9 Things To Know – #NFL Weekend Update

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1. Calvin and the Lions

Detroit survived a pair of missed extra points in an 18-16 victory at Green Bay, and a huge mistake from Calvin Johnson. The Lions’ streak of 20 consecutive regular-season losses at Lambeau Field, which began 20 years and one month earlier, was the longest in NFL history by any team at any stadium.

Of course, Green Bay’s dominance at home had extended well beyond its games against Detroit, particularly with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback against struggling teams. Rodgers had won 21 consecutive home games against opponents with a losing record at the time of kickoff, dating back to 2009.

Ironically, Matt Prater, who missed two extra-point conversions for the Lions on Sunday, finished the day as something of a hero, having kicked field goals of 49 and 51 yards in Detroit’s two-point victory. Prater was the first player in NFL history to miss two extra points but kick two field goals of 40 yards or longer in the same game. Only one other player kicked two FGs of 49 yards or longer in the same game at Lambeau Field: longtime Lions kicker Jason Hanson in 2010.

2. What’s Wrong With Aaron?

The Packers have lost three in a row. The good news is that the team built up some margin for error with a 6-0 start. But, that is mostly eroded now, and they need to start playing better immediately for this season to be a meaningful one. Though Green Bay had a chance to steal Sunday’s game against Detroit, a win may have masked some structural deficiencies. Right now, this is an average football team, or worse. Here’s hoping that the team is more aware that major adjustments are necessary than they are letting on publicly……(continue reading)

3. Sunday Was a Bad Day To Be a QB

The NFL’s Week 10 schedule featured some quarterback performances we’d all like to forget about.

Some of the worst showings from the league’s leading men were put forth by the usual suspects, while others were definite surprises.

This upcoming list would be even longer if not for some outstanding late-game efforts by a couple of superstars who pulled themselves and their teams up by the bootstraps after sub-par outings, saving the best for last.

The following quarterbacks would love to have a do-over after poor showings in Week 10……(continue reading)

4. OBJ and the Giants Can’t Close Out The Champs

You can debate all you want whether Odell Beckham Jr. technically “caught” a potential game-winning touchdown Sunday, but he knows there should never have even been any doubt.

The New York Giants wide receiver came close to snagging a go-ahead score with 2:02 remaining and the Giants trailing the New England Patriots 24-23. The superstar wideout had the ball in his grasp and came down in the endzone before Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler knocked the ball loose. The play was reviewed and it was ruled Beckham didn’t complete the catch……(continue reading)

5. All-Day and the Best of Sunday

Week 10 of the NFL season saw Peyton Manning break another passing record, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers improve to 9-0 and the Detroit Lions win a game in the state of Wisconsin for the first time in almost a quarter century.

Sunday also saw Manning benched during the worst game of his career, the Lions nearly choke away said win and a couple of disastrous defensive performances.

Here is the rest of the best and worst from the NFL’s tenth week……(continue reading)

6. Edelman Broken Foot

Tom Brady looked a little downtrodden when he took the podium after the New England Patriots’ dramatic last-second win over the New York Giants on Sunday.

It seemed a little peculiar to see Brady at anything less than elated given the nature of the incredible comeback victory. But there was good reason for Brady’s lack of exuberance. One, of course, was just straight fatigue, both physical and emotional.

The other reason was Julian Edelman.

The Patriots lost Edelman in the first half……(continue reading)

7. It’s Never Been This Good For The Cardinals

During the “Sunday Night Football” broadcast of the Arizona Cardinals’ wild, breakthrough 39-32 road win over the Seattle Seahawks, television analyst Cris Collinsworth paused for a moment to reflect on what he was seeing. “When you’ve thought about the Arizona Cardinals over the years, you can describe it in one word: Futility.”

You’re telling me, pal.

In my 30-or-so years of being a fan of the Arizona Cardinals, there have been three periods of success. I don’t mean periods of sustained success; there has been no sustained success. I mean one-or-two-year stretches where it has been not been actively……(continue reading)

GettyImages-4972971228. Worst Penalty Ever

The 2015 Baltimore Ravens have shown an incredible knack for losing close games. To be sure, all nine of their games have been decided by one score, yet the team is now essentially finished with a 2-7 record.

How does this happen? The end of Baltimore’s 22-20 loss to the Jaguars Sunday is a good example. Baltimore had the game won when Jags quarterback Blake Bortles was sacked on the Jacksonville half of the field when time expired. The only problem: Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil was flagged for a facemask penalty to extend the game by one untimed down……(continue reading)

9. The Rest Of It All

+ Six Super Bowl-winning QBs go down, an NFL firstnull

For the first time in NFL history, six quarterbacks who had previously started and won a Super Bowl lost on the same day: Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning,Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson. The previous high on one day was four.

The most shocking performance among those six losing QBs was by Peyton Manning, who completed only five of 20 passes and was intercepted four times in the Broncos’ loss to the Chiefs. Manning was the first player in 29 years to throw as many as four interceptions and complete five or fewer passes in the same game. The last quarterback to do so was Warren Moon with the Houston Oilers in 1986 (5-for-23 with 4 INTs against the Browns).

+ Hurns extends his scoring streaknull

Allen Hurns opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown reception in the Jaguars’ 22-20 victory at Baltimore. Hurns has now caught a TD pass in each of his last seven games. It is not certain that Jacksonville (3-6) will finish the season with a losing record. But it’s worth noting that only four players in NFL history caught TD passes in seven straight games for a team that finished the season with more losses than wins: Buddy Dial for the 1960 Steelers (an 8-game streak), Carl Pickens for the 1995 Bengals (7), Santana Moss for the 2003 Jets (7), and T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the 2007 Bengals (8).

+ Cutler and Langford star in Bears’ big winnull

Jeremy Langford scored two touchdowns, including one on an 83-yard screen pass, in the Bears’ 37-13 win at St. Louis. It was the longest TD reception by a Bears rookie since 1991, when Anthony Morgan scored on an 84-yard pass from Jim Harbaugh.

Of course, we may have buried the lead, since Langford’s TD reception wasn’t evenJay Cutler’s longest touchdown pass in the game. Cutler threw a short pass thatZach Miller turned into an 87-yard score. In 89 previous games with the Bears, Cutler had thrown only one TD pass of 70 yards or longer (89 yards to Matt Forte in 2010).

Getting Smart With The Best DiRT on Tuesday

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1. Nevermore

So Baltimore had a chance to tie the game until Count Flacc-ula threw an INT in the RedZone – just like in Denver.  Now the Ravens are 1-6 and all those losses have been by 8pts or less.  A few plays this way, other than that way and the Ravens could be 4-3 – but that’s football, and your record says who you say you are.  If Baltimore wants to defend Flacco for throwing that pick by saying they had no communication – then it is a sad statement that a Superbowl winning QB is incapable of making the right decisions on his own.  It’s ludicrous really and proves Flacco is who we thought he was.

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2. Champion of the World

The World Series starts tonight and I find the NBA’s lack of patriotism disturbing.  Couldn’t the NBA wait until Wednesday to tip-off?  I mean does anyone really pay attention to the NBA until Christmas?  Me?  I’d rather watch Game 1.  Neither the Mets, nor the Royals have won since Reagan was President and there can only be one long-suffering fanbase that can party like it’s 1985, or ‘6

Schedule (with projected starters)

Game 1: Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Kauffman Stadium, FOX (Harvey vs. Volquez)

Game 2: Wednesday, Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Kauffman Stadium, FOX (deGrom vs. Cueto)

Game 3: Friday, Oct. 30, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Citi Field, FOX (Ventura vs. Syndergaard)

Game 4: Saturday, Oct. 31, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Citi Field, FOX (Young vs. Matz)

Game 5 (If necessary): Sunday, Nov. 1, 8 p.m. ET air time and game time, Citi Field, FOX (Volquez vs. Harvey)

Game 6 (If necessary): Tuesday, Nov. 3, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Kauffman Stadium, FOX (deGrom vs. Cueto)

Game 7 (If necessary): Wednesday, Nov. 4, 7:30 p.m. ET air time, 8 p.m. game time, Kauffman Stadium, FOX (Syndergaard vs. Ventura)

  •  HOW THE WORLD SERIES WILL PLAY OUT – You can’t predict what’s going to happen in a random best-of-seven baseball sample any more than you could have predicted that Ruben Amaro Jr. would become a first-base coach or Ben Cherington would become an Ivy League professor.  Baseball’s weird, and we like it that way.  But baseball’s also fun. Or at least, it’s supposed to be. And what’s more fun than faulty predictions that could very well be rendered moot almost immediately? I can’t think of anything (though I admit that I’m not thinking very hard).I’m thinking, instead, about this World Series between the Royals and Mets, a fascinating contrast of clubs that defied expectations in their own way to get here. Are the Royals going to fulfill what they have long contended to be their destiny in this Fall Classic follow-up to last year’s Madison Bumgarner Show? Or are the Mets going to complete their shock to the system and go all the way, a la 1986?

    Here’s one attempt at an answer, game by game. Accuracy and satisfaction are not guaranteed……(continue reading)

Three questions for the Royals-(h/t Will Leitch)

Cueto? Cueto? Cueto? Johnny Cueto may be the key to the whole series for the Royals. If he pitches like he did in Game 5 against Houston, the Royals have the ace they so desperately need against a rotation like the Mets’. But if he pitches like he did in Game 3 against Toronto — in which he looked like a baseball diamond was the last place in the world he wanted to be — the whole thing might implode. If Cueto is terrible again in Game 2, the Royals probably won’t feel comfortable sending him back out again (they’re already avoiding him at Citi Field, a wise move) for a potential Game 6, which means they’re scraping the Kris Medlan bottom of the barrel at that point. The Royals either have a top-tier starter or a total disaster; they have no idea which. The answer might decide the series.

Can they catch up to the fastballs? Grantland’s Ben Lindbergh noted that the Royals hit fastballs asAltX.Logo.white well as any team in Major League Baseball. They might not prefer to face 98-mph flamethrowers every game, but if somebody has to, they’re probably the team to do it. As Lindbergh put it, “New York’s pitching strength plays right into the hands of Kansas City’s flame-retardant lineup.” Now, the Mets will happily take their chances with Harvey, Syndergaard and deGrom. But this perhaps the one team in all of baseball who will give them the most trouble.

Will we see any Ryan Madson? The Royals rode their three-headed monster bullpen of Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland last year all the way to Game Seven of the World Series. But this year, one of the heads has been lopped off: Holland had Tommy John surgery last month. He has
been replaced by Madson who was effective most of this year but has turned to dust this postseason: He has given up four homers in six games, which is a problem considering he only gave up five in 68 games during the regular season. If Ned Yost can’t trust him, he’ll have to stretch both Herrera and Davis and maybe get a little more creative than necessarily is in his comfort zone. The Royals’ biggest strength is still that bullpen … but it’s not as big a strength as it was last year.

Three questions for the Mets-(h/t Will Leitch)

Is there enough offense if Daniel Murphy cools down? Look, if Murphy continues to hit like Barry Bonds, the Mets are sweeping this series. But eventually — perhaps after this extended period of time off — he will remember that he is Daniel Murphy. Will the Mets hit well enough if he becomes a normal hitter again? Curtis Granderson, Lucas Duda (before Game 4), Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Conforto have all had their struggles at the plate this postseason, and Yoenis Cespedes, the fulcrum around which the whole offense pivots, isn’t completely healthy. The Mets’ offense has been a headache all season, something disguised by their late-season run, but still an issue. Murphy has made the offense look better than it is.

Can they get the game to Jeurys Familia? The Mets closer has ramped up his game in the playoffs: He has given up only two hits (and no runs) in 9 2/3 innings this postseason. But the setup guys have been a little shakier. Addison Reed, Tyler Clippard, Erik Goeddel, Jon Niese and Hansel Robles don’t put the fear of God into anyone, and Terry Collins has begun calling on Bartolo Colon in key situations. Colon is a delight and has been effective so far in the postseason … but you’re still playing with fire if you count on him for key outs. The Mets’ plan is basically to have their starters get to Familia, and that’s not a terrible plan. But if they need innings in the middle, it could get scary.

Who’s the DH? Of all the National League teams that made the playoffs, the Mets are least well-positioned for the extra batter in the lineup, which they’ll have for potentially four games this series. Kelly Johnson will get the nod in Game 1. But he won’t exactly have the Royals reaching for the Maalox, nor will Kirk Nieuwenhuis or Michael Cuddyer, should Collins decide to switch things up in Game 2. This is a general problem with the Mets’ bench, actually; other than Juan Lagares as a defensive replacement, there isn’t much there. This also makes you even more worried about Cespedes’ health.

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