Instead of talking about one big thing in this week’s introduction, I have a few smaller topics I want to reach all of. Bear with me here.
You may have noticed there has been a tad less local news in this week’s sports section than usual. I promise I’m not slacking off, there’s just not much going on.
Until girls basketball season tips off in the beginning of November local sports fans will have to get their fix in over the weekend, as that is when the remainder of local playoff games will be played. This weekend, we’ve got football sectionals beginning on Friday, followed up by Cross Country and Volleyball regionals on Saturday. Best of luck to all of our local athletes!
I was able to witness Warsaw’s volleyball sectional championship victory over Penn on Saturday night, and what an atmosphere that was. I could barely hear myself think in between points as the crowd got rowdier after every game. What the Lady Tigers and head coach Chandra Hepler are building is special. This is not a team that she is improving, but a program. The sky's the limit for this squad and I’m excited to head to LaPorte on Saturday to see how far they can advance.
New Haven’s cross country regional on Saturday will also be something to keep your eye on, as there are a handful of local athletes that will make a push for the state races next week. Warsaw’s Jackson Gackenheimer and Joey Rastrelli are each coming off of sectional championships, while Tippecanoe Valley’s Chesnee Miller advanced by earning the highest individual finish out of athletes on non-qualifying teams. Each of them, and others, will have more than a solid chance at punching their ticket to Terre Haute.
Because the Chicago White Sox were such a joke from the first pitch of the season onward, I didn’t spend too much time watching baseball this summer. I’m all locked in for the playoffs though, which have been more than enjoyable as the Championship Series are now underway. I admit, I was rooting for the Houston Astros over the Minnesota Twins because I am petty, and Jose Abreu hitting three home runs against them certainly didn’t hurt.
As for the teams that are left, I will be rooting for the Phillies to take it home this year. Bryce Harper is my favorite player in the sport and I hope he can bring home a title. Honestly, I’m happy with three of the four teams left going all the way. Anybody but the Astros.
This past weekend’s slate of NFL games was perhaps the worst Sunday of the year thus far, and I’m not just saying that because my Bears, fantasy teams and picks all underperformed. Across the board, scoring was down this weekend and injuries were up, with more than a handful of star players having to exit their games due to something getting hurt. Here’s to hoping the worst is behind us.
I watched quite an interesting movie on Sunday night, titled Slotherhouse. It’s exactly what it sounds like: a college sorority girl is trying to become more popular, so she adopts a poached sloth to be her house’s mascot and everyone starts loving her. But what she or her sisters don’t know is that that sloth is a killing machine. As is the case with a lot of media I enjoy, it was beyond stupid but a lot of fun if you buy in. If you for some reason decide this movie is for you, don’t go into it expecting Scorsese.
Speaking of movies and Scorsese, his newest film, Killers of The Flower Moon, releases this weekend. I am beyond excited to see it and I hope by the time I write next week’s column I will have already and will have a review for you all. Seriously, it’s Scorsese and DiCaprio, and they have never missed.
That’s about it on my end. The 1972 Miami Dolphins can sleep well tonight, as the column is no longer undefeated on the season. Good thing I get to do this every week, the quick turnaround helps me stay sane. This Sunday has the fewest games of any this season, as six teams are on the bye.
Before we begin, I just wanted to take the time to say I love my dad. He’s going through a tough time right now and without going into detail I just want to let him know I’m thinking about him. I know he enjoys reading this every week. Love you Big Man.
Let’s do this.
Jacksonville Jaguars at New Orleans Saints (-1.5)
We start our picks on Thursday night as always and I gotta say, I do not get this line. The Jaguars have won three games in a row, including two overseas in the last three weeks, while the Saints have been pretty average, struggling on offense on its way to a 3-3 record. I get that the New Orleans defense is pretty good and the Saints are at home, but I think that Jacksonville has figured a lot out offensively in the last couple weeks and gets it done as the underdog here. This is a huge game for Trevor Lawrence, and I think he delivers.
The Pick: Jaguars +1.5
1 O’CLOCK SUNDAY
Cleveland Browns (-3) at Indianapolis Colts
Jim Irsay said earlier this week that the most likely option for Colts QB Anthony Richardson is season-ending surgery on his shoulder. Regardless, it was going to be Gardner Minshew once again for Indy this weekend. He’s got a tall task, dealing with the Browns, who boast the best defense in the league and a historically great one based on the yards they’ve allowed through five games. I still don’t know if Deshaun Watson is going to play for Cleveland in this one, but with the Colts’ backup QB having to make plays against this insane D, I’m not sure it's going to matter much. Give me the Browns.
The Pick: Browns -3
Las Vegas Raiders (-3) at Chicago Bears
The Bears looked more like the team we saw in the first three weeks of the season opposed to the previous two on Sunday, never getting anything going against the Vikings. To make matters worse, Justin Fields has a dislocated thumb on his throwing hand so his status for this week’s game is up in the air. Jimmy Garoppolo left Vegas’s game early last week as well and is also questionable for this one. I truly don’t know which way to lean here, especially with two backup QBs potentially getting the nod. The Raiders have proven that they can stay in and win football games a lot better than the Bears have, so I guess I have to go back to picking against my guys.
The Pick: Raiders -3
Detroit Lions at Baltimore Ravens (-3)
The Detroit Lions are 5-1 and with the way last week went, have a case to being the best team in the game right now. While I don’t think Dan Campbell’s men are there just yet, they’re certainly a team nobody wants to play right now. Detroit did suffer a big blow last week, losing running back David Montgomery for “some time” with a rib injury. The Ravens have played some great football at times, but have struggled to finish off drives with touchdowns, resulting in more than a few of their games being much closer than they have any right to be. Similar to me picking the Niners last week, the Lions have looked so good the last few weeks that I’m going to pick them to keep it rolling until they prove me wrong. It didn’t work last week, let’s hope it does this time.
The Pick: Lions +3
Buffalo Bills (-8.5) at New England Patriots
Is there something wrong with the Bills? After dropping their game two weeks ago in London the Bills needed all 60 minutes on Sunday Night Football to fend off the helpless Giants. The defense has suffered some big injuries, but offensively, this team should not be struggling as much as it is. The Patriots were at least able to find the end zone last week, but were still unable to get much going in a loss to the Raiders. Josh Allen and company have had a ton of success in the last few years against the Pats, and I think Buffalo gets it rolling once again with a big win here.
The Pick: Bills -8.5
Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-2.5)
Both teams in this one are coming off of home losses last week, with the Falcons falling to the Commanders and the Bucs not able to do much of anything against the Lions. Each quarterback in this contest has had his ups and downs so far this year, and both guys have a ton of offensive weapons to get the ball to. This game will have huge implications for the division race, as there doesn’t seem to be a team in the NFC South that has the strength to run away from everyone else. At the end of the day, I trust Tampa Bay more and I believe they get it done at home.
The Pick: Buccaneers -2.5
Washington Commanders (-2) at New York Giants
Washington might be the hardest team to figure out in football. The good performances have been great, taking the Eagles to overtime and beating the Falcons in Atlanta to name a few, but the bad performances have been terrible. Losing to the horrible Bears on Thursday night, getting beat by 40 by the Bills a few weeks prior are just a couple of examples. On the Giants side of things, the team does not look good but improvement was obvious in the G-Men’s loss to Buffalo on Sunday night. I think the Giants are heading in the right direction and I wouldn’t be stunned to see the Commies lay another egg. This has upset written all over it.
The Pick: Giants +2
LATE AFTERNOON SLATE
Pittsburgh Steelers at Los Angeles Rams (-3)
Pittsburgh had a bye to work out some offensive issues last week while the Rams offense got back on track against the Cardinals. Like the Commanders, the Steelers are a very difficult team to try and decipher. Their defense is awesome and has kept them in, and even won them, a couple of games, but too many times already this season has Kenny Pickett and company come out flat. Rams RB Kyrin Williams had a career day last week, but will likely be sidelined due to an ankle injury. The loss will hurt, but the Rams love to air it out and won’t think twice about doing so. The Steelers seem to play their best games as an underdog and coming off a bye, I think they can do enough to pull this off.
The Pick: Steelers +3
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-7.5)
One of the more lopsided spreads we’ve seen so far this week. The Seattle offense struggled in Cincinnati last weekend, but still has all of the players necessary to put up an explosive performance whenever. The Cardinals started out strong, per usual, against the Rams last week but couldn’t finish. Arizona remains a frisky team that plays a lot better than it should, but the cracks are starting to show. James Conner will be out once again and I don’t think Josh Dobbs has what it takes to win a game by himself. If he’s reading this I hope he’s not mad, he seems like a nice guy. Seattle has looked much better on defense than it has in years past and that is what gets them the cover.
The Pick: Seahawks -7.5
Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Denver Broncos
The Packers are only one-and-a-half point favorites against the horrid Broncos? That’s awesome. In all seriousness, Green Bay has struggled mightily offensively against teams not named the Bears, leading many to question whether or not QB Jordan Love is the answer going forward. There is no question as to what’s going on in Denver, as the disaster that is the Broncos organization currently really has nothing to look forward to. Denver’s defense showed up for the first time all season long against the Chiefs on Thursday night, but the offense couldn’t get anything going. Sometimes, when a team is this bad, it’s best not to overthink it. At least if I’m wrong, the Pack will have lost. (insert evil laugh)
The Pick: Packers -1.5
Los Angeles Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs (-5.5)
The Chargers have been a tad disappointing so far this season, coming into this big divisional game under .500. While the Chiefs haven’t dropped a game since opening night against the Lions, Kansas City hasn’t blown me away in any capacity so far this year. I know Patrick Mahomes loves to beat up on divisional opponents, and it would certainly take a lot out of LA to get this win at Arrowhead. That being said, I do think that the Chargers can keep this a one-score game. I keep saying that the Chiefs have the perfect opportunity to get the offense on track, but I still haven’t seen it. This will probably be the week since I’m picking against them.
The Pick: Chargers +5.5
WAITIN’ ALL DAY FOR A SUNDAY NIGHT
Miami Dolphins at Philadelphia Eagles (-2)
This is a doozy of a game to get in primetime this week, hopefully it’s more entertaining than last week’s snoozefest. The Dolphins offense remains the most electric unit in the sport, going down 14-0 to the Panthers last week and still winning by 21. The Eagles have been sloppy in the early going, dropping their first game of the year to the Jets on Sunday in a game that Jalen Hurts was not good in. While the Dolphins have been fantastic the past two seasons, it’s games like this against physical, smash-mouth teams that have given Miami fits. This is a huge test for the Phins and I’m not sure they get it done in Philly on Sunday night.
The Pick: Eagles -2
MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL
San Francisco 49ers (-7) at Minnesota Vikings
I said last week that until the Niners look mortal, I would have to continue picking them. San Fran finally lost on Sunday, but lost Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams and Christian McCaffrey to injuries in the process. Even with those three guys questionable for this one, the Niners are touchdown favorites over a Minnesota team that looked okay in its win over the Bears last weekend. Deebo and Trent are likely to play, and while CMC’s injury news has been pretty hush-hush, I think he will play as well. The Vikings don’t have nearly as strong of a defense as the Browns do, and without Justin Jefferson, I don’t think they have the big-play ability to keep this one close if it gets out of hand.
The Pick: 49ers -7
On bye week: Bengals, Cowboys, Jets, Panthers, Texans, Titans
After coming up short a week ago, it’s very important to me to get back on track with a winning week here. If losses start to pile up, who knows what might happen next. Have a great weekend everybody.
Last Week’s Record: 7-8
Season Record: 54-37-2