Welcome back, friend, to the CBS Sports HQ newsletter (and if you're not signed up, go do that here)! Congrats on surviving the Sunday Scaries yesterday. If you spent the weekend apple-picking, counting the different colors of leaves, baking absurdly tall apple pies or any other unnecessary, basic fall activity instead of watching sports ... just know you missed out, and I'm disappointed in you. But it's Monday, and I will get you up to speed nonetheless.
As for myself, I enjoyed the sports with a side of "Hubie Halloween" -- a movie with impossibly low expectations that somehow tricked me into enjoying all its utter nonsense. Would recommend if you've got time to waste and an itch to turn your brain off -- and at this rate, that should be all of us.
Okay, sports? Sports, indeed.
📰 What you need to know
1. Dodgers punch World Series ticket ⚾
So, you remember those jokes I made at the expense of the Dodgers when they were down 3-1 in the NLCS last week? Shhhh, no you don't.
We had ourselves a Game 7 last night and, hey, wouldn't you know it -- the Dodgers are heading back to the World Series for the third time in four years. Los Angeles beat the Braves, 4-3, in that NLCS finale, completing the impressive series comeback with their third consecutive win. It was a pretty awesome Game 7 too -- there were plenty of dramatics, and it was so pressure-packed that it felt mentally and physically draining even just to watch.
Here are some of the big takeaways:
- Bellinger's big blow: The Dodgers didn't hold a lead until the seventh inning, when Cody Bellinger delivered a solo moonshot off Chris Martin (the Braves pitcher, not the Coldplay guy) to put Los Angeles up 4-3. And he did so in iconic fashion -- bat-flipping and strutting his way out of the box. He may have gotten a little carried away with the showmanship, though, as he appeared to pop his shoulder out of place during the celebration
- Baserunning cost the Braves: After reclaiming a lead in the fourth inning, the Braves were threatening with men on second and third and no outs when a horrible baserunning blunder ended with a double-play as both runners in scoring position ran into outs.
- Betts does it again with the glove: Not only did the Braves hurt themselves on the base paths, but Mookie Betts also took an additional run off the scoreboard with his glove. Yep, yet another impressive robbery at the wall for Betts, this one coming off the bat of Freddie Freeman.
Now the Dodgers will meet the Rays in the World Series, meaning we'll either see the former shed their postseason demons and capture their first World Series since 1988 or the latter win their first-ever title. Either way, one city is going to win its second championship in a matter of months (thanks to the Lakers and Lightning).
And as for the Braves, well, there's good reason to believe the best is still yet to come for that team, but once again we can only blame ourselves for believing that an Atlanta sports team might hold onto a big lead and avoid ripping their own heart out.
2. Brady shows up Rodgers 🏈
We only had a couple of later afternoon viewing options in the NFL yesterday, but one of them was a big-time headliner: Tom Brady's Buccaneers versus Aaron Rodgers' Packers. Two of the greatest quarterbacks the game has ever seen going head-to-head? That'll always put asses in the seats. (Figuratively speaking of course because ... well, you know.)
Unfortunately, though, that game didn't quite live up to the hype from a competitive standpoint. Green Bay jumped out to a 10-0 lead, but the Buccaneers would go on to score the next 38 points unanswered and roll straight over the Packers. Here's what you gotta know, courtesy of Cody Benjamin:
- Why the Buccaneers won: They pressured and perplexed Rodgers, forcing him into uncharacteristic, costly mistakes that took Green Bay out of the game. Meanwhile, Brady wasn't amazing or anything (17-for-25 for 166 yards), but he was efficient and did have two touchdowns with no interceptions.
- Why the Packers lost: It certainly wasn't Rodgers' finest hour on Sunday. He went 16-for-35 for 160 yards with zero touchdowns and his first two interceptions of the season. The running game was almost nonexistent too, and the defense left a lot to be desired.
Considering Rodgers came into the matchup as a league MVP candidate, yesterday's game was pretty disappointing. The only real highlight of his day was the McCringleberry he hit after scoring a touchdown that wasn't really a touchdown but should have been touchdown.
Oh, it should also be noted that one of Brady's touchdowns went to Rob Gronkowski, giving Gronk his first touchdown since coming out of retirement. As a Patriots fan, I knew that first one was gonna hurt, but it hurt a little extra considering how the Pats played yesterday.
3. NFL Week 6 notes 🏈
Of course, this weekend's NFL slate had plenty more than just Brady and Rodgers, so we should probably spend a little time on the action from around the rest of the league too. As always, our NFL crew was hard at work breaking down every game and you can find grades for each and every team right here.
- Derrick Henry shows he's worth the money: The value of star running backs has seemed to plummet over the past decade or so, with teams seeming less and less willing to pay RBs. However, that line of thinking doesn't apply to Derrick Henry, who continues to prove he's worth every penny as he carries the Titans' offense. He destroyed the Texans with 264 total yards on Sunday as Tennessee improved to 5-0 with a 42-36 overtime win.
- The Patriots need practice: The Titans have looked impressive coming off their COVID-19 outbreak, but the same couldn't be said for the Patriots on Sunday. New England hosted an inferior Broncos team but looked like a total mess all day and lost 18-12 to drop to below .500.
- Stop calling the Bears "lucky": Chicago got a 23-16 win over the Panthers this weekend to improve to 5-1, and maybe it's time to start giving them their due respect. They've got safe quarterback play and an elite defense, and they continue to prove that that's good enough to find success.
4. CFP projections -- already 🏈
This very strange college football season continues to chug along, and we had some big games over the weekend -- none bigger than Alabama-Georgia. In a strange (and somewhat curious) twist of fate, Nick Saban got to coach Saturday after all, and the Crimson Tide scored a big 41-24 win over the Bulldogs. Also, Clemson beat the snot out of Georgia Tech, 73-7.
Those two victors sit atop the college football world at the moment, but we've officially got the Big Ten (and Mountain West) entering the mix this week. The Big Ten will kick off its 2020 schedule this weekend, with a big matchup between Ohio State and Nebraska among the headliners in the opening week.
With that in mind, now might be a good time to check out Jerry Palm's college football bowl projections to see where we stand:
The Ducks, huh? They won't be taking the field for another three weeks, but Palm is giving them that spot because he projects them to finish 7-0, and the CFP Selection Committee has yet to leave an undefeated major-conference team out of the playoff.
It's exciting to think we've only gotten a minor taste of college football so far this fall. Time to buckle up as more conferences enter the fray.
📝 Odds & Ends
- The Astros are toast (too bad, so sad) but what's next? They've got plenty of questions surrounding them.
- New college football Top 25 poll? You betcha.
- Check out the early waiver wire for a Fantasy leg up, with Gio Bernard and Boston Scott topping the list.
- It wasn't all good news for the Titans, as start offensive tackle Taylor Lewan reportedly may have torn his ACL.
📺 What to watch tonight
🏈 Chiefs vs. Bills, 5:00 p.m. | BUF +5 | TV: NFLN
🏈 Cardinals vs. Cowboys, 8:15 p.m. | DAL PK | TV: ESPN
📝 Top scores from last night
Julio Urias shut the door on Atlanta and earned the win in Game 7 with three perfect innings out of the pen.
💵 Winning Wagers: LA -155, Under (8.5)
Fresh off a tough week, Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 268 yards and three touchdowns in the win
💵 Winning Wagers: SF +113, Under (51.5)