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J. Smalls
May 9

D. Sizzle

The phenomenon that is Derrick Rose is someone unlike anyone else in today’s sporting world. Reports were released today from an interview in which Rose stated point blank that he believes that he is the “best overall player in the NBA.” And I completely agree. The NBA is a point guard league, and with Derrick’s desire to dominate his position, the Bulls are among the best. It is hard to judge a player who is a year removed from a serious knee injury and questions remain regarding the timeline of his return. Looking at the size, speed, strength, and heart that Derrick possesses, separates him from even the most elite players in the NBA. Derrick stands alone in his ability to finish around the rim like no one since the days of MJ. He has possesses a natural-given talent that you cannot train or teach. Growing up on the south side of Chicago, he is one of the few players who literally puts his city on his back.  

The Cavaliers will have some dominate drives in game 4, but the Bulls must continue to protect home-court advantage and continue to put pressure on the visiting Cavs.  Loosing Pau Gasol in any capacity will hurt offensively, but this should open up some more playing time for Taj Gibson and Nikola Mirotic who both played very well in game 3.  Continuing to defend LeBron James will forever be an issue.  If the Bulls contiue to make LBJ shoot as opposed to getting into the lane the Bulls should rein in some control.  

April 14

The NBA MVP Race

The NBA season thus far has been quite interesting; especially the way things are shaping up for the playoffs. The western conference has clearly been the most dominate conference, but still the east hold top teams like Cleveland, Atlanta, and Chicago. We take a Cerebral look at the most important players of the 2014/15 NBA season and their impact.

MVP – Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors– Without a doubt Steph has been cooking some spicy Curry up all season long. Curry has been the main distributor on the Warriors thus leading them to the best record in the NBA. Steph Curry has also solidified himself as one of the top point guards in the entire world. The quick deadly shot, defensive tenacity, and overall court vision has put a separation between him and other point guards in the NBA. The upcoming 2015 playoffs are going to be crucial for Curry. Playing in such a tough western conference will really shorten up the court for the Warriors, especially against the Spurs.

Other candidates

Anthony Davis, New Orleans – He is right there with Curry. It should be a great first round match-up between the Pelicans and Warriors.

James Harden, Houston – Great season, but he does not play defense.

Russell Westbrook, OKC – Spectacular numbers this season, but no playoffs and too many turnovers.

LeBron James, Cleveland – He has had a very strong season even with some time off. It is hard to vote against LBJ as most valuable, but it is even harder to not vote for Chef Curry.  

February 19

Rebuilding The Chicago Bears

It is no mystery that the Chicago Bears are in a world of misery. Currently the Bears rank 28th out of 32 NFL teams in salary cap space availability at $6,441,420. Major changes have been happening from the hiring of Ryan Pace and John Fox, but change must still continue. I truly believe that if the Bears can have an exceptional draft and hit on a few select free agents, competitiveness might not be that far away for Da Bears.

With the number 7 pick my advice would be to trade it and acquire a plethora of draft picks to help establish the new 3-4 defense being implanted by the new Fox regime.

With those draft picks the Bears also need to get a downhill “Beast Mode” type runner and then stock up the offensive line to dominate opposing defensive fronts. In today’s NFL the most dominate teams always have a great run and throwing mix. A good mix is something the Bears have been lacking for the past few decades.

Winning pieces still reside in Chicago, but now they need to be set up for success and coached correctly. Tough decisions need to be made concerning the ageing duo of Brandon Marshall and Matt Forte if the Bears are going to have any realistic financial flexibility. Here are my top key’s to the Bears being a competitive team in the 2015/16 NFL season.

1. Establish a pass rush.

2. Start building an elite defensive secondary. I think moving Kyle Fuller to safety could help immensely.

3. Return to a smash mouth run first football team, but will still defensively instill fear onto opposing NFL offenses.

4. Build a real offensive line for better protection and improving the ability to run the damn ball. Moving Kyle Long to tackle will better help control the line of scrimmage.

5. Bring back that smash mouth Chicago football attitude that we have lost since the 80’s.

6. Beat the Detroit Lions!

7. Destroy the Green Bay Packers! 

December 22

Who's Better?

December 22

Windy City Baseball

It has been an extremely exciting winter for Chicago baseball fans.  It’s so awesome to finally see both sides of town heavily investing in winning baseball.  Not just this year, but for many years to come. Here is a breakdown of what both teams have done thus far and how they will look heading into opening day.

White Sox 

No team has improved more this off-season than the Chicago White Sox, as they've added Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, Jeff Samardzija, Zach Duke and David Robertson to a roster that was already on the rise with a good core of young talent.

A rotation fronted by Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Samardzija should be as good as any trio in baseball, and with Avisail Garcia healthy and Jose Abreu now protected by LaRoche, the offense should be a strength too.


• M. Cabrera• D. Viciedo• J. Danks


• A. Eaton• L. Garcia


• A. Garcia• D. Viciedo• J. Danks


• A. Ramirez• L. Garcia• C. Sanchez


• C. Sanchez• L. Garcia


• J. Abreu• A. LaRoche• C. Gillaspie• A. Wilkins


• A. LaRoche• J. Abreu• D. Viciedo


• T. Flowers• A. Nieto• R. Brantly


• C. Gillaspie• L. Garcia• C. Sanchez


1. C. Sale

2. J. Samardzija

3. J. Quintana

4. J. Danks

5. H. Noesi

6. C. Rodon


• D. Robertson (CL)• J. Petricka• N. Jones• D. Webb• Z. Putnam

• J. Guerra• M. Cleto• D. Jennings• E. Surkamp• Z. Duke


The Chicago Cubs won the Jon Lester lottery, and by also adding all-star catcher Miguel Montero, Jason Hammel and David Ross, they are undoubtedly the most improved team in the division.

However, expectations should be tempered, as there will no doubt be some significant growing pains with their young offense. They should have a ton of power, though, and with an improved pitching staff, it's not out of the question to think they could make a run at a playoff spot. The NL is a weaker league so the Cubs have a great shot at making a huge impact this year. Attention to the bullpen will also be huge to their success.


• A. Alcantara• R. Sweeney• M. Szczur


• J. Soler• R. Sweeney


• S. Castro• J. Baez


• J. Baez• A. Alcantara• T. La Stella


• A. Rizzo• M. Olt


• M. Montero• R. Lopez• R. Lavarnway


• K Bryant• L. Valbuena• M. Olt


1. J. Lester

2. J. Arrieta

3. J. Hammel

4. K. Hendricks

5. T. Wood

6. T. Wada

7. J. Turner

8. F. Doubront


• H. Rondon (CL)

• J. Motte• P. Strop• N. Ramirez• B. Parker

• J. Grimm• Z. Rosscup• D. Straily• B. Schlitter• E. Jackson

December 22

Fire Everyone!

The Chicago Bears 2014 season has been absolutely abysmal. Problems start from horrible decision making and lack of clutch performances that have landed the Bears as one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Marc Trestman’s ever-adapting game plan and mental acuity has been something to see in the first few weeks of his tenure with the Bears starting in 2013, but everything since everything has been absolutely horrid. Starting quarterback Jay Cutler never having time in the pocket to pass the ball, we still have not been able to see his true potential. Jay gets the most hate of any quarterback in the NFL, and all because of a nonexistent defense, bad coaching decisions, and a horrible offensive line, all of which were out of his control. Cutler has been thrown around like a rag doll ever since his arrival here from Denver, but with the Chicago media we seem to only harp on Cutler’s negatives.

This year the offensive line is one of the biggest reasons the season has fallen apart. Outside of guard Kyle Long the whole unit absolutely sucks. Combined with the worst defense possibly ever assembled Joe Montana could not with a game with this team. Cutler may not be an absolute franchise quarterback, but he is still better than 80% of other current NFL quarterbacks.

Without reservation, I believe head coach Marc Trestman and general manager Phil Emery will be fired in the off season. The Chicago Bears are a team that needs to start building a true defense and offensive line first and foremost. Leading the Bears in the right direction heading into their future the general manager and coaching selection will be crucial if we have any chance of beating Green Bay any time soon. 

October 18

The 2014 World Series

It is insane that people are devaluing the upcoming World Series match-up of the Kansas City Royals and San Francisco Giants because the fact they are both Wild Card winning teams. Truth is, this has the all the makings of an absolute great series and probably the best in over ten years. Both teams have great pitching, great defense, speed, and remarkably efficient timely hitting. Stealing a game in Kansas City will be crucial for the Giants to change the scope of the series.

Here are a few keys to success.

1. Buster Posey needs to effectively throw out base steal attempts.

2. Whose bullpen will be more dominate? My bet is the on the Giants.

3. The Royals must continue their hot hitting.

4. Lefty Madison Bumgarner who has been the hottest pitcher in baseball needs to win in Kansas City. 

August 29

Cerebral NFL Predictions

NFC West
1. Seahawks – The Seattle "Legion of Boom" is stacked yet again and look for them to be primed for a true defense of the Super Bowl title.  The protection and progression of Russell Wilson is a huge key to success for this team. 

2. 49ers - This team might be one of the deepest teams in the NFL, but will struggle early on due to the suspension on Aldon Smith and the Navvaro Bowman injury.  Also, offensively the 9ers have not been able to find an offensive rhythm in the pre-season and this could lead to an ugly start

3. Cardinals – Do not count out head coach Bruce Arians and his cerebral approach to football.  The Cards had a great year last year, but they cannot lose anymore key players to injury.  I would not be surprised to see the Cards to be number two in the division over the 9ers.  

4. Rams – This is the team that is one of the biggest wild cards heading into the 2014/15 NFL season.  The Rams are sporting one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and barring the consistency and health of Sam Bradford (out for season) the Rams should be right in the mix for a playoff spot.  Nothing will come easy being in one of the toughest divisions in football.

NFC North

1. Packers – Aaron Rodgers is looking primed to have his best season yet for the Pack and that is scary for the opposition.  With so many weapons around him and the deadly running Eddie Lacy they look absolutely unstoppable on offense.  The addition of Ha Ha Clinton Dix should help make this defense much more efficient. 

2. Bears – Jay Cutler is the key that makes this engine drive.  The Chicago Bears offense is so talented, but to be in Super Bowl conversations Jay Cutler is going to need to stay healthy and limit the stupid turnovers.  Defensively all three aspects of the pass rush, linebacker play, and secondary improvement are going to be needed if they intend to be able to stop anyone.  Hopefully playing in such a tough division will help season this team for an extended playoff run. 

3. Lions – New head coach Jim Caldwell needs to get Matthew Stafford on another level, but I just do not see that happening.  The Lions have so many weapons throughout the offensive depth chart, but consistency will be a huge key to success for Detroit in a tough NFC.

4. Vikings – Now many people do not see the Vikings doing much of anything, but the Vikes have some dangerous weapons and a new brain trust in the coaching department.  If healthy the Vikings will be a team absolutely no one will want to face in the 2014/15 season.

NFC South

1. Saints - Surprisingly they are in this spot thanks to moves bolstering the defense the Saints may actually be able to make an extended playoff run.  The Nola will be one of the best teams in a stacked NFC this year, but winning on the road will remain a huge hurdle that needs to be passed.

2. Buccaneers – New Bucs coach Lovie Smith has energized all of the Tampa Buccaneers fans in Florida, but huge question marks remain with the offensive unit and new signal caller in Josh McCown.  The defense should be one of the top units in all off football with the Tampa 2.0 being installed.

3. Falcons – The Falcons are expected to have a comeback year by most accounts because of the strong and efficient offense they have, but defensive liabilities will hinder this team immensely. Speaking of the offense it will be fun to see a healthy Matt Ryan, Roddy White, and Julio Jones lighting it up in Hot-Lanta.  

4. Panthers – Unfortunately for the Carolina faithful the Panthers have digressed more than most any team in the NFL from last year.  The loss of play makers on both sides of the ball will hinder this team in such a tough division. 

NFC East

1. Cowboys - America's team will most likely be finishing last in the NFC East and the entire NFC. The Boys will be okay offensively, but they have the DNA of a team that could be a wild card.  With such a stout offensive line and a healthy Tony Romo the Cowboys could be dangerous as ever.  Also keep in mind DeMarco Murray is in a contract year. 

2. Giants – If Eli Manning can really buy into the new offensive scheme being put in the Giants will be a team no one wants to face this year.  After a couple of disappointing seasons the Giants should vie for a playoff spot this year.

3. Eagles - The Eagles should be in the mix due to their potentially explosive offense, but they still struggle immensely on defense.  I am also not sold on the Philly offense being elite this year and that had allot to do with quarterback Nick Fowles.  Too much weight is being put on the shoulders of Lesean McCoy. 

4. Redskins – The Redskins are in the same boat as the Eagles as they have an explosive offense, but may struggle on defense.  Adding star receiver DeSean Jackson will help open up things offensively as the Skins have been missing play making receivers in the past.  RG III, please learn how to slide!


August 15

Cerebral AFC Predictions

AFC East

1. New England Patriots– Tom Brady and the Pats are the class of the East without a doubt, but injuries and a tough schedule could leave the Patriots very vulnerable.  They did add some nice assets in the defensive secondary by adding defensive backs Brandon Browner and Derrel Revis. The truth of the matter is the Pats need to have Rob Gronkowski back by at least week six to really hone in on the offensive continuity.  It will be exciting to see running back Shane Vereen and newly acquired wide-out Brandon Lafell expose opposing defenses throughout the NFL. 

2. N.Y. Jets – If Geno Smith can continue to grow as a quarterback the Jet's have Michael Vick waiting in the shadows.  Rex Ryan has reloaded an already tough defense that could be a game changer and could very well rival the Patriots for the AFC East crown.  The addition of running back Chris Johnson and wide receiver Eric Decker should give the Jets a better offensive flow.  Also, look for the rookie tight end Jace Amaro to have a big first year impact for the Jets.

3. Miami Dolphins – Now that some solidity has been found on the offensive line the Dolphins could have a productive 2014/15 NFL season.  A big problem for the Fins is that the Jets and Patriots are in the same division.  On a fantasy note tight end Charles Clay is primed to have a huge season down in south beach.

4. Buffalo Bills – The Bills playoff drought may very well extend into 2015, but that is not to say improvements have not been made.  The addition of wide receiver Sammy Watkins will help quarterback E.J. Manuel's transition into his 2nd year.  The problem is the Bills play in one of the toughest divisions in all of football.

AFC North

1. Cincinnati Bengals – Yes, the Bengals will win the AFC North, but will they win a playoff game?  The offensive game of the Bengals should be on point this season as Andy Dalton will have a plethora of weapons.  Health will be a huge key to success, but with A.J Green and the tight end corps the Bengals have look nasty as ever.

2. Cleveland Browns– The reason why the Browns are so high on the list is because their defense has a very similar look to the Seattle Seahawks "Legion of Boom" defense.  With embattled star receiver Josh Gordon out for this year the Brown's offense might struggle at points, but commitment to the run game will prove successful for this defensive oriented team.  With finally having some depth at the quarterback position Brandon Hoyer and Johnny Manziel look to stabilize the offense and limit costly turnovers.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers – The Steel-crew really need a bounce back year, but I just do not see that happening.  The only way the Steelers can be in contention is if they dominate opposing teams defensively and stay healthy.

4. Baltimore Ravens – Offensively and Defensively the Ravens should be a much better team this year, but that will not be enough in a tough AFC North.

AFC South

1. Indianapolis Colts – Andrew Luck is really benefiting from playing in such a bad division by making the playoffs each year of his young career.  This year should be no different as the Colts will look to solidify the protection of Luck with better line play and a productive running game.

2. Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jags will continue to build a team that can compete for the playoffs.  The defense has vastly improved and now they may have found quarterback of the future in Blake Bortles.

3. Tennessee Titans – The Titans will be a team that will hang in many games this year due to their commitment to the run game, but better tackling is going to be needed.

4. Houston Texans – Ryan Fitzpatrick. 

AFC West

1. San Diego Chargers – The Chargers played very well last year and they look to build on that success this year.  With the defense coming together and the potent passing game Philip Rivers gives the Chargers a fighting chance to be a Super Bowl threat for 2014. 

2. Denver Broncos – The Broncos will have another efficient year, but it is win the Super Bowl or bust in Denver.  Peyton Manning looks primed for another huge year as the Broncos have added some better offensive line depth to better protect the hall of fame quarterback.  Attention to the running game may serve to be a huge key as they are already experiencing injuries at the position and pre-season is in its infancy stages.

3. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs are a team that can only be successful if they run the ball effectively.  If healthy their defense can be a top 5 defense in the NFL this year.    

4. Oakland Raiders – With the current state of the NFL tackling practices the Raiders running game should benefit more than most people think.  Also, a focus on defense in the draft could pay dividends for the Oak-Town Raiders.  Hopefully they can solidify the coaching position.  

4. Kansas City Chiefs – The Chiefs are a team in which I believe will regress this year severely due to lack of depth in the defensive secondary and a limited quarterback in Alex Smith.  

June 13

The Spurs Take South Beach

And what about those Miami Heat "fans" booing and leaving early?

Here is a perfect representation of some typical Miami Heat fans. 

Carmelo may be a necessity as opposed to a luxury for the Miami Heat heading into the 2014/15 NBA season.  

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