Tuesday, December 31, 2013

NFL Playoffs


San Francisco 49ers vs Green Bay Packers
The 49ers should be able to win this game without problem.  The Green Bay defense is simply too weak to keep up.  Not just the talent on the field but Green Bay will be thoroughly outcoached by Harbaugh and staff.  I don't think even Rodgers can bail them out of this one.    Niners by 4.

New Orleans Saints vs Philadelphia Eagles
I dont think the Saints will have too much problem taking care of the Eagles.   Eagles have the worst passing defense in the league.  Kyle Orton had 65% completion with 358 yards, 2 TDs, and 2 Ints.  Brees should have a field day.  While I don't trust the Saints run-d and their ability to stop McCoy, I'll take the Saints offense over the Eagles offense any day. Saints by 7


Kansas City Chiefs vs Indianapolis Colts
The Colts' success purely depends on the success of the pass-rush.  Their pass-rush is how they were able to beat all the great teams that they did.   If they haven't earned your respect after beating KC, Denver, SF, and Seattle, I don't know what else you want.  Luck is still developing but clearly he has the clutch gene.   I think the linebackers are fast enough to keep up with charles, and I think the pass-rush can obliterate Alex Smith.  I love the KC defense, but I simply don't think Alex Smith has it in him to perform in the clutch.  I think this will be a close game that comes down to the end.  Colts by 2.

San Diego Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals 
While the Chargers have upset ability, I don't think the Bengals will lay an egg at home.  People love to criticize Dalton but don't realize how good the defense actually is.   5th in the league in rushing defense, 5th in the league in passing defense.   Put Dalton's inconsistency up against the Chargers' 29th ranked passing defense, and he should be okay for this game.  Bengals by 4.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Madden-Dude's Guide to do Well in School

-Study to learn and understand - Comprehension is the most important thing. You should attack every class like, "This is my opportunity to master this subject".  If you follow no other piece of advice, at least follow this one and you'll be okay.

These are the steps I take in trying to master a class:

-Read the syllabus - Know what the teacher expects from the class, know the details of the class, know the resources the teacher recommends and look them up on Amazon reviews.

-Acquire my resources - Look up alternative books and websites I could use. Teachers sometimes recommend horrible overly dense books. Acquire the best possible resources that will work for you. Keep it limited. Ex: Teacher recommended a physiology book, way too much detail, would've taken me forever to read, especially since I'm a slow reader. I was recommended Costanzo - Physiology, read a chapter and loved it, that book got me a solid A in the class. Outside of your class notes, you have Wikipedia, and I think its a good idea to have at least 1 textbook that you would read.

-Plan out how to take notes - Does the teacher use power-point, does he write on the board, does he not give us his power-point presentation, do I want to use my iPad, pen and paper, do I want to go to class or podcast the lecture? All these questions can be answered within the first week of class. Usually I prefer FoxIt reader to annotate PDFs of the lectures on my computer in class. Some classes I prefer to listen to the teacher on podcast. These are all options for you to consider. But I think its important to listen to each lecture at least once. When they aren't reading off the slides, they give their own input and they are, after all, experts in their field. Much can be learned from their side-comments. I noticed when I prepare ahead of time, those side-comments tend to stick with me. When I go into class with no prior exposure, much of what the teacher says is in 1 ear and out the other, with no recall of him mentioning those things.

-Pre-Read - I briefly flip through the lectures for the upcoming week, then I read those topics in my textbook. I use Google/Wikipedia to clarify any questions. Then I read through the class-notes and compare what I just learned to what I need to know, and how that extra information helps fill in the gaps in the lecture slides. Pre-reading is the single best thing I've ever done in any class. You can't be a lazy bum about it. You have to prioritize getting it done. For example: Normally people study throughout the week and use the weekend to fill in the gaps and review what they learned. I used Sat and Sun to get ahead for the upcoming week, then I used Thur and Fri to review that week. I found this to be SO much more efficient.

-Frequent Quality Exposure - I think its good to aim for 5 exposures. My 6 were: 1) Pre-reading the textbook + Wiki 2)Reading class-notes 3) Paying attention in class 4) Reviewing at home on that day, comparing textbook with lecture 5) Reviewing thur/fri 6) Lab(Sometimes). I think equally important to exposure is the quality time you spend learning the thing. I treated each of my exposures as if they were my last and I would take the test the next day. When I pre-read the textbook, I told myself, I have to understand it now, there's no 2nd chance. By the time I even got to class, I pretty much knew everything. #3-6 were really just solidifying it. When you do that, you're able to be that guy who asks brilliant questions in class or that guy who sounds like he did research n this stuff, why does he know everything?!

-Practice Questions - From #4 and #5 in the above paragraph (reviewing at home), much of my reviewing would be doing practice questions. I cannot stress how helpful this really is. When you try to apply your knowledge you understand what you know and what you don't know. It really integrates your understanding with multiple topics. If you don't have practice questions, ask the teacher, or find a question book from Amazon.

-Personal Notes and Diagrams - Each time I sit down to study, I make a diagram or drawing of difficult concepts. I try to map out all the concepts to relate them to each other. This is essentially how I visualize it in my mind and its how I integrate my knowledge. I try to aim for 1 paper per lecture, I map out all the concepts, then I map out all the details. When I go back to study for midterms, or if I want to review the material in a future class, I just have to pull out my diagrams and it all comes back to me. Im super glad I started doing this early on in my education. I have so many diagrams, it keeps all my knowledge fresh. People wonder how I remember stuff in so much detail from so long ago, this is how. I'm a visual learner so this works for me. I don't usually do this until #2 when I'm reading through my class notes for the first time. The purpose is, everything I need to memorize, is mapped out on a piece of paper. It makes memorizing large amounts of information very easy.

-Research above and beyond - Once you know everything, take your knowledge above and beyond with Google, search professional journals, Wikipedia, you should be able to explain the topic for the layman to understand.

-Study for midterms very early - I try to aim to be ready for midterms 1 week before the test day. The last week is purely for review and group studying. I explain stuff to my peers and it really solidifies my understanding for long term.

Summary: The best piece of advice I can give is study to learn and understand. The 2nd best piece of advice I can give is, get ahead and build your foundation of knowledge very early in the class (I used a textbook to do this), that way any discussion, lecture, lab, homework, can all augment your knowledge. You don't be listening to the teacher like, "We don't have to know this." "Ehhh I'll look this up later." "What the heck, when did she teach that."

-Stay focused and study hard - Building "smarts" is much like working out. You cant walk into the weight room on your first day and bench 300 lbs, so don't expect to blaze through your material understanding everything. You might feel dumb at first, needing to read through very slowly just to understand it, and not getting it on your first try. Eventually you'll get so good that everything you learn sticks with you and automatically integrates with what you know.

Saturday, December 07, 2013

San Francisco Gameplan:
-Run the ball non-stop throughout the entire game.   Seattle's 1 weakness is its run defense.  They give up a solid amount of yards-per-carry.  Thats why Seattle's gameplan is to take shots and get ahead early...to make the other team abandon the run.  Thats why Seattle ends up winning in so many blow-outs against good teams.   Seattle is built with speed up front.  Their speed makes for gang-tackles on every play, to make up for their lack of power.  Niners need to lineup in I-form and just pound it.  Use the power and strength of the O-line, dont be intimidated by speed. When they least expect it, take shots, and complete those big passes to Davis or Crabtree that we always see.  But immediately after, go back to the run.  Kaepernick should have 22 attempts, and 70% completion, and half of those should be 15+ yard first down passes.

Seattle Gameplan:
-Make SF play your game, not vice-versa.   Like I said, Seattle forces their game on other teams to cover up their weaknesses.  They look invincible on TV, but they do have weaknesses.

I still think Seattle is the better team because I dont particularly like Kaepernick's passing progression throughout the season.  I dont think Harbaughs done a good job of facilitating it.  If kaepernick got better at the same pace as Russell Wilson, the niners would be the clear number 2 team, borderline number 1, in the NFC.  I think the team is that good.   I also think Gore is not as good as he used to be.  He benefits from huge holes created by his O-line.  I dont think "home field advantage" or "extra effort" will be enough for the niners.  I'm still taking seattle by a large margin lol.

Seattle 28 San Francisco 13

Random thoughts about the game:

-Harbaugh likes to keep it conservative throughout the season, then towards the end he likes to open up the playbook in the passing game.  This does 2 things: It gets Gore fresh for the playoffs, and it doesn't let Pete Carroll to get too much game-film on his playbook.  Guys say he's the most paranoid coach in the NFL, and his biggest paranoia is Seattle.  The point: This IS the superbowl for the niners.  Harbaugh will bring out everything.  The players will be playing like its a playoff game.

-Seattle is cruising to 1st seed.  This game is essentially meaningless in the standings.  But it does two things: San francisco is essentially down right now....they've lost to every good team they've faced.  I can't imagine their confidence being too high.   Seattle has a chance to go for the kill.  If the niners lose this game, I dont see them having enough guts to come back and win again in the playoffs at seattle, I can even imagine a team like Detroit giving them trouble...they wouldnt be able to stop CJ, and the Detroit run-D will be able to shut down gore.    Its also personal for seattle.  But with very little playoff implications for them, I can't imagine seattle treating it like a playoff game, whereas SF will.

-Niners homefield is overrated, lets get that out of the way. Both Indy and Carolina were able to beat them at San Francisco.  But regardless of how dumb the email sounds, I think the fans will come out extra loud...but i just dont see it effecting the seahawks.