Time tends to move in extra slow motion on holiday weeks like this, huh? Maybe it's because you're forced to cram five days of work into two or three days, or maybe it's because your stomach is already rumbling thinking about all that food you're going to eat on Thursday. (FYI, ham is better than turkey and I'm willing to fight about that any day of the week.)
In any case, today is Tuesday and we've still got a few more days to get through here before we celebrate what will be a pretty strange Thanksgiving. And while I'm salivating at the thought of diving headfirst into the Thanksgiving food table and eating until I have many regrets, I'm doing my best to stay in the moment and remain committed to bringing you your news and info this week. Feel free to give thanks for that.
📰 What you need to know
1. Jared Goff outshines Tom Brady on Monday Night Football 🏈
It's hard to steal the spotlight from Tom Brady in primetime. Jared Goff knows this quite well -- he learned that lesson the hard way on football's biggest stage a few years ago.
But primetime hasn't been super kind to the Buccaneers this year (they are now 1-3 in that slot) and last night Goff got the better of his matchup against Brady on Monday Night Football. The Rams QB shredded the Buccaneers' defense to the tune of 376 passing yards and three touchdowns in a 27-24 Rams win. It was a big game between two of the NFC's best, and the win put LA in the driver's seat of the NFC West.
Let's get some takeaways:
- Why the Rams won: Goff didn't have a perfect night (he threw two interceptions) but he did pick apart Tampa's secondary and find open receivers. Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods were both incredible, combining for 23 catches and 275 yards on the night. The defense kept Tampa's offense in check and put enough pressure on Brady to keep him uncomfortable
- Why the Bucs lost: Brady wasn't bad, but he did miss some throws/reads that led to embarrassing and costly results. None of Tampa's big weapons in the passing game managed to separate themselves enough to make an impact, and the running game was predictably weak
This Buccaneers team remains somewhat of an enigma. Some weeks they look like they're the cream of the crop in the NFC, carrying too many weapons and too much veteran experience to contain. Other weeks they look incredibly mortal, making costly mistakes and failing to execute as they struggle to live up to their own hype. We can throw last night's game into the latter category.
But still, the Bucs had a pretty good chance to win the game last night. Down by three points, Brady had the ball in his hands with under two minutes to go and ... well, we've all seen how that story ends most of the time. Regardless of how old he is, it's still super weird to see Brady sail a brutal overthrow straight into a defender's hands to give the game away.
2. Thanksgiving game up in the air after multiple Ravens players test positive for COVID-19 🏈
Playing on Thanksgiving -- like every Thursday game-- as an NFL team is a pretty challenging task. You're typically on short rest and have little time to prepare for your next matchup, so every practice and meeting is crucial. Now, it seems things are going to be extra challenging on the Ravens. They are set to play the unbeaten Steelers on Thanksgiving night, and now they're dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that is disrupting their week of preparation.
- RBs Mark Ingram and J.K. Dobbins tested positive and will not be available for Thursday's game (Gus Edwards is set to start)
- Defensive tackle Brandon Williams has also been placed on the team's reserve/COVID-19 list
- The team has shut down its facilities and are contact tracing/monitoring the outbreak. Any additional players who are found to be "high-risk" would have to miss Thursday's game due to the league's mandatory five-day isolation period
As of right now, the game is still set to go on as planned but that could be subject to change based on how the situation develops in the next 24-48 hours. This might be the toughest situation that the league has faced this season given the short week and the importance of the game in question. Not only is it an important division rivalry game, but it's also a marquee slot on the NFL's yearly calendar. The Thanksgiving night matchup is a huge ratings grab and the league isn't going to want to sacrifice that game.
For Baltimore, this is the last thing they need right now. Our Jason La Canfora wrote yesterday that Thursday's game is starting to look like a must-win for a Ravens team that's already in trouble:
- JLC: "On Thanksgiving night they face the unbeaten Steelers in Pittsburgh in what now looks like a must-win game. Issues abound on what at one point was the NFL's top scoring defense, with tackling and coverage and the ability to get pressure without blitzing all in need of rapid improvement ... it's hard not to look at this as a team in crisis."
All things considered, it seems like the Harbaugh brothers have had better Thanksgivings.
3. Colin Kaepernick says he's ready to play QB again 🏈
We haven't seen Colin Kaepernick in the NFL since 2016 but he'd like all 32 teams to know that he's ready if his services are needed. And, looking around the league at the moment, there are probably a few places that might be able to use him.
- Kaepernick posted a workout video to Twitter on Monday campaigning for a shot to return to the NFL
- The video shows him running drills and showcasing his arm on a practice field with former teammate Eric Reid
- Kaepernick: "1,363 days of being denied employment. Still putting in work with [Reid]. Still going hard 5 days a week. #StillReady #StopRunning"
The Saints, Panthers, Cowboys and Bengals are all without their starting quarterbacks due to to injury, and a number of other teams still are trying to figure out the QB position -- including Washington, the Jaguars and Bears. That being said, we've all been talking about a possible Kaepernick comeback for quite some time now. If it hasn't happened yet, I'm not sure a heavily produced hype video of him practicing on an empty high school practice field is going to suddenly change things.
But the video does serve as a reminder that Kaepernick is still grinding and working on his craft, and he still seems eager to get another shot at a chance to resurrect his career. Will the reminder inspire a team to reach out and bring him on board? Who knows, but stranger things have happened in 2020 I suppose.
4. Storylines to follow in Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones Jr. fight 🥊
After reading that headline, you might be wondering to yourself if you somehow fell asleep in a time machine and traveled about 20 years into the past. But here's an important reminder: 1) If you had a time machine, you probably would have already used it to escape this hellish year by now, and 2) Tyson and Jones Jr. are actually squaring off in an exhibition match this weekend.
We're still days away from this showdown -- it'll happen Saturday night inside an empty Staples Center -- but this is a short, holiday week and I want to make sure this bizarre fight doesn't get lost in the shuffle of football later in the week. With that in mind, here are some of the biggest storylines as two legends of the sport prepare to dust off the gloves for a fight nobody really saw coming.
- There's more at stake for Tyson than money: Yes, the money is a big reason why this fight is happening, but it also presents an opportunity for Tyson to close out his fighting career on his own terms. The end of his competitive career was a complete mess and he quit the sport unceremoniously. Now, he's got a chance to enter the ring as an older, wiser, more in-check fighter and close the book on his storied career in a way that he can be proud of
- Jones is by far the fresher fighter: Both of these guys are middle-aged men well past their prime fighting years, but Jones last fought in 2018. Tyson hasn't fought since 2005. Jones also won 12 of his final 13 bouts and has remained in great shape, while Tyson had to work extremely hard to get back into fighting shape. Jones will have a better chance the longer the fight goes on
- There's a lot that could go wrong: There's a lot of intrigue here, but some of that can be likened to a car sliding on ice in the middle of winter -- it makes you uneasy and you know there's a good chance things could get ugly and sad but you can't bring yourself to look away. Given the combined age of both participants (105, by the way) it seems like this has as much potential to be sad and painful as it does enjoyable and interesting
This is going to be one weird experiment and I honestly have no idea what to expect. All I'm hoping is that both guys get what they want out of this fight and they're both able to escape without hurting or embarrassing themselves. And, hey, if they can provide us with some unexpected entertainment in a time where there's not a whole lot else to take in, well then that's just icing on the cake.
📝 Odds & Ends
- The Bucks are cautiously optimistic that Giannis Antetokounmpo will sign a $228 million supermax extension
- College football rankings: Northwestern makes huge move, Indiana enters top 10 of CBS Sports 127
- Pope Francis praised NBA players during a meeting in the Vatican to discuss social justice
📺 What to watch today
📝 Top scores from last night
Matt Gay kicked a 40-yard field goal with 2:36 remaining to give the Rams the win.
💵 Winning wagers: LAR +176, Over (47.5)