Monday, September 30, 2019

Major League Baseball - Season Ending Review & Post Season Preview

The long grind of the regular Major League Baseball season is over and now for ten teams, it's time to move on as they pursue October baseball and the World Series.
In the American League, the Oakland A's will host the Tampa Bay Rays in the wild card game, with the winner then taking on the Houston Astros, who had the best record (107-55) in baseball this season, in the division series.  The New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins (both also 100-plus win teams) will go at it in the other A.L. division series.
In the National League, the wild card game will be in Washington with the host Nationals facing the Milwaukee Brewers. The winner will play the Los Angeles Dodgers, who finished 106-56 this season, in the divisional series. The St. Louis Cardinals will play the Atlanta Braves in the other divisional series.
The final weekend offered some drama as the Cardinals blew out the Chicago Cubs, 9-0 in St. Louis in the final game of the season to finally clinch the National League Central division. Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers couldn't take advantage of the Cubs beating the Cards in the first two games of the three-game set as they were swept in Colorado.
The Brewers finished two games back of the Red Birds and will be in the wild card game on Tuesday night in D.C. In the American League, the A's did their part as they won at Seattle to get the "home field advantage" against the Rays on Wednesday evening.
It was a record setting season for home runs as the Minnesota Twins set a new MLB record by hitting 307 dingers this year. The New York Yankees held the old record (set in 2017) and they also surpassed 300 homers by hitting 306 this season. Speaking of home runs, Jorge Soler (Kansas City Royals) led the American League with 48 bombs. New York Mets rookie Pete Alonso set a new record for rookies and led the National League and all of baseball with 53 home runs.
There are already some managerial changes as the season ends. The Chicago Cubs parted ways with Joe Maddon after five seasons, which included the Cubs first World Series championship in 108 years back in the 2016 season. The Pittsburgh Pirates fired Clint Hurdle and just today, the Los Angeles Angels said goodbye to Brad Ausmus after just one season as their skipper.
Also, two World Series winning managers retired as Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals (World Series winners in 2015) said goodbye and Bruce Bochy of the San Francisco Giants (three World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014) is also leaving the game. Best wishes to both of them.
What a season it has been.

The Final Standings for the 2019 MLB season

AL STANDINGS                                                            NL STANDINGS
East                                                                                     East
x-New York 103-59                                                            x-Atlanta 97-65            
y-Tampa Bay 96-66                                                            y-Washington 93-69
Boston 84-78                                                                      New York 86-76
Toronto 67-95                                                                     Philadelphia 81-81
Baltimore 54-108                                                                Miami 57-105

Central                                                                                Central
x-Minnesota 101-61                                                             x-St. Louis 91-71
Cleveland 93-69                                                                   y-Milwaukee 89-73
Chicago 72-89                                                                      Chicago 84-78
Kansas City 59-103                                                              Cincinnati 75-87
Detroit 47-114                                                                      Pittsburgh 69-93
West                                                                                     West
x-Houston 107-55                                                                 x-LA Dodgers 106-56
y-Oakland 97-65                                                                   Arizona 85-77
Texas 78-84                                                                          San Francisco 77-85
LA Angels 72-90                                                                  Colorado 71-91
Seattle 68-94                                                                         San Diego 70-92 

x - clinched division title
y - clinched playoff spot

Now it's on to the post-season and the Houston Astros with their power pitching rotation of Justin Verlander, Gerritt Cole and Zack Greinke along with a power laden lineup, should be enough to outlast the powerful Yankees and Twins lineups. Likewise, the L.A. Dodgers (with pitchers Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Walker Buehler) should have enough to hold off their challengers, including the red hot Washington Nationals, who won eight straight games to finish the season.

So, here goes nothing with the Heftyinfo predictions for the 2019 MLB Post Season  . . . .

National League
Wild Card Game - Washington over Milwaukee

NLDS - Atlanta over St. Louis (3-1); LA Dodgers over Washington (3-2)

NLCS - LA Dodgers over Atlanta (4-3)

American League
Wild Card Game - Oakland over Tampa Bay

ALDS - Houston over Oakland (3-0); NY Yankees over Minnesota (3-2)

ALCS - Houston over NY Yankees (4-2)


Houston Astros over Los Angeles Dodgers (4-2)

NFL - Week Four Review

The Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) held off the host Detroit Lions, 34-30 as running back Darrel Williams scored a one-yard rushing touchdown with just 20 seconds remaining. The Lions (2-1-1) had taken a 30-27 lead with just over two minutes left when quarterback Matthew Stafford hit wide receiver Kenny Golladay on a six-yard TD pass, which was his third of the game.
A key play in the victory for Kansas City was a 100-yard fumble return for touchdown by cornerback Bashaud Breeland, who alertly scooped up the loose ball at the Chiefs goal line as the referees never blew the play dead. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes failed to throw a TD pass in the game, which snapped a streak of 14 consecutive games with at least two TD passes.
Browns RB Nick Chubb destroyed the Ravens defense.
The Cleveland Browns rode the running of Nick Chubb, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week,
who scored three touchdowns (including an 88-yard TD romp) and totaled 165 yards on the ground to lead the way in a 40-25 win at Baltimore. Browns QB Baker Mayfield passed for 342 yards and one score as both the Browns and Ravens are 2-2 following the game. Ravens QB Lamar Jackson threw for three touchdowns (and two INT) and rushed for 66 yards in the loss. The Browns had 530 yards in total offense against the Ravens defense. 
The New England Patriots (4-0) beat the Buffalo Bills, 16-10 on the road in a defensive struggle as their secondary intercepted four passes, including three against Bills starting QB Josh Allen, who left the game with a concussion. The New England special teams scored a touchdown with a blocked punt as their offense struggled, gaining just 224 total yards in the win. The loss was the first of the season for the Bills (3-1).
The Chicago Bears (3-1) won at home, 16-6 against the Minnesota Vikings as their defense recorded six QB sacks and had two fumble recoveries while limiting Minnesota to just 222 yards in total offense. Bears RB Tarik Cohen scored on a ten-yard TD reception from reserve QB Chase Daniel, who took over for injured starter Mitch Trubisky, who suffered a dislocated shoulder.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) went on the road and blasted the Los Angeles Rams, 55-40 as QB Jameis Winston threw four TD passes and had 385 passing yards to hand the Rams (3-1) their first loss this season. After getting out to a 21-0 lead, the Bucs saw the Rams chip away at the lead throughout the game, including cutting the lead to 48-40 in the final three minutes. But the Tampa Bay defense rose up and defensive lineman Ndamukong Suh raced 37 yards for a fumble return touchdown to ice the game.
Rams QB Jared Goff had two TD passes and three interceptions (and lost fumble) while passing for 517 yards and RB Todd Gurley scored two rushing touchdowns in defeat.
In the Thursday night game, the Philadelphia Eagles (2-2) surprised the host Green Bay Packers, 34-27, giving the Packers (3-1) their first loss this season. Eagles QB Carson Wentz had three TD passes and RB Jordan Howard had two rushing touchdowns to lead the way. Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers passed for 422 yards and a pair of touchdowns, along with one interception in the loss.

                                                     Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . . .   

The Carolina Panthers (2-2) surprised the Houston Texans, 16-10 as Christian McCaffrey scored a rushing TD and kicker Joey Slye made three field goals to make the difference. Texans QB Deshaun Watson was sacked six times by the Carolina defense . . .   The Oakland Raiders (2-2) shocked the host Indianapolis Colts, 31-24 as Erik Harris had a "pick six" interception while QB Derek Carr had two TD passes to offset three scoring passes by Colts QB Jacoby Brissett . . .  The Tennessee Titans (2-2) beat the Atlanta Falcons, 24-10 on the road as QB Marcus Mariota had three TD passes and the Titans defense had five QB sacks . . .  The Los Angeles Chargers (2-2) blew out the Miami Dolphins (0-4), 30-10 in Miami as QB Philip Rivers had two TD passes and RB Austin Ekeler scored twice with a rushing TD and a receiving score . . .  The New York Giants (2-2) crushed the visiting Washington Redskins, 24-3 as their defense had four interceptions while RB Wayne Gallman scored two touchdowns . . .  The Seattle Seahawks (3-1) won at Arizona, 27-10 with a balanced offense (115 rush yards, 225 pass yards) and a 27-yard interception return for TD by DE Jadeveon Clowney . . .  
The Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) came back from a 14-point deficit to beat the host Denver Broncos, 26-24 as kicker Josh Lambo (4-for-4 in field goals) made a 33-yard field goal as time expired. Jags' QB Gardner Minshew (pictured left) had two TD passes while Broncos QB Joe Flacco had three TD passes in defeat. Denver is 0-4 this season and lost linebacker Bradley Chubb for the season with a knee injury  . . .  The New Orleans Saints (3-1) beat the visiting Dallas Cowboys, 12-10 in a defensive struggle on Sunday Night Football as kicker Will Lutz made four field goals to hand the Cowboys their first loss this season. Dallas running back Ezekiel Elliott scored the only TD in the game on a one-yard run, but he was limited to only 35 rushing yards by the Saints defense, which allowed just 257 total yards, including 45 rushing yards . . .   In the Monday Night Football game, the Pittsburgh Steelers earned their first win this season with a 27-3 drubbing of the visiting Cincinnati Bengals, who dropped to 0-4 while managing to gain just 175 yards in total offense. Steelers QB Mason Rudolph passed for 229 yards and two touchdowns and the Steelers defense had eight QB sacks. 

Week Four Results
Philadelphia 34, Green Bay 27
LA Chargers 30, Miami 10
Kansas City 34, Detroit 10
NY Giants 24, Washington 3
New England 16, Buffalo 10
Tennessee 24, Atlanta 10
Cleveland 40, Baltimore 25
Oakland 31, Indianapolis 24
Carolina 16, Houston 10
Chicago 16, Minnesota 6
Tampa Bay 55, LA Rams 40
Jacksonville 26, Denver 24
Seattle 27, Arizona 10
New Orleans 12, Dallas 10
Pittsburgh 27, Cincinnati 3

Sunday, September 29, 2019

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                        (Week ending September 29) 

1.  Clemson (5-0)
2.  Alabama (5-0)
3.  Georgia (4-0)
4.  Oklahoma (4-0)
5.  LSU (4-0)
6.  Ohio State (5-0)
7.  Auburn (5-0)
8.  Florida (5-0)
9.  Wisconsin (4-0)
10.  Penn State (4-0) 

Saturday, September 28, 2019

Major League Baseball - Week In Review

The Major League Baseball playoffs are set as far as the ten teams that will be playing as the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A's punched their tickets for the American League wild card game on Friday night. The only question is where the game will be played as they both have the same record with two games remaining. The New York Yankees, Minnesota Twins and Houston Astros are the division winners with the Astros having clinched the home field advantage with the best record in the A.L. this season.
In the National League, it will be the Washington Nationals as a wild card team and they will play either the Milwaukee Brewers or St. Louis Cardinals with the game site to still be determined. The Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves have won their divisions and the Dodgers (N.L. best record) will play the winner of the wild card game next week in the division series.
As far as the week that was, it was rather forgettable for both the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies as both of those teams were eliminated from playoff contention with late season collapses. The Cubs finally snapped their nine-game losing streak on Friday night as they pounded the St. Louis Cardinals, 8-2. The Cards are one game ahead of the Brewers in the N.L. Central race. The Brewers had their seven-game win streak snapped in Colorado as the Rockies blasted them, 11-7.
The Cubs were swept in a four-game set at Wrigley Field last weekend by the Cardinals and at the same time the Brewers were continuing their winning ways and have gone 20-5 for the month of September to fuel their playoff charge.
Meanwhile, the Phillies were swept in a five-game series by the Washington Nationals this past week that clinched a wild card spot for the Nats. Other teams eliminated from playoff contention this week were the Arizona Diamondbacks, New York Mets (National League) and the Cleveland Indians in the American League.
Mets rookie Pete Alonso hit a homer on Friday night (4-2 Mets win over the Atlanta Braves), giving him 52 for the year, which tied the rookie record for a season, which was set by Aaron Judge (Yankees) in the 2017 season.
The Minnesota Twins won their 100th game of the season on Friday with a 6-2 decision in Kansas City. The Twins became the first team in MLB history to slug 300 or more home runs in a single season. The New York Yankees smashed six home runs in a 14-7 win at Texas on Friday night to overtake the Twins for the most team home runs in a season as they now have 305, which is three better than the Twins with two games remaining.

AL STANDINGS (through September 27)                      NL STANDINGS (through September 27)
East                                                                                     East
x-New York 103-57                                                            x-Atlanta 97-63            
y-Tampa Bay 96-64                                                            y-Washington 91-69
Boston 83-77                                                                      New York 84-76
Toronto 65-95                                                                     Philadelphia 80-80
Baltimore 53-107                                                                Miami 56-104

Central                                                                                Central
x-Minnesota 100-60                                                             y-St. Louis 90-70
Cleveland 93-67                                                                   y-Milwaukee 89-71
Chicago 70-88                                                                      Chicago 83-77
Kansas City 58-102                                                              Cincinnati 73-87
Detroit 46-112                                                                      Pittsburgh 69-91
West                                                                                     West
x-Houston 105-55                                                                 x-LA Dodgers 104-56
y-Oakland 96-64                                                                   Arizona 83-77
Texas 76-84                                                                          San Francisco 77-83
LA Angels 72-88                                                                  San Diego 70-90
Seattle 67-93                                                                         Colorado 69-91 

x - clinched division title
y - clinched playoff spot 

Friday, September 27, 2019

NFL - Week Four Preview

The NFL season hits the one-quarter mark this weekend, except for two teams that have the bye
week. The New York Jets and San Francisco 49ers are off this weekend, but there are fifteen other games, which included last night's epic battle in Green Bay, which the Philadelphia Eagles won, 34-27 against the Packers.
The Chicago Bears host the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday and both teams are 2-1 in the NFC North division. Green Bay slipped to 3-1 with their loss while the Detroit Lions (2-0-1) will host the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs, which boasts one of the NFL's top offenses, averaging 487 yards per game.
In the AFC East, two undefeated teams will do battle as the New England Patriots travel to Buffalo to face the Bills, who have been the punching bag for Tom Brady and company in recent years. The Bills want to prove the doubters wrong and hang a loss on the Pats this Sunday afternoon.
The Cleveland Browns bring their 1-2 record to Baltimore this Sunday, taking on the first place Ravens (2-1) in an AFC North battle. The Browns were hyped like no other team in recent memory and the Ravens have made it known they are tired of hearing all the hype and want to lay a beat down on quarterback Baker Mayfield, Odell Beckham, Jr and the rest of the Cleveland Browns.
The Sunday night game features the New Orleans Saints (2-1) hosting the unbeaten Dallas Cowboys (3-0) and their high scoring offense, which has scored 30-plus points in each of their first three games. The Saints are without starting QB Drew Brees, so once again it will be Teddy Bridgewater looking to lead the offense as the Saints go for two in a row.

All of the action is previewed in the capsule style and the Heftyinfo predictions follow.

LA Chargers (1-2) at Miami (0-3) - The Chargers can't lose to these guys, can they?

Oakland (1-2) at Indianapolis (2-1) - Colts better be wary with the injuries they have on defense.

Carolina (1-2) at Houston (2-1) - The Texans stole one last week on the road, so look for them to bounce the Panthers in this home game.

Kansas City (3-0) at Detroit (2-0-1) - Chiefs light up the scoreboard once again, this time at the expense of the Lions.

New England (3-0) at Buffalo (3-0) - The Patriots should win, but the Bills have shown the ability to play tough football in the clutch.

Cleveland (1-2) at Baltimore (2-1) - Can the Browns slow down Ravens QB Lamar Jackson?

Tennessee (1-2) at Atlanta (1-2) - Battle of two under achieving teams. Take the Falcons at home.

Washington (0-3) at NY Giants (1-2) - Can Daniel Jones lead the G-Men to another win? The Redskins looked terrible in their Monday night debacle against the Bears.

Seattle (2-1) at Arizona (0-2-1) - The Seahawks looking to rebound after a stinging loss at home last week. Cardinals got crushed by a backup QB last weekend.

Tampa Bay (1-2) at LA Rams (3-0) - Rams roll !

Minnesota (2-1) at Chicago (2-1) - This should be a battle between two solid defenses. Bears rate the slight edge.

Jacksonville (1-2) at Denver (0-3) - Is this the game where the Broncos rise up and get Head Coach Vic Fangio his first win?

Dallas (3-0) at New Orleans (2-1) - Saints will not roll over in this game. Cowboys better be ready to play against a tough Saints defense.

Cincinnati (0-3) at Pittsburgh (0-3) - Monday Night Football needs to get a flex schedule. These two teams have looked awful so far this season.

The Heftyinfo predictions for Week Four   . . . . . . . . . .     (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Green Bay over Philadelphia
LA CHARGERS over Miami 
Oakland over Indianapolis
Houston over Carolina
Kansas City over Detroit
New England over Buffalo
Baltimore over Cleveland
Atlanta over Tennessee
NY Giants over Washington
Seattle over Arizona 
LA Rams over Tampa Bay
Chicago over Minnesota
Denver over Jacksonville
New Orleans over Dallas
Pittsburgh over Cincinnati

Last Week's Record -  10-6

SEASON RECORD -  31-16-1

Lock of the Week Record -  3-0 

Tuesday, September 24, 2019


U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced there will be an impeachment inquiry and formal proceeding regarding Trump.

Get rid of this P.O.S.  A.S.A.P

Monday, September 23, 2019

NFL - Week Three Review

Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes and Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
The Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) got it done at home once again as quarterback Patrick Mahomes passed for three touchdowns and 374 yards in a 33-28 victory against the Baltimore Ravens (2-1). Baltimore running back Mark Ingram had three rushing touchdowns in the loss. Kansas City racked up 503 total yards in offense against the Ravens defense.
The Green Bay Packers improved to 3-0 as they beat the visiting Denver Broncos, 27-16 behind two rushing touchdowns from Aaron Jones and a TD pass by QB Aaron Rodgers. The Green Bay defense had six QB sacks, including three from linebacker Preston Smith, the Heftyinfo NFL Player of the Week, and forced three turnovers to help make the difference in the final score.
The New England Patriots (3-0) are also undefeated as they won at home, 30-14 against the New York Jets, who are 0-3 this season. Pats QB Tom Brady threw for two scores and the New England defense still has not allowed a touchdown this season. The Jets scored on an interception return against a backup quarterback and a special teams play as they recovered a fumbled punt for the other touchdown.
In the Sunday night game, the Los Angeles Rams held on for a 20-13 road win against the Cleveland Browns as their defense stuffed the Browns on a first-and-goal situation from the five yard line in the final minute, with John Johnson intercepting a fourth down pass by QB Baker Mayfield to seal the game.
Rams QB Jared Goff had two scoring passes to wide receiver Cooper Kupp while the Rams defense limited Cleveland to 270 yards in total offense. The Rams are 3-0 while the Browns dropped to 1-2 this season.
The New Orleans Saints (2-1) surprised the host Seattle Seahawks, 33-27 as reserve QB Teddy Bridgewater had two TD passes and RB Alvin Kamara scored twice while the Saints also had scores from special teams (punt return) and a 33-yard fumble return by Vonn Bell. Seattle (2-1) out gained New Orleans 515-265 in total yardage and QB Russell Wilson scored two rushing touchdowns and passed for 406 yards and two more scores in defeat.

                                             Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . . .  

The New York Giants (1-2) earned their first win in a 32-31 squeaker at Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers led 28-10 at halftime, but kicking woes did them in, including missing a 34-yard field goal as time
expired. Giants QB Daniel Jones (pictured right) made his first start and had two passing and rushing touchdowns, including the game winning seven-yard scoring run with 1:16 remaining. Giants running back Saquon Barkley suffered a sprained ankle and will be out four to eight weeks. Bucs QB Jameis Winston passed for 380 yards and three TD in defeat  . . .  The Carolina Panthers won at Arizona, 38-20 as reserve QB Kyle Allen had four TD passes and the Panthers (1-2) used a balanced offensive attack (173 rushing yards, 240 passing) to get their first win this season . . .  The San Francisco 49ers are 3-0 as they won a thriller at home, 24-20 against the Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) as RB Jeff Wilson scored twice to offset five 49ers turnovers. Steelers reserve QB Mason Rudolph had two TD passes in the loss . . . Vikings running back Dalvin Cook rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown while the defense had four QB sacks in Minnesota's 34-14 home win over the Oakland Raiders . . .  The Indianapolis Colts (2-1) held on for a 27-24 home win against the Atlanta Falcons (1-2) as QB Jacoby Brissett had two TD passes to offset three TD passes from Falcons QB Matt Ryan . . .  The Dallas Cowboys (3-0) rolled past the visiting Miami Dolphins, 31-6 as QB Dak Prescott had two scoring passes and a rushing touchdown . . .  The Buffalo Bills (3-0) won at home, 21-17 against the Cincinnati Bengals (0-3) as RB Frank Gore scored on a one-yard run with 1:50 left and the Bills defense forced four turnovers, including an interception (Tre'Davious White's second pick in the game) to seal the win . . .  The Detroit Lions (2-0-1) won at Philadelphia, 27-24 with Jamal Agnew returning a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, Kerryon Johnson scoring a rushing TD and QB Matthew Stafford throwing a TD pass to lead the way . . .  The Houston Texans (2-1) won at Los Angeles, 27-20 against the Chargers (1-2) as QB Deshaun Watson had three TD passes . . .  In the Thursday night game, Jacksonville (1-2) beat the visiting Tennessee Titans, 20-7 in a rain storm as QB Gardner Minshew had two TD passes in the first quarter and the Jags defense made it stand up . . .  In the Monday Night Football game, the Chicago Bears (2-1) defeated the host Washington Redskins, 31-15 as the defense had four QB sacks and forced five turnovers, including two interceptions by defensive back HaHa Clinton-Dix, who took one back for a 37-yard touchdown. Bears QB Mitch Trubisky threw for three touchdowns, all to WR Taylor Gabriel.

Week Three Results
Jacksonville 20, Tennessee 7
Minnesota 34, Oakland 14
Detroit 27, Philadelphia 24
Green Bay 27, Denver 16
New England 30, NY Jets 14
Indianapolis 27, Atlanta 24
Dallas 31, Miami 6
Kansas City 33, Baltimore 28
Buffalo 21, Cincinnati 17
Carolina 38, Arizona 20
Houston 27, LA Chargers 20
NY Giants 32, Tampa Bay 31
San Francisco 24, Pittsburgh 20
New Orleans 33, Seattle 27
LA Rams 20, Cleveland 13
Chicago 31, Washington 15 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                      (Week ending September 22)

1.  Clemson (4-0)
2.  Alabama (4-0)
3.  Georgia  (4-0)
4.  Oklahoma (3-0)
5.  LSU (4-0)
6.  Ohio State (4-0)
7.  Auburn (4-0) 
8.  Florida (4-0)
9.  Wisconsin (3-0)
10.  Penn State (3-0)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Major League Baseball - Week In Review

It's the home stretch around Major League Baseball for the contending teams and the Atlanta Braves joined the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees as division winners on Friday night as they shut out the visiting San Francisco Giants, 6-0 with Ronald Acuna, Jr. smashing his 42nd home run this season to help lead the way.
The Houston Astros own baseball's best record and they are going back to the playoffs once again as they became only the sixth team in MLB history to record three consecutive 100-win seasons. With a win this weekend or an Oakland A's loss, the Astros will clinch the American League West division title.
The Minnesota Twins are closing in on their first division title since the 2010 season as they took two out of three against the Chicago White Sox at home this week and have also won the first two games of a four-game set this weekend against the Kansas City Royals. The Twins also established a new record as they became the first team ever to have five players with at least 30 home runs in one season.
The Cleveland Indians are chasing the Twins in the A.L. Central, but they will likely have to settle for a wild card spot if they are going to make it to the post-season for a fourth consecutive season. The Tribe beat Philadelphia, 5-2 on Friday night to run their win streak to five games.
They are tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for the last playoff spot in the wild card chase. The Oakland A's are two games up on the Rays and Indians for the top wild card spot. The Rays beat the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox, 5-4 in 11 innings on Friday to eliminate the Bosox from playoff contention. 
The St. Louis Cardinals continue to take care of business as they have won the first two games of a crucial four-game series in Chicago this weekend. They beat the Cubs, 5-4 in 10 innings on Thursday evening and then won a 2-1 pitcher's duel at Wrigley Field on Friday afternoon. The Cubs have lost four in a row this week following a five-game winning streak last week and now find themselves two full games behind the surging Milwaukee Brewers for the final N.L. wild card playoff spot.
The Brewers continue to confound opponents as they won again, 10-1 against the visiting Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night and have gone on another hot streak after losing their top player Christian Yelich to a knee injury for the rest of the season. Milwaukee is three games behind St. Louis in the N.L. Central race and just one game behind the Washington Nationals for the top wild card spot in the senior circuit.
The Nationals beat the Miami Marlins, 6-4 on Friday to maintain their slim edge on the Brewers. Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies continue to fade as they dropped a 5-2 decision in Cleveland on Friday night. The Phils are five full games behind Milwaukee for the last playoff spot.
The New York Mets are hanging in there with only nine games left to go. They trail the Brewers by 3 1/2 games for the final wild card playoff spot as they blasted the host Cincinnati Reds, 8-1 on Friday. Mets rookie sensation Pete Alonso hit his league leading 50th home run this season to pace the win. 

AL STANDINGS (through September 20)                      NL STANDINGS (through September 20)
East                                                                                     East
x-New York 100-55                                                            x-Atlanta 95-60            
Tampa Bay 91-63                                                               Washington 84-68
Boston 80-73                                                                      New York 80-73
Toronto 63-91                                                                     Philadelphia 78-74
Baltimore 50-104                                                                Miami 53-100

Central                                                                                Central
Minnesota 95-59                                                                  St. Louis 87-67
Cleveland 91-63                                                                   Milwaukee 84-70
Chicago 67-86                                                                      Chicago 82-72
Kansas City 56-99                                                                Cincinnati 72-82
Detroit 45-108                                                                      Pittsburgh 65-89
West                                                                                     West
y-Houston 101-53                                                                 x-LA Dodgers 99-55
Oakland 93-61                                                                      Arizona 79-75
Texas 74-80                                                                          San Francisco 74-80
LA Angels 69-85                                                                  San Diego 69-85
Seattle 65-89                                                                         Colorado 66-88 

x - clinched division title
y - clinched playoff spot

Friday, September 20, 2019

NFL - Week Three Preview

Holding - Offense . . .  Holding - Offense . . .  Holding - Offense

It seems to be the most popular phrase regarding the NFL so far this season.
As Week Three takes place, here is hoping the refs chill out a bit with the penalty flags and let the PLAYERS play the game of football. People don't pay for tickets to games or tune in on the television to watch the "zebras" throw yellow flags and call endless penalties.
Booooooring !
With that out of the way, let's look at some of the games taking place this weekend around the NFL. First thing, the New England Patriots (2-0) released wide receiver Antonio Brown today and they will be hosting the hapless New York Jets (0-2) this Sunday.  Bill Belichick doesn't mess around and with all the controversy and legal allegations surrounding Brown, the Pats said "See Ya!"
Tom Brady and company are rolling early on and should steamroll the Jets this weekend as well. New England has outscored the opposition 76-3 in the first two games this season. Expect more of the same this Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
The Baltimore Ravens (2-0) travel to face the Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) and this could be a high scoring game given that both quarterbacks have passed for seven touchdowns with zero interceptions in the first two games. Lamar Jackson (Ravens) and Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs) are playing at the top of their game early this season and will likely do so again this Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
The New Orleans Saints (1-1) will be without quarterback Drew Brees for at least the next six weeks (thumb injury) and they travel to face the Seattle Seahawks (2-0) and their star quarterback Russell Wilson. This could be a blowout as the 'Hawks have played two surprising squeakers already while the Saints offense looked lost without Brees in their blowout loss against the L.A. Rams last week.
This weekend, those Rams (2-0) will be facing the Cleveland Browns (1-1) in "prime time" on Sunday Night Football in Cleveland.
That's right, the Sunday night prime time game is in Cleveland.
The Rams defense stepped up last week while the Browns did the same in their 23-3 thumping of the Jets on Monday Night Football. Will Jared Goff and company be able to expose the Brownies D this weekend? How about Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland attack going against Aaron Donald and the rest of the Rams defense? This game should be a good one and look for the Rams to pull ahead in the fourth quarter and get the road victory.

The rest of the games are featured ahead in the capsule style previews along with the game predictions as well.

Detroit Lions (1-0-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) - This game could go down to the wire. The Lions found a way to win last week at home while the Eagles blew one late on the road. Philly is banged up, so the Lions could escape with another win.

N.Y. Jets (0-2) at New England Patriots (2-0) - Blowout city here as the Pats roll up a 40-plus point game against one of the worst teams in the NFL.

Oakland Raiders (1-1) at Minnesota Vikings (1-1) - The Vikings are tough at home and the Raiders not so much on the road as their recent history suggests. Take Minnesota.

Baltimore Ravens (2-0) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) - Hard to pick against the Chiefs at home, but if any team can beat K.C. at Arrowhead, this Ravens defense could be the ones to slow down Mahomes and company.

Atlanta Falcons (1-1) at Indianapolis Colts (1-1) - Toss up here.

Denver Broncos (0-2) at Green Bay Packers (2-0) - The Packers defense is looking legit so far and they could shut out the Broncos listless offense.

Miami Dolphins (0-2) at Dallas Cowboys (2-0) - Cowboys roll !

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) at Buffalo Bills (2-0) - Bills looking serious about getting back to the playoffs this season. Bengals looked terrible last weekend in home blowout loss against San Francisco.

N.Y. Giants (0-2) at Tampa Bay (1-1) - Where are you Eli Manning?  On the bench as the Giants go with rookie Daniel Jones at starting quarterback. Bucs should win this one at home.

Carolina Panthers (0-2) at Arizona Cardinals (0-1-1) - Quarterback Cam Newton is still looking like he's not himself (injuries) and the Cards have rookie QB Kyler Murray on their side. Take Big Red in this one.

Pittsburgh Steelers (0-2) at San Francisco 49ers (2-0) - Will the Steelers (who are without injured QB Ben Roethlisberger for the remainder of the season) start out 0-3?  Most likely because the 49ers are kicking ass and taking names so far this season.

New Orleans Saints (1-1) at Seattle Seahawks (2-0) - The Seahawks should roll in this one, but the Saints would like to prove the doubters wrong.

Houston Texans (1-1) at L.A. Chargers (1-1) - Chargers laid an egg in the second half and let one get away last week in Detroit while the Texans were very lucky to win at home. Take the 'Bolts in a close game.

L.A. Rams (2-0) at Cleveland Browns (1-1) - The Sunday night game in Cleveland. Two good young quarterbacks. Jared Goff is the better QB however and that will be the difference in this one.

Chicago Bears (1-1) at Washington Redskins (0-2) - The Bears were extremely lucky to get the last second win on the road last week. The Redskins defense has been terrible so far in 2019, so maybe the Bears offense can score more than 16 points in this one.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Three  . . . . . . .     (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Tennessee over Jacksonville 
Philadelphia over Detroit
New England over NY Jets
Minnesota over Oakland
Kansas City over Baltimore
Indianapolis over Atlanta
Green Bay over Denver
DALLAS over Miami
Buffalo over Cincinnati
Tampa Bay over NY Giants
Arizona over Carolina
San Francisco over Pittsburgh
Seattle over New Orleans
LA Chargers over Houston
LA Rams over Cleveland 
Chicago over Washington 

Last Week's Record -  10-6

SEASON RECORD -  21-10-1

Lock of the Week Record -  2-0 

Monday, September 16, 2019

NFL - Week Two Review

Bears kicker Eddy Pineiro celebrates game winning field goal.
Double Doink this!
The Chicago Bears beat the host Denver Broncos, 16-14 as rookie kicker Eddy Pineiro, Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, made a 53-yard field goal as time expired. It was Pineiro's third field goal of the game and provided a great finish to an otherwise boring game that featured numerous penalties on each team.
The Bears led 13-6 in the final minute, but the Broncos drove down and scored on a seven-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Joe Flacco to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders with 31 seconds remaining.
They then made the two-point conversion after missing an extra point kick after a delay of game penalty forced them into the PAT attempt. However, the Bears were offside and then the Broncos decided to go for the two points again. From there, the Bears offense, led by QB Mitch Trubisky, drove downfield and set up the winning field goal on a clutch fourth-and-15 pass completion to WR Allen Robinson at the Denver 35-yard line with one second left.
In another close game that went down to the wire, the Detroit Lions scored late in the final quarter on a 31-yard TD pass from QB Matthew Stafford to WR Kenny Golladay and then held on for a 13-10 win at home over the Los Angeles Chargers as Darius Slay intercepted Chargers QB Philip Rivers pass in the end zone to seal the win.
The Chargers continually shot themselves in the foot with penalties and a costly fumble at the Lions goal line in the third quarter as they held a 10-6 lead. Two penalties on successive plays nullified touchdowns by running backs Justin Jackson (60-yard TD run) and Austin Ekeler on a screen pass. A pass interference gave the 'Bolts the ball at the one-yard line, but then Ekeler fumbled and Detroit recovered to end the drive. In addition, Chargers (punter) substitute kicker Ty Long missed two field goals that proved to be the difference in the final outcome.
The much anticipated game of the week in Los Angeles between the Rams and New Orleans Saints turned into a 27-9 rout by the Rams as Saints QB Drew Brees left the game with a thumb injury to his throwing hand and never returned. It's being reported Brees will be out at least six weeks. Rams QB Jared Goff had a TD run and pass and RB Todd Gurley scored his first touchdown of the season. The Rams defense limited the Saints offense to only 244 total yards, including just 57 yards rushing.
Of course, there was controversy involving the referees as an apparent scoop and score fumble return by Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan in the second quarter was nullified as the play was initially ruled an incomplete pass by (Rams QB) Goff before video review determined Goff had fumbled, but Jordan's scoring run didn't count because the play was blown dead.
The Green Bay Packers beat the Minnesota Vikings, 21-16 at Lambeau Field as QB Aaron Rodgers had two TD passes and running back Aaron Jones rushed for 116 yards and a TD to pace the win. Vikings RB Dalvin Cook scored a touchdown and rushed for 154 yards while QB Kirk Cousins was intercepted twice and the Vikes had four turnovers in the loss.
The Baltimore Ravens defeated the Arizona Cardinals, 23-17 as kicker Justin Tucker made three field goals and QB Lamar Jackson proved to be the dual threat, passing for 272 yards and two TD and rushing for 120 yards in the home victory. Cards rookie QB Kyler Murray passed for 349 yards in defeat.
The Seattle Seahawks beat the host Pittsburgh Steelers, 28-26 as QB Russell Wilson had three TD
strikes and 300 passing yards. The big story in this game was Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger (pictured left) leaving the game in the first half with an elbow injury. Big Ben is having surgery on the elbow and will miss the rest of the season. The Steelers will go with Mason Rudolph at quarterback for the rest of the season.

                                                   Elsewhere Around the NFL  . . . . . . . .

The New England Patriots throttled the host Miami Dolphins, 43-0 as their defense limited the Dolphins 184 yards in total offense while intercepting three passes, including two for touchdowns. Pats QB Tom Brady had a TD run and pass (to new WR Antonio Brown) to pace the offense . . .  The San Francisco 49ers blasted the Cincinnati Bengals, 41-17 for their second straight road victory to open the season. The 'Niners racked up 572 yards in offense (259 rushing, 313 passing) while QB Jimmy Garoppolo had three TD passes and Jeff Wilson rushed for two more scores . . . The Dallas Cowboys beat the Washington Redskins, 31-21 as QB Dak Prescott had three TD passes and RB Ezekiel Elliott scored a rushing touchdown to lead the way . . .  The Indianapolis Colts pulled off a surprise road win at Tennessee, 19-17 behind three TD passes from QB Jacoby Brissett . . .  The Kansas City Chiefs scored 28 points in the second quarter while beating the host Oakland Raiders, 28-10 as QB Patrick Mahomes, the Heftyinfo NFL co-Player of the Week, had four TD passes, including two to WR Demarcus Robinson, who had six receptions for 172 yards in the easy win . . .  The Buffalo Bills beat the host New York Giants, 28-14 as QB Josh Allen had a TD run and pass while rookie RB Devin Singletary scored his first touchdown and Frank Gore also had a rushing TD to lead a balanced Bills attack with 388 yards, including 151 rushing yards . . .  Houston Texans QB Deshaun Watson scored on a two-yard run and kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn made two field goals as the Texans held off the Jacksonville Jaguars, 13-12 for a home win. The Jags decided to go for the two-point conversion after scoring a touchdown with just 30 seconds remaining in the game, but the Texans defense stuffed the run to seal the win . . .  The Tampa Bay Buccaneers knocked off the host Carolina Panthers, 20-14 on Thursday night as QB Jameis Winston had a TD pass and RB Peyton Barber had a scoring run while the Bucs defense held the Panthers to four field goals and just 39 rushing yards . . . In the Sunday night game, the Atlanta Falcons rallied back in the final minutes to beat the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, 24-20 as QB Matt Ryan hit WR Julio Jones with a four-yard TD pass for the deciding score. Ryan had three TD passes (two to Jones) along with three interceptions and 320 yards. Eagles QB Carson Wentz had a TD pass along with two interceptions in the loss . . .  In the Monday Night Football game, the Cleveland Browns spanked the host New York Jets, 23-3. Browns QB Baker Mayfield hooked up with WR Odell Beckham, Jr. for an 89-yard TD pass and Nick Chubb scored a rushing touchdown to pace the win.

Week Two Results
Tampa Bay 20, Carolina 14
Detroit 13, LA Chargers 10
Seattle 28, Pittsburgh 26
New England 43, Miami 0
Buffalo 28, NY Giants 14
Green Bay 21, Minnesota 16
Dallas 31, Washington 21
San Francisco 41, Cincinnati 17
Baltimore 23, Arizona 17
Houston 13, Jacksonville 12
Indianapolis 19, Tennessee 17
Chicago 16, Denver 14
Kansas City 28, Oakland 10
LA Rams 27, New Orleans 9
Atlanta 24, Philadelphia 20
Cleveland 23, NY Jets 3

Sunday, September 15, 2019

College Football Top Ten

Heftyinfo College Football Top Ten                 (Week ending September 15)     
1.  Clemson (3-0)
2.  Alabama (3-0)
3.  Georgia  (3-0)
4.  Oklahoma (3-0)
5.  LSU (3-0)
6.  Ohio State (3-0)
7.  Notre Dame (2-0)
8.  Auburn (3-0)
9.  Michigan (2-0)
10.  Florida (3-0) 

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Major League Baseball - Week In Review

The Los Angeles Dodgers became the first team in baseball to clinch a playoff spot as they won their seventh straight National League West division title by beating the Baltimore Orioles, 7-3 on Tuesday evening. The rest of the division races are pretty much locked up, with the exception of the Central races in each league.
The New York Yankees currently have the best record in the major leagues and the Houston Astros are just one game behind the Bronx Bombers for the home field edge in the American League playoffs. The Astros lost three of four games this week (at home) against the red hot Oakland A's, who lead the wild card chase.
The A's have a one-half game lead over the Tampa Bay Rays while the Cleveland Indians are one game back of Oakland. The Indians have a huge three game set at home against the first place Minnesota Twins this weekend. The game on Friday night was rained out. Minnesota lost two of three games at home against the Washington Nationals earlier this week.
The Nationals were shut out by the Atlanta Braves, 5-0 on Friday as Max Scherzer took the loss. The Braves continue to roll in the N.L. East and lead the Nats by 9 1/2 games. Atlanta is 7-3 in their last ten games and their magic number to clinch a second consecutive division title is six.
The Chicago Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers are chasing the St. Louis Cardinals in the N.L. Central race. The Brewers got back into the thick of things by taking three of four games at home against the Cubs last weekend. They then swept a four-game set on the road against the lowly Miami Marlins to run their winning streak to seven games before getting drilled 10-0 in St. Louis on Friday night.
Paul Goldschmidt smashed a pair of home runs (including a grand slam) and had seven RBI to lead the way. The Cardinals lead the Cubs by four games and Milwaukee by five games.
The wild card race continues to be close as Washington is in the top spot with the Cubs in the second spot. The Philadelphia Phillies are 2 1/2 games back of Chicago and the New York Mets are three out. The Arizona Diamondbacks followed a sizzling hot streak with their current six-game losing streak and have fallen 4 1/2 games back in the chase for the final wild card spot. The D-Backs were swept in New York by the Mets in a four game series this week.
On Friday in Wrigley Field, the Cubs rolled the Pittsburgh Pirates, 17-9 as they smashed five home runs, including a grand slam by Anthony Rizzo and a pair of homers by Willson Contreras. The Mets lost on Friday night at home to the Dodgers, 9-2 as Noah Syndergaard was roughed up and lost the decision to Dodgers ace pitcher Clayton Kershaw. Arizona fell to the Cincinnati Reds, 4-3 while Philadelphia was idle. The Phillies play at home in a brief two game set against the Boston Red Sox in inter league play this weekend.

AL STANDINGS (through September 13)                      NL STANDINGS (through September 13)
East                                                                                     East
New York 97-52                                                                 Atlanta 92-57            
Tampa Bay 88-61                                                               Washington 81-65
Boston 77-70                                                                      Philadelphia 76-70
Toronto 58-90                                                                     New York 76-71
Baltimore 48-99                                                                  Miami 51-96

Central                                                                                Central
Minnesota 89-57                                                                  St. Louis 83-64
Cleveland 86-61                                                                   Chicago 79-68
Chicago 65-82                                                                      Milwaukee 78-69
Kansas City 55-93                                                                Cincinnati 69-79
Detroit 43-103                                                                       Pittsburgh 65-83
West                                                                                     West
Houston 96-53                                                                      x-LA Dodgers 96-53
Oakland 88-60                                                                      Arizona 75-73
Texas 74-75                                                                          San Francisco 71-77
LA Angels 67-81                                                                  San Diego 68-79
Seattle 60-88                                                                         Colorado 63-85  

x-clinched division title 

Friday, September 13, 2019

NFL - Week Two Preview

The NFL gets into the second week of the season and last night the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won on the road at Carolina, topping the Panthers, 20-14 to get the action started. There are a slew of anticipated good games this weekend, including the Minnesota Vikings taking on the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau Field on Sunday.
Whoever wins that game will be alone in first place in the NFC North division. The Packers defense completely stymied the Chicago Bears (10-3 win) in Week One while the Vikings defense hearkened memories of the old school "Purple People Eaters" defense with the way they suffocated the Atlanta Falcons offense last week in a 28-12 win. The game was never close.
Another division rivalry takes place in Washington, D.C. as the Redskins host the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday. The 'Skins almost pulled off a big upset in Week One before eventually falling to Philadelphia, 32-27 in Philly. The Cowboys steam rolled past the New York Giants in Dallas, 35-17 as quarterback Dak Prescott had a huge game, throwing for 405 yards with four touchdowns. This should be a good game, but the Cowboys likely will win as they simply have more talent at the skill positions.
The New Orleans Saints travel west to face the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon and you know they would love to stick it to the Rams after the debacle by the referees in last season's NFC Championship Game in The Big Easy.
We all remember that one. The no call on the obvious pass interference by Los Angeles with the Saints driving deep in Rams' territory with the game clock winding down. The game eventually went into overtime as a result of the blown non call and the Rams won the game to go to the Super Bowl. Both teams won their opener last week and they each scored 30 points as well. This one should be a shoot out that again will most likely go right down to the wire.
The Chicago Bears were completely listless on offense last week and now face the Denver Broncos and former defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, the new head coach for the Broncos. It's the home opener for Denver and their fans will be raucous as they look for their team to even their record after a 24-16 setback in Oakland last Monday night.
It should be interesting to see which teams will be 0-2, which is never a good thing as the stats show through the years that those teams rarely bounce back to make the NFL playoffs. Match ups featuring two 0-1 teams facing each other include Jacksonville at Tennessee, the previously mentioned Chicago at Denver game and the Monday Night Football game between the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets at The Meadowlands.
Stay tuned.

The following features a capsule style preview of all the remaining action this weekend and following up are the Heftyinfo predictions for Week Two.

San Francisco (1-0) at Cincinnati (0-1) - The 49ers rolled past Tampa Bay last week while the Bengals nearly shocked the Seahawks on the road. Cincy should prevail in this one. 

LA Chargers (1-0) at Detroit (0-0-1) - Both of these teams blew fourth quarter leads but the Chargers won their game in OT while the Lions tied the Cardinals. Something has to give in this one.

Minnesota (1-0) at Green Bay (1-0) - Both teams showing solid defense in Week One wins. Toss up in Lambeau Field for this game.

Indianapolis (0-1) at Tennessee (1-0) - The Titans looked mighty impressive in their blowout win in Cleveland. The Colts battled back in L.A. but fell to defeat in OT in their first game in the post-Andrew Luck era. Take the Titans.

New England (1-0) at Miami (0-1) - The real question for this game is whether the Dolphins can limit the Patriots to less than 60 points.

Buffalo (1-0) at NY Giants (0-1) - Will the Giants lose at home to upstate rival Buffalo? They will look to avoid the dreaded 0-2 start. Bills had a big comeback win last week vs. the Jets.

Seattle (1-0) at Pittsburgh (0-1) - Can Big Ben and company rebound after opening game disaster? The Seahawks narrowly survived against the Bengals for their opening game win.

Dallas (1-0) at Washington (0-1) - The Cowboys and the Redskins . . . take the Cowboys.

Arizona (0-0-1) at Baltimore (1-0) - Will the Ravens hang 59 points on the Cardinals? Doubtful, but they should still win this game. Cards showed resolve battling back from 18 points down in fourth quarter to tie the Lions last week.

Jacksonville (0-1) at Houston (0-1) - Losing starting QB Nick Foles (broken collar bone) was not the way the Jaguars wanted to start the 2019 season. Texans can score points and should win this game.

Kansas City (1-0) at Oakland (1-0) - The Chiefs will likely win, but most likely will not score 40 points against the Raiders improved looking defense.

Chicago (0-1) at Denver (0-1) -  Will the Bears score a touchdown this week?  Can the Broncos win their first game under new head coach Vic Fangio?  Stay tuned.

New Orleans (1-0) at LA Rams (1-0) - The game of the week for sure. Both of these teams can light up the scoreboard and this one should go down to the wire.

Philadelphia (1-0) at Atlanta (0-1) - Falcons laid an egg in their opener and get a chance to make amends in their home opener. The Eagles offense exploded in second half last week. Toss up here.

Cleveland (0-1) at NY Jets (0-1) - The Monday night game featuring the two teams that it all began with 49 years ago. Both of these teams need a win in this one.

The Heftyinfo picks for Week Two  . . . . . . . .       (Home teams are listed in bold; Lock of the Week is listed in BOLD CAPS)

Carolina over Tampa Bay
Cincinnati over San Francisco
LA Chargers over Detroit 
Green Bay over Minnesota
Tennessee over Indianapolis
NEW ENGLAND over Miami 
NY Giants over Buffalo
Pittsburgh over Seattle
Dallas over Washington
Baltimore over Arizona
Houston over Jacksonville
Kansas City over Oakland 
Chicago over Denver
LA Rams over New Orleans
Atlanta over Philadelphia
Cleveland over NY Jets

Last Week's Record - 11-4-1 


Lock of the Week Record - 1-0