The HotSpot

Way too Early Predictions: Ranking the NFL Unbeaten

*All statistics in this Post are courtesy of ESPN.com, and are accurate as of 9/19/2017

The Unbeatens:

Following Monday Night’s showdown in New York there are currently eight unbeaten team still playing in the NFL. Of those eight teams, five call the AFC home, and three are stationed in the NFC.  The truth is, its honestly too early to crown any of the teams we’ll be covering as Superbowl favorites, or even contenders, as so much can change in an NFL season. That doesn’t mean September discussions can’t be fun and useful. The five AFC contenders are the Kansas City Chiefs, Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers, Baltimore Ravens, and Oakland (for now) Raiders. While the Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, and Detroit Lions represent the NFC. To better understand the shaping of the NFL landscape to this point, the eight contenders will be separated into groups, based on their similarities and likelihood of playing in Minneapolis in February. After the groupings a list of the squads will be ranked in accordance with their Superbowl aspirations.

Defensive Dreamers

Panthers
Via Cat Crave

As previously stated, these predictions are coming after two weeks of football. So there are teams on this list with the potential to not make the playoffs, and teams who are 1-1 or even 0-2 who will. This is what makes the NFL such an exciting league, and why we watch. So with that being said, the two teams in this category face the steepest challenge of the unbeatens. In comparing the Baltimore Ravens and Carolina Panthers, the similarities jump off the page. For starters both are 2-0, rely on solid defensive play, and are in a division with another 2-0 team that are probably going to go farther than them. As a Panther’s fan it hurts me to say this, but until Cam Newton can show some sign of rhythm in the Carolina offense, and remain healthy, the Panthers remain a long shot in my eyes. The Ravens benefit from a weaker division, as the Browns are still the Browns and the Bengals are playing bad enough to finally get Marvin Lewis fired. However despite the dismal showing of these Division rivals, in games against the two opponents the Raven’s offense has looked less than stellar. Averaging 22 points per game, and not being even in the middle of the pack in Passing offense is disheartening for their playoff hopes. What these two teams do boast are strong defenses, with both still waiting to give up their first touchdowns of the 2017 campaign in Week 3. The level of competition of both teams raises some flags, but the positive is that both teams have time to get their offense up to the task of complimenting their defense.

Wait and See

Falcons
Via Bleacher Report

This division hosts probably the two most different teams which I have grouped. The Detroit Lions are the wildcards in this discussion in that we really don’t know what we can expect from them this year. The Lions looked dominant at times in their Monday night showdown against the Giants, and looked good against the Cardinals in Week 1. The problem is no one is really sure who those teams will be in 2017, so its hard to use them as measuring sticks. Statistics don’t exactly help the Lions case as their offense ranks just outside the top fifteen in total yards. The defense is top ten in yards allowed, but playing the dismal Giants offense certainly boosts that standing. Stafford’s pedigree and the success of the defense make this team scary moving forward, potentially. The reason my faith in the Lions is so tested probably centers more around their division than the Lions themselves. The Packers have shown us that we should never count out Aaron Rodgers, and the Vikings looked like an entirely squad not against the historically futile New Orleans defense, but could look better if they return Bradford or Bridgewater this season. On the other side of this group are the Falcons, who I am much more optimistic about but still uncertain. The Falcons looked every bit of a Superbowl contender in their clash with the Packers in Week 2. However Week 1’s near collapse against the bumbling Bears and the curse of 28-3 linger in my mind too heavily for me to suddenly consider them the cream of the NFC either. With that being said, the Falcons are probably the best time in the NFC to this point in the NFL season. Matt Ryan doesn’t seem to have stopped spreading around the rock, and the defense has the potential to be much improved in 2017.

One Side Dominant

Steelers
Via Bleacher Report

The two teams in this category boast dominance on one side of the ball, and a pedigree for success in the Regular and Post Season. The Pittsburgh Steelers and Denver Broncos are two of the most revered franchises in professional sports with a combined 9 Lombardi Trophies between the two. Either of these teams posts the potential to add to that count in 2017; however, if they are to compete this year it will be behind dominance on one particular side of the ball. The Steelers Big 4 of “Killer Bs”, Ben, Bell, Brown, and Bryant, have the Steelers in position to be scary good on offense in 2017. They’re currently a top 5 offense in the NFL, and have the potential to ascend to possibly the number one spot. The Pittsburgh defense is actually ranked higher than the defensive oriented Broncos, but that will happen when you play a Vikings team on its third quarterback and the Browns who are still the Browns. The Broncos Superbowl aspirations rest on the shoulders of their Orange Crush 2.0 defense, and they seem to be playing up to par. Their defense showed Sunday against Dallas that it has the potential to be scary, shutting down Dallas and their daunted offensive line. Combine that with the ball hawking skills of their secondary, and the Broncos may have a recipe for another Lombardi run. Both of these teams will have to rely on their less than spectacular other sides of the ball to make noise in a crowded AFC.

The Front Runners

Beast mode.png
Via Mercury News

In a season of possible AFC dominance, the AFC West posts three unbeaten teams, with two who have serious Superbowl aspirations. The Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs have looked excellent thus far in the NFL season, with potential to maintain it. Kansas City sent a strong message in their opening week win against Tom Brady and the Patriots, and looked spectacular on both sides of the ball. An early season loss of All Pro person and safety Eric Berry put a damper on their hopes, but against the Eagles the Chiefs showed they are capable of still performing without their emotional leader. Kareem Hunt has looked every bit of a legit dual threat running back, and with stars like Kelce and Hill complimenting him the Chiefs look poised to continue last years late season run this year. Meanwhile the Raiders are Beast Mode dancing their own way into 2-0 status. Derek Carr looks the part of an MVP on offense, and Khalil Mack has the pedigree and game wrecking ability to be a Defensive Player of the Year as well. The biggest threat to these two teams dominance in the AFC are the dreaded idea of injuries, and the strength of their division.

Rankings

These rankings don’t necessarily rank the teams in order of skill, but rather in my confidence in them to compete for a Lombardi trophy.

 

8. Baltimore Ravens

7. Detroit Lions

6. Carolina Panthers

5. Atlanta Falcons

4. Denver Broncos

3. Steelers

2. Raiders

1.Cheifs

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Fair Play

For the last 14 years I’ve been in two different relationships, so I have experienced a lot of different relationship scenarios.

Now, I often heard the cliche term that “the women are always right”, but let’s be real do you  really think that your house will be happy with just one of you being right?

Now, I’ve been single for the last year and a half, so I’ve had some time to analyze somethings, mostly traits about myself that I didn’t know about, but one of my pet peeves has to be relationship balance and fairness.

The one thing that really used to bother me was when my significant other would do something that I didn’t necessarily like, and I would have what you call “speedy forgiveness”, but man, neither my ex-wife or ex-girlfriend would give me the same treatment.

When you’re in a relationship, no one is above one another. Your relationship should be founded on a God, which will lead to a solid friendship, and then the both of you will begin to develop trust and care for one another.

My big sister Jae told me something that I will never forget when I begin a new relationship. She told me, little bro never go to sleep with out making things right first with your partner.

At the end of the day, it’s not about who is right or wrong, it’s about taking care of each others heart. I don’t ever want to see my future wife with tears in her eyes because I”m choosing to be a man of pride and allow her to to be upset over and issue that means more to me than her.

There is no disagreement that should stop the love that you all should have for one another.

I’ll be the first to say that I let something “Great” get away because of my pride. My goal in life now, is to encourage  as many people as  I can to take a different route then me. Respect goes both ways, and at the end of the day, all you have is each other, so foul play on either side can stunt your relationship growth.

Play Fair!

Remember to check out my new book, It Happened, It Hurt, Now What? on October 27!

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The Sixth Sense

We all are aware of the five senses, but when I became a little older and started to date I later found out that women possess a sixth sense.

I firmly believe that when God created women, he instilled in all of them a special gift of discernment. No matter how much I’ve tried to contradict this special sense, 9 times out of 10, they are usually spot on when making their assumptions!

Millions of men, including myself,  have tried to out smart this secret weapon that women are able to use at their disposal. On a daily basis men fail to overcome they’re smart wit and they’re sharp intuition and we end up falling on our face and knees while begging for their forgiveness.

I believe that God and women have a special connection when it comes down to us men trying to sneak around behind their backs to do our dirt. Even though some of us may get away with our mess for a little while, I can honestly speak from experience and say that it’s only a matter of time before we are caught.

When I was out here doing my thing , running the streets and creeping around with different women, I actually believed that I was good at what I was doing and it became fun in not getting caught.

It was like a game and I constantly told myself that my wife would never find out.

When I finally was caught and things calm down in my household, I asked my wife at the time, “how did you know?”

She would then respond with the most craziest answer, like your shower time increase, or you used a different cologne.

I know now that it doesn’t matter how much you try to camouflage your deceptive ways, a women will always notice the slightest change in her guy no matter how small the change maybe.

My advice to all men is to be honest and upfront with yourself first!

If you aren’t ready for a commitment then just stay by yourself. Don’t try to involve an innocent heart, when you know you aren’t going to treat her right. That makes us a coward when we want to cause hurt for no reason just because we feel like we can get away with a few indecent acts.

Ask yourself the same question that I asked myself when I was stepping out on my wife and family. Are you the type of man that you would approve your daughter to date?

You can read more on my story in my upcoming book, It Happened, It Hurt, Now What? set to release on October 27, 2017!

Remember to catch me right here EVERY MONDAY leading up to my release on October 27th!

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In Control or Being Controlled?

We were all created different but the one thing that we all have in common is our emotions. I can’t speak for anyone else but I have been a victim of my own emotions and my emotional decisions have put me in a lot of situations that I now regret. In the process of me regretting those decisions that I made, there were valuable lessons that had to be learned.

Well I believe that the best advice that I was able to apply to any of my situations came from a source that didn’t mind being transparent about their past mistakes, so I vow to be as open and honest as I can.

I used to fall victim to my emotions quite often and I used to find myself in some pretty crazy situations by allowing my emotions to win every battle. My lack of self control with my emotions had me in a place where I ended up sleeping with my wife’s best friend.

You may say to yourself, I can’t believe he did that. Well, I did it, and at the time while being in my emotions, you couldn’t tell me I was wrong because I felt my wife gave me the right to do what I wanted because of the way I felt she was treating me. That decision was so wrong, and because I allowed my emotions to control me, I ruined a FIFTEEN year friendship between my wife and her best friend, that would never be the same again.

When you act solely on your emotions, you’re thinking  isn’t clear which can cause some major damage in your life and in the lives of the people that are connected to you as well. I’ve broke quite of few hearts by listening to the voice of my emotions, but the two hearts that I broke that hurt me the most had to be my two kids. I have a daughter and a son, and those two hearts mean the world to me and my emotions almost destroyed the way that they viewed their father because I wanted to act like a little boy, instead of manning up and being the example that my babies needed. Both of my kids started to act out in school, because of the stupid decisions that I was making and in the end my son ending up having to repeat the third grade.

Man, that really broke me as a father!! I’ve never really told anyone this, but I low key blamed myself for him getting retained that year, and I was a poor example to my son, which didn’t give him successful achievement with his schooling.

Take a page out of my book! Making decisions only based on your emotions isn’t the greatest idea. If you are only thinking emotionally, then it means you are not thinking rationally. I’m not saying that you can’t get upset or angry, but as an individual you have to learn how to think before you react.

I was having a moment just a few days ago when I was really upset and not too long ago that would have been the perfect condition for me to cause an emotional hurricane. Instead, I just took a walk and I didn’t involve other people. I just chilled until I knew I was thinking clearly and rationally again. In the end, the issue was resolved and I had once again added another victory over my emotions.

Is it an easy process? No, it isn’t! However, it can be done!

This lesson can be applied at any stage in your life, whether you are a child,  college student, or fully grown adult.

Before acting on your emotions, think about the repercussions to your decision. Think about those around who can get hurt in the process of you acting solely on your emotions. Ultimately, you have to choose whether you will control your emotions or whether they will control you! 

Stay tuned for #motivationalmondays next week for more inspirational tips!

You can read more in my upcoming book, It Happened, It Hurt, Now What? on October 27! Pre-ordering will be available soon!

Stay Updated and follow on my social media:

IG: @wesmotivations

Does the Kyrie Trade Mean a Shake Up in the East?

By: Zachary Singletary

How’d We End Up Here?

When news of a trade request by Kyrie Irving became public knowledge, many basketball fans began to wonder about a potential break up of Akron’s title bringing duo. In case you’re somewhat late to the party, let’s recap how we got to Irving as a Celtic in this massive summer shake up. Brian Windhorst, an ESPN contributor most known for his following of LeBron James, first reported the news of a friction between the two Cavalier stars. Most of that friction seemed to  be appearing because of Irving’s desire to “not play with LeBron”, and to be a focal point of his own team (Windhorst). In terms of Kyrie’s wishes, this change of scenery could be very positive to his career and his happiness with his own legacy.

Kyrie’s Dream Comes True….Sort of

download (1)
via SneakerNews.com

The above image depicts Kyrie next to a list of four different teams. The four teams are teams that various sources, from Brian Windhort, to the Woj himself Adrian Wojnarowski. With very little digging we can see that the Boston Celtics were not one of the teams he originally preferred. The Cavs decision to make the trade in spite of this will be covered a little later. In terms of how this deal fits Kyrie. In terms of being a true offensive focal point, Irving has a good chance of leading this Celtics team. A Horford-Irving pick and roll offense seems to maximize the duos shooting. A backcourt of Marcus Smart and Kyrie has potential, as Smart’s defensive abilities compliment Irving’s offensive oriented game. Gordon Hayword is projected by many to play the 3 in his college coach’s current system. And his catch and shot game mixed with defensive potential mixes well again with Irving’s strengths as a point guard. The biggest knock on this deal from the Celtics perspective is losing a defensively skilled wing in Jae Crowder to the trade. The Celtics seem to be relying on the young duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum to feel the void. Despite some questions about depth and defensive ability, this partnership between Irving and the Boston Celtics seems to work well.

Cavaliers Reloading, not Rebuilding

IT4
via NBA.com

LeBron James’ stretch of dominance over the Eastern conference is historic, and the reign doesn’t seem to be slowing down. With an eye on 2018’s free agency, the Cavaliers made the right move for now and for the future of the franchise. Adding a play maker, and noted fourth quarter magician Isaiah Thomas to a Cavs roster built with pick and pop marksmen, as well as the King himself, bodes will for continued offensive dominance. Jae Crowder realistically could start for this team, depending on their infatuation with Kevin Love. If Love is slated to remain in the starting line up, Crowder offers value off the bench as a wing who can play both the 3 and the 4. While Thomas may hurt the Cavs defensively, something the Warriors and other super powered teams in the league can certainly take advantage of. The addition of Crowder lessens the blow, as does remembering that despite Kyrie’s offensive excellence, he’s never particularly been the best defender. Ultimately this trade seems to have been won by Cleveland, as it addressed both team culture needs, and personnel needs. It actually may be Crowder who ends up being the crown jewel of this return for Kyrie.

So is There a Shake Up?

As a personal fan of Kyrie, and trades like these meant to shake the landscape of the NBA, the simple answer is no there isn’t. The Celtics have certainly made strides in the right direction. Adding a two young stars to create a nucleus of Irving-Hayward-Horford was a positive step to long term success in the East. The simple fact being that Kyrie alone, on top of players they’ve lost, the gap between the Celtics and Cavs does not seem to have moved that much. Let’s also remember that last years Celtic’s team did win the East, but were outmatched heavily in the playoffs. This decision may prove fruitful though, as LeBron’s second departure from Ohio seems much more imminent. But until the King leaves, the East is pretty much his. Until proven otherwise the Cavaliers, with LeBron James, have earned the benefit of the doubt on their dominance of the East. While the loss of a beloved Kyrie Irving may hurt Cavs fans early on, the addition of crowd favorite Isaiah Thomas should lessen that blow. Isaiah plays hard and should become a fan favorite in the city of Akron. Crowder’s importance was nearly beaten to death in previous sections, so for the wrap up I’ll just say this is the piece that helps with their ultimate goal of Cavs-Warriors part four.