MLB

Early Super Bowl predictions, plus why don’t the Red Sox and Yankees hate each other anymore?

Happy Tuesday, friend! Or if you’re me, it’s a hungry Tuesday considering I’m now officially doing a week on the TB12 diet in celebration of Tom Brady’s 10th Super Bowl appearance. (Spoiler: I’m struggling to obey the rules already.) I’ll be chronicling that journey right here, so feel free to follow along as I progressively get crankier as I’m forced to take care of myself and not treat my body like a garbage disposal.

Another Tuesday means another day for mailbag submissions as well. Feel free to shoot me any question you want (on sports, pop culture, TV shows, video games, dieting, quarantine, etc.) and I’ll deliver on the best ones tomorrow. Send your Q’s to [email protected] or hit me up on Twitter.

Let’s get to it.


📰 What you need to know

1. Five early Super Bowl predictions 🏈

I told you the Super Bowl preview content would be coming fast and furious over the next couple of weeks and I wasn’t kidding. Today, we’ll kick things off with a guaranteed crowd-pleaser: Predictions.

We may still be about two weeks away from the Chiefs-Buccaneers showdown in Tampa, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early for our Jordan Dajani to look into his crystal ball and let us know what he sees.

  • Tyreek Hill goes for over 100 receiving yards and wins Super Bowl MVP: Hill has been on another level lately (three straight postseason games with 100+ yards receiving) and the best game of his career came earlier this season when he torched Tampa for 13 catches, 269 yards and three touchdowns. He could be in for another big showing in Super Bowl LV
  • Rob Gronkowski catches a touchdown pass: After a solid season, Gronk has been quiet for the Bucs during this postseason run. But Brady and Gronk have long-established trust in the red zone and Dajani thinks they connect for a score in the Super Bowl — possibly for the last time ever
  • Chiefs repeat: Brady and the Bucs did their best to give the game away in the second half of the NFC Championship, and Kansas City just looks too dominant lately. The defense has been playing well and the offense is virtually unstoppable, so look for KC to hoist a second straight Lombardi Trophy

There’s nothing too unreasonable there, huh? You can find a few extra predictions from Dajani here, but I’m willing to bet we’ll get a bunch more — including some of the bold variety — before Super Bowl Sunday.

While most of these predictions will focus on what happens on the field, I am rather curious to see how the festivities and lead-up to the game are altered given the pandemic. We’re certainly not going to have the circus or fanfare that we’re used to during Super Bowl week, partly because there will be less people in town for the event and also because teams are going to want to protect the integrity of their roster as much as possible leading up to the season finale. It’ll be interesting to see what the NFL does to try and replace some of that entertainment value.

2. Yankees, Red Sox make a stunning trade ⚾

Speaking as a lifelong Bostonian, it’s no secret that the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry has lacked a little bit of its usual luster over the past dozen years or so. Even when the two teams faced off in the postseason and taunted each other a bit in 2018, there wasn’t the same level of hatred or bite that we’ve come to expect from the storied rivalry. 

But even so, seeing a trade between the two? That’s an incredible rarity, but it happened on Monday.

  • The Yankees traded veteran reliever Adam Ottavino and right-handed pitching prospect Frank German to the Red Sox in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named later
  • In two seasons with N.Y., Ottavino appeared in 97 games and compiled a 2.76 ERA (162 ERA+) with a 2.31 strikeout-to-walk ratio
  • Ottavino, 35, struggled in 2020 and was dumped by New York seemingly due to luxury tax implications (they’re now in better position to retain Brett Gardner without exceeding the luxury tax)
  • This is the first trade between the teams since 2014 (Stephen Drew for Kelly Johnson) and only the third since 1997

Both teams helping each other out with a friendly deal? What kind of nonsense is that? That shouldn’t even be allowed. We’re gonna need one of these teams to dig up the other’s infield or something just to remind them they’re not friends. Send a message. We’ve got decades of hate and animosity to protect.

3. The Packers still give Aaron Rodgers the best shot to win 🏈


USATSI

Yesterday we discussed Aaron Rodgers’ future in Green Bay — a future that seems up in the air following the Packers’ loss in the NFC Championship. Some of Rodgers’ postgame comments seemed like passive aggressive digs at his own team/coach, and he acknowledged that he’s among several guys who might not be back next year.

But our Jonathan Jones is here to tell you to pump the brakes on the speculation. Not only does he think Rodgers will be back in green and gold next season, but he also thinks that Green Bay may be the best place for Rodgers to try and win another Super Bowl.

  • Jones: “The 49ers would no doubt be better with Rodgers, and the Bay Area connection is obvious. Indianapolis’s defense is built for a postseason run, and Frank Reich could get another veteran quarterback in there with the cap space the Colts have. The Bears have a defense and receiver (Allen Robinson) that could sustain a run, but a trade within the NFC North would never happen … It’s hard to place Rodgers in a situation that is unquestionably better than the one he’s in now.”

It’s true the Rodgers has some nice weapons and a good team around him in Green Bay, and that’s been enough to reach the NFC Championship in each of the past two years. But it’s also true that, as the Packers were looking to bolster their roster for another deep run, they used a first-round pick to select Rodgers’ successor rather than add a piece that could help them right away. 

With that in mind, the Rodgers-Packers relationship is in a strange place. It would make all the sense in the world for him to stick around in Green Bay and see if they can get over the hump next season, but the Packers showed last season they’re not afraid to be bold while committing to a future with someone else under center. 

4. More MLB-MLBPA drama with postseason/DH proposal ⚾


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Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but MLB and the MLBPA are encountering some drama at the negotiation table as they try to hammer out the details of the upcoming season. Here’s what’s going on at the moment:

  • The MLBPA rejected the league’s proposal for a universal DH and expanded postseason yesterday
  • If no agreement can be reached between now and the regular season, the 2021 season will be played under the terms of the current CBA (DH in AL only, 10-team postseason)
  • It’s unclear if the two sides will continue to negotiate on similar proposals for the 2021 season, but the league will have time to push for an expanded season as part of the upcoming CBA talks                  

If you’re wondering why the players would be against the universal DH/expanded playoff, it’s likely because such an amendment would provide more value to the league/owners than it would the players. The jump in broadcast revenue that would come as a result of the expanded postseason doesn’t quite line up with the added value of having 15 extra designated hitter openings.

At this point, you just have to hope that this disagreement gets solved in a civil manner. We’ve already seen too much drama and bitterness shared between MLB and the MLBPA over the last year or so and, with the current CBA set to expire, we’re in significant danger of a work stoppage if these two sides are at each other’s throats once again.


📝 Odds & Ends


CBS Sports graphic

📺 What to watch today

🏒 Islanders vs. Capitals, 7 p.m| WSH +115 | TV: NBCSN

🏀 Clippers vs. Hawks, 7:30 p.m. | ATL -2.5 | TV: NBA TV


📝 Top scores from last night


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🏀 No. 11 West Virginia 88, No. 10 Texas Tech 87

Miles McBride hit a go-ahead jumper with six seconds left and finished with a season-high 24 points.
💵 Winning wagers: WVU +107, Over (136.5)

🏀 Lakers 115, Cavaliers 108

LeBron James dropped 46 points and added eight boards in his first game in Ohio in almost two years.
💵 Winning wagers: CLE +12, Over (214.5)

🏒 Canucks 7, Senators 1

Brandon Sutter had a hat trick in the blowout win.
💵 Winning wagers: VAN -147, Over (6.5)



 

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