By Joe Clinton
The year of 2018 left us with a lot of memorable sports moments that one can only hope 2019 can live up to. The Philadelphia Eagles won their first ever Super Bowl, the Boston Red Sox took the World Series after an 108-win season, and breakout superstar Kylian Mbappe led France to the the World Cup crown. Add in championships by the Washington Capitols, Golden State Warriors, Alabama, and Villanova, and 2018 was a tough year to beat. Will 2019 measure up? Here are my predictions for the new year starting off with a few sports that are already in season.
Already in the divisional round of playoffs, there is less for me to predict here. But I think the Super Bowl this year will be a contest between the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. It was very hard to resist throwing the Eagles in that mix, as they seem to have that “it” factor to make it through the playoffs as an underdog. But I think that the Saints will top the Patriots, 35-28. The dominant offense of Brees, Thomas, Ingram, and Kamara will be too much for the Patriots defense to handle when it comes to crunch time.
The question everyone asks is whether there will be a team capable of competing with the Golden State Warriors. Although their 27-14 record so far this season is a rough start by their standards, I still believe there is no one who will be able to top them when it comes to June. My Eastern Conference Championship will be the Boston Celtics over the Toronto Raptors in seven games. The Celtics, of course, have had their issues early on but all that talent and strong coaching will come through during the playoffs. I see the Warriors from the West topping the Houston Rockets in six games and then ultimately winning the NBA Finals in six games as well.
This is always a hard prediction as there are just so many teams out there and so much that can change in the season. I’m going to start off with predicting my Final Four with Duke, Michigan, Gonzaga, and Texas Tech. Teams to still watch closely include Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan State, and Kansas, all currently ranked higher than Texas Tech. I think the defense of Texas Tech will set them apart from the others during the tournament. My championship game will be Michigan beating Duke, 75-70, behind a 25-point outing from Ignas Brazdeikis.
I don’t know much about hockey so I just took a peek at the standings and saw the Bruins in third place in their division. This is good enough for me to believe they’ll make a run in the playoffs and find their way into the Stanley Cup again. I predict they’ll face off against the Calgary Flames. And sure, why not? I predict they’ll win the whole thing this year simply because I don’t know enough to say anyone else.
With Opening Day still far off, this discussion really is up in the air. So my ALCS will be a rematch of last year, the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros. The Yankees will fall short simply because the American League will be such a powerhouse next year. Unfortunately, I do not see the Red Sox returning to the World Series, and predict a matchup between the Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers. For the Dodgers, it would be their third trip in a row to the title game.
Featured image from nbcsports.com