Top 5 Questions facing the AFC East teams

BF 5How long can BF stay with their stadium situation?
4Can WR Watkins stay healthy all year?
3Will the D be as good as in 2015 as it gets older at key positions like DT?
2Can BF keep the run game going with McCoy and more stable O line?
1Can Taylor offer the kind of passing game to truly contend in the AFC East?
MI 5Can MI really challenge NE for the AFC East title?
4Will D additions of Timmons, Allen & McDonald help?
3Will the high priced D finally live up to their salaries?
2Can MI get as much out of Jay Ajayi as last year 1,272 yards, 8 touchdowns?
1Can Adam Gase push Ryan Tannehill to the next level?
NE 5How much longer will Tom Brady still be effective?
4When will TE Gronk be healthy & can he survive a complete season?
3Will the D be as effective in the playoffs with the loss of Ryan, Sheard & Long?
2Will the O additions be enough to keep NE at the top of the AFC?
1Will a rush-by-committee be enough to earn one
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Boston Celtics in the playoffs.

NOTE:  On NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports, Tony Williams of Metro NY and I discussed the news of the day and NNR Mock draft on  Thanks 4 listening.

After the Celtics went down 2 games in the 2017 NBA playoffs I tweeted this:

“TO Celtics-Thanks for playing. Pick up a home version of the game on your way out of the playoffs.”

I was right up to the point that Rondo broke his thumb.  Now the Celtics are back in the series because of a “Very Lucky Break.”  I don’t believe the Celtics can get past the Cavs but for now they could win this series.

That is what I think.  Tell us what you think by commenting here or tweeting me @NNRonDSN.

NOTE:  News, Notes and Rumors podcast are BACK.  Check out our thoughts on Fridays about the games coming up and Monday on the results of the weekend.  My co-host is Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports.  Podcasts can be heard on Thanks for your support.

Bill Smith is a former coach of several semi-pro teams, has officiated both football and basketball, done color on radio for college football and basketball and has scouted talent. Read more at FryingPanSports

Cavs don’t need a stinking Defense, they have it now!

NOTE:  On NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discussed the NFL news of the day and a current topic of interest on

During the 2 games in Cleveland the Fans were chanting “Defense-Defense.”  The players looked at each other wondering what Defense was.

Defense has been missing all season.  While the regular season is one thing, it will be difficult in the playoffs for the Cavs to win with a D that ranked 20th overall.  Playoff games are half court affairs that depend on Defense, rebounding and free throws as much as anything.  Cavs fans had hoped that the team would “flip a D switch” and become the type of squad they were last year when they ranked 4th in points allowed.  That defensive effort helped them win the title last season.

The problem is the team does not have enough defensive players.  They signed a rim protector (Andrew Bogit) but he lasted just 53 seconds before he was hurt.  James is a solid defender but that is about all the Cavs have.  JR Smith is no longer a factor on D and Shumpert is no factor on either end of the floor.

While the … Read more at FryingPanSports

The Cavs were 1 missed free throw away from the Title.

Cav Crowd

NOTE: Congratulations to LeBron James and the Cavs for a great effort in the finals. No one would have guessed that they would be competitive without 3 of their best 5 players. Tomorrow on NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discuss Game 6 of the finals and the future of the Cavs.

Despite the injures to Kyrie Irving (21.7 points per game), Kevin Love (16.4) and Anderson Varejao (9.6) the Cavs came within 1 point of winning the title.

Game 1 came down to a last second possession by the Cavs to win the game in regulation. But if they had made 1 more missed free throw, they would have had a 1 point lead and could have just held the ball to win. Another possibility would have been if the refs had not decided to call traveling for the 1st time all game on Timofey Mozgov in the previous possession. While Irving was hurt in OT, the Cavs would have won the title with that game 1 win with or without their starting point guard.

The Cavs went on to win Game 2 in Oakland and Game 3 in Cleveland. Since the format of the finals … Read more at FryingPanSports

J.R. Smith is the key to a Cavs win.

JR Smith

NOTE: Friday on NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I discussed Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

On Friday I suggested that J.R. Smith couldn’t hit pavement if he fell off a building. That is true. However, if the Cavs are going to win game 5, Smith has to find his range. He has playoff experience and averaged 12.7 points and 42.5 shot percentage in the regular season.

Head coach David Blatt has to give the Cavs starters some rest. However, he has to have better timing. His decision to take LeBron James out at the start of the 4th quarter was a huge mistake. The Cavs had just taken back the momentum and had closed the score from more than a dozen to 3 points. Without LeBron in the lineup, the Warriors quickly rebuilt the lead to 12 before LeBron was back in the game.

Blatt also needs to try James Jones and Shawn Marion. Jones can score and Marion plays pretty good defense. They need to contribute if the Cavs expect to have enough energy to win games 5 and 6.

The series is tied 2-2 but the Cavs loss in Game 4 is a huge … Read more at FryingPanSports

The team that wins game 4 will win the title.


NOTE: On NNR Samantha Bunten of NBC Sports and I review game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Statistics back up my position that whichever team wins game 4 will win the title. If the Cavs win and go up 3 games to 1, they have a great chance to win the title. In the past since the format of the NBA playoffs went to the 2-2-1-1-1 format 84% of the teams that went up 3 games to 1 won the title.

If the Warriors win game 4 they take back home court advantage. Statistically the vast majority of teams that have a 7th game at home win that game and the title.

A major question about the game is which Stephen Curry will we see? If it is they 4th quarter SC that led the Warriors to a 36 point quarter, the Cavs are in trouble. If it is the SC that played in the first 3 quarters, the Cavs have a good chance. Part of that will depend on Curry’s ability to shoot more accurately and the rest will depend on Matthew Dellavedova’s ability to keep pressure on Curry. Dellavedova has been outstanding on defense and contributed … Read more at FryingPanSports