The Astros and Dodgers have been giving the Cubs and Indians a run for their money.
Largely due to the droughts involved and the excitement of an extra inning game 7, many said it couldn’t get any better than the 2016 World Series. Houston and Los Angeles, however, have been the sites for fantastic finishes and unpredictable occurrences throughout the first five games of the 2017 fall classic.
Houston appeared to have forgotten their offense in the ALCS throughout most of the first two games. They managed just 1 run in game 1 and 1 run in the first 7 innings of game 2. The bats, however, would come alive late in game 2 to set up a fantastic finish in LA. Marwin Gonzalez tied the game in the top of the ninth inning off of shut down closer Kenley Jansen and the game was on.
Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa would add solo shots in the top of the tenth to take their first lead of the series, but the Dodgers wouldn’t let them off of the hook that easily. They came up with a pair of their own in the bottom frame to send the game to 11 innings.
The Dodgers and Astros would trade homers in the eleventh. However, George Springer’s of Houston was good for 2 runs and the Astros evened the series with a 7-6 win. This was the game that told me the Astros were here to win. They would leave LA with all of the momentum in the world and something to prove at Minute Maid Park.
After taking their first lead in the World Series in franchise history with a game 3 win in Houston, the Astros failed to take total command of the series in game 4. The Dodgers avoided a 3-1 deficit, one the Chicago Cubs had to overcome to win it all in 2016.
Instead, the critical game of the series would see aces Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw go head-to-head. In a game many expected to be a low-scoring affair, the Astros and Dodgers combined for 25 runs in 10 innings in one of the most thrilling games in October history.
Houston was forced to overcome deficits of 4-0, 7-4 and 8-7. The Dodgers needed 3 runs of their own in the top of the ninth just to force a tenth inning. Slugger Yasiel Puig delivered the key blow: a 2-run homerun to cut the deficit to 1. All told, the Dodgers and Astros combined for 7 long balls in a marathon game 5.
Alex Bregman would finish off the contest in the bottom of the tenth with a single to plate George Springer. Houston won each of the extra inning thrillers to seize a 3-2 lead in the series as it heads back to LA. Because both of the final games (if necessary) will be at home for the Dodgers, game 5 was essentially a must-win.
The first five games of the World Series have more than lived up to the hype that came with the best two teams in the game of baseball. Just like Chicago and Cleveland were, Houston and LA are hungry for a title. Despite their storied history in Brooklyn and LA, the Dodgers haven’t been crowned kings of baseball since 1988. Meanwhile, the state of Texas has never seen a World Series Championship.
Week 8 means we have reached the halfway point of the NFL season and many divisions are still available for the taking.
The Texans, very much alive in the AFC South, competed in the most exciting game of the season to date.
Deshaun Watson and company were truly tested with a road game in Seattle. The Seahawks are tough to play anywhere but nearly unbeatable at CenturyLink Field. Despite an early interception returned for a touchdown by Earl Thomas, Watson left the legion of boom asking questions throughout the afternoon.
Unfortunately for Houston, Seattle’s Russell Wilson was just as effective with the ball in his hands. The game quickly developed into an unlikely shootout and the Texans had a chance to leave victorious after a go-ahead score with just over a minute to play.
Wilson seemed to move down the entirety of the field with ease on his last drive and found tight end Jimmy Graham wide open crossing the middle of the field and into the end zone for the dagger.
If I were a Texans fan like many of you are, I would feel downright giddy that Deshaun Watson is in my lineup. The young signal caller from Clemson has a flare for the dramatic and can put up points in a hurry. Barring injury, there’s no telling where Watson will eventually lead this franchise.
With that said, it seems as if the problems have flipped from last year. In 2016, Brock Osweiler couldn’t figure out how to score points while the defense didn’t know how to give them up. Watson is consistently posting 30 or more points a game, but the defense is significantly weaker without playmakers J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus. Fans in Houston have a lot to look forward to, but the lack of an effective defense to compliment Watson will keep the 3-4 squad from breaking away in the South.
The Dallas Cowboys needed to find a way to pull out a divisional road game on a wet day in Washington. The Cowboys struggled early and it looked like they’d trail by two possessions at the half, but a blocked field goal almost returned for a touchdown changed that. Dallas enjoyed a 10-point swing in the final three minutes of the opening half and took a slim lead into the locker room.
From there, Kirk Cousins and the Washington offense never seemed to rebound. They hung around for the majority of the second half and even had a chance to tie it with a touchdown late. Byron Jones, however, snagged a tip pass form Cousins and took it all the way to the house to seal the deal.
This was a crucial matchup in the NFC East. With the Philadelphia Eagles improving to 7-1, the game would determine who would stand alone in second place. The Cowboys have improved to 4-3 and will host the Eagles on Sunday Night Football on Nov. 19.
Most of the teams who were expected to take care of business did just that on Sunday. The Vikings stayed atop the NFC North with a 33-16 rout over the Browns in London. They got some help with losses from the Detroit Lions to the Steelers and the Bears to the Saints to build some distance in the North.
The Patriots just held off Phillip Rivers in the Chargers at home while the Bills embarrassed Oakland, who fell to 3-5. The Jets also fell to 3-5 but battled the Falcons tough at home.
The New York Jets, despite their record under .500, have been one of the more pleasant surprises in 2017. I, like many, expected this team to win two or three games at the most and they have proved us all wrong. Josh McCown has been able to post plenty of points to keep the Jets in games against good teams. They will look to bounce back against divisional rival Buffalo on Thursday night to kickoff week 9.