Can it be? Is it even possible? Can the most dominant franchise in sports be due for sub-par season? As the season creeps closer and closer the one looming question in the Big Apple is; Are the New York Yankees in serious trouble? From the looks of it, most sports analysts and fans would say the Yankees are a long shot for making the playoffs. The AL East is a powerhouse division this season and in my opinion is the hardest division in Major League Baseball. The Blue Jays have added a few key pieces to their line up in Jose Reyes and Melky Cabrera to go along with Jose Bautista and young prospect Brett Lawrie. They have also rekindled their pitching staff by acquiring 2012 NL Cy Young Winner R.A Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Josh Johnson. Adding players like these to any roster would make a team a hell of alot better. Unlike the Blue Jays, the Orioles did not make a lot of moves this off season. They still have the same solid core that carried them last season, Mark Reynolds, Adam Jones, and Matt Wieters. They also have a young star on the rise in Manny Machado. Oh yeah, they also have a great coaching staff lead by Manager Buck Showalter. The Rays are also another great team in the division, they have a veteran lineup and a great pitching staff lead by ace David Price. If Evan Longoria can stay healthy this team has the potential to go very deep into the playoffs.
Now, I know what your thinking…With a division like that the Yankees must be doomed right? Well that is where you are wrong. Even though the Yanks have been riddled with injuries and weren’t exactly active in free agency I still believe they have a chance. The injuries they have now are not season ending so Mark Teixeira and Curtis Granderson should be back by the middle of May. Derek Jeters injury appears to be minor so even though he might be on the DL for Opening Day he should be ready to go in a week or two. So in my opinion, the Bombers injuries aren’t that big of a deal.
Believe it or not, with all the injuries the Yanks have suffered this spring, they actually have a couple stars returning from injury and they are Mariano Rivera and Brett Gardner. These two pieces will give the Yankees a major boost in defense. Rivera will continue to close out games and Gardner will cover a lot of ground in the outfield. He may even give a boost on offense with his lightning speed.
The offense will also get a huge boost from Ichiro Suzuki who hit .300 while only playing half the season with the Bombers in 2012. He can also play the field well and I think with him on the field the fans will not miss Nick Swisher at all. Robinson Cano is looking to have an MVP like season this year. He is looking for a contract and it seems like he is in the zone after batting over .400 in the World Baseball Classic. He was also named tournament MVP and lead the Dominican to the title. Derek Jeter is also looking to have a great season. After shutting up all the haters last year by batting .316, people are expecting him to have another phenomenal season.
The pitching staff is looking to be a bright spot for the Yankees this year with returning starters in C.C Sabathia, Andy Pettitte, and Hiroki Kuroda. The bullpen will also be solid with all star setup man David Robertson.
So as you can see, I certainly don’t believe the Yankees are going to be in trouble this season. Yes their division is going to be amazing and yes they have a ton of injuries but they have what no other team in the division has and that is championship pedigree. They know how to win when it really matters and they are hungry to quiet all the doubters. If they really set their mind to it they could make the playoffs easily or even win the AL East!
8 teams will face off this weekend for a spot to play in the divisional round of the NFL Playoffs. Which teams will win? Here are my picks
Bengals: 17 vs Texans: 24
Vikings: 31 vs Packers: 30
Colts: 24 vs Ravens: 20
Seahawks: 31 vs Redskins: 17
Now that the season is over we can really begin to debate which NFL star should receive the honor of being the leagues most valuable player. In my mind there are only two players that really have a chance to win the award, Adrian Peterson, or Peyton Manning. Both players had phenomenal seasons and both came off major injuries. Maybe you can add in Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady as candidates to win the mvp but I highly doubt either of them will win.
As we all know Peyton Manning came off a severe neck injury this season. He was dumped by the Colts, the franchise he played for his whole career, and some people thought he would never be the same again. Everyone questioned him and felt like one big hit would end his career for good. As we all know, Peyton proved all his doubters wrong. He threw for 4,659 yards, and 37 touchdowns. He had a QB rating of 105.8 which was the best in the league. He also completed 68 percent of his passes. Oh yeah, he did all this on the way to making the Broncos the number one seed in the AFC. If that’s not a case for MVP then I don’t know what is
Adrian Peterson was coming off a very different injury. On December 24th of last season Peterson tore his ACL and his MCL of his left knee and many people thought he would be out almost all of the 2012 season. Well, all those people were wrong. Peterson was determined to get through his rehab and be back for next season. His determination paid off when he put on his pads for the start of the 2012 season, and what a season it was. The running back rushed for 2,097 yards, 9 away from the all-time record. He had 12 touchdowns and had six yards per carry. He also rushed for more than 200 yards twice and more than 150 yards seven times. He did all this while bringing the Vikings to a 10-6 record and a playoff berth. He carried the team on his back all season.
When it comes down to it, I believe both players deserve the award, but if I had to choose I would have to go with Adrian Peterson. He came back from an injury that usually takes a year to recover in a few months. He brought the Vikings to the playoffs when absolutely nobody thought it could be done. He basically did it all for that team. What Peyton did for the Broncos was fantastic but what Peterson did for the Vikings was even better.
As each week passes the debate over this years rookie of the year intensifies. As of now I would say it is a two player race, with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffen being the front runners. Both of these quarterbacks are having phenomenal seasons. Luck has led his team to an 8-4 record when they only went 2-14 last season. And it is looking like the Colts are going to make the playoffs. He has thrown for 3596 yards and 17 touchdowns. He also has a QB rating of 76.1. Andrew Luck also has another amazing stat under his belt. He has five game winning drives and three 4th quarter comebacks! Luck is a leader and it is showing.
Robert Griffen is also having an amazing season. His Redskins are 5-6 and chasing the New York Giants for the division lead. Griffen’s stats are through the roof. He has thrown for 2497 yards and 16 touchdowns and has only thrown 4 interceptions. He also has a QB rating of 104.6 which is good for second in the league only behind Aaron Rodgers. Oh yeah, RG3 can run the ball a little bit too, he has ran for a whopping 642 yards and 6 touchdowns. Griffen is looking to cut the Giants division lead to one game tonight with a win.
So, as you can see we have a very tight race here. Both quarterbacks show amazing stats and are definitely the best players on their team. They are both leaders and both know how to sling the ball down the field, but if I had to choose today I think I would have to go with Andrew Luck. He has blown everyone away by bringing the Colts to an 8-4 record when no one thought they would win more than 4 or 5 games. I think this alone out shines the stats that Griffen has put up this season, but there is still 4 games left so we will see what happens…