- What or who impressed the most in the Vikings victory on Sunday?
Kras: For me it was the defense and the job that it did. Tennessee did some nice things early on in the first half with both the passing and running games but that changed with some half time adjustments. The Vikings only gave up 6 points in the second half and overall did a good job of limiting both DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry. The defense also did a good job in stopping Marcus Mariota and preventing him from getting into any sustained rhythm. The defense is a great building block going into a tough week 2 match-up against division opponent Green Bay Packers.
Nate Leer: No question the defense was the main (positive) story for the Vikes. I also was very impressed with the play of Stephon Diggs. With a limited QB and as the only legit receiving threat, Diggs still managed to generate 1st downs consistently. This kid can flat out play! It will be interesting to see how his production improves as Sab Bradford gets acclimated to the offense. I also thought Cordarrelle Patterson had his best game in years with a big kick-off return to start the 2nd half, some tough running and a very good catch. Or it’s just that easy.
- Looking at the Minnesota Lynx and where they are at, do you think they will win the WNBA Championship?
Kras: The Minnesota Lynx have a 2.5 game lead over the Los Angeles Sparks whom they beat Sept. 6th, 77-74 in L.A. To go along with the talent that they have on the court in Maya Moore, Seimone Augustus, Sylvia Fowles, and Lindsay Whalen, they also have the best coach in the league in Cheryl Reeve. Reeve is worthy of a shot to coach in the NBA but that is another argument for another time. She will have the Lynx ready to go game in and game out. All things considered, I think the Lynx have everything they need to win the WNBA Championship this year, the only question will be if they can outlast the Sparks in the conference finals. If they can do that I believe they can beat whoever will come out of the East.
Nate Leer: The Lynx would seem to be the clear favorite and with good reason. This is a great collection of talent with a great coach. They have secured home court all the way through the play-offs and seem to be driven to repeat as champions. They seem to be driven to be the first WNBA repeat winners in 15 years and that would seem to be the only accomplishment left for the greatest dynasty in Minnesota sports in the last 50 years.
- With the Gophers football team off to a 2-0 start, how do you think they will finish the season?
Kras: The Gophers thus far have beaten Oregon State and Indiana State, which at last check were not powerhouse programs. That said, it is nice to see them win the games that “they should win.” They have a bye week this coming week and then they will play Colorado State before kicking off the BIG 10 portion of the schedule. The two games that stick out as games they might have a hard time with are the Iowa and Wisconsin games. These are two opponents that Minnesota has not had consistent success against for as long as I can remember. The Gophers do have fairly favorable schedule this year but, if I have learned anything, it’s that the schedule means nothing when talking about the Gophers. They should be better than 8-4 according to their schedule but if their record ends up being 6-6, I would not be surprised either. I would like to be optimistic but the Gophers have not had any kind of quality, consistent play that gives me hope.
Nate Leer: It is hard to imagine the Gophs only losing 2 or 3 games but this may be the combination of easy schedule and decent team that actually gets to a decent bowl.
- What NFL teams were the best and worst in week 1?
Kras: In my opinion the best of the week was the New England Patriots. For the Pats to go on the road, into Arizona, and get the win was unexpected. I should know better than to ever doubt the Pats but the deck was stacked against them and they came to play Sunday night. Jimmy Garoppolo looked good in his first start and LeGarrette Blount and James White did what they needed to do to help make his night easier for the young QB. The good news for the Pats is they are at home until Tom Brady returns in week 5.
The worst team of the week to me was the Browns. The lowly Browns. They went on the road to face a Philly team who has an improved defense and a rookie QB and they did nothing. Carson Wentz looked like a seasoned vet against a lackluster defense and they then went on to lose RGIII to a shoulder injury that will keep him out for several weeks and quite possibly end his season. Once again, I don’t think it will be the Browns year.
Nate Leer: Kras is right on with the Pats. To get the win against a good team on the road without their two best players and several other key contributors was pretty impressive. If they can get fully healthy this year, they seem to be the clear favorites in the AFC.
While the Browns do look like the worst team in football, I thought the Rams were actually more pitiful. To get absolutely throttled by a weak San Fran team was brutal. Plus they were not able to generate any ground game with arguably the most talented runner in the league. I thought Jeff Fischer was better than this bit it looks like the league has passed him by. It seems unlikely to me that he makes it through the year without a HUGE jump in team performance.
- What A.L. team & N.L. teams are in the best position as of today to make a run at the World Series?
Kras: There’s enough time for things to change and different teams to end up in different wildcard positions or even different teams to end up in 1st place in their division. It is hard to be certain who will all make the playoffs but I think the two teams that are in the best position to make a run would be the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. It’s no shock or surprise that Theo Epstein has had a hand in both organizations. Both teams have quality hitters up and down the line up with the ability to play defense. As with most teams this late in the year, I think these teams will only go as far as their pitching will take them.
Nate Leer: It is hard to argue against Kras’s picks although the Sox pitching looks a bit questionable and the Fuzzy Cubbies might still be cursed. If not one of those teams, I like how the Rangers set up as a pretty complete team with elite frontline pitching and great D. I also think the Giants and Cards could sneak into the World Series and even win it with their championship pedigrees.
- What team do you think will win the World Cup of Hockey?
Kras: As much as I want to pick team USA, how does one bet against Canada? With that in mind I will have to pick Canada to win the World Cup of Hockey. Although I do like the way the USA team roster is structured with their blue-collar type players and work ethic, the overall skills and talent are on the Canadian roster. Sidney Crosby, Steven Stamkos, and Jonathan Toews are just a few of the players that have lights-out ability. I would take any one of them on a line and if they end up with 2 of them on the same line then they will have it made. Advantage Canada, EH!