Taking too long? Close loading screen.
Connect with us

Sports

Your guide to every Week 5 game, with predictions and fantasy tips

Published

on

The Week 5 NFL schedule is stacked with great matchups. Our NFL Nation reporters bring us the keys to every game, a bold prediction for each matchup and final score picks.

Additionally, ESPN Stats & Information provides a stat to know for each game, and the Football Power Index (FPI) goes inside the numbers with a matchup rating (on a scale of 1 to 100) and a game projection. ESPN Fantasy‘s Kyle Soppe and ESPN Chalk‘s Dave Bearman hand out helpful nuggets as well. It’s all here to help get you ready for a loaded weekend of NFL football.

Let’s get into the full Week 5 slate, including a potential Tuesday game.

Jump to a matchup:
LV-KC | CIN-BAL | PHI-PIT
LAR-WSH | CAR-ATL | JAX-HOU
ARI-NYJ | MIA-SF | IND-CLE
NYG-DAL | MIN-SEA | DEN-NE
LAC-NO | BUF-TEN

Thursday: TB-CHI
Bye: DET, GB

1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
66.5 | Spread: KC -11 (55)

What to watch for: Can Raiders quarterback Derek Carr improve his play at Arrowhead Stadium? That would seem necessary if the Raiders are to beat the Chiefs in Kansas City for the first time since 2012. Carr is 0-6 against the Chiefs on the road, with four touchdown passes, seven interceptions, a QBR of 14.4 and a long pass of 33 yards. The Chiefs have changed players, coordinators, systems and tactics against Carr, and everything has continued to work. The Raiders have been outscored 75-12 in two games against the Chiefs at Arrowhead since Patrick Mahomes became Kansas City’s starting QB. — Adam Teicher

Bold prediction: Carr will not be picked off and will extend his interception-free streak to nine games. The last time Carr was intercepted was Dec. 1, 2019, when he was picked off twice … at Arrowhead Stadium. But he is completing passes at a 73.6% clip this season with short, safe throws, and he will have to control the ball to keep Mahomes off the field. — Paul Gutierrez

Stat to know: Mahomes’ 89.1 Total QBR against the Raiders is his highest against any team that he has played more than once, and his 11 passing touchdowns in four games — in which he went 4-0 — is the highest total he has against any NFL team.

Injuries: Raiders | Chiefs

What to know for fantasy: Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill is the first Kansas City player with at least six targets and a TD reception in four straight games since Dwayne Bowe did it in five straight in 2010. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: All four Raiders games have gone over the total this season. Read more.

Gutierrez’s pick: Chiefs 29, Raiders 12
Teicher’s pick: Chiefs 27, Raiders 17
FPI prediction: KC, 82.1% (by an average of 12.7 points)

Matchup must-reads: Raiders defense struggling under coordinator Paul Guenther … againMahomes cites ‘mental lapse’ for close contact with GilmoreQB Carr ‘sick of losing’


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
55.8 | Spread: BAL -13 (51)

What to watch for: Can Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow continue his unprecedented start this week against the Ravens? He set an NFL record on Sunday by becoming the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to throw for 300 or more yards in three straight games. Since John Harbaugh became coach of the Ravens in 2008, Baltimore is 12-1 against rookie QBs at home, allowing just four to surpass 300 yards passing. The Ravens also have recorded 16 interceptions against rookie starters in Baltimore during the Harbaugh era, while producing five times as many sacks (36) as TD passes given up (seven). — Jamison Hensley

Bold prediction: The Ravens will rush for 200 total yards. One of the strongest rush offenses in the league is going up against one of the league’s worst rushing defenses. Between that and the rushing ability of Baltimore quarterback Lamar Jackson, it could be a big day for the Ravens’ ground game. — Ben Baby

Stat to know: The Bengals haven’t gone three straight games without a loss in a single season since starting 8-0 in 2015, and they haven’t had consecutive wins since Weeks 4 and 5 of the 2018 season.

Injuries: Bengals | Ravens

What to know for fantasy: Cincinnati running back Joe Mixon has failed to average over 4.0 yards per carry in four straight matchups with the Ravens. In those games, he has averaged 3.1 yards per carry, with no rush gaining more than 21 yards. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: Jackson is 4-8 ATS as a home favorite since becoming the Ravens’ starting QB in 2018. Read more.

Baby’s pick: Ravens 40, Bengals 21
Hensley’s pick: Ravens 27, Bengals 17
FPI prediction: BAL, 81.6% (by an average of 12.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Keeping Bengals’ Burrow comfortable key to his early successLamar not satisfied with Ravens’ offenseBengals’ Burrow set for first matchup with ‘unbelievable’ Jackson


1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
49.3 | Spread: PIT -7 (43.5)

What to watch for: The Steelers are fired up after not getting to play in Week 4 because of a COVID-19 outbreak in Tennessee. The team was on a roll to start the season at 3-0, and it looking to go 4-0 for the first time since 1979 — a season that ended in a Super Bowl. Look for the Steelers to unleash the frustration of last week while also trying to get back into the rhythm of a balanced offense and a complementary defense they established in the Week 3 win against the Texans. — Brooke Pryor

Bold prediction: The Steelers and Eagles will combine for eight total sacks. Philadelphia (17) and Pittsburgh (15) are Nos. 1 and No. 2 in sacks at the quarter mark of the season. The pass rush that comes up the biggest on Sunday will swing the outcome of this game. One particular matchup to keep an eye on is Eagles left tackle Jordan Mailata against Bud Dupree. Mailata is making his second career start, and Dupree has registered 2.5 takedowns through three games this season. — Tim McManus

Stat to know: Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has seven passing touchdowns through his team’s first three games, whereas Philadelphia signal-caller Carson Wentz has seven interceptions through his squad’s opening four contests. Wentz’s seven picks are the most in the NFL.

Injuries: Eagles | Steelers

What to know for fantasy: Since Week 15 of the 2017 season, just once has a player rushed for 90 yards against the Steelers in Pittsburgh. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: Philadelphia is 3-0 ATS against Pittsburgh since 2008. Read more.

McManus’ pick: Steelers 24, Eagles 20
Pryor’s pick: Steelers 27, Eagles 10
FPI prediction: PIT, 67.9% (by an average of 6.4 points)

Matchup must-reads: Ex-Aussie rugby player Mailata taking shape for EaglesRoethlisberger frustrated by COVID-19 impact on Steelers’ scheduleEagles’ Slay says NFL shouldn’t have played but now OK with protocolsSteelers allowing 5,500 fans into Heinz Field on SundayThe NFC East is 3-12-1: Here is the big issue and a fix for each team


1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
44.8 | Spread: LAR -7 (45.5)

What to watch for: All eyes will be on new Washington starting quarterback Kyle Allen‘s performance. Washington benched Dwayne Haskins Jr. after four lackluster games, with concerns about his maturation as an NFL quarterback. Allen knows the offense better, having played under Ron Rivera with the Panthers, and the coaches are hoping Allen makes the plays they feel have been available. But Allen has to take care of the ball; he turned it over 15 times in his last seven starts with Carolina in 2019. That includes three lost fumbles, so he must do a better job against a team that ranks fifth in the NFL with 12 sacks. — John Keim

Bold prediction: Rams running back Darrell Henderson Jr., who was quiet in Week 3, will break out for the second 100-yard rushing game of his career. The Rams are coming off an uninspiring offensive performance against the Giants, so watch for L.A. to establish the running game early against a Washington team that is allowing an average of 129.8 rushing yards per game. — Lindsey Thiry

Stat to know: Washington is just 33.3% in converting on third down this season, the worst mark in the NFL. And that’s actually an improvement from 2019, when it was 29.1% (also last).

Injuries: Rams | Washington

What to know for fantasy: Washington running back Antonio Gibson has a rushing score and at least 12 touches in three straight games. During those three games, his 1.16 PPR points per touch ranks eighth among qualifiers — ahead of Dalvin Cook among others. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Rams are 6-2 ATS as a road favorite of at least six points under Sean McVay. Read more.

Thiry’s pick: Rams 32, Washington 17
Keim’s pick: Rams 24, Washington 23
FPI prediction: LAR, 70.9% (by an average of 7.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: How Ramsey makes the Rams better: ‘His swag is contagious’Haskins’ benching a signal his NFL future isn’t in WashingtonRams are running their way back into contentionRon Rivera draws on lifetime of lessons to face cancer, chaos in WashingtonRams’ Ramsey, Giants’ Tate trade punches after game

play

0:47

Damien Woody believes that bench Washington QB Dwayne Haskins hasn’t been given a sufficient amount of time to be properly evaluated.

1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
37.9 | Spread: ATL -1.5 (54)

What to watch for: The Falcons desperately need a win with Dan Quinn’s job status in limbo, but the coach has preached to his team that the first NFC South game offers a chance for a new start. Although wide receiver Julio Jones‘ health situation remains unclear as he comes off a hamstring injury, the Falcons are on track to get some key players back in A.J. Terrell, Ricardo Allen and Takkarist McKinley. The sense of desperation should have the Falcons clicking better in the first home game with fans. — Vaughn McClure

Bold prediction: The Panthers will leave Atlanta above .500. That is about as bold as it gets for a team that started the year 0-2, opened as a 2.5-point underdog to an 0-4 team and hasn’t won at Atlanta since 2014. But the Panthers have momentum with two straight wins. — David Newton

Stat to know: The Falcons are 0-4 for the first time since 1999, and a loss to Carolina would mark their first 0-5 start since 1997.

Injuries: Panthers | Falcons

What to know for fantasy: Carolina running back Mike Davis is averaging seven receptions per game this season, not much different than the 7.3 grabs Christian McCaffrey averaged during his historic 2019. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is 18-4 ATS and 11-11 outright in his career as an underdog. Read more.

Newton’s pick: Panthers 30, Falcons 24
McClure’s pick: Falcons 28, Panthers 21
FPI prediction: ATL, 55.0% (by an average of 1.8 points)

Matchup must-reads: From mentor to boss, Panthers’ Matt Rhule quick to credit DC Phil SnowFalcons activate cornerback Terrell from COVID-19 listPanthers are taking ‘F-I-O’ approach to being a factor in NFC SouthInjuries not an excuse, but are an explanation for Falcons’ 0-4 startBridgewater-Joe Brady combo could have Panthers competing in NFC


1 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
23.7 | Spread: HOU -6 (54.5)

What to watch for: The Texans haven’t topped 23 points even once in four games this season, but the Jaguars have allowed 30 or more in three straight games. Will Houston’s offense rebound in the first game since the firing of Bill O’Brien on Monday? This is their best matchup of the season so far and a good place to get going after a lackluster start. — Sarah Barshop

Bold prediction: Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson will throw for 330-plus yards and four TDs. The Jaguars’ pass defense has been bad over the past month; they can’t get pressure, and the coverage has been spotty, at best. Watson should have no trouble moving the ball. And even if rookie cornerback CJ Henderson plays, he is dealing with a shoulder injury and has been just OK after an impressive debut in the season opener. — Mike DiRocco

Stat to know: Romeo Crennel will become the oldest head coach in NFL history. The Texans’ interim will be 73 years, 115 days old on Sunday. Only George Halas and Marv Levy have coached a game at over 70 years old, per Elias Sports Bureau data.

Injuries: Jaguars | Texans

What to know for fantasy: Jacksonville tailback James Robinson joins Alvin Kamara as the only players with 100 total yards in each of the past three weeks. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: Teams that replace their head coach during the season are 14-22 ATS in the first game with their successor since 2000 (13-23 straight up). Read more.

DiRocco’s pick: Texans 35, Jaguars 20
Barshop’s pick: Texans 31, Jaguars 20
FPI prediction: HOU, 66.6% (by an average of 5.9 points)

Matchup must-reads: Jaguars’ D on pace to be worst in team historyCrennel wants better attitude, energyJaguars CB Hayden goes on IR with hamstring injuryTexans’ outlook bleak with no wins, no impact rookies, no top picksJags’ pass rush continues to struggleEasterby to serve as GM for rest of season


1 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
22.4 | Spread: ARI -7 (46.5)

What to watch for: Forget about elite; Jets quarterback Joe Flacco, starting for the injured Sam Darnold, will be hard-pressed to reach “average.” He hasn’t started a game in nearly a year, and he has had very little practice time after missing training camp. A rusty, immobile quarterback behind a leaky offensive line is not a good combination. The Jets are 31st in red zone efficiency, while the Arizona defense is fourth. Do the math. — Rich Cimini

Bold prediction: The Cardinals will put up 40 on the lowly Jets, who are allowing 32.8 points per game, the third most in the NFL. The Cardinals are averaging 24.5 points per game, but their offense is due for a breakout after struggling over the past two weeks. And what’s a better time to do it than against one of the worst teams in football? — Josh Weinfuss

Stat to know: Arizona wideout DeAndre Hopkins has 39 receptions, which leads the NFL. He needs nine against the Jets to break the record for the most catches through a team’s first five games of a season.

Injuries: Cardinals | Jets

What to know for fantasy: Arizona QB Kyler Murray and Buffalo QB Josh Allen are the only two players, regardless of position, with at least 21 fantasy points in all four weeks this season. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: The Jets are 0-4 ATS this season. They are failing to cover games by 10.5 points per game, the worst cover differential in the NFL this season. Read more.

Weinfuss’ pick: Cardinals 42, Jets 28
Cimini’s pick: Cardinals 24, Jets 13
FPI prediction: ARI, 57.1% (by an average of 2.5 points)

Matchup must-reads: How Jones’ unique body has him nearing 100 sacksCan former champ Flacco end Jets’ misery? Wrong time, wrong teamBaker to play after missing one week


4:05 p.m. ET | Fox
Matchup rating:
52.3 | Spread: SF -9 (49.5)

What to watch for: How will the 49ers bounce back after a disappointing defeat last week? The Niners have dropped both of their home games, and though last week’s loss to Philadelphia could be explained by a combination of injuries and a hangover from a long stay out East, they should have that out of their system and could be welcoming back more key pieces. The Dolphins, meanwhile, have to make one of the league’s longest trips for this one. If the Niners fall to 2-3 before entering the meat of their schedule, their postseason hopes could slip away sooner rather than later. — Nick Wagoner

Bold prediction: Dolphins running back Matt Breida breaks off a 50-plus-yard touchdown against his former team. Breida has had only one play over 11 yards so far this year in a surprisingly limited role, but he has started to show more of his explosiveness and figures to have a bigger role in this game against a banged-up 49ers defense. Breida spent the first three years of his career with the 49ers before being traded for a fifth-round pick in a draft weekend deal, and though he doesn’t have any animosity toward his former team, it’s likely he’ll want to prove they made a mistake. — Cameron Wolfe

Stat to know: 49ers tight end George Kittle posted 183 receiving yards in Week 4 for his ninth career game of 100-plus yards. But he has never had consecutive games with at least 100 receiving yards.

Injuries: Dolphins | 49ers

What to know for fantasy: Miami wide receiver DeVante Parker‘s yardage total has increased each week this season, and he has 21.8 more points through four weeks this season than he did during his 2019 breakout. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: San Francisco is 6-11-1 ATS at home over the past three seasons. Read more.

Wolfe’s pick: 49ers 27, Dolphins 23
Wagoner’s pick: 49ers 27, Dolphins 19
FPI prediction: SF, 78.7% (by an average of 10.9 points)

Matchup must-reads: Dolphins’ Tagovailoa has yet to take a snap, but he’s still learning49ers’ offensive reinforcements can’t come soon enoughProjected 2021 NFL draft order: Dolphins could have two top-10 picks49ers QB Garoppolo, RB Mostert return to practice


4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
56.5 | Spread: IND -2 (47)

What to watch for: Cleveland’s NFL-leading running game — now without Nick Chubb — is up against Indy’s top-five run defense. This should be a litmus tests for both sides in a true matchup of strength against strength. — Jake Trotter

Bold prediction: The Colts will give up 125 yards rushing. Indianapolis will keep the Browns’ rushing offense in check most of the game, regardless of whether the Colts have linebacker Darius Leonard (groin). But Indy will give up one big “chunk” run that will wind up hurting it in the fourth quarter. — Mike Wells

Stat to know: Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton has now gone 15 straight games with fewer than 100 receiving yards, dating back to 2018. It’s the longest streak of his career; his last game with 100-plus yards came with Andrew Luck at QB.

Injuries: Colts | Browns

What to know for fantasy: Browns wideout Odell Beckham Jr.‘s 38.4 PPR points last week led all receivers and ranked third across all positions. But can he sustain the success? He hasn’t had consecutive 25-point games since Weeks 13 and 14 of the 2015 season. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: Indianapolis has had three straight games go under the total, and it has covered all three games. Read more.

Wells’ pick: Browns 24, Colts 17
Trotter’s pick: Browns 21, Colts 20
FPI prediction: CLE, 50.2% (by an average of 0.2 points)

Matchup must-reads: Colts’ No. 1-ranked defense shifts coach Frank Reich’s strategyBrowns can still have NFL’s best rushing attack — even without ChubbColts QB Rivers toes the line on friendly trash talkBrowns’ Beckham Jr. shows why he’s still an elite playmakerColts continue to be NFL’s stingiest defense in victory over BearsBrowns’ Njoku activated off IR, could play Sunday


4:25 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
39.9 | Spread: DAL -10 (54)

What to watch for: New York offensive coordinator Jason Garrett’s unit needs to get going against the Dallas defense. In their past three games, the Cowboys’ defense has allowed four, five and six touchdowns to Atlanta, Seattle and Cleveland, respectively. The Giants have scored three TDs in their first four games, but the Cowboys’ defense might be the perfect slumpbuster. — Todd Archer

Bold prediction: Dallas wide receiver Michael Gallup tops 100 yards with 2 TDs. Forget that Gallup is coming off a quiet game (2-58-0) against the Falcons. The Giants’ defensive weakness is that No. 2 cornerback across from James Bradberry. Whether it’s Isaac Yiadom or Ryan Lewis out there, expect Dak Prescott to exploit the matchup, leading to a big day for Gallup. — Jordan Raanan

Stat to know: The Giants have just 306 rushing yards this season, second worst in the NFL and the eighth-fewest total though four games in franchise history. Only twice have they been held under 350 rushing yards through five games (1942 and 2013).

Injuries: Giants | Cowboys

What to know for fantasy: Prescott’s torrid pace cannot be overstated, but don’t forget that there are only six quarterbacks (Prescott being one of them) to have scored more fantasy points than the Cowboys have allowed to the position. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: Dallas is 10-2 ATS against the NFC East over the past three seasons. Read more.

Raanan’s pick: Cowboys 24, Giants 16
Archer’s pick: Cowboys 31,Giants 24
FPI prediction: DAL, 79.4% (by an average of 11.3 points)

Matchup must-reads: Jones’ first 16 starts: Enough positives to give Giants hopeCowboys’ Elliott says he must focus on curtailing fumblesThe NFC East is 3-12-1: Here is the big issue and a fix for each teamLook familiar? Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys face ex-coach Jason Garrett, GiantsDallas Cowboys might be getting needed help on defense


8:20 p.m. ET | NBC
Matchup rating:
69 | Spread: SEA -7 (57.5)

What to watch for: Can Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson continue his historic start and his excellence in prime time? He has thrown 16 touchdown passes this season, tied for the most in NFL history through a team’s first four games. And he has a combined 26-7-1 record over his career in Sunday night, Monday night and Thursday night games. — Brady Henderson

Bold prediction: Seattle achieving its first 5-0 start in franchise history isn’t that bold. You know what is? Wilson and the Seahawks accomplishing that feat in spite of Vikings wideouts Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen each scoring a touchdown and posting over 100 yards receiving. Seattle’s defense has allowed 94 catches and 1,345 yards to receivers in the first four games of the season, and that trend is set to continue in Week 5. It’s going to take Wilson another shootout to beat the Vikings on Sunday Night Football. — Courtney Cronin

Stat to know: Minnesota running back Dalvin Cook has 424 rushing yards this season, the most in the NFL. The highest total for a Vikings player through five games in the past 20 seasons is 607 by Adrian Peterson in 2007.

Injuries: Vikings | Seahawks

What to know for fantasy: Cook’s touch count has increased each week this season, and he ranks as RB3 despite ranking 16th in expected fantasy points per rush. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins is 6-15-1 ATS in prime-time games in his career (7-14 outright). Read more.

Cronin’s pick: Seahawks 38, Vikings 31
Henderson’s pick: Seahawks 31, Vikings 24
FPI prediction: SEA, 66.5% (by an average of 5.9 points)

Matchup must-reads: Vikings’ Cook punishing tacklers on way to NFL rushing leadSeahawks’ Carson adds another gutty performance to extension resumeVikings find their formula for success in first win of seasonLike Curry, Seahawks’ Wilson outstanding from long range

play

1:46

With the Seahawks facing a pass friendly Vikings defense, Mike Clay has high expectations for Seattle receivers Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf.

Monday, 5 p.m. ET | ESPN
Matchup rating:
33.9 | Spread: NE -11 (NA)

What to watch for: The Patriots had an unconventional week, going all virtual on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, meaning there was no on-field practice. How does practice execution become game reality when there is no practice? Meanwhile, the Broncos also have had a long week after playing on Thursday night in Week 4. Advantage goes to Denver in the rest department. — Mike Reiss

Bold prediction: Either Broncos tight end Jake Butt or running back Phillip Lindsay will collect his first touchdown reception of the season. Why? Because they’ll have to. Patriots coach Bill Belichick has made a career out of removing the No. 1, and often No. 2, options in the passing game to test a quarterback’s patience and ability to work through the reads. Only Seattle, in Russell Wilson’s five-TD binge in Week 2, was able to consistently get its top targets free. (Both Tyler Lockett and DK Metcalf had touchdown catches in that game.) If the Broncos can’t get some of the “other” guys into the end zone, it will be a difficult evening. — Jeff Legwold

Stat to know: Patriots defensive end Chase Winovich ranks fifth in the NFL with a 29.5% pass rush win rate (PRWR), an ESPN metric using NFL Next Gen Stats, and leads league with a 40% PRWR against double-teams.

Injuries: Broncos | Patriots

What to know for fantasy: Julian Edelman registered 52.2% of his points through four games in Week 2 at Seattle. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: New England is 10-0 ATS in tilts that follow fewer than six days of rest since the start of the 2016 season. Read more.

Legwold’s pick: Broncos 23, Patriots 21
Reiss’ pick: Patriots 24, Broncos 13
FPI prediction: NE, 60.2% (by an average of 3.6 points)

Matchup must-reads: Rypien the latest, greatest Broncos starting quarterbackPatriots players, coaches confront reality of positive COVID-19 testsBroncos’ Chubb ‘hungry’ for more after 2.5 sacks against JetsPatriots coach Bill Belichick: Taking Newton, QB situation ‘day by day’


Monday, 8:15 p.m. ET | ESPN
Matchup rating:
51.5 | Spread: NO -8 (51)

What to watch for: This will be a fun quarterback duel between 20-year veteran Drew Brees and rookie Justin Herbert. But what really defines this matchup, unfortunately, is the overwhelming number of injuries that have plagued both sides. The Saints could potentially get Michael Thomas back from his Week 1 ankle injury. Meanwhile, the Chargers just lost dynamic running back Austin Ekeler for four to six weeks with a hamstring injury. — Mike Triplett

Bold prediction: The Chargers will finally get a win now that Herbert has been named the regular starting QB. He will go into the game with confidence, but the Chargers need to stop beating themselves with turnovers. — Shelley Smith

Stat to know: Brees was 5-for-8 for 111 yards and a touchdown on throws of 15-plus yards downfield in Week 4. In the first three games of the campaign, he had just seven such completions and zero touchdowns.

Injuries: Chargers | Saints

What to know for fantasy: Saints running back Alvin Kamara has been a top-10 RB every week this season and is pacing for 320 touches (current career high is 275). See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: New Orleans is 6-9 ATS over the past five seasons when favored by seven or more points at home. Read more.

Smith’s pick: Chargers 24, Saints 17
Triplett’s pick: Saints 29, Chargers 23
FPI prediction: NO, 76.2% (by an average of 9.8 points)

Matchup must-reads: Fumbles, injuries put Chargers rookie Kelley in the spotlightSource: Saints don’t anticipate relocation of MNF game due to hurricaneSaints’ Brees builds connection with Sanders, Smith


Tuesday, 7 p.m. ET | CBS
Matchup rating:
62.2 | Spread: BUF -8.5 (NA)

What to watch for: The Titans are without several key players, including Adam Humphries, Jeffery Simmons and Corey Davis, who have been placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. And the team hasn’t practiced or been in its facility to prepare for this game. Keep an eye on how they start the game after having so much time off. If Tennessee gets off to a slow start, this could get ugly quickly. — Turron Davenport

Bold prediction: The Bills finally get lose in the running game for at least 150 yards. They rank 28th in the league in rushing yards per game, but the Titans rank 29th in rushing yards allowed. It’s a true matchup of a stoppable force meeting a movable object. But Buffalo’s ranking seems more like an outlier, given its top-10 finish last season and improved backfield. — Marcel Louis-Jacques

Stat to know: Tennessee quarterback Ryan Tannehill is averaging 11.2 yards per attempt with play-action (fourth) but just 5.9 per attempt without play-action (28th).

Injuries: Bills | Titans

What to know for fantasy: Last week, Buffalo quarterback Josh Allen tied the longest streak in Bills history with his fourth straight game of 280 passing yards and multiple touchdown passes. The only other instance of that for the Bills was Drew Bledsoe in 2002. See Week 5 rankings.

Betting nugget: Tennessee is the third team in Super Bowl era to start 3-0 straight up and 0-3 against the spread (ATS). Read more.

Louis-Jacques’ pick: Bills 38, Titans 24
Davenport’s pick: Bills 35, Titans 21
FPI prediction: BUF, 52.4% (by an average of 0.9 points)

Matchup must-reads: Bills’ Allen evoking MVP seasons by Mahomes, JacksonSource: Titans informed of rules prior to players’ informal workoutsNorman brings ‘a lot of energy,’ a forced fumble in Bills debutTimeline of the NFL COVID-19 outbreak: How positive tests led to postponed games

Source

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Way-too-early 2021 MLB Power Rankings: What’s next for Dodgers, Rays and all 30 teams

Published

on

We can only hope 2021 will be a more normal season, with 162 games and fans in the stands and hot dogs to eat and overpriced beer to drink. We don’t know what the state of things will be come April 1, when the 2021 season is scheduled to begin, but we can speculate on the state of the 30 franchises.

Yes, we’re back with our annual Way-Too-Early Power Rankings. There are a few obvious teams at the top, a handful at the bottom and a whole bunch in the middle. Throw in the difficulty of analyzing a 60-game season and the uncertainty of how the offseason will play out due to the financial losses of this season, and these are the most difficult rankings we have had to do. But we fearlessly move forward.

(Title odds for 2021 from Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill)

2020 record: 43-17
Won World Series
2021 title odds: 4-1

They’re reigning champs. They’ve won eight straight division titles. They have Mookie Betts signed for the long term. They have young starters such as Walker Buehler, Dustin May, Julio Urias and Tony Gonsolin to keep the rotation strong for years to come. They have players capable of better seasons (Cody Bellinger, Max Muncy, Gavin Lux). They have a good farm system. They have financial flexibility, with only Betts signed past 2022 and all those young players to help them keep the payroll in check. Justin Turner is a free agent, but he would be a nice DH option if the NL makes that permanent. We know they will be good. But we know it’s really all about October.


2020 record: 35-25
Lost NLCS to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 12-1

The offense gives them a high floor:Freddie Freeman, Ronald Acuna Jr., Ozzie Albies, Dansby Swanson, even Travis d’Arnaud and Adam Duvall raked in 2020. Marcell Ozuna is a free agent and it would be nice to bring him back, but rookie center fielder Cristian Pache is ready and he looks like he’ll be valuable on both sides of the ball. The rotation will see the return of Mike Soroka from his Achilles injury and a full season of Ian Anderson to back up Max Fried. Kyle Wright and Bryse Wilson have potential, and Atlanta will probably bring in a veteran starter on a one-year deal the way they did with Dallas Keuchel in 2019 and tried to do with Cole Hamels in 2020. The Braves will be favored to win a fourth straight division title even if they don’t do anything this offseason.


2020 record: 37-23
Lost Division Series to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 17-2

Sure, an argument can be made to put the Padres ahead of the Braves, but I think we have to first make sure Dinelson Lamet and Mike Clevinger are completely healthy in spring training. San Diego brings back essentially every significant player after running out the youngest lineup in the NL, with Jake Cronenworth and Trent Grisham looking like foundation additions alongside Fernando Tatis Jr. (All were acquired in trades; good job, A.J. Preller!) We’ll see if Eric Hosmer and Wil Myers can match their 2020 rate of production, but if Luis Patino and MacKenzie Gore become impact starters, the Padres are poised to make a multiyear run in challenging the Dodgers for NL West supremacy.


2020 record: 40-20
Lost World Series to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 10-1

The Rays won their first division title since 2010 and did it in quite remarkable fashion, with 12 different relievers recording a save and the pitching staff overcoming a slew of injuries along the way. They were able to pull that off because of the depth of their staff, but having expanded rosters over the 60-game season made it possible to rely so heavily on the bullpen. Of course, you can argue that pitching depth will be even more valuable over 162 games. The offense isn’t elite, although we can’t wait to see what Randy Arozarena will do over a full season or if super rookie Wander Franco is ready to make an impact at some point in 2021.


2020 record: 35-25
Lost Wild Card Series to A’s
2021 title odds: 12-1

Much like the Braves, the offensive firepower of the White Sox should give them a high floor. Even if you see some regression coming from Jose Abreu or Tim Anderson, Luis Robert and Yoan Moncada should improve and a full season of Nick Madrigal will help. Michael Kopech, who opted out of 2020, will hopefully be back, but he hasn’t pitched in two years, so finding another veteran arm to go with ace Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel will be key. Closer Alex Colome is a free agent, but the White Sox have several power arms in their organization, including 2020 first-round pick Garrett Crochet, who could be a dominant reliever right away. Manager Rick Renteria and longtime pitching coach Don Cooper got the boot, with A.J. Hinch a possible replacement for Renteria. That would be an upgrade.


2020 record: 33-27
Lost Division Series to Rays
2021 title odds: 6-1

You can make an argument to put them a couple of spots higher, but not winning the AL East in 2020 points to some flaws. They simply can’t count on Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton being healthy for an entire season, plus DJ LeMahieu and Masahiro Tanaka are free agents, two important players to re-sign or replace. Of course, we know the Yankees will do something big, perhaps signing J.T. Realmuto and moving on from Gary Sanchez or trading for Francisco Lindor and shifting Gleyber Torres to second. Getting Luis Severino back from Tommy John surgery will be a big boost as well.


2020 record: 36-24
Lost Wild Card Series to Astros
2021 title odds: 14-1

The Twins didn’t do it quite like they did in 2019, when they bashed a record 307 home runs (although their 162-game pace for 2020 was still 259), as their team batting average dropped nearly 30 points, and they fell from second in the AL in runs to 10th. Still, they’ve established a foundation of success with three playoff appearances in four seasons. The big issue is they have a lot of free agents to replace or re-sign, starting with 40-year-old Nelson Cruz, but also Jake Odorizzi, Marwin Gonzalez, Rich Hill, Tyler Clippard, Trevor May and Homer Bailey. Those players were minor contributors, but with Eddie Rosario, Byron Buxton and Taylor Rogers getting more expensive in arbitration, the Twins may not be able to fill out the roster with minor free agents the way they’ve done of late. They need a healthy Josh Donaldson, especially if Cruz leaves, and they will have to discard the emotional baggage of 18 consecutive playoff losses to get revved up for 162 games just to get back to October again.


2020 record: 36-24
Lost Division Series to Houston
2021 title odds: 14-1

The A’s weren’t as impressive as they were in 2019 — Matt Olson morphed into an extreme “three true outcomes” slugger, Matt Chapman‘s OBP dipped to .276 and Marcus Semien declined from his third-place MVP performance. They still coasted to the AL West title though, and the division projects as being pretty soft, at least right now. Semien and closer Liam Hendriks are free agents as are several other key role players, so this ranking is not presented with a high degree of confidence. The A’s always seem to maximize their talent, and I do think the rotation will be much better, making up for some of the likely bullpen regression.


2020 record: 26-34
Tied for fourth in NL East
2021 title odds: 30-1

I feel like we need another National League team here, but let’s be honest: There is a wide gap between the NL’s top three teams and the block of mediocre teams in the middle. Let’s roll the dice on the Mets with new owner Steve Cohen to the rescue (once he gets formally approved). Let’s just say Mets fans are pumped about Cohen’s WAW (wins above Wilpon). There have already been reports about all the money he’ll sink into the franchise, not just on players but things like building out a more robust analytics staff. Aside from any splashy moves Cohen may make — trading for Nolan Arenado or Francisco Lindor? Signing J.T. Realmuto or Trevor Bauer? — there is a strong base of talent here. They ranked third in the majors in wOBA (behind the Braves and Dodgers) and fifth in the majors in pitcher strikeout rate. They should be better — a familiar refrain for Mets fans, unfortunately.


2020 record: 34-26
Lost Wild Card Series to Marlins
2021 title odds: 25-1

Everyone was down on the Cubs, especially after that sad two-and-out to the Marlins, but we do need to point out Chicago still won the NL Central despite Javier Baez (59 OPS+), Kris Bryant (73) and Kyle Schwarber (88) all producing well below an average major league hitter and Anthony Rizzo and Willson Contreras performing below their career norms. That continues a downward trend for this once-great offensive core, from second in the NL in runs in 2016 and 2017 to fourth in 2018, fifth in 2019 and 10th in 2020. Baez, Bryant, Schwarber and Rizzo are all free agents after 2021, but frankly, the trade value for Bryant and Schwarber — and even Baez, to a lesser extent — has cratered. Theo Epstein also hinted that 2021 will be his last season with the Cubs. Does this group get one last chance? In a weak division, with some bounce-back potential, the Cubs could be better than everyone believes. Or maybe the front office will just tear it all down.


2020 record: 29-31
Lost ALCS to Rays
2021 title odds: 20-1

It promises to be a busy winter for the Astros. George Springer, Michael Brantley and Josh Reddick are all free agents, while Carlos Correa, Lance McCullers Jr. and Zack Greinke are set to be free agents after 2021, as are Justin Verlander and Roberto Osuna, both of whom will likely miss the season following Tommy John surgery. They’ll need more from Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman (and don’t forget about Yordan Alvarez) but they could have a strong rotation if they keep McCullers and Greinke to go with Framber Valdez, Cristian Javier and Jose Urquidy. The outfield free-agent market is thin, so if Springer and Brantley sign elsewhere, the Astros may have to scramble to find help for Kyle Tucker.


2020 record: 35-25
Lost Wild Card Series to Yankees
2021 title odds: 20-1

We start with one of the biggest questions of the entire offseason: Will Cleveland trade Francisco Lindor? It seems weird to say this, but there isn’t an obvious fit, as most of the top teams are set at shortstop. It will be interesting to see if a team tries to pull the Mookie Betts maneuver: trade for Lindor, then sign him to a big extension before he hits free agency after the 2021 season. Aside from the Lindor issue, it’s going to be a similar Cleveland team as we’ve seen the past two years: enough starting pitching to be a playoff team, but an offense that may prevent them from getting there. Please, find some competent outfielders. Cleveland’s outfielders hit .196/.270/.304.


2020 record: 30-28
Lost Wild Card Series to Padres
2021 title odds: 30-1

In one sense, it’s harder to evaluate what the Cardinals did in 2020 than any other team, with them having to play 11 doubleheaders after the team’s COVID-19 outbreak early in the season. On the other hand, they were exactly what we thought they would be: below-average offense with no power, good defense, good bullpen, decent starting pitching. I just don’t how they’re going to get better, especially given that some of their pitching peripheral numbers don’t quite match the ERA figures. Look, as always, you can never discount the Cardinals. They haven’t had a losing season since 2007. The division is wide open. Jack Flaherty will be better. Dylan Carlson could give them an impact outfielder. The bullpen projects as a big strength.


2020 record: 26-34
Tied for fourth in NL East
2021 title odds: 30-1

No team had less incentive in 2020 than the Nationals, and once Stephen Strasburg went down, it kind of felt like the entire team went down with him. Juan Soto played at an MVP level for 47 games, leading the NL in batting average and the majors in OBP and slugging. It wasn’t a full season so I’m not saying it compares, but his 212 OPS+ was the best since Barry Bonds in 2004.

There are concerns in the starting rotation, however, beyond Strasburg’s nerve issue. Anibal Sanchez fell apart, Patrick Corbin got knocked around (85 hits in 65⅔ innings) and even Max Scherzer had his highest ERA since 2012.The real problem may have been the defense: The Nationals ranked last in the majors with minus-43 defensive runs saved. As always, depth is an issue and they need youngsters Carter Kieboom (no home runs in 99 at-bats) and Victor Robles (.608 OPS) to contribute at the plate. If Strasburg is healthy, don’t ignore the 2019 champs.


2020 record: 32-28
Lost Wild Card Series to Rays
2021 title odds: 50-1

The Blue Jays face a very interesting offseason after making the playoffs as a wild card and ranking third in the AL in runs. The offense potentially looks even better if you’re buying the breakouts of Teoscar Hernandez and Rowdy Tellez. Worth noting: The Jays hit much better at their temporary home in Buffalo, so we have to be careful about overrating the offense. Hyun-Jin Ryu was terrific (at least until his playoff start), but the rest of the rotation was so problematic that the Jays acquired Taijuan Walker, Robbie Ray and Ross Stripling for the stretch run. Walker and Ray are free agents, but Nate Pearson will help, and the Jays should have some money to spend in free agency.


2020 record: 28-32
Third in NL East
2021 title odds: 40-1

It’s hard to see the Phillies much better than the .500 team they’ve been the past three seasons, which led to general manager Matt Klentak being reassigned within the organization. They had two great starters in Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler and finished fourth in the NL in runs, but the bullpen (6.92 ERA, worst of all time) undermined all the positives. The Phillies allowed a .345 average on balls in play, and maybe that would drop over a full season, but it stands as the highest ever. This has been a multiyear problem. They were middle of the pack in BABIP allowed in 2019, but fifth-worst in 2018 and sixth-worst in 2017. They’ve been unable to fix the defense. Anyway, J.T. Realmuto and Didi Gregorius are free agents. The payroll would have been more than $200 million given a full season in 2020, so you wonder if there is room to re-sign Realmuto and fix the bullpen and replace/re-sign Gregorius and maybe add another starter.


2020 record: 26-34
Fourth in AL West
2021 title odds: 40-1

Billy Eppler is out as general manager after a five-year run that included no winning seasons. Yes, he inherited the bad Albert Pujols contract, but he also inherited Mike Trout and was never able to build a successful team around him, despite additions like Andrelton Simmons, Shohei Ohtani and Anthony Rendon. Simmons is a free agent, Pujols is finally down to his final season and Jared Walsh (.971 OPS, nine home runs in 99 at-bats, a low 13.9% strikeout rate) has to play. The immediate concerns are trying to turn Jo Adell into a major league hitter (.161, 55 strikeouts, seven walks in 132 PAs), figure out what happened to Ohtani (.190) and Justin Upton (.204) and — as always — address the pitching. Sounds like the same story as the past five years.


2020 record: 29-31
Lost Wild Card Series to Dodgers
2021 title odds: 50-1

This is a difficult team to read. The Brewers didn’t hit at all in 2020 (I think the NL must have stored its balls in Lake Michigan, because nobody could hit). Two-time batting champ and 2018 MVP Christian Yelich hit just .205, and I know it was just 58 games, but his strikeout rate went from 20.3% to 30.8%. Something doesn’t add up there.

They do have two great one-two combos in Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes in the rotation and Devin Williams and Josh Hader in the bullpen. Does Williams’ stunning breakout (53 K’s in 27 innings) make Hader trade bait? Burnes certainly looked like the real deal with his new cutter, but he’ll have to prove he can do it over 30 starts instead of 10. David Stearns is one of the more creative GMs around, although he’d probably like a do-over on the Trent Grisham/Zach Davies for Luis Urias/Eric Lauer deal.


2020 record: 24-36
Fifth in AL East
2021 title odds: 60-1

This was the hardest team to project. The pitching was so awful — 5.85 runs per game, the most for the franchise since 1932 — that it’s easy to assume it will be bad again in 2021. It was also bad in 2019 (5.11 runs per game), so we have a two-year track record. Maybe they get Chris Sale back at midseason and Eduardo Rodriguez returns from his COVID-related heart issue. There is a nice offensive core with Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, Alex Verdugo and Christian Vazquez (and J.D. Martinez if he bounces back). I’m not sure what Bobby Dalbec will be. I guess his upside is Joey Gallo, if that’s a good thing. More importantly, is Chaim Bloom playing the long game or will there be pressure to get the Red Sox immediately back into contender status?


2020 record: 31-29
Lost Wild Card Series to Braves
2021 title odds: 25-1

The Reds sneaked into the playoffs as a wild card with a late surge, but the team embarrassingly exited with two shutouts to the Braves, including a 13-inning defeat. The Reds have morphed into the most extreme example of a “three true outcomes” offense we’ve seen in this launch-angle era. They ranked fourth in the NL in home runs and first in walks, but hit a pathetic .212. The entire package added up to ranking just 13th in the NL in runs, then you dig deeper and realize they hit 55 home runs at home and 35 on the road, so much of their power was simply a result of their home park. It’s a bad offense, and I’m not sure it improves much in 2021. Trevor Bauer is a sure bet to sign elsewhere as a free agent, and we still don’t know if Nick Senzel is the solution in center field or an injury-prone role player.


2020 record: 31-29
Lost Division Series to Braves
2021 title odds: 60-1

It was a fun ride to their first postseason trip since 2003, but once you get past the starting trio of Sixto Sanchez, Sandy Alcantara and Pablo Lopez, holes remain. The pitching staff was next to last in the majors in strikeout rate, and the team’s top five relievers were all 30-something guys you can’t necessarily count on for 2021. There are no offensive stars as the lineup relied on stopgap veterans, while the young hitters still have trouble controlling the strike zone (and the young hitters aren’t really all that young). The minus-41 run differential is a little misleading as the Marlins had to use more players than any other team due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but I’m not sure I see another .500 season unless some of the young hitters suddenly develop into solid regulars.


2020 record: 29-31
Third in NL West
2021 title odds: 80-1

Call me skeptical. They went from the second-worst offense in the NL to a top-five offense — without making any significant additions. Brandon Belt with a 1.000 OPS? Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson over .900? Donovan Solano chasing a batting title? I smell a lot of regression coming on, and the Giants don’t have the rotation to back that up. They also had the oldest lineup in the league: Mauricio Dubon is the only returning regular who won’t be 30 or older in 2021. Maybe catcher Joey Bart makes an impact, but a 41 to 3 strikeout-to-walk rate suggests he’s not ready for prime time. Several of their big contracts come off the books after 2021 if you factor in buyouts, so look for the Giants to wait until that big 2021-22 free-agent class to start flipping over the roster.


2020 record: 27-33
Third in AL West
2021 title odds: 100-1

There were some nice positives in 2020: Kyle Lewis may win Rookie of the Year, Justus Sheffield was much improved, Marco Gonzales solidified himself as one of the most underrated starters in the majors, Dylan Moore turned into one of the best utility players as a power/speed combo. But there is still zero star power here, at least until Jarred Kelenic and Julio Rodriguez arrive as potential All-Star outfielders, Kelenic in 2021 and Rodriguez probably in 2022. Jerry Dipoto will have to reconstruct a bullpen that was one of the worst in the league (5.92 ERA). The Mariners are on the rise and have other potential impact prospects, including pitchers Logan Gilbert and Emerson Hancock, but look for them to hold the course in 2021 and push forward in 2022.


2020 record: 26-34
Fourth in AL Central
2021 title odds: 150-1

The Royals have some interesting young pitchers in Brad Keller, Brady Singer and Kris Bubic, with Josh Staumont as a potential closer, but there are still huge gaps across the roster, especially on the offensive side of things. They need to figure out center field, second base and left field, and even Adalberto Mondesi Jr. now looks like just a placeholder at short until Bobby Witt Jr. arrives in a couple of years. This ranking could be selling the Royals a bit short, as young pitching can carry a team if it comes fast (and 2020 top pick Asa Lacy may not need much time in the minors), but they need to find some hitters.


2020 record: 25-35
Fifth in NL West
2021 title odds: 60-1

That was ugly, and the fans are turning on the team after a couple of years of trades (Paul Goldschmidt, Zack Greinke and the deadline deals this season) that don’t appear to have returned any front-line talent. Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar, so good in 2019, fell off, with Marte inexplicably deciding he no longer wanted to walk. Robbie Ray couldn’t throw strikes and was finally traded. Merrill Kelly hurt his shoulder. Madison Bumgarner didn’t win a game. The problem for 2021? The Diamondbacks had the second-oldest lineup in the NL (six of their top eight regulars were 29 or older). Bumgarner now looks like a bad $80 million gamble. They’re only a season removed from going 85-77, so there is rebound potential, but the Snakes are a mess at the moment.


2020 record: 25-35
Fourth in AL East
2021 title odds: 150-1

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of positives in 2020, especially after losing 108 games in 2019 and 115 in 2018. Anthony Santander had a small-sample breakout with the metrics to back it up. Ryan Mountcastle looks ready to join the lineup in 2021 and Trey Mancini will hopefully be back at full strength after finishing his chemo treatment in September. Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer could be arms to watch for the rotation.

They do have financial flexibility, especially as they get closer to the end of Chris Davis‘ deal, and with Adley Rutschman close to the majors and starters D.L. Hall and Grayson Rodriguez perhaps ready in 2022, the farm is better than it’s been in at least 10 years. But the base level of talent here remains pretty low.


2020 record: 26-34
Fourth in NL West
2021 title odds: 100-1

Right now, Nolan Arenado and Trevor Story are still on the roster. Will they be there come spring training? The relationship between Arenado and the Rockies is strained, making him a trade candidate this winter. He won’t be easy to trade, though: He didn’t have a good 2020 at the plate, ended the season on the IL, has a full no-trade clause and can opt out of his deal after 2021. If Arenado is traded, you could see the Rockies dealing Story as well since he’s a free agent after 2021. Mostly, this team just needs a makeover. They ranked eighth in the NL in runs, and for a Rockies team, that’s horrible. (They had finished below fifth just one other time in franchise history.)


2020 record: 23-35
Fifth in AL Central
2021 title odds: 200-1

Sometimes you just have to point out the obvious: Jeimer Candelario was the team’s best player in 2020 — a 26-year-old first baseman who hit .203 the year before. Look, Casey Mize and Tarik Skubal project as good starters at some point, but their struggles in limited action in 2020 suggest that may not be in 2021. Along with Spencer Turnbull and prospect Matt Manning, there is a rotation to dream on, but there is no offense, and Spencer Torkelson and Riley Greene, their top position player prospects, are more on a 2022 timetable.


2020 record: 22-38
Fifth in AL West
2021 title odds: 100-1

The Rangers continue to go backward. They were bad in 2020 in a year they thought they could contend, they weren’t particularly young and the farm system has struggled to develop pitchers and turn toolsy position players into quality hitters. The offense had a brutal year — and not just because of the new park. They didn’t hit on the road either. It’s time to admit that Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor are never going to be the core of a championship lineup, and if Lance Lynn is traded — he’ll be a free agent after 2021 — the rotation will have a huge hole to fill.


2020 record: 19-41
Fifth in NL Central
2021 title odds: 300-1

Let’s see, a small-market team coming off the worst record in the sport, won’t spend any money in free agency, and whose three best players in 2019 were all terrible in 2020. The first step is to hope Josh Bell, Bryan Reynolds and Kevin Newman rebound, but with most of the organization’s top prospects still a ways off, the short-term outlook looks bleak. Heck, the long-term outlook isn’t exactly full of roses and puppies.

Source

Continue Reading

Sports

Bryant, out 2 years, joins Ravens practice squad

Published

on

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Dez Bryant is back in the NFL.

The Baltimore Ravens signed the three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver to their practice squad, the team announced Tuesday. Bryant has been out of the league for two years.

Bryant appeared to acknowledge the deal in a tweet Tuesday: “My emotions running high right now… I’m thankful…I can’t stop crying”

The biggest question is when Bryant will suit up for the Ravens. Baltimore’s wide receivers rank last in the NFL in receptions (58) and receiving yards (737).

Bryant, 31, could become a physical possession-type receiver for reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson and can complement the speed of Marquise Brown.

The addition of Bryant might lead to a high-profile reunion on Dec. 3, when the Ravens play host to the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday Night Football. Bryant starred for the Cowboys for eight seasons, totaling 531 receptions for 7,459 yards and a franchise-record 73 touchdown catches.

“Obviously, that’s kind of like an ‘OG’-type guy,” Ravens tight end Mark Andrews said when asked about Bryant on Monday. “He’s been around the league for a long, long time. He actually followed me on Twitter a year or two ago, so I’m excited to meet him, and I’m excited to [be] around him hopefully, and just learn.”

This marked Bryant’s second workout with Baltimore in two months. When Bryant left in August without a contract, he was told to improve his conditioning, a source said.

The Ravens are off to a fast start at 5-1, but their passing game ranks 31st in the NFL. It looks as if Jackson would benefit from another target on the outside because Brown is the only Baltimore wide receiver with more than 11 catches this season.

Bryant is attempting to become the second Pro Bowl wide receiver to miss two full seasons and then return to the NFL since the 1970 merger, according to Elias Sports Bureau research. Josh Gordon was the first.

Bryant hasn’t played in a game since December 2017.

In November 2018, Bryant signed a one-year, $1.25 million deal with the New Orleans Saints. But he tore an Achilles tendon during his first practice with the Saints and has been out of the NFL since.

Bryant’s 531 career receptions would be the most by any wide receiver before missing two full seasons and then returning to the NFL, according to Elias’ data.

To make room for Bryant, the Ravens waived safety Marcus Gilchrist from the practice squad.

Source

Continue Reading

Sports

Augusta National to host College GameDay during Masters

Published

on

ESPN’s College GameDay Built By the Home Depot show has originated from dozens of college campuses across the country since 1993.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, the show will combine two of sport’s greatest traditions — college football and the Masters.

ESPN announced on Tuesday that College GameDay will originate from Augusta National Golf Club, which is hosting the postponed Masters Tournament next month, Nov. 12-15.

Top matchups that day are No. 9 Wisconsin at No. 13 Michigan and No. 2 Alabama at LSU.

“Any time College GameDay travels to a new destination, it’s special, and the opportunity to be on the grounds of Augusta National Golf Club during the Masters is extraordinary,” said Jimmy Pitaro, chairman, ESPN and Sports Content. “As this iconic event coincides with the college football season for the first time, we look forward to getting fans ready for a football Saturday while also showcasing the Masters and the greatest golfers in the world.”

Longtime ESPN hosts Rece Davis, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit, Desmond Howard and others will broadcast from the par-3 course from 9 a.m. to noon ET.

In its 13th year at the Masters, ESPN will once again televise the first and second rounds, Nov. 12-13, from 1 to 5:30 p.m. There will also be expanded coverage on ESPN+, including exclusive practice-round coverage Nov. 10-11.

Golf fans will also be able to watch featured holes coverage on ESPN+ on Nos. 4, 5 and 6 in each of the four rounds of the Masters.

Source

Continue Reading

Trending