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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.


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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.


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