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October 28th

CBS Sports logo CBS Sports 10/28/2021 Shanna McCarriston

Happy Thursday sports fans, it's Shanna McCarriston back for one more newsletter this week. We had another World Series game last night and, like most of America, I want the Braves to win. Which made last night slightly difficult to watch.

We'll dive deep into Game 2 in a minute, and after that we'll also look at some struggling NFL teams, a big college basketball preview and more. 

Let's get started!

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📰 What you need to know

1. Momentum is simply not playing a part in the World Series ⚾

Game 1 of the World Series was all Braves and their offense. Last night, Game 2 was all Astros and their offense. Houston tied things up at home with a 7-2 win over Atlanta.

As our MLB scribe Matt Snyder wrote from Houston last night, so much for momentum in this World Series. That is all a virtue of these teams having similar makeups. Both have offenses that, for better or worse, periodically get hot and cold, while both pitching staffs don't have a clear ace.

What we're saying is, expect the rest of this series to very much be a back-and-forth affair.

Now back to Game 2: Here's a breakdown of how Houston won:

  • Astros took a first-inning lead on an Alex Bregman sac fly that sent Jose Altuve home
  • The Braves answered with a solo home run from catcher Travis d'Arnaud to tie it up
  • Five ground-ball singles off Atlanta ace Max Fried helped give the Astros the lead and put four runs on the board
  • Altuve hit a solo home run in the seventh inning, giving the Astros an even more comfortable lead 
  • Houston's pitching held up to help secure the win

A lot of writers hate math but I don't, so let's look at this thing from a numbers perspective:

  • Teams up 2-1 in a best-of-seven postseason series in MLB have gone on to win that series more than 70 percent of the time, so these three upcoming games in Atlanta are enormous

Game 3 is taking place on Friday at SunTrust Park

2. NFL teams that can say goodbye to their playoff hopes 🏈

Is Week 8 of the NFL regular season too early for teams and their fanbases to give up on the season and forget about the playoffs? Here at CBS Sports, we say it's not too early!

That's right. There are nine NFC teams and five AFC teams that we don't really think have a shot at extending their season past 17 games. There is a serious gap between the best of the best and the worst this season, and at this point some teams are playing for draft positions.

Let's take a look at some teams (including most of the NFC East!) that have all but sealed their fate for the 2021 season:

NFC

  • Eagles (2-5)
  • Giants (2-5)
  • Washington Football Team (2-5)
  • Lions (0-7)
  • Bears (3-4)

AFC

  • Texans (1-6)
  • Jaguars (1-5)
  • Jets (1-5)
  • Dolphins (1-6)

For full commentary on each team, click here.

Now, miracles can always happen, but the chances of any of the above teams making the playoffs -- or making it far if they do by some chance make it -- are slim to none. Sorry not sorry.

3. Ranking the best players in men's college basketball 🏀

There are about two weeks left before the 2021-22 college basketball season starts and our CBS Sports experts have been hard at work this offseason to give us a list of the 101 best players. This yearly tradition reveals who our guys think will be the best in the sport this season.

Let's get this out of the way before diving in: it is "not the best draft prospects, not even necessarily the most productive -- but the best players." Veterans tend to make up most of the list and this year is no different.

Here is a look at how the list breaks down by year:

  • Freshmen: 10
  • Sophomores: 18
  • Juniors: 33
  • Seniors/graduates: 40

Now to the good stuff: the top players. This email would be rather long if we listed all 101 players mentioned, so let's just highlight the top 5:

  • No. 1: Drew Timme | Gonzaga | Junior
  • No. 2: Kofi Cockburn | Illinois | Junior
  • No. 3: Paolo Banchero | Duke | Freshman 
  • No. 4: Johnny Juzang | UCLA | Junior
  • No. 5: Chet Holmgren | Gonzaga | Freshman

For the entire list, along with commentary on each player, click here.

4. Doc Rivers, Daryl Morey deserve more scrutiny in Ben Simmons drama 🏀

The relationship between Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers is not great, to say the least. You've probably heard about it. The issues are layered and have been going on for some time.

For the most part, the public perception is that Simmons is 100% at fault. In reality, as our NBA expert Bill Reiter explained, one of the main reasons for this soap opera is the massive egos involved -- and we are not talking just about Simmons.

  • Reiter on head coach Doc Rivers: "Rivers' lack of authenticity and at times disconnectedness from his teams can create a coach players don't always trust when things get dicey."

Remember after the Sixers lost Game 7 to the Hawks in the playoffs last postseason when Rivers was asked if Simmons could be a point guard for a championship team? What not to say was, "I don't know that question or the answer to that right now" ... but that's exactly what he said. 

Simmons wasn't too thrilled about that response and it was a moment of Rivers not taking responsibility for his own mistakes and his ego getting in the way. Outside of Simmons and Rivers, Daryl Morey -- the president of basketball operations -- has played a big part in the drama. He is keeping the price for Simmons unreasonably high because he is worried about losing a major deal, Reiter wrote.

This drama feels far from over and with these three egos involved, smoothing things out or making a deal will only be that much more difficult.

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📝 Odds & Ends

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📺 What to watch tonight

🏀 Knicks vs. Bulls, 8 p.m. | CHI -2 | TV: NBA League Pass

🏈 Packers vs. Cardinals, 8:20 p.m. | ARI -6.5 | TV: FOX

🏒 Wild vs. Kraken, 10 p.m. | SEA -110

🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet

I am going to change this segment today to most interesting thing I saw on the internet. Maybe the most dramatic? The most superstitious? You can decide the adjective that best describes this story:

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale is a known bettor with a lot of cash in his pocket and has picked the Astros to win the World Series. If Houston wins it all, Mattress Mack will win a record $22 million on a $2 million bet. McIngvale needed all the help he could get to help the Astros and with so much on the line, so he decided to turn to a higher power. He brought 55 nuns from the Dominican Sisters of Mary Immaculate Province to Tuesday's game.

The power of the nuns did not work on Tuesday, as the Astros lost 6-2, but Houston did get a win on Wednesday.

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