The year is coming to an end and like in any year, there are many resolutions that are made. Of course in sports, there are changes made for better results. So with that being said, here are my Top 15 predictions for sports in 2015.
1. Peyton Manning will retire
Peyton has had a remarkable career. He took the Indianapolis Colts from an average team to a contending team each and every year. He has been one of the best quarterbacks to ever play in the NFL. But like all things, they must come to an end. Peyton is getting up there in age and you can start to see some slippage in his game at this point in his career. Like any other players, he probably still has the thoughts of playing. But for his legacy in the sport, he does not want to hang on too long. The time is now. And after this playoff run, I think Peyton announces that he is retiring from the NFL.
2. Michael Vick and Geno Smith will not be the quarterbacks for the Jets next season
Both Vick and Smith had opportunities to take over the Jets offense this season. First it was Geno with his unbalanced play. He would make a great pass and be playing well. And then he would turn around and make some play that only he could explain. And this has been the case for two years with Geno. Quite frankly, I believe they are tired of it. And with the firing of Jets coach Rex Ryan, the time will be up on Geno. As far as Vick, he definitely used his wheels more than Geno, but he was inaccurate and also erratic as the starter. As the season went on, these two would continue to swap being the starter and the backup. The saying always goes "If you have two quarterbacks, you have none." It never rang truer than with the Jets. And both will be gone come the 2015 season.
3. The Green Bay Packers will win the Super Bowl
Aaron Rodgers is dangerous in the playoffs and have proven so. This year he does not have to see the 49ers (who have knocked him out the last two times he has been in the playoffs), and they have a bye week for Rodgers to rest his lingering calf issue. The offense will be ready to roll. But the difference in this team is the defense and what they bring to the table. They can pressure the passer with veteran Julius Peppers at outside linebacker and Clay Matthews roaming at the line of scrimmage and they also have gotten better coverage from their secondary. The Surgeon is about to go to work as he leads this team back to the Promised Land.
4. Both Johnny Manziel and Josh Gordon will both not be back in Cleveland next season
I think one or the other will be gone and my initial thought is that Gordon will not be a Cleveland Brown next season. I hope he gets it together and gains his focus on and off the field, but it just seems like the demons that are following him are overcoming his life at this point and time. Couple that with the way his 2014 season ended, which I am sure his agent and Gordon find questionable, and I believe he will cause enough of a stir to jettison himself out of Cleveland. As far as Manziel, if they put up with Gordon, then I think Manziel still has some time to get it right. It is still questionable whether or not he is the future at quarterback for the Browns, but he will get a chance to prove that before they decide what to do with him.
5. Jameis Winston will be a first-round pick
Winston, should he come out this year, has been talked about as slipping in the draft due to off-the-field issues. Of course he is still a youngster trying to figure some things out, but there has been talk that his attitude and penchant for staying in trouble will scare a lot of teams off when it comes to drafting him. But as we learned with Johnny Manziel, all it takes is one team to want to draft him in the first round. And I can guarantee there will be one team that will step up and draft him with their first-round pick. Get ready folks, it will happen.
6. The Chicago Cubs will make the National League Championship Series
Of course this one seems a little crazy considering the history of the Cubs. But if you look at their roster, they have the talent in the field with all-star first baseman Anthony Rizzo, shortstop Starlin Castro (should he be able to play this season) and other young players that can flat-out get the job done. Couple that with the pitching they amassed and the Cubs have a good shot to be a Wildcard team in 2015. And once in the playoffs, timely hitting and pitching rules. The Cubs could potentially have both of those. And they also have one other feather in their cap: former Tampa Rays manager Joe Maddon.
7. Alex Rodriguez will retire after this season
Rodriguez has been a name mentioned in not a great light over the past few years because of his PED (performance-enhancing drugs) use. His suspension for his latest offense is up this season and Yankees manager Joe Girardi has said that Rodriguez will be more of a designated hitter this season. With the hip injuries and the re-signing of Chase Headley, look for A-Rid to make it through this season but recognize the writing is on the wall for his career. And with him being in his late 30's, the light at the end of his career tunnel is getting brighter. A-Rod, noticing the light, will walk into it after the 2015 season.
8. The Marlins will regret giving Giancarlo Stanton the huge deal they did
Stanton cashed in at the right time and I'm not mad at him for it. Baseball tends to pay his players the best. But I believe the Marlins will regret the 13 year, $325 million deal during this season. I believe the pressure of this deal will weigh heavily on him Alex Rodriguez's deal did when he signed what was a monster deal with the Texas Rangers back in 2000. As a result of the pressure that Stanton will feel, his performance will slump some and then Marlins will have buyer's remorse once that slump affects the team and people coming to the games (which they already have problems with as an organization). It will not surprise me if he is traded to a big market team at the end of the 2015 season.
9. Floyd Mayweather will not fight Manny Pacquiao
We keep hearing the rumblings of a fight that may or may not happen in 2015 between these two, but it is all talk. I do not believe this fight will happen at all. First, the demand is not the same as it once was a few years ago. Secondly, Mayweather would be bringing a lot of the buzz into this fight and would want to be compensated accordingly. That would mean he takes home a higher percentage of the money brought in than Pacquiao and I don't believe that will be negotiated to happen. Another thing here is that I believe Mayweather does not really have to fight Pacquiao at this point anyway. He could retire after he completes his latest boxing deal and I don't believe many would question his record and what he meant to the sport of boxing.
10. The Chicago Bulls will win the NBA title
The Bulls have always been lacking offense to go along with their stellar defense. That lack of offensive punch has been mostly due to the loss of star point guard Derrick Rose due to injuries the last couple of years. Well, this year the Bulls went out and added big man Pau Gasol, backup point guard Aaron Brooks and forward Nikola Mirotic. With those pieces, a healthy Derrick Rose and a much-improved Jimmy Butler, the Bulls will be better equipped to make a run offensively to go along with the defense. And with the size they now have across their front line, the Bulls will win the East and take out whoever comes to see them from the Western Conference.
11. Warriors point guard Steph Curry will win the MVP
Early on, Steph Curry is one of the best players in the NBA. Each time he steps on the court, something exciting happens. He is a great shooter off the dribble or via catch and shoot and he can definitely create for himself and others on the court. Defensively, he has proven he is better than he was in the past and Curry also is leading the Warriors to the best record in the NBA so far. I believe he continues to drive the Warriors towards the playoffs and towards a top seed in the West. And for that, he should be the MVP.
12. The Milwaukee Bucks will make the playoffs
Yep. I did not stutter. The Bucks are a long and athletic team that can cause problems for people on the court. Even with the loss of Rookie of the Year candidate Jabari Parker, the Bucks still have enough to make it in the East. Remember, the bar is much lower in the East to make it than the West. I think they could get to 39 wins potentially. And if they did, Jason Kidd may merit some Coach of The Year consideration because no one would be expecting that at all.
13. The University of Kentucky will have four first round draft picks in the 2015 NBA Draft
The Wildcats are without a doubt a very talented team. And of course they are loaded with McDonald's All-Americans. But not all of their players are first round talents. Freshman forward Karl Towns will definitely be a lottery pick and could be the top pick overall potentially. We all know that junior big man Willie Cauley-Stein will be a potential lottery pick as well. But the other two guys are players that some may look over on this team. Sophomore center Dakari Johnson is arguably their best post scorer. The Brooklyn, New York native has dropped weight and with that added agility and quickness to his already good post game. Someone will take a chance on a seven-footer with that type of talent. Another intriguing prospect is Trey Lyles. The 6'10 freshman from Indiana has been silky smooth as he has been playing small forward for the Wildcats. He can handle the basketball very well, can defend his position and he can shoot for range as well. This young man is definitely a talent someone takes a chance on should he leave for the NBA Draft after this season.
14. The Boston Celtics will move Jeff Green before the trade deadline
The veteran forward is drawing some interest on the trade market and it would be in the best interest to move him if they could. He is a good asset for what they are trying to do: rebuild. I believe someone who is looking for a wing scorer will give the Celtics either young players or pieces for Green. If I were a team like New Orleans that does not have a starting small forward, I would take a look at Green and pair him with Anthony Davis.
15. Tiger Woods will win a major tournament in 2015
Tiger has been dormant when it comes to winning big tournaments for a while now. We are still waiting on that comeback we thought was coming from him. Well, this year could be the year. Tiger hired a new swing coach and is at work trying to recapture the magic he once had. I believe this time he may find the magic and win that major that has eluded him for so long it seems.
These are my predictions for the 2015 season. It should be interesting to see what does and does not come to fruition.