Fun Fact of the Day: This week the NFL’s international series kicks off with the Indianapolis Colts playing the Jacksonville Jaguars in London. For the past several years, the NFL has scheduled 3 games in London to try and grow the game’s popularity. It seems to be working; there are now 83 U.K. universities with American football teams.
The Green monster. The Cincinnati Bengals beat the depleted Miami Dolphins (22-7), thanks to a dominant performance by wide receiver A.J. Green and 16 points from kicker Mike Nugent. The Bengals' defense was also helped by the return of linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who served a 3-game suspension for repeatedly delivering big hits that violated player safety rules.
The wild Cards. The St. Louis Cardinals are still in the NL wild card race, after a controversial win over the Cincinnati Reds 4-3. Why so controversial? In the bottom of the 9th inning, the Cards’ Yadier Molina stepped up to the plate with 2 outs and Matt Carpenter on 1st base. Molina hit the ball hard to left field where it bounced off some signs before coming back into play. When a ball leaves the field and comes back like that, it’s supposed to be ruled a dead ball and the Cards should be awarded a double (called a “ground rule double”). But the umps missed it and let Carpenter run all the way home, leading to a Cards victory.
Sports! Sports! Sports! There’s so much happening this weekend you should head to your nearest sports bar immediately and camp out. Here’s your schedule…
Week 4 games to watch. Here is your preview of the biggest NFL games this Sunday:
- Seattle Seahawks (2-1) @ N.Y. Jets (1-2). Seahawks QB Russell Wilson hasn’t missed a single game in his 77-game NFL career, and he isn’t planning to start now! Never you mind that he sprained his MCL last week and his ankle in Week 1. Fortunately, the Seahawks are playing the Jets, whose QB Ryan Fitzpatrick is coming off the worst game of his career. He threw 6 interceptions and lost 2 fumbles in last week’s 24-3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. Ouch. Not promising for his chances against the Seahawks’ #1-ranked defense. 1pm ET on FOX
- Buffalo Bills (1-2) @ New England Patriots (3-0). Well, this was unexpected! The Pats have a chance of going a perfect 4-0 during QB Tom Brady’s suspension for Deflategate. It’s all thanks to coach Bill Belichick, who has managed to come up with winning game plans for backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo and the backup’s backup, rookie Jacoby Brissett. With both Jimmy (shoulder sprain) and Jacoby (thumb) returning to practice after injuries, everyone is wondering which QB will start this week’s game. Bills coach Rex Ryan even sneakily tried to get the info out of the Pats’ wide receiver/emergency QB Julian Edelman. 1pm ET on CBS
- Kansas City Chiefs (2-1) @ Pittsburgh Steelers (2-1). These 2 teams had exactly opposite games last week. The Steelers were embarrassed by the Philadelphia Eagles, while the Chiefs were handed a win on a silver platter by the Jets when QB Fitzpatrick imploded. But that was last week! The Steelers are hoping to bounce back. They will have help from star running back Le’Veon Bell, who is returning from a 3-game suspension for drug use. 8:30pm ET on NBC
Week 5 games to watch. There aren’t enough hours in a day to watch all the great games this weekend! Here are the matchups that you should focus on:
- # 7 Stanford @ #10 Washington. Washington is favored in this game, because Stanford’s starting cornerbacks are both injured. But don’t count Stanford out yet. After all, they have star running back Christian McCaffrey, who finished 2nd in the Heisman voting last year. Friday, 9 p.m. ET on ESPN
- #8 Wisconsin @ #4 Michigan. Holy Big Ten matchup! Wisconsin passed its first big test last week, easily defeating Michigan State. Meanwhile Michigan has been blowing its opponents out of the water, but none of those teams was nearly as good as Wisconsin. Will Wisconsin’s new redshirt freshman QB Alex Hornibrook be able to hold his own against Michigan’s crushing defense? Saturday, 3:30pm ET on ABC
- #3 Louisville @ #5 Clemson. It’s the main event! Before the start of the season, Clemson’s QB Deshaun Watson was the talk of the town and an early Heisman favorite. But that hype was short-lived, because Lousiville’s QB Lamar Jackson has been putting on a show. He’s already scored 25 touchdowns (13 passing, 12 rushing) in his first 4 games. The question is can he put up those kinds of numbers against Clemson’s #1 ranked defense? Saturday, 8pm ET on ABC
The home stretch. The regular season ends this Sunday, so we’re down to each team’s final 3-game series! It’s going to be a fight to the finish for each of the remaining wild card contenders. Need a quick refresher on the current playoff picture? Check out yesterday’s recap.
USA! USA! USA! The Ryder Cup is this weekend! It’s a competition that’s held every 2 years between 12-person teams from the USA and Europe. The past 3 Cups, Europe has kicked the USA’s butt. This time around Team USA has the advantage with 4 of the top 10 players in the world, while Team Europe has 6 newbies. All eyes will be on the USA’s Phil Mickelson, who has had some poor performances in the past. Also, be on the lookout for Tiger Woods cameos. Woods is one of the Vice Captains of Team USA (similar to a coach), but sometimes he forgets and thinks that he’s actually competing. Check out TV times here.