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A Few Good Mics

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The Toronto Raptors today unveiled two sets of alternate uniforms for the upcoming 2016-17 NBA season. The first is a modern update on the 1946-47 Toronto Huskies uniforms. The Toronto Huskies vs the New York Knicks was the first NBA game ever played. The second set are Chinese New Year uniforms. The Raptors are one of three teams coming out with these uniforms. Scheduled game dates for these uniforms are still unknown. (Original press release can be found here)

Toronto Huskies update. (All images come from raptors.com)

Chinese New Year uniforms (All images come from raptors.com)


Article by Thomas Mooney

Follow on Twitter: @thomas_mooney1, @AFewGoodMics

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    Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Broncos could experience a major drop off at QB play this year with Mark Sanchez as the starter
Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to part 2 of the "A Few Good Mics" NFL preview. Earlier this week I gave you the 3 teams poised to breakout this season, and now I'll give you even more teams that are bound to fall short of their expectations this upcoming season. These predictions are all relative to last year's performances, paired with this year's expectations. As always feel free to share, and comment below your opinions. (Spoiler: Quarterback talk ahead).

1. Denver Broncos
The reigning Super Bowl champs went through a lot this offseason. Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning retired, and they decided not to bring back Brock Osweiler. The competition is between Mark Sanchez and 2nd year Northwestern alum Trevor Siemian and I don't think anyone can expect much from either option. Combine that with the losses of key members of the offensive line, the offense could sputter a lot even with their elite options at wide receiver. As for their defense, two defensive standouts Malik Jackson and Danny Trevaethan left for the Jaguars and the Bears, respectively and Vance Walker is lost for the season. I expect their defense to take a step back from their historic dominance last season, and their well below average quarterbacks and offensive line could cost the Broncos a playoff spot if their defense doesn't repeat last year's performance.

Andrew Luck will need to stay healthy in order for the Colts to have a chance this season
Indy Star-USA TODAY Sports

2. Indianapolis Colts
After 2 straight seasons of improvement with Andrew Luck, their season went into a tailspin last year. Most of it was due to the injury of Andrew Luck, but this year it looks like they have a lot working against them. The Jaguars and the Texans both significantly improved this offseason, while the Colts didn't make any major improvements. Their offensive line is still average at best, they're relying on Frank Gore to still be a productive back at 33 years old, and they're defense doesn't look that great at all. Last season they ranked 26th in total defense (24th passing, 25th rushing, 25th scoring), and this summer they didn't add the depth they needed to in order to improve those stats this year. Andrew Luck will need to once again carry this team if the Colts want to stave off the competition and get back on top of the AFC South.

Can Andy Dalton replicate his 2015 success after the loss of OC Hue Jackson?
Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

3. Cincinnati Bengals
Last season the Bengals were their usual selves, pretty good defense, and reliable on offense, but once again failed to win a playoff game under Head Coach Marvin Lewis. Andy Dalton had one of the best years of his career completing 66% of his passes, 25 TD's to only 7 interceptions, was sacked the least amount of times in his career, and posted a career high 106 passer rating. This year though, they are without Offensive Coordinator Hue Jackson, along with their #2 and #3 wideouts Mohamad Sanu and Marvin Jones. Replacing them with rookie Tyler Boyd and perennial disappointment Brandon LaFell, it's hard to imagine that Dalton will replicate last year's production. On the defensive side of the ball they still have one of the better defensive line's in the league, but there's a lot of questions about their secondary. Pacman Jones is still a good option but he is getting pretty old and the defense as a whole ranked in the bottom half of the league in pass defense. For the Bengals to make the playoffs this year, they'll have to outperform on defense, and Dalton will have to prove that last year was no fluke.

The offense is expected to return to its 2014 form, but it all relies on the health of veteran QB Tony Romo
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

4. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys last season were riddled with injuries. Romo broke his collarbone for the 3rd time and All-Pro wideout Dez Bryant missed a significant amount of time with a foot injury. They're back and healthy this year, but relying on them to stay healthy (especially Romo) is something I can't do. They're offensive line is still easily the best in the league and #4 overall pick Ezekiel Elliott should be a workhorse from day one, but if Romo misses any significant amount of time they're in extreme trouble. On defense they have tons of issues. They're 2 best pass rushers are both going to miss the first 4 games due to suspension, and they didn't add any help to their secondary this offseason. Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne have both been disappointments in their tenures with the Cowboys, and they'll have to rely on a rehabbed Orlando Scandrick to pick up the pieces.

The Jets caved and brought back Ryan Fitzpatrick, but it remains to be seen whether he can repeat last season's career bests.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

5. New York Jets
The major story around the Jets this summer was the contract negotiations with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Jets eventually caved, but is Fitzpatrick a guy worth caving for? Personally I would have stuck it out with Geno Smith because he did improve from his rookie to sophomore season. Along with the fact that Ryan Fitzpatrick has never brought a team to the playoffs and only posted his best season at 33 years old. The Jets also lost franchise left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson to retirement and replaced him with Ryan Clady who's missed 2 of the last 3 seasons to injury. The defense is the hallmark of this team once again and should be one of the top defenses in the league, but I can't trust Ryan Fitzpatrick to repeat last years performance.

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    Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The first week of preseason football is done and over with and we're about 3 weeks away from the start of real football (about damn time). Football is probably the only of the 4 major sports where a team that missed the playoffs last year can come out of nowhere and make the playoffs and make noise. The start of the "A Few Good Mics" NFL preview starts with the 3 teams I think are poised for a breakout season. As always feel free to share, and comment below your opinions.

1. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars not only made some big noise this offseason with the signings of DE Malik Jackson, RB Chris Ivory, and CB Prince Amukamara, but they had a great draft being able to get Florida State DB Jalen Ramsey at #5 and UCLA LB Myles Jack in the 2nd round. Head coach Gus Bradley finally has some weapons to work with on the defensive side of the ball and that is especially true with last year's #3 overall pick Dante Fowler coming back from an ACL injury. Fowler has been getting rave reviews starting out camp this year, with several teammates comparing him to reigning Super Bowl MVP Von Miller. Combine that with an improving Blake Bortles who finished last year 7th in passing yards and 2nd in touchdowns, the Jaguars should be a very tough team to beat this season and should contend for the AFC South division crown.

Will Brock Osweiler prove to be worth the $72 million the Texans paid him this summer?
Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

2. Houston Texans
The Texans are hard for me to call a "breakout" team, but when it comes to this team, breakout would mean success in the playoffs. I'm a lot higher on the Brock Osweiler signing than most people, because if you think that you can get you're QB of the future, you pay what it takes to get him and that's exactly what the Texans did. Keep in mind that the Broncos likely don't make the playoffs if it wasn't for Osweiler keeping that offense functional. Also with the additions of Lamar Miller through free agency, and Will Fuller and Braxton Miller on draft night, the Texans offense should be a lot more dynamic after finishing 19th in total offense last season. 

2nd year WR Amari Cooper can help the Oakland Raiders once again become the class of the AFC West and give the Raiders their first playoff appearance since 2002
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

3. Oakland Raiders
The Raiders for the last few seasons have been building a foundation of great young talent, and now it's time for all of that to come to fruition. Derek Carr has proven himself to be one of the great young quarterbacks in the game, and Khalil Mack has already established himself as one of the most feared pass rushers in the game. General Manager Reggie McKenzie made big upgrades on the defensive side of the ball adding CB Sean Smith, LB Bruce Irvin, and S Reggie Nelson. Take that with all the losses the Denver Broncos suffered this offseason, the Raiders should take the next step and challenge for the AFC West title. 

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