Connor Grossman: I’m a big advocate for the best teams consistently trying to get better, avoiding the complacency that can easily set in after a World Series run. With that in mind, both the Dodgers and Astros should be the most aggressive. Both teams had weaknesses exposed in October, with Houston standing to improve their relief depth and Los Angeles in need of a spark in its starting rotation.
On the other sideline, the Rams feature the youngest head coach in NFL history, and he’s still managed to pull off a complete overhaul in his first season at the helm. Often seen sitting on the sideline looking over his notes, Sean McVay hasn’t followed in the footsteps of Jeff Fisher — and so far, that’s been a good thing. Second-year quarterback Jared Goff finally caught on with his receivers and finished the 2017 regular season with 3,804 yards passing and 28 touchdowns against only seven interceptions.
He finished the regular season with 1,305 yards rushing and 13 touchdowns. He’ll be the main focus for the Falcons defense. If they’re able to contain Gurley, Goff’s arm will be tested through the game and could lead to the more experienced team coming away with a win.
Fox was dismissed by the franchise Monday according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport after three seasons and a 14-34 showing that included zero playoff appearances and zero winning records.
His final season in Chicago wasted an above-average defense thanks to a rebuilding offense that caused few opposing coordinators headaches. The Bears ranked 29th in scoring offense and 30th in yards per game as the club worked to create an identity around rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky. While Trubisky showed improvement throughout the season, his small gains weren’t enough to keep Fox as his head coach.
Fox’s firing came as no surprise — reports surfaced he’d be relieved of his duties before the 2017 season could come to a close. His time in Chicago marks the first time he’ll leave an NFL head coaching job with a losing record. Fox’s .292 winning percentage will go down as the second worst in franchise history, ahead of only Abe Gibron, who went 11-30-1 (.268) in his three seasons with the team in the early 1970s.