It's been awhile since I've commented on the sporting scene, so let's play a little catch-up, shall we.....
Two weeks ago, the Steelers lost, badly so, to the Jax Jaguars, and were headed on the road to play the undefeated KayCee Chiefs. It was looking grim, and a poor performance against the Chiefs could have sent the Steelers season in the wrong direction.
What followed was convincing win against the Chiefs, and that was then followed with an even more convincing win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Not coincidentally, both wins featured strong performances by this guy...
....who may very well be the best running back in the NFL. Bell has shown knucklehead tendencies in the past, but it cannot be disputed just how good he is.
Both of these past two Steelers wins have also been highlighted by strong defensive performances, and now, just two weeks after that woeful game against the Jags, the team appears to be one of the strongest in the NFL. Of concern, however, is the Steelers mystifying inability to turn First and Goal opportunities into touchdowns and settling for field goals instead. It hasn't hurt them too much so far, but there will come a time, against a strong opponent, when I fear that that deficiency will bite them in the posterior. Until then, though, let's enjoy the ride.
Is there anything that can cure Steelers Sluggishness more that playing against the Cincy Bengals? Once again, the Bengals turned into the Bungles when playing the Steelers yesterday. At no time was this more apparent than at the end of the first half. The Steelers have the ball inside their own twenty-five yard line, under two minutes to play, and only one time out. What happens? A Bengals penalty for having twelve men on the field gives the Steelers a crucial first down, and that was then followed up by a forty yard pass interference penalty that gave the Steelers the ball on the Bengals five yard line. And all of that was followed by a Bengal second half where Andy Dalton and his mates redefined the term "hapless".
As I have often said, Death, Taxes, and Unbelievable Screw-ups by the Cincy Bengals. Three absolutes in life.
Two weeks ago, I sat in Heinz Field and watched Pitt get thoroughly beaten by North Carolina State and fall to 2-4. Really, there was nothing positive to take from that game. Poor line play, which led to no running game and inept quarterback play. It was discussed among my ticket group that it was possible that the Panthers might not win another game all season.
What happens? Pitt travels to Duke and lays a beat down on the Blue Devils, a win that featured a 200+ yard rushing performance from Darrin Hall. Go figure.
Pitt now has to go 3-2 the rest of the way to become bowl eligible. Can they do it? I suppose it is possible, but I give it a less than 50/50 chance unless some spark is lit at the quarterback position. Makes you realize how good a college QB Nate Peterman was.
Anyway, bowl eligibility now becomes the Panther goal, but how good are you really going to feel about a 6-6 season?
The World Series begins tomorrow night! Once the premier sporting event in all of America, the World Series is still a pretty big deal to me, and this year's battle between the Dodgers....
Dodgers defeat Cubs
Astros defeat Yankees
certainly has the possibility to be an exciting one.
Both teams won over 100 games, and the Dodgers, save for an inexplicable 20 for so game stretch game in late August, steamrolled through the regular season and the NL Playoffs. Likewise, the Astros blew through the AL West in the regular season, and won a thrilling LCS in seven games over the Yankees.
(Before I go on, a word about the Yankees. They are young and they are good, and unlike Yankees teams from the George Steinbrenner/Billy Martin Era, they are hard not to like. [With the exception of Aroldis Chapman; I can't see myself ever liking him.] With guys like Judge, Bird, Sanchez, and Severino, they have the makings of a team that we shall be seeing in the post-season for years to come. They also have a really good manager in Joe Girardi. They'll be back.)
The Astros and Dodgers. Both teams have terrific starting pitching and terrific hitting. Both have deep benches. The Dodgers have an absolutely unbelievable bullpen, and that is where I give them a significant edge over the Astros. The Astros, given the depths that the team was in earlier in the decade, and given what the City of Houston has experienced this past summer, will be the easier team for which to root, but I think that the bullpen will be the edge that will give the Dodgers the ultimate victory.
In my Pirates preview post of April 2, 2017 (you can look it up), I ended with the following sentence:
The Los Angles Dodgers will defeat the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.
Okay, I had the AL team wrong, but I will stay with that original sentiment and call it a Dodgers win in seven games. As always, watch but don't bet.