Welcome to the latest episode of Hot Takedown, FiveThirtyEight’s sports podcast. On this week’s show (Sept. 20, 2016) we chat about competitive balance in the NFL and wonder what’s gone wrong with the Seattle Seahawks. Then, we preview the WNBA playoffs and ask how a new playoff structure may shape Nneka Ogwumike’s attempt to lead the Los Angeles Sparks to their first championship since 2002. Finally, we welcome ESPN’s Mike Goodman to talk about the rivalry between Manchester United manager José Mourinho and Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola. Plus, a significant digit on the age restrictions at the World Cup of Hockey.
Links to what we discuss:
- Ben Morris writes that crunch time in the NFL is right now.
- Chase Stuart says that by week two of the NFL, you can already spot season-long trends developing.
- ESPN Stats & Information breaks down the numbers behind the Seahawks’ offensive woes.
- Chase Stuart outlines why it’s harder to make a good team great than it is to make a bad team respectable.
- ESPNW’s Mechelle Voepel explains the changes the WNBA has made to the postseason.
- Neil Paine says Nneka Ogwumike is having an all-time great season.
- Andrew Flowers and Neil Paine say rest has little impact on an NBA team’s playoff chances. It’s not clear if that carries over to the WNBA.
- The Guardian’s Jonathan Wilson delves into the history behind José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola’s decades-long rivalry.
- Jamie Jackson at the Guardian explores what Mourinho needs to do to stop Manchester United’s slide.
- Significant Digit: 23. That’s the upper age limit for players on the North America team at this year’s World Cup of Hockey. America and Canada have separate teams for players over the age of 23.