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This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly report on the big sports news headlines and major events, plus a preview of what’s up next. For December 11, 2022, here are the weekly top 10 sports news headlines to know: the big stories and major events in sports news this week in the NFL, NBA and more.

weekly top 10 big sports news headlines and major events: December 11, 2022

For many around the world, the biggest headline in sports this week was the announcement that WNBA star Brittney Griner had been released from a Russian penal colony. On Thursday morning, the US and Russian governments announced a one-for-one prisoner swap for Griner and convicted Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout. Griner had been in Russian custody since being detained on February 17 at Sheremetyevo International Airport, shortly before Russia invaded Ukraine. She had been serving a 9.5 year sentence after vape cartridges containing hashish oil were found in her luggage.

1. NFL week 13 highlights.

Courtesy of CBS Sports and our Sports Desk, here are the highlights of Week 11 of the NFL season, in case you missed any of it.

  • The Cincinnati Bengals and Joe Burrow did something no other team has done with their 27-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs. They’re the only NFL team to beat Patrick Mahomes three times in his career (including playoffs). And all three have come in the 2022 calendar year. With that loss, the Chiefs’ five-game winning streak came to a close. And the Bengals pushed their own winning streak to four.
  • The Philadelphia Eagles crushed the Tennessee Titans35-10, with A.J. Brown dominating his former team with 119 yards and a touchdown. On Tuesday, the Titans fired General Manager Jon Robinson.
  • Playing in his first game in 23 months, new Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson struggled. But the Browns’ defense came through in a 27-14 win over the Houston Texans.
  • The Seattle Seahawks earned a crucial 27-23 win over the LA Rams. Seattle regained its spot as the No. 7 seed in the NFC.
  • The San Francisco 49ers paid a huge price for their 33-17 win over the Miami Dolphins. Their quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo could be out for the rest of the season after breaking his left foot during the first drive of the game. This after San Francisco’s Week 1 starting quarterback Trey Lance saw his season end in Week 2 with a broken ankle. Ugh. On Wednesday, the team reported that Garoppolo may be able to take the field if the 49ers make it to the playoffs. Then on Thursday they reverted to the original view that he’s out for the season.
  • On Monday Night Football, Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ quarterback Tom Brady achieved a career first, despite it being his 377th NFL game. Brady led two late touchdown drives to stun the New Orleans Saints, 17-16. CBS Sports reports that it’s his first comeback from at least 13 points down in the final five minutes of a game. All hail the GOAT! At 45, he may be considered old – but he’s definitely still spry.

2. Thursday Night Football: Rams 17, Raiders 16.

On Tuesday, a dramatic Cinderella story unfolded in what was expected to be a ho-hum game.

The LA Rams claimed quarterback Baker Mayfield off waiver from the Carolina Panthers. The Rams were the only team in the entire NFL who had any interest in signing him, becoming the 5th team Mayfield has played for since going #1 in the 2018 draft. He seemed to be completely adrift. Then on Thursday night, Mayfield had a stunning star turn.

The understudy quarterback led two fourth-quarter touchdown drives — the second one with a touchdown pass with 10 seconds left — to rally the Rams past the Las Vegas Raiders, 17-16.

Think about that: many quarterbacks on new teams need months to make things happen; it took Mayfield only hours. He arrived on a late flight to LA on Tuesday, reading the playbook on the plane. Forty-eight hours later, he snapped a 6-game losing streak for the defending Super Bowl champions, and delivered a made-for-Hollywood story in . . . well, Hollywood.

3. NFL Week 14 notable games to come

Heading into today’s games, Buffalo Bills fans are still processing the news that Von Miller, who last week revealed he had lateral meniscus damage and hoped to be back for Week 14, will now be out for the rest of the season with a torn ACL.

Here are some of the big games for the rest of Week 14, several of them featuring big name quarterback matchups. Vegas is favoring the underdogs this week – so it could get really exciting.

  • Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers host Tom Brady and the Buccaneers. CBS Sports notes that Purdy, 22, was just three and a half months old when Brady was drafted into the NFL. The last pick in the draft, he’s been called “Mr. Irrelevant.” Now he’s facing the GOAT. But Purdy’s already been compared to a Hall-of-Famer by a teammate, and another Hall-of-Famer says Purdy can win a Super Bowl… this year. Vegas seems to agree, with the 49ers the favorite to win.
  • Two members of the outstanding 2020 quarterback class face off, with Tua Tagovailoa’s Miami Dolphins visiting Justin Herbert’s LA Chargers. There are major AFC playoff implications here, with Miami currently the No. 6 seed and the Chargers No. 9.
  • The Buffalo Bills will be looking to avenge their Week 9 loss to the New York Jets. In that game, the Bills had their worst offensive performance of the year. The Bills’ Josh Allen will face off against the Jets’ Zack Wilson. The Bills are favored by double digits.
  • The Detroit Lions are favored over a 10-win Minnesota Vikings team today, with expectations for a high-scoring game.
  • Finally, in a test of their true staying power, the New York Giants play the Philadelphia Eagles game. Our Sports Desk notes that the NFC East is so tightly packed now that these games are very important. If the Eagles lose today, they could end up in a Wild Card spot.

4. Commanders harshly criticized in Oversight Committee report

On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee released its findings regarding the Washington Commanders’ workplace culture. Among the major conclusions, the report finds that team owner Daniel Snyder “permitted and participated in” the toxic workplace environment. It also states that Snyder obstructed the congressional inquiry using multiple tactics (like saying he could not remember the answers to basic questions).

5. FIFA World Cup 2022 final news

  • In the quarterfinals, defending champion France narrowly escaped England to advance to the semifinals. They’ll meet Morocco, an underdog team who has exceeded all expectations at this year’s event. Their Cinderella story has become the pride of a continent: Team Morocco is the first African team ever to reach the World Cup semifinals.
  • Morocco’s 1-0 quarterfinal upset of Portugal yesterday left superstar Cristiano Ronaldo in tears – he leaves Doha as one of the most decorated players never to have won a World Cup.
  • Croatia upset powerhouse Brazil in their quarterfinal match in a penalty shootout. And Argentina defeated the Netherlands. Argentina will meet Croatia in the semifinals.
  • In tragic news, journalist Grant Wahl, who in his career covered soccer for Sports Illustrated, Fox Sports and CBS, died during the match between Argentina and The Netherlands. The reporter was in Qatar for his eighth men’s World Cup, and had previously reported on being detained by local authorities for wearing a rainbow T-shirt in support of LGBTQ+ rights.

6. MLB news: “hot stove” update

Judge, Verlander and deGrom sign new deals

As the MLB Winter Meetings commenced, several top elite free agents struck deals.

After keeping everyone on pins and needles, New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge agreed to a nine-year deal worth $360 million on Wednesday morning that will keep him in Gotham. Judge, 30, joins Mets pitchers Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander ($43.3 million annually each) as the only $40-plus-million per year players in baseball history.

It’s a lesson for the kids at home about knowing your true skill level. After turning down the Yankees’ seven-year, $213.5 million extension offer in spring training, Judge hit 62 home runs to break the American League single-season record. “Believing in yourself” can easily sound like pablum – but the dude knew what he had inside of him. And now we all do.

The Rangers signed star pitcher Jacob deGrom to a five-year, $185-million deal. DeGrom, 34, is a two-time Cy Young award winner. But he’s been plagued by injuries, making only 26 starts over the past two seasons.

New York Mets fans were anguished over the loss of their ace deGrom. But just days after the Rangers deal was announced, the Mets signed Justin Verlander to two-year deal reportedly worth just over $86 million. Verlander just completed a World Series championship season in which he won his third Cy Young Award. The move reunites him with former teammate and fellow three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer. Wow. That’s a pretty fine way to recover, we’d say. Well played.

Philadelphia and San Diego make boss moves, too

The Phillies made a big move of their own in the aftermath of the news about Verlander and the Mets. They signed Trea Turner to an 11-year, $300-million deal. Nope, that’s not a typo. Turner, 29, led MLB in hits in 2020 and 2021 and finished second last season, behind Freddie Freeman. The move reunites him with former Nationals teammate Bryce Harper.

The NL East is gonna be big fun next season. Can’t wait.

Meanwhile, the San Diego Padres – after bidding and missing on both Aaron Judge and Trea Turner – agreed to an 11-year, $280-million deal with star shortstop Xander Bogaerts. He was a homegrown star for the Boston Red Sox, and the Sox are facing opprobrium for not making a serious effort to keep him. We root for the Sox in good times and bad, and this is BAD.

7. NBA News

In the East, as of this posting the Boston Celtics are one game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. The Brooklyn Nets have regained some ground, sitting in fourth place, 5.5 games back.

As always, the West is where things are interesting. Right now, Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans are in first place, with the Memphis Grizzlies just half a game back. The Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns are tied for third, only 1.5 back. In other words, the field is wide open and there’s a fierce fight underway.

Our Golden State Warriors are in eighth place and the LA Lakers are in 13th. Ugh!

8. College football: playoff teams are set

With Utah’s win over formerly No. 4 USC, the Ohio State Buckeyes slid back into the No. 4 seed for the College Football Playoffs. The join No. 1 Georgia; No. 2 Michigan; and No. 3 TCU in the bowl games on New Year’s Eve. Here’s the College Football Playoff schedule:

  • Fiesta Bowl: No. 2 Michigan vs. No. 3 TCU | Dec. 31, 4 p.m.
  • Peach Bowl: No. 1 Georgia vs. No. 4 Ohio State | Dec. 31, 8 p.m.
  • CFP Championship: MICH/TCU vs. UGA/OSU | Jan. 9. Hey! This could be a Michigan-Ohio State rematch!!! How cool would that be?

In other college football news, the annual Army-Navy rivalry game was yesterday. It ended up being a great matchup with a history-making result. Army beat Navy 20-17 in the first overtime game in the 123 times the game has been played.

9. 2022 Heisman winner is sophomore Caleb Williams

The four 2022 Heisman finalists were all quarterbacks: Ohio State’s C.J. Stroud; USC’s Caleb Williams; Georgia’s Stetson Bennett; and the TCU Horned Frogs’ Max Duggan. Last night in New York, USC quarterback Caleb Williams won the prize, given to the college football player making the highest individual contribution for the season.

The 20-year-old sophomore led the Trojans to an 11-2 record in his first season in Los Angeles after transferring from the University of Oklahoma. In his acceptance speech, Williams hailed the three other finalists and credited his parents, teammates and coaches for him being able to win the award.

“If you are willing to put in the work and surround yourself with positive people, you can achieve anything,” Williams said. “I used to write down my goals in a journal and what used to just be words on a piece of paper, has me standing here today. So everyone, dreams really do come true. Thank you. Fight on!”


10. Bonds and Clemens miss out on MLB HOF . . . again

Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens may have been hoping that MLB’s Contemporary Era Committee would see to it that they entered the Baseball Hall of Fame, despite losing out 10 times during the regular annual voting process. However, last weekend both Bonds and Clemens failed to receive even four votes from the 16-member panel, which is comprised of Hall of Famers, MLB executives and members of the media. The next time they’ll be considered is in 2025, for the class of 2026.

Weekly Top sports news headlines and major events to know: December 11, 2022

That’s our take on the big sports news headlines and major events, and a preview of the week ahead, including what to know about football, basketball and more. Have a great week, dear reader. See you next Sunday.

Pamela Thomas-Graham

Pamela Thomas-Graham is the Founder & CEO of Dandelion Chandelier. She serves on the boards of several tech companies, and was previously a senior executive in finance, media and fashion, and a partner at McKinsey & Co.