Bets that should have won week 3

Giants beat the Buccaneers with a rookie QB. Took Tampa Bay

The matchup between Tampa Bay and New York was the definition of gambling  gone wrong. A rookie Quarterback on the road versus a well-rested Buccaneers team coming off of a huge upset victory over the Panthers. 

Jamies Winston came out firing, finding his number one target Mike Evans for 135 yards and three touchdowns in the first half! Tampa Bay took a 28- 10 lead into half time. This game was not only over but the -6 cover was a given.  No way a rookie Quarterback is going to lead a comeback victory on the road when their best player Saquon Barkley is no longer a part of the game plan. 

The Buccaneers then decided that it was time to be the Buccaneers.  Despite their dominance through the air Byron Leftwich decided it was time to lean on a non-existent run game.  Instead of relying on what was working they decided to go in the opposite direction.  Not many would agree with leaning your game plan on Jameis Winston, but it was working!

Daniel Jones went on to torch the Buccaneers along with our dreams of covering.  Jones became the first ever rookie quarterback to throw for 300 yards, touch owns and run for two touchdowns.  The media will play up Jones as a savior of New York Giants football. While he killed me this weekend, I will be fading him next week.  

Panthers win without Cam. Took Arizona +2.5

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals were at home, the Panthers were without their Quarterback.  Arizona was coming off of two large late game comebacks versus the Ravens and Lions.  The momentum of Arizona rightfully put them as the favorite.  The Cardinals were going to face Kyle Allen, an undrafted free agent out of Houston. 

The Cardinals fast paced offense was supposed to lead to big points, the pace worked against Arizona as Allen was able to pick them apart utilizing CMC and the ageless wonder Greg Olsen. Arizona has a strong future ahead of them but they let us down in week 3 and continue tough matchups in week 4. 

Seahawks lose at home to a backup QB. Took Seattle -4

I had two locks this week. The first of those being the Seahawks at home -4 versus the New Orleans Saints without Drew Brees.  This was a game that I though Vegas had lost its mind. The Seahawks were coming off of two victories in a row where they dominated on the offensive end.  Seattle was playing at home against a Quarterback that hadn’t played a full game in like two years.  

Seattle decided to pick this weekend to lay an egg.  Literally seems like Chris Carson believes the ball is an egg and it can only stay safe on the turf. New Orleans showed up on defense and special teams allowing Teddy Bridgewater to play the role of game manager.  New Orleans got a boost from their ancillary pieces, something they cannot rely on in the weeks to come.  

Seattle’s defense is not what I thought they would be when they picked up Jadaveon Clowney, continually giving up big plays.  Their offense makes for a great matchup for week 4 when they face the Cardinals.

MLB Overreaction for each Division

NL East: Braves are not going to compete for the division.

Atlanta got swept over the weekend by the new look Philadelphia Phillies. The reigning NL East Champs have dealt with some injuries to their rotation to start the season including 2018 All-Star Mike Foltynewciz and Kevin Gausman.  Atlanta was forced to start Bryce Wilson and #2 ranked prospect of 2018 Kyle Wright in 2 of 3 games in Philadelphia. Wright was able to show off some of the skills that made him a top prospect the Braves bats were held in check by Jake Arrietta Sunday night to cap off the series sweep.

The Braves had a tough matchup to start the season versus the revamped Phillies in a city that was already hyped because well its philly.  Atlanta’s offense will carry the load early as they wait for the injury bug to work out.

NL West: Padres will compete for the division.

San Diego was able to take 2 of 3 from the rebuilding San Francisco Giants in San Francisco making us all wonder maybe they are more than just a young team with some promise in the future.  Will Myers and Eric Hosmer went a combined 10 for 26 in the series, both will be heavily looked upon to provide protection for the newly acquired franchise player Manny Machado. 

Pitching was the story for San Diego as Eric Lauer, Joey Luchessi and rookie Chris Paddack combined for a 1.80 ERA in 16.1 combined innings.  If the Padres starting pitching can continue to perform they may have a shot to compete in a top heavy NL West. 

They did face the Giants though so I wouldn’t count on it.

NL Central: Cardinals need to sign Craig Kimbrel and Dallas Keuchel

Rabid wolverines..oops I mean Cardinals fans are not happy after a tough 1-3 start to the season. The Cardinals were supposed to have the best rotation in the NL Central but that is not how if worked out against the powerful Brewers lineup.  Miles Mikolas, Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson combined of a 7.84 ERA over their first three starts. No what most thought but remember it is week one.

Now the bullpen.  The dream lineup of Alex Reyes, Andrew Miller and Jordan Hicks were supposed to be the “big three” in the backend of the bullpen.  They combined to blow a 3-run lead on Sunday causing panic in within Cardinals nation. 

Overreacting by signing Keuchel and Kimbrel will backfire for a team that just needs to be patient and allow their young arms to develop in season.

AL East: The Orioles may not lose 100 games.

The Orioles took 2 of 3 from the New York Yankees in New York!  Obviously the Orioles are going to come out of nowhere and compete in the AL East.  Baltimore winning the opening series versus the Yankees is almost quarter of the wins most people expected them to have in 2019.

The Orioles started their season better than most thought.  Sadly they will come down to earth very quickly.

AL West: Mariners are the best in the west.

Anyone notice the Mariners are 5-1 after taking 3 of 4 from the world champion Boston Red Sox?  The Mariners made more moves in the offseason then a 12 year old playing MLB the show for the first time.  Literally moving on from their best starter, reliever and hitter from the 2018 season. Seattle quietly picked up a potential impact bat with Domingo Santana but their hot start isn’t going to last.  Seattle will do what they always do and stay in it enough to let their fans believe that they have a chance and then completely bomb in the end.

Seattle can hit and they will hit but they pitching will not be able to keep up for long.

AL Central: Indians are not going to hit

The returning Carlos Santana went 5 for 10 in the opening series versus the Minnesota Twins. Outside of Santana thought he Indians did not look great at the plate during their first series.  The rest of the Indians had a total of 7 hits the entire series.  The injury to Fransisco  Lindor will hurt the offense but the struggles of Jose Ramirez has fans very worried about the potential of this offense.

Cleveland fans can worry for now but eventually Ramirez will find his way and the supporting cast is there for a reason.  This team will hit, just have to be patient.

NL West Preview and Prediction

LA Dodgers

Key Additions- AJ Pollock, Russell Martin, Joe Kelly

Key Subtractions- Yasiel Puig, Alex Wood, Yasmani Grandal and Matt Kemp

Lineup

The Dodgers finally moved on from Yasiel Puig after a lengthy run of talking about it. His replacement former Diamondback AJ Pollock has a history of injuries but If healthy can be just as productive as the departed while not bringing the drama.  The Dodgers were also able to bring back catcher Russell Martin to replace the departed Yasmani Grandal.  The veteran Martin will help a pitching staff that will be without ace Clayton Kershaw to start the season. The flexibility for manager Dave Roberts will be a huge asset Max Muncy, Enrique Hernandez, David Freese, Chris Taylor and Cody Bellinger all can play multiple positions which will allow for a lot of good matchups.  The lineup will miss Grandal’s power but a healthy Corey Seager could fill in the missing power.

Rotation

No Clayton Kershaw or Rich Hill means that Julio Urias will be in the rotation to start the season.  The top of the rotation will take a hit but in a whole it is still strong if Hyun-Jin Ryu stays healthy.  Walker Buehler has ascended into a premier role with the organization, he will be looked upon early to be the ace.  If his progression continues he will be the next great star in the organization.

Bullpen

The biggest addition in the bullpen was hard throwing Joe Kelly.  The worry about Kenley Jansen is understandable but he is still one of the best when healthy.  From the left side the Dodgers still have reliable Scott Alexander, but will need Tony Cingrani to return from the DL.

Colorado Rockies

Key Additions- Daniel Murphy

Key Subtractions- DJ LaMahieu

Lineup

David Dahl is finally healthy in 2019.  Put him in a lineup that features Nolan Arenado, Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and Daniel Murphy. Dahl has the potential to add 30 homers to the lineup while stealing at least 15 bases.  The loss of DJ Lamahieu takes a consistent hitter out of the lineup but Garret Hampson and Ryan McMahon can easily fill in the role.  The Rockies have the most depth of any team in the division.

Rotation

Kyle Freeland and German Marquez are two guys that have not become household names but they probably should be.  Marquez brings the ability to strikeout any batter at any time.  His ability to put batters away without allowing them to put it in play is always important in Coors Field.  The bottom of the rotation consists of Tyler Anderson and Jon Gray give the Rockies a solid four man rotation.  Gray had his terrible moments in 2018 but still has the ability to be a #1.  The final spot in the rotation is owned by Chad Bettis who has looked great during the spring and should be a serviceable #5.

Bullpen

Wade Davis had a lot of saves…but he still was not good.  Scott Oberg and Sen-wan Oh stepped up last season but the Rockies made a mistake by not adding anything depth to the pen. I don’t expect Davis to have another year like 2018 but still the bullpen could be the shakiest part of this Colorado team.

San Diego Padres

Key Additions- Manny Machado, Ian Kinsler, Adam Warren, Aaron Loup

Lineup

The Padres made the move of the offseason for the NL West adding high priced free agent Manny Machado.  They now have the player to build around while their youth movement.  The announcement that super prospect Fernando Tatis Jr. has made the team means that GM AJ Preller has high hopes for this season.  With a lineup that featuring  veterans Will Myers, Eric Hosmer Ian Kinsler around Machado, the Padres lineup has a lot of promise if the youth can make the strides in the right direction. 

Rotation

The rotation will get a lift from another big time prospect Chris Paddack joins Joey Lucchesi and  Eric Lauer to build a strong young core in a rotation that still has some holes to fill.  The Padres rotation will need some work if they are looking to contend anytime soon.

Bullpen

Kirby Yates is a premier level closer that can have a huge impact finishing off games for the Padres.  If they can get lead they have the guy to close it out.

Arizona Diamondbacks

Key Additions- Adam Jones, Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Greg Holland, Wilmer Flores

Key Subtractions- Paul Goldschmidt, Patrick Corbin, Chris Owings, Dan Descalso, AJ Pollock

Lineup

The Arizona Diamondbacks are set for a full rebuild.  Moving on from Paul Goldschmidt means that they are looking for a new cornerstone for the lineup.  For now they are going to be looking for David Peralta to step up and be the middle of the order bat that can carry the team.  Re-signing versatile Eduardo Escobar allows them to move Jake Lamb over to first base.  If Lamb is able to stay healthy he can potential be a 30 homer player,  but that is a big if.  Adam Jones and Wilmer Flores are two great veteran additions that will provide stability to the lineup during the rebuild. The D-Backs are going to give Carson Kelly a chance that he never got with the Cardinals in hopes that he can live up to the long time hype.

Rotation

The rotation lost Patrick Corbin to free agency but still has the its top two starters in place with Zack Greinke and Robbie Ray.  Luke Weaver showed promise in his first season with the Cardinals but has an issue with throwing his fastball for strikes which made him a movable piece.  Weaver was still a top level prospect that is worth the look as the fourth starter. 

Bullpen

The D-Backs surprised the baseball community by naming Greg Holland their closer over the favored Archie Bradley.  Bradley and Yoshihisa Hirano will give them what they need in the middle innings. 

San Francisco Giants

Key Additions- Gerardo Parra, Yan Solarte

Key Subtractions- Hunter Pence? I guess.

Lineup

I am not going to spend much time on any on this.  The Giants are going to rely on mainstays Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt and Evan Longoria. Adding veteran Gerardo Parra will provide some punch in the dugout but not much on the scoreboard.  I have always be a fan of Yan Solarte but he will not see much time unless injuries happen, still not exactly and impact bat that is needed.

Rotation

Madbum is great, Holland and Samardzija are average.  The only excitement here is the development of Derek Rodriguez.  Can he take the next step to become a true #2 starter?

Bullpen

Will Smith quietly had a very solid second half for the Giants.  Multiple reclamation projects like Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson and Tony Watson will be relied upon in a major way during the season.

My Prediction

1.Dodgers

2.Rockies

3.Padres

4.Diamondbacks

5.Giants

The Rockies have a chance to take the division in 2019, but they still have some questions in the rotation and bullpen.  The Dodgers will get back Clayton Kershaw and Rich Hill, but their injuries will allow Julio Urias to develop and be weapon in spot starts or potentially the bullpen.  LA still has a great offense, so many players to fill in the gaps in case of injuries.  Dodgers will win the west but the Rockies will be on their tail all season. 

What I learned from Week 5

Aaron needs help.

443 yards and 3 touchdowns from your QB.  Most of the time that wins a game for any team, not if you are the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers didn’t have a flawless game, fumbling the ball twice in bad positions that led to two Lions scores.  He did however do enough to win the game.  The Packers continue to have an issue with the game calling.  With a defense that can’t stack up against even the most mediocre offense the Packers have to work to establish the run.  The Lions came into this game dead last in defending the run yet the Packer came out slinging the football all over the field even though they were undermanned due to injuries to Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison.

I get that the Packers have the best QB in all of football when he is healthy but the defense and play calling just does not do enough to complement his abilities. Mike McCarthy’s time as head coach may be up.

Mason Crosby……

The Chiefs are the best in the AFC.

I have been fighting the fact that the Chiefs are the best in the AFC, but after the domination of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday its an argument that can’t be ignored. They go against the team holding the crown on Sunday when they matchup with the New England Patriots.  Mahomes vs. Brady, the future vs the current.

The Chiefs head into Foxboro confident as they should be.  This will be a shootout, first defense to make a play will win, very intrigued!

Titans are the most confusing team in the NFL.

The Tennessee Titans continue to be a thorn in the side of bookmakers and themselves losing to the Josh Allen led Buffalo Bills on Sunday.  They still sit on top at the top of the AFC South due to two division wins over the Texans and the Jaguars accompanied by a win over the defending Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles.  This team seems like they should be good…but they really aren’t.

The Titans offense has become the definition of inconsistent.  Are they are running team, passing team, defensive team??? These questions continue to be a mystery to anyone that watches them play.  Losses to the Dolphins and the Bills will be something that they look back on when the playoffs are looming. These were missed opportunities that will haunt them.

The Falcons are missing the playoffs.

The Falcons have been crushed with injuries on the defensive side of the football.  Giving up 43, 37, and 41 over the last three games.  Things won’t get any easier this week as Jameis Winston and the high powered Tampa Bay Buccaneers come into Atlanta for what should be an offensive showcase. Sitting at 1-4 in a crowded NFC playoff picture this is as close to a must win as you get in week 6 of the NFL season.

With the injuries to the secondary I don’t see Atlanta have much of a chance to stop Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson and underrated Chris Godwin on Sunday.  That will drop them to 1-5 and will most likely put them in the mindset of what will we be doing to rebuild for next season.  This team can’t play defense and can’t find their most valuable target Julio Jones in the Red Zone, this weekend has doom written all over it.

The NFC East stinks

The East sucks. All four NFC East teams took an L this weekend.  Two of the four were on primetime Sunday and Monday Night.  Right now the Redskins sit on top of the division with a 2-2 record.  Everyone else is under .500 and they are lucky to be there.

The Giants can’t keep their diva receivers happy.  They are 0-2 at home and don’t seem to have a clue what to do on both sides of the ball.

The Cowboys offense is in shambles.  With no go to receiver in sight teams are stacking the box to keep Zeke at bay.  This team needs another playmaker to have any chance to make a run.

The Redskins seemed like the team that had it together.  But a butt whooping at the hands of the Saints on Monday night has brought them back to reality.  The Redskins got the quarterback that Jay Gruden wanted when they traded for Alex Smith they still have the talent to win the division but a run in the playoffs seems unlikely.

The Eagles need a runningback.  Go get LeVeon Bell and become real contenders.

 

San Francisco (Giant)s Mistakes?

The San Francisco Giants decided to lit a flame to reignite the major league baseball hot stove by acquiring former National League MVP Andrew McCutchen.  McCutchen joins Evan Longoria in a new look middle of the Giants lineup.  The Giants have thrown down the gauntlet in potentially the most stacked division the Major League Baseball’s senior circuit.  While the moves are attention grabbing, does it really put the giants in a place to contend?

McCutchen joins a lineup that has found it a struggle to find offense in the outfield.  With the addition of the 5 time all-star the Giants will be able to move injury machine Hunter Pence into left field solving a problem that has plagued the team for years.  The new problem moves to center field as normal Denard Span was part of the Longoria deal. Early projections show Gorkys Hernandez as the potential starting center fielder, the Giants could shock us all by potentially moving defensive gem Brandon Belt to the outfield and play Buster Posey over at first.  Posey’s move to first is inevitable due to his growing concussions issues as well as the overall wear and tear of playing the position. A move of Belt to the outfield would shift the aging McCutchen to one of the biggest and funkiest center fields in Major League Baseball.

While the outfield has questions the Giants infield has could rival any team defensively. The acquisition of Even Longoria made a strength even stronger, the 2017 Gold Glover joins fellow 2017 Gold Glover Brandon Crawford and defensive standout Joe Panik.  While the move for Longoria shocked most in the baseball world, it was justified when the Giants made the second move to pick up McCutchen.  The Giants are telling their fanbase that they are all in for the 2018 season…at least they have forced themselves all in.

The Giants traded away their most promising prospect Christian Arroyo in order to pick up Longoria. While Longoria is still a viable player moving your top infield prospect to get him was questions by many baseball writers. Giants general manager Bobby Evans and executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean have addressed this, but to summarize, the Giants wanted to improve upon the production they received from third base last season. San Francisco’s third basemen finished last in the Majors in batting average (.216), OPS (.568), home runs (nine) and RBIs (51) in 2017. Despite Longoria’s dip in production in ’17, Giants management believes he has enough left to provide respectable offense for at least a couple of years.  A couple of years may be all the Giants have left as their current farm system ranks in the bottom five and their is no one on the way.  A team that has a lot of older players seems to not have a plan if those players breakdown.

The Giants are going to go into the 2018 season with a lot to be excited about.  Their pitching staff will have a full year of Madison Bumgarner back , assuming he stays off the dirt bike.  They have Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardjia, Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson, so many established major league players. The Giants just seemed to have forgotten that the Dodgers, D-Backs and Rockies are younger and better.  The Giants won’t lose 98 games in 2018 but this team has not improved themselves enough to beat the teams in their own division.  The will battle for a wild card spot but most likely be looking to unload some vets at the trade deadline.  They showed the fanbase they are trying, but I think a rebuild would have made more sense.

But it is an even year.