AFC & NFC Championship Game Predictions

I’m not going to lie, I’m still crying inside after that heartbreaking lost last Sunday in Denver. As a Pittsburgh fan, it is a tough pill to swallow. To be so close to the upset, so close to the AFC Championship game, so close to another 6-seed run, but unfortunately the NFL Gods are a cruel bunch.

For now, I’ll have to settle on watching the so-called Manning-Brady rivalry and a very intriguing match-up in the NFC. Since neither game boasts the Steelers and I’m still bitter about last week’s outcome I won’t be posting my usual in-depth position breakdowns. Rather, I’ll just do a quick analysis and prediction of each game.

I will be posting a few free-agent target articles later this week about the Steelers’ off-season plans, so stay tuned. As always enjoy the games and Championship Sunday.

 

New England  Patriots 26 – Denver Broncos 10

This isn’t because I’m being a disgruntled Steelers fan, it simply is the fact Brady is 11-5 against Manning all-time. Yes, I know ESPN keeps saying their 2-2 in the playoffs, but Brady’s Patriots have still outscored Manning’s Colts and Broncos 94-81 in the postseason (all-time New England has outscored Manning-led teams 479-392). Add in the fact, Manning has been lackluster all year, a routine playoff choke artist, and he has thrown at least one interception in all but 2 of their 16 contests against one another – I just don’t see Peyton winning this one. Manning’s has thrown a total of 22 picks in their so-called ‘rivalry’ compared to Brady’s 12.

Passing Yards, TD:INT Ratio in 16-Game Rivalry

Brady – 3,956 yards, 29:12

Manning – 4,839 yards, 33:22

 

Add in the fact the Steelers’ exposed Denver’s soft zone coverage twice this season with shallow and deep slant patterns. The Steelers’ did that with and without Antonio Brown. The Patriots offense runs through Julian Edelman’s ability to run the slant and I don’t believe there’s a better team in the NFL at running the slant combo patterns in the NFL than the Patriots. I just cannot see any outcome where Manning leading his team past a completely healthy New England squad (maybe Brock Osweiler can though). I also do expect a surprisingly healthy dose of Stephen Jackson this afternoon. The Pats signed him for a reason and the NFL is about to see why. Here’s to another Super Bowl featuring the team everyone loves to hate.

 

Arizona Cardinals 22 – Carolina Panthers 21

To me this is the game to watch. Arizona has been the most well-balanced team all year on both sides of the ball. Yet, Carolina is a juggernaut at home. I was wrong about the Seattle upset last week, but I still have my doubts. Yes, the Panthers won, but they were outscored 24-0 in the second half. They cannot have a repeat performance like that against this Cardinals team. The Panthers offense runs through Cam Newton (161 passing yards and 1 TD last week) and they’ll need him to win this one, not rely on a breakout game from Jonathan Stewart (106 yards with 2TDs vs. Seattle). I believe the Panthers defense will keep this one close, but the Cardinals are a scrappy team. I like the various looks this defense gives with their front seven and I believe they can shut down the explosive run game Carolina has. Dwight Freeney and the versatile safety/linebacker Deone Bucannon to wreak havoc for Cam and Co. forcing Cam to beat them with his arm – something I don’t believe he can do against this secondary. Ultimately, Bruce Arians’ aggressive play-calling will the difference in this one. I see the Cards winning this one in the fourth after the go-ahead score and 2-point conversion for the W. Bold prediction I know, but so was Arizona calling Fitz’ number twice in a row to win in overtime last week.

Advertisements

Pittsburgh vs. Denver Preview and the rest of the Divisional Round Predictions

So, the Steelers did it. They toppled Cincinnati once again circa 2005-2006 season when they went into Paul Brown Stadium and crushed the Bengals playoff hopes. While leaving head coach Marvin Lewis with an 0-7 playoff record and handing their AFC North rivals one of embarrassing postseason loses in recent memory is great, they have an extremely brutal task ahead of them Sunday evening. They’ll look ahead to take down the AFC’s number one seeded, Denver Broncos. Unlike their 05-06 run, the Steelers are not coming into Denver with the same level of optimism. Their Wild Card game has left their roster with a number of bumps, bruises, and questionable injuries to a number of starters. However, if the NFL Playoffs have proven anything over the years its that anything can happen at any given time. Maybe the magic will continue. Maybe history will repeat itself. After all their championship run ten years ago started in very similar fashion.

Quarterbacks

Ben Roethlisberger vs. Peyton Manning – Interestingly enough this match-up between two HOF quarterbacks may very well be decided by their backups instead. As of this article’s publication Big Ben’s status is still uncertain. While it is expected he’ll play, his arm strength and durability are certainty in question. There’s no doubting the toughness of Ben, but in a game where the Steelers will need to throw the ball his ability to make plays with his arm becomes all the more important. On the other side, the legendary Manning is getting his first start since Week 9 and hasn’t looked like his HOF-self this entire season. While the Broncos comeback win over the San Diego Chargers in Week 17 was thrilling to watch it was hardly because of Gary Kubiak’s decision to put Manning in the game (Manning went 5/9 for 69 yards). The Broncos explosive running game won them the game, but Manning got the headlines. As inspirational and sentimental as a Manning-led postseason run sounds – it unfortunately – is just that. Manning hasn’t proven he can lead this team to win all year. Sure they started off 7-0, but that was hardly because of Peyton (7:11 TD:INT ratio over that span). Yet, when backup Brock Osweiler stepped in for the injured Manning it seemed that the Broncos finally began clicking on offense. Unfortunately, Kubiak is going with the future-HOF over the hot-hand. A decision that may cost the Broncos, but regardless a Manning-Osweiler combo is significantly better than a 50% Big Ben and Landry Jones duo.

Edge – Broncos

 

Running Backs

Hillman/Anderson vs. Toussaint/Todman  – For now DeAngelo Williams is still listed as day-to-day. If he plays, the Steelers would certainly have the edge considering Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman proved to be a very capable duo in the last weekend’s Wild Card game against the Bengals. Toussaint managed 118 yards from scrimmage (58 yards on the ground and another 60 through the air) as Todman rumbled for 60 yards on 11 carries. If the two can manage the same level of production this week along with the return of Williams; well then the Steelers have a potential three-headed monster that could very well carry their offense even with Big Ben’s limp noodle of an arm. Unfortunately, the return of Williams is still a hypothetical, which means the Broncos explosive duo of C.J. Anderson (168 yards and 2 TD the last two weeks of season) and Ronnie Hillman (863 rushing yards and 7 TD on season) are the better options on paper.

Edge – Broncos

 

Wide Receivers

Sanders/Thomas vs. Byrant/Wheaton – As of this morning, Antonio Brown has been officially ruled out of Sunday’s game with a concussion (his first game missed since 2012). He is easily the most valuable player in this Steelers’ offense. While Big Ben may drive the car, but Brown’s the fuel for the offense. Without him (and a not-so hundred percent Ben) the Steelers will have a difficult time moving the chains against this secondary. He torched the Broncos in Week 15 for 16 catches, 189 yards, and two scores. He’s a  versatile weapon  whose absence will surely be missed. His counterparts, Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton managed a combined 149 yards on 16 catches during the two teams previous meeting this year. Bryant will need to make a few more acrobatic catches like last week’s, if Pittsburgh plans on piling up any points. Meanwhile, the former Steeler, Emmanuel Sanders nearly matched Brown’s performance going for 181 yards on 10 catches and a score in their regular season battle. His partner in crime, Demaryius Thomas managed to cash in 2 of his 5 catches for touchdowns finishing with 61 yards that game. Both receiving corps are more capable of blowing up either defense, but this one may come down more to the opposing secondaries their facing rather than individual talent and quarterback play.

Edge – Broncos

 

Tight Ends

Miller vs. Daniels/Davis – In their Week 15 game, all three of these tight ends combined for a whopping 21 yards. I highly doubt that all three will have such a feeble impact on the game this Sunday. Heath Miller finished the season with 60 catches, 535 yards, and 2 TD meanwhile the Denver duo combined for 718 yards and 3 TD (this only accounts for Vernon Davis’ 201 yards in a Denver uniform). Tough to call in this one – Manning loves to lean on his tight ends, but Miller has the more impressive pedigree. Albeit, his last postseason appearance hasn’t been since 2013, one cannot ignore Davis’ insane postseason numbers – 27 catches, 600 yards, and 7 TD in 8 games.

Edge – Push

 

Defensive Line

Both defenses implore a 3-4 scheme and both have undersized lineman who use their speed, agility and finesse to attack opposing quarterbacks. This may very well be the most evenly balanced match-up in Sunday’s contest. The Denver trio of Derek Wolfe, Sylvester Williams and Malik Jackson weigh a combined 891 pounds and tallied 13.5 sacks on the season. Whereas the Pittsburgh trifecta of Cameron Heyward, Stephon Tuitt, and Steve McLendon top the scales just 17 pounds heavier at 908 and muscled up just one more sack (14.5)  than the Mile High crew.

Edge – Push

 

Linebackers

Can’t recall the last time a playoff game featured two of the most ferocious and feared linebackers of their generation in it. Seeing DeMarcus Ware and James Harrison (the two combined for 134 sacks from 2007-2011 and have a combined 66 forced fumbles in their respective careers) in action is something that will bring a smile to nearly every NFL fan’s face while simultaneously bringing a frown to both quarterback’s faces in this contest. With those two gridiron legends aside, this contest really comes down to the middle linebackers. Von Miller’s 11 sacks will certainly add to the Broncos pass-rush, but in a game where both teams will likely look to establish the running game early and often the boys inside will be the X-factors. Brandon Marshall and Danny Trevathan are not household names outside of Denver, but both racked up over a hundred tackles this season (102 and 109 respectively). However, Lawrence Timmons (119 tackles on the season) may very well be the best middle linebacker in the NFL right now. Not to mention, Ryan Shazier is coming off his best game to date as a pro – 13 total tackles, 2 FF, and a fumble recovery.

Edge – Steelers

 

Secondary

What the Steelers’ fans and coaches wouldn’t give to have just one Aqib Talib or even a Chris Harris Jr. for that manner. The CB duo along with safeties T.J. Ward and Darian Stewart helped anchor the number one overall passing defense in the NFL. The Broncos have surrender a league-best 199.6 yards per game, a 60% completion rate, and have held opposing quarterbacks to a 78.8 QBR (quarterback rating) including a 19:14 TD:INT ratio. On the flip side, the lackluster Steelers’ secondary (can anyone outside of the Steel City name their top two corners) ranks 29th in the league. Allowing 271.9 ypg, 64.3% completion rate, and a QB-friendly 90.9 QBR including a staggering 29:17 TD:INT ratio. This one is a no-brainer.

Edge – Broncos

 

Special Teams

The Steelers’ are one of the best return teams in the NFL averaging 24.2 yards on kick returns and 8.3 yards on punt returns (Denver is averaging 21.8 and 9.8 yards in those categories). Although, the Steelers’ will be without the dangerous return-weapon that is Antonio Brown. The kickers in this match-up are fairly even. Denver’s Brandon McManus went 30 for 35 on the season including a 57 yard long, but he’s never kicked in the postseason. Pittsburgh’s rookie, Chris Boswell finished the season 29 for 32 and is looking to extend his playoff streak of four-straight field goals made.

Edge – Steelers

 

In a rematch against the league’s number one offense vs. the number one defense, the numbers do not truly favor the injury-riddled Steelers. Pittsburgh is clearly out-matched in terms of overall defensive skill especially between the secondaries. The injuries and absences on offense make matters even worse for the black and gold. Even without a completely healthy Big Ben, the Steelers need DeAngelo Williams if they even want a chance to survive this one. Whether or not fans and NFL analysts want to admit it, the Broncos are a significantly less potent offense with Manning at the helm. The Denver defense was the main reason why they started 7-0, not Manning. That tiny silver ling, could bode well for the Steelers if they can capitalize on potential Peyton turnovers. Add in the factor that Manning is 11-13 in the playoffs, maybe just maybe, the Steelers could pull off a monumental upset. After all, in 2005 no one expected Pittsburgh upset the number one seeded Broncos 34-17. Unfortunately, injuries leave the possibility of a Steelers win in serious doubt.

Final Prediction: Broncos 28 Steelers 14

 

 

The rest of the Divisional Games

 

New England Patriots 21 Kansas City Chiefs 17

I really love the Chiefs and everything they have done this year. I love the fact Andy Reid has managed to pull his team out of a 1-5 start to rally off a present 11-game win streak. I love the fact Alex Smith has a 95.4 QBR rating this season. I love the fact the Chiefs defense held the Houston Texans to under 275 total yards last week. What I don’t love is the probability of the KC stealing their 12th-straight win in Foxborough. Cynical fan or not, a playoff game in Gillette Stadium always carries some level of dissension with it. Controversy withstanding, the one thing you can’t bet against is the Patriots at home – in January.

Seattle Seahawks 28 Carolina Panthers 7

I know, I know Cam Newton has been an absolute monster this season. He’s thrown and rushed for a combined 4,473 yards and 45 touchdowns while leading his team to the best record in the NFL. However, the Seahawks are the defending NFC Champions and if last week’s ugly game against the Minnesota Vikings proved anything – they find ways to win. Playoff experience will be key in this one. As amazing as the Panthers and Newton’s seasons have been (Carolina has a plus-20 turnover margin) I fancy Russel Wilson’s 7-2 postseason record over the young Cam Newton (1-2 in the playoffs).

Arizona Cardinals 18 Green Bay Packers 15

It is extremely tough to win big in the NFL. It is even tougher to win big again against a team you just faced three weeks ago. I don’t expect Arizona to wallop Green Bay 38-8 like they did in Week 16. This game has the potential to be a shootout, but I like a high intensity, defensive battle. Green Bay was able to fire on 3 out of 4 pistons last week versus Washington, but they didn’t look like the Packers of old until the second half. If they manage to start that slow against the Cardinals, they’ll be looking at a long, uphill battle Saturday night. Arizona may be one the most well coached teams in the NFL and Bruce Arians has had an extra week to gameplan for this one . The Cards will sweep the Packers, but it won’t be pretty.

 

Fan film ‘Fall of Grayskull’ a must-see

For all you Masters of the Universe and He-Man fans out there, if you haven’t watched Daniel Benedict’s ‘Fall of Grayskull’ than you’re doing it wrong – all wrong. The fan-made film highlights a darker side of Eternia, while allowing the female characters to really steal the show.

Teela (played by Mercedez Varble) acts as the main protagonist who’s on a quest to save He-Man from the evil clutches of -you guessed it- Skeletor. My personal favorite was the slightly fantasy-noir femme fatale battle between Evil-Lyn  (Alexandria Hendrick) and Shadow Weaver (Lousia Torres).

The score is pretty solid. The heavy metal sound fuels the fight scenes and helps maintain the more adult-theme Benedict was striving for with this adaptation. Being a fan-made film, it isn’t going to have your perfect Hollywood cuts and special effects, but I have to take my hat off to everyone involved in this 30-minute film. The 1987, Masters of the Universe, has survived as a campy, cult piece of 80s nostalgia, but hardly did the He-Man series any justice. Thankfully, Benedict and Co. have finally given us fans something to actually cheer about.

For additional info on the film and Benedict’s other projects visit the film’s website.

Feature image courtesy of Wiki Commons

Steelers vs. Bengals and the rest of Wild Card Weekend Predictions

This weekend will mark the beginning of the NFL playoffs along with the Steelers chance to repeat their fabled run ten years ago – can the Steelers work that 6-seed magic one more time? Even without Andy Dalton the Steelers will have a tall order against their AFC North rivals, but how well do the two teams match-up? Their playoff rubber match will decide both teams fate and perhaps the fates of some of the players/coaches involved.

Quaterbacks

AJ McCarron vs. Ben Roethlisberger – Even though he hasn’t looked like himself the last two weeks, you cannot discredit Big Ben in this matchup. If Pittsburgh plans on making a run this year it all starts with Ben. His arm and this offense are more than capable of tearing the roof off any defense in this tournament, but it starts with Ben limiting his turnovers and fixing his recent run of hasty decision making (6:7 TD/INT ratio the last four games). On the flip side, McCarron has filled in nicely for the injured Dalton and considering his superb records in high school and college it can be safe to say the former Crimson Tide star and National Championship winner will be unfazed by the pressure and severity surrounding this game.

Edge – Steelers

 

Running Backs

Hill/Bernard vs. Todman/Toussiant – As of this morning, DeAngelo Williams is officially ruled out of Saturday’s contest, leaving the T-duo of Jordan Todman and Fitzgerald Toussaint as the go-to backs come kickoff. Williams was tied for a NFL-best 11 rushing touchdowns and his 907 rushing yards will surely be missed. With the  Steelers potent passing attack they might be able to squeak by with this rag-tag duo, but clearly Cincinnati has the advantage here. Giovani Bernard and Jeremy Hill have combined for a lousy 128 yards on the ground against the Steelers during their two seasonal games. However even with that surprising statistical consideration it is tough to bet against a respectable two-punch combo that’s helped lead the Bengals to a AFC North Divisional title against a duo of career backups that have combined for a mere 64 yards this season.

Edge – Bengals 

 

Wide Receivers

A.J. Green vs. Antonio Brown – Two of the best wide receivers in the league will be on display in this game, but only one will have the luxury of having a top-tier quarterback throwing their way. In addition the drop off in talent after Green is significant for the Bengals. Mohamed Sanu and Marvin Jones are decent slot receivers, but outside the occasional big play the Bengals aerial attack depends on Green (and Eifert). Even with Martavis Byrant’s recent run of poor form the Steelers still have capable possession man Markus Wheaton and the explosive play of Darrius Heyward-Bey to help accent Brown who has clearly elevated his game this season.

Edge – Steelers 

 

Tight Ends

Tyler Eifert vs. Heath Miller – Eifert has been a touchdown machine all year for Cincy (13 total), but he has yet to find the endzone against Pittsburgh this season. Ironically, the veteran Miller has also not been able to find pay dirt in the seasonal series either. The difference here is Miller’s 171 yards on 20 catches in their two contests this year compared to Eifert’s 81 yards on 6 catches.

Edge – Steelers

 

Defensive Line

This is may be the least talked about match-up coming into Saturday’s game, but easily one of the most intriguing ones. Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap have both hit double digit sacks this year (11 and 13.5 respectively). They are the anchors to not only the Bengals D-line, but also their defense – when they’re on, this team is nearly unstoppable. On the other side of the field, the explosive and agile combination of defensive ends,  Stephon Tuitt and Cameron Heyward have produced a combined 13.5 sacks for the Steelers and continue to wreak havoc for offensive lines with their speed. However, for as good as Tuitt and Heyward have been, their combined numbers match the total of just one Carlos Dunlap.

Edge – Bengals 

 

Linebackers

This one is tough to call. Both teams have some studs in the heart of their defense. Vontaze Burfict, A.J. Hawk,  Rey Maualuga, and Vincent Rey are all tackling machines. Meanwhile Lawrence Timmons is the cornerstone to what has been a revolving door of playmakers for Blitzburgh including future HOFer James Harrison, Jarvis Jones, Ryan Shazier, Athur Moats, and 2015 first-rounder Bud Dupree. The Steelers rotation has been effective with each of the listed players recording at least two sacks this season, but this one is still a toss-up. The only thing guaranteed here is some bruising, heavy hits that the AFC North is known for.

Edge – Push

 

Secondary

While this breakdown still heavily favors the Bengals, the actual numbers make it slightly closer than one may think. Cincy finished the season 20th overall in pass defense while the Steelers finished at a lowly 30th in the league. However, the Steelers did manage to produce 17 interceptions compared to Cincy’s 21. Interestingly enough both teams surrendered a 64% completion rate against opposing quarterbacks – only four other teams had a worse rate (San Francisco, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and New Orleans). In the end the kicker is the average passing yards per game. The Steelers gave up a near league worse 272 passing yards per game (only the New York Giants and New Orleans Saints gave up more yards through the air) compared to Cincinnati’s 249.

Edge – Bengals 

 

Special Teams

Both teams have an identical 83.9% success rate on field goals this season (both went 26/31 on the year). However, the Steelers finished the season with the highest return yards from kickoffs in the NFL with 1,200 yards on 54 returns compared to Cincy’s 1,041 on 46 returns. In a game where field position will certainly play a factor such arbitrary numbers may determine the game. One must also consider the threat of Antonio Brown in the Steelers’ punt return game. And while the Bengals have completed all 27 of their extra point attempts, the Steelers league-best 72.7% (8/11) on two-point conversions may truly be what decides this game. Playing it safe with PATs doesn’t always give your team the best chance to win.

Edge – Steelers

 

Final Prediction – Steelers 26 – Bengals 20

Ultimately it comes down to quarterbacks and coaching. Big Ben is more than capable of taking this game over and will more than likely have to do so, if Pittsburgh wants to advance. Marvin Lewis hasn’t won a playoff game in six appearances whereas Mike Tomlin has consistently found ways to win this season (in addition to a 5-4 playoff record). The Steelers defense lives and dies with the turnover battle, but in a game that will likely go down to the wire – it will be the coaches who decide it. I fancy Tomlin outlasting Lewis, who has yet to survive the pressure of the postseason.

The rest of the Wild Card Game Predictions

Kansas City Chiefs 30 – Houston Texans 17

The Chiefs are easily the hottest team in the AFC right now riding a 10-game winning streak and I just do not see the Texans (even at home) being able to stop them. Brian  Hoyer and DeAndre Hopkins will give the Chiefs some problems, but ultimately the Chiefs D-line will out-muscle and out-hustle the Texans offensive line.

Minnesota Vikings 17 – Seattle Seahawks 14

For as stellar as Russel Wilson has been the second half of this season (21:1 TD/INT ratio since Week 11) I still like the Vikings at home. This is the Vikings first home playoff game since 2009 and you better believe the crowd will factor into this one. The Seahawks have historically been a weaker road team (5-3 this year on the road) and I like a playoff motivated Adrian Peterson over a surging Russel Wilson.

Washington Redskins 38 – Green Bay Packers 28

This one comes down to Kirk Cousins at home over a lackluster Green Bay squad. Despite the common narrative, Rodgers’ isn’t all that great in the postseason posting only a 7-5 record in 12 games. Considering how inconsistent the Packers have been all year I just cannot go against a ‘Captain Kirk’ Cousins at home. Especially not when he’s put up 2,170 yards and a 16:2 TD/INT ratio at FedEx Field this year, including four 300-plus yard games.

 

 

 

 

 

Northside Cartoonists Bring Fresh Pittsburgh Vibe With Comics

I recently did an article for the Northside Chronicle featuring two local artists on the Northside of Pittsburgh, Dan McCloskey an Nils Balls.

Nils Bals You Can Did It (2)

Frame from You Can Did It Chapter 1 – Photo Courtesy of Nils Balls

 

Both of them have been working in the comics industry for better half of the last decade and are producing some of the freshest local indie comics here in Pittsburgh. McCloskey is currently finishing up his fourth issue of his futuristic Free Money  series. 

Nils is continuing his work on the Yinzer friendly You Can Did It. You can check out the whole story here!

Cover photo courtesy of Dan McCloskey from Free Money Issue #3

My List of Top Upcoming Nerdy Films in 2016

I thought about making a top ten of 2015 list – I really did – but let’s face it no one enjoys living in the past. So, instead I’ve decided to compile the slightly more creative top ten list of 2016. With Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens breaking blockbluster records I figured it was only fair to look ahead at the biggest, best, and most promising geeky films looking to make their debut this brand new year. Quite frankly, 2016 is truly looking like the ‘Year of the Nerds’ at the box office, let’s hope it does not disappoint – 2015 surely did not.

Honorable Mention

 

How To Talk to Girls At Parties – 2016 – HanWay Films

A film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s 2006 same-titled novel, naturally is going to be highly anticipated. A story about young romance, aliens, and the punk rock scene in 1970s London as told the only way the legendary Gaiman could. It lands in the honorable mention largely because it does not have an exact release date in 2016 as of yet.

X-Men Apocalypse – May 27 – 20th Century Fox

I know I’m in the minority here, but as a lifetime X-Men fan I am about as far away from excited as I possibly could be about this film. Looks like Bryan Singer is taking another complex X-Men story arch and squeezing it into a 120 minute block; expect a lot of action, but a large absence of character and plot development.

10) Zoolander 2 – Feb. 12 – Paramount Pictures

Not exactly a nerd movie, but can’t deny the excitement of seeing one of Ben Stiller’s best characters back in action. Another run of gags featuring Mugatu, Hansel, and of course the epic ‘Blue Steel’ cannot come soon enough.

9) Warcraft – June 10 – Legendary Pictures

A film adaptation of the widely popular MMORPG, World of Warcraft. I like the concept of developing the Horde in a new light rather than their brutish in-game descriptions. The trailer looks good and the film reminds me of The LOTR trilogy – which bodes well for entertainment value.

8) Independence Day: Resurgence – June 24 – 20th Century Fox

Not going to lie without a July 4 release date nor Will Smith, I’m fairly less excited for this movie than when I first heard about its development a few years ago. The original was by far one of the most epic movies of my 90s childhood and even without Big Willie, I’m still excited to see Jeff Goldblum and Bill Pullman kick some alien ass.

7) Star Trek Beyond – July 22 – Paramount Pictures

I’ve always been more of a Star Wars guy than a Trekkie, but be as that may I’m still stoked for the third installment of the newest edition of the franchise. If sci-fi action and the use of the Beastie Boys’ Sabotage doesn’t get you hype during this trailer, then I’m not sure you can even call yourself a nerd.

6) Doctor Strange – Nov. 4 – Marvel Studios/Entertainment

Benedict Cumberbatch is certainly looking the part of the Sorcerer Supreme as Marvel looks to expand deeper into its Phase 3 films. There’s no official trailer out yet, but fans can expect a ton of action and likely the appearance of another Infinity Gem in this film.

5) Suicide Squad – Aug. 5 – Warner Bros./DC Studios

DC fans have been itching for this one for a while. Harley Quinn and Co. will look to help solidify DC’s role in Hollywood in a movie that will surely be loaded with blood, cursing, and senseless violence. Personally, I can’t wait.

4) Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Dec. 16 – Lucasfilm

Everyone is still talking about Episode VII, but I’m equally hype for George Lucas’ new film which is being described as a prequel to Episode IV: A New Hope. Less tradition fans like myself will surely be licking their chops for this movie and the creative blast it looks to have. After all, for as good as The Force Awakens was it left something to be desired – hopefully Rogue One can quench my Star Wars thirst for something a bit edgier and innovative.

3) Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice – March 26 – Warner Bros./DC Studios


There’s a ton riding on this film. It is looking to be DC’s version of Marvel’s Avengers combing a number of big-name heroes and villain in an effort to successfully launch the DC Universe on the big screen. While there are a ton of doubters, I personally have yet to lose faith in director, Zach Synder. Not to mention the last trailer left me on the edge of my seat.

2) Deadpool – Feb. 12 – 20th Century Fox

The first R-rated superhero movie to hit the big screens (Kick-Ass withstanding) will surely have fanboys and fangirls peeing their pants with excitement. The Merc with a Mouth has always been an underground cult favorite, but with his impending big screen debut Wade Wilson will quickly become a household name.

1) Captain America: Civil War – May 6 – Marvel Studios/Entertainment

Easily the movie I’m most anxious to see this year. Civil War was by far my favorite Marvel comic series and I cannot wait to see the its adaptation in the theater. Aside from my fanboy excitement this movie also marks the formal start of Marvel’s Phase 3 movies and will help usher in the story platform for the rest of their films moving forward. So much to look forward to in Captain America’s final installment.

 

Cheers to being a nerd in 2016!!