2019 Detroit Lions schedule offers a brutal start

Embed from Getty Images Entering Matt Patricia’s second year, the Detroit Lions have a rough start to the 2019 NFL season. It is a season that is difficult to see past 6-7 wins.

2019 Detroit Lions Schedule

Date Opponent Time/TV
Aug. 8
New England Patriots (Preseason)Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Aug. 17
at Houston Texans (Preseason)NRG Stadium, Houston, TX 8:00pm ETLocal/NFLN
Aug. 23
Buffalo Bills (Preseason)Ford Field, Detroit, MI 8:00pm ETCBS
Aug. 29
at Cleveland Browns (Preseason)FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, OH 7:30pm ETLocal/NFLN
Sep. 8
at Arizona CardinalsState Farm Stadium, Glendale, AZ 4:25pm ETFOX
Sep. 15
Los Angeles ChargersFord Field, Detroit, MI 1:00pm ETCBS
Sep. 22
at Philadelphia EaglesLincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA 1:00pm ETFOX
Sep. 29
Kansas City ChiefsFord Field, Detroit, MI 1:00pm ETFOX
Oct. 6
Oct. 14
at Green Bay PackersLambeau Field, Green Bay, WI 8:15pm ETESPN
Oct. 20
Minnesota VikingsFord Field, Detroit, MI 1:00pm ETFOX
Oct. 27
New York GiantsFord Field, Detroit, MI 1:00pm ETFOX
Nov. 3
at Oakland RaidersOakland Coliseum, Oakland, CA 4:05pm ETFOX
Nov. 10
at Chicago BearsSoldier Field, Chicago, IL 1:00pm ETCBS
Nov. 17
Dallas CowboysFord Field, Detroit, MI 1:00pm ETFOX
Nov. 24
at Washington RedskinsFedExField, Landover, MD 1:00pm ETFOX
Nov. 28
Chicago BearsFord Field, Detroit, MI
Dec. 8
at Minnesota VikingsU.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN 1:00pm ETFOX
Dec. 15
Tampa Bay BuccaneersFord Field, Detroit, MI 1:00pm ETFOX
Dec. 21
at Denver BroncosBroncos Stadium at Mile High, Denver, CO Time TBA ETTV TBA

In what is the biggest upset in NHL playoff history, the Columbus Blue Jackets swept the Tampa Bay Lightning

Embed from Getty Images The Columbus Blue Jackets stunning upset of the Tampa Bay Lightning, caught many fans and sports media off guard. A closer look at the series shows just how dominant the Blue Jackets were.

Two seasons worth of playoff failures paved the way for one of the biggest upsets the NHL has ever witnessed. The Columbus Blue Jackets showed they learned lessons and them applied them to perfection.

Two years ago against the Pittsburgh Penguins the Blue Jackets skated around with their sticks in the air. This year they masterfully had sticks on the ice taking away passing lane after passing lane and frustrating mighty Tampa Bay.

Last season the Washington Capitols out hit and were the more physical team in route to the Stanley Cup. This season the Blue Jackets out hit and were more physical than the Lightning.

Only one team has ever swept the Presidents’ Trophy winners in the first round of the playoffs and that’s the 2019 Columbus Blue Jackets. That is nearly unbelievable.  Columbus is riding a seven game road winning streak, outscoring opponents 32-10 in those games away from Nationwide Arena.

Goalie Sergei Bobrovsky’s save percentage in the four wins was .932. Bobrovsky had an .891 save percentage in the Blue Jackets’ three regular season games against Tampa Bay. Goalie Bob showed up in a big way.

The Blue Jackets  outscored the Tampa Bay Lightning 19-8 in the series after the Bolts had beaten the Blue Jackets in three regular season games to the tune of 17-3. More impressive, 12 different Blue Jackets lit the lamp in the series.

The Blue Jackets have won 11 of their last 12 games, going back to the regular season. The Jackets have outscored their opponents 54-22 over those 12 games. To say they picked up the pace is kind.

Columbus’ odds to win the Stanley Cup,  currently second best in the playoffs   according to Money Puck’s model. Three weeks ago, their odds to claim the Cup were just 1.5%.

With the Columbus Blue Jackets sweeping the Lightning all  31 NHL teams that have now won a playoff series. The Blue Jackets were the last team to advance past the first round.

Now it is on to round two.

Detroit Tigers top prospects are on fire

Embed from Getty Images Things are starting to shape up for the Detroit Tigers top prospects. This is good news for the Tigers organization as a whole. Top minor leaguers are on fire.

Parker Meadows who the Detroit Tigers took  in the second round of the 2018 draft on Friday night when he hit an inside-the-park home run for the West Michigan Whitecaps. Speed, hit ability defense Meadows has all the tools. “For me, I see his ceiling as a high ceiling,” Tigers general manager Al Avila told me earlier this spring. “Why? Because of his athleticism.

Daz  Cameron who is in Triple-A Toledo,  entered Sunday hitting .257 in Toledo with four extra-base hits in nine games. Cameron has also flashed the leather with great defense.

Pitcher Beau Burrows also with the Mud Hens,  has had a hot start for dominating a pair of games. He struck out 12 in 10 ⅓ innings of work, allowing just one unearned run. The Tigers’ top pick in the 2015 draft has shown control, not walking any batters to open the season. He should get a showcase start soon in Motown.

Alex Faedo, in Erie PA with the Seawolves, and was  the Tigers’ top pick in 2017, has been just as impressive as Burrows. Faedo struck out 15 in his first 12 innings of work, allowing two runs and not walking anybody.

Not to be outdone, 2016 top pick Matt Manning also with the Seawolves, struck out 15 in his first 12 innings over two games. He’s allowed three walks, but just two hits and one earned run.

Casey Mize, the Tigers No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft, is keeping pace with the other sizzling starting performances by Tigers prospects. He started the season with 15 strikeouts in 11 innings of work and didn’t walk anybody. and should be moved to Double-A very soon.


To recap those hot starts, Mize, Manning, Burrows and Faedo combined for 57 strikeouts in 45 ⅓ innings, with just five walks. Reasons for Detroit Tigers fans to be excited.

Detroit Pistons vs Milwaukee Buck series preview

Embed from Getty Images The good new is the Detroit Pistons fought through inconsistent play and injuries to make the NBA Playoffs. The bad news is the Pistons drew the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round. Let’s see how they match up.

The Detroit Pistons, 1989, 1990, 2004  NBA Champions are back in the playoffs for only the second time this decade. Blake Griffin averaged 24.5 points, 7.5 rebounds with 5.4 assists. Andre Drummond averaged 17.3 points, NBA leading 15.6 rebounds, 1.7 steals with 1.7 blocks per game.

The Pistons shooting 34.8% from 3-point range, Luke Kennard 39.4% Wayne Ellington 37.3% lead the team from the 3-point arch.

The Detroit Pistons lost all four games to the Bucks during the regular season. Milwaukee is one of the best transition teams in the NBA. Detroit must protect the ball if they any shot for an upset. The Bucks are the best at taking the ball from opponents.

1971 NBA Champions, the Milwaukee Bucks hold a big advantage ove Detroit in this series. Milwaukee ended the season with the fourth best defense in the league. Giannis Antetokoumpo lead the Bucks with 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 6 assists.

The Bucks were the best from 3-point land as well. Malcom Brogdon lead the Bucks with a 42.6% shooting from beyond the arch. Tony Snell was second on the team at 39.7%

The most telling stat, the Milwaukee Bucks have an otherworldly net rating of +8.6 per 100 possessions, the best in the NBA.

The Detroit Pistons made the playoffs, I just can not see any possible way they advance to the second round.

Series prediction: Milwaukee in 5

In stunning fashion the Columbus Blue Jackets lead the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0

Embed from Getty Images Overwhelming favorites to win the Stanley Cup, the Tampa Bay Lightning look completely lost and over matched against the Columbus Blue Jackets. How did this happen? A closer looks shows us what has happened.

The Tampa Bay Lightning winners of 62 regular season games and 128 points in route to the Presidents Trophy, were heavily favored over the Blue Jackets. However, the Columbus Blue Jackets have shown they should not be treated lightly.

Game one of the playoffs saw the Lightning jump out to a 3-0 lead. Then the bottom dropped out. The Blue Jackets stunned Tampa and came back and won. Game two saw Columbus put the pedal to the metal and cruse to a 5-1 win and a 2-0 series lead.

David vs Goliath, Buster Douglas vs Mike Tyson pick your analogy. Columbus fought and barley made the playoffs. That does not matter. Tampa has looked like the 8th seed.

The Lightning star players have gone silent. Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point finished the season with 40 goals each and a combined 318 points!  Through two games they have zero goals and zero assists. Kutcherov and Point are -2 and Stamkos is -3. No hockey fan or writer saw that coming.

Heading back to Columbus, Kucherov has been suspended 1 game for a bad hit to the Blue Jackets, Markus Nutivaara. Dealing the Stanley Cup favorites what could be a death blow.

Another reason Columbus has taken control is they have been more physical than Tampa Bay. Blue Jackets defenders have punished Lightning offensive players. Columbus has been dominant on the forecheck knocking the Lightning off their game.

Sergei Bobrovsky has been unreal. After a shaky start to game one. Bobrovsky has looked like the two time Vezina Trophy winner. Since giving up 3 game one goals, Sergei Bobrovsky has stopped 40 of 41 shots. Proving his elite status and when he is on Bob is a game-changer.

What has set Columbus apart is they are getting scoring from all over the place. Tampa Bay has had no answers for the speed Columbus has. It has been a full Blue Jackets effort.

The Lightning had the top ranked power play and penalty kill during the regular season. Yet, Columbus is 3 for 6 with a man advantage and are a perfect 5 for 5 on the penalty kill.

The Lightning are in trouble leading head coach Jon Cooper to say his team is in “a five-alarm fire.”


Michigan State football says the offense has it’s swagger back

Embed from Getty Images After one of the worst offensive season in the history of Michigan State, All eyes have been and are on the Spartans offense this spring. The new offense will be on showcase this Saturday during Michigan State’s spring game.

Brad Salam will show off his new offense this coming weekend in the Green and White game. All eyes and every media microscope will be fixed squarely on the offensive unit, they simply can not be as deplorable as last seasons. At least that is the hope coming from East Lansing.

While spring games are usually dialed back in terms of plays, expect the Spartans to drop hints  of what they have been working on to improve over last seasons woeful bunch. Head Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said “we are not going to bag everything from last season.” That may be good, but it may be bad as well.

Brad Salam said he understands the pull back. That teams do not show everything April 13, but wait until the season kickoff to start showing how far the team has come. One interesting thing is that Salam said he liked plays from last seasons playbook and has made a few tweaks.

One can presume because Dantiono did not bring in fresh coaches that Michigan State will be more of the same. Given Salam’s comments, it will be interesting to see what changes have been made. After the disappointment of last season the Spartan fan base was not thrilled to hear the playbook had bee tweaked. They were hoping for a complete overhaul.

Coaches talk, players play, writers write. Coaches talk is only confirmed by action. Michigan State must show that they have grown since last season. That shuffling coaches and hoping for a different result is not a grasp at straws. It will be hard to hind come April 13, what the Green and White spring game takes place.

Michigan State must show enough that they have changed or else.

The Detroit Red Wings get the sixth pick in the draft for the second straight year

Embed from Getty Images The Detroit Red Wings in the tail end of a rebuild will pick  sixth overall in the first round of the 2019 NHL draft. Red Wings fans freaked out saying the team should have tanked for better draft position. I respectfully disagree.

Detroit Red Wings fans are a fickle group. They want their team to have the top pick every year. This season like last the Red Wings will pick sixth. It is a good position for the team to be in. Fans are angry.

The Detroit Red Wings will have their pick of top players. Anyone from Russian winger Vasili Podkolzin, to Swedish defensemen Victor Soderstrom. Great prospects will come Detroit’s way. It is a very good draft class.

Detroit Red Wings fans, are a group I would love to sit down with and explain one thing to. While having the first pick in the draft is nice, It pales in comparison to having the young core player (Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzie, Anthony Mantha, Andreas Athanasiou, Filip Hronek, Dennis Cholowski and Filip Zadina) take HUGE steps forward this season.

The young Red Wings got hot at the end of the season and had a winning streak that should carry over into next season. Yet, for some reason that is not enough for Red Wings Nation. They wanted the grand prize in the 2019 draft Jack Hughes. I wanted the young players to show it was time to pull out of the rebuild and time to win. They did.

The kicker in all of this is the Detroit Red Wings have over $17 million coming off the salary cap. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland, Can upgrade his team at will. That is a ton of money to have to offer free agents. Holland himself said just last week the team plans to spend this summer.

All of this just proves how good of shape the Red Wings are in. All eyes are now focused on the draft.

Detroit Red Wings Dylan Larkin being named captain by next season

Embed from Getty Images Talking to the media Monday after the Detroit Red Wings cleaned out their lockers at Little Caesars Arena, general manager Ken Holland gave insight as to when  the Wings will have another player with a ‘C’ on his sweater.

During the 2018-19 season the Red Wings went with four alternates captains instead of one. Frans Nielsen , Niklas Kronwall and Justin Abdelkader joined Larking with an “A” on their sweaters. That is simply too many voices in the locker room.

Veteran Wings forward Thomas Vanek noted how much growth he has seen in Larkin this past season.  “For sure I can see him be a good captain, a good leader.” Vanek said matter-of-factly.

Holland left open the possibility that if the Wings sign a superstar in free agency, “maybe that affects your thinking.” It is difficult to see someone who has yet to play for the Red Wings being handed the team leader.  Henrik Zetterberg and his predecessors, Nicklas Lidstrom and Steve Yzerman, were all draft picks who spent their entire careers with the Red Wings organization.

Detroit  drafted Dylan Larkin in 2014, ahead of their rebuild. He has been a leader in the locker room, on ice and in the community. Ken Holland ended by saying this, “He’s a legitimate candidate,  He plays hard. He’s a tremendous player. He’s going to be the face of this franchise. Certainly he would be a leading candidate to be the next captain, but I’m not prepared to have that announcement today.”

The end of the season is not the time or place to name a captain. Players were packing their belongings before heading off to the homes. With the season that saw setbacks and a glimpse at a brighter future. It was time to disengage and focus on summer.

Training camp will open soon enough. A new season, a bright future, a new captain.

Detroit Tigers to debut “Players Only” broadcast series vs Indians

Embed from Getty Images It has never been done in the history of Major League Baseball. On Tuesday afternoon the Detroit Tigers will carry the first of 17 “Players Only” broadcasts. Fox Sports Detroit general manager Gregg Hammaren said “We’re always trying to come up with something fresh.”

The “Players Only” broadcast will consist of former players and perhaps current Tigers players as well. It is an attempt to bring fans closer to the game. Former Detroit Tigers, Jack Morris, Kirk Gibson, Craig Monroe, Dan Petry and some special guests will take part.

Fox Sports Detroit is using The Video Call Center which basically eliminates a three-second delay in transmitting communication. This will allow the players to join in the conversation live.

Fox Sports Detroit’s executive director Jeff Byle said “We all have to pay attention, but we want to add a different flavor. One of a bunch of players watching the game from their couch.”

Byle would not say exactly who would be joining the broadcast along with the former Tigers already with the network. Players may only be able to join for an inning to two depending on their schedule.

MLB has said they are going to keep an eye out for the groundbreaking broadcast. Perhaps to plan some of their own like ventures during games. This could change broadcasting as we know it. No more two maybe three people in the booth. If the Detroit Tigers can pull this off the sky is the limit.

The baseball season is long. It is nice to see an attempt at a new angle for the game. With so many great former players and Hall of Famers this should create a buzz not only in terms of baseball but of all sports. It just so happens that Detroit is doing it first.

New field surface likely at Ford Field for the Detroit Lions

Embed from Getty Images As the Detroit Lions front office and coaching staff are in deep preparations for the 2019 NFL Draft, an upgrade to Ford Field could be forthcoming. The team is looking to replace the six year old playing surface inside the stadium.

“We will likely be replacing that as part of our offseason in 2019,” Lions vice president of operations Todd Argust said. Last month at the NFL annual meeting Detroit Lions president Rod Wood said the team did not have any major investments in the stadium.

Wood also said the team was looking at improving parking and ingress and egress concerns in the area to provide a better experience for the fans. The Lions last replace the field surface in 2013. They do not play on astro turf. They play on a state of the art surface called Field Turf. It is used indoors and is actually like playing on natural grass.

Field Turf lasts for about a decade and then needs to be replaced. The Lions also use the Field Turf at the teams practice facility. Currently four other NFL teams use the surface. The Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks New England Patriots and Lions. Other teams have tried it and gotten rid of it.

Some players complain the surface is too soft. But it is a way to bring the outside in, in an artificial way.