Well hello, Friday! We've blazed through this week and now get our reward -- a weekend with plenty of sports to enjoy. After a day off yesterday, we've got the World Series back tonight... and tomorrow... and the day after that. We've also got college football, including the return of the Big Ten and Mountain West. Mix in a little golf, UFC 254 and NFL? Well, you've got a packed schedule, pal.
But before you get too ahead of yourself, we've got one more morning together so don't switch to weekend pants (or lack thereof) just yet. Let's make this last one count.
📰 What you need to know
Well, we kind of figured that last night's Thursday Night Football matchup between the Giants and Eagles would be a mess... and boy oh boy were we ever right. Luckily, it turned out to be a hilarious mess that was quite fun to laugh at as long as you weren't rooting for either team involved.
Ultimately, the Eagles rallied for 12 unanswered points over the final six minutes of play to earn a 22-21 win over the G-Men, but it wasn't exactly a win that Philly should feel great about. (The Giants, meanwhile, deserve to feel absolutely TERRIBLE for letting that game slip away.)
Against my better judgement, let's take a look at the takeaways:
- Why the Eagles won: They did not play well and were slightly less bad than the guys on the other side. Philly gave up 160 yards on the ground and had inconsistent offensive line play. Their passing game was weak most of the night. The running game was non-existent. But with all that being said, Carson Wentz made some huge throws in crunch time and went 5 for 6 for 121 yards and two touchdowns on the Eagles' final two drives -- including a beautiful game-winning strike to true short king Boston Scott
- Why the Giants lost: New York looked decent for most of the game and the defense played great... until the final few drives. They allowed scoring drives of 68 and 75 yards on just 10 total plays late in the fourth quarter to gift Philadelphia the win. Also, Evan Engram could have sealed the Giants' win but he dropped a great pass from Daniel Jones on third down late in the game
The NFC East continues to be a burning clown car on three wheels, huh? There may not be a better singular example of the division's hilarity than the incredible Jones run that birthed a thousand jokes last night. Jones ripped off a thrilling 80-yard run that looked like it was going to be a surefire touchdown until he tripped all over himself in the open field and let the Eagles smother him just shy of the finish line. Even though the Giants did score on that drive, that play was essentially a metaphor for the game as a whole.
At this point, I'm stuck between saying I hope we're never subjected to a primetime game like that ever again and wanting a rematch every week just for the laughs.
2. Get ready for the return of the Big Ten 🏈
We've got plenty of college football awaiting us once again this weekend, though this next few days will bring a bit more action than we've been used to lately. That's because we'll see the much anticipated return of the Big Ten as the conference opens up its season. (The Mountain West will also be returning this weekend as well.)
Just to recap: The Big Ten initially voted to cancel the 2020 season and delay play until Spring 2021. But internal and external pushback ultimately led to the conference agreeing to an abbreviated 2020 season that will see them attempt to play an eight-game regular season in just eight weeks. The big question right now is whether anyone (or anything) will be able to derail a top-tier Ohio State squad that is currently ranked No. 6 as they head into their first game against Nebraska. Our experts have examined the conference top-to-bottom and made picks/predictions for this season. Let's take a look at some of the takeaways:
- Most overrated team: The Michigan Wolverines were the most popular choice. There's always hype surrounding the Michigan brand but there's also been turnover in Ann Arbor and Jim Harbaugh is yet to lead this team to the heights expected of him. Our David Cobb even thinks that this will be Harbaugh's last season as Michigan's coach
- Most underrated team: Several members of our crew are looking at Indiana as this year's most underrated. Indiana went 8-4 during the regular season last year, with three of those four losses coming against Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State. If they were in the Big Ten West, they'd probably be considered a division title contender
- Bumps in the road: With the delayed start and an intent on staying CFP eligible, the conference hasn't left much room for error with regards to its schedule. A few of our experts expect that the year won't go exactly as planned -- Jerry Palm believes most teams won't play more than seven games and Dennis Dodd thinks the Big Ten will "get left out of the playoff because either Ohio State will suffer some unforeseen upset and/or COVID-19 will have a significant impact on the league"
Even if you're not entirely confident about the Big Ten being able to run this season without any complications, it is exciting to have more college football on our plate every Friday and Saturday for the next couple of months -- especially when football is going to be our only major constant.
3. NFL makes changes to Week 7 schedule 🏈
Here we are again, needing to talk about some changes to the NFL schedule. That's unfortunately become somewhat of a tradition at this point thanks to COVID-19 infiltrating teams around the league, and we've got a few shifting parts as we approach the bulk of the Week 7 slate.
- After Las Vegas' possible exposure to coronavirus this week, Sunday night's Raiders-Buccaneers game has been shifted to Sunday afternoon at 4:05 p.m.
- The Seahawks-Cardinals matchup has been moved from Sunday afternoon to Sunday night as a replacement
- According to the NFL's press release, these decisions were made to ensure that a game would be available for fans on Sunday night
In case you missed out on how we got here, Jon Gruden sent all five of the Raiders' starting offensive lineman home on Wednesday after they had been in close contact with Trent Brown, who was placed on the reserve/COVID list.
Obviously, it'd be nice if we didn't have to keep messing around with the schedule on a weekly basis but I suppose these are the times we're living in and it beats not having a Sunday night viewing option. Plus, Russ versus Kyler? Not the worst backup plan.
4. Tiger Woods has perplexing opening round at Zozo 🏌
Hey, we've also got golf this weekend! The 2020 Zozo Championship got underway with Round 1 yesterday and we've got some surprising results on the leaderboard after 18 holes -- including a very bad performance by Tiger Woods.
- Sebastian Munoz shot a 64 with two eagles and has sole possession of the lead at -8
- Tyrrell Hatton and Justin Thomas are just behind Munoz at -7
- Woods had a disastrous opening round and sits near the bottom of the leaderboard (T76 at +4) after Day 1 of his title defense at Zozo
- Our Kyle Porter, on Woods' opening round: "The part I don't understand here is how he could look so good and hit the ball so poorly. Normally when Woods' irons are off -- he finished 75th in strokes gained on approach shots on Thursday -- it's because the body is not allowing him to do what he wants. And yet, it doesn't appear that there's anything wrong with him right now."
Not only does Tiger's brutal Thursday basically guarantee he won't be repeating in the event, it also brings up some questions and concerns about his game as he looks to defend at the Masters in three weeks. Then again, even if he isn't looking great as he heads into Masters, we all know that Tiger is extremely unpredictable, for better and for worse, at this point in his career so maybe it doesn't even matter.
📝 Odds & Ends
- Former 49ers defensive lineman Dana Stubblefield has been sentenced to 15 years to life for rape
- Sonics legend Shawn Kemp is getting ready to open a cannabis shop in Seattle
- The NHL has canceled the 2021 Winter Classic and All-Star Game
📺 What to watch this weekend
⚾ Dodgers vs. Rays, 8:08 p.m. | LA -150 | TV: FOX
🏈 No. 20 Michigan vs. No. 25 Minnesota, 7:30 p.m. | MIN +3 | TV: ABC
⚾ Dodgers vs. Rays, 8:08 p.m. | TV: FOX
🏈 Steelers vs. Titans, 1:00 p.m. | TEN -1 | TV: CBS
⚾ Dodgers vs. Rays, 8:08 p.m. | TV: FOX
🏈 Seahawks vs. Cardinals, 8:20 p.m. | ARI +3 | TV: NBC
📝 Top scores from last night
Philadelphia scored 12 unanswered points in the final six minutes of the fourth quarter to rally for the win.
💵 Winning Wagers: NYG +5, Under (44.5)
App State QB Zac Thomas had five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) in the W.
💵 Winning Wagers: APLST -13.5, Under (69.5)