Friday, January 28 2022
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Happy Friday, sports fans! What a weekend of sports we have coming up.

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

NFL FANS EVERYWHERE

Rejoice! Super Wild Card Weekend is upon us! Of course, that means Pete Prisco’s picks are here, too. There are two games this weekend that stand out to me, starting with Patriots at Bills (Saturday, 8:15 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+). Here’s what Prisco thinks:

  • Prisco: “New England won the first meeting in a wind storm in early December, while the Bills dominated the Pats at their place in late December. The weather is expected to be cold, but not that windy. That means Josh Allen can have success throwing the football. The Patriots haven’t been the same team on the road, especially quarterback Mac Jones. Look for the Bills to take away the run and dare him to beat them. … He won’t. PickBills 30, Patriots 17

I agree with that pick. I’m also keen on 49ers at Cowboys (Sunday, 4:30 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+). Here’s Prisco’s take:

  • Prisco: “The 49ers are the team nobody wanted to see in the playoffs. They are built to make a run. … The Dallas offense got back on track against the Eagles‘ JV team last week, but this is a much tougher challenge with the 49ers defensive line coming off a dominant performance last week against the Rams. … I think this is the upset of the week. Pick: 49ers 24, Cowboys 23

I have Dallas advancing here, but to each their own! We also have bold predictions from NFL expert Cody Benjamin and game picks from Tyler Sullivan and John Breech to get you ready for all of the action. Below is the entire NFL schedule for the weekend (and Monday):

SATURDAY

SUNDAY

MONDAY

Honorable mentions

  • The Bucks led the Warriors 77-38 at halftime — the Warriors’ largest halftime deficit since they moved to California — en route to a 118-99 win. Giannis Antetokounmpo dominated.

And not such a good morning for…

DAVID CULLEY

David Culley is out as the Texans’ head coach. The Texans went 4-13 in 2021, and that was a significant overachievement. Culley was thrown into the fire with a team lacking talent at many positions and a very difficult situation surrounding Deshaun Watson — a situation he handled very well, I might add.

Above all else, the Texans did not quit, and that’s what impressed me.

  • In Week 18, with nothing to play for, Houston competed with the AFC No. 1 seed Titans to the end, eventually falling 28-25.
  • Davis Mills, a third-round rookie, threw three touchdowns and vastly outperformed expectations throughout the season.
  • Culley clearly established a good culture for an organization that absolutely needed it, above all else. Listen to him speak after the season ended. It’s hard to imagine that Culley would have been retained even with a few more wins, though. He was set up to fail, and he deserved better, NFL analyst Adam Schein said on CBS Sports Network yesterday.

The Texans are now one of eight teams looking for a head coach this offseason, and NFL reporter Tyler Sullivan has a list of potential candidates. The issue, as Houston may find out, is that it’s not a particularly appealing job.

Houston is still years from competing, and Culley laid a foundation that was sorely needed for the downtrodden franchise. It’s unfortunate he won’t be able to continue to build it.

Not so honorable mentions

  • Novak Djokovic is facing deportation from Australia again. The country’s government has revoked his visa for a second time and, while it is not clear if he will be deported, the tennis star’s legal team is going to challenge the decision. Djokovic’s status in the tournament has been up in the air ever since the Australian government investigated the reason organizers gave him an exemption from being vaccinated against COVID-19. Now his chances to play are really in peril because his first match is scheduled for Monday.

What are the Knicks getting with Cam Reddish? 🏀

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Four weeks before the NBA trade deadline, we got our first big swap of the season. The Hawks are sending Cam Reddish to the Knicks for Kevin Knox and a protected 2022 draft pick. Atlanta also included Solomon Hill and a 2025 second-round pick in the deal.

Reddish is the focal point here. The 10th overall pick in 2019 has been inconsistent in his career, but he’s just 22. Given the potential we’ve seen at times, the Knicks earned a solid B+ trade grade from our NBA expert James Herbert:

  • Herbert: There’s an argument this should be an A-plus. If you believe there’s a decent chance that Reddish turns into a star, then trading a ‘first-round pick’ that could very well turn into two second-round picks for him is robbery. … If you’re a Reddish optimist, you can point to his scoring outbursts. … Reddish went 8-for-13 from deep and scored 33 points against the Chicago Bulls a couple of days after Christmas. Five days before that, he dropped 34 in 42 minutes against the Orlando Magic.

It’s important for Knicks fans to know what they are getting — and also what they’re not getting — here. Reddish is a solid shooter who has made 42 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes this season (a very respectable number) and a capable defender. He is not a guy who creates his own shot or creates for others. This season, Reddish has:

  • Shot 28 percent on pull-up 3s
  • Shot 30 percent on pull-up 2s
  • Shot 30 percent from midrange
  • Shot 57 percent at the rim
  • Averaged more turnovers per game (1.3) than assists per game (1.1)

Given that the Knicks have ball-dominant players in Julius Randle, Derrick Rose and Reddish’s former Duke teammate R.J. Barrett, Reddish shouldn’t be asked to do too much creating. If he is, that’s a bad sign.

The second part of this trade — and the especially important part for the Hawks — is the long-term outlook, as our NBA scribe Brad Botkin explained:

  • Botkin: “Reddish will help this team right away. And he could help in the future a lot more. But could is the operative term here. Reddish is eligible for a rookie extension this summer, and if he doesn’t sign it, he becomes a restricted free agent in 2023. That’s a big part of the reason the Hawks made this deal. Yes, they have a stable of young wings and Reddish’s departure makes it less crowded, but this is more about leverage in another deal to come.”

Whether Reddish stays in the Big Apple long-term or not, this is a good move.

Here’s how the NFL playoffs are going to play out… 🤯

This looks like the most wide-open NFL playoffs we’ve had in a while. There was no dominant team in the AFC — the No. 1 seed Titans had the conference’s sixth-best point differential — and in the NFC, the top-seeded Packers finished fifth in that category. Six teams have 10-to-1 odds or shorter to win it all, according to Caesars Sportsbook.

Lucky for us, we have NFL guru Jordan Dajani to sort through it all and tell us how it will all play out. I won’t give it away, but I’ll tell you that I agree with his Super Bowl pick.

What we’re watching this weekend 📺

Friday

🏀 Warriors at Bulls, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Mavericks at Grizzlies, 10 p.m. on ESPN

Saturday

🏀 No. 22 Tennessee at No. 18 Kentucky, 1 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 NC State at No. 8 Duke, 2 p.m. on ABC
🏈 Raiders at Bengals, 4:30 p.m. on NBC
🏈 Patriots at Bills, 8:15 p.m. on CBS and Paramount+

Sunday

🏈 Eagles at Buccaneers, 1 p.m. on FOX
🏀 No. 19 Kentucky at No. 5 Tennessee, 3 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 49ers at Cowboys, 4:30 p.m. on CBS, Nickelodeon and Paramount+
🏀 No. 11 Michigan at No. 8 Maryland, 5 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 Steelers at Chiefs, 8:15 p.m. on NBC

Source: CBSSports.com

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