Five things I think Jan. 9

It’s back again and this time on sports in general.

  1. Playoff predictions:

Chiefs 17 Texans 10- The Chiefs just know how to win and I feel that momentum will carry them. My one concern is the Chiefs really haven’t played anyone since this winning streak. They defeated the Denver Broncos when Peyton Manning was injured and Landry Jones was starting for the Steelers.

Steelers 24 Bengals 13- I just do not trust A.J. McCarron at quarterback in a playoff game. The Bengals have admittedly scaled back the playbook and that will be the undoing. Sure Ben Roethlisberger has not won a playoff game in a good while, but that should not matter here.

Seahawks 13 Vikings 10- This will be an ugly weather game, the only reason why the Vikings have a chance. Neither team will get much going, but in this situation, I like the Seahawks experience to get them through.

Redskins 23 Packers 20 OT- I really could see this going either way. Perhaps it is because I am in Washington D.C. as I type this entry, but I just see the Redskins doing just enough. Kirk Cousins has transformed into a franchise quarterback and the Packers have lost six of their last 10 games.

2. Hall of Fame– Glad to see Ken Griffey Jr. in. He deserved it and his induction should have been unanimous. Mike Piazza admitted to using PED’s. As a voter, I would have been on the fence with him. I felt a lot of people gave him a pass. This admission tells me he is not the best catcher ever to play. I would have had to make a judgment call. A bit disappointed to see Jim Edmonds is off the ballot and it is because a lot of the BBWA does not embrace the new school of thinking. He was one of my favorite players to watch growing up. I am a big Mike Mussina fan as well and hope he gets in. I also would have voted for Jeff Bagwell, Tim Raines and Trevor Hoffman. So that would have been six definite picks for me.

3. Early NL Central prediction– NL Central will  take a step back next season. It absolutely has to. The NL Central winner in 2016 will have under 90 wins.

  1. Cubs– This did not take long at all. The Cubs are stacked. I think their youth will hurt them at times but I really like their team from top to bottom.
  2. Pirates– I am a fan of most of the free agency moves. The rotation as a whole will have to step up and that will be tough. Jung Ho Kang’s health will be a key question early.
  3. Cardinals– This may surprise a lot of people but I am not impressed. Cardinals feel they have enough to contend now and will build later. Yadier Molina’s health concerns me and I liked Tony Cruz as his backup more the Brayan Pena. I am not a fan of the rotation. Adam Wainwright is coming off injury and older. Lance Lynn is done for the season. Jaime Garcia concerns me. Michael Wacha limped to the finish line. Mike Leake would help but still the rotation is a question mark.
  4. Brewers– Rebuilding a bit but less than the Reds. I have a lot of respect for Craig Counsell. He was a very smart player and seemed to have a better grip of things despite the hand he was dealt than Ron Roenicke. This team still has pieces though Jimmy Nelson and Taylor Jungmann need to be more consistent.
  5. Reds– Just a total rebuild. No excuses for Bryan Price this season. He’s dealt with injuries to his core group but this year’s team needs to show a pulse or he needs to go.

4. PGA Tour major winners 2016

Masters Rory McIlroy– I just like the way he finished the 2015 season and will be back to full health. This win will put him atop the Official World Golf Ranking in addition to earning the career grand slam.

U.S. Open Dustin Johnson– Finally Johnson gets it done and at an Oakmont course where length off the tee will matter. This will be a career moment for him.

Open Championship/British Open Patrick Reed– It was a down 2015 for Reed’s standards but I like what he was able to do on the European Tour following the end of the FedEx Cup. That promise has me picking Reed just over Rickie Fowler.

PGA Championship Hideki Matsuyama– This pick may surprise a few people but I think Matsuyama will surprise a lot of people. He has shown promise and has a PGA Tour win in the 2014 Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide Insurance but also was able to contend in big tournaments in 2015. I think he wins twice on tour this season and this will be a big moment for him and Japanese golf.

5. Novak Djokovic wins French Open in 2016/Serena Williams prediction– More people should be paying attention to tennis. Novak Djokovic is on a run similar to that of Roger Federer a few years ago. I have Djokovic winning three majors next season including a four-set win at the French Open this season. This would allow him to win the career slam. As for Serena Williams, I hope for her sake it is a healthier year. She fought through a lot on the court last season. It is for that reason that I rule out a calendar slam because she will fall in the Australian Open semifinal match. I like her to win the other three majors once she has that pressure off her and can play a bit more freely. Both men’s and women’s tennis are at a high point again and it is exciting to see.



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