2021-2022 NBA Season Preview: Are The New York Knicks Back?

Julius Randle of the New York Knicks

Are the New York Knicks back? Let’s ask Amar’e Stoudemire.

Amar’e might have been 10 years too early on his declaration. But after a 41-31 record that resulted in the team’s first playoff appearance since 2013, the Knicks very well might be back.

In 2020, the Knicks were the scrappy underdogs under first-year coach Tom Thibodeau. The Knicks clawed and battled their way to the fourth-seed in the Eastern Conference through the defense (top 5 in defensive ratings) and rebounding (top 10 in rebounds per game).

On the offensive side of the ball, Julius Randle shattered expectations by becoming a dynamic playmaker on his way to a stat line of 24/10/6 and a trophy for Most Improved Player. Derrick Rose was a godsend at point guard, RJ Barrett improved in almost every statistical category including 3P% (32% to 40%), and Alec Burks, Nerlens Noel, and Reggie Bullock all became solid contributed.

Last year was full of surprises. After a successful year, those surprises have now turned into expectations. The days of praying for a 30-win team are over, or at least fans including myself believe those days have passed. Now is the time to build on the momentum from last year and grow into a consistent playoff team.

Things That Must Happen For The Knicks To Take The Next Step

– The Knicks must make the playoffs: I can’t stress this point enough. If the Knicks don’t make the playoffs, then last year was a fluke. All of the building blocks put into place last year mean nothing if this team can’t play meaningful basketball in April. I don’t expect the Knicks to be the four-seed again, but if they don’t make the Play-In Tournament, then the season will be a failure.

– RJ Barrett must become a playmaker: If RJ Barrett wants to become a star in this league, then he must become a playmaker on offense. What do I mean by playmaker? Throughout last season, the go-to play for the Knicks was a Randle isolation. That either lead to a tough make, a missed shot, or a pass for a three. While Jules was amazing for most of the year, his playmaking was nowhere to be found in the Atlanta series. This is where RJ comes in. RJ needs to be able to take his man off the dribble and either get to the rim, pass for an open three or hit a pullup jumper. His 2020 game averages of 3 assists and 3.8 free throws are not going to cut it. Those need to get to 4.5 and 5 at the very least.

– Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier must ease the offensive load for Randle: It sounds obvious, but Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier were paid to play offense. They were brought in for their ability to create offense, especially off the dribble. As I stated above, the go-to play was a Jules-iso. Kemba is the best opening day point guard for the Knicks in over a decade. If he stays healthy, the Knicks have a true starting point guard. With Fournier, he must shake off his preseason shooting woes and become a threat from behind the arc. Anything less than 40% is a failure and I’m being generous with that number.

The Bottomline

Superstars win championships, and right now, the Knicks don’t have any superstars. That’s ok for now. The Knicks must return to the first round of the playoffs and play a competitive series. If the team ends up playing the Nets or Bucks in the postseason, then their season will most likely come to an end. However, if they run into a team like the Hawks, Heat, or Sixers, then the Knicks must last more than 5 games. If the Knicks win a playoff series, I’m doing cartwheels outside of MSG. I’m expecting 42-45 wins.

It’s time to take the next step towards becoming a winning franchise once again.

Playoffs or bust.

What are your predictions for the Knicks? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet me, @danny_giro.

Fury-Wilder III: Unpredictability Shakes Up Heavyweight Division

Tyson Fury vs. Deontay Wilder

The best and worst thing about boxing’s heavyweight division is its unpredictability.

Who doesn’t love when an underdog like Andy Ruiz Jr. upsets Anthony Joshua to become a heavyweight champion? Actions have consequences, and Ruiz’s victory threw a wrench in the heavyweight division. Instead of Joshua moving on to fight Deontay Wilder or Tyson Fury, the British boxer exercised his rematch clause and won the second bout with ease.

After Joshua won his fight, the logical next opponent would be the winner of Fury-Wilder II. In the second fight, Fury overpowered and dominated Wilder on his way to seventh-round TKO in February 2020. Shortly after the fight, Wilder exercised his rematch clause and Fury-Wilder III would happen sometime in the fall.

Then a little thing called a “pandemic” happened and shook up the entire world.

No one could have predicted a pandemic, but tumultuous contract negotiations should have been expected for Fury-Wilder III. Fury wanted to move on from Wilder in the Fall of 2020 and response, the Bronze Bomber accused Fury of cheating during their fight, which has never been proven. Sour grapes, anyone?

Fast forward March 2021 when Fury and Joshua agreed to a two-fight deal to unify the heavyweight titles, the first time an undisputed champion would be crowned since the days of Lennox Lewis. The heavyweight division was finally going in the right direction.

Not so fast my friend.

In May 2021, an independent arbitrator ruled that Fury must honor a contractual cause to fight Wilder for the third time. There were talks of paying Wilder “step away” money and wait to fight the winner of Fury-Joshua, but it never materialized. Fury actually wouldn’t let it happen.

Despite the ruling, the roadmap to a Fury-Joshua was not dead just yet. If Joshua took care of Oleksandr Usyk and Fury beat Wilder once again, Fury-Joshua would automatically be the next fight.

However, unpredictability struck again when Usyk dethroned Joshua by unanimous decision. Why can’t we have nice things?

Usyk winning could be good for the division in the long run as it presents another challenger for the big three. However, I can’t help but feel disappointed that a Fury-Joshua fight may never happen. If Fury loses on Saturday night, does Wilder then jump ahead of the Gypsy King and fight the winner of Joshua-Usyk II?

If you want Fury-Joshua as soon as possible, root for Fury to defeat Wilder. Want chaos? Cheer for Wilder.

If the heavyweight division has taught us anything over the last three years, it’s to expect the unexpected.

Who do you think will win Fury-Wilder III? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us @unafraidshow.

Four Up and Four Down: NFL Week 3

Each week during the NFL season, UnafraidShow.com will take you through the four NFL teams/players that are trending up, as well as the ones that are headed for a crash. Let’s get to it:

1) Spider Y 2 Banana

It was a legitimate unknown if Jon Gruden would ever be able to equal the value of the massive contract he received to lure him out of broadcasting and onto the sidelines again, but this Raiders team is ROLLING. They’ve beaten both the Ravens and the Steelers, and survived two different overtime games, as well as an injury to RB Josh Jacobs, and they did it through quality playcalling on offense, and limiting themselves to two turnovers in their first three games. Derek Carr looks like he’s entering his prime, and the things TE Darren Waller forces defenses to do in order to keep him from being a one-man wrecking crew has freed up young Henry Ruggs to emerge as a legitimate star. Defensively, Maxx Crosby, a 4th round pick back in 2019, is becoming an absolute menace to opposing QBs, with two sacks and 12 QB hits.

2) The return of the REAL Sam Darnold

Pac-12 fans like me watched Sam Darnold flirt with a 60% completion percentage for three years on the New York Jets and were left wondering what on earth happened to the one-time stud Trojan QB. Three games into his tenure with the Carolina Panthers, he’s undefeated and has completed over 67% of his passes in three consecutive games. Yes he had Christian McCaffrey, and yes the addition of Hasson Reddick has taken the defense to the next level, but I’m telling you, he looks good. He’s going to be head-to-head against Dak Prescott this weekend, and Christian McCaffrey is hurt, so we’re undoubtedly going to find out if this really is the *real* Sam Darnold we’re seeing, or just an early-season mirage.

3) Justin Tucker the GOAT

Yes, Adam Vinatieri is great. But is he “kick a record long FG to win the game as time expires” great? Maybe he is, but his career long was 57, and Justin Tucker now has a 66-yard game-winner on his resume. What’s most incredible about Justin Tucker’s long-range accomplishment, is that he had come to be known as the guy you want kicking anything but a 50+ yard field goal, but improved his distance in the middle of his career to become someone without a weakness. Think about this- in 2018 and 2019, Tucker was a combined 8/19 from 50+ yards, but in the 19 games since then, he’s 10/11, including this aforementioned beauty.

4) JuCo Quarterbacks

Photo courtesy of Butte Community College

It will never not boggle the mind that Aaron Rodgers spent time in Junior College. He’s the the most dangerous QB I’ve ever seen, and imagining him at 18 years old out there at Butte College just ruining the film of 21 year old defensive backs all over the Pacific coast sounds like a Hollywood fever dream. He’s rid our collective consciousness of his horrid week 1 performance by putting together two awesome performances in a row against Detroit and San Francisco to remind us that he’s the real MVP. But he’s not the only California QB to be overlooked and have to go the JuCo route who is now tearing up the NFL… Josh Allen is right there with him after putting together a stellar 2020, earning a massive contract extension, and now doing things like throwing for 358 yards, 4 touchdowns, and rushing for a touchdown against the Washington Football Team. You might think I’m being unreasonable by comparing Josh Allen to Aaron Rodgers (which I’ve been doing for 5 years now), but wait until Bryce Perkins gets a shot with the LA Rams- then you’re really going to see me go off the rails for Junior College-to-NFL signal callers.

Heating Up

The Cleveland Browns are good. Myles Garrett looks like a top-5 pass rusher, Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt look like the best 1-2 punch at RB in the entire NFL, and Baker Mayfield isn’t doing anything to screw it up. Say this out loud- THE CLEVELAND BROWNS HAVE WON 14 OF THEIR LAST 20 GAMES. Surreal isn’t it? I don’t have them in the top 10 of my NFL Power rankings yet (see below), but if they win in Minnesota this weekend, it’ll be hard to justify keeping them out.

1-32 Power Rankings

1) Steel City

Pittsburgh is an awful place to have to try and go earn a win. Even as recently as last year, the Steelers went 7-1 in the regular season at home. But if you include last year’s playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, the Steelers have now lost three in a row in front of their home fans, including a two-touchdown drubbing by the Cincinnati Bengals. If the ‘Burgh isn’t a clear advantage for Ben Roethlisberger and company, this is a terribly average football team that is about to embark on a long, painful season.

2) Matt Nagy

The entire city of Chicago wants Matt Nagy fired. All of Chicago’s four billion former residents that have retired to Arizona and Florida are throwing all the hard candy from their crystal dishes at the television every time they see him in a postgame press conference. Justin Fields struggled mightily in his first start, and has managed to get sacked 11 times in just a little over four quarters of action. If the Bears don’t defend Soldier Field this week against the 0-3 Detroit Lions, we might see the first coaching change of the season.

3) The New York Football??? Giants

Imagine booing the owner at a jersey retirement ceremony for the QB that brought your franchise its last two championships. Actually, you don’t have to imagine it, you can just watch:

I’m not sure what else to even write about the Giants. It doesn’t get worse than that.

4) Cold Colts

The Indianapolis Colts had an 11-win season last year, added Carson Wentz to replace Philip Rivers, and look like they don’t have an identity anymore. With road games coming up against the Dolphins and Ravens, it’s going to be a long, hard road back to .500. In their favor is an incredibly poor division that (as long as they beat Tennessee the next time around) they could still challenge to win.

(Cooling Off)

The Kansas City Chiefs aren’t fooling anyone with that 1-2 record- they’re still incredibly stacked on both sides of the ball, but with Denver, Las Vegas, and the LA Chargers all on the come-up, they can’t afford to tinker around anymore. They need to be .500 heading into their game against Buffalo, or we might see last year’s 14-2 AFC representative facing a 1-4 start to their ensuing season.

Have a take you’d like us to address? Email us at immad@unafraidshow.com and we’ll read your take on a future Wrighster or Wrong podcast.

College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 5 As it Should Be

Welcome to the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 5 As it Should Be. Finally some stability in the Top 10. It takes about 3-4 weeks for the rankings to settle in and we have a really good idea who the best teams in the country are. I'll tell you the rules of the rankings next, but first we need to celebrate the amazing week 3 in college football. I pray that all you reading this stay healthy and enjoy this season. Now on the the rules.

Welcome to the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 5 As it Should Be. Finally some stability in the Top 10. It takes about 3-4 weeks for the rankings to settle in and we have a really good idea who the best teams in the country are. Last week saw a couple of Top 10 teams IDLE and a huge riser. This week, is separation Saturday. We will truly find out which teams are here for a good time, and which ones are here for a long time. I pray that all you reading this stay healthy and enjoy this season. Now on the the rules.

The Rules: No Bias, No Bull College Football Rankings Week 5

There is no more unbiased ranking out there than Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 5. I get criticized from time to time by people who only want to see the college football world through the lens of the AP Poll. These rankings are not going to look like the AP Poll. Open your eyes to see a different view of evaluating the top 10. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.” I don’t believe in that. Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. After the preseason rankings, only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games.

I re-rank the top 10 every Sunday from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change, sometimes drastically every week because we will have new information. So make sure to come back every Sunday. For reference, you can check College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 4 .

Rankings should be fair and unbiased, but that’s not the world we live in when preseason polls ultimately affect the final rankings.

Top 10 College Football Rankings Week 5:

Next Up: Notre Dame, BYU, Oklahoma, Michigan, Fresno State

10. Michigan State (4-0)

Last Week: 23-20 (W) vs Nebraska

Some of the media was down on MSU because they didn’t earn enough “style points against Nebraska. The reality is Scott Frost has his team playing much better and they gave Oklahoma a real fight too. No team goes through the season without playing some close games. The Spartans are fast, well-coached, and have a few nice wins under their belt, while being dominant at times.

9. Ohio State Buckeyes (3-1)

Last Week: 59-7 (W) vs Akron

No CJ Stroud at QB, no problem for the Buckeyes. Fans have been displeased with the results on the field this season. But that is a result of fans being spoiled. They want to blow everyone out despite the opponent of circumstances surrounding their team. But life doesn’t work like that. Neither does football. OSU is still the most explosive offense in college football.

8. Ole Miss (3-0)

Last Week: IDLE

Lane Kiffin lives by the motto “all publicity is good publicity” model. He understands that Ole Miss is not demanding the national attention without him trolling USC fans, Nick Saban, or responding to Michael Wilbon. His team has looked extremely good through three games, but the rubber meets the road against Alabama this week.

7. Cincinnati (3-0)

Last Week: IDLE

Cinci believes they are a big dog and can compete with Power 5 teams week in and week out. Here is there opportunity. In their last game they beat Big Ten opponent Indiana. Now they follow that up with a visit to Notre Dame. If they can win this game and look good, they could be on their was to their first College Football Playoff.

Check out our Pac-12 Football Podcast, Pac-12 Apostles:

6. Iowa (4-0)

Last Week: 24-14 (W) vs Colorado State

I appreciate watching Iowa play, and honestly at this point I believe the Hawkeyes will come back down to reality and will be a 10-2 or 9-3 team. Their future schedule doesn’t include Michigan, Michigan State, or Ohio State. That means if they can beat Penn State and Wisconsin and not lose to a lesser opponent, they could find themselves owning space in the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings all year.

5. Arkansas (4-0)

Last Week: 20-10 (W) vs Texas A&M @ AT&T Stadium

Wins over Texas and Texas A&M look real good right now. The Hogs dominated bothe football games. There are injury concerns about the Arkansas QB Jefferson. After he went out last week, their offense was essentially only able to hold on for dear life. If he is not available vs Georgia the Razorbacks has ZERO shot of winning. Georgia is more talented, so if Arkansas wins we know who the better coach is.

4. Penn State (4-0)

Last Week: 38-17 (W) vs Villanova

Penn State played Villanova. That is a basketball school. You would have expected the score to be a bit more lopsided than that, but it looked like a big win hangover, however, the Nittany Lions were never in any danger and were up 38-3 in the 4th quarter when the reserves gave up a couple of touchdowns.

3. Georgia Bulldogs (4-0)

Last Week: 62-0 (W) vs Vanderbilt

We finally get to see Georgia against a team that appears to be good offensively. Clemson is NOT a great team this year offensively. The Georgia defense looks phenomenal but are we sure they are the greatest thing since sliced bread when they haven’t played a great offense yet. That is the sole reason the Bulldogs sit at #3 instead of #1. THe criteria says they should be #3, but my gut says #1.

2. Oregon Ducks (4-0)

Last Week: 41-19 (W) vs Arizona

The Oregon Ducks are leading the nation is turnover margin. They have forced 13 turnovers on the season while only giving up one turnover. That is a recipe for winning games and dominating opponents. Now we wait for another signature offensive performance like we saw at Ohio State.

1. Alabama (4-0)

Last Week: 63-14 (W) vs So. Miss

Domination.Even though Nick Saban and everyone watching can see this team is not as good as last year, they still are dominating like the best team in college football. It appears they may get pushed to their defensive limit against Ole Miss. However, the real question is can this offense be stopped? We shall we.

Check back next Sunday morning for the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 4.

College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 4 As it Should Be

College Football ranking week 4

Welcome to the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 4 As it Should Be. Apparently, only a few teams want to stay in the Top 10. I almost feel like I’m stacking Jenga blocks only to have my 2-year-old knock them down. Teams that we thought we could count on look suspect while others are consistent. I think we are in for a very chaotic 2021 season. There is NO team that looks unbeatable. This season is the exact reason we need playoff expansion to eight teams instead of 12. No team should get a first round bye. We would see all sorts of upsets. I cannot believe we are 25% done with the regular season already. Now I’m sad. For those of you new here, I created these rankings to give fans a real Top 10, free from media and conference bias. I’ll tell you the rules of the rankings next, but first we need to celebrate the amazing week 3 in college football. I pray that all you reading this stay healthy and enjoy this season. Now on the the rules.

The Rules: No Bias, No Bull College Football Rankings Week 4

There is no more unbiased ranking out there than Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 4. I get criticized from time to time by people who only want to see the college football world through the lens of the AP Poll. These rankings are not going to look like the AP Poll. Open your eyes to see a different view of evaluating the top 10. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.” I don’t believe in that. Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. After the preseason rankings, only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games.

I re-rank the top 10 every Sunday from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change, sometimes drastically every week because we will have new information. So make sure to come back every Sunday. For reference, you can check College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 3 .

Rankings should be fair and unbiased, but that’s not the world we live in when preseason polls ultimately affect the final rankings.

Top 10 College Football Rankings Week 4:

Next Up: Notre Dame, Texas A&M, Michigan, Clemson

10. Oklahoma (3-0)

Last Week: 23-16 (W) vs Nebraska

I have no clue what to truly make of this team. They are winning games but haven’t looked great at all. Spencer Rattler was touted as a Heisman hopeful in the preseason but has not lived up to the hype.

9. Michigan State (3-0)

Last Week: 38-17 (W) @ Miami

This is not your father’s Michigan State team. Mel Tucker has rebuilt this roster and mentality in short order. They has speed at their skill positions and a good young QB in Payton Thorne. Through three games they have a ton of explosive plays and have the makings of a Big Ten contender.

Ohio State Rose Bowl Trailer

8. Ohio State Buckeyes (2-1)

Last Week: 41-20 (W) vs Tulsa

This team is fascinating to watch. They have all the talent in the world and score a lot of points each week but something just isn’t clicking. Their young QB CJ Stroud is having an up and down start to the season much like this defense.

7. Ole Miss (3-0)

Last Week: 61-21 (W) vs Tulane

Lane Kiffin has Ole Miss rolling. Their defense may still be shaky but it’s much improved from last season. But this offense… sweet baby Jesus it is fun to watch. It is like watching Chip Kelly at Oregon. Fast, explosive, and efficient execution.

6. Cincinnati (3-0)

Last Week: 38-24 (W) vs Indiana

All three games this season the Bearcats have started slow, but end up blowing everybody out. They got their first real test this week in Indiana. We will find out if Cinci is a playoff contender or not in two weeks against Notre Dame.

Check out our Pac-12 Football Podcast, Pac-12 Apostles:

5. Iowa (3-0)

Last Week: 30-7 (W) vs Kent State

The Hawkeyes deserve to be here because of what they have done on the field. I cannot envision a world in which they are top five to finish the season but up to now, this is where they belong. Other rankings have other teams ranked higher because of recruiting rankings or perceived strength when on field results are the only thing that should matter.

4. Penn State (3-0)

Last Week: 28-20 (W) vs Auburn

So much for the James Franklin to USC rumors being a distraction. Penn State got a huge win against Auburn at home. WIth Ohio State looking vulnerable on defense, could this be the year the Nittany Lions knock off the kings of the B1G?

3. Georgia Bulldogs (3-0)

Last Week: 40-13 (W) vs South Carolina

Georgia just might be the most complete team in the SEC. Their defense looks great but they have yet to play a good offense. Clemson is clearly on the struggle bus offensively, so the jury is still out on how good Georgia is… and the Tigers won’t even get another test until at least Oct. 9th against Auburn.

2. Oregon Ducks (3-0)

Last Week: 48-7 (W) vs Stony Brook

I know the little guys need the money for their athletic departments but I don’t have to like these games. But at least Oregon, unlike most SEC teams, only has one of these non-competitive games instead of two or three.

1. Alabama (3-0)

Last Week: 31-29 (W) @ Florida

What happened to the Crimson Tide at halftime? For two quarters they dominated Florida, but then came a lackluster 1.5 quarters. However, once Florida got close, the light came on for ‘Bama, and they did Bama things to close out the game. I will say this team is not an immovable object at #1 anymore.

Check back next Sunday morning for the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 4.

Giants Continue To Lose In Heartbreaking Fashion

Daniel Jones / New York Giants

Where do I even begin? Let’s start here. No team loses games like the New York Giants. No other team takes you on an emotional rollercoaster that ends in heartbreak quite like the Giants.

Add last night’s loss to the pantheon of bad Giants’ losses. After Graham Gano kicked a field goal to put New York ahead 29-27 with two minutes left in the fourth quarter, I tweeted this out. I, like a lot of other Giant fans, know how this works. We’ve seen how this script ends.

Lo and behold, the Washington Football Team drove right down the field and set kicker Dustin Hopkins up for a 48-yard game-winning field goal. The kick was no good!

I jumped off my couch, screamed at the top of my lungs, and pounded my chest in celebration.

That happiness ended within 5 seconds after I saw the flag. Dexter Lawrence, who lined up a nose tackle, jumped offsides, giving the WFT another chance to win.

Spoiler alert: WFT won.

The Giants build you up just to rip your heart out at the end. It’s a disease. The Giants do not know how to win close football games. Sure, they can beat the Cowboys and Bengals with a backup quarterback, but they couldn’t beat Taylor Heinicke, who threw for 336 yards and 2 TDs in an excellent performance.

There are people to blame, but one man deserves none of it. That player is Daniel Jones, who played one of the best games of his career. Danny Dimes finished with 249 yards passing and 1 TD to go along with 95 yards rushing and 1 TD. Jones did everything the Giants asked him to do and more. Jones is the best runner on the team right now and if it weren’t for a BS holding penalty, he would’ve rushed for close to 150 yards and 2 TDs.

I will be the first to say that Jones is not “the guy.” Jones hasn’t shown he’s a franchise quarterback. However, last night was not his fault. I understand the bar is not particularly high for Jones. That’s not a groundbreaking revelation. Jones is the butt of a lot of jokes, and a lot of the criticism is warranted. But last night isn’t on Dimes. Some will point to Darius Slayton’s drop and blame Dimes for throwing it too far. Could he have made a slightly better throw? Of course. But Dimes put that ball on Slayton’s hands. Slayton HAS to make that catch.

Slayton can catch deep passes. He proved it earlier in the game!

Dimes, you’re absolved (for now). Defense, take a seat. What happened to the Giants’ defense? This was supposed to be the strength of the team. Teddy Bridgewater and Heinicke, two quarterbacks that were backups heading into training camp, torched the Giants. The Broncos and WFT combined for over 800 (!) yards of total offense. That is unacceptable.

The pass rush is nonexistent. Who is the best pass rusher for the Giants right now? Anyone? My vote would be for Azeez Ojulari. When a rookie is leading the team in the sacks, there’s a problem.

Pound for pound, the Giants’ secondary was the best unit on the team coming into the season. Yet, they’ve been a massive disappointment. Terry Mclaurin became Jerry Rice last night. Patrick Graham has a “keep everything in front of you” mentality, which is fine in the first half. But when the game mattered, Heinicke carved the Giants’ secondary, scoring on two of the final three possessions to win the game. That can’t happen.

To the secondary’s credit, they did force a turnover in one of the biggest spots of the game.

This leads me to my final point. The biggest percentage of the blame falls on Joe Judge and the entire coaching staff. Judge coached an awful game last night. For a coach that prides himself on execution and doing the little things right, the Giants were an undisciplined mess.

In the first half, the Giants took a delay of game/false start out of a timeout. That led to a sack, and that resulted in a punt. Points disappeared before our very eyes.

After the big turnover late in the fourth quarter, the Giants needed one first down to put the game away and make it so they have the ball last. Jason Garrett, who wasn’t awful last night, and the offense only wasted 16 seconds before kicking a field goal. That’s unacceptable. (I want to rant about Garrett’s play-calling, but I have to wrap this article up.)

Then, Lawrence jumped offsides on the most important play of the game. Judge is supposed to be a special teams guru, and yet this team made the biggest mistake of the game on special teams. You don’t see good teams jumping offsides on field goal attempts. The Giants were undisciplined, and that falls entirely on Judge.

Last night hurt a lot. Many are saying the season is over. Are they wrong? I’m not sure yet. If the Giants lose to the Falcons in Week 3 on Eli Manning Day, then I’m out on this season.

At least Giant fans get to relax on Sunday.

P.S. Saquon… yikes. If he’s hurt, sit him.

What are your initial thoughts in regards to the Giants’ loss to the WFT? Tweet us, @unafraidshow.

2021 NFL Week 1 Stock Report: Four Up and Four Down

2021 NFL Week 1 Stock Report

Each week during the NFL season, UnafraidShow.com will take you through the four NFL teams/players that are trending up, as well as the ones that are headed for a crash. Let’s get to it:

1) The Saints Go Marching

Jameis Winston is filling some enormous shoes, while trying to throw out his previous pair. On Sunday, he managed to do both, playing relatively mistake free football, and helping the New Orleans Saints completely demolish the Green Bay Packers. Green Bay had come into New Orleans having scored 30+ points in five consecutive road games, and the Saints defense, bolstered by sacks from Tanoh Kpassagnon and Marcus Davenport, and interceptions by Paulson Adebo and Marcus Williams, has sent a signal to the rest of the NFL that the Saints aren’t going to have to win by shootout.

2) Same Old Tom and Gronk

We wrote about last Thursday’s electric NFL season opener, and once the dust settled on the entire weekend, it was clear that Tampa Bay still stood out as one of the most impressive teams of week 1. Of course everyone expects a defending Super Bowl champion to still have some gas left in the tank, but the Buccaneers came out with an even bigger tank, overflowing with high grade premium fuel. Antonio Brown looks better than he did last year. The Bucs run defense looks better than it did last year. And for the third time in the last seven games, Tom Brady found his old pal Rob Gronkowski in the end zone more than once. If for any reason Tampa wasn’t your Super Bowl favorite heading into 2021, it might be time to change your mind.

3) The Cardinals Take Flight

The Arizona Cardinals had the most eyebrow raising additions, as well as departures, leading up to the 2021 season. While the hype around this team remains minimal, as Arizona isn’t exactly the sexiest market for national talking heads, the week one thrashing of the Tennessee Titans on the road has caused quite a stir. Whether it’s Chandler Jones taking out his frustration with his contract situation on Taylor Lewan and Ryan Tannehill, or Kyler Murray finding both DeAndre Hopkins and Christian Kirk for two scores each, you have to wonder if the Cardinals largest margin of victory in a season opener since the 1960’s is a flash in the pan, or a sign of things to come.

4) The AFC West

I definitely did not think that the NFC West would go undefeated in week 1. Especially when the Kansas City Chiefs trailed the Cleveland Browns by two scores in the fourth quarter, and the Las Vegas Raiders trailed the Baltimore Ravens by a TD with six minutes left in their Sunday night matchup, but here we are. The emergence of Justin Herbert at QB for the Los Angeles Chargers might make this the most entertaining division in all of football this year, especially if Von Miller and the Denver Broncos defense keeps them in games enough for Teddy Bridgewater and Melvin Gordon to work some magic, the way they did against the Giants on Sunday.

Heating Up

I know they lost, but I was impressed with both Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, and Browns QB Baker Mayfield’s progress. Our own George Wrighster believes that Dak Prescott is currently a top-5 NFL QB, and if he repeats his week 1 performance a few more times, I’m not sure I’ll be able to disagree. You have to throw Rams Head Coach Sean McVay on this list as well, because Matt Stafford’s play at QB is making him look like even more of a genius than he’s purported to be. Oh, and in case you forgot, Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin still knows what he’s doing. Pittsburgh’s win over Buffalo should be a strong warning to the rest of the AFC North division that the Steelers aren’t quite dead yet. And why not give a shout out to the Houston Texans, who many thought would be circling the drain this year… a lot of season left, but as it stands right now, Tyrod Taylor and company are undefeated. Last but certainly not least, if you’re going to face an entire offseason of rumors that the Eagles are looking to replace you as the starter before you ever really get the chance to prove yourself, you might as well go out and dominate the way that Jalen Hurts did.

1) Aaron Rodgers

If you’re going to spend an entire offseason letting rumors and reports of your discontent run unchecked, and then you’re going to grant an interview to Erin Andrews further explaining your dissatisfaction with your status as the QB of the Green Bay Packers, you don’t get to be shocked when the team you’ve made it abundantly clear you don’t want to play with isn’t showing up on the field to support you. If Aaron Rodgers isn’t able to convince the Green Bay Packers to rally around him in his last year there, he’s going to have to be the one to do the rallying. Either he swallows his pride, or he’s going to swallow a few more five touchdown defeats.

2) Minnesota Vikings

Never has a team been more emblematic of the phrase “playing to the level of your competition” than the Kirk Cousins-led Minnesota Vikings. The Cincinnati Bengals aren’t a bad football team, but they’re certainly not as talented as the Vikings, and the idea that they’d need to come from behind to force overtime (and still lose!) to an offense that features Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins, who have an average combined age of 23-years-old, has to infuriate Skol nation.

3) Tennessee Titans

The Tennessee Titans wasted an all-time great offense last season by surrendering over 30 points eight different times. So how’d they kick off 2021? How about putting the brakes on that offense while still leaking like a sieve in the secondary? It doesn’t look like Ryan Tannehill is the guy you want trying to play you back into a game from behind, and when you have your franchise left tackle publicly thanking the defensive end that beat him five different times for “exposing” him? YIKES.

4) Atlanta Falcons

When your salary cap situation is so bad that you have to let the best receiver in franchise history walk away, you probably aren’t going to earn much praise for having your longest play from scrimmage be 18 yards… at home… against a team defense that was in the bottom half of the league in both total yards and points allowed last year.

Cooling Off

The top two picks in the 2021 NFL Draft, Trevor Lawrence and Zach Wilson, weren’t a disaster in their season debuts, but outside of Aaron Rodgers, they finished second and third on the weekend as far as the worst completion percentage. Wilson, while he looked decent at times against Carolina, was sacked six times in his debut. If the Jets don’t protect their investment, who is on pace to take 26 more sacks than David Carr did in 2002, a record that still stands to this day, then they’re going to likely be scouting top QBs for the second draft in a row.

Have a take you’d like us to address? Email us at immad@unafraidshow.com and we’ll read your take on a future Wrighster or Wrong podcast.

College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 3 As it Should Be

College Football ranking week 3

Welcome to the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 3 As it Should Be. Major shake ups in the rankings. We witnessed a heavyweight title fight in Columbus, a beatdown in Ames, and rock fight in Boulder that all impacted the rankings. Damn I love college football because we are reminded every weekend that the results on paper ≠ results on the field. For those of you new here, I created these rankings to give fans a real Top 10, free from media and conference bias. I’ll tell you the rules of the rankings next, but first we need to celebrate the amazing week 3 in college football. I pray that all you reading this stay healthy and enjoy this season. Now on the the rules.

The Rules: No Bias, No Bull College Football Rankings Week 3

There is no more unbiased ranking out there than Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 3. I get criticized from time to time by people who only want to see the college football world through the lens of the AP Poll. These rankings are not going to look like the AP Poll. Open your eyes to see a different view of evaluating the top 10. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.” I don’t believe in that. Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. After the preseason rankings, only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games.

I re-rank the top 10 every Sunday from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change, sometimes drastically every week because we will have new information. So make sure to come back every Sunday. For reference, you can check College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 2 .

Rankings should be fair and unbiased, but that’s not the world we live in when preseason polls ultimately affect the final rankings.

Top 10 College Football Rankings Week 3:

Next Up: Penn State, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Ole Miss, Florida

10. Notre Dame (2-0)

Last Week: 32-29 (W) vs Toledo

This Notre Dame team feels a lot like the 2012-13 team that played against Alabama in the National Championship. They won so many games by the hairs on their chinny chin chin. At the end of the season they were 12-0 but everyone knew 1-loss Oregon was a better team. But the BCS computers chose the undefeated team. People better start hoping they lose otherwise we will see them in the top 4 again.

9. Clemson (1-1)

Last Week: 49-3 (W) vs South Carolina State

Dabo Swinney got his team to rebound after the Georgia loss. We still have questions about the development of DJ Uiagalelei at quarterback. If he can be a premiere QB the sky is the limit for the Clemson team. However, they need to root for UNC, Virginia Tech, and Miami to win out until they play.

8. Ohio State Buckeyes (1-1)

Last Week: 28-35 (W) vs Oregon

The Buckeyes have to get their defense figured out. The bad news is Oregon exposed a flaw in their red zone defense. The good news is that few teams will be able to score with CJ Stroud, Chris Olave, and company. They will still have a chance to compete for the B1G championship and get into the college football playoff.

7. Cincinnati (2-0)

Last Week: 42-7 (W) vs Murray State

The Bearcats have outscored their opponents 91-21 through two games. I spent the most time figuring out where to rank them. Their dominance is clear but their schedule is not impressive. As more teams get into the meat of their schedule it will be extremely hard for Cinci to stay ranked above them unless they blow everyone out and beat Notre Dame.

Check out our Pac-12 Football Podcast, Pac-12 Apostles:

6. Oklahoma (2-0)

Last Week: 76-0 (W) vs Western Carolina

The Sooners rebounded nicely after a scare against Tulane. I still give some grace in that game because everything was thrown off. Tulane had to travel to Norman to play a game that was relocated because of the hurricane Ida. There were so many emotions and inspired play by the Green Wave that Oklahoma just had to weather the storm and they did.

5. Iowa (2-0)

Last Week: 27-17 (W) vs Iowa State

This was supposed to be the year Iowa State took the power from Iowa, but the Hawkeyes had other plans. They dominated and out executed a very well-coached football team. I am not sure if Iowa has the horses to be a legit contender, but we cannot discount their great play and quality wins through 2 games.

4. Georgia Bulldogs (2-0)

Last Week: 56-7 (W) vs UAB

Georgia took UAB behind the woodshed without JT Daniels. It is pretty easy for Kirby Smart to play the brand of football he likes against lesser competition. He went all conservative against Clemson. The Bulldogs did come away with the win, but until he goes full Bruce Arians “no risk it, no biscuit” there won’t be any championship banners hanging in Athens.

3. UCLA (2-0)

Last Week: IDLE

A week off didn’t change anything. They still have 2 dominating performances already this year. I can’t wait to see how they handle Fresno State this weekend. If they dominate it won’t be hard for the Bruins to continue to move up in the rankings.

2. Oregon Ducks (2-0)

Last Week: 35-28 (W) @ Ohio State

Oregon has put the nation on notice. They are back in the national championship conversation again after a 5 year absence .A lot of people outside of Oregon are calling their victory over Ohio State an upset. They were the better team and dominated the game. But… Ohio State is legit.

1. Alabama (2-0)

Last Week: 48-14 (W) vs Mercer

Where is Mercer located? I googled it so you didn’t have to. It is in Macon, Georgia. I had a tougher task locating Mercer than Bryce Young, Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide had on the field this weekend. No schedule or quality wins points but the domination from the Miami game continued through week 2.

Check back next Sunday morning for the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 3.

2021 NFL Season: Playoff And Awards Predictions

Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady / NFL

The 2021-2022 NFL season gets underway Thursday night as the Dallas Cowboys take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Grab a beer, order some wings, and glue yourself to the couch because it’s football season once again. Every fan comes in with the hope that it’s their year, and all of that hope will disappear after your team’s offense goes three and out on the first possession. There’s no better feeling than yelling at the television on a Sunday.

After much deliberation, I’m ready to make my playoff and awards predictions. Buckle up those chinstraps, and let’s go.

NFC

Once again, Tom Brady took his team to the Super Bowl and walked away with another ring. Every fan should have seen this coming especially if your team plays in the AFC. Why would it be any different? Brady runs the league, and the Bucs are going to be contenders once again with all 22 starters from the Super Bowl team. The rich, do in fact, get richer.

So who will stop Brady’s reign of terror? The best bet plays in Green Bay, and his name is Robert Paulson. Actually, his name is Aaron Rodgers, and he’s the reigning MVP. Despite falling to the Bucs in the Conference Championship Game, the Packers still have #12 under center for at least one more season, which automatically makes Green Bay a contender.

The NFC West is the group of death as the Rams, 49ers, and Seahawks are all talented enough to not only make the playoffs but win a Super Bowl. In the East, someone has to win the division right? In the South, maybe this is the year I stop believing in the Falcons. I can’t make any promises.

NFC Seeds

  1. Bucs
  2. Packers
  3. 49ers
  4. Cowboys
  5. Rams
  6. Seahawks
  7. Saints

NFC Title Game – Bucs over 49ers

Special Note: As a Giants fan, I’m contractually obligated to give a prediction for the NFL season. With a horrible offensive line and mediocre quarterback, I’m not expecting to light up the scoreboard. However, I believe in Joe Judge and the defense. The Giants should be on the “In The Hunt” graphic all season. Final record: 8-9.

AFC

Ask yourself one question: Can *insert team here* beat Patrick Mahomes in the playoffs?

That’s the only question that matters. So far, no team without Brady has beaten Mahomes in the playoffs. To go one step further, the Kansas City Chiefs have never played a road playoff game since Mahomes become the permanent starter. Why should that change this year? Frankly, I don’t think it will. Mahomes is going to be a man possessed after the Chiefs were embarrassed in the Super Bowl. A pissed-off Mahomes is a quarterback that I wouldn’t want to see if I’m on the other sideline.

The teams with the best chances of stopping Mahomes are the same two teams that faced the Chiefs in the playoffs a season ago. Those teams are the Browns and the Bills. Top to bottom, the Browns roster is more talented than the Chiefs. Cleveland has the best 1-2 rushing attack in football with Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt. Plus, Myles Garrett is one of the favorites to win MVP. I hate to channel my inner sports talk show host, but Cleveland’s success will come down to Baker Mayfield. If he moves the chains, the Browns will go far.

In Buffalo, the Bills are coming off their most successful season of the 21st century. Last year was not a fluke for Josh Allen (more on him late), and the young quarterback should be even better than he was a season ago. The biggest non-move of the offseason was the return of offensive coordinator Brian Daboll. If their defensive line improves, expect a rematch with Kansas City for the AFC Championship.

In other news, Lamar Jackson might rush for three thousand yards after every running back in Baltimore suffered catastrophic injuries. Don’t count out Mike Tomlin, who’s never had a losing season. Also, the “Year Two” jump for quarterbacks is real. CC: Justin Herbert.

AFC Seeds

  1. Chiefs
  2. Bills
  3. Browns
  4. Titans
  5. Ravens
  6. Steelers
  7. Chargers

AFC Title Game – Chiefs over Browns

Super Bowl

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. The Bucs and Chiefs are still the two best teams in the NFL. I expect a closer Super Bowl this time around, but I’m still picking the GOAT to win by a field goal.

Super Bowl – Bucs over Chiefs

Awards

MVP – Josh Allen

If the Bills make the playoffs again, then Allen will have to be spectacular once again. He still needs to take care of the ball, but there’s a chance his stat line could look like this: five thousand yards, 42 passing TDS, and 10 rushing TDs. That’s good enough to win NFL MVP.

Offensive Player of the Year – Josh Allen

See the above.

Defensive Player of the Year – T.J. Watt

If it’s not Aaron Donald again, I’ll take T.J. Watt, who finished 3rd and 2nd in voting the previous two seasons.

Comeback Player of the Year – Dak Prescott

This is the easiest award to predict. Dak was on pace for record-setting numbers before his injury in 2020. Expect the QB to light it up once again.

Offensive Rookie of the Year – Trevor Lawrence

The bet to place is that a QB will win this award. Why not go with the number one overall pick? Lawrence will struggle at first but expect a huge second half once he gets in sync with Urban Meyer.

Defensive Rookie of the Year – Patrick Surtain II

Surtain II is a s-t-u-d. Add his name to the list of elite Denver cornerbacks.

Coach of the Year – Kyle Shanahan

The 49ers should jump from 6 wins a season ago to at least 11, probably 12, no matter who lines up at quarterback. If that happens, Shanahan should take home this award for the first time.

Enjoy the season.

What are your predictions for the upcoming NFL season? Leave your thoughts in the comments below or tweet us, @unafraidshow.

College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 2 As it Should Be

College Football Rankings Week 2

Welcome to the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 2 As it Should Be. For those of you new here, I created these rankings to give fans a real Top 10, free from media and conference bias. I’ll tell you the rules of the rankings next, but first we need to celebrate the amazing week 1 in college football. We got big name brand matchups, upsets, and some feel good stories. But that wasn’t the most exciting part. Having fans back in the stands brought an energy through the screen that we hadn’t seen since the 2019 season. I pray that all you reading this stay healthy and enjoy this season. Now on the the rules.

The Rules: No Bias, No Bull College Football Rankings Week 2

There is no more unbiased ranking out there than Unafraid Show’s College Football Top 10 Rankings Week 2. I get criticized from time to time by people who only want to see the college football world through the lens of the AP Poll. These rankings are not going to look like the AP Poll. Open your eyes to see a different view of evaluating the top 10. Most polls including the College Football Playoff Committee give college blueblood teams a massive “benefit of the doubt.” I don’t believe in that. Teams are ranked by the correct criteria: quality wins, schedule played, and dominance. After the preseason rankings, only games played matter. No consideration is given for future games.

I re-rank the top 10 every Sunday from scratch. The previous week’s rankings do not factor into the next week. So, the rankings will change, sometimes drastically every week because we will have new information. So make sure to come back every Sunday. For reference, you can check College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 1.

Rankings should be fair and unbiased, but that’s not the world we live in when preseason polls ultimately affect the final rankings.

Top 10 College Football Rankings Week 2:

Next Up: Clemson, Iowa State, USC, Florida

10. Oregon Ducks (1-0)

Last Week: 31-24 (W) vs Fresno State

The Ducks had a great first and fourth quarter against Fresno State. But the middle two quarters left a lot to be desired from the Oregon offense. We will ultimately see what this team is made of this week as they head to Columbus to take on Ohio State.

9. Cincinnati (1-0)

Last Week: 49-14 (W) vs Miami (OH)

Desmond Ridder showed out against Miami (OH). Cincinnati’s schedule doesn’t allow for them to get very many quality win, so it will be hard for them to climb very high in the poll. But they were dominant last week and should be this week against Murray State as well.

8. Oklahoma (1-0)

Last Week: 40-35 (W) vs Tulane

The Sooners were real close to being a victim last weekend. Tulane recovered an onside kick with about 2 minutes left in the game down five but couldn’t get the win. The reason OU is ranked even in the top 10 after that game is because of the emotions and situation surrounding the game. It was moved to norman because Tulane was displaced because of the hurricane. There won’t be a scare this week against Western Carolina.

7. Texas A&M (1-0)

Last Week: 41-10 (W) vs Kent State

In my rankings, you do not get credit for quality wins or schedule when you beat a bad teams. However, you do receive points for dominance when you blow them out of the water. This week will be a step up in competition as the Aggies head to Boulder, CO to play the Buffaloes.

Check out our Pac-12 Football Podcast, Pac-12 Apostles:

6. Iowa (1-0)

Last Week: 34-6 (W) vs Indiana

I had to do a double take when I saw Iowa scored 34 points vs Indiana until I saw Riley Moss had two pick-six TDs. That was an extremely impressive performance by the Hawkeyes. Next up Iowa State.

5. Notre Dame (1-1)

Last Week: 41-38 (W) vs Florida State

FSU vs Notre Dame was the game of the year so far. The Irish offense looks more explosive than we have seen it in a long time. They have speed at key position and a physical defense. Playoffs again?

4. UCLA (2-0)

Last Week: 38-27 (W) vs LSU

There is no denying what this team has put on tape. Through 2 games, the Bruins defense and OL look physical and fast. Chip Kelly’s team harassed LSU all game on the way to a dominating performance.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes (1-0)

Last Week: 45-31 (W) @ Minnesota

It you want big plays, you showed up at the right place. The Buckeyes scored four TDs from 30+ against Minnesota. That sort of explosion keeps opposing coaches up at night. Huge matchup against Oregon this week.

2. Georgia Bulldogs (1-0)

Last Week: 10-3 (W) vs Clemson

We will have to wait until this weekend to see if the Bulldogs can score their first offensive touchdown. Their matchup against Clemson was an absolute rock fight offensively. However, the Georgia defense was fighting with a bazooka. They may be the fastest defense we saw in week 1.

1. Alabama (1-0)

Last Week: 44-13 (W) vs Miami

Alabama deserves the #1 spot of the College Football Top 10 Rankings As It Should Be. They dominated Miami in every way possible. Bryce Young is now the Crimson Tide QB and the offense looks just as good as when Mac Jones or Tua was QB.

Check back next Sunday morning for the College Football Top 10 Power Rankings Week 2.