With all the noise behind us, lets look forward to the 2016 season with our week 1 predictions.
Brothers in Christ vs. Silk City Animals
BIC is poised to tell the critics to shut it with their offseason predictions of where the team is and where it can be. A lot of criticism has rained down on the shoulders of QB Tyree “Fitz” McQueen and respectively it in some instances is deserved. For years McQueen has been on of the leagues best players but after a nasty achilles injury the same year The U made their first run to the Chip has made him second guess his abilities on the field and for that he has been seen to make a few mistakes. Unlike CJ who never had a problem quieting his huddle where their were too many Chiefs and not enough Indians McQueen has not controlled the voices both in his head and in his ear yet and its one of those things he will need to get done if he plans on taking this team to the Championship. While the BIC offense hasn’t changed much it’s the defense that will see several new faces including Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate Kwack replacing Andrew Levine on the outside and NJ Wolves product Kenneth Tippet to lead the charge with Defensive MVP Ron Clerc aka Primetime and Ol Skool. CP3 and Jamie Melendez will help this team big time on both the offensive and the defensive side of the ball including Special Teams as Jamie is one of the most explosive kick returners we have in this league. On the other side of the ball the Animals are coming for blood. When no one thought they had a chance against this same team this time last year they silenced some of their doubters jumping out to a quick 14 – 0 lead before losing it and the game. The Animals are not short of speed as Offensive Rookie of the Year Loopside is one of the more dynamically speedy players with the ball in his hands. He knows how to hit a hole and has the vision to get to the second level before you can blink, all things BIC is going to need to keep an eye on. The loss of Dwan Williams to the Savage is going to be a big challenge for the Animals who are going to need to find someone who can go up and get the ball like he can when it’s in the air and if they are able to do that their speed on the offensive side of the ball is going to cause fits for BIC. The issue with the Animals is that they lack any real size on either side of the line and are susceptible of taking a loss or giving up big chunks of yards because of that which will give a major advantage for BIC. In the end there is going to be a ton of question marks as to which Animals team shows up on Sunday. They will either be the Animals that we know and will fight but probably come up short or they will be The U and some of the Animals players who banked on playing time this offseason may not get it but have a very good chance of winning this game. Going off of what we know about either team as of today and not worrying about what the Animals bring with themselves to the field on Sunday, BIC should be able to put this game behind them pretty quickly. Their size and speed is unmatched on the other side of the ball for the most part and that is going to cause issues. Despite all of that there is no way this Animals team just lays down, they never have and never will. 28 – 14 BIC.
New Jersey Bullies vs. Purple City Warriors
There isn’t enough known about what the Bullies are going to bring to the table to know what this game can truly bring. From information and news that we know the Bullies have brought back a veteran QB who has a strong arm and the ability to move the ball down the field. But if it’s the QB that I think it is he does often throw side arm which in this league can be pretty dangerous specifically against a very smart veteran club like the Warriors. They do have a wide receiver with a ton of potential to be Rookie of the Year this season in Isaiah Trawick who from all reports plays much bigger than his size actually dictates and if he can get the ball into his hands will be a real threat in this league. On the other side of the ball the merge of the Warriors and Thrashers is going to cause a lot of problems for a lot of teams. Corey Hammond is a real deal QB with a ton of Beef experience, he has a ton of weapons around him including both Morrison and Washington and now with the addition of the Thrashers like Bobby Newman and Kevin Ishola they could put together a really formidable offense. Defensively, Big Angry and Jonathan Soltis with Coffman and Saul Cruz makes for both a defense with power and speed. Saul is one of the most underrated defenders in the game if he is positioned correctly. As a DE there is almost no one in this league that gets lower than he does. Not overly fast or overly strong to speed around guys or rush through them his game comes from his body control and the ability to get low to the ground where the fat linemen in front of him cannot and once he gets around that corner it’s game over for the opposing QB. From what I understand these two teams faced each other this offseason in a scrimmage and the Warriors came out on top heavily and there is nothing that points in any other direction at this point. It will be fun to see how this new merged dynamic actually plays together but there is too much intelligence and talent on either side of the ball for them to falter in this one. Warriors take this one pretty easy 26 – 7.
New Jersey Rebels vs. Spanktown Boys
At this point it’s pretty much safe to say that the Rebels are a storied franchise. Once being a part of the Chiefs organization many of their players decided to start their own squad hailing out of Union City. Led by Frank Escobar the team has been one of the quietly tougher teams in the league to compete against. Always a contender for the playoffs but never a contender to upset the top four teams in the league the Rebels have always put together respectable seasons and have never lessened their fight against any team regardless of who was on the team or who was going up against them. 2016 is sure to be no different than it ever has been before. With the addition of a few Geek Squad members and even the two time champ Jim McKnight leadership for the Rebels is kicking it to the next level. A defense led by one of the hardest hitting defenders in the game Steve Knight is sure to continue to set the tone for a defense that is looking to prove it is not afraid of anyone. Question marks on the offensive side of the ball, however, have us wondering what team will actually show up. Dynamic with the ball in his hand Keelz is set to be the QB for the Rebels but with from Geeks QB Berto also on the roster there could be a two QB system in the works here which may be a problem. On the other hand Spanktown is looking to come in and make a name for themselves pretty quickly. Led by a super star QB / WR combo Spanktown in Marcel Chapman and Robert Brown respectively is going to look to put the ball into the air early and often to set the tone against a team that doesn’t have the best of secondaries. Upfront though is where the true stars of Spanktown are as both Ruben Pierre and Tyler Schulz are difference makers on both sides of the line. Schulz has a rare combination of both power and speed off the ball and can make even the leagues best offensive linemen miss if he makes the right move. One of the more solid units for Spanktown is going to come out of their secondary as defensive backs Darius Pearson and Christopher Crossman are both strong willed DBs with solid footwork and technique and will do what they can to cause issues for the Rebels receivers. The issue that I am having with calling this game is the legs of Keelz behind center. Not to be overly critical but he often times makes mistakes when trying to throw the ball down field as it usually either misses the target completely or goes into the hands of the defense but Keelz has some of the most unique wheels in the game and if there is anything key to his playing ability is that he is smart enough to take OFF when he needs to. His speed and agility tied to his elusiveness makes him one of the more dangerous players in the league and if he can add an accurate arm and the ability to keep his eyes down field to find the open receiver he could be a superstar. In the end I think the lack of size and talent in the secondary for the Rebels is going to be a major issue. Rumors are surfacing that a former Bomber may be suiting up for the Maroon and Red but he plays DLine which will certainly give Spanktown problems to stopping one of the leagues best pass rushes if the rumors are true. But if Spanktown can block for just three seconds giving Chapman enough time to get the ball out of his hands it may be too much for the Rebels to overcome. With that said the game should remain a close one and will probably go down to who can complete their extra point(s) chances. Spanktown 14 – 12
Game of the Week: Union City Chiefs vs. South Boom Beach
If you have read through this entire thing you know this is a no brainer for the game of the week. First, it’s scheduled to be the 8pm game under the lights and thats of course for good reason. These two teams have a heralded history both in this league and against each other. They may have much respect for each other off the field but once they get on the field they absolutely hate each other. Both of these squads are coming off devastating losses in their respective championship games with the Chiefs losing in Beef Bowl 10 and the Savage losing the crown in the Fall but neither of them are going to let that bother them at all. In fact the first five minutes of the game should show you how much either of those games have an impact on their goals for 2016. The Chiefs are one of the most intriguing clubs in the entire league. For many years they were consistently sitting outside of the top 6 – 8 teams and either just barely making the playoffs or missing it altogether. Today, they are one of the top four powerhouses that plan to take A7 to the next level. With the MVP behind Center Alex Vargas really came into his own last season. He rarely makes mistakes with the ball, has the ability to move down field when he needs to take off and has the ability to move the pocket like no one else. A strong arm to get the ball to stand out receiver Eazy last season really helped turn the corner for the veteran signal caller to the point he was crowned MVP in 2015. Jesse Martinez continues to dominate the ground and pound game as one of the most lethal running backs this league has ever seen. Loc, Big Mo, Lambert, Tori Gibbs and Debray all are lock down defenders in their respective positions that make this time one of the most stacked in the league. All of that said and we haven’t even mentioned the addition of ST at Safety / WR, Andrew Levine at DE and Terry Roland at WR. ST and Roland give Vargas two more weapons to go with Eazy and Red that he already has. Threats on the outside that run clean crisp routes and have hands for days. A defensive line that consists of Levine, Mo & Loc with Gibbs and Lambert at LB also makes for one of the leagues best defensive units. Lets not get it twisted though as Savage made some moves of their own that are going to keep themselves in the conversation as one of the leagues best. The return of Isack to a defensive line that already has Quentin, Olay and Arce makes them just as dynamic as their week 1 opponent. Question marks as to who their QB is going to be as no confirmation has been set to it being RF1 or Rob Crawford to this point both of them possess completely different skill sets and both will have completely different outcomes to this game. In the Fall Championship it was clear that the Savage offensive line was still an issue and that Crawford was going to have a lot of trouble getting the ball off and that was definitely the case as he threw a pick and several under thrown or overthrown balls as he was trying to get rid of the ball with the rush in his face. Crawford was inevitably replaced by RF1 in the second half before he took a wicked shot from Primetime to knock him out of competition and ST took over. With ST now rocking the chiefs colors there is going to be no one to really effectively back up Crawford if he gets in a jam. Despite the uncertainty at QB the Savage still possess one of the best offensive units in the game with Qbell out there tearing shit up. If Boom Beach is still intact look for Michael Knight and Bigga to split time running the rock in a thunder and lighting situation and Big White at TE as they try to keep the Chiefs guessing what their offensive approach is going to be. This game is the best of the week and for very good reason both teams have high powered offenses, strong-willed relentless defenses, history beyond their years and a family first mentality. The winner of this game is going to prove that the last time you saw them on the field was not a fluke and they are going to set the tone for the reason the league. Even though there is uncertainty as to who will be running the Savage offense on Sunday Night I don’t think it will really matter as the Chiefs proved last year that they are the real deal and the additions they make have them ready to strike down every opponent on their schedule. Regardless of who is on the field or who isn’t this game is going to be a slobberknocker of epic proportions and much like every other game of this magnitude will come down to the wire. 21 – 20 Chiefs.