Author: Adam Lott

Saints vs. Eagles: Will History Repeat Itself?

On Sunday, the red hot Philadelphia Eagles look to head into the Mercedes Benz Superdome with plans to eliminate the number one seed Saints from the playoffs. In the past two decades, the teams have only faced each other in the playoffs twice: once in 2007 and once in 2014.

In 2007 the teams faced off in an NFC divisional matchup. The Eagles and Saints entered the game with the same record and the same reason to win. They wanted to reach the NFC championship. Games with this high of stakes are usually strongly contested, and this one was no exception. The Saints toppled the Eagles 27-24. However, the Saints would go on to lose to the Chicago Bears in the NFC championship game.

When the two franchises faced off in 2014, it was in the Wild Card game. This time, the Saints held a better record than the Eagles. And like their first matchup, the game was highly contested. The Eagles led by one point with three seconds left in the game. Then kicker Shayne Graham laced a thirty-two-yard kick through the uprights and sealed a 26-24 win for his team and a pass into the NFC divisional game.

Now, on Sunday, the two teams will face off. The Eagles with hopes of denying history. And the Saints with hopes of continuing their dominance against the reigning Super Bowl champions. It is sure to be a physical, emotional, and stunning game.

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Main Credit Image: Embed from Getty Images

It’s the Burrow Show in LSU’s Routing of UCF.

Embed from Getty Images

The college football world was in for a treat on New Year’s Day 2019. It was #8 ranked UCF Knights taking on #11 ranked LSU Tigers in the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl. The two juggernauts didn’t disappoint, and both teams laid it all on the line in the final game of their seasons.

The game began explosively with the Tigers returning the open kickoff for 79 yards and was in prime position to take a 7-0 lead. That was until The Knight’s vaunted red-zone defense held the Tigers to a field goal. UCF’s following drive would result in an easy touchdown by Greg McCrae, and they took a 7-3 lead over the Tigers. On the next drive, LSU matriculated their way down the field to just inside of the Knights 20-yard line and Tigers quarterback Joe Burrow fired a pass towards LSU’s sideline that was picked off by cornerback Brandon Moore for a 93-yard touchdown to give the Knight’s a comfortable 14-3 lead.

The Tigers began driving again until they reached just outside of the red zone where the Knight’s had the Tigers pinned to a wall at fourth down. The Tigers went for it and barely received the first down and the very next play resulted in a 22-yard touchdown pass by Joe Burrow. Tigers cut the lead to 14-10. Near the end of the first quarter, cornerback Terrance Alexander was penalized and thrown out of the game for throwing a punch after a Knight’s fumble.

Alexander was the fourth starting cornerback that LSU was without this game after Greedy Williams chose to sit this came out to prepare for the upcoming NFL draft. Towards the beginning of the second quarter, the Tigers would take the lead after Burrow fired a deep touchdown to wide receiver Derek Dillon where the Tigers took a 17-14 lead. The Tiger’s defense kept the momentum and forced their opponents to punt from inside their red zone, and the next score wouldn’t come until Justin Jefferson, who already had one touchdown, caught his second touchdown of the day on a completely blown coverage by the Knights.

The Tigers took a ten point 24-14 lead, and on the following UCF drive, Central Florida was caught in a tricky spot and chose to take a chance go for it on fourth down. The pass was batted down, and the Tigers received the turnover on downs. Later in the quarter, when the Knights had the ball with 4 seconds until halftime, Knights quarterback Mack Jr. fired the football towards the back left of the end zone for a miraculous touchdown to keep the game in reach. Going into halftime, Tigers lead 24-21.

Although the score going into halftime was close, LSU dominated the first half by holding the ball for 21 minutes and 15 seconds of its duration. UCF received the second half kickoff but could make nothing out of it. The second half scoring began with 12:45 seconds left in the third quarter. Joe Burrow threw ANOTHER touchdown to give the Tigers a little more breathing room with a 31-21 lead. Also, once again the Knights would have to punt on the next drive for the second time in the third quarter.

After the punt, LSU looked to add to their ten point lead and managed to plant themselves inside of UCF’s red zone on an extremely time-consuming drive. The Knight’s defense held the Tigers to three points, hoping to stay in reach where the Tigers increase their lead, 34-21.

The UCF offensive line allowed another sack and the knights had to punt again. On this punt, however, Jefferson muffed the fair catch, and UCF took back control on the Tiger’s 20-yard line. UCF missed their opportunity though after being held to a field goal. At the beginning of the final quarter, The Tigers still lead 34-24.

LSU had the opportunity to score a touchdown in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. However, Jefferson dropped an open pass in the quarter of the end zone. The Tigers kicked the field goal and increased the lead by three; 37-24. UCF again could not take advantage of the momentum and be forced to punt.

Again LSU’s offense let them down in the red zone, and they were forced to kick another field goal from the ten-yard line where LSU increases the lead 40-24. After the kick, UCF would finally find the end zone again on a running play for six points and had time to think over their next move because of an injury to Tigers Rashard Lawerence. The Knights went for the 2-point conversion and got it with ease. The Knights found a glimmer of hope cutting the Tiger’s lead to 40-32. The Knights attempted an onside kick but failed to recover it but LSU, however, was forced to punt the ball back to the Knights with 47 seconds left on the clock.

Could UCF pull off a miracle in Arizona? Knights Darriel Mack Jr. threw an interception on the second play of the drive, and LSU kneeled to run out the clock. The Tigers won 40-32. Joe Burrow shined in this bowl game, posting an incredible stat line. Burrow completed 21 passes for 394 yards and three touchdowns which in return helped the Tigers win their final game of the season.

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Saints vs. Panthers: Studs and Duds

On the 30th of December 2018, the Carolina Panthers defeated the number one seed New Orleans Saints 33-14. Although the Saints benched an abundant amount of their main players including Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara, the team showed abysmal effort because the game meant nothing to the Saints.

Stud: Dwayne Washington

Despite not playing in the first half AND the Saints losing, Dwayne Washington was all over the field. He posted a stat line of 11 carries for 108 yards and 1 touchdown. Washington was a highlight in a rare Saints loss.

Dud: Teddy Bridgewater

While Drew Brees day out of the game, Bridgewater took the future Hall of Famer’s place on Sunday. The young QB only managed to find the end zone once. He threw for just 118 yards and 1 interception. In his first start since 2016, Bridgewater couldn’t fill in the shoes of the team’s starting QB.

Stud: Kyle Allen

After QB Cam Newton received a season-ending injury, the Panthers names Kyle Allen the starter. The 22-year-old threw for 228 yards, over 100 more yards than the opposing QB Teddy Bridgewater. The two touchdowns that he threw aided the Panthers in the overall routing of the Saints.

Dud: Eli Apple

The former New York Giants defensive back did not show up on Sunday. Apple had only 2 combined tackles with no interceptions. He was also outrun by Curtis Samuel when the WR received a 53-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Allen.

Stud: Cameron Artis-Payne

Christian McCaffery played only one quarter on Sunday for the Panthers. As a replacement, the team put in the heavy hitting RB Cameron Artis-Payne. He dismantled the New Orleans defense, getting 1 touchdown on 16 carries. Although he had only 56 yards rushing, Artis-Payne was a fitting replacement for the talented McCaffery against the first-place New Orleans Saints.

Dud: Micheal Thomas

Because of a lack of effort and the benching of Drew Brees, the New Orleans passing offense was nowhere to be found on Sunday. The number one receiver for the team couldn’t detect any separation and caught 5 passes for 29 yards. Eventually, the superstar was benched at the beginning of the fourth quarter.

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MLB 2019 Division Power Rankings: AL West

If you didn’t see my first article on the worst division in the league, go check it out: https://gumbosports.com/2018/12/28/mlb-2019-division-power-rankings-al-central/

I know what you are thinking. “Adam, didn’t the Astros win the World Series in 2017? What are you smoking Adam? Alex Bergman is the MVP of the league this year!” I know. I get it. The Astros are good. They are phenomenal actually. They are probably the number two or three team in the AL. Their flaws are exceeded by the insane amount of home runs, RBIs, and wins. However, the Astros are the only team in the AL West that will come close to the playoffs.

The Astros held the best record in the West in 2018 and defeated the Cleveland Indians in the first round of the playoffs. Despite the success, the team ultimately lost to the Boston Red Sox and were eliminated from the playoffs.

The AL West started the season with high hopes of going far, posting some of the best records in the league through May. Then everything began to crumble. The Angels horrid pitching staff caught up to them, the Mariners just weren’t good enough, and the Rangers…oh the Rangers. They were there as well. The only team this past season slightly worked out for was the Oakland Athletics.

They unexpectedly made the Wild Card round and faced the New York Yankees in hopes to pull off a huge upset. However, the stars couldn’t align, and the Athletics were sent home to watch the rest of the 2018 playoffs at home from their couch.

I predict that the same thing will happen in 2019 as in 2018 with only one exception. The Astros will win the division by a landslide, but this year, none of the other teams in the AL West will finish with a winning record. And just like last year, the Astros will be the only ones talked about. The other four teams will be left to trade and pray that 2020 will be different.

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MLB 2019 Division Power Rankings: AL Central

Oh baseball. You’ve been gone far too long. To pass the time we’ve had an excellent football season and a surprisingly interesting basketball season. But now it’s time to begin talking about the 2019 MLB season by ranking each division from worst to best. There will be some bad teams, and there will be some REALLY bad teams. We will get through it nonetheless. To start off, we have the worst division in baseball: The AL Central.

Although one of its teams made it to the World Series two years ago, the AL Central has been the most consistently bad division in baseball. The Indians are the only team in the Central that could possibly make the playoffs in 2019. And with the loss of Micheal Brantley to the Astros, the Indians might be in jeaprody of an awful record as well. The Indians have become the juggernaut of the division, winning it three times in a row. Although their blinding the success, the team has had a fairly mediocre time in the postseason in recent years. In 2016, the Indians made it to the World Series and held the Chicago Cubs on the ropes, leading the series 3-1. That was until they notoriously choked, and lost the World Series in 7 games. In the following two years, the Indians won their division, but they lost in the first round of the playoffs in each year.

The Detroit Tigers and the Minnesota Twins are the only other teams in the division to post a winning record in the past three years, with neither making it past the first round of the playoffs. The Kansas City Royals and the Chicago White Sox have been simply awful in the recent years. In 2018, the two teams held two out of three of the worst records in baseball.

There is hope for one team in the division though. The White Sox have a very young team and great potential. Their starting roster should be ready to win a title in at least 2035, and that is stretching it. Every other team however, is prepared for failure…again. I predict that the Indians will win the AL Central with ease but lose in the first round of the playoffs for the third year straight. If you are a fan of any of these teams, be ready for disappointment and humiliation because you will be taunted and made fun of relentlessly by your friends, family, and co-workers. Like honestly, I feel bad for you.

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