Why the Packers really need to win tonight, plus the Raiders are for real


Hello sports fans and happy Monday from me, Shanna McCarriston. The Patriots beat the Jets yesterday, 25-6, so I am enjoying this victory Monday. Yes, it was against the Jets, but a win is a win. Since we are two weeks into the season and are starting to see what teams are made of, I want to hear your current pick for Super Bowl champion. Let me know your pick on Twitter and I’ll report back on the most intriguing answers.

Today we will discuss Week 2 of the NFL season and everything that came along with it, as well as a look at MLB‘s playoff picture and much more.

Let’s get to it. 


? What you need to know

1. NFL Week 2: Will Aaron Rodgers redeem himself tonight? ?

It was another exciting weekend of football and if you weren’t able to catch it all, don’t worry, I have you covered. Just like any week in the NFL, we saw blown leads, close games, overtime and explosive performances. 

Here are some of the major stories from across the league:

As far as our weekly grades, the Panthers, Titans and Bills were at the top this week, all earning an ‘A’ grade. Meanwhile the Jets and Falcons were towards the bottom, earning a ‘D’ grade, along with the Steelers, who got a ‘D-‘. For more grades from around the league, click here.

This week, I was most impressed by the Raiders (we will go deeper on them in a minute), who defeated the Steelers, and the Panthers, who defeated the Saints. Both losing teams came off a win last week against good teams. 

I am really looking forward to this Monday night game between the Packers and Lions. While the Packers should beat the Lions, they also should’ve defeated, or at least come close to beating, the Saints last week and instead they were blown out. Who knows what kind of game we will witness tonight?

There have been questions about Aaron Rodgers’ commitment to the team, his motivation and his ability as he ages, and I think he needs a win to quiet those critics. A loss to the Lions and starting the season 0-2 would create some serious chatter about his future in Green Bay.

2. It’s time to accept that the Raiders are for real ?

There’s a lot going on through two weeks in the NFL and it can be difficult to know what to make of it all and whether these two weeks are telling of the future for teams or if their paths will change directions. Lucky for us, we have experts to break it all down to let us know what’s what.

CBS Sports NFL writer Jason La Canfora has shared his thoughts on the season so far, and to him, the Raiders might just be a team to watch. According to him, you should be buying into the team — especially after beating the Steelers yesterday to improve to 2-0.

  • La Canfora on the Raiders: “The spirit the Raiders have also shown should help carry them, they finally have a home-field advantage again and even in what appears to be a very tough AFC West they have a chance to be a playoff team. Vegas, baby. Vegas.”

We should also take a closer look at Jets quarterback Zach Wilson who threw four (!!!) interceptions against the Patriots, according to JLC. Bill Belichick is historically dominant against rookie quarterbacks, but even still this should have New York fans concerned — as if they weren’t already. 

Here are some more of his insider notes:

  • Dolphins major flaws on display: The Fins lost 35-0 against the Bills, as their struggling offensive line, shaky protections and less than adequate defense were all obvious
  • Colts‘ empty trips near goal-line costly: Scoring in the red zone is key, but the Colts just aren’t doing it consistently, which is ending up costing them wins
  • Jaguars‘ great start fizzles: Things were looking better for Trevor Lawrence and company this week after their opening drive resulted in a touchdown against Denver, but the rest of the game went to opposite way and they lost again

3. Latest MLB playoff picture ⚾

It’s almost postseason time in Major League Baseball, which means teams have more motivation and even more need to win than ever. Some teams already have their sights on extending their season, while others need to focus on moving up in their division in order to be comfortable that they have a spot.

The Dodgers, Giants and Brewers already have their postseason spot secured. 

We are going to take a look at the playoff picture so you know which teams to keep an eye on this week and what games are the most important going forward.

Here’s a snapshot of the playoff picture if the season ended today:

  • AL Wild Card Game: Red Sox vs. Blue Jays
  • NL Wild Card Game: Dodgers vs. Cardinals
  • ALDS: Astros vs. White Sox
  • ALDS: Rays vs. AL Wild Card Game winner
  • NLDS: Brewers vs. Braves
  • NLDS: Giants vs. NL Wild Card Game winner

For league standings, as well as each team’s chances of winning the division and making the postseason, click here.

After an interesting season for Red Sox, it’s nice to see them in the conversation still. That AL Wild Card race is not over, though. The Yankees were once threatening, but are sliding, while the Blue Jays have turned it on over the last month to remain in contention.

4. College football Week 3 winners and losers ?


USATSI

Wins are wins, and that’s really all that matters. They don’t have to be pretty. We witnessed some top college football teams over the weekend get some ugly wins, but wins nonetheless. No. 1 Alabama almost lost to No. 11 Florida, with a final score of 31-29. No. 3 Oklahoma beat Nebraska 23-16 and No. 6 Clemson needed a goal-line stop to beat Georgia Tech 14-8.

Close games like this make us all look at the stars on these teams a little closer and evaluate their weaknesses. Let’s take a look at the winners and losers for Week 3, according to our CFB scribe Shehan Jeyarajah.

Winners

  • Ohio State RB TreVeyon Henderson: He broke Archie Griffin’s 49-year-old freshman rushing record with 24 carries for 277 yards and three touchdowns in their win over Tulsa
  • Penn State: Quarterback Sean Clifford came up huge in their 28-20 win against No. 22 Auburn, a win that put them in the top 10 in the college football AP Top 25 Poll
  • USC QB Jaxson Dart: The true freshman started the game with a pick, but then helped lead the team to 45 unanswered points

Losers

  • SEC referees: Inconsistent pass interference calls, losing track of downs and controversial calls were just some of the reasons the refs had a bad week
  • Clemson QB D.J. Uiagalelei: He threw for only 126 yards on 25 attempts, making three straight games with under 200 passing yards
  • Virginia Tech: The team looked good in the opener, but this week couldn’t get it done in a 27-21 loss to West Virginia

For full commentary on the winners and losers, along with overreactions from the week, click here.


? Odds & Ends


? What to watch tonight

Blue Jays vs. Rays, 7:10 p.m. | TB +115 | TV: MLB.TV

⚾ Cardinals vs. Brewers, 7:40 p.m. | MIL -213 | TV: MLB.TV

? Lions vs. Packers, 8:15 p.m. | GB -11.5 | TV: ESPN


? Best thing I saw on the internet

We’ve seen epic comebacks, but this one from a high school football game might take the cake. Hamilton (Arizona) made a 17-point comeback in 70 seconds to beat Bishop Gorman (Nevada). It was 24-7 with 1:10 left in the game and, while we all know games aren’t over ’til they’re over, usually a score like that with that much time left essentially means it’s over. Hamilton kicked a 46-yard field goal, then recovered two onside kicks, scored a touchdown with 10 seconds left and completed a two-point conversion to win. They defeated Bishop Gorman, 25-24. 





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