Greetings sports fans, it’s Chris Bengel here to lead you into the weekend. We’ve made it through another week and that means we have another weekend of watching football to look forward to.
It’s truly not debatable that this is the best time of the year. We’re approaching that glorious fall weather that includes hoodies and tailgates — the kind of weather Tom Fornelli so eloquently described yesterday. You can spend your entire weekend watching every football game under the sun in addition to placing some questionable wagers (I’m guilty of this) and tracking your fantasy football teams. Oh, and on top of that, we’ve got the MLB postseason a little over two weeks away. Bask in the glory, folks.
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Unless you’re a New York Giants fan. Let’s dive into them and the rest of the news!
📰 What you need to know
1. Washington Football Team top Giants on last-second field goal 🏈
The NFC East wasn’t exactly the most productive division during Week 1 of the NFL season. The Philadelphia Eagles were the only team that came away with a win. On Thursday, the Washington Football Team found themselves facing off with the New York Giants to see which team would start off the season 0-2.
It was a back-and-forth affair that wasn’t decided until the final seconds. The Washington Football Team came away with a 30-29 win over their divisional rivals in a chaotic finish.
WFT kicker Dustin Hopkins was in position for a 48-yard field goal and missed it. However, the Giants were offsides on the play and Hopkins had another opportunity to win the game. Seriously. With the ball moved up five yards due to the penalty, Hopkins drilled the game-winner from 43 yards out.
In just his third career start, Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke orchestrated an 11-play, 50-yard drive that gave Hopkins the chance to win the game. Here’s a few plays on that drive that stand out:
- On 4th-and-1 at their own 34-yard line, J.D. McKissic ran for four yards to move the chains
- On 3rd-and-5 at the Giants 43-yard line, Heinicke connected with Adam Humphries for a seven-yard reception and he got out of bounds on the play
- On 1st-and-10 at the Giants 34-yard line, Heinicke hit Terry McLaurin for a six-yard gain that firmly put Washington into field goal range
The Giants truly couldn’t get out of their own way. This is a game that New York had in the bag and the offense actually looked pretty strong. Instead, they wasted a solid performance by QB Daniel Jones who finished with 249 passing yards, 95 rushing yards and a touchdown through the air and one on the ground.
If you want to dig deeper on the game, check out takeaways from our NFL scribes right here.
2. Which American League teams will claim Wild Card spots? ⚾
There are just a little over two weeks remaining in the 2021 MLB season. But despite only a limited number of games left on the schedule, both of the American League Wild Card spots are very much up for grabs. The Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays are all just separated by a half-game — with the Yankees currently on the outside looking in.
The Blue Jays have been one of the most impressive teams in baseball as of late. Toronto has won 16 of its last 19 games and just took two games in a three-game set against their AL East rival Tampa Bay Rays. With a lineup that features the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Marcus Siemen, and Bo Bichette, the Blue Jays are easily one of the most dangerous teams in the playoff race.
It’s going to come down to how the Blue Jays’ pitching staff performs down the stretch and potentially in the postseason. If Jose Berrios can live up to the big price tag that Toronto surrendered to get him at the trade deadline, this is a team that I wouldn’t want to play in October.
Our CBS Sports baseball scribes seem to be in complete agreement that the Blue Jays will definitely earn one of those Wild Card spots.
- R.J. Anderson: “A few weeks ago, I said the Blue Jays were the most likely team on the fringe to go on a run. Sure enough, they have. I buy them hanging in there because they have one of the best run differential in the game thanks to one of the majors’ top lineups. As for the other spot, I still lean the Yankees. The Red Sox have a better run differential, but their COVID outbreak has left them in a weakened state.”
- Mike Axisa: “I think the Blue Jays might be the best team in the American League right now. Their end-of-season record won’t reflect it and it doesn’t mean they’re guaranteed to make a deep postseason run, but it’s a powerhouse offense with four above-average starters (arguably five) and enough arms in the bullpen to figure it out. They’re on one of those ‘I have no idea how anyone will stop this team’ runs, so I’ll say they host the Wild Card Game.”
- Matt Snyder: “The Blue Jays just feel too dangerous right now to do anything but put them in the first wild-card spot (and a serious threat to come out of the AL at this point, but that’s a different discussion for a different day). That offense is just so ferocious that an entire game could swing with seemingly no notice … For the second spot … neither the Yankees nor the Red Sox seem ready to run away with things, though, so let’s call it a tie. We’ll see Gerrit Cole vs. either Nathan Eovaldi or Chris Sale in a Game 163 playoff to see who gets Robbie Ray in the Wild Card Game the next night.”
3. How much longer does Tom Brady want to play? 🏈
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady really seems to be an ageless wonder. Following his lengthy career with the New England Patriots, and coming off a Super Bowl winning season in Tampa, Brady still has no interest in retiring.
Now, Brady is certainly no spring chicken at 44 years old, but he clearly doesn’t have any intentions to retire anytime soon. In a video segment on the Buccaneers’ Twitter account, Brady and teammate Rob Gronkowski tackled some internet questions from fans. In this video, Brady was asked whether he could play until he is 50 years old. Brady’s response may not have been what most people expected.
- Brady: “Wow. Seems to be a really hot question lately. ‘Can Tom Brady play until 50? Like, 50 years old? Fifty.’ I don’t find it so difficult. Plus, in Florida, it’s kind of a retiree state, so I feel like I can play and then just glide into retirement. I think I can. I think it’s a yes.”
When most players hit 40 — or even their late 30s for that matter — they start to break down and become shells of their former selves. However, we haven’t seen anything of that sort from Brady.
Even at 44 years old, Brady remains one of the league’s top passers and has helped vault the Buccaneers into the league’s upper echelon of teams. I don’t think that Brady will make it to 50 still playing, but another two or three years wouldn’t shock me.
4. Explaining the ‘mediocrity treadmill’ as the NBA’s path to contention 🏀
It’s tough to compete for a championship in the NBA. Back in 2011, Indiana Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard coined the term of the “mediocrity treadmill” to describe how teams were winning, but not contending for any NBA titles. Even now, many teams around the NBA sign high-profile players to big contracts, but these players aren’t considered superstars.
For example, the Chicago Bulls followed this model this past offseason. The team signed the likes of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball, who are very productive NBA players, but don’t fit the mold of a superstar. DeRozan could probably be categorized as a fringe star and he’ll complement Chicago’s roster in a positive way. However, I think these additions make the Bulls a top four or five seed in the Eastern Conference at best.
I’d still take the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Atlanta Hawks over the Bulls at this point. The Miami Heat and the Bulls are neck-in-neck after both teams made solid moves in the offseason.
CBS Sports NBA scribe Sam Quinn dove into the concept of the “mediocrity treadmill” and how it has affected several teams around the league.
- On how teams spent their money this past offseason: “Only three teams spent more than $200 million on free agents: … Knicks, Bulls and Heat. Yet none of the players they signed made the 2021 All-Star Game. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan have in the past, but now in their mid-30s, are likely beyond that stage in their careers. These ambitious, big-market vultures aren’t just hopping on this apparent treadmill, they’re paying out the nose for the privilege. Vegas odds place the Knicks and Bulls squarely in the play-in round despite their lavish spending. Caesars Sportsbook pegs the Knicks at 41.5 wins, a ninth-place Eastern Conference finish, while the Bulls are only game higher at 42.5 projected wins. That ties them with the Indiana Pacers for seventh.”
- On the advantage that big-market teams have: “More aggressive big-market teams should suit their less-glamorous opponents just fine. It’s less competition in the race to the bottom that they have little choice about competing in. But it could also turn out to be yet another route to contention available to some teams more than others. Big-market teams routinely nab stars when they top the standings. They have just as much access to them as everyone else from the bottom. And now? They’re trying to co-opt all of the space in between.”
📝 Odds & Ends
📺 What to watch this weekend
⚾ Dodgers vs. Reds, 7:10 p.m. | LAD -160 | TV: MLB.TV
🏈 Central Florida vs. Louisville, 7:30 p.m. | UCF -6.5 | TV: ESPN
🏈 Maryland vs. Illinois, 9 p.m. | MD -7 | TV: FS1
🏈 No. 1 Alabama vs. No. 11 Florida, 3:30 p.m. | ALA -14.5 | TV: CBS
🏈 No. 22 Auburn vs. No. 10 Penn State, 7:30 p.m. | PSU -6 | TV: ABC
⚾ Padres vs. Cardinals, 7:15 p.m. | TV: MLB.TV
🏈 Bills vs. Dolphins, 1 p.m. | BUF -3 | TV: FOX
🏈 Titans vs. Seahawks, 4:25 p.m. | SEA -6 | TV: CBS
🏈 Chiefs vs. Ravens, 8:20 p.m. | KC -3.5 | TV: NBC
🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet
The National League East is the most pathetic division in baseball and I say that as a Philadelphia Phillies fan. Whoever takes the division crown will be headed for an early exit in the postseason. Without a doubt, the New York Mets are the most underwhelming team in the division and they just keep digging a deeper hole.
On Thursday, Mets owner Steve Cohen tweeted his displeasure about an article that was written in the New York Post concerning front office turmoil. Cohen offered fans that guessed the writer’s source tickets to watch a future Mets game with him. Cohen just needs to stay off of Twitter and stop tweeting like the average fan. It’s not doing him any favors.