Every Friday, Team Noontime — Matt Noonan, Andrew Pezzelli, and Zach Weiss — get together to record a weekly podcast on national (and yes, sometimes New England-based sports news). And this week, the trio shared their thoughts on the upcoming NBA play-in tournament.
All three believe this is a good thing for a league that included a play-in tournament last year when games were shifted to Orlando, Florida due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And as of this afternoon — Friday, May 14, to be exact — six of eight play-in spots are secured, including the seventh, eighth, and ninth positions in the Eastern Conference.
We’ll find out over the next few days as to which teams will secure the final two spots — one in the Eastern Conference and one in the Western Conference as the play-in tournament is set to begin next Tuesday, May 18 and will conclude Friday, May 21.
Additionally, Noonan, Pezzelli, and Weiss discuss the Boston Celtics’ current campaign, which finds the Green and White in seventh place in the Eastern Conference heading into the play-in tournament next week.The Celtics will most likely tip-off against the Charlotte Hornets, but could face the Indiana Pacers, pending results between now and Sunday.
Boston has two games remaining in the regular season against the Minnesota Timberwolves (Saturday, May 15) and New York Knicks (Sunday, May 16).
So we have finally made it to the Super Bowl – please breath a sigh of relief, Roger Goodell.
Of course, we need to play the game, which we will tomorrow evening, but like I have over the past few weeks, allow me to share my “two-cents” on the 2020 National Football League (NFL) postseason with a Super Bowl prediction!
Enjoy the game, everyone – tomorrow’s match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be a great contest.
Get ready for Super Bowl Sunday with some insight – and yes, some thoughts and predictions, too – by listening to the Football Friday Podcast with myself, as well as Andrew Pezzelli and Zach Weiss.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This is the match-up the NFL wanted – if it had been Kansas City and the Green Bay Packers that would have worked, too – but Tom Brady versus Patrick Mahomes seems like the ideal way to cap a pandemic season.
Sunday’s meeting will mark the fifth time Tom Brady and Patrick Mahomes have tangled on the gridiron since 2018 – Brady won the first two meetings while Mahomes has captured the last two, including one when the current Buccaneers quarterback was under center for the New England Patriots.
Tampa Bay enters the contest with a great deal of momentum. They have scored three-straight postseason wins, but really found their grove at the end of the regular season with a pair of victories against the Atlanta Falcons, along with a statement win against the Detroit Lions.
The Bucs will be the first team to play the Super Bowl in their home stadium, and will be the initial team to secure a victory in the ‘big game’ on their own turf.
It will be a bit closer than many may anticipate, but in the end, Tom Brady will lead the Buccaneers on a game-winning touchdown drive to secure his seventh Super Bowl championship. PREDICTION: Tampa Bay 31, Kansas City 27
The National Football League‘s (NFL) Conference Championships are set to kickoff tomorrow with the Green Bay Packers hosting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers followed by the Kansas City Chiefs entertaining the Buffalo Bills.
Last week, we attempted to go four-for-four – sadly, we picked only three of four games correct, which is not bad, but I guess I should not overlook the Bills this week, right?
Any who, let’s dish out some picks for tomorrow’s games – let the countdown for the conference finals begin!
Listen to this week’s Football Friday Podcast featuring Andrew Pezzelli and Zach Weiss on Apple Podcast and Spotify!
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Green Bay Packers (Sunday, January 24 at 3:05 p.m.): Sunday will mark the first time Tom Brady will be competing in the NFC Championship after appearing in the AFC title game 13 times as a member of the New England Patriots. Brady and the Buccaneers have enjoyed a magical ride this postseason and will arrive in Green Bay with a great deal of momentum. But can the Buccaneers defense slow down Aaron Rodgers and the offense, which has won 10 of their last 12 contests? I would presume they can – it is not a given, of course, but they did earlier this season. Additionally, can the Green Bay defense slow down Brady and the Buccaneers offense? Maybe? Either way, this has the making of an exciting match-up, but in the end, the Buccaneers – yes, the Buccaneers! – will prevail. PREDICTION: Tampa Bay 28, Green Bay 27
Buffalo Bills at Kansas City Chiefs (Sunday, January 24 at 6:40 p.m.): The Chiefs are making their third-straight appearance in the AFC Championship game after scoring a hard-fought 22-17 win last week against the Cleveland Browns. Patrick Mahomes is supposed to be under center for the Chiefs tomorrow after sustaining a concussion on Sunday. And as long as Mahomes is on the field then I think it is hard to pick against Kansas City. Buffalo has been a great story this season – I really like Josh Allen – but sadly, their exciting run toward the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance since 1993 will conclude at Arrowhead Stadium with a heartbreaking defeat. Sorry, Bills Mafia! PREDICTION: Kansas City 31, Buffalo 21
Yes, I know I am not the first to wish you, as well as your family and friends, a very happy and healthy new year, but hopefully this post – the first of many, of course! – will fill you with some much-needed joy and happiness on a rather gray and overcast day here in Boston, Massachusetts.
As promised in my year-end video, I am eager to produce some new (and old) content, including my first-ever ‘Noontime’s Sunday Thoughts’ column, which will be a mix of thoughts, ideas, and links from the sports world, along with some other topics, too.
I am excited for this column and hope you are, as well – I am sure it will look different each week, but that is the beauty of trying new things, right?
So, without further ado, here comes my first post of 2021 – I am excited and optimistic for a much better year for everyone!
Thought No. 1: 2021 will be much better than 2020: Yes, this is an understatement, but I believe better days are ahead – I am an optimist.
However, I don’t expect an immediate bounce back now that it is January 3, 2021. We still need to wear our masks, social distance, and wash our hands. And we need to “hold the line,” so we can finish strong.
We can do this – I believe in my fans and friends!
As we get closer to the spring and summer, I expect some sense of normalcy will return, but that feeling of gathering or watching a game safely won’t truly happen until late September or early October. Maybe early November?
This is an educated guess – I am not a scientist, so I could be wrong (fingers crossed!) – but once we are able to assemble safely at a future sporting event, I will breathe a sense of relief. I know that day will come and it will be an exciting occasion for everyone.
Thought No. 2: The NFL’s 2020 Season: To be honest, I did not expect the National Football League (NFL) would be able to play a full 17-week season during a pandemic. But somehow, they persevered.
Yep, I was wrong – sorry, everyone!
I was shocked that the league was able to play three weeks without an outbreak, but somehow, they overcame a hurdle of obstacles from the Tennessee Titans to Cam Newton to moving the Pittsburgh Steelers–Baltimore Ravens game from Thursday to Sunday to Monday to Tuesday.
The NFL seemed unprepared for its 2020 season after successfully conducting their collegiate draft in April via Zoom, but somehow they proved me wrong, so let’s enjoy the final day of the regular season because who knows what happens next week once the postseason begins.
Thought No. 3: The 2020 College Football Season: I am not the biggest college football fan, but I did watch a few games this past fall, including a pair of must-see Boston College contests against Clemson University and Notre Dame.
But what I witnessed outside of the Boston College matchups I watched was poor play by numerous teams, including various student-athletes, as well as coaches acting as if they were invisible to the coronavirus – did anyone actually wear a mask on the sidelines this year? I give my buddy Howard Herman of the Berkshire Eagle credit for the mask comment.
In addition to the playing field being mediocre, I have also found some of these bowl games rather boring – to be honest, I would rather watch bull-riding than some of these games, but again, what do I know?
The 2020 season was a wild ride for the college sports world – remember, not many of us knew if and when games would begin last fall – but similar to the NFL, the college football world deserves some credit for finding a way to play games safely. Hopefully the championship game between Alabama and Ohio State will be a good finale for the 2020 season.
Thought No. 4: Podcasts will continue to grow in 2021: If there is one thing 2020 taught us, it is that podcasts will continue to be a go-to medium for many of us working from home until at least the summertime, maybe the fall?
And while podcasts under big-time brands like Barstool Sports and The Ringer will continue to flourish, I do expect some smaller to medium size shows to gain more listeners (and yes, followers, too).
Our podcast – the Noontime Sports Podcast – has grown immensely, thanks to our fans and friends, but also because of the amazing guests that have joined me over these past few months (thank you to everyone that has joined me – can’t wait to have you all back again soon!).
I am excited to produce more shows this month while continuing to listen to new shows (and podcasts) I discovered last year.
Here are a few shows I would recommend listening to (and yes, hitting the subscribe button, too!):
I’ll definitely be highlighting podcasts more in the coming days and weeks, so stay tuned for future posts!
Final Thought: Could we see some new hyper-local blogs, websites or podcasts emerge this year, especially in New England?
My answer: Yes.
As many know, 2020 was not a good year for media, especially newspapers, that have shuttered or reduced their newsroom. There were also some big-time outlets that let-go of some well-established (and up-and-coming) writers, producers and on-air hosts, which leads me to think that many would be willing to take their following from social media to their own respective website, blog or podcast.
Here in Massachusetts, we have seen some smaller digital outlets grow over the past few weeks and months, including the New England Football Journal, which has done a good job with online shows to complements their high school and college football coverage. John Sarianides has hosted some video shows, including coaches chats that I have enjoyed and know my fans would, as well.
Pending high school football occurs (and is played) next month, the NEFJ will be a site to follow for coverage – make sure to follow the site’s co-owner Kevin Stone, who is very passionate about hyper-local sports coverage.
Speaking of college and high school football, make sure to follow Adam Kurkjian‘s coverage through MassVarsity – similar to John and Kevin, Adam has done a good job with providing Massachusetts football fans with content to consume with very few games being played – while Ryan Lanigan and Josh Perry have done a phenomenal job with their coverage through HockomockSports.com.
These are just three sites – yes, I know there are more – but these outlets have provided future content producers, writers, and editors with a blueprint of what they could create in certain pockets of the state of Massachusetts, along with the region for areas that have lost or need additional college and high school sports coverage.
Alright, that will do it for my first-ever ‘Noontime Sunday Thoughts’ column – hope you enjoyed it, and if you have any thoughts or ideas for next week’s post, please let me know. Send me a tweet message to @NoontimeSports or an email to MattNoonan@noontimesports.com.