Winds of change

Week 5 NFL weather report

Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs may be dealing with rain. Andrew Mather, Chiefs team website

This weekend the country will be split between red and blue, but not only because of the Supreme Court confirmation vote. What I really mean though is that an area of high pressure will be causing very warm temperatures in the eastern half of the country, and a dip in the jet stream will allow colder air from Canada to drop in over the western part of the nation (except California, because usual weather rules never seem to apply to California). In between these contrasting airmasses… WAR. Well not really, but there will be a good deal of rain. And wouldn’t you know it, this week’s game of the week is sitting smack in the middle of that rainy sweet spot.

Jaguars @ Chiefs (12:00 PM Sunday) This is easily the game of the week. You have the unstoppable force that is the Chiefs offense versus the immovable object of the Jags defense. Unfortunately though Kansas City is sitting right in the conflict zone between the warm air to the east and cold air to the west.  On Saturday a cold front looks to push through Kansas City only to stall just to the south and waffle back north as a warm front on Sunday bringing some solid rainfall. At the moment rain looks like a possibility for the entire game but is definitely more likely during the early portions.  How quickly the warm front moves back through the KC area will determine timing though. So, while you should set your lineups or wagers planning on rain, check back before game time for some more refined details. The wet conditions would obviously seem to play to the Jaguars as a defensive and run-first minded team.  Kansas City on the other hand may be held back on offense a little more than they would be otherwise as airing it out will be a riskier proposition. Here are my thoughts on position group impacts (3 arrows possible)

QB: ↓↓

RB: ↑↑

WR: ↓↓

TE: ↓

K: ↓

DEF: ↑↑

Raiders at LA Chargers (3:05 PM Sunday) California is making a rare appearance in the weather report this week thanks to strong winds.  October is usually a month that sees an increase in windy spells in the state in part thanks to the Santa Ana Winds.  This game will see southwest winds around 15 MPH gusting up to 20 or 25 MPH. The stadium’s orientation will have winds blowing diagonally across the field and the relatively small and short-topped stadium the Charges play in will provide less of a wind break than other stadiums might.  In these conditions look for negative impacts on the deep passing game and for kickers, but a slight positive bump for tight-ends in the short game and running backs. Position impacts as follows:

QB: ↓

RB: ↑

WR: ↓

TE: ↑

K: ↓↓

DEF: ↑

Cardinals @ 49ers (3:25 PM Sunday) This game will also have a wind issue, with winds in this part of northern California being even stronger than in LA.  The wind should be blowing out of the northwest at 20 MPH with gusts of 25 to 30 MPH, which with the stadium’s orientation will cause the wind to blow diagonally across the field.  Impacts here will be like the game above but slightly more pronounced (especially considering the caliber of quarterbacks in this matchup):

QB: ↓↓

RB: ↑

WR: ↓

TE: ↑

K: ↓↓↓

DEF: ↑

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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Houston drops the opener

Angels use big sixth inning to take opener from Astros

Houston's offense started hot, then went cold Monday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

With a 2-1 series win under their belt to start this ten-game homestand, the Astros turned the page to a three-game set with the Angels on Monday night. Things started strong for Houston, building an early lead, but it would erode in the middle innings as the Angels would respond with a big sixth inning to take the opener.

Final Score: Angels 5, Astros 4

Astros' Record: 18-17, tied for second in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Suarez (1-0)

Losing Pitcher: Brandon Bielak (1-2)

Houston Builds an early lead

After a 1-2-3 top of the first by Luis Garcia, Houston would start the scoring in the bottom of the inning. Back-to-back walks set things off, setting up an RBI ground-rule double by Alex Bregman, giving them the 1-0 lead. Kyle Tucker lead the bottom of the second off with a double, then came around to score on an RBI single by Myles Straw, then Michael Brantley made it 3-0 with an RBI double later in the inning.

Los Angeles roars back to take the lead

Los Angeles trimmed the lead to two runs in the top of the fourth with an RBI double, but Houston was able to get that run back on another RBI by Straw in the bottom of the fifth. Things fell apart for Garcia in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back one-out solo homers trimming the lead to one run and ending his night there: 5.1 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, 2 HR, 92 P.

The Angels didn't stop there, getting two more runs to take the lead off of Brandon Bielak, who managed just one out while blowing the lead. Brooks Raley would enter to get the final out of the inning, then tried to keep the deficit at one run when he returned in the top of the seventh. It looked like things might unravel for him, allowing the first two batters to reach base on a walk and single, but he would battle back to strike out the next three straight to strand both.

Angels take the opener

Joe Smith took over in the top of the eighth, still 5-4, but would get two outs while allowing a double in his three batters before Houston moved on to Kent Emanuel, who finished the inning off. After another scoreless inning for Houston's offense, Emanuel remained in the game in the top of the ninth to keep a walk-off chance alive, and he would do so by erasing a walk to send the one-run game to the bottom half. The Astros wouldn't pull off a comeback, though, dropping the opener to Los Angeles.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be another 7:10 PM Central start on Tuesday night. It shapes up to be an exciting pitching matchup, with Lance McCullers Jr. (2-1, 3.58 ERA) for Houston going up against the two-way star Shohei Ohtani (1-0, 2.41 ERA) for Los Angeles.

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