There are two weeks left in this football season, and as the year dwindles down so goes my chances of perfection. Last week was one of my best weeks yet as I managed to select 12 correct games out of the 16, and I hope to build on that success as I race towards a perfect week. This week starts with a Christmas Eve matchup of the Raiders and the Chargers, I expect the Raiders to start their Christmas on a happy note with a big win. Saturday’s game features two teams vying for the NFC East title, with the Eagles facing the Redskins. I expect the Eagles to win the game and to keep their playoff chances alive. On the Sunday after Christmas the NFL gave to me, a full slate of action packed games. In the first Sunday game the Dolphins will defeat the Colts in a close one, the Buccaneers will defeat the Bears, and the Chiefs will dismantle the Browns in a blowout. In a northeastern grudge match between the Jets and the Patriots, I expect the Patriots to come home with a win. The Cowboys will defeat the Bills, the Panthers will beat the Falcons by a large margin, and the Lions will defeat the 49ers. The Texans will defeat the Titans in a shockingly playoff relevant game, and the Steelers will defeat their long time rival Ravens. The late afternoon games look to be quite exciting, even though all of the teams playing are not in playoff contention. In the first game, the electrifying Jaguars offense will win big against the porous Saints defense, the second game will be a defensive battle but the stronger Seahawks will defeat the Rams, and in the final afternoon matchup the Cardinals will defeat the Packers in a very close game. The Sunday night game features the Vikings and the Giants, and while my head wants to pick the Vikings, I must go with my fandom and choose the Giants, hopefully they can keep the playoff hope alive. In the final game of the week, we have a Monday night matchup of the Bengals and the Broncos, while both of these teams are playoff bound, injuries have considerably hurt their team depth. I expect the Broncos to win this game due to their strong defense, however this game will have an incredibly low combined score. There is only one week to go after this one, I think this week seems like a perfect time for a perfect week. Merry Christmas Everyone, enjoy the games.
The Heisman Memorial Trophy ceremony took place last night in New York City. The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding college football player of the season, based on the votes of qualified sports writers and former trophy winners. While there are thousands of players eligible for the trophy, finalists are chosen based on the number of votes they receive. The three finalists for this year’s trophy were Alabama’s Derrick Henry, Clemson’s Deshaun Watson, and Stanford’s Christian McCaffrey, all three of these players were outstanding all season. Early in the season it was almost certain than Leonard Fournette of LSU would be the runaway Heisman winner, but after his poor performance in a game at Alabama, Derrick Henry became the consensus favorite. Henry won the Heisman in a landslide, but I don’t think the voters got it right. While Henry’s play was tremendous, the Heisman is generally awarded to the best player who has the biggest impact on the best team, and that player in my eyes was Deshaun Watson. Watson lead the nation’s best team to an undefeated season, and he did everything you could ask a quarterback to do. Watson’s leadership was impeccable and his numbers were terrific, but he only managed to gain 148 first place votes to Henry’s 378. McCaffrey also played extremely well this season, but he suffered from the fact that most voters rarely get a chance to see the games played on the west coast live. Derrick Henry had a fantastic season and he definitely put up numbers deserving of the Heisman Trophy, I just think the voters should be required to pay closer attention to the players at the top of their list in order to make the best informed votes. Henry was great for most of the season, but Watson was perfect for the entire year. Now that the season has finally come to an end and the awards have been given out, Deshaun Watson will have a chance in the playoffs to prove that he should have had more Heisman votes, while Derrick Henry will be tasked with proving that he deserved the honor of raising this prestigious trophy.
Donald Trump is actually running for the Republican Presidential nomination, and I am just as shocked as anyone to see that he is legitimately following through with this proposed plan to be the next president. Trump is a famous businessman and pseudo-celebrity, who is known for having a loud mouth and speaking his “mind,” and while that works from a television standpoint, it is not exactly the ideal persona for the President of the United States. Donald Trump has more skeletons than anyone who has ever attempted to be president, and he is not even trying to hide them. Trump is trying to appeal to a section of the country that is fed up with being “politically correct’ and he seems to be succeeding mightily, but I feel as though this is all a huge social experiment or plot. It is clear that many people are tired of politicians so people like Trump are getting more attention than necessary, but can anyone honestly believe the ideas he is proposing? Some of the policies Trump speaks of directly violate the constitution and can be seen as extremely inflammatory. I understand that there are many that share views with “the Donald,” but in order for the country to succeed most people would have to agree with the leader, at least at the start of his campaign. I don’t think Donald Trump is honestly serious about his presidential run, because above all else, he is a businessman. This candidacy has brought enough publicity to fuel Trump’s interests for the next few decades, and the odd and sometimes outlandish opinions he has expressed have galvanized many to speak their minds. Trump knows this country is not a personal business, so I’m sure he will just continue to use politics to further his net worth before dropping out of the race, holding the affection of an impressionable voter base and the ability to give a huge endorsement.
The retirement of legendary athletes, such as Kobe Bryant and Derek Jeter was inevitable, and while athletes of the past have generally faded into obscurity, these two are dead set on keeping their names in sports. Once Derek Jeter retired he created a publication that is basically an open forum for athletes to voice their opinions and beliefs directly to fans. The Player’s Tribune, gives professional athletes unlimited space to speak on whatever topic they feel is important, but as we have seen with Twitter, that is not always a great idea. So far little controversy has come from the Tribune, but since players now have their own forum to address fans, they are starting to lock out sports media. The lockout of sports writers is in effect is taking a massive toll on what we consider legitimate writing, and giving rise to sites like TMZ. What was once a case of a reporter walking up to an athlete and asking a question has now been reduced to tabloids speculating on what players do with their nightlife, and this is all due to the fact that some of these athletes have become too pompous to speak to a reporter. I am not fully on the side of reporters because they can sometimes create a story that is not there, but when athletes make a reporters job difficult, sometimes the only way to get a story is to make one up. I understand the idea behind The Player’s Tribune, and now that it is being backed by both Derek Jeter and Kobe, it will get more publicity, but I think athletes should be careful about locking out reporters. Reporters may have a reputation to uphold, but when they start losing their jobs to a player run site, they may start using some underhanded tactics to break that big story nobody should have heard about.
Yesterday, a terrible event took place in the streets of Paris. Several terrorists launched a series of attacks on innocent people, in an effort to destabilize the country of France. There is really not much that can be said about such a disposable act, and there doesn’t seem to be much of a way to predict or prevent these horrible things from happening, but every country needs to band together to try and stop terrorism at its root. It is hard to pinpoint the cause of radicalization, but something must be done to end the shedding of innocent blood. The attacks of yesterday show that humanity has a long way to go as a race. It is a shame that this world is becoming such that people can not enjoy a walk in the park or a ball game without looking over their shoulders, but we must continue to live as normal to show terrorist that we are not afraid. The resolve of France is strong, and the people of this planet will continue to help each other get through terrible tragedies such as this one. I know it has been said by many, but today we all stand with France against the travesty of terrorism. I am sure that one day we will all be free from the lunatics that wish to bring chaos into the lives of everyday people once and for all.
The Kansas City Royals are the 2015 Wold Series Champions. This scrappy bunch of players finally completed the goal they planned to accomplish in the 2014 season, and that was to bring home a world championship. It is rare these days for a team to make it to the World Series two years in a row, but the Royals defied the odds, and managed to not only make it once again, but to win it all. Last year, the Royals were eliminated in dramatic fashion during the final game of the World Series, so this year they managed to leave little room for the same outcome. The Royals won in five games and made sure each win showcased the strength of their late game bats. In my World Series preview post, I said the Royals must keep the Mets score low in order to allow for their usual late game heroics, and that is exactly how they managed to win the series. The Royals were trailing in every game played during this series, but their “never say die” attitude caused them to be able to defy the odds, and be crowned champions. I definitely want to congratulate the Royals on a stellar season, and as a Yankee fan, thank them for saving me from hearing the Mets fans of New York berating my team. The Royals are a very good team, and now they have a trophy to show for it. With the talent the Royals possess, I imagine that they will be playing in the championship series for many years to come.
I recently read a news report about a teenager in Oregon who was recently diagnosed with the Bubonic plague. This story seemed as a shock to me since I fully believed that this disease was extinct, but it seems like it has managed to hang around, we have just found advanced ways of treating it. The Bubonic plague is a disease that is commonly heard of in history class, it was known in Europe as the Black Death due to the effects it has on the human body. Back when the Bubonic plague was at the height of its devastation, it killed one third of the known population of earth. In the 14th century this plague was a certain death sentence and there was nothing anybody could do to save themselves or the ones they loved. Today, we know that the bubonic plague is spread by fleas and rodents, and we have drastically improved in our cleanliness since the Middle Ages, we also have antibiotics that can fight the effects of the plague, leaving it little chance to cause the damage it once did. It is astounding to think of how far we have come in terms of medical and hygienic technology, hopefully we will be able to look at all disease as ghosts of the past one day. Only 23 people have contracted the bubonic plague in the United States from the year 2010 to 2014, so it seems like this disease is well contained. This girl’s case is rare and unfortunate, but at least she has a cool story to tell her friends when she recovers.
It has been 107 years since the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series Championship, and despite the team’s persistent futility, they always seem to have enough fans willing to root them on year after year. The Chicago Cubs have the longest drought between championships that any active professional team has ever seen, and whether it is by a curse, by error, or by act of fan, this team has managed to lose in seven World Series since their last. I am a Yankee fan, and I am relatively young, so I honestly don’t know what it feels like to go more than ten years between championships, but I can imagine that Cubs fans are elated to see that their team is literally eight games away from finally winning once again. The Cubs are quite possibly the hottest team in baseball at the moment, I know there are only four teams left, and that all four are playing incredibly inspired baseball, but the Cubs have one thing that all of the other team’s lack, and that is a “mad genius” manager in Joe Madden. Madden has seemed to find a way to galvanize this young and talented Cubs team to a level that has them believing they are not just capable of winning it all, but also into believing that whoever wants to win must go through them. Aside from the talent on the field, the Cubs also now have the general manager who was responsible for breaking the 86 year “curse” on the Red Sox and bringing them a World Series title so I would say history is on their side. If all of the facts about the Cubs don’t quite make the case for their possible World Series Championship, we also have the fact that the movie Back to the Future II predicted that they would finally win it all in this, the year 2015. I am fully on the bandwagon of the Cubs, they are a fun team to watch and a talented bunch. I would be glad to see the misery end in Chicago, and a World Series Championship trophy raised high in the north side of the Windy City.
Fantasy football is a fickle little game. I posted before about how fantasy football has gained a significant following in recent years, and along with that following has come the online gambling that is weekly fantasy games. Weekly fantasy football leagues are the heavily advertised and not at all regulated flavor of the week. If you have ever watched any sporting event or even turned on a television show that is geared towards millennials, you probably have seen the countless ads for Fanduel and Draftkings, which are the two competing fantasy for money websites. These companies advertise a chance to win millions for dollars, by simply picking your favorite players and enjoying the games you love, but this week both companies have come under fire for the actions of their employees. An employee of Draftkings won $350,000 from Fanduel after leaking sensitive information about player ratings, then using that data to his benefit. The knowledge this employee had on players and the similarity of the two companies gave this individual a distinct and unfair advantage over his competition. Both fantasy companies have since barred their employees from playing on either site, but there are more issues with these games than just “insider trading.” The problem with these fantasy sports betting sites is that they are completely unregulated. I am not the biggest fan of government regulation, but these companies are controlling way too much money to be able to freely share data with employees who have a chance to make a financial gain from it. Many people have called these websites the new stock market, I just hope this whole fantasy sports betting thing doesn’t get out of hand. Too many people have too much at stake when it comes to sports betting and this whole ordeal may run them the wrong way. I expect some sort of regulation to come out of this mess within the next few months, but until then, I would be wary of putting money into fantasy sports.
I tried my luck at getting a perfect week, but unfortunately I went 11 for 15 on my week four picks. While 11 correct isn’t too bad, I’m sure I can manage to do better. Here is my shot at perfection. Week five is when teams begin to know who they are, and while every team is still technically in contention, this week is when we start to separate the “contenders” from the “pretenders.” In tonight’s game I have the weaker Texans defeating the heavily injured Colts. The Bills will bounce back and beat the Titans, the Ravens will defeat the Browns, and the Chiefs will win an easy one against the Bears. The Bengals offense will be too much for the strong defense of the Seahawks and they will manage to win, while the Packers will continue to roll in a win over the Rams. In the inter-Floridian matchup of two of the league’s weakest teams, the Buccaneers will defeat the Jaguars, and the Saints will stomp all over the hapless Eagles. The Falcons will beat the Redskins, the Cardinals will win over the Lions, and the Broncos will easily defeat the Raiders. I have chosen against the Cowboys every week, and with their current injury issues, and the fact that they are facing the league’s most impressive team, I would be a fool to choose them now. The Patriots will blow out the Cowboys this week. As for the prime time games the Giants, who have played extremely well over the past couple of weeks, will win against the 49ers in a very close game, and the Steelers will manage to get back to their roots of running the football in order to defeat the Chargers. Well there you have it for my week 5 picks, I am not 100 percent confident in my Thursday night pick but I think this has a great chance of being a perfect week.