By Marc Lawrence — NFL players have emerged from their COVID-19 testing stations to put on helmets and pads. We now have actual competition on football fields. And it now feels like the perfect time to check in with the Top 32 teams in NFL.com’s latest edition of the Power Rankings. Consider it a gentle reminder to refrain from angry outbursts over your favorite team’s placement in this mid-August ranking exercise. The biggest riser since camps have opened is the Seattle Seahawks who go from No. 13 to No. 9. It’s hard to take issue with a team that brings in a player the level of Jamal Adams, a game-changer at safety and now the centerpiece of their defense. What it does say is that a team that goes 11-5 and ws a playoff game is no longer enough. To see the current ranking of all 32 teams click here.
ESPN took a look at how the 2020 MLB season is far from conventional. To see how normal baseball is or isn’t under pandemic rules – aside from a 60-game schedule for most teams – let’s start with: One-third of the way through the 2020 season, the hitters’ platoon advantage is gone. Pitchers’ advantage: .244 batting average, .738 OPS. Batters’ advantage: .238 batting average, .734 OPS… Players will travel, on average, only about 8,000 miles this year, or about 130 miles per game. Last year, they traveled 34,000 miles per team, or 210 miles per game… A dozen and a half major leaguers have opted out of this season, for health and safety… There are no fans cheering. If some part of home-field advantage is about players feeling encouraged by cheers, that’s missing this year… There are few statistics to chase. Almost nobody is setting any career highs in home runs or strikeouts this year. And on and on it goes.
Grinding Out The Profits
From the 2020 PLAYBOOK FOOTBALL PREVIEW GUIDE magazine: There is something to be said for having a marshmallow schedule and a hungry quarterback (Philip Rivers) with something to prove. Especially when that QB has made a living against teams that are now division rivals. Rivers not only owns the AFC South (25-5-2 ATS overall), he loves moon pies!