Holiday Edition

Fun Fact of the Day:  The Cleveland Cavaliers are nothing without superstar LeBron James. Since James rejoined the Cavs in 2014, the team is just 4-18 in games where James doesn’t play. That’s a measly .182 winning percentage—even worse than the Philadelphia 76ers, who have the worst record in the NBA during that time with a .187 winning percentage.


Today’s Rundown

Happy Holidays, Goalposters! Did you miss us? Here’s your mid-holiday break sports update. We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled daily newsletters in the new year. 

NFL

A bad time to have the last name Ryan.  Yesterday, the Buffalo Bills fired head coach Rex Ryan and his fraternal twin brother, assistant coach Rob Ryan. Nobody was really surprised, because rumors have been swirling about the Ryan bros’ job security for weeks. They were finally let go this week after the Bills were eliminated from the playoffs for the 17th straight season. Why were the Ryans so disappointing?  Rex and Rob were supposed to be defensive whiz-kids, because their father was the great Buddy Ryan (a legendary defensive mind for the Chicago Bears). But over Rex’s 2 seasons with the Bills, the defense slipped from 4th to 19th in the NFL. But don’t go pinning all the blame for the Bills’ failures on the Ryans. Just like our President-elect Donald Trump, the Bills have been pretty trigger-happy when it comes to firing people. Over the team’s 17-year playoff drought, no head coach has lasted longer than 3 full seasons.

 

Week 16 highlights:

  • Playoff picture.  With only 1 week left in the regular season, the NFL playoff picture is nearly complete. Here’s what we know:
    • AFC.  The AFC field is complete, here’s who you should expect to see in the playoffs: the New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Kansas City Chiefs, and Miami Dolphins.
    • NFC.  So far, 4 teams in the NFC have clinched playoff spots: The Dallas Cowboys, Atlanta Falcons, Seattle Seahawks, and New York Giants. That means there are still 2 spots up for grabs, and this week’s game is life or death for the Green Bay Packers, Detroit Lions, Washington Redskins, and Tampa Buccaneers.
  • Christmas Eve Carr-nage.  Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr broke his fibula in this weeks’ win over the Indianapolis Colts and he’s expected to miss the playoffs. This is a sad end of a MVP-worth season for Carr, who helped lead the Raiders to their first postseason appearance since 2002. Now with the playoffs just a couple weeks away, the Raiders will have to rely on his backup Matt McGloin, who hasn’t started a game since 2013. What’s up with fibulas these days?  The Tennessee Titans’ QB, Marcus Mariota also broke his fibula this week. He’s expected to be out for the next 4-5 months.
  • Cleveland Browns. The Cleveland Browns finally got their first win of the season over the San Diego Chargers! It was the Browns’ first win since December 13 of last year. That means that they won’t be joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams with winless seasons, so you can put away those brown paper bags for the 0-16 parade.
  • A mutiny of Vikings. What would football be without a little drama and intrigue? This week the Minnesota Vikings lost to the Green Bay Packers. During the game, the Vikings’ coach Mike Zimmer wanted the defensive backs to guard Packers’ top wide receiver Jordy Nelson with man-to-man coverage. But afterwards, some of the backs said that they decided to ignore Zimmer’s game plan and stick with zone coverage. Zimmer called it a mistake and “miscommunication,” but now people are speculating that he’s lost control of the team.

 

NBA

The Cavs’ comeback.  This Christmas the Cleveland Cavaliers played the Golden State Warriors, in a highly anticipated rematch of the past 2 NBA Finals. The Cavs pulled through with a 109-108 victory, after the Warriors gave up a 14-point lead in the 4th quarter. Not so fast. Afterwards, the NBA released a report that reviewed the last 2 minutes of the game for officiating errors. The report indicated that the refs missed a foul on the Warriors’ Kevin Durant in the last 3 seconds of the game, which could have given the Warriors the win.


Hot Read

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

College Football Playoffs. While you’re getting ready to go out this New Year’s Eve, don’t forget to throw on the College Football Playoff semifinals. The winners of these games will face off in the National Championship game on January 9th.

  • Peach Bowl: #1 Alabama v. #4 Washington.  3pm ET on ESPN
  • Fiesta Bowl: #2 Clemson v. #3 Ohio State.  7pm ET on ESPN

 

NFL

Week 17 games to watch.  There are 4 teams in the NFC that are still duking it out for a chance at the postseason. This week, 2 of those teams will go to head-to-head: Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions.  The winner gets a ticket to the playoffs, while the loser gets sent packing.  Sunday 8:30pm ET on NBC.