Tuesday, January 12, 2021

2020-21 NHL Season Predictions

 After the Stanley Cup was awarded in a hermetically sealed bubble in Edmonton in September, all eyes turned immediately to what the 2020-21 season for the NHL would look like. For a not insignificant period of time, it looked like there may be no season at all, and if some owners had their way, there wouldn't be one. But the league will trudge through their billion dollar losses (and the still raging global pandemic that caused them) to play a 56 game season with teams only playing inside their own division. It's unlike any NHL season before, and for a league that's always a bit unpredictable, this season may be a new level of unpredictable. That means, these predictions may be uniquely bad. 


1. Philadelphia

2. Boston

3. Washington

4. NY Islanders

5. Pittsburgh

6. NY Rangers

7. Buffalo

8. New Jersey

This division is very reminiscent of recent Big Ten basketball seasons: many good teams that will beat each other up, but no great team to separate themselves from the pack. For that reason, the team with the fewest obvious problems and the best goaltender will win the division, and that's Philly. Most notably, I have the Penguins missing out on the playoffs this year, largely because someone has to, but also because they feel the shakiest of the good batch of teams in their division, and doubting the Islanders has not been profitable for me recently.


1. Toronto

2. Calgary

3. Montreal

4. Vancouver

5. Edmonton

6. Winnipeg

7. Ottawa

Toronto will finally win a playoff series this year because their division is so lopsided in favor of them. Every other team has a marked flaw that makes it difficult for them to compete on the Leafs' level. Calgary underachieved relative to their talent last year, and made a much necessary upgrade in net which should see them just ahead of Montreal, who now may have the talent to back up their wonderful style of play and underlying numbers. Vancouver gets in over Edmonton because of better goaltending and more depth outweighing McDavid and Draisaitl's brilliance.


1. Tampa Bay

2. Carolina

3. Dallas

4. Columbus

5. Florida

6. Nashville

7. Chicago

8. Detroit

Even without Nikita Kucherov, the Lightning will coast to a division title this season. Their biggest challenge will be Carolina, who are beloved by the analytics community and rightly so, since their style of play now has the great talent to back it up, but their weak links in net and in some depth areas keep them from winning the division. Dallas will be inconsistent to start the season thanks to their COVID and injury issues, but they're too talented to miss the postseason. Columbus gets in to the final playoff spot over Florida and Nashville thanks to the Islanders principle, but any one of those three could have a reasonable argument to get in. 


1. Colorado

2. Vegas

3. St. Louis

4. Minnesota

5. Anaheim

6. San Jose

7. Arizona

8. Los Angeles

The gap between the three best teams in the division is wider than any gap in any division this year. All three are legitimate Cup contenders, the rest will scrap for fourth and none would have any chance in any other division to get into the playoffs. Minnesota is the least flawed out of all of them, therefore they sneak in ahead of Anaheim, who with their young talent and underappreciated goalie could be the surprise team of the season. San Jose could also have one last gallant ride at success after their annus horribilis last year.



1. PHI over NYI in 7

2. BOS over WSH in 6

1. PHI over 2. BOS in 7


1. TOR over 4. VAN in 5

3. MTL over 2. CGY in 7

1. TOR over 3. MTL in 6


1. TB over 4. CBJ in 6

2. CAR over 3. DAL in 7

1. TB over 2. CAR in 6


1. COL over 4. MIN in 5

2. VGK over 3. STL in 6

1. COL over 2. VGK in 7

Final 4:

Colorado over Philadelphia in 6 (1 vs. 4)

Tampa Bay over Toronto in 6 (2 vs. 3)

Colorado over Tampa Bay in 6


Hart: Nathan MacKinnon (COL)

Art Ross: Connor McDavid (EDM)

Calder: Tim Stueztle (OTT)

Norris: Cale Makar (COL)

Rocket Richard: Auston Matthews (TOR)

Selke: Mark Stone (VGK)

Vezina: Carter Hart (PHI)

Jack Adams: Jared Bednar (COL)

Apologies in advance for the jinxes I have caused. Happy hockey season!

Friday, January 8, 2021

2020 NFL Season Predictions in Review + Postseason Predictions

 Well that was a mess. Games on Wednesday afternoons because of the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony, a game featuring a team with no rostered QB's and an overall sense of uneasiness defined the 2020 NFL season. Somehow, thanks to COVID-19 taking Sunday off like only God could have asked for, the NFL completed a 256 game regular season and moves onto a postseason in which already, a team won't have its head coach thanks to him testing positive for COVID-19. But nothing will stop the Shield, and nothing will stop me from filling this husk of a blog with the dying embers of content known as: looking back on terrible preseason predictions!

AFC Playoff teams (correct order):

1. KC 12-4 (KC 14-2)

2. BAL 12-4 (BUF 13-3)

3. IND 11-5 (PIT 12-4)

4. NE10-6 (TEN 11-5)

5. PIT 10-6 (BAL 11-5)

6. BUF 9-7 (CLE 11-5)

7. TEN 9-7 (IND 11-5)

Getting six out of seven AFC teams right in the postseason is not a bad return, though I didn't get them in the right order. Thinking the Patriots had one last kick at the can was a mistake many made, and not buying the Browns was another. Personal held skepticism of the Bills and Titans are most certainly gone now.

NFC Playoff teams (correct order);

1. NO 12-4 (GB 13-3)

2. DAL 11-5 (NO 12-4)

3. SF 11-5 (SEA 12-4)

4. MIN 10-6 (WSH 7-9)

5. TB 10-6 (TB 11-5)

6. GB 9-7 (LAR 10-6)

7. SEA 9-7 (CHI 8-8)

Now the NFC on the other hand was a bit of a disaster. San Francisco, Dallas and Minnesota all completely fell apart due to injuries, incompetence or a combination of both, and I wasn't buying into the Packers and Seahawks in the preseason but I probably should have, since they may be the two favorites to make the NFC Title game once again. 


MVP: Patrick Mahomes

He could be MVP every year, but Aaron Rodgers will win it this year, seemingly turning back time once again.

OPOY: Lamar Jackson

He took some unfair criticism at times this year, though he wasn't quite what he was a year ago. This will end up being the MVP runner up award, and this year, that likely goes to Derrick Henry for being the bulldozer he always is. Stefon Diggs and Davante Adams are other worthy contenders.

DPOY: Aaron Donald

Picking him for this award is pretty easy as he is one of the best players in the league year in and year out. He has stiff competition from TJ Watt, and if the Rams missed the playoffs, it might be easy to slide in Watt for this award. Either could win, but this prediction wasn't off base.

OROY: Joe Burrow

If he stayed healthy all season, he probably would have won, but even then he would have had major competition. Justin Herbert was way better than anyone could have ever imagined and will be the favorite for this award as he is a QB, but Justin Jefferson should also get the love he deserves. One man who deserves way more credit it than he got: James Robinson, the UDFA for Jacksonville who was the entire offense for the worst team in the league and was a revelation. 

DROY: Chase Young

Dominant beyond dominant. There's almost no other contender for this award.

Coach: Mike McCarthy

Whoops. Kevin Stefanski probably gets it for ending the longest active playoff drought in the NFL, but Sean McDermott should get love for turning the Bills into a juggernaut. I also think Matt LaFleur should get credit for reviving what seemed to be a flagging Packers team before he arrived and giving a jolt to that team.

Comeback: Cam Newton

Nope. Alex Smith wins this without any debate.

Here are my 2020 NFL Playoff Predictions:


Wild Card Round:

Bills over Colts

Titans over Ravens

Steelers over Browns

Divisional Round:

Chiefs over Titans

Bills over Steelers

AFC Title Game:

Chiefs over Bills


Wild Card Round:

Saints over Bears

Seahawks over Rams

Bucs over Washington

Divisional Round:

Packers over Bucs

Seahawks over Saints

NFC Title Game:

Packers over Seahawks

Super Bowl 55:

Chiefs over Packers

Yes, I changed from my preseason prediction of KC/NO. That prediction was made seven years ago, or so it feels like. Enjoy the playoffs.