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The Westfield Voice

The Westfield Voice

10 Bold Sports Predictions for 2019

2018 was filled with some incredible moments in the sports world. The rise of Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles, the Red Sox dominance from the first pitch, and the Warriors once again getting the best of LeBron James. As for 2019, here are some possible headlines that many may or may not be thinking of. Keep in mind that these are not guarantees, but news that have a possibility of being true.

Tom Brady AND Rob Gronkowski announce retirement:

As hard as this is to hear for Patriot fans, their two biggest stars in franchise history cannot keep up any more. For the man known as Gronk, his body has taken a lot of abuse since he started playing in college at Arizona. Multiple surgeries on his back, knee, forearm, not to mention a few concussions, has resulted in his production taking a hit in 2018. It wouldn’t shock me if the man once known as dominate decided to hang it up.

As for the golden boy Tom Brady, he cannot escape father time. Brady has been missing his marks more than often on many throws, including deciding to throw a key interception versus Pittsburgh by trying to throw out of bounds from another side of the field. If he doesn’t decide to retire after 2019, he may pull a Derek Jeter or Kobe Bryant and go on a farewell tour for the 2019-2020 NFL season. No matter who may or may not call it a career, the Pats will be losing one of the faces of their franchise.

Cleveland Browns finally make the playoffs:

Don’t look now, but Baker Mayfield and the Browns aren’t a joke. Although they may be years away from people actually taking them seriously, but they have found their quarterback of the future. They could even take a big step forward by adding another weapon on offense for the former Heisman Trophy winner and 2018 number one pick. Some work does have to be done on defense before they are a true threat, but they could make the jump as early as next year and find themselves as a 5th or 6th seed, but definitely not the AFC North champions.

Multiple NBA All-Stars will change teams EXCEPT for Kevin Durant:

Fans have been talking about the 2019 free agency class for a few years now, and finally questions will be answered. The class is stacked with superstars like Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant just to name a few; not to mention the constant trade rumors involving Anthony Davis. Two of those names (Thompson and Durant) are members of the Warriors and Golden State will have a difficult time retaining both stars. I believe Golden State will try to keep Durant meaning Thompson will be among the many to change teams entering the 2019-20 season.

Leonard is dead set on Los Angeles, Jimmy Butler wants to be a superstar (possibly in New York), and Davis will be traded from the Pelicans. Irving is the only other star besides Durant that will stay with their respective clubs and why wouldn’t they? Leaders on championship contending teams that for sure will get paid and recruited by their teams. The NBA could look completely different by the summer of the new year.

Red Sox will remain dominant, but not win the AL East:

Boston had a historic year to say the least, and that definitely won’t be duplicated for quite some time. Even the 2019 Red Sox won’t put up the kind of offense they did in 2018; so much so that they will have to settle for the Wild Card slot come October. Why? Because the Yankees will overtake them and snap the Red Sox streak of three consecutive AL East division titles.

Let’s face it: the New York Yankees number one goal of the offseason is to get better than the Red Sox. To do that, the Yankees are targeting not one, but two superstars in Bryce Harper and Manny Machado. After adding James Paxton via trade with the Mariners, the Yankees could match and even pass Boston if Machado and/or Harper with a lineup consisting of Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. The Red Sox may still be championship contenders, but the road won’t get easier if the Yankees sign a big name in free agency.

Golden State misses the NBA Finals, thanks to LeBron James:

Let’s face it: no one has been more dominant than the Warriors. So much so, that teams have been able to distinguish what makes them as dominant as they are. The road to a title has gotten tougher and tougher each year for Golden State and 2019 will be the year that someone finally stops the Warriors. And oddly enough, the ones to do that are LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Not only does James have the experience of playing this team in the last playoff series the previous four years, but this Lakers team is already head and shoulders above the two Cleveland teams he brought to the finals in 2017 and 2018.

The combination of youthful energy and veteran leadership makes the Lakers a true threat in the western conference. The Warriors do not have the depth that they have had on their previous championship teams and even the return of Demarcus Cousins can’t protect the rim like Javale McGee or Tyson Chandler can. This could easily be semifinal upset that no one could ever predict, but ultimately may happen.

Canada finally celebrates a Stanley Cup:

Not since 1993 has a Canadian NHL team won the Stanley Cup, until 2019 when the drought is finally broken. As of the end of December, all but three Canadian teams are currently in the playoffs with Vancouver and Edmonton trailing only by a few points in the western conference. The addition of John Tavares to Toronto has the Maple Leafs poised to make a true run for the Cup, the Flames and Jets leading both divisions in the west, and the Canucks and Oilers are charging. It is about time Canada starts to reign over the sport they made famous.

AND an NBA Championship:

Everyone thinks the Celtics were the team to beat in the eastern conference heading into the new season, but approaching the halfway mark that team has been the Raptors. Kawhi Leonard is back to being the most versatile two-way player that he once was with just a shade under twenty-seven points-per-game (5th in the league). Kyle Lowry remains rock solid in the backcourt with his near ten assists per game ranking 2nd in the NBA.

And not to be overshadowed, the emergence of Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam have the Raptors in a prime position to finally make an NBA finals appearance. Keep in mind that they have already beaten Golden State twice, once without Leonard, and Toronto being among the top ten teams in offensive and defensive efficiency has Toronto as a true threat. The NBA championship could very well being taking a trip up north for the first time ever.

Bryce Harper or Manny Machado win their first World Series:

Harper and Machado are getting paid. No matter where either go, they will instantly make their squad a contender. Signs are pointing towards Machado heading to the Yankees and Harper sounds like he’s narrowed his choices down to the Dodgers, Phillies, and even the Yankees. No matter where they both end up, they’ll each have something to prove and could have career years in 2019.

I think it’s more likely that Harper has the better chance at a ring because the national league is more wide open than the American league. If he does go to New York, Machado will have to fight through the Red Sox, Astros, and Indians to name a few and his batting average has yet to surpass .300 in his first seven seasons. Bryce Harper could join a Dodger team that’s been to the fall classic the past two years or the Phillies who were one good month away from the postseason. 2019 will be the year that a big name bat captures his first World Series ring.

Mike Trout gets noticed by requesting to leave the Angels:

If I was Mike Trout, I would be completely frustrated that arguably the best player of this generation has only been to the postseason once in his seven full seasons in Los Angeles. Even the addition of Albert Pujols couldn’t propel the Angels into contention which should make the two-time AL MVP furious with the organization Trout started with. Trout is scheduled to make over $33 million from his extension he signed in 2014, but even that won’t be enough to keep this five-tool star in California.

As humble as he is, it would not shock me to see Trout request a trade from the Angels because of the urge for athletes nowadays to chase after championships. Every athlete in every sport will reach this point in their career and Trout needs to do this before his talents run out. Mike Trout could even find himself on a new team this year if he pressures the Angels to make a move sooner than later. Trout will finally get the recognition he deserves, but for completely different reasons.

The Super Bowl LIII champions are:

As crazy as this may sound, it’ll be the return to glory for the Chicago Bears. I’m a firm believer that defense can still win in the NFL and the best defense resides in the windy city. These Bears held the red hot Los Angeles Rams to six points when the two faced off. Chicago’s got the fourth best defense in the NFL, but the difference is that I trust Mitchell Trubisky enough to make a Cinderella run with this team.

The NFC North champs can easily offset the Rams or even the New Orleans Saints on offense to make it to Atlanta and the Super Bowl. Both of those teams have been struggling to end the regular season and have had to squeak out some late-game victories making it easy for the Bears to swoop in to take the NFC. Even in the AFC, Patrick Mahomes and Chiefs have yet to see a hounding defense like this, the Patriots nearly collapsed against earlier in the year, and the Texans haven’t beaten a legit contender yet. The Bears could very well bring home the Lombardi trophy for the first time since the “Da Bears” did it in 1986.

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