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Down To The Wire

It’s hard to decide which sport to focus on yet again as football is getting going and baseball is coming to its most exciting part of the year, finally. I figure since there is still next Sunday before baseball’s regular season is officially over let’s start with the NFL this week.

Though it’s only going into the 3rd week of the season we can already take some things away from the NFL.

  1. The Seattle Seahawks will overcome their 0-2 start and push for a playoff spot although a division crown may be tough with Arizona out to a 2-0 start
  2. The Dallas Cowboys are 2-0 but will be without their starting QB (Tony Romo) and star WR (Dez Bryant) for the next few weeks so should cool off with 2 unbeaten teams in the next 4 weeks then Seattle; also you have to think the Philadelphia Eagles will find their offense at some point because Chip Kelly is too good not to make either Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez look good
  3. The AFC South has been completely flipped on its head with the Jacksonville Jaguars leading the division at 1-1 and the Indianapolis Colts at a woeful 0-2 but it will be interesting to see who finishes on top … also to note is that the Colts next 3 games are against their division foes which always add an extra level of toughness and intensity
  4. The New England Patriots and New York J-E-T-S are both 2-0 and looking solid so far this year with offense carrying the Pats and defense carrying the J-E-T-S … should be a good match-up when they finally see each other for the first time in Week 6
  5. My Chicago Bears are done this year, especially with the injury to our starting QB (Jay Cutler), but it’s been uglier than expected for new coach John Fox thus far … here’s hoping we get in the win column

Here are the top 3 intriguing games for me in Week 3:

  1. Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens – the Bengals are off to another hot start at 2-0 (though their problem has been getting a playoff win in recent years) and the Ravens fell last week to 0-2 with a loss at the Oakland Raiders so will Cincy come into Baltimore and keep it going or will the Ravens dig deep and get back to their game even though they are down star DE Terrell Suggs?
  2. Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins – the Bills focused a ton of effort on the New England Patriots last week, since coach Rex Ryan holds a deep hatred for them, but will he get his players refocused after the loss going into face a potentially touch team in the Dolphins at home?
  3. Kansas City Chiefs at Green Bay Packers – so it’s been documented that Aaron Rodgers hasn’t thrown a home interception in years but for some reason I feel it could come to an end this week as we know the Chiefs will try to manage the game plus Rodgers may be more inclined to throw with his RB (Eddie Lacy) out this week … but would it be more likely for the Chiefs to win in Lambeau or for them to simply pick off Rodgers there?

Now granted the NHL is only in preseason it’s great that it’s back and almost that time of year again. In most sports you see a handful of minutes per game with the normal starters on the field but in hockey preseason you actually get quality minutes and some intense play from everyone including the stars you want to see. Now the real action obviously starts in the a couple of weeks but I will always stand by my statement that the NHL playoffs are the most fun and intense professional sport playoffs to watch. Sure there’s something about a 2-minute drive to win it in the Superbowl or the bottom of the 9th in Game 7 of the World Series but the action in hockey is so fluid, fast and constant that things can change in a second and you’re constantly on the edge of your seat.

Finally onto baseball. While things aren’t quite set in stone just yet, we’ve got a pretty good idea of who will be playing in October:

AL

  • Toronto Blue Jays
  • New York Yankees
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Texas Rangers
  • Houston Astros

NL

  • New York Mets
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Pittsburgh Pirates
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Los Angeles Dodgers

The way it currently looks in the AL the New York Yankees will host the Houston Astros in a 1-game wild card and in the NL the Pittsburgh Pirates will host the Chicago Cubs in a 1-game wild card. Which brings me to my next point, the playoff ranking and system needs to be altered in MLB, badly.

Of course as a Cubs fan I am being extra critical of this because there is about to be cannibalism in the best division in baseball this year, the NL Central. The teams with the 3 best records in baseball are, in order, the St. Louis Cardinals, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs, all from the NL Central. The way the current scheme is set-up the division winners (NL East, NL Central and NL West) automatically move onto the next round (with STL being from the NL Central) and the next 2 best teams in the NL will face off in a 1-game wild card “series” to see who gets into the real playoffs (Pirates and Cubs). However it will also stand that the winner of the wild card game will face the St. Louis Cardinals so you get to the NLCS and only 1 team from the NL Central can even possibly remain although it was the strongest division in baseball.

This brings me to my other point, as if that isn’t bad enough, you play 162 games of baseball over 6+ months to, in the case of the Cubs/Pirates and Yankees/Astros, get the “privilege” to play 1 more game to see if you can get into the playoffs. This pretty much goes completely against the thinking of baseball where 1 game doesn’t make or break your season since it’s so long and everything is 3 or 4 game series. At least do them the courtesy of having a normal 3-game series even if it doesn’t move venues like all the other rounds do at least once to give both teams a home field advantage. /end rant

– Beard

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