June 18, 2013
There is another month of baseball to play before the MLB All-Star break so we should know who is good and who isn’t at this point, but I’ll bet there isn’t anyone out there who would have guessed that the best teams during the month of June would be Kansas City, Toronto, San Diego and Oakland. Meanwhile, teams like the Yankees, Rangers and Dodgers are struggling. Where will that leave those teams in today’s power rankings?
1. St. Louis Cardinals (44-25): As a Cubs fan, you never want to see the Cardinals at the top of the list but there’s no denying they have the best record in baseball and are +102 in run differential.
3. Cincinnati Reds (42-28): If the Reds were in any other division, they’d be in first place.
4. Oakland A’s (42-29): The A’s have made a huge jump from the 15 spot a month ago. That’s what an 18-7 record will do for you.
5. Boston Red Sox (42-29): Boston leads the majors in runs scored with 363.
6. Texas Rangers (38-31): Just like the end of last season, the Rangers have been caught by Oakland.
8. Baltimore Orioles (40-30): Baltimore has quietly taken the lead in the wild card race and pulled within just 1.5 games of Boston.
9. Arizona Diamondbacks (37-32): I don’t think anyone expected the Diamondbacks to be leading the NL West at this point.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates (41-28): Forget about finishing over .500…the Pirates are on pace to finish close to .600.
11. New York Yankees (38-31): Could this be the beginning of the end for the Yankees. They’ve lost ground in the AL East and wild card races.
13. San Diego Padres (36-34): Seven straight wins will and the Padres are back in the hunt after a 2-10 to the season.
14. Tampa Bay Rays (36-33): Wil Myers has been called up. Now let’s see what he can do.
15. Kansas City Royals (34-34): The Royals have been the best team in baseball, going 12-4 in June.
16. Washington Nationals (34-35): It’s turning into a disappointing season in the capital. The Nats better get back on track soon or it will be too late.
17. Cleveland Indians (34-35): Here’s a team that has really cooled off and is just 5-10 in June.
18. San Francisco Giants (35-34): The Giants will have to do better than 14-22 on the road if they want to defend their title.
19. Toronto Blue Jays (33-36): The Jays have six wins in a row and are climbing out of a big hole.
20. Philadelphia Phillies (34-37): The Phillies are second in the majors in quality starts but don’t have much to show for it.
21. Minnesota Twins (30-36): The Twins are near the bottom in just about every pitching category. Not good.
22. LA Dodgers (29-39): Talk about a wasted season…nobody is farther away from next-to-last in their division than the Dodgers.
23. LA Angels (31-39): Here is another team that was supposed to contend and has let their fans down.
24. Milwaukee Brewers (28-40): It’s going to be a dead heat with the Cubs for last place in the NL Central.
25. Chicago Cubs (28-40): It’s going to be a dead heat with the Brewers for last place in the NL Central.
27. Chicago White Sox (29-38): It looks like it will be a tight race for worst team in Chicago.
28. New York Mets (25-40): The Mets are making a strong run towards the worst record in baseball with a 3-10 start in June.
29. Houston Astros (26-45): An 8-8 record so far this month is a big improvement for the AL West newcomers.
30. Miami Marlins (22-47): The Marlins are playing better, posting an 8-6 record so far this month.
August 23, 2012
One year ago, I went three-for-four picking NFL division champs and my Super Bowl team was a last-second missed field goal away from sending the AFC Championship game to overtime. What will happen this season? Only time and reading the rest of this article will tell.
Is it just me or does it feel like there is a changing of the guard happening here? It has been a two-horse race with New England on top with the Jets right behind in the wild card race for the last few seasons. That changes in 2012 because the Buffalo Bills have come to crash the party. Buffalo went on a major spending spree during the offseason and built what could be the best defensive line in the league. If they get a solid season from Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Bills will be in the playoff conversation in December. The Jets will be the most talked about team in the league. But not for the right reasons. Tebowmania has come to New York and already chased one quarterback out of town. This is still Tom Brady’s division but now it will be the Bills trying to keep pace.
Division winner: New England
Three AFC North teams went to the playoffs in 2011 with just the Browns staying home. That won’t happen again. Cleveland had a franchise-altering offseason though, drafting stud running back Trent Richardson and bringing in rookie Brandon Weeden to be the quarterback of the future. There is too much drama already going on in Pittsburgh. Some important players are still banged up. Mike Wallace is still holding out and the team can’t go more than a day or two without a fight at camp. Suddenly, the Bengals look like the team of the future in the North with new quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green leading the way. But this year it will go through Baltimore. The Ravens have several veterans looking for one more shot at a ring after falling just short of the Super Bowl last year.
Division winner: Baltimore
Things can change a lot in a year. The Colts have relinquished their stranglehold on the South and put their future in the hands of Andrew Luck. That leaves the South as Houston’s division to lose. The Texans finally made the jump to division champs last year and may have gone to the Super Bowl if Matt Schaub could have played in the playoffs. If he and Andre Johnson can stay on the field all year, there will be at least one playoff game in Texas in January. The Jaguars and Titans have given the keys to sophomore quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Jake Locker. This could be a real interesting division for years to come with three young quarterbacks going at it. Not much drama in 2012 though.
Division winner: Houston
It’s not very often that a division champion wins a playoff game and then trades its starting quarterback. It’s also not very often that one of the best quarterbacks to ever play becomes available. Peyton Manning replaces Tim Tebow in Denver and will be the story of the West in 2012. It will be the most competitive division in 2012 just like it was in 2011 when everyone but the Chiefs went 8-8 and Kansas City was 7-9. It could come down to Peyton Manning, Darren McFadden, Jamal Charles and Antonio Gates. Who stays healthy? Who has a down year? Who regains their form and has a monster season? We won’t have a winner until week 17 when Oakland goes to San Diego and Kansas City visits Denver.
Division winner: Denver
Wild Card winners: Kansas City, Cincinnati
AFC champion: Houston
April 25, 2012
The 2012 NFL draft is now just hours away, and a handful of teams are set to hit the jackpot this season.
Some of the teams that will have success in this year’s draft had a lackluster 2011 campaign but hit a home run in free agency to set themselves up nicely for the April 26 draft. Others had a phenomenal 2011 season and are afforded the luxury of a draft full of options and calculated risks.
Fans following these teams will have big smiles on their faces along with high expectations for the upcoming season.
The St. Louis Rams Have Already Had Success by Trading Down in the 2012 Draft
The St. Louis Rams have done nothing but cultivate a winning franchise this offseason.
Despite a 2-14 2011 season, the Rams made an intelligent decision by hiring new head coach Jeff Fisher. Fisher brings a proven track record, winning attitude and an automatic jump start to the stumbling franchise.
He also helped lure free-agent cornerback Cortland Finnegan to the team, who gives the Rams defense an identity.
Now the Rams turn to the draft, where they’ve already swapped the No. 2 pick with the Washington Redskins for the No. 6 pick. In doing so, the Rams also picked up another second-round pick this season.
That means the Rams will have three picks within the top 40—not bad for a franchise looking to turn things around.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Fans Should Be Ecstatic
Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans should be more than happy right now thanks to the franchise making a splash in the offseason.
With the signings of offensive lineman Carl Nicks, wide receiver Vincent Jackson and cornerback Eric Wright, the Bucs drastically improved in free agency. This allows the team to draft players without depending on them to make an instant impact in 2012.
With the No. 5 overall selection and six picks in total, the Bucs have the opportunity to return to their winning ways of 2010, when they finished 10-6.
Certainly fans will expect the Bucs’ first-round pick to make a good first impression, but the pressure on that player is radically reduced by the teams’ free-agent signings.
Although 2011 was a season to forget, 2012 should be one to remember for the Buccaneers.
With a Strong Draft the Kansas City Chiefs Will Be a Playoff Team in 2012
The Kansas City Chiefs were decimated by injuries in 2011 but will be playoff contenders in 2012.
With the signings of Peyton Hillis and Eric Winston in free agency, the Chiefs set themselves up for a prominent draft. The team has eight picks in total and can afford to draft the best available player with its first three picks.
The Chiefs will look like a completely new squad in 2012, so fans should be pumped.
The Philadelphia Eagles Have Plenty to Look Forward to in the 2012 Draft
With nine picks in the 2012 Draft, the Philadelphia Eagles are bound to get better.
After a 2011 season where nothing short of a Super Bowl appearance was expected, success in 2012 is a must for the franchise and it all begins with the draft.
The Eagles have five picks in the first four rounds, including two second-round selections. With these picks the Eagles will likely look to improve with a big wide receiver and an offensive lineman.
Eagles’ fans should be excited for 2012 as they look to erase the disappointment of 2011.
The Cincinnati Bengals Will Continue to Make a Statement with the 2012 Draft
The Cincinnati Bengals are setting themselves up for success for years to come.
Not only did they make the playoffs in 2011, but they now have nine draft picks in 2012. These picks include No. 17 and No. 21 of the first round. And with these picks coming so close together, the Bengals can draft a combination of needs, like an offensive lineman and a running back.
The Bengals franchise will solidify itself as a contender with a dynamite draft in 2012.
The Green Bay Packers Will Do Nothing but Improve with 12 Draft Picks in 2012
Although the Green Bay Packers didn’t finish with the championship belt in 2011, they won 15 games in the regular season.
Just when NFC North opponents didn’t need the Packers to continuously improve, the Packers have 12 draft picks in 2012. Even better for the Packers, six of those picks are within the first four rounds of the draft.
This gives the Packers plenty of chances to make another run at the Super Bowl next season—watch out!
March 30, 2012
Opening Day for the 2012 MLB season is April 5 and this season promises to be one for the ages. While there are many teams that are expected to win, there are a few that are currently flying under the radar. Although merely forgotten about at the moment, these teams will be known and feared by all at the end of the season.
These teams are filled with youth who have just enough experience to make an impact for the entire 162 game season. Baseball fans should expect to see an abundance of these teams’ gear hit the streets of America by the time October rolls around.
Here are the 2012 MLB teams who will surprise all:
Kansas City Royals: This team may be the most talented young team in all of baseball. At 27 years old, Gold Glove outfielder Alex Gordon is the elder statesmen of the bunch. DH Billy Butler was once compared to Bo Jackson and is only 25 years old. Now considered veterans, these guys look to lead the way for the ridiculous talent on this team.
First baseman Eric Hosmer is going to be great this season. In 128 games in 2011, he hit .293 with 19 homers and 78 RBI. This season, don’t be surprised when Hosmer hits .315 with 30 homers and 99 RBI. 2012 is the season where he’s propelled into a superstar.
Along with Hosmer, the Royals have young third baseman Mike Moustakas—who’s only 23 years old. In 89 games in his rookie season of 2011, Moustakas struggled early, but finished strong. He ended with a .263 batting average but batted .352 in September.
Moustakas will pick up where he left off in 2011. In total, he’ll bat at least .280 with 80 RBIs this upcoming season.
With the All-Star game being played in Kansas City this season, Moustakas will make a case for himself to be among the game’s best at the mid-summer classic.
Washington Nationals: How could this team be left of this list? Stud pitcher Stephen Strasburg has recovered from injury and will be the Opening Day starter. The team also has up-and-coming talent in first baseman Michael Morse, catcher Wilson Ramos, closer Drew Storen and a 19-year-old kid by the name of Bryce Harper.
Although Harper has yet to play a game in the big leagues and won’t make the Opening Day roster, he’ll get his cup of coffee in “The Show” sooner than later. His meteoric rise to fame began a few years ago when he left high school early to go play college ball at the age of 16. Baseball hasn’t had this much surrounding a kid’s debut in the majors since “The Kid” himself—Ken Griffey Jr. Needless to say, expectations are enormous for Harper, but everything he’s done thus far is solid proof why he’s a prodigy.
With a bolstered pitching staff with the likes of Edwin Jackson and Gio Gonzalez, the Nationals are nothing to scoff at—they’ll be contenders this season.
Keep your eye on these teams as the season progresses. Can’t wait for the two sweetest words of all—“Play Ball.”
December 6, 2011
It takes a combination of things to win in the NFL. Certainly you need talented players, but you also need great coaching, timing, and a little luck doesn’t hurt either.
When the Denver Broncos inserted Tim Tebow as their starting quarterback over Kyle Orton, they were 1-4. With Tebow at the helm they have gone 6-1. Is Tebow that good? Is Orton that bad? I say no to both. Instead, I say the Denver Broncos are the luckiest team in the NFL.
Tim Tebow’s “magic” is getting all the credit for the wins Denver has pulled out in the fourth quarter. While Tebow does deserve credit for helping the team win, nobody in their right mind can believe he has made one of the worst teams in the league into one of the best by himself.
The Broncos have been extremely lucky in every win since Tebow took over. Let’s look at each win.
Denver 18, Miami 15 in overtime
The Broncos didn’t score until there was just under three minutes left in the game. Then they recovered an onside kick and scored again and then converted a two-point try. It takes some luck for all those plays to go their way. Of course it helps when you are facing a winless team. Then the defense wins the game for them in overtime when D.J. Williams forced and recovered a Matt Moore fumble. The Broncos had so little faith in Tebow they didn’t even try to pick up a first down and settled for a 52-yard field goal try, which was good.
Denver 38, Oakland 24
You never know what you are going to get from the Raiders. But I know that when you bring in a quarterback to a new team after not playing football for a year and he throws three interceptions, that’s not good. Take away their best offensive weapon in Darren McFadden and add 15 penalties for 130 yards to that and the Raiders aren’t beating anyone.
Denver 17, Kansas City 10
Tebow completes two passes in this game. Two. But the Broncos win because Kansas City is embarrassingly inept on offense. The Chiefs have scored 35 points total in their last five games. Of course, part of the Chiefs problem is losing their best offensive player, Jamaal Charles, for the season.
Denver 17, New York Jets 13
Just when you think the Broncos schedule couldn’t get any better, they get to host the Jets (one of their toughest opponents) on a short week. I’m not sure why, but teams that have to fly all the way across the country on a short week almost never win. Did I mention the Jets played without their top two running backs?
Denver 16, San Diego 13 in overtime
This is not the Chargers team we are used to seeing. They came into this game on a five-game skid and found a way to lose another one. Missing a field goal in the fourth quarter and another one in overtime is a good way to blow a game.
Denver 35, Minnesota 32
It’s another win against a team playing without its best offensive weapon. The Vikings didn’t have Adrian Peterson but still managed to score 32 points. And on the one week when Tebow actually needs to throw the ball, he is playing a team with five players from its secondary on IR. Tebow had receivers that were so wide open there wasn’t a defender in the picture when they caught the ball. It doesn’t hurt to have a rookie quarterback throw a terrible interception to give Denver a cheap field goal to win the game either.
Denver vs. Chicago
So to recap, the Broncos have beaten a winless team, a team with a rusty quarterback still learning the offense and teammates, a team that cannot score, a team traveling cross-country on a short week, a team on a five-game losing streak, and a team with no secondary. And they didn’t have to face McFadden, Charles, Shonn Greene or Peterson. If that’s not good luck, then I don’t know what is.