A look at how weather will impact the NFL and ALCS this weekend

Snow in Denver? Awesome! Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

This weekend we will finally be getting our first taste of fall down in Texas but elsewhere full on winter will be blasting on to the NFL scene.  I don’t know about you but I absolutely love watching football in the snow. Maybe it’s the Texas kid in me relishing any chance I get to see snow, or maybe its because it's fun to watch abnormally large men try to move nimbly on ice.  Whatever the reason is though it is fun. In addition to snow some other games may see some relatively minor weather impacts, so lets get to it:

Bears @ Dolphins (12:00 PM Sunday) – A matchup between teams that seem to be going in opposite directions.  However, the fact that this game is in Miami may give the Dolphins a bit of help. While it should be dry in terms of precipitation the humidity will be oppressive as usual.  During the game the heat index will be floating in the upper 90s which may take more of a toll on the Bears than it does on the Dolphins. I would guess we will see the Bears splitting more carries between their two running backs to keep them fresh and their defense may not be quite as sharp.

QB, RB, TE, WR & K: ↔

DEF: ↓

Ravens @ Titans: (3:25 PM Sunday) – As a cold front progresses across the country it could spark some showers in Nashville during this game.  Right now it does not look to be a deluge but there is a healthy chance of at least some passing rain throughout the afternoon here.  With two relatively vertically challenged offenses look for more of an emphasis on the ground game here.

QB: ↓

RB: ↑↑

TE: ↑

WR: ↓

K: ↓

DEF: ↑

Rams @ Broncos (3:05 PM Sunday) – Here we are at the most interesting weather game of the week.  While one or two shots of snow isn’t all that uncommon in Denver in October, it’s a bit more rare for it to fall on an NFL Sunday there.  Currently it looks like the bulk of the snow will be a little earlier in the day, but there will likely still be some lingering snow showers particularly in the first half of the game.  This won’t be a white-out with significant accumulation on the field, but snow is snow. On top of the snow it is going to be downright cold. The temperature at kickoff will be around 20 degrees with a windchill of about 10 degrees.  While neither team has practiced in these types of conditions this year (as opposed to southern teams becoming more acclimated to heat and humidity), the Broncos have at least played in this before. In fact, the Rams have not played an outdoor game where the temperature was below freezing in over 10 years. This is foreign territory for a team that used to play in a dome and now plays in southern California.  The Broncos on the other hand have played 10 games below freezing since 2012 and have a record of 6-4 in those contests. Between the snow and the cold look for this to very much be a ground and pound kind of game.

QB: ↓↓

RB: ↑↑↑

TE: ↑

WR: ↓↓

K: ↓↓

DEF: ↑

Baseball Special

With the ALCS starting this weekend in Boston I thought I’d take a look at what kind of conditions the Astros would be encountering there.

Saturday (7:09 PM) – There will be rain earlier in the day but it should be dry by game time, but temperatures will only be in the mid 40’s.  This isn’t ideal as the cold air makes hitting more difficult and the Astros don’t have the best history playing in the cold.  However with Verlander on the mound I still like their chances.

Sunday (6:09 PM) – Temperatures will be a bit warmer for this game rising to the mid 50s.  Still not ideal for hitting but better than the night before. Neither of these games look to have much impact from wind.

For more information on any other games, to check in on conditions before kickoff, or if you have any other questions you can find me on Twitter @stephenuzick.


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Composite photo by Jack Brame

Former Astros manager Andrew Jay Hinch is on a short list of candidates to become manager of the Detroit Tigers in 2021.

The question is, after being suspended and later fired for his role in the Astros sign-stealing scandal, does A.J. Hinch deserve to manage again in baseball?

It's weird to think because so much has happened in 2020, but Hinch was suspended and fired only nine months ago. His banishment, however, ends in a matter of weeks with the final out of the upcoming World Series. At that point, he will be available to manage the Tigers or any other team. There's a possibility that the Mets are interested. Some were hoping it'd be the Astros, but the Astros are committed to manager Dusty Baker for next year. After that … never say never.

Shortly after getting the Astros ax, Hinch went on MLB TV and apologized for his role in the Astros cheating scandal. Although baseball's investigation said the garbage can banging scheme was "with the exception of (Astros coach Alex) Cora, player-driven and player-executed," Hinch took responsibility as manager and didn't challenge his punishment. No players were punished.

"I still feel responsible and will always feel responsible as the man out front," Hinch said. "As the leader, I was in charge of the team. I put out a statement to apologize. But there is something different to doing it on camera and putting a face to an apology, and saying I'm sorry to the league, to baseball, to fans, to players, to the coaches.

"It happened on my watch. I'm not proud of that. I'll never be proud of it. I didn't like it. But I have to own it. And the commissioner's office made very, very clear that the GM and the manager were in position to make sure that nothing like this happened. And we fell short."

In effect, while Hinch didn't authorize or participate in the sign-stealing scandal, he didn't do enough (really anything) to stop it. He is the rare case of being a guilty bystander.

To be clear, Hinch has not been offered the Detroit manager job. However, he has more experience and more wins under his belt than most of the other candidates being considered.

Hinch's reputation is blemished, but his credentials can't be disputed. During his five years as Astros manager, the team never had a losing season, won 100 or more games three times, including a team record 107 wins last year, made the playoffs three times and won a World Series.

Has baseball forgiven Hinch, and does he deserve another chance to manage in the big leagues? This is America, the land of forgiveness and second chances.

As Mahatma Gandhi said, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong."

Hinch knew his team was cheating and didn't do enough to stop it. There's no defense for that. But I think he's paid enough of a price to get back in baseball.

Mike Tyson raped a woman, went to jail, and now he's practically America's sweetheart. Hillary forgave Bill. We not only forgave Confederate leaders, we built schools and statues to honor them. Martha Stewart went to jail for insider trading, now she's back on TV baking crumpets. Ozzy Osbourne was arrested for pee'ing on a monument outside the Alamo, there is no more sacred place in Texas, and now he sells out concerts at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion.

Pee-wee Herman, well, let's not say what he was caught doing, but he's planning to tour the U.S. celebrating the 35th anniversary of Pee-wee's Big Adventure movie.

Remember, Hinch was suspended for a year. It could have been worse. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred has the power to ban people for life. Since becoming the commish, Manfred has permanently banished two people: former St. Louis Cardinals scouting director Chris Correa for hacking into the Astros computer database, and former Atlanta Braves general manager, John Coppolella for signing international players illegally.

Manfred also has temporarily banned Astros assistant general manager Brandon Taubman for shouting inappropriate comments at female reporters last year. Taubman is eligible to apply for reinstatement after this year's World Series. However, if he commits one more violation of baseball rules, he will be banned for life.

Lifetime bans aren't as unusual as you might think. Since baseball's beginnings in the 1800s, dozens of players, managers and team owners have been banned, mostly, like Pete Rose and the Chicago Black Sox, for gambling-related offenses.

A.J. Hinch copped to his crime, suffered the consequences, now it's time for him to manage a baseball team again. It's not like he'd be landing a plum job with Detroit. The Tigers are out of this year's playoff picture. They lost 114 games last season. And were 64-98 the two years prior. Managing the Tigers will be punishment enough.

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