Atlanta Sports Update, Jimmy Butler Hysteria and the Return of Shawn Michaels With Nick Cellini of 680 The Fan, James Holas of BBALLBREAKDOWN and William R. Washington of RBR Wrestling (Ep. 214)

Chase Thomas is joined by 680 The Fan's Nick Cellini to talk about the state of the Falcons, how the Braves should approach the Winter Meetings, if they should go after Bryce Harper, if the Hawks could be fun this fall, and more. (1:00).

Then, BBallbreakdown's James Holas jumps on the pod to talk about the Jimmy Butler craziness in Minnesota, Kyrie planning to re-sign with the Celtics, and the Spurs' playoff chances without Dejounte Murray (30:00).

To wrap up, RBR Wrestling's William R. Washington comes on the pod to talk about that Triple H vs. Undertaker match at WWE Super Show-Down, Shawn Michaels dream opponents, the Dean Ambrose storyline, and where the Miz vs. Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles feud is going (55:00).

NFL Week 6 Analysis and College Football Week 7 Storylines With Austin Gayle of PFF and Sean Sullivan of Move The Sticks (Ep. 213)

Chase Thomas is joined by Pro Football Focus' NFL Editor Austin Gayle to talk about the disappointing Philadelphia Eagles, what Carson Wentz is struggling with, the Cowboys' hidden stars on defense, how the Carolina Panthers stack up against the New Orleans Saints, the future of Andrew Luck in Indianapolis and much more. Then, NFL Media and Move The Sticks' With Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks' podcast producer Sean Sullivan jumps on the pod to talk about the upcoming Auburn vs. Tennessee game, why nobody should sleep on Michigan at this point in the season, and the great story behind Smokey X and the history behind it all in Knoxville.

WWE Smackdown Live: The Miz as the Middle Man

I wanted to lead this piece with the Smackdown Women’s championship match between Becky Lynch (c.) vs. Charlotte Flair, but what more is there to say about this feud right now? Lynch and Charlotte kicked off this week’s episode with a twenty-minute gauntlet, featured multiple heelish stunts from Lynch, and ended with a brutal spear from Charlotte that pushed both her and her former best friend through the LED wall. It was all well done, it was a very fun match, this feud still has some sizzle, but we’re at the point in this story where a definitive conclusion should take place sooner rather than later. After WWE Evolution, there will be more to say, like, you know, why it was always inevitable that this was ending with Charlotte as 46-time champion.

Instead, I’m leading with The Miz, more specifically, his Miz TV segment that featured the WWE champion AJ Styles and the No. 1 contender Daniel Bryan. This was everything it needed to be, and on a two-hour show where it felt like only two things happened, it shined. Yes, Charlotte taking out Lynch in frustration post-match was cool, but Styles telling Bryan that he isn’t moving was awesome.

After the personal, highly contentious feuds that Styles and Bryan have worked through over the last few months, it was refreshing to have a back-and-forth like the one Bryan and Styles had. Still, as Miz rightly pointed out, there is nothing inherently interesting about Styles and Bryan respecting each other as two of the best professional wrestlers in the world -- except in this case. Sometimes you just want to have a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Sometimes you just want to see two of the best professional wrestlers in the world have a five-star match on a WWE Network special. When you throw the Miz into the mix, which, I guess makes him the chocolate syrup in this never-ending metaphor -- it makes everything sweeter. Daniel Bryan, the astute man that he is, even admitted on commentary that the Miz is better than everybody at talking. Bryan isn’t wrong here, as there may not be anyone better in the company right now at working a microphone than Mr. Professional.

But he still the biggest match of his career against Bryan in embarrassing fashion. A few days removed from the Australian event, that looks to have been the right call by the WWE brass. An embarrassed and enraged Miz is the best version of the Miz. Whenever the Miz finds himself in a situation where he isn’t being taken seriously, that’s when he hits the hardest. There may be no better example than towards the end of this segment the Miz roared at both Bryan and Styles that he’s got next.

***
Here are my two other takeaways from the two-hour program.

  1. What makes this a World Cup? Are we sure Vince McMahon has ever watched the FIFA World Cup? Are we sure if we were to ask him to explain what exactly the WWE’s version of the World Cup was, would Vince be able to piece together a coherent explanation? I have my doubts, as this week’s episode of Smackdown Live featured two more qualifying matches that featured four wrestlers from the United States. After this week’s episode, the four wrestlers who have qualified for the tournament are from the United States. Yes, Rey Mysterio vs. Shinsuke Nakamura is happening next week, but I’m fairly confident the WWE has no idea what the World Cup actually is. (Also, could they really have not given the winner a WWE or Universal title shot on an episode of Raw or Smackdown?)

  2. Speaking of the World Cup qualifying matches, why did Randy Orton not viciously assault the Big Show after his victory? Are we done with Crazy Randy Orton, or was this just a one-week blip for the Viper on his quest to destroy fan-favorites? It just felt...odd. I found myself just waiting to write down “Orton punts the Big Show into retirement” on my Legal Pad, but that moment never came. Instead, Orton hit the fan-favorite RKO, his first use of the finisher since the heel turn, and that was that. I’d also like to mention that the fans chanting “You still got it” at the Big Show was one of the most baffling things I’ve seen in professional wrestling this year. If we are subjected to more Big Show matches in 2018 or 2019, I am blaming the city of Indianapolis.

Lifted from the Legal Pad:

  • Did anyone else laugh at the barrage of chops from Charlotte to Becky? Seemed very cartoony.

  • Becky rolling out immediately after the Natural Selection was just great in-ring psychology.

  • Last time we see Samoa Joe on television in 2018? Maybe he and Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn can start their own YouTube show or something.

  • “How’s the family?” - The Miz

  • “If he goes to you house, he’s going to tend to your garden.” - The Miz, with the line of the night.

  • Shelton Benjamin Is Back Alert. That high knee of the ropes was tremendous. More Shelton, please.

  • Rusev and Aiden should get more time to see this feud through, but I suspect a WWE Network match isn’t in the cards and this feud is done.

  • “Cause you got hacked!” - Rusev, always funny.

WWE Raw: D-Generation X Is Back For The Last Time Ever?

If you smartly elected to enjoy a bit more shuteye Saturday morning and skipped WWE Super Show-Down, skimmed the results later on in the afternoon only to then tune into this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw, you might be under the impression that Triple H and The Undertaker’s “Seriously, this is the last time we’re doing this, we promise” match on the WWE Network special delivered in historic fashion. While it is very easy to pile on the WWE for their decision-making -- still waiting on my pyro or television-show intros to return -- it is also very to praise the company for their video packages. No matter how poorly a feud unfolded or how underwhelming a big-time match turned out, the WWE has always excelled at creating a video package that never fails to give the impression that this particular story they’re pushing is the hottest thing in the professional wrestling world. The video package that aired in the middle of Triple H and Shawn Michaels’ opening promo was all of that and more.

Mission accomplished?

Not quite. Yes, the Chicago crowd was hot for this opening segment, they rejoiced when it became crystal clear that the Heartbreak Kid was coming out of retirement, and, you know, it was just kind of nice to open an episode of Raw that did not include the likes of Baron Corbin, an in-over-his-head Kurt Angle, Michael Cole obnoxiously shouting about the “Big Dog”, and the list goes on and on. Most weeks, it feels like the red brand is dead-set on not giving the paying customers what they want, but, on Monday evening, Vince McMahon threw the rowdy crowd a bone and gave thousands of people the opportunity to scream “Suck it!” at the top of their longs as the member berries the WWE fed each fan on their way into the arena had finally taken effect.

But should Triple H and Shawn Michaels and the Undertaker and Kane be the main program on the biggest show in the promotion in 2018? If the choice is simply: DX or more Roman Reigns’ solo work, you always go with the latter. The fans in attendance and the fans at home still love HBK and the fans at home still love to see the legends they grew up with pop up on their television screens from time to time. However, it seems highly unlikely that those same fans are also pumped about the Crown Jewel co-main event of DX vs. Brothers of Destruction in 2018. After watching that painful match in Australia -- or just the Undertaker’s last two WrestleMania appearances -- why would anyone *really* want to see Kane and the Undertaker wrestle anymore? They were really good and really fun for 67 years, but it is time to turn the page. If you are going to bring Michaels out of retirement, great, but it should be to elevate somebody like Adam Cole or Aleister Black or Seth Rollins or Tommaso Ciampa or even Daniel Bryan.

***

Here are three other takeaways I had from this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw.

  1. According to my calculations, after tonight’s episode of Raw every single member of the Raw roster is now a heel. No, there is still Finn Balor, Seth Rollins, ugh, well, there have to be more, right? But the post-match beatdowns from Bobby Lashley on Kevin Owens and the Bella Twins on Ronda Rousey clicked. If there was ever a night to try turn heel, last night in front of this Chicago crowd was the night to do it. Lashley obviously wasn’t working as a babyface, and if you’re going to pair him with somebody like Lio Rush, who was jawing throughout an awkwardly long Lashley vs. Owens match, you had to turn him heel. Rush, through no fault of his own, has a voice that only works as a heel. The Bellas’ turn, however, was more interesting as Nikki has always seemed more naturally suited as a heel, while Brie will now have to navigate awkward waters with this character development as she is married to the biggest babyface in the company. (Granted, her botched kicks to Liv Morgan on a previous Raw made this heel transformation less awkward and far more realistic.)

  2. Trish Stratus and Alexa Bliss must be protected at all costs. When it first became clear this match was happening at WWE Evolution, it felt more thrown together, less thought out. For as great as Miss Bliss is, she has never felt like this generation’s Trish Stratus. There was always something naturally likable about Trish Stratus, while there is always something naturally hatable -- shoutout to Sasha Banks -- about Alexa Bliss. But maybe that’s why this feud has clicked, as Stratus has been turned out to be a better foil to Bliss than Rousey or even Nia Jax ever were. Now you throw Lita into the mix and this tag-team match -- Mickie James included -- has all the ingredients for an enjoyable match.

  3. So we’re doing this with Dean Ambrose, huh? Are we really doing this? At one point in the main event, the crowd was beside themselves calling for the Lunatic Fringe to get inserted into the match. Outside of Rollins, who was just as universally over, Ambrose was the biggest ticket item in Chicago Monday night. So why is the WWE teasing an Ambrose heel turn or at the very least a split from The Shield? Is it really a good idea to turn one of the few over babyfaces in the company that isn’t 58-years-old? We have seen the Wrestler Gets Fed Up With Losing And Turns movie countless times before, but with Ambrose it seems riskier. There is a difference between Alleged Babyface Bobby Roode turning on Chad Gable after losing to the Ascension every week on Raw for a decade-plus than Ambrose walking out on his brothers and going into the Me-First Business. Sure, it could work out as well as has for Becky Lynch on Smackdown Live -- the two do have a lot in common after all -- but the biggest reason Lynch is better off for her pseudo-turn is the person she walked out on has never clicked as a babyface -- Charlotte Flair -- while an Ambrose vs. Rollins feud, at this point in 2018, won’t have the same effect because people actually like the Burn It Down Guy. Now, if this leads to an Ambrose vs. Reigns feud for the Universal title, that is something that could work because Ambrose would thrive as the anti-hero in that scenario. Really, that’s where this story should go, with Ambrose going after the biggest prize in the company and setting his sights on the guy in the group that isn’t universally beloved by the WWE Universe. Unfortunately, we know this is leading to Ambrose vs. Rollins and that doesn’t do anybody any good.

Lifted from the Legal Pad:

  • Triple H just tossed his water bottle early on in his ramp-walking endeavor to kick off Monday Night Raw.

  • Speaking of Hunter, the man was dead-set on telling the longest mountain-climbing metaphor ever recorded. Mission accomplished.

  • “More of the same,” Corey Graves said, unironically on this episode of Raw.

  • Owens took flight again and got the crowd completely in his corner. His place on this show is an atrocity.

  • Week 93 of me complaining that Elias needs something else to do. ANYTHING.

  • That Liv vs. Brie opener to start the six-woman tag was super smart. It felt genuine and came across super well.

  • Michael Cole saying that Brie’s kick “sent Liv flying” was very strange and just a bold-face lie.

  • Is Natalya the worst best friend of all-time?

  • “You suck” chants for the Bellas after their beatdown of Rousey. This worked.

  • Hard to believe B ‘N B vs. Jinder Mahal and Alicia Fox happened on television, but it did.

  • Are we getting Babyface Drew McIntyre soon?

  • “You’re just not any good.” - Baron Corbin with the line of the night on Heath Slater.

  • I wonder if the WWE thought out this World Cup thing. (I kid, of course they haven’t.)

  • That Kurt Angle moment was delightful and Corbin makes the best faces.

  • Who even are Nia Jax and Ember Moon as a television characters?

  • Shield vs. Evil Guys definitely had a big-fight feel to start the match. This was fun.

  • Roman Reigns flying outside the ring may be the best thing he does.

That Just Happened in College Football and Week 7 Picks and Preview With Jordan DeArmon (Ep. 212)

Chase Thomas is joined by longtime friend Jordan DeArmon to talk about Texas' big win against Oklahoma, the sad state of the Auburn offense following a loss to Mississippi State, where Notre Dame fits into the College Football Playoff conversation, the brilliance of Darrelle Henderson at Memphis along with Hawaii surviving without superstar quarterback Cole McDonald, just how historically bad UConn football is at the moment and preview the Week 7 slate of games in college football.

Atlanta Falcons 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 41: Just How Good Is James Conner?

The Atlanta Falcons won the opening coin toss in Pittsburgh on Sunday and deferred. What followed was a pass completion to Jesse James from Ben Roethlisberger, a James Conner third-down conversion, a Conner big-time reception, a Conner big-time carry, a Conner five-yard scamper up the middle for six, another Conner touchdown in leaping fashion after his first score was overturned. If you didn’t watch a second of excruciating beatdown of the Falcons and just looked at the opening drive for the Steelers you’d know everything you really needed to know about this game: James Conner ended the Atlanta Falcons’ 2018 season today.

Sure, you could dive deeper and see that after the Falcons elected not to send Matt Bryant out for a 56-yard field goal attempt, instead opting to trust a defense that is now relying on the Jordan Richards and Duke Rileys of the world to not be atrocious *all* of the time, which resulted in the Steelers piecing together another drive that ended in six and started at the Steelers’ four-yard line. You knew the Falcons were going to regret not at least trying the field goal in that spot, or even just outright going for it on 4th-and-long because the Falcons no longer have the personnel to get the stops necessary against an above-average offense. It didn’t matter that the Steelers didn’t have LeVeon Bell here, Conner was at 17 carries for 104 yards early in the third quarter. With the kind of drive the Steelers had to open the game, the Falcons had to score points to keep themselves from falling into a inescapable hole early in the first quarter. Instead, the Steelers were up 13-0 faster than the time it takes Tevin Coleman to rush for two yards up the middle before falling to the ground.  

Once it was clear that the Steelers could always pitch it outside to Conner whenever they wanted for another back-breaking run, or utilize Conner in the check-down game, or just run a basic halfback dive up the middle for six yards a pop, you knew this was a recipe for the disaster for the Falcons. With a defense this depleted, their best chance at survival for the rest of this season is to play teams that have no interest or don’t have the bodies to control the clock and keep the Falcons’ wideout group off the field. The best way to ensure Mohammed “Mr. Yards After The Catch” Sanu doesn’t rack up the yards after a catch is to not allow Mr. Yards After The Catch to ever be on the field. Pittsburgh may not have a superstar in Bell at the moment, but what they do have is a do-it-all workhorse in Conner that is perfectly fine and capable of grinding teams to death in excruciatingly effective fashion. It didn’t matter that Big Ben overshot Antonio Brown on multiple passing downs early on this game, or that Pittsburgh committed all kinds of dumb penalties in this game because Mike Tomlin and the Steelers knew all they had to do was utilize their 6.7 YPC Assassin early-and-often and this Atlanta defense would crumble.

No Grady Jarrett? No chance at stopping James Conner and this Pittsburgh running attack.

***

Here are three other major takeaways I had after today’s loss to the Steelers.

  1. Maybe making Austin Hooper a priority in the passing game again isn’t the best thing? Look, I like Hooper, but maybe it was no coincidence that the Falcons’ offense only registered 17 points on the afternoon and Matt Ryan targeted Hooper -- checks notes -- 63 times in this game. Hooper is a quality safety net for Ryan when the offensive line plays as poorly as it did today. Ryan was under pressure early and often and was even gifted with a dirty shot from Jon Bostic at one point in this game. (On another occasion in the second quarter, Ryan was sacked on back-to-back plays and the Falcons had to settle for a 55-yard field goal from Ole Reliable Matt Bryant.) When Julio Jones doesn’t reel in his first reception until the fourth quarter after only registering four targets before then, that’s a problem. I’m not saying there is a direct correlation between a bad day for the Falcons’ offense and a good day for Hooper, but can we rule it out?

  2. Without Sanu, how much uglier would this game have gotten for the Falcons? One of the best things about Sanu whenever it becomes clear that Sark has called his number for a quick screen or short curl route is that you know the play isn’t ending where Sanu first catches the pass -- he’s getting more yards. The highlight of the day was Sanu’s 43-yard slant route that went for six, and it was really the last time you felt the Falcons had a chance of winning a shootout here, as it cut the lead to six and it looked like the Falcons’ superstar trio was just too much for the anemic Steelers’ secondary. (Important to note that Julio had not been targeted at this point in the game. Once he bobbled and almost gave away a Very 2017 Matt Ryan Bullsh*t Interception ball, all that optimism shifted back to panic.)

  3. Well, it was nice to have Devonta Freeman back for a few quarters of action. There were some moments where Freeman did his best James Conner Impersonation where he would bounce off one Pittsburgh defender and maybe up a couple more as he looked poise to have a big day. Just like the Steelers wanted to keep the ball out of Matt Ryan’s hands all day, the Falcons wanted to establish the run with Freeman early on in an admirable attempt to keep Richards and Riley and Foye Oluokon and Robert Alford and Vic Beasley Jr. and everybody else on that Atlanta defense that does not include Takk McKinnley, Damontae Kazee and Desmond Trufant off the field, too. It didn’t work out that way as the Falcons’ offensive line imploded, the team fell behind, Freeman exited the game and Coleman continued his impressive streak of 55-straight carries up the middle for a gain of exactly two yards.

Lifted from the Legal Pad:

  • Is Bostic the Pittsburgh version of Duke Riley? He was atrocious in this game.

  • Speaking of Riley, I don’t know which was worse his 38-yard pass interference penalty that set-up the Steelers’ second touchdown, or the brutal stiff arm he received later on.

  • That Damontae Kazee interception in the end zone was wild, wasn’t it? Still baffled Big Ben chucked that one up at the end of the second quarter.

  • Hooper had eight receptions in the first half and the Falcons had seven points.

  • It was nice of Matt Bosher to have another punt blocked today to add more credence to my “Never Punt” opinion with this team.

  • Danny Smith of the Steelers chews the biggest piece of gum I have ever seen in my life and it was favorite visual of the afternoon. Insane.

  • Poor Isaiah Oliver. Just after an impressive pass breakup when he was matched up with Brown on the outside, Brown would later beat him on a touchdown. Welcome to the NFL, rookie.

  • Ryan really didn’t start force-feeding it to Julio until the fourth quarter. Big Ben was pushing it to Brown early and often. The latter scored 41 points.

  • Seemed like Ryan overthrew a lot of dudes today. Not Jarrett Stidham-level awfulness, but it did seem like a lot.

  • 1-4 sucks, but facing the Giants and the Bucs next definitely does not suck.

NFL Week 5 Picks: Jalen Ramsey Must Be Protected At All Costs

On this week’s Dan Patrick Show, Dan and his Danettes had an interesting conversation about the “talk about” cliche sports reporters are known to send out into the world during post-game press conferences. From Mr. Patrick’s perspective, it’s a lazy crutch that deserves a lazy response. Not that you asked, but I agree with the sports broadcasting legend on this front: it is lazy. Sure, post-game pressers less interesting than the Michigan State offense most Saturdays, but if you’re a reporter and you have the opportunity to mine for some interesting material from a world-famous athlete, you should seize.

Unless you’re talking to Jalen Ramsey.

The Jacksonville Jaguars star cornerback is going to give you gold whether or not you ask him a bullshit question. Ramsey is going to give you something to print even if you ask him to talk about what he had for breakfast that morning. Some people are just wired this way, where every single time they speak you can’t help but turn your attention to what it is that they’re saying, even if it’s ninety-three percent trolling. If you asked Ramsey whether he liked his eggs scrambled or over easy, he would probably find a way to sneak in a shot on Patrick Mahomes as a scrambling quarterback and not a *real* quarterback who spends most of his time standing the pocket like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning.

We already know how Ramsey feels about basically every quarterback in the National Football League, but until this week the public was not aware of how Ramsey felt about Kansas City Chiefs’ do-it-all guy Tyreek Hill. The former All-Pro corner referred to Hill as a “return specialist”, which had he stopped there would have been enough for me. Instead, the delightful Ramsey made it a point to refer to him as a “return specialist” on multiple occasions, and wanted to ensure that the media present knew that Sunday’s contest against the undefeated Chiefs was not a wide receiver versus cornerback match-up.

Obviously, this is not true. Obviously, Ramsey knows that Hill still very much qualifies as a wide receiver, that Hill dips his toes in the return game but that his role in the slot for Kansas City is where he makes his money. Obviously, this is the kind of statement that will piss Hill off heading into Sunday. It is just Ramsey being a dick, yes, but it is Ramsey being a delightful dick, which can’t be ignored. Ramsey clearly respects Hill and knows the Jags face their biggest test of the season with Mahomes, Kareem Hunt, Hill, Travis Kelce, and more on the docket.

This kind of trolling would only get old if Jalen Ramsey stopped being at good at football. Jalen Ramsey is 23-years-old, hasn’t even entered his prime yet, and plays on one of the most stacked defensive units in the NFL. If Ramsey started to falter, if AJ Bouyei became the clear no. 1 cornerback in Jacksonville, if the Jaguars imploded from within, then this sort of thing becomes a problem. However, it is October 6, 2018, and Jalen Ramsey is one of the best cornerbacks in football who is just having fun being Jalen Ramsey. It’s not just the fact that Ramsey is saying hyperbolic things to invoke the kind of reaction he craves, it’s that he knows none of this really matters. If Ramsey is dominant on Sundays and quarterbacks continue to not look his way, what he says on random Tuesday morning pressers will continue to be irrelevant.

So talk about whatever you’d like, Jalen Ramsey. I’ll be listening and laughing and appreciating you for being Jalen Ramsey, Guy Who Doesn’t Give A Shit.

Point is, talk about more things, Jalen Ramsey. We’re all better off for it.

***

Alright, let’s get into this week’s picks. (Holy shit, Week 5, already?! Time flies. It feels like just yesterday Ryan Fitzpatrick was strolling up to post-game pressers in Desean Jackson’s wardrobe. Simpler times.)

Broncos vs. Jets (+1)

Case Keenum may not actually be very good. It hurts me to write this, but I can’t shake the feeling that Denver is heading stormier times. The Broncos sit at 2-2 now, but traveling to New York -- Jersey, excuse me -- to face a desperate Jets team just after suffering a back-breaking loss against the Chiefs seems like a recipe for disaster. The Jets get back on track here and beat the Broncos at home.

Packers vs. Lions (+1.5)

Maybe Aaron Rodgers is fine? Maybe Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers are all together fine after shutting out a disastrous Buffalo Bills team? This secondary is for real, headlined by rookies Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson, and as pissed off as Aaron Rodgers may be about the state of the Green Bay offense, this is still a team trending in the right direction. Packers win and cover here.

Falcons vs. Steelers (-3)

You’re not going to believe this, but Jalen Richards may not have been a better option than Eric Reid for the Falcons next to Damontae Kazee. It’s funny, though, that the “Falcons really suck in the red zone” conversation feels like years ago now. Calvin Ridley is just a firecracker and the Atlanta offense is fine. Now, the defense lost Grady Jarrett, Duke Riley is not embarrassing himself in coverage, and Takk McKinley is Actually Good, but this secondary is a dumpster fire and the Pittsburgh Steelers have the best wideout group not including the Falcons. Damn it.

Ravens vs. Browns (+3)

Ravens are only favored by three points after beating the Steelers on the road in a huge game just a few days prior? Cleveland is back! (Well, they are not back, but they may be good? OK? Decent? I don’t know, but they are not the 2017 Cleveland Browns, that is for sure.) The Ravens are going to win this game and it is because Baker Mayfield is a rookie quarterback going up against the second-best secondary in the NFL with Jimmy Smith now back in the fold. Ravens win and cover.

Jaguars vs. Chiefs (-3)

Jacksonville is not favored in this game and when I first saw this line I was perplexed. If there was ever a team, outside of the Patriots, that should be expected to neutralize an Andy Reid Offensive Juggernaut, it is the Jaguars of Jacksonville. Mahomes should have surrendered his first turnover last week in Denver, are we sure he doesn’t surrender a pair to Ramsey and Bouye this week? Give me the Jags and the points here.

Dolphins vs. Bengals (-6)

Holy overreaction, Batman! The Fighting Adam Gases get trounced in New England and suddenly this team is giving six on the road to a Cincy team that just lost Tyler Eifert for the season. This smells fishy -- I will not apologize for that -- and I still believe this Miami team is playoff-bound. It’s important to remember this Cincinnati defense is not the defense of a few years ago, and the group of Devante Parker, Kenny Stills, Jakeem Grant, and Albert Wilson should be too much too handle for this Bengals’ secondary. Give me Dolphins and the points here.

Giants vs. Panthers (-6)

Are we sure the Panthers shouldn’t be favored by 23 here? The Giants may be the worst team in the NFL, or, at the very least, the most unwatchable when Saquon Barkley does not have the football. The Norv Turner Resurrection is for real, Christian McCaffrey is going to gash this defense and the Panthers are going to score too much to keep this close. Give me the Panthers and the points.

Titans vs. Bills (5.5)

What I am about to do here is not for the faint of heart: the Buffalo Bills are going to ruin somebody else’s Survivor Pool here. The Titans are not as good as their record and the Bills are every bit as Jekyll and Hide as advertised. Josh Allen just a few weeks ago shredded a once vaunted Minnesota defense, fell flat on his face in Green Bay, and will now shred a Currently Vaunted Tennessee Titans defense. Give me the Bills and the points.

Chargers vs. Raiders (+5.5)

This has all the makings of another inexcusable stink bomb for the Los Angeles Chargers. This franchise made their bones on losing games like this, and the Raiders needed “outside” help to beat the Browns last week to avoid an 0-4 hole, a black hole if you will. I am not selling my stock on the Chargers Are Going To Be Fine island, as the talent disparity between the two clubs should be the difference for the Chargers. Give me the Chargers, but the Raiders cover.

Cardinals vs. 49ers (-3.5)

The San Francisco 49ers are favored against the Arizona Cardinals without their starting quarterback, without their starting running back, without really any offensive weapons outside of their tight end, and Kyle Shanahan’s group is favored by 3.5 against the Cardinals. If this isn’t rock bottom for Arizona, I don’t know what is. Still, Josh Rosen posted the best rookie QB debut grade since PFF has been tracking players last week. The Niners win here but I like the Cardinals to cover and keep it close.

Vikings vs. Eagles (-3)

Who knows here? The Eagles choked away a win against the Tennessee Titans last week, and the Vikings are in desperation mode. This Philly offensive line isn’t the same as last year, but Carson Wentz should be able to out duel Kirk Cousins at home, right? The Vikings are 1-2-1, their secondary is getting lit up, and their offensive line is once again a mess. Point is, I’m really worried about my preseason Steelers vs. Vikings Super Bowl pick. Give me the Eagles and the points here.

Rams vs. Seahawks (+7.5)

Can I make this my Lock of the Week? The Seattle Seahawks are not winning a shootout with the Los Angeles Rams. Chris Carson is dinged up, Earl Thomas is out for the season, Brian Schottenheimer is their offensive coordinator, and really everything about this Seattle group stinks. It turns out Jared Goff may not be a system quarterback after all? (Author’s note: I’ve watched that bomb to Cooper Kupp in the back of the endzone at least fifteen times since Thursday Night Football. Going Goff, anyone?!

Cowboys vs. Texans (-3)

I will not be watching this game. The Cowboys defensive line should feast on the Texans’ offensive line, but they probably won’t. The Texans should score 35 on the Cowboys, but they probably won’t. The Cowboys should control the clock and win this game 17-13, but they probably won’t. These two teams are going to be frustrating to watch all year. Give me the Texans and the points.

Redskins vs. Saints (-6)

The Redskins are the best team that casual NFL fans all think suck. I have no data to back this assertion, but I think it’s true. The Redskins have Jim Tomsula coaching one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, Alex Smith just wins regular season games, and Washington is good not great from top to bottom. They’re not real Super Bowl contenders, but they’re also not the New York Giants. Drew Brees won’t have his best day here, and Josh Norman will likely get flustered in this game. Give me the Saints but the ‘Skins cover.

NFL Week 4 Analysis and College Football Storylines with Austin Gayle of PFF and Sean Sullivan of Move The Sticks (Ep. 211)

Chase Thomas is joined by PFF's Austin Gayle to talk about the state of the Denver Broncos after falling to Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, who is the better team: Ravens or Bengals, the impressive debut of Josh Rosen in Arizona and why Amari Cooper is fine in Oakland (1:00).

Then, NFL Media's Move The Sticks' producer Sean Sullivan jumps on the pod to talk about Tennessee covering against Georgia, if Kentucky can beat Texas A&M on the road, whether or not Brian Kelly is now underrated, Clemson guys going off on the transfer of Kelly Bryant, and West Virginia's brutal path to the CFB playoff (30:00). 

That Just Happened College Football Week 5 and Week 6 Preview With Jordan DeArmon (Ep. 210)

Chase Thomas is joined by Jordan DeArmon to talk about Cole McDonald's insane day for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, another perfect day for Heisman frontrunner Tua Tagovailoa and Alabama, Auburn continuing to struggle on offense, Ian Book and Notre Dame, Larry Fedora's chances of keeping his job at UNC, Arizona State's insane weapons on offense, Frank Beamer getting a statue at Virginia Tech and preview the big game in Week 6 of the college football season.

Falcons vs. Bengals: The Tyler Boyd Game

It feels like we’ve been talking about when Tyler Boyd was going to break out for thirteen years now. Without looking it up, I would guess the Bengals drafted him out of Pittsburgh around the same time Dion Lewis was on campus. I’d probably be wrong, no, I am sure of it, but I am also sure that Tyler Boyd has arrived and killed the Falcons in the process. In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve loved Theoretical Tyler Boyd ever since he came into the NFL -- another Julian Edelman, Cole Beasley, etc. kind of wideout who just had a knack for crushing teams when their quarterback checks down and finds them just in the right spot for a back-breaking first down.

In Boyd’s case, this did not happen until the second half, when the Bengals lost their superstar tight end to injury once again in brutal fashion. (This is not me trying to tease you to go watch the video. Please do not watch the video. It is *that* bad.) The Bengals lost their unicorn wide-receiver-tight-end-or-whatever-he-is hybrid early in the third, so Boyd decided it was time for the guy who was two years away from being two years away to ensure the Falcons were 1-3 through four weeks of action.

Mission accomplished, asshole.

For the rest of the afternoon, the Bengals’ human safety valve reeled in one huge third-down catch after another to keep the Bengals’ offense on the field. Rarely, if ever, did you hear or see AJ Green’s name on the broadcast. (Yes, the former UGA star nabbed the game-winning touchdown, but outside of that, his impact didn’t feel as demoralizing as the sound of “Dalton finds Boyd for a thirteen-yard reception and another Cincy first down.) While Mohamed Sanu Sr. pulverized the Bengals’ secondary on big third downs, Boyd destroyed the Falcons’ secondary whenever Dalton was getting pressured and needed to find his reliable safety net. Granted, Dalton wasn’t running for his life on every down like Deshaun Watson is accustomed to in Houston -- this is where I mention Takk McKinley in the column because his impact was felt as the former UCLA star added a big-time sack on third down in the 3rd quarter, another sack that almost resulted in a fumble, and, for the most part, made Falcon fans forget about the other edge rusher on the team for the majority of the afternoon -- but when he was and after he lost Eifert, he made damn sure he was going to find Tyler effing Boyd.

This is the new normal for the Atlanta Falcons, though. If they don’t have the ball last, they’re probably going to lose. (Serious question: Did you notice the existence of Jalen Richards in this game? Damontae Kazee had the huge interception, Bryan Poole had the awful targeting play, Robert Alford had a stellar pass breakup in the endzone against Green, and Desmond Trufant looked tired, man, but did you ever see Richards? Outside of Duke Riley’s hit-stick moment late in third quarter, did you notice him? You didn’t notice a lot of guys because you noticed Tyler Boyd and Giovani Bernard and Tyler Eifert and AJ Green and everybody on that Cincinnati offense lighting Dan Quinn’s defense on fire. This will continue because it has to continue. The Falcons figured out how to score in the red zone again -- 10 for their last 10 at one point in this game -- but they also figured out just how screwed this team is on defense. Andy Dalton is a good quarterback. Andy Dalton is not *this* good of a quarterback. Hello, Nick Bosa!

Lifted from the Legal Pad:

  • That third quarter was wild. After a blazing first half with zero punts, the third had 93 penalties, a blocked punt, a Kazee interception and so much more.

  • Big Takk McKinley game. Beasley Jr. did have a nice strip sack, too. Progress?

  • Ryan hitting Paulsen for that touchdown in the first half was discombobulating.

  • Calvin Ridley really likes posing as close as possible to the on-field videographers on his touchdown-grabs. I’ll allow it.

  • No Joe Mixon, no Eifert, no pass-protection issues, no problem.

  • Another big Julio day.

  • Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith are perfectly fine as a one-two punch. Are we sure the team needs Devonta Freeman?

  • Was that Christian effing Hackenberg on the sidelines for the Bengals?

  • Bill Lazor or Steve Sarkisian for Biggest Surprise OC Work of the year?

  • Bengals were averaging 10.3 yards per play at one point this game. Eric Reid, Eric Schmeid, right? RIGHT?

  • Big what-if on that missed touchdown in the back of the endzone for Hooper. Ryan places that ball better and the game is over.

  • Boyd had two fourth-down conversions on that game-winning drive. Man.

Gophers, MLB, NBA and WWE With Andy Greder, Tyler Batiste, Noah Clark and Nick Stellini (Ep. 209)

Chase Thomas is joined by the Pioneer Press' Andy Greder to talk about Year 2 of PJ Fleck in Minnesota, the development of Zack Annexstad, the youth movement for the Golden Gophers, and the drive to win six games this season in the Big 10 (3:00). Then, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette's Tyler Batiste jumps on the pod to talk about Smackdown Live killing it, Randy Orton going back to his roots as a heel, the Miz vs. Daniel Bryan feud, and what to make of Dean Ambrose's status in The Shield (18:00). Then, Noah Clarke comes on the pod to talk about Jimmy Butler wanting to go to the Miami Heat, if there is a better option for Butler out there, Kyrie Irving wanting to stay in Boston, and Elton Brand getting the Sixers' general manager job (58:00). Lastly, The Athletic's Nick Stellini jumps on the pod to talk about the Braves winning the NL East, the match-up between the Yankees and the Athletics, their Cy Young and MVP picks, the collapse of the Phillies, and the Giants firing Bobby Evans (85:00). 

That Just Happened College Football Week 4 With Jordan DeArmon (Ep. 207)

Chase Thomas is joined by Jordan DeArmon to talk about Virginia Tech getting upset by Old Dominion, the Texas Tech and Kliff Kingsbury revival in Stillwater against Oklahoma State, what to make of Georgia surviving on the road against Missouri, the problem with Auburn's offense this season, Bobby Petrino's job status with Louisville, Trevor Lawerence being named the starter at Clemson, and preview week 5 of the college football season. 

NBA Best/Worst Offseasons, Maple Leafs Hype, and State of the Tigers With Noah Clark, Scott Wheeler of The Athletic Toronto and Emily Waldon of The Athletic Detroit (Ep. 206)

Chase Thomas is joined by The Athletic's Scott Wheeler to talk about the 2018 Toronto Maple Leafs, Kyle Dubas's vision, the impact of John Tavares, and what is going on with William Nylander (4:00). Then Chase's buddy Noah Clark comes on the pod to talk about why the Raptors and Lakers won the 2018 NBA offseason and teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Orlando Magic and others did not (15:00). Later, The Athletic's Emily Waldon joins the podcast to talk about the rough 2018 season for the Detroit Tigers, what to make of their farm system, the job Al Avila has done thus far as GM, the excitement surrounding Daz Cameron and other MLB prospects to watch over the next couple of seasons (55:00).

Dolphins On Fire, Falcons Injury Bug, and Josh Gordon Traded to the Patriots With Travis Wingfield of Locked On Dolphins and Jason Butt of The Athletic (Ep. 205)

Chase Thomas is joined by Locked On Dolphins' Travis Wingfield to talk about Miami starting 2-0, the importance of Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant, Adam Gase figuring it in Year 3, a healthy Ryan Tannehill, the dynamic safety duo in Minkah Fitzpatrick and Reshad Jones and if this team can win 10 games in 2018 (4:00). Then, The Athletic's Jason Butt to talk about the Atlanta Falcons' losing Andy Levitre, Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, the importance of Ricardo Allen, Duke Riley's inconsistent play, Devonta Freeman's future with the team, the Browns trading Josh Gordon to the Patriots, LeVeon Bell's contract dispute with the Steelers, and much more (34:00).

WWE Monday Night Raw: The Crown Jewel Is Revealed

Roman Reigns is still the WWE Universal champion; Ronda Rousey is still the WWE Raw women’s champion; Drew McIntyre and Dolph Ziggler are still the Raw Tag Team champions; Braun Strowman is still a loser; Baron Corbin is still the best general manager on Raw in years; Brock Lesnar is still the crown jewel of the WWE.

So not much has changed on the red brand following Hell In A Cell on Sunday night. Perhaps that’s why this week’s episode of Raw felt like a rerun. One member of the Shield faced one member of the Evil Heels; Elias found himself sparring with Bobby Lashley again; Ronda Rousey was in the building but didn’t have an actual match; Dana Brooke lost a singles match; the show even kicked off with Michael Cole awkwardly welcoming us all to the show followed by the sound of Roman Reigns’ entrance music.

There was Lio Rush, though, which was very different. On a show that dragged, featured a Chad Gable vs. Viktor match, and just didn’t have a lot to offer outside of playing the classic hits, Rush stood out. He was given time, he was comfortable on the mic, he had the best interaction on the show with Elias, and may actually be the best thing that has happened to Lashley since returning to the WWE. The company has something with Rush, but they also have to be careful. As fun as it was to see the 23-year-old phenom navigate traffic in the form of Kevin Owens and Elias, Rush is too talented in the ring and on the mic to fall into the comedy-act zone. As should be the case for all young, talented wrestlers coming up from NXT or 205 Live, there has to be effective quality control to protect these guys long-term.

Outside of the Rush revelation, it was clear what this show was about: promote some more WWE Network specials. Less than 24 hours prior, the WWE put on a co-branded special, but within the first thirty minutes of last night’s episode, the company was already pushing both the Crown Jewel special in Saudi Arabia, headlined by Roman Reigns (c) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Brock Lesnar for the Universal title, along with the Superstar Show-Down special, headlined by Triple H vs. The Undertaker, as the WWE content machine keeps on churning. Lesnar returned in the main event of the previous night’s show, spoiling Strowman’s cash-in, and it just didn’t feel like a big deal because of all the different things going on. (It didn’t help Lesnar didn’t make an appearance, as a Strowman and Lesnar brawl to open this show would have made a lot of sense and served both men well. Paul Heyman is great, sure, but Strowman just ending the opening promo by angrily walking after Heyman with no follow-up was an abject failure.)

***

Here are three other takeaways I had from this week’s episode.

  1. Seth Rollins and Dolph Ziggler were able to get the fans into another Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler match in 2018. This was no easy feat, but in ten minutes or so, the two superb wrestlers were able to galvanize a crowd that had fallen asleep after being treated with a Bayley vs. Dana Brooke match and an Authors of Pain squash. Fans really did get out of their chairs for a match that has happened at least 63 times since June 1. At least. To be clear, this is neither of the two’s fault, but the finish was solid, outside of Michael Cole yelling “Stomp!”, and now we can finally, please, for the love of God, move on from Ziggler vs. Rollins singles matches. Actually, what if they were to do a 90-minute Iron Man match at Survivor Series? Just picture it. I’m so sorry.

  2. Why do I care about The Undertaker vs. Triple H in 2018 in a non-WrestleMania capacity? The Undertaker was fine here, his shots at Corporate Hunter were fine, but this felt like watching Undertaker dance with John Cena at WrestleMania 34 for eight minutes. This entire feud, from Taker to Shawn Michaels to Triple H all feels like the creative team stumbled onto some member berries and decided to build a special around it. (Member The Undertaker?) Kind of like Jerry Seinfeld’s “I’m Telling You For The Last Time” special in the late ‘90s, we know this is not the last time fans are going to see Triple H and the Undertaker nothing is permanent and the marketing doesn’t matter. “Last time ever!” Sure.

  3. Well, Ronda Rousey almost competed in a match on Monday Night Raw. Sure, Rousey’s character not understanding the complexities involved in an open-challenge match wasn’t great, but this was still a step in the right direction. Fans want to see Rousey more often. They want to see her sling people over her shoulder and try and snap people’s arms. It’s never not entertaining, and if Rousey is going to be at every episode of Raw, you have to use her more. We may not have gotten to see a full Ruby Riott versus Rousey match, but the spear from the former alone showed this is definitely that should happen sooner rather than later. (Sidebar: It was nice of the Riott Squad to progress from graffiti and paper-tossing to attacking a member of the roster this week.)

Lifted from the Legal Pad:

  • “Went through hell, excuse the pun,” - Michael Cole, Embarrassing Dad.

  • Dean Ambrose going after McIntyre’s leg all match was a nice touch.

  • “How do open challenges work?” - Ronda Rousey.

  • Chad Gable entrance-bombing Bobby Roode is Actually Good.

  • The Ascension’s Viktor was rocking some very baggy tights this week. Somebody get this man a tailor!

  • Not a good start for Dana Brooke’s Post-Titus Worldwide run.

  • “He owns 26 Toyota Camrys.” - Corey Graves on Titus O’Neil.

  • “This is still Monday Night Rollins.” - Seth Rollins, confused quasi-main eventer.

  • Why hasn’t Drake Maverick cut a promo for AOP yet?

  • “I don’t know why you booked yourself in a Universal title match tonight?” asked Braun Strowman.

  • “Whose kid is this?” - Elias.

  • Somebody please save Kevin Owens.

That Just Happened College Football Week 3 With Jordan DeArmon (Ep. 204)

Chase Thomas is joined by longtime friend Jordan DeArmon to talk about Notre Dame surviving Vanderbilt at home, Alabama demolishing Ole Miss on the road, how Auburn lost to LSU again, why CFB fans should be watching Cole McDonald and Hawaii, their own top-10 rankings heading into Week 4, the Jawon Pass era ending in Louisville, and preview the five biggest games in Week 4 of the college football season. 

WWE Hell In A Cell Stock Report: The Cash-In Is Near

Has it already been two weeks since the last WWE Network special? No, it’s been a smidge longer than two weeks since the last weekend professional wrestling fans had to spend ten-plus hours consuming the WWE product. Fear not, humans who would rather spend their Sunday evenings not trying to juggle watching Sunday Night Football on NBC and the latest WWE Network special as the next standard special is Survivor Series, which isn’t happening until November 18. Rejoice!

Still, there is a special happening on Sunday evening, one of the three specials the network is putting out over a month-ish span. (The other specials being Evolution and Superstar Show-Down, of course. Serious question: Has there been a special with as cringe-worthy of a name as “Superstar Show-Down” in the WWE? Oh, right, Fastlane. What I’m saying is let’s bring back No Mercy and Unforgiven. Please?) The card is light on the number of matches, but it is heavy on the number of blood-feud matches. Very Much A Heel Braun Strowman challenges Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal championship; Very Much A I Don’t Really Know Becky Lynch challenges Charlotte Flair for the WWE Smackdown Women’s championship; Best Heel Samoa Joe challenges AJ Styles for the WWE championship; Brie Bella also tries to wrestle again. Outside of Strowman vs. Reigns and Ronda Rousey (c) vs. Alexa Bliss, the build-up to the vast majority of these matches have clicked. Mission accomplished?

Now, let’s get into some stock reports ahead of tomorrow night’s show.

***

Trending Up or Down: Braun Strowman

So this is it for Strowman, right? Or, at the very least, the beginning of the end for Strowman as a character who the company could still theoretically build around. It’s not that I don’t like Strowman, per se, but I have never bought into the “Braun Strowman could definitely be The Guy” argument that fans and analysts have been making for the last year or so. He lost his last blood feud with Reigns a summer ago, he lost a title match to Brock Lesnar that ended after the former delivered just one F-5 to Mr. Get These Hands, and spent this past summer in Character Rehabilitation camp, running roughshod through the main-event scene on Monday Night Raw -- Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, Finn Balor, etc. -- only for the company to throw it all away by saddling him with the dredded “you people” rhetoric and an uninspiring heel turn. All signs point to a loss to the Big Dog here and a boxing match against Conor McGregor at WrestleMania 35.

Final Verdict: Down.

Trending Up or Down: Becky Lynch

If you’ve been reading the wrestling news this week, you may have seen that there is talk of a double-turn taking place in the Lynch vs. Charlotte Flair Smackdown Women’s championship match at Hell In A Cell -- this would be a very good idea. There will always be something naturally appealing about Lynch, so long as she’s not doing the “Becky Balboa” thing, and there will be always be something naturally about Flair. The latter, as my friend Maxwell Baumbach pointed out on this week’s episode of RBR Wrestling, there is a Triple H-ness to Flair, which maybe shouldn’t come as a surprise considering who her father associated with. Yes, she is a very talented wrestler, but she also feels like an inevitable champion, someone who the fans know will always be in the title picture and who will always be in the company’s good graces -- is that not who Triple H was to a tee? That’s what makes this blood feud over the championship work between these two -- fans know Lynch is just as talented if not more so than Flair, yet has never and may never get her opportunity to carry the brand for reasons out of her control. The underutilized will always have the support of the fans, while the overexposed will never have the support of the fans.

Final Verdict: Up.

Trending Up or Down: Samoa Joe

The Samoan Submission Machine really, really wants to put WWE champion AJ Styles to sleep on Sunday night. Since the non-finish in their WWE championship match at SummerSlam, Joe has unearthed a new passion project: Homewrecking. Joe may never get his own reality show on HGTV, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t shown over the past month that you just can’t look away when the man is doing what he loves, which, remember, is homewrecking. At this point in his feud with Styles, it’s less about the championship and more about ruining the champ’s life. But, he needs to win. Since moving to Smackdown Live, Joe has done more talking than winning. He lost to Reigns in a snoozefest of a main event to close out Backlash, and if he comes up short against Styles again here, he’ll be right where Shinsuke Nakamura was just a year ago -- all the promise and intrigue in the world, but just another guy who lost when it mattered. Did I mention Joe really needs to be Styles? Because he does and I can’t stress that enough. (See: Ciampa, NXT Champion.)

Trending Up or Down: Ronda Rousey

Does it feel like the WWE Raw Women’s Champion is a big part of Monday Night Raw? It doesn’t, right? Sure, she’s around, but does her rematch with Bliss feel like a big deal? It doesn’t, right? This is a problem, as Rousey is too good and too entertaining to head into WWE Network specials with this little momentum. Part of it, of course, is that nobody believes she is dropping the championship to Bliss here, but that’s not everything at play here. Right now, Raw is built around The Shield vs. Generic Heel Faction, which is fine, but the company could easily find ways to build it more around Rousey. If the Baddest Woman On The Planet is not working the Brock Lesnar schedule, why would you not go above-and-beyond in utilizing one of the three actual “superstars” on the roster? (The other two being John Cena and Lesnar. The rest are professional wrestlers, an important distinction.) People really enjoy watching Rousey toss other wrestlers around like ragdolls. Do that more. Let Rousey interact with other members of the Raw roster on-screen besides Natalya. Let Rousey devour Bliss on Sunday, and, for all that is holy, inject her into a compelling program ahead of Evolution.

Final Verdict: Even


Chase Thomas is a sportswriter based out of Atlanta and the host of “The Chase Thomas Podcast”. You can email him at chasethomas0418[at]gmail.com.

Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler Rumors, Kevin Love In Cleveland, and Devin Booker's Injury With Tom Westerholm of MassLive (Ep. 203)

Chase Thomas is joined by MassLive's Tom Westerholm to talk about the latest Kyrie Irving and Jimmy Butler rumors in Boston, Kevin Love taking a leadership role in Cleveland, Devin Booker's hand injury, the Suns still not having a point guard, who has a better future between the Sixers and the Celtics and the Luka Doncic hype in Dallas. 

NFL, MLS, and MLB With Sean Wagner-McGough of CBS Sports Dylan Butler and Jon Tayler of Sports Illustrated (Ep. 202)

Chase Thomas is joined by CBS Sports' Sean Wagner-McGough to talk about the Aaron Rodgers comeback against the Bears, the Titans injury problems and Marcus Mariota, the Bucs surprising the Saints, the Lions being the least interesting team in the league and preview Week 2 of the NFL (4:00). Then, MLS writer Dylan Butler comes on the pod to talk about Atlanta United losing their manager, Real Salt Lake catching fire as of late, Clint Dempsey's retirement, and the Columbus Crew moving to Austin (75:00). Lastly, SI's Jon Tayler comes on the pod to talk about the Mets not calling up Peter Alonso, the Rockies leading the NL West, and the Phillies falling up apart down the stretch (150:00). 

That Just Happened College Football Week 2 With Jordan DeArmon (Ep. 201)

Chase Thomas is joined by Jordan Dearmon to talk about Alabama and Ohio State's early-season dominance with Haskins and Tua, what to make of Georgia blowing out South Carolina, Kentucky upsetting Florida, Iowa State looking to make it back-to-back wins versus Oklahoma, Kevin Sumlin struggling at Arizona, if Vanderbilt can win in South Bend, Will Grier vs. Ryan Finley, Kansas getting a road win, and what games they'll be watching in Week 3.