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I hope everyone is having a lovely Tuesday. Pete is off today but don't worry, it is I, Shanna McCarriston, to bring you the latest sports news in his absence. It's been a while since I've taken over the newsletter, but as 2020 goes ... I haven't been up to too much.

Lately -- as one does this time of year -- I've been watching a lot of cheesy Christmas movies. Let me know your favorite holiday flicks, cause I'm in need of some new ones. I'm also getting excited about the NFL playoffs, which really are right around the corner. The Super Bowl is like my Christmas. I'm beyond curious to see which teams will emerge in such an odd season.

Speaking of football, the Browns and Ravens faced off last night in a divisional matchup for the AGES. We have a recap of that action, plus much more.

Let's get to it.

📰 What you need to know

1. Lamar Jackson, Justin Tucker lift Ravens to wild MNF win 🏈

Christmas came early on Monday night with a divisional matchup between the Browns and Ravens. The Browns entered the night at a comfortable 9-3, and still within arms reach of the top spot in the division (hey, anything is possible), while the Ravens came in at a less comfortable 7-5 and a real need to get the win.

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This all-timer ultimately ended with the Ravens winning 47-42. We saw trick plays, missed field goals, missed extra points, blocked extra points, fumbles, interceptions, wild two-point conversions -- this one had it all. Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, who left the game for some time due to cramps, was unreal. 

It was fun and it was also a lot, so let's break it all down.

Why the Ravens won

  • They dominated on the ground, finishing with over 230 team rushing yards
  • Jackson was clutch the entire night. He ended with 124 yards on the ground, two rushing touchdowns and one touchdown pass
  • Justin Tucker did what he does best and crushed a game-winning 55-yard field goal

Why the Browns lost

  • Baker Mayfield's third-quarter interception proved costly in such a close game
  • The defense let up some large plays
  • Cody Parkey missed a field goal from 39 yards out, as well as an extra point

2. Breaking down the Champions League knockout stage ⚽


The knockout stage of the Champions League is one month away but the matchups are set, as the draw for the round of 16 went down on Monday. 

Two seeding pots were formed, one that had the eight group winners and the other consisting of the eight runners-up. No team could be drawn against a club from their group or any side from their own association. Seeded group winners were drawn away in the round of 16 first legs as well as in the return matches.

Take a look at the complete results below and get a deeper understanding of which matches you're not going to want to miss by reading our power rankings.

  • Borussia Monchengladbach vs. Manchester City
  • Lazio vs. Bayern Munich
  • Atletico Madrid vs. Chelsea
  • RB Leipzig vs. Liverpool
  • Porto vs. Juventus
  • Barcelona vs. PSG
  • Sevilla vs. Borussia Dortmund
  • Atalanta vs. Real Madrid

The Europe League round of 32 is also set, and you can check those games out here.

3. Ranking the NBA's top 15 point guards 🏀


It's hard to believe, but the NBA is back. Just two months after the Los Angeles Lakers held up the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy, we have preseason ball.

When CBS Sports released the Top 100 player rankings ahead of the 2020-21 season just a few days ago, one thing stood out: the number of point guards on the list. We are getting to witness some of the best right now. As such, our Michael Bohlin put together a list of the top 15 point guards, giving his rhyme and reason for why each player earned the spot they did. Here's his top five: 

  1. Steph Curry

  2. Luka Doncic

  3. Damian Lillard

  4. Chris Paul

  5. Ben Simmons

It's no surprise Curry earned the top spot. Bohlin begins his argument for the former MVP at No. 1 saying, "Have the masses forgotten just how great Curry is?" Check out the full list here.

4. What is Dave Dombrowski's plan for the Phillies? ⚾

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The Phillies have a new president of baseball operations in Dave Dombrowski. Dombrowski was fired by the Red Sox in 2019 after winning a World Series with the franchise. The Phillies have Bryce Harper, Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler, and now Dombrowski has his eyes set on the playoffs, a space the team doesn't have much recent success with.

Dombrowski is known for making blockbuster trades and building contenders, as he did with the Tigers and Red Sox, so the question now becomes: will Dombrowski follow his usual game plan and acquire star power? Our R.J. Anderson took a look at what the Phillies have to offer other teams if they do go that route. 

He broke it down into a few categories, including top prospects (those who could realistically anchor a trade), additional prospects of note (those who would fill out a package) and cost-controlled players (anyone with three years or less of big-league service time).

The consensus? Philly does not have nearly enough top prospects for Dombrowski to make the kind of moves he has in the past -- yet. Take a look at the full commentary here.

📝 Odds & Ends


📺 What to watch today


🏀 Celtics vs. 76ers, 7:30 p.m. | TV: TNT

🏀 Warriors vs. Kings, 10 p.m. | TV: TNT

📝 Top scores from last night


🏈 Ravens 47, Browns 42

What may have been the best game of the season so far came down to the foot of Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, who, as usual, was money.
💵 Winning wagers: BALT -174, OVER 45.5

🏀 Toronto Raptors 112, Charlotte Hornets 109

The Raptors have yet to lose a preseason game, going 2-for-2 and the Hornets are winless at 0-2.