Let’s call it Wednesday

Posted: September 12, 2018 by Sports Time Radio in Auto Racing, football, NASCAR, post season, sports, Sports Time Radio, Uncategorized

With the NFL season starting last week; so did our yearly pick contest. Schaumburg Stu and I got off to a solid start going 11-5. Mr. Fantasy went 9-7 in Week 1 while Dan the Man had his struggles getting out of the gate a 6-10. Just one week in Dan ha plenty of time to get back into it.

Week 2 of the NFL season kicks off on Thursday night with an AFC North match up as the Baltimore Ravens at the Cincinnati Bengals. Both teams are 1-0 after Week 1 of the season, but they got their in different ways.

Cincinnati found itself down 23-17 heading into the 4th quarter against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. The Bengals then ran off 17 straight points capped off by an 83 yard fumble return by Clayton Fejedelem to put the Colts away 34-23.

The Ravens on the other hand had the biggest bow out of Week 1 as they easily beat the Buffalo Bills 47-3. The three points was the lowest number of points given up in Week 1 and it brought back some memories of the old Ray Lewis led Ravens defenses.

With just one week in the books we have to try to figure out if the Ravens where as good as they looked on Sunday or are the Bills just going to be that bad this season. Then with the way the Bengals ended the game you have to wonder if that’s what their team will look like or if they’ll be more like the team that struggle early on against the Colts. Cincinnati does have the advantage of being at home, but for me I’m going to take the Ravens to start the season off 2-0.

One of the most disappointing teams in Week1 was the Pittsburgh Steelers who ended up in a tie with the Cleveland Browns. While the Steelers where disappointing James Connor wasn’t.

Connor was the NFL’s top rusher for Week 1 as he racked up 135 yards on 31 carries and added 2 touchdowns. Connor also caught 5 passes for 57 yards. Connor did have 1 fumble which he lost, but as still the top running back from Week 1.

Of course Connor was in the starting line up because Le’Von Bell never reported to the Steelers and there have been no reports of Bell planning on reporting this week. By skipping the game Bell forfeited just a little under $900,000 dollars in game pay.

Of course money is the issue where all of this lies. Bell wants a long term deal and while the Steelers don’t seem to have an issue with giving him a long term deal; it’s the money that’s the hold up. Bell wants to be paid right around $20 million dollars a season which would be about $5.5 million dollars more than Todd Gurley and remember Gurley just signed a new contact before this season. I would be surprised to see the Steelers set the market like that for a running back; so if Bell isn’t willing to lower his contract demands this may be a long hold out.

As long as Bell reports to the Steelers by Week 11 I believe it is; he’ll get credit for this season and be able to go into free agency when it’s over. Bell is 26 years old and has played for the Steelers for 6 seasons. Bell is clearly one of the top running backs in the NFL, but would a team be willing to commit $20 million dollars a season on a running back. On average running backs have shorter career than any other position in the NFL; so it makes sense for Bell to try to cash in while he can, but are his salary demands too high?

Bell wants to factor in that he is a quality receiver as well as a top running back, but I’m not sure that teams will go in for that. Bell did have 85 catches last season, but there’s no way of knowing how many of those where actually meant for Bell or if they where just check down throws. Now a catch is still a catch, but there is a little bit of a difference when you’re the primary receiver.

Oddly the biggest detriment to Bell being paid could be James Connor. If Connor goes out and has a good 11 weeks it will make Bell look more like a product of the Steelers offense rather than a top running back. Also with the way Connor played this Steelers will be in no hurry at all to pay Bell; so it’s a bit of a double-edged sword for Bell. Does he or would he root against a player on his own team to help his own cause?

Heading into Week 2 the Steelers have left Bell completely off if their depth chart for their game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 10-race NASCAR playoffs start this Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Right now there are 16 drivers chasing the Cup. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Martin Truex Jr, Brad Keslowski, Clint Bowyer, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Eric Jones, Kyle Larson, Denny Hamlin, Austin Dillion, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson and Alex Bowman all have the chance to win the title right now.

The field gets cut to 12 drivers for the 2nd round. Then the field drops to 8 drivers in round 3 and then it goes down to the final three drivers at Homestead Miami Speedway to crown a champion.

This season has been dominated by the big 3 of Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and Martin Truex Jr. and with the bonus points each driver has received this season they have an easier path as long as they don’t have any on track issues to advance in the playoffs.

Will we eventually see Kyle Busch, Harvick or Truex Jr. raising the cup at the end of the season or is there someone else in the field that you think could win it all? Maybe you like the hot driver as Keslowski has won the last two races heading into the playoffs. Is it possible one of the younger racers (Elliott, Jones or Larsen) surprise everyone and grab the title and don’t forget that even though he didn’t win a race this season Johnson is in the field and he has 7 title to his credit; the last being not that long ago in 2016.

Who’s your pick to win it all?

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast live on BlogTalkRadio.com, but don’t forget that you can listen to the podcast any time you want at TuneIn.com.

Feel free to look me up on Twitter @Burketime

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