University at Buffalo ’20 | BA in Communication | Writer for The Sports Scientist

Remembering Kobe Bryant one year after his tragic death

*This is a repost of mine from February 19th, 2020*

April 13th, 2016. With 4.1 seconds left on the clock, the world watched in awe as a legend left the court one final time. Kobe Bryant had been substituted for the last time in his career. Chants of “MVP” and “Kobe” occupied the arena. Stars ranging from Shaq to Jack Nicholson to Snoop Dogg had filled the Staples Center on that April night for an opportunity to see greatness one last time. They did not leave dissatisfied. Bryant had just capped off a record-setting performance in his final game. Kobe accumulated 60 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists in 42 minutes. …

Milwaukee already appears destined for the same postseason fate

While it’s still early in the NBA season, Milwaukee Bucks fans should start tempering expectations. This team is not going to win the championship. The Bucks currently sit third in the Eastern Conference with a record of 9–6. The team’s record itself shouldn’t necessarily spark concern. Their play against other top teams this season however should.

The issue for Milwaukee is never against average or below average teams. The Bucks typically roll these teams whenever they play them. This also continues into the postseason, as they usually handle the eighth seed with ease. Milwaukee’s issues start once they face a real test in the playoffs. In 2019 it was the Kawhi Leonard led Toronto Raptors. Last season it was the Jimmy Butler led Miami Heat. In both series the Bucks couldn’t live up to expectations. …

Houston’s superstar could change everything for New York

While the NFL playoffs would typically be enough to get football fans buzzing, an even bigger story has arose. Houston Texans star quarterback Deshaun Watson is reportedly extremely unhappy with the organization. This news is also followed with some sources believing Watson may have played his last game with the franchise.

Enter almost every team’s fanbase clamoring for a Deshaun Watson trade.

While Watson would be an upgrade to perhaps all but two NFL franchises, one team makes the most sense: the New York Jets.

New York has been seeking a star quarterback since the days of Joe Namath. Well Jets fans, here’s the opportunity on a silver platter. Watson is a top-three QB in the NFL. Last season he led the league in passing yards (4,823), while adding in 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Watson also continued to be a threat on the ground, rushing for 444 yards and three touchdowns. All of this while dealing with a below-average offensive line (ranked 23rd by Pro Football Focus) and the loss of DeAndre Hopkins. …

Is Cleveland ready to shock the world on Sunday?

While many expected this weekend’s matchup to be between the Kansas City Chiefs and Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland had other things in mind. The Browns stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers 48–37 despite dealing with Covid-19 issues all week. Cleveland was without their head coach Kevin Stefanski, along with guard Joel Bitonio and cornerback Denzel Ward. It turned out to be a non-issue considering the Browns jumped out to a 28–0 lead over the Steelers.

The biggest reason for Cleveland’s success was the turnover battle. The Browns forced five Pittsburgh turnovers, while they had zero. …

All eyes are on Buffalo in the first playoff matchup of the weekend

The NFL playoffs are set to get underway today; and what better way to start the postseason than with a matchup between the Bills and Colts. Buffalo is coming off an extremely impressive season. The Bills are the two seed in the AFC, finishing with a record of 13–3. Josh Allen has made a leap in his third professional season. The former Wyoming quarterback finished fifth in passing yards (4,544), and fifth in touchdown passes (37). He also added in 421 yards and eight touchdowns rushing.

Perhaps the biggest reason for Allen’s success this year was the acquisition of wide receiver Stefon Diggs. Diggs led the league in receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,535). …

Which three gigs are most intriguing to potential candidates?

Somehow we’ve already made it to the end of the NFL regular season. While some teams exceeded expectations and are preparing for the playoffs, others have crumbled. With a disappointing season usually comes changes within the organization. This reigns true as six teams have decided to part ways with their former head coach. The current openings include the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Los Angeles Chargers, the New York Jets, the Houston Texans, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Detroit Lions. But which job is most appealing? Below I will give the top three jobs potential coaches should have their eyes on.

Runner up: Houston…

Will the loss to New York cost Cleveland?

Despite the NFL regular season officially wrapping up this upcoming Sunday, the AFC playoff picture is far from decided. Five teams currently sit with a record of 10–5. The Baltimore Ravens, Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Cleveland Browns, and Indianapolis Colts will all be fighting for their postseason lives this weekend. One team however, will be left out.

The question is which team is it?

As of right now, the Indianapolis Colts would be the odd man out. This would also be the case next week if the other four teams win their games. …

New York just shook up the entire draft

Well, the New York Jets can all but say goodbye to Trevor Lawrence after this past Sunday. New York defeated the Los Angeles Rams 23–20 in the biggest upset of the season. While a win is usually a good thing for an NFL franchise, this one stings for Jets fans. The win pushed New York out of the number one pick, causing Jacksonville to be the leader in the Trevor Lawrence sweepstakes. The Jaguars have had an easier schedule this season, giving them the tiebreaker over New York.

Now all hope isn’t necessarily lost for the Jets. While it’s unlikely, there’s a possibility Jacksonville wins one of their final two games. The Jaguars still must face the Bears and Colts (who ironically gave Jacksonville it’s only win of the season). If the Jags can somehow pull off an upset, New York would jump back into the number one pick. The Jets however, would have to lose their remaining games against the Browns and Patriots. …

Why the Titans have the best chance of ruining a Kansas City repeat

No team appears more unstoppable right now than the Kansas City Chiefs. The reigning Super Bowl champions are 12–1, and have shown no signs of slowing down. The Chiefs currently rank in the top-two in total yards per game (first), passing yards per game (first), and points per game (second). Patrick Mahomes is leading the MVP race, as he ranks first in passing yards, and third in passing touchdowns this season. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who would pick a team other than Kansas City to win the Super Bowl this year. However, this is the NFL and anything can happen. …

The rookie quarterback left little doubt on Sunday

There were a lot of good games this past NFL Sunday. However, the most eyes were on the Jalen Hurts experiment in Philadelphia. The rookie quarterback was set to make his first start against the New Orleans Saints. The way Philadelphia’s season had been going, I don’t think expectations were very high.

Hurts had other things in mind.

The rookie helped Philly jump out to a 17–0 halftime lead, eventually leading to a 24–21 Eagles victory. Hurts also made the Philadelphia offense watchable for perhaps the first time all season.

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Jalen Hurts led Philadelphia to a much needed upset over the Saints. James Lang/USA TODAY Sports

The Eagles’ have had their fair share of offensive woes this year. Even after the victory over New Orleans, Philadelphia still ranks in the bottom-ten in total yards per game (seventh-fewest), passing yards per game (fifth-fewest), and points per game (seventh-fewest). A big reason for the struggles on offense was due to former starter Carson Wentz’s poor play. Despite not playing against New Orleans, Wentz still leads the NFL in interceptions thrown with 15. …

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