Tuesday, December 7 2021
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Hello sports fans, it’s Shanna McCarriston for my final newsletter of the week. I’m wishing you all a happy start to fall!  Yes, summer is my favorite, so I’m sad it’s coming to an end, but when it comes to sports fall is undefeated, so I’m not too sad with the transition. Plus, (I’m biased, but) fall in New England is beautiful. 

Today we have a lot to get to, starting with a preview of the Thursday Night Football game between the Texans and Panthers. I am taking Carolina here for sure, and will explain why below.

We will also discuss drama in the Timberwolves’ front office, the Ryder Cup and more. Let’s get to it.


📰 What you need to know

1. Thursday Night Football preview: Can the Panthers stay hot? 🏈

Tonight the Houston Texans take on the Carolina Panthers at NRG Stadium and we all get to see if the 2-0 away team can continue their winning streak. Of note, this will be the Panthers’ first road game of the year. They’ve defeated both the New York Jets and New Orleans Saints at home.

On the other side of the ball, the Texans won their season opener at home against the Jacksonville Jaguars and lost to the Browns in Cleveland last week.

In the Texans’ Week 2 loss, quarterback Tyrod Taylor suffered a hamstring injury. Rookie Davis Mills will be making the start under center tonight after going in for the injured QB1 last week. Mills gave a solid performance, but will be challenged by the Panthers defense, especially with the added pressure of his first NFL start.

Sam Darnold will be leading the offense for the Panthers and, while things didn’t go too well for him while he was on the Jets, so far it is a different story in Carolina. I’m interested to see how he plays on the road with his new squad.

If you’re placing bets on this game, we have you covered. Here are several NFL lines and trends for Texans vs. Panthers:

  • Texans vs. Panthers spread: Carolina -8
  • Texans vs. Panthers over-under: 43 points
  • Texans vs. Panthers money line: Carolina -400, Houston +310
  • Panthers have covered seven straight road games
  • Texans are 4-0 against the spread in their last four contests as underdogs

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco, who gives us weekly picks, says Houston can keep this one close, predicting a final score of 21-19 with a Carolina win. I think the Panthers will take this one, but it won’t be that close.

2. Timberwolves fire president of basketball operations Gersson Rosas 🏀

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After two years, the Minnesota Timberwolves announced yesterday they are parting ways with President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas ahead of the 2021-22 season. According to reports, the Wolves plan to make EVP of Basketball Operations Sachin Gupta the interim head of basketball operations.

With the promotion, Gupta becomes the first person of Indian-origin to run an NBA organization. The team reportedly plans to conduct a search for someone to permanently replace Rosas.

  • The team’s statement on the firing: “Today, the Minnesota Timberwolves parted ways with President of Basketball Operations Gersson Rosas. As an organization, we remain committed to building a winning team that our fans and city can be proud of.”  

Rosas joined Minnesota in 2019 to replace Tom Thibodeau as Minnesota’s President of Basketball Operations and the Timberwolves finished 14th and 13th in the Western Conference during Rosas’ time there.

The timing is very surprising, given how far along in the offseason we are. Even some players were confused. Karl-Anthony Towns tweeted an honest — and funny — reaction to the news shortly after it was announced.

3. Sizing up the NFL’s 0-2 and 2-0 teams 🏈

Sometimes the first two weeks of the NFL season is an accurate telling of what the rest of the season holds, but often levels of success can change drastically. We’re going to attempt to get to the bottom of it, by determining which 0-2 teams still have life, which ones have no chance, which 2-0 teams could fall off and which ones can sustain the success.

Our NFL scribe Jason La Canfora says that, of those 0-2 teams, the Colts are in a must-win situation in Week 3 and, despite their shortcomings, have enough to overcome consecutive losses. Quarterback Carson Wentz is injured but the team’s offensive line and their front seven is solid enough.

Discussing the Vikings, he notes that the team always seems to find a way to lose and their next game against the Seahawks won’t be any easier

The biggest surprise 2-0 team are the Raiders and no one should be sleeping on them going forward, especially with critical wins already out of the way. Staying out west, the NFC West has been making their case for best division in football with three 2-0 teams and a solid 1-1 Seahawks team.

4. Picks, predictions, paths to victory for both sides in the Ryder Cup ⛳

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The Ryder Cup is a difficult event to predict. There are 28 “games” played in the Ryder Cup and, as such, it is more complex to predict the winner than a series in other sports simply because of how many ways the event can end up turning out.

There are numerous ways that the United States can get the 14.5 points needed for them to win the Ryder Cup and likewise for Europe’s possible path to the 14 points they need to retain it

While we don’t know the Day 1 pairings yet, our golf expert Kyle Porter is going to break all of this down and explain how both sides can win.

United States

  • Having depth doesn’t mean each pairing should play the same number of matches
  • The winning team in eight of the last nine Ryder Cups has won Day 3, so note Sunday’s importance
  • As such, they should leverage their youth on Sunday
  • Be willing to flex out of a pairing that plans to play each match

Europe

  • Someone unexpected needs to come up big, with eyes potentially on Viktor Hovland
  • Keep it close to tied going into Sunday, if they’re down 2-3 like in 2016 it means trouble
  • Steal single points from lesser players

Europe won the 42nd Ryder Cup (in 2019. The 2020 event was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and comes in with a strong top of their roster, but will struggle towards the bottom of their roster. The United States on the other hand has an advantage with their depth.

As for our team of experts’ picks for this international event? All of them have the United State winning.


📝 Odds & Ends


📺 What to watch tonight

⚾ Mariners vs. Athletics, 3:37 p.m. | OAK -153 | TV: MLB.TV

⚾ Giants vs. Padres, 4:10 p.m. | SD +101 | TV: MLB.TV

🏈 Panthers vs.Texans, 8:20 p.m. | HOU +8 | TV. NFLN


🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet

Kelvin Davis, 62, from Alabama is proof that you should never give up on your dreams. The basketball player, who is … slightly older than most who play professionally … is trying out out for the NBA G-League

He said he believes he can accomplish anything he puts his mind to, and has been putting in the work. Before this, he became the oldest player in the American Basketball Association.

Source: CBSSports.com

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