Four Score: Can Boston Capture All Four Major Championships?
I will admit that I am not a fan of Boston sports. However, I do respect what their teams have been able to do over the past decade. This year has truly been amazing.
The Red Sox have become the prohibitive favorites to win the American League.
The Patriots continue to demolish opponent after opponent.
The Celtics are healthy and the cream of the crop in the Eastern Conference.
The Bruins keep winning with amazing goalie play.
So can the Boston teams capture the championship in each major sport this year? It would be an amazing feat.
The Red Sox were able to win 89 games last year with injuries decimating the team. They've added two of the biggest trade/free-agent chips in the offseason in Carl Crawford and Adrian Gonzalez. They also will have Kevin Youkilis and Dustin Pedroia back. And with the Yankees failing to sign Cliff Lee, the Red Sox should win the American League East.
BIGGEST PROBLEM: Pitching. While their offense and defense looks amazing, their pitching staff isn't. Fans will say Beckett and Lackey will bounce back, but the truth is they're overrated. However, Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz are the new studs of the rotation and should carry the load. The biggest question mark that lingers over the Red Sox is their bullpen. It hasn't looked good.
BIGGEST CHALLENGER: Phillies. It should be World Series-or-bust for the Red Sox. With the acquisition of Cliff Lee, the Phillies' rotation is one for the ages. Most analysts will have a Red Sox vs. Phillies World Series, and that's what it should end up being.
WILL THEY WIN THE COMMISSIONER'S TROPHY? No. The Phillies will.
The Patriots have the MVP in Tom Brady. They've demolished the Bears and Jets and beaten AFC contenders in the Steelers, Ravens and Chargers. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead, Rob Gronkowski, and Wes Welker have all helped this offense score the moist points in the NFL. The Patriots were the first team to clinch a postseason birth this season.
BIGGEST PROBLEM: Defense. And it's not really a weakness, it's just the Patriots' least best unit. The Patriots are 31st in opponents passing yards but have held their past two opponents to a combined 10 points. Devin McCourty is a legitimate contender for defensive Rookie of the Year.
BIGGEST CHALLENGER: Falcons. And I say that lightly. The Patriots are head and shoulders above the rest of the league. The Patriots have already beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh and the Colts. However, it did take a comeback overtime win at home to beat the Ravens.
WILL THEY WIN THE VINCE LOMBARDI TROPHY? Yes. They are the best team in the NFL.
The Celtics have been the premier team in the Eastern Conference. They're the first team in NBA history to start off 16-4 in four consecutive seasons. They've got an elite point guard and have been the defensive unit in basketball. They've also already beat the Heat and the Bulls twice.
BIGGEST PROBLEM: Age. Last year, it looked as if the Celtics would not be able to make a run in the playoffs, however they got healthy at the right time and made it to the finals. Relying on this to happen again could be risky, especially if injury slows down Ray Allen or Paul Pierce who have less adequate backups than either Shaq or Garnett.
BIGGEST CHALLENGER: Magic. The only position in which the Magic are definitely worse at is point guard. Howard and Gortat match up with either of their centers. The emergence of Brandon Bass gives the magic a PF presence which they have lacked in recent years. Carter and Lewis run an excellent pick-and-roll which really makes you play defense for the entire game and guard every inch of the floor. Also, they have defenders coming off the bench like Pietrus who can guard Pierce or Allen.
WILL THEY WIN THE LARRY O'BRIEN TROPHY? Yes. Their defense has been great, and the window is closing on three of the Big Four to win another championship.
The Bruins have had the best goalie in Tim Thomas this year, with a 1.51 GAA. Marc Savard is also back in the lineup after dealing with post-concussion syndrome. Milan Lucic has also looked good scoring goals. They're within two points of the Canadiens, and their upcoming game against them could determine whose in first going into Christmas.
BIGGEST PROBLEM: Defensive depth. The Bruins cannot expect Thomas to win them every game. The Bruins are especially thin on defense with the trade of Matt Hunwick and injury to Mark Stuart.
BIGGEST CHALLENGER: Penguins or Flyers. Pittsburgh has been the best team in hockey, and the Flyers have been a thorn in the Bruins' paw.
WILL THEY WIN THE STANLEY CUP? No. They are the least likely Boston team to win. Not because they're not good but because of the parity in the NHL.
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