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Happy Friday, everyone! Whether you've been up for hours watching or are just waking up (and obviously reading this newsletter as the first thing you do), our live coverage of the 2023 Ryder Cup is up and running. We'll have you covered all weekend, so make sure you know as the United States looks to retain the Cup and break a 30-year drought on European soil.
Now let's get right to it.
🦁 Good morning to everyone but especially ...
THE DETROIT LIONS
These are not your father's Detroit Lions. In fact, they're not even last year's Lions. They're much, much better, and the Packers found that out the hard way. Behind a game-wrecking defense and an efficient offense, Detroit throttled Green Bay, 34-20.
- It's the Lions' second-largest win at Green Bay in the last 40 years.
- After Jared Goff was intercepted on the third play from scrimmage and the Packers hit a field goal, Detroit ripped off 27 straight points to take control.
- David Montgomery racked up 121 yards and three scores on the ground. He's the first Lions player with that stat line since Barry Sanders in 1998. Not bad!
- The defense terrorized Jordan Love all night, sacking him five times and picking him off twice.
The Lions are 11-3 since Week 9 last year. Only the 49ers, Chiefs and Bengals are better. The offense is awesome and creative -- enjoy it now, Lions fans, because coordinator Ben Johnson should be a head coach next year. The defense is awesome and improving. The 243 yards rushing they have allowed are their fewest through four games since at least 1950.
I'm thoroughly impressed by this organization.
- Goff is playing better than anyone expected he would when he was viewed as a toss-in as part of the Matthew Stafford trade. Credit him, Johnson and a terrific offensive line.
- Recent draft picks Aidan Hutchinson and Amon-Ra St. Brown are already stars. Rookie Sam LaPorta might be next: His 22 receptions are most by a tight end through four career games.
- Dan Campbell has reinvigorated a long-downtrodden franchise.
Last year, the Lions were a nice story. This year, they're a juggernaut, and they're coming for more.
😎 Honorable mentions
- Jack Maloney says the Damian Lillard the Bucks' biggest problem.
- Five-star 2024 athlete Terry Bussey Texas A&M.
- The Orioles signed a .
- Never give up on your dreams: The Steelers punter Brad Wing, who hasn't been in the NFL since 2017.
- This is still a good dog.
😨 And not such a good morning for ...
THE GREEN BAY PACKERS
I'll be quick here: Every team has issues. The Packers' issues -- on full display Thursday night -- are concerning.
- Love was wildly inconsistent. That shouldn't be unexpected for such a young player, but the inaccuracy (14.4% off-target rate, 29th out of 34 quarterbacks this season) is a big problem. The interceptions had been coming: Love only had one through three weeks but also had three would-be interceptions dropped.
- The blame can't go to Love alone. The offensive line was a mess: Left tackle David Bakhtiari with a nagging knee issue, and left guard Elgton Jenkins also missed the game with a knee injury. That left 2022 seven-rounder Rasheed Walker and backup Royce Newman on that side. It got ugly early and often.
- Due to the early deficit, Green Bay's running backs received only 10 carries. On the other side, the Packers couldn't stop the run at all.
The formula for Green Bay must feature running the ball, hitting passes when the run game opens things up and leaning on a solid offensive line and defense. None of those ingredients were present Thursday, and a bad loss to a division rival was the result.
👎 Not so honorable mentions
- Ousted coach Mel Tucker is against Michigan State.
- As I wrote yesterday, and as James Herbert
, the Trail Blazers what the Heat had to offer for Lillard.
- Sorry, Phillies fans, but you can't bring an alligator to a baseball game as an emotional support animal.
- Bryce Harper .
- Someone Terry Francona's beloved scooter just days before the Guardians' skipper calls it a career.
- Curt Schilling shared Tim Wakefield's health information .
- Andrei Vasilevskiy (
) will miss the first two months of the season.
🏈 NFL Week 4 picks and previews: Reunions and revenge games
One is an incident. Two is a coincidence. Three is a pattern. Four is ... well, whatever it is, it's another crucial week in the NFL. Sunday's action starts across the pond with Falcons-Jaguars in London as Calvin Ridley goes against his former team in one of several notable revenge situations.
The clear headliner is Dolphins-Bills, a matchup Tua Tagovailoa has not seen much of recently. Heand , though he returned to the game . Tagovailoa also , which Buffalo won. Can Tua reverse his tough luck? :
- Breech: "This game is giving us the unstoppable force (Miami's offense) against the immovable object (Buffalo's defense). ... When Josh Allen plays the Dolphins, he is the unstoppable force AND the immovable object. I don't even know if that makes sense, but if there is one thing that does make sense, it's Allen beating the Dolphins. The pick: Bills 34-31 over Dolphins"
Sunday night, Welcome To New York: We're, this time as the Chiefs visit the Jets. A long-distance trip already?! Things are getting serious between Swift and Travis Kelce. In New York, Zach Wilson continues to be the Jets' Anti-Hero. Can Wilson Shake It Off and end all the Bad Blood with a stunner?
Here are our experts' picks:
| | | |
As for some more reunion/revenge games ...
- Ezekiel Elliott says when he faces the Cowboys.
- Adam Thielen faces the Vikings.
- Jadeveon Clowney goes against the Browns ... and Odell Beckham Jr. might, too.
- Marshon Lattimore vs. Mike Evans is always entertaining ... and Jameis Winston could face his former team with Derek Carr (shoulder) hurting.
- Fresh off a record-setting weekend, Matt Gay faces the Rams. Kicker revenge!
🏈 College football Week 5 picks: USC-Colorado, plus four top 25 matchups
Colorado fans were understandably on cloud nine through three games. Last week's blowout loss to Oregon brought them back to Earth. And speaking of Earth, the Buffaloes face the best college quarterback on it this weekend: Caleb Williams leads No. 8 USC into Boulder to take on Deion Sanders' bunch ( ). There are also four top 25 matchups on the slate.
- No. 10 Utah at No. 19 Oregon State ( )
- No. 24 Kansas at No. 3 Texas ( )
- No. 13 LSU at No. 20 Ole Miss ( )
- No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 17 Duke ( )
dissects the Fighting Irish and the Blue Devils.
- Fornelli: "Notre Dame did one of the best jobs I've ever seen a defense do of limiting Emeka Egbuka and Marvin Harrison Jr. ... This secondary should keep the Duke passing game in check. On the other side, my thought is that Notre Dame can use its offensive line to lean on Duke's defense and wear them down over the course of 60 minutes. The Pick: Notre Dame -5.5"
As for LSU-Ole Miss, Barrett Sallee calls this a. Barrett has , and Will Backus has .
⚾ Braves clinch home-field advantage, Orioles clinch AL East
The October road goes through Atlanta. The Braves 5-3 win over the free-falling Cubs. Atlanta first took hold of MLB's best record July 1 and has maintained it since. The Braves will be making their sixth straight playoff appearance.with their
As for a new team on the scene, the Orioles' new era had been a long time coming. Now, it's undoubtedly here. Baltimore 2-0.by beating the Red Sox,
- From 2015-21, the Orioles went 423-609, the worst record in MLB.
- But Baltimore absolutely converted in the draft: Adley Rutschman (first round, 2019) and Gunnar Henderson (second round, 2019) are already stars at 25 and 22, respectively.
- The Orioles' top 10 players in WAR are all under 30.
- Add that to more young talent upcoming and the , writes Matt Snyder.
Finally, the Rangers failed to clinch a postseason berth last night, coming up one out short against the Mariners after J.P. Crawford's. Seattle's postseason hopes, which looked nearly dead in the water before Crawford's hit, are very much alive.
📺 What we're watching this weekend
⛳ The 2023 Ryder Cup ... all weekend.
🏀 Liberty at Sun, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN2
🏈 No. 10 Utah at No. 19 Oregon State, 9 p.m. on FS1
🏀 Aces at Wings, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN2
🏈 No. 8 USC at Colorado, Noon on Fox
🏈 No. 1 Georgia at Auburn, 3:30 p.m. on CBS, Paramount+
🏈 No. 24 Kansas at No. 3 Texas, 3:30 p.m. on ABC
🏈 No. 13 LSU at No. 20 Ole Miss, 6 p.m. on ESPN
⚾ Red Sox at Orioles OR Rangers at Mariners, 7:15 p.m. on Fox
🏈 No. 11 Notre Dame at No. 17 Duke, 7:30 p.m. on ABC
🏈 Falcons vs. Jaguars (in London), 9:30 a.m. on ESPN+
🏈 Dolphins at Bills, 1 p.m. on CBS, Paramount+
🏈 Ravens at Browns, 1 p.m. on CBS, Paramount+
🏀 Liberty at Sun, 3 p.m. on ABC
🏈 Patriots at Cowboys, 4:25 p.m. on Fox
🏈 Chiefs at Jets, 8:20 p.m. on NBC
🏀 Aces at Wings (if necessary), 9 p.m. on ESPN