This weekend everybody is in the pool as the “bye week” is over and everyone is playing. On Saturday we start with NBC offering up the Atlanta Falcons in Philly playing the Eagles, and later in the evening on CBS the Tennessee Titans are in New England facing the Patriots. These games seem pretty cut and dry with Atlanta and New England winning. On Sunday, we have some interesting games. We have rematches of game from earlier this season, we start in Pittsburgh on CBS where the Jacksonville Jaguars will try and do what they did a decade ago and beat the Steelers at Pittsburgh twice in the same season. Later in the afternoon on FOX in Minnesota the Vikings take on the New Orleans Saints. The Saints hope to avenge a week one loss. If I had to pick these games I think that it will not go like it did during the regular season so I’m pulling for the Steelers and Saints.
This weekend the NFL begins the playoffs with Wild Card Weekend. There are some interesting games to watch. On Saturday there is the Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC on ABC/ESPN and Atlanta Falcons at LA Rams in the NFC on NBC. Then on Sunday we’ve got the Buffalo Bills at the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC on CBS and the Carolina Panthers at the New Orleans Saints in the NFC on FOX. Of all the games only the Panthers and Saints will be a rematch of a regular season game the Panthers lost both times. As for predictions it seems like the home teams have the best shots at winning, however that Bills/Jaguars game looks like it will be a close one and the Falcons/Rams game might end with the Falcons coming out with a win since they were there last year. My predictions Chiefs, Falcons, Bills and Saints.
As it turns out professional basketball has started as well sure it seems like we will have the top teams from last year have just gotten better with trades in the off season so I expect the Cleveland Cavs, Golden State Warriors, along with Oklahoma City Thunder, the San Antonio Spurs and maybe the Boston Celtics, although after that first game perhaps the Washington Wizards, as the teams that we will be seeing in the finals. Yes, I know that is three teams from the East Cleveland, Boston and Washington and three from the West, but the West is a loaded conference so there are probably more that could make it. There are some who will be pushing for the Lakers to be good again but they will be in the middle better than last year but not making the playoffs. The biggest problems with the NBA right now is that one of the Superteams are going to win yet again but thankfully this is the last year that teams can tank for the best chance at the top draft pick.
Well after a pretty thrilling divisional round where error played a big role with over 30 errors between all the teams. We saw the Red Sox continue to flounder in the postseason and the heavily favored Cleveland Indians fall to the New York Yankees in 5 games in the American League over in the National League the Dodgers cruised to the Championship while the Nationals and Cubs play a fierce 5 game series complete with 2 shutouts, 2 no-hitters that turned into losses, and a mind blowing final game.
As for the Championship series we have some exciting games that are going to happen. It will be the first time that Houston has made it to this round since it moved to the American League and following their first series win since 2005 when they won the National League. They will face the Yankees who haven’t been here in 5 years when they were swept by the Tigers. The last time they met each other in the playoffs was the Wild Card game back in 2015. This was a while ago. The Astros had a long layover between their win in the ALDS and this first game of the ALCS so Houston will be well rested and the Yankees having gone 5 with Cleveland will be on a day rest. I’m not sure what’s better to be well rested or battle tested. It would be great if the Astros got to the series in the American League as they’d be the only team ever to have been for both leagues. However it could go to the Yankees.
In the National League it will be The Dodgers who were there last year but haven’t won an NL Pennant since 1988 when they also last won the World Series so there is that going on. Meanwhile the Cubs are in there again so it’s a rematch of last years NLCS, Let’s hope that the Dodgers can beat them this time around. I’m not sure with the extended drama that was the division series if either team (Cubs or Nationals) would have been a huge threat to LA but who know what will happen. Reading online it seems that the Dodgers thought that the Cubs would be a harder series to win but looking at the errors and lack of runs in the Division series, I’d say that’s not so now. So Dodgers seem like the team to win in the NL.
So this snuck up on me this year I knew it was preseason and now it’s the regular season already. As the season begins some general predictions by division.
In the East we have the Metropolitan and Atlantic Divisions the past couple of seasons the Penguins have taken home Lord Stanley’s Cup the past two seasons and it seems like everyone wants them to win a third, but watching their first couple of games it’s not looking great.
Metropolitan Division is going to be between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins once again this year perhaps the Columbus Blue Jackets might make some noise as well but we should expect the NY Rangers and Carolina Hurricane to round out the top five teams.
Atlantic Division is a bit harder to pick out a winner. However it seems like the teams from Canada the Toronto Maple Leafs, Montreal Canadiens, and Ottawa Senators will be there along with perhaps Tampa Bay Lightning, Boston Bruins and maybe the Detroit Red Wings.
In the West we have the Central and Pacific Divisions. This year the Pacific adds the Golden Knights in Las Vegas, they are expected to be horrible.
Central Division is the Chicago Blackhawks to lose. It looks like the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, St. Louis Blues and maybe Dallas Stars.
Pacific Division has been the Anaheim Ducks division for the past five years, so it seems like a safe bet. Along with Anaheim perhaps the San Jose Sharks along with Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames
Today the Baseball playoffs begin in earnest as the American League Division Series starts today at 4 PM on the Major League Baseball Network, it’s that time of year when we all search for the network, as the Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros meet in Houston. This is the first time that these teams have ever met in the playoffs but they finished the season against each other during the regular season the home team won the series with Houston winning four last weekend in Houston while Boston took two of three in June. The night continues at 7:30 PM on Fox Sports 1, with the New York Yankees traveling to Cleveland to face the Indians. If history continues the Indians look to be favorites to win as the past two times they met in the division round playoffs Cleveland has come out on top, these past wins came in 1997 and 2007 in 98 they met in the Championship series and New York won.
Most pundits are having the Cleveland Indians make it through easily as well as the Houston Astros. Although if those other teams the Yankees and Red Sox made it that would be the series that people would want to watch. However it looks like the Indians will make it through and the rotation in Houston will be tough to play against, but they were just playing so either team could win.
On Friday we get a whole lot of baseball as the day begins at 2 PM when the ALDS continues then in the evening the National League Division Series begins at 7:30 PM on TBS as the Washington Nationals take on the Chicago Cubs in Washington. This is the first post season meeting between the two teams in the regular season Washington took the season series but the last time they played was back in early August. This game is followed by the Arizona Diamondbacks traveling to LA to face the Dodgers at around 10:30 PM and this looks like a tough series for the Dodgers as the past two series the D-backs swept the Dodgers. It’s the first time that these two have met in the postseason. So who knows how this series is actually going to go.
Experts are pulling for the Nationals and the Dodgers for a rematch of last years epic NLDS. Although there are some that are saying that the Cubs might get by the Nationals since they have played more meaningful games lately. I’m pulling for the Nationals and D-backs to advance since that looks like an easier series to win, but as long as the Nationals get into the Championship series I’d be happy.
Today the professional football season begins with New England facing off against Kansas City. Miami and Tampa Bay will have a bye week because of Irma heading towards Florida.
So New England will most likely go on and make the playoffs based on the previous several seasons as they try to win their ninth straight AFC East title.In the AFC North it will most likely end up between Pittsburgh, Baltimore or Cincinnati. The AFC South will be Houston with a slim chance for Indy. The AFC West is the biggest toss up for me right now It won’t be the new LA team for sure but Oakland, Kansas City and Denver might also be in the mix. So that’s 9 playoff teams for the AFC
NFC East will be won by some other team this year as no team has repeated as winner since 2004 perhaps the NY Giants will rise to the top this year, but it could be anyone but it should be anyone but Dallas. NFC North it seems like Green Bay is the safe choice but Minnesota and Detroit could have big seasons. NFC South has been the strongest division in the NFC producing the past two NFC Champions but both failed to win the Big Game will it be Atlanta or Carolina again or could Tampa Bay and New Orleans come up big. NFC West has been the Seattle show for the past couple of years but Arizona could have a shot as well. So that would make 12 NFC teams. I’m good at this picking thing.
As for the professional prognosticators have these as the winners AFC East: Patriots; AFC North: Pittsburgh; AFC South: Tennessee; AFC West: Oakland; NFC East: NY Giants; NFC North: Green Bay; NFC South: Atlanta; and in the NFC West: Seattle. For the Wild Cards it looks like Cincinnati and Kansas City in the AFC while in the NFC they have Dallas and four possible 9 win teams (Washington, Philly, Carolina and Tampa) that could claim the other spot. So they have the right number for the AFC but nine teams from the NFC.
Well the season started last Saturday with a “Week Zero” of games consisting of Hawaii traveling across the country and beating UMass, the biggest game of this week was Stanford tearing apart Rice in Sydney, Australia in a “Sydney Cup” game if this is going to continue I haven’t a clue. This upcoming weekend is the official kickoff of the season will Alabama once again make it to the Championship game or can someone else make it instead. Today Ohio State is the first real big team to begin their season. There are several other big games this weekend they are Alabama/FSU, Michigan/Florida, NC State/South Carolina, BYU/LSU, Virginia Tech/West Virginia and Tennessee/Georgia Tech these are all neutral site games and they look like big ones.
Most people are saying that the Playoff teams are already in the top 10 and it is widely speculated that some of the same teams will make it once again this year. If I had to fill out a bracket I’d pen in Alabama for sure although it seems like the odds are against Bama from a National Championship this year and I’d pencil in Ohio State along with Florida State/Clemson the biggest question is the other team in this quartet. SEC, Big 10 and ACC are represented but will it be the Big 12 or Pac 12 joining this year? The Big 12 now have a Championship game so there are better odds of them getting a team into the playoff discussion.
The SEC will be won by Alabama who will likely face Florida, Georgia or Tennessee in the SEC Championship game. I’ve got three teams from the East since who can tell from last year how this upcoming year will be everyone was big on Tennessee last year but they were hit with injuries and still played a decent season. Will Florida have an offense and is Georgia that good are still questions that need to be answered.
In the Big Ten experts are saying it’s a four team race with Ohio State, Penn State, Wisconsin and Michigan leading the way. Wisconsin only has to play Michigan this year so they have the best odds to make it to the Big Ten Championship game against one of the others.
In the Big 12 it boils down to Bedlam whoever wins that game will most likely will the Big 12 Championship. However when Tom Herman, who takes over in Austin has done good things after taking over a team. So perhaps Texas could be in the mix.
The ACC will once again feature the rematch of Clemson and Florida State and the long awaited Virginia Tech and Miami rivalry means something once again. These two game will decide who plays in the ACC Championship game.
In the Pac 12 it seems everyone is all in on USC to do big things some even have them going all the way to the National Championship game and winning it. The other team the make the Pac-12 Championship game has to be Washington or Stanford.
No huge shockers as the previous couple of year these seem to be safe choices. However the SEC, Big Ten, ACC and either Big 12 but more likely Pac-12 will be the final four teams.
First off this upcoming Tuesday is the All-Star game and once again it is a meaningless game as home field advantage will no longer be tied to who wins the game. Now the American League has been on a fairly long streak winning the past four games and having won 22 of the past 29 games. The game is in Miami so don’t expect many home runs, with Miami hosting it make Tampa Bay as the only current city who has not hosted an All-Star game and I believe they are going to need a new Stadium before that happens. Tampa Bay to Montreal?
Back before the season I made some blanket predictions with Boston, Cleveland, the Astros as well as perhaps the Rangers, Mariners or Blue Jays making the playoffs in the American League. As well as the Cubs, Nationals, Dodgers, Giants with perhaps the Mets or the Cardinals making the playoffs in the National League. Currently I’m sticking with the division winners in the AL but those wild cards teams not so much. The Yankees with Aaron Judge, presumptive AL Rookie of the Year, have become a contender to challenge the Red Sox as the season winds down along and the Tampa Bay Rays are keeping pace as well. The Indians also have some work to do as the Twins and Royals have been at their heels all season. In the NL it seems that the Nationals and Dodgers are the odd on favorites to win their divisions, yet the NL Central is a division anyone could win Brewers, Cubs, Cardinals even the Pirates and Reds have a chance to win it. However if the season ended today Arizona and Colorado would be playing in the Wild Card game. There is still so much more of the season left and anything could happen.
With the Tony Awards on this upcoming Sunday I was pleasantly surprised to see that Billboard is doing a bunch of Broadway articles this week. The most interesting one so far is on Tim Minchin, who did the music for Groundhog Day this year. previously he did the music for Matilda. It is unique as it look at the composition of one song and what inspired it. Now Minchin’s music in both of his musicals are pretty great. If you have some time and any interest in this topic take a look over on Billboard this week.
It’s a tougher year to pick what will win the major awards since there isn’t a single monolith like Hamilton this season on Broadway which will sweep everything. Over in the world of plays it’s really a two horse race for Best Play with Oslo or A Doll House Part 2 likely to win. For Revival while it would be great for August Wilson’s Jitney to win but it might be Little Foxes. In Musicals there is a good shot for all the shows nominated to win Best musical, sure Dear Evan Hansen has the most “buzz” about it but Come From Away could win since it’s about 9/11, yet Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812 is a completely different show, and Groundhog Day is a decent show as well. This is the same for all the writing awards as well. If I had to pick for Best Musical it would be between Come From Away and The Great Comet a show I’ve been a fan of the cast recording from their off-Broadway days. With music I hope that Tim Minchin finally wins but it will be close with Dave Malloy’s …Great Comet, I really hope that Pasek and Paul aren’t given it since they’ve become household names this year with their Oscar win. As for revival of a musical it’s going to be Hello Dolly.