The Weekly Assist: NBA and NFL Deliver on Christmas
As Ferris Bueller might say: The world of sports moves pretty fast...
... If you don't stop and look around at least once a week, you could miss it. Here we'll review what you might have missed in the past week all in one place. Why spend hours scrolling through Twitter to catch up on the news you want? We've already done that for you, so remember to check back every Monday to get your dose of weekly sports review.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers secured their spot in the playoffs after Week 16 and now only three spots remain to be had in the NFC. The Cleveland Browns were unable to defeat the Jets, which would have clinched a playoff spot for them in the AFC for the first time in 17 years. The Browns' loss allowed for the Steelers to clinch the AFC North even after a recent three game losing streak.
Good morning 🤖 https://t.co/VlOJq31ny3— Tampa Bay Buccaneers (@Tampa Bay Buccaneers) 1609164190.0
Throughout 16 weeks, three teams in the AFC have clinched postseason berths: Kansas City, Pittsburgh, and Buffalo. In the NFC we have four teams that have clinched: the aforementioned Bucs along with Green Bay, New Orleans, and Seattle. With so many spots still up for grabs, we'll see plenty of important games being played in the final stanza of the 2020 regular season. The Dolphins, Browns, Colts, Bears, and Cardinals are all in must-win situations heading into Week 17 while the NFC East crown is still undecided as Washington, the Giants, and the Cowboys can all still stake their claim as division winners.
Alvin Kamara scored six touchdowns on Christmas Day. Today he’s riding his bike around downtown NOLA with a bunch o… https://t.co/nwG58T7vWd— Brett Michael (@Brett Michael) 1609100627.0
While the NFL still has another week before their postseason begins, for fantasy football managers Week 16 was Championship Week and titles were won and lost during a week we saw some huge performances. Alvin Kamara and Davante Adams were absolute monsters in Week 16, and if you had them in your fantasy championship matchup, you're probably spending most of today gloating to the rest of your league.
Kamara amassed 172 total yards and six(!) touchdowns against the Vikings, and Adams hauled in 11 catches for 142 yards and three scores. Kamara and Adams put exclamation marks on the end of their fantasy season's and should head into 2021 drafts as top three options at their respective positions.
You Shouldn't Have Mocked the Belt Mini Series: Davante Adams #GoPackGo https://t.co/LjObluVkkx— Alexander Basara 🇵🇱🐺 (@Alexander Basara 🇵🇱🐺) 1609133213.0
The NBA began their season last week, and we were also treated to a full slate of action on Christmas Day to breakup the unwrapping, unboxing, and food induced naps throughout the day. We saw Jimmy Butler sit out the second half of their game against the Pelicans, as he's nursing an injured ankle, and Zion Williamson dropped 32 points on Christmas Day. The Heat managed to pull off the win however behind a strong outing from Duncan Robinson.
32 PTS | 14 REB @Zionwilliamson put on a show in his first Christmas game 🎁 https://t.co/FK5qk9KRP4— Bleacher Report (@Bleacher Report) 1608927781.0
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving look ready to dominate the Eastern Conference, as they have Brooklyn rolling early on, and with support players such as Joe Harris, DeAndre Jordan, and Landry Shamet, we saw them handle a good Boston team on Christmas 123-95.
KD and Kyrie's ELITE start 🍿 Kyrie: 31.5ppg/6apg KD: 25.5ppg/4.5rpg The 2-0 @BrooklynNets take on the Hornets ton… https://t.co/dIx4IhvBpw— NBA (@NBA) 1609092001.0
LeBron and the Lakers beat Luka Doncic's Mavericks on Christmas Day and the Clippers bested the Nuggets, but on Sunday the Clippers were embarrassed by the Mavericks as they went into halftime with only 27 points. The Clippers look like a team in need of what Montrezl Harrell left behind, and Harrell is fitting right in with the Lakers as he looks to be assuming a big role with the team right out of the gates with his new team.
There are currently five undefeated teams in the league, but they're probably not the teams you'd expect. Orlando (3-0), Cleveland (3-0), Indiana (3-0), Atlanta (2-0), and Oklahoma City (1-0) are the only teams with goose eggs in the loss column so far. The Celtics and Bucks have both started 1-2, and in the Western Conference the Nuggets have started out 0-2.
Just a wild day in the NBA 🤯 - Mavs blowout Clippers by 51 - Hornets give Nets their first loss - Knicks blowout B… https://t.co/vPsa8AjOlf— Overtime (@Overtime) 1609124427.0
With such a short offseason it's easy to forget some of the new faces in new places including Chris Paul in Phoenix. There is a lot of potential for the Suns to make a jump this year behind the veteran leadership of Paul. We saw him help expedite the progression of young players in Oklahoma City last season, and the Suns are hoping he can do the same for Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Mikal Bridges. The Suns are 2-1 to start the year and are currently sitting in fourth place in the west.
There have been two recent trades in the MLB that will improve playoff contenders. The Nationals acquired Josh Bell from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for pitchers Wil Crowe and Eddy Yean. Bell had a down year in what was a truncated season last season, but in 2019 he made an All-Star team and smashed 37 homeruns and 116 RBI.
TRADE: We have acquired RHP Wil Crowe and RHP Eddy Yean from the Washington Nationals in exchange for 1B Josh Bell.… https://t.co/k53hxfP6lY— Pirates (@Pirates) 1608838263.0
The Pirates on the other hand gets to avoid a pay day for Bell and bring in to promising young arms. Crowe, a former second-round pick, projects to land in the Pirates rotation this year while the younger Yean (19 years old) will likely require a year or two in the farm system before getting a call up to the show.
The bigger news coming out of the world of baseball came on Sunday night when we learned that the Tampa Bay Rays agreed to send Cy Young winner Blake Snell to the Padres for a package of highly touted prospects. The Padres will add an all-star caliber starter to the top of their rotation to pair with Dinelson Lamet and once Mike Clevinger returns from Tommy John, San Diego will have one of the scariest rotations in all of baseball.
Dodger fans rn: #Padres #BlakeSnell https://t.co/wRu1Yhm2EP— Austin Garmo (@Austin Garmo) 1609130990.0
The Rays fresh off a World Series appearance will add one of the best pitching prospects in baseball in Luis Patino and may get a shot with the pro club as early as this year. Also included in the deal were catchers Francisco Mejia and Blake Hunt as well as Cole Wilcox who should need some additional seasoning in the minors before getting a shot with the Padres.
The return for Snell is only as good as the prospects turn out however. So an immediate reaction to this trade is the Padres got the better end of this deal, but with Snell's history of being injury prone combined with the promise of Patino, Mejia, and Hunt we may be singing a different tune a few years down the road.
What's most confusing though is why Snell was on the trade block to begin with, and Monday morning we also saw reports that Kevin Kiermaier, the Rays centerfielder, is also available in trades. Randy Arozarena posted a great postseason, but he's not going to be enough to bring the Rays back to the World Series by himself.