Tennessee Titans v Green Bay Packers
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Good morning to everyone but especially to...

THE TENNESSEE TITANS

If you're still underrating the Titans, I don't know what more they can do to convince you. Tennessee beat Green Bay, 27-17, Thursday for its seventh win in eight games, and, as they do it so often, they did it on their terms.

If you can't stop Henry -- and many teams can't -- the Titans will feed him. That helps Tannehill play efficient football. The Titans have the second-best red zone offense this year, and the defense is very solid. Combine it all, and the Titans are a team no one will want to face down the stretch or in the playoffs.

... AND ALSO A GOOD MORNING TO AARON JUDGE AND PAUL GOLDSCHMIDT

All rise, Yankees fans... and hope it's not for the last time. Aaron Judge was named AL MVP on Thursday, receiving 28 of 30 first-place votes. Shohei Ohtani received the other two after yet another historic season.

  • Judge hit an AL-record 62 home runs, seventh-most in a season in MLB history.
  • Judge also hit .311, just barely missing out on the AL Triple Crown; Luis Arraez hit .316 to take the AL batting title.
  • This marks the 23rd time a Yankee has won AL MVP, but the first since Alex Rodriguez in 2007. He's the first Yankees outfielder to win it since Mickey Mantle in 1962.

Judge, of course, is a free agent. Whether he returns to the Bronx remains to be determined, but GM Brian Cashman said the team has made offers to Judge. Whatever contract Judge signs will be a big one, though there are many reasons why it may not age well. That doesn't matter, writes MLB expert Mike Axisa.

  • Axisa: "He turns 31 soon after Opening Day, so the contract figures to include a lot of decline years, plus he's 6-foot-7. There is very little track record of hitters that size having success in their 30s. ... Counterpoint: Comparing Judge to other players is folly because there are no other players like him. He's been an outlier his entire life and career because of his size, his athleticism, and his all-around baseball skills."

On the NL side, Paul Goldschmidt won his first career MVP award. He received 22 first-place votes, while Manny Machado got seven and Nolan Arenado got one. It's the 21st MVP award in Cardinals history and first since Albert Pujols in 2009. Our MLB expert Matt Snyder says the hardware is a huge boost for Goldschmidt's Hall-of-Fame chances.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for...

AARON RODGERS AND THE GREEN BAY PACKERS

We'll make this short and sweet. On Sunday, Aaron Rodgers led a 14-point comeback against the Cowboys and appeared to have rediscovered his magic late-game touch. Just days later, the clutch throws and big plays we've become so accustomed to were nowhere to be found, even when the Packers defense gave him plenty of chances.

Take the last three offensive drives of the game:

  • After Rasul Douglas picked off Tannehill, the Packers went three-and-out, with Rodgers missing a wide open Sammy Watkins on 3rd down.
  • After a Titans punt, the Packers immediately turned it over on downs, with Rodgers missing an open Allen Lazard on 3rd down and then seemingly miscommunicating with Lazard on 4th down.
  • Finally, in desperation mode late, Aaron Jones got stonewalled on a 4th-and-1, a fittingly unceremonious ending.

The Packers are 4-7. They've lost six of seven. Their hopes of any late-season rally -- already unlikely heading into Thursday -- are even dimmer now.

Not so honorable mentions

Week 11 NFL picks: Vikings seek another big win, huge Chiefs-Chargers showdown 🏈

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Coming off arguably the most impressive win by any team this season (beating the Bills in Buffalo), the Vikings have no time to rest on their laurels: They host the Cowboys this weekend.

Dallas is coming off a humbling loss to the Packers, and our NFL expert John Breech thinks one major weakness will be exposed.

  • Breech: "Justin Jefferson is so good that the Cowboys are going to have to do whatever they can to make sure he doesn't beat them, WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THE VIKINGS WANT. If the Cowboys are focused on Jefferson, that will open the door for Dalvin Cook to have a huge game... The pick: Vikings 27-24 over Cowboys"

In the AFC, the Chiefs just took over the top spot in the conference -- and the top spot in our NFL senior writer Pete Prisco's Power Rankings. But they'll face a strong test at the Chargers, who nearly beat them in Kansas City earlier this season. Here's Pete's pick:

  • Prisco: "This is basically to decide the division for the Chiefs. Win it, and it's theirs. Lose, and it's a race. The Chiefs are riding high on offense right now and I think that will show up. ... Pick: Chiefs 35, Chargers 27"

Here are all of our experts' picks:

Pete Prisco | John Breech | Will Brinson | Jordan Dajani | Tyler Sullivan

World Cup begins Sunday! Sign up for our newsletter ⚽

Add one more sporting event to your calendar if you haven't already. The World Cup begins Sunday, with host country Qatar taking on Ecuador in Group A action. Here's the entire schedule.

We're going to give you a full preview in the Monday morning version of this newsletter, before the U.S. men's national team takes on Wales, but for now, I urge you to subscribe to our Golazo Starting XI newsletter, which has you covered with everything happening in the world of soccer. Thursday's edition included a potential surprise starting striker for the USMNT.

When college sports and gambling intersect... 💰

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I don't mean to alarm you, but there are gambling improprieties happening every week in college football. Don't just take it from me. Take it from Matt Holt, founder and CEO of U.S. Integrity, which oversees corruption in the gaming industry. He flags about five games per week. 

"[Improprieties] are going on right now. Anyone who says that's not happening is naïve to the marketplace," Holt told our college sports reporter Dennis Dodd

How could it happen? Here's a hypothetical:

  • Holt: "[We would say] 'Hey, this quarterback never throws an interception. It was weird he did it in the second quarter against a team like that. [And] oh, by the way, we have correlating information there is 300 bets over $1,000 that he would throw an interception in the second quarter.'"

While the idea that games may be being manipulated would seem to be a major, major headline, Holt says COVID-19, NIL and conference realignment have overshadowed potential integrity issues on the field. But as time passes, the gambling world will continue to expand. In March, the MAC became the first FBS conference to license its data for betting purposes, and the Pac-12 signed a similar deal shortly thereafter.

Dodd predicts every major football and basketball program will have an official gaming partner soon. This was a fascinating and eye-opening story that will change how you view college athletics, now and in the future.

Browns-Bills moved to Detroit over impending snowstorm ❄️

NFL: New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills
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Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow... just as long as we can still play a football game. That was the NFL's approach to relocating Sunday's Browns-Bills contest from Buffalo to Detroit. The National Weather Service is projecting "2 to 3 feet of snow and potentially greater than 4 feet of snow."

This is just the fifth game this century to be relocated due to weather. Here are the other four:

  • 2014: The Bills get relocated to Detroit due to a huge snowstorm, ride snowmobiles to the airport and beat the Jets, 38-3.
  • 2010: The Metrodome roof collapses under the weight of snow, forcing the Vikings to "host" the Giants in Detroit. The Giants win, 21-3.
  • 2005: The Saints play their "home" opener at the Giants' stadium following Hurricane Katrina. The Giants win, 27-10.
  • 2003: The Chargers and Dolphins play at Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe in the aftermath of an earthquake. Miami wins, 26-10.

What we're watching this weekend 📺

Friday

🏀 No. 16 Virginia vs. No. 5 Baylor, 7 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Bucks at 76ers, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 19 Illinois vs. No. 8 UCLA, 9:30 p.m. on ESPNU
🏀 Knicks at Warriors, 10 p.m. on ESPN

Saturday

🏈 Illinois at No. 3 Michigan, Noon on ABC
🏈 No. 4 TCU at Baylor, Noon on FOX
🏈 No. 1 Georgia at Kentucky, 3:30 p.m. on CBS
🏈 No. 2 Ohio State at Maryland, 3:30 p.m. on ABC
🏈 No. 5 Tennessee at South Carolina, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 No. 7 USC at No. 16 UCLA, 8 p.m. on FOX
🏀 Jazz at Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. on NBA TV
🏈 No. 10 Utah at No. 12 Oregon, 10:30 p.m. on ESPN

Sunday

Qatar vs. Ecuador, 11 a.m. on FS1
🏈 Here's the Week 11 NFL schedule.
🏀 No. 10 NC State at No. 5 UConn, 1 p.m. on FS1
🏀 No. 1 South Carolina at No. 2 Stanford, 3 p.m. on ABC
🏀 No. 4 Kentucky at No. 2 Gonzaga, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 3 Houston at Oregon, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN