Wednesday, June 7, 2023

How Aaron Rodgers, Packers silenced the doubters, plus college basketball is almost here

Greetings sports fans, it’s Chris Bengel back with you once again. Another week, another stellar Monday Night Football contest.

I can’t say that I expected the Detroit Lions to give the Green Bay Packers all that they could handle in the first half. Maybe it’s new Lions head coach Dan Campbell wanting to bite the kneecaps of the opposition, but there’s some tremendous building blocks on this team and they have the future draft capital to create something special. They’re actually fun to watch, too, and I didn’t expect to say that about a team that is quarterbacked by Jared Goff.

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I’ve never been a Goff fan, but perhaps he has what it takes to help flip the script in the Motor City.

Still, the Packers look to be as talented as many thought they would be before the season began. Aaron Rodgers continues to sling the football at an elite level and it doesn’t hurt that his weapons haven’t changed. Whether this is Rodgers’ last season in Green Bay or not, I think this level of football is what we’re going to see from the three-time MVP on a weekly basis.

Now let’s dive into the news, which promises to be football heavy!

📰 What you need to know

1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers use strong second half to top Lions 🏈

During the offseason, it was unclear if Aaron Rodgers planned to return to the Green Bay Packers. Once the dust settled, Rodgers agreed to return for another season, but it wasn’t exactly the return that he or the Packers had in mind. The Packers were trounced in a 38-3 beatdown at the hands of the New Orleans Saints in Week 1.

On Monday night, the Packers had a chance to wipe the bad taste out of their mouth — and boy did they ever.

Despite trailing at halftime, the Packers topped their division rival Detroit Lions 35-17 in a strong showing at Lambeau Field. Green Bay blanked Detroit 21-0 in the second half behind two touchdowns from star running back Aaron Jones. Jones ended up compiling 115 scrimmage yards and three touchdowns (two receiving) in the impressive victory. In addition, Rodgers looked impressive as he threw for 255 yards and four touchdowns.

Now, the Lions did lead 17-14 at halftime and the offense was churning along. However, the Packers ended up putting the clamps down on the defensive side of the ball and forced two turnovers in the second half. 

Here’s a look at what the Lions did with their second-half drives, in order:

  • Turnover on downs
  • Fumble
  • Punt
  • Interception
  • Turnover on downs

Yeah… that’s not going to win you a game — especially not one against an offense like Green Bay’s. For a closer look at what happened on Monday Night Football, check out what our CBS Sports NFL scribes had to say.

2. QB injuries become main story of NFL Week 2 🏈


The opening week of the NFL season is often good for a whole lot of hysteria and overreacting. Did anybody expect the Saints to dominate the Packers? Or the Pittsburgh Steelers to upset the Buffalo Bills on the road? Of course they didn’t.

But Week 2 provides a much clearer picture of what the 2021 NFL season could look like.

So what did Week 2 show us? Well, unfortunately, it reminded us that injuries suck. There were several key injuries at the quarterback position across the league in Week 2. It started with Miami Dolphins signal caller Tua Tagovailoa going down early on against the Buffalo Bills. On first glance, I honestly thought that Tagovailoa suffered another hip injury and I felt sick to my stomach for the second-year quarterback. While any injury is never a good thing, seeing that he had just suffered a rib injury was a pleasant surprise. 

We also saw Indianapolis Colts quarterback Carson Wentz go down in what appeared to be a gruesome ankle injury. It actually turned out to be both ankles that he ended up spraining. As a Philadelphia Eagles fan, I’m quite familiar with Wentz and his inability to stay healthy. If Wentz is out long-term, the Colts might be in for a long season.

CBS Sports NFL scribe Will Brinson took a closer look at the biggest storylines that came out of Week 2 of the NFL season.

  • Carson Wentz’s health is up in the air: “Wentz notably returned early from foot surgery this offseason, so we’ve got a guy with a litany of lower leg injuries he’s currently dealing with. The Colts should be concerned, especially with three straight road games against AFC playoff contenders (Tennessee, Miami, Baltimore) coming up, along with a Houston matchup and another Tennessee battle over the next six weeks. If Wentz is missing for any extended amount of time, the Colts could find themselves in too big a hole to dig out of.”
  • Latest on Tua Tagovailoa: “Miami plays in Las Vegas on Sunday, which means we’re probably not finding out about Tua’s final status until the Friday injury report comes out. Interestingly, the line appears to be up almost everywhere — the Raiders are a four-point fave at Caesars Sportsbook — which likely implies an expectation of Tua playing. Or the idea of Jacoby Brissett not being a massive drop-off for this particular roster. If I had to guess on Monday, I would say Tua plays next week but will have a short leash if he struggles because of the injury.”
  • Quarterback carousel in Chicago: “This is an awkward situation for Bears fans, because they all want Justin Fields to play, but no one wants to root for Fields to play at the expense of Andy Dalton‘s health. Dalton tweaked his knee against the Bengals while running out of bounds on Sunday, suffering a non-contact injury. He came back in the game on the next series, but wasn’t able to return in the second half. Fields didn’t look very good in his relief duty, finishing 6-of-13 for 60 yards and a pick.”

3. Analyzing the Ryder Cup teams ⛳


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While there won’t be another major in the world of golf until The Masters in April, there will be a big prize on the line for golfers as the 43rd Ryder Cup is set to get underway on Friday. The historic golf competition pits a team of United States golfers against a team of European golfers. This year’s festivities will take place at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Europe has certainly been the dominant team as of late, with seven victories in the last nine installments of the Ryder Cup. Most recently, Europe won the Ryder Cup in 2018 with a 17 1/2 to 10 1/2 win over the United States.

This year, both rosters are full of stars. The European team is a veteran-heavy group, while the American possess some of the younger stars in the golf world. Collin Morikawa, who won The Open Championship earlier this year, figures to be one of the biggest talents on the American team. It’s also worth noting that Bryson DeChambeau and Brooks Koepka are representing the United States after spending the better part of the past year feuding. DeChambeau and Koepka say that they’re putting their feud on hold for the Ryder Cup, but I’m not sure if that’s truly possible.

Here’s a look at both rosters:

United States team

  • Dustin Johnson
  • Collin Morikawa
  • Patrick Cantlay
  • Xander Schauffele

  • Justin Thomas
  • Bryson DeChambeau
  • Tony Finau
  • Brooks Koepka
  • Harris English
  • Jordan Speith
  • Daniel Berger
  • Scottie Scheffler

While the Americans have a very dominant team, the European team is by no means slouches. They are led by Jon Rahm, who won the U.S. Open earlier this year.

European team

  • Jon Rahm
  • Viktor Hovland
  • Rory McIlory
  • Tyrrell Hatton

  • Paul Casey
  • Matthew Fitzpatrick
  • Lee Westwood
  • Tommy Fleetwood
  • Shane Lowry
  • Sergio Garcia
  • Ian Poulter
  • Bernd Wiesberger

As CBS Sports golf scribe Kyle Porter points out, the European team will need to drive the ball extremely well if they want to have any chance of upsetting the United States. The European team does possess some strong drivers in Rahm, Hovland, McIlory and Garcia, so it may turn out to be a close match.

4. The 2021-22 college basketball season begins in less than 50 days 🏀


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One of the most glorious times of the year is right around the corner. The 2021-22 college basketball season will begin in early November and we’re now under the 50-day mark.

Let’s be real: it’s been a rough couple of years for college basketball. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancelation of the NCAA Tournament and fans were absolutely heartbroken. In 2021, we did get March Madness back, but we still didn’t see capacity crowds in attendance like we’re used to. It’s so much fun to hear fans go wild when a Lehigh upsets a Duke or a UMBC takes down a Virginia. I’m excited to see the NCAA Tournament return to some sort of normalcy later this year.

CBS Sports college basketball scribe Matt Norlander put together a list 50 things to look forward to regarding the return of college hoops. Here are a few key highlights:

  • Coach K’s final season: “Mike Krzyzewski’s retirement tour starts Nov. 9, when the Champions Classic will be played at Madison Square Garden. Krzyzewski has a 6-2 record vs. UK. Last time these two played it was the worst loss of John Calipari’s career: Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish and company detonated a 118-84 result on UK (and the sport at large). As for this being Coach K’s final season, just buckle up and watch what you eat, because it will no doubt be nauseating for some of you. Opening night will be a huge to-do, and understandably so.”
  • Villanova should win the Big East: “There’s essentially no argument against Villanova winning the Big East. The most automatic pick of any power conference. Jay Wright’s about to have another 30-win season. Your dark horse pick is going to be Seton Hall.”
  • Norlander’s preseason All-America team: Drew Timme (Gonzaga), Kofi Cockburn (Illinois), Paolo Banchero (Duke), Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga) and Collin Gillespie (Villanova)

📝 Odds & Ends


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📺 What to watch tonight


Mets vs. Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. | BOS -144 | TV: MLB.TV

Mariners vs. Athletics, 9:40 p.m. | OAK -125 | TV: MLB.TV

Giants vs. Padres, 10:10 p.m. | SD -124 | TV: FS1

🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet

Prior to Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Baltimore Ravens honored late actor Michael K. Williams, who died earlier this month. Williams was famous for his role as Omar Little in “The Wire.” The character would whistle “The Farmer In The Dell” when he was approaching his victims in the show. The Ravens chose to play that famous whistle prior to Sunday’s contest and it hits you right in the feels. Williams’ character is one of the greatest television characters that the world has ever seen. Williams brought Little to life and made him feel so real. The late actor’s larger-than-life personality is going to be sorely missed.

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