If New Year’s Eve had fallen on a Wednesday you likely would have been reading a Year in Review column but since it is New Year’s Day I will take the opportunity to predict events in the upcoming year. As Jeane Dixon proved by vaguely predicting in 1956 that a president would die in office after the 1960 presidential election all it takes is one bold prediction to be correct to gain fame and fortune so here is my shot at the brass ring.
Thanks to Obamacare hundreds of thousands of people who previously could not afford to buy health insurance will purchase insurance at no cost thanks to government subsidies. These people will be the highlight of dozens of national news broadcasts as they find they can’t afford their deductibles, co-pays, and co-insurance fees. The Democrats will push to have the federal government pay for those who cannot meet the their co-pay and deductibles and President Obama will take to the airwaves to press for the new funding saying something like “Keeping hard-working families from paying their health care deductibles and co-insurance payments is not who we are as a people.” The Democrat controlled Senate will quickly pass a new funding measure and after intensive lobbying by the insurance and health care industries non Tea-Party House Republicans will join with House Democrats on passing a compromise funding measure with the guarantee that future cuts in spending will be looked into in order to pay for the billions of dollars in new spending.
In the 2014 mid-term congressional elections, the Democrats will defy conventional wisdom and gain seats in the House of Representatives while retaining control of the Senate, although the Republicans will maintain a razor thin majority in the House.
No team will come within 5 games of the 1995-1996 Chicago Bulls all-time best record of 72 wins against 10 losses or the 2011-2012 Charlotte Bobcats single season worst record of 7 wins and 59 losses (8.6 wins in an 82 game schedule). The Miami Heat will win their third straight NBA championship by defeating the top seeded Indiana Pacers in six games in the Eastern Conference semifinals and the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games in the finals. LeBron James will re-sign with the Miami Heat at the end of the season. The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will fire head coaches Mike Woodson and Jason Kidd after the season and enter a bidding war for Kentucky coach John Calipari with the Nets ‘winning’ the competition and making Calipari the highest paid head coach of all time.
Two new reality television shows featuring long-haired, camouflage wearing, beer drinking, hunting and fishing southern accented men and their families will debut in 2014. At least one of these shows will feature an openly gay or lesbian character but while the shows will be praised for its openness and diversity, the ratings will not compare to other reality shows of the same type and will lead to accusations of homophobia by reality television show viewers. One of the characters on one of these shows will make controversial comments that will be seen as racist or homophobic and their show will be immediately cancelled due to a combination of vocal public outrage and poor ratings.
In the ever escalating attempts by young female singers to gain notoriety by raising the bar of outrageous on-stage behavior, a relatively lesser known singer will simulate an act of bestiality at a concert. While the act will be widely denounced within two weeks the singer will appear on Good Morning America, the Tonight Show, set an all-time record for You Tube views, and gain a large contract as the subject of a reality television show.
The New England Patriots will win the 2014 Super Bowl. The Patriots will defeat Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game and the Carolina Panthers in the Super Bowl with at least one of those games held during a heavy snowstorm (the Super Bowl is being held in Met Life Stadium at the New Jersey Meadowlands). Less than one year after settling the class action lawsuit brought by former players accusing the NFL of withholding information about the long term effects of concussions, the NFL will find itself bombarded by more lawsuits from players that were left out of the original settlement and a class action suit will be filed on behalf of non-NFL players who suffered concussions, claiming that they were driven to reckless disregard for their safety by the NFL’s glorification of concussion-causing hits. By the end of the year, colleges and high schools will find themselves under similar suits from their former players.
The minimum wage will be raised from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour weeks before the mid-term elections and scheduled to be implemented on January 1, 2015. Despite protestations by many economists that businesses will cut back hiring due to the drastic increase in labor costs, there is no immediate change in hiring patterns. In December Wal-Mart will announce plans to expand self-serve checkouts to their 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam’s club stores in the United States and McDonald’s will make their European self-service kiosks available to their United States franchisees. Both companies claim there will be no layoffs as a result of utilizing the new technologies. In 2015, McDonald's and their fast food competitors will begin to debut robotic short-order cooks.
Now that I have made my predictions for 2014, with the NFL playoffs starting it is time to once again make my playoff predictions using the odds at betonline.ag from the Yahoo odds page. Please keep in mind that this is all in fun and not using any real money although I happily point out that I did manage to win 95 mythical dollars with my catch up Super Bowl bet on the over last year.
Kansas City Chiefs at Indianapolis Colts
After a 9-0 start, the Chiefs lost four of their next six games in addition to their final week loss to the Chargers which they treated as a bye week by not playing many of their best players. Two weeks ago the Colts went to Kansas City and pounded a Chiefs team that was still in contention for the division title and I see no reason why this game should be any different. I’ll bet $110 on the Colts to win by more than 2 points to win $100.
New Orleans Saints at Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles have been one of the hotter teams in the league with seven wins in their last eight games while the Saints have lost three of their last five games with the three losses on the road. I’m tempted to take the Eagles to win outright but I’m concerned quarterback Nick Foles will be have a case of nerves in his first playoff game. Despite the high flying reputations of both offenses I expect a low scoring game and will bet $110 to win $100 that less than 56 points will be scored.
San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Chargers barely squeaked into the playoffs with their overtime win against the Chiefs on Sunday while the Bengals have been unbeaten at home. I got a good look at the Bengals on Sunday and was pretty unimpressed with quarterback Andy Dalton and his four interceptions. Even though I like the Bengals to win the game I don’t like the odds of -300 so I’ll take the Chargers with 6.5 points and lay $110 to pick up $100 if they manage to stay within a touchdown.
San Francisco 49ers at Green Bay Packers
As heroic as the Packer’s Aaron Rogers was in leading the comeback win against the Bears on Sunday to win the division I believe that had more to do with the Bears inept defense than the Packers offense. I predict the 49ers will continue their string of victories and win in Green Bay. The 49ers have won 11 out of their last 13 games with the two losses by a total of 4 points against the Panthers and Saints. I don’t feel comfortable laying the 2.5 points so I’ll play the money line and bet $145 to win $100 on the favored 49ers.