We’re three weeks into the NFL season and our pick contest. Schaumburg Stu and Dan the Man tied for the lead in Week 3 at 9-7. Mr. Fantasy came in with a 8-8 record and I was under .500 at 7-9 for the week. For the season Schaumburg Stu has the lead at 29-19. Dan the Man is just one game out of the lead at 28-20. Mr. Fantasy and I are tied and under .500 at 23-25 on the year. Maybe I can get myself over .500 with a good Week 4.
The Houston Texans hold the early lead in the AFC South with a 2-1 record. The Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans are 1-2 with the Jacksonville Jaquars at 0-3. It’s a very winnable for the Texans, but their chances of doing that took a huge blow now that J.J. Watt is going to be out an extended period of time. There are reports that the Texans will place Watt on injured reserve (IR) today. That means Watt won’t be allowed to practice for 6 weeks and won’t be able to return to game action for 8 weeks. If Watt goes on IR the earliest he could return would b November 27th against the San Diego Chargers. As tough as it would be for the Texans to stay in contention with Watt gone 8 weeks there is talk that this injury may keep him out for the rest of the season. There’s a quote from a Texans team source that’s making the rounds saying “I do believe that he will miss the season, but with the new rule this year, if he were ready in December, he could come off IR”. Long shot. Watt missed all of training camp and the preseason after he had surgery for a herniated disk in his back in late July. The 3-time defensive player of the year and 4-time Pro Bowler played part of last season through the injury, before aggravating it late in the offseason. He also had surgery in January to repair five torn core muscles. Watt started all three of the Texans’ regular season games so far this season. Watt has 1 1/2 sacks, 1 tackle and assisted on 7 other tackles. Watt has never missed a regular season game in his 6-year career and when he missed practice on Monday Texans head coach Bill O’Brien called it “a day off”. The Texans did re-sign defensive end Antonio Smith to help in the place of Watt. Now if Brock Osweiler and the offense can step up in Watt’s absence maybe the Texans can compete in the AFC South, but if they can’t handle the extra pressure even if Watt returns in 8 weeks it might be too late for the Texans to get into the playoffs.
The Washington Nationals clinched the National League East division last week and where battling with the Los Angeles Dodgers to see who would host their opening round playoff series. Now the Nationals knew they would face the Dodgers and any other playoff opponent without inured pitcher Steven Strasburg, but in Monday’s 14-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos torn his ACL and is done for the season. Ramos was injured a throw to the plate where he had to jump to make the catch. There was no contact with another players, but when Ramos landed he torn the ACL. Ramos is over shadow in Washington by the Bryce Harper name and the season Daniel Murphy is having, but Ramos was putting up good numbers before he got hurt. Ramos played in 131 games and was hitting .307. Ramos had 22 home runs 80 RBI’s as well as 25 doubles. Now it’s not just the hitting the Nationals will miss. Ramos has caught 1096 1/3rd innings this season for a staff that has an ERA of 3.50. That’s the second best ERA in baseball. When Ramos caught the teams ERA is 3.46.
How will the Nationals replace Ramos. Jose Lobaton is the veteran option Dusty Baker could go with. Lobaton has played in 36 games for the Nationals this season and is hitting .226 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI’s. Washington does have another option in 23-year old rookie Pedro Severino. Severino has played in 13 games this season and is hitting .333 with 1 home run and 3 RBI’s. I’m sure both catchers will be on the playoff roster, but who’s going to get the at bats. Do you go with the veteran in the playoffs or do you take a shot with a rookie? Will have to wait and see what decision Dusty baker makes.
Now I mentioned Washington was already short handed with Strasburg out due to a strained flexor mass in his pitching elbow. There is a chance that Strasburg could be back before the NLDS, but it looks like they’ll be going into the playoffs without him, at least for the first round. Also added to the injury list is 2015 MVP Bryce Harper. Harper has been banged up all season and is now dealing with a thumb injury. There have also been reports that Harper has been dealing with a shoulder injury all season, but he has denied that. Either way he’s not playing like the MVP he was last season.
Now playoff related with the Ramos injury is the fact that he’s going to be a free agent this off season. He was looking at a pretty good pay day until this injury. now you have to ask yourself; what’s a team going to pay a catcher who’s recovering fro a torn ACL. With this injury happening so late in the season you have to wonder if his recovery will carry over into next season. What kind of a contract will a catcher who’s going to miss the start of the 2017 season get. If Ramos’ rehabilitation takes longer than expected he could be out until the All-Star break. Ramos is 29 and it will be interesting to see if there’s a team out there that’s willing to pay him will he’s doing his rehabilitation.
Have you watched any pre-season NHL yet? They just got the pre-season going this week and I’m going to check out some of the Chicago Blackhawks/Pittsburgh Penguins game tonight. Now with the World Cup of Hockey in the finals there are still a few guys that aren’t with their NHL teams. Since it’s pre-season and there are only 2 more possible games left in the finals those players will be back with their teams soon. Before you know it October 12th will be here and they’ll be dropping the puck in the regular season.
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