Brady and the Bucs open Week 6 against the Eagles and the Dodgers take on the Giants in Game 5 of the NLDS

Greetings again fellow sports fan, it’s Shanna McCarriston back for this terrific Thursday. Week 6 of the NFL starts today with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers taking on the Philadelphia Eagles. Tom Brady defeated the Birds in the Super Bowl once and lost to them more recently, but I have a feeling this matchup will result in a TB12 win. We’ll dive more into that game and share Pete Prisco’s picks as well.

We also have an elimination game in the MLB Postseason, college football rankings and more Jon Gruden news on the schedule for today. Let’s get started. 

📰 What you need to know

1. Four X-factors for Dodgers-Giants Game 5 ⚾

The Los Angeles Dodgers forced a Game 5 against the San Francisco Giants and the winner of tonight’s game will be moving on to the NLCS, while the loser will begin their offseason. The Dodgers are the defending World Series champs and this season these were the two best teams in baseball, so it all coming down to a winner-take-all game seems very fitting.

Whoever wins at Oracle Park tonight will face the Atlanta Braves for the National League pennant.

Here are four X-factor’s for Game 5:

  • Webb’s changeup: Giants ace Logan Webb’s changeup in Game 1 was his best of the season and resulted in four of his 10 strikeouts. If he is able to bring this again, the Dodgers will be in a difficult situation, with not many answers to what Webb is dealing.
  • The Turners: We are talking Justin and Trea. The two haven’t made much noise this series, but with their talent level it is not expected that they stay quiet much longer. If they’re driving in runs and the stars of the series Mookie Betts and Will Smith are continuing to excel, the Dodgers are looking at a much better situation offensively.
  • Flores and Ruf: Giants third baseman Wilmer Flores and first baseman Darin Ruf have been major weapons against left-handed pitches. They haven’t had much success in the NLDS, but could see that change against Dodgers lefty Julio Urias.
  • The call for Jansen: Over the final two months of the regular season Dodgers closer Kenley Jensen was dominant, allowing just two runs in 27 2/3 innings and held opponents to a .087/.168/.141 batting line.

For more talk on what could decide this Game 5, click here.

2. Thursday Night Football preview 🏈

The Philadelphia Eagles are welcoming the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers into Lincoln Financial Field for Thursday Night Football. Both teams are coming off a win, with the Bucs beating the Miami Dolphins 45-17 last week and the Eagles defeating the Carolina Panthers 21-18.

These two teams have met 19 times and currently the Eagles have a 10-9 edge, but I have a feeling after tonight it will be an even series. Tampa Bay is currently a seven-point favorite in the odds from Caesars Sportsbook, with the over/under for total points sitting at 52.5.

  • Pete Prisco’s pick: Bucs 30, Eagles 28
  • Prisco said: “The Eagles are coming off an impressive road victory over Carolina, and you know they will be juiced here playing the champs. Tom Brady lit up the Dolphins last week, but on a short week this is a real challenge. The Eagles will hang around in this game, as Jalen Hurts has a good day throwing it and running it against a bad Tampa Bay defense hit with injuries. Brady wins, but it’s close.”

I agree with Prisco that the Bucs will win, but to keep things interesting I’m going to predict it won’t be as close as he says. 

Brady’s arm has been absolutely exceptional this season, leading the league in passing yards and coming in second in passing touchdowns. Oh, and not sure if anyone has ever mentioned this, so stop me if you’ve heard this before, but he’s doing this at 44 years old. 

3. Ranking college football’s undefeated teams 🏈

This college football season has been very interesting so far, and we have so much more time to go. Shocking upsets of ranked teams seem to be more frequent than not and to summarize it all: it’s been chaos.

With six weeks down and eight weeks to go 13 teams remain undefeated. As the weeks continue, this exclusive club of teams without a loss will dwindle in members, but for now we have a solid number. 

While we have them all here, it seems right we ranked the lucky 13 and see how they stack up against each other.

Here is a ranking of the remaining undefeated teams:

  • No. 1: Georgia
  • No. 2: Oklahoma
  • No. 3 Cincinnati
  • No. 4: Iowa
  • No. 5: Michigan
  • No. 6: Michigan St.
  • No. 7: Coastal Carolina
  • No. 8: Wake Forest
  • No. 9: Kentucky
  • No. 10: Oklahoma St.
  • No. 11: SMU
  • No. 12: San Diego St.
  • No. 13: USTA

Click here for commentary on each team.

4. Madden NFL to remove Jon Gruden, Mike Tomlin reacts to emails 🏈

Getty Images

This week Jon Gruden resigned as head coach of the Las Vegas Raiders after emails revealed he was consistently using racist, sexist and homophobic remarks and making statements that have no place in any workplace. Since then, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers removed him from their ring of honor and Skechers removed him as a brand ambassador. 

Now the Madden NFL video game series is removing Gruden’s likeness in the coming weeks. EA Sports announced that they are “committed to taking action in maintaining a culture of inclusion and equity” and therefore would take action due to the insensitive comments from the former head coach.

Other coaches are also commenting on the situation, including Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin.

  • Tomlin said: “I’m just saddened by it. I’m saddened for the Raiders organization, I’m saddened for the people that were offended by it, I’m saddened for Coach Gruden. It’s a sad commentary. And that’s really the only opinion that I care to share at this juncture.”

Gruden is Tomlin’s former mentor, and the Steelers coach spent four years with from him in Tampa Bay and the two won a Super Bowl together. 

📝 Odds & Ends

📺 What to watch tonight

🏒Kraken vs. Predators, 8 p.m. | NSH -125 | TV: NHL.TV

🏒 Buccaneers vs. Eagles, 8:20 p.m. | PHI +7 | TV: Fox

Dodgers vs. Giants, 9:07 p.m. | SF -111 | TV: TBS

🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet

The WNBA Finals are taking place and last night the Phoenix Mercury evened the series at one game a piece with a wild overtime win over the Chicago Sky. Phoenix won 91-86 after the Sky erased a four point deficit in the final minute of regulation to force overtime. Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins Smith combined for 12 points in OT. Game 3 is set for Friday in Chicago.

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