What another awesome week in sports! The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Playoffs and the race for the F1 Championships continues. A couple of top-tier NFL teams fell, while a couple of other squads continued their dominance. Much drama took place in the MLB Playoffs while a College Football Playoff contender fell on its face. Check out what happened this past week in sports!
Weekly Sports Update – October 14th Edition
Nationals Rolling, Astros-Yankees in a Dog Fight
The Washington Nationals are on a roll. The Nats upset the L.A. Dodgers after LAD manager Dave Roberts made yet another error in a playoff game. Roberts decided to use starter Clayton Kershaw instead of one of his bevy of excellent relievers against the Nats in a series deciding NLDS Game 5.
Up 3-1, all the Dodgers had to do was get 6 outs to move into their third straight NLCS. That didn’t happen because Kershaw gave up back-to-back home runs to Anthony Rendon and Juan Soto in the eighth inning. Then, in the tenth, Roberts decided to keep Joe Kelly in because, yeah, he had a good ninth inning.
Kelly gave up a grand slam to Howie Kendrick. All of a sudden, the Nats were up 7-3 and the Dodgers’ World Series dreams were dashed. Since beating the Dodgers, the Nats have won 2 straight against the Cardinals in the NLCS with Stephen Strasburg on deck for Game 3 in Washington. Nats look like World Series participants.
Over in the American League, the Houston Astros and New York Yankees are in a dogfight. The Yanks took Game 1 in an upset victory 7-0. Carlos Correa hit a home run in the bottom of the eleventh in Game 2 for the 3-2 Houston win.
The American League Championship Series feels like a 7-game series. But, think about this: Aaron Boone, New York’s manager, used 9 separate pitchers in Game 2 and still lost. A.J. Hinch only used 6 pitchers.
Boone might have already overplayed his hand. We’ll see what happens in Game 3, but if his relievers are tired, Boone’s Yankees could be in some trouble from here on out.
Hamilton and Bottas Maintain F1 Lead for Mercedes
For a Formula 1 minute there it appeared as if Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel might help Ferrari overtake Mercedes. Not so. In the past couple of races, the Russian Grand Prix and the Japanese Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas have reclaimed glory for the German car maker.
Hamilton won in Russia. Bottas won in Japan. There are only four races left. That gives Leclerc and Vettel only a small shot of helping Ferrari win the trophy. It probably won’t happen unless Hamilton and Bottas melt down.
Expect Mercedes to take the Constructor’s Championship with Hamilton taking the driver title.
Two Surprises in Top 8 NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Playoffs
The NASCAR Playoffs is a winner take all event. The four drivers that make it to Homestead in Miami, the final race of the year, are the only four drivers that can win the championship. Right now, if Homestead were this weekend, Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch would battle it out for the title.
Although those four are obvious, as are Kevin Harvick and Brad Keselowski in fifth and sixth place, the final two drivers in the Top 8 aren’t obvious at all. Both Alex Bowman and William Byron drive for Hendrick Motorsports.
If they continue to excel, who knows? Again, it’s winner take all. So, all Bowman and Byron must do is make it to Homestead. They’ll have as much of a shot as anybody to win the title if they get into the Final Four.
NCAAF Update: Alabama and LSU Make Statements while Georgia Falls
It might have been a watershed Saturday for the SEC on Oct. 12. Alabama dominated Texas A&M 47-28 to maintain its place as the top team in the nation. Bama has the best overall offense because the best quarterback in NCAAF, Tua Tagovailoa, can throw the football to four of the top wide receivers in NCAAF.
LSU also made a statement. The Tigers beat the Florida Gators 42-28 in a really close matchup. Sure, LSU covered as a -13 favorite. However, it wasn’t easy. The Gators played tough. They’ll remain a force in the SEC, and nationally, throughout the season. For their efforts, LSU jumped to second in the polls.
Alabama and LSU came up huge. Georgia? Not so much.
The Dawgs showed signs in the win over Notre Dame that maybe they weren’t as good as advertised. Although that’s true, they still beat Notre Dame.
Georgia didn’t beat South Carolina. As a -21 home favorite, UGA was supposed to dominate. The Bulldogs lost straight up 20-17 after their kicker missed a field goal in overtime. Ouch. What’s really heartbreaking if you’re a Georgia fan is that coach Kirby Smart made the decision to go with quarterback Jake Fromm over Justin Fields last season.
Fromm is an okay quarterback. Fields will be playing on Sundays in the NFL. This season, Fields has thrown for 1,298 yards, 18 touchdowns, and a single interception. He’s completing 69% of his passes for undefeated and fourth ranked Ohio State. Fromm has thrown for 1,371 yards. He’s thrown 9 touchdowns to 3 picks.
Blame the kicker if you want. Georgia was never going to make the CFP because they were never going to beat LSU or Alabama in the SEC Championship. Not after Smart committed to Fromm over Fields.
NFL Update: Saints, 49ers, and Pats Continue to Roll, Cowboys, Rams, and Chiefs Got Problems
The New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and New England Patriots continue to win games. What’s interesting is that although all 3 have great offenses, they’re winning via their defense. The Pats have the best defense in the NFL. It allows 234 yards, ranking first, and 8 points per, also ranking first.
San Francisco has the second best defense in the league. The 49ers give up 237.4 yards, and 12.8 points per game. New Orleans’ defense doesn’t have great stats, but the Saints held the Cowboys to 10 points in a victory and the Jaguars to 6 points in a Week 6 win.
While the Saints, 49ers, and Patriots continue to win games, the Cowboys, Rams, and Chiefs are in trouble. The Boys lost their third in a row 22-24 to the New York Jets as a massive -7 favorite. The Rams lost their third in a row after San Francisco dominated them 20-7 while the Chiefs lost their second in a row.
Why are those 3 teams losing? It’s the same reason the 3 teams mentioned above are winning: defense. The Cowboys have allowed 34 and 24 points in their last couple of games. The Chiefs give up 24 points on average and allowed Houston to score 31 on Sunday. The Rams allow 25.7 per. Tampa Bay clocked them for 55 on Sep. 29. In their next game, Seattle scored 30.
Unless Kansas City, LAR, and Dallas gets their defenses together, all 3 could continue losing games and miss out on the playoffs.
Have a great week!
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