This Week in US Sports: Wildcard teams neck and neck, NFL QBs dropping like flies

By Sports Desk September 19, 2019

Pay attention to the MLB right now – there is drama galore as the season is coming to a close.

In the NFL, it was a bad week for quarterbacks. In the NHL, some of the best players in the league have finally signed.

All that and more this week in US Sports.

 

1. Wildcard races neck and neck

Absolutely nothing is decided in the MLB's playoff picture. Four teams have locked up playoff spots in the Houston Astros, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves, but not one of those teams knows whether they will have home-field advantage in the playoffs nor who they will be playing when the postseason rolls around.

In the race for the best record in MLB and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, the Astros lead the Yankees by one game and the Dodgers by two. In the race for the best record in the NL, the Dodgers lead the Braves by 4.5 games but Atlanta still have a shot to overtake Los Angeles.

Minnesota and St Louis are in the lead in their respective divisions, but the Twins lead the Cleveland Indians by just four games and the Cardinals lead the Chicago Cubs by three. Things could change down the stretch in those races.

But where the intrigue truly lies is in the wildcard races. In the NL, the Washington Nationals lead the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers by 1.5 games for the first wildcard spot. In the AL, the Oakland Athletics lead the Tampa Bay Rays by two games for the first spot and the Indians by 2.5 games.

So much could happen in the final 10 games of the season across the league and odds are, the race will come down to the final games of the season which is when baseball is at its best.

 

2. NFL quarterbacks dropping like flies

It is not a good time to be a quarterback in the NFL.

After Week 1, the league lost the Jacksonville Jaguars' Nick Foles to a broken collarbone and the New York Jets' Sam Darnold to mono. Then in Week 2, the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees was knocked out for six to eight weeks with a thumb injury, the Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger was ruled out for the year with an elbow problem and the Carolina Panthers' Cam Newton is questionable for Week 3 with a foot injury.

And also, while it was not due to injury, it appears Eli Manning's time with the New York Giants is up as the two-time Super Bowl winner was benched in favour of rookie Daniel Jones. That means this weekend, 20 per cent of the starters in Week 1 across the league could not see the field at all.

It has been a rollercoaster of a first two weeks in the NFL.

 

3. Yankees lose one of best starters for at least seven days

The Yankees have been destroyed by injuries this season, setting an MLB record by placing 29 players on the injured list this year. But on Thursday, they lost a player for a reason that was not injury related.

MLB announced pitcher Domingo German, who leads New York in wins this season with 18, was placed on administrative leave under the joint MLB-MLBPA domestic violence policy. He must sit out for at least seven days as a result.

 

4. NHL RFAs start signing deals

Just a week ago there were questions as to whether some of the best players in the NHL would play at all this season. Toronto Maple Leafs winger Mitch Marner, Boston Bruins defenseman Charlie McAvoy and Ottawa Senators defenseman Thomas Chabot all were waiting for deals as NHL training camps opened up.

But this week the levees broke and all three men signed massive deals. Marner signed a deal worth upwards of $10million per year, McAvoy signed a more conservative three-year contract and Chabot signed an eight-year deal.

This was massively good news for the league, but it also calls to attention several players who remain unsigned including Winnipeg Jets forwards Patrik Laine and Kyle Connor and Colorado Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen.

It is great that some of the best players in the NHL will be playing this year but there is still much to be settled in the RFA market.

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    Friday's tweet of the day

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