1. NFL to vote on Raiders move today
The biggest item on the NFL’s Annual League Meeting isn’t the set of rules proposed to make games shorter (although ownership will likely spend far more time discussing that); it’s whether the Raiders will be granted approval to relocate to Las Vegas. In other words, the Raiders are off to Vegas.
When 24 of 32 clubs agree to the terms and settle on a relocation fee, the countdown in Oakland will begin. After 2018, the team is expected to leave the Bay area, and move to a temporary home for a season, until their stadium is finished.
The move comes at a very interesting time for a franchise that seems to be on the cusp of Super Bowl contention. On the one hand: winning a Lombardi Trophy as a last gift to Oakland fans could be a very motivating factor. On the other: NFL history hasn’t been kind to franchises on the move, as no team has made the playoffs in the season prior to relocation. Add in the largely unsuccessful run of teams playing in temporary stadiums, and the Raiders are getting thrown a major distraction in a time when this team should be chasing titles.
The Raiders will still be a fine bet to win the AFC West this season, but the closer it gets to moving day, the more questions will surround this team.
2. Hayward banged up by Clippers
After sitting out the fourth quarter of Utah’s 108-95 loss to the Clippers, there was some concern over the state of Gordon Hayward. While the news has come back that his left quad bruise isn’t too serious, the result of Saturday’s loss is. Los Angeles hasn’t looked like a strong team for most of the month of March, but even in their susceptible state, they continue to dominate the Jazz.
Winners of 18 of their last 20 meetings, the Clippers are likely to be favored in a seven-game series against the NBA’s top defensive team, even if they can’t close the one-game gap between them to gain homecourt advantage (and considering they keep losing to teams like the Kings, they probably won’t).
We see it all the time in the NBA Playoffs, where experience trumps youthful exuberance. So no matter how cold the Clippers look coming into the postseason, remember they still have the advantage over Utah.
3. Dustin Johnson is still awesome
Very little has changed since our last golf update: Tiger’s status for the Masters is still in doubt, and Dustin Johnson is doing his best to make sure nobody misses Woods. DJ won his third-straight event over the weekend, taking the World Golf Championships – Dell Technologies Match Play in convincing fashion: Johnson never trailed once in seven matches.
It’s not sexy to rush out and back the guy who’s flying into the Masters on such a high, but you can’t ignore how confident and well Johnson is hitting the ball. He is going to be the popular pick in every one of your Masters pools, so you have to decide, do you jump on this train as well and hope your deeper picks can win it for you? Or do you go out and back a Jordan Spieth and hope he can put last year’s collapse behind him? According to National Club Golfer, Spieth isn’t exactly looking forward to this Masters weekend.
Photo Credit: BrokenSphere (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons