By Sava Savkovic
2017 Year in Review
As we near the end of 2017, sports fans can be quite satisfied with how this year has turned out. We witnessed the greatest comeback of all time in the Superbowl accomplished by the New England Patriots, an intense NBA Finals once again between the Cavs and Warriors, and quite the intriguing CFL season this year, including a snow-covered finale in Ottawa. This year has brought us outstanding rookies in all sports, some incredible down-to-the-wire moments, and of course, the one and only Lavar Ball who was more of a hindrance and annoyance to the world of sports rather than a positive influence. The only negative aspect of this year of sports would be the preposterous amount of injuries, which have certainly tainted the season of many franchises, and deprived fans of having the greatest possible experience. Despite that, 2018 looks to be even better with all the young talent in the sports leagues today.
After an eventful start to 2017-18 season of the National Basketball Association, the race, or should I say marathon, for the playoffs have just begun to takeoff. Many clutch shots, gruesome injuries, and overpowering dominance on the parts of star players have brought the playoff marathon to where it is now. If you needed to get caught up on the past couple of months of NBA action, here it is:
Injuries. The one thing we all wish could somehow magically disappear with the snap of two fingers. Unfortunately, injuries are human nature and provide players with a whole new level of adversity to overcome. Gordon Hayward, for example, faced one of the most grotesque-looking injury the NBA has ever seen, and no, I do not recommend you search up “Gordon Hayward Injury” on YouTube. Trust me, you’ll regret it. This injury seemed to cover the NBA with somewhat of a cloud that hadn’t gone away for while. Players seemed off, especially those on the team of Hayward, the Boston Celtics. On the other hand, it was possibly a blessing in disguise as it gave the fans an opportunity to observe Kyrie Irving run the show on his own, and boy did he ever deliver. Kyrie led the Celtics to a 16-game winning streak, including impressive wins against the Warriors and Spurs. Another player who has shown sheer excellence has been LeBron James. This comes at no surprise at all. He’s been doing it his whole career, but what has been the most impressive was that LeBron has been doing this with little to no help at all.
Other honourable mentions of dominant players who have stood out to my eye as of late are: Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Andre Drummond, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.
With that said, which of these players will produce the biggest impact to push their teams into a playoff berth? Here are my NBA Playoff Predictions, including my predicted Conference Champions who are represented with bolded letters.
NFL Playoff Predictions
Many variables have made this NFL season close to unpredictable. Many injuries have changed the face of the playoff picture including injuries to some of the league’s biggest stars such as Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr., Carson Wentz, Deshaun Watson, and many more. These injuries have left some windows wide open for other teams to snatch a playoff spot, but which will those be?
First round bye:
3rd and 4th seed:
New Orleans Saints
Los Angeles Rams
First round bye:
New England Patriots
3rd and 4th seed:
Los Angeles Chargers
Some may be perplexed at how I put the Cowboys and the Ravens as the last seed in their respective conferences, or why in the world the Chargers are in the 4th seed. Hear me out before you write these theories off. The Ravens are only a single game behind the Buffalo Bills who are currently in the 6th seed of the Wild Card. The Baltimore Ravens have a petrifying defence that no one wants to face, and they recently put up a valiant effort against the current 1st seed, the Pittsburgh Steelers with their 39-38 loss. You better believe the Ravens are a team no one wants to see in the playoffs.
Next up are the Cowboys, who have had quite a roller coaster of a season which is, fortunately for Dallas, just about to embark on their next uphill slope. With Ezekiel Elliot coming back to aid the Cowboys in their final playoff push, they have a decent chance to squeeze in, depending on how the Atlanta Falcons and Green Bay Packers fare in their games. Considering it is crunch time at the end of the season, we can expect the Falcons to pull together and complete another one of their famous - or should I say infamous - choking acts, and allow the Cowboys to steal their playoff spot.
Lastly are the Chargers who I believe have the greatest shot at taking out the Patriots in a playoff matchup, along with Jacksonville. The Chargers have a veteran quarterback who knows everything to match up with Tom Brady. Secondly, both teams have a defence that are full of young talent and able to get after the quarterback. What we know about Tom Brady is that he has struggled when he has faced a superior defensive line that will lay a hit on him every single time. Just look back at Tom Brady’s two Super Bowl losses against the Giants and the Denver Broncos from the 2016 Season. What did these teams have in common? They all had dominant defensive lines who punished any quarterback standing in their way, similarly to the Chargers and Jacksonville this year; they are called “Sacksonville” for a reason.