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 October 15, 2023, here’s the news to know from the past week and what to keep an eye on in the days ahead in the NFL, MLB and more.
weekly top 10 sports news headlines: October 15, 2023
Dear reader, we’re approaching the best time of the year: Peak Sports. Soon the NFL, MLB, NHL and MBA will all be playing, along with college football and golf. So much to watch, so little time! Here’s what you need to know heading into a new week:
1. highlights (and lowlights) from week 5 in the NFL
- In an epic AFC matchup in London last Sunday, the Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) upset the Buffalo Bills (3-2), 25-20, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
- In Sunday’s primetime game, the Dallas Cowboys (3-2) fell hard to the San Francisco 49ers (5-0), 42-10, in a possible preview of an NFC title game matchup.
- The Philadelphia Eagles (5-0) maintained their perfect record with a win over the LA Rams (2-3), 23-14.
- In another divisional rivalry, the Baltimore Ravens (3-2) lost on the road to the Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2). The Steelers have now won 6 of the past 7 games between the two teams.
- The Kansas City Chiefs (4-1) beat the Minnesota Vikings (1-4)
- The winless Carolina Panthers sunk to 0-5 in a loss on the road against the Detroit Lions (4-1), 42-24 (the Lions were favored by 10 points in the Vegas line for the first time since Jared Goff became quarterback, and they delivered). Longtime Lions fans feel that they’re being set up for a crushing disappointment later this season, but it’s been a great ride so far!
- In a close game, the Houston Texans lost on the road to the Atlanta Falcons, 21-19. Two breakout rookie quarterbacks faced off, as C.J. Stroud and Bijan Robinson took the field.
- Finally, as expected, the New York Giants (1-4) lost to the Miami Dolphins (4-1). But the New York Jets (2-3) surprised us all with a road win against the Denver Broncos (1-4), 31-21. Sure it was against the hapless Broncos. But a win’s a win.
2. Thursday Night Football NFL week 6: Chiefs 19, Broncos 8
The Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) won on Thursday night, 19-8, over the Denver Broncos (1-5). The Broncos are reeling this season, and the blame is mostly directed at quarterback Russell Wilson and head coach Sean Payton. Our Sports Desk notes that Wilson was traded to the Broncos from the Seahawks last year to great fanfare. Now, he and Payton may both be out after this year as they aren’t jelling as a pair and the team is off to its worst start in franchise history.
3. big games and storylines for the rest of NFL week 6
Courtesy of our Sports Desk and USA Today Sports, here are some upcoming games of note in week 6:
- Baltimore Ravens and Tennessee Titans are playing this morning in London. Football brunch!
- Seattle Seahawks are at the Cincinnati Bengals, and all eyes will be on Bengals QB Joe Burrow. Is he finally healthy?
- Detroit and the Bucs should be interesting.
- San Francisco 49ers are at the Cleveland Browns, and Browns QB Watson has been ruled out with an injury after being cleared to medically play before last weekend’s game. Our Sports Desk says that this seems odd.
- On Monday Night Football, the Dallas Cowboys travel to the Los Angeles Chargers. The Vegas spread favors the Cowboys. But our Sports Desk asserts that the Cowboys are overrated. Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore left Dallas at the end of last season, and now he’s lined up against the Dallas defense. Expect him to have an interesting game plan for Chargers QB Justin Herbert.
- And in a gloomy Gotham forecast, our Sports Desk takes the position that the Buffalo Bills will steamroll the New York Giants this afternoon. And that the Philadelphia Eagles will do the same to the New York Jets. We’re cool with that, we’re going to be putting the finishing touches on our Halloween costumes and trying to pretend that none of this is happening.
4. wither Bill Belichick?
Two disparate news sources – Fox News and the Washington Post – both ran stories this weekend speculating that the rein of Bill Belichick as head coach of the New England Patriots (1-4) – which began in 2000 – may be coming to a close. If both of these news organizations think this, it surely cannot be Fake News, right?
Here’s why the rumor mill is churning. From 2001 to 2019, the Patriots won six Super Bowls and missed the playoffs just twice. Now, they’re likely on their way to missing the postseason for the third time in the last four years. Fox notes that the Pats have been outscored 72-3 in their last two games.
Watch this space for further updates.
5. week 7 college football headlines
It was an eventful week in college football, and the pundits expect significant changes when the new AP Top 25 is released, based on the results from Week 7. Here’s what CBS Sports has to say about what went down this weekend:
The Houston Cougars started the weekend off by beating the West Virginia Mountaineers with a game-winning 49-yard Hail Mary as time expired. Nothing like a good buzzer beater to start the weekend!
No. 2 Michigan (7-0) may rise to the top of the AP ranks this week. The Wolverines followed up a 52-10 road win at Minnesota with a 52-7 home win against Indiana (2-4) yesterday. But No. 1 Georgia (7-0) is still undefeated after yesterday’s game against Vanderbilt and that may be enough to keep them in the top spot.
Meanwhile, No. 7 Washington Husky’s Michael Penix Jr. positioned himself as the new Heisman Trophy frontrunner after an important win over the No. 8 Oregon Ducks, 36-33.
No. 21 Notre Dame dominated No. 10 USC, 48-20, at home to hand the Trojans their first loss of the season. Reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams threw a career-worst three interceptions, all of which led to three decisive Notre Dame touchdowns on short fields.
No. 15 Oregon State beat No. 18 UCLA, 36-24.
And finally, Coach Prime and Colorado lost to Stanford last night in dramatic fashion, blowing biggest lead in school history. Stanford rallied to win in 2 OT’s, overcoming the biggest deficit in their school’s history. Colorado led 29-0 at one point, and ended up losing 46-43.
6. MLB Playoffs: ALCS and NLCS begin
The ALCS and NLCS (the semi-finals before the World Series) are now set. The Houston Astros and Texas Rangers (two Texas teams!) and the Arizona Diamondbacks and Philadelphia Phillies will battle it out for the right to play in the World Series. The Astros are making their 7th consecutive ALDS.
Our Sports Desk notes that the four teams with the best regular season records – the Orioles, Rays, Dodgers and Braves – were all eliminated. The Phillies got hot in the postseason, Arizona crushed the Dodgers 3-0, and the Rangers steamrolled the Orioles, 3-0. In the end, the divisional matchups ended with two 3-0 series and two 3-1 series. Not much drama, but it was fun to see the “underdogs” win.
And in a twist of the knife for Mets fans, the 2 future Hall of Fame aces that the Mets traded this season – Justin Verlander back to the Houston Astros and Max Scherzer to the Texas Rangers – will face each other in the ALDS. (Scherzer seems on track to be back for this series). You may have noticed that no New York team has been mentioned in this roundup. We have no words.
7. WNBA Finals: Vegas v New York
In the WNBA championship finals, the Las Vegas Aces are up 2-0 against the New York Liberty. The series moves to the Barclay’s Center this afternoon for Game 3 – a must-win for the Liberty. Odds are already against them: ESPN reports that teams trailing 0-2 in a best-of-five WNBA playoff series have never managed to overcome the deficit to win the series. And in Finals history such teams have been swept in seven of eight instances.
The hopes of NYC are resting on your shoulders, Liberty!
8. NBA preseason: Wembanyama starts strong
The NBA preseason is underway, and all eyes are on number one pick Victor Wembanyama. Wembanyama is considered the league’s most-anticipated prospect since LeBron James.
He’s off to a good start. Coach Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Miami Heat 120-104 in the rookie’s home exhibition debut. In his second preseason game, the 19-year-old scored 23 points in 23 minutes. Along with four assists, four rebounds and three blocks.
From everything we’ve read, Wembanyama comes across as humble and eager to learn and grow as a player, even as he delivers seemingly impossible feats on the court. Yay!
9. NHL season kicks off with record ratings
The NHL’s opening night delivered record viewership on ESPN. NHL.com reports that “Connor Bedard’s NHL debut with the Chicago Blackhawks, a 4-2 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, averaged 1.43 million total viewers, making it ESPN’s most-viewed regular-season game on record.”
There were three games on opening night. “The tripleheader began with the Tampa Bay Lightning’s 5-3 win against the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa and concluded with the Vegas Golden Knights’ 4-1 victory against the Seattle Kraken at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, where the Golden Knights raised their 2022-23 Stanley Cup championship banner to the rafters.”
This stellar start may bode well for interest in the NHL this season: the combined ratings were a 40 percent increase from last season’s opening night doubleheader.
10. Thompson misses the cut for PGA Tour
Lexi Thompson, 28, just missed the cut to make PGA tournament in Las Vegas. She fell short by just three shots, with a second round score of 69 after shooting a 73 in round 1. The world was watching, as she could have become the first woman in 78 years to make a 36-hole cut on the PGA Tour. It was an inspiring run seen by lots of young ones who can take it as further proof that grit and talent can change the world.
weekly top 10 sports news headlines: October 15, 2023
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 college football, the NFL, MLB and more to join the talk with the avid fans in your life this week. Have a great week. See you next Sunday.