Four Downs – October 2nd: The Cardinals In Big Trouble? + MLB Playoff Predictions

The Los Angeles Chargers…my “lock of the year”…can’t even sell out a 28,000 seat stadium! And the worst part is that there were more Eagles fans than Chargers fans at the game. Needless to say I’m not picking them for a long time…nor am I making anymore “lock of the year” picks anytime soon. Move back to San Diego, please…what an embarrassment all around!

FIRST DOWN: The Cardinals are pretty much toast this season…can we all please acknowledge that?

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Hey Cards fans…your team beat the winless 49ers, considered by some as the worst team in the NFL by THREE POINTS on essentially a borderline miracle in overtime AT HOME. They scored ONE offensive touchdown against a team that was gashed by the LA Rams last week. Carson Palmer was hit and/or sacked so many times that I honestly lost count (7 maybe?). So here’s my question to you…how can you honestly believe this team will win more than 6 or 7 games? What have you seen that makes you think that they’re better than the Rams or Seahawks in the NFC West?

The answer…NOTHING!

How the heck is a brittle veteran quarterback, Palmer, going to stay healthy when his line can’t block for him?

If not for Larry Fitzgerald’s last second overtime TD, I would’ve demanded that the Cardinals offer their season ticket holders refunds for putting out such a garbage offensive performance.

Start studying the 2018 QB and Offensive Line class AZ fans…you’re going to need a few of them come the offseason (and you should have a high 1st round draft pick)!

SECOND DOWN: One blurb on every other NFL Week 4 Sunday game…

-The Dolphins have scored one offensive touchdown in the last two weeks…against the Jets and Saints porous defenses for goodness sakes! Guess Jay Cutler isn’t the answer after all…

-Maybe the Bills are a lot better than we expected under new coach Sean McDermott? It helped that Atlanta didn’t have their top 2 WRs, Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu for the 2nd half due to lower body injuries.

-The Bengals are better with new offensive coordinator Bill Lazor calling the plays…but either way, the Browns are still a bad, bad football team as they showed on Sunday. They’re completely devoid of weapons in the passing game (RB Duke Johnson is their most explosive player and it’s not even close).

-The Rams are for real…RB Todd Gurley is a lot better than I thought he’d be…and wunderkind coach Sean McVay looks like the early frontrunner for Coach of the Year. BAD BAD BAD loss for Dallas despite the fact that it was a short turnaround from their Monday night win in Arizona.

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-Nice win for the Lions but Minnesota is in BIG trouble after losing star rookie RB Dalvin Cook to a likely torn ACL. The Vikings have some major questions on offense without Cook and possibly QB Sam Bradford.

-New England 16-0? More like 2-2…both losses at home. The Patriots have one of the league’s worst defenses…while apparently it’s not time to write off the Panthers’ Cam Newton just yet. Once again, another reminder of a terrible prediction made by me.

-Speaking of really, really bad preseason predictions…Jets 0-16…now 2-2. Embarrassing on my part. Against a tough Jaguars defense, New York’s meager offense broke off two huge run plays. The Jaguars offense might be the biggest enigma from week to week in the NFL. You can’t ever count on them.

-One thing I did get right this week…that Texans rookie QB Deshaun Watson would have a good game against the Titans. But five total TDs and a 57 point outburst? NO ONE could’ve seen that coming. Houston is officially the frontrunner to win the AFC South once again.

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-The Ravens looked like a dominant team through the first two weeks and since then have been outscored 70-16 by the Jaguars in London and the Steelers at home. Joe Flacco sure hasn’t been playing like an elite quarterback and may have a nagging injury negatively affecting his play.

-If Raiders QB Derek Carr is out for a long period of time with a back injury, that team is IN DEEEEEEEP TROUBLE with Bills castoff E.J. Manuel at the helm. The Raiders are not one of those teams who would survive without their starting quarterback.

-Two gut-punching losses in a row for the Giants, my projected NFC East champion, who now sit at 0-4. It’s safe to say they won’t be making the playoffs this season and coach Ben McAdoo’s Giants tenure might be on life support.

-The Eagles are 3-1 and very much look like one of the best teams in the NFC. The Chargers are 0-4, can’t get out of their own way, and will never be a Best Bet of mine the rest of the season!

-It took 14 quarters to wake them up…but the Seahawks looked like their old selves in the second half against the Colts. Losing rookie RB Chris Carson to a nasty leg injury late in the 4th quarter is a blow though to an offense that was finally showing signs of life.

THIRD DOWN: Answering four burning questions from Week 5 in college football

1. Is Stanford running Bryce Love a legitimate Heisman Trophy contender after torching ASU for 301 rushing yards on Saturday?
I might’ve been wrong in saying last week that the Heisman race was down to two, Saquon Barkley and Baker Mayfield. Don’t get me wrong…those two are on top…but Love has to be in 3rd place with 1,088 rushing yards in five games!!  Though the Cardinal don’t have a great chance of finishing in the top 10, Love’s insane rushing numbers very well might get him invited to the Heisman ceremony on December 9th.

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2. Which SEC fanbase is more miserable right now, Tennessee or LSU?
Tough one. The Volunteers were shut out at home by Georgia 41-0 while the Tigers lost to Troy (as a GIANT favorite) at home. While LSU lost to a much less talented team on paper, Tennessee couldn’t have looked worse against Georgia (horrendous might be an understatement). Based on Tennessee likely to get a new coach in the offseason, there still might be a glimmer of future hope for their fans. In Louisiana, with coach Ed Oregeron’s buyout at a staggering $13 million, a turnaround anytime soon doesn’t look likely. And I thought being a UofA football fan was difficult right now…

3. Are USC’s National Championship hopes doomed after losing to Washington State on Friday night?
Yes…the Trojans have struggled mightily at times this season and seem likely to lose again at some point. QB Sam Darnold is great but injuries and the lack of a bye week during the season have already and will continue to take a toll on this team going forward. Washington is likely the Pac-12’s only hope at the CFB Playoff.

Jamal Morrow, Frederick Mauigoa

4. Which team deserves the #1 ranking at this point?
Alabama might very well be the most talented team but Clemson has beaten three teams ranked inside the top-15, Auburn, Louisville (on the road), and Virginia Tech (on the road). No team has even close to as good of a resume five games into the season. I would rank them: 1. Clemson, 2. Alabama, 3. Georgia, 4. Oklahoma, 5. Penn State, 6. Washington.

FOURTH DOWN: Predicting the Major League Baseball Playoffs

Before I get into these picks, please note that I am a diehard Cubs fan and there’s nothing more that I would like than to see them win back-to-back World Series’!

Wild Card Games
Twins over Yankees
Diamondbacks over Rockies

Divisional Playoffs
Indians over Twins in 3 games
Astros over Red Sox in 4 games
Dodgers over Diamondbacks in 4 games
Nationals over Cubs in 5 games

Championship Series
Indians over Astros in 6 games
Dodgers over Nationals in 5 games

World Series
Indians over Dodgers in 6 games
MVP: Jose Ramirez (Indians)

A few thoughts:

-The D-Backs SHOULD beat the Rockies in the NL Wild Card game…though Zack Greinke hasn’t pitched all that well lately. I trust him over his opposing starter, Jon Gray, based on experience.

-The biggest difference in the Dodgers-Diamondbacks series? Bullpens. LA’s is elite. Arizona’s is a (fairly large) question mark.

-Speaking of question marks, the Cubs bullpen has been wildly inconsistent so its hard to pick them to win a series at this point. I really hope I’m wrong!

-And if Nationals ace Max Scherzer is healthy, the Cubs aren’t beating him and fellow elite pitcher Stephen Strasburg twice combined in a short series.

-If the ALCS is anything but Indians-Astros, I’d be especially shocked. The Red Sox have been much too inconsistent lately.

Then again, as some of you well know, based on my track record trust these predictions at your own risk…

To read previous entries of my blog, click here. Also make sure to follow me on Twitter @eacohen83.

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