Cody Bellinger: He burst on the scene this year with 39 home runs as a 21-year-old, setting a National League record for home runs by a rookie. He’s athletic enough to play the outfield but also gifted enough defensively at first base to become an annual Gold Glove winner there. He has a good approach at the plate, whips the bat through the zone with ferocious quickness, everyone raves about his maturity, and he had a flair for the dramatic big moment as well. What’s not to like? There’s nothing here to suggest this was a fluke season and he should be one of the game’s premier power hitters for a long time.
The Falcons continue to rely on their passing game to move the ball, affording Peppers regular shots at the pocket in what is a pivotal division battle this Sunday. –McCormick
They started playing about 15 years ago as a bunch of friends from the Chicago suburbs who attended the University of Iowa together and enjoy the Chicago Bears and drinking beer. They’ve played every year since the players were in their early 20s. “Now we’re the oldest team in the league by far,” says Dan Dusell, an original Bears player.
The Bears play more relaxed than the Stiff Arms. They never huddle. Their main play is Get Open. “We do not have plays,” Bears player Jeff Mielke says. “We make fun of the teams that do have plays.”
It may be moot. But I don’t think so. Schneider is one of the most aggressive GMs in recent NFL history. He knows his offensive line is the major Achilles heel on the team, the one thing standing in the way of what could be the last deep playoff run for an aging defense.