|Notes and Observations Week 16: Patriots Escape from New York with 17-16 Win; Clinch First Round Bye.||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Win By Less Than a FOOT||Panic Mode in Full Effect, Minutemen are Struggling||Patriots Survive Gritty Challenge From Jets|
Just one week remains until the playoffs begin. Four divisions and five slots overall are locked up. The Wildcard race in the East is still heated at this late stage, so pay close attention to the melees in the upcoming weeks. It’ll be fun to watch who ends up with which seed, so let’s look at what would happen if the playoffs started as of Monday, September 23 at 7:05pm:
The Braves continue to hold onto the #1 spot by 1.5 games. Their record could be better, but they’ve kept up their lead for some time now with their various talents. They’ll be a tough out, but if another team can catch them at the right (or wrong) time, it could happen.
The Cardinals have reestablished a two-game lead in the NL Central, while the Dodgers stopped their slide a little with two wins in San Diego. Still, the Cardinals are not the Padres, and have the championship experience to persevere. Los Angeles will need to get better in a hurry for this one.
Cincinnati has finally made it back even with the Pirates, having now split the season series so far 8-8, with three games remaining in Cincinnati. The teams are very even, though lately Cincinnati has been on a better run. This one could very well come down to who hosts the game.
The Red Sox have a game and a half over Oakland, with six games remaining for Oakland (five for Boston). They haven’t been perfect, but Clay Buchholz is back to help the pitching staff. Depth has allowed them to avoid another rough season, and Jacoby Ellsbury will be back soon. It’ll be interesting to see, one way or the other, what this team can do after last season’s embarrassment.
Behind four straight wins, the AL West belongs to Oakland for the second straight year. But Detroit only has a magic number of two in the AL Central, and they’ve been doing well themselves. Oakland will need to drive up the pitch count for Detroit’s best and hope their own staff backs it up, or Detroit’s power could easily carry them over Oakland once more.
A sweep of Houston has given Cleveland playoff positioning, 1.5 games ahead of Texas. In the same vain, a sweep of Baltimore has kept Tampa with home-field advantage for the sudden death game. It’ll be a fun game, and if Tampa can keep up their momentum and regain some ground from their fall from the division lead, they could make things interesting.
|Indians def Rays||Reds def Pirates|
|Red Sox def Indians||Braves def Reds|
|Athletics def Tigers||Cardinals def Dodgers|
|Red Sox def Athletics||Cardinals def Braves|