Detroit Sports

Wisconsin For Real, Wolverines Not So Much

AP Top 25 Takeaways: Separating contenders and pretenders
Highlighted by three games matching top-15 teams, this was the first weekend of the season to seriously separate College Football Playoff contenders and pretenders.

MADISON, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 21: Head coach Paul Chryst of the Wisconsin Badgers watches action during the second half of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 

Feel free to take a seat at the adults’ table No. 8 Auburn and No. 13 Wisconsin. You, too, No. 12 Texas. And No. 7 Notre Dame, even in a loss you looked like you belong.
We are looking for teams capable of disrupting the established upper tier in college football this season: No. 1 Clemson, No. 2 Alabama, No. 3 Georgia, No. 4 LSU, No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 6 Ohio State.
The Tigers, Badgers, Longhorns and Fighting Irish might — maybe — have the stuff to crash the party.

MADISON, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 21: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines watches action prior to a game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 

No. 11 Michigan, you’re excused. Playoffs are the last thing coach Jim Harbaugh needs to be thinking about. His program seems to be at a crossroads. No. 15 UCF, which lost a regular-season game for the first time since 2016, will be joining the Wolverines on the don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you list.
Might as well go in chronological order.

BULLISH BADGERS

A year after a season of great expectations went sideways for Wisconsin the country’s most self-aware program is back on track. The Badgers never stray far from their successful player development blueprint. Build a big, strong offensive line. Put a workhorse tailback behind it. Play tough and disciplined defense. Wisconsin ripped off four straight 10-win seasons before sliding to 8-5 last year.

MADISON, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 21: Jack Coan #17 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates a touchdown during the second half of a game against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 

The Badgers are back. By beating down Michigan in Madison, the Badgers validated their dominant 2-0 start against weak competition.
“After the first two games, I feel like the world didn’t want to say we were the best defense in the country,” Badgers linebacker Zack Baun said. “(They said) we didn’t have the best running back in the country and we didn’t have the best O-line in the country. And we really made an effort to make a statement this game.”

MADISON, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 21: Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers rushes for a touchdown during the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 

The Badgers finally did allow a point after nearly 11 quarters of shutout ball to start the season, and Jonathan Taylor ran for 203 yards, despite sitting out the second quarter with cramps. The Big Ten West looked wide open coming into the season, with Nebraska penciled in as the favorite. The Badgers still face the trickiest schedule in the West, including trips to No. 6 Ohio State and Nebraska, but they are clearly the favorites now.

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 14: Justin Fields #1 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a pass in the game against the Indiana Hoosiers during the second quarter at Memorial Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

 

That Oct. 26 meeting with the Buckeyes in Columbus, Ohio, might be a preview of the Big Ten championship game. Through four weeks, Wisconsin is the only team in the Big Ten that looks like it can challenge Justin Fields and Ohio State.

TEXAS TIGERS

Auburn was next up, taking care of No. 17 Texas A&M on the road. Auburn has made itself right at home in College Station, Texas, since the Aggies joined the Southeastern Conference, winning all four games there.

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 21: Head coach Jimbo Fisher of the Texas A&M Aggies, left, and head coach Gus Malzahn of the Auburn Tigers talk before the game at Kyle Field on September 21, 2019 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

 

The Tigers now have two notable victories in the Lone Star State in September after rallying to beat No. 16 Oregon in Arlington to start the season.

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS – SEPTEMBER 21: Bo Nix #10 of the Auburn Tigers throws a pass during the first half against the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field on September 21, 2019 in College Station, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

 

To be fair, Auburn still looks too limited offensively to keep pace with super-charged Alabama and No. 4 LSU. The Tigers also draw both No. 3 Georgia and No. 9 Florida from the SEC East. But if there is going to be a third wheel in the West, Auburn and its nasty defensive line led by preseason All-American tackle Derrick Brown is it.

HORNS UP

Texas didn’t beat a ranked foe. More like vanquishing a demon. Oklahoma State had won four straight overall against Texas and five straight in Austin. The Cowboys’ dominance in the rivalry was symbolic of Texas’ fall from grace.

AUSTIN, TX – SEPTEMBER 21: Cade Brewer #80 of the Texas Longhorns catches a pass for a touchdown in the third quarter against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

 

The Longhorns, who two weeks ago played LSU toe-to-toe, took back the rivalry, with some timely defensive stops in their own territory and the third four-TD pass game of the season for Sam Ehlinger. On the Is Texas Back?-o-Meter, this was about an 8 out of 10.

NOTRE DAME’S ROAD

The Fighting Irish went to Athens as a two-touchdown underdog to face a Georgia team that has been trying to make the case it is the equal of Clemson and Alabama.

ATHENS, GEORGIA – SEPTEMBER 21: Chris Finke #10 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish can’t come up with a third quarter catch while playing the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

The Irish hung tough, but lost to a top-five team for the 11th straight time. There are no moral victories, but it wasn’t that bad of a day for the Irish’s playoff hopes. Suddenly, what was assumed to be difficult road games against Michigan and Stanford don’t look so difficult for Notre Dame.

ATHENS, GEORGIA – SEPTEMBER 21: J.R. Reed #20 of the Georgia Bulldogs celebrates a 23-17 win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Sanford Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

 

The Irish can’t afford another loss but they will probably be favored in all their remaining games.

WHAT NOW MICHIGAN?

To be clear: Most of the criticism of Harbaugh during his tenure at Michigan has been overblown. Fans like to see blue bloods fail. Especially, when they are coached by a quirky former NFL quarterback with a big reputation and no conference championships.

(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

 

(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

 

Harbaugh has three 10-win seasons at Michigan and the program, despite obvious shortcomings against Ohio State, has not been healthier since Lloyd Carr was coach more than a decade ago. At least that is the way it seemed until last Thanksgiving weekend. The Wolverines went to Ohio State favored and looking like a playoff team. They lost 62-39. They then lost to Florida 41-15 in an uninspired Peach Bowl performance. Now, after an offseason remake of the offense, Michigan’s first big game of the season was no contest.

MADISON, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 21: Jack Coan #17 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs for yards during the first half against the Michigan Wolverines at Camp Randall Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 

Michigan has been outscored by 70 points in its last three games against ranked teams. It is also 0-7 as an underdog with Harbaugh.
“We were outplayed, outprepared, outcoached, the whole thing both offensively and defensively,” Harbaugh said. “It was thorough.”

MADISON, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 21: Jack Coan #17 of the Wisconsin Badgers celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Michigan Wolverines during the first half at Camp Randall Stadium on September 21, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 

This is not a hot-seat situation. Michigan is all in on Harbaugh. But for the first time since he arrived in Ann Arbor in 2015 the trajectory of the program feels like it is headed in the wrong direction. And that leads to the scariest question for Michigan fans: If Harbaugh can’t make Michigan a consistently elite program again, can anyone?

UCF AS IN FLOP

Folks were lining up to champion the Knights last week after UCF trounced Stanford. So, of course, the Knights followed it up by losing to Pitt.
Everybody off the bandwagon.

PITTSBURGH, PA – SEPTEMBER 21: Gabriel Davis #13 of the UCF Knights celebrates with Dillon Gabriel #11 after 10-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Heinz Field on September 21, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)

 

The Panthers’ have chaos in the DNA, always good for at least one perplexing loss and equally surprising victory per season. A week after coach Pat Narduzzi called for a bafflingly conservative field goal late in the game that cost his team, Pitt beat the Knights with its own version of the Philly Special on a fourth-and-ballgame.
One loss on the road is not an indictment of UCF. The Knights are formidable. They’re just not playoff contenders.
AROUND THE COUNTRY:  Washington State’s Anthony Gordon threw nine touchdown passes — in a losing effort! That pretty much sums up the most #Pac12AfterDark game ever: UCLA’s 32-point second-half rally at No. 19 Washington State. Maybe this is the start of a turnaround for Chip Kelly’s Bruins. … The last time Appalachian State beat a Power Five team the Mountaineers blocked a kick on the final play of the game to seal one of the great upsets of all-time. North Carolina is no Michigan and App State’s latest takedown of a Power Five team was hardly an upset at all … Eastern Michigan is one of the most entertaining teams in the country. The Eagles have played 27 (14-13) one-score games since 2016. The latest: EMU blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown with 10 seconds left to beat FCS Central Connecticut. A week ago, coach Chris Creighton’s Eagles beat Illinois of the Big Ten with a last-second field goal. Creighton is probably due for a shot at a bigger program. …  Speaking of pretenders, No. 10 Utah rammed into its ceiling at Southern California on Friday night. … San Jose State earned $1.5 million and beat Arkansas for its first victory against a Power Five team since 2006 and first ever against an SEC team. A lot of attention has been on the struggles of second-year coaches Taggart, Jeremy Pruitt of Tennessee and UCLA’s Chip Kelly, but Chad Morris is now 4-12 with the Razorbacks, with losses to Colorado State, North Texas and San Jose State.
© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

‘Expect Eagles To Rebound Big Against Lions’: CBS Pittsburgh Sports Anchor Bob Pompeani

PHILADELPHIA (CBS Detroit)- Following a solid win over the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday, the Detroit Lions (1-1), hit the road to the City of Brotherly Love for a matchup with the Eagles (1-1).

Heading into the game, the Birds are dealing with a rash of injuries on the offensive side of the ball. Receivers Alshon Jeffery and DeSean Jackson are unlikely to play, as is second tight end Dallas Goedert. All three players are dealing with various soft tissue maladies, leaving Carson Wentz’s arsenal just a bit more bare than it appeared heading into the season.

In their place, the Eagles will start Nelson Agholor, Mack Hollins and J.J. Arcega-Whiteside at the receiver spots, with Zach Ertz and potentially Alex Ellis at tight end if Goedert indeed can’t go. The Eagles passing attack has been just fine in spite of the injuries so far, checking in at 10th in Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. However, the running game hasn’t really gotten going, with the team sitting 16th in DVOA there and not running the ball particularly well against a Falcons defense that was gashed by the Vikings in Week 1.

The Lions, like the Eagles, have the same sort of split between run and pass efficiency, though Detroit’s is even more dramatic. With the steady hand of Matt Stafford under center and with receiver Kenny Golladay and rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson providing the biggest threats, Detroit checks in at eighth in passing DVOA, but 28th in rushing. The good news for the Lions is the Eagles pass defense has been suspect so far, largely due to the lack of a pass rush from the front four.

The Eagles defensive line ranks 31st in the league in adjusted sack rate at just 2.4 percent, having picked up just two sacks this season, one of which came from safety Andrew Sendejo. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz adjusted by sending more blitzes against the Falcons, which burned the team in the end with Julio Jones sprinting 53 yards on a wide receiver screen on 4th-and-3 to score the game-winning touchdown.

While the Eagles defense has struggled to generate a pass rush, the Lions have been just below average, 18th in the league in adjusted sack rate and snagging six sacks on the season. Detroit has had some problems against the run, however, generating just a 12% stuffed rate, which measures the rate at which ball carriers are brought down at or behind the line of scrimmage. This could be the game in which we see rookie running back Miles Sanders start to break out.

Despite the heavy spate of injuries, the oddsmakers see the Eagles as six-point favorites entering the contest. CBS Pittsburgh sports anchor Bob Pompeani thinks the margin may be even bigger, with the Eagles bouncing back in a big way this week.

“Disappointing game for the Eagles Sunday night, Carson Wentz willed himself to a near win and then, all of a sudden, a 4th-and-3 turns into a 53-yard touchdown for Julio Jones,” said Pompeani. “I would expect the Eagles to rebound big in this one. Detroit is okay, coming off a nice game where they pulled one out, but I like the Eagles to right the ship. Something in the order of 31-14.”

The Lions and Eagles kick off on Sunday, September 22nd at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time.


Lions Hit The Road To Face The Eagles

Lions-Eagles Preview Capsule

DETROIT (1-0-1) at PHILADELPHIA (1-1)

Sunday, 1 p.m. EDT, Fox

 

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 15: Devon Kennard #42 and Damon Harrison #98 of the Detroit Lions celebrate a third down stop during the fourth quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Los Angeles 13-10. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

 

OPENING LINE — Eagles by 7

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Detroit 1-1; Philadelphia 0-2

SERIES RECORD — Eagles lead 16-15-2

LAST MEETING — Lions beat Eagles 24-23, Oct. 9, 2016

 

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 15: Matthew Stafford #9 and T.J. Hockenson #88 of the Detroit Lions celebrate a fourth quarter first down while playing the Los Angeles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

LAST WEEK — Lions beat Chargers 13-10; Eagles lost to Falcons 24-20

AP PRO32 RANKING — Lions No. 20, Eagles No. 8

LIONS OFFENSE — OVERALL (8), RUSH (16), PASS (6).

LIONS DEFENSE — OVERALL (27), RUSH (21), PASS (24).

 

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 15: Kenny Golladay #19 of the Detroit Lions celebrates a reception during the fourth quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Detroit defeated Los Angeles 10-13. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

 

EAGLES OFFENSE — OVERALL (14), RUSH (22t), PASS (12).

EAGLES DEFENSE — OVERALL (22), RUSH (3), PASS (31).

 

ATLANTA, GA – SEPTEMBER 15: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles reacts in the second half of an NFL game against the Atlanta Falcons at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on September 15, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)

 

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES — Lions have won last two meetings. … Lions QB Matthew Stafford helped team rally from fourth-quarter deficit last week and win for 28th time in career, NFL’s highest total since his career started in 2009. … Stafford has thrown eight TDs without INT in two meetings, winning by one point in 2016 and 31 points in 2015. … RB Kerryon Johnson is first Lions player since Barry Sanders to have 1,000 yards from scrimmage in first 12 games. … WR Kenny Golladay matched career high with eight receptions last week, had 117 yards receiving and scored for second straight game. … CB Darius Slay had interception and defended two passes, giving him NFL-high 94 passes defended since 2013. … Rookie LB Jahlani Tavai, starting for injured Jarrad Davis, had career-high nine tackles and forced first fumble against Chargers. … Eagles QB Carson Wentz has 3,300 yards passing, 30 TDs, 6 INTs, 111.1 rating in last 12 home games. … RB Josh Howard has 477 scrimmage yards, one rush TD in six games vs. Detroit. … Zach Ertz has 20 games with at least eight receptions since 2014, most among TEs. … WR Nelson Agholor coming off third career 100-yard game. … Eagles lead NFL in rushing defense (91.1) since 2016. … WRs DeSean Jackson and Alshon Jeffery unlikely to play because of injuries. … Fantasy tip: Golladay is solid bet against suspect secondary that allowed 106 yards receiving and two TDs to Julio Jones last week.

 

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Indians Knock Tigers Around In 7-0 Win

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians have work to do on their postseason push, and no games left against their favorite pushovers.

Mike Clevinger pitched six shutdown innings, Franmil Reyes homered in his return to the lineup and Cleveland moved into a tie for the second AL wild card with a 7-0 win over the Tigers on Thursday night. It was the Indians’ 17th consecutive win against Detroit this season.

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 19: Starting pitcher Mike Clevinger #52 of the Cleveland Indians pitches during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 19, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

Cleveland matched Tampa Bay at 90-63 with the Rays idle. Both teams trail Oakland by two games for the top spot. The Indians remained four games behind Minnesota in the AL Central.

“It’s not enough,” Cleveland manager Terry Francona said. “We need more. I don’t know how many more, but I’m guessing we’ll need several more.”

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 18: Catcher Roberto Perez #55 watches as manager manager Terry Francona #77 removes relief pitcher Oliver Perez #39 of the Cleveland Indians from the game during the ninth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 18, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

The Indians matched a franchise record for consecutive wins against a team in a season — they also won 17 straight over Baltimore in 1954. Cleveland won 18 of 19 versus Detroit in the season series and outscored the Tigers 116-38.

“They have definitely had our number,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “That’s an understatement. It’s not easy getting knocked around a little bit.”

Clevinger needed 33 pitches to get through a messy first inning. Harold Castro and Miguel Cabrera singled with one out and Jeimer Candelario drew a two-out walk, but Jordy Mercer flied out on a 3-2 pitch.

The right-hander allowed seven hits and struck out six. He is 11-1 with a 1.89 ERA over his last 15 starts.

“We won a game, but we’ve got to win every game right now,” Clevinger said. “So, that’s the way we’re looking at it going into each day.”

 

(Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

Reyes, who missed two games for personal reasons, hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Drew VerHagen. Reyes has 35 homers this season, including eight for the Indians since being acquired from San Diego at the trade deadline.

Yasiel Puig was 9 for 14 in the series and had an RBI double in the fourth. Roberto Pérez drove in two runs with a single in the fifth, and Carlos Santana and Oscar Mercado each had an RBI.

 

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 19: Starting pitcher Daniel Norris #44 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 19, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

Starter Daniel Norris (3-13) allowed one run in three innings for the Tigers, who have the worst record in baseball at 45-107. Detroit set a record for its longest losing streak against an opponent. The Tigers dropped 16 in a row to Minnesota from 2002-03.

The shutout was the 15th by Cleveland this season, and Detroit was blanked for the 14th time.

GETTING HIS SWINGS

Indians third baseman José Ramírez took batting practice Thursday for the first time since breaking his right hand last month. He had surgery Aug. 26. He’s pushing to return before the regular season finale Sept. 29.

LATE NIGHT VIEWING

Francona is keeping track of the other playoff contenders, but not in the most direct way.

He said he’s binge-watching the television show Madam Secretary at home after games. Francona was also watching Wednesday night’s game between Tampa Bay and the Los Angeles Dodgers on his phone. The Rays tied it in the ninth against closer Kenley Jansen and won in 11 innings.

“I fell asleep and it was the ninth inning and Tampa had nobody on with one out,” Francona said. “I woke up and I checked my phone and I was like, ‘You gotta be kidding me.’ So, yeah, that was a long convoluted way of saying that I pay attention.”

LOOK IT UP

Detroit’s only win against Cleveland came at Comerica Park on April 8 in a 4-1 victory. Matthew Boyd was the winning pitcher, and Niko Goodrum and John Hicks homered off since-traded Trevor Bauer, who got the loss.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: Candelario started for the first time since Monday after being out with bruised right triceps.

Indians: LHP Brad Hand played catch Thursday and will be evaluated by the training staff to determine the next step as he deals with a tired arm. He hasn’t pitched in a game since Sept. 8.

UP NEXT

Tigers: RHP Jordan Zimmermann (1-11, 6.32 ERA) will start the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Friday night at Comerica Park. RHP Dylan Cease (3-7, 6.18 ERA) will start for Chicago.

Indians: RHP Shane Bieber (14-7, 3.26 ERA) will pitch in the opener of a three-game series against Philadelphia on Friday night. LHP Drew Smyly (4-6, 6.22 ERA) will start for the Phillies, who are in contention for an NL wild card spot.

 

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Fantasy Football Start And Sit Week 3: Start David Montgomery, Sit Phillip Lindsay

(CBS Local/CBS Chicago)- Two weeks in the books, and every fantasy owner is likely responding to their start to the season in a similar fashion to many NFL teams.

2-0? Feeling good about your chances to make the playoffs and possibly win the league. 1-1? Could be worse, nothing to panic about, you’re right in the middle of the pack, with plenty of time to move up. 0-2? What happened? How did we miscalculate? Are injuries a factor?

No matter what your standing after two weeks, there is still time to turn things around, as long as you’re paying attention to your matchups each week. That is where the guys from Fantasy Football Today come in. Jamey Eisenberg, Dave Richard and Heath Cumming are here to break down Week 3 and tell you which players you should definitely have in your lineups and which you may want to avoid.

Stream your local NFL on CBS game live with CBS All Access.

This week, the guys have a surprising team contributing three players to the start/sit watch. The 2-0 Buffalo Bills! Sean McDermott’s team has been dominant defensively, but there are some things to like about the offense this week, particularly since they are going up against the Cincinnati Bengals. See the guys’ list of picks below and hear their reasoning behind each of them in the video at the top of this post. For all of your fantasy football advice needs, you can catch Fantasy Football Today every day beginning at 12 p.m. Eastern Time live on CBS Sports HQ.

Dave Richard

Start

QB: Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions @ Philadelphia Eagles

RB: Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals

WR: Marquise Brown, Baltimore Ravens @ Kansas City Chiefs

Sit

QB: Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns vs. Los Angeles Rams

RB: Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos @ Green Bay Packers

WR: Josh Gordon, New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

Heath Cumming

Start

QB: Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals

RB: David Montgomery, Chicago Bears @ Washington Redskins

WR: John Brown, Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Sit

QB: Philip Rivers, Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans

RB: Carlos Hyde, Houston Texans @ Los Angeles Chargers

WR: Will Fuller, Houston Texans @ Los Angeles Chargers


‘Type Of Game You Dream Of As A Player’ Ex-Georgia QB Aaron Murray & Ex-Notre Dame Lineman Aaron Taylor Weigh In On Saturday’s Game

(CBS Local/CBS Chicago)- The highly anticipated matchup between the No. 7 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs is just days away, getting the prime time treatment on CBS.

Both teams enter unbeaten on the season after a couple of tune-up games. The last time the two met, in 2017 in South Bend, the Bulldogs knocked off the Irish 20-19 on a Rodrigo Blankenship field goal with 3:34 left. The ‘Dawgs sealed the game on defense when Davin Bellamy strip sacked Brandon Wimbush with 1:27 left and the fumble was recovered by Lorenzo Carter.

Notre Dame looks to pull off the upset this time around in Athens in front of the Bulldogs fans. With kick-off rapidly approaching, it’s time to take a look at how the teams stack up against each other. To do so, we called in former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and former Notre Dame offensive lineman Aaron Taylor to give their insights. We’ll take a look at what to watch for when both teams have the ball and what the guys expect from the night game atmosphere in Athens on Saturday.

When Georgia Is On Offense

The Bulldogs offense has been dominant so far this season racking up 30, 63, and 55 points in their three wins over Vanderbilt, Murray State and Arkansas State. Now, aside from SEC foe Vanderbilt, that schedule isn’t much to look at and most would expect the Bulldogs to rack up those kind of point totals against those teams.

The domination has been driven by a ground game that has rolled over opponents to this point averaging 286 yards per game and over 7.6 yards per rush. The running back trio of D’Andre Swift, Chris Herrien and Zamir White have had plenty of running room thanks to that offensive line, but they are dynamic talents in their own right that can change a game on just one play.

That running game, driven by the veteran offensive line, is the area where CBS Sports college football analyst and former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray believes UGA has the biggest advantage.

“It’s the offensive line. I just don’t know many defensive lines that are big enough and can last four quarters going against those guys,” said Murray. “They’re going to run the football and people know they are going to run the football. The goal is the same. They are going to wear you out by the third or fourth quarter.”

D’Andre Swift #7. Credit: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Georgia’s offensive line and running game is one that plays to Notre Dame’s biggest weakness according to Taylor who says the defensive tackles and linebackers were a question for the Irish entering the season because despite being talented, they were inexperienced. In order to adjust, Taylor expects the Irish might try to go with a bit more speed across the line and use their depth of defensive ends.

“The Irish have given up almost five yards per carry through two games against Louisville and New Mexico neither of which are particularly strong running teams,” said Taylor. “With that said, maybe the deepest position that they have is at defensive end where they run nine deep. I would expect the Irish to have some kind of NASCAR package if you will where you have four defensive ends on the field at the same time in order to leverage your skill set which is quickness at that position.”

In addition to presenting a different look with four defensive ends, Taylor says another way the Irish could look to slow the UGA running attack is by running games with their defensive linemen like stunts, twists, etc. in order to make the big Georgia offensive line move and deal with the quickness of the ND front.

While the running game is a huge positive for the Bulldogs in this game, the receivers, who have been good so far, are Murray’s biggest question mark heading into Saturday night.

“I am going to be looking at what these receivers look like because this is going to be their first true test against a defense that, is going to give them some difficulty. They are going to play man-to-man, tight inside coverage and say if you’re going to beat us it will have to be over the top or on out-breaking routes,” said Murray. “That makes it a little bit more difficult when it comes to timing between the receiver and quarterback. This is our first true opportunity to see what guys like George Pickens, a true freshman who has looked good in the first few weeks can do against the big boys.”

So far, Jake Fromm has attempted just 56 passes which averages out to about 18 attempts a game. That is largely due to the fact that their opponents to this point have been unable to slow the running game. If the Irish are able to do so, and force Fromm to throw to those less experienced receivers, it could play a bit more into their hands.

When Notre Dame Is on Offense

On the other side of the ball, the Notre Dame offense is led by senior quarterback Ian Book who has shown himself to be more than capable of taking over a game by himself since taking over the starting job from Brandon Wimbush prior to last season. Through the Irish’s two wins over Louisville and New Mexico, Book has compiled 680 total yards and eight total touchdowns while completing 61.5 percent of his pass attempts.

Book’s play has made a fan out of Murray, who thinks that Book’s ability to break out of the pocket and pick up first downs with his legs that presents a big problem for the Bulldogs.

“I have been a big fan of Ian Book these last couple of years. He is very accurate with the football, he can throw a bunch of touchdowns and beat you in a variety of different ways. And he can run the football a bit too,” said Murray. “He is not going to be Lamar Jackson or Kyler Murray but he can beat you if you want to play coverage and back up and don’t have eyes on the quarterback. You have to be aware of Book in the run game. Keep him in the pocket.”

Ian Book. Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Taylor agrees that Book will be key, but he thinks the ability of the Notre Dame quarterback to consistently push the ball down the field will be key, especially given his struggles to do so this year.

“Being able to push the ball down the field vertically is going to be critical,” said Taylor. “The good news is, he was able to do that and settle down a week ago against New Mexico. The Irish exploded offensively in that game with 12 plays of 15-plus yards, six of which went for touchdowns. They are going to need some sort of similar performance against a Georgia defense that is not going to make that easy.”

“But this offense, at this point with its running game having a ton of question marks with its running backs due to injuries, isn’t going to be good enough to do what they did a couple years ago which was to just mash people all the way down the field,” continued Taylor. “They have to be able to hit some chunk plays and that means that Ian Book has to be at his best at-night, on the road, in Georgia against a defense that already has 12 sacks.”

On the atmosphere expected in Athens, Saturday night

Anytime two top 10 teams get together on a college football field, the atmosphere in the stadium is likely to be raucous. But, this game in particular has a bit of a different feel to it because of the two fan bases. Notre Dame, as mentioned at the top of this article, has built a national fan base through the years, leaning into the religious aspect of the university and being the favorite team of many Catholics throughout the country.

Georgia’s fan base is no joke either, with fans routinely filling the 92,746 seats at Sanford Stadium. You can bet every one of those seats will be filled on Saturday night making for a day that Murray says people and players alike will remember for quite awhile.

“This Saturday in Athens is going to be like no other. It’s going to be one of those special days that people are going to be talking about for a long time,” said Murray. “The brand of Notre Dame, two top 10 teams, College Gameday being there, to being on CBS at 8 o’clock, it’s shaping up to be a perfect weekend in Athens.”

Credit: Frederick Breedon/Getty Images

Taylor agrees and from the Notre Dame player’s perspective says this is the type of game that you hope for when you sign that letter of intent to play college football.

“These are the games you dream about playing. On the road, at night, in the big bad beast of the SEC. This is what you want: a top 10 matchup,” said Taylor. “At the end of the day when you walk away and you get back on that bus, you’re going to know exactly who you are as a football team and that could be good news or that could be bad news. The Irish have a hell of an opportunity, I think it is one they’re up for and they are going to have to be at their best against what has proven to be a pretty good Georgia team already.”

The Bulldogs and Irish kick off the second half of CBS’ Saturday doubleheader at 8 p.m. Eastern Time with Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl on the call.


WWE NXT Dazzles In Premiere, Expectations For All Elite Wrestling War Build

(CBSNewYork/CBS Local) — WWE’s developmental brand can no longer be considered second-tier. On Wednesday night, wrestling’s next generation of Superstars leveled the playing field and now shares a stage as large and grand as well-established Monday Night Raw and SmackDown Live.

For years, NXT has been the darling of the WWE Network, developing a loyal and rabid fan base on the streaming service with nearly 1.7 million paid subscribers, according to numbers released by WWE earlier this year. But now the audience potential is much higher, with its new broadcast home of USA Network available in at least 90 million homes.

Welcome to the big leagues.

Lio Rush WWE NXT

Lio Rush (Photo Credit: WWE)

It was only last month that WWE announced the shocking decision to move the brand to the cable giant. The shift should be the last major domino to fall in the company’s lucrative domestic television restructuring that will also see SmackDown uprooted from its current Tuesday night time slot to Friday nights on a new network next month.

Since the announcement, speculation has run rampant that the show would become a watered-down version of itself that would rely heavily on more recognizable talent from the main rosters. However, Wednesday’s premier put those concerns to rest, as NXT held true to form by delivering a show with a pay-per-view or TakeOver-esque feel to it. The talking was left to the announcers, while the ring was reserved for action.

After a brief introduction from Paul “Triple H” Levesque, who oversees the brand, the women of NXT made history by wrestling the first match on the show’s new television home. It was clear that the Superstars in the Fatal 4-Way match were determined to prove they could hold their own against the likes of main-roster talents such as Becky Lynch, Charlotte Flair, and Sasha Banks, all of whom came up through NXT.

Bianca Belair and Candice LeRae WWE NXT

Bianca Belair and Candice LeRae (Photo Credit: WWE)

Not only did the women on Wednesday night show that they could hold their own, they showed they could be better. The match was given time to breathe, which allowed for countless near falls, moonsaults, and flips off the top rope and crashes into competitors 10 feet below outside the ring. The reverse hurricanranas electrified fans who crammed into the live studio at Full Sail University to witness history. In the end, it was Candice LeRae who became the number-one contender for the NXT Women’s Championship. But shed no tears for Mia Yim, Io Shirai or Bianca Belair, whose performances will leave a lasting impression on the new audience.

The first hour concluded with Roderick Strong defeating Velveteen Dream to become the new NXT North American Champion, thanks to help from his cohorts in The Undisputed ERA. This too was a match that dazzled, with false finishes and high-risk maneuvers that have become trademarks over the years for NXT. It’s fitting that the win on this first show was actually the culmination of a vow the faction made nearly a year ago to have each of its members carrying a championship belt. It will be interesting to see what the power-hungry four-man stable does with Adam Cole as NXT Champion, Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly as tag team champions, and Strong as North American Champion.

Roderick Strong and Velveteen Dream WWE NXT

Roderick Strong and Velveteen Dream (L-R) (Photo Credit: WWE)

The second hour, which aired on WWE Network, also featured the surprise return of Lio Rush, who has been absent from television for the better part of six months after reportedly having a falling out with management on the main roster. Rush was greeted warmly by fans who chanted “welcome back” as he prepared to face Oney Lorcan. Their match to crown the number-one contender for the Cruiserweight Championship marked the beginning of integration of the 205 Live brand into the NXT fold.

Earlier in the week, Levesque stated that the brands wouldn’t be merging, but that the cruiserweight division would fit more neatly under the NXT umbrella. Cruiserweight title matches may be better suited for Takeover events rather than the monthly main roster pay-per-views, where they are often relegated to the pre-show, according to Levesque, who wants to maximize opportunities for the talents in the overlooked division. Similar opportunities for increased exposure may also be extended to certain talents on the NXT UK roster.

As for how the show ended? It was pure chaos, with a slew of talents getting their first taste of the national television spotlight. The main event street fight between Matt Riddle and Killian Dain eroded into chaos as interference by the imposingly large WALTER and Imperium gave way to an all-out locker room-clearing brawl. The Street Profits, who pull double-duty as regulars on RAW, were among those involved. Their presence offered two familiar faces to those sampling the brand for the first time.

>>READ: Latest from the world of Pro Wrestling

The shift of NXT from streaming to cable was done in part to fill the void left behind by the departure of SmackDown, but it is mostly a sharp response to the new kid on the block, All Elite Wrestling, after the promotion announced plans to begin airing live weekly shows on TNT in October. The upstart wrestling promotion, which features a number of former WWE Superstars, including Cody Rhodes and Chris Jericho, is backed financially by Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan.

In two weeks, the shows will begin going head-to-head as a true wrestling war begins for the first time in nearly two decades.

Although airing unopposed, WWE would not escape the first night unscathed, as AEW ran advertisements for its October 2 television premiere. The spots were likely sold by local advertising reps or television providers instead of USA Network. It is hard to see them getting a green light to sell national airtime to a competitor, but stranger things have happened, and AEW’s money is as good as anyone’s. A similar tactic was also reported during the previous night’s episode of SmackDown.

If this is a sign of things to come, buckle up for wild Wednesday nights for the foreseeable future. History shows that blows between competing promotions can be vicious, but fans will enjoy watching the battle play out.

In the end, the winner of the war will be crowned by ratings, and the formula for victory is simple: attract the most viewers.

Nobody quite knows what to expect, since the only apples-to-apples measurement available is an NXT special that aired on a Wednesday night in 2017. That evening 841,000 viewers tuned in to see what all the buzz was about. Levesque would be thrilled if the premier matched those numbers, but isn’t divulging specific viewership goals.

“I don’t want to set expectations that are unrealistic or disappointing in that you do something that is spectacular and we should all be cutting back flips over, but it’s not the number we put out there,” Levesque said.

Whatever number shakes out of the ratings will almost certainly dwarf average viewership on WWE Network. Regardless, it only represents the first night of a long journey. In this new wrestling war, WWE is in it for the long haul and knows that right now they’re just building a foundation.

“I think fans will find [NXT] over time, become enamored with it over time, and it will continue to build just as it always has,” Levesque said.

Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.

Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.


Michigan Faces Wisconsin , Spartans Head To Northwestern In Big Ten Play

Here’s what to watch in the Big Ten this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 11 Michigan at No. 13 Wisconsin

 

ATLANTA, GEORGIA – DECEMBER 29: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on against the Florida Gators in the first quarter during the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 29, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Mike Zarrilli/Getty Images)

 

MADISON, WISCONSIN – SEPTEMBER 07: Jonathan Taylor #23 of the Wisconsin Badgers scores a touchdown past Norman Anderson #16 of the Central Michigan Chippewas in the first quarter at Camp Randall Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Madison, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

 

Both teams are coming off open dates heading into a matchup that should provide some clarity about how good each is. Michigan’s new spread offense has been unable to gain traction because of turnovers and penalties, and the Wolverines (2-0) haven’t won in Madison since 2001. Wisconsin (2-0) has outscored two overmatched opponents 111-0 to become the first Football Bowl Subdivision team since 1980 to score at least 100 points and allow no points in the first two games. 

This is an opportunity for the Badgers to show they’re the team to beat in the Big Ten West and that their 8-5 record in 2018 was a one-year blip.

BEST MATCHUP

Illinois RB Reggie Corbin vs. Nebraska defense

 

LINCOLN, NE – SEPTEMBER 14: Quarterback Adrian Martinez #2 of the Nebraska Cornhuskers warms up before the game against the Northern Illinois Huskies at Memorial Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)

 

Nebraska (2-1) hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher and is giving up just 2.2 yards per carry. Corbin will give the Cornhuskers their best test so far. He’s averaging 7.5 yards per carry for the Illini (2-1) and, coming off a hip pointer that sidelined him for most of two games, ran for 144 yards on 18 carries against Eastern Michigan last week. Corbin’s 8.48-per-carry average in 2018 ranked third in the nation among players with at least 10 attempts a game.

FACTS AND FIGURES

 

PISCATAWAY, NJ – AUGUST 30: Raheem Blackshear #2 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights hoists a sword after the game against the Massachusetts Minutemen at SHI Stadium on August 30, 2019 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers defeated UMass 48-21. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

 

It’ll be a Big East reunion when Boston College visits Rutgers (1-1). The teams are meeting for the first time since 2004, BC’s last season before moving to the ACC. The Eagles went 12-1-1 in the series when both teams were in the Big East, winning each of the last 10 meetings. …  Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr., who missed last week’s loss to Ohio State with an undisclosed injury, could be a game-time decision when the Hoosiers (2-1) host UConn. … Ohio State’s home game against Miami (Ohio) was scheduled in April 2017 after the Buckeyes (3-0) and TCU modified their scheduled home-and-home series for 2018-19 and played a neutral-site game in 2018.

LONG SHOT

Northwestern, 9 ½-point underdog at home to Michigan State

 

EAST LANSING, MI – SEPTEMBER 14: Darrell Stewart Jr. #25 of the Michigan State Spartans runs downfield after catching a pass in the first half of the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Spartan Stadium on September 14, 2019 in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

 

The Wildcats (1-1) have won three straight and four of five against Michigan State (2-1), and they bounced back from a season-opening loss to Stanford with a solid win over UNLV. Michigan State figures to show up angry after its quirky home loss to Arizona State. Northwestern ran for 276 yards against a horrid UNLV defense. 

The Spartans have been stuffing ground games for years and are doing it as well as ever this season. That means Hunter Johnson is going to have to be much better than his two-game passing stats show: 43-percent completion rate, three interceptions, one touchdown.

PLAYER TO WATCH

Michigan QB Shea Patterson

 

ANN ARBOR, MI – SEPTEMBER 7: Quarterback Shea Patterson #2 of the Michigan Wolverines is tackled behind the line by Arik Smith #53 of the Army Black Knights during the first half at Michigan Stadium on September 7, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

 

Patterson lost three fumbles in the first two games and has had two weeks to stew over his flat performance against Army. He said this week he played with an oblique injury the first two games but now is 100-percent healthy. He needs to elevate his game against a Wisconsin defense that allowed a total of 215 yards while posting back-to-back shutouts.

 

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

 


Game Of The Week No. 11 Michigan vs No. 13 Badgers

Here’s what to watch in the Big Ten this week:

GAME OF THE WEEK

No. 11 Michigan at No. 13 Wisconsin

Both teams are coming off open dates heading into a matchup that should provide some clarity about how good each is. Michigan’s new spread offense has been unable to gain traction because of turnovers and penalties, and the Wolverines (2-0) haven’t won in Madison since 2001. Wisconsin (2-0) has outscored two overmatched opponents 111-0 to become the first Football Bowl Subdivision team since 1980 to score at least 100 points and allow no points in the first two games. This is an opportunity for the Badgers to show they’re the team to beat in the Big Ten West and that their 8-5 record in 2018 was a one-year blip.

ANN ARBOR, MI – OCTOBER 13: Shea Patterson #2 of the Michigan Wolverines throws a first-half pass while playing the Wisconsin Badgers on October 13, 2018, at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Michigan won the game 38-13. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

BEST MATCHUP

Illinois RB Reggie Corbin vs. Nebraska defense

Nebraska (2-1) hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher and is giving up just 2.2 yards per carry. Corbin will give the Cornhuskers their best test so far. He’s averaging 7.5 yards per carry for the Illini (2-1) and, coming off a hip pointer that sidelined him for most of two games, ran for 144 yards on 18 carries against Eastern Michigan last week. Corbin’s 8.48-per-carry average in 2018 ranked third in the nation among players with at least 10 attempts a game.

PISCATAWAY, NJ – OCTOBER 06: Reggie Corbin #2 of the Illinois Fighting Illini runs in for a touchdown against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights during the second quarter at HighPoint.com Stadium on October 6, 2018, in Piscataway, New Jersey. (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)

FACTS AND FIGURES

It’ll be a Big East reunion when Boston College visits Rutgers (1-1). The teams are meeting for the first time since 2004, BC’s last season before moving to the ACC. The Eagles went 12-1-1 in the series when both teams were in the Big East, winning each of the last 10 meetings. … Indiana QB Michael Penix Jr., who missed last week’s loss to Ohio State with an undisclosed injury, could be a game-time decision when the Hoosiers (2-1) host UConn. … Ohio State’s home game against Miami (Ohio) was scheduled in April 2017 after the Buckeyes (3-0), and TCU modified their scheduled home-and-home series for 2018-19 and played a neutral-site game in 2018.

LONG SHOT

Northwestern, 9 ½-point underdog at home to Michigan State

The Wildcats (1-1) have won three straight and four of five against Michigan State (2-1), and they bounced back from a season-opening loss to Stanford with a solid win over UNLV. Michigan State figures to show up angry after its quirky home loss to Arizona State. Northwestern ran for 276 yards against a horrid UNLV defense. The Spartans have been stuffing ground games for years and are doing it as well as ever this season. That means Hunter Johnson is going to have to be much better than his two-game passing stats show: 43-percent completion rate, three interceptions, one touchdown.

EAST LANSING, MI – SEPTEMBER 14: Michigan State Spartans players walk around the field with locked arms prior to the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Spartan Stadium on September 14, 2019, in East Lansing, Michigan. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

PLAYER TO WATCH

Michigan QB Shea Patterson

ANN ARBOR, MI – SEPTEMBER 7: Shea Patterson #2 of the Michigan Wolverines passes the ball against the Army Black Knights during the first half at Michigan Stadium on September 7, 2019, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Patterson lost three fumbles in the first two games and has had two weeks to stew over his flat performance against Army. He said this week he played with an oblique injury the first two games but now is 100-percent healthy. He needs to elevate his game against a Wisconsin defense that allowed a total of 215 yards while posting back-to-back shutouts.

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Michigan Tries To Change Narrative: College Football Picks

There is a strong temptation in college football to define teams early in the season, especially when a traditional power delivers a high-profile clunker.

That’s where No. 11 Michigan is as the Wolverines head into the first really big Big Ten game of the season. They face No. 13 Wisconsin in Madison on Saturday. Last we saw coach Jim Harbaugh’s team it was surviving an overtime scare at the Big House against Army.

ANN ARBOR, MI – SEPTEMBER 7: Khaleke Hudson #7 of the Michigan Wolverines celebrates after quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. of the Army Black Knights fumbled the ball which was recovered by Michigan during the second overtime to end the game at Michigan Stadium on September 7, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

As is the case with most blue blood programs — no pun intended — non-Michigan fans generally revel in the Wolverines’ every misstep. And with Harbaugh, the coach college football fans love to hate, rooting against Michigan has never been more popular. It’s as if everybody not wearing maize and blue is suddenly from Ohio.

As cringe-worthy as Michigan’s new-fangled offense was against Army, inspiring a litany of doom-and-gloom takeaways, the Wolverines can flip that narrative and renew the playoff talk they opened the season with by handling a bunch of Badgers who have yet to allow a point.

ANN ARBOR, MI – SEPTEMBER 7: Shea Patterson #2 of the Michigan Wolverines passes the ball against the Army Black Knights during the first half at Michigan Stadium on September 7, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

The first three weeks of the season have been light on games matching ranked teams. There have been just three, none last week. There are that many this weekend, plus a few other teams (No. 10 Utah, No. 12 Texas and No. 16 Oregon) that want to be thought of as playoff contenders facing potentially tough conference tests.

The picks:

FRIDAY

No. 10 Utah (minus 3½) at Southern California

It’s getting late early for the Trojans, who have not lost to the Utes at the Coliseum since joining Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011 … UTAH 28-24.

Air Force (plus 8) at No. 20 Boise State

Falcons have played the Broncos well since they have been Mountain West rivals … BOISE STATE 35-24.

SATURDAY

Charlotte (plus 41) at No. 1 Clemson

Tigers have two more sacks (14) through three games this season than they had at this point last season with one of the most decorated defensive lines in recent history … CLEMSON 49-7.

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 14: Trevor Lawrence #16 of the Clemson Tigers throws the ball during a game against the Syracuse Orange at the Carrier Dome on September 14, 2019 in Syracuse, New York. (Photo by Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

Southern Mississippi (plus 38½) at No. 2 Alabama

Tide QB Tua Tagovailoa has thrown at least four touchdown passes in a game eight times, a school record. He has started 18 games in his career … ALABAMA 56-14.

No. 7 Notre Dame (plus 14) at No. 3 Georgia

Another big game against an elite opponent that will be very difficult for the Irish to hang with … GEORGIA 35-17.

No. 4 LSU (minus 23) at Vanderbilt

Commodores’ pass defense has been terrible and LSU QB Joe Burrow has been one of the best passers in the country … LSU 45-20.

Miami, Ohio (plus 39) at No. 6 Ohio State

Led by preseason All-America DE Chase Young (five), the Buckeyes are second in the nation with 14 sacks … OHIO STATE 49-7.

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 14: Kevin Dever #30 of the Ohio State Buckeyes reacts after a play in the game against the Indiana Hoosiers at Memorial Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

No. 8 Auburn (plus 3½) at No. 17 Texas A&M

Tigers have won all three meetings in College Station since the Aggies joined the SEC … TEXAS A&M 24-22.

Tennessee (plus 14) at No. 9 Florida

That matchup of Florida defensive line vs. Tennessee offensive line looks like a big advantage for the Gators … FLORIDA 28-10.

No. 11 Michigan (plus 3½) at No. 13 Wisconsin

Wolverines have lost four straight at Camp Randall, dating to 2005 … WISCONSIN 24-20.

ANN ARBOR, MI – SEPTEMBER 7: Daxton Hill #30 of the Michigan Wolverines carries the ball after making a catch against the Army Black Knights on a fake punt during the first half at Michigan Stadium on September 7, 2019 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)

Oklahoma State (plus 5½) at No. 12 Texas

Longhorns have lost four straight in the series, so maybe they’re not really back until they take care of the Cowboys? … TEXAS 34-28.

No. 15 UCF (minus 12) at Pittsburgh

UCF freshman QB Dillon Gabriel is averaging 11.6 yards per pass and has yet to throw an interception … UCF 31-21.

No. 16 Oregon (minus 10) at Stanford

Cardinal have won three straight meetings, but the current version looks nothing like what we have become accustomed to under coach David Shaw … OREGON 35-23.

UCLA (plus 18½) at No. 19 Washington State

Progress would be keeping it close into the fourth quarter for the Bruins at this point … WASHINGTON STATE 38-21.

Old Dominion (plus 30) at No. 21 Virginia

You know what, Cavaliers fans? Your team hasn’t been this good in so long, just go ahead of rush the field as much as you want … VIRGINIA 38-7.

No. 22 Washington (minus 6½) at BYU

Cougars trying to make it three straight against Power Five teams … WASHINGTON 31-23.

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – SEPTEMBER 14: Hunter Bryant #1 of the Washington Huskies runs with the ball against Solomon Matautia #27 of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the fourth quarter during their game at Husky Stadium on September 14, 2019 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

No. 23 California (plus 2) at Mississippi

Cal has the look of a one-week wonder in the rankings … MISSISSIPPI 24-20.

Colorado (plus 7½) at No. 24 Arizona State

Good week for a breakout game for Suns Devils RB Eno Benjamin against a wonky Buffs run defense … ARIZONA STATE 28-17.

SMU (plus 9½) at No. 25 TCU

Horned Frogs have won seven straight in the crosstown Battle for the Iron Skillet … TCU 38-24, BEST BET.

TWITTER REQUESTS

Houston (plus 5) at Tulane, Thursday — @jefe172

This is the fourth game in 18 days for the Cougars … HOUSTON 28-27, UPSET SPECIAL.

Utah State (minus 4) at San Diego State — @realjakemcneil

QB Jordan Love and the Aggies have the No. 1 offense in the Mountain West; Aztecs are No. 2 in defense … SAN DIEGO STATE 28-27.

Appalachian State (plus 3) at North Carolina — @matthewepley

The wrong team might be favored here … APPALACHIAN STATE 28-24.

Louisville (plus 6½) at Florida State — @R_Barnes407

Every week is a referendum on the Seminoles now … FLORIDA STATE 31-23.

West Virginia (minus 4½) at Kansas — @OKTXARPoke

Last time the Jayhawks won three games in September was 2009, which was also the last time Kansas won more than three games in a season … WEST VIRGINIA 28-21.
___

Last week: 15-8 straight; 15-8 against the spread.

Season: 54-17 straight; 36-32-2 against the spread.

Upset specials: 0-3 (straight up).

Best bets: 1-2 (against the spread).

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Tigers Fall To Indians In 10th 2-1

CLEVELAND (AP) — Yasiel Puig rounded first base, happily waiting for Francisco Lindor to jump into his arms. It was a moment he had been waiting for since joining the Indians on July 31.

Puig delivered a bases-loaded single off the top of the right field wall with two outs in the 10th inning, and Cleveland kept up its playoff push by beating Detroit 2-1 Wednesday night for its 16th straight victory over the Tigers.

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 18: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cleveland Indians hits a walk-off RBI single to deep right during the tenth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 18, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Tigers 2-1 in ten innings. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

The Indians are four games behind first-place Minnesota in the AL Central. Cleveland is a half-game back of Tampa Bay for the second wild card and trails Oakland by 2½ for the top spot.

“I’m feeling good because this is my first walkoff with this team, finally,” Puig said, exhaling. “The inning before, I told Lindor and a couple of players, ‘Hey, I’m going to finish this one with a home run.’ I didn’t get that, but I got the single to win the game.

“All I’m focused on is my team trying to win the most games we can and waiting for Tampa to lose a couple.”

The enigmatic slugger drove the first pitch he saw from José Cisnero (0-4) over the head of Travis Demeritte. It was the fourth hit of the game and the fifth career walkoff plate appearance by Puig, acquired from Cincinnati in a three-team trade.

Roberto Pérez reached on an error by shortstop Willi Castro to open the 10th and was replaced by Bradley Zimmer, who advanced on Ryan Flaherty’s sacrifice bunt. A fielder’s choice by Oscar Mercado was bookended by intentional walks to Francisco Lindor and Carlos Santana, setting the stage for Puig.

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 18: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after hitting a walk-off RBI single to deep right during the tenth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 18, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Tigers 2-1 in ten innings. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

“You have to take your choice because having to pitch to Puig is not your greatest feeling in the world,” said Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire, whose team has the worst record in baseball at 45-106. “With Lindor and the whole package, they have a great lineup and it’s stacked at the top.”

Puig said he was motivated by the strategy, explaining, “He walked Santana and he’s going to pitch to me like I can’t finish this game. I got the pitch and put the ball in play and we won.”

Adam Cimber (6-3) earned the win with a perfect inning for Cleveland, which did not allow a hit after the fourth.

 

(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)

 

The Indians’ 16-game winning streak over the Tigers is one shy of the franchise record set against Baltimore in 1954. Cleveland is 17-1 versus the Tigers this year, outscoring them 109-38. Detroit matched its longest losing streak against an opponent; first dropping 16 in a row to Minnesota from 2002-03.

“I love this time of year,” Puig said. “I’ve been in the playoffs six times and God gave me an opportunity to come over from Cincinnati to try and make it a seventh time. Oakland is a little far ahead of us right now, but we’re right there with Tampa.”

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 18: Yasiel Puig #66 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates after hitting a walk-off RBI single to deep right during the tenth inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 18, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Tigers 2-1 in ten innings. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

The biggest play prior to extra innings occurred in the fourth, when Cleveland left fielder Greg Allen threw out Christin Stewart at the plate on a single by Brandon Dixon. Allen’s throw to Pérez was clocked at 100.8 mph — the fastest outfield assist in the majors this season, according to the Indians.

“You know what? Sometimes you surprise yourself whether it’s how hard you hit a ball or make a throw like that,” Allen said. “I just tried to get the ball out as quickly as possible.”

Indians right-hander Aaron Civale worked a season-high 7 2/3 innings, allowing one run. The rookie is the fifth pitcher to begin his career with nine games of five-plus innings and two or fewer earned runs — the first since King Cole of the Cubs from 1909-10.

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 18: Starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull #56 of the Detroit Tigers pitches during the first inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 18, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

Tigers starter Spencer Turnbull struck out eight over five innings, but remained winless in 16 starts since beating Atlanta on May 31. The right-hander leads the majors with 15 losses.

LOOKING BETTER

Indians LHP Brad Hand, who is sidelined with a tired arm, threw two dozen pitches in a bullpen session. The All-Star closer last appeared in a game on Sept. 8 at Minnesota. “It was just nice to see him look like himself,” manager Terry Francona said. . Cleveland DH Franmil Reyes rejoined the team after spending one day away for personal reasons.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: 1B Jeimer Candelario (right triceps bruise) was not in the lineup for the second straight day, but entered as a defensive replacement in the ninth inning. He was hit on the arm by a pitch from Baltimore RHP Ryan Eades on Monday.

Indians: 3B José Ramírez (right hand surgery) is hitting in the batting cage and fielding ground balls, but Francona is uncertain if he will return this season. The two-time All-Star broke his hamate bone on Aug. 24 against Kansas City.

UP NEXT

Tigers: LHP Daniel Norris (3-12, 4.62 ERA) will start the three-game series finale before being relieved by RHP Drew VerHagen. They combined for seven shutout innings, striking out five, in their most recent time-share outing on Sept. 14 at Baltimore.

Indians: RHP Mike Clevinger (11-3, 2.68 ERA) had his 10-game winning streak snapped on Sept. 14 against Minnesota, allowing two runs over a season-high tying eight innings. He is 10-1 with a 2.02 ERA, 118 strikeouts and 23 walks over his last 14 starts.

 

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Indians Hand Tigers 15th Consecutive Loss With 7-2 Win

CLEVELAND (AP) — The Indians’ dominance of Detroit is reaching a historic level.

Cleveland beat the Tigers for the 15th straight time, a 7-2 victory Tuesday night that improved the Indians to 16-1 in the season series — with a loss at Comerica Park

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 17: Catcher Roberto Perez #55 celebrates with closing pitcher Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians after the Indians defeated the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 17, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Tigers 7-2. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

With two more games left in the series this week, the Indians have a chance to match their team record for consecutive wins against a team in one season, set against Baltimore from May 21-Sept. 6, 1954. Just what the Indians need.

Cleveland closed within a half-game of Tampa Bay for the second AL wild card and remained five games behind Minnesota in the AL Central.

“We’ve got to keep battling,” rookie Oscar Mercado said after homering. “We have a chance to do something special. We can’t get down on ourselves and think about how luck hasn’t been on our side.”

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 17: Oscar Mercado #35 of the Cleveland Indians rounds the bases after hitting a solo homer during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 17, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

Adam Plutko (7-4) allowed two runs and four hits in six innings his first win since he beat Detroit on Aug. 27. He is 4-0  against the Tigers, including three victories this season.

Mercado hit a solo drive off Zac Reininger (0-3) in the second for his 12th homer. Jordan Luplow’s pinch-hit triple in the third drove in two runs, and Roberto Pérez also had two hits and two RBIs.

Mercado, called up from Triple-A Columbus in May, is batting .282 and has brought stability to a team that’s played through adversity.

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 17: Oscar Mercado #35 of the Cleveland Indians celebrates as he rounds the bases after hitting a solo homer during the first inning against the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 17, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

“Everything just feels good right now,” he said. “My confidence is pretty high. I’m trying to ride it out as long as I can.”

Reininger started in place of Matthew Boyd, who is away from the team for personal reasons. Reininger was charged with four runs in two-plus innings.

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 17: Catcher Roberto Perez #55 celebrates with closing pitcher Carlos Carrasco #59 of the Cleveland Indians after the Indians defeated the Detroit Tigers at Progressive Field on September 17, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians defeated the Tigers 7-2. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

“We were hoping for Reiny to give us three innings, but he got into some trouble in the third, so that didn’t happen,” Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire said. “It was kind of survival after that.”

Dawel Lugo homered in the fifth for Detroit. Víctor Reyes singled in a run in the third.

OUT

Indians 2N Jason Kipnis will miss the rest of the season with a broken right hand. He is expected to have surgery in the next few days.

Andrew Velazquez, called up from the minors to replace Kipnis, made a long run to catch Lugo’s foul popup in the second. Velazquez hung on to the ball after banging into the stands. Kipnis, wearing a brace on his hand, clapped in the dugout following the play.

Velazquez, recalled from Triple-A Columbus before the game, struck out in all four at-bats, but also started a double play in the seventh. The 25-year-old was acquired from the Rays on July 3.

“It was exciting to see,” Plutko said. “He really saved us a couple of times.”

SCRATCHED

Franmil Reyes was scratched as Cleveland’s designated hitter because he’s dealing with a family matter.

IT’S NOT EASY

Tigers C Grayson Greiner admitted the losing ways against the Indians and the season in general has been tough.

 

CLEVELAND, OHIO – SEPTEMBER 17: Grayson Greiner #17 of the Detroit Tigers celebrates after scoring on a double by Victor Reyes #22 during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on September 17, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

 

“It always stings losing,” he said. “It’s the worst feeling in our profession. It doesn’t matter who you’re going against.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Tigers: 3B Jeimer Candelario (bruised triceps) was scratched, one day after being hit by a pitch.

Indians: LHP Brad Hand is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Wednesday. He hasn’t pitched since Sept. 8 with what the team says is a tired arm.

UP NEXT

Tigers: RHP Spencer Turnbull (3-15, 4.77 ERA) leads the majors in losses going into Wednesday’s start. The rookie is 0-11 over 15 starts since beating Atlanta on May 31.

Indians: Rookie RHP Aaron Civale (3-3, 1.93 ERA) is 2-0 with a 1.38 ERA in two starts against Detroit.

 

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


NASCAR’s Financial Disparity Highlighted Buy Busch’s Comments

The massive divide between NASCAR’s heavyweights and the underdog teams just scraping by received renewed attention following Kyle Busch’s damning assessment of how backmarkers raced in the playoff opener over the weekend.

Busch rallied from an early incident at Las Vegas Motor Speedway that dropped him two laps off the pace to stunningly position himself for a top-five finish. Instead, he ran into the back of Garrett Smithley, who was 12 laps down in 35th place.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Hazelnut Toyota, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Busch, the regular-season champion, dropped to a 19th-place finish and went from first to fourth in the playoff standings. Clearly aggravated after Sunday’s race, he was blunt about the incident with Smithley, who was among 23 drivers on the track that day who are not in the 16-driver playoff field.

“I was told he was going to go high. I thought he was going to go high,” Busch said of the instructions he received from his spotter. “We went middle because I thought he was going to go high. Killed our day. I don’t know. Should have run fourth probably. Instead 19th. We’re at the top echelon of motorsports, and we’ve got guys who have never won Late Model races running on the racetrack. It’s pathetic. They don’t know where to go.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 12: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, speaks with members of the media during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Media Day at the South Point Hotel & Casino on September 12, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

The comments have drawn sharp criticism, with some saying they came off as entitled simply because another driver didn’t get out of Busch’s way. Some responses came from some lesser-known drivers on underfunded teams and helped spark a debate over on-track etiquette during the playoffs.

Tommy Joe Martins, an Xfinity Series driver when he can piece together a deal to get in a non-competitive car, on Tuesday supported “my friend” Smithley and called him a “really good racecar driver.”

“This fear for any of us driving for a small team: become a controversy,” Martins posted on Twitter. “We all just want to race & be respected. Stuff like this proves how bitter the divide is between 2 sides of this garage. It’s depressing to me.”

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 07: Garrett Smithley, driver of the #52 Honest Abe Roofing Ford, stands on the grid during qualifying for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Big Machine Vodka 400 at the Brickyard at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 08, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Smithley will be Rick Ware Racing’s driver for Saturday night’s race at Richmond Raceway, the second event in NASCAR’s 10-race playoff series. It will be his 13th career Cup Series start; he has one top-five finish in 133 starts across the Xfinity and Truck series.

Busch has always driven for one of NASCAR’s top teams. His break in the Cup Series came with Hendrick Motorsports and he was then hired at Joe Gibbs Racing, which has won 14 of 27 races this season and placed all four of its drivers in the playoff field. Busch has 207 victories across NASCAR’s three national series and won the 2015 Cup championship.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 12: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Toyota, speaks with members of the media during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs Media Day at the South Point Hotel & Casino on September 12, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

His criticism of the smaller teams and the drivers trying to claw their way up to Busch’s level prompted a lengthy rebuke from Smithley.

He noted that, unlike Busch, who followed his older brother, Kurt, into a ride at NASCAR’s top level, Smithley “didn’t grow up in a racing family, and we certainly didn’t have the funds to race. The only race car my parents ever bought was a used Bandolaro race car when I was 15. I didn’t think I had a chance starting that late.”

Smithley said he won enough races that a local golf cart shop owner stepped in as a sponsor, bought him a Legends car and helped Smithley move up to touring level. Then he decided to relocate to North Carolina, the hub of NASCAR, and try to make it in the big leagues.

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – SEPTEMBER 07: Garrett Smithley, driver of the #52 Honest Abe Roofing Ford, drives during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Big Machine Vodka 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway on September 07, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

“When I decided to move to Charlotte to pursue a career as a professional driver there is no doubt I had to basically give up the chance to win races in order to ‘fund’ getting the opportunity to race,” he continued. “I am one of only a handful of drivers that actually has never spent any of my own money to race. So spending money to go win in a late model was never an option, because the only way I can afford to race is if someone else pays for it.”

Smithley said he sells his own sponsorship, which he then brings to a team in order to secure seat time. He said most companies and sponsors prefer to back “someone like Kyle” to get the marketing value they want.

“Nobody that is considered ‘in the way’ wants to be,” he wrote of the incident with Busch. “We are simply doing the best we can” and “I do think I can be competitive in the right equipment and I will even go a step further and say, with time and equal funding my teams with Rick Ware Racing, Johnny Davis Motorsports can be competitive, too.”

NASCAR is attempting to address the current model and financial distributions, and team owners such as Bob Leavine of Leavine Family Racing have repeatedly said they believe a balance can be struck between the wealthy front end of the garage and the small teams in the back that spend each week short on tires, parts, personnel and everything else needed to be competitive.

Any solution will not come quickly.

Joey Gase penned a similar tale of his struggle to make it in NASCAR. Gase and Smithley were both running near each other when Busch ran into Smithley. Gase’s post included photos from late model races he won, noted he needed outside financial support to continue his career because his father worked in a coal power plant and his mother was a hairstylist and couldn’t afford for Gase to race as his childhood sport.

“We have to work for every sponsor we get and I am proud to say I have 30 different sponsors this year and would not be here without them,” Gase wrote.

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: In Need Of A QB? Andy Dalton Could Be Your Answer

Matt Citak

(CBS Boston/CBS Local)- The first two weeks of the NFL season have not been kind to many quarterbacks.

Nick Foles was put on IR after breaking his clavicle in Week 1, which was followed with serious injuries suffered by Drew Brees and Ben Roethlisberger in Week 2. These injuries not only affect the quarterbacks but also the playmakers in all of those offenses, as they will all now turn to their respective backup quarterbacks.

While injuries have derailed some teams’ seasons, it has also helped open the door for other young players to make a name for themselves in the NFL. As the old saying goes, when one door closes, another one opens.

Without further ado, here are the top waiver wire adds for Week 3.

QB Teddy Bridgewater, New Orleans Saints– Bridgewater did not look spectacular by any means in Week 2. However, keep in mind that he was thrust into action after preparing as the backup all week. With a whole week of preparation under his belt, I expect Bridgewater to put up a much better performance in Week 3 against Seattle, who gave up 418 passing yards to Andy Dalton in Week 1. I wouldn’t pick him up and roll with him as my starter in a one-QB league, but if you’re in a two-QB league and you’re looking for another signal-caller, I’d roll the dice on Bridgewater.

Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

QB Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals– Dalton has looked significantly better in his first two contests under new head coach Zac Taylor than he did in 2018. Through two games, the 31-year-old has thrown for 729 yards, four touchdowns and one interception against the Seahawks and 49ers. Next week, Dalton faces off against a tough Bills defense, but following that, he has easy matchups against the Steelers and Cardinals. Considering all of the injuries to the quarterback position already this season, Dalton could be a nice fill-in for at least the next few weeks.

RB Raheem Mostert, San Francisco 49ers– I mentioned Mostert in this column last week, and I hope you listened. The back carried the ball 13 times for 83 yards, averaging 6.4 yards per carry, while adding three catches for 68 yards and a touchdown. Matt Breida is still the starter for the 49ers, but Mostert has proven to have standalone value in Kyle Shanahan’s offense as well, as he looks to have carved out a solid role in both the run and passing game. And considering how injury-prone Brieda has been throughout his career, Mostert is definitely someone you should be targeting this week before he becomes owned in most fantasy leagues.

Credit: Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

RB Frank Gore, Buffalo Bills– The ageless veteran back is truly one of the marvels of the NFL. At 36-years-old, Gore has shown that he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. In Week 2, Gore carried the ball 19 times for 68 yards and a score while catching two passes for 15 yards. Devin Singletary was banged up in this game, which could open the door to Gore becoming the featured back for the 2-0 Bills. Anytime you have a chance to snag a starting running back, you take it without thinking twice. Go grab Gore now while you still can.

RB Darwin Thompson, Kansas City Chiefs– At the time of this writing, it is still unclear how serious the injuries are to both LeSean McCoy and Damien Williams. But if one (or both) are out for an extended period of time, Thompson stands to gain the most playing time. The rookie back flashed some serious playmaking abilities during the preseason, and was one of fantasy’s biggest sleeper picks before the Chiefs added McCoy to the mix. With McCoy and/or Williams now facing a potential absence, Thompson could regain the role it looked like was going to have at the end of training camp. The Chiefs still have Patrick Mahomes and one of the best offenses in the NFL. Adding that offense’s starting back, or even a back playing a decent number of snaps, is well-worth the add.

Credit: Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

WR Terry McLaurin, Washington Redskins– McLaurin burst onto the fantasy scene in Week 1 with five receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown, which made him a big waiver wire add last week. But for those of you worried is was just a one-week outlier, the rookie put those concerns to rest against the Cowboys on Sunday with another five-catch performance, this time for 62 yards and a score. The rookie led Washington with nine targets and appears to be the number one pass-catching option in the Redskins’ offense. If Washington were to turn to Dwayne Haskins sooner rather than later, McLaurin’s role would likely only increase as the two already have a great connection from their days playing together at Ohio State. McLaurin could be this year’s fantasy darling, so pick him up if he’s still available.

WR Demarcus Robinson, Kansas City Chiefs– Sammy Watkins had the game of his life in Week 1. It helped that Tyreek Hill left with an injury, but it appeared as if Watkins was on his way to fantasy stardom (at least while Hill remained out). But in Week 2, Watkins took a back seat to Demarcus Robinson in the Chiefs’ offense. Unlike in Week 1, Robinson was targeted six times and caught all six passes for a whopping 172 yards and two touchdowns. While Hill is out, it may be a case of a new receiver putting up a dominant performance each week in Kansas City, especially since Travis Kelce is still there as well. However, I will take my chances on Robinson while Hill is out, as it appears as if the fourth-year veteran has a pretty high floor while he’s part of the starting lineup.

WR Deebo Samuel, San Francisco 49ers– I mentioned Samuel in this column before the start of the season, and it only took until Week 2 for the rookie to make me look smart. In only his second NFL game, the rookie receiver reeled in 5-of-7 targets for 87 yards and a touchdown in San Francisco’s big win over the Bengals. Samuel’s seven targets were three more than any other player on the 49ers (Mostert), which is a very encouraging sign for a young receiver. Shanahan recognizes that Samuel is one of the team’s best playmakers, as the receiver also handled two carries in Week 2, gaining seven yards on those two rushes. Samuel looks like he could be on his way towards a breakout campaign, and with Jimmy G rolling, I’m even more in on Samuel than I was before the season.

TE Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks– I don’t love this one, but if you’re desperate for a tight end, Dissly could be a solid pickup. After a dud of a performance in Week 1, Dissly caught all five passes thrown in his direction on Sunday for 50 yards and two touchdowns. More importantly, both touchdown catches came inside the red zone. If Dissly becomes Russell Wilson’s new go-to target near the end zone, than the second-year tight end could be primed for a big season.

Matt Citak is a contributing writer for CBS Local. Follow him on Twitter here for all things fantasy football, New York Giants and more.


Daniel Hemric Out At Richard Childress Racing

Richard Childress Racing has declined to pick up the option on rookie Daniel Hemric for next season.

Hemric is ranked 25th in the standings, did not make NASCAR’s playoffs and has just two top-10 finishes in 27 starts this season. The team said Tuesday that Hemric will finish the year in the No. 8 Chevrolet. RCR called Hemric “a very talented driver and an outstanding person.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 13: Daniel Hemric, driver of the #8 Cessna Chevrolet, drives during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 13, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

A native of Kannapolis, North Carolina, which NASCAR’s famed Earnhardt family called home, Hemric had been billed as a throwback to the sport’s Southern roots. Childress even changed the car number to reflect the Earnhardt family.

Tyler Reddick, the reigning Xfinity Series champion, is expected to be promoted to Hemric’s seat. He won for the fifth time this season Saturday and Childress likened Reddick’s style to Hall of Famer Cale Yarborough.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 14: Tyler Reddick, driver of the #2 TAME the BEAST Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the regular season championship during the NASCAR Xfinity Series Rhino Pro Trucks Outfitters 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Austin Dillon drives the No. 3 for RCR, which is celebrating its 50th season in NASCAR this year.

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Lions Add Perkins, Driskel After Cutting Anderson, Johnson

The Detroit Lions have released running back C.J. Anderson, quickly cutting ties with a player who helped the Los Angeles Rams reach the Super Bowl.

Detroit made the relatively surprising move Tuesday night after adding running back Paul Perkins off waivers from the New York Giants.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 29: Paul Perkins #28 of the New York Giants runs the ball during the preseason game between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on August 29, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Anderson ran for 43 yards on 16 carries in two games, backing up Kerryon Johnson. He has 3,497 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns in his career in Denver, Carolina, Los Angeles and Detroit.

DETROIT, MI – AUGUST 23: C. J. Anderson #26 of the Detroit Lions runs the ball in the first quarter during the preseason game against the Buffalo Bills at Ford Field on August 23, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

The Giants drafted Perkins in the fifth round three years ago and he has 546 yards and 208 yards receiving.

Earlier in the day, the Lions signed quarterback Jeff Driskel to add depth along with rookie David Blough behind Matthew Stafford and released quarterback Josh Johnson.

PITTSBURGH, PA – DECEMBER 30: Jeff Driskel #6 of the Cincinnati Bengals drops back to pass in the first quarter during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field on December 30, 2018 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

The Bengals waived Driskel off the injured reserve list with an injury settlement last week. He had a hamstring injury during training camp and lost the No. 2 job to rookie Ryan Finley. San Francisco drafted the former Florida and Louisiana Tech player three years ago in the sixth round. He has completed 105 of 176 passes for 1,003 yards with six touchdowns and two interceptions.

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Baseball Report: MLB Wild Card Could Go Down To Wire

(CBS Chicago/CBS Local) — The MLB playoffs are just around the corner. But the division races lack real drama, with most of the winners all but decided. That is, except the National League Central, where the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals seem destined to battle right up until the end.

The wild card races, however, remain suspenseful. Three American League teams are vying for two spots. Five National League teams remain within five games of the postseason. All this, of course, is for a chance in what amounts to a play-in game, with the winner going on to face the AL or NL’s best team.

The Los Angeles Angels, long out of contention, will now limp to September’s end without their best player. AL MVP candidate Mike Trout has been dealing with foot pain for a month, and will now undergo season-ending surgery.

The Baltimore Orioles can’t be done with this season soon enough either. But in a rare bright spot in an otherwise bleak 2019, an Oriole hit the home run that set MLB’s season home run record. It’s a shared record, but they’ll take what they can get.

This week’s Baseball Report looks at the wild card races, Mike Trout’s injury and the MLB home run record.

Kyle Schwarber #12 of the Chicago Cubs celebrates as he scores during the fourth inning of a baseball game against San Diego Padres at Petco Park September 12, 2019 in San Diego, California.

Kyle Schwarber (Photo Credit: Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

Wild Card Races Close

With most of the playoff spots spoken for, the wild card races remain a toss up in the second half of September. The American League has a three teams vying for the two wild card spots. After Monday’s action, 2.5 games separate the Oakland Athletics (90-61), Tampa Bay Rays (89-62) and Cleveland Indians (87-63), with the A’s and Rays holding an edge.

The A’s continue to chase the Houston Astros in the AL West. They’ve won eight of their last 10 and trail by eight games. Finishing the season in the top wild card spot, where they’ve sat for weeks, seems almost inevitable at this point. But it’s far from certain.

Likewise, the Rays are theoretically still contending for the AL East. At nine games behind the New York Yankees and unable to make up any ground, the wild card seems like their only ticket to the postseason.

The Indians could upend the current AL order, trailing the Minnesota Twins by five games for the AL Central and the Rays by 1.5 games for the wild card. The Indians will have a tough time making up any ground, with upcoming series against NL wild card contenders.

The National League wild card race still includes five teams within five games of a spot. But the situation should start to get worked out this week. The Washington Nationals (82-67) and Chicago Cubs (82-68) hold the two spots at the moment.

The Nationals won’t catch the Braves in the NL East, especially after losing five of seven games to them in two recent series. The Nats, 4-6 in their last 10 games, have also hit a rough patch at exactly the wrong time.

While the Cubs trail the St. Louis Cardinals (84-66) by two games in the NL Central, seven games remain between the two teams. Taking those two series could put the Cubs in control of the division, but losing them could keep them out of the playoffs. The same goes for the Cardinals.

The Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies all sit within five games of the final wild card spot. Milwaukee just lost 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich for the season to a fractured kneecap. The Brewers are still only one game back, and don’t play another above-.500 team for the rest of the regular season.

The Mets, at five games back, seem determined to toy with their fans for as long as possible before missing the cut. They also have a light schedule the rest of the way, aside from an end-of-season series with the Braves. And even in that series they may face a Braves team that’s resting starters.

The Phillies, also five games out of the wild card, still also have a shot at slipping in. But unless they get hot, and quickly, it’s unlikely. With series against the Braves, Indians and Nationals, all teams with legitimate playoff hopes, the Phillies path to the postseason is a difficult one.

Mike Trout Done For Season

Mike Trout’s quest for another AL MVP is over. MLB’s best player developed Morton’s neuroma in his right foot about a month ago. The condition,  a thickening of the tissue around a nerve that causes pain, has kept him out of the Angels lineup since August 6. Over the weekend, the team announced that he would have season-ending surgery to fix the problem.

Trout’s stats on the season — .291 batting average, 45 HRs, 104 RBI, 8.3 WAR — will keep him in the MVP running this year and may ultimately be enough. He won the award in 2014 and 2016 and was runner-up four other times.

But Trout won’t take the MLB home run title. He’s currently third behind Reds Eugenio Suarez and Mets Pete Alonso, who both have 47 on the season.

The Angels (68-82) have bee out of playoff contention for some time.

MLB Season Home Run Record

In a season they’d rather forget, the Orioles have set multiple records that they’d rather not own. That includes the most home runs allowed in a season, which they tied and broke with more than a month left in the season. The total now stands and 284, 34 above the second-place Seattle Mariners, and will likely rise further by season’s end.

But last week the team helped set the MLB record for most home runs in a season. In a 7-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, Jonathan Villar hit a record-setting three-run shot, number 6,106 in the League this season. That number after Monday’s action stands at 6,308, and will go higher in this season of the long ball.


JGR Got The Win But The Other 3 Had A Really Tough Day

Martin Truex Jr. and Cole Pearn built a championship-winning team far from NASCAR’s hub in North Carolina, using their own approach in making a single-car organization one of the most dominant.

Then Barney Visser shuttered his Colorado-based team, and the driver and crew chief were nearly unemployed.

“Out of a job? I don’t think so,” snorted Joe Gibbs.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, and crew chief Cole Pearn celebrates in victory lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Gibbs pulled them both into Joe Gibbs Racing, Visser’s technical partner when he was running Furniture Row Racing in suburban Denver, and the results haven’t changed at all. Truex won for the fifth time Sunday in his first season with the Gibbs juggernaut, and the Las Vegas Motor Speedway victory came in NASCAR’s opening race of the playoffs.

Truex is now automatically into the second round and rolling toward a spot in the championship race for the third consecutive year. Truex found very little upheaval in moving inside the four-car Gibbs organization, which gave him a lucrative new contract and full access to all the Gibbs assets.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, places the winner’s sticker on his car after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“I would say that a lot of things have stayed very similar for me; I would say for our team guys, and especially for Cole, things have been a lot different,” Truex said. “I’m very comfortable where I’m at. I’m very focused. I’ve got a lot of confidence in my team. I’ve got a lot of confidence in what’s going on around us.

“I think the feeling of just being more comfortable in my environment, being more settled, longer-term contract, not a single-car team; I’m not worried about what’s going to happen next year. Been through a lot of things in the last couple years really. Just in a comforting spot and excited about this team and what we can do in the next couple of years together.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

There has been adapting along the way, particularly for Pearn, an outdoors-loving Canadian who had a fulfilling family life in Colorado. The move to Charlotte, North Carolina, has been bittersweet and the summer heat had his kids asking “every day, ‘Can we go back where there’s snow?'”

But the Gibbs opportunity is too good — all four cars are in the playoffs — and the No. 19 team has not missed a beat since Furniture Row closed after last season’s finale.

“Coach and everybody at JGR put a lot of work into getting us there and make a home for us. We easily could have been out of a job,” Pearn said. “I miss Denver. I miss Furniture Row. I’ll look back on probably the greatest time in my career. It’s fun to be here and building a new path at JGR. … definitely, it’s kind of crazy that you can go leave a team, you kind of go to the team you’ve been working with and be able to hit the ground running. Pretty unique opportunity.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The Gibbs group came to Las Vegas as the favorites to win the title with four chances in Truex, the 2017 champion, regular-season champion Kyle Busch, Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin and Southern 500 winner Erik Jones. The Truex victory didn’t alter JGR’s positioning — the four JGR drivers have combined for 14 victories in 27 races — but its three other cars did not fare so well in the playoff opener.

Busch slapped the wall just five laps into the race and fell two laps off the pace while his Toyota was repaired. He worked tirelessly for 400 miles, gained his laps back, and seemed headed to a fourth-place finish until he ran into the back of a lapped car. A furious Busch wound up 19th and complained loudly about the drop-off in talent at the back of the Cup field.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Hazelnut Toyota, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Hamlin finished 15th and had no answers as to why his car was strong early in the race then became a handful.

“I really don’t have a whole lot of answers right now until we look at the car because I’ve been doing this a long time, I’ve never seen a car without damage go from where we were to where we ended up,” Hamlin said. “Certainly, we got to diagnose it and see.”

Jones had a mechanical problem and finished 36th — dropping him to last in the playoff standings with two races remaining before the bottom four drivers are eliminated.

It tempered Gibbs’ excitement over the Truex win and prepared him for critical team meetings before Saturday night’s race at Richmond Raceway in Virginia.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Denny Hamlin, driver of the #11 FedEx Ground Toyota, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

“Our meeting (Monday), our technical meeting, will be tough because three of them had a real tough day,” Gibbs said. “I think what you need to do is try and figure out, ‘OK, what happened? How do you keep it from happening again?’ and learn from those tough nights. So many different things can happen to you in motorsports.”

But Gibbs still likes where the organization is right now and believes he’s still got, multiple championship contenders.

“In pro sports, big-time sports, if you’ve got any weakness, it’s going to find you,” Gibbs said. “I think the key is to try and be as strong as you can all the way across. I think we’ve worked extremely hard at our race shop. We go to work every day; this is all we do, we try and make sure that we don’t leave a weakness. That’s hard; you can’t really cover everything.

RICHMOND, VA – APRIL 13: Martin Truex Jr, driver of the #19 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota, talks with team owner Joe Gibbs in Victory Lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond Raceway on April 13, 2019, in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)

“For any driver or crew chief, these guys, they’ve got so many years to drive a car, so many chances to win a championship. You don’t want to see them miss one. We’ll put everything we got into it and see what happens.”

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Two Games, Many Mistakes, Lions Still Unbeaten

Matt Patricia came to Detroit with a defensive background, so it will be no surprise if the Lions keep playing tight, low-scoring games.

Turnovers can be particularly harmful in matchups like that, but Detroit got away with those mistakes in a win over the Chargers.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 15: Matthew Stafford #9 of the Detroit Lions throws a second quarter pass while playing the Los Angeles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Matthew Stafford threw two interceptions — and Matt Prater missed a field goal and an extra point — but the Lions overcame all that to beat Los Angeles 13-10 on Sunday. The Chargers matched Detroit’s two turnovers and had kicking problems of their own, so the Lions now have a win and a tie to their credit after playing two games that could have easily gone either way.

“Any time you win, you try to use it as a step forward,” said Patricia, in his second season as Detroit’s coach after a successful run as New England’s defensive coordinator. “But I think they’re only step forwards if you really learn from the mistakes that you made within those games. I think if you mask any of that or try to just move past it or think that those mistakes aren’t going to happen again just because you won — I think it’s important for us to get it fixed and corrected.”

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – SEPTEMBER 08: Head coach Matt Patricia of the Detroit Lions talks with Nick Bawden #46 during pregame warm ups prior to a game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on September 08, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

Detroit (1-0-1) allowed 424 yards of offense against Los Angeles, but aside from the latter half of the fourth quarter in Week 1 against Arizona, the Lions have done a good job keeping teams off the scoreboard. That blueprint to keep teams out of the end zone and avoid mistakes on offense could serve Detroit well, especially after the team added defensive linemen Trey Flowers and Mike Daniels in the offseason.

But the Lions didn’t do a good job avoiding miscues Sunday. Stafford had gone five straight games without an interception, but he was picked off twice on ill-advised deep throws. Prater’s misses could have been costly, too, on a rare afternoon of shakiness from a kicker who has been terrific for Detroit.

The Lions were fortunate that Los Angeles wasted opportunities of its own, especially on a third-quarter drive when the Chargers had two touchdowns called back for penalties and eventually lost a fumble near the goal line.

DETROIT, MICHIGAN – SEPTEMBER 15: Jesse James #83 of the Detroit Lions battles for yards after a second quarter catch against Thomas Davis #58 of the Los Angeles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

One encouraging moment for the Lions came on the final drive when Detroit was able to run out the clock after Stafford threw to Jesse James to convert third-and-6. The previous weekend, the Lions appeared poised to ice a victory in similar fashion at Arizona, but a timeout from the sideline halted a third-down play late in the fourth quarter.

“It’s a building block for us mentally as a team, just where we are as a team, emotionally and everything,” offensive lineman Frank Ragnow said. “Just being able to say, ‘Hey we did it. We finished a game, and we were able to come through at the end.'”

WHAT’S WORKING

Stafford’s receiving targets have already had some nice moments this season. Rookie tight end T.J. Hockenson had a good debut against the Cardinals, and receiver Kenny Golladay had eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown against the Chargers. Golladay made a tough catch over the middle on the 31-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter that put the Lions ahead.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 15: Kerryon Johnson #33 of the Detroit Lions scores on a 36-yard pass from quarterback Matthew Stafford #9 (not in photo) during the first quarter of the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

WHAT NEEDS HELP

Detroit’s running game has looked ordinary. Kerryon Johnson had only 41 yards on 12 carries Sunday, his second straight game under 50 yards rushing. Johnson did score on a 36-yard catch and run in the first quarter.

STOCK UP

Rookie linebacker Jahlani Tavai, a second-round draft pick, forced the key fumble at the goal line and was the Lions’ second-leading tackler.

DETROIT, MI – SEPTEMBER 15: Darius Slay #23 of the Detroit Lions celebrates his interception late in the fourth quarter with Jahlani Tavai #51 of the Detroit Lions during the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at Ford Field on September 15, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

STOCK DOWN

Punt returner Jamal Agnew, who muffed a punt in the opener, was relieved of that duty against the Chargers. Danny Amendola took over punt returns in the second quarter. Patricia said he believes in Agnew but needed to make a decision in the moment.

INJURED

Offensive lineman Taylor Decker (back) and linebacker Jarrad Davis (ankle) — Detroit’s first-round picks in 2016 and 2017 — were inactive Sunday.

KEY NUMBER

3 — The number of tackles through two games for Flowers, the big offseason acquisition. Detroit didn’t allow many points against the Chargers, but there’s still room for that defensive front to improve.

NEXT STEPS

The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Lions, who face the Eagles and Chiefs in their next two games. The game this weekend is at Philadelphia.

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Truex Races Into 2nd Round Of Playoff

Martin Truex Jr. clearly had one of the best teams this season as he rolled to four victories before the end of June.

Then he hit a slump of sports, nearly three months without a win, but his Joe Gibbs Racing team remained confident it would challenge for the championship.

A win in the opening race of NASCAR’s playoffs solidified their beliefs.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, celebrates after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Truex won for the fifth time this season Sunday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and earned an automatic berth into the second round of the playoffs. He’s won the playoff opener in three of the last four seasons, including 2017 when he won the Cup title.

“Welcome back,” Truex screamed to his team over his radio as he crossed the finish line. He later added “I feel awesome” about his chances to make the final four and race for the championship in the November finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, and crew chief Cole Pearn celebrates in victory lane after winning the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

“If we can get to Homestead, we are going to be tough to handle. But we’ve got to get there first,” he said.

The Truex victory on an up-and-down day for Joe Gibbs Racing still cemented the Toyota team as the organization to beat for the Cup in this 10-race playoff series. JGR has 14 wins this season through 27 races.

Truex chased down Kevin Harvick, who was slowed by traffic, to cut into Harvick’s lead and eventually make the pass for the win — and the automatic second-round spot — on the outside with 20 laps remaining.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Martin Truex Jr., driver of the #19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

“I was able to hustle the car there at the end and get the lead and drive away,” Truex said. “These next two weeks are all about bonus points. This is big today to get six (points). Those are really important to get to (the finale).”

Las Vegas was a brutal opener for a handful of title contenders, including Kurt Busch, who crashed when his tire went flat, and he finished last in the field. Erik Jones had an earlier mechanical issue and finished four spots higher in 36th.

The top 10 finishers were all playoff contenders as Truex was followed by Harvick, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, William Byron, Kyle Larson, reigning series champion Joey Logano and Ryan Newman.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Kevin Harvick, driver of the #4 Mobil 1 Ford, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

Harvick credited his Stewart-Haas Racing team with making massive gains all weekend to get him to a second-place finish.

“We were way off when we got here this weekend. They just kept working. We qualified well,” Harvick said. “I knew the Gibbs cars would be tough. Martin was just so much better on the second half of the run. He made up that ground there, was able to stay close enough to us. My car started to get loose and push the front. It was just in kind of a four-wheel drift. We really had an OK speed at the first stage, but I still felt like the Gibbs cars were better than us.”

Kyle Busch hit the wall just five laps into the race and dropped two laps off the pace while his car was repaired. The regular-season champion finished 18th but was on track to finish fourth until he ran into the lapped car of Garrett Smithley nearing the end of the race.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M’s Hazelnut Toyota, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

“We are the top echelon in motorsports, and we’ve got guys out here who have never won late model races, it’s pathetic. They don’t know where to go,” Kyle Busch said. Smithley has 11 career Cup starts but has never won a race in a national series, including ARCA.

Busch in later post-race interviews repeated several times “I’m just here, so I don’t get fined,” — a nod to celebrity pace car driver Marshawn Lynch, who used that line throughout his NFL career.

Pole-sitter Clint Bowyer started the race by leading all four Stewart-Haas Racing drivers to the green flag, but he never could clear the traffic and eventually dropped to a 25th-place finish.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Clint Bowyer, driver of the #14 Toco Warranty Ford, takes the green flag to start the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

“We just weren’t very good tonight. We were just off. Off in all areas,” Bowyer said.

Kurt Busch, Bowyer and Jones are now the bottom three drivers in the 16-driver field and in danger of being eliminated in two weeks.

It was 100 degrees when the race began, hours later than it did last season because NASCAR felt it was too hot for fans in attendance.

BIG HENDRICK DAY:

Hendrick Motorsports had a strong day with all three of its title contenders — Elliott, Bowman, and Byron — inside the top 10. Byron pulled it off despite a tire rub that caused him to spin and bring out a caution during the third stage. Jimmie Johnson, who missed the playoffs this year for the first time since the format began in 2004, was the highest non-playoff driver at 11th.

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – SEPTEMBER 15: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, races during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series South Point 400 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on September 15, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

DECENT RACE FOR TEAM PENSKE:

Although defending race winner Brad Keselowski struggled through the first two stages, he still managed a third-place finish. But teammate Joey Logano, despite leading a race-high 105 laps, had some damage to his Ford that dropped him to ninth. Ryan Blaney, the third Team Penske title contender, was a quiet fifth.

UP NEXT: Saturday night at Richmond Raceway in Virginia. Kyle Busch is the defending race winner. The field will then be cut by four drivers after the Sept. 29 race at Charlotte.

© 2019 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


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