Eric’s Five Bold Sports Predictions For 2019
Earlier this month, Goz laid out his bold predictions heading into 2019. I decided to try my hand at this as well. Too bold for you or have a prediction as well? Comment below or tweet at me @EricH1045.
#1 Didi Gregorius will be starting at SS Monday May 13th vs. the Orioles.
The recovery time of Tommy John Surgery for position players differs from pitchers. We have seen players like infielder Zack Cozart get TJ in August (2011) and be back playing games by Spring Training in March (2012) early the following season. That is a total of about 7 months. Didi had his surgery in mid-October and my math has 7 months at right around mid-May. Now I know the Yankees may be conservative and no doubt Didi could have a lengthy rehab stint, but I still see Didi making his 2019 Yankees debut sooner than expected.
#2 The Duke Blue Devils fail to make the Elite Eight.
It was too bold to predict they wouldn't make the Sweet Sixteen but you heard it here first, the Blue Devils fall victim to a Cinderella in the NCAA tournament. This is one of the most hyped teams in recent memory and it'd be a serious disappointment to not be playing during the final weekend of the season. While almost impossible to predict the exact team to get it done, I will say that it will be an impressive Buffalo team that does the deed but look out for the 8 or 9 seed in their region because I think this Duke team could be susceptible to struggling against a zone defense.
#3 The Indiana Pacers are your 2019 NBA Champions.
They said be bold and I went for it here. Indiana is not even favored in the Eastern Conference and is almost forgot about in the loop of Toronto, Milwaukee, Boston and Philadelphia. However to me they are not only a well built team but a team made for the postseason and ready to take that next step there too. Victor Oladipo has been sensational since going back to Indiana where he was great in college and looked awesome in the playoffs against LeBron and Cleveland last season. Myles Turner is one of the best defensive big men in the league. I think their bench which includes Cory Joseph, Tyreke Evans and Domantas Sabonis is a boon to why they are going to be a tough out in the postseason. As for the Finals, why not ride my sleeper team all the way to their first NBA championship? No matter who makes the Finals, I expect a more competitive series than last season.
#4 Rafael Nadal Ties Roger Federer for Most Men's singles Grand Slam victories.
It may not seem like it but this may be more bold then the first 3 here combined. Nadal has won 3 Grand Slams in a year only once and that was back in 2010. Not to mention that the one he does not win can not be won by Federer since Roger is ahead 20-17 in Grand Slams. Novack Djokovic won the last 2 Grand Slams and he himself is now tied with Pete Sampras 3rd all-time at 14. On top of all that there is a lot of good young talent out there among them being Alexander Zverev, Dominic Thiem, Stefanos Tsitsipas, Nick Kyrgios and Kei Nishikori. Nadal also battles injuries year after year but I think a successful run in Australia sets him up for the chance to accomplish this at the US Open in early September since you can make a safe deposit that he wins on clay at Roland-Garros.
#5 The New England Patriots lose the AFC East for the first time since 2008.
I won't call my shot per se on which team will dethrone the Patriots but I am confident in the direction of QB's Josh Allen and Sam Darnold and I think both rosters will be much improved. The Dolphins will have a new head coach and possibly a new QB as well so I am less certain in their direction but I still feel like their talent continues to hover around being capable to do it. This ultimate prediction hangs on the balance of the decline of the Patriots we have come to expect and the writing is always on the wall when a team is on the down swing. Belichick knows how to scalp talent but from what I have seen from the New England defense and an uncharacteristic Tom Brady this past season, there are signs that the dynasty is beginning to come to an end.
For more takes from Eric Hannmann, albeit not as BOLD as these predictions, be sure to listen to the Sittin' Sportside Podcast.