The NFL Playoffs are back and it is bitter sweet. Football has a month before hibernation, but the best football games are all before us. The Texans and the Bills are starting it off. The worst game of the weekend, puts them on first and whets our appetite. The Texans are favored by -2.5 and the Bills are trying to end their drought of a post season win since 1995.
I am taking the Texans. I trust Deshaun Watson over Josh Allen. JJ Watt has made it back from “season-ending surgery”, which I respect. Pretty incredible that he is suiting up and hope that he has a great game. Also, I think the Texans have a better chance of beating the Ravens for next week. I am not super confident though, because the Texans are notorious for their wildcard exits.
The Dodgers were leading 4-0 and looked to be back in the series, until the Red Sox finally got their bats going and stormed back for a 9-6 win.
The Red Sox are good. Their ability to score with two outs is amazing. They are resilient and never out of a game. They continue their dominance and are coasting their way to their 4th championship this century. Which is incredible. Boston is title town. Between the Red Sox and the Patriots it is disgusting how many rings they have.
Texas is not all the way back
Texas lost last night to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Their return to dominance is looking more like a 3-5 year project, instead of an immediate turn around. Coach Herman has improved the program, but they need to figure out how to be more consistent. They shouldn’t have lost to either Maryland nor Oklahoma St. But, so goes college football. Everyone, besides Alabama, seems to lose to someone unexpected.
BYU should get comfortable with mediocrity
I’m not sure what the problem of BYU is, but they are becoming more and more irrelevant every year. The recruiting challenge of finding someone willing to adhere to the BYU standard pits them at a disadvantage. Utah being in the Pac 12 also hurts them. The fact that they don’t receive as much money for their football program is also hurting them. Also, that they are so limited in their coaching hires because of their religious requirements. It will be hard.
The World Series game last night was fun. All of it. As neither a Red Sox fan nor a Dodgers fan the outcome wouldn’t determine by enjoyment of the game. The game didn’t have a ton of offense… I mean each team averaged basically 1 run every nine innings. Which makes me think of a larger point. Is baseball too long? Do they need to shorten the game by speeding up gameplay? Putting timers on pitchers?
When you have 162 regular season games and you’re in the middle of July, and the game is 3 hours long, I can understand it. Analytics are having pitchers come in to pitch to one batter and using more pitchers every game it has increased the length of the game. I don’t enjoy all of those interruptions. I would prefer if they wouldn’t allow in inning pitchers to warm up on the mound. Send them in and make them pitch immediately. But, in post-season baseball? I am ok with all of it. When the result of the game has major impact on the baseball season I will enjoy all 440 minutes of it.
So the main point is, games aren’t either too long or too short, but what they are is entertaining or boring. Regular season games can be boring at times, but when the individual game has impactful meaning on the season, it is just more entertainment. Which is why I think that baseball should be lengthening their post season and minimizing their regular season. Because when a game matters, I don’t mind going to bed at 1:30 am, even though I have to wake up at 5am the next day for work. What an exciting game and hopefully after last night it leads to an exciting rest of the series.
Two weeks ago the Eagles mauled the Vikings as an underdog and paved their way to the Super Bowl. Their 38-7 win over the Vikings changed the narrative for the next two weeks. The Super Bowl betting line opened up at Patriots -5.5 and is currently down to -4.5. There have been multiple million dollar bets placed in Vegas on the Eagles to win outright or lose by less than 4.5 points. RJ Bell the public face of the Vegas sports books have come out and said that the majority of bets are placed on the Eagles. Everyone is getting caught up by that NFC Championship game where Nick Foles looked like a legitimate quarterback.
The analysis points out that the Eagles are going to be able to get pressure on Tom Brady without sending extra men because of the talent they have on the defensive line. Their offensive line rates well and they are an overall well rounded team. They were excellent at the QB position until Carson Wentz was hurt and Foles has played just well enough to win, until the NFC Championship where he was excellent. Their weakness has been in playing against athletic tight ends, struggling against the Chiefs’ Travis Kelce. The Eagles have won a lot of games this year by big margins. They aren’t as tested in close matchups and how they play from behind or in high pressure situations could be key.
The Patriots have the greatest coach and quarterback tandem of all time. They are well coached and execute better than anyone. People point out that the Eagles have a better overall roster, but Belichick and Brady have built up so much trust over the last 18 years that they are the favorites. Generally picking the team with the best quarterback isn’t a terrible choice, but this postseason has been an anomaly. Brady had to beat Mariota and Bortles to get to the Super Bowl. Brees, Ryan, Roethlisberger have all been eliminated and great defenses have won games. Even Brady had to have an amazing comeback to beat the Jaguars. The Patriots have been terrible in giving up yards, but good at keeping teams from scoring points. The Patriots situational defense will be key to keeping the Eagles to field goals and not touchdowns.
So how do you beat the Patriots? Hit Tom Brady with a normal 4 man pass rush. It has been repeated so many times it is now cliche. That scheme seems to work against all quarterbacks. If you hit the quarterback like Snoop Dogg hits the hippie lettuce you are going to minimize his impact on the game and give yourself a chance to win. Brady has learned from those Super Bowl losses and can handle that pressure. He gets rid of the ball quicker and has such excellent timing with his receivers he can minimize the damage of an effective pass rush and that is why I am taking the Pats to win by more than 4.5 points. Nick Foles won’t be able to repeat his performance against the Vikings, he’ll remember he is a back up quarterback and play like one. Brady and Belichick get their 6th Super Bowl trophy together and Brady joins Michael Jordan and Babe Ruth as the greatest of the greats.