Thursday, October 12, 2017

Abbie & Lorelai's Week 6 NFL Picks

Last week, Lorelai took a couple of differences from her sister. Will Abbie get the edge this week???

Eagles over Panthers
Patriots over Jets
Dolphins over Falcons
Steelers over Chiefs
Broncos over Giants
Titans over Colts

Panthers over Eagles
Patriots over Jets
Falcons over Dolphins
Steelers over Chiefs
Broncos over Giants
Titans over Colts

Good luck to everyone!

NFL Week 6 Picks

How good will we be this week???

Byes: Bengals, Bills, Cowboys, Seahawks

Eagles at Panthers (Thurday 8:25pm)
Nice to way to start week 6 with a battle of 4-1 division leaders in Charlotte! Short week probably not enough time for Eagles to get up to speed for Cam Newton, who's looked very good in back-to-back 300+ yards passing outings in road wins over New England and Detroit.
Winner: Panthers

Patriots at Jets (Sunday 1pm)
What's more surprising - the Pats already have two losses or that the Jets have won three in a row? Both teams tied with Buffalo atop the AFC East Division (yet another surprise). If Brady (shoulder injury) can't get by the Jets, there's more problems than we think in New England.
Winner: Patriots

Dolphins at Falcons (Sunday 1pm)
It took a lot for the Dolphins to win their home opener last Sunday against the Titans and back up QB Matt Cassel. The Falcons are coming off the bye after a home loss to Buffalo, so this one could get ugly early. 
Winner: Falcons

Bears at Ravens (Sunday 1pm)
Rookie QB Mitchell Trubisky played well despite throwing a game-deciding INT Monday night against the Vikings. It won't get any easier on the road in Baltimore as the Ravens get back on track to back up an upset win in Oakland last Sunday.
Winner: Ravens

Browns at Texans (Sunday 1pm)
Houston QB Deshaun Watson put up 45 points against the Chiefs (i.e. the best team in the NFL right now). Watson may be licking his chops heading into this one, especially with all the injuries Houston has on defense (Watt, Mercilus).
Winner: Texans

Packers at Vikings (Sunday 1pm)
It looks like QB Aaron Rodgers is going on another one of those runs after a comeback win in Big D. RB Aaron Jones will make it a little bit easier against a tough Vikes defense. When will Minny see that QB Case Keenum is actually a better option than Sam Bradford, regardless of whether Bradford is healthy or not?
Winner: Packers

Lions at Saints (Sunday 1pm)
Who are the real Lions? The team we see the first month of the season or the one that got pushed around at home against Carolina? Saints, off the bye, could provide the wrong answer for Detroit.
Winner: Saints

49ers at Redskins (Sunday 1pm)
Open audition here for Washington QB Kirk Cousins for 2018?
Winner: Redskins

Bucs at Cardinals (Sunday 4:05pm)
Two teams seemingly going in different directions.
Winner: Bucs

Rams at Jaguars (Sunday 4:05pm)
No joking, this should be one of the day's more entertaining games!
Winner: Jaguars

Steelers at Chiefs (Sunday 4:25pm)
Trap game for KC in a rematch of last year's AFC Divisional Playoffs? Big Ben and Steelers offense with 5 INT's last week and questioning themselves. Chiefs on a roll through anyone standing in their way. Hmmmmm....
Winner: Chiefs

Chargers at Raiders (Sunday 4:25pm)
QB Derek Carr is expected back from his back injury in this one. That should be enough to cure Oakland's three game losing streak. California's wildfires could have this game moved to SF. Stay tuned.
Winner: Raiders

Giants at Broncos (Sunday 8:30pm)

Is there anyone left to play WR for the Giants after Odell Beckham Jr. and Brandon Marshall both got ruled out for the season and Sterling Shepard got hurt last week too vs. SD? Plus, add in the chaos of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie getting suspened and Denver, coming off the bye, should cruise.
Winner: Broncos

Colts at Titans (Monday 8:30pm)
QB Marcus Mariota should be back for the Titans which should mean it's enough for the Titans to win.
Winner: Titans

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Farrell out - what's next for Red Sox

So, the expected (to most) came to fruition on Wednesday. John Farrell is out as Red Sox manager with a World Series title and back-to-back American League East championships in his back pocket. On the flip side, he also leaves with two last place finishes sandwiched in the middle.

Is it the right move for Boston? I say yes. The team will explain why at an 11am press conference. Farrell had been signed through the 2018 season.

The Red Sox were talented and you could say they underachieved this season. In 2016, after being swept by Cleveland in the ALDS, Farrell said the team would learn and improve. But, after adding Chris Sale to the rotation, the offense sputtered in a season in which there was a record number of home runs hit. In fact, while everyone else was going yard, the Sox were dead last in the AL.

While Xander Bogaerts, Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez all took steps backwards, Andrew Benintendi took a leap forward.  Yet, the offense never seemed to replace the power and production from the recently retired David Ortiz. Eduardo Nunez helped at the end of the season only to see it come to a crashing close with a knee injury.

Yes, it's true. You can't blame Farrell (432-378 in five seasons in Boston) for Sale not winning a game in the ALDS despite two chances. You can't blame Farrell for Craig Kimbrel spitting the bit in game 4 vs. the Astros. Yes, Houston is a better team. But the Sox were just non-competitive in games 1 and 2. That's on Farrell. New voice needed. New leadership needed.

But, let's look at Farrell, the manager. Never one to be a genius in handling in-game decisions, Farrell never seemed to have a feel for his pitching staff. Leaving his starters in too long, going to Matt Barnes too much in the 8th inning or losing faith in Addison Reed, Farrell just didn't have it.

And how about in the playoffs, Ramirez (Boston's best chance at power and best hitter in the playoffs) and Devers were both out of the line-up (Ramirez in game 1 before Nunez got hurt, Devers in game 2). Then, leaving Devers in the game in game 3 late when Deven Marrero should've been in for defense, his role on the roster.

Then there's the leadership. Farrell never seemed to have the clubhouse. Whether it was the Dustin Pedroia vs. the Orioles (it's them, not me) incident in which Pedroia seemed to put his team under the bus or the David Price vs. Dennis Eckersley controversy, Farrell never seemed to lock it down. Farrell nor Price apologized to Eckersley for the inexcusable tirade on the plane ride to Toronto. It just seemed like Manager John would do whatever to appease a clubhouse void of leadership, fight and unity.

And what was the seemingly unending faith in Brock Holt and Chris Young? Neither produced in the role they were cast in for 2017, yet always got chances.

This team had tons of young talent - Betts, Bogaerts, Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rafael Devers, Eduardo Rodriguez and more. But there was no growth led by Farrell.

So, who's next? Alex Cora, Brad Ausmus, Gary Disarsina? Dave Dombrowski and ownership will make that call. But that's not all that's needed. A power bat. A solution at second base whether it be knee surgery for Dustin Pedroia or moving in a different way. Clubhouse veteran leader. Outside of the power bat, whether it be Giancarlo Stanton, JD Martinez or another route, the other moves aren't gamechangers.  Stanton would cost equity and money and that's a huge decision to make whether to trade existing talent like Bogaerts, JBJ or prospects like Jason Groome.  There's not much left on the farm after bringing up Benintendi and Devers and using prospects to get Sale, Kimbrel and Drew Pomeranz.

Could they move on from Ramirez, Young, Brock Holt and others?

Let's be honest. The Sox will contend again in 2018 even if they do nothing. They'll need David Price, Pedroia and Tyler Thornburg to be healthy to do that. But, making positive moves could mean the difference between back-to-back ALDS sweeps and moving ahead to a World Series contender.

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Abbie and Lorelai's NFL Week 5 Picks

After a fun day running a 5K at the Color Run Rhode Island at McCoy Stadium, it's time to pick some games! No Patriots game to pick since they won Thursday night (yeah!) in Tampa!

Titans over Dolphins
Bengals over Bills
Jets over Browns
Cowboys over Packers
Texans over Chiefs
Bears over Vikings

Dolphins over Titans
Bengals over Bills
Jets over Browns
Cowboys over Packers
Texans over Chiefs
Vikings over Bears

Thursday, October 05, 2017

NFL Picks Week 5

It's on the 2nd quarter of the NFL season as week 5 gets underway Thursday night in Tampa with the Patriots and the Bucs. Interesting fact - Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has never won a game as a head coach in Tampa, the only NFL city he hasn't won in (the "road" win in London doesn't count). Of course, he's never coached a game as a head coach in Tampa either. If he doesn't get it tonight, the Pats aren't scheduled back in Tampa until 2025.

Now, on to the picks!

Patriots at Bucs (Thursday 8:25pm)
Can the Pats defense look any worse than it did last Sunday against Carolina? The Bucs have more weapons (Winston, Evans, Jackson, Howard, Martin, Rodgers) than the Panthers, so yes, it's possible. But, is it probable?
Winner: Patriots

Bills at Bengals (Sunday 1pm)
After a win in Atlanta, Buffalo is a clear early season surprise, especially with the league's #1 scoring defense. Cincy's offense has come alive the past two weeks with a new OC to lead QB Andy Dalton.
Winner: Bengals

Jets at Browns (Sunday 1pm)
What's a bigger surprise - the Jets having won back-to-back games or the Browns being favorites despite not having a win yet?
Winner: Browns

Panthers at Lions (Sunday 1pm)
Will Cam Newton's sexist comments to a Charlotte Observer female reporter distract him here? Winner here takes a step up in the NFC race early.
Winner: Lions

49ers at Colts (Sunday 1pm)
Everything points to a Colts victory here. So, you know what that means in the NFL. Run the other way!
Winner: 49ers

Titans at Dolphins (Sunday 1pm)
Miami's home opener after Hurricane Irma wiped out week 1 for the Fins. Matt Cassel vs. Jay Cutler would be must miss TV, no if Cassel is in for Marcus Mariota (hamstring). Miami's scored 1 TD in two weeks against the Jets and Saints. Yikes!
Winner: Dolphins

Chargers at Giants (Sunday 1pm)
Battle of 0-4 teams and someone has to win, right?
Winner: Giants

Cardinals at Eagles (Sunday 1pm)
QB Carson Wentz has absolutely taken a step forward in the first four weeks (6 TDs). Can it continue?
Winner: Eagles

Jaguars at Steelers (Sunday 1pm)
Good week for the Pittsburgh offense to get healthy, especially Big Ben to Antonio Brown, as the Jags are on the back end of back-to-back road games (3 if you count a "home" game in London).
Winner: Steelers

Seahawks at Rams (Sunday 4:05pm)
Step up and show it week for the surprising Rams. Expectations would surely change if the can follow up a road win in Dallas with a division victory over the underachieving Seahawks.
Winner: Rams

Ravens at Raiders (Sunday 4:05pm)
Oakland just isn't the same offensively without QB Derek Carr (back). Time for Beast Mode to step up?
Winner: Raiders

Packers at Cowboys (Sunday 4:25pm)
Would there be wideset panic in Big D with two losses in two weeks at home?
Winner: Cowboys

Chiefs at Texans (Sunday 8:30pm)
Great spot for QB Deshaun Watson to prove he is for real after putting up 33 and 57 points against the Patriots and Titans the past two weeks. Chiefs clearly the dominant team in NFL so far. But then again, the regular season really hasn't been their issue has it been?
Winner: Texans

Vikings at Bears (Monday 8:30pm)
QB Mitchell Trubisky gets his first NFL start in the primetime spotlight!
Winner: Bears

Red Sox ALDS Roster

The Red Sox have set the ALDS roster for its series against the Houston Astros. The suprise - all five starters make the roster and LHP Robby Scott not.  So, that means Doug Fister and Rick Porcello could potentially make starts while Eduardo Rodriguez heads to the bullpen with David Price. The other surprise - no Chris Young, who has had a disappointing season.

Pitchers (11): Doug Fister, Joe Kelly, Craig Kimbrel, Austin Maddox, Drew Pomeranz, Rick Porcello, David Price, Addison Reed, Eduardo Rodriguez, Chris Sale, Carson Smith

Catchers (2): Sandy Leon, Christian Vazquez.

Infielders (8): Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Brock Holt, Deven Marrero, Mitch Moreland, Eduardo Nunez, Dustin Pedroia, Hanley Ramirez. 

Outfielders (4): Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Rajai Davis.