Sunday, January 23, 2022

The Saints made history against Tom Brady, plus what’s the next step for Jake Paul?

Good morning sports fans, it’s Chris Bengel back with you once again on Monday morning. The sports world is being heavily impacted by COVID-19, so there’s plenty to get to in regards to that. But we’ve also got you covered with some of the bigger NFL storylines from Sunday (and don’t forget there are multiple NFL games to watch tonight).

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Let’s jump right into it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

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THE NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

It proved to be a day of upsets around the NFL on Sunday. In the nightcap, the New Orleans Saints completely kept the Tampa Bay Buccaneers off the scoreboard in a 9-0 win.

With the victory, the Saints currently hold the seventh and final playoff spot in the NFC with a 7-7 record.

  • The Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles, and the Washington Football Team are 6-7 and have yet to play this week.
  • At least two of the those teams could be 7-7 when Week 15 concludes since the Eagles face Washington on Tuesday.

It must be noted that the Buccaneers were without Leonard Fournette, Mike Evans and Chris Godwin for a large majority of the game. Both Evans and Godwin left the game in the first half due to injury and didn’t return. This all led to Brady being shut out for the first time in 15 years.

Without three of his top weapons, Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady completed 24-of-45 passes for just 190 yards and also threw an interception. It also marked just the second game this season in which the future Hall of Famer failed to throw a touchdown pass.

The Saints defense really shined on the night, and were the main reason New Orleans came away with the victory:

  • The Buccaneers were held to just 4.1 yards-per-play
  • Brady was sacked four times on the night
  • The Buccaneers also turned the ball over twice

Overall, it was a day to forget for two of the NFC’s top teams in the Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals (more on them in a second). For one of the first years in quite some time, it looks as though five or six teams could hoist the Lombardi Trophy and it wouldn’t be a surprise.

Honorable mentions:

And not such a good morning for…

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THE ARIZONA CARDINALS

There’s losing, and then there’s losing 30-12 at the hands of the lowly Detroit Lions despite being double-digit favorites. So yeah, it was not a good Sunday for the Arizona Cardinals

The Lions dominated one of the NFC’s top teams from the opening kickoff and the result was never in doubt.

  • Quarterback Jared Goff was sensational as he completed 21-of-26 passes for 216 yards and three touchdowns
  • Running back Craig Reynolds also racked up 126 yards on the ground for the Lions, who were without star running back D’Andre Swift for the third consecutive game. 

This was also the first game in which the Cardinals were without the services of All-Pro wideout DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is currently dealing with a torn MCL and probably won’t be back until the NFC Championship — if the Cardinals were to make it that far. His absence was felt in this game.

Quarterback Kyler Murray struggled throughout the afternoon, but did toss his lone touchdown pass to Christian Kirk with less than five minutes to go. Murray also was stifled by the Lions defense, which held him to just three yards on four carries.

  • Arizona has now dropped two of its last three games.
  • Once considered a heavy favorite to win the Super Bowl, the Cardinals are in a free fall of sorts. The Rams have a chance to tie the Cardinals in the NFC West if they defeat the Seattle Seahawks on Tuesday.

More NBA games postponed due to COVID-19 🏀

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COVID-19’s heavy impact on the NBA is not getting better yet. With the number of COVID-19 cases on the rise, the league is reportedly considering making changes to its protocols and speaking with the Players Association on the matter.

There are several teams that are currently dealing with outbreaks, and some rosters are heavily depleted. On Sunday, the Cleveland Cavaliers had five players test positive for COVID-19 while the Brooklyn Nets currently have 10 players in the league’s protocol.

As of Sunday, there have been seven games that have had to be postponed as a result of the outbreak:

  • Washington Wizards at Brooklyn Nets (Originally scheduled for Dec. 21)
  • Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors (Dec. 20)
  • New Orleans Pelicans vs. Philadelphia 76ers (Dec. 19)
  • Denver Nuggets vs. Brooklyn Nets (Dec. 19)
  • Atlanta Hawks vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (Dec. 19)
  • Chicago Bulls vs. Toronto Raptors (Dec. 16)
  • Detroit Pistons vs. Chicago Bulls (Dec. 14)

With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the league’s protocol, the Brooklyn Nets were forced to play just six players on Saturday against the Orlando Magic. The Nets ended up losing the game 100-93, which featured a starting lineup that included the likes of Kessler Edwards, David Duke, and Blake Griffin.

Here’s what the league’s current protocols look like:

  • Players that aren’t fully vaccinated must enter into health and safety protocols if they come into contact with a person that tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Players that haven’t received a booster shot are subject to tight restrictions, which include testing on game-days.
  • If a player tests positive for COVID-19, they must isolate for 10 days following the positive tests or have two negative PCR tests 24 hours apart.

NHL teams won’t cross border for games 🏒

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The NBA is not alone in their battle against COVID-19. The NHL has also been hit extremely hard by recent COVID-19 outbreaks that have been brought upon by the omicron variant. 

On Sunday, the league announced that it wasn’t going to put the regular season on pause, but would continue to shut down various teams that were dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks on a case-by-case basis. In addition, all games that require teams to cross the United States/Canada border would be postponed through the start of the league’s holiday break.

  • As of right now, 12 games will be forced to be rescheduled until a later date.
  • Currently, the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers, Detroit Red Wings, and Nashville Predators all have postponed games through the league’s holiday break as a result of outbreaks within their respective locker rooms.

The NHL and NHLPA will also update its COVID-19 protocols that will be observed through at least Jan. 7. There will be daily testing for both players and coaches and there may also be pregame testing that will be put in place “on a case-by-case basis.”

The next step in Jake Paul’s boxing career 🥊

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Yes, it was a huge NFL weekend … but Jake Paul also fought again! And this time, he won in jaw-dropping fashion.

In his fight against Tyron Woodley, the two boxers were fairly stagnant throughout the first five rounds. Then in the sixth round, Paul uncorked a ridiculous right hand that put Woodley on the canvas for good. CBS Sports boxing scribe Brent Brookhouse took a closer look at the punch and explained how important this all was for Paul:

  • Brookhouse: “Then, Paul dropped a right hand that erased everything that had come before and set Paul up to continue his boxing career with the kind of highlight that will keep interest high going into his next trip to the ring. After all, we live in viral times and there’s nothing as viral in sports as a vicious knockout.”

Now Paul has a 5-0 career record with four knockouts under his belt.

However, as Brookhouse notes, Paul has really yet to face a true boxer. You’d have to think that Paul will be facing someone with a little bit more of a boxing pedigree next. Perhaps the fight with Tommy Fury actually happens this time.

  • Brookhouse: “Now, the calls go back to Paul needing to face ‘a real boxer.’ That was the plan, of course, with Paul set to face Tommy Fury before Fury suffered a rib injury. There’s some reason to maybe pump the brakes on that idea after the Woodley rematch. Fury isn’t an elite boxing talent, but he’s unlikely to let someone off the hook in the same ways Woodley did in these past two fights. But the risk has to keep up at appropriate levels for this journey to remain interesting.”

Boxing fans can certainly think whatever of Paul’s antics. On the other hand, he has backed up all of his talk thus far.

What we’re watching Monday 📺

🏈Raiders at Browns (-3), 5 p.m. on NFL Network

🏈Vikings at Bears (+6.5), 8:15 p.m. on ESPN

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