Data says New York Giants consistently dealt tough schedule

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Now that the NFL schedule is one of the main points of conversation, it seems like a good time to bring up some recent data analysis by NBC Sports’ Warren Sharp. The data is relevant to the New York Giants in specific, because it shines some light on their scheduling over a long period of time and how they’ve consistently gotten dealt a tough hand – even if it might not seem that way from just a surface level glance.

The article alleges that the NFL has done a poor job of keeping the schedule equitable across years. Some teams consistently benefit from the schedule, while others consistently suffer because of it. Some of the relevant factors include how much rest a team gets on average as well as how much rest their opponents get before playing them.

The most difficult scheduling spots teams to deal with as it relates to player health, rest and preparation are:

• Rest disadvantage
• Short week road games
• Negated bye weeks
• Games after playing on Sunday or Monday night on the road
• Four games in 17 days

It may or may not surprise you that when the league was ranked using these variables, the Giants came in dead last. Their division rival, the Eagles, came in second to last, so this seems to be something that runs in the NFC East.

Over the last 10 years, the Giants notably had 42 games where their opponent had over 7 days to prepare for them compared to only 18 where their opponent had under 7. This ranks them as the worst in the league in that metric, and they were the second worst team in three other categories.

Obviously a lot of things have contributed to the Giants not winning much following their last Super Bowl win. It’s impossible to blame the schedule for this, rather than teambuilding decisions and a rebuild that has taken too long, but the schedule has likely played a role in one way or another, even if minor. After all, according to this data, there’s no team in the league that has it worst when it comes to this.

Celtics’ loss gives Knicks free ride to playoffs

The New York Knicks are officially back in the NBA playoffs!

Thanks to Kevin Love’s best game of the season, the Knicks (38-31) got a free ride to the playoffs after the Cleveland Cavaliers dealt Boston Celtics a 102-94 loss.

Love pumped in 30 points and 14 rebounds, both season-highs, as the Knicks heaved a sigh of huge relief at their homes after a painful overtime loss to the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers last night.

It will be the Knicks’ first postseason appearance since Carmelo Anthony led them to the second round of the playoffs in the 2012-13 season.

Knicks’ All-Star forward Julius Randle immediately celebrated the franchise’s return to the playoffs on Twitter.

He’s right.

The Knicks still have plenty of work to do beginning tomorrow night’s matchup against the San Antonio Spurs. With three games left, the New York must sweep its remaining games and hope the Miami Heat (38-31) lose one game to grab the fourth seed in the East and a homecourt edge in the first round playoffs.

The Atlanta Hawks (39-31) momentarily sit as solo fourth after their come-from-behind victory against the Washington Wizards, 120-116, earlier. But the Knicks hold the tie-breaker with a 2-1 record over the Hawks if they wind up with the same record.

Meanwhile, Miami swept New York this season, giving the Heat the edge in case of a tie or even in a three-way tie with the Hawks. In this scenario, the Knicks will be the sixth seed. 

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

UFC booking headliner between Darren Till and Derek Brunson

The UFC is making moves tonight and they’ve finalized another headliner for August. Dana White told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto this evening that the promotion has finalized a middleweight headliner between Darren Till (18-3-1) and Derek Brunson (22-7).

The matchup will take place on August 14th. This is the second middleweight main event that the promotion has finalized. It was also just reported that Paulo Costa and Jared Cannonier would headline a Fight Night the following week. 

This headlining spot is huge for Derek Brunson. Brunson has been a bit of a Gate Keeper for the UFC‘s middleweight division over the last year and a half. First, Brunson was tasked with taking on Ian Heinisch when he was a surging contender.

Brunson dispatched of Heinisch. Then, the UFC had Brunson take on The Golden Boy, Edmen Shahbazyan. Shahbazyan was being looked at as the next big thing, but again, Brunson was able to stop the hype train.

Then, the UFC had Brunson take on Kevin Holland in March. Holland went a perfect 5-0 in 2020 and looked like someone the promotion was really going to push. Well, Brunson dominated the fight to win his fourth straight.

After beating top prospects, Brunson is finally getting a crack at a big name and in a big spot. Darren Till has a ton of name recognition and a win over Till puts Brunson squarely in the title picture.

UFC return for Till

Darren Till was supposed to headline a card last month with Marvin Vettori. However, shortly before fight week, Till broke his collarbone and was forced out of the fight. Kevin Holland stepped in to take his place.

We haven’t seen Till since the UFC’s first trip to Fight Island. Last July, Till fought former middleweight champion Robert Whittaker. Till was able to hurt Whittaker early in that fight, but ultimately Whittaker got the decision victory.

This main event in August will be just the third middleweight fight for Darren Till in the UFC. After struggling for years to make 170, Till moved up to 185 to start fresh. He’s gone 1-1 so far with his win coming against Kelvin Gastelum.

New York Yankees Recap: Cole effortless in 1-0 Yankees win over the Rays

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees met tonight for the middle game of three against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in Tampa. Going into last night’s game, the Yankees were 1-5 against their nemesis. But last night, the Yankees beat them 3 to 1 on the excellent pitching of Jordan Montgomery. Tonight the Rays were faced with the Yankees Ace Gerrit Cole facing the Rays; Collin McHugh hoped to take the series by winning this game. The Yankees won 1-0.

In the first inning, McHugh faced DJ LeMahieu, who led off by flying out to right. Giancarlo Stanton went down swinging. Aaron Judge chopped to short for the 1-2-3 inning for McHugh. At the bottom Randy Arozarena against Gerrit Cole, he went down on strikes. Austin Meadows hit the catwalk at Tropicana Field for a double. Margot ground out, but Meadows went to third. Brandon Lowe struck out to end the inning. No score.

Gio Urshela led off the second inning, and he struck out swinging. Luke Voit walked for the first base runner for the New York Yankees. Aaron Hicks hit into the double play to end the half. At the bottom, Yandy Diaz led off by singling to Aaron Judge. Joey Wendle hit into the force out. Mike Zunino hit into a double play to end the inning scoreless.

At the top of the third, with Ryan Yarbrough on the mound, Clint Frazier flew out to the centerfield warning track. Kyle Higashioka, with the most home runs per inning, popped out to Lowe in center. Tyler Wade struck out for a 1-2-3 inning for Yarbrough. Willie Adames led off the bottom by striking out looking. Brett Phillips struck out for Cole’s fourth strikeout and his 1,500 strikes out of his career. Arozarena ground out for the final out of the inning. No score.

DJ LeMahieu led off the fourth by line driving to short. Stanton struck out on a questionable low ball. Aaron Judge singled to the right side. Gio Urshela, with one on and two outs, singled to center, moving Judge to second. Luke Voit still hitless since his return ground out to short to end the half still scoreless. Meadows led off the bottom lining to Urshela for the first out. Margot ground out. Lowe singled. Diaz struck out for the scoreless inning on a night when baseball celebrated Yogi Berra, who would have celebrated his 96th birthday. No score.

Aaron Hicks led off the fifth by striking out. Frazier was called out on strikes, objected, and was thrown out of the game by the home plate umpire. Higashioka hit it well but to the right fielder to end the half. At the bottom, Wendle took to the plate as Brett Gardner took over for the thrown-out Frazier in left field. Wendle lined out to third. Zunino ground out to Urshela, and Adames struck out swinging to end another scoreless inning.

At the top of the sixth inning Tyler Wad led off, and he lined to first. LeMahieu against Ryan Thompson struck out. Stanton struck out swinging as the Yankees went down in order. Brett Phillips tied off the bottom. by striking out. Arozarena doubled. Meadows ground out, and Margot struck out swinging to end the in still scoreless.

Aaron Judge led off the seventh inning by singling for his second hit on the night. Gio Urshela hit a ball to the right-center wall, with Judge ending up at the third base and no outs. Luke Voit at the plate ripped to third for the first out. Aaron Judge would face new pitcher Jeffery Spings and would sac fly for the Yankee lead in the game with Urshela going to third. Gardner hitting for Frazier ground out to second, but the Yankees got the one-run lead. New York Yankees 1 and the Rays 0. Lowe started at the bottom of the seventh by striking out for Cole’s 9th strikeout. Diaz lined out to Judge. Wendle popped out to Urshela in foul territory to end the inning. New York Yankees 1 Rays 0.

Kyle Higasioka led off the eighth inning by going down on strikes. Tyler Wade speed beat out a single. Lemahieu faced reliever Luis Head and lofted to right for the second out. Giancarlo Stanton at the plate Wade was called out at second to end the half. At the bottom, Mike Zunino struck out on Cole’s 98th pitch. Adames struck out for the eleventh strikeout for Cole. Phillips struck out with Cole being filthy for 12 strikeouts and no walks on 106 pitches to end the inning. New York Yankees 1 and the Rays 0.

At the top of the ninth inning, Stanton lined out to right. Judge got his third hit of the game with a single to left. Gio Urshela popped out to shallow right for the second out of the inning. Luke Voit, hitless since his return to the lineup, struck out for the end of the half. At the bottom, Aroldis Chapman took over for Cole, facing Randy Arozarena, who flew out to Judge. Mike Brosseau, pinch-hitting for  Justin Meadows, struck out on a 101 mph fastball. Manuel Margo was out for the final out of the game and the New York Yankees one-run win. It’s the first series win against the Rays since 2018.

Final score New York Yankees 1 the Tampa Bay Rays 0. The winning pitcher was Gerrit Cole, the loser Ryan Thompson, Aroldis Chapman recorded his ninth save of the season.

UFC books headliner between Paulo Costa and Jared Cannonier

The UFC has finalized a big time headliner in their middleweight division. Dana White confirmed with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto this evening that the promotion had finalized a headliner between Paulo Costa (13-1) and Jared Cannonier (13-5).

The matchup will headline a UFC Fight Night on August 21st. Both of these men are looking to bounce back after losses in their last time out. Cannonier took on Robert Whittaker at UFC 254 on Fight Island.

Entering that matchup, Cannonier was 3-0 at middleweight with three TKO victories. The Killa Gorilla looked like he was going to be the next challenger for the champion, Israel Adesanya.

However, to get a title shot, Cannonier had to defeat the former champion in Whittaker. While Cannonier was able to hurt Whittaker a little in the third round, the fight was all Robert Whittaker.

Whittaker won a decision and Cannonier suffered his first loss at 185. However, there is no shame in losing to Robert Whittaker and that’s why Cannonier’s stock didn’t fall much. Now, the UFC is giving him the opportunity to get right back in the title picture with this headlining spot.

UFC redemption for Costa

A month prior to Cannonier’s matchup against Whittaker, Paulo Costa got his shot at the middleweight title. In the main event of UFC 253 on Fight Island, the undefeated Costa took on Israel Adesanya.

Costa’s blistering style and power was expected to challenge Stylebender. However, Costa put on a horrific performance and Adesanya stopped him in the second round. If I remember correctly, I don’t think Costa landed a single significant shot with his hands.

After the fight, Costa came forward with some odd excuses like the fact that he drank until he blacked out the night before his fight. However, most don’t believe some of the stories that he’s told.

Nevertheless, UFC 253 was an embarrassment for Costa. Costa was supposed to fight Robert Whittaker last month, but he had to pull out after getting sick. Now, the promotion is putting him in there with another top contender in Cannonier. Whoever wins this matchup should be on the short list for title challengers in early 2022.

New York Giants officially announce 2021 season schedule

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants have officially announced their 2021 regular season and preseason schedules. The Giants have the eighth-easiest schedule in the NFL this year based on opponents’ records last year (per Bleacher Report). But there are a number of difficult and intriguing matchups on New York’s schedule to keep an eye on.

The Giants will not kick off the season against a division rival. Instead, the Giants will host the Denver Broncos at 4:25 PM in Week One. They have a short rest into week two for their first divisional matchup, a prime-time Thursday Night Football matchup with the Washington Football Team. The Giants are currently slated to have three primetime matchups this season.

The Giants will face both of the teams that appeared in this past season’s Super Bowl this year on primetime. In Week Eight, the Giants will face the Kansas City Chiefs on the road on Monday Night Football. In Week Eleven, they will travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers on Monday Night football.

The Giants face the entire AFC West division this year, but they also face one opponent from the AFC East as part of the new expanded seventeen-game regular season. This AFC East opponent will be the Miami Dolphins on the road in Week Twelve.

The Giants will have their BYE Week in Week Ten before preparing to play four of their six division-rivalry games in the second half of the season. They will end the season in Week Eighteen hosting the Washington Football Team in what could be a division-deciding matchup. Check out the full schedule down below:

Preseason:

  1. vs. New York Jets
  2. @ Cleveland Browns
  3. vs. New England Patriots

Regular Season:

  1. vs. Denver Broncos (4:25 PM, 9/12)
  2. @ Washington Football Team (TNF, 9/16)
  3. vs. Atlanta Falcons  (1:00 PM, 9/26)
  4. @ New Orleans Saints (1:00 PM, 10/3)
  5. @ Dallas Cowboys (4:25 PM, 10/10)
  6. vs. Los Angeles Rams (1:00 PM, 10/17)
  7. vs. Carolina Panthers (1:00 PM, 10/24)
  8. @ Kansas City Chiefs (MNF, 11/1)
  9. vs. Las Vegas Raiders (1:00 PM, 11/7)
  10. BYE
  11. @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (MNF, 11/22)
  12. vs. Philadelphia Eagles (1:00 PM, 11/28)
  13. @ Miami Dolphins (1:00 PM, 12/5)
  14. @ Los Angeles Chargers (4:05 PM, 12/12)
  15. vs. Dallas Cowboys (1:00 PM, 12/19)
  16. @ Philadelphia Eagles (1:00 PM, 12/26)
  17. @ Chicago Bears (1:00 PM, 1/2)
  18. vs. Washington Football Team (1:00 PM, 1/9)

UFC booking Thiago Santos – Johnny Walker

The UFC is in the process of finalizing a fun light heavyweight matchup between top ten contenders. Combate was the first to report that the promotion was close to finalizing a matchup between Thiago Santos (21-9) and Johnny Walker (18-5).

The matchup will take place at a UFC Fight Night on September 25th. This is a massive opportunity for Johnny Walker who is currently ranked tenth in the division. Walker was supposed to fight Jimmy Crute back in March.

However, Walker had to pull out of the fight and Crute went on to fight Anthony Smith. I figured the UFC would give Walker someone like Crute upon his return, but that’s not what’s happening. Walker is getting a shot at a former title challenger and top five contender.

In March of 2019, Johnny Walker knocked out Misha Cirkunov in seconds. That knockout had him 3-0 in the UFC with three quick first round knockouts. The promotion moved Walker up the ladder fast and had him face Corey Anderson at UFC 244.

Walker had hurt his shoulder celebrating the Cirkunov win and this was his return fight. Anderson knocked him out in the first round. Then, Walker lost to Nikita Krylov by decision. Walker did get a win over Ryan Spann in September which got him back on track.

This matchup on September 25th is huge for Walker. If he can pick up an impressive victory over Santos, he might only be a win or two away from a UFC title shot.

UFC crossroads for Marreta

It seems just like yesterday that Thiago “Marreta” Santos was challenging Jon Jones at UFC 239. Santos destroyed his knee in the opening rounds, but still fought the all time great to a split decision.

Santos returned after a lengthy layoff to fight Glover Teixeira last fall. He had his moments in the fight, but Santos ultimately gassed out and was submitted by Glover Teixeira.

At UFC 259, Santos fought Aleksandar Rakic and seemed extremely gun shy. He lost a decision and now he’s lost three in a row. Fighting Johnny Walker is a step back for Marreta, but it’s a needed one. This is a big fight for both of these men but in very different ways. It should be a fantastic matchup with so much on the line.

Mets: JD Davis won’t be back when first eligible, another outfielder hits the IL while Nimmo nears rehab assignment

The New York Mets are on fire, winning seven games in a row and taking over the first place in the National League East division. Yet, they are a bit shorthanded at the moment, missing starters Jacob deGrom, Carlos Carrasco, and Noah Syndergaard, plus regular center fielder Brandon Nimmo.

To make matters worse, third baseman JD Davis, whose ten days on the injured list were up Wednesday, still isn’t ready to return per Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News, and will need a little bit of extra time on the shelf.

Davis, who has been out since May 2 due to a sprained left finger, will presumably need at least another week of rest and rehab.

Davis was among the Mets’ best hitters prior to hitting the injured list for the second time this season, with a .390 batting average, five runs, two homers, seven RBI, and a 1.089 OPS. Jonathan Villar has been playing third base in his absence, and scored the winning run on Tuesday.

The Mets lost Almora Jr., too

In addition, center fielder Albert Almora Jr. crashed into an outfield wall on Tuesday at full speed and suffered a left shoulder contusion, requiring a trip to the 10-day injured list. Top prospect Khalil Lee was called up to take his place.

As for Nimmo, who is nursing a left finger contusion, the Mets are planning to send him ‘on a rehab assignment before he is activated from the IL, per Luis Rojas,’ according to SNY’s Danny Abriano. The outfielder is eligible to return Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays, but it appears he will need a few more days just like Davis.

Despite the fact they are missing so many contributors, the Mets have managed to keep themselves afloat and win game after game. Next week, they could get deGrom, Davis, and Nimmo back, with others to follow them in the not-so-distant future.

Mets Spoil Harvey’s Return in 7-1 Win For Seventh Straight Victory

The much-anticipated return of Matt Harvey came with plenty of love and support, but the New York Mets had a winning streak to continue. Outside of a 1-2-3 first inning, Harvey and the Baltimore Orioles could not get anything going in the Mets 7-1 victory.

The Mets fans gave Harvey the standing ovation he deserved, but the offense greeted him rudely. They tagged Harvey for seven runs and eight hits which forced Harvey out of the game in the fifth inning. Kevin Pillar opened things with a two-run triple in the second inning as he continues to fill in nicely for Brandon Nimmo. Speaking of fill-ins, Jose Peraza stepped in for Jeff McNeil and had a great game. Peraza delivered two singles, two RBIs and made a couple of tremendous defensive plays at second base. Dominic Smith‘s bat has suddenly become red hot as he went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs.

Skywalker Leads The Way

Taijuan Walker continued his dominant season by throwing seven innings and keeping the Orioles to just one run. His three walks are deceiving because two came back-to-back in the second inning. Walker was a strike-throwing machine with 63 of his 97 pitches in the zone. When he gave up hard contact, he also benefitted from great defense through the diamond. Drew Smith made a powerful return to the big leagues by working an 11 pitch, 1-2-3 ninth inning, and reaching 97 mph with his fastball.

The win is the seventh straight, and they are building winning habits that were not prevalent in April. They went an incredible 7-for-10 with runners in scoring position, recorded three 2-out RBIs, and stole two bases. As the offense wakes up, they have climbed out of the cellar in MLBs offensive stats. Their average w/RISP is up to 21st, their team average is 12th, and their on-base percentage is 3rd.

The Mets get Thursday off as they head down to Tampa Bay to begin a nine-game road trip on Friday. David Peterson gets the start against Tyler Glasnow for the 7:10 p.m. ET start from Tropicana Field.

Mets: Syndergaard shockingly defends Bauer and criticizes MLB’s ‘stupid’ unwritten rules

New York Mets, Noah Syndergaard

New York Mets’ starter Noah Syndergaard is currently rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, and is an option to rejoin the tea before the All-Star break. He would be a welcomed addition to a rotation that is already missing Carlos Carrasco and Jacob deGrom.

While he is not with the major league team, Syndergaard has been active in social media, being the center of a spat with fellow pitcher Trevor Bauer a few weeks ago on Twitter. He has also given interviews to a few media sectors, and spoke with GQ about the Bauer-Tatis issue that occurred recently, when the latter made fun of the former after hitting two home runs off the flamboyant pitcher.

This time, the Mets’ pitcher sided with Bauer to criticize the old school thinking that the latter should have been taking matters into his own hands and hit Tatis with a pitch after his “spicy” home run celebrations, clearly targeted at Bauer.

Basically, Syndergaard, who will be a free agent after the season if the Mets fail to sign him to a long-term contract, approved trash talking and condemned the “unwritten rules” that punish players for celebrating too effusively.

The Mets’ Syndergaard approves trash talking

Per NJ Advance Media, Syndergaard clarified that despite the heated Twitter exchange with Bauer, he doesn’t have a ‘beef’ with him (”I wouldn’t put too much effort into that”). Instead, Thor thinks the Bauer-Tatis exchange is what baseball needs.

“I think baseball has gotten soft, too. I think there should be some more s**t-talking. …. I think that’s awesome. I agree with Bauer, that does not warrant somebody to get thrown at.”

“I think they’re pretty stupid, to be honest. Anything unwritten sounds pretty stupid. I think it’s very old school, and I think there needs to be a new school approach.”

The Mets know they have quite the intense on-the-mound competitor in Syndergaard, and they hope to have him back soon.