Now that the first round of the Stanley Cup Finals are a few games in we have already learned a lot about the final 16 teams still alive. The Capitals, who had little to play for the last month of the regular season, have had excellent goaltending thus far and look as dominant in the postseason as they did in the regular season. They are up 2-0 on the Flyers. The defending champion Blackhawks are still playing a up and down game and could very easily be out in the first round now that they are down 2-1 to the Blues. In California, the favored Ducks and Kings have both lost home ice and have looked very shaky thus far. With the Stanley Cup playoffs still unfolding, our GPS tracking experts have made their updated predictions on who will be holding up Lord Stanley come June!
The Stars have taken a commanding 2-0 lead over the Wild have dominated the series every second. The top-seeded team in the west has looked sharp and is very much a contender, but their lack of playoff experience could be an issue deep in the playoffs. Not to mention, the Stars don't have a top 5 goalie and that could be huge when the Stars play a real contender in the next rounds. Sorry Minnesota fans, but you're done this year.
Prediction: Stars in 5
This series has been everything as advertised so far. Game one was a overtime thriller that ended on a fluke goal. The Blues controlled game 2 until a tough offsides call resulted in a disallowed goal and shifted momentum which resulted in a Blackhawks win. Game 3 had the Blackhawks in total control until another lucky bounce by the Blues tied the game and 4 minute double minor on Patrick Kane allowed the Blues to capitalize late for the 3-2 win. Both of these teams are fantastic and loaded with talent. These teams don't give up so expect a long series and whoever the winner is to be a real threat for the Stanley Cup.
Prediction: Blues in 7
The Ducks have been playing great after a cold start to open the season but everyone seems to have forgotten how terrific Nashville played down the stretch. Unfortunately for the Ducks they are now finding out just how good Nashville is. In the playoffs offense gets overshadowed by goaltending and Rinne is the best goalie on the ice for either team. The Predators have taken control of home ice and have the Ducks completely flustered. Nashville is certainly a dark horse to win it all while the Ducks are fading fast yet again.
Prediction: Predators in 6
The Kings limped into the playoffs after choking a 3-0 lead to Winnipeg which would have given them the divisional crown and they continue to limp. Down 0-2 to the Sharks and heading back to San Jose, the Kings find themselves in serious trouble. Yes, the Kings came back from these same Sharks down 0-3 to win the series and eventually the Stanley Cup but don't count on that happening again. Also, don't forget if their is one team that wants to end the Kings season more than any NHL team it's the Sharks and they are poised to do so. But if they can get by the Kings their multitude of weaknesses could be exposed by some of the other western conference contenders. Beating the Kings and avenging the collapse of two years ago might be the ceiling for these Sharks.
Prediction: Sharks in 6
Nobody expected much of the young Flyers this season but they got hot late and took the last spot in the playoffs. It's been a good year for the Flyers, but it's been a great year for Washington. The overall top seed Capitals have looked great in this series and have led wire-to-wire, taking a 2-0 lead. The Capitals are loaded and the Flyers will learn from this series and be a better team next season but the ceiling for Philadelphia is salvaging a game at home because this series is over. The Capitals have all the tools to make a deep run and the Flyers are only a speed bump in the road for Washington.
Prediction: Capitals in 4
Two great teams with all-world players, but also two teams missing some key players. The Penguins are one of the hottest teams in the NHL but they have a third string goaltender in net. Th Rangers sill have the King in net but have two of their best players on IR. The series is tied 1-1 and the only thing certain is that this will not be a short series. This is a coin toss series that will have many momentum swings. Yes the Penguins have Crosby and now Malkin is back on the ice but the playoffs are about defense and goalies, and when the choice is Henrik Lundqviest or a third stringer I have to give the edge to the All-Star.
Prediction: Rangers in 7
The surprise story of the year has to be the rise of good hockey by the Florida Panthers and play by AARP player Jaromir Jagr. The Panthers have been solid all year and have some seasoned players that can help them, but the Panthers special teams play has weaknesses and that's a big problem in the postseason. The Islanders may not have great goaltending but they can score and have more experience. The Isles may not be Stanley Cup contenders but they should get by Florida in the first round.
Prediction: Islanders in 6
The Red Wings barely made the postseason while the Tampa Bay Lightning are seeking a return trip to the Stanley Cup Finals so why are many experts picking the Red Wings for the upset? The answer is injuries. Tampa is banged up but missing key players hasn't stopped Tampa Bay from storming out to a 2-1 series lead. Can the Red Wings catch fire and upset the Lighting? Sure but they certainly don't have the roster to make a deep push. Tampa has experience, depth and zero questions about who is the goalie. Detroit may be the nostalgic pick but they aren't the smart one.
Prediction: Lightning in 6
The most talented teams in the west that will be left standing after round 1 will be the Blues and Stars. Dallas has offense and skill players, whereas St. Louis has hard-hitters and the best goalie in the Western Conference. Give me Elliot and the Blues. St. Louis is a terrific team and have had the tough draw of the Blackhawks or Kings the past 4-5 years. Years those teams won the Stanley Cup. Losing to championship caliber teams is not a bad thing and all those tough losses will result in a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals where they will face ....
The Washington Capitals
Washington is going to get by the Flyers and will face a tough test in the winner of the Penguins/Rangers series. But extra rest for the Capitals and home ice will be enough for them to push through to the Finals. The Capitals are a top 5 offensive and defensive team while also sporting a award-winning goalie. Holtby looks sharp, Ovechekin is dialed in and the veteran Capitals are over due for a championship.
Capitals in 5
The weather is warming up and that can only mean one thing: baseball season is about to begin! The arrival of Spring brings hope and possibility to baseball fans everywhere who believe that maybe 2016 is the year that their favorite team can win the World Series. Unfortunately, there can only be one World Series winner in 2016 and our GPS tracking experts are ready to make their prediction who will be drinking champagne come October!
Favorites according to oddsmakers: Red Sox, Blue Jays, Royals
The Royals are aiming to make it three straight World Series appearances and have clearly shown that defense can indeed win a championship. They tasted defeat in game 7 at home against San Francisco two years ago and that loss was huge motivation for the team to get back to the October classic and finish it off with a win. That loss was something that really helped propel the Royals to a World Series title last year. But that was last year, and this GPS tracking expert doesn't have the Royals making it to the ALCS let alone World Series.
Detroit Tigers Over Texas Rangers
The Detroit Tigers will win the American League and play for the World Series. Yes the Detroit Tigers. Teams can miss the playoffs and bounce back the next season to win it all (look at the Giants) and if there is one team that has the talent and veteran leadership to do it again it's Detroit. They made some key additions to the bullpen, signed a quality starter in Zimmerman and also grabbed another big bat in Justin Upton. They have potentially the best offense in baseball, and if you toss in a bounce back year for former MVP Justin Verlander and it's easy to see the Tigers winning it all.
Favorites according to oddsmakers: Cubs, Mets, Dodgers
The Mets and Cubs are loaded with young talent and it was that young talent that led both teams to the NLCS last year. The Dodgers still have the best pitcher in baseball with Kershaw but will they make additional moves to acquire a stud like Sonny Gray? Will they continue to choke in October? This GPS tracking expert says yes.
Dodgers Over Cubs
The Dodgers have a bloated payroll but a ton of top shelf talent. They also fired Don Mattingly who never seemed to get the lineup correct, and he certainly struggled to manage the bullpen. The upgrade in manager alone should give the Dodgers 5-7 more wins next season. The Dodgers also have a fan base and ownership group that wants to win now. That means trade deadline moves and willingness to roll the dice. The Dodgers have experience, a good offense and arguably the best pitcher in baseball. That will be more than enough for the Dodgers to make it to the World Series.
2016 World Series Prediction
The Dodgers and Tigers will truly be a star-filled series with Miguel Cabrera facing Clayton Kershaw. This one has 7 games written all over it, but the difference will be home field advantage which the Tigers will have thanks to a All-Star game win by they American League. The Dodgers will over-work Kershaw and the power bats of the Tigers will capitalize.
Tigers win game 7 over Dodgers 8-3 to take home the 2016 World Series.
With the NFL playoffs set to kickoff in less than 48 hours, analysts, sports writers and casual fans drinking at the pub are making their Super Bowl predictions. Some will say the Carolina Panthers who had the best record all season are going to go all the way, but one could also point out that the Panthers played a weak schedule and only have one quality win on the season against the Seahawks. And speaking of the Seahawks, one could argue they are the hottest team in the NFC after laying a beat down on the Cardinals in their barn. The Seahawks still have a great defense, Russell Wilson is always dangerous and Seattle has been to the Super Bowl two straight years so they certainly know what it takes to win. But it is hard not to think about those two losses they sustained to the Rams and feel totally confident. Others could point to the Kansas City Chiefs and their 10-game winning streak to support their Super Bowl argument and they would indeed have a good case. But Andy Reid is a playoff loser, the Chiefs would have to win 3 games on the road and of course this is a team that lost at home to Jay Cutler. Oh what about the Pittsburgh Steelers who are coming into the playoffs...though the backdoor since they lost both games they played against the worthless Baltimore Ravens. Steelers fans can go ahead and thank the Bills for getting them into the postseason but getting into the Super Bowl will require something more than help. The Patriots are the defending champions (thanks for throwing the ball Pete!) and certainly deserve respect. But stumbling into the playoffs with back-to-back losses to the Jets and Dolphins hardly evokes confidence. Not to mention, the injuries are bound to catch up to New England once the competition gets tougher. So who exactly is going to win the Super Bowl? That answer is easy, the Denver Broncos.
We all know the saying about winning championships and defense and do you know why? Because as Samuel L Jackson would say, "Defense wins mother f***ing championships!" Hell if it weren't for a good defense Trent Dilfer, Jim McMahon, Eli Manning (twice), Brad Johnson and so many other QBs wouldn't have rings. And if good offense meant postseason success then the Patriots would have a 19-0 season under their belt, Dan Marino would have multiple Super Bowl rings and the greatest show on turf would have blown out a team led by a rookie named Tom Brady. When the weather gets cold receivers slow down. Balls don't fly with pinpoint accuracy. Points are harder to come by because the competition is so much tougher. And this is the main reason why Denver can win the Super Bowl this year. They have arguably the best defense in the NFL and will be playing in Denver where it is sure to be freezing, giving the defense even more of an edge. The Broncos will force turnovers and keep the opposing offense from putting up a ton of points. No matter how poorly the Broncos' offense performs, the defense will give Denver a chance to win every single game they play.
Having home field is always an advantage. Less traveling, sleeping in your own bed and not to mention having 30,000+ fans screaming for you to win are all great things. The Broncos went 6-2 at home this season and historically have played very well at home in the playoffs. Yes they got their ass kicked last year at home to the Colts but that actually brings me to my other point.
After getting bitch-slapped in the Super Bowl against the Seahawks many people tabbed the Broncos to make a return visit to the big game. The Bronco's players probably thought it would be a foregone conclusion as well. But the cardinal rule in sports is never overlook your opponent or they will pop you in the face, and that is exactly what Indy did in Denver by upsetting the double-digit favored Broncos. The Broncos are a veteran group and after what happened last season they will not come into the game lacking preparation. Expect Denver to play hard from the start to the finish.
For all those years Manning was lighting up the score board he was also getting bounced out of the playoffs early. Because like we mentioned in the first point, defense wins in the postseason. You know what else is funny? The year Manning was not playing well and the offense was struggling his team actually won the Super Bowl. Manning did just enough and the defense carried them. Manning does not need to throw for 300 yards and 4 TDs for the Broncos to win this year. What he needs to do is control the clock, avoid bad interceptions (like pick 6s) and pick up third downs in key spots. People remember John Elway as a gunslinger with a power arm but when he won the Super Bowl against the Packers he was only 12-22 for 123 yards. Oh and no touchdown passes with an interception. Manning needs to use his brain not his arm and the 5-time MVP can still read a defense as good as anyone in the league. He also can rock the two minute drill pretty damn good as well if need be.
Having a team full of veterans is always a plus. Veterans don't get rattled if the score is 14-0 for the other team early. They also avoid complacency if the score is 14-0 for their squad. Peyton Manning, Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels, DeMarcus Ware and others all understand that nothing is promised in the NFL. If you have a good team you better win now because next year your team could easily be 4-12. A lot of these guys have not won a Super Bowl and they want to desperately. They will make the most of their opportunity and play with fire and passion the next three games.
The Denver Broncos have all the tools and pieces necessary to win Super Bowl 50. They have a great defense, home field advantage, a chip on their shoulder from an early playoff ext last year, a 5-time MVP in Peyton Manning and a roster full of veteran talent. This team is deep and easily the biggest threat on the AFC side of the bracket. Broncos fans may have felt postseason pain the last few years but Super Bowl 50 will be a new chapter. A chapter where the Broncos come out, kick ass and take the Lombardi trophy.
About the Author: Horban is a sports and entertainment blog writer for automobile tracking company GPS Tracking Shop
Less than 24 hours ago it was widely believed Peyton Manning played his last snap as the Denver Broncos QB (barring any unforeseen injury to Brock Osweiler). Then something unexpected happened. The Denver Broncos, who showed flashes of championship greatness at times throughout the season, came out completely flat against a Chargers squad playing for nothing more than pride. Hell, the Chargers came into Mile High not only severely injured on both sides of the ball but also were sporting one of the worst defenses in the league. What should have been a cake walk for Denver turned into a unforeseen dog fight. The scene was reminiscent of the one last season when after a quick touchdown scoring drive at home in the playoffs against Indianapolis the Broncos went full retard. The offense got predictable, defense got tired and head coach John "Nero" Fox did nothing more than play his fiddle while Denver's championship hopes burned to the ground like the city of Rome. Coach Kubiak saw what was happening the same way he saw his team lose their heart in a second half collapse against Pittsburgh two weeks earlier. As a steward of the game, Kubiak knew firsthand that stats don't tell the entire story and so he made the executive decision to sit Osweiler (who wasn't playing terrible) and take the moth balls off Peyton Manning. What happened next was Tebow-esque.
The moment Manning stepped on the field everything changed. Broncos fans who were booing minutes earlier began cheering, the defense got a giddy up in their step and the offense seemed to fire on all cylinders. The scene was completely electric. Mile High magic became tangible and it was obvious to everyone that number 18 was NOT ready to call it a career.
With the top seed in saddle the Manning-led Broncos are now ready for one last championship drive. One last ride into the sunset for the Sheriff who finally has the team recipe for postseason success. The road to the Super Bowl is about defense and the Broncos have one of the top-rated units according to various statistical measurements. Manning may not be the 5000-yard accumulating, 50+ TD passing QB he was only two years ago, but for once he doesn't need to be. For Manning to get that illusive second ring he needs only to follow the Super Bowl blueprint that so many winning QBs before him followed, including his brother Eli. That is play smart postseason football on the offensive side of the ball and let the defense carry the heavy weight. More specifically, run the ball to dominate time of possession, don't force stuff that's not there, and put together a solid drive once or twice a game in big spots. Manning can still operate the two-minute offense with surgical precision, read an opposing defense with detailed accuracy and put together a game-winning drive in the final quarter (he's done so more than any QB in NFL history). And that's not even factoring the calm demeanor and intangible leadership qualities that come from a having a 5-time MVP under center. Those qualities more than make up for his fluttering deep ball.
Peyton Manning is now 3 games away from a fairy tale ending and really couldn't ask for a better situation. His foot might be sore but his body hasn't absorbed all the bumps and bruises that can accumulate over a full 16 game season. Manning gets a week off then only has to play two home games. Then he will get another week off to heal before the Super Bowl. The Broncos defense and offensive weapons are also relatively healthy. Yes the offensive line is still a liability but with time to prepare and game plan Kubiak and company should find a solution. Not to mention, the quick release of Manning will help hide some of those deficiencies.
And let's also not forget the Broncos have the advantage of playing in a conference that has significantly less depth. The NFC has more balanced teams with defensive strength in Arizona, Seattle and Carolina all of which will likely beat the hell out of each other en route to Santa Clara. Yes, the Patriots are the reigning champs and are a threat but they are also riddled with injuries and will have to win in Denver where they already lost earlier this season. And the conspiracy theorist would also point out that if their is a questionable call with the game on the line it's likely to go against the Patriots thanks to Deflate-gate.
The Chiefs are the hottest team in the NFL but Manning holds a 13-2 record against Kansas City and that doesn't even factor in Andy Reid who is this generations' Marty Schottenheimer. Let's also not forget that the last time Manning played against Kansas City he was pulled after his 4th interception. Manning would have a massive chip on his shoulder for any rematch and that could be a scary thing for the Chiefs defense.
Pittsburgh has been on absolute fire offensively lately and handed the Broncos a gut-punching loss only a few weeks ago. But then the Steelers lost to the Ravens....again. This time to a Ravens team led by lifetime backup QB Ryan Mallet. That loss speaks volumes about the talent of the Steelers. When the temperature gets to single digits in Denver, as it would likely be if Pittsburgh makes it that far, the Steelers offense will resemble those high-powered Colts' offenses led by Manning when he went to Foxborough. Receivers will get slowed down, balls will get dropped and the home team led by defense will win easily.
The Bengals are probably the most talented AFC team from top to bottom but they don't have a healthy QB. They also are led by Marvin Lewis. Enough said.
Houston has one of the best defensive players in the game in JJ Watt. But the ceiling for Houston is likely a wild card win over Kansas City, which would be impressive but is also unlikely according to bookmakers who have the Texans a home dog.
Week 17 in Denver was pure magic. The Broncos secured the top seed, the running game looked great, defense played solid and Manning showed he's ready for one last run at the Lombardi Trophy. The Broncos may also be the most overlooked one seed in recent memory. That's also a positive. As Peyton Manning said in his Nationwide commercial while playing ping pong with a kid, "Epic comeback starts right now". The magic resides in Mile High and Peyton Manning is going to lead the Broncos to Santa Clara. John Elway will be handing a teary-eyed Manning that silver, polished Lombardi trophy after a Super Bowl win and the incredible story of one of the greatest QBs to ever play the game will be closed. The Sheriff is ready to ride off on a Bronco into the sunset and it all begins two weeks from now in Denver. Enjoy the ride.
Horban is a sports and entertainment writer for GPS Tracker Shop
Seattle Seahawks 34 New England Patriots 16Horban is an editor for GPS vehicle management solutions company GPS Tracker Shop