Ten Bold Sports Predictions For 2019

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Ten Bold Sports Predictions For 2019

Shane Palma, Editor in Chief

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2018 was a special year in sports. From the Cinderella story Golden Knights improbably run to the Stanley Cup Finals to the #16 seed University of Maryland Baltimore County (future home of FPM senior lacrosse standout Mitchell Kozak) knocking out the #1 seed Virginia in the March Madness Tournament, the exhilarating moments never seemed to end. Heck, Nick Foles started the season backing up Carson Wentz and finished with a Super Bowl MVP award and victory over Tom Brady!

Full disclosure, there’s a good chance that none of my predictions come true. But there’s is also a chance that I go 10 for 10. We won’t know for sure until 2020 (crazy right?) So enjoy the ride as we delve into my top ten bold sports predictions for 2019

1.Steelers dynasty ends with Ben Roethlisberger retiring, Le’Veon Bell leaving, and Antonio Brown traded.

It might be cold in the Steel City during the winter, but conditions certainly got heated in Pittsburgh the last week of 2018 as multiple reports surfaced of an altercation between Big Ben and Brown at Steelers practice. The dispute spiraled so far out of control that Brown sat out their final contest of the season in what was a must-win game. With Le’Veon Bell as good as gone in free agency, this offseason could be a bumpy one for Steeler fans. Ben has faced a lot of wear and tear on his body, and has hinted at a possible retirement years ago. If the Steelers go in a rebuild direction, a new quarterback would surely be under center come next season. As for Brown, well the star wideout has already reached out to multiple 49ers players on Twitter. On New Year’s Day, AB requested for the Steelers front office to trade him as per Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Can my hometown New York Jets grab either of these players?

2. Islanders make playoffs, but John Tavares and the Maple Leafs get the last laugh.

Coming into the 2018 NHL free agency, John Tavares was the most coveted player on the market. A franchise player and fan favorite for the Islanders, it seemed as if the two sides would reunite after signing a new head coach (Barry Trotz) and returning to Nassau Coliseum. Unfortunately for Isles fans, Tavares made his decision late one summer night and inked a 7-year deal with his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs. The deal sent New York into a frenzy as fans vowed for revenge on their former captain. As it stands today, both the Leafs and Islanders are in playoff contention, with New York most recently besting Toronto 4-0 on Tavares’ home ice. The two teams will both advance to the playoffs this year, but opposing goalies will be no match for Auston Matthews, Morgan Rielly, Mitch Marner, and Tavares. When all is said and done, Toronto wins the 2019 Stanley Cup.

3. Yankees break (their own) home run record.

An injured Aaron Judge, a broken Gary Sanchez, and an often slumping Giancarlo Stanton. Yet the 2018 Bronx Bombers hit 267 home runs and broke the single-season record by an MLB team. Now add in Manny Machado, (we all know it’s going to happen), plus bounce backs from Murderers Row 2.0, and the Yanks might just hit over 300 dingers in 2019. A team and stadium built for the long ball, don’t be surprised if we hear a few more of Michael Kay’s signature “See ya!” calls.

4. Derrick Rose makes the NBA All Star Game and is voted the ASG MVP.

This time two years ago, Derrick Rose left the New York Knicks and went “off the grid”. Disappearing for what seemed like a week, Rose contemplated his basketball future and almost left the game for good. Fast forward to now and the Timberwolves are still in playoff contention even after trading Jimmy Butler thanks to D-Rose. He’s dropped 50 points in one game already this season and social media is buzzing with love for the former MVP. Twitter, Instagram, and even Google campaigns have been launched in support of getting Rose voted into the 2019 NBA All Star Game. Having not made the ASG since 2012, climbing his way back to the top would close out one of the best feel good stories from 2018. And to top it all off, Rose scores the most points on his respective team, earning him game MVP honors.

5. Giants trade their first-round pick to the Raiders for Derek Carr.

NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock has taken over as general manager for the Oakland Raiders and has plenty to work with in the 2019 draft, but why not one more pick? Since joining the Raiders at the start of 2018, head coach Jon Gruden has not held back when it comes to roster cleansing. Former first-round selections Amari Cooper and Khalil Mack were both shipped off for draft capital during the season as Oakland went into full tank mode in preparation for its move to Las Vegas. Gruden and the team’s current quarterback, Derek Carr, have had their share of scuffles this season, and it would come to the surprise of no one if the Raiders choose a new face of the franchise. With Mayock not commiting to Carr as the team’s long-term answer, enter the New York Giants. Eli Manning is 38 years old, and is certainly not getting better with age. In an offense that would benefit from a younger, more mobile passer, New York is in a prime position to move on from Eli and pick up a new quarterback. To the disappointment of many Big Blue fans, Oregon QB Justin Herbert will be returning to college for his senior season and skipping this year’s draft. With other options such as Dwayne Haskins and Drew Lock maybe not as exciting, a mutual agreement will be met when the Giants forfeit their first round pick for a proven and reliable quarterback in Derek Carr.

6. Mets make playoffs after an MVP-caliber season from Robinson Cano.

Suspended for PEDs at the start of the 2018, Cano’s reputation can no longer be viewed in the same light as many other greats. Even with a tarnished name, the former Yankee great still hit above .280 to end his season and finished with respectable numbers at his position. The Mets faced a challenge this offseason that almost every team goes through: will they be buyers or sellers? Hiring Brodie Van Wagenen to take over as the team’s general manager, New York wasted little time to improve the team. Trading for Cano and one of the games best relievers in Edwin Diaz, it was clear the Mets have no intentions of sitting in the NL East “cellar”. And now following the addition of catcher Wilson Ramos, the Mets have established a winning mentality for the ballclub and will finish in the National League’s first wild card spot. Robinson Cano returns to the Big Apple and exceeds everyone’s expectations; finishing the year 5th in the NL MVP race and the unanimous choice for the NL’s starting 2nd baseman in the All Star Game.

7. Tiger Woods claims the nation’s number one ranking in golf at the age of 43.

Tiger Woods just turned 43 and is currently ranked 13th in the golf national standings. After falling all the way to 1,199th at the start of 2018, Woods has seemingly regained the magical swing that brought him glory back in the 2000s. At age 42, Greg Norman was the oldest player at the time to hold the number one ranking. That was until he was passed by a 22-year-old Tiger Woods. A comeback performance during the PGA Tour in 2017-18 proved Woods can still “hang with the pros” such as Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed, and Bubba Watson. With a thrilling matchup against Phil Mickelson to end the year, Woods showcased his rebirth to the world. Expect a Masters victory for Tiger in 2019, along with golf’s number one spot.

8. Khabib Nurmagomedov becomes the first person to beat Floyd Mayweather.

After multiple heated exchanges with Conor McGregor in 2018, Khabib dismantled the champ in a vicious match and is now calling out one of the best boxers of all time. Khabib vs. Mayweather would only happen under boxing rules, putting the 50-0-0 record of Floyd “Money” on the line. After months of running his mouth, Mayweather will come to the realization that he should have stayed retired. Khabib will not only KO the boxing icon, but Mayweather won’t even last three full rounds.

9. Kevin Durant chooses the Brooklyn Nets in free agency over the New York Knicks.

One of my predictions was going to be the Golden State Warriors win their third straight championship, but there’s nothing bold about that. It would be more of a shock if a team filled with all stars adds another stud (Demarcus Cousins) into its lineup before the playoffs and doesn’t win the Finals. Instead I’ll go with what happens after the Warriors win. Kevin Durant has accomplished everything he needed to do with the Warriors, but it’s time to follow the money and build the legacy. The Knicks are in a state of disarray and not a very attractive free agent destination. Even with significant cap room, it’s hard seeing KD join a roster already filled with plenty of bigs. Brooklyn on the other hand, will be Durant’s final destination. With rising stars Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarrett Allen, Caris Levert and D’Angelo Russell (if he is not traded), the Nets will now have a legitimate chance to bring relevance to the Barclays Center. Adding KD to that starting lineup will surely make the team championship contenders.

10, Nick Foles enters Hall of Fame discussion with back to back Super Bowl wins.

He did it once. Now he has the chance to do it all again. Nick Foles has taken a back seat for the majority of his career, but a win in Super Bowl 53 will not only cement his name amongst the greatest Super Bowl performers of all time, but a spot in Cantan, Ohio might be waiting for him. Maybe this is my most outlandish prediction, but everyone doubted him the same way last year. Another injury to Carson Wentz in 2018 has opened the door for Foles to not only cash in on his eventual payday, but prove that he’s deserving of an NFL starting job. After taking down the Bears, Saints, and Seahawks, Foles will outduel Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs for Philadelphia’s second straight Lombardi Trophy.