It’s been a bit of a crazy week in the Toronto sports world. The Raptors are showing that they are human but they are still slightly meta-human as they continue to battle without Demar DeRozan who is apparently out until after Christmas with a torn groin ligament (how can you not cringe hearing that). They lost games to Dallas, LA and Cleveland but are beating the teams they are supposed to beat and get a rematch against Lebron and the Cavs tonight. Hard to worry with Lowry, Lou Williams, Patterson and JJ on the floor still.
The Blue Jays are continuing to reshape their roster with the official departure of Melky Cabrera, they brought in a Canadian! Michael Saunders of Victoria, BC (my favorite city in the whole country) will be our new left fielder which improves our defense and gives us some upside since he is a lot younger than Melky. The line-up now probably looks something like: Reyes, Martin, Bautista, Edwin, Donaldson, Smoak/Valencia, Saunders, Izturis/Travis and Pompey/Pillar. Would like to see one more OF bat so Pompey can play a season of AAA but if this is the lineup starting the season, I’m okay with that. I doubt that will be it though. There are many deals out there and one of them should involve RA Dickey and Josh Thole leaving town (all I want for Christmas) but with Happ traded to Seattle and three young arms in the rotation, they may end up holding onto Dickey unless they can find a solid veteran starter to fill the gap for a year. I expect AA to make a few more deals and finish reshaping the roster while Mr. Beeston is still the president because once he retires, who knows what the future holds. The best way to secure your job in professional sports is to win so let’s hope the Jays do a lot of that in 2015.
Remember a few weeks ago I praised the Rams for giving Shaun Hill the starting job again? I don’t like to brag but did anyone else see that as a possible season changing move? Since the change the Rams are 3-1 beating Denver 22-7, Oakland 52-0 and Washington 24-0 (outscoring the last two 76-0! Is that even possible?) Yes, the defense has stepped up big time but Shaun Hill is a calming presence and a great game manager. The only loss was at San Diego 27-24 which was as close as it could get except for a 3rd quarter fumble return for a TD by the Chargers. Shaun Hill is doing his job and although the Rams won’t make the playoffs because of the sheer competition in the NFC playoff race (more on that later), he will probably help the Rams finish 8-8 which seemed very unlikely at the beginning of the season. While we mentioned San Diego, I want to discuss Phillip Rivers. Watching the game against the Patriots on Sunday I realized why Rivers has never (and will never) take that step from very good QB to great QB. He’s not willing to play tough. He’s soft and he’s scared. I watched him sit in the pocket multiple times waiting for a receiver to get open when he had a wide open field to run. On the occasion he did run, he didn’t slide or get out of bounds on 3rd down so the clock ran and he was short of the marker. He didn’t even try to stretch the ball and sell the 1st down! I was embarrassed for him and I am in no way a fan so I can imagine that the fans in San Diego must be getting fed up. He is the exact opposite of what a pro QB should be. Ever see Brady turn away from contact or not scramble? Remember my boy Stafford going over the top of the pile for the winning TD? Hell, even Douche-face Cutler does a QB sneak once in a while. Anyone wondering what’s been holding the Chargers back from winning in the post season needs to look no further than who takes the snaps.
With the packers win last night against Atlanta they are now 10-3 and a game ahead of the Lions for the NFC North lead. That puts the Lions and Seahawks as the two Wildcard teams at 9-4 and Dallas on the outside looking in with the same record. Here’s the thing, the Falcons lost to go to 5-8 and still LEAD the NFC South division because they already beat New Orleans and are 4-0 in their division! The NFL playoff set-up has all 6 division winners and four wildcards making the playoffs. That means that either Atlanta or New Orleans (one of them can finish no better than 8-8 and the other 7-9 because they play each other again) will make the playoffs and depending on the final few weeks, two teams that ALREADY have 9 wins (Detroit, Seattle, Dallas, Philly) will miss the playoffs and the worst they can all do is 9-7. That is ridiculous. The NFL needs to do away with division rankings for post season and take the best 10 teams, regardless if four of them come from the same conference. Those four teams all deserve to make the playoffs and nobody from the awful NFC South division should be there. It’s a travesty and I hope the NFL changes it soon although, to be honest, if the Lions make the playoffs I’ll never mention this again.