10 Players To Watch During the NBA’s Restart Inside the Orlando Bubble

It’s been 138 days since the NBA was shut down on March 11 following the unforgettable scene in Oklahoma City which saw Rudy Gobert test positive for COVID-19 as a harsh reality for the pandemic began to set in.

That horrifying number will (hopefully) be no more on Thursday when the Pelicans and Jazz tip-off serving as the official restart of the NBA regular season inside the Orlando bubble, which just might bring a tear to my eye.

Instead of doing an official playoff preview just yet (I’ll save that for August), I wanted to highlight 10 under-the-radar players who just might win their team a playoff game and could be someone you may have forgotten about during the layoff.

If you’re looking for star players like ‘Bron or Kawhi on this list, you’d be better suited just turning on FS1 and listening to Colin Cowherd talk about how Russell Westbrook and James Harden aren’t a top 10 NBA duo.

1. Gary Trent Jr. – Portland Trailblazers

Gary Trent Jr. became one of my favorite hidden gems coming off the bench this season. Ever since his 30-point explosion back in mid-January against the Thunder, the former Blue Devil has been an integral part of the Blazers’ rotation. That trend should only continue for the playoff-hopeful squad, as Trent Jr. put up 12 ppg and shot 41% from behind the arc during the month of February. He’s also a rock-solid defender on the wing.

P.S. My only issue with GT was seeing him on the virtual blackjack machines in the Bahamas. As a millionaire, it’s time to move to the legit high roller tables, my guy!¬†

2. Ben McLemore – Houston Rockets

When your career needs to be revived, every offensive-minded player should give Mike D’Antoni a call. MDA gave a lifeline to another career that was on its last breaths with Ben McLemore this season, who evolved into a sniper for the three-point happy Rockets this season. Averaging just under 10 ppg on 40% from three, McLemore’s brought his magic to Disney, as he lit up the Grizzlies during Sunday night’s scrimmage for 26 points on 6-7 from downtown.

3. Bol Bol – Denver Nuggets

Bol Bol is one of the early winners from the NBA restart. After not playing a game this season in Denver, Bol exploded onto the NBA Twitter scene with highlight-worthy plays on both ends of the floor, which flooded IG timelines in the first couple of scrimmages while starting in the BACKCOURT!! with Nikola Jokic. Seeing that untapped potential on display could vault Bol into a secret weapon type of role for Mike Malone’s deep Denver Nuggets.

4. Seth Curry – Dallas Mavericks

For quite possibly the first time in his entire life, the stage will now entirely be set for Seth to shine without overshadowing from older brother Steph anywhere in sight. With Luka and Porzingis occupying the defense’s focus, three-point assassins like Seth Curry become indispensable. Seth was 2nd in the entire NBA while shooting 45% from downtown and the Mavs are going to need him to be lights out in Orlando to spread the floor.

5. J.R. Smith – Los Angeles Lakers

J.R. Spliff is back!!! After going unsigned the entire 2019 season, the Lakers finally decided to listen to me and roll the dice on Earl and reunite him with LeBron inside the bubble. For that reason alone, we need a documentary on the Lakers’ Orlando playoff run. With Avery Bradley opting out and Rondo injured, L.A. will be heavily relying on the likes of J.R., Alex Caruso, KCP, and Dion Waiters to supplement A.D. and Lebron with outside shooting late in games. Smith’s microwave scoring ability came to life on Monday with 14 points in the first half of their scrimmage against the Wizards.

6. Matisse Thybulle – Philadelphia 76ers

One of the most unique young players in the NBA. Matisse not only shines on the court as a lockdown defender, but he’s also become a YouTube sensation off the floor with his Welcome to the Bubble VLOG series, which he shoots and edits himself. The rookie’s versatility on the defensive end and streaky shooting will be needed to help power the Sixers, as coach Brett Brown has his hands full regarding how to best deploy his talented arsenal of weapons.

7. Duncan Robinson – Miami Heat

From Division III standout, to Michigan 6th man, and now a top 100 NBA player, according to Bleacher Report‘s latest rankings. Stories like Duncan’s are to be celebrated, as he landed in the perfect spot to flourish under the tutelage of Eric Spoelstra, Pat Riley, and co. in breezy South Beach. Another 45% shooter from three makes the list, and a bright future is definitely ahead for the Michigan man. Admittedly, I didn’t think there was a chance DR would be an NBA player during his time as a Wolverine.

8. Luguentz Dort – Oklahoma City Thunder

Lu Dort is a name you might not be familiar with if you haven’t caught many Thunder games this year, as I had no clue who he was coming into the season and only found out about him through my brother after watching him pop off the screen one night. Dort has a knack for making good things happen on the floor, as OKC went 16-5 once Billy Donovan inserted him into the starting lineup and management rewarded the Canada native with a four-year extension for his efforts.

9. Jonathan Isaac – Orlando Magic

With the potential to be transcendingly special on the defensive end, Jonathan Isaac’s breakout campaign was forced to take a detour following a devastating knee sprain on New Year’s Day. After the shutdown’s extended layoff, the Florida State product has been cleared for action to participate in the bubble scrimmages, which should bring a smile to Magic fans’ faces if there’s any still out there. During his return to the hardwood Monday night, JI managed 13 points and grabbed 7 boards in just 7 MINUTES on the floor.

10. Norman Powell – Toronto Raptors

Another underrated cog in COTY candidate Nick Nurse’s army that somehow has Toronto back in the mix for an Eastern Conference run even without Kawhi Leonard. Powell would have a case for 6th Man of the Year but ended up starting 21 games. When returning from an injury in late February, Powell posted five straight box scores with at least 22 points to give the starting five unit a jolt before the shutdown.

Previewing Round One of the NBA Playoffs

After one of the most tightly contested regular seasons in recent memory, the NBA playoffs tips off Saturday afternoon where the champion Golden State Warriors begin their journey to repeat at Oracle against the undermanned San Antonio Spurs at 3 PM EST on ABC. Will we get a fourth straight Warriors vs. Cavs finals? There’s a good chance it happens, but the rides there might be a little bumpier than usual. The Daily Mix has you covered with a concise preview of each matchup and what you need to know heading into every series.

Eastern Conference: 

(1) Toronto Raptors vs Washington Wizards:

LTS: This definitely isn’t your average 1/8 seed type of matchup. Most of these contests will be close, but I’ll hesitantly give the edge to the Raptors amid a mediocre 7-6 finish to the season because of great bench play and home court. The Wizards never seemed to put it together this year, but are healthy at the right time. Just three years ago the Wizkids swept Toronto.

Raptors in 6

DG:¬†This is a tough draw for the Raptors. They’re the 1 seed and their reward is a team that has been to 3 of the last 4 Conference Semis. John Wall has to play out of his mind for the Wizards to stand a chance. I could totally see the Wizards stealing a game in Toronto to make it interesting going into Game 3. However, Lowry and DeRozan are on a mission to take down The Land.

Raptors in 6

The Score

(2) Boston Celtics vs (7) Milwaukee Bucks

LTS:¬†Another anomaly when it comes to your atypical 2/7 series. Though, Boston is ravished with injuries I expect them to pull it out. I don’t trust Milwaukee even though they boast by far the most talented player in the series they are still a year ahead of schedule. Huge coaching and home-court advantage for the C’s even without Kyrie, Smart, and Hayward.

Celtics in 6

DG: Boston started the year thinking that they would be the team to unseat the Cavs and become the new Kings of the East. However, injuries to Hayward and Irving have significantly decreased their chances. Greek Freak will make this interesting, but the combo of Tatum and Brown will be too much for the Bucks to handle. The Brad Stevens Coaching Clinic continues.

Celtics in 6

(3) Philadelphia 76ers vs (6) Miami Heat

LTS: Philly comes storming into the post-season as by far the hottest team and the stats back it up, as no franchise has entered the playoffs on a larger win streak to close out a season than the Sixers (16 straight). They should do a lot of growing up during the series and will have their struggles against a veteran Heat team, but if Embiid comes back healthy, they handle Miami in six. Look for the 76ers to rely on veterans Bellinelli and Redick for leadership, as the pair have appeared in a bunch of big games. I think this matchup boasts the most star power of any in the Eastern Conference.

Sixers in 6

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DG:¬†This is the best matchup in the East. On one hand, you have the hottest team in the NBA. The process was not only trusted this year, but mastered. Everything is clicking with the young guns as Simmons and Fultz are clicking. However, the Embiid injury does scare me especially since we don’t know when he’s officially coming back. Also, I am a firm believer in coaches with experience and Erik Spoelstra has a lot of it. Throw Dwayne Wade’s leadership in the mix and the Heat are ready for the upset.

Heat in 7

(4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs (5) Indiana Pacers

LTS:¬†Very unfamiliar territory for a LeBron-led team to finish fourth in the East. They still get a favorable matchup against an overachieving Pacer team. I just want to sing Nate McMillan’s praises for a second as nobody predicted this team to be in the post-season. But, you know how this works. LeBron hasn’t lost a first-round game since the Knicks upset the Heat at home in 2012.

Cavs in 4

DG:¬†Death, taxes, and LeBron James in the playoffs. Hats off to Indiana for making it to the playoffs. I thought they would be a lottery team. Lead by the most improved player in Victor Oladipo, the Pacers have had a nice season. That being said, LeBron is playing out of his mind. I’m expecting nothing less than a sweep.

Cavs in 4

Western Conference:

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(1) Houston Rockets vs (8) Minnesota Timberwolves

LTS: The Rockets have been on cruise control the last week or so since clinching the one seed and the Wolves needed an overtime victory on the last day of the season to end their 14-year post-season drought. The Rockets should be able to kick it into gear and handle the Wolves in five.

Rockets in 5

DG:¬†The Rockets are ridiculosuly good. Their offense is better than a video game. If you’re the Wolves, you have to be kicking yourselves for falling to the 8th spot. They were a staple in that 3rd and 4th spot until a poor second half sent them falling. The Harden Playoff Redemption Tour starts now.

Rockets in 4

(2) Golden State Warriors vs (7) San Antonio Spurs

LTS:¬†2017’s Western Conference Finals look a lot different as two of the major stars from the series will most likely be missing for their upcoming contests. This is an unfortunate draw for the Spurs who fell to the 7 seed after dropping their final game to the Pelicans. Sans Steph I still expect KD to dominate and Golden State to win in 6 on the back of the 2014 MVP and Klay Thompson. This all goes out the window if Kawhi makes an appearance.

Warriors in 5

DG:¬†No one can beat the Warriors if all four of their all-stars are healthy and playing. Well, now it’s only going to be three all-stars without Curry. This has the makings to be a good series because the Spurs are supposed to be “down.” When we zig, they zag. If Kawhi Leonard plays, strap in. Warriors will not lose the series, but I’ll say they win in 6 games to be safe.

Warriors in 6

(3) Portland Trailblazers vs (6) New Orleans Pelicans

LTS:¬†Both of these franchises overachieved this season as their star players should both be up for some MVP votes. Dame needs to be mentioned among the best point guards in the league and AD solidified himself as a bonafide stud carrying the load once Boogie went down. I’ll ride with the Blazers who should take care of home court. Rondo/Jrue vs Dame/CJ should make for an entertaining chess match in the backcourt.

Blazers in 7

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DG:¬†I second what LTS said. Both teams overachieved this years. Anthony Davis is unguardable at times and can win games by himself. That being said, it’s time to start the Damian Lillard For First Team All NBA Team Campaign. He’s that good and he’s on a mission to prove it on a big stage. Dame and the Blazers take care of business.

Blazers in 6

(4) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (5) Utah Jazz

LTS:¬†After a rocky start, OKC straightened out their woes and took care of business the final three games of the year to get in prime position for home court and a favorable draw in the first round. Adams equalizing Gobert is the key this series. I’m hoping to see an efficient Westbrook and timely shotmaking from Melo and PG. Thunder in 6.

Thunder in 6

DG:¬†When it seemed like OKC was dead, they came back to life thanks to spectacular play from their leader, Russell Westbrook. I’m very interested to see how Russ incorporates PG and more importantly, Melo, into the playoff offense. On the other side, who would’ve thought the Jazz would be a 5 seed this year? Quinn Snyder is a hell of a coach. I’m pretty sure you’re aware of this rookie named Donovan Mitchell who’s pretty good. The Jazz play together as a team better than the Thunder. Jazz with the upset.

Jazz in 7

Enjoy the playoffs.

A Blessing in Disguise: Reviewing The 1995 Yankees/Mariners Playoff Series

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Another baseball season is in the books. We saw an exciting playoff run for the Yankees. They played a decisive fifth game for the eighth time in less than 25 years. Their series against Cleveland reminded me of some 90s baseball. Cleveland beat them 20 years ago. It looked like history was about to repeat itself. Perhaps the season is more like 1995. Buck Showalter was dismissed after a disappointing loss against Seattle. Fans were irate. Joe Torre came in. A newspaper headline called him Clueless Joe. Long story short, the Yankees beat Atlanta in 1996 and became World Series champs.

That 1995¬†matchup with the Mariners was crazy for many reasons. Baseball had a television deal that showed playoff games regionally at the same time. Only this Yankees-Mariners pairing¬†went 5, so their last game was televised¬†nationally. Boston and Cleveland played an exciting series. I couldn’t watch it. Anyway, it’s funny to look back on the Yanks-M’s series now. Tino Martinez and Jeff Nelson played for Seattle. Those players helped the Yankees win a championship¬†one year later. Luis Sojo also played for Seattle in 1995 and won with the Yankees in 1996. Derek Jeter was a rookie. Brent Musburger called game 5. He mixed up Bernie and Gerald Williams on the final call. Don Mattingly played well. That was his only playoff appearance. The Yankees had not been in the playoffs since 1981. They appeared to be headed for a playoff spot in 1994 until the strike ended play. 1995 would begin a streak of 13 straight playoff appearances. That year’s format was 2-3, and the Yankees failed in all three chances to wrap it up in Seattle.

One thing that I feel is misrepresented about the Seattle series in 1995 was Mariano Rivera’s role. Even this year I have heard that Buck could have kept his job if he knew what Rivera was and he had. This comes up a lot. Mike Francesa. John Sterling. I don’t think this is true. Buck gave Rivera a chance late in games. Even the last one. Jack McDowell tried to close out that game, but Rivera helped get them into extras. Mariano was not closing in 1996, either. Still, he clearly was an incredible bullpen weapon. If Buck had held Mariano for a save situation and pitched McDowell earlier, that game might have ended before Rivera ever appeared in the game.

It will be interesting to see where the Yankees go from here. If they end up starting another dynasty, we might look back at the failure of 2017 as a blessing in disguise. History might be repeating itself 22 years later.

NBA Playoff Picks: Conference Semi-Finals Edition

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The first round of the NBA playoffs came and went without too much excitement. DG and LordTreeSap both picked the winner of each series (all the favorites) and told you the Clippers-Jazz series would be the only one to get to game 7. DG has jumped on the Jazz bandwagon and has them moving on, while LTS believes the Clips get it done at home. The Conference Semi-Finals begin today with the Wizards and Celtics renewing their rivalry. The second round should be a little more interesting with possible upsets, as we get one step closer to the Warriors/Cavs trilogy.

Eastern Conference:

#1 Boston Celtics v #4 Washington Wizards

LTS: There’s clearly some bad blood between the Celtics and Wizards, as the teams split their testy regular season series 2-2 with the home team as the victor in each contest. I said the Wizards would be the toughest test for the Cavs and with the way the C’s struggled against Rondo in the first round, I believe John Wall will be unstoppable in this series, Gortat should eat inside as well. The Wizards advance to their first Conference Final since 1979.

Wizards in 6

DG:¬†I think this will be the best series by far. Celtics started off sluggish against the Bulls, but settled down and won 4 straight. Rebounding is still their biggest flaw. Wizards looked electric and John wall is cementing himself as a top 5 PG. This series will go 7 and I’ll give the edge to my doppelg√§nger, Brad Stevens and the C’s.

Celtics in 7

#2 Cleveland Cavaliers v #3 Toronto Raptors

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LTS: The Raptors made solid moves at the deadline in order to have a roster that could compete with the Cavaliers. I just can’t see a way they give the Cavs fits though, as Cleveland swept the regular season series 3-0 (last game the big three did not play in for Cleveland). LeBron and Co. looked sharp in round one and will be well-rested for the Raptors. The Land cruises to another Conference Final, as DeRozan and Lowry are too inconsistent for me.

Cavs in 5

DG: Last year’s Eastern Conference Finals was a better than expected series. I honestly think it’ll be the same formula. Cavs win first two games. Raptors win next two to even it up. Cavs win final two to close it out. Lebron is LeBron and he gets it done.

Cavs in 6

Western Conference:

#1 Golden State Warriors v Clippers/Jazz

LTS: Sadly for whoever wins game 7 of the Clipper/Jazz series will run into a juggernaut Warrior team who is waiting in the wings. GSW has a legit shot at running through the West 12-0. Get your brooms out.

Warriors in 4 

DG:¬†Do I even need to write up a summary? I’ll be nice this time. Warriors in 5 cause ISO joe and Gordon Hayward steal game 4 to avoid the sweep.

Warriors in 5

#2 San Antonio Spurs v #3 Houston Rockets

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LTS: DG and I agree the Rockets match up with the Spurs well and have a good shot at pulling the upset, as all the regular season games were tightly contested. Harden vs Kawhi down the stretch of games will be a treat, and I honestly like the Rocket role players more than the Spurs’. It’s tough to go against Pop, but San Antonio you have a problem.

Rockets in 6

DG: Start your engines! Toughest series to predict. The Spurs are the Spurs. All they do is find a away to win and it seems to happen all the time. Kawhi is officially the best two-way player in the game. No debate, end of discussion. Harden and the boys are no slouches though. They can outscore the Spurs for sure, but can they stop them? I think Harden is going to go off and make the voters rue the day that they passed over him again for MVP.

Rockets in 7

NBA Playoff Picks: First Round Edition

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After one of the most exciting regular seasons in recent memory. The NBA playoffs are finally here and after the grueling 82-game journey, 16 teams lare eft standing. The DMR returns with their annual breakdown of each first round matchup, with the first tipping off in Cleveland as the Cavs look to repeat as champions at 3 PM EST against the 7th seeded Pacers. When I think of the playoffs two things immediately come to mind, the epic NBA on NBC theme song and the Chicago Bulls – Boston Celtics first round playoff series back in 2009. If you haven’t seen it or forgot, check out those highlights and if this year’s Bulls-Celtics series comes anywhere close to that we are in for a treat.


Continue reading “NBA Playoff Picks: First Round Edition”

NFL Divisional Round Preview And Picks

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The best weekend of the NFL season is upon us, and the football gods owe us a few classic games after the garbage Wildcard weekend gave to the fans. The matchups look favorable on paper, so we should be in for a treat. LTS and DG break down each game, as it all gets going down in Atlanta, when the Seattle Seahawks come into town on FOX at 4:30 P.M. EST.

LTS: 3-1 SU (2-2 ATS)

DG: 2-2 SU (1-3 ATS)

Saturday:

Seattle Seahawks @ Atlanta Falcons

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LTS: Falcons 34, Seahawks 30 (+6.5)

The first of four regular season rematches, which featured a controversial miss on a pass interference call resulting in Seattle escaping 26-24 at home. I think the Falcons get their revenge today, as the Seahawks have struggled to put up points on the road. Atlanta has been rolling offensively, and I think this is the year Matt Ryan gets his second playoff win.

DG: Seahawks 34 (+6.5), Falcons 31

This game is important in the fact that it sets the tone for the rest of the weekend. Last weekends games SUCKED so I think we’re due for some great action. That being said, it’s a shame someone has to lose because I like both teams. Matty Ice is having an MVP year with the 8th highest scoring offense of all time. That being said, I’m a ride or die guy with Seattle in the playoffs. DangeRuss has 8 wins in the playoffs and the defense is still legit. Death, taxes, and the Hawks in the playoffs.

Houston Texans @ New England Patriots

LTS: Patriots 31 (-16), Texans 14

The Patriots luck out once again, as they will cruise to another AFC title game, what else is new. It’s crazy how big this spread is, but everyone expects New England to cover. This Texan team lost to Jacoby Brissett 27-0 up in Foxborough during week 3. Today, they get the luxury of facing off with Mr. Brady.

DG: Pats 28, Texans 14 (+15.5)

I’m not here to give you a scouting report. There’s no chance in hell (Vince McMahon voice) that the Texans can win. The Pats are lightyears ahead of them. However, being a 15.5 favorite IN A PLAYOFF GAME TO A DIVISION WINNER is a slap in the face. I think the Texans come out fired up and (barely) cover.

Sunday: 

Green Bay Packers @ Dallas Cowboys

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LTS: Packers 30 (+5), Cowboys 27

Aaron Rodgers is on another level right now, and there’s no way I could pick against him. Especially with a vulnerable Cowboy defense that I don’t believe will slow Rodgers down. Dallas should have success running the ball, which is why this has the makings of a close ¬†shootout type game, but I’m going down with the Hail-Mary king.

DG: Packers 35 (+5), Cowboys 32

Buckle up because this will be a shootout. Has Aaron Rodgers come back to this earth? He hasn’t thrown an INT since the Stone Age and he’ll throw some more even wirhout Jordy Nelson. Don’t sleep on the Cowboys though. Dak has had an excellent rookie season, Zeke is a stud, and the O line is godlike. However, a rookie QB has never made the Super Bowl. That trend will continue. Rodgers over Dak.

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Kansas City Chiefs

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LTS: Steelers 21 (+1), Chiefs 17

It’s tough to go against Andy Reid at home coming off a bye, but the Steelers are another red-hot team, with the three “Killer Bs” firing on all cylinders. Kansas City doesn’t have the offense to keep up so they will need a defensive or Tyreek Hill special teams TD to win. Give me the Steelers to meet up with the Pats next Sunday.

DG: Chiefs 20 (-1), Steelers 17

My guess is everyone and their mother are going to pick the Steelers this weekend. It must be nice to have the best RB in the league and best WR in the league. Plus, Big Ben goes to Top 5 ever with a Super Bowl win so he’ll show up. With all that, I like the Chiefs. I’m drinking the Kool Aid of “Andy Reid is the best coach after a bye.” 16-2 does back it up. They run the ball and play good defense. If Alex Smith can make enough plays to keep the Big 3 on the bench, the Chiefs can pack their bags for New England.

Enjoy the games!

 

NFL Wildcard Weekend Preview And Picks

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It’s every sports fans favorite time of the year. The NFL playoffs are officially here as another season is in the books. For Jets fans like me, the season couldn’t end quick enough. The DMR is here to break down one of the best weekends in all of sports, with Wildcard Saturday kicking off in Houston at 4:30 P.M. EST. Ironically, it’s also where the playoffs will end on Super Bowl Sunday next month.

I think there is two ways to look at the playoff field this year. It’s as open as it has been in some time, but I also believe that the quality of teams is as low as it has been in years.

See you in Houston!

Saturday:

Oakland Raiders @ Houston Texans (-4)

LTS: Texans 17,  Raiders 16 (+4) 

I don’t think there’s anyway someone could predict what is going to happen in this game. We have two of the most unstable quarterback situations in the playoffs, with one making his first start since college. With that said, I feel so bad for the Raiders as they were a joy to watch with Carr at the helm. I believe the rest of the team is talented enough to keep it close against the Brockweiler.

DG: Raiders 21 (+4), Texans 18

It’s a damn travesty that Derek Carr is not playing this game. The kid lead the Raiders to their first playoff appearance since they made the Super Bowl in 2002. As bad as the Brockweiler has been, they made the playoffs and more than 1/2 the teams in the NFL can’t say that so I’ll give credit where credit is due. Hopkins has been so underused this year and Miller is just returning from injury so I’m not sure if this screams shoot out. That being said, I have lived and died with the Raiders all year so the silver and black get it done today.

Detroit Lions @ Seattle Seahawks (-8)

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LTS: Seahawks 27 (-8),  Lions 17

This one could get ugly in Seattle, as Detroit limped their way into the post-season and cannot play outdoors. I’m one of those guys that will always go down with Seattle. I know they haven’t played their best ball recently, but I think the post-season brings the best out of them. They are primed for a run in the wide-open NFC.

DG: Seahawks 31 (-8), Lions 21

What a bad break for the Lions. Lose 3 straight to end the year including the division to the red hot Packers. Stafford has willed this team on his back all year and if they won the division, you could have put him in the MVP discussion. However, until proven otherwise, Seattle at home is pretty much unbeatable. Death, taxes, and Seattle at home.

Sunday:

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Miami Dolphins @ Pittsburgh Steelers (-10)

LTS: Steelers (-10) 34, Dolphins 14

Pittsburgh finished the season on fire, entering the post-season on a 7 game winning streak, with their offense peaking at the right time. I believe they’re the only team that can beat the Pats up in Foxborough. Dolphins don’t have enough firepower on offense to keep up with Big Ben.

DG: Steelers 31, Dolphins 24 (+10)

Everyone has been on Pittsburgh since the beginning of the year as the team that can be New England. The past seven games have shown they can ball. The offense will always keep them in games. It’s just a matter of if the defense can make key stops. What a year for the Fins. After a slow start, Adam Gase has really impressed me as a coach. I remember Jay Ajayi dropping at fantasy drafts around the country, and now he’ll be a first round pick next year. I don’t think the Dolphins win, but I hate double digit spreads so the Gritty Matt Moore will cover.

New York Giants @ Green Bay Packers (-5)

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LTS: Giants 24 (+5), Packers 21

This game has all the elements for a classic playoff game in the “Frozen Tundra” at Lambeau Field. Both teams are playing their best football and I think whoever pulls this out will be primed for a Super Bowl run.

Eli will rise to the occasion and take care of the football with Odell making a few big plays along the way against a banged up Packer secondary. I believe the Giants defense makes Green Bay one dimensional and forces Rodgers into his first turnover since week 11 to advance in epic fashion.

DG: I never bet on Giants games, but the Giants are going to win

I am very superstitious when it comes to the Gmen and betting. I don’t think I’ve ever won a bet when I pick the Giants so I’m not going to pick a score (sue me). That being said, the Packers scare me for sure. Rodgers is a monster. I’ll get more in depth tomorrow with a preview of the game, but the Giants are the real deal and I’ll take Eli over Rodgers in the playoffs every damn time. The Giants are going to win.

Enjoy the games!