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A young aspiring sports journalist, jus looking to perfect my writing craft

Fly Eagles Fly!

While most of the talk about the Philadelphia Eagles has been surrounded around Tim Tebow and whether or not he’ll make the 53 man cut or not has sadly overshadowed how phenomenal the Philadelphia Eagles look as a team.

Now I am fully aware that this is the Preseason and nothing should be taken even remotely serious. Most of the time that is the case when it comes to sports especially the NFL but you simply cannot ignore the fantastic display that this Eagles team has put on.

After a full offseason spewing with criticism about not only his ability to run a football team but who he is as a person, Chip Kelly at this moment in time looks brilliant as his team looks primed to make some serious noise this year. The bottom line is that on both sides of the ball the Eagles look nothing short of spectacular.
Defense:

While you might think of Philly strictly as an offensive team they look very good defensively and it starts with their vicious front seven; led by the likes of Defensive End Fletcher Cox and newly re-signed Line Backer Mychal Kendricks.

If you remember last year Philly was the only defense outside of Detroit to cause the Cowboys offensive line some serious issues. The D-line with Cox and Defensive Tackle Bennie Logan are extremely formidable and can really get after the quarterback or clog holes for the running back.

This strong D-line is backed with stud LBs like Kendricks, Connor Barwin and newly acquired Kiko Alonso, who had a terrific rookie year before going down with injury.

The secondary however is the weakest unit on the entire Eagles team. They made significant upgrades by adding cornerback Byron Maxwell and still having safety Malcolm Jenkins at their disposal, but they still have some holes.

Maxwell has proven to be a really solid corner in the NFL, especially last year as he was often targeted by offenses who presumed that he was the weak point in that vaunted Seattle Seahawk defense. The major issues this unit will find is in their other corner and safety spots as they have no proven talent at those positions outside of Maxwell and Jenkins.

While I do think the Eagles secondary have some big holes, I don’t think it will be a huge problem and that is mainly because I expect the front seven to get after the QB and keep offenses from exposing them.

This is the exact same belief Dallas Cowboy fans have about their severe secondary issues. So generally I think the Eagles defense will be very solid this year and much better than they were last year.

Offense:

This is the by far the most exciting unit that this Eagle team boasts. They too though have some major question marks but what they also have is extreme potential and have a chance to be one of the most dynamic offenses in the entire NFL.

Now we all know this offense is strictly based on pace and driving up and down the field in very quick succession and it will be no different this year.

With the offensive line still mostly remaining in tact despite the loss of pro bowl guard Evan Mathis, they will still be a formidable bunch. The most thinnest position on this unit is at receiver but they too have loads of potential as Jordan Matthews is primed for a star breakout year as the number one receiver.

The potential relies on the shoulders of rookie Nelson Agholor as he looks extremely explosive and could be a true game breaker at receiver.
In the backfield, as we all know Philly acquired the NFL’s leading rusher Demarco Murray even though their are some serious concerns on how much he will hold up after a near record year in terms of carries. This shouldn’t prove to be a major issue as some may thimk because of their other acquisition of Ryan Matthews as he too has proven to be a good running back in this league.

By pairing Murray and Matthews along with the always dangerous Darren Sproles you have a three-headed moster on your hands and should prove to be one of the best rushing attacks in the league.

Now the biggest question mark on not only the offense but the entire team is the Quarterback position and the health of Sam Bradford.

This preseason Bradford looked sensational as he threw medium range darts with pin point  accuracy as that is what made him the Heisman and the number one overall pick in the draft a few years back.

His skillset seems tailor made for Chip Kelly’s fast pace offense and he looks to have really found his home in the NFL. His balky knees however, have given everyone cause to pause and judgment on him will be held until he proves that he can stay healthy. And while I am not sure if he will but if he can LOOK OUT!

The success of this Philadelphia Eagles team is sorely based on the health of Sam Bradford because if he goes down again and their fate is in the hands of Mark Sanchez they will NOT be going anywhere this year.

If they are able to stay healthy all around though however, I expect the Eagles to win the NFC East and make some serious noise in the Playoffs and maybe, find themselves in the NFC Championship game.

The NFL world needs to be put on notice….

WATCH OUT FOR THIS EAGLES TEAM!!!!!

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Article by: R’Mon Allen

Twitter: @RmonAllen

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2015 NBA playoffs: Celtics vs Cavs

  

This is what we’ve all been dying to see, The Cleveland Cavaliers play a playoff game! There are so many intriguing storylines heading into these playoffs but none are more interesting than the Cavs big 3 starting their first championship journey together. Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love will be making their very first playoff appearances and the world is wondering how they will handle it. Lebron James has a very tall task ahead of him in this postseason by having to inspire and elevate his teammates to another level. 

  

Their opponents however are to be respected, as the young and hungry Boston Celtics look ready to relish in their first playoff experience as a team. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has done a phenomenal job, getting 100% effort out of his players on a nightly basis. With young studs Isaiah Thomas, Evan Turner, and Avery Bradley the Celtics will make things difficult on the Cavs at times.

In terms of matchups Cleveland dominates almost all except the reserves. I expect the Cavs to run all over the Celtics for the majority of the series, and a few will be close, but the rest…blowouts. However, I do see Boston winning a game at home with help from their rabid fans. Other than that I see pure dominantion on Cleveland’s part.

Prediction: Cavs in 5 

Eastern Conference Power Struggle

As we enter the final stretch of the 2015 regular season, things are really starting to heat up in the NBA. Especially the Eastern Conference.

1.Atlanta (43-12)
2.Toronto (37-18)
3.Chicago (35-21)
4.Cleveland (34-22)
5.Washington (33-22)
6.Milwaukee (31-23)
7.Miami (23-31)
8.Charlotte (22-31), (Brooklyn, 22-31)

 

The Atlanta Hawks are really sitting pretty at the top of the conference with a 5 game lead over the second seed. They look as though they will hold on to that spot for the remainder of the season unless they suffer an epic collapse.

It’s the 2 through 5 seeds, where it is really getting tight. Any slippage between those teams could result in losing home court advantage throughout the first round.

The Cleveland Cavaliers as of late have been playing terrific basketball winning their last 15 of 17 games. Everyone on the Cavs roster is healthy and their new pieces are taking the team to another level.

The Chicago Bulls and the Washington Wizards, meanwhile, have been very up and down lately. After beating the Cavaliers before the All Star break, the Bulls looked like they were primed to get back to their regular form, but that wasn’t the case as they lost their first game back to a feisty Detroit Piston team. The Wizards as well suffered a loss in their first game back, when the red hot Cavs trounced them by 38 points on their home floor.

At the Bottom of the conference we have the injury riddled Miami Heat and the mediocre Charlotte Hornets.

The Heat can’t seem to catch a break as they unfortunately have lost their best player, Chris Bosh for the rest of the season due to blood clots in his lungs. Despite a wonderful trade where they acquired PG Goran Dragic from the Suns, they will not be making any noise in the playoffs without CB.

The Hornets are tied with Brookyln, and have picked up their play recently and could very well move up into that 7th spot. Brooklyn hasn’t gotten any better since the all star break, so expect Charlotte to break the tie, but there is nothing about them that says they can make someone sweat in the first round.

In conclusion the Hawks may finish with the best record, but the Cavaliers look like the best team in the conference right now. You can expect a drastic change in these standings in the next 2 months, that’s for sure.

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Super Bowl XLIX

So here we are, after a long wait Super Bowl Sunday has finally arrived. This game could turn out as one of the best ones yet, as the defending champions Seattle Seahawks look to defend their crown against legend Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.

The match ups within this game are so compelling, that it is literally the closest thing to a toss up you can get in a Super Bowl. On one side you have 2 of the best players at their positions in Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski going up against one of the most fearsome defenses in NFL history, the Legion of Boom.

The Gronk vs Kam Chancellor matchup is the one that has everyone salivating at the mouth as it could very well be the one that decides the game.

The Patriots have been the most creative team in football on offense by constantly moving receivers and tight ends and it really gives defenses fits. Even though we did see the Legion of Boom dominate a record breaking offense last year against the Peyton Manning led Denver Broncos, it’s a tough call on which group will get the best of each other. However, it will surely be the hottest sight of the game.

On the other side of the ball we have a Seattle Seahawk offense fresh off a incredible comeback vs the Green Bay Packers in the NFC championship game. It will be very interesting to see how Russell Wilson rebounds from his worst statistical performance of his career, but he seems to be very confident going into this game. The catalyst of that offense though, is Marshawn Lynch as he is coming off an offensively explosive second half vs the Packers.

This will surely be the Seahawk offense’s biggest challenge of the year as they play the red hot Patriot defense led by arguably the best corner in the game; Darrelle Revis. Revis is joined by former pro bowl receiver Brandon Browner, who played with the Seahawks last year, and who has brought that LOB swagger to New England.

The Patriots front seven is no slouch either as they possess a multitude of athletic linebackers such as Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower. If they can find a way to slow down Beast Mode and keep Wilson in the pocket and force him to beat them with his arm, Seattle will be in for a long day. Clearly there are a good amount of different matchups that we just can’t wait to see; so much so that it’s hard to tell which one will be the most impactful.

After 2 weeks of being under a microscope because of the deflategate scandal, the Patriots can finally play football, but their are concerns whether all the speculation has slowed their preparation for the defending champs.

There is also a lot of legacy riding on this game as well as Tom Brady tries to inch closer to Joe Montana with 4 Super Bowl rings. On the other hand Russell Wilson will try to become the youngest player in NFL history to get 2 Super Bowls.

Then, we have the Legion of Boom who will try to cement their legacy as one of the best defenses of all time with wins over both Manning and Brady; something no other defense can ever say they’ve accomplished.

This is the most hyped up Super Bowl in recent memory, and it surely does have the star power and story lines to back up that hype. Also, if there is one thing that is going to be certain about this game, it’s that Seattle will not run over New England like they did Denver last year. This will be a good old fashion thriller.

Prediction: Seattle Seahawks 26-23

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They Are Back

After a slow start to the season the Seattle Seahawks look like their old dominant selves again.

The red hot Hawks have won 5 straight and 8 of their last 9 games.

The defense, led by the Legion of Boom have gotten their swagger back. They’ve gotten back to that hard hitting, smash mouth attitude which made them so special last year.

The Seahawks offense, led by Russell Wilson, is starting to become a very productive bunch. With Marshawn “Beast Mode” Lynch in the backfield doing what he does best and Wilson extending plays like no other QB in the game can, they look very hard to stop.

That’s not mentioning the fact that Russell Wilson to this point is 15th in overall rushing, which is insane for a QB.

In their last game against the Arizona Cardinals, who have one of the best defenses in the league, Seattle’s offense produced their highest yard total in franchise history at 596.

With Seattle beating Arizona Sunday, they can now clinch the division and lock up the 1st seed in the NFC with a win next week against St.Louis.

If they do indeed win next week the road to the Super Bowl will have to go through Century Link Field aka the 12th man, where the Seahawks are almost unbeatable.

Despite being done earlier this season by the Dallas Cowboys, the Cowboys didn’t play this Seattle team to date, as they were banged up with injuries on their defense and they just didn’t look like themselves at that point.

It also seems extremely unlikely that the reigning Super Bowl champs would let Dallas stroll into Seattle and beat them again.

With their swagger back and with both their defense and offense seemingly peaking a the right time the Seahawks look virtually unbeatable.

Also if they have home field advantage throughout the postseason, you might as well go ahead and punch their ticket to their second straight SuperBowl.

Are they better than last year? That has yet to be seen, but they do look just as dominant as they did a season ago when they made opposing teams have nightmares before games. That’s enough to know right there.

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Will The Cavs Figure it Out?

After stumbling out of the gate at 1-3, the Cleveland Cavaliers have won 2 straight albeit against Denver and New Orleans(who is actually a pretty good team). Everyone has been blasting the Cavs for the past week, knowing good and well that it is a process. Any assumption that the team will never be good, based after just six games is just downright ignorant. Despite there being some very alarming things that has been displayed so far.

The Cavaliers defense has been atrocious so far which has been the weakest element of the team. Teams have been able to do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it. It is very early and saying they aren’t going to figure it out is premature ,but they have some serious work to do on that end of the court. With Lebron James at the helm I would think they will soon figure out how to be effective. Nobody will ever question how good Cleveland’s offense is, as they have already shown glimpses of greatness on that end.

As speculated by many, the Kyrie and Lebron dynamic would be a big obstacle and so far that has been the case. Kyrie has proven that he is an excellent scorer and can put up points with anybody, but the questions that surround him now is centered around his willingness to pass the ball and play off the ball. Lebron James despite, having three 30+ scoring games, has looked very passive and sometimes disturbingly so. The two stars must find a way to coexist together throughout a game without one of them disappearing in the offense for an extensive period of time. Even though last game they looked like they were starting to get a feel for one another, they must find a way to do it on a consistent basis in order to be truly great.

The last red flag that the Cavs have raised is their bench which has been one of the worst in the league so far. If Coach David Blatt has permanently moved guard Dion Waiters to the Sixth-Man role it would have be the best move he has made so far. With Waiters and Tristan Thompson of the the bench, Cleveland’s bench should be much more formidable than it has shown to be so far.

Cleveland has shown some bad habits as expected but they have a LOT of time to figure it out. I don’t know if they can figure it out in time to be ready to win a championship this year but they surely got the horses to pull it off.

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Cavs or Bulls?

With the departure of Lance Stephenson and the horrific leg injury to star swingman Paul George, the Indiana Pacers have been rendered completely helpless. As those two were the only players on their roster outside of Evan Turner(who didn’t even play) who can create their own shots. The East’s top seed this past year, most likely won’t make the playoffs. The East champions, Miami Heat will be competitive but will struggle without Lebron James, unless D-Wade is Flash.

That leaves us basically with two teams The Chicago Bulls and The Cleveland Cavaliers. With Chicago getting very nice pieces in Pau Gasol, Doug McDermott, Aaron Brooks, and Nikola Mirotić they seem much more deep than in the past; though they are most excited by the return of Derrick Rose and they are very hopeful that he can stay healthy this year. With the pieces they’ve added, Derrick Rose coming back, and having one of the best coaches in the league in Tom Thibodeau, the Bulls will certainly be a top 2 seed.

Now to the Cavs who executed arguably the best offseason in NBA history. They first signed All-Star MVP Kyrie Irving to a six year extension. They then went out and drafted #1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins only to use him and last years’s #1 pick Anthony Bennett to get star power forward Kevin Love. Oh and they also got the best player in the world in Lebron James, while adding shooters Mike Miller, James Jones and still may add veterans Ray Allen and Shawn Marion. With all that going along with young talent like Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson, the Cleveland Cavaliers have assembled an immediate championship contender.

It is already a forgone conclusion these two teams will be competing for the East Crown(considering they stay healthy). It will be interesting to see where the rest of the East teams will fall in line, but there is no doubt these are the Beasts of the East.

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FMOT: @Rmon9

The New Big 3

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With the acquisition of one of the best power-forwards in the game, Kevin Love, the Cleveland Cavaliers have created a new big 3 here in the NBA. With the young star point guard Kyrie Irving and the best player on planet Earth, Lebron James already on board, this is an extremely potent trio and could cause their opponents to have nightmares.

It may take time for James and Irving to figure out how to maximize their potential as teammates, as they are used to playing with the ball in their hands 95% of the time. On the flipside the duo of Lebron and Kevin Love shouldn’t take that long to be great at all. Kevin Love’s skill set fits Lebron James better than any other player in pro basketball. Their feel on the court for each other should feel natural and be automatic.

With Kevin Love being the best stretch forward in the league it should give Lebron all the room he needs to operate and have a plethora of driving lanes. This will be extremely difficult to guard because as soon as defenders collapse on James, he will immediately kick it out and you better believe Kevin Love will make them pay.

Going back to the Irving and James dynamic, the only way they can be effective on the court together is that Kyrie must be able to play off the ball; something he is not accustomed to doing and may find difficult. He must be able to catch and shoot at a much higher clip than he has the past few seasons as he has one of the lowest 3-point percentages in the league off of the catch and shoot. If he shores up these issues him and the 4 time MVP should be just fine playing with one another.

With all three of these stars in their 20s they can compete for championships for many years to come, especially considering how weak the Eastern Conference is at this point in time.

They have the potential to be as good, if not better than the Miami Heat’s version of the big 3. But in order for that to happen Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving must sacrifice parts of their game the same way Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh did in Miami. They might find this much more difficult to do than those two but it can still be done.

Another thing they must do is significantly increase their defensive games in order to be great, but I’m sure it will be done as Lebron James will demand that effort on the defensive end.

It will be very interesting to see how these stars mesh and jell together, it will be a long process but if it is done right they could be very very good. If they figure it out I don’t think there will be anybody in the NBA to stop them.

Cleveland fans should have every right to be excited about what this upcoming season could bring to Northeast Ohio.

FMOT @Rmon9