Wednesday, October 28, 2015

2015-2016 NBA Preview: Eastern Conference Western Conference Predictions

Will Chef Curry and the Warriors Have What It Takes To Repeat As Champions?

So tonight a brand new NBA season begins! The defending champions, the Golden State Warriors kick off their title defense tonight taking on the New Orleans Pelicans lead by Anthony Davis, a man who could actually be the MVP this year if the Pelicans play good enough. Will the Warriors have what it takes to win it all again? There are a lot of other teams that want to make sure the answer to that is no! So with that said, here are the breakdowns of how I believe the season will play out.

Eastern Conference Lottery Teams

The following teams in the Eastern Conference are the teams that I believe will fail to make the playoffs this year...

1. Philadelphia 76ers - They won a lottery pick and took Jahil Okafor but that's about all they will be winning. At least Joel Embiid will have plenty of time to write tweets on Twitter since he won't be playing basketball once again this year!

2. Brooklyn Nets - Where Brooklyn at? The bottom of the Eastern Conference standings that's where they are at. The Russian Billionaire tried to buy a title when he brought the team but instead he got strapped with an over the cap team of aging veterans good enough just to make the playoffs. This year they won't even be good enough to do that. There will truly be No Sleep Till Brooklyn this year because they aren't going ANYWHERE!

3. Orlando Magic - They have a nice young core and several players who will be a part of my fantasy basketball lineups. However, I still think they are a year away from putting it all together. I think they will be better defensively under Scott Skiles. However, they aren't going to the playoffs. Maybe next year.

4. Charlotte Hornets - They had a great preseason but the injury bug has bit already taking out Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for probably the entire season. On a team that needed all hands on deck just to make the playoffs, this pretty much puts them in the lottery this year.

5. Indiana Pacers - The Pacers are a run and gun team now??? This should be interesting.

6. Boston Celtics - I like the additions of David Lee and Amir Johnson to bolster up the front court. Isaiah Thomas could definitely be in contention for 6th man of the year. I think they will be in it until the very end, however, I believe they are going to fall just short of making the playoffs.

7. Detroit Pistons - This team has a great foundation and I like the Marcus Morris signing. However, like the Celtics I think they are just a little bit short of making the playoffs.

Western Conference Lottery Teams

1. Portland Trailblazers - The loss of Lamarcus Aldridge is simply devastating. They just have to tank and hope they can get a good draft pick to rebuild all over again. They stand a snowballs chance in Hell at doing anything in a very stacked Western Conference.

2. Denver Nuggets - Emmanuel Mudiay could be the Rookie of the year, but there's really not much to like about the Mile High's chances at competing this year.

3. Minnesota Timberwolves - Rest In Peace to Flip Saunders. That's really sad. The Wolves are a very young team with a lot of young talent but Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will the Wolves be built into a playoff contender in a day especially competing in the stacked Western Conference

4. Los Angeles Lakers - If we can just see Kobe play a full season that would be enough for me. However even with Kobe there the full year, they simply don't have enough. It will be fun to see what the Russell/Randle combination can do.

5. Dallas Mavericks - It's been a long time since the Mavs have been a losing team. Well that time has come. They struck out big time in the DeAndre Jordan sweepstakes after signing him only to have the Clippers steal him back right underneath their nose. They will also strike out on making the playoffs this year.

6. Phoenix Suns - Tyson Chandler will help them get some leadership and shore up the defensive presence. However, Chandler alone isn't enough to get this team back into playoff contention.

7. Sacramento Kings - I like the Kings and I think they are going to be fun to watch this year. I just don't like their chances of making the playoffs although I think they will come close. They should definitely win over 30 games. However in the West, that's not going to get it done.

Eastern Conference Playoff Teams

8. New York Knicks - Yeah I know you are laughing at me, but so what, my Knicks will go to the playoffs this year! Carmelo Anthony is still one of the best players in the NBA and arguably after Kevin Durant the most dominate offensive player in the game. While the Knicks failed to acquire that second star to get them back into title contention, I like the veteran core that they picked up. Lopez makes them much better defensively in the middle. I like the young Grant/Galloway back court coming off the bench. And Porzingis looks like he can play ball. I'm not naive enough to believe we have ANY chance at doing anything in the playoffs. However, I believe we can at least sneak by with an 8th seed.

7. Washington Wizards - Last year I predicted that they would take that next step up and be a legitimate force in the Eastern Conference. Instead that was Atlanta and while they put up a valiant performance in the playoffs they just couldn't get it done. Now with no Paul Pierce they will take a step back in my view. They will still be a playoff team because John Wall is REALLY good, but not much else.

6. Toronto Raptors - The Toronto Raptors look good to win the division once again as I don't think the Knicks, Celtics and Nets have enough to take it from them. The problem is, winning the division doesn't get you a guaranteed 4th seed anymore. It still comes down to your record and I think there are at least five other teams in the Eastern Conference that will have a better record than them.

5. Milwaukee Bucks - The Bucks have a pretty good team! Signing Greg Monroe was HUGE as it showed that a smaller market team can attract free agents and get them to sign for long term. Jabari Parker can absolutely ball. They also have Michael Carter-Williams and Giannis Anteokounmpo as well! I don't understand why people don't have this team ranked higher. I definitely see them at least a 5 seed and it honestly wouldn't surprise me to even see them crack the top 4.

4. Atlanta Hawks - This team absolutely shocked me last year. I got to shout out my boy Owen Graham. He told me at the beginning of the season the Hawks were going to be good and I laughed at him. I didn't even have them making the playoffs and they ended up with the #1 seed in the East. The Hawks are still going to be good again this year. However, I think there are three other teams in the East that are better than them this year.

3. Miami Heat - Until Chris Bosh went down for the year, Miami was looking pretty good. There's no way you can tell me with a straight face a team with a starting lineup of Goran Dragic, Dwayne Wade, Loul Deng, Chris Bosh and Hassan Whiteside isn't going to make some serious noise in the East if they all remain healthy. Their bench got better too, with Gerald Green, Amar'e Stoudemire and Justise Winslow. Miami is clearly a top 3 team in the East.

2. Chicago Bulls - Tom Thibodeau is a great coach. However, I personally don't see the Bulls failing without him and they might even be better. I definitely don't see them being better defensively. However, Tibs runs his teams hard and the Bulls had a lot of injuries last year, one of the primary reasons why I believe they didn't go further in the playoffs than they did. Hoiberg is going to have this team running a very aggressive fast pace offense and I believe they definitely have the talent to run it. Injuries are always a concern especially with Derrick Rose but if they can limit the injury bug you can't look at this team as anything less than a force to be reckoned with an a potential championship contender.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - I told you all last year the Cavs will not finish in 1st place in the East and that there was going to be another team that would have a better record that the Cavs. My only mistake was I thought it was going to be the Wizards when in reality it was the Hawks. This year though? Cavs will be the best team in the East. The only question mark that I had about this team was Tristan Thompson holding out and that was addressed. Like him or not, LeBron James is the best player in the NBA BY FAR and he has a SERIOUS squad to work with. Cavs will EASILY win 60 games this year and quite frankly could even make a run at 70 because they are that good. 

Western Conference Playoff Teams

8. Utah Jazz - I like the Jazz to make the playoffs this year. They played some really good basketball the 2nd half of the season. Quite frankly they could even be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. I certainly have Rudy Gobert as my pick for defensive player of the year. They have a ton of young talent that is only going to get better. A full year like the 2nd half of last year equals playoff appearance in my eyes.

7. New Orleans Pelicans - They have arguably the best player in the NBA not named LeBron James and he's only 22. I wasn't thrilled with their decision to fire Monty Williams who I felt did a good job, but I like that they hired Alvin Gentry and I think his fast pace offense will help them. I think they are still short of the talent that they need in the ultra competitive West but they will be good enough to get a 7th seed.

6. Memphis Grizzlies - They are the "old men" of the West but it's hard not to like a team anchored by Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. We know what we are going to get with them. I LOVE Mike Conley. This team could probably win the East. The problem though is that they aren't in the East they are in the West and for that reason, they will be what they always have been. A team no one wants to play that will make the playoffs but will take a first or second round exit.

5. Los Angeles Clippers - This pick is going to shock many of you as I know a lot of you are big Clipper fans and have them finishing much higher than 5th. Not me. I personally think the Clippers are a little overrated. They remind me of the Seattle Supersonics back in the day. That classic Western Conference team that would win a bunch of games in the regular season but just couldn't get it done in the playoffs. Only this year I don't even think they are going to win as many games as they did last year because the top 4 teams have gotten better. I'll still be watching though, I'm definitely a fan of watching me some Lob City Clips Lob Lob City Clips highlights on ESPN!

4. Oklahoma City Thunder - Oklahoma City has a lot riding on this season. Kevin Durant's contract expires at the end of the year and if this team can't put together a title run, I suspect that he is out (I'm hoping, praying and fasting that it is going to be to the Knicks lol). However, you absolutely cannot have a team with Kevin Durant and Russell WestBEAST on the same team and NOT have them as one of the top teams in the conference. The talent is just too good. Injuries are always a concern and I personally expect at least one of those guys to miss some time like they always do. However if they are healthy all year, you can make a serious argument that they can finish EVEN in the TOP 2! 

3. Houston Rockets - I think the Rockets could be better than many of us think. While I wouldn't go as far as saying he's the best in the NBA like HE believes, James Harden can BALL and pairing him up with Dwight Howard is a potent one-two punch. They also get a HUGE upgrade adding Ty Lawson in the backcourt. I think a lot of people are sleeping on the Rockets. I'm not though. I have them finishing in the top 3 of the West and would have them even higher if I didn't believe the two teams ahead of them were the best two teams in the NBA right now.

2. Golden State Warriors - The champs are here! The Warriors were clearly the best team in the NBA and they proved it, winning a bunch of games in the regular season, winning a bunch of games in the playoffs and dispatching of LeBron and company in the NBA finals. The main criticism of this team is they were a little lucky. You know what though, that's the nature of sports. Sometimes it just simply comes down to which team has the least amount of injuries or is healthy at the right time and that was the Warriors. 

1. San Antonio Spurs - Talk about the rich get richer! They already have the best coach in the NBA by FAR! They already have Big Fundamental who seems to age like wine. They already have Kawhi Leonard who you can make a legitimate argument that he could be the best two-way player in the NBA. Then they turn around and get LaMarcus Aldridge??? LAMARCUS ALDRIDGE??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? Not to mention they got David West too???? This team is just downright scary. Injuries are always an issue when you have a team this old. However, the way they look on paper??? This team could win 75 games!!!!

NBA Playoff Predictions

Eastern Conference Finals - Cleveland Cavaliers vs Chicago Bulls
Western Conference Finals - San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors
NBA Finals - Cleveland Cavaliers vs San Antonio Spurs

Roosevelt's Prediction For The 2015-2016 NBA Champion

The San Antonio Spurs - Plain and simple unless they suffer a serious injury they are winning. We mind as well just simulate the NBA season this year, I don't see ANYBODY beating them if they don't get hurt. With that said, injuries are a reality so that's why we get to play the games. Cavs would be my pick if something happens to the Spurs followed by the Golden State Warriors repeating.

So what do you think? Agree??? Disagree? Let me know!!!

Monday, September 7, 2015

2015-2016 NFL Preview - NFC Regular Season Standings and Playoff Predictions

After back to back Super Bowl appearances can the mighty Seahawks make it 3 in a row?

So yesterday I gave you my 2015-2016 NFL Preview - AFC Regular Season Standings and Playoff Predictions. Now it's time to tell you how I see the NFC playing out this year. The Seattle Seahawks have dominated the NFC over the last couple of years, winning one Super Bowl and one Conference Championship. There's a lot of other teams though that are looking to knock them out this year. Will they be able to do it?

Let's get things started by taking a look at the NFC East

NFC East Regular Season Predictions

1. Philadelphia Eagles - Chip Kelly went 10 and 6 with a bunch of players who did not necessarily fit his particular style or system. Now he gets a chance to prove what he can do with a team that is specifically designed with his system and style of play in mind. I think Sam Bradford can be REALLY REALLY good in Kelly's system, the question with him as always is can he stay healthy. You're not doing bad at all when you lose your star running back and upgrade him with an even bigger star running back. And for all the changes in offense, it could be the defense that steals the show for this team. They are my pick to win this division.

2. Dallas Cowboys - It's hard to count "the boys" out when they have arguably the best offensive line in the conference and one of the better quarterbacks in the league. I think the loss of Murray is going to hurt. I don't believe McFadden and Randal are the answer, although this offensive line will make them better than they actually are. I think they improve slightly on the pass rush, however, I still think they have some questions in the secondary and for those reasons, I don't see them repeating as division champions.

3. New York Giants - Sorry Giants fans there's not much to like about your team this year. Defense is weak already and thanks to the infamous fourth of July incident Jason Pierre Paul bare minimum won't be 100% and more likely is going to miss a couple of games. Your front 7 is suspect. Your secondary is suspect. At least there's Odell Beckham Jr. He'll be a ton of fun to watch. I don't expect much improvement on last year's 6 and 10 record.

4. Washington Redskins - This team is a mess! We don't even know if they are even going to be able to keep their team name, much less whether they are going to be able to play any football. Their star quarterback Robert Griffin III is now a backup. New GM, new head coach, completely new team. I expect completely similar results to last year. They just aren't that good. I would be impressed if they could win 6 games with the team they are going to put out on the field. Kirk Cousins is not the answer. Their offensive line is suspect. Their defense is suspect. They have a couple of pieces at running back and wide receiver and that's it. Another ugly year for the Redskins.

NFC North Regular Season Predictions

1. Green Bay Packers - Losing Jordy Nelson for the year definitely hurts. However, this is the Green Bay Packers and make no mistake about it, in my Stephen A Smith voice, Aaron Rodgers is a BADY MAN! Eddie Lacy is one of the best running backs in the NFL. I think Davante Adams has what it takes to step up now that Randall Cobb becomes the #1 option and they have some young talent who can also step up as well. Special teams is still an issue but other than that, I don't see anything not to like about this team.

2. Minnesota Vikings - I think this team is going to be a lot better than some people may expect this year. Remember they went 7 and 9 last year without Adrian Petersen and now they get him back for a full year. Teddy Bridgewater is going to improve even more with another year under his belt and if defenses try to stack the box, I think Bridgewater has the tools to punish them. Don't be surprised if they beat out the Lions and sneak into the playoffs.

3. Detroit Lions - The Lions still have a strong core on the offensive side of the ball with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. However, the long of Suh and Nick Fairley is huge and I don't believe they have made enough moves in the offseason to address the huge hole they have in their defensive line right now. Running game could be better assuming Bell can stay healthy. Improving on their 11-6 record to me is out of the question and I wouldn't be surprised if they only go .500 this year.

4. Chicago Bears - John Fox is a great coach and giving enough time I think he has what it takes to turn this team around. However, I don't think that's going to happen this year. Jay Cutler is suspect. Their wide receiving corp is pretty banged up. They are one of the weakest defensive teams in the NFL (if you play daily fantasy football a free tip for you is target offensive players playing the Bears). They just have way too many holes this year to really do anything of significance.

NFC South Regular Season Predictions

1. New Orleans Saints - This division is hard to pick not because everyone is good but because everyone is BAD!!! They have one of the best Quarterbacks in the NFL in Drew "Feel That Smooth Brees." They lost several games by only a few points last year and although they will miss Jimmy Graham I think they have enough to get it done on the offensive side of the ball. The big question is what is always the question in this team and that is the defense and that's what's going to determine whether they win the division or not.

2. Carolina Panthers - I actually had them winning the division again until Kelvin Benjamin got hurt for the season. That is a HUGE loss and in a division that is so close because everyone is bad, a injury of that magnitude could very well be the difference between winning the division and not making the playoffs because you better believe there will be no wild card team coming from this sorry division! Their defense though is pretty good. It could be good enough to help them get over the top.

3. Atlanta Falcons - This division is such a disaster the Falcons are certainly capable of winning it also. The problem is their offensive line looked horrible in the preseason and if they don't get it together it's going to be a LONG year for Matt Ryan. Their defensive line has gotten better a little bit but not much. This team definitely looks like they are in full out rebuilding mode and are definitely a number of pieces away from contention.

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - They have Jamesis Winston and Mike Evans but this team still has a ways to go before they can compete even in this terrible division. The offensive line is garbage. The secondary has probably taken a step back. Hopefully their defensive line will be better, but they still aren't ready to compete yet. Maybe in another year or two.

NFC West Regular Season Predictions

1. Seattle Seahawks - You must be smoking crack if you are seriously considering putting anybody else as the division winner here. If Pete Carroll decides to throw it at the one yard line, at least this time Russell Wilson now has Jimmy Graham to throw the ball to. I'm not exactly thrilled about the Kam Chancellor situation and there are legitimate concerns with their offensive line but other than that, I see this team easily winning the division and absolutely in the conversation for getting back to the Super Bowl.

2. Arizona Cardinals - The Cardinals were looking like the team to beat last year until Carson Palmer got hurt. Looks like they got some insurance by making the trade to get Matt Barkley after he lost out in the battle for signal caller for the Eagles. John Brown and JJ Nelson could be a very explosive backfield of targets for Palmer to throw to and the running game has definitely gotten better as well. I don't think they are good enough to challenge the Seahawks unfortunately but a wild card is certainly an option especially considering how far the 49ers have fallen from grace.

3. St Louis Rams - I like Nick Foles at Quarterback getting rid of Bradford who while very talented just couldn't stay on the field long enough to make a difference. Their defense is always good and this year is no exception. Their offensive line is very young though and that could definitely be an issue. I'm also concerned about whether they have enough weapons in wide receiver to be competitive.

4. San Francisco 49ers - This team is a disaster. They lost pretty much EVERYBODY. The offensive line is still terrible. They lost Patrick Willis, Aldon Smith AND Chris Borland thus decimating their lineback core. New coach. New offensive system. Tough division spells VERY long year for the 49er faithful in the bay area.

NFC Playoff Prediction

Division Winners

Philadelphia Eagles
Green Bay Packers
New Orleans Saints
Seattle Seahawks

Wild Card Winners

Dallas Cowboys
Arizona Cardinals

NFC Championship

Seattle Seahawks defeat Philadelphia Eagles

Super Bowl

Seattle Seahawks defeat Indianapolis Colts

Sunday, September 6, 2015

2015-2016 NFL Preview - AFC Regular Season Standings and Playoff Predictions

Will the New England Patriots Repeat As Super Bowl Champions?

So this is it! This is the week that the 2015 NFL season begins! All of the NFL teams have reloaded in the 2015 NFL Draft and Free Agency and now it's time to see which team can execute.  Tom Brady will NOT be missing the season as a judge ruled this week that the NFL cannot suspend him for his role in the "deflategate" scandal.  There will be no Tebow Time in Philadelphia as the controversial quarterback was cut.

Now the question is how will the teams finish off this season? Here are my predictions for each division:

AFC East Regular Season Predictions

1. New England Patriots - This team has definitely gotten worse at the secondary with the loss of Darrelle Revis. EVERY team in the AFC East has also gotten better in the offseason. However, with Tom Brady no longer being suspended and Bill Belichick still at the helm, I don't see how you NOT pick them to win the division.

2. Buffalo Bills - New coach and defensive mastermind Rex Ryan gets to inherit one of the best defenses in the NFL that has only gotten better. Defensive line is ferocious. Their offense has improved dramatically now that they have Shady McCoy at running back and Charles Clay at tight end. The biggest question with this team right now is at the Quarterback position. If Tyrod Taylor is for real, this team will absolutely challenge the Patriots for the division.

3. Miami Dolphins - The Dolphins also have improved dramatically, especially at the defense end. Ndamukong Suh is a PROBLEM and pairing him with Cameron Wake is just downright SCARY! I love the pickup of Jordan Cameron at tight end. If they were in another division I think they would have enough to make the playoffs. However, I think the Patriots and Bills are slightly better this year and as a result they are going to just barely miss out.

4. New York Jets - Geno Smith is out for the next 6 weeks, but I actually think Ryan Fitzpatrick is an upgrade for them. However, it's going to be the same old story for Jets fans. Good defense. Not good enough offense. I see them improving upon their 4 and 12 record, but BEST case scenario for this team is another 8-8 season and in reality, I see them more at 6 or 7 wins and missing out on the playoffs once again.

AFC North Regular Season Predictions

1. Pittsburgh Steelers - The AFC North to me is going to be the most competitive division, even more competitive than the AFC East. It's really hard to pick a division winner here as I see 3 of the 4 teams here with a legitimate shot. However, I'm going to go with the Steelers. I see a slow start due to all the suspensions and a young defense taking time to get it together. However, after that, I see them going on a run and that run will be enough to get them over the finish line.

2. Cincinnati Bengals - The Bengals are very deep, no question about it. A.J Green is a beast! I love the backfield of Hill and Bernard. I see Dalton improving as well.  Their pass rush should also be a lot better this year than it was last year where they got pressure but couldn't sack to save their lives. I'm very concerned about their secondary though. With that said they will absolutely challenge the Steelers and it would not surprise me a bit if they actually beat the Steelers out for the division.

3. Baltimore Ravens - The Ravens certainly have the talent to win the division. They have the best defense in the division no question about it. Joe Flacco is a legitimate quarterback and he definitely doesn't get the credit that I believe he deserves. Honestly the ONLY reason why I'm not picking them to win the division is their schedule. FIVE out of their first SEVEN games are on the road and in an ultra competitive division, that might be the difference.

4. Cleveland Browns - The biggest problem for them is at Quarterback. Josh McGown to me is not the answer and I don't know if Johnny Manziel is ready. I also don't see a whole lot of playmakers on this team. Combine that with competing in arguably the toughest division in the NFL and you have the makings for another disappointing year for Cleveland fans.

AFC South Regular Season Predictions

1. Indianapolis Colts - Who in their right mind is NOT picking the Colts to win this division? They have arguably the BEST Quarterback in the NFL right now in Andrew Luck. Then to add insult to injury they have provided him with EVEN MORE WEAPONS giving him Frank Gore and Andre Johnson??? ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Offensive line and run defense is still a concern but I see them winning the division easily even if they remain an issue. If they can address these gaps? It's going to be a special season.

2. Houston Texans - I like Bill O'brien as coach. The defense is going to be scary as always headed by JJ Watts who is a once in a generation kind of player at the defensive end and now they are getting Jadeveon Clowney back from injury on top of that??? Sheesh! DeAndre Hopkins is going to be even better now that he is the number one option. However, I don't think they have enough at Quarterback to get the job done and Arian Foster is going to be out at least a month, making running back an issue as well. It's going to be a rough September/Early October and that rough period will be enough to make the difference of them not winning the division and not making the playoffs. They do have an easy schedule so that should help.

3. Jacksonville Jaguars - This is a young team with a lot of young talent. I like Blake Bortles. I think he can definitely improve in his second year. I also like T.J Yeldon at running back and Allen Robinson at the WR position. I think they are still another year away from competing but finishing .500 is certainly doable for this team.

4. Tennessee Titans - They still aren't going to be good at all, but they should get slightly better. How can you not get better when you only won 2 games last year? Their defense is definitely better and I think Marcus Mariota is the real deal. They will still lose more games than they win though.

AFC West Regular Season Predictions

1. Denver Broncos - It's likely the last year of the Peyton Manning era and the other teams in the division have most certainly gotten better. However, the Denver Broncos still have enough weapons to finish atop of the division this year. I really like Wade Phillips running the defense over there as well. They should have enough to be able to get the job done.

2. Kansas City Chiefs - Derrick Johnson is back and that makes this defense downright scary especially pairing him up with Justin Houston he of the 101 million dollar contract. Marcus Peters at cornerback could win rookie of the year this year. Alex Smith is respectable if not spectacular. Jamal Charles is an ANIMAL. They will challenge the Broncos but I believe they will fall slightly short unfortunately for them.

3. San Diego Chargers - Philip Rivers has a much better offensive line to work with this year. The problem is they have a very difficult schedule and they play in a very difficult division having to play the Broncos twice and the Chiefs twice AND on top of that they have to play the AFC North too??? I think that's a little too much to ask to expect this team to be able to make the leap.

4. Oakland Raiders - I like the young core that they have built around this year. I expect running back Latavius Murray to have a BIG year this year because I especially like that offensive line that they are working with. With that said, I just don't think the Raiders have enough talent yet to compete in this competitive division.

AFC Playoff Predictions

Division Winners

New England Patriots
Pittsburgh Steelers
Indianapolis Colts
Denver Broncos

Wild Card Winners

Cincinnati Bengals
Buffalo Bills

AFC Championship

Indianapolis Colts defeat the New England Patriots

Monday, July 13, 2015

How We Lie To Ourselves - The TRUTH To Get What You Want In Life

We lie to ourselves.

All the time.

Sometimes we don't even realize how we lie to ourselves.

Case in point, I see people who say things like "I'm doing everything I can do and still aren't getting the results I want."

The reality is, no you aren't.

For example, I want you to reach up to the sky as high as you can.

Did it? Good.

Now reach up higher than you did before.

Did it? Good.

However, I thought you supposedly reached up as high as you could the first time?

You just lied to yourself just now!

We do this type of stuff ALL the time. You do it. I do it. We all do it.

We do it in every area of our lives too. Whether it comes to our relationships, our health, our finances or our spirituality we constantly lie to ourselves about our best efforts in our endeavors.

Two years ago, one of my mentors at the time, a gentleman by the name of David Wood taught me something very powerful. There are five key mistakes that people make that are responsible for the majority of the failure that they experience in life.

It doesn't matter if they are failing to get to their desired weight, failing to attract their ideal spouse or failing to achieve their financial goals. If you take a hard look at their efforts, I can guarantee you that they are committing one or more of these five key mistakes.

Here they are:

1. Lack of clarity - People who fail tend to lack clarity of their objective. Case in point, if your goal is to "lose weight" that is a lack of clarity. When I set out to lose weight, I was very clear on what I wanted. I wanted to get down to 160 pounds and I wanted to lose inches on my stomach.

Because I was very clear on what my objective was, I was able to get down to 160 pounds and lose inches on my stomach. Just like I imagined it.


I was clear on my objective in my mind BEFORE my objective became a reality in my life.

2. Lack of following instructions - You can be clear on your objective. However, if you don't follow directions, you're not going to achieve the results you are looking for. Most people SAY they are doing everything, but the reality is they are LYING to themselves. They aren't doing everything.

When I hired my personal trainer Kris Hollie Fitness, he gave me STEP-BY-STEP instructions on what I needed to do if I wanted to lose weight. Guess what I did? I did what he told me to do. Losing weight really isn't that hard. It comes down to two things...

Eating less...


Exercising more.

Kris put a plan together to help me eat less and to help me exercise more and I followed the plan. The end result was I was able to hit my target weight.

Here's what's so amazing about it.

I wasn't even PERFECT in following the instructions!!!!

There were a NUMBER of days that I didn't eat enough protein or I ate too much fat. There were days that I didn't exercise the way I was instructed to do so. There were days where I took in more calories than I was suppose to take in.

I STILL hit my target weight anyway!

You don't have to be perfect to get results. However, you have to follow the instructions and the bottom line is if you are following instructions from someone who is PROVEN to know what they are talking about, you are going to get results. If you're not getting results, you are probably NOT following instructions.

3. Lack of making adjustments - This one is BIG! You can have a clear goal and you can follow the instructions. However, you have to be willing to make adjustments along the way. If you are not willing to make adjustments, you aren't going to get the results you are looking for.

Case in point, the original workout plan that Kris provided for me, it was too much for me based on where I was physically. I was unable to complete the workout. This was a problem because by not completing the workout I was not building the muscle I needed and I was not burning the calories I needed.

So guess what I did? I made adjustments!

I had Kris modify the plan for me so that I can get the results that I wanted while at the same time actually complete the workout. There were several times where we had to modify the plan and make adjustments. However, we did what we had to do.

If what you are doing isn't working and you have followed the instructions, you must make adjustments!

My friend Tony Rush said that success comes down to doing the following:

1. Set a goal

2. Take action
3. Get a result
4. Make adjustments
5. Repeat Steps 2-4 until you achieve it.

What many people do is they take action and get a result. However, when the result isn't what they want, they just keep doing the same thing over and over again. Then they expect a different result. 

That's insanity! You must make adjustments along the way!

4. A lack of commitment - Commitment is doing the thing that you said you would do long after the feeling that you said it has past until you get the results that you said you were going to get. It's that simple. When you are committed to something, you are going to do whatever it takes, regardless of what it takes for however long it takes. It's that simple.

With my weight loss goals, I was committed to doing what it took however long it took and I was willing to do what it took. I didn't come to my trainer with a list of things that I refused to do. I told him this is my situation, this is my goal, you tell me what I have to do.

Many people say they want success in a particular area. However, they have a list of all the things that they don't want to do. I want to lose weight, but I want to keep eating McDonalds, I want to keep eating ice cream and potato chips and I want to sit on my butt and watch Love and Hip Hop all day.

Sorry, that's not going to cut it.

The only exception to this is if what it takes violates your core values. For instance, if you go to church on Sundays and someone tells you to be successful you have to skip church, you should never do that. Never violate your core values and beliefs to achieve an objective. I can guarantee you that there is someone who shares your core values and beliefs that has still achieved the objective you are trying to achieve. So it's not worth it.

5. A lack of energy - You can be clear, follow instructions, make adjustments and be committed. However, if you don't exert the necessary energy for the necessary amount of time and effort that is required, you will not achieve the results you are looking for.

For me to lose weight, I had to exert energy. My energy points were in the areas of physical exercise and in the areas of food consumption. To be successful at my goal I had to increase my level of physical exercise and I had to decrease my level of food consumption. I had to do this for a consistent amount of time too!

If I did this for only one week, that's not long enough to achieve the results that I wanted. I had to do it for longer than a week. In my particular case it took me about 90 days to get the results that I wanted.

What are the energy points for your objective? This is why feedback is so important. By taking action and getting feedback, you will discover what your energy points are. Then you will know exactly what you need to focus on in order to get the results that you want.

So that bottom line is are you TRULY willing to do what it takes to get the results you want?

This system I outlined is proven. It works. The question is are you going to work it?

Or will you continue to lie to yourself?

The choice is yours.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

2015 NBA Playoffs Predictions - Who Will Win The NBA Championship?

Does LeBron James have what it takes to lead the Cleveland Cavs to their first championship ever?

Here we go! It's NBA Playoffs time! One of my FAVORITE times of the year!

16 teams battle it out, but only one of them can come out on top! At the beginning of the season I made my predictions as to who I thought was going to make the playoffs. My picks were pretty close to accurate. 5 out of the 8 teams I predicted in the Eastern Conference made the playoffs. The 3 surprises for me were the Atlanta Hawks, the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics, who replaced the Miami Heat, the New York Knicks and the Charlotte Hornets.

In the West, 7 out of the 8 teams I predicted in the Western Conference made the playoffs. The only surprise for me was the New Orleans Pelicans who replaced the Oklahoma City Thunder, who were missing their superstar player Kevin Durant for most of the season.

So now that we know who is in the playoffs it's time to find out who will be the NBA Champion!

Let's start with the Eastern Conference:

1. Atlanta Hawks over 8 Brooklyn Nets
2. Cleveland Cavaliers over 7. Boston Celtics
3. Chicago Bulls over 6. Milwaukee Bucks
5. Washington Wizards over 4. Toronto Raptors

I absolutely was NOT expecting the Hawks to be THIS good this season. The Nets I had them barely making the playoffs at the beginning of the year and they proved me right. I also had them making a very early exit in the playoffs and I believe they will prove me right. The Celtics stand no chance at beating the Cavs. I'm predicting a sweep here. I think the Bucks can steal a game from the Bulls, but that's about it. I'm predicting the upset with the Wizards over the Raptors and the main reason is Paul Pierce. They have been saving him for such a time as this and I believe that Pierce is going to turn back the clock and play big time to get his team over the top. I think this series is going 6 or 7 games though.

5. Washington Wizards over 1. Atlanta Hawks
3. Chicago Bulls over 2. Cleveland Cavaliers

I'm going with the two upsets in the second round. The Hawks are a great team and they have been getting it done all year. However, they are not playoff tested and I believe this will be their undoing. I still think the Wizards are a lot better than their record will indicate and as such I'm predicting that they will pull out the upset and defeat the Hawks in 6 games. I'm also picking the Chicago Bulls over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Bulls have Derrick Rose back and are a strong defensive team, which helps big time when it comes to playoff basketball. The Bulls are getting healthy at the right time and I said at the beginning of the season that if they are healthy, they are the best team in the East, so I'm going to stick with that.

3. Chicago Bulls over 5. Washington Wizards

I think the Wizards will keep things interesting. However, I think the Bulls have way more talent and depth and I think they are going to be too much to handle. Book the Chicago Bulls for their first return to the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan left.

Now let's take a look at the Western Conference:

1. Golden State Warriors over 8. New Orleans Pelicans
7. Dallas Mavericks over 2. Houston Rockets
6. San Antonio Spurs over 3. Los Angeles Clippers
5. Memphis Grizzlies over 4. Portland Trailblazers

The Warriors finished with the best record in the league for a reason. I don't think the Pelicans really stand a chance at beating this team at all. Even though they are the 7th seed, I really like the Mavs chances against the Rockets. I believe the Mavs can outrebound the Rockets and when the Mavs actually rebound, they are a very tough team to beat. I've counted out the defending champions for far too many times and have been burned. Combine that with the fact that I think the Clippers are overrated I think the Spurs will get the win. The Trailblazers haven't beaten the Grizzlies yet this season and I don't see them beating them in a 7 game series.

1. Golden State Warriors over 5. Memphis Grizzlies
6. San Antonio Spurs over 7. Dallas Mavericks

The Warriors are one of the most talented and deepest teams in the NBA. I don't think the Grizzlies have enough firepower to defeat them. Both the Spurs and the Mavericks are playoff tested and experienced. However, I think the Spurs have the edge and will pull out the victory.

6. San Antonio Spurs over 1. Golden State Warriors

I believe this is going to be a 7 game battle and an epic series. However, in the end, I think the defending champions will pull off the victory.

As for the NBA Finals I am sticking with my prediction from the beginning of the season.

6. San Antonio Spurs defeat 3. Chicago Bulls 4 games to 2. The Spurs to me still look like they are the best team in the NBA when it comes to winning 7 game series. Even though the Bulls have dramatically improved, I don't think they have enough to defeat the Spurs yet.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

2015 MLB Predictions - My 2015 MLB Standings Predictions and Playoff Predictions

Can Andrew McCutchen help the Pittsburg Pirates make the leap from good to great?

So it's about that time, it's baseball season! I've been watching baseball since a child. I remember the days when the New York Mets were the dominant team in New York, with Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, Howard Johnson and Gary Carter. Yes, it's been a LONG time! This year is looking like it's going to be a really good year. There are a lot of teams that are more than capable of competing and with another year where we have TWO wildcard spots, a lot of teams will be fighting until the very end.

So which teams do I believe are going to get the job done this year?

Here's my breakdown division by division.

2015 American League Standings Predictions

AL East

1. Toronto Blue Jays 
2. Baltimore Orioles
3. Boston Red Sox
4. New York Yankees
5. Tampa Bay Rayes

I think the Blue Jays or the Orioles could win this division and it wouldn't shock me to see either one win. However, I'm giving the slight nod to the Blue Jays. That middle of the order is sick with Josh Donaldson, Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista. They are going to score more runs than anybody in the league. The Orioles will definitely compete. I just think their rotation lacks that clear #1 guy and they don't have the type of power that the Jays have to make up for it. A lot of people love the Red Sox. I could be biased being a Yankees fan but I just don't see it. David Ortiz isn't going to keep hitting forever, they have no ace. I do love Sandoval and I think that Mookie Betts is going to be really good. I like that kid Rusney Castillo even more, they need to trade Shane Victorino or Allen Craig right away to make room for him. The Yankees need WAY too many things to go right to be competitive. Sabathia, Tanaka and Pineda make a nice rotation IF all three of them can stay healthy. I like the bullpen, but I still want to know where the hits are going to come from. A-Rod without Roids??? The Rayes lost Joe Maddon, and they traded away David Price, enough said, they are going nowhere.

AL Central

1. Detroit Tigers
2. Cleveland Indians
3. Kansas City Royals
4. Chicago White Sox
5. Minnesota Twins

The rest of the AL Central is starting to catch up to the Tigers, but I don't believe they are there yet. They were already stacked with power before and now they are adding Yoenis Cespedes also??? Their bullpen still stinks but it stunk last year and they still won the division so I don't think that will be the difference. The Indians are going to be a solid team. I like their rotation and they have some solid pieces offensively. My biggest concern with them is defense. The Royals had a playoff team last year but I don't believe they did enough in the offseason to keep themselves in contention this year. The White Sox aren't bad, they made some good moves this offseason, but like the Yankees I think they need a whole lot to come together to be competitive and I just don't see it. The Twins are going to be the worst team in the American League. It's going to be ugly in Paul Molitor's first year as manager.

AL West

1. Seattle Mariners
2. Los Angeles Angels
3. Oakland Athletics
4. Houston Astros
5. Texas Rangers.

As long as nothing happens to their franchise players the Mariners should be able to pull out the AL West. King Felix is a beast and Robinson Cano is clearly the best 2nd baseman in baseball. I really wish the Yankees would have kept him, we could really use him right about now. The Nelson Cruz addition is going to be HUGE, however you can forget about him hitting another 40 home runs now that half of his games has to be played in Safeco Field. The Angels are of course going to be dangerous. Mike Trout couldn't hit high fastballs and he STILL won MVP, which is scary. Pujols can still hit. Their problem is the rotation. I hope Matt Shoemaker wasn't a fluke (I took a late round flyer on him on my fantasy team) but they have some serious questions in their rotation. The Athletics never look good on paper and this year is no exception but Moneyball works at least in the regular season so you never really know with this team. The Astros are going to strike out a WHOLE lot on the offense, the question is will the power make up for it? The Rangers might not be as bad as I'm projecting them. However, 3 to 5 in their pitching rotation is scary and I think Prince Fielder is in decline so I'm not high on them at all, especially in this division.

NL East

1. Washington Nationals
2. New York Mets
3. Miami Marlins
4. Atlanta Braves
5. Philadelphia Phillies

Wow the Nats, this team looks downright SCARY on paper! Mat Scherzer, Jordan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez, are you serious??? Let's not forget they also have one of the best young hitters in baseball in Bryce Harper. The only real weakness this team has is in the bullpen, but the NL East is weak so it won't even matter. They should easily run away with this division and will probably be the best team in the entire NL. As a Yankee fan I can't stand the Mets! However, I would be lying if I didn't have them down for at least 2nd place in this division. That rotation could be very dangerous with Matt Harvey back and pairing him up with DeGrom and Wheeler, plus potentially a healthy David Wright. They should easily win at least 85 games. The Miami Marlins have potential, however I still think they are another year away from putting it all together. The Braves are clearly in rebuilding mode, they aren't winning anything. The Phillies are even worse! They are absolutely terrible, I don't even think they will win over 70 games this year.

NL Central

1. Pittsburgh Pirates
2. St Louis Cardinals
3. Chicago Cubs
4. Milwaukee Brewers
5. Cincinnati Reds

There's not much that I don't like about the Pirates. They have the best outfield in baseball. They play really smart baseball. While their pitching staff doesn't have any aces, it's good enough to get the job done. This is the year that they finally surpass the almighty St Louis Cardinals. With that said, you can never count the Cardinals out, especially with the addition of Jason Heyward. My biggest concern is they are getting older and I think that age is going to make a difference this year. The Chicago Cubs are going to be good for a VERY long time. Have you seen their minor league system? It's SICK the type of talent they have down there. Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo are going to be SCARY when Bryant finally get up to the majors. While they could surprise this year, I still think they are a year away. The Brewers just look too average to me to make any noise. They aren't bad, but they aren't necessarily good either, especially that pitching rotation and a Braun with no PEDs. The Reds have the potential to compete, but like the Yankees and White Sox, they need too much to go right to be competitive and if they aren't you know they are trading Johnny Cueto.

NL West

1. Los Angeles Dodgers
2. San Francisco Giants
3. San Diego Padres
4. Colorado Rockies
5. Arizona Diamondbacks

Let's see the Dodgers have the best pitcher in the major leagues in Clayton Kershaw. Zack Greinke could be a number one on many teams. Yasiel Puig has MVP potential. I see no reason why they don't easily win the division and make some serious noise in the playoffs this year. The Giants aren't bad, but I definitely have some concerns about them even making the playoffs this year even though they are the defending champions. Losing Sandoval is going to hurt. Their offense is still going to be good. My biggest concern with them is after Bumgarner, their rotation has some serious question marks. I like the Padres especially with the additions of Matt Kemp and Justin Upton. I just don't know if they have enough to compete. The Rockies are the Rockies. Good hitting, bad pitching, can't hit outside of Coors, losing season. The Diamondbacks look awful. They should easily be the worst team in baseball.

AL Wild Card Winners
1. Los Angeles Angels
2. Baltimore Orioles

NL Wild Card Winners
1. St Louis Cardinals
2. New York Mets

AL Champion
Seattle Mariners

NL Champion
Washington Nationals

World Series Champions
Washington Nationals

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Best Valentine's Day Gift To Give Your Wife

So today is Valentine's Day. This is the day when you are suppose to go out and buy flowers, candy, a stuff animal or take your wife out. You are suppose to do this because this is suppose to be an expression of your love for your wife.

These things are cool. However, the reality is it's not really all that special. It's just stuff. Half the stuff if not more, your wife isn't even going to remember.

However, what if you could get your wife the ULTIMATE Valentine's Day gift?

Guess what? You can!

The Ultimate Valentine's Day Gift!

So what is the "ultimate" valentine's day gift? The ultimate valentine's day gift is to love your wife.

But you say, I do love my wife! I love the way she cooks. I love the way she cleans. I love the way she dresses. I love her passion for helping people. I love the way she handles her business in the bedroom! You start listing all of the things you love about your wife.

However, that's not true love.

One of the mistakes I made in my marriage is I didn't understand true love. I thought love was the things that I liked that my wife did for me. The challenge though is that there are also things that I didn't like. A lot of things. Since my concept of love was, like many people, what I like about a person, and since that was her concept as well, it was only a matter of time before the things that we didn't like added up.

You cannot build a lasting relationship on a love that is based on what you like and what someone does for you. Life is too long and time will either promote you or expose you.

Time exposed me and it exposed my ex wife and it showed that we didn't really love each other. Thus the reason why we are not married today.

How To Give Your Wife The Best Valentine's Day Gift?

So if this isn't true love, what is true love? Here's what it looks like...

"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."
Ephesians 5:25 NIV

True love is based on sacrifice. It's not based on feelings.

The word love in this scripture is translated from a Greek word "agape." One of the best definitions of agape that I've heard was written by author Thomas Jay Oord. He says agape is...

"an intentional response to promote well-being when responding to that which has generated ill-being."

I thought that was so perfectly worded because that's EXACTLY what Christ did for us! 

Christ loved us even when we were in our sinful state. It is only because of Christ's love for us that we are able to show Christ love in return.

As a husband this is the type of love that you are called to love your wife. Many times your wife is going to be absolutely unloveable. She is going to have a nasty attitude. She is going to be rude. She is going to be disrespectful. She is going to nag you and frustrate you to no end.

Love her anyway.

If you learn how to do this, this will far outlast any type of flowers, candy or restaurant that you can take your wife to.

Just like we come to love Christ because of his love, the love for your wife has the power to change her as well. Check out Ephesians 5:25-26.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
Ephesians 5:25-27

Love isn't about how your wife makes you feel. Love is about the amount of SACRIFICE that you are willing to make for your wife. 

Now this doesn't mean you just let her do whatever she wants. Christ doesn't do this either. He challenges us when we need to be challenged. You are to do the same for your wife. However, when it comes time to make a sacrifice, that is the time that you really show your love for your wife.

It cost me my marriage to learn this valuable lesson. If I get another opportunity, I will absolutely take advantage of it. However, the fact is, I may not get another opportunity and that's something I will just have to live with if that is the case.

You, however, you have the opportunity right now! Seize the opportunity to love your wife in the TRUE sense of the word, not the commercialized holiday sense of the word.

Brother, are you up for the challenge?

Go for it! It's truly the best Valentine's Day gift you can give your wife.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

How To "Friend Zone" Like A Boss!

The part of dating I hate the most is having to tell a woman she is not the one. If there was a way I could outsource that without looking like a complete jerk, I would do it in a heartbeat! No one with any type of soul or compassion for human beings likes to have that conversation. However, it is a conversation that must be had at times.

There is a right way to let someone know that this relationship is not going to work out in a romantic context. There is also a wrong way. Here are some do's and don'ts to "Friend Zone" like a boss!

DO - Tell them sooner rather than later

Once you have come to the realization that a romantic relationship is not an option tell the other person right away. The longer you wait, the greater the chances you have of offending the person. A man doesn't want to be spending his hard earned money taking you on date after date if you're not interested. A woman doesn't want to be making emotional investments, or even worse, making out with you or having sex with you and you're not interested. Speed is king here!

DON'T - Ignore the person and/or leave them guessing

I see men and women do this and it's really childish and pathetic. Now it's one thing if you have already told them and they still can't take the hint. In that case, feel free to ignore this desperate loser. However, if you know a person is interested or even worst, you have gone out on a date or dates, ignoring the person is not the right way to handle it. 

BTW - This doesn't apply to dating sites in which someone you don't know reaches out to you. It is perfectly acceptable to ignore them if you aren't interested. This refers to people that you have actually interacted with on some level.

DO - Tell them clearly and succinctly 

You don't have to give a state of the union speech or write a "War and Peace" long novel in a text message. Just let them know clearly that they are not a match for you. Here are some phrases to help you get on the right track...
  • The connection is just not there.
  • Unfortunately we are not a match.
  • I'm not the right person for you.
The key is to let them know it's not going to work out in a clear manner without putting it on them. In most cases there's nothing wrong with the other party. They are just not the right person for you.

DON'T - Leave the door open...unless you REALLY want to leave the door open

One of the mistakes that I see people make is they communicate this in a way that leaves the door open when they really do not want to leave the door open. Here are some examples of ways you could be leaving the door open...

I'm not ready for a relationship right now

When you say that you aren't ready for a relationship right now, this has some key implications that you need to be aware of. What it communicates is that the issue IS NOT an issue of match or compatibility, the issue is an issue of timing.

The other person hears "ok cool, they are not ready right now but in the future when they are ready, I have a chance. Then when you are ready for a relationship and you choose somebody else, they are devastated because they truly believed that you were interested but the timing was just bad.

You should NEVER say "I'm not ready for a relationship right now." if the real reason is you aren't interested in them. Instead, use one of the phrases I provided above. However, if the issue really is timing and you really could potentially see yourself with that person at some point in the future, then it is ok to say you're not ready for a relationship right now.

There's some things I need to work on myself first

Again, this implies that the issue is on your side alone and not on their side. It implies that as soon as you work out whatever you need to work out, you will be ready to be in a relationship with them. If that is not true, don't say this. Use one of the phrases that I provided above instead. However, if you really do know you have issues to work out and you could see yourself in a relationship with them, this is ok to say.

DO - Offer to be friends if they are someone you could see yourself being friends with.

Another mistake I see people make, both men and women is cutting people off because they don't want to be in a relationship with them. My female friends (some of whom were women I initially wanted to date) have prayed for me, giving me solid advice, encouraged me, given me money when I've been in need and have even hooked me up with dates or alerted me to dating prospects that I wasn't aware of. Friendship does have its benefits and I'm not talking about the "friends with benefits" type either.

Plus, as a bonus, although I DEFINITELY DO NOT advocate you banking on this or holding out for this, but things change and people change. I know a number of people who are either married to or are currently dating people that they originally told that they weren't interested in a romantic relationship. That person you aren't interested in today could be the person of your dreams tomorrow.

DON'T - Keep a person around and not tell them they aren't the one.

Guys usually get blasted for this, but I've seen PLENTY of women do this too so let's not just put this on the guys. They don't tell a person they aren't interested and they keep them around just to have somebody around until someone better comes along. That's not right. You're basically using that person and you don't want to do that. 

Now this one goes to the guys. I know some of you aren't interested in a woman long term, but you do like her and want to keep her around. However, consider the following. What if a guy was doing this to your daughter or your sister? How would you feel? Just be honest and let that woman know what the deal is. 

First off, she will respect you for your honesty because a lot of men are not honest. This will also help you avoid getting your car windows busted open or causing a scene on your job!  Secondly, some women actually wouldn't have a problem with hanging around as long as they know that's what the deal is. I know because I've had women tell me they have relationships with guys like this and they are cool with it because they are aware of what it is.

I hope you found these tips to be beneficial. Go out and use them so you can "friend zone" like a boss!