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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Yordan Alvarez provided the offense to back up more stellar pitching by the Astros as they took ALCS game 6 to advance to the 2021 World Series. Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

After splitting the first two games of this series in Houston then falling behind in the series 2-1 by dropping the first of three games in Boston, the Astros took over the ALCS in Games 4 and 5, sending them back to their home crowd with a chance to finish things off in Game 6 at Minute Maid Park. After another stellar performance by their pitching staff and more timely hitting, they would accomplish that mission, winning the series and moving on to the 2021 World Series.

Final Score: Astros 5, Red Sox 0

ALCS Series (Best of Seven): Houston wins 4-2

Winning Pitcher: Luis Garcia

Losing Pitcher: Nathan Eovaldi

Houston strikes first to start tightly-contested Game 6

After a scoreless top of the first inning by Boston's offense, the Astros capitalized on a chance to be first to score in the bottom of the frame. Alex Bregman started the two-out rally, reaching base on a single against Nathan Eovaldi for the first hit of the night. Yordan Alvarez followed, delivering his sixth RBI of the series with a double to put Houston on top 1-0.

That did not spark further immediate scoring, as the one-run score held while both starting pitchers provided solid outings for their team. For Eovaldi, he was able to limit Houston to just that single run through four frames. He returned in the bottom of the fifth, facing two batters, allowing a single, and getting a strikeout to end his night.

Garcia impresses in big start

For the home team, they were recipients of another expectation-exceeding performance from one of their young arms. Only anticipated to go a handful of innings, Luis Garcia worked efficiently and effectively against Boston, keeping them scoreless and hitless through five innings. He continued in the sixth, getting two more outs before allowing a two-out triple, ending his night as Phil Maton would enter to strand the tying run. Garcia's final line: 5.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 76 P.

With both teams dipping into their bullpens, the Astros took advantage of Boston's as Yordan Alvarez's dominance went on display once again. He led the inning off with a triple, then scored on a double-play ball to extend Houston's lead to 2-0. Kendall Graveman took over on the mound in the top of the seventh and worked himself into a big moment. He gave up a one-out walk, followed by a single, which put runners on the corners for Boston. He continued to struggle with the zone, falling behind the next batter 3-1, but was able to battle back to get the strikeout paired with a terrific throw by Martin Maldonado to cut down the runner from first trying to steal second, ending the inning and maintaining the two-run advantage.

Astros headed to the World Series

Ryne Stake was Houston's next reliever, and he put Houston three outs away by getting a 1-2-3 eighth. With Ryan Pressly warming, he watched and hoped that his offense could give him some more insurance to work with when he went to the mound in the top of the ninth. His wish would be granted, as after getting two on base, Kyle Tucker would put a major exclamation point on the night's offense, hitting a three-run opposite-field homer to the Crawford Boxes to push the lead to 5-0.

Pressly, now with the five-run lead, came on to try and start the celebration by getting the final three outs. Against the tougher part of Boston's order, he would get a 1-2-3 inning, giving the Astros the American League pennant, which along with those won in 2017 and 2019, puts them back in the World Series for the third time in five years.

Up Next: The Astros will have three days off before The Fall Classic kicks off. While Game 1 will be on Tuesday, October 26th, nothing else has yet been determined as Houston awaits to see which of the Dodgers and Braves will advance out of the NL, which will also dictate if the Astros will host or travel to World Series Game 1.

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