FALCON POINTS

Despite concerns, the NFL season will happen in some form

Texans' JJ Watt has some concerns. Composite image by Jack Brame.

Spoiler alert: There will be NFL football this season. No matter what else you read here, take heart in that. There might be fits and starts, delays and problems, but it will happen, despite a lot of chatter otherwise. There will be a lot of negotiation back and forth, much like there was with baseball. It will be frustrating and sometimes infuriating, but something will get done. Let's start with that.

Still, players like J.J. Watt have every right to be concerned. Playing games in home stadiums will not be easy.

First off, the concern of illness is not high for athletes, although the Rona can be tough on anyone at its worse. But their families, team support staff, coaches...all would be at risk. While the NBA and NHL are playing in a bubble, NFL players will not, which means they will be more likely to be exposed.

They will also be in constant contact with each other on the field, so the illness will get passed along if someone has it. There will be no surprise if multiple players opt out, including a few big names. That is perfectly OK; players have every right to make those kinds of decisions.

It's a decision that transcends sports. Many companies are having to make similar choices. In fact, re-opening schools will have a related impact. While the students should be OK, many of the teachers will be at risk. The difference is that fewer of them will be able to opt out, simply because they can't afford to do so. That dynamic, plus the contact of the sport, probably means college football is not as likely to happen.

But the NFL will still likely figure out a way. Limited or no fans, the TV deals alone are too much to ignore. European soccer has been able to thrive under a similar model, but while there is contact, it is not what NFL players endure. Baseball is doing it as well, but there is limited physical contact, so the risk is not as high. Regardless, it is hard to predict how things will play out.

The NFL could have limited travel by creating a bubble model of its own. Playing games in cities like Houston or Dallas, which have multiple quality stadiums, eliminating interconference play and keeping players in one city could limit the possibility of the disease spreading. But that is not something that has been considered.

So with this model comes risk, and the players are rightfully concerned. The result? There will be a lot of back and forth. Some players will sit out, and that may include impact athletes like Watt, which will have a negative effect on some teams. There will be concerns that the season won't happen. But in the end, a deal will be made, and there will be football.

And risk. But the reward will be America's greatest sport having some semblance of a season.

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Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

With the disappointing loss in extra innings late the night before, the Astros returned to RingCentral Coliseum on Saturday afternoon to try and even the series against the A's, who now owned a 3.5 game lead in the AL West over Houston. Here is a quick rundown of the middle game of the series:

Final Score: A's 3, Astros 1.

Record: 6-8, second in the AL West.

Winning pitcher: Frankie Montas (2-1, 1.57 ERA).

Losing pitcher: Framber Valdez (0-2, 2.04 ERA).

Valdez does his job

Framber Valdez ran into stress early on Saturday, facing trouble in the bottom of the first inning. It started with a leadoff solo home run, putting Oakland up 1-0 before they would record an out. He later allowed back-to-back one-out singles to rack up his pitch count in the frame but would limit the damage to the single run.

He was able to re-focus and settle in during the following innings, getting quick, scoreless innings in the next four. In the bottom of the sixth, a leadoff groundball that likely should have been the first out was instead a single that would come back to bite Houston. That runner stole second and advanced to third on a bad throw, then scored on an RBI-groundout, doubling Oakland's lead to 2-0. Valdez would go one more inning, giving Houston precisely what they needed by helping give their exhausted bullpen a break. His final line: 7.0 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 9 K, 1 HR.

Houston's offense unable to get anything going

Unfortunately for Houston, Frankie Montas was even more efficient on the other side. Houston was only able to notch two hits against him over seven innings while Montas only had to throw 86 pitches over that span. Oakland would go to their bullpen in the top of the eighth, with the Astros getting just a single in the inning.

Nivaldo Rodriguez would take over for Valdez in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a solo home run to make it 3-0 before completing the inning. Houston would get a leadoff double by Kyle Tucker to start the top of the ninth, and he would come around to score on an RBI-single by Alex Bregman. That's as close as Houston would get, though, as Oakland would finish off the win to secure the series and extend Houston's losing streak to four games.

Up Next: The final game of this series and Houston's nine-game road trip will be on Sunday at 3:10 PM Central. Jesus Luzardo (0-0, 2.31 ERA) will make a start for the A's while Cristian Javier (1-0, 1.42 ERA) will look to continue his success in 2020 for the Astros.

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