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2015 Super Bowl XLIX Bettor’s Guide

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2015 Super Bowl XLIX Bettor’s Guide
M.D. Wright
1.30.2015

We have reached the finish line (sadly, in some peoples’ eyes) of the NFL season. While we can get caught up in national signing day in college football, the NFL combine, the first wave of free agency (March 1), the NFL draft and OTAs/training camp, there is nothing like the NFL regular season. Except the Super Bowl. And we (on paper, at least) will finally have a great Super Bowl for the first time in three years.

Unless New England finds themselves overwhelmed by Seattle’s defense like Denver was last year, which could happen.

New England Patriots vs. Seattle Seahawks
University of Phoenix Stadium
Glendale, Arizona
Arizona Cardinals 3

SUPER BOWL XLIX
Sunday, February 1, 2015
6:30 PM
My Call: SEA +1
Over/Under: Under 47.5

Analysis:
This game is actually a very simple call, but made complex, because the only thing that will likely swing this game is turnovers, which are impossible to predict going into a game. New England will look to use the short passing game to set up the run game. Seattle predominantly plays Cover 1/3 (about 65% of total snaps, the rest in variations of man coverage), but when they are in those zones — particularly Cover 3 — the short passing game is left open, where Seattle relies on its defensive team speed and sure tackling to limit yards after the catch, which they have done well all season, while leading the NFL in fewest PPG, rush yards per game, and passing yards per game. Michael Bennett, Cliff Avril and Bruce Irvin will leave their stamp on this game in some fashion.

Kam Chancellor is the focal point of the Seattle defense in this game, because the majority of what New England will either have success doing (or fail to do) is whether or not Chancellor can match up with Rob Gronkowski, and how well Seattle limits the short routes to Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola — where Chancellor is often in the box in Cover 1. When in man looks, New England will resort to “legal” pick play to gain separation from Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell. However, Chancellor is often no more than 10 yards from the line of scrimmage, and cleans up the plays along with Earl Thomas.

Thomas and Sherman’s health is of relative non-issue at this point. Both will play and be as close to full go as can be expected, not limited.

Seattle will employ several looks to take away Gronkowski, but they will not leave Edelman, Amendola, Brandon LaFell and the seldom-used Tim Wright or Michael Hoomanawanui. LeGarrette Blount is a battering ram of a running back, not one that gives Seattle’s fast and sure-tackling defense many problems. Patriots’ Center, Bryan Stork’s health is of concern, as his reach blocks allow for him to take away defensive tackles and open rushing lanes for Blount and Shane Vereen (and some Jonas Gray, at times), while buying Tom Brady time in the pocket. Seattle does not get tons of sacks — itself a relatively overrated statistic — they get off the ball extremely quickly and force QBs off their spots and rushing throws without setting their feet; something that the New York Giants did extremely well in defeating the Patriots in both of their most recent Super Bowl wins over New England. This is a major issue for New England, and given the Patriots’ struggles with similar pass rushes (New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions) it does not bode necessarily well for them facing Seattle’s front seven/eight. Bobby Wagner is too rangy for New England to get much done over the middle of the field, which is something that is being overlooked by most pundits. Wagner does not blitz (Seattle rarely does), so he is able to use his 4.4 speed to run sideline to sideline to take away the intermediate action, which is what New England does 90% of the time. This plays into Seattle’s hands.

If New England has to go 80 yards on multiple drives, chances are they won’t find the end zone more than once or twice in this game. If they are able to turn over Russell Wilson and the Seattle offense, they can get shorter fields and capitalize better than most teams. Seattle had the second-fewest turnovers (14) in the NFL this season. Only Green Bay and New England (13) had fewer, and almost all of New England’s turnovers were away from home, for reasons that remain in dispute in the minds of some.

Seattle rushes the football more than any team, and had the second-fewest passing attempts in the NFL this season. That says that the Seahawks go Marshawn Lynch-Russell Wilson/Wilson-Lynch (on the ground) and then Luke Willson/Doug Baldwin/Jermaine Kearse and others after sucking in the defense. New England got trampled on the ground against Baltimore, and Seattle has two guys to account for who can run the football both inside the tackles (Lynch) and breaking contain (Wilson, and Lynch out of the zone-read).

New England will beat up the Seattle receivers on the initial coverage, but when the plays break down, Brandon Browner is a complete liability, and Revis is obviously much less effective (as are most cornerbacks) when they have to cover for 5-7 seconds. Wilson will force New England to cover for that amount of time in certain instances. What New England does in those moments is where this game will be decided. If New England is able to contain Wilson (they have not shown to have the personnel to do so, nor do their statistical tendencies suggest that they are proficient at doing so), they will be in a close game and not facing the Giants for Brady to potentially win the game late. If they are unable to stop the double-headed rushing attack, New England is going to get worn out on defense. Seattle’s defense will lean on New England for the most part, and whether they force turnovers is anyone’s guess. Receivers won’t have big games for either team unless there is a coverage breach, so the game will be played between the numbers on both sides. Seattle is a better bet because the QB is a dual threat. Tom Brady is a sitting duck against a better and more athletic pass rush.

Barring turnovers, Seattle wins.

Call:
New England                         17
Seattle                                   24
FINAL
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2015 Conference Championship Weekend Bettor’s Guide

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2015 Conference Championship Weekend Bettor’s Guide
M.D. Wright
1.16.2015

Missed badly on Denver, which, as it turns out, was in utter turmoil from the quarterback’s health up to the front office and head coach differing in philosophy. Missed on Baltimore (albeit having the game called properly until a late interception). The other two games went as expected.

Last Week:
SU: 2-2
ATS: 3-1

Playoffs:
SU: 4-4
ATS: 5-3
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Green Bay Packers vs. Seattle Seahawks
CenturyLink Field
Seattle, Washington
Seattle Seahawks 3

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday, January 18, 2015
3:05 PM
My Call: SEA -7
Over/Under: Under 46.5

Analysis:
General rule of thumb in the playoffs is when you have more than one “IF” to factor into a game assessment, the chances are not in your favor. Anything can happen on any given Sunday, however. If Green Bay can turn over Seattle multiple times, they can give Aaron Rodgers more opportunities with the football. If Green Bay can somehow run the football against this defense, the Packers will be able to keep the game within reach going into the 4th quarter. If Green Bay can contain Russell Wilson and prevent him from scrambling for back-breaking first downs and to find Luke Willson, Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse downfield, they will have a chance. If Rodgers can beat Richard Sherman on anything more than an inside slant or a back shoulder throw once or twice, they will have a chance.

All of these things must happen for Green Bay to win, however.

Call:
Green Bay                               16
Seattle                                     27
FINAL
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Indianapolis Colts vs. New England Patriots
Gillette Stadium
Foxborough, Massachusetts
New England Patriots 3

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Sunday, January 18, 2015
6:40 PM
My Call: NE -6.5
Over/Under: Over 53.5

Analysis:
The same “IF” corollary works here, although the chances of the “IF” scenarios are more likely in this game in Indianapolis’ favor. This does not mean the smart money is to take the Colts and the points, however. IF the Colts can stop the inside run game by New England, IF the Colts can somewhat contain Rob Gronkowski, IF Boom Herron can both hold onto the ball and keep the Patriots honest against the Colts’ passing game, IF T.Y. Hilton can turn Revis Island into Revis Archipelago, and IF the Colts can muster up another defensive effort like the one they gave in Denver, the Colts will not only have a chance, but will be in good position to win.

If Andrew Luck does not throw foolish interceptions (which go excused by his staunchest supporters), that is. Donte Moncrief and Hakeem Nicks must continue doing what they did in Denver by moving the sticks and taking the pressure off Hilton to make every play in the passing game. The Colts haven’t had much of pass rush, and you generally need that to beat Tom Brady and the refs in New England. Don’t bet on it.

Call:
Indianapolis                                         27
New England                                        34
FINAL
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My Favorite TV Character Personalities Since 1985

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My Favorite TV Character Personalities Since 1985
M.D. Wright
1.9.2015

Instead of making bland lists, which bloggers are often wont to do — impossible to narrow down to a Top 5 or even Top 10 (especially with a topic like this) — I’d rather do a reflection on the chronology of my TV viewership since 1984-1985, which is about the earliest I can remember things concretely on TV.

My parents are obviously influential in my early TV, because I watched mostly what they watched, and we weren’t allowed to watch much outside of what they either watched with us, or signed off on (no expansive cable channel platforms and profane programming; although my aunt was one of the first with a satellite, and it was the size of one of those that you see outside of TV stations). My grandmother also influenced my TV viewership, as I spent a lot of time watching TV with her growing up. She was heavily into police dramas like Hill Street Blues, In the Heat of the Night and Law & Order. She actually got me into the original Law & Order when we were visiting back in 1990. I put my parents onto the original, and they watched it religiously until it went off the air for good. One of the best shows of all time, anchored by the very realistic (to real-life NYPD detectives) portrayal of Lenny Briscoe by Jerry Orbach.

I can go all the way back to Hill Street Blues with Michael Warren and Veronica Hamel, to L.A. Law with Jimmy Smits (one of the greatest actors of all time), to In the Heat of the Night (which was one of my grandmother’s favorites), featuring Carroll O’Connor and Howard Rollins. Anne Marie Johnson and Bubba (Alan Autry), which was what got me really into cop dramas. We would watch In the Heat of the Night whenever we visited my grandmother. That, and Law & Order in 1990. I was immediately addicted to L&O, particularly because of the on-scene filming in areas that I had either ventured into and/or lived.

The best cop dramas were in the 1990s, though. Homicide: Life on the Street, featuring Yaphet Kotto, Andre Braugher, Clark Johnson and Kyle Secor. That show was gritty and hard-hitting, just like the city that it depicted (Baltimore). It was about as real and accurate as can be. I wish it had lasted longer, but the writing and actors’ portrayal made the show fantastic.

The same can be said about Law & Order, and especially NYPD Blue (after David Caruso left). Detective Andy Sipocwicz (Dennis Franz), Lieutenant Arthur Fancy (James McDaniel) and Detective Bobby Simone (Jimmy Smits) made the show. The ancillary characters’ personal life stories on the show came across well. It is part of the reason why the show lasted so long. Excellent writing, strong actors and deep life storylines for each of the characters made it great.

Shows like Chicago PD have potential to enter this realm if the show can last for five or six seasons, and there are several others that have come and gone in the past 15 years, but while my personal favorite isn’t even the best cop drama (or one that I would say was the best), no cop drama hit home like New York Undercover. From the hip hop edge, to the relationship between detectives JC Williams (Malik Yoba) and Eddie Torres (Michael DeLorenzo), the lieutenant (Patti D’Arbanville) and detective Nina Moreno, to the storylines and the great cameos from guest stars — added to the fact that this show ran during my halcyon years (high school), there was nothing like it before or since. There have been better shows, even on the very night that New York Undercover aired, but not one that had both a strong cultural and personal impact than this one.

All in all, in reflection, my favorite shows have been cop dramas for the past 30 years, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Did not realize that this was the case until reflecting back and noting what my favorite shows have been since my earliest concrete memories.

Report: Oregon suspends Darren Carrington for National Championship Game


Mr. Wright 212:

HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA I bet he won’t be bragging like he was in that interview earlier with ESPN. How’s THAT, bitch?

Originally posted on CollegeFootballTalk:

Oregon Ducks quarterback Marcus Mariota is running out of options to throw to even though the National Championship Game is still three days away.

After receiving news that Devon Allen has been ruled out of the biggest game in the school’s history, the situation worsened for Mariota and the Ducks.

CSNNW.com’s Aaron Fentress reported that team’s second-leading receiver, Darren Carrington, is suspended for the National Championship Game due to a failed drug test.

Carrington has been Mariota’s favorite target through the Pac-12 Championship Game and the Rose Bowl.

According to Fentress, Carrington didn’t make the trip to AT&T Stadium in Arlington with his teammates.

Carrington finished his season with 37 receptions for 704 yards and four touchdowns.

Mariota will…

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OMW’s I-95 Adventures, Vol. LXIX

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OMW’s I-95 Adventures, Vol. LXIX
M.D. Wright
1.9.2015

I actually did not do an OMW’s I-95 Adventures for Thanksgiving, because it was pleasantly dull and uneventful. The only real “excitement” was the amount of rain I ran into on 95 South in southern Virginia, and having run into the protesters in Newark before I even hit the road (following the Mike Brown and Eric Garner grand jury decisions.)

This trip was a riot, and I nearly had two major pile-ups, if not for following advice my dad gave me before they allowed me to drive dolo a few months after getting my license:

– Always look 4-5 cars ahead.
– Always check both mirrors and blind spots periodically in case you have to change lanes to avoid a crash.

My cabbie was the usual, and got me to Newark Airport in 15 minutes flat, which is a feat. He was on two wheels on 78 at times. After a couple of hiccups with the Hertz representative who clearly hadn’t awakened more than 30 minutes before I arrived at 9 am on the dot, I hopped in the car and headed home to pack my things into the car and hit the road.

Smooth sailing that morning, although I realized that I needed to get cash for tolls, to pay my cousin to do my hair, and the cabbie on my way home on the return trip. I made a quick stop in Woodbridge to pick up a few items and then made  a personal stop in Piscataway before getting cash in New Brunswick and took 295 the rest of the way. I needed my coffee, and stopped in Bordentown at Starbuck’s before locking in the rest of the way. The car I had got great mileage (one tank got me all the way to North Carolina, and refilled in Oxford on the return trip, and that tank lasted me all the way back, including a foray onto Staten Island to drop off my cousin, and to Elizabeth, where I filled up just before getting back to the airport to return the car), which made it easier for me to make great time.

Or so I thought.

Delaware is always just a dash, since it is only 10 miles on 95, and Maryland was swift, no tie-ups or major volume. Once I got past the Van Dorn exit, I literally sit in bumper to bumper, 20 mph maximum speed for the next 2 1/2 hours. I moved a total of 30 miles in that time. I had officially hit the road at 11 am, and it was well past 6 pm once I got through Richmond. To contrast normal volume, in that same timeframe, I would have normally been just a few miles outside of Raleigh by 6 pm with that departure time.

95 south of Richmond was a breeze, though. 64 west into Raleigh was a breeze. I had to make a stop at Walmart to pick up some thermal gear, because it was colder in NC than I expected, but other than that, I had to make my normal Raleigh stop at New Bern Subs (best burger in NC) and then to my cousin’s house to get my locs treated. I was later than normal leaving there, and got to my parents’ at 3 am. This was supposed to be a stop-and-go trip, because I had some loose ends to take care of, and stock up on smokes and Crown Regal Apple since both are cheaper down south. The following day, I scooped up new phones for my parents and myself, and ran every errand that I can’t take care of back home without a car, and was right back on the road on Wednesday morning.

I had to run to Durham to get my cousin, who was going back home to Staten Island and stopped to chat with his mom, who I haven’t seen in a couple of years now. We hit the road at 11 am, and after getting a fill up in Oxford, didn’t stop again until getting food in Fredericksburg. I was on a mission the entire way. I won’t post what my speed was, but I was driving ultra carefully, until I ran into a pack of Virginia’s notorious ultra-retard drivers; people who drive well below the speed limit in the left lane and force everyone to pass on the right (which is everyone’s ultimate blind spot, leading to wrecks galore in that state). I nearly got sideswiped in one instance, and then, about 20 miles south of Washington, some chick dressed like Patti LaBelle was yapping away in the middle lane. I was following from a safe distance and looking as far ahead as possible (we were heading downhill, which obstructed my normal 4-5 car ahead visage). Then, out of nowhere, she comes to a dead stop after doing 75 MPH. I had to slam on brakes and swerve into the left lane (without spinning out and losing control, expertly). I had been checking my left mirror every few seconds as per usual in heavy volume, because you never know when you need to shift lanes. There had been an SUV on the left about a car length behind me, and thankfully he sped up and passed me before I had to swerve, or else there would have been a massive pile up.

Once we got past that broad, I shot her a look, and she looked petrified, with both hands on the wheel (in that EVER-DANGEROUS, wreck-in-the-making 10 to 2 fashion — the worst drivers on the road, in my opinion, contrary to driver’s ed instructions to drive this way), and she would not look my way. She knew she was wrong. She had some other broad in the car with her. They were probably arguing about reality TV garbage and failed to realize that she was about to rear-end the car in front of her. I used some pretty vulgar language, but eventually got back to business: making great time.

We cleared Maryland in an hour flat, and got through Delaware and most of the Turnpike with no slow-downs. We made it to Exit 8 (always the barometer) in about an hour (do the math, not gonna dry snitch on myself), and the last major hurdle was going to be peak-hour Garden State Parkway traffic off Exit 11. Surprisingly, there weren’t many people out there, even it being New Year’s Eve. We had gotten from Durham, NC to East Orange, NJ in six hours flat. Probably the quickest time I have ever made. I have made it from Charlotte, NC to Harlem in eight hours flat, as well, albeit in overnight hours with no traffic, BUT with limited visibility for ticket-happy cops, as well.

After unloading the car with the help of my cousin, I dashed out to Staten, caught up with my aunt and cousin out there for a while, and scrambled to the gas station (gas is inching closer to $2 in New Jersey) and dropped off the car at the airport. Habibi was waiting outside Terminal A, and I got home in 20 minutes, exhausted and no desire to do anything, despite my homegirl being in town and wanting me to take her sightseeing in the city. It was me, and the shot of Tullamore at midnight, and I was in bed shortly thereafter.

Only to watch my Noles fumble the ball away and go in with yet another flawed gameplan by our rookie defensive coordinator. To the delight of millions of mentally ill sheep around America, they got what they wanted, after staying up late and hoping for it for weeks: a Florida State loss.

Happy New Year, your purposeless, miserable slags.

I’m just glad I got home in one piece. I never take anything for granted when I hit the road anymore. People were literally both hands texting on their phones and reaching over in the passenger seat with their vision completely off the road doing 70+ MPH in spots, so I am extra vigilant while on the highway nowadays.

 

 

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