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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

SKOHRboard's 2015 NFL Mock Draft

The NFL draft is almost a week away and that means that it's time to see my predictive powers at work as correctly I lay out every single pick in the first round again for what will be the 5th consecutive year.  Enjoy knowing now what those around you will have to wait until Thursday April 30th to find out.


Thanks to for the fancy layout and templating.  That is something that in year's past has left our Operations team in tears.  
  • I also wanted to mention that it seems strange to me how little is made of Leonard Williams and Dante Fowler Jr.  For being the 2nd and 3rd overall talents on most pundits draft boards there has been just about no general interest stories about those guys.  What gives? 
  • The biggest surprise here was probably Mariota to the Giants.  I was surprised when I looked at their team and who was out there and came up with Mariota.  The Giants seem like a team that will bet on themselves improving, which means a worse draft selection and a smaller chance to select one of the top two QBs in a draft.  Given Eli's marginal performance over the past few seasons, the end of his contract and what looks like it could be the end of Coughlin's reign should things go sideways, drafting Mariota would be a fairly clever way to point to the future and keep the band together for another few seasons.  
  • You're probably wondering why the Jets wouldn't take Mariota.  I simply think that they aren't ready for a shiny new QB.  If I were a first time head coach in my first year with a one time promising but now floundering third year QB I think I'd use my first draft to surround him with talent and give him another shot.  If it doesn't work, you've now got a fairly talented roster and another high draft pick which you can use on a QB.
  • While the Eagles don't really NEED a defensive end, I don't see Chip Kelly passing on Armstead who fits just about every physical trait we think Chip values in players and he's obviously well aware of the potential upside he brings to the table.  
  • Gordon to the Cardinals would be a lot of fun to see him combine with Ellington to give a rehabbed Palmer lots of options out of the backfield.
  • Todd Gurley to the Ravens seems like the most Ravens pick ever.  Somehow extremely talented players always seem to fall to the Ravens.
  • Cameron Erving just seems to fit the bill with the Colts.  He's a versatile lineman who can be a leader on that OL and learn a ton from Herremans and Luck after having spent the last few years with Winston at FSU.  I'd really like to watch those two play together and lead the Colts into the next few years.
  • Devin Smith is going to be a major asset to Tom Brady.  He's a guy that is going to make Defensive Coordinators go nuts as his deep threat ability will put safeties trying to double Gronk in a no win situation as they'll have to balance that with covering him over the top.
So what do you think?  

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

SKOHRboard's annual Mock Draft is coming!

Who will the venerable sports wizards at SKOHRboard select for your team in this year's mock draft?  Will they pick a future Hall of Famer, a serviceable starter, maybe a backup kicker!?  Tune in as we get closer to April 28th to find out!

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

What to Watch this Weekend - The Super Bowl XLIX Edition

It's Super Bowl Sunday!  A fun day that will leave most football fans happy but wanting more.  As an Eagles fan I'm usually left thinking about what could have been and about what if will take for next year.  Today the two most dominant teams during a majority of the season the Patriots and the Seahawks both made it to the big game and they'll square off in Arizona.  

There are a number of things to watch out for in this game.  Seattle's QB Russell Wilson has really come into his own this season and in my opinion is now firmly in the Top 5 QBs in the NFL.  Not bad for a short kid who has only played three seasons.  They do not have any elite WRs but they do have one of the best Offensive Lines in the game and that goes along with the best Rushing attack in the NFL as well.  The Patriots Defense has their work cut out for them.  

Some bad blood between the QBs after their last meeting when Wilson totally cheap shotted Brady.  You can see the heated words and then Brady's retaliation.  I'm sure you remember #SlapGate.  The tension filled rematch should be fun to watch.
The Patriots Defense is fortunate that they are chock full of Rutgers talent.  With three Rutgers players (Logan Ryan, Duron Harmon, and Devin McCourty) starting on that side of the ball they can be sure that 27.3% of their defense is going to get the job done.  It's the other 72.7% who are not Rutgers Alums that there are questions about.  Players like Vince Wilfork and Jamie Collins will need to have rock solid games particularly in getting Seattle RB Marshawn Lynch on the ground when he is first hit rather than letting him bounce off and rumble for additional yards like he has so proficiently during most of the season.  

On the other side of the Ball is the matchup that everyone is excited about.  It's Patriots QB Tom Brady and his rotating roster of rabble rousers competing with one of the best Defenses of the past decade.  Patriots receivers to watch include Brandon LaFell, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola, not exactly murderers row out there but they get the job done.  Their Tight Ends (Gronk and Rutgers Alum Tim Wright) are the real difference makers in this game.  Noted force of NFL Nature Rob Gronkowski will be the key to this game.  His matchup against the Seahawk D will decide the outcome here.  Can Kam Chancellor, Earl Thomas, KJ Wright, Bobby Wagner and the middle of the Seattle pass defense knock Gronk out of his rhythm and off balance enough to disrupt his impact?  If they can I think it could be a very long day for the Patriots offense.

My feeling is at this point that the Seattle Defense will be able to slow down the Pats offense enough to get the win.  The Seahawks offense is good but not spectacular but I think they are good enough to get points against a mediocre Pats Defense today.  I'm sure Belichick will have a few tricks up his sleeve and this will be a memorably close Super Bowl but the Seahawks win 28-26.

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Sunday, January 18, 2015

What to Watch this Weekend - Championship Weekend

I like you too Dog.
This settles it, the NFL is a Quarterback league.  Name the top four Quarterback's in the NFL and they will be made up of some combo of the four QBs playing today.  That is a little bit nuts that all of their teams have made it to this point but it shows that the rules created to keep them upright and healthy have worked.  Hooray rules!   Anyway, who's playing?

  • Packers at Seahawks - (Fox) Can the Packers bring their offense into Seattle and get through the Seahawks defense?  That defense is still dominant and playing at a level perhaps even better than they were during last year's run.  The biggest question here is whether or not Rodgers calf is healed enough to let him play like he did in the second half of last week's game where he looked like the best player in the NFL.  This game is very exciting as we get to watch those two match up against one another.  On the other side of the ball it's Russell Wilson and a decent if uninspiring offense against a defense that looks like it's lost it's edge with Clay Matthews moved to inside linebacker.  Meh.  I'll be looking at chips during those series.  Mmmm chips.  I really think the Seahawks will win this game but my official prediction just switched!  Packers upset the Seahawks!  Pack 30 - Hawks 24
  • Colts at Patriots - (CBS)  Andrew Luck cannot escape the new guard label and this game quick wins the storyline war.  Tom Brady is still on top of his game and the Patriots will continue to show that they can take away all the talent around him and still win games as Bill Belichick was seen snickering "watch what I'm going to put him through now."  Seriously though this game is all about the Quarterbacks and I expect it to be high scoring.  Fortunately for the Patriots they have a triumvirate of Rutgers defenders who will intercept all of Andrew Luck's passes as Rutgers defenders are wont to do.  Patriots win 41-33


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Buckeyes Win the National Championship

Everything comes up Buckeyes
The Buckeyes beat the Ducks and Urban Meyer is a hero.  Despite being thought of as somewhat of a longshot 5th place team in the week before the Final Four was announced, Ohio State showed that the Playoff really works as they soundly outplayed the #1 seed and the #2 seed over the last two weeks.

After the first two Oregon drives this game was owned by Ohio.  It was surprising to see that turnaround actually.  Oregon's RB Tyner looks bigger, faster, and stronger than everyone on his few series as he exploded out of the backfield and knocked down one defender after another on those early carries.  It looked like his running was going to keep creating those wide open running and passing lanes that Mariota and this offense enjoyed all season long.

But that stopped for some reason.  Ohio State's Elliot broke off a couple of longer runs and it seemed like the entire Buckeye squad realized that they could play with these Ducks despite the large spread.  Cardale Jones looked like a bigger slower Vince Young out there and just kept converting third downs.  There was no slowing down Ohio State's offense for the Ducks.  As good as Oregon's offense has been they didn't look that special after the first quarter.

The big questions now are what happens with the QBs and Urbz.  There are rumors that Urban "decay" Meyer might not be long for Ohio State after another year.  The team is filled with Freshmen and Sophomores so they will likely be the favorites coming into next year and I bet that he'd leave after that to try to coach a pro team before completely failing and coming groveling back to Utah three years later.  

The QBs Miller, Barrett, and Jones are all legit weapons and could easily lead this team to many wins next year.  The problem is that they will not want to split that responsibility three ways.  There is already rampant speculation that Braxton Miller will transfer to LSU, Oregon, Duke, or any number of places.  Jones just declared that he wasn't going to the NFL so we'll see how that goes.  Barrett broke his ankle so it's not like that should require much recovery once it's healed like an ACL or Achilles would.  I guess Jones and Barrett will battle it out this Spring and Summer for QB1 and QB2.  Anyway, they will have their work cut out for themselves this season as they have to play Rutgers in New Jersey next season.  Just ask Michigan how that goes.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

College Football National Championship 2014

These Ducks sure can fly!  Sorry...
It's finally here.  College Football's Championship game kicks off tonight at 8:30 Eastern after the first ever Division 1 Playoff games on New Year's Day.  Those games were spectacular.  As you can see from the picture, Oregon had an easy time with overrated AAC ACC Champ Florida State.  While Ohio State, who many thought was undeserving of the 4th Playoff spot, soundly defeated the odds on favorite to win the whole thing in Alabama.

Sidebar - It must be awful playing for Alabama.  Every season is Championship or bust and while they have won three in eight years since Saban has been there, the pressure to win it all must crush the joy out of every victory.  I keep hearing about NFL Head Coaches retiring after they realize that winning games is simply checking a box, while losing a game is cause for sleepless nights and I get the sense that it's the same for everyone at Alabama.  YAY!  Every single one of those players began their careers on the field because they derived some joy out of simply playing the sport and Alabama with Nick Saban will not stand for fun when they could be focused on winning games.  No thanks.

Tonight we'll see the Ducks try to avenge the NFL career of Joey Harrington by winning a National Championship.  Some say that's crazy but you can see it in their eyes.  Either way, they have a tremendous team that has for the most part absolutely demolished the teams they've played this year.  Granted they played in the Pac12 which presented us with the most mish-mosh assortment of "good" football teams this season.  By good I mean teams in a power 5 conference with generally winning records.  This is not the highest standard but College Football deprives us of any serious inter conference play by which to properly evaluate relative levels of competence.  That's for another day though.

Ohio State will be looking for validation as a National level program again after calls of corruption following them at pretty much every step of the way during pretty much every season.  This season is no different yet it is remarkable seeing their success despite the turnover at QB.  They approach this game with their 3rd String QB taking the helm who is maybe the most unabashedly anti-"student"-athlete we've seen on such a national stage.  He however, is direct and forthright with his intention to succeed in football and definitely not the classroom while at Ohio State, so I guess there is something to be said for that.  Hate the game, not the player?

Quarterbacks don't slide, they FLY!
Ohio State has a very solid defensive line with excellent Linebackers who should be quick to fill some of the massive holes created by Oregon's system.  If the Buckeyes can get their running game going and eat up the clock thus eliminating the Ducks total offensive opportunities I think they will win this game.  Oregon isn't great against the run and I think their passing defensive numbers are all skewed because so often trail and have to throw against them that they rack up useless yards, which makes their rush defense numbers stand out as a sign of precaution even more.  

At the end of the day if you are not a fan of either team, this game presents an opportunity to watch the a remarkably successful run and culmination of the first College Football Playoff.  Both teams feature loads of talent on both sides of the ball, have the ability to play exciting aggressive turnover-focused defense, and have some of the most potent offensive attacks in the game which all adds up to a win for we the fans of College Football.  

Ultimately Ohio wins the day and Urban Meyer can glibly smile at Nick Saban in the way that he does until the two of them spontaneously combust due to the off the charts levels of unnecessary intensity.  OSU 48 - Oregon 46.  It's a game for the ages.

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Games to Watch this Weekend - Divisional Round 14

It's NFL Playoff time but Yale wins the photo race!
I'll be at the hockey game but keeping an eye on the NFL.  With good reason because there is a great game at 4:30 on Saturday.

  • Ravens at Patriots - (NBC)  The Patriots who have seemingly had one foot in the trainer's room all season are coming off of a first round bye here to face a threatening looking Ravens team.  Flacco looks fairly solid when he has more than two seconds to throw the ball which a lackluster Patriots DLine should provide him with unlike last week's game against the Steelers.  The Ravens defense has also looked fantastic and they were all over Big Ben last week but I am not sure if that's Rothlesomething just taking forever in the pocket as he is wont to do or the Ravens really getting after it.  Either way I think the Pats put up a better fight than the Steelers and given a slight revenge factor for what happened the last time these guys met in the Playoffs I have to give the edge to the Pats here as they will win 30-23
  • Panthers at Seahawks - (Fox)  I'll put this clearly at the top.  The Seahawks are going to obliterate the Panthers on Saturday night.  The Panthers did maybe the most backing in to a playoff spot of any team that's ever backed into a playoff spot ant the Seahawks look like a better version of the team that won the Super Bowl last year.  The Panthers are not that good.   Cam Newton hasn't looked good but most of that is because he has a rookie WR who can only outjump CBs and catch the ball a few times a game.  Their most dynamic player might be TE Greg Olsen who is a very good TE but he is not the game changer that Gronkowski is.  Their RB group despite being locked into expensive contracts is so frustrating to watch.  The Defense has looked good and I'm interested to see Kuechly face Russel Wilson.  Seattle wins 32-16
Not actually Kuechly but he was probably just to the left of this photo totally not getting his face jammed in by a QB

  • Cowboys at Packers - (Fox) This game has potential but I think the Cowboys luck will probably run out after last week.  They had a season better than anyone hoped and it seems like right now the fans hopes are ripe for a crushing Romo game losing turnover.  It's finally cold out and it just feels like we're back at that time of year when all Cowboy fans couldn't be more excited and Romo just rips their hearts out.  Classic Cowboys.  Anyway, even with Rodgers hurting they Cowboys aren't particularly good at getting after the QB and that will doom the Cowboys even more than Romo's game losing turnover.  Packers win 38-24
  • Colts at Broncos - (CBS) Perhaps the game with the classic storyline of the weekend and should be a very exciting game to watch.  Keep in mind that this is Andrew Luck's third season in the NFL and his best WR is TY Hilton and they are only a Touchdown underdog on the road against maybe the greatest QB of all time.  Not bad to be a Colts fan huh?  Could be a big day for Denver's Linebackers as those pinching Defensive ends will drive Luck right up the pocket to them where he is just as good scrambling as almost any QB in the league.   I'm really interested to see who wins this game and if the Broncos continue to run the ball as well as they have in the second half of the regular season.  Broncos win as the Colts just can't play mistake free and that will catch up to them against the really good teams.  Broncos 31-Colts 24

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Games to Watch this Weekend 14.17

It's Week 17 for the NFL and that means that for a few teams the playoffs start today.  There are some playoff spots still open and those will be the most interesting matchups to watch today.  Here is a look at the playoff picture for both conferences before games start today.  



Now that we have that out there let's see who should win those games.

  • Philadelphia at New York Giants - (FOX) Eagles rule and Giants drool.  It's pretty much that simple now that both teams are out of the playoffs.  The Eagles are clearly the better team with a bright future and the Giants might not have many current players on the team next year except for Odell Beckham Jr.  The Eagles might have exactly the same roster aside from the QBs and Secondary.  Not sure who wins here except for stupid Dallas fans.  Ugh.  Giants win 24-20 because Chip knows a loss here is more valuable to the organization and he is a maximizer of the highest order.
  • San Diego at Kansas City - (CBS) Kansas City has been somewhat disappointing with the way they've closed out the season.  KC still has a chance to make the playoffs but they'll need to win and get a few more breaks to go their way.  On the other hand the Chargers have been solid lately with Rivers having a very good season that nobody seems to have noticed.  If San Diego wins they are in the playoffs.  I think if Charles plays today then Kansas City rallies at home and pulls it off.  KC wins 27 -24
  • Cleveland at Baltimore - (CBS) The Browns have just chalked it up after calling up Connor Shaw to replace Hoyer and Manziel at QB then ruling Josh Gordon out for the game.  Meanwhile the Ravens have a chance to make the playoffs but they have to win for any hope.  The Ravens looked great a few weeks ago but not exactly world beaters.  They should beat a downtrodden Browns teams with really nothing to play for.  Ravens win 26-16
  • Jacksonville at Houston - (FOX) The Jags are fighting for a Top 5 draft pick and the Texans are battling for a playoff spot.  The Texans have been a giant question mark at QB this season but nothing is changing at the position for them this week.  Can JJ Watt throw?  If Arian Foster plays healthy they win.  Texans 28-Jags 20

  • Oakland at Denver - (CBS) It's easy to write off the Raiders in this game but they have been playing much better lately and it very possible that the Broncos don't play their starters the full game.  As you can see above if the Broncos win they are guaranteed a bye which just might be worth playing a full game for.  The Broncos have been playing great and it might just be a fun game to watch as the Raiders do seem to enjoy playing for Sparano and they all know it's likely his last game as their coach.  Broncos win 31-24
  • St. Louis at Seattle - (FOX) The Seahawks are back baby!  They are a really fun team to watch when they play like that.  As much as the Rams are a team to feel good about they are simply overmatched here.  Like other teams on the cusp here they just don't have a QB to count on which is a shame considering the promise that Bradford has displayed at times.  They won some games people didn't think they could this year with a plucky offense and an aggressive D but they aren't going to surprise anyone in Seattle.  The Seahawks win 32-24
  • Detroit at Green Bay - (FOX)  This is maybe the game of the week.  The Lions record is a little surprising given how little coverage they get for being an 11 win team.  Rodgers and Lacy have the Green Bay offense clicking right now and even though the Lions are playing tough I don't think they can shut down the Pack in Green Bay like the Bills did in Buffalo.  Green Bay wins 34-27
  • Arizona at SF - (FOX) It's finally Harbaugh's last game as a 49er and I don't get the feeling that many of the players are sad to see him go.  This game should be a total slop fest with the Cards using their 8th string QB and the 49ers just shrugging the whole time.  Oof.  Arizona wins because SF couldn't care less 17-13
  • Carolina at Atlanta - (CBS) These teams are playing for the 4th seed in the NFC and the loser has a shot at a Top 10 draft pick.  What a terrible division.  Cam Newton has proven that he is invincible and Matt Ryan actually is the best QB in this division.  If Julio is healthy he'll dominate this game and hopefully the Falcons use more Freeman as opposed to Jackson.  We all know that Matty Ice is very good in the Atlanta Dome or whatever they call that now.  Falcons take it 27-24

  • Cincinnati at Pittsburgh - (NBC) Both of these teams are in the playoffs and realistically fighting for 3rd and 5th seeds so there isn't a lot to win here other than bragging rights, which in this division is no small thing.  The Bengals are looking much better with AJ Green back and the Steelers might just be wearing down.  The Bengals surprise a typically good cold weather Steelers team 24-20

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