TWIST: This Week in Sports Talk is our weekly recap of just what you need to know to talk sports this week without having to fake it. If you’re not a sports fan, here are your talking points for the week of October 7, 2018.
October is a sports fan’s paradise, so this is the perfect moment to start paying attention if you haven’t already. The NBA and NHL seasons just started, we’re in the second quarter of the NFL and college football seasons, and in the MLB, the playoffs are underway, and so far they’re shaping up to be the most dramatic and interesting in recent memory.
We begin this week with a tip of the hat to New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who on Thursday night threw his 500th touchdown pass. He’s only the third player to reach that number, joining Brett Favre and Payton Manning. Drew Brees has only four to go to make it a quartet.
And in Unexpected Sports News, a fight broke out in Vegas last night after the UFC grudge match between mixed martial artists Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. The donnybrook spilled into the stands, and it was several minutes before order was restored. Really didn’t see that one coming.
For Those Who Do Not Follow Professional Sports, here are the happenings that you should know about for the week of October 7, 2018:
1. An exciting end to the Major League Baseball (MLB) Regular Season. Must know: As our Minneapolis Bureau Chief reported, the top teams in the National League this year are evenly matched. So well matched that for the first time ever, there had to be two extra games (for a total of 163) in the NL to determine the wild card participants and divisional champs. Nice to know: Eight teams are now playing best-of-5 series to determine who plays in the championship series: in the NL it’s the Colorado Rockies v the Milwaukee Brewers and the LA Dodgers v the Atlanta Braves. In the AL, it’s the Boston Red Sox v the New York Yankees and the Houston Astros v the Cleveland Indians. This will play out over the next few days. Extra Credit: As of this posting, the Astros, Brewers and Dodgers are ahead, and the Yanks and the Sox are tied. Last night’s game in Boston was epic for the Yanks – Gary Sanchez hit two homers, one of which sailed 479 feet. Flying out of the stadium and onto the street outside, it was the longest post-season home run in MLB history.
2. High stakes in the National Football League (NFL). Must know: It’s Week 5, and the dominance of the LA Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs continues. The New England Patriots have rebounded, and are now back as the odds-on favorites to win the Super Bowl. Nice to Know: This weekend, there are six big games that fans may be talking about later in the week: the Jacksonville Jaguars v the Chiefs; the Baltimore Ravens v the Cleveland Browns; the Atlanta Falcons v the Pittsburgh Steelers; the Minnesota Vikings v the Philadelphia Eagles; the Rams v the Seattle Seahawks; and an all-Texas match-up between the Dallas Cowboys and the Houston Texans.
Extra credit: In New York, there’s not much excitement about the NFL at the moment – the Jets and the Giants both lost last weekend. Giants’ star receiver Odell Beckham Jr (OBJ) hasn’t scored a touchdown yet this season (neither has Julio Jones of the Falcons). The second-guessing has already begun for the Giants. They’re at risk of going 1-4 if they lose this weekend, and some fans are questioning whether QB Eli Manning is done, and why the team didn’t take a QB in this year’s draft. Meanwhile, the once-fearsome Steelers remain a hot mess, with a 1 – 2 – 1 record for the season.
Bonus Round: Following up on some of our previously reported stories, LeVeon Bell has finally agreed to return to the Steelers after sitting out the first 6 weeks of the season. Earl Thomas – who had sat out practices and preseason games because he wanted a better contract – broke his leg in Sunday’s game, and gave his coach the finger while being air-lifted off the field. The king of trash talk, xx Ramsey of the Jags, is once again dissing his competitors. He’s throwing shade at Tyreek Hill, who he’ll meet on the field this weekend. And Fitzmagic is over in Tampa as Jameis Winston returns to his starting QB role for the Buccaneers.
3. NCAA college football news. Must know: It’s Week 6. Nice to know: The marquee games this weekend were #5 LSU at #22 Florida – Florida won in an upset victory, 27-19; #6 Notre Dame at #24 Virginia Tech – the Fighting Irish won 45-23; and #20 Michigan State at Northwestern – Northwestern won, 29-19. Extra credit: #3 Ohio State held off Indiana, 49-26. And in an all-Florida match-up, Miami squeaked past Florida State, 28-27.
Team Dandelion has two friendly wagers underway at the moment: we’ve got the Sox in the ALDS versus the Yankees (don’t hate). We’re tanking in our friendly football pool, after a good early start. At least the Pats won on Thursday night.
That’s it. You’re good to go. See you next week.