in their records. Patriots offense isn’t a concern this year and never will be as long as Brady & Gronk are still there. And minus the downgrade at Cornerback this year, the defense is still really good. I thought with Brady suspended a couple games this team would miss the playoffs, but now that he’ll be here all season, Patriots take the division (AGAIN) with 12 or 13 wins.

Miami Dolphins: I really wanted the Dolphins to win the division this year but seems unlikely now with Brady’s suspension overturned. They added  a whole lot of beef on defense in Ndamukong Suh. Add Suh to a Defensive line that already has Cameron Wake, Earl Mitchell, & Olivier Vernon…look out opposing Quarterbacks. On the offensive side Ryan Tannehill is loaded with weapons this year. I predict Lamar Miller will have a breakout year this season. Jarvis Landry, Greg Jennings, DeVante Parker, Jordan Cameron, & Kenny Stills round up the targets Tannehill will have the pleasure of getting the ball too this season. This Miami Dolphins team can win 10 games this year and possibly sneak into an AFC wild card spot.

New York Jets: Great new coach, great defense, great offesnive weapons…but no Quarterback. Geno Smith literally got knocked out by a teammate this summer that is going to sideline him until halfway through the season. So it looks like Ryan Fitzpatrick is the starter right now. He has weapons like Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker & Chris Ivory so this offense can score, but it won’t if Fitzpatrick plays like the Fitzpatrick of the past. The Jets’ defensive line is scary good and they also brought Revis & Cromartie back this offseason. With Todd Bowles as Head coach as well, this could be potentially a top 5 defense. Bottom line, Jets are only a 6 win team until they figure out their Quarterback situation out… *cough Jay Cutler cough*

Buffalo Bills: Great new coach, great defense, great offensive weapons…but no Quarterback. Sound familiar? Well it should because the Bills are almost in an identical situation as the Jets. Tyrod Taylor beat out both Matt Cassell & E.J. Manuel this preseason for the starting job. This offense is going to have a lot of speed with players like Lesean McCoy, Sammy Watkins, Charles Clay, & Percy Harvin. On defense, the only weak point is maybe at the Linebacker position since they traded away Kiko Alonso this offseason. All around, this defense has the potential to be a top 5 defense, just like the Jets, but the Bills will only win 6 games this year until they figure their quarterback situation out.

So now my playoff predictions and I’ll make this quick:

NFC Seedings: 1. Seattle, 2. Green Bay, 3. New Orleans, 4. Philadelphia, 5. Detroit, 6. Arizona.

Seattle & Green Bay in NFC Championship.

Seattle advances to Super Bowl.

AFC Seedings: 1. Indianapolis, 2. New England, 3. Kansas City, 4. Cincinnati, 5. Denver, 6. Dolphins.

Indy & Kansas City (shocks New England)

Indianapolis advances to Super Bowl.

Colts beat Seahawks in Super Bowl 26-22

 

Noah Alvarez is a DJ with KSSU Sacramento States only student run radio station.