Tyler Julson: Summer sports winding down; it’s almost time for football

Published 11:39 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Notes from the Sports Desk by Tyler Julson


This past week, we saw one area baseball team’s season some to an end. The Albert Lea American Legion Post 56 team lost in the sub-state tournament here in Albert Lea. It was a tough way to end the season, but it was nice the entire tournament got to be played here in town. No matter who I’m watching, it’s nice to be outside at a baseball game when the weather is cooperating.

Email newsletter signup

The Albert Lea Lakers are now in the heart of the playoffs. By the time this column is published, hopefully they’ll have already claimed their spot in the finals. If they are in the finals, their final home games of the 2018 season will be tonight and possibly Saturday.

After the Lakers are finished, there is about a two-week period where the local sports are pretty slim. If anyone has any story tips or knows of something interesting going on in the area, please don’t hesitate to get a hold of me and hopefully we can get something in the paper.

The Twins are being the Twins, trading away assets for long-shot prospects and slowly falling down the American League Central Division standings. It’s so frustrating to go through this same process every year. Just like many players the Twins have traded away in past years, I’m sure we’ll be hearing about how Escobar and Dozier are making a big impact on the success of their new teams as the Diamondbacks and Dodgers compete for the National League West crown.

It’s a slow week in other sporting news. We’re still a week out from golf’s final major of the year, LeBron is doing things in Los Angeles and the start of football season still seems like it’s an eternity away.

In just under a month, the college football season will begin and I will be spending the first weekend on the campus of the greatest university in the world — Iowa State. As a season ticket holder, I try to make it to all of the games I can and with the Cyclones performance the past couple seasons, I’m very excited to see what the team can do this year.

Finally, on to this week’s installment of my NFL season predictions. This week’s division is the AFC West.

My prediction for the AFC West is where you’re going to see how truly biased I can be. I make no bones about announcing that my favorite team is the Kansas City Chiefs and, of course, I predict them to win the division, but I don’t think my reasoning is too far out.

Offensively, the Chiefs return one of the best backs from 2017 in Kareem Hunt, and with Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce and the addition of Sammy Watkins, their receiving core is top notch. The only question mark is going to be the play of second-year quarterback Patrick Mahomes. With Mahomes’ arm strength, he has potential to take the league by storm this year. However, I remember watching him at Texas Tech and I’m a little nervous he’s not quite ready.

If Andy Reid has enough confidence to trade away Alex Smith, then I’m going to go with it.

I want to cry/scream when I think about the defense. I was the biggest fan of cornerback Marcus Peters and trading him away for what they got, really made me question my fandom. However, the signing of Kendall Fuller, the return of Eric Berry and some great pieces up front have me feeling confident.

I expect the Raiders and the Chargers to be nipping at the heels of the Chiefs all season. Derek Carr returning and the hiring of Jon Gruden as head coach are going to pick the Raiders back up from the disappointing season they had in 2017.

Even though the Chargers are in the same division as the Chiefs, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for them. I like quarterback Philip Rivers and watching the emotion he gives each game is always a highlight to the season. I wouldn’t hate it if they finished second in the division.

Then there’s the Broncos. I hate the Broncos. I’m sitting here trying to think of something positive to say about them and I’m struggling. I guess their acquisition of Case Keenum is a good move, but I can also say I won’t be rooting for it to work out.

In the end, I see the Chiefs winning the division and getting a first-round bye with the No. 2 seed in the AFC. The Raiders will take second in the division and get a wild card spot as the No. 5 seed.


AFC West final predictions

1. Chiefs 11-5 (No. 2 seed in AFC)

2. Raiders 10-6 (No. 5 seed in AFC as wildcard)

3. Chargers 9-7

4. Broncos 6-10


Tyler Julson is the Tribune sports reporter. Contact him at tyler.julson@albertleatribune.com.

About Tyler Julson

Tyler Julson covers sports for the Albert Lea Tribune.

email author More by Tyler