Championship Picks

Titans at Chiefs

The Titans have been super impressive in the playoffs and I don’t know if anyone can stop Derrick Henry right now. But I don’t think the Titans can stop this Chiefs offense either.

The Pick: Chiefs 27 Titans 17

Packers at 49ers

The key to victory is the trenches. The big boys. Can the Packers o-line slow down the 49ers d-line? Can the Packers d-line stop the rush and put pressure on the 49ers? That will all decide the game.

I really, really, really wanna pick the Packers here…………………….

The Pick: 49ers 23 Packers 20

Divisional Round Picks

Vikings vs 49ers

This one I think is either close, or it could be a blowout on each side. Kyle Shanahan vs Mike Zimmer. Who wins between the two play callers will determine this game.

The Pick – 49ers 23 Vikings 17

Titans vs Ravens

If you like running the football, this is the game for you. The Ravens were the top rushing team in the league, but the titans have the individual rushing champ.

The Pick – Ravens 27 Titans 13

Texans vs Chiefs

The Titans escaped a wild game last week against the Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes won’t be doing the same antics that Josh Allen was doing for the Bills.

The Pick – Chiefs 30 Texans 17

Seahawks vs Packers

Can the Packers defense stop Russell Wilson? The biggest match-up of the game is the Packers defense vs Russell Wilson in terms of both passing and rushing.

The Pick – Packers 20 Seahawks 16

Dan’s Wild Card Picks

Wild Card weekend is here! The NFL Playoffs!

Here are my picks for this weekend’s games:

Bills at Texans

I think this is a sneaky good game. I’m struggling with this one a bit. How effective is JJ Watt going to be in this game? Is Josh Allen ready for the moment?

The Pick: Texans 17 Bills 10

Titans at Patriots

Seems like a lot of people are high on the Titans and I get it. Ryan Tannehill is playing out of his mind. Derrick Henry is the rushing champ. But, it’s still the Patriots

The Pick: Patriots 23 Titans 17

Vikings at Saints

Who ya rooting for Packers fans? The Vikings to avoid the Saints or do you just want the Vikings out of the playoffs? The key for the Vikings will be Kirk Cousins. Can he do it?

The Pick: Saints 27 Vikings 20

Seahawks at Eagles

The battle of who has enough healthy bodies to play this game. Seahawks are the better team.

The Pick: Seahawks 27 Eagles 17

What Expectations?

How should we view this Packers team?

I’m talking about how we should view them in terms of expectations for this season.  You know what I’m getting at?

Because for most of us, we didn’t see this coming. We didn’t see a 9-3 start through the first three quarters of the season and in first place in the division under a first year head coach who only had one year experience in play calling.

But yet, here we are. Four games left in the regular season and the Packers are right in the thick of a top heavy NFC. So what should our expectations be? Championship or bust? Are you just enjoying the moment because you didn’t expect this happening THIS year?

I’ve battled back-and-forth on this. I didn’t have high expectations this year. I picked them to finish third in their division so I should just be enjoying the ride, right? But, I’m also a big believer in expectations change through the course of any team’s season. But yet, there are things that I see with this team that just doesn’t give me a ton of confidence to win the Super Bowl.

After much inner turmoil and back-and-forth arguments between the two Dan’s in my head, I’ve come to a conclusion I think all Packers fans should come to. At what level of expectations should we hold this 2019-20 Packers team to?

To quote Jake Taylor from the theatrical classic Major League:

“Win the whole *bleep* thing”

Fans should absolutely enjoy what this team is doing so far this year and enjoy the ride. Football is fun again in Green Bay! Live in the moment!

But, given that they have put themselves in a position to get to the playoffs, the expectations have changed.  And that’s a good thing. It means your football team is competitive and competing for the ultimate prize.

We know the Packers are struggling in certain areas and their statistical rankings on defense and special teams are, well, not good in areas. They do have areas they need to really improve on if they want to win a Super Bowl. No doubt about it.

But I’ll say it again. They’re 9-3. They are a good football team.  Maybe not the best, but they are a good football team. And sometimes good enough, in football believe it or not, gets you a Lombardi trophy. Get to the playoffs and weird things happen.

And last time I checked the NFL rules, there is no rule that says a rookie head coach can’t get to or win a Super Bowl.  

And there is a difference between having higher expectations for your team and just constantly calling out bad play calling, calling for someone to get fired already, or always finding a negative in a win. Come on now. We can criticize bad plays by players or questionable play calls now and then. But it sure seems like were quick to criticize something compared to giving props to a good play call. Allow yourself to be happy with a win regardless of who it’s against and upset with a loss regardless of how it happened.

Enjoy the ride and have Super Bowl expectations. You can do both. Stop always looking at the negatives. We know they’re there, but there are also some good things with this team. Believe me!

Whatever happens happens.

Football is fun again in Green Bay.

Win the whole *bleep* thing.

P.S – I’ve got a new podcast coming out early 2020! I love history and sports. I’ve always wanted to do a documentary and I enjoy producing podcasts. So, I’ve combined them all!

Coming soon is Lambeau: A Podcast Series. Curly Lambeau was more than just the founder, coach, and player for the Packers. He lived quite the life. Scandal. Conspiracy. Hollywood. Drama. Glory. He went through it all and I have some awesome guests from the Packers, NFL Films, and historians joining me to discuss the life and legacy of Curly Lambeau. I can’t wait for this to drop!

Quarter 1 for the Pack, Brewers Playoff Bound

After their loss to the Eagles Thursday night, the Packers have completed their first quarter of the season with a 3-1 record. At the beginning of the season if anyone said the Packers record would be 3-1 through the first four games of the season, the majority of fans would and should be very happy with that. Add in two wins against the Bears and Vikings and Packers fans should be good with the record.

But, I still can’t get a good gauge on this team.

The first three weeks of the season we’re highlighted by impressive defensive play. The defense was creating sacks and turnovers at a rate we have not seen from a Packers defense in a really long time. But then against the Eagles, the defense, especially the run defense, was like a leaky faucet.

On the other side of the ball, the offense wasn’t lighting up the world like we’re used to from a Packers offense over the years through the first three weeks of the season. But then Thursday, Aaron Rodgers looks like the old Aaron Rodgers. It helped that the Packers passing game was attacking a depleted Eagles secondary, but give credit where credit is due. The Packers exploited it.

So how can we assess this team after the first quarter?

It’s still a work in progress. Still inconsistent.

I know that’s kind of a cop out answer, but I don’t think we still have a really good gauge on this team. The defense has more than not shown a lot of positive things. But that run defense needs to be shored up. I know Mike Pettine prioritizes the pass over the run, but if you’re going to allow the opposing teams to average 5 yards a carry, your defense is going to get worn down throughout the game.

And I’m maybe not as concerned as the offense as some fans are. We have to remember the offense went up against three good to solid defenses and the team came away with wins. They we’re able to exploit a poor pass defense. If anything, the Eagles game gave me the confidence the Packers offense can move the ball through the air.

But, there is a caveat to that. If Davante Adams is going to miss a long period of time, the offense is going to take a huge step back. And if Bryan Bulaga misses time, I don’t know if Alex Light is the answer. The best option might be to put Billy Turner at right tackle and Lucas Patrick at guard.

All in all, a good start for the Packers with definitely some positive things, but also things to work on, which is to be expected from a team with a new coaching staff and a lot of new players.

So how about those Brewers?! What an incredible turnaround for this team. There was no way, like all if not many of you, thought this team would be going to the playoffs at the beginning of September. And the fact they are still in the hunt for a division championship heading into the final regular season series this weekend? Incredible.

Give credit to the veterans like Ryan Braun, Lorenzo Cain, Mike Moustakas, and Yasmani Grandal for leading this team and stepping up after losing Christian Yelich for the season. A big credit to the youngsters for rising to the challenge as well.

But a big amount of credit should go to Craig Counsell. To keep that team focused, motivated, and energized after everything that has gone on as been incredibly impressive. One of the best coaching jobs in all of sports.

I don’t know how deep the Brewers will go in the playoffs, but to say they are going back to the postseason in back-to-back season’s is AWESOME!

Dan’s Packer 53-Man Roster Prediction

QB (2) – Aaron Rodgers, Tim Boyle

RB (3) – Aaron Jones, Jamal Williams, Tra Carson

FB (1) – Danny Vitale

WR (6) – Davante Adams, Geronimo Allison, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Jake Kumerow, Trevor Davis, Eqanimeous St. Brown

TE (4) – Jimmy Graham, Marcedes Lewis, Robert Tonyan, Jace Sternberger

OL (9) – David Bahktiari, Lane Taylor, Corey Linsley, Bill Turner, Bryan Bulaga, Elgton Jenkins, Alex Light, Lucas Patrick, Justin McCray

DL (5) – Kenny Clark, Dean Lowry, Montravius Adams, Tyler Lancaster, Kingsley Keke

OLB (5) – Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith, Rashan Gary, Kyler Fackrell, Randy Ramsey

ILB – (5) Blake Martinez, Ty Summers, Oren Burks, Curtis Bolton, Jamal Crawford

CB – (6) Jaire Alexander, Kevin King, Josh Jackson, Tramon Williams, Tony Brown, Ka’Dar Hollman

S – (4) Adrian Amos, Darnell Savage, Raven Greene, Will Redmond

Specialists – (3) Mason Crosby, J.K. Scott, Hunter Bradley

*Ibraheim Campbell will more likely start the season on the PUP list.

*Don’t be surprised to see the Packers keep St. Brown, then put him on IR and bring back either Darrius Shepherd or Allen Lazard. Same with Curtis Bolton.

*Dexter Williams might be a prime candidate for the practice squad.

Bucks Free Agency

We finally know our answers Bucks fans.

After weeks of debating what the Milwaukee Bucks would or should do in the first wave of free agency, we have our answers. The Bucks decided to give Khris Middleton a big contract, Brook Lopez a big pay raise, signing his brother, Robin, to back him up, bringing back George Hill, and signing Wesley Matthews. The Bucks also made the tough decision to say goodbye to Malcom Brogdon, but did the smart thing and agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers to get some draft assets back to either use for trades or to keep them. They at least got something for him.

I don’t doubt the Bucks wanted really badly to keep Brogdon. But Brogdon’s play priced himself out of a team that didn’t have a lot of money to go around. One of the problems good teams eventually have to face when they have a lot of talent on their team.

Now the debate amongst Bucks fans will be if the Bucks made the right decision to keep Middleton over Brogdon. Time will tell to see who was right. Middleton is not as bad as many Bucks fans complained about after the postseason run. Did he not play up to expectations? No, he didn’t. But that doesn’t define him as an overall player. Let’s see what this season and the next couple of seasons bring.

I know many Bucks fans don’t think Middleton deserves the big contract he got. Here’s the thing though. If the Bucks didn’t give it to him, some team would have. That was the market for his services. And the Bucks obviously value Middleton a lot.

The thing that does concern me a bit with this team is who is going to be the other option on this team behind Giannis and Middleton. Is it Eric Bledsoe? Brook Lopez? Matthews? Do they even need a third option because they have a few different options with their role players? I’m very curious to see who gets slotted into Brogdon’s starting spot. I would love a more typical shooting guard in there and putting Giannis and Middleton in the front court with Brook.

There does need to be another aggressive offensive player on this team and that has to be Middleton. Giannis is aggressive, but there’s no doubt he will be working on his outside game more to combat teams from playing defense on him like the Toronto Raptors did. Bledsoe can be aggressive, but is he consistent at it? That’s the question.

There are still a couple of questions that remain on this team like who is the new starter, how much of a jump will the younger players take this year, and can Middleton and Giannis take another jump in their game. Losing Brogdon was a big loss, but the fact the Bucks were able to bring back Brook Lopez, Middleton, Hill and signing Matthews and Robin Lopez are solid additions. The Bucks are still one of the best teams in the entire NBA.

Bart, Bucks, and Outdoors

The incomparable Bart Starr leads off the blog for this week. I won’t spend a lot of time talking about him, as you probably heard me talk about him quite a bit this week on the radio and you can check out the latest episode of The Man Cave Football Podcast to hear more thoughts about him.

But I just wanted to say a couple of more things about him. Maybe hammer home a couple of more points.

First, what you see and what you hear about him and his wife Cherry are 100% factual. Often times when we see a celebrity or athlete, we assume they’re these awesome people. We never have met or interacted with them, but we draw these conclusions based off of what we have read or seen on TV.

I was a lucky one to have met and chatted with both Bart and Cherry and every positive and nice thing you heard about them is completely accurate. And when you talk about Bart, you have to include Cherry because they are the ultimate team.

When we use athletes and celebrities as role models, to me, there is no better example than Bart Starr. From everything from his work ethic, to chasing a dream, to succeeding at football, his charity work off the field and just his downright awesome personality in where he treated everyone with kindness is something we should all strive to be like. Bart Starr is the ultimate role model for any age and generation.

The Milwaukee Bucks season ended prematurely for a lot of us fans. And while they fell short of the ultimate goal of winning an NBA Championship, this was still one of the most memorable seasons of their history. I know there aren’t a lot of good things to talk about in the Bucks history, but this season was fun, wasn’t it? Nobody expected this back in October!

Two things regarding the Bucks:  First, if you know me, I usually have the mindset that if you don’t win a championship at the end of the season, it’s a failure. I’m starting to lean off that a bit after watching Mike Holmgren do an interview a while back and he talked about that subject. But I also believe it depends on the team and the situation.

I didn’t have championship goals for the Bucks at the beginning of the season. Those goals and expectations changed during the season and I did have those goals as the season progressed. I think you have to change your expectations to that when your favorite team finishes with the best record in the entire league.

But since they didn’t win the championship, is it a failure? I don’t think so. They didn’t achieve all their goals, which I guess you could call a failure, but I don’t think the season as a whole is a failure.

My second point I wanted to chat about is this notion of bandwagon fans and how it can be a negative. I think the NBA is a very big bandwagon sport. You almost have to be with the amount of times players, superstar players for that matter, now change teams. I seen a lot of people criticizing people for being Bucks bandwagon fans.

Hold up. We can’t at one moment complain the Bucks don’t get talked about enough or they don’t have enough support, than later complain about bandwagon fans. This was the type of season the Bucks needed to get those fans. They needed to draw new fans in and to get more people to watch them. That in turn gets more support and more attention to your team. Call them bandwagon if you want, but a new crop of fans were just introduced to this fun and exciting Bucks team. Now it’s up to the Bucks to keep them drawn in and on the wagon.

 Lastly, checkout http://www.sportstalk1051.com and a new thing I’m trying. Dan Kasper Outdoors.  Since we’re in Wisconsin, the outdoors is a big part of most of our lives, whether it’s hunting, fishing, camping, grilling, and more. We’ll be doing some videos, podcasts, pictures, and a bunch of other stuff.

Please send me your pictures or videos of you enjoying the outdoors. You might be featured on our website. More details to come as we try to figure out this new thing!

Support the Bucks!

The Bucks are in the Eastern Conference Finals. Let that sink in for a bit. Who would have thought this was possible just a year ago? And with a real, legit shot to win the title?!

I think the big question remaining is this: Are Wisconsin sports fans ready to finally embrace the Bucks?

Now before you go off on me and ask what the heck I’m talking about, it wasn’t that long ago someone created that logo that you even see on some vehicles yet or their social media profiles. It was a mash up of the Brewers, Badgers, and Packers logo. No bucks logo to be found. Wisconsin fans didn’t identify with the Bucks. They probably wanted a basketball team in their state, just so they could say they have one, but let’s be real. Unless you were a big basketball fan, you were not paying too much attention to the Bucks outside of southeastern Wisconsin.

It’s an exciting time to be a Bucks fan, but it still has work to do to increase its fan support. And a lot of that lies on us as Wisconsin sports fans.

The easiest way to jump on the bandwagon for a team is two parts. One, have a superstar. Two, win a bunch of games. The Bucks have both of that. So if you weren’t paying attention to the Bucks before because they didn’t have anything to cheer for or someone to gravitate towards, you have no reason anymore. A Greek Freak superstar and the best record in the NBA.

Sure, the Bucks could do more to try to market in the Chippewa Valley. But let’s give them a reason to. Show the support. Wisconsin sports fans are an extremely passionate group of fans. Packers fans…duh. Brewers fans, of course. Badger fans may have made “Jump Around” the state song. We as Wisconsin sports fans can and should now embrace the Bucks if you haven’t already. Let’s stop blaming the national media for not talking about them enough and let’s start paying attention to the Bucks a little bit more. And talking about them a little bit more at the bar stool.

We have a team in this state that has a legitimate shot to win a title. You don’t have to be the biggest Bucks fan or even a big hoops fan to back a state sports team. You can gripe or dislike the style of hoops that’s being played at the pro level. Heck, I do all the time! But I’m backing and supporting my state team, because I haven’t had too many opportunities to do so.

It’s an exciting time in Wisconsin sports right now with the Bucks and Brewers. There will always be that excitement with the Packers, especially with Aaron Rodgers, even with all the negative press the team has been getting. Badgers are usually up there as well.

So let’s go Sconnie! Get on that Bucks train!