Let’s get the obvious facts out of the way, the Patriots schedule up until this point has been incredibly easy, no doubt about it they have had the easiest schedule in the NFL. Aren’t the Super Bowl champs supposed to have a harder schedule in order to balance things out? I guess that is beside the point but when you start off with Steelers (2-4), Dolphins (0-6), Jets (1-5), Bills (5-1), Redskins (1-6), Giants (2-5), and Jets (1-5) is there any question a franchise like the Patriots will dominate? No, and again that is not their fault and the schedule does toughen up over the final half of the season but wow is that a cakewalk. So I mention that because that defense has been historically good so far, and while yes they are probably the most talented defense the Patriots have had in a while how good are they really? Can we put them in the class of the Seahawks, Ravens, or Buccaneers of the past 15 years? Not on my watch. Maybe from a purely stats perspective you can but from an eye test to go along with that schedule they have A LOT to prove before we can start talking about them as “great” or even the best in the league this year.
Now let’s look at the stats from a league standing perspective powered by Pro Football Reference. The Patriots D is First in Points For, Second in Yards, First in Yards per Play, First in Takeaways, Second in First Downs, Third in Completed Passes, Second in Passing Yards Allowed, First in Passing Touchdowns, First in Interceptions, Third in Rushing Touchdowns, First in Rushing First Downs, Third in Rushing Yards Gained, Fourth in Penalties, and by double the amount of the second place squad they are first in Expected points contributed by Defense. Basically except for Rushing Yards per attempt they are top 3 in every single category and even that you have to take that with a grain a salt seeing as no team is ever winning a game against the Pats so all of those carry yards can be contributed in large part to draw plays on third and longs and plays when the game is out of hand. It’s impressive that’s for sure. For all of you fantasy football lovers out there (that includes me by the way) in my league which is a pretty standard non-PPR league the Patriots defense is top 5 overall in points and has double digit more points than MVP front runner Christian McCaffrey. That may speak more to the league rules valuing defense a little too much but that is a story for another day and still shows the dominance the Pats D has shown this year, especially when it comes to turnovers and defensive touchdowns.
The evolution of this defense has just been classic Patriots. They steal Van Noy from the Lions, they resign Jamie Collins at a discount, they take a really good corner in Stephon Gilmore and make him one of the best in the entire league, they plug the defensive line with cheap productive alternatives to replace Trey Flowers, and they either draft or sign unheralded guys that turn out to be high level starters such as J.C. Jackson. It’s the type of roster creation and management that make them better than everyone else year in and year out.
Again I will not stress this enough that schedule has been a complete joke but dominance is dominance and there is no arguing that and to their credit they beat the Steelers when Big Ben was healthy and they handled a really good Bills team on the road although the calling card of the Bills is also their defense. How will we know if this defense is really that good? I think we should revisit this article in mid-December after they play the Browns, @Baltimore, @Philly, the Cowboys, @Houston, and then home against the Chiefs presumably with Mahomes back in the lineup. Then and only then will I concede that this defense can be thrust into the conversation of some of the best in recent memory. I wonder if they will have clinched the division by then, ha.
Miserable pitching, a near sighted GM, and an empty farm, ladies and gentlemen your 2019 Boston Red Sox.
What a terrible year huh? It is a pretty sad state of affairs for a team coming off a historic World Series run with star power up and down the lineup. Let’s be honest 2019 was no “World Series hangover” either the entire year was full of poor execution, horrendous pitching, and a GM that handcuffed himself to a farm system he has completely gutted and as result could not make any deadline deals to help bolster a pitching staff in desperate need of help. I have written about Dombrowski a few times before and even said he should be on the hot seat back in August. I will be the first to admit that winning a World Series far outweighs the pain of seeing a valued prospect ascend into stardom in a different uniform but at what cost can you completely deplete an entire farm system. Does he win? Yes. Will he give you a chance to win the World Series? Yes. Will he leave your farm system in shambles and potentially ruin you for years to come? Yes. Approving of his strategy all depends on your level of comfort with short term vs long term success. Think about it, how are the Marlins and Tigers looking these days and during the years following his departure? I’ll answer that for you, Awful! As in a half decade or even more of long painful seasons but while he was there how were things? They were great and you either won a World Series or you were contending every other year. Dombrowski has always been known as an aggressive GM who will make trades at all costs and get the big pieces for deep post season runs. Case and Point being the trade he made for Chris Sale. Acquiring Sale instantly made the Red Sox a favorite for the World Series but he also gave up guys like Kopech and Moncada that will star on the South Side of Chicago for years to come.
It is about that time, for many of us it’s the best and most magical time of year full of family, friends, and lots of food! But for vegans especially, and while I limit this blog to vegans this rings true for anyone dieting or trying to live a better life, as you are constantly slapped in the face with ads and stores showcasing decadent foods, full of rich creamy filling, and chocolatey this and fried that it makes it nearly impossible to stay true to your lifestyle. Coupled with the food temptations the cold weather brings inner demons telling you to not worry about that cheese, or the egg nog, or the turkey stuffing. This time of year is literally a breeding ground of excuses. I am also a firm believer that there is an innate human need to binge eat during the fall in anticipation of a long winter hibernation. Whether coincidence or not I for one have a heightened sense of hunger as the leafs start to fall and part of me just wants to eat and eat and eat and it’s more true this time of the year than any other time during the year. I fully believe we are born with this inclination and our bodies prepare us for the coming weather. There is a reason the whole “New Year New Me” saying is a thing right? All of us tend to go off the rails once fall hits and use the new year as an excuse. “I can have that extra side of french fries because I’m going to start really hitting the gym in January!”, “Oh Dessert? Ill splurge tonight, it’s fine because I just ordered a treadmill for Christmas!” Its clockwork, we all fall into the traps of the season and then what happens when January comes? We start working out and join a gym for 2 months and then revert back to our bad ways. It never ever fails, it is a vicious cycle.
It is easy to sit here and think of a hundred different clichés to throw out at you about staying strong and having will power and supplementing work temptation with vegan substitutes but in all honesty every person is different and for some people it’s much easier than others. There really is no answer, the only thing I can say is when you start to hear those voices in your head telling you its ok to cheat on your diet, and its ok to stray from your lifestyle, and it won’t kill you to this one time to stop and think long and hard about all the hard work you have put into getting to where you are today and all the good you have done and how good you feel. Believe me, the feeling of passing and saying no to those temptations FARRRRRRR outweighs the guilt you will feel from that very short sense of gratification. You can do it, you are strong, go out there and prove it.
I feel like picking a daycare is a little bit like the college search these days, and me and my wife are currently in the process of being overwhelmed by the options, styles, curriculum, and endless reviews. I mean my wife and I are about take more time off of work to go on our third scheduled tour of a daycare facility, this process is literally showing parallels to touring college campuses. It is amazing how many there are too, within I’d say a 2 mile radius there must be close to 10 different daycares. Each of them so different yet so similar and none of which our daughter will even remember. I think finding a daycare is another one of those instances where parents overthink and overanalyze every minute detail until they drive themselves crazy. It’s understandable though, especially at this age where your beautiful child is still so sensitive and still needs lots of love and attention so how do you know the place you choose will provide that while still teaching those life building skills that are so important as they transition from infant to toddler? Is there even a right choice? Should I choose a Montessori school? Should I choose the same daycare her playdate friend goes to? What age should we put her in daycare? Is the more expensive place worth it? The questions along with the anxiety they bring never end.