Opening Day may still be miles away, but we have reached MLB’s most important week of the offseason: the Winter Meetings. Every December, for four days, all Major League Baseball teams and its affiliates gather in one place to discuss business. These business transactions include player/staff signings, the Rule 5 Draft, team trades, and a whole lot of mumbo jumbo. Perhaps someone signs Bryce Harper. It’s definitely a possibility it happens during the Winter Meetings. This event was where fellow power hitters Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols signed albatross contracts with San Francisco and Los Angeles respectively. Other big name free agents such as Manny Machado, Dallas Keuchel, and Craig Kimbrel are still available too. This offseason has produced constant trade rumors involving huge pitching names such as Corey Kluber and Noah Syndergaard. Maybe they get traded just like Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan did to Texas in the 1988 Winter Meetings. There’s so much that could unravel at these Winter Meetings, it is best to keep an eye on it. This year’s Winter Meetings began yesterday and will end with the Rule 5 Draft this Thursday.
For Bucks fans, their 17-8 team has three favorable games this week. They will play the 6-20 Cavs twice (once at home and once on the road). The toughest of three should be against Indiana, who will again probably be without their All-Star shooting guard Victor Oladipo. It still won’t be that easy. Oladipo’s missed the Pacers’ last ten games, but the team has finished 6-4 in his absence. Indiana has stepped up their game and do have home court advantage against Milwaukee for their game on the 12th. In other NBA news, this week will produce a lot of great match-ups such as Lakers-Rockets on the 13th, Thunder-Nuggets on the 14th, and a whole lot of others. But by far the most anticipated match-up may be Raptors-Warriors on the 12th. These two conference leading teams had fought in an amazing overtime game on November 29 a few weeks prior, in which the Raptors came out on top. This game should be a little more tough for Toronto though, as Golden State will have home court with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green available to play this time.
Week 15 will feature a classic rivalry game, Packers vs. Bears. This will be the second of their regular two-game seasonal matchup, the first of which the Packers won at Lambeau. Despite Green Bay’s win over Chicago earlier this season, it is the Bears who have thrived as top dogs of the NFC North with a 9-4 record. While the Bears will look to cement a playoff spot, the Packers will look to avenge their season and perhaps squeeze into the playoffs despite their lackluster 5-7-1 record. This game will start at 1 PM ET, and will be aired on FOX. A playoff spot for the Packers will also be dependent on the results from their fellow rivals, the Minnesota Vikings, who play Seattle on the road at the time I have published this piece. Elsewhere, the most important (and perhaps most entertaining) game for Week 15 will be between two AFC West counterparts in Kansas City and Los Angeles. The 11-2 Chiefs hold the best record in the AFC, but remain only one game ahead of the 10-3 LA Chargers. A win could not only help cement the best record in the AFC West, but also home field advantage come playoff time. There is a great chance we see one of these teams in the Super Bowl, so this game is a “must win” in terms of harnessing momentum.
Though Wisconsin has no professional team in the NHL, that doesn’t mean it should stop you or anyone from watching some great hockey this week. As of December 10, the top 8 teams in the Western Conference are only 5 points apart. Look no further this week than all three Dallas Stars games to enjoy the best of what’s out west. Currently sixth in the West, the Stars will have to play three other playoff caliber teams (Anaheim, San Jose, and Colorado) within a span of four days. The Eastern Conference will also not be shy of some great teams in quality games this week. Boston-Pittsburgh happens on the 14th and an up-and-coming Buffalo squad will take on a defending Stanley Cup champion Capitals side on the 15th. The game of the week though has to go to the December 13 matchup between the two current best teams in the NHL, Toronto and Tampa Bay. The TB Lightning will look to further cement themselves as the best team in the East, as they take on a Maple Leafs squad re-invigorated over the summer after signing a transcendent talent in John Tavares.