Los Angeles is currently, and should be the favorites for 2021

Lebron James is about to start heating up a bunch of “GOAT” conversations really soon. After winning his fourth championship last season, he and the Los Angeles Lakers appear poised to repeat this year.

The Lakers were dominant for much of last season. Lebron and Anthony Davis were in the MVP conversation for the entire year. The team’s defense was outstanding. Los Angeles finished in the top ten in points allowed per game (fourth-fewest), field goal percentage allowed (eighth-lowest), three-point percentage allowed (seventh-lowest), steals per game (fifth-most), and blocks per game (most). …

Which team has the upper hand in this great week 11 matchup?

Perhaps the best game of the week will come when the 7–2 Green Bay Packers travel to Indianapolis to take on the 6–3 Colts. This matchup between division leaders should prove to be a good one. So which team comes out with a victory?

This game has the potential of being an ugly, slow paced contest. All things which favor the Colts. Indianapolis has one of the best defenses in football this season. …

How many more wins will Chris Paul bring to Arizona?

The first blockbuster trade of the NBA offseason came when the Oklahoma City Thunder sent Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns. Paul is coming off a resurgent year in which he was named to the All-NBA Second Team. He averaged 17.6 points, 6.7 assists, and five rebounds per game, while leading the Thunder to the postseason.

Last season had a bit of magic to it for Chris Paul. First, he and Oklahoma City weren’t supposed to be there. The Thunder were given a 0.2% chance to make the playoffs. Paul had other plans however, propelling OKC to a tie for the fourth seed. …

Which teams have the most hope for a playoff run

The NFL season is flying by. After concerns about whether or not there would even be a season this year, we find ourselves at the dawn of week 10. Some AFC teams are starting to solidify themselves as championship contenders. Meanwhile, the NFC is a week to week cycle of trying to gage which team is the favorite to win the conference. With that being said, let’s rank the top five teams of the season thus far.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

David Zalubowski/AP

I know it may seem odd to have the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a top five team after the beatdown they endured at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. I however, am not going to overreact to one game. New Orleans may just be a bad matchup for Tampa. Even with the loss, the Buccaneers still have a 6–3 record. This is due to them being such a complete team. The Tampa Bay offense ranks ninth in points per game this season. It’s not just offense for the Bucs either, as their defense ranks in the top ten in points allowed per game (ninth-fewest), rushing yards allowed per game (fewest), and total yards allowed per game (fourth-fewest). The defense has also forced a league-high 16 turnovers this season. Tom Brady had his worst game of the season on Sunday, in large part due to the absence of guard Ali Marpet. Tampa’s offensive line has been a strength this year, as they’re ranked fifth by football outsiders. One bad game shouldn’t cause a panic for Brady (fourth-most touchdown passes this season) or the Buccaneers. …

Russell Wilson’s lead is getting smaller by the week

For the majority of the first half of the NFL season, Russell Wilson has been considered the MVP favorite. This is for good reason as well. Through eight games, Wilson has accumulated 2,541 yards (fourth in the NFL), and a league-high 28 passing touchdowns. The Seattle quarterback’s MVP tour has taken a step back in recent weeks however. Over the past three games, Wilson has five interceptions and two fumbles. This in part has led to Seattle losing two of their last three contests.

Wilson was particularly bad in the Seahawks’ game Sunday against the Bills. He finished the 44–34 defeat with two interceptions and two fumbles lost. Wilson’s final stat line may not appear that bad, as he accumulated 390 yards and two passing touchdowns. However, much of that work was done while Seattle was trailing. Wilson didn’t throw his first touchdown until the fourth quarter, when the Bills were already up 41–20. …

Which team has the edge in this critical NFC South showdown?

This Sunday, we get the highly anticipated rematch between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints. The Saints secured the victory in game one 34–23. Tampa quarterback Tom Brady had perhaps his worst game of the season, throwing two of his four total interceptions this season. It however, wasn’t that unexpected that Brady struggled some. It was his first game of the season with a new team, after an offseason of no OTAs or preseason games.

Since game one it has been mainly smooth sailing for Brady and the Buccaneers though. Tampa Bay currently has a 6–2 record, and a lead in the division. Many consider the Buccaneers to be the most complete team in football and for good reason. Brady and company currently has the Tampa offense ranked fourth in points per game. The 43 year old quarterback also finds himself in the MVP discussion. …

A reoccurring issue is starting to show in Green Bay

Week eight of the NFL season was perhaps the wildest of them all. We had a powerhouse matchup between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens, multiple five win teams were upset; oh and Patrick Mahomes is still pretty good at football. With that being said, let’s get into the top takeaways from week eight.

Green Bay still has the same kryptonite

Mike Roemer/AP

One of the biggest upsets of the week came when the Minnesota Vikings defeated the Green Bay Packers 28–22. Losses happen in the NFL and that’s fine. The way Green Bay lost however, may cause worrisome flashbacks for Packers fans. During the Minnesota game, Vikings running back Dalvin Cook had a field day. He finished with 226 total yards (163 rushing) and four total touchdowns (three rushing). The first thing that likely came to the mind of many people watching, was the similarities to last season’s NFC Championship game. During a 37–20 loss to the 49ers, Green Bay allowed running back Raheem Mostert to have 220 yards rushing and four touchdowns. As was the case last season, the Green Bay Packers can’t stop the run. This is largely due to the poor play of their linebackers. This shouldn’t necessarily be shocking however, considering Pro Football Focus ranked Green Bay’s linebacking unit 28th entering the season. The Packers have definitely lived up to that standard. Many people think Green Bay needs to trade for a receiver, when the real need is on the defensive side of the ball. …

Which team has the upper hand in this AFC North matchup?

Perhaps the game of the weekend will come when the 6–0 Pittsburgh Steelers take on the 5–1 Baltimore Ravens. The matchup could end up having major ramifications on not only the AFC North, but the AFC as a whole. Whichever team comes out on top will either have the best, or be tied for the best record in the entire conference. The importance of this game is not to be underestimated. Not to mention the rivalry between these two franchises makes this matchup that much more intriguing.

So which team has the upper hand this Sunday?

Let’s start by looking at how impressive the Pittsburgh Steelers have been this season. After missing the playoffs last year, Pittsburgh regained a fully health Ben Roethlisberger, and have yet to miss a beat. On offense, a dynamic passing attack centered around receivers Juju Smith-Schuster, Chase Claypool, and Diontae Johnson has helped Pittsburgh in averaging the sixth-most points per game. It’s not all passing for the Steelers however, as running back James Conner has the tenth-most rushing yards in the NFL, despite already having his bye week. Pittsburgh’s success this season isn’t based solely on offense either. …

Not many teams have been more impressive than Tampa Bay

On Sunday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continued their impressive season by defeating the Las Vegas Raiders 45–20. Tom Brady was sensational, finishing with 369 yards, five total touchdowns (one rushing), and zero interceptions. The win was just another step in what’s proving to be a possible Super Bowl season for Tampa Bay.

At this point in the season, not many teams have looked better than the Buccaneers.

Tampa Bay may be the most complete team in football. Tom Brady has been playing outstanding, and is officially in the MVP race. Brady currently has the sixth-most passing yards and the second most passing touchdowns (18). While the ageless QB has been special this year, it’s not strictly a passing attack in Tampa. Running back Ronald Jones has also been playing well this season. Jones has the fourth-most rushing yards in the NFL, while adding four touchdowns. …

Did Philadelphia prove they’re the team to beat?

Last night, the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the New York Giants 22–21 on Thursday Night Football. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz led an 11 point fourth quarter comeback, throwing a touchdown to Boston Scott to take the lead with 40 seconds left. Wentz played good, not great, completing 25 of 43 passes for 359 yards, three total touchdowns, and one interception.

So where does this win put Philadelphia in terms of winning the NFC East?

The worst division in football doesn’t seem to get any better by the week. The four teams have a combined record of 6–19–1. For perspective, that’s only one win better than six teams. As bad as that combined record is, it only gets worse considering most of the few wins come within the division. Of the six total wins, only two have come against opponents not in the NFC East. The Eagles defeated the San Francisco 49ers, while the Cowboys really shouldn’t have beaten the lowly Atlanta Falcons (see the terrible onside kick execution by Atlanta). Despite all this however, one team is going to be hosting a playoff game as the winner of the NFC East. …


Jacob Burns

Student/Sports blogger

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