New York Giants Injuries: Jabrill Peppers out and Julian Love questionable

New York Giants, Jabrill Peppers

The New York Giants have already been hit hard enough by injuries this season, but luck isn’t letting up on them. Jabrill Peppers has been questionable ever since his injury in the most recent loss, but after not participating on Friday practice he has been ruled out entirely.

The blow comes harder for the Giants considering the preseason injury to Xavier McKinney. With both the projected starting safeties from before the season sitting out, the team is in an awkward spot at the position going into a matchup with the Rams, who scored more than 30 points in each of their last two games.

Peppers isn’t the only player in the secondary that might miss time against the Rams. The secondary is pretty banged up in general and defensive back Julian Love may also be out. Love’s status is only questionable, but it doesn’t look good that he hasn’t been confirmed as healthy yet.

“We plan on having him practice. We’ll see how he’s moving around. He practiced well for us yesterday. We’ll see him out there today on the practice field,” Joe Judge said about Love before practice on Friday. But despite having limited participation in practice, nothing has been confirmed about Love being ready for Sunday’s game.

Love and Peppers are currently listed on ESPN’s depth chart as the starting safeties for the Giants. With potentially both of them out, it’s not a good outlook for the team. The Giants will have to get creative and experiment with the position, but even if they get an acceptable performance, it will be at the cost of taking talent away from the cornerback spot.

New York Yankees: Gary Sanchez looking to build off big Wild Card Series performance

New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez

Although he struggled mightily during the regular season, New York Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez came up huge in game two of the Wild Card Series on Wednesday. He went 1-for-4 with three runs batted in, coming through in big spots.

After a leadoff walk from Brett Gardner in the sixth, Sanchez slugged a two-run home-run off the top of the wall in right field. It appeared as if he just missed it, but strong winds pushed the ball out and over the wall. That would put the Yankees up 8-6.

Also, with the Yankees hopes dwindling and down 9-8 in the ninth, Sanchez hit a game-tying sacrifice fly. DJ LeMahieu would follow Sanchez with a two-strike single to give the team the lead for good, leading to a Yankees series victory.

The Yankees are hoping that the performance from Sanchez can lead him to success throughout the rest of the postseason. With how much he’s struggled this season, it would be great for him and the team if he got going now.

Although he performed well on Wednesday, Sanchez won’t see his name crack the lineup in game one of the ALDS. Kyle Higashioka will be playing, catching Gerrit Cole. Higashioka has stood as Cole’s personal catcher, and they’ve been great together. Cole went seven strong innings in game one of the Wild Card Series with Higashioka catching, and Higgy even managed to pick up a hit.

Game one of the ALDS between the Yankees and Rays begins on Monday at 8:07pm ET at Petco Park in San Diego.

New York Giants have best chance of landing number one overall pick, according to ESPN

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Once again, the New York Giants are the talk of the NFL Draft less than a month into the NFL’s regular season. After an abysmal 0-3 start, Giants fans have lost hope in their team and have begun looking ahead to the offseason. According to ESPN FPI, Giants fans have good reason to look ahead to the draft.

The New York Giants have a 27.8% chance of landing the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, per ESPN FPI. This is just ahead of the New York Jets, who have a 27.7% chance of landing the top pick. Right now, it appears that the race for the first pick will be between the two New York teams.

The Giants and Jets have a much higher chance of picking first overall than any other team. The team with the third-highest chance is the Jaguars, at only 8.2%.

The Trevor Lawrence Sweepstakes

There is one player that will be targeted with the number one pick in the 2021 NFL Draft: Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence. Few “generational” quarterbacks have entered the NFL. The prospects that get the “generational” tag are Peyton Manning, John Elway, Andrew Luck, and now Trevor Lawrence. That is elite company that Lawrence is consistently brought up with.

The team that secures the number one overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft will, far more likely than not, draft Trevor Lawrence. Even the Giants will need to give fair consideration to replacing Daniel Jones in that scenario. Jones has flashed great potential in his first 15 starts, but he has been far from perfect. If the Giants do end up with the first overall pick, it would be an indictment on Daniel Jones. The only way the Giants implode like that is if Jones not only fails to progress but actually regresses between now and the end of the season.

So, in that scenario, Dave Gettleman would be fired. Daniel Jones is Gettleman’s (and Pat Shurmur’s) quarterback and, without Gettleman, there are no ties necessarily keeping Jones with the organization. A new general manager would come in and likely consider Trevor Lawrence too good to pass up.

The same goes for the New York Jets and Sam Darnold. Darnold was an excellent prospect coming out of college who has looked impressive at times but has yet to put it all together. Trevor Lawrence, being an infinitely better quarterback prospect, might be the only sensible selection for the Jets at first overall.

Whether it is the Giants, Jets, Jaguars, or someone else picking first overall, the selection will be Trevor Lawrence. Of course, a team like the Jets or Giants could trade down for a king’s ransom if they believe enough in their young quarterbacks. But Trevor Lawrence’s ceiling is too high to pass up. He is a must-pick prospect for whoever lands the top selection in 2021.

New York Mets: David Peterson is now expected to be a fixture in the rotation for years to come

New York Mets, David Peterson

The New York Mets clearly had some issues with their starting rotation. Of the six men that were supposed to start the season, only one of them didn’t have any injury issues: Rick Porcello. The other five had to miss some time or were affected by different ailments to some degree.

Jacob deGrom had to depart a start after two innings with a hamstring issue, Michael Wacha suffered shoulder inflammation, Noah Syndergaard didn’t even make a pitch because he underwent Tommy John surgery in the spring, Steven Matz also had some shoulder problems, and Marcus Stroman suffered a calf strain and later opted out of the season.

Only deGrom and Matz are under contract for next season. Syndergaard is, as well, but won’t be an option for the New York Mets for the first couple of months, maybe even around the All-Star break of 2021, while he recovers from the elbow surgery.

Thankfully (well, hopefully), the Mets will have a third healthy arm slotted in for next season, as rookie left-hander David Peterson impressed in 2020. While he also had to miss some time because of shoulder inflammation, he was good and consistent in most of his starts, and proved that he is ready to handle major league pitching.

“I love to compete,” Peterson recently said to MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo. “I think that’s one of the biggest things that I wanted to prove to myself and to everyone else, that I belong up here.”

A successful season for the Mets’ rookie

For the season, Peterson had a solid 3.44 ERA and a 4.52 FIP in 49.2 innings. He had some issues with walks (4.35 BB/9) but showed that he can navigate through a lineup by using a low 90s fastball, a good slider and a developing changeup.

“David Peterson’s an excellent pitcher. The stuff that he has and what he’s been able to do this year has proven he’s a big leaguer,” closer Edwin Diaz said.

Another voice that came out impressed with Peterson is catcher Robinson Chirinos. “He’s getting better and better,” Chirinos said. “The first time I caught him, his stuff was good, but it was not consistent. … After that, he started getting more [over] the plate with his stuff. And his stuff is really good.”

In a year in which the Mets do not appear to have too many names in their starting rotation, they are counting on Peterson to produce the same kind of performance he had this year in 2021.

UFC: Dana White comments on Jones/Adesanya, McGregor/Poirier, and Khamzat Chimaev

UFC, Dana White

A lot has been happening in the world of the UFC over the last week. We’ve had Israel Adesanya and Jon Jones continuously going back and forth over social media. We’ve seen Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier agree to a charity MMA fight.

All of this has created a lot for the UFC and Dana White. Today, White was asked about a number of things in an interview with UFC Arabia. One of the first things White was asked about was the ongoing beef between Jon Jones (26-1, 1 NC) and Israel Adesanya (20-0).

White said, “Yeah that’s the fight to make. One hundred percent. I think a fight between those two is massive.” The current UFC middleweight champion is coming off of the performance of his career at UFC 253 last weekend.

Adesanya and Jones have long teased a fight between the two. However, Adesanya has always said he wanted to fight the UFC‘s pound for pound king in 2021. However, White seems to be interested in making it sooner.

Other UFC Fights in the Works

On another front is the situation between Conor McGregor (22-4) and Dustin Poirier (26-6, 1 NC). Over the past week, McGregor has said that he was planning on boxing Manny Pacquiao. Then he went on to challenge Poirier to a charity MMA match outside the UFC.

The UFC responded by offering the fight to both men. Poirier has accepted the fight, and the promotion is currently waiting to hear back from McGregor. They are expecting to hear back from McGregor by the end of the day. The fight would be a headliner in January.

Also, White was asked about Khamzat Chimaev (9-0). The budding UFC superstar is expected to headline a fight soon, but the date and opponent are unknown. White provided an update saying it shouldn’t be long before it’s announced.

“Hopefully we will have something to announce today. It is not Demian Maia. Main event in November,” White said. Chimaev has exploded over the last couple of months and the promotion had thought about pairing him with Maia, but that is no longer in the cards.

It appears that there will be a lot of news coming out soon involving some of the biggest names in the sport. Exciting times if you are a fan of the UFC.

‘He’s a clown’: Former Yankees’ pitcher CC Sabathia slams Astros star

New York Yankees, CC Sabathia

Former New York Yankees‘ left-handed starting pitcher CC Sabathia made the news again this today. The big fella is known as a Yankees’ ambassador ever since he retired after last season, and given the recent history between the Bombers and the Houston Astros, he heavily criticized shortstop Carlos Correa for calling out Astros’ critics this week.

Correa, a member of the Astros team that was caught using a sign-stealing scheme back in 2017, the year in which they won the World Series, said that to Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle: “I know a lot of people are mad. I know a lot of people don’t want to see us here. But what are they going to say now?”

Those comments from Correa came immediately after the Astros eliminated the Minnesota Twins 2-0 to advance to the Division Series. To that, the former Yankees’ great had a wide array of F-bombs and other insults.

“They cheated and then they’re mad at us. Like get the f— out of here,” Sabathia said on the R2C2 podcast. “It’s a f—–g joke. And then you finish under .500 this year. Like, shut the f— up. … The kid’s a clown, I’m sorry.”

The former Yankees’ star had some words for the Astros

The Astros did finish below the .500 threshold, at 29-31 in a highly competitive American League West division. Sabathia, of course, was a member of the New York Yankees back in 2017, when the sign-stealing scandal, which involved trash can banging as a way to relay stolen signs through video cameras, took place.

“F— them dudes, man,” Sabathia said. The former Yankees’ hurler then criticized that the Astros beat a Twins team that has been highly unsuccessful in recent postseason ventures: “Y’all beat a team that’s lost 18 straight f—— playoff games.”

The Houston Astros will face the Oakland Athletics in the division series, while the Yankees will play against the Tampa Bay Rays. The winners of those brackets will meet at the Championship Series.

New York Jets: Something has to change as layoff looms large

New York Jets, Adam Gase

The New York Jets are reportedly retaining Adam Gase. That shouldn’t stop them from making changes to prevent further embarrassment.

Providing a watchable primetime game for the football-loving masses doesn’t earn you any postseason real estate in the National Football League, but it apparently allows you to keep a tenuous grasp on a head coaching position.

Thursday night entertainment and competency wasn’t enough for the New York Jets to earn a victory, as they fell 37-28 to the Denver Broncos at MetLife Stadium. The Jets (0-4) did tally a season-high in scoring and even led for the first time in 2020. But when the endgame remains defeat at the hands of a Denver squad trotting out a third-string quarterback and missing its playmakers, it’s hard to glean out any positives.

Despite this, the overseer of this winless operation, Adam Gase, isn’t going anywhere. Connor Hughes of The Athletic has revealed that Gase is not only secure through the upcoming ten-day layoff the Jets before an October 11 tilt against Arizona (1 p.m. ET, Fox) but that “the plan is for (Gase) to remain the team’s coach throughout the season, barring any dramatic circumstances that would make a change unavoidable”.

New York may have already reached such a point, but there’s no use arguing it. Gase’s seat has been warm since he opened his green office. Only a phantom 6-2 stretch, mostly earned against hopeless or resting teams, has lowered the temperature, and that might as well have happened a decade ago. The Jets, though, have appeared to hitch their wagon to the Gase truck and there’s no turning back. Star-crossed as their history may be, the Jets are a team that has mostly avoided the in-season firing. Charley Winner was the last example all the way back in 1974.

But if Gase isn’t going, someone has to respond for this.

When one looks at the modern Jets, there’s certainly room for potential. But, should that potential be recognized, has anyone earned the right to stick around for those hypothetical (for now) glory days? Can there even be glory days with this unit and this core? Other than Jamison Crowder and Sam Ficken, which veterans on this team can accurately say they’re in a better situation than they were in last season?

Be it a coach, be it a player, someone has to be held accountable in this early going.

The likely, more efficient, spot to make a change in the coaching staff. A macabre gift offered to the Jets in their de facto state of early elimination is that players have a dozen consequence-free opportunities to play for their jobs. Good, strong efforts on the field can be the difference between playing in the NFL…be it in New York or elsewhere…and waiting for an opportunity in Dwayne Johnson’s XFL in 2022…be it in New York or elsewhere.

But this coaching staff is not granting the Jets’ representatives the opportunity to do so. It’s one thing to post losing records but to look respectable doing it…that’s what the 2017 squad was doing under Josh McCown (5-8 as a starter with all but two losses by a single digit). But to repeatedly make no adjustments and constantly chalk deficiencies up to execution isn’t working.

Improvisation from Sam Darnold contributed to a good portion of the offensive output, including the 46-yard run to glory that dropped the jaws of football fans everywhere. With Le’Veon Bell out, Gase and his offensive staff have opted to leave a majority of his duties…and others…into the 37-year-old legs of Frank Gore, rather than testing the mettle of fourth-round pick La’Mical Perine. With the outcome decided after a Melvin Gordon-induced dagger, the Jets nonetheless engaged in unnecessary, dangerous extracurriculars, (the last of six personal foul penalties worth 15 yards each) ones that certainly look suspect when one looks like a Gregg Williams’ past (namely the New Orleans chapters). Gase has been lauded as an “offensive genius” by team CEO Christopher Johnson, but one view of Ryan Tannehill’s highlights from Tennessee, free from the Miami-induced purgatory of Gase and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains serves as a visual aid against description.

Even in defeat, the Jets aren’t being set up for success. There’s such a thing as a “good loss”…rebuilding teams thrive on such moral victories…but the Jets can’t even get those.

The next ten days could change the course of several careers. Wins in a brutal stretch (the Chargers, Bills, and Super Bowl champion Chiefs and Patriots immediately loom after the upstart Cardinals) are probably going to very hard to come by, but development can still be made. Personal growth can be attained. Wins, proverbial and personal, is there for the taking.

But that’s not going to come if the MetLife Stadium sidelines ten days from now is a duplicate of Thursday night.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

BREAKING: Deiveson Figueiredo gets new opponent at UFC 255

UFC 255 was dealt a bit of a blow today. First reported by Combate and now confirmed by ESPN, Cody Garbrandt (12-3) is out of his title fight against flyweight champion Deiveson Figueiredo (19-1). Figueiredo will now defend against a new opponent.

The UFC‘s flyweight champion will now be taking on Alex Perez (24-5) per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto. Perez was already scheduled to be on the card taking on Brandon Moreno (17-5-1). However, Perez will now jump into the main event of the evening.

This is a tough blow for the former UFC bantamweight champion, Cody Garbrandt. Garbrandt had gone through a rough time over the past couple of years, but made a big return at UFC 250 where he knocked out Raphael Assuncao.

After that knockout victory, Garbrandt announced he wanted to move down to flyweight to try to capture a second UFC title. Garbrandt wasn’t the biggest guy at bantamweight, and he felt he could easily make 125. His title opportunity is going to have to wait now.

UFC 255’s New Main Event

What a golden opportunity this has turned into for Alex Perez. Perez is currently ranked fourth in the UFC‘s flyweight rankings. He will come into this title fight at 11-1 in his last 12 fights. The only loss coming to Joseph Benavidez back in 2018.

Perez has earned this title shot however, he’s going to have his hands full with the UFC‘s flyweight champion. Figueiredo will be making his first title defense after dominating Joseph Benavidez for the second time back in July.

Figueiredo was able to capture the undisputed UFC flyweight crown by choking Benavidez out cold in the first round. It was the second time this year that Figueiredo had stopped Benavidez cementing himself as the best flyweight in the UFC.

While it’s not the main event everyone wanted, it will still be a very solid flyweight title fight for the promotion. A huge opportunity for Perez and another tough blow for Cody Garbrandt.

Bellator makes a couple of big Russian signings (Reports)

Bellator is in the news today for a couple of big signings that were reported by ESPN’s Ariel Helwani. One of the big signings for the promotion was signing UFC vet Rustam Khabilov (24-4) to a multiple fight deal.

Bellator has been really aggressive lately in trying to build their talent base. Khabilov is a veteran of the sport, but he should be a top contender in Bellator‘s lightweight division. Khabilov last fought for the UFC in November.

Prior to signing with Bellator, Khabilov had gone 7-1 in his last eight fights with the UFC. His lone loss coming at the hands of Diego Ferreira last February. The most notable victory on Khabilov’s record was a victory over Jorge Masvidal back in 2013.

While it’s not the sexiest signing in the world, it’s still a big one for Bellator‘s lightweight division. In my opinion the biggest signing announcement came when the UFC’s lightweight champion announced the promotion had signed his undefeated cousin Usman Nurmagomedov (11-0).

Massive signing for Bellator

Many people in the industry thought that the UFC would sign Usman Nurmagomedov. However, it was Scott Coker and Bellator that swooped in and signed the undefeated Russian prospect. There are many that are extremely high on this kid.

At just 23 years old, Nurmagomedov has already 11 fights which include 10 victories coming by stoppage. Nurmagomedov has very good Muay Thai skills to go along with good grappling skills. Some have said he’s going to be better than his older cousin.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is considered by many to be the best fighter in the world. For some people to say that Usman is going to be better than Khabib is extremely high praise. The top prospect is expected to make his Bellator debut in December or January. Expect the fast track treatment for the top Russian lightweight.

New York Yankees ALDS blueprint starts with Gerrit Cole

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

There are not many years where people could say that the most anticipated playoff series is in the divisional round. However, the New York Yankees facing off against the Tampa Bay Rays is expected to be must-see TV for all baseball fans.

The Rays had their way with the Yankees winning eight of the ten regular season matchups. The bombers just couldn’t get over the hump against the Rays. One of the games that the Yankees won was started by their ace, Gerrit Cole.

In that game in Tampa Bay, Cole went 4.2 innings but struck out 10 while giving up 3 runs. It was his fourth start of the year, and he just ran out of gas in the fifth innings. The Rays beat Cole in their second matchup on the year.

However, Cole has turned a corner for the Yankees in the month of September. Cole went 3-1 with an ERA of 1.00 in September and struck out 34 batters in 27 innings. Cole made his Yankees postseason debut against the Indians where he went seven innings and struck out a season high 13 batters.

Gerrit Cole has been known to be a slow starter. His year is actually on pace with where he was a year ago when he turned the corner for the Astros. When Cole got hot, he couldn’t be stopped as the Rays found out last year in the ALDS.

Can Cole repeat history for the Yankees?

Last year, the Rays pushed the Astros to the limit. However, they couldn’t get by Gerrit Cole. Cole started two games and he won both games pitching a combined 15.2 innings, striking out 25 batters and only giving up one run.

Had the current Yankees ace not been a member of the Astros, the Rays would have likely made the ALCS last year. Cole will get the ball twice in this years’ ALDS barring a sweep by either team. Cole will be the starter in game one and game four for the Yankees.

If Cole can pitch the way he has over the last month, the Rays could be in a lot of trouble. In my opinion, it’s easier to be the underdog after a season of losing to one team. The Yankees an an underdog are a very dangerous team.

It’s hard to imagine calling a team an underdog when they will have Gerrit Cole starting two games in a five game series. However, that’s the position the Yankees are in. The Yankees are hot right now with the bats, but the blueprint to victory in the ALDS starts with the $324 million man, Gerrit Cole.