It is time to make our picks for the NFL Conference Championships. In the NFC Divisional Round last week, the 49ers advanced by beating the Cowboys in a close one, 19-12, while the Eagles easily took care of business against the Giants, beating them 38-7. In the AFC, the favored Chiefs just squeaked by the Jaguars, 27-20, and the Bengals continued to surprise, winning in Buffalo by a score of 27-10, setting up a rematch of last year’s AFC Conference Championship.
In our picks last week, Richard Sanchez went a perfect 4-0 in his picks; Mr. Higgins went 3-1 (incorrectly picking the Bills to beat Cincy); while Rodolfo Garcia and Carlos Lopez each went 2-2. Joining our sports editor Carlos Lopez and Mr. Higgins this week are reporters Stany Hernandez and Evelyn Magaña. Let’s get to the Championship games, both on this fun-filled Sunday, January 29.
NFC Championship Game: 49ers @ Eagles | Noon, FOX
Carlos is the only one picking Philly, and the reason he picks the Eagles is because, “They’ve been on a roll all season. A lot of people are picking against Philly because they want to root for the underdog. I think the inexperience of Brock Purdy will cost the Niners the game.”
AFC Championship Game: Bengals @ Chiefs | 3:30, CBS
So why is everyone picking the Bengals? The injury to Patrick Mahomes is concerning, and, as Mr. Higgins said, “I’m just tired of the Bengals proving me wrong!” Cincy obviously has a very complete team, and we see them repeating as AFC champs and moving on to Super Bowl LVII on Sunday, February 12.
Last week, we made our picks for the wild card round. Let’s recap how we did. We all incorrectly predicted a Vikings win over the Giants; otherwise, our NFL correspondent Rodolfo Garcia was perfect in his other predictions.
Rodolfo Garcia | 5-1
Mr. Higgins | 4-2
Richard Sanchez | 3-3
Michael Rodriguez | 3-3
It is now time to move on to round two of the NFL playoffs, otherwise known as the Divisional Round. The top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs now join the fight, hosting the lowest remaining seeds in these Divisional Round games. *For this round of predictions, our sports editor Carlos Lopez replaces Michael to make picks.
Giants @ Eagles | Saturday, 5:15pm on FOX
Cowboys @ Niners | Sunday, 3:30pm on FOX
Jaguars @ Chiefs | Saturday, 1:30pm on NBC
Bengals @ Bills | Sunday, 12:00 noon on CBS
Check in with us next week when we wrap up these predictions and get down to the final four teams playing for the Conference Championships and a chance to go to the Super Bowl.
The World Cup Final is all set: Argentina vs France will be held this Sunday, December 18 at 7:00am and will be the first time these nations have faced each other in the final of the World Cup.
This game will be a fierce and tough game for both nations, but I see Argentina winning this game 3-2 in overtime with a late goal from an Argentina corner kick.
I originally predicted Argentina going all the way to the finals of the World Cup and even saw them beating France to secure their spot as the 2022 World Cup Champions. Argentina will be led by Lionel Messi and with a strong and motivated Argentina team behind him that is hungry for World Cup glory.
The last time Croatia and Argentina met up in the World Cup, Croatia overcame Argentina and defeated them to a 3-0 game in the group stages. Since then, this Argentina team has developed serious players and a new system with a new coaching staff that should lead this team to the championship.
The third place game is tomorrow, Saturday, December 17 between Croatia and Morocco at 7:00am. This will be the first time Morocco has made it to the semifinals and since they didn’t manage to defeat France, they will have the chance to play to get third place, which will be the first time any African team has made it to this point. That alone could put a whole lot of pressure on Morocco.
Croatia will be frustrated from the game against Argentina, and I could see Croatia breezing through this game, since the Moroccon team will be tired from the France game and will have less time to rest and prepare for Croatia. Overall, I predict Croatia winning this game 2-0.
When the Final 16 of the World Cup was released, Brazil and France were the favorites. Many were predicting them to head up against each other in the final. Many failed to see that while Brazil may have had a star-studded team, they lacked the discipline to play as a team and had a lackluster coaching staff. France not only has a star-studded team, they have the discipline to play as a team and a coaching staff that are more than comfortable enough to lead the team throughout the tournament. They did all this while missing key starters such as The Ballon d’or winner Karim Benzema (which is the highest individual level a pro player can achieve in their career). Pogba and Kante are other key players for France and lead them to win the 2018 World Cup.
The Final 16 was also just the second time Germany had not qualified to the knockout rounds due to goal difference. Belgium did not see the knockout rounds either, due to goal difference, despite having their “golden generation.” Due to not qualifying, Roberto Martinez, the head coach of Belgium has resigned and will not coach Belgium’s men’s national team for future games. He will not be the only coach to resign due to not qualifying further into the World Cup as the Mexico National Team has failed to qualify into the final 16 since 1994. Uruguay has also failed to qualify to the knockout stages from the same problem the last few teams have suffered, which was from having a low goal difference.
With upsetting moments and happy moments, this season had many exciting games. Many upset fans whose NFL teams were projected to be a playoff contender sadly failed and missed the playoffs once again; but many seemingly bad or average teams shockingly improved this season.
Through Week 13 in the NFL, it’s time to take a look at playoff predictions.
NFC PLAYOFF PREDICTION:
In the NFC the Bears, Rams, Saints, and Cardinals are all out. But thanks to a bad NFC South, the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons are still in the hunt to try to make the playoffs; and the Seattle Seahawks, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers have a very slim chance at a wild card spot. But my prediction will be that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will win the South and that all the NFC East teams will make it in as wild cards behind the Eagles, including the Cowboys, Commanders, and Giants.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1ST NFC EAST–already clinched)
DALLAS COWBOYS (2ND NFC EAST)
NY GIANTS (3RD NFC EAST)
WASHINGTON COMMANDERS (4TH NFC EAST)
MINNESOTA VIKINGS (1ST NFC NORTH)
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS (1ST NFC WEST)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (1ST NFC SOUTH)
AFC PLAYOFF PREDICTION:
In the AFC the Jags, Raiders, Browns, Steelers, Colts, Broncos, and Texans are all out. The Jets, Chargers, and Patriots are battling for the find Wild Card spot for the final wild card spot (#7 seed) which puts them in the hunt. I predict that the New England Patriots and New York Jets will sadly be out of the hunt and not make the playoffs, leaving the Chargers as the 7 seed.
BUFFALO BILLS (1ST AFC EAST)
MIAMI DOLPHINS (2ND AFC EAST)
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (1ST AFC WEST)
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (2nd AFC WEST)
CINCINNATI BENGALS (1ST AFC NORTH)
BALTIMORE RAVENS (2ND AFC NORTH)
TENNESSEE TITANS (1ST AFC SOUTH)
Here are some teams I want to highlight who can go deep into the playoffs.
Kansas City Chiefs
One team that is not surprising to make it to the final stages of the NFL playoff runs is the Kansas City Chiefs. Many NFL fans were really concerned after trading their top wide receiver Tyreek Hill. But the Kansas City Chiefs were not worried about it and did what they knew coming to a current 10-3 record.
The Chiefs success continued this year because they made really great draft pick ups in the 2022 NFL Draft. One of the most underrated running backs, coming from Rutgers and getting picked up in the 7th round (pick 110) is Isiah Pacheco. I am not surprised by how he is playing this season. I knew this football player had so much potential with his speed and shiftiness to be a starter in the NFL, which he did with a really great RB room and knocked out Clyde Edwards Helaire to become a starter. A 1st round 2020 draft pick coming out of LSU, Helaire hasn’t had much of a chance because of injuries.
This team also has a really great offensive line. Also, two great LB that are making huge plays in Nick Bolton and Willie Gay both play really physical and aggressive on every play.
Travis Kelce, of course, carries a load for this team, making big plays along with Pacheco. These two players will be key factors to winning playoff games.
Not to mention Patrick Mahomes, the quarterback having a great season so far with not many key targets in the wide receiver spot. But Mahomes is what he is and manages to make huge plays this year. Players to look at in the playoffs are Patrick Mahomes, Isaiah Pacheco, Travis Kelce, Kadarius Toney, Trent Mcduffie, Skyy Moore, Marquez Valdes Scantling, Willie Gay, Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Nick Bolton, and Orlando Brown Jr.
After a rough start to the season, NFL fans were bashing the Bengals for having a slow start (0-2 record). This team never gave up and picked things up to become a playoff contender. After two straight losses they picked up the rhythm. Beginning in Week 9, this team won five straight through Week 13. Ja’Marr Chase does what Ja’Marr does and Joe Burrow is having a fun season so far. Joe Mixon who is doing a great job picking up where he left off last year, is a physical runner and a catcher in the back end, and on the go route he is explosive.
The Bengals defense surprised NFL fans with a top 5 defense this year by only allowing around 14 points in the second half. With so many underrated LB like Germain Pratt and Logan Wilson and defensive ends such as DJ Reader and BJ Hill who are the best run block stoppers. Also, when getting a shot to play, I think Dax Hill will have a key defensive role in the playoffs. Eli Apple who got re-signed to a 1-year deal is having a great season so far. Apple has a lot of hate throughout his career, but I believe he is the most underrated CB this year. Finally, rookie CB Cam Taylor Britt who is having a great season so far in his rookie year looks like a CB 1 for the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals will run it back to the playoffs. This team is explosive on both ends offense and defense with many key players on this roster who will make a great impact including Joe Burrow, Joe Mixon, Jamar Chase, Tee Higgins, Tyler Boyd Jessie Bates, Samaje Perine, Cam Taylor Britt, DJ Reader, Trey Hendrickson, Logan Wilson, Germaine Pratt, Sam Hubbard, Jonah Williams, Hayden Hurst, Vonn Bell, Mike Hilton, BJ Hill.
What a shocking and surprising team for NFL fans, who did not expect the Dolphins making it to the playoffs this year. With a great offseason hiring former 49ers offensive coordinator Mike McDaniel has become in their head coach.
Tyreek Hill paid a lot during the season and is having a great season this year with his QB Tua Tagovailoa also having one of his best seasons. Tua (who was called a bust through his rookie year and expected to not be good this year) proved his haters wrong due to the fact that he doesn’t have a long arm meaning he is not an explosive thrower and not a deep threat. It also helps having the best wide receiver duos in Hill and Jaylen Waddle, who both are passing 1,000 yards this year with their nasty routes, speed, and shiftiness with many explosive plays making their opponents double team Hill and Waddle.
Also picking up one of the best offensive lines is Terron Armstead who is having one of his best seasons this year as one of the best left tackles in this league, looking phenomenal; and looks like it is paying off for the Miami Dolphins. This Dolphins team is having a great offense and makes a huge gain of plays. They are an exciting team to watch. Also, having great key players on both offense and defense. Finally, they traded for Bradley Chubb from the Denver Broncos during the season and is having one of his best seasons so far in his career (mostly due to injuries).
Players to watch through the season and the playoffs: Tua, Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, Terron Armstead, Bradley Chubb, Raheem Mostert, Jeff Wilson, Xavier Howard, Christian Wilkins, Jaelan Phillips.
What a season the Philadelphia Eagles are having after being the first team to clinch and make it to the playoffs. They made huge splashes and shocking trades this offseason and also having one of the best draft picks this year and picking up many defensive players that made a huge impact on this defense this year. Trading for AJ Brown (Swole Batman) impacted the offense with DeVonta Smith (Skinny Batman) on the other side forming one of the best wide receiver duos this year, as both guys are making huge and exciting plays. AJ Brown who is doing great so far having these stats: 1,020 yards with 65 receptions and 10 touchdowns and with 15.7 yards averaging per catch. QB Jalen Hurts shocked the NFL world and fans as he had a lot of pressure on his hands, proving that he could be a MVP candidate. The stats this year says it all for him: 3,157 passing yards, 22 TD, only 3 INT, and finally a QBR of 70.4. Not many NFL fans are giving credit to a special player that is really impacting this playoff run.
I also believe that the running game on this team has one of the most underrated running backs in the league in Miles Sanders (ATT 204, 1,068 Yards, 11 TD, Avg per carry 5.2). Another key player to watch in the playoffs for this team is Quez Watkins with his deep threat and speed and finally with his shiftiness.
This defense is a top 5 this year with many key players who are really impacting this team this year making their offensive opponents struggle with really great underrated CB, DE, ED, LB, and especially their safeties. Trading for safety Chauncey Gardner Johnson was a shocking move this offseason for this team and fans due to the fact that they had Anthony Harris (who got released before the trade went public), but it has worked out well for Philly.
Players to watch in the playoffs are Jalen Hurts, Devonta Smith, Jordan Davis, AJ Brown, Miles Sanders, Darius Slay, Brandon Graham, Fletch Fox, Jordan Mailata, and finally Lane Johnson, and James Bradberry.
The Vikings are also shocking the NFL world by having one of their best seasons, with many exciting and surprising moments in the season. Quarterback Kirk Cousins had a great season with many huge and impacted plays in the line. With his #1 wide receiver Justin Jefferson, what can NFL fans say more about this stud and exciting player? Man, his stats: 99 receptions, 1,500 yards, 6 TD and finally averaging 15.2 yards per carry, and his film speaks for itself. I believe he is the number one WR in this league this year. What makes him special is his special talent such as hands, his speed, his routes are filthy, and his shiftness. He has impacted this team and is carrying a load on his back to make a run to the playoffs. These two special players are keys to watch in the playoffs.
This Vikings defense is special with many great talents around them. Patrick Peterson, still having his juice, is making huge interceptions on the line with many games such as the Bills game. Give credit to the Vikings for re-signing him because it took a few until someone picked him up cause he is too old and everybody wants a young player on their team.
Key players to watch in the playoffs are Kirk Cousins, Justin Jefferson, Dalvin Cook, Danielle Hunter, Brian O’Neill, and Harrison Smith.
San Francisco 49ers
What a season the 49ers are having. It is a great, and really, roller-coaster-of-a season at the same time, with two of their QBs out with injuries: Trey Lance, who was predicted to have a good season with what all NFL fans saw last year and how he played with a couple of opportunities, and also Jimmy Garoppolo, who had some great games with his time. Now it’s Mr. Irrelevant, the last pick in the draft, QB Brock Purdy’s opportunity to make something huge this season. So far with his opportunity he is starting on fire with the NFL world shocked and keeping an eye on Mr. Irrelevant, who has had two straight wins as a starter so far.
Making a huge splash during the season by trading for Christian McCaffrey who already impacted the running game, was really the missing piece for this offense who was struggling and only had a couple of pieces.
This defense is special, arguably top 2 or 3 in the league, with many talented players from LB, CB, DE, and safeties.
Players to look at the playoffs are Brock Purdy, Christian McCaffrey, Brandon Ayuik, Deebo Samuel, Nick Bosa, Jimmie Ward, Trent Williams, Dre Greenlaw, Talanoa Hufanga, Fred Warner, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, and Azeez Al-Shaair.
NL: #1 Los Angeles Dodgers vs. #5 San Diego Padres
Prediction: Los Angeles Dodgers Winner: San Diego Padres
The Dodgers won 111 regular season games and had a huge advantage when it came to playing their NL West rival, the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers won the season series 14 games to San Diego’s 5 games and had a divisional lead of 22 games between the first place Dodgers and second place Padres in the NL West. The Padres and their lucky goose won the series causing an upset over the favored Dodgers.
In game 1, Dodgers’ starter Julio Urias made his first career game 1 postseason start, allowing 3 runs in 5 innings pitched while striking out 6 batters. The Dodgers started their scoring with a Trea Turner home run in the bottom of the first inning. The Dodgers added 3 more runs in the bottom of the third inning chasing Padres’ starter Mike Clevinger out, having only pitched 2.2 innings while allowing 4 runs on 6 hits. The Padres’ Wil Myers tried to start a comeback in the top of the fifth inning hitting a solo home run. The comeback wasn’t enough as the Dodgers won the game, 5-3.
In game 2, Padres’ Manny Machado started the scoring with a solo home run in the top of the first inning. Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman hit a solo home run in the bottom of the first inning and Max Muncy hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning giving the Dodgers a 2-1 lead. The Padres regained the lead in the top of the third inning with a Manny Machado double and Jake Cronenworth groundout. The Dodgers soon tied in the bottom of the third inning with a Trea Turner solo home run. What should’ve been an inning double play in the top of the second inning, Dodger’s Trea Turner made an error allowing 2 San Diego runners on base that eventually scored a run from Padres’ Jurickson Profar RBI single. Jake Cronenworth added on a solo home run to seal a Padres win 5-3.
In game 3, Padres’ Jake Cronenworth hit an RBI single driving in Juan Soto that gave the Padres a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Dodgers’ starter Tony Gonsolin was shaky and left the game after pitching only 1.1 innings allowing reliever Andrew Heaney to give up a solo home run to Padres’ Trent Grisham. A Mookie Betts’ sac fly in the top of the fifth inning cut the Padres lead to 2-1. The Dodgers offense had many opportunities to score more runs, including a bases loaded jam in the top of the third inning, but failed to capitalize as they went 0 for 9 in runners on scoring position. The Padres eventually won the game 2-1, their first postseason win at home since 2006.
In game 4, after a 31-minute rain delay, San Diego native and Padres’ pitcher Joe Musgrove gave up a 2-run double to the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman in the top of the third inning to put the Dodgers up 2-0 in their elimination game. The Dodgers then added another run in the top of the seventh inning hoping that they could get 9 more outs and force a game 5 in Los Angeles. Other plans happened as the Padres’ Austin Nola started a 5 run comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning that completed the comeback and upset as the Padres defeated the Dodgers 5-3; The Padres earned a championship berth, their first since 1998. With the Dodgers defeat, they became the second team to lose a playoff series to an opponent with 22 less wins as the first was the Chicago White Sox over the Chicago Cubs in the 1906 World Series.
NL: #2 Atlanta Braves vs. #6 Philadelphia Phillies
Prediction: Atlanta Braves Winner: Philadelphia Phillies
The defending 2021 World Series Champions, the Atlanta Braves, have the highest expectations to repeat as champions once again. The last repeat champions were the ‘98-’00 New York Yankees and the Braves hoped to return back to the World Series starting off with a divisional series against their NL East rival, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Braves look to have had an easy series win but the Phillies got hot at the right time when it mattered and caused an upset as the Braves would not be looking to repeat as champions.
In game 1, the Phillies’ offense got off to a hot start when Nick Castellanos and Alec Bohm hit RBI singles in the top of the first inning to put the Phillies up 2-0. Braves’ Travis d’Arnaud hit a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Phillies added 4 more runs between the top of the third inning to the top of the fifth inning to extend their lead to 7-1. In a last hope of sparking a ninth inning comeback, Braves’ Matt Olson hit a 3-run home run to put the Braves within a run but ultimately fell short 7-6.
In game 2, a rain delay of 2 hours and 55 minutes didn’t stop Braves’ starter Kyle Wright from pitching 6 scoreless innings allowing 2 hits and walking 1 while striking out 6 batters. A struggling Braves offense came to life during the bottom of the sixth inning as they scored 3 runs. The Braves 3 runs was enough to win the game and tie the series a game apart heading back to Philadelphia.
In game 3, the game remained scoreless until the Phillies’ offense exploded for 6 runs in the bottom of the third inning that started with a Bryson Stott RBI double, a Rhys Hoskins bat slam for a 3-run home run and ended with a solo home run from Bryce Harper. The Phillies’ offense wasn’t done scoring as they scored 3 more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning that led them to a 9-1 victory.
In game 4, Phillies’ Brandon Marsh hit a 3-run home run in the bottom of the second inning followed by an inside-the-park home run by J.T. Realmuto. Realmuto’s home run made him the first catcher ever to hit an inside-the-park home run in the postseason. The Phillies’ opened the scoring with a 3 run bottom of the sixth inning. The Braves’ solo home run efforts weren’t enough to tie as the Phillies added another run with a Bryce Harper solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that propelled them to a 8-3 win earning a championship series berth, their first since 2010.
AL: #1 Houston Astros vs. #5 Seattle Mariners
Prediction: Houston Astros Winner: Houston Astros
Love them or hate them, you can’t deny that the Houston Astros are a force to be reckoned with. Their offense is explosive and their pitching is fantastic. Arguably one of the favorites to win the World Series, the Astros will do anything to win and forget about the troubled sign stealing scandal.
In game 1, in his first postseason game since 2019, Astros’ starter Justin Verlander pitched a disappointing 4 innings allowing 6 runs on 10 hits. The Mariners had a substantial lead coming into the bottom of the ninth inning 7-5. Instead of Astros’ Yordan Alvarez being walked with 2 outs, Mariners’ Robbie Ray allowed a walk-off 3-run home run hit by Alvarez as the Astros won 8-7.
In game 2, Astros’ Kyle Tucker started the scoring with a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning. The Mariners quickly tied and regained a 1 run lead in the top of the fourth inning. As if Yordan Alvarez already hadn’t saved the Astros before in the prior game, he did it again. Yordan Alvarez hit a 2-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning and it was enough to help the Astros win, again, 4-2.
In game 3, a new postseason record was set as this was the first postseason game in Seattle in 21 years. For seventeen innings, the game remained scoreless surpassing the previous record of fifteen innings between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cleveland Guardians in the 2022 American League Wild Card Series game 2. Astros’ rookie Jeremy Pena hits a solo home run in the top of the eighteenth inning to give the Astros a much needed 1-0 lead. The Mariners couldn’t come back to tie and walk-off the game, sending the Astros to the championship series in six consecutive seasons with their win.
AL: #2 New York Yankees vs. #3 Cleveland Guardians
Prediction: New York Yankees Winner: New York Yankees
The Yankees are one of the best franchises, not only in baseball, but in other sports from around the world. Their 27 championships are a record within the MLB, but the team always strives for greatness and a 28th championship. Their last championship came in 2009, and have struggled to meet the expectations since then. This year, slugger Aaron Judge had a phenomenal season to remember with 62 home runs, 131 RBI’s and a .311 avg. that could possibly win him the MVP and a championship back to New York.
In game 1, Gerrit Cole made his first postseason start at Yankee Stadium since becoming a member of the team in 2020. He gave up a solo home run to the Guardians’ Steven Kwan in the third inning to put the Yankees down 1-0. The Yankees’ offense came back to score runs in the bottom of the third inning, fifth inning, and sixth inning to give them the lead 4-1. Other than allowing a single run, Gerrit Cole pitched 6.1 innings while walking 1 batter, hitting a batter and striking out 8 batters. The Yankees won 4-1 and marked their sixth straight postseason win over Cleveland since the 2017 American League Division Series game 3.
In game 2, Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton started the Yankees scoring with a 2-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. The Guardians came within a run from an Andres Gimenez RBI single in the top of the fourth inning and tied the game 2-2 in the top of the fifth inning with a solo home run from Amed Rosario. Guardians’ Oscar Gonzalez hit an RBI single to break the tie and pull ahead 3-2 in the top of the tenth inning. Josh Naylor hit an RBI double to add an insurance run to propel the Guardians 4-2 as that was enough to win the game.
In game 3, the Guardians scored 2 runs between the bottom of the first and second inning but not before Aaron Judge hit a game tying 2-run homerun in the top of the third inning. The Yankees kept on adding on to their lead 5-3 hoping to win. In the bottom of the ninth inning down 2 runs, the Guardians came back to win 6-5.
In game 4, facing elimination, Yankees’ Gerrit Cole pitched 7 innings allowing 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 8 batters. Anthony Rizzo started the Yankees’ scoring with an RBI single in the top of the first inning. Harrison Bader hit a 2-run home run totaling the Yankee runs to 3. The Guardians came up with an RBI single from Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the third inning and a solo home run from Josh Naylor in the bottom of the fourth inning to pull within a run, 3-2. The Yankees added their final run from a Giancarlo Stanton sac fly and forced a game 5 in New York as they won 4-2.
In game 5, Yankees’ Giancarlo Stanton hits a 2-run home run to quickly put the Yankees up 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning. Aaron Judge adds a solo home run in the bottom of the second inning to extend the Yankees’ lead 3-0. Guardians’ Jose Ramirez hits a sac fly in the top of the third inning to put Cleveland in the scoring column but wasn’t enough as Yankees’ Anthony Rizzo hits an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth inning as the Yankees ultimately won the game 5-1 and the series.
Championship Series predictions
NL: #5 San Diego Padres vs. #6 Philadelphia Phillies
Prediction: San Diego Padres (series is currently 1-1)
If you were to tell me earlier this year that the Padres and Phillies were competing for the NL pennant with a World Series berth on the line, I would have laughed because the Dodgers and Braves are arguably the best teams in the National League right now. That is nowhere near today’s case as the Padres and Phillies caused their respective upsets and are now looking to compete against each other. Both of these two teams are neck and neck with each other in every category but the Padres have the slightest advantage in offense and starting pitching. The Padres can win, but don’t doubt the Phillies ever.
AL: #1 Houston Astros vs. #2 New York Yankees
Prediction: Houston Astros (Astros currently lead 1-0)
This is a highly anticipated series for numerous reasons. It’s a rematch of the very controversial 2017 and 2019 ALCS. The tension between these two teams building up from the past 5 years will most definitely make this series a must watch with intense moments and a potential winner takes all game 7. Both teams have high scoring offenses, dominating pitching staffs, and skilled defense. But to win the AL pennant, would be the Houston Astros because of their recent domination against the Yankees and how well they can perform in games as they are the better team between the two.
Championship Series Schedule
(Separate schedule for NL and AL)
*If necessary (Best-of-7 series)
NL games will be on Fox/FS1
Game 1: Tuesday, October 18 | (Phillies 2-Padres 1)
Game 2: Wednesday, October 19 | (Padres 8-Phillies 5)
Game 3: Friday, October 21
Game 4: Saturday, October 22
Game 5: Sunday, October 23
Game 6: Monday, October 24*
Game 7: Tuesday, October 25*
AL games will be on TBS
Game 1: Wednesday, October 19 | (Astros 4-Yankees 2)
NFL Football is back after a long exciting offseason with surprising cuts and trades. Fans couldn’t wait for this offseason to be over for the season to finally start after fans saw exciting trades and picks of their NFL teams.
1. Bengals 2. Ravens 3. Browns 4. Steelers
1. Jaguars 2. Titans 3. Colts 4. Texans
1. Bills 2. Dolphins* 3. Patriots 4. Jets
1. Chiefs 2. Broncos* 3. Chargers* 4. Raiders
* = Wild Card Team
I am predicting that the Dolphins, Bills, Broncos, Bengals, Jaguars, and Chargers will be all in this year. Other notable teams to watch after a long offseason in the AFC (American Football Conference) are the Baltimore Ravens and Las Vegas Raiders.
Predicted Record (14-3) What more can NFL fans say about the Buffalo Bills? The Bills are a talented team with a great organization and one of the best fan bases in the league. We all see what the Bills can do to any team in this league. The Buffalo Bills is a guaranteed or bust team to run it back, make it to the playoffs, and win the Super Bowl this year. Buffalo is locked and pinned as the favorite (+600) to win Super Bowl 57. The Bills are the common and familiar team to win it all this year, according to BET MGM. Man, what can we say more about this team? NFL fans saw how special this team was last year. And I do not doubt that they will do great this season.
The addition of outside linebacker and future Hall-of-Famer Von Miller, who had a great season last year with the Los Angeles Rams, will only help the Bills. Von Miller can cause damage to any O-Line with Gregory Rousseau on the other side of the ball. This team is explosive on both sides of the ball, offense and defense, and makes their opponents break down.
Last year Bill’s defense was in the top 5 with all-around great and talented players on defense: tackles, linebackers, and cornerbacks. The Bills have the 2 best LBs in this league Tremaine Edmunds and Matt Milano. Josh Allen, a MVP candidate this year, is a talented and special player who can do it all and be physical when running the ball.
This offense is full of studs with one of the top route runners in this league Stefon Diggs. Gabe Davis who had a great career game vs the Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs last year. The Bills have one of the most underrated slots WR, speedy receiver Isaiah McKenzie, and Jamison Crowder, who got picked up in free agency. Having one of the most underrated safeties in Jordan Poyer and top CB Tre’davious White.
The Buffalo Bills and NFL fans are not forgetting the noticeable coin flip in OT in the playoff game last season against the Kansas City Chiefs. Sadly, for Buffalo, the Chiefs won the toss that made them the AFC Champion and did not give the Bills a chance. Many people believed if the Bills won that game the Buffalo Bills would be the defending Super Bowl Champion.
Predicted Record (11-6). The Miami Dolphins are a sneaky and devious team to make the playoffs this year and letting NFL teams and fans know that they are not playing around this year after a shocking and surprising trade from the Chiefs giving away one of their star players, a six-time Pro Bowler, wide receiver Tyreek Hill for a 2022 first-round pick (No. 29 overall), and a second-round pick (No. 50).
This trade will make the Dolphins and QB Tua Tagovailoa improve with two speedy receivers to connect with Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle. Noticeable players to look at on this roster are the names of: Tua Tagovailoa, Jaylen Waddle, Tyreek Hill, Xavier Howard, Christian Wilkins, Jaelon Phillips, Terron Armstead, Mike Gesicki, and Jevon Hollands.
The Dolphins are really good on both sides of the ball with offense and defense, a talented and raw roster to do something great this season.
LOS ANGELES CHARGERS
Predicted Record (11-6). The Chargers and Los Angeles fans are having an exciting offseason this year. This Los Angeles Chargers team should be a team to not shock NFL Fans to make the Playoffs this year. After picking up one of the Top Free Agents CB J.C. Jackson after the New England Patriots were not willing to pay him to become one of the highest paid CB (Contract Details: 5 years $82.5 million and $25 million signing bonus and $40 million guarantees). This trade makes sense due to poor defense last year this will also help 3rd-year CB Asante Samuel. This defense can be something serious if it goes their way and will make the defense better if not one of the top defenses this year.
They also picked up one of the top player six time pro bowler OLB Khali Mack after the Chicago Bears traded Khalil to the Chargers (Bears receive a 2022 second-round pick–No.48 overall–and a 2023 sixth-round selection).
Finally, the Chargers picked up one of the most underrated slot CB in the NFL and top free agent CB Bryce Callahan, after the Broncos let him go due to past injuries in his career. Los Angeles can be something this year with 3-year player and Pro Bowler QB Justin Herbert. Finally, players to watch in this great roster are Justin Herbert, Nick Bosa, Rashawn Slater, JC Jackson, Khalil Mack, Kenneth Murray, Keelen Alan, Mike Williams Josh Palmer, Deandre Carter, Asante Samuel, and Bryce Callahan.
Predicted Record (11-6). WHO DEY?! The Cincinnati Bengals will run it back and will make the playoffs this year. It is a team that should make teams struggle throughout the end of the game having a fantastic season last year.
Last season, the Bengals were mind-blowing–the NFL world was still talking about how bad this team would be even with Joe Burrow coming back from a torn ACL and going 0-17.
The Cincinnati Bengals had a great offseason picking up some of the best and top free agents Offensive Linemen named Alexa Cappa (4 years $35 million including $9 mill signing bonus and $11 mill guaranteed), Ted Karras (3 years $18 million $3 million signing bonus $5 million guaranteed), and La’el Collins (3 years $21 million, $5 million signing bonus, $5 million guaranteed). After the offensive line got exposed last year in the Super Bowl and led the team with the most sacks in the NFL, Bengals fans and Joe Burrow should be happy and excited after getting key players to run it back this year for the playoffs. Finally, Joe Burrow will have plenty of time to throw the ball and not scramble much and stay more in the pocket this year.
Both sides of the ball offense and defense are special and have great players and are special for the future. Noticeable players in this talented roster to watch this year are Joe Burrow, Jamar Chase, BJ Hill, DJ Reader, Von Bell, Daxton Hill, Jessie Bates, Tee Higgins (pictured), Tyler Boyd, Joe Mixon, Cam Taylor Britt, and the entire OL.
Predicted Record (10-7) WOW! How is Broncos Country feeling right now? The Denver Broncos and fans had one of the most exciting and surprising offseason this year. They made a lot of huge moves from this organization, and there is a fresh start to this Denver team from owner to head coach to coaching staff. The Denver Broncos will finally make the playoffs this year.
The Broncos found their missing piece to make a run to the playoffs, by trading for legend and future Hall-of-Fame QB Russell Wilson, who then signed a new deal worth $245 million that will keep him in Denver through the 2028 season that will also include $165 million guaranteed. This trade will make this whole team and organization better and on this struggling offense last year. This Denver team should utilize Russell Wilson more on scrambling the ball to be successful in this league with many great pass rushers in divisional games; also, they should utilize him with his feet with his great speed.
Denver also signed free agent DE Randy Gregory after his agent found out of issues with the language in his contract a stated clause that said, “A player could lose bonuses or guaranteed bonuses if a player is fined or suspended with the Dallas Cowboys.”
The Denver Broncos’ running game is one of the best in this league with the “2 power punch.” Bringing back Melvin Gordon III will help more with this running game. Denver defense will be Top 5 this year due to bringing back some key players. This team has the most underrated CB in the league with CB Patrick Surtain and Ronald Darby. Patrick Surtain with no doubt will be a top 3 cornerback after having a standout season his rookie year.
This roster is the most underrated roster from the practice squad, with active players, and a 53-man roster. A lot of talent and studs are on this roster. Notable players to watch this year include Russell Wilson, Javonte Williams, Melvin Gordan, KJ Hamler, Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Cam Fleming, Kendall Hinton, Michael Ojemudia, Essang Bassey, Calvin Anderson, Billy Turner, Quinn Meinerz, Dalton Risner, DJ Jones, Patrick Surtain, Justin Simmons, Caden Sterns, PJ Locke, Ronald Darby, Josey Jewell, Kareem Jackson, Jonas Griffith, K’waun Williams, Garret Bolles, Damarri Mathis, Baron Browning, Jonathan Cooper, Alex Singleton, Nik Bonitto, and Montrell Washington. “BRONCOS COUNTRY LET’S RIDE.”
Predicted Record (9-8). The Jacksonville Jaguars will make a run to the playoffs. After a really good offseason with many pickups, the Jaguars can be a legitimate team with many explosive players on this team’s roster. There were many changes in the organization such as a new head coach and players. Jacksonville made plenty of good moves and spent the most money in free agency this year out of every team.
The Jaguars picked up one of the top free agents in speedy WR Christian Kirk (pictured, below), making him one of the highest paid WR in the NFL (4 years, $72 Million contract with $37 million guaranteed. The NFL world was shocked with him being the highest paid WR in the league, but will shock and surprise many people with his skills such as routes and how he is a deep threat. These moves will help QB Trevor Lawrence with explosive deep-threat ball throws.
Also, the Jags picked up WR Zay Jones ( 3 years $24 million, and $14 million guaranteed) after having a great season last year, really an explosive contested catch player and somewhat a deep threat. They drafted great key players to help them make a run to the playoffs such as DE Trevon Walker (No 1. overall). This team can be special with this explosive offense and defense.
With the recent wins and upsetting losses with the current NFL season as of September 24 2022, this my NFL NFC conference prediction.
1. Packers 2. Lions* 3. Vikings 4. Bears
1. Buccaneers 2. Falcons 3. Saints 4. Panthers
1. Eagles 2. Cowboys* 3. Giants 4. Commanders
1. Rams 2. 49ers* 3. Seahawks 4. Cardinals
* Wild Card Teams
Teams to Watch:
First on the list in no particular order are the Green Bay Packers. Aaron Rodgers has had a difficult start to the season so far but it is still possible for him to bring the Packers to a possible NFC championship the record predicted for this season is 13 wins and 4 loses.
Philadelphia’s own Eagles are next up with an amazing start to the season and not showing any stop to their win streak. Don’t get too cocky Eagles fans, there is always the possibility of injury; but with reviewing the previous season records, the Eagles are an average-to-above-average team with a good set up. The Philadelphia Eagles are predicted to be at 9 wins and 8 loses with a playoff appearance.
WHOSE HOUSE?! … RAMS HOUSE. The L.A. Rams are up next and I predict them carrying out the west with a 15 and 2 record with a heavy battle between them and the Packers. With their past Super Bowl win it’s very possible they go back, but they could get eliminated sometime mid to late playoffs. Players to look out for during their games are Aaron Donald, Jalen Ramsey, Cooper Kupp, and Matthew Stafford.
Could Brady and the Bucs win another one? Tom Brady is without a doubt the GOAT of quarterbacks; but could he take the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to another Super Bowl is the real question? The record for this season hopefully will be 14 and 3. Buccaneers playoffs don’t look very bright with only having Mike Evans as their reliable wide receiver.
These are my NFC predictions and let’s see who comes out on top, good luck to every team out there and I hope for the best.
As the start of the NBA season approaches, many teams, at this point, have gone through notable changes within their respective organizations. I will showcase my predictions on how each team will do during the season. I will also cover some NBA teams I believe will do well this season.
The tables below include my predictions on how each team will do throughout the 22′-23’ NBA season. I simulated the entire season and created my predictions on playoffpredictors.com. These are the results that I ended up having.
Prediction: Phoenix Suns remain as the 1-seed in the Western Conference:
As the 1-seed in the Western Conference last year, I believe the Suns will repeat their standings and stay as the 1-seed. With Chris Paul leading the offense and Devin Booker having proven to be an excellent regular-season player, I am confident they will remain at the top of the Western Conference.
Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks move up to the 1-seed in the Eastern Conference:
With 6’11” PF Giannis Antetokounpo having been a dominant presence in the league, along with the help of Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton last season, they had quite a good year. I believe they will be the best team in the Eastern Conference by quite a sizable margin this upcoming season.
As for the playoffs, I believe that the Warriors will win another championship this season with the help of superstars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. It would be Curry’s 5th ring, adding to his already prestigious career and increasing his case for being a top-10 or even top-5 all-time player. I have the Bucks making it to the NBA Finals for the same reason why I have them winning the 1-seed. But I believe that in the end, the Warriors will outperform the Bucks with the help of key players like Andrew Wiggins and Jordan Poole.
LOS ANGELES LAKERS OUTLOOK:
Now onto our local coverage, let’s take a look at the Lakers. While I have them as the 5-seed, this is under the condition that the Lakers can stay healthy for at least 4/5ths of the whole 82-game NBA season. However, if this is not the case, then I believe they might stay around the 7th or 8th seed, if not lower.
My main qualm with the Lakers is that they are just old. LeBron James, as great a player as he is, is not getting any younger. LeBron is entering his 20th season, and I do not doubt that he will start showing his age, especially toward the end of the season. My worry about Anthony Davis is he will be the same injury-prone player he was last season. People have even started to call him Anthony “day-to-day” Davis, which shows how bad it got.
And we cannot forget about Russell Westbrook, yikes. Look, I like Russ; he once was one of my favorite players to watch back when he played with the Oklahoma City Thunder. He even had a pretty good stint with the Washington Wizards during the ‘20-21 season. But I was irritated with how he played this last season. I was expecting so much more from him. I would argue that he worsened in every aspect of his game. His free throw shooting was terrible, with a 66.7% free throw shooting percentage. He averaged only 18.5 points per game last season as well. The last time he averaged less than 20 points per game was back in 2009-10 during his 2nd season, when he averaged 16.1 points per game.
Some may argue that since playing with LeBron, he has had to take a step back and become more of a role player. I understand the logic behind this, but I only somewhat agree. For the amount of money that Westbrook earned last season ($41,358,814) and the amount that he will make this upcoming season ($47,063,478), he should be playing at a much higher level. I will say that I disagreed with the decision last season to have him play alongside LeBron. But if he is willing to come off the bench to go against second units, then I am sure we will see his stats go up again while also contributing to the team. If the Lakers can figure all this out, then they just might have a chance to make it far this season.
It’s that time again: Baseball season is back. “Let’s go, batter up, we’re taking the afternoon off… It’s a beautiful day for a ballgame!”
Let’s see how my 2022 predictions shake out. Last year, my predictions were a mixed bag, but this time I’m sure to be 100% correct, right? (Probably not…)
Is it a World Championship or bust for the Dodgers? Are the Angels going to finally get Mike Trout back to the postseason? Are the Giants going to surprise everybody again with another 107-win season? Are the Rays going to keep coming out on top in a very competitive AL East? Are the poor Orioles capable of winning more than 60 games? Come back in October to check and see how I did!
Los Angeles Dodgers
Before I get to my overall MLB predictions, let’s take a long look at our home team.
The 2021 Dodgers ran off a historic 106-win season, finishing a game behind the surprising Giants in the division before walking off against the Cardinals in a do-or-die Wild Card game and then beating San Francisco in a thrilling 5-game NLDS. Ultimately, however, the Dodgers were beaten up by injuries and fell short against the eventual World Champion Atlanta Braves in the NLCS.
Re-tooling for 2022, the Dodgers made several key roster changes, but are still the consensus pick to win the World Series this year. Let’s check in on the offseason moves:
•Future-hall-of-famer Clayton Kershaw re-signed with the Dodgers the day after the lockout ended for 1 year and $17M. If healthy, Kershaw can still be a top 3 starter. He had a great spring training and appears ready to continue his winning path.
•Super utility man Chris Taylor signed a four-year, $60 million deal to stay with the Dodgers. He will continue to fill his role all over the field, most likely in LF, as well as taking some at-bats at DH.
•Freddie Freeman (1B): It took $162M and a 6-year deal to get Freeman out of Atlanta, the place where he spent the first 15 years of career. He comes back to his SoCal roots to add his All-Star, Gold-Glove, and MVP skills to first base for the Dodgers through the year 2027. Indisputably one of the best hitters in baseball, Freeman also has an excellent track record of being healthy and consistent.
•Craig Kimbrel (RHP): Speaking of former Braves… The Dodgers pulled off another surprising trade, acquiring eight-time all-star closer Craig Kimbrel for AJ Pollock on April 1. The trade filled a need for both teams, with the Sox adding a much-needed OF bat and the Dodgers adding to their strong bullpen with a proven veteran closer. He has one year and $16M remaining on a deal he signed with the Cubs 3 years ago.
•Daniel Hudson (RHP): The Dodgers added the experienced Hudson to fill valuable bullpen innings. He returns to the Dodgers on a 1-year deal for $7M (he pitched in 40 effective games for the Dodgers in 2018)
•Andrew Heaney (LHP): The starter signed a 1-year deal for $8.5M, looking to revive his stuff in the back-end of the rotation after an up-and-down 2021.
•Tyler Anderson (LHP): Signing a 1-year, $8M contract, the 32-year-old lefty starter will be expected to eat some innings in the rotation until reinforcements arrive mid-season in the form of Dustin May and/or pitchers acquired via trade.
•Hanser Alberto (IF): The Dodgers gave the versatile defender a 1-year, $1.6M deal (with an option for the 2023 season). Alberto can fill in all over the infield and is one of the toughest players to strike out in baseball.
•Corey Seager: signed a mega-deal with the Texas Rangers ($324M/10 years)
•Kenley Jansen: signed a 1-year, $16M deal with the Atlanta Braves
•Max Scherzer: signed for 3 years and $134M with the New York Mets
•AJ Pollock: traded to the White Sox for Craig Kimbrel on April 1
•Joe Kelly signed a 2-year deal with the White Sox for $17M.
•Albert Pujols signed one final contract, reuniting with the Cardinals for one last season on a $2.5M deal.
•Reliever Corey Knebel signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Phillies
•Bench players Matt Beaty, Billy McKinney, Zach Reks, Luke Raley, and Sheldon Neuse were traded away or DFA.
You would think that a team that lost Seager, Jansen, Scherzer, Pujols, Pollock, and Kelly were having a fire sale, but the Dodgers are so loaded that they will pick right up where they left off thanks to major additions like Freeman and Kimbrel. With this mixture of new and old faces, the Dodgers are very determined and talented. The sky is the limit for this team, and they have the depth to withstand any prolonged slumps or injuries.
With MLB getting a late start due to the offseason’s labor issues, the league is allowing 28-man rosters through May 1 (after that, rosters go back down to 26 players, including a 13-pitcher limit). Many pitchers are simply not built up or on track to begin the season, so the Dodgers will go with an enormous 16-man pitching staff and a 12-man position player roster (opening the season against the Rockies with a 3-game series in offense-heavy Coors Field helped with that decision, too).
Keep in mind that this is just the Dodgers’ roster to start the season; they will send many players up & down from the minors to build a championship roster as the year goes on.
1) Mookie Betts – RF
2) Freddie Freeman -1B
3) Trea Turner – SS
4) Justin Turner – 3B/DH
5) Max Muncy – 2B/DH
6) Will Smith – C
7) Chris Taylor – LF/Util
8) Cody Bellinger – CF
9) Gavin Lux – 2B/Util
Austin Barnes (C), Edwin Rios (IF), Hanser Alberto (IF)
*Minor League Depth:
Jake Lamb (OF), Kevin Pillar (OF), Zach McKinstry (IF/OF), Andy Burns (IF), Eddy Alvarez (IF)
*Position Player Prospects to Watch:
Jacob Amaya (IF), Eddys Leonard (IF), Andy Pages (OF), Miguel Vargas (IF)
LHP: Alex Vesia, David Price, Tyler Anderson, Garrett Cleavinger, Justin Bruhil
*On the injured list, but ready soon:
Victor Gonzalez, Caleb Ferguson, Tommy Kahnle, Danny Duffy, Jimmy Nelson, Dustin May
*Pitching Prospects to Watch:
Michael Grove, Andre Jackson, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot
*Now it’s time for my predictions for the 2022 MLB season. Last year, I predicted a Dodgers vs Yankees World Series (which was wrong on both ends), and my division winners included the Astros, White Sox, and Yankees in the AL, and the Dodgers, Cardinals, and Braves in the NL (not too shabby). My wildcard teams were the Padres and Mets (I was dead wrong); and my AL wildcard teams were the Twins and Blue Jays (even deader wrong).
Here are my predictions for the 2022 standings:
1. Los Angeles Dodgers 2. San Diego Padres* 3. San Francisco Giants 4. Arizona Diamondbacks 5. Colorado Rockies
1. Milwaukee Brewers 2. St. Louis Cardinals 3. Chicago Cubs 4. Cincinnati Reds 5. Pittsburgh Pirates
1. Atlanta Braves 2. New York Mets* 3. Philadelphia Phillies* 4. Miami Marlins 5. Washington Nationals
* = Wild Card Team
1. Houston Astros 2. Los Angeles Angels* 3. Seattle Mariners 4. Texas Rangers 5. Oakland A’s
1. Chicago White Sox 2. Minnesota Twins 3. Cleveland Guardians 4. Detroit Tigers 5. Kansas City Royals
1. Toronto Blue Jays 2. Tampa Bay Rays* 3. Boston Red Sox* 4. New York Yankees 5. Baltimore Orioles
* = Wild Card Team
(Note: Starting this season, the MLB postseason will feature 12 teams–the three division winners and three wild card teams. The teams will be seeded, with the top two division winners receiving a first-round bye, and the remaining four teams locked into a best-of-three Wild Card Playoff round. After that, the Division Series and Championship Series will commence as they have been for years.)
In the American League, the Blue Jays are a hot pick this year thanks to a young and powerful lineup. The Astros keep plugging along and filling holes after several key departures like Carlos Correa (MIN) and George Springer (TOR) last season, and you can never count them out. Still, I think the White Sox will win the American League pennant due to a balanced veteran lineup, solid rotation, and a shutdown bullpen.
Ultimately however, this is the Dodgers’ year. Anything short of a championship would be a disappointment. As a lifelong fan, I am, of course, rooting for the Dodgers, too. But it’s not just a homer pick–the players, fans, and experts all around MLB feel the same way. Barring a disastrous injury to a key player like Trea Turner, or Betts, Freeman, or Buehler, everything is lining up for a fun & memorable season. They are the class of the National League and should win their fourth pennant in the last six seasons, as well as a championship.
So… no jinxes, no fooling around, I’ll call it out loud — the Los Angeles Dodgers will be the 2022 World Champions, defeating the Chicago White Sox in a rematch of the 1959 World Series.