The Wolf Sports Newsletter: April 9, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: April 9, 2024

It was a big week of sports, including a massive NFL trade.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Bills trade Diggs to Houston

 

In a major blockbuster that happened after the dust settled on most of the player movement for 2024, the Bills traded star receiver Stefon Diggs along with two draft picks to the Texans for Minnesota’s 2025 second-round pick. Buffalo eats a few more million dollars in cap this year compared to what it would have been with Diggs on the roster, but they get Diggs’ salary off the books for 2025.

 

 

Obviously, things were not great between Diggs and the Bills. And it does not seem like a coincidence that he was traded the day after he posted “You sure ?” on X in response to a fan saying a top-tier receiver is essential to quarterback Josh Allen’s success.

 

 

Furthermore, Allen reportedly snapped at Diggs after the three-interception performance in Week 1 last season after the receiver must have said something that irritated him. There were public instances of Diggs borderline showing up his quarterback, including in the playoff loss to the Bengals a couple of seasons ago. Also, Diggs did not have close to as big of a role as normal in the second half last season, and both sides ultimately probably have felt it was best to move on.

 

The Texans, who adjusted their new receiver’s contract so that it’s now a one-year pact, and C.J. Stroud now have a scary trio with Diggs, Nico Collins, and Tank Dell. Houston is the first team in NFL history to add someone with 100 receptions (Diggs), 1,000 rushing yards (Joe Mixon), and ten sacks (Danielle Hunter) in the previous season.

 

Houston hosts Buffalo this season, so that’ll be one of the first matchups to circle when the schedule is released.

 

Big contract extensions

 

A few teams kept their own long-term, with a few huge new contracts last week:

 

  • The Panthers signed star defensive tackle Derrick Brown to a four-year, $96 million deal. After trading edge rusher Brian Burns to the Giants, Carolina committed to Brown as a strong foundational piece on defense.

 

 

  • The Eagles signed left tackle Jordan Mailata to a three-year, $66 million extension, keeping him in Philadelphia through the 2028 season. It’s the second big extension for the former rugby player that was a seventh-round pick and has been molded by offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland into one of the game’s best.

 

 

  • The Patriots locked up safety Kyle Dugger, who was transition tagged, on a four-year, $58 million deal.

 

 

Additional players staying put

 

After testing the market, several players returned to their 2024 squads:

 

  • Safety Julian Blackmon re-signed with the Colts on a one-year deal.

 

 

  • Former first-round running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire is back with the Chiefs.
  • The Giants re-signed versatile defender Isaiah Simmons after acquiring him in a trade during last season.
  • The Eagles brought back nickel cornerback Avonte Maddox after cutting him earlier this offseason.
  • Veteran edge defender Kyle Van Noy re-signed with the Ravens.
  • After signing an offer sheet with the 49ers, the Lions matched it to bring back tight end Brock Wright.

 

Late free agent additions

 

A few notable additions from the past week include:

 

  • The Falcons signed cornerback Kevin King, former second-round pick of the Packers that’s been out of the league since 2021.
  • The Buccaneers signed pass rusher Randy Gregory to a one-year deal.
  • The Bills added offensive lineman La’el Collins.
  • The Dolphins signed defensive tackle Teair Tart.
  • The Commanders signed defensive lineman Haggai Chisom Ndubuisi, who is part of the NFL’s International Player Pathway program and spent time with the Broncos.

 

More NFL news

 

Longtime NFL offensive line coach Larry Beightol passed away at 81.

 

 

 

Chiefs receiver Rashee Rice was driving one of the cars involved in the crash—allegedly from street racing—a couple of weekends ago. Rice’s lawyer Royce West says he is fully cooperating with the investigation.

 

New Commanders quarterback Marcus Mariota is the first quarterback in NFL history to wear number 0.

 

Voters in Jackson County rejected a sales tax measure that would have helped fund renovations to Arrowhead Stadium.

 

Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson made an appearance at Wrestlemania, which was held in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field.

 

https://twitter.com/WWE/status/1776770996818587754

 

Other Sports Updates

 

National champions: UConn topped Purdue to win their second consecutive national title. On the women’s side, South Carolina completed a perfect 38-0 season after defeating Caitlin Clark and Iowa. Also, One Shining Moment:

 

 

John Calipari is leaving Kentucky to become the head coach at Arkansas.

 

Pitching epidemic: Guardians pitcher Shane Bieber and Marlins pitcher Eury Perez are both out for the season due to Tommy John surgery, and Braves star pitcher Spencer Strider has UCL damage with Tommy John looking likely. Players are blaming the plethora of elbow injuries to a combination of the pitch clock and the banning of foreign substances to help with grip on the ball.

 

The Marlins got their first win of the season after starting the year 0-9.

 

The Oakland A’s will play in Sacramento from 2025-2027 before moving to Las Vegas in 2028.

 

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: April 2, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: April 2, 2024

Catching you up with more big NFL news along with the MLB season getting underway and March Madness nearing its end.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Rest in peace, Vontae Davis

 

Unfortunately, we start this week with the tragic news that former star cornerback Vontae Davis has passed away at 35. Our thoughts and prayers are with Davis’ family, friends, and former teammates.

 

 

Jets acquire Haason Reddick

 

✈️ A critical offseason for the Jets continued when the team acquired star pass rusher Haason Reddick from the Eagles for a conditional 2025 third-round pick that can become a second-rounder.

 

 

Philadelphia fans and talk radio are widely bashing the move considering Reddick, who wanted a new contract, has been highly productive with 27.0 sacks in two seasons with the Eagles. The team made it work with pass rusher Josh Sweat and also signed former Jets edge rusher Bryce Huff—and they have 2023 first-rounder Nolan Smith set to make a leap—but Reddick is obviously a tough loss. For New York, they lost Huff and replace him with Reddick.

 

Recent signings

 

The Rams signed former All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White, arguably one of the top free agents available this offseason, to a one-year deal.

 

 

The Panthers added veteran pass rusher and former No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney, who returns home to Carolina while joining his sixth NFL team.

 

➕ The Chiefs signed veteran quarterback and former No. 2 pick Carson Wentz to back up Patrick Mahomes.

 

Quickly after the NFL’s new kickoff rule was established, the Steelers added all-time great kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson.

 

✍️ The Broncos signed veteran receiver Josh Reynolds to a two-year deal.

 

The Chiefs signed rugby star Louis Rees-Zammit as part of the NFL’s International Pathway Program. He’s a very fast potential weapon for the two-time defending champs.

 

 

NFL player news

 

‍♂️ Police were searching for Chiefs Rashee Rice, who is suspected in a six-vehicle crash in Dallas over the weekend that apparently occurred due to street racing. Rice and others reportedly fled the scene of the incident, but his lawyer now says he will cooperate with the investigation.

 

Contract extensions: Linebacker Foye Oluokon signed a three-year extension with the Jaguars, the Dolphins signed running back Raheem Mostert to a new two-year contract through the 2025 season, and the Eagles extended safety Reed Blankenship through 2025.

 

Saints former All-Pro offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk might not be medically cleared to play in 2024 due to his knee issue.

 

 

Longtime special teamer Cody Davis has retired from the NFL.

 

 

More NFL news

 

Despite the holiday falling on a Wednesday, the NFL will have a Christmas Day doubleheader this season. Networks will bid on the rights to the games. From a business perspective, the league—which likes to operate around the fall and winter holidays—is wisely taking over Christmas from a television/sports landscape perspective.

 

Amazon Prime Video will exclusively stream a 2024 NFL postseason game.

 

 

The Week 1 Brazil game between the Eagles and an unnamed opponent will stream exclusively on Peacock.

 

 

As expected, the NFL officially passed the hybrid kickoff rule change for the 2024 season.

 

 

The Cardinals have been ordered to pay former team executive Terry McDonough for “false and defamatory” statements.

 

HBO’s in-season Hard Knocks will follow an entire division moving forward instead of just one team.

 

 

Other Sports Updates

 

March Madness: The Final Four consists of No. 1 seed UConn, No. 1 seed Purdue, No. 4 seed Alabama, and No. 11 seed NC State.

 

Boston College, Boston University, Michigan, and Denver made hockey’s Frozen Four.

 

⚾️ MLB opening weekend included a perfect 4-0 start for the Yankees, who swept the Astros. And yesterday, Ronel Blanco threw a no-hitter for Houston in his eighth career start.

 

 

In other MLB news, the Diamondbacks signed pitcher Jordan Montgomery, and the Dodgers signed catcher Will Smith to a ten-year, $140 million extension.

 

Washington Huskies defensive coordinator Steve Belichick joked about getting a job while his father Bill did not this offseason.

 

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: March 26, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: March 26, 2024

The 2024 NFL Draft is just under a month away, March Madness is in full swing, and MLB Opening Day is this week.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Big NFL moves

 

⚔️ Continuing an offseason of major acquisitions, the Titans are acquiring All-Pro cornerback L’Jarius Sneed from the Chiefs for a 2025 third-round pick and a seventh-round pick swap. Sneed is also getting a huge contract extension from Tennessee. Kansas City obviously saves a lot of cap space with the move, but it’s still somewhat surprising they opted to deal Sneed with a chance at a three-peat.

 

 

✈️ The Jets also continued their additions, though a bit more toned down compared to the flashy splashes made by the Titans, in signing former Chargers receiver Mike Williams. Jets fans desperately wanted the big-play threat, with fan “NYJ Matt” sending a breakfast sandwich for Williams to team headquarters. While Williams is coming off a torn ACL, he’ll be a scary weapon opposite Garrett Wilson with Aaron Rodgers throwing the ball behind a revamped offensive line.

 

 

The Bengals added huge offensive tackle Trent Brown to help protect Joe Burrow. Cincy’s tackles now stand at six-foot-eight, 345 pounds (Orlando Brown Jr.) and six-foot-eight, 370 pounds (Trent Brown).

 

✍️ The Saints signed former No. 2 overall pick Chase Young to a one-year deal. Young had neck surgery but is hopeful to be ready by Week 1.

 

 

After the recent trade with the Broncos, the Browns signed receiver Jerry Jeudy to a three-year, $58 million extension.

 

Annual League Meeting coaches news

 

At this year’s Annual League Meeting in Orlando, Florida, we received some potential insight from coaches during their breakfast with reporters:

 

  • New Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh says that his former Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy is the best quarterback in the draft and has had other coaches and general managers privately tell him how impressive McCarthy is.
  • Harbaugh also said that his team’s No. 5 selection could be “like the first pick of the draft” if four quarterbacks go in the top four picks.

 

 

  • Broncos head coach Sean Payton says it’s “realistic” that his team could trade up for a quarterback, adding that Cardinals general manager Monti Ossenfort is in a good spot with the No. 4 pick and the potential to get a haul.
  • From last week before the League Meeting, it sounds like Ossenfort and the Cardinals are more than open for business, declaring that there will be “a big neon sign that says ‘open.’”

 

 

  • Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce said he’s not sure how McCarthy is not in the top three quarterbacks in this year’s class while adding that Oregon’s Bo Nix and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. are also impressive and that it’s a good group.
  • Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said that Justin Fields “oozes talent” and will have opportunity to compete despite Russell Wilson being in “pole position” for the starting quarterback job.

 

Rule changes and potential rule changes

 

‍♂️ The hip-drop tackle was officially banned despite the NFLPA coming out strongly against any ban on it.

 

 

️ The NFL approved a rule change that gives teams a third coach’s challenge if they get just one of their first two opportunities overturned. Of course, the previous rule was that the first two challenges both had to be won to get a third.

 

Kickoffs in the NFL might look different moving forward, with momentum for a rule change that would adopt XFL-style rules where the kicking team and receiving team line up five yards apart and cannot move until the returner touches the ball. Also, for a touchback in the end zone, the ball would come out to the 30-yard line in an effort to both make kickoffs safer and create more action on the play.

 

 

The Brotherly Shove is here to stay, with the league citing no data supporting an increased injury risk on the play—and the fact that the Eagles are just really good at it.

 

More NFL news

 

Former Patriots and Bills running back Damien Harris has retired after five NFL seasons.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Damien Harris (@d.soaq)

 

❌ The Lions released cornerback Cameron Sutton, who was on the run for alleged domestic battery. Sutton learned of the arrest while at the team facility.

 

Cowboys defensive backs coach Al Harris has been promoted to Assistant Head Coach/Defensive Backs.

 

After struggling to get quarterbacks to do it, it was revealed that Netflix’s docuseries Receiver followed Davante Adams, Justin Jefferson, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Amon-Ra St. Brown during the 2023 season.

 

 

Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson was a Good Samaritan and helped a stranger with a flat tire.

 

 

The Broncos will have new uniforms revealed soon.

 

 

Other Sports Updates

 

In an incredibly odd and unclear situation, Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani’s translator and great friend Ippei Mizuhari was fired by the team after Ohtani funds were used to pay off a $4.5 million gambling debt. Major League Baseball is investigating the situation.

 

⚾️ Also, the MLB season is actually underway, with the Dodgers and Padres splitting a two-game series in South Korea. MLB Opening Day is this Thursday.

 

In a chalky year as opposed to last season, top seeds have been surviving for the most part through the first weekend of March Madness.

 

 

Longtime Orioles owner Peter Angelos has passed away at 94.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: March 19, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: March 19, 2024

A crazy NFL offseason continues.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Aaron Donald calls it a career

 

After ten spectacular seasons with the Rams, defensive lineman Aaron Donald has retired from the NFL. Since he was drafted 13th overall by the Rams in 2014, the “undersized” interior player was a terror to opposing offensive lines, racking up 111.0 career sacks while winning three Defensive Player of the Year awards (2017, 2018, 2020) and a Super Bowl. He also was a member of the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s, won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2014, was an eight-time All-Pro, and made the Pro Bowl all ten seasons. Donald is one of six players in NFL history to win multiple DPOY awards and a Super Bowl.

 

 

Vikings move up the draft board

 

Perhaps with an eye toward moving up again for a quarterback in next month’s draft, the Vikings acquired the No. 23 pick from the Texans in exchange for a second-rounder this year (No. 42) and a 2025 second-rounder (Houston also moved up from No. 232 to No. 188 in this year’s draft in the deal). This is potentially reminiscent of what the Eagles did to leap up the draft board and select Carson Wentz second overall in 2016, but we’ll see.

 

 

(Backup) quarterback carousel

 

The mind-blowing quarterback movement this offseason continued over the past several days, with a bunch of talented players—some that could or should arguably be starters—moving to new teams in backup roles.

 

The two headliners were Justin Fields being traded from the Bears to the Steelers for a conditional sixth-round pick that can turn into a fourth depending on the percentage of snaps Fields plays, and the Steelers first dealing Kenny Pickett and a fourth-round pick to the Eagles for a third-rounder and two sevenths. Basically, Pickett was not happy with how Pittsburgh handled bringing in Russell Wilson as the presumed starter, and the Bears didn’t get the market they wanted to Fields but send him to a good spot.

 

 

The other quarterback movement this week included:

 

  • Jimmy Garoppolo signed with the Rams.
  • The Seahawks acquired Sam Howell from the Commanders.
  • Reigning NFL Comeback Player of the Year Joe Flacco signed with the Colts.
  • The Commanders signed veteran Marcus Mariota.
  • The Giants signed Drew Lock.
  • Jameis Winston and Tyler Huntley both signed with the Browns.
  • Mason Rudolph signed with the Titans.

 

Big-time running backs on the move

 

The musical chairs extended to the running back position in a major way, with three more stars moving to new teams last week. The Ravens made their offense even scarier by adding former 2,000-yard rusher Derrick Henry. The Texans acquired running back Joe Mixon from the Bengals and gave him a new contract. And star runner Aaron Jones quickly signed with the division rival Vikings after the Packers cut him.

 

 

Jones did not leave the team on the best of terms, which has curiously been a theme in Green Bay in recent years.

 

 

Chargers get cap compliant

 

⚡️ Forced to deal with the ramifications of the salary cap, the Chargers cut receiver Mike Williams and traded receiver Keenan Allen to the Bears for a fourth-round pick. They also had to restructure the contracts of pass rushers Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack, so at least they’ll have the bookend defenders in the mix for Year 1 under Jim Harbaugh. Williams might also be back with Los Angeles on a new deal, but he’s going on a free agent tour this week that includes expected visits with the Steelers, Jets, and Panthers.

 

Presumptive No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams will now have D.J. Moore and Keenan Allen as his top two receivers in Chicago.

 

 

Free agent signings

 

Free-agent deals continued last week at and after the start of the new league year, with the most stunning being the Titans coming out of nowhere to sign former Falcons and Jaguars receiver Calvin Ridley to a monstrous four-year, $92 million deal.

 

 

At the linebacker spot, Patrick Queen went from the Ravens to the Steelers; the Eagles added former Super Bowl champion Devin White from the Bucs; and Tampa re-signed Lavonte Davis.

 

 

Other signings include:

 

  • The Saints are signing defensive end Chase Young to a one-year, $13 million deal.
  • The Jets signed longtime Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith to continue beefing up the offensive line.
  • The Eagles brought back tone-setting defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson on a three-year deal and also signed receiver DeVante Parker.
  • Speedy receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown signed with the defending champion Chiefs.
  • The Falcons added more talent to the offense by signing receiver Darnell Mooney and acquiring receiver Rondale Moore from the Cardinals.
  • The Bills signed dynamic receiver Curtis Samuel to a three-year deal.
  • The Dolphins added cornerback Kendall Fuller.
  • The Rams signed safety Kamren Curl.
  • The Commanders signed former Panthers safety Jeremy Chinn, cornerback Michael Davis, and former fourth overall pick Clelin Ferrell at defensive end.
  • Tight end movement includes Gerald Everett going to Chicago, Irv Smith Jr. signing with the Chiefs, and Mike Gesicki heading to the Bengals where he’ll be griddying with new teammate Ja’Marr Chase.

 

 

More NFL news

 

↔️ The Steelers traded receiver Diontae Johnson to the Panthers for cornerback Donte Jackson.

 

The Bills signed All-Pro nickel Taron Johnson to a contract extension through 2027.

 

⭐️ Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who has dealt with neck issues throughout his career, has retired after six seasons with the Cowboys. Owner Jerry Jones said, “We’re proud that he wore the star on the helmet.”

 

Derek Watt has retired from the NFL after playing seven seasons for the Chargers and Steelers.

 

 

Lions head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes received very well-deserved contract extensions through the 2027 season.

 

The NFL is investigating both the Falcons (Kirk Cousins, Darnell Mooney) and Eagles (Saquon Barkley) for potential tampering violations.

 

❌ The 49ers have been docked a 2025 fifth-round pick and had their 2024 fourth-rounder moved to the end of the round due to payroll accounting errors.

 

✍️ The Eagles extended kicker Jake Elliott with a four-year, $24 million deal.

 

Former Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is joining the Browns as a consultant.

 

1️⃣ 49ers receiver Deebo Samuel is switching from No. 19 to No. 1. And Kirk Cousins will wear No. 18 in Atlanta.

 

‍♂️ Former Jaguars employee Amit Patel was sentenced to more than six years in prison for embezzlement while using millions of dollars from the Jags to place bets.

 

According to The New York TimesRobert F. Kennedy Jr. has talked to Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers about potentially being his running mate on an independent ticket for United States president.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

March Madness: The NCAA Tournament field is set.

 


⛳️ Scottie Scheffler won the 2024 Players Championship
, becoming the first golfer even to win the tournament in back-to-back years.

 

 

⚾️ The Giants signed two-time Cy Young winner Blake Snell, and Padres acquired starting pitcher Dylan Cease from the White Sox.

 

MLB injury news:

 

  • Red Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito is likely out for the entire 2024 season after elbow surgery.
  • Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole has avoided Tommy John surgery but will not throw for three-to-four weeks.
  • Brewers closer Devin Williams will miss a few months with a back injury.

 

️ Legendary football coach Nick Saban talked in front of Congress about how much NIL has changed college sports.

 

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: March 12, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: March 12, 2024

NFL free agency is underway with the legal tampering period, and the new league year officially begins tomorrow at 4:00 PM ET.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Big QB movement

 

The Falcons went all-out to sign veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins, adding the former Redskins and Vikings quarterback on a four-year, $180 million deal with $100 million guaranteed. Cousins’ wife Julie is from the Atlanta area, where they reportedly spend a lot of time during the offseason. Cousins was thought by many to be the top overall free agent this offseason, and the Falcons will quickly become a trendy Super Bowl pick.

 

The Vikings pivoted to former No. 3 overall pick Sam Darnold, reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal. Minnesota is also thought to be in the mix to draft a quarterback next month.

 

After being cut by the Broncos, Russell Wilson signed with the Steelers on the eve of free agency. With Denver having to still pay around $38 million, Pittsburgh gets a major discount for the former Super Bowl winning quarterback ($1.2 million salary), who will compete with Kenny Pickett for the starting job this summer. The Steelers will go on the road to face the Broncos this season.

 

And the Patriots are trading away former first-round pick Mac Jones to the Jaguars for a sixth-round pick.

 

NFL free agency moves

 

With the legal tampering period window opened yesterday, a flurry of moves—which cannot become official until the start of the league year tomorrow—have been made.

 

  • Raiders land star defensive tackle Christian Wilkins on four-year, $110 million deal.
  • The Eagles are signing star running back Saquon Barkley to a three-year, $33.75 million deal; and pass rusher Bryce Huff to a three-year, $51.1 million deal.

 

 

  • In a stunner, former Raiders running back Josh Jacobs is headed to the Packers for four years, $48 million; Green Bay also landed star safety Xavier McKinney on a four-year, $68 million deal.
  • The Vikings are signing pass rusher Jonathan Greenard to a four-year, $76 million contract.
  • The Panthers are signing guard Robert Hunt to a massive five-year, $100 million contract.
  • The Jaguars have agreed to a three-year, $39 million deal with wide receiver Gabe Davis.
  • Running back Tony Pollard has agreed to sign with the Titans for three years, $24 million.
  • Cornerback Chidobe Awuzie is headed to the Titans on a three-year deal.
  • The 49ers land pass rusher Leonard Floyd on a two-year, $20 million agreement.
  • The Bears are signing running back D’Andre Swift to a three-year, $24 million deal.
  • The Rams are adding guard Jonah Jackson with a three-year, $51 million deal.
  • Commanders get linebacker Frankie Luvu on three-year, $39 million contract, Austin Ekeler on two-year deal.
  • The Seahawks brought back defensive lineman Leonard Williams with a three-year, $64.5 million deal.

 

More landing spots include:

 

  • S Darnell Savage ➡️ Jaguars
  • S Geno Stone ➡️ Bengals
  • LB Kenneth Murray Jr. ➡️ Titans
  • DE Dorance Armstrong ➡️ Commanders
  • John Simpson ➡️ Jets
  • C Tyler Biadasz ➡️ Commanders
  • C Lloyd Cushenberry ➡️ Titans
  • CB Sean Murphy-Bunting ➡️ Cardinals
  • G Damien Lewis ➡️ Panthers
  • LB Azeez Al-Shaair ➡️ Texans
  • LB Jordyn Brooks ➡️ Dolphins
  • LB Jordan Hicks ➡️ Browns
  • DE Denico Autry ➡️ Texans
  • LB Andrew Van Ginkle ➡️ Vikings
  • QB Jacoby Brissett ➡️ Patriots
  • QB Gardner Minshew ➡️ Raiders
  • QB Tyrod Taylor ➡️ Jets
  • DE Marcus Davenport ➡️ Lions
  • RB Zack Moss ➡️ Bengals
  • RB Gus Edwards ➡️ Chargers
  • RB Devin Singletary ➡️ Giants
  • RB Antonio Gibson ➡️ Patriots
  • LB Mack Wilson Sr. ➡️ Cardinals
  • LB Anthony Walker ➡️ Dolphins
  • DL Javon Kinlaw ➡️ Jets
  • DE Yetur Gross-Matos ➡️ 49ers
  • C Aaron Brewer ➡️ Dolphins
  • CB Darious Williams ➡️ Rams
  • CB Jeff Okudah ➡️ Texans
  • S Brandon Jones ➡️ Broncos
  • WR Devin Duvernay ➡️ Jaguars
  • TE Will Dissly ➡️ Chargers
  • TE Colby Parkinson ➡️ Rams
  • DL Justin Jones ➡️ Cardinals
  • OL Jermaine Eluemunor ➡️ Giants
  • G Nick Allegretti ➡️ Commanders

 

To at least soften the blow of losing Barkley and McKinney, the Giants acquired star defensive end Brian Burns from the Panthers for a second-round pick and a fifth-round pick. Burns also received a five-year, $150 million extension to help facilitate the trade. And to think less than two years ago the Panthers reportedly could have had two first-round picks from the Rams for Burns…

 

 

Two champions call it a career

 

Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox has retired from the NFL after 12 seasons, all in Philadelphia. Cox recorded 70 sacks in his career, was a First-team All-Pro in 2018 and a three-time Second-team All-Pro, was named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team of the 2010s, and won Super Bowl LII with the Eagles. With Jason Kelce also recently retired, things are going to look a lot different for Philly in 2024.

 

Super Bowl XLIX hero Malcolm Butler officially retired from the NFLhe told KRPC 2. Butler played seven seasons in the league, won two titles with New England, and of course had one of the most memorable plays in history with the game-sealing interception at the goal line to help the Patriots beat the Seahawks in perhaps the greatest Super Bowl of all-time.

 

 

Big contract extensions

 

Before the start of free agency, several players signed new contracts with their current teams.

 

  • The Chiefs signed All-Pro defensive tackle Chris Jones to a five-year, $158.75 million contract, with the $31.75 million per year setting an NFL record for defensive tackles.
  • Quarterback Baker Mayfield re-signed with the Buccaneers on a three-year, $100 million deal.
  • The Ravens signed star defensive tackle Justin Madubuike to a four-year, $98 million deal.
  • The Bears signed star cornerback Jaylon Johnson to a four-year, $76 million contract.
  • The Colts signed wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. to a three-year, $70 million deal.
  • The Rams extended guard Kevin Dotson on a three-year, $49 million contract.
  • Tight end Dalton Schultz re-upped with the Texans for three years, $36 million; while tight end Hunter Henry remained with the Pats for three years, $27 million.
  • The Patriots re-signed receiver Kendrick Bourne to a three-year deal.
  • Linebacker Drue Tranquill is staying with the defending champs, signing a three-year extension with the Chiefs.

 

Bills make major cuts

 

Due to salary cap constraints, the Bills had what amounted to a Red Wedding of roster cuts last week. Buffalo released All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious White (not yet official), All-Pro safety Jordan Poyer, center Mitch Morse, defensive back Siran Neal, running back Nyheim Hines, and former All-Pro returner Deonte Harty. Meanwhile, they restructured quarterback Josh Allen, tight end Dawson Knox’s deal, and pass rusher Von Miller’s humungous contract to save more cap space.

 

 

In positive news for the Bills, they extended stalwart left tackle and bodyguard Dion Dawkins through 2027, which he had some fun with on X while joking that he was onto the next chapter of his career.

 

 

More moves

 

The Packers released dynamic running back Aaron Jones after signing Josh Jacobs and All-Pro left tackle David Bakhtiari after he battled injury in recent years.

 

 

The Bengals released longtime running back Joe Mixon after signing Zack Moss.

 

The 49ers will reportedly release defensive tackle Arik Armstead after the two sides could not agree to a restructured deal.

 

The Eagles extended guard Landon Dickerson for four years, $84 million—the biggest ever deal for a guard. They also brought back defensive end Brandon Graham for a 15th and likely final season. And defensive end Josh Sweat is available for tradeaccording to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

 

The Bears signed former All-Pro safety Kevin Byard to a two-year, $15 million deal.

 

The Lions acquired cornerback Carlton Davis from the Bucs.

 

✍️ Veteran tight end signings: Washington added Zach Ertz, and the Dolphins signed Jonnu Smith.

 

↔️ The Bills traded offensive lineman Ryan Bates to the Bears for a fifth-round pick.

 

✂️ Among the cuts made last week, in many cases due to the salary cap:

 

  • Broncos: S Justin Simmons
  • Seahawks: S Jamal Adams, S Quandre Diggs, TE Will Dissly
  • Steelers: WR Allen Robinson
  • Chargers: LB Eric Kendricks
  • Dolphins: LB Jerome Baker
  • Jaguars: CB Darious Williams, S Rayshawn Jenkins
  • Panthers: TE Hayden Hurst
  • Jets: TE C.J. Uzomah

 

Franchised players

 

️ Ahead of last Tuesday’s deadline, several players were officially tagged for the 2024 season.

 

  • Jaguars EDGE Josh Allen
  • Panthers EDGE Brian Burns (traded to Giants)
  • Patriots S Kyle Dugger (transition tag)
  • Bengals WR Tee Higgins (requested trade)
  • Bears CB Jaylon Johnson (signed long-term contract)
  • Ravens DT Justin Madubuike (signed long-term contract)
  • Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr. (signed long-term contract)
  • Chiefs CB L’Jarius Snead (permission to seek trade)
  • Buccaneers S Antoine Winfield Jr.

 

Displeased with a lack of negotiation on a long-term deal, Bengals receiver Tee Higgins has requested a trade.

 

 

More NFL news

 

Texans defensive end Dylan Horton announced that he had Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma but is now in remission.

 

 

Compensation draft choices for the 2024 NFL Draft were announced by the league. The 49ers and Rams are tied for the most, with five each.

 

 

️ According to multiple reports, the Chicago Bears have shifted their new stadium plans from Arlington Heights to instead plan to build it south of Soldier Field.

 

 

Battery charges against Colts tight end Andrew Ogletree have been dismissed “with prejudice.”

 

Other Sports Updates

 

The NHL trade deadline was highlighted by the defending champion Golden Knights acquiring forward Tomas Hertl.

 

 

Jake Paul will fight the legendary boxer Mike Tyson on Netflix on Saturday, July 20.

 

 

⚾️ Reds legend Joey Votto has signed a non-roster invite deal with his hometown Blue Jays.

 

FOX announced a slate of Friday college football primetime games from the Big Ten, Big 12, and Mountain West conferences this fall—with many unhappy that it will compete with high school football.

 

Dartmouth men’s basketball voted to unionize, becoming the first Division I NCAA team to do so.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: March 5, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: March 5, 2024

We are less than a week away from the 2024 NFL legal tampering period.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Jason Kelce officially retires

 

This was reported to be the case in January, and the longtime starting center for the Eagles made it official with a very long and very emotional press conference yesterday afternoon. Kelce will land in Canton as a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2029.

 

 

Top receivers staying put

 

✋ Ahead of free agency, the Buccaneers and wide receiver Mike Evans agreed to a two-year, $52 million contract. While it appeared that Evans was going to test free agency, he wants to play his entire career with one team. The ten-time 1,000-yard receiver (in all ten NFL seasons) has won a Super Bowl with Tampa Bay and obviously has a strong legacy there.

 

 

If there was any question, it was put to rest during the Scouting Combine press conferences, with both the Vikings and the Raiders asserting that Justin Jefferson and Davante Adams will not be going anywhere despite unsubstantiated rumors to the contrary.

 

As you can see on the sidelines with how he communicates with head coach Kevin O’Connell, Jefferson has a quarterback-like relationship with his team as one of the top players in the league; next up for him is a contract extension. And, though a reunion with Aaron Rodgers on the Jets has been speculated, Adams has made it clear that he’s wanted to be a Raider.

 

Broncos officially releasing Russell Wilson

 

After two seasons with the Broncos, the team is parting ways with former Super Bowl champion quarterback Russell Wilson at the start of the NFL’s new league year on March 13. While Wilson played well in 2023, his fit with head coach Sean Payton was ultimately not a great one in the eyes of the head coach. Wilson is just a couple of years removed from the blockbuster trade from Seattle and a monster contract extension, and the 35-year-old is an intriguing potential starting quarterback option for teams. Wilson’s cap numbers the next two seasons assuming a post-June 1 designation:

 

  • 2024: $35.4 million dead cap hit
  • 2025: $49.6 million dead cap hit

 

 

2024 NFL Scouting Combine

 

We are not going to get into near-pointless “winners” and “losers” from the Scouting Combine, but the big highlight of the weekend was that Texas wide receiver Xavier Worthy broke the 40-yard dash record with an official 4.21 time. John Ross (4.22) held the previous Combine record set in 2017.

 

 

Tyron Smith set to move on from Cowboys

 

❓ All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith is not expected to re-sign with the Cowboys during free agency, likely ending a tremendous 13 year-run in Dallas. Though 33 with an injury history, Smith will be one of the top free agents available this offseason—and the Cowboys have a hole to fill on the blindside of quarterback Dak Prescott, who might play out 2024 on the final year of his contract.

 

 

NFL news and rumors

 

The Chiefs are franchise-tagging star cornerback L’Jarius Snead with the intention of trading him. It is the non-exclusive tag. Snead was certainly a critical member of an elite championship defense, and there should be plenty of suitors for the All-Pro defender.

 

The Jets have officially given quarterback Zach Wilson permission to seek a trade. The former No. 2 pick in the draft struggled in an incredibly difficult spot in New York, but he showed major flashes that made him an enticing product coming out of BYU in 2021.

 

Multiple reports via buzz from the Scouting Combine indicate that the Falcons are expected to heavily pursue quarterback Kirk Cousins if he does not re-sign with the Vikings and hits free agency.

 

The 49ers hired passing game specialist Nick Sorensen as their new defensive coordinator. The team also brought in former Chargers head coach Brandon Staley for a prominent role on the staff.

 

Unless it’s a well-placed smokescreen, the Patriots (according to two reports) already plan to draft a quarterback at No. 3 overall, sign a veteran quarterback, and trade former first-round pick Mac Jones.

 

 

Longtime NFL kicker Robbie Gould has become a high school football coach in Illinois.

 

 

NFL transactions

 

Among the moves teams have made before the start of the new league year—in many cases to open cap space—next Wednesday include:

 

  • The Chiefs released wide receiver Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
  • The Eagles released former All-Pro safety Kevin Byard after acquiring him from the Titans last season.
  • The Patriots released cornerback J.C. Jackson after a second stint with the team.
  • The Falcons released veteran tight end Jonnu Smith.
  • The Vikings released former starting running back Alexander Mattison.
  • The Saints released safety Marcus Maye.
  • The Commanders released tight end Logan Thomas, offensive tackle Charles Leno, and offensive lineman Nick Gates.
  • The Bills released running back Nyheim Hines, who was unfortunately injured in a jet ski accident last offseason.
  • The Bears acquired offensive lineman Ryan Bates from the Bills for a fifth-round pick.

 

Potential NFL changes

 

️ The NFL reportedly wants to push the NFLPA for an 18th regular season game.

 

The NFL has been testing optical tracking for ball spotting to potentially replace the chain gang.

 

The league is considering a new kickoff rule that would not allow onside kicks unless they declare it in advance—and only would allow it while trailing in the fourth quarter.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

Former ESPN NFL reporter Chris Mortensen passed away at 72.

 

 

2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel says he is boycotting Heisman ceremonies and events until Reggie Bush gets his Heisman Trophy back.

 

 

Alabama quarterback Jalen Milroe appears to have tightened up his throwing motion.

 

 

Tom Brady ran a faster 40-yard dash now than he did coming out of Michigan.

 

 

⚾️ The Phillies signed star pitcher Zach Wheeler to a three-year contract extension through 2027. The Giants signed Platinum Glove third baseman Matt Chapman to a three-year deal.

 

The Canucks signed star forward Elias Pettersson to an eight-year extension.

 

❌ The Devils fired head coach Lindy Ruff.

 

The Flyers set a single-season record with their fifth penalty shot goal.

 

 

Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz hit a 470-foot bomb during a spring training game.

 

Iowa women’s basketball star Caitlin Clark broke Pete Maravich’s Division I NCAA scoring record with 3,668 career points.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: February 27, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: February 27, 2024

The 2024 NFL Combine is this week (Thursday-Sunday) in Indianapolis.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

2024 NFL salary cap gets massive jump

 

The NFL’s salary cap for the 2024 season has jumped an unprecedented $30 million up to $255.4 million. This passed even aggressive cap projections, and the increase—thanks to increased revenues—gives cap-strapped teams more wiggle room while giving even more money to spend to teams with cap space. The bottom line: Business is booming for the NFL.

 

 

Matthew Slater retires

 

Longtime Patriots special teamer Matthew Slater has retired after 16 seasons in the NFL (all with New England).

 

 

  • This was the expectation, and now it’s official after Slater played all 16 years in the league under the great Bill Belichick.
  • Belichick, who has talked about his fortune in coaching the players he feels are the best offensive (Tom Brady) and defensive (Lawrence Taylor) players in history, has called Slater the best special teams player in NFL history
  • Slater was a three-time Super Bowl champion, a five-time First-team All-Pro, a three-time Second-team All-Pro, and a ten-time Pro Bowler.
  • He also won the Bart Starr Award (2017) and Art Rooney Award (2021).
  • Slater should have a spot waiting for him in Canton in the Pro Football Hall of Fame at some point.

 

2024 NFL Combine look ahead

 

The 2024 NFL Combine is this week in Indianapolis, and we’ve gotten word on some of the quarterback participants in on-field work outs. USC’s Caleb Williams and LSU’s Jayden Daniels will not throw, while Oregon’s Bo Nix, Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., and Michigan’s J.J. McCarthy will. Here’s the full Combine workout schedule:

 

  • Thursday, Feb. 29: DL and LB (3:00 PM ET)
  • Friday, Mar. 1: DB and TE (3:00 PM ET)
  • Saturday, Mar. 2: QB, WR, and RB (1:00 PM ET)
  • Sunday, Mar. 3: OL and ST (1:00 PM ET)

 

NFL news and notes

 

Ahead of free agency, Bills receiver Gabe Davis has indicated that he’s grateful to Buffalo and might be leaving for another team. We’ll see if the salary cap jump somehow makes it more likely that the Bills do keep the weapon that once scored four touchdowns in a playoff game.

 

 

‍☠️ The Buccaneers are releasing pass rusher Shaquil Barrett, who led the NFL with 19.5 sacks in 2019 and was a key member of Tampa’s Super Bowl LV winning squad that season. Head coach Todd Bowles has indicated there’s a chance Barrett returns to the team during free agency.

 

❌ The Dolphins released former All-Pro cornerback Xavien Howard and pass rusher Emmanuel Ogbah. Jalen Ramsey posted a tribute to Howard despite not much time on the field together and appeared to take a shot at former Dolphins defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in the process.

 

 

The Bengals officially placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Tee Higgins.

 

Running backs Saquon Barkley (Giants), Josh Jacobs (Raiders), Tony Pollard (Cowboys), and Derrick Henry (Titans) are NOT expected to be tagged.

 

✍️ The Chiefs are expected to sign head coach Andy Reid to a contract extension that makes him the highest-paid coach in the league.

 

Bills head coach Sean McDermott and Rams head coach Sean McVay have joined the NFL Competition Committee.

 

 

In Eagles news, head coach Nick Sirianni struggled to control his emotions without notorious security man “Big Dom” on the sidelines down the stretch, according to Derrick Gunn. And receiver A.J. Brown went on Philadelphia radio station WIP to say emphatically that he wants to remain with the Eagles.

 

 

Recent NFL transactions

 

The Chiefs signed punter Matt Araiza, who was drafted in the sixth round by the Bills in 2022 but has not yet played in the league after apparently being falsely accused of sexual assault.

 

The Rams re-signed receiver Demarcus Robinson to a one-year deal after he came on strong down the stretch in 2023.

 

The Lions signed stud special teamer Jalen Reeves-Maybin to a two-year extension.

 

➡️ The Lions released veteran safety Tracy Walker after six seasons. The Rams released center Brian Allen after five seasons. The Steelers released starting center Mason Cole.

 

In assistant coaching news:

 

  • Former Chiefs and Commanders offensive coordinator Eric Bieniemy has taken the associate head coach/offensive coordinator job at UCLA.
  • The Rams are hiring former Bears and Eagles defensive coordinator Sean Desai in a senior assistant role.
  • Former Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin is joining the Raiders as a senior offensive assistant.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

Three members of the University of Wyoming swimming and diving team died in a car crash last week.

 

⚾️ Former NL MVP Cody Bellinger re-signed with the Cubs for three years, $80 million.

 

A “Chad Powers” series starring Glen Powell has been ordered by Hulu.

 

 

Apple launched a sports app, Apple Sports.

 

 

‍♂️ Major League Baseball’s new uniforms made by Fanatics are widely viewed as atrocious… apparently by everyone aside from the MLB, Nike, and Fanatics.

 

 

EA Sports College Football 25 will officially have every FBS team in the game.

 

Blue Jays pitcher Tim Mayza’s punishment for finishing last in the team’s fantasy football league was to be a bat boy with his team record on the back of his jersey during a spring training game.

 

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: February 19, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: February 19, 2024

Just several more months until the 2024 NFL season…

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Chiefs celebration ends in tragedy

 

In what was supposed to be a day of celebration, the Chiefs’ championship parade ended with a senseless shooting that left at least 39 people injured and one dead—Lisa Lopez-Gavlan, a mother of two. All 12 hospitalized children were thankfully released, and they received visits from Patrick and Brittany Mahomes. Also, Taylor Swift gave $100K to the family of Lopez-Gavlan. Two of the three people arrested for the shooting were juveniles, and police say the situation was a dispute that turned into a shooting.

 

 

Niners fire DC Steve Wilks

 

Following their Super Bowl loss, the Niners are moving on from defensive coordinator Steve Wilks after one season.

 

  • 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said “it just ended up being not the right fit” in trying to blend their usual scheme with Wilks’ system.
  • You could see at the end of the Super Bowl, when Shanahan called a timeout and was yelling into the headset (presumably about the soft coverages being played) that this was a possibility.
  • San Francisco is searching for a new defensive coordinator, and we’d think candidates would love to land there.
  • Wilks easily could have been named the Panthers’ full-time head coach last offseason after a strong run as the interim coach, and it’s unfortunate that he’s now in a tough spot this late in the 2024 coaching cycle.

 

Jimmy G suspended

 

‍♂️ Raiders quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was suspended two games for violating the NFL’s Performance Enhancing Substances Policy.

 

  • According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Garoppolo used a prescribed medicine without having a valid Therapeutic Use Exemption. So, it sounds like this was an accident/procedural error.
  • The Raiders no longer owe Garoppolo guaranteed money for 2024, and he’s expected to be released.
  • Though the two-game suspension hurts, Jimmy G could draw interest from teams like the Broncos in the coming weeks.

 

Haason Reddick wants to stay in Philly

 

Days after it was reported that Eagles star pass rusher Haason Reddick was given permission to seek a trade, Reddick told Jordan Schultz that he wants to remain in Philadelphia.

 

 

This isn’t a surprise, as Reddick is from the Philadelphia area and wants to remain in midnight green. However, he is entering the final year of his contract and certainly wants an extension. The 29-year-old had 11.0 sacks in 2023 after 16.0 sacks in his first season with Philly. The previous news might have been part of the negotiations by the Eagles, but it’s a situation to track this offseason.

 

Franchise tag window opens today

 

At 4:00 PM ET today, the window opens for teams to be able to place the franchise or transition tag on players. Teams have until March 5 at 4:00 PM ET to use the tag in 2024. Among the candidates to get tagged:

 

  • Jaguars EDGE Josh Allen
  • Buccaneers S Antoine Winfield Jr.
  • Panthers EDGE Brian Burns
  • Chiefs CB L’Jarius Sneed
  • Giants RB Saquon Barkley
  • Bengals WR Tee Higgins
  • Raiders RB Josh Jacobs
  • Dolphins DT Christian Wilkins
  • Ravens DT Justin Madubuike
  • Bears CB Jaylon Johnson
  • Patriots S Kyle Dugger
  • Colts WR Michael Pittman Jr.
  • Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield

 

Players like Titans running back Derrick Henry and Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones are unlikely to be tagged given their salaries on the tag.

 

NFL transactions

 

‍⬛ The Ravens signed wide receiver Nelson Agholor to a one-year contract extension after a solid first season with Baltimore.

 

 

The Bears have released former All-Pro safety Eddie Jackson and offensive lineman Cody Whitehair.

 

The Patriots release veteran defensive lineman Lawrence Guy and safety Adrian Phillips.

 

✍️ The Eagles signed pass rusher Julian Okwara, who was a 2020 third-round pick of the Lions and played the past four seasons in Detroit.

 

More NFL news

 

‍☠️ The Buccaneers and Mike Evans did not agree to a long-term extension by yesterday’s soft deadline, meaning Tampa Bay takes a $7.4 million dead cap hit in 2024. The two sides will reportedly continue to negotiate ahead of free agency next month.

 

Chiefs guard Nick Allegretti tore his UCL in the second quarter of the Super Bowl but played through it in the KC victory.

 

Speculation was ramping up that the Steelers are interested in acquiring Bears quarterback Justin Fields, but now reports say they want to stick with Kenny Pickett or Mason Rudolph. Overall, no one really knows what’s going to happen.

 

Colts quarterback Anthony Richardson has started throwing after shoulder surgery cut short his rookie season last year. The No. 4 pick in the draft has sky-high expectations in Indy.

 

Veteran running back Mike Davis has retired from the NFL.

 

 

➡️ The Commanders hired longtime Lions executive Lance Newmark as their assistant general manager.

 

NFL assistant coaching moves

 

There continues to be movement in the assistant coaching ranks, including more moves involving recent former players transitioning into coaching.

 

  • Former Bears head coach Marc Trestman was hired as a Senior Offensive Assistant for the Chargers.
  • The Raiders hired former NFL running back and Auburn running backs coach Cadillac Williams to the same position.
  • Former Vikings first-round pick Sharrif Floyd was hired as an assistant defensive line coach under new Cowboys defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer.
  • After previously playing 11 years for the Chargers, the franchise hired former center Nick Hardwick as the team’s assistant offensive line coach.
  • The Commanders hired former NFL quarterback David Blough and former Steelers cornerback William Gay to assistant roles.
  • The Titans are hiring former NFL special teamer Colt Anderson to be the team’s special teams coordinator.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

William Byron won the Daytona 500, which was delayed to Monday due to weather.

 

 

EA Sports College Football 25 is officially happening, with the game launching this summer and a full reveal in May after a teaser trailer.

 

 

️ In the 2024 NHL Stadium Series at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, the Devils beat the Flyers on Saturday night, and the Rangers came back to defeat the Islanders on an Artemi Panarin overtime goal on Sunday. The 2025 Stadium Series will take place between the Red Wings and Blue Jackets at Ohio State’s Ohio Stadium in front of 100,000+ fans.

 

 

Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews already recorded his sixth hat trick of the season, the most since Mario Lemieux in 1995-1996.

 

⚾️ MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced his tenure will end January 2029.

 

️ The Phillies signed versatile utility man Whit Merrifield to a one-year, $8 million deal.

 

The Dynasty, a series focusing on the New England Patriots led by Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, launched with its first two episodes on Apple TV last week.

 

 

Iowa basketball star Caitlin Clark broke the NCAA Division I women’s scoring record.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: February 13, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: February 13, 2024

⏰ 212 days until the 2024 NFL season.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Chiefs top Niners in Super Bowl LVIII

 

For the third time in five seasons (and the second time over San Francisco), the Chiefs are Super Bowl champions after beating the 49ers in a 25-22 overtime thriller. The Niners came out fired up on both sides of the ball and had a 10-0 lead in the second quarter, but they could not put away Andy Reid’s Chiefs—with Mecole Hardman Jr. eventually scoring the game-winning touchdown from Patrick Mahomes in overtime. With 123.4 million viewers, it was the most watched U.S. telecast since the 1969 moon landing.

 

 

The Niners allowed a lengthy field goal drive to force overtime, and they opted to take the ball first after winning the OT coin toss. After ultimately settling for a field goal, Mahomes and the Chiefs had four downs to move the ball into position for a game-extending field goal or game-winning touchdown. Overall, it’s a very tough blow for a Niners team that has been one of the league’s best for a handful of years yet has been unable to finish with a world title.

 

‍♂️ An unfortunate moment that should be mentioned here, as it was somewhat glossed over amidst the victory, but it was not a good look at all for All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce to yell and get somewhat physical with his all-time great head coach.

 

 

2023 NFL awards

 

At last week’s NFL honors, awards for the regular season were handed out—including a couple of surprises in Myles Garrett winning Defensive Player of the Year and Joe Flacco narrowly beating Damar Hamlin for Comeback Player of the Year. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson won his second MVP (2019), and oddly received 49 of 50 first-place votes in what one would think should have been more of a close, wide-open race this year.

 

 

  • MVP: Ravens QB Lamar Jackson
  • OPOY: 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey
  • DPOY: Browns DE Myles Garrett
  • OROY: Texans QB C.J. Stroud
  • DROY: Texans DE Will Anderson Jr.
  • CPOY: Browns QB Joe Flacco
  • COY: Browns HC Kevin Stefanski

 

2024 Hall of Fame class revealed

 

The Pro Football Hall of Fame class of 2024 was also unveiled last week, with former Panthers and Bears legend Julius Peppers (159.5 career sacks, fifth all-time) making it on the first ballot.

 

 

NFL assistant coach moves

 

There was a lot of movement in the assistant coaching ranks (and big related college football movement we’ll get to later) in the past week, with the headline being the Cowboys hiring former Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer as their new defensive coordinator after Rex Ryan pushed hard for the job.

 

 

Other notable hirings include:

 

  • The Chargers officially hired Greg Roman as their offensive coordinator and Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan DC Jesse Minter as their defensive coordinator.
  • Seattle got former Washington Huskies offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb to fill the role.
  • Former stud 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman was hired by former head coach Jim Harbaugh as the Chargers linebackers coach, and former Patriot great Dont’a Hightower is coaching New England’s linebackers.
  • The Pats added former Giants head coach Ben McAdoo to the offensive staff.
  • Former Packers defensive coordinator Joe Barry landed with the Dolphins defensive staff.

 

More NFL news

 

Colts owner Jim Irsay says he’s “on the mend” after a recent health scare.

 

 

The Steelers and quarterback Mitchell Trubisky have mutually agreed to part ways after two seasons.

 

The NFL will hold its first-ever game in Spain in 2025.

 

 

Amazon Prime Video will have an exclusive NFL playoff game next season after Peacock did for the 2023 season.

 

The front office for the Patriots appears to be taking shape, with multiple reports saying that Eliot Wolf is leading the way. New England hired Alonzo Highsmith to an executive role. Additionally, the Pats are expected to trade quarterback Mac Jones this offseason.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

The college football craziness continues, with Chip Kelly leaving the head coach role at UCLA to take the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach position with Ohio State.

 

 

The move for Kelly came after Bill O’Brien’s short stay with the Buckeyes ended when he took the head coaching gig at Boston College, which was open after Jeff Hafley left to be the Packers’ new defensive coordinator.

 

 

UCLA hired former running back and running backs coach under Kelly (and NFL running back) DeShaun Foster, who had recently taken the running backs coach position with the Raiders.

 

 

And finally, Michigan hired longtime NFL defensive coordinator Wink Martindale to the same position.

 

ESPN, FOX, and Warner Bros. Discovery are launching a joint sports streaming service this fall, with each company owning one third.

 

Nick Saban is joining College GameDay and will be a contributor to ESPN.

 

⚾️ The Dodgers re-signed Clayton Kershaw, and the Astros extended star second baseman Jose Altuve.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: February 6, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: February 6, 2024

Super Bowl LVIII between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs is this Sunday, February 11 at 6:30 PM ET on CBS.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Super Bowl LVIII focus

 

The Super Bowl has plenty of storylines, but one that might be most under the microscope (particularly on social media) is the play of the Chiefs offensive line—and any potential holding the officials allow. 49ers star pass rusher Nick Bosa seems to be alerting officials that tackles Donovan Smith and Jawaan Taylor hold often, simply saying that “they hold a lot.”

 

 

‍♂️ On top of Bosa and the Niners pointing that out, Ravens pass rusher Odafe Oweh posting on Instagram that Kansas City held all game in the AFC Championship. So, wherever you stand on the debate about whether the Chiefs getting favorable officiating., the situation is one to watch this Sunday.

 

 

And the Niners are not happy with their soft practice field surface at UNLV, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

 

2024 NFL head coaching cycle ends

 

✅ In one of the slowest and most deliberate NFL hiring cycles in memory, the Seahawks and Commanders finally made their hires last week. Seattle was able to lure Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald with a six-year deal, while the Commanders went with former Falcons head coach and Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

 

 

 

Among the big coaching news last week was Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson deciding to stay in Detroit for the second consecutive year. This time, the Commanders brass was en route to meet with Johnson (and also Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) for an interview while Johnson made the decision, which has led to a bit of a “he said, he said” in the media. Signs pointed to Johnson being the top target for Washington, but the Lions OC reportedly thought Commanders ownership are “basketball guys” while Washington is apparently leaking that Johnson did not interview well in their first discussion. Ultimately, it seems like it wasn’t a fit for either side.

 

 

Assistant coach hirings

 

↔️ There was a ton of movement in the assistant coaching ranks this week, with the headline being former Cardinals head coach and current USC assistant Kliff Kingsbury and the Raiders having talks break down after it looked like he would be the team’s offensive coordinator. Vegas pivoted to former Bears OC Luke Getsy, and Kingsbury ended up with the Commanders. Among the coaching moves:

 

  • The Seahawks hired former Vikings head coach and Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier, who is a mentor to Mike Macdonald, as their assistant head coach.
  • The Steelers hired former Falcons head coach Arthur Smith as their offensive coordinator.
  • The Browns hired former Bills offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey to the same position.
  • Baltimore promoted former linebacker and linebackers coach Zach Orr to be the team’s defensive coordinator.
  • The Bills promoted linebackers coach Bobby Babich to defensive coordinator.
  • Brian Callahan hired his dad Bill Callahan away from the Bengals to be the Titans offensive line coach, and Tennessee hired Dennard Wilson from the Ravens to be the defensive coordinator.
  • The Buccaneers hired former Rams and Kentucky assistant Liam Coen as their offensive coordinator.
  • The Giants hired former Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen to the same position.
  • Mike Zimmer and Ron Rivera are candidates for the Cowboys defensive coordinator position.

 

More NFL news

 

The Eagles will host the NFL’s first-ever game in Brazil this season… and it is happening in Week 1… on a Friday.

 

In the 2024 Pro Bowl Games, the NFC beat the AFC, 64-59, by dominating the skill competitions and getting a fourth-and-goal stop to end flag football.

 

 

Buccaneers center Ryan Jensen has officially retired after nine NFL seasons. The tough-nosed offensive lineman was a critical member of the Buccaneers’ Super Bowl LV team as Tom Brady’s center. He was named a Pro Bowler in 2021. Unfortunately, a knee injury suffered during training camp in 2022 forced him to miss that season until an improbable return for the postseason—but he was then unable to play in 2023.

 

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Ryan Jensen (@redman7715)

 

Running back Rex Burkhead has announced his retirement after ten years in the NFL. He won Super Bowl LIII with the Patriots.

 

Upon his expected retirement, veteran quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was named head coach of his high school football team, Miami Northwestern High School.

 

Chiefs rookie receiver Rashee Rice received a fantastic send-off from his neighbors ahead of the Super Bowl.

 

 

Other Sports Updates

 

Former Raiders linebacker and the great actor Carl Weathers—known for many roles including his iconic run as Apollo Creed in the Rocky franchise—passed away at 76.

 

 

Former Patriots defensive playcaller Steve Belichick has taken the defensive coordinator job with the Washington Huskies.

 

The Angelos family has sold the Baltimore Orioles to a group led by Baltimore native David M. Rubenstein—and including Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr.—for $1.725 billion.

 

⚾️ And Baltimore acquired former Cy Young winner Corbin Burnes from the Brewers in a surprise move.

 

Shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. signed an 11-year, $288.7 million extension with the Blue Jays.

 

⚽️ The 2026 World Cup Final will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.

 

Former Red Sox and Cubs GM Theo Epstein has joined Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox, as a part owner and senior advisor.

 

Maple Leafs star Auston Matthews won NHL All-Star Game MVP in Toronto.

 

⛳️ Wyndham Clark won a weather-shortened Pebble Beach Pro-Am after shooting a course record 60 on Saturday.

 

Blue Jays star Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the cover athlete for MLB The Show 24.

 

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 30, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 30, 2024

Super Bowl LVIII is set after two exciting conference title games.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

NFL Championship Sunday recap

 

The Chiefs are headed back to the Super Bowl for the fourth time in six seasons after knocking off the Ravens in Baltimore, 17-10. Kansas City got off to a fast start and did not score in the second half, but Steve Spagnuolo’s defense yet again stepped up and made key plays—including a massive forced fumble at the one-yard line by star cornerback L’Jarius Sneed on Zay Flowers. Baltimore’s performance offensively was highly disappointing after a dominant season all around, and—fair or not—the playoff questions will remain about quarterback Lamar Jackson.

 

 

Brock Purdy and the 49ers again proved to have ice in their veins, coming back from a 24-7 halftime deficit to beat the Lions in the NFC title game, 34-31. Jared Goff was lights out, but Detroit was plagued by drops in the loss, and they also didn’t convert a couple of fourth down attempts within field goal range. San Francisco gave up 442 yards and has some things to figure out defensively when taking on Kansas City, but we’ll see Chiefs-Niners in the Big Game for the second time in five seasons on February 11.

 

 

Jim Harbaugh returns to the NFL

 

⚡️ In a slow-moving hiring cycle, one huge move finally came to fruition last week: Jim Harbaugh was hired by the Chargers and returns to the NFL after leading Michigan to a national championship.

 

 

Harbaugh has proven to be one of the best coaches in football, and he’s paired up with a quarterback he loves in Justin Herbert. Harbaugh admitted on CBS before Sunday’s AFC title game that he was “a little starstruck meeting Justin.”

 

The 60-year-old was an exceptional 44-19-1 during four seasons with the 49ers from 2011-2014, and he was 49-22-1 including the postseason. Having him join Andy Reid (and Patrick Mahomes), Sean Payton, and new Raiders head coach Antonio Pierce in the AFC West should be a lot of fun.

 

Also, the Chargers are hiring Ravens executive Joe Horitz as their general manager.

 

Other head coach hirings

In an upset, the Falcons passed on legendary head coach Bill Belichick and went with former Atlanta assistant and interim head coach Raheem Morris.

 

 

The Panthers hired Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales as their head coach, pairing him with 2023 No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young and new GM Dan Morgan.

 

 

The lone remaining head coach openings are the Commanders and the Seahawks. With both the Lions and Ravens eliminated last weekend, freeing up their assistant coaches to get hired, moves could happen quickly. Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson and Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald are two of the top candidates for both jobs, but Washington and Seattle have kept things close to the vest.

 

 

 

More NFL news

 

Headlining assistant hires, the Bills officially hired interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady on a full-time basis.

 

The revamped Eagles assistant staff under Nick Sirianni includes top defensive coordinator Vic Fangio, who parted ways with Miami to take the Philly job, and former Cowboys and Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

 

‍☠️ In a surprise move, the Raiders hired former Chargers general manager Ton Telesco to the same position.

 

The Packers fired defensive coordinator Joe Barry.

 

‍♂️ Patriots wide receiver Kayshon Boutte was arrested for making 8,900 illegal bets while at LSU, according to WAFB.

 

2023 NFL Award finalists are headlined by Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey among five MVP finalists.

 

 

Other sports updates

️ Michigan officially hired Sherrone Moore to replace Jim Harbaugh.

 

⚾️ The 2024 Baseball Hall of Fame Class is Adrián Beltré, Todd Helton, Joe Mauer, and Jim Leyland.

 

 

➡️ The Mariners have acquired All-Star infielder Jorge Polanco in exchange for four players including two prospects.

 

Jannik Sinner (men’s) and Sabalenka Aryna (women’s) won the 2024 Australian Open.

 

Que (Uga X) passed away. He served as the Georgia Bulldogs’ mascot from 2015-2022.

 

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 22, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 22, 2024

We’re down to the NFL’s final four teams ahead of Championship Sunday.

 

NFL Divisional Round recap

 

The No. 1 seed Ravens exploded with a 24-0 second half in their win over the Texans, with Lamar Jackson totaling two passing scores and two rushing scores. The Baltimore defense was dominant against Houston, allowing just three points defensively in the 34-10 victory (Steven Sims had a 67-yard punt return touchdown for the Texans). While the first half was relatively slow, any concerns about rust for the Ravens have been erased after separating in the second half. Also, Jackson became the first quarterback in NFL history to have three 100-yard rushing games in the postseason.

 

 

In the NFC, the top-seeded 49ers also advanced, with Brock Purdy leading a game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter—despite Deebo Samuel being knocked out of the game due to a shoulder injury. It was the first time that Kyle Shanahan’s team has ever come back from a fourth-quarter deficit of five-plus points (previously 0-30). The victory for San Francisco was sealed by linebacker Dre Greenlaw’s second interception of the game, on a shockingly ill-advised decision by Jordan Love.

 

 

Jared Goff and the Lions stayed hot, with more late-game clutch play from both sides of the ball in their 31-23 win over the Buccaneers. The victory was sealed on an interception by linebacker Derrick Barnes, Detroit’s second of the game. Goff joined Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Kurt Warner as the only quarterbacks since 2000 to take two different franchises to a conference championship game. The Lions added veteran tight end Zach Ertz to the mix now as well.

 

 

In another heavyweight showdown between Kansas City and Buffalo, the Chiefs again beat the AFC rival to advance to their sixth consecutive AFC Championship Game under Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. It was the first-ever road playoff game for Mahomes, and he and the offense look to have found something the past couple of weeks after an inconsistent regular season. For the Bills, they continue to come up short in the postseason as a team. Among the lowlights on the Bills side were a missed potential game-tying field goal by Tyler Bass and a drop for a potential go-ahead 80-yard touchdown to Stefon Diggs on an absolute dime from Josh Allen. The defending champion Chiefs have another massive battle in Baltimore this Sunday.

 

 

NFL news and notes

 

The Raiders have hired interim head coach Antonio Pierce on a full-time basis after his 5-4 stretch this season while getting strong support from his players.

 

 

⚔️ The Titans are hiring Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan to be the team’s next head coach.

 

 

Despite the rumors and looming presence of Bill Belichick, the Cowboys are retaining head coach Mike McCarthy in 2024. McCarthy has led Dallas to three consecutive 12-win seasons, and he’s set to enter next season in the final year of his contract.

 

 

Mike Tomlin officially says he’ll be back with the Steelers in 2024. He also added that Kenny Pickett will enter next season as the team’s top quarterback but that he will have competition (potentially Mason Rudolph).

 

Bill Belichick interviewed twice with the Falcons for their head coach opening, and Jim Harbaugh is set for his second interview with the Chargers this week. To this point, Atlanta is the only team with a known connection to Belichick.

 

The Panthers hired former player Dan Morgan to be the team’s new President of Football Operations / General Manager.

 

 

The Jaguars hired former Falcons defensive coordinator Ryan Nielson to the same position.

 

The Saints fired offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael, who has been the team’s OC since 2009. The Browns are switching up their offensive staff, and the are bringing in former Alabama offensive coordinator Tommy Rees as the team’s new tight end coach.

 

49ers wanted Tom Brady?

 

According to ESPN, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told Brock Purdy early this offseason that he would be locked in as the team’s starting quarterback… unless they were able to sign Tom Brady, in which case he would be the backup for a year. Interestingly, Brady opted to stay retired instead of playing for his hometown team and trying to become the first quarterback in NFL history to lead three different franchises to a Super Bowl title. And Purdy currently has the Niners on the cusp of getting to the Big Game.

 

 

Other Sports Updates

 

Miami tight end Cam McCormick has been granted a ninth year of college football eligibility—a record that will likely never be touched.

 

 

The Astros signed top reliever Josh Hader to a five-year, $95 million contract. Hader was with the Astros organization from 2013-2015.

 

The Islanders fired head coach Lane Lambert and replaced him with Patrick Roy.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 16, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 16, 2024

A wacky Super Wild Card Weekend that became three consecutive days with doubleheaders narrowed the NFL playoff field to eight, and massive coaching news struck around football. We’ll start with the end of an era.

 

Patriots, Bill Belichick part ways

 

 

After 24 seasons and an unmatched run of success, the Patriots and legendary head coach Bill Belichick have parted ways. While Belichick probably would have liked to turn things around in New England, he and team owner Robert Kraft seemed to have an amicable and nice press conference announcing the move last Wednesday. Among Belichick’s accomplishments—headlined by the 20-year run with fellow GOAT Tom Brady—with the Pats:

 

  • Six Super Bowl victories
  • Nine AFC titles
  • 17 AFC East titles
  • 266-121 regular season record
  • 30-12 postseason record

 

Including playoffs and accounting for his time in Cleveland in the 90s, Belichick is 15 wins shy of breaking Don Shula’s all-time record. He has interviewed with the Falcons, might draw interest from the Chargers, and could even be in consideration for Dallas if they want to take a shot at a rare opportunity. We feel that teams with openings would be crazy to not at least talk to the greatest coach in league history.

 

NFL Wild Card Round recap

 

The Lions defended Ford Field to win an absolute thriller against the Rams, 24-23. The huge storyline was Jared Goff facing the team that unceremoniously traded him away before proceeding to win the Super Bowl with Matthew Stafford at quarterback. Both Goff and Stafford had excellent games, but it was Goff—behind an immensely supportive home crowd in Detroit—that got the victory, which had to feel amazing. For Detroit, it was their first playoff victory in 32 years, and head coach Dan Campbell and general manager Brad Holmes (who was unwisely criticized for what looks like an outstanding 2023 draft) deserve major respect.

 

 

The young Packers went into AT&T Stadium and took apart a Cowboys defense and team that’s been dominant at home (16 consecutive victories until Sunday), with Jordan Love recording a near-perfect passer rating (272 yards, three touchdowns). Green Bay built a 27-7 lead, and while Dallas made it somewhat of a game with 16 fourth-quarter points in a 48-32 final, it was an off day and ugly performance for the No. 2 seed in the NFC. Attention immediately turned to the job status of head coach Mike McCarthy, which should arguably be considered unwise—if not for Bill Belichick being out there as a potential option.

 

 

Sticking with the young theme, rookie quarterback head coach-quarterback duo DeMeco Ryans and C.J. Stroud helped lead the Texans to an emphatic 45-14 victory over the Browns. Houston’s offensive coordinator Bobby Slowik was dialing it up, helping Stroud torch a strong Cleveland defense for 274 yards and three touchdowns to three different receivers. And the Texans defense played with a ton of energy, with cornerback Steven Nelson and linebacker Christian Harris each getting pick-sixes.

 

 

In negative temperatures and a wind-chill near -30 degrees, the Chiefs froze the Dolphins offense in a 26-7 Saturday night win at Arrowhead to yet again advance to the Divisional Round. Kansas City’s offense didn’t finish a few drives with touchdowns, but they otherwise showed promising signs after a difficult regular season. Rookie receiver Rashee Rice starred with eight receptions for 130 yards and a touchdown.

 

 

Josh Allen totaled four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing on a 52-yard highlight play) as the Bills defeated the Steelers, 31-17, in a weather-delayed Wild Card matchup in Buffalo. It was another good all-around effort for the Bills, but they are dealing with another injury, with linebacker Terrel Bernard uncertain for the Divisional Round after he was carted off with an ankle sprain. We’ll certainly be watching the status of Bernard, cornerback Rasul Douglas (knee), and receiver Gabe Davis (knee) ahead of this weekend.

 

 

‍☠️ The late-season struggles and collapse by the Eagles continued, as the Bucs dominated at home to conclude the Wild Card Round. Philadelphia has had odd vibes for weeks, and they went 1-6 over the final seven games after a 10-1 start—but give Tampa credit for playing a strong all-around game. There’s more big news for Philadelphia that we’ll get to in a moment.

 

 

Divisional Round schedule

 

️ The Divisional Round is headlined by Chiefs-Bills capping things off at 6:30 PM ET on Sunday. Patrick Mahomes will be playing in his first-ever road postseason game.

 

 

Jason Kelce retires

 

Future Hall of Fame center Jason Kelce is retiring from the NFL after 13 seasons with the Eagles. You could see the emotion on Kelce’s face when he was taken out of last night’s loss, and it appeared that he told offensive line coach Jeff Stoutland that this was his final season—and it indeed was, as he reportedly told teammates in the locker room after the game. Kelce won Super Bowl LII with Philadelphia and was named a six-time First-team All-Pro as one of the best players in the league for years.

 

 

Major coaching shakeups

 

‍ In addition to Bill Belichick moving on from New England, a flurry of coaching moves included the Seahawks stunningly removing Super Bowl winner Pete Carroll as the team’s head coach and the Titans firing Mike Vrabel.

 

 

Carroll coached Seattle for 14 seasons, winning one Super Bowl and taking the team to the Big Game twice. He navigated a tricky re-tool situation over the past two seasons and led the franchise to consecutive 9-8 records and a playoff berth. While Carroll moved to an Advisor role with the Seahawks, it sounds like he wants to keep coaching and would be open to opportunities to do so.

 

The Patriots hired Jerod Mayo, who was a draft pick by his former coach and played for New England, to replace Belichick. Mayo had it in his contract that he would take over for Belichick, so New England did not have to go through the interview process before making the hire.

 

The full head coach openings—pending potential moves by Philadelphia and Dallas—are:

 

  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Seattle Seahawks
  • Tennessee Titans
  • Washington Commanders

 

Also, the Commanders moved quickly to hire 49ers executive Adam Peters as the team’s general manager.

 

2023 NFL All-Pro teams announced

 

The AP 2023 NFL All-Pro Team is headlined by unanimous selections Christian McCaffrey, Tyreek Hill, and Fred Warner.

 

 

The NFLPA also revealed their All-Pro selections:

 

 

Other Sports Updates

 

Coaching shockers were not limited to the NFL, with legendary Alabama head coach Nick Saban retiring after six national championships with the Crimson Tide. Truly the end of an era in the coaching world.

 

 

↔️ Alabama hired former Washington head coach Kalen DeBoer to take over the head coaching gig. DeBoer was 25-3 in two seasons with the Huskies.

 

Expected No. 1 overall pick Caleb Williams officially declared for the 2024 NFL Draft, as did Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy after winning a national title with the Wolverines.

 

After previously declaring for the NFL Draft, former Washington State quarterback Cam Ward is instead transferring to Miami.

 

Florida State was hit with NIL violations by the NCAA.

 

Top prospect Cutter Gauthier did not want to play for the Flyers, and the organization traded him away and went on the offensive with the media. Head coach John Tortorella said after the trade that he didn’t know Gauthier “from a hole in a wall.”

 

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 9, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 9, 2024

A college football national champion was crowned, and the NFL playoffs begin this week!

 

Week 18 NFL recap

 

The final game of the NFL regular season delivered again this year, with the Bills holding on to win a crazy game against the Dolphins, 21-14, to clinch the AFC East for the fourth consecutive season and secure the No. 2 seed in the AFC. It was a rollercoaster ride for Josh Allen, but he did everything for Buffalo, throwing for 359 yards and two touchdowns (two interceptions and a lost fumble) while leading the team in rushing with 67 yards on 15 attempts. Allen’s 44 total touchdowns comfortably led the NFL in 2023.

 

 

Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud (20/26, 264 yards, two touchdowns) led the Texans to a tight 23-19 win at the Colts to secure a playoff spot on Saturday night. Thanks to the Jaguars’ loss on Sunday, Houston clinched the AFC South in a fantastic first season for first-year head coach DeMeco Ryans and Stroud. A heroic effort from Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (30 carries, 188 yards, one touchdown)—who was a rare “doubtful” (ankle) that was able to return to the game—should not be forgotten. The Texans sealed the win on a fourth down stop where Gardner Minshew and Tyler Goodson could not connect on a short pass.

 

 

In perhaps the final game for Derrick Henry with the Titans, he (19 carries for 153 yards and a touchdown) and the ground game led an upset victory over the Jaguars to kick the division rival out of the postseason. The Jaguars lost five of their final six games in a stunning collapse, and quarterback Trevor Lawrence said they should feel “sick” over it. Following the win, Henry addressed the Tennessee crowd and gave a bit of a farewell.

 

 

Jordan Love had another excellent outing (27/32, 316 yards, two touchdowns), and the Packers defense stepped up for the second straight week to help Green Bay claim the final spot in the NFC postseason. Thanks to the Titans’ win over the Jaguars, the Steelers took the final wild card spot in the AFC after their 17-10 win at Baltimore on Saturday. However, Pittsburgh will likely be without superstar pass rusher T.J. Watt at Buffalo due to an MCL sprain.

 

 

 

‍☠️ The Buccaneers clinched their third consecutive NFC South title and made the postseason for the fourth consecutive year with a 9-0 win over the Panthers. Pro Bowl snub Antoine Winfield Jr. made a tremendous play at safety, forcing a touchback on what looked like a DJ Chark Jr. touchdown for Carolina. Tampa Bay went 5-1 down the stretch.

 

 

Other Week 18 games:

 

  • Jets 17, Patriots 3: Snowy conditions were fitting if this was the final game leading the Patriots for Bill Belichick, but the results were unfortunate. Now the attention turns to Belichick’s job status. Also, a shoutout to special teams ace Matthew Slater in what was likely his final NFL game.
  • Lions 30, Vikings 20: Jared Goff threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns, helping the Lions outpace Justin Jefferson (12/192/1) and Minnesota. Unfortunately, star rookie tight end Sam LaPorta is likely to miss time with a knee injury, but at least the injury isn’t as bad as it first looked.
  • Saints 48, Falcons 17: Derek Carr capped his first season in New Orleans on a high note to help the team finish 9-8, but the highlight was Arthur Smith understandably getting mad at the Saints for running up the score after Saints players wanted to get Jamaal Williams a touchdown instead of kneeling it—and Jameis Winston delivered comedy postgame.

 

 

  • Bengals 31, Browns 14: This felt like a preseason game on the Cleveland side ahead of the Wild Card Round, but the Bengals concluded a challenging year at 9-8. Joe Mixon scored twice in the Week 18 victory.
  • Cowboys 38, Commanders 10: Dak Prescott threw four touchdowns and the Dallas defense dominated to help lock up the NFC East (still no repeat division winner since 2004) and the No. 2 seed in the NFC.
  • Raiders 27, Broncos 14: Antonio Pierce made a strong final case as the interim head coach for Vegas, finishing with a 5-4 record.
  • Giants 27, Eagles 10: A dreadful performance by Philadelphia has them limping—literally and figuratively—heading into the postseason. Jalen Hurts (finger), DeVonta Smith (ankle), and A.J. Brown (knee) are all banged up.
  • Seahawks 21, Cardinals 20: They didn’t get the help they needed to make the postseason, but the Seahawks were happy to end the year on a high note with a win on a two-point conversion from Geno Smith to Tyler Lockett.
  • Rams 21, 49ers 20: Carson Wentz threw two touchdowns and ran for another in his first start of 2023, and LA’s win put them in the No. 6 seed in the NFC—setting up an interesting matchup with the Lions. Puka Nacua set NFL rookie records with 105 receptions for 1,486 receiving yards.
  • Chiefs 13, Chargers 12: The Chiefs were locked into the AFC’s No. 3 seed, so they rested a bunch of players but were still able to beat the Chargers, ending an extremely disappointing campaign for LA.

 

NFL Wild Card Round matchups

 

“Super Wild Card Weekend” from Saturday through Monday is filled with intriguing matchups and storylines—most notably, three games that carry some revenge storylines. Dolphins receiver Tyreek Hill, who did not play well in the first matchup in Germany during the regular season, takes on the Chiefs again. Mike McCarthy’s Cowboys host the Packers after Green Bay unceremoniously fired him during the season in 2018. And Jared Goff gets a crack at a Rams team that traded him away while the Lions host their former quarterback Matthew Stafford.

 

 

Fantasy football leaders in 2023

 

  • QB: Josh Allen, Bills (392.64 points)
  • RB: Christian McCaffrey, 49ers (357.8 points)
  • WR: CeeDee Lamb, Cowboys (335.7 points)
  • TE: Sam LaPorta, Lions (196.3 points)
  • D/ST: Cowboys/Ravens (172.0 points)

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

“Black Monday”

 

One of the worst parts about the NFL season is the day after the final week of the regular season, also known as “Black Monday.” Falcons head coach Arthur Smith and Commanders head coach Ron Rivera were both fired, joining previous openings of the Raiders, Panthers, and Chargers—with more moves potentially coming. Also, Panthers general manager Scott Fiterrer was unsurprisingly fired on Black Monday.

 

The huge domino is the status of Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, who in his season-ending press conference early yesterday said that he is under contract and plans to keep working hard for the organization—setting up a situation where he might need to be fired to leave. Belichick also said he might be open to giving up full control of personnel if that’s what’s best for the franchise. It’s interesting that current and former Patriots are voicing total support of the legendary coach.

 

 

More NFL news

 

‍⬛ The Ravens added running back Dalvin Cook after his release from the Jets.

 

The NFL fined Panthers owner David Tepper $300K for throwing his drink at a fan in Jacksonville in Week 17.

 

⬇️ The NFL announced the 2024 Pro Bowl rosters, with notable snubs including touchdown leader Josh Allen.

 

 

Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers made a joke on ESPN on The Pat McAfee Show about ABC late-night host Jimmy Kimmel and the Jeffrey Epstein client list, and he says he’ll comment on Kimmel’s response today.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

A powerful rushing attack sparked early by Donovan Edwards (six carries, 106 yards, two touchdowns) and finished by Blake Corum (21 carries, 134 yards, two touchdowns) paired with solid defense helped Michigan defeat Washington, 34-13, in the CFP National Championship Game to win their first title since 1997. The Wolverines finished with a perfect 15-0 season.

 

 

In the FCS, South Dakota State won the national championship with a 23-3 victory over Montana. The Jackrabbits have won back-to-back titles.

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 2, 2024

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: January 2, 2024

Happy New Year!

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Week 17 NFL highlights

 

The Ravens and the 49ers have clinched the No. 1 seeds in the NFL postseason. Baltimore demolished the Dolphins behind continued elite defense and five touchdowns from Lamar Jackson. Meanwhile, San Francisco unsurprisingly handled the Commanders in a bounce-back performance from Brock Purdy and company. We’ll have to see how the Ravens and Niners play Week 18 (against the rival Steelers and Rams) while juggling health/rest and the potential rust factor given the playoff bye. Unfortunately in their loss, Miami lost star pass rusher Bradley Chubb to a torn ACL.

 

 

‍♂️ The Cowboys survived against the Lions on Saturday night, but poor officiating at the end of the game overshadowed a fantastic contest. Left tackle Taylor Decker caught a go-ahead, potential game-winning two-point conversion with under a minute remaining, but the officials—apparently incorrectly based on video of Decker going right up to referee Brad Allen—said Decker failed to report as an eligible receiver before the play. The error could ultimately cost the Lions the No. 2 seed in the NFC, which is obviously a huge deal.

 

 

In yet another heated battle in perhaps the NFL’s best rivalry of the past few years, the Chiefs defeated the Bengals to clinch the AFC West and eliminate Cincinnati from the postseason. Isiah Pacheco (165 total yards and a touchdown) starred for Kansas City, and safety Justin Reid had two key sacks late to help seal the 25-17 victory. The Chiefs have now won eight straight AFC West titles.

 

 

The Cardinals upset the Eagles in Philadelphia, 35-31, in former Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s return. Arizona totally controlled the game with a 39:39 time of possession, and the win puts Dallas in position to clinch the NFC East with a Week 18 win over the Commanders. The odd vibes with the Eagles (1-4 in their past five games) have clearly continued, and it’s almost like a delayed Super Bowl hangover has caught up with them.

 

 

The Packers went on the road to dominate against the Vikings on Sunday night, setting up a win-and-in scenario for a Week 18 matchup with the Bears—a similar situation to last year when Green Bay lost to Detroit in a win-and-in contest. Jordan Love threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns in the crucial win.

 

 

Other Week 17 games:

 

  • Browns 37, Jets 20: The Browns clinched their second playoff berth in four years by dominating the Jets on Thursday night behind an excellent first half from Joe Flacco (309 yards, three touchdowns, one interception total in the win).
  • Texans 26, Titans 3: In C.J. Stroud’s return to the lineup, the Texans handled the Titans to set up a de facto playoff matchup with the Colts this Saturday night.
  • Bears 37, Falcons 17: Chicago picked off Taylor Heinicke three times, and Justin Fields got chants of support from Bears fans while leading a balanced offensive attack in another strong showing for Matt Eberflus’ club.
  • Saints 23, Buccaneers 13: The score was not indicative of how this game went, with the Saints severely outplaying the Buccaneers in Tampa. However, the Bucs can still win the NFC South by beating the Panthers in Week 18.
  • Bills 27, Patriots 21: Bill Belichick’s stingy defense and an opening kickoff return touchdown by Jalen Reagor made it a battle, but the Bills survived at home with cornerback Rasul Douglas intercepting two passes.
  • Jaguars 26, Panthers 0: Trevor Lawrence missed his first career game, but Jacksonville coasted as Travis Etienne Jr. ran for 102 yards and two touchdowns while Josh Allen recorded three sacks. Something to watch for the Panthers are repercussions of the inexcusable actions of team owner David Tepper throwing his drink at a fan.

 

 

  • Colts 23, Raiders 20: The Colts bounced back by jumping to a 14-3 lead on the Raiders and holding on to get to 9-7. First-year head coach Shane Steichen has Indy in the playoff mix heading into the final week of the regular season.
  • Rams 26, Giants 25: The Rams barely escaped MetLife Stadium with a win, which ultimately helped them clinch a playoff berth later moments later based on the Seattle result.
  • Steelers 30: Seahawks 23: Never count out Mike Tomlin’s team, which will not finish below .500 again (all 17 seasons under Tomlin) after getting to 9-7 with the win at Seattle. The Steelers can get into the postseason with a win and some help, while the Seahawks now need a win and help themselves to make it in the NFC.
  • Broncos 16, Chargers 9: Solid defense led the way for the Broncos at home, but the big story for Denver to begin the new year is the status of quarterback Russell Wilson.

 

Top fantasy performers in Week 17

 

  • Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: 36.34 points
  • Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb: 33.7 points
  • Raiders WR Davante Adams: 31.1 points
  • Rams RB Kyren Williams: 29.1 points
  • Packers QB Jordan Love: 28.44 points

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

Russell Wilson benched, likely done in Denver

 

The Broncos benched quarterback Russell Wilson with two games remaining.

 

  • The reasoning appears to be that the Broncos do not want to be on the hook for $37 million guaranteed in 2025 that becomes fully guaranteed due to injury (i.e., if Wilson cannot pass a physical at the start of the new league year).
  • The Broncos insist the move was made for football reasons, going to Jarrett Stidham at quarterback.
  • However, according to both multiple reports and Wilson himself, the team came to Wilson during the bye week and threatened to bench him for the rest of the year if he did not alter his contract—which got the NFLPA involved and eventually led to Wilson remaining the starter until the benching ahead of Week 17.
  • Wilson completed 66.4% of his passes for 3,070 yards, 26 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 15 starts this season.
  • Denver traded two first-round picks, two second-round picks, a fifth-round pick, quarterback Drew Lock, tight end Noah Fant, and defensive lineman Shelby Harris for Wilson in the 2022 offseason—and his contract carries massive cap hits in 2024 and 2025.
  • Wilson spoke candidly to the media on Friday about the situation, and this story seems far from over.

 

 

Week 18 NFL schedule

 

️ The final week of the regular season includes two Saturday matchups and ends with Game 272 between the Bills and the Dolphins with the AFC East title (and potentially a playoff berth for Buffalo) on the line.

 

 

Other Sports Updates

 

College Football Playoff Semifinals:

 

  • Michigan 27, Alabama 20 (OT): The Wolverines came back down 20-13 in the fourth quarter to force overtime. Two Blake Corum runs in OT put them ahead before the defense stopped Bama quarterback Jalen Milroe on a quarterback run on fourth-and-goal to seal the thrilling Rose Bowl victory.
  • Washington 37, Texas 31: In an intense Sugar Bowl, the Huskies held off a fourth quarter comeback attempt by the Longhorns and sealed the win on a stop at the 13-yard line as time expired. Michael Penix Jr. threw for 430 yards and two touchdowns to help set up a battle of unbeatens in the national championship on Monday.

 

Bo Nix threw five touchdowns and set the single-season completion percentage record as Oregon handled Liberty in the Fiesta Bowl, 45-6.

 

Georgia demolished Florida State in the Orange Bowl. The Bulldogs broke their own record for largest margin of victory in a bowl game (63-3), which they had just set in the CFP National Championship last season. While the Seminoles were shorthanded, it’ll be harder for them to say that they should have been in the CFP after this.

 

Missouri won a defensive battle over Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl, 14-3.

 

Ole Miss took down Penn State in the Peach Bowl, 38-25.

 

✍️ Other bowl game results:

 

  • Holiday Bowl: USC 42, Louisville 28
  • Texas Bowl: Oklahoma State 31, Texas A&M 23
  • Pinstripe Bowl: Rutgers 31, Miami 24
  • Pop-Tarts Bowl: Kansas State 28, NC State 19
  • Alamo Bowl: Arizona 38, Oklahoma 24
  • Gator Bowl: Clemson 38, Kentucky 35
  • Sun Bowl: Notre Dame 40, Oregon State 8
  • ReliaQuest Bowl: LSU 35, Wisconsin 31
  • Cheez-It Citrus Bowl: Tennessee 35, Iowa 0

 

⚾️ The Braves acquired starting pitcher Chris Sale from the Red Sox for infielder Vaughn Grissom.

 

The USFL and XFL have officially merged into the United Football League.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: December 19, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: December 19, 2023

An early Merry Christmas to everyone!

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Chargers clean house

 

⚡️ Following their embarrassing Thursday night loss to the Raiders, the Chargers cleaned house by firing head coach Brandon Staley and general manager Tom Telesco.

 

 

  • Staley was hired in 2021 and went 24-24 in the regular season during his two-plus seasons with the team, including 0-1 in the postseason.
  • The analytics-embracing Staley didn’t always have support from his players with some of his odd decision-making, and the wheels really began to fall off for him during and after Los Angeles blew a 27-0 lead over the Jaguars in last season’s Wild Card Round.
  • Telesco had been the Chargers’ general manager since 2013, and they made the playoffs three times during his tenure.
  • The cap space situation for the team is not great (well over the cap in 2024), but the presence of star quarterback Justin Herbert figures to make the Chargers an appealing landing spot for potential coaches and executives.
  • Bill Belichick (if he parts ways with New England) and Jim Harbaugh have been speculated as potential fits to lead the franchise.

 

Week 14 NFL highlights

 

Backup quarterback Drew Lock hit rookie receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba for a game-winning touchdown with 28 seconds remaining to help the Seahawks upset the Eagles to conclude the week on Monday Night Football. Seattle always seems to have crazy Monday night games, and this was no different—with Lock leading the Seahawks on a 92-yard touchdown drive with under two minutes remaining. Philadelphia has lost three consecutive games, and we’ll see if any changes are made on offense after the defense basically demoted defensive coordinator Sean Desai and made Matt Patricia the defensive play-caller.

 

 

The Bills defended homefield and demolished the Cowboys, 31-10. The game was even less close than the final score indicates, with Dallas scoring late to cut into the comfortable 31-3 lead for Buffalo. Josh Allen only threw for 94 yards (one touchdown, along with another touchdown on the ground), as James Cook (25 carries, 179 rushing yards, one rushing touchdown, two receptions, 42 receiving yards, one receiving touchdown) starred in a run-heavy attack paired with tremendous defense from Sean McDermott’s unit. We’ve been saying it since the offensive coordinator change sparked the team: the Bills are dangerous.

 

 

‍⬛ Lamar Jackson and the Ravens handled the Jaguars on Sunday night, with the defense making key stops to hold Jacksonville to seven points. Baltimore ran for 251 yards, but unfortunately they lost dynamic rookie running back Keaton Mitchell (nine carries for 73 yards) to a torn ACL. Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike tied the NFL record for most consecutive games with at least 0.5 sacks (11 games).

 

 

The Dolphins obliterated the Jets, 30-0, behind an angry defense that bounced back in a major way from blowing their fourth quarter lead to the Titans a couple of Mondays ago. Bradley Chubb (three sacks) and Brandon Jones (two interceptions) led the way for Miami, and Tua Tagovailoa connected with Jaylen Waddle eight times for 142 yards and a 60-yard touchdown with Tyreek Hill (ankle) out of the lineup. For the Jets, Zach Wilson left the game with a concussion and had zero chance to do anything with the pressure he was under—and you’ve got to feel bad for the situation the former No. 2 pick is in. … The potential return for Aaron Rodgers, who reportedly will astonishingly be medically cleared this week from his torn Achilles, does not look promising with the Jets eliminated from playoff contention.

 

 

☠️ The Raiders ended the Chargers’ regime in stunning fashion, beating them 63-21 on Thursday Night Football. Rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell, who was on the verge of being benched, torched LA for four touchdowns; and the Vegas defense scored twice themselves in one of the ugliest games imaginable in the NFL. Raiders interim head coach Antonio Pierce is now 3-3 through six games, and he told Amazon’s Kaylee Hartung that his halftime message to the team was to “press the gas pedal even harder” while up 42-0.

 

 

In the Saturday triple-header consisting of all playoff hopefuls, Jake Browning and the Bengals beat the Vikings in overtime; the Colts erased an early deficit to eventually blowout the Steelers and hand Pittsburgh—set to give Mason Rudolph a shot in Week 16—their third consecutive loss; and Jared Goff threw five touchdowns (three to rookie tight end Sam LaPorta) in the Lions’ 42-17 win over the Broncos.

 

 

Other Week 15 games:

 

  • Saints 24, Giants 6: The New Orleans defense had a throwback type of performance with seven sacks while containing Saquon Barkley and holding Tommy DeVito and company to six points.
  • Buccaneers 34, Packers 20: Baker Mayfield posted the first-ever perfect passer rating for a visiting quarterback at Lambeau Field, throwing four touchdowns to David Moore, Mike Evans, Rachaad White, and Ko Kieft and connecting with Chris Godwin ten times for 155 yards.
  • Chiefs 27, Patriots 17: Receiver play remained largely an issue outside of rookie Rashee Rice, but the Chiefs made enough plays on both sides of the ball end their losing streak at two games.
  • Texans 19, Titans 16 (OT): Starting in place of C.J. Stroud (concussion), Case Keenum led the 8-6 Texans to a critical comeback win in overtime on a 54-yard field goal by Ka’imi Fairbairn.
  • 49ers 45, Cardinals 29: Brock Purdy threw four touchdowns and Christian McCaffrey scored three times (tying the NFL record versus a single opponent in a season, with seven touchdowns), and the vibes in San Francisco feel off the charts ahead of a Christmas Night matchup against Baltimore.
  • Rams 28, Commanders 20: The Commanders made a late surge when veteran Jacoby Brissett entered the game for Sam Howell, but the Rams were mostly in control and held on behind big outings from Kyren Williams (27/152/1) and Cooper Kupp (8/111/1).

 

Top fantasy performers in Week 15

 

  • 49ers RB Christian McCaffrey: 39.2 points
  • Bills RB James Cook: 31.5 points
  • Lions QB Jared Goff: 31.12 points
  • Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield: 29.04 points
  • Lions TE Sam LaPorta: 26.1 points

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

More NFL news and notes

 

The NFL Winter League Meetings took place last week, adding to a news-filled week…

 

Super Bowl XLI in 2027 will take place at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

 

 

The NFL will play its first-ever game in Brazil next season.

 

❌ The NFL suspended Steelers safety Damontae Kazee for the rest of the season due to repeated violations of illegal hits following his hit of Colts receiver Michael Pittman Jr. last Saturday—and Tom Brady is not happy:

 

 

The NFL fined Chiefs head coach Andy Reid $100,000 and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes $50,000 for their unfounded criticism of officiating after the Week 14 loss to the Bills.

 

The Bengals lost key defensive tackle D.J. Reader for the season due to a quad injury, while wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase is dealing with a shoulder issue that is expected to force him to miss time.

 

Lions quarterback Teddy Bridgewater told Detroit Free Press reporter Dave Birkett that he plans to retire after the 2023 season. The former first-round pick of the Vikings in 2014 came back from a devastating leg injury suffered in practice ahead of the 2016 season. The former Louisville star has thrown 75 touchdowns compared to 47 interceptions in his career.

 

 

NBC will not have legendary broadcaster Al Michaels call a playoff game this season, according to The New York Post.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly is not a fan of conference realignment and thinks college football should operate more like the NFL.

 

 

  • Basically, Kelly thinks football should be separate from other college sports and operate with the Power Five schools in a 64-team type of league with divisions and the Group of Five doing something similar.
  • Things would be much more uniform instead of the craziness we’ve seen with realignment—for example, West Coast schools like UCLA, USC, Oregon, and Washington going to the Big Ten.
  • As Kelly said on ESPN, the schools banding together could create more lucrative television deals, which could be used to help prop up other sports and pay players.
  • Kelly’s stance almost makes too much sense to actually happen in today’s world.

 

Bowl game results:

 

  • LA Bowl: UCLA 35, Boise State 22
  • Independence Bowl: Texas Tech 34, California 14
  • Famous Toastery Bowl (OT): Western Kentucky 38, Old Dominion 35
  • New Orleans Bowl: Jacksonville State 34, Louisiana 31
  • Cure Bowl: Appalachian State 13, Miami (OH.) 9
  • New Mexico Bowl: Fresno State 37, New Mexico State 10
  • Myrtle Beach Bowl: Ohio 41, Georgia Southern 21

 

South Dakota State and Montana will meet in the FCS championship game on Sunday, January 7 after SDSU blew out Albany (59-0) and Montana defeated North Dakota State in a thrilling double overtime contest.

 

 

⚾️ The 2023 All-MLB Team has been revealed, headlined by Shohei Ohtani and Ronald Acuna Jr.:

 

 

↔️ The Dodgers acquired starting pitcher Tyler Glasnow and outfielder Manuel Margot from the Rays. Glasnow received a five-year, $135 extension from LA following the trade.

 

The San Francisco Giants signed Korean star Jung Ho Lee to a six-year, $113 million contract.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: December 12, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: December 12, 2023

Another fun week of NFL action, the Heisman Trophy ceremony, a close Army-Navy Game, and more highlight this week’s edition of The Wolf Sports Newsletter.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Week 14 NFL highlights

 

The Bills held on for a much-needed road win against the Chiefs, 20-17, behind a 14-0 start from Josh Allen, James Cook, and the offense. Buffalo’s defense came up with a key stop when Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs had a chance to tie the game or go ahead. The Bills are now at 7-6, and the win came after a week where head coach Sean McDermott was under fire for seriously misplaced words during a team meeting in 2019—but it’s clear the team has his back. Allen’s Bills are now 3-0 at Arrowhead during the regular season—but 0-2 in the playoffs including the all-time classic “13 seconds” game.

 

 

‍♂️ Unfortunately, complaints from Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid, and the Chiefs became a bigger story than the huge win for Buffalo. On the final drive on a play where Travis Kelce lateraled it to Kadarius Toney for the go-ahead touchdown, the score was wiped out due to Toney lining up offsides. Mahomes threw a total fit and disappointingly was crying to Allen about the call in their postgame handshake—but he did come to his senses a bit and said he definitely felt bad for the way he acted with Allen postgame; so, we can probably chalk it up to a temporary lapse in judgement. Reid’s behavior was almost as head-scratching, with the longtime head coach somehow calling the offsides call “a bit embarrassing” for the NFL. Many have pointed out that the Chiefs have arguably been on the right side of officiating more than any team in recent years.

 

 

The Cowboys stayed hot, handling the Eagles on Sunday night to answer questions about whether they could continue playing at a high level versus tougher competition. Dallas moves to tied for first-place in the NFC East, but Philadelphia would win the division if they win out against a soft schedule on paper. For the Eagles, the defense has struggled mightily this season—and the offense didn’t play close to well enough the past two weeks to make up for it. The 49ers were certainly thrilled with the outcome, as they are now in possession of the top seed in the NFC.

 

 

✈️ Taking on the playoff-hopeful Texans, the Jets ended their losing skid behind a tremendous performance from Zach Wilson (27/36, 301 yards, two touchdowns) in wet conditions at MetLife Stadium. Wilson was confidently throwing dots all over the field, including a number of off-platform throws. Between this outing and the way he played on Sunday night against the Chiefs in October, the former No. 2 pick has had a couple of major flash games in a tough situation. Wilson came into the week freer, and Jets cornerback D.J. Reed told ESPN’s Rich Cimini said Wilson comically told him “what’s the worst that can happen, I get benched again?”

 

 

‍⬛ Tylan Wallace returned a punt 76 yards for a touchdown in overtime to lift the Ravens to a 37-31 victory versus the Rams. Lamar Jackson totaled 386 yards (316 passing, 70 rushing) and three passing touchdowns (one to former Ram Odell Beckham Jr.) in the shootout, but the Baltimore defense was surprisingly attacked on both the ground and through the air by Los Angeles. Still, the Ravens improved to 10-3 as they look to get the top seed in the AFC.

 

 

‍☠️ Baker Mayfield hit Cade Otton for a game-winning touchdown with 31 seconds remaining as the Buccaneers defeated the Falcons in a key NFC South battle, 29-25. Atlanta put up 434 yards on the banged-up Tampa Bay defense, but Todd Bowles’ squad found a way to win to get in a tie for first in the NFC South with the Falcons and the Saints also at 6-7.

 

 

⭐️ Brock Purdy and the 49ers stayed hot, beating the Seahawks with big contributions from Christian McCaffrey (153 total yards), Deebo Samuel (one receiving touchdown and one rushing touchdown while becoming the second player in NFL history with 100+ receiving yards, one receiving touchdown, and one rushing touchdown in consecutive games), and George Kittle (76 yards, one touchdown). Purdy joined Joe Montana (1989), Drew Brees (2016), and Sam Bradford (2016) as the fourth quarterback in NFL history to complete over 70% of his passes in seven consecutive games within a season.

 

 

Other Week 14 games:

 

  • Patriots 21, Steelers 18: Bill Belichick’s defense played another outstanding game, and the offense finally did enough with three touchdown passes by Bailey Zappe and a stellar game from Ezekiel Elliott (29 touches, 140 yards, one touchdown). Pittsburgh (7-6) has dropped two straight to two-win teams when many expected them to be at 9-4 right now.
  • Saints 28, Panthers 6: The Saints blocked a punt for a touchdown and beat up Bryce Young (four sacks). New Orleans is banged up, but they host the Giants this Sunday while looking to get back to .500.
  • Bengals 34, Colts 14: Jake Browning again operated the Cincy offense like Joe Burrow would, and his 79.3% completion percentage is the highest since 1950 in a quarterback’s first three career starts. The Bengals remain a serious threat for a postseason spot in the AFC.
  • Browns 31, Jaguars 27: Jacksonville’s defense struggled for the second consecutive game, and Browns quarterback Joe Flacco earned the starting role for the rest of the season after 311 yards and three touchdowns (two to tight end David Njoku) for Kevin Stefanski’s club.
  • Bears 28, Lions 13: Similar to the first matchup but with no late comeback by the Lions this time around, the Bears continue to play solid football and are now 5-4 in their past nine games under Matt Eberflus.
  • Vikings 3, Raiders 0: Tying the record for lowest-scoring win in NFL history, the Vikings won by the same score as the NHL’s Minnesota Wild on Sunday. Nick Mullens entered the game for Joshua Dobbs at quarterback, and Justin Jefferson left the game with a chest injury in his first game since early October, so we’ll have to keep an eye on those things ahead of Week 15.
  • Broncos 24, Chargers 7: After playing through a finger injury on his left hand, Justin Herbert suffered a fractured finger on his right throwing hand and looks set to miss the rest of the season for the disappointing 5-8 Chargers. Russell Wilson played another strong game, and Denver’s defense recorded six sacks in the win.
  • Giants 24, Packers 22: Saquon Barkley scored twice and undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito played very well to help the Giants upset Green Bay on a game-winning field goal by Randy Bullock as time expired.
  • Titans 28, Dolphins 27: The Titans concluded a crazy Week 14 and a thrilling Monday night doubleheader with a stunning comeback down 28-13 with under three minutes remaining. They are the first team since 2016 to win while being down 14 with under three minutes. Derrick Henry scored twice in the victory.

 

Top fantasy performers in Week 14

 

  • Ravens QB Lamar Jackson: 31.64 points
  • 49ers WR Deebo Samuel: 30.5 points
  • Jaguars TE Evan Engram: 27.0 points
  • Falcons QB Desmond Ridder: 25.38 points
  • Bears QB Justin Fields: 24.72 points

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

NFL injury news and other notes

 

“Music City Miracle” legend Frank Wychek has passed away at 52.

 

More big injuries have unfortunately struck the past couple of weeks:

 

  • As mentioned, Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert fractured his right index finger. He’s out for Thursday night against the Raiders and his status for the rest of the year is uncertain.
  • Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (chest) was injured while going up for a high pass versus Vegas.
  • Patriots running back Rhamondre Stevenson’s injury from Week 13 is a high-ankle sprain.
  • Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk (core muscle) had surgery and is out for the regular season, with a shot to return deep in the playoffs.
  • Browns offensive tackle Dawand Jones (knee) is out for the season after tweaking his knee in practice last week, ending a promising rookie campaign for the fourth-round pick out of Ohio State.

 

Kicker Robbie Gould has retired from the NFL after 18 NFL seasons. The former Bear, Giant, and 49er was 29-of-29 in his postseason career, and he was an All-Pro for Chicago in 2006.

 

 

The Browns extended safety Grant Delpit with a three-year, $36 million contract.

 

❌ Colts defensive end Al-Quadin Muhammad has been suspended six games for violating the NFL’s PED policy.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels won the 2023 Heisman Trophy.

 

 

Army got a goal-line stop on fourth-and-goal to beat Navy in the Army-Navy Game, 17-11.

 

 

Patriots head coach and Navy football supporter Bill Belichick appeared on ESPN’s College GameDay to pick the Midshipmen while taking a page out of Lee Corso’s playbook.

 

 

Former Angels two-way sensation Shohei Ohtani is remaining in Los Angeles—signing with the Dodgers for ten years, $700 million. The $700 million deal is the largest in sports history.

 

⚾️ And the Yankees acquired superstar outfielder Juan Soto from the Padres.

 

 

➡️ Former UCF and Oklahoma quarterback Dillon Gabriel has transferred to Oregon.

 

In the FCS playoffs, the final four is set:

 

  • No. 1 South Dakota State vs. No. 5 Albany (Friday 12/15, 7:00 PM ET)
  • North Dakota State vs. No. 2 Montana (Saturday, 12/16, 4:30 PM ET)

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: December 5, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: December 5, 2023

December is here, which means it’s crunch time in the NFL and college bowl season!

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Week 13 NFL highlights

 

In a rematch of last season’s NFC Championship Game in Philadelphia, Brock Purdy threw four touchdowns as the 49ers rolled against the Eagles, 42-19. After two straight three-and-outs to start the game, San Francisco scored 14 points in each of the final three quarters behind strong performances from the entire offense, including Deebo Samuel (three touchdowns).

 

 

The Niners-Eagles matchup came after months of trash talk and debate in the aftermath of San Francisco losing Purdy and backup quarterback Josh Johnson during the playoff loss. Things were heated throughout the rematch, including a disappointing situation where 49ers linebacker Dre Greenlaw and Eagles head of security “Big Dom” DiSandro were both ejected. DiSandro is facing potential discipline from the league; 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was not happy, and Nick Sirianni appeared to apologize in the post-game handshake.

 

 

Bengals quarterback Jake Browning looked excellent in his second career start, going 32/37 for 354 yards and a touchdown while adding another score in the ground in the Monday night overtime win at the Jaguars. Trevor Lawrence left with an ankle injury after getting stepped on and twisting very awkwardly, and it did not look good—but the team is awaiting test results after X-rays were thankfully negative. Cincy is among the teams in the AFC playoff picture at 6-6.

 

 

Jordan Love (267 yards, three touchdowns) and the Packers stayed hot by defending Lambeau Field versus Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs on Sunday night. Officiating was shaky on both sides in the end, but Green Bay made key stops while the KC offense again struggled late. Packers head coach Matt LaFleur moves to an insane 16-0 in December in his career. Green Bay has won three straight and is in playoff position in the NFC at 6-6, but we’ll have to keep an eye on the status of second-year receiver Christian Watson (two touchdowns versus the Chiefs) and his hamstring injury.

 

 

Dak Prescott’s scorching-hot streak continued by leading the Cowboys to a 41-35 Thursday Night Football win over the Seahawks. The Cowboys defense uncharacteristically struggled at home, but they got a stop when it mattered most and set up big-time matchup with the Eagles this Sunday night. DK Metcalf had three touchdowns in the loss for Seattle and hit the fastest MPH of any ball-carrier this season, and head coach Pete Carroll was understandably not happy with officiating in the game (an unfortunate theme throughout the league in recent years).

 

 

The Texans defense held strong with a game-sealing interception by Jimmie Ward to end the Broncos’ five-game winning streak and get a key win of teams battling for playoff position in the AFC. Derek Stingley Jr. picked off two passes while Will Anderson Jr. recorded two sacks for the young Texans. Unfortunately, Houston lost star rookie receiver Tank Dell, who has an excellent rapport with rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud, for the year due to a fractured fibula.

 

 

Other Week 13 games:

 

  • Colts 31, Titans 28 (OT): A wild overtime game with two blocked punts (including one for a touchdown) by Indy was capped by a game-winner from Gardner Minshew to Michael Pittman Jr. as a response to a field-goal drive by Tennessee. Derrick Henry started December with his casual 100+ yards and two touchdowns, but it’s unfortunate that the Titans drop to 4-8.
  • Falcons 13, Jets 8: The Jets offense continues to be unable to do anything, and (if reports are to be believed) it sounds like the team realizes Zach Wilson clearly gives them the best chance to win despite the offense struggling—but that Wilson might not want to be thrown back into the fire with his eye likely on a better situation in 2024. Atlanta doesn’t mind the grind-it-out style of play and is atop the NFC South at 6-6.
  • Lions 33, Saints 28: Detroit jumped out to a stunningly quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter, and they held off a strong comeback attempt by the Saints, who unfortunately have quarterback Derek Carr in the concussion protocol for the second time in a month. David Montgomery, Jameson Williams, Amon-Ra St. Brown, and Sam LaPorta all scored for the Lions.
  • Chargers 6, Patriots 0: At least he took care of the ball, but the quarterback change to Bailey Zappe didn’t lead to a spark for the Patriots offense—though it didn’t help that Rhamondre Stevenson left the loss with an ankle injury. New England is the first team since 1938 to go 0-3 while allowing ten or fewer points in three consecutive games.
  • Cardinals 24, Steelers 10: Arizona got its third win of the season behind a strong effort by the defense and by James Conner (25 carries, 105 yards, two touchdowns) in his return to Pittsburgh. The Steelers will be without quarterback Kenny Pickett (ankle) for a bit due to another injury while dropping to 7-5 in the crowded AFC.
  • Dolphins 45, Commanders 15: Tyreek Hill (157 yards, two touchdowns) going off against Washington’s defense was perhaps the most predictable performance of 2023, as Ron Rivera’s unit didn’t show improvement with him taking over defensive playcalling. The lack of involvement for receivers Terry McLaurin and Jahan Dotson remains stunning, but the Dolphins defense is playing very well.
  • Buccaneers 21, Panthers 18: Carolina put up a good battle at home, but Antoine Winfield Jr. (one sack, one interception) led the banged-up Tampa Bay defense as the Bucs got to 5-7 ahead of a crucial NFC South battle with the Falcons.
  • Rams 36, Browns 19: Joe Flacco (254 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) did a nice job in his first start for the Browns, but the Rams seperated late to win their third consecutive game. Los Angeles has allowed point totals of 16, 14, and 19 during the winning streak.

 

Top fantasy performers in Week 13

 

  • Seahawks WR DK Metcalf: 34.4 points
  • 49ers WR Deebo Samuel: 33.8 points
  • Seahawks QB Geno Smith: 29.96 points
  • Dolphins WR Tyreek Hill: 29.8 points
  • Texans WR Nico Collins: 29.6 points

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

NFL news

 

The Eagles signed All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard, who was reportedly deciding between Philadelphia and Dallas.

 

 

Colts superstar running back Jonathan Taylor underwent thumb surgery last week and is set to miss more time after he did not play in Week 13.

 

 

Texans offensive lineman Tytus Howard is out for the season due to a knee injury suffered in Week 12.

 

 

The Bengals placed cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (ankle) on injured reserve.

 

The Cardinals released veteran tight end Zach Ertz, who cleared waivers and is free to sign with any team. The Chiefs, Bills, Ravens, and Eagles are speculated among the potential landing spots for Ertz.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

The College Football Playoff is set, with the Semifinal matchups on Monday, January 1:

 

  • Rose Bowl: No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 1 Michigan (5:00 PM ET)
  • Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Texas vs. No. 2 Washington (8:45 PM ET)

 

Florida State went 13-0 and won the ACC but were unfortunately held out of the CFP, becoming the first unbeaten Power Five school to miss the Playoff (since 2014). Next year, the CFP will expand to 12 teams, so the Seminoles will always have the biggest beef with the CFP Committee.

 

College football conference championship game results:

 

  • Liberty 49, New Mexico State 35 (Conference USA): Liberty stayed unbeaten, and the Flames have earned a New Year’s Six Fiesta Bowl matchup with Oregon.
  • Washington 34, Oregon 31 (Pac-12): In the final Pac-12 football game, the Huskies beat the Ducks in a tight game for the second time this season. Bo Nix and Oregon quickly cut a ten-point deficit to three with a chance to get the ball back, but the defense was unable to make a stop.
  • Texas 49, Oklahoma State 21 (Big 12): Quinn Ewers set Big 12 title game records with 452 passing yards and four first-half touchdowns, as the Longhorns leave for the SEC in 2024 as Big 12 champions.
  • SMU 26, Tulane 14 (AAC): The Mustangs took down the Green Wave for their first conference championship since 1984 before heading for the ACC next year.
  • Alabama 27, Georgia 24 (SEC): In another SEC classic, Jalen Milroe led the Crimson Tide to an upset win, ending the back-to-back national champion Bulldogs’ winning streak at 29 games. It was the final SEC on CBS game.
  • Michigan 26, Iowa 0 (Big Ten): Iowa played tough and hung around, but Michigan was too much and earned their No. 1 ranking in the CFP.
  • Florida State 16, Louisville 6 (ACC): The Seminoles rode excellent defense, which they and many others felt should’ve been enough to get them into the CFP despite not having star quarterback Jordan Travis.

 

Heisman finalists revealed:

 

  • LSU QB Jayden Daniels
  • Ohio State WR Marvin Harrison Jr.
  • Oregon QB Bo Nix
  • Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.

 

️ A big reason this is one of the best times of the year is college football bowl season. Here is the full New Year’s Six bowl schedule that will help kick in the new year:

 

  • Cotton Bowl: No. 9 Missouri vs. No. 7 Ohio State | Fri., 12/29, 8:00 PM ET
  • Peach Bowl: No. 11 Ole Miss vs. No. 10 Penn State | Sat., 12/30, 12:00 PM ET
  • Orange Bowl: No. 6 Georgia vs. No. 5 Florida State | Sat., 12/30, 4:00 PM ET
  • Fiesta Bowl: No. 23 Liberty vs. No. 8 Oregon | Sat., 12/30, 8:00 PM ET
  • Rose Bowl: No. 4 Alabama vs. No. 1 Michigan | Mon., 1/1, 5:00 PM ET
  • Sugar Bowl: No. 3 Texas vs. No. 2 Washington | Mon., 1/1, 8:45 PM ET

 

Transfer portal madness: A bunch of quarterbacks from big programs are entering the transfer portal.

 

  • Cameron Ward (Washington State)
  • Dillon Gabriel (Oklahoma)
  • Dante Moore (UCLA)
  • Kyle McCord (Ohio State)
  • DJ Uiagalelei (Oregon State)
  • Aidan Chiles (Oregon State)
  • Riley Leonard (Duke)
  • Tyle Van Dyke (Miami)
  • Will Howard (Kansas State)
  • Will Rogers (Mississippi State)

 

⚾️ The Braves acquired outfielder Jarred Kelenic from the Mariners.

 

The Red Wings signed three-time Stanley Cup champion Patrick Kane.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: November 28, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: November 28, 2023

A fantastic weekend of football both college and pro provided great entertainment during the holiday weekend.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Panthers fire Frank Reich

 

After 11 games and a 1-10 start, the Carolina Panthers fired head coach Frank Reich, along with quarterbacks coach Josh McCown and assistant head coach and running backs coach Duce Staley.

 

 

  • Reich becomes the first coach since at least the NFL merger to be fired in consecutive seasons, and it’s not a surprise. The offensive line—thought to be a potential strength when he was hired—did not play well (which also happened to the unit with Reich in Indy last season), and the offense overall felt like it had no identity.
  • Special teams coach Chris Tabor will take over as the team’s interim head coach.
  • Panthers owner David Tepper will be searching for another head coach (his fourth hire since buying the franchise in 2018). This is the second consecutive year that Carolina has fired its coach during the season. (Steve Wilks went 6-6 as the interim coach last year but was not hired for the full-time gig.)
  • Over the final six games, the Panthers—who do not hold their 2024 first-round pick after the trade up with the Bears—will try to get No. 1 pick Bryce Young on track during what’s been a very difficult rookie campaign.
  • It seems unlikely that general manager Scott Fiterrer will (or should) oversee another head coach hire, but there’s been no statement about his job status as of yet.

 

Week 12 NFL highlights

 

Now to the games from last week, Bills-Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field was a headliner, with both Jalen Hurts and Josh Allen going off for four-plus touchdowns in a thrilling overtime win by Philadelphia—clinched by a game-winning touchdown run by Hurts. The past two games have felt like playoff showdowns for the Eagles, and they continue to find a way to win behind the MVP frontrunner. Arguably the best two players in the league right now, Hurts and Allen became the first players in NFL history to both have multiple passing and rushing touchdowns in the same game. In the loss, Allen joined Michael Vick as the only other player in league history to have 300+ passing yards, 80+ rushing yards, two passing touchdowns, and two rushing touchdowns in a game.

 

 

To the Thanksgiving matchups, the Packers started things off with an upset win over the Lions, winning 29-22 after jumping out to a 20-6 first-quarter lead. Jordan Love continues to show progress and stayed hot with 268 passing yards and three passing touchdowns, while Rashan Gary recorded three sacks for the underrated Green Bay defense.

 

 

The Cowboys continued their dominance at home, demolishing the Commanders by 35 points on Thanksgiving. A week after tying the single-season record, Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland broke the NFL record with his fifth pick-six of the year to put an exclamation point on the win. Dallas hasn’t trailed at AT&T Stadium for one second this season, and they’ve outscored opponents 205-60 in five home games.

 

 

The 49ers also continued their dominance, handling the division-rival Seahawks on Thanksgiving Night. Christian McCaffrey scored twice and looked like Frankenstein while getting a new backup helmet adjusted. Defensively, Nick Bosa has five sacks (1.5+ in each game) in the three outings since former Ohio State teammate Chase Young was added in a trade with the Commanders.

 

 

️ In the NFL’s first Black Friday game on Prime Video, the Dolphins took care of a struggling Jets team that continues to be historically bad on offense—with the lowest third-down conversion rate in NFL history. The super memorable highlight of the game was a pick-six Hail Mary by Dolphins safety Jevon Holland to end the first half. As Mike Tirico said while discussing it on Sunday Night Football, only the Jets could throw a Hail Mary pick-six. As was obvious for those that actually watched, it looks like Zach Wilson wasn’t the issue on offense. Unfortunately for Miami, they lost pass rusher Jaelan Phillips for the year due to a torn Achilles.

 

 

Avenging a loss earlier this season, the Jaguars were able to hold on to beat the Texans—with a potential game-tying 58-yard field goal by Matt Amendola being dead-center but hitting the front of the cross bar. Josh Allen recorded 2.5 sacks in the win, helping make up for C.J. Stroud again going for over 300 yards through the air. Jacksonville improves to 8-3, and they are quietly right in the mix for the top seed in the AFC after Thanksgiving. However, the Jags will be without left tackle Cam Robinson for at least a few weeks due to a knee injury.

 

 

‍⬛ The Ravens are currently the top seed in the conference (now on their bye at 9-3 with the extra game played) after containing the Chargers offense on Sunday night. Baltimore’s stout defense forced four turnovers (one being a Hail Mary interception at the end of the half), and rookie receiver Zay Flowers—selected after LA took Quentin Johnston, who was benched in the loss, in this year’s draft—virtually sealed the win with a 37-yard touchdown run for his second score of the night with under two minutes remaining.

 

 

Other Week 12 games:

 

  • Falcons 24, Saints 15: Inconsistent offense continued for the Saints, who were unable to find the end zone despite racking up 444 yards of offense. Running back Bijan Robinson (two touchdowns) and safety Jessie Bates III (pick-six, forced fumble of Taysom Hill) starred for the Falcons.
  • Steelers 16, Bengals 10: In the first game since the firing of offensive coordinator Matt Canada, the Steelers went over 400 yards of offense for the first time in 58 games while winning yet another close game.
  • Colts 27, Buccaneers 20: Jonathan Taylor scored twice and the Indy defense recorded six sacks as the Colts got to 6-5 and currently sit in a wild-card spot in the AFC. More on the Colts in a moment.
  • Giants 10, Patriots 7: Mac Jones was again benched after two first-half interceptions, and kicker Chad Ryland missed a short potential game-tying field goal at the end of the game as the stunning inability to score points continues for a New England team that’s played good defense. The Giants have won two consecutive games with undrafted rookie quarterback Tommy DeVito.
  • Titans 17, Panthers 10: Derrick Henry scored twice, and the Titans defense got a quick stop on a potential game-tying drive in what was the final blow for Frank Reich in Carolina.
  • Chiefs 31, Raiders 17: Overcoming a slow start, the Chiefs went on a 31-3 run after falling behind 14-0 at Vegas. Patrick Mahomes threw two touchdowns and Isiah Pacheco ran for two touchdowns.
  • Broncos 29, Browns 12: Denver defended homefield and stayed hot with their fifth consecutive victory to get to 6-5. Even if he’s not putting up massive numbers, Russell Wilson continues to make plays and clutch throws for a Broncos squad that’s clearly bought in under Sean Payton. Dorian Thompson-Robinson left the game for the Browns after taking a big hit, and we’ll see if Joe Flacco is soon under center for the 7-4 team.
  • Rams 37, Cardinals 14: Kyren Williams totaled 204 yards and two touchdowns in his return to the lineup from his ankle injury, and the Rams did a nice job of controlling the game to remain squarely in the playoff picture at 5-6.
  • Bears 12, Vikings 10: Chicago kicked all field goals in a turnover-filled Monday nighter. Joshua Dobbs threw four interceptions, and Minnesota might reevaluate the starting quarterback role during the bye week.

 

Top fantasy performers in Week 12

 

  • Bills QB Josh Allen: 39.66 points
  • Rams RB Kyren Williams: 35.4 points
  • Eagles QB Jalen Hurts: 34.5 points
  • Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: 32.24 points
  • Texans QB C.J. Stroud: 30.86 points

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

Colts release Shaquille Leonard

 

The Colts released three-time first-team All-Pro linebacker Shaquille Leonard early last week.

 

 

  • Leonard’s playing time had diminished this season, and he was apparently going to be made inactive in games moving forward. Instead, Indy decided to release him.
  • Because of his contract, Leonard cleared waivers. He’s now free to sign with any team.
  • Injuries have derailed the playmaking linebacker’s career a bit, but he’s still just 28 years old with plenty of talent.
  • Leonard actually attended the Colts’ Week 12 win over the Bucs and received a big ovation from the crowd.
  • The Cowboys and Eagles are seen as the two biggest contenders to sign Leonard, who is taking his first visit to Dallas—the presumable favorite—today.

 

Other NFL transactions

  • The Eagles released former first-round pick Derek Barnett, who was claimed by the Texans.
  • The Raiders released veteran cornerback Marcus Peters.
  • The Dolphins signed pass rusher Jason Pierre-Paul off the Saints practice squad.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

College football highlights (team rankings at time of matchup):

 

  • No. 3 Michigan 30, No. 2 Ohio State 24: The Wolverines got their third consecutive win over their biggest rival behind two touchdowns by Blake Corum and strong defense. Michigan can lock up a CFP spot in the Big Ten Championship against Iowa this Saturday.
  • No. 8 Alabama 27, Auburn 24: In yet another wild Iron Bowl, Jalen Milroe hit Isaiah Bond for a 31-yard score on fourth-and-goal to both win the top-tier rivalry game and keep Bama’s College Football Playoff hopes alive ahead of the SEC Championship against Georgia this Saturday at 4:00 PM ET.

 

 

  • No. 5 Florida State 24, Florida 15: The Gators made it a big-time battle in rowdy Gainesville, but the Seminoles showed toughness and came through with their playoff hopes still alive with the ACC title game versus Louisville up next.
  • No. 4 Washington 24, Washington State 21: The Huskies barely defeated the Cougars in the Apple Cup, with a banged-up Michael Penix Jr. unable to even watch the game-winning field goal by Grady Gross.
  • No. 6 Oregon 31, No. 16 Oregon State 7: Ducks quarterback Bo Nix totaled 398 yards and three touchdowns to help Oregon redeem last year’s loss to the in-state rival. Oregon faces Washington in the Pac-12 Championship for a rematch of a tight Huskies win earlier this year.
  • No. 12 Ole Miss 17, Mississippi State 7: The Rebels got a gritty Egg Bowl win to be in position for a potential New Year’s Six bowl.
  • No. 20 Oklahoma State 40, BYU 34 (2OT): The Cowboys survived to clinch a spot in the Big 12 title game against Texas.
  • Kentucky 38, No. 10 Louisville 31: Devin Leary (three touchdowns) and running back Ray Davis (one rushing touchdown, two receiving touchdowns) led the Wildcats to the upset win over the top-ten rival, and Mark Stoops will be staying with the program after Texas A&M fans basically nixed his hire there.
  • No. 14 LSU 42, Texas A&M 30: Heisman hopeful Jayden Daniels threw four touchdowns and ran for 120 yards in his final opportunity in front of the voters. The Tigers put up 21 fourth-quarter points to come back and beat the Aggies.
  • No. 1 Georgia 31, Georgia Tech 23: The Yellow Jackets also put up a fight, which was a major theme in rivalry games; but the Dawgs were too good even without Brock Bowers and Ladd McConkey in the lineup.

 

Also, a salute to the Pac-12 and Pac-12 After Dark, as the conference will have its last-ever football game with the Pac-12 Championship Game this Friday night. Cal defeated UCLA in the conference’s final regular season game late Saturday night.

 

 

➡️ Texas A&M hired Duke head coach Mike Elko as the team’s new head coach. Elko served as the Aggies’ defensive coordinator from 2018-2021.

 

⚾️ The St. Louis Cardinals are signing starting pitcher Sonny Gray to a three-year, $75 million deal.

 

Former Paralympic champion Oscar Pistorius will be released from prison after serving nine years for killing his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: November 21, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: November 21, 2023

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, and things around the NFL have heated up after a tight Week 11.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Joe Burrow done for the year

 

Let’s start with the unfortunate news from last Thursday night, when Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow left the loss to the Ravens with a wrist injury. He tried to throw on the sideline and was in obvious pain and discomfort—unable to finish the game—and it turns out Burrow suffered a torn ligament in his right wrist and will miss the rest of the season. For a team that’s been to the AFC Championship Game and a Super Bowl the past two years, losing Burrow is obviously a crushing blow to their title hopes.

 

 

And for Baltimore, star tight end Mark Andrews also might be out for the year due to a leg injury. But, the wide receiver group continues to come together, with Odell Beckham Jr., Rashod Bateman, and Nelson Agholor all catching touchdowns in the win over Cincy. OBJ had his first 100-yard game since 2021 in the victory.

 

 

Week 11 NFL highlights

 

The Eagles came back to beat the Chiefs at Arrowhead, 21-17. Kansas City dominated the trenches for most of the game, but their second half struggles—including two huge drops on their final drive—continued. The Chiefs (7-3) have gotten away with it thanks to the play of their defense, but they average the fewest second-half points per game in the league this season. The Eagles are 9-1 ahead of a home matchup with Buffalo.

 

 

The Bills fired offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey leading up to Week 11, and everyone seems to have understood that Dorsey was almost a fall guy for Buffalo’s poor play. However, the early returns for interim offensive coordinator Joe Brady—the coordinator of the record-breaking loaded LSU offense with Joe Burrow—were very positive, with the Bills putting up 32 points in a blowout win over division rival New York (the first time the stingy Jets defense has allowed more than 30 points this season). The Bills ran an efficient attack that didn’t play through their receivers much, and the patience eventually paid off with the longest touchdown catch in the NFL this season for Khalil Shakir (81 yards) on a Josh Allen dart with Sauce Gardner in coverage.

 

 

 

‍♂️ Following the loss, the Jets are making a quarterback change, going with veteran Tim Boyle while benching No. 2 pick Zach Wilson. Boyle entered the game against the Bills, but the unit still struggled—and it’s obviously not been an ideal situation for a quarterback. The Jets next face the Dolphins for the NFL’s first Black Friday game on Prime Video (3:30 PM ET).

 

 Despite playing a sloppy game, the Dolphins were able to beat the Raiders behind two interceptions by Jalen Ramsey, who has been tremendous in his first three games with his new club. Star rookie running back De’Von Achane left the game early in his return from a knee injury, but he avoided a serious injury and is up in the air for Week 12. Head coach Mike McDaniels said Achane was lobbying to return against Vegas, but we’ll see if they want to remain patient on a short week.

 

 

The Browns defended homefield behind stellar defense, winning a grind-it-out game against the Steelers, 13-10. Rookie quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson started for Cleveland, but the team signed former Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco late Sunday. The Browns are now 7-3, and Flacco helps provide more insurance in the quarterback room if DTR struggles and they want to try something different in the playoff race. This morning, the Steelers fired offensive coordinator Matt Canada with the group struggling this season.

 

 

Bouncing back from three interceptions, Jared Goff led the Lions to a fourth-quarter comeback against the Bears to get Detroit to 8-2 for the first time since 1962. David Montgomery scored the game-winning touchdown against his former team with 29 seconds remaining, and it came shortly after Jameson Williams caught a 32-yard touchdown with 2:59 remaining.

 

 

Other Week 11 games:

 

  • Jaguars 34, Titans 14: Trevor Lawrence and the Jaguars offense broke out of their slump, with Lawrence throwing two touchdowns and rushing for two more. Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said after the game that the defense is the unit that’s kept them in most games this season and that they haven’t gotten enough recognition.
  • Packers 23, Chargers 20: Jordan Love threw for 322 yards and two touchdowns—including the game-winner on a nice go-ball to Romeo Doubs with 2:33 in the game—in a much-needed win for the Packers to get to 4-6. Meanwhile, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley continues to be under heavy fire with his team dropping to 4-6. And star pass rusher Joey Bosa left the game with a foot sprain and is likely to hit injured reserve for LA.
  • Texans 21, Cardinals 16: Rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud had three interceptions, but he also threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns while the Houston defense did a great job of getting off the field to get to 6-4. Stroud joined Joe Burrow as the only rookie quarterbacks in league history with three consecutive games of 300+ passing yards.
  • Cowboys 33, Panthers 10: Daron Bland tied a single-season NFL record with his astonishing fourth pick-six this year, and the Dallas defense racked up seven sacks (2.5 by Micah Parsons). The Panthers feel like a broken offense right now, as has been the case all season under first-year head coach Frank Reich, who took back the play-calling in Week 11. The Cowboys are also finally putting Super Bowl-winning head coach Jimmy Johnson into the franchise’s Ring of Honor.

 

 

  • Giants 31, Commanders 19: Despite sacking him nine times, the Commanders defense could not stop Tommy Devito through the air—a theme for Washington this season. Saquon Barkley scored twice in the Giants’ third win of the year. The Commanders have lost both games to New York this season, and the question is becoming what the next regime looks like under the new Josh Harris, Mitchell Rales, and Magic Johnson ownership group.
  • 49ers 27, Buccaneers 14: Christian McCaffrey started a new touchdown streak, and Brock Purdy continues to silence the doubters by recording a perfect passer rating. Unfortunately, San Francisco suffered a big loss on defense, though, with safety Talanoa Hufanga suffering a torn ACL.
  • Rams 17, Seahawks 16: In a game the Seahawks mostly controlled, the Rams came back with ten fourth-quarter points (without Cooper Kupp, who left with an ankle injury) for their second victory against the Seahawks this year to get to 4-6 and remain in the NFC wild-card race. Seattle drops to 6-4 ahead of a Thanksgiving Night matchup with the Niners.
  • Broncos 21, Vikings 20: Russell Wilson was again clutch to help the Broncos get their fourth consecutive win to climb back to .500 in Year 1 under Sean Payton. Denver’s tackling on defense still needs improvement, but the group is playing hard and keeping them in games with their style of play. However, the Broncos lost safety Kareem Jackson to another suspension (four games) “for repeated violations of playing rules intended to protect the health and safety of players,” including lowering his helmet to hit Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs within two minutes of his return from his previous two-game suspension (was four but had it reduced to two).

 

Top fantasy performers in Week 11

 

  • Jaguars QB Trevor Lawrence: 32.18 points
  • Giants RB Saquon Barkley: 28.0 points
  • Jaguars WR Calvin Ridley: 27.6 points
  • 49ers QB Brock Purdy: 26.72 points
  • Chargers QB Justin Hebert: 25.7 points

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

Other Sports Updates

College football highlights (team rankings from time of matchup):

 

  • No. 4 Florida State 58, Northern Alabama 13: CFP hopeful Florida State improved to 11-0, but star quarterback Jordan Travis’ college career very sadly came to an end after a devastating leg injury in the win.
  • No. 5 Washington 22, No. 11 Oregon State 20: Michael Penix Jr. (three total touchdowns) and the Huskies survived in a challenging road environment in the Pac-12.
  • UCLA 38, USC 20: With unsubstantiated rumors about his job security swirling, Chip Kelly’s Bruins won emphatically in the Coliseum for what might have been Caleb Williams’ final college football game.
  • No. 3 Michigan, 31, Maryland 24: The Wolverines held off a comeback attempt to remain unbeaten ahead of “The Game” this Saturday at noon ET. Head coach Jim Harbaugh decided to accept his three-game suspension imposed by the Big Ten and will not be on the sidelines for the critical matchup.
  • No. 10 Louisville 38, Miami 31: The Cards handed the Hurricanes their second home loss this season, improving to 10-1 while remaining in the CFP discussion.
  • No. 17 Arizona 42, No. 22 Utah 18: The Wildcats stayed red-hot, with their fifth consecutive victory.
  • No. 9 Missouri 33, Florida 31: The trio of Brady Cook, Cody Schrader, and Luther Burden all had strong performances to help Mizzou improve to 9-2.
  • No. 19 Notre Dame 45, Wake Forest 7: Fighting Irish quarterback Sam Hartman threw four touchdowns in the comfortable victory over his former team.
  • Appalachian State 26, James Madison 23 (OT): App State ended JMU’s undefeated season at 10-0 on a game-winning touchdown by Kaedin Robinson in the first overtime period.

 

MLB awards, headlined by Shohei Ohtani becoming the only player in history to win two unanimous MVPs:

 

  • AL MVP: Angels DH/SP Shohei Ohtani
  • NL MVP: Braves OF Ronald Acuna Jr.
  • AL Cy Young: Yankees SP Gerrit Cole
  • NL Cy Young: Padres SP Blake Snell
  • AL Rookie of the Year: Orioles IF Gunnar Henderson
  • NL Rookie of the Year: Diamondbacks OF Corbin Carroll

 

⚾️ The Phillies re-signed pitcher Aaron Nola to a seven-year, $172 million contract.

 

The Athletics have officially relocated to Las Vegas after MLB approval.

 

Padres owner Peter Seidler passed away at 63.

 

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: November 14, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: November 14, 2023

Six game-winning field goals as time expired highlighted Week 10 of the 2023 NFL season.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Week 10 NFL highlights

 

❓ The Patriots lost to the Colts in Germany, 10-6, in a game where Mac Jones threw a costly late interception on what probably should’ve been a go-ahead touchdown to tight end Mike Gesicki; Jones was promptly benched for a potential game-winning drive. Bailey Zappe entered the game for New England and was also intercepted trying to push the ball down the field. The loss pushed the Pats to a totally stunning 2-8 this year, and—despite the contract extension during the offseason—it’s feeling like a real question whether Bill Belichick will be back in 2024, with reporting from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport seeming to turn from where it was a few weeks ago.

 

 

The Broncos upset the Bills in Buffalo, 24-22, on a last-second field goal by Will Lutz. The Bills—now 5-5 with a challenging schedule coming up—played a very sloppy game with a ton of mistakes and turnovers, capped by having 12 men on the field for a missed field goal by Lutz at the end of the game, giving the Broncos another shot to get the win. Denver has now beaten Kansas City and Buffalo the past two games behind a defense that’s been excellent, and they are squarely in the AFC playoff picture at 4-5.

 

The Lions won a track meet with the Chargers, 41-38, behind another fantastic all-around performance by Ben Johnson’s offense. Jared Goff threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns while running backs David Montgomery (one touchdown) and Jahmyr Gibbs (two touchdowns) and wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (one touchdown) all went over 100 total yards and scored. Also, Jameson Williams, who had a touchdown called back earlier in the game, threw a great block to spring Montgomery for a 75-yard touchdown and is contributing in ways the stat sheet might not reflect.

 

 

‍♂️ The Joshua Dobbs tour continues, with the dual threat quarterback continuing to do crazy things (268 passing yards, one touchdown, 44 rushing yards, one touchdown) in his first start for the Vikings, a 27-19 win over the Saints. Despite dealing with huge injuries, Minnesota has won five consecutive games and is now 6-4—with Justin Jefferson’s return from a hamstring injury around the corner. For New Orleans, quarterback Derek Carr left the game with a concussion, and Marshon Lattimore (ankle) and Michael Thomas (knee) were also injured, but they’re now on the bye week at 5-5.

 

 

The 49ers returned from their bye week to demolish the Jaguars in Jacksonville, 34-3. Brock Purdy got away with a risky early throw—ending in a touchdown for Brandon Aiyuk—that Kyle Shanahan was not happy about, and everything went the Niners’ way on both sides of the ball. In their first game with Chase Young, the San Francisco defense had five sacks and four takeaways. The only thing that didn’t work out for the 49ers was that Christian McCaffrey’s touchdown streak ended at 17 games, tied for the NFL record—despite their efforts to get him into the end zone toward the end of the blowout victory.

 

 

Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud continued his hot streak, leading Houston to a 30-27 upset win at Cincinnati. While Stroud threw a bad interception late, he bounced back—and the Texans defense was able to pick Joe Burrow off twice. DeMeco Ryans’ club moves to 5-4 and has been very impressive in Year 1. Stroud leads the NFL in passing yards per game and is getting serious MVP hype.

 

 

Sparked by a Greg Newsome II pick-six while down in the fourth quarter, the Browns pulled off an improbable comeback to beat the Ravens on a last-second field goal by Dustin Hopkins. Baltimore has trailed just 28:46 through ten games this season, yet they are only 7-3. The Ravens host the Bengals in a great Thursday Night Football matchup to begin Week 11.

 

 

Other Week 10 games:

 

  • Bears 16, Panthers 13: Chicago won a defensive battle to help their own chances of getting the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft. Carolina is the lone one-win team remaining, and their offense and team do not seem to have an identity.
  • Steelers 23, Packers 19: Jordan Love was intercepted on another effort to push the ball down the field toward the end of the game, with the Pittsburgh defense sealing the win again on a turnover to quietly move to 6-3. Love has thrown five interceptions while targeting Christian Watson this year.
  • Buccaneers 20, Titans 6: Todd Bowles’ defense had a major bounce-back effort facing another rookie quarterback (Will Levis), and Rachaad White (one touchdown, three the past two weeks; 106.3 total yards per game the past four games) is helping steady the Tampa Bay offense.
  • Cardinals 25, Falcons 23: Kyler Murray looked very good and led a game-winning drive for the Cardinals in his season debut. The Falcons have a quarterback situation to monitor again after Taylor Heinicke left the loss with a hamstring injury and Desmond Ridder ran for a touchdown.
  • Cowboys 49, Giants 17: The Giants could not stop the Cowboys at all, and CeeDee Lamb—who said after the game that he’s the top receiver in the league—became the first player in NFL history to have three consecutive games with 10+ receptions and 150+ receiving yards. Dak Prescott has also been phenomenal, with 11 touchdowns compared to two interceptions the past three games.
  • Seahawks 29, Commanders 26: Geno Smith threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns in the second half of a back-and-forth game, hitting DK Metcalf to get his team in position for a game-winning field goal by Jason Myers.
  • Raiders 16, Jets 12: Davante Adams (six receptions, 86 yards) got going to help complement Josh Jacobs (27 carries, 116 yards) on the ground, and linebacker Robert Spillane had a key interception of Zach Wilson (who otherwise played well) late in the fourth quarter to help Vegas start 2-0 under Antonio Pierce.

 

Top fantasy performers in Week 10

 

  • Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: 37.86 points
  • Chargers WR Keenan Allen: 35.0 points
  • Cowboys WR CeeDee Lamb: 34.0 points
  • Chargers QB Justin Herbert: 28.42 points
  • Cowboys WR Brandin Cooks: 27.8 points

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

More NFL news

 

The Rams signed former No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz (the Rams took Jared Goff right before Wentz in that 2016 draft) to backup Matthew Stafford, who is ready to return following the bye after missing just one game with his thumb injury.

 

Star rookie running back De’Von Achane (knee) is expected back for Week 11 after missing the minimum four games while on injured reserve.

 

Sticking with Miami, their season of Hard Knocks will premiere on Tuesday, November 21—and it’ll air as long as they remain alive for a Super Bowl.

 

 

Other Sports Updates

 

Former Houston football players D.J. Hayden (a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft), Zachary McMillian, and Ralph Oragwu were among six killed in a car accident.

 

 

 

❌ The Big Ten suspended Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh for the final three regular season games (including last week’s win over Penn State) due to sign-stealing scandal. Harbaugh is set to miss “The Game” against Ohio State the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

 

College football highlights:

 

  • New Heisman Trophy favorite Bo Nix threw for a season-high 412 yards and four touchdowns as No. 6 Oregon beat USC, 36-27.
  • With All-American tight end Brock Bowers (ankle) back in the lineup, then-No. 2 Georgia continued its dominance in a 52-17 win versus then-No. 9 Ole Miss.
  • No. 3 Michigan didn’t throw a pass (one attempt was negated due to a penalty) in their 24-15 victory against then-No. 10 Penn State.
  • Michael Penix Jr. totaled three touchdowns in No. 5 Washington’s home win over then-No. 18 Utah.
  • Following up his four rushing touchdowns the previous week, Jalen Milroe totaled six touchdowns (three passing, three rushing) as No. 8 Alabama coasted versus Kentucky.
  • Then-No. 14 Missouri blew out then-No. 13 Tennessee in a big SEC battle.
  • UCF stunned then-No. 15 Oklahoma State, 45-3.
  • LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels became the second SEC quarterback (Johnny Manziel) to eclipse 200+ passing and 200+ rushing yards in a game, dominating at home versus Florida.

 

 

Texas A&M fired head coach Jimbo Fisher after five-plus seasons (45-25), and they owe him a record $76 million buyout.

 

San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke is retiring after the season. Hoke also coached Michigan from 2011-2014.

 

Kansas basketball coach Bill Self signed a lifetime contract with the school making him the highest-paid college basketball coach in the nation.

 

In Case You Missed It

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: November 7, 2023

The Wolf Sports Newsletter: November 7, 2023

It was a crazy Week 9 in the NFL, and Thanksgiving is somehow just over a couple of weeks away.

 

The Wolf Sports Newsletter is beginning in article form but will eventually also be delivered via email. Create a free Wolf Sports account if you are interested in getting The Wolf Sports Newsletter via email when available.

 

Week 9 NFL highlights

 

The Eagles stopped CeeDee Lamb at the goal line to hold on and beat the Cowboys, 28-23. Dak Prescott (29/44 for 374 yards and three touchdowns), Lamb (11/191), and tight end Jake Ferguson (7/91/1) all had great games, but Philadelphia found a way to win with the pass rush making plays toward the end of the game and the defense making a couple of key stops within feet of the goal line. The Eagles became the first team since the Colts in 2005-2006 to begin consecutive seasons 8-1.

 

 

In a battle of two of the NFL’s best in Germany, the Chiefs jumped to a 21-0 lead over the Dolphins and held on for a 21-14 victory. Chiefs safety Bryan Cook zoomed down the sideline on a heads-up lateral following a fumble recovery with under a minute remaining in the first half—a huge swing in the game. Kansas City is now 7-2, and Miami has yet to beat a team with a winning record this season.

 

 

☠️ The Raiders got their first win in the post-Josh McDaniels era (more on that later), dominating against a Giants team that lost Daniel Jones early to a torn ACL (more on that later, too). Josh Jacobs set the tone with 26 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns, living up to interim head coach Antonio Pierce’s desire to play through last year’s rushing champion.

 

 

‍♂️ After arriving with the team at the trade deadline following Kirk Cousins’ season-ending Achilles tear, new Vikings quarterback Joshua Dobbs stepped in for an injured Jaren Hall to lead Minnesota to a comeback win at Atlanta. Dobbs, who was literally told what to do on plays by his teammates in the huddle, went 20/30 for 158 yards and two touchdowns while adding seven carries for 66 yards and a touchdown on the ground. It was a remarkable performance that helped the Vikings get to 5-4 and currently keep a playoff spot in the NFC.

 

 

Texans rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud set an NFL rookie record with 470 passing yards and five touchdowns to lift Houston to a crazy 39-37 shootout win versus Tampa Bay. The ground game for the Texans didn’t do much, but Stroud and passing attack totally went off—with Noah Brown (6/153/1), Dalton Schultz (10/130/1), and rookie Tank Dell (6/114/1) all hitting the century mark receiving. Stroud’s final touchdown was a game-winner to Dell with six seconds remaining. The No. 2 pick had hit a slight lull, but he’s resumed lighting it up through the air early in his career. The shocking performance by Todd Bowles’ defense overshadowed the Tampa offense doing good things.

 

 

The Bengals stayed hot with a 24-18 Sunday night win against the Bills. Cincy appears to be clicking on both sides of the ball after the slow start to the year, while Buffalo drops to 5-4 and is not putting everything together consistently. The game was a reunion and celebration of sorts, with Paycor Stadium being the spot that Bills safety Damar Hamlin nearly lost his life last January.

 

 

Other Week 9 games:

 

  • Steelers 20, Titans 16: Mike Tomlin’s Steelers won yet another close game last Thursday night, with the Minkah Fitzpatrick-less defense sealing it late with an interception of Will Levis by veteran linebacker Kwon Alexander. Despite some penalties (including an iffy call late), rookie cornerback Joey Porter Jr. did a really nice job on DeAndre Hopkins after requesting shadow coverage. We’ll have to keep an eye on second-year receiver George Pickens after he was unhappy with his two receptions for -1 yard in the win.
  • Saints 24, Bears 17: Paulson Adebo intercepted two passes to help New Orleans win a closer-than-expected game against the Bears. The ultra-versatile Taysom Hill threw a touchdown and caught a touchdown for the Saints, and he joins Frank Gifford as the only other player in NFL history with 25+ rushing, 10+ passing, and 10+ receiving touchdowns.
  • Packers 20, Rams 3: Los Angeles was without Matthew Stafford (thumb), and the Green Bay defense did an outstanding job to give the team some life at 3-5. Offensively, Aaron Jones (hamstring) was able to get going more, handling 24 touches (99 yards and a touchdown) to back up head coach Matt LaFleur’s talk that he would unleash the dynamic running back.
  • Commanders 20, Patriots 17: The Patriots stunningly drop to 2-7 after their loss to Washington was sealed on a pass that went off JuJu Smith-Schuster’s hands and was intercepted. For all the Mac Jones criticism, that’s two games this season where a receiver failed to make a play on a potential game-winning drive. Commanders quarterback Sam Howell handled the New England pressure and threw for over 300 yards with a nice deep ball touchdown to Jahan Dotson in the victory.
  • Ravens 37, Seahawks 3: Odell Beckham Jr. scored late on his birthday for his first touchdown in nearly two years, but the ground game and elite defense were again the story for Baltimore. Gus Edwards ran for two more touchdowns, and undrafted rookie Keaton Mitchell rushed nine times for 138 yards and a touchdown as the Ravens got to 7-2.
  • Browns 27, Cardinals 0: Cleveland’s defense was too much for rookie quarterback Clayton Tune making his first career start for the Cardinals. Deshaun Watson (shoulder) was back at quarterback for the Browns. For Arizona, Kyler Murray is likely to make his 2023 debut this week against the Falcons.
  • Colts 27, Panthers 13: Colts defensive back Kenny Moore II recorded two pick-sixes in the Indy win, with the franchise’s former head coach Frank Reich dropping to 1-7 with Carolina.
  • Chargers 27, Jets 6: Rookie Derius Davis returned a punt for a touchdown early, Keenan Allen crossed 10,000 career receiving yards with a phenomenal catch, and Los Angeles sacked Zach Wilson eight times with the Chargers moving to 4-4

 

Top fantasy performers in Week 9

 

  • Texans QB C.J. Stroud: 41.8 points
  • Cowboys QB Dak Prescott: 28.36 points
  • Texans WR Tank Dell: 26.6 points
  • Chargers D/ST: 26.0 points
  • Buccaneers RB Rachaad White: 25.9 points

 

(point totals are for half PPR scoring)

 

Raiders clean house

 

In middle of the night (1:00 AM ET/10:00 PM PT), Raiders owner Mark Davis fired head coach Josh McDaniels and general manager Dave Ziegler. As mentioned, former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce (1-0) has taken over as the interim head coach. Also, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was benched for rookie Aidan O’Connell.

 

 

  • According to multiple reports, Davis met with players and decided to part ways with McDaniels based in part on what he was hearing.
  • FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer reported that players “unloaded” on McDaniels during a team meeting the week before the embarrassing Week 8 Lions loss, and McDaniels wasn’t happy that Pierce brought up beating the 2007 Patriots during the meeting.
  • The players have basically said they weren’t having enough fun with McDaniels, and they had a big cigar-filled celebration following their Week 9 win over the Giants.

 

Season-ending injuries

 

Massive injuries this season have unfortunately continued, with Giants quarterback Daniel Jones done for the season with a torn ACL. You have to admire the toughness Jones showed, staying in another play after the injury and then walking off the field under his own power. Jones is due $35.5 million in guaranteed money in 2024, and he’s expected to be fully healthy at some point during training camp next summer. The 2-7 Giants have been hammered by injuries this season (Darren Waller is now on injured reserve with a hamstring injury).

 

And sadly, Vikings running back Cam Akers suffered the second Achilles tear of his career in the Week 9 at Atlanta.

 

Deadline deals

 

↔️ There was trade movement prior to the deadline (Kevin Byard and Leonard Williams, for example), but deadline day provided some notable deals last Tuesday:

 

  • The Bears acquired defensive end Montez Sweat from the Commanders for a second-round pick then gave him a stunning four-year, $98 million extension.
  • The Commanders also dealt former No. 2 overall pick Chase Young, with the EDGE-rich 49ers somehow acquiring him for their compensatory third-round pick.
  • The Bills acquired playmaking cornerback Rasul Douglas and a fifth-round pick from the Packers for a third-round pick.
  • The Lions traded a 2025 sixth-round pick for wide receiver Donovan Peoples-Jones.
  • The Jaguars acquired offensive lineman Ezra Cleveland from the Vikings for a sixth-round pick.
  • And Minnesota acquired quarterback Joshua Dobbs from the Cardinals in a pick swap.

 

Other Sports Updates

 

Legendary basketball coach Bobby Knight passed away at 83.

 

 

The Texas Rangers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks in five games to win their first World Series title. Shortstop Corey Seager became the first player to win World Series MVP in both leagues; he’s also one of four players to win the award multiple times, and joins Reggie Jackson as the only other player to win it for two different franchises.

 

 

 

College football highlights:

 

  • Then-No. 22 Oklahoma State topped then-No. 8 Oklahoma in the final scheduled Bedlam matchup before the Sooners move to the SEC next season.
  • Jalen Milroe ran for 155 yards and four touchdowns as then-No. 8 Alabama beat then-No. 14 LSU, 42-28.
  • Then-No. 3 Georgia topped then-No. 12 Missouri, 30-21.
  • No. 5 Washington won a shootout at USC to hand the Trojans their third loss in four games.
  • Then-No. 7 Texas survived in overtime against then-No. 23 Kansas State, 33-30.
  • Clemson took down then-No. 15 Notre Dame, with Fighting Irish quarterback Sam Hartman dropping to 0-5 in his career versus the Tigers.
  • Arizona handled then-No. 19 UCLA at home, 27-10.
  • Bo Nix delivered a Houdini-like highlight and totaled six touchdowns as No. 6 Oregon blew out Cal.

 

 

✍️ And Ohio State was ranked No. 1 in last week’s initial College Football Playoff rankings for 2023, which was a head-scratcher for many.

 

The Cubs are hiring former Brewers manager Craig Counsell to the same position. Counsell is now the highest-paid manager in MLB history.

 

In Case You Missed It