The New York Giants have the odds stacked against them when they face Seattle on Sunday, to try to remain in first place in the NFC East. However, they’ll have three players back even as they lose one player to the injured reserve list after their last win.
The player that’s headed to the IR is outside linebacker and pass rusher Kyler Fackrell, who went out during the Bengals game with a calf injury. The more significant injury from that game was of course the one that took down QB Daniel Jones, but Jones didn’t need to be placed on the IR because it’s believed he could still return for the Seahawks game – and if Jones doesn’t come back then, his return should be shortly after.
It’s not all bad news for the Giants. The team does gain three players back after they were previously placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Those players are tight end Kaden Smith, offensive tackle Matt Peart, and receiver Dante Pettis.
The most significant of the players to come back may be Peart, who was in direct competition with top draft pick Andrew Thomas earlier in the season. Considering his status as a third round pick, Peart has been one of the overachievers for the Giants this season.
Kaden Smith, on the other hand, has seen less use this season compared to Evan Engram but offers further depth at the tight end position.
The latest round of roster moves also includes dropping punter Ryan Santoso, who was primarily signed to the team due to the temporary loss of Graham Gano.
That’s when former UFC lightweight champion, Anthony Pettis (23-10), decided to step in and ask for a fight. The promotion worked on it this afternoon and they have found Pettis an opponent at welterweight per ESPN.
Pettis will be taking on Alex Morono (18-6, 1 NC) at UFC Vegas 17. There is no word yet on if this fight will take place on the main card or the prelims. Normally, this would be a sure main card fight on a fight night card, but this card is incredibly stacked.
UFC Vegas 17’s New Fight
Pettis had been training and he’s been itching to get back into the UFC‘s octagon. Pettis last fought back in May when he defeated Donald Cerrone by decision. The fight was razor close, but Pettis was able to snap his two-fight losing streak.
The former lightweight champion has struggled to find his groove over the last few years. Late in the summer, Pettis seemed interested in fighting Anderson Silva, but that fight never materialized. Now, Pettis will get his next UFC opportunity against a hungry contender.
Alex Morono returned a few weeks ago to fight Rhys McKee. It was Morono’s first fight since he was knocked out by Khaos Williams. Morono was able to dominate the fight and win a unanimous decision.
He is now 4-1 in his last five fights in the UFC. He’ll be taking on a ranked contender and a former champion in Anthony Pettis. This is the biggest fight of Morono’s career and a golden opportunity for progression. Should be a great matchup on December 19th.
So the Knicks went into the offseason with so much anticipation from their fan base and around the league.
Armed with a massive $40-million cap space, the Knicks have struck out anew in a free agency devoid of franchise-altering stars. But it’s not that they didn’t try to go after second-tier stars Gordon Hayward and Fred Van Vleet or inquired about the Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
But they resisted the temptation of recklessly throwing big money on stars on the decline.
For a change, the Knicks showed restraint.
“I like it,” Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau said on a zoom call with reporters Tuesday on how their front office operated with prudence during the offseason.
“Obviously I had input with Leon. And that’s all did I ever asked for – just to have a voice heard and that happened. We understood coming in what the challenges would be. We’re excited about the people we do have. We understand that it’s important for us to build a winning culture. And if we can do that, good things will happen,” he added.
Thibodeau, a win-now coach, shows extraordinary patience as the Knicks’ new regime under his friend, team president Leon Rose, kept their massive space for next summer’s loaded free agency.
Thibodeau will use next season to lay the foundation of the rebuild.
He referenced his brief stop in Minnesota, where in the first season, he missed the playoffs despite having former lottery picks Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. And he also mentioned how the Philadelphia 76ers went through losing seasons despite having rising stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
“Obviously, a couple of different roads you can go down. If you study it and look at how teams are built, I went through this in Minnesota – the draft is critical, free agency is critical, player development is critical and trade opportunities are critical. When you look back at Philadelphia, what they went through, obviously, they went through a lot of losing and were able to get Embiid and Simmons, and when they had their veterans, that’s when they took off,” Thibodeau said.
Both the Timberwolves and the 76ers enjoyed success when veterans came to show the way for their young stars.
‘We wanted to be disciplined’
A common denominator for the Timberwolves and the Sixers is Jimmy Butler.
When Thibodeau traded for Butler in Minnesota, the Timberwolves made the playoffs for the first time in 14 years. When Butler forced his way out of Minnesota that cost Thibodeau his job, the Sixers felt Butler’s impact. They came to a Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater away from going into the Eastern Conference Finals.
“I think you look at four avenues and try to build your plan that way. I thought we had a well-thought-out plan. We took advantage of some things that we thought would be good for us. But we wanted to be disciplined. And we were,” Thibodeau said.
The Knicks did take advantage of teams like the Utah Jazz and the Timberwolves who wanted to shed salaries and got plenty of future second-round picks and young players Omari Spellman and Jacob Evans in return.
The Knicks made underrated, smart moves and operated as a small market team, which can be attributed to the forward-thinking of chief strategist Brock Aller, who came from the Cleveland Cavaliers and assistant general manager Walter Perrin, who came from the Jazz.
And to top it all, the Knicks had a good draft with a couple of sneaky moves that landed them College Player of the Year and Brooklyn native Obi Toppin from Dayton and SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley from Kentucky to add their collection of young talents.
‘We can’t skip steps’
With a young core devoid of a veteran of Butler’s caliber, Thibodeau plans to build a winning culture that will make New York an attractive destination for stars.
“There will be other opportunities as we go forward but we concentrate on players that we have here. Concentrate on our improvement and hopefully, good things will happen,” Thibodeau said.
Thibodeau’s move to get Butler in Minnesota has been viewed as skipping steps but for him, having that right guy to lead them over the hump is the next step after laying down the foundation.
“The first step is practicing the right way. Having professionalism and togetherness that will allow us to reach whatever our potential is. And we want to build a winning culture and that happens day by day. So oftentimes you’re not gonna jump from one point to the top of the league in a short amount of time. So, you have to go step by step. We can’t skip over any of those steps and hopefully, we have the right guys to build that culture,” he continued.
Chess, not checkers
The odds are stacked against the Knicks this season, but Thibodeau and Rose are playing chess, not checkers.
Vegas oddsmakers have the Knicks tied with the Cavaliers for the fewest projected victories at 22 ½ while ESPN is more generous with a 24.7-win projection.
“The focus for us and for our team has to be on doing the right things every day. If we do that, then we’ll improve and get better. And that’s all we have to think about. It doesn’t matter what outside people think,” Thibodeau said.
Another season of losing isn’t what the Knicks fans are expecting from the new regime. But Thibodeau knows New York basketball by heart.
“I think the one thing about New York fans [is that] they’re knowledgeable about the game. I think if they see a team that’s out there working as hard as they can, playing smart and playing together, that will be recognized. And if we’re taking all the little things, the big things will end up taking care of themselves. And if we work on improving each and every day, good things are coming,” Thibodeau said.
Knicks fans have suffered long enough, and they can’t wait for the good things to come.
The NBA training camp has begun, and James Harden is still in Houston. Still the franchise cornerstone of the Rockets.
The blockbuster trade that was supposed to bring Harden to the Brooklyn Nets got stalled with the Rockets wanting to get a king’s ransom in return. Something that the Nets wouldn’t want to do — mortgage their future.
And at the center of the storm that threatened to tilt the balance of power in the NBA is Kevin Durant, who, reportedly, had a conversation with Harden in forming a super team with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn.
Kevin Durant denies rumors that he had conversations with James Harden about playing for the Nets:
Durant vehemently denied such conversations between him and Harden on the first day of the Nets’ training camp.
“I don’t know where you’re making these stories up, that me and James talked about any of this at a workout,” Durant told reporters via zoom on Tuesday. “I don’t know where that came from. James is a friend of mine, but I let the front office handle all of that stuff. I was just so focused on working out.
But Durant, who will make his much-anticipated return from an Achilles injury more than a week from now, has acknowledged that he’s heard all the trade chatter.
“I heard all the noise that James potentially wanted to come to the Nets, but anyone can make up stories, anyone can write a story, and it gets some traction,” Durant said.
“Nothing’s ever set in stone until it’s set in stone. So I’ve never thought too much about it, just focused on myself and my teammates probably did the same thing, and we just move forward.”
Nets re-sign Tyler Johnson, Chris Chiozza
Moving forward is what the Nets have done as they traded for gunner Landry Shamet and re-signed guards Tyler Johnson and Chris Chiozza.
Even without Harden, the Nets are installed as one of the favorites in the East. All eyes will be on the new-look Nets with Durant and Irving and first-time head coach Steve Nash when they host the Washington Wizards for their first preseason game on Dec. 13 to be aired live on YES Network.
Despite the fight still being a few weeks away, Edwards would not be able to compete. Sources told ESPN’s Brett Okamoto that Edwards was so sick that he lost 12 pounds and had to stop training for the UFC Vegas 17 main event.
Just a crushing blow for a fighter who’s already been through a lot in 2020. The current plan for the UFC is to move the fight back to some point in early 2021. A landing spot could be UFC 257 on Fight Island although nothing is close in terms of rescheduling.
With that in mind, the current plan is for the UFC to promote Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson (15-4-1) and Geoff Neal (13-2) to the main event slot. The highly anticipated welterweight matchup will still be a very high quality main event.
UFC Vegas 17’s New Headliner
Despite the depressing news about the Edwards – Chimaev fight falling through, there is still plenty of reason to be excited about UFC Vegas 17. The main thing is that the card is absolutely stacked and the new main event is a good one.
Wonderboy will be making the walk for the first time since he dominated Vicente Luque last November. Thompson is looking to get back to another UFC title shot and if he’s able to win on December 19th he will be one step closer.
Wonderboy will enter the cage currently ranked fifth in the welterweight division. Standing across from him is one of the brightest prospects in the entire UFC. Geoff Neal is a nightmare who lives up to his nickname, “Handz of Steel.”
Neal first came onto the scene on Dana White’s Contender Series back in 2017. Since then he’s fought five times in the UFC and he’s unbeaten. He’s finished four of those fights including wins over Mike Perry, Niko Price, and Belal Muhammad.
This is a big step up in competition for Neal, but if he’s able to win, he’s not far from a UFC title shot. I’ve been excited to see Neal get back into the cage and this is the perfect opponent. December 19th should still be an insane night for fight fans.
According to several outlets, the New York Mets will sign right-handed reliever Trevor May. The money involved in the deal aren’t yet known, but they would be getting one of the best bullpen arms of the free agent pool. Tim Britton of The Athletic reported that it is a two-year contract.
But who exactly is Trevor May? He ‘may’ not be a household name, but the numbers and the stuff are both very, very encouraging.
Mets’ fans should know that, as it happens with lots of relievers these days, May began his career as a starter. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, in round four, out of Kelso HS.
May spent four years in the Phillies’ system, but the Minnesota Twins traded center fielder Ben Revere to Philadelphia for Trevor May and fellow righty Vance Worley. He made his major league debut in 2014, pitching 10 games and starting nine.
The new Mets’ hurler underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2017. By that point, he was already a reliever. When he came back in 2018, he started a string of three excellent seasons out of the Twins’ bullpen, with a 3.20 ERA and a 3.08 FIP in 25.1 innings. He had a 12.79 K/9 and a 1.78 BB/9.
The Mets are getting a quality reliever
May produced a sub-3.00 ERA season in 2019, with 2.94 in 64.1 frames. This year, he had a 14.66 K/9, a 3.86 ERA, a 3.62 FIP, 2.74 xFIP. All in all, the new Mets’ signee has a 3.19 ERA since returning from Tommy John.
As you can see, May’s starter pedigree gives him a high floor when it comes to command. And, another positive of having been raised as a starter is his pitch mix. He has three offerings when the majority of relievers only have two.
May throws a high-velocity four-seamer 47.7 percent of the time, per Baseball Savant. It has been rising in velocity for three straight seasons, starting at 94.0 mph in 2018 to 95.5 last year to 96.3 in 2020.
The Mets also love his secondaries: a changeup, and this slider:
Trevor May has a pretty big fastball, but his slider has also been super productive over the last couple of years:
Having reached triple digits in three of the last five games, Buffalo Bills rushers are ready to roll into December.
The glory days of the Buffalo Bills have long been defined by the antics of a strong game, more or less emulating the streaking buffalo that has graced their helmets since 1974. Wray Carlton and Cookie Gilchrist led the way during their AFL championship days, famously followed by O.J. Simpson, who sat in second place on the NFL’s all-time rushing upon his retirement. Thurman Thomas and Kenneth Davis then became reliable presciences during the AFC title streak. Even the dark times provided relief through the legs of Joe Cribbs, Fred Jackson, Travis Henry, and Willis McGahee.
As the Bills seek to form a new consistent brand of glory days, the run game is rising to the occasion.
Buffalo (8-3) enters their most hopeful December yet, one where they’re well on pace to earn their first division title since 1995. The team may be new to the AFC penthouse, but they’re well aware that they’ll have to be clicking on all cylinders to make some postseason noise and officially put the league on notice. Head coach Sean McDermott spoke about it in the earlier stages of the fall.
“Most coaches would say they want to hit their stride in November, December, when the leaves are coming off the trees,” McDermott said, per Mary Margaret Johnson of WIVB on November 3. “Overall, at the end of the day, you’re trying to win one game. Rosters change week to week, lineups change week to week, challenges normally come, and with COVID, we’re trying to find one week wins and do the best you can to put the best lineup out there.”
One area where the Bills are starting to peak is the aforementioned run game.
Exciting as the idea of Josh Allen torching opponents with both his arms and feet may be, Buffalo sought to get their run game rolling. The unit appeared to be well set for the future with Devin Singletary set to return after a strong rookie season (775 yards, fourth amongst first-year rushers). Buffalo would also replace the Jets-bound Frank Gore by drafting Utah’s Zack Moss in the third round of the 2020 draft proceedings. Bills general manager Brandon Beane was hopeful was Singletary’s finesse and and Moss’ physicality would be the next step forward for an offense on the rise.
“Devin has that shiftiness. Zack’s going to be more of that banging in there,” Beane said after the draft, per Alex Brasky of The Daily News (Batavia). “He’s going to lower that shoulder and try to, a little bit like Frank did at an older age for us. I see that role.”
But with the blocking names in front of them changing more than those on the North Park Theater’s marquee, the Bills rushing attack had struggled in the early going. The team managed to get off to a strong start, but a challenging stretch, when the Bills lost two of three in October, coincided with the run game working on a streak of earning less than 100 yards.
The display was particularly scary during an October 19 loss to Kansas City, one of the two teams ahead of the Bills for AFC supremacy. As Clyde Edwards-Helaire broke loose for 161 yards, the Bills mustered only 84 on the ground as a team. Singletary struggled to the tune of 32 yards on 10 carries in defeat.
Keeping the pace of a strong rookie season proved to be a challenge for Singletary. He struggled to reach the 300-yard mark over his first seven games, averaging less than four yards a carry. He noted the big plays that came naturally in his debut failed to resurface in modern times.
“Making big plays, creating big plays. We haven’t been able to do that yet,” the struggling sophomore Singletary said after the game, per Jourdon LaBarber & Dante Lasting of BuffaloBills.com. “We’ve got to find a way to get that going.”
Singletary’s words, however, proved prophetic and he found a way to get things rolling again.
Two weeks after the Chiefs’ visit, the Bills battled the New England Patriots, often seen as a weekend for plenty of Western New York fans to skip due to an infamous streak of futility against the AFC East monopoly-holders. Singletary, helping co-author a new narrative in Orchard Park, came up big with a team-best 86 yards on 14 carries, 59 of that tally coming in the second half. Assistance came in the form of Moss, who tallied 81 yards on an equal number of carries, and he also punched in his first NFL touchdowns. They wound up being the difference in the 24-21 Buffalo victory.
“This is probably the most I felt like myself just from everything from top to bottom,” Moss remarked afterwards, per Jenna Callari of WKBW. “I was just happy I was able to come out and be ready to go in a game like this. I was really comfortable today and want to build off that going into the rest of the year.”
As the Buffalo run game continues to surge forward, they continue to fulfill Singletary’s prophecy. With a more balanced offense, the Bills are well positioned to make their first legitimate postseason run. That was on display during their most recent win, a game where three turnovers could’ve threatened to destroy what they were building.
Sunday’s 27-17 win over the Los Angeles Chargers to wrap up the November slate could’ve been the type of trap game that caused Buffalo to fly off the rails, a game that might’ve left them uncomfortably sharing the top spot in the AFC East with Miami. But a strong attack from the run game helped them finish things off. There were no antics from Allen or Stefon Diggs necessary to close out the win. Even if Allen tallied a score on the ground, it was the running that kept things rolling, with Singletary and Moss uniting for 141 yards. Their magnum opus came on the final drive, when Moss opened things up with a 31-yard gain, followed by a 24-yard tally from Singletary that set Tyler Bass for a de facto game-winning field goal from 43 yards way.
Things weren’t fully perfect just yet. A lost Singletary fumble led to a Los Angeles field goal. Moss was penalized 15 yards for taunting. But the Bills made sure that their offensive fate goes far beyond Allen. The quarterback (18-of-24, 157 yards, 2 total touchdowns, 1 INT) expressed his gratitude and hope for more after the game in Heather Prusak’s report for WIVB.
“Our guys did a great job, Zack and (Moss) carried the ball extremely well, they ran hard,” Allen said. “When my number’s called I gotta make some plays too but our guys did a good job blocking up front and you put the ball in your backs’ hands and let them do things and they were great today.”
Singletary explained that the success against the Chargers partially stemmed from an increased emphasis on the rushing attack in practice that week, mentioning that the team ran “an extra drill” leading into LA week.
“It wasn’t even full speed, it was kind of like half speed but just seeing the guys get to their landmark,” Singletary said in Prusak’s report, mentioning how it helped the Bills prevaild in a physical game. “It helps us get to our landmark it just kind of helps the offensive line and the running backs get a feel for each other and it showed today.”
Singletary and Moss will look to carry on momentum in their next game on Monday night, as they battle the San Francisco 49ers in Glendale, Arizona (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN/ABC).
In the end, the judges called the fight a draw. However, anyone who knows boxing knows that Mike Tyson clearly won that match. I was incredibly impressed with how Tyson looked in his return to action after 15 years off.
Tyson took the match incredibly serious and it showed in the match. Jones Jr appeared to be tiring early on while Tyson looked like he could go a full 12 rounds. He looked sensational on Saturday night.
After the boxing match concluded, Tyson expressed his interest in doing this again. “I say I’ll be better the next one. I could have done everything better. Everything I was doing, I could have done it better. God willing, I’ll be better the next exhibition. This is where I belong,” Tyson said.
Tyson is putting together a league of legends where he hopes to box a few more times before hanging it up for good. There is one matchup in particular that has peaked the interest of the former heavyweight champion. That is a trilogy match with Evander Holyfield.
You have to imagine that seeing the match on Saturday motivated Holyfield. Tyson is going to be looking for another legend to box and I don’t think it could get much bigger than a trilogy match with Evander Holyfield.
Holyfield has gotten the better of Tyson both times they fought. In the first match, Holyfield out-boxed Mike Tyson and finished him in the 11th round. In the second fight, Mike Tyson bit the ear of Evander Holyfield which caused him to be disqualified.
The bad blood between the two men appears to have faded over the years. However, boxing fans would feel like they’re right back in the 90’s if these two met once again in the squared circle. No talks of this match have occurred yet, but it’ll be interesting to follow.
The New York Mets make their first big signing of the offseason by signing reliever Trevor May, pending a physical. After Tommy John Surgery in 2017, May has emerged as one of the best relievers in all of baseball. The new addition will definitely bolster an underachieving Mets bullpen from 2020.
Trevor May has signed with the Mets, according to multiple reports.
The first three seasons of May’s career were forgetful as he worked mainly as a starting pitcher. May had a 5.14 ERA in just over 200 innings and became a full-time reliever in 2016. Tommy John Surgery was a blessing in disguise as it revived his career once he returned.
Since his return in 2019, May has a 3.18 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, and 153 strikeouts in 113 innings pitched. May comes off a 2020 season where his ERA did not justify how well he pitched at 3.86. He had a tremendous 21.7% HR/FB ratio, 3.62 FIP, 14.7 K/9, and 39.6% strikeout rate.
Where Does He Fit in the Mets Bullpen?
May is another power arm to throw during the late innings. He joins Edwin Diaz, Seth Lugo, and potentially healthy Dellin Betances to shut down games. If the Mets failed to sign any quality starting pitching, May slides right into Lugo’s role while Lugo heads to the rotation.
May relies on a four-pitch arsenal in which he loves to change eye levels to set up his strikeouts. His fastball was thrown 47.7% of the time at an average of 96.7 mph in 2020. This led to a 46.9% whiff rate, 33.9% put away rate because May frequently pitched in the top of the strike zone.
May’s slider and changeup are used down in the zone to opposite sides of the plate. Both sit in the mid to high 80s and have similar whiff rates. The slider is thrown to the outside corner for righties, and the changeup is thrown on the outside part of the plate to lefties. May’s slider has a great vertical break, so it is used 32.6% of the time. The changeup is below average in movement, making sense as to why we see it less than 15% of the time.
This signing is the opening salvo of what looks like an exciting offseason. Mets fans were clamoring for a signing, and now they have their appetizer for the big meal coming up soon.
Edwards was scheduled to face rising star, Khamzat Chimaev. The fight was supposed to be a real test for Chimaev to see where he’s at in his development. The fight was also the first UFC action of 2020 for Leon Edwards.
According to Helwani, the UFC is looking to rebook the matchup for early next year. However, this is now the third UFC main event that’s been altered by COVID-19 just in the last week.
Last weekend’s main event was supposed to be Curtis Blaydes – Derrick Lewis. However, Blaydes tested positive and the fight was called off. This weekend’s main event was supposed to be Jack Hermansson – Kevin Holland.
Fortunately for the UFC, the card on December 19th is absolutely stacked. Fighters on the card include: Stephen Thompson, Geoff Neal, Jose Aldo, Chito Vera, Marlon Moraes, and Rob Font.
The card is still good enough to go on as is, but this is still a big blow to fight fans. You have to feel bad for Leon Edwards. Edwards has been impacted more by COVID in terms of his UFC career than perhaps anyone else.
His fight with Tyron Woodley back in March was cancelled due to COVID. Then he wasn’t able to accept a title shot at UFC 251 because England was closed down and now he tested positive for COVID which will cancel his UFC main event.
As mentioned above, the promotion will look to keep this fight together. However, there’s no telling on when the fight will be booked as of now.