As we approach the holiday season and the end of the year, now is a good time to analyze the 2016 Boston Sports Outlook. The prognosis is very positive overall. All four teams have legitimate chances of not only making the playoffs, but making a solid run. It’s very rare to have a year where all four teams are contending for playoff spots, but 2016 look very promising.
Let’s get to it! Here’s the 2016 outlook for all four Boston sports teams.
New England Patriots
The Patriots have already clinched a playoff spot and are now playing for the #1 seed and a first round bye. They have dealt with a boat load of injuries to key players which have been adding up week after week. The team has lost key players for the season including Dion Lewis and LaGarrette Blount. The good news is that many of the big name players are getting healthy including Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman. After two losses in a row, the Pats now have the opportunity to get healthy and sure up their team in the last three weeks prior to starting another playoff run.
Here’s the deal. The Patriots, when healthy, are the best team in the NFL. There are some contenders in the NFC such as the Seahawks, Cardinals, and Panthers who could give the Patriots a run for their money should they reach the big game. In the AFC, other than if they had to play at Denver, there is no major threat. Now, that doesn’t mean a team like the Steelers or Jets couldn’t come into Foxboro and win, but that’s unlikely. The Patriots are the best team in Boston and their expectations are through the roof as they should be. This team is on an epic run.
Patriots Realistic Expectations: Anything less than a championship would be a disappointment here. Super Bowl or bust!
The Bruins have surprised a lot of Boston sports fans this year. After a disappointing 2014-15 season in which the team missed the playoffs, there was a lot of uncertainty. The team’s overall approach has changed, as has its players, to a more offensive focus. The Bruins have the league’s best power play and are third in the league in goals per game. The core of their team from the title runs is still in place for the most part with David Krejci, Patrice Bergeron, Zdeno Chara, and Dennis Seidenberg leading the way. After being on the fringe for a playoff spot, the Bruins are now in second place in the Atlantic Division and are just five points out of first with three games at hand. The recent 6-1-3 run has put the B’s in a great position for a 2nd half and postseason run.
We all know that in the NHL any team is capable of going on a run in the playoffs. This team had what it takes to contend. Tuukka Rask is back to playing like he did when he won the Vezina Trophy. They have the offensive firepower. The clear weakness is on the defensive side. They cannot expect Chara and Seidenberg to play 25-30 minutes a night in the playoffs and win. This one is in the hands of Don Sweeney and Cam Neely. If they get a top 2 or even top 4 defenseman, the Bruins will have as good of a chance as anyone in the East.
Bruins Realistic Expectations: A solid playoff run winning one or two rounds.
The Celtics are a team that’s currently on the fence as a playoff team. They surprised everyone last year by going 40-42 and earning the #7 seed in the Eastern Conference. This year, they have a better and more experienced team. The challenge here is that the East has also improved overall. The Celtics are currently 10th and they have a 14-12 record. There’s just a four game difference between the #1 seed and the Celtics.
The Celtics will make the playoffs even with their current roster. It will be interesting to see if Danny Ainge works out a deal to bring in a big name player to boost their chances even more. One thing is for sure, there is no unbeatable team in the East. With a move or two, the Celtics could contend in this conference in 2016. They aren’t that far away.
Celtics Realistic Expectations: A playoff spot with a strong possibility of winning the first round.
Boston Red Sox
What a difference four months makes. In August, the Red Sox were sitting comfortably in last place with really no hope and not much to look forward to other than the future of Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts. They went on to finish the year strong and give the fans some hope heading into next year. The front office made a bold move by putting Dave Dombrowski in charge. He has delivered by landing David Price, Craig Kimbrell, Carson Smith, and Chris Young.
The Red Sox are now the favorites in the AL East in 2016. They may be even a lot better than that. Can you name a team that has a better lineup, starting rotation, and bullpen on paper? The good news about this team is that they are not only built for this year, but they’re also built for many years to come. Good times at Fenway are ahead!
Red Sox Realistic Expectations: Win the AL East and contend for a championship.
All four Boston teams are in the hunt. One is on the cusp of back to back titles. Another is built for championship contention for the next five years. The other two are a move or two away from being legit championship threats in their respective leagues.
This is why Boston is known as Titletown.
Does it get any better than this?