A. Aaron Rodgers . The real story here was that Detroit lost as only Detroit can. But the Lions' final-play loss on a Hail Mary (after a face-masking call on what otherwise would have been a game-ending tackle) last Thursday night against Green Bay also had plenty to do with Rodgers. The two-time MVP launched the ball 61 yards-and then some-into the hopeful arms of Richard Rodgers for an improbable touchdown and an impossible 27-23 victory. 5Dimes Sportsbook has the Packers as -7.5 home favorites over Dallas on Sunday.
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B. Blaine Gabbert . Gabbert-yes, the Blaine Gabbert-threw a 71-yard touchdown pass in overtime to lead San Francisco past Chicago last weekend. But that may have been bad news for the 49ers. They are losing draft positioning for 2016 and may get duped into thinking that Gabbert is their quarterback of the future.
C. Curry, Stephen . Twenty-three wins. Zero losses. One MVP. Those are pretty much the Warriors' stats through 23 games.
D. DeShaun Watson . Watson will be the lone quarterback at this weekend's Heisman Trophy ceremony, joining running backs Derrick Henry of Alabama and Christian McCaffrey of Stanford. Clemson's sophomore signal-caller has thrown for 3,512 yards and 30 touchdowns to go along with 887 rushing yards and 11 more scores for the nation's top-ranked team. Watson is +1200 at BetOnline Sportsbook to win the Heisman, while Henry is a -500 favorite.
E. Equal Footing . That's the title of the recent piece written by the U.S. women's national team for The Player's Tribune. The Americans cancelled last Sunday's scheduled friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in Hawaii because of unsafe field conditions. You kind of have to give credit for Trinidad and Tobago for not cancelling the match sooner because of unfair teams.
F. Federer, Roger . After two years, Federer has parted ways from coach Stefan Edberg. The 34-year-old Swiss announced on Tuesday that he is replacing Edberg with former world No. 3 Ivan Ljubicic. Hopefully for Federer there is no correlation between Grand Slam wins and coaching skills, because Edberg won six and Ljubcic won zilch. The 17-time major champion is +700 at Bovada Sportsbook to win the Australian Open next month.
G. Gamecocks . South Carolina hired Auburn defensive coordinator Will Muschamp as its new head coach on Sunday. In a press-conference demonstration to prove that he is good at recruiting, Muschamp had his wife stand up before telling the media to look at her before looking at him. Unfortunately for the former Florida head coach, he had nothing on his resume with which to demonstrate that he is good at coaching football.
H. Hernandez, Aaron . A prison-made knife was found in Hernandez's cell last week and was promptly moved to solitary confinement. And unlike with Andy Dufresne in The Shawshank Redemption, nobody feels sorry for Hernandez or hopes he gets out.
I. Iwakuma, Hisashi . The Dodgers may not have Aroldis Chapman, but they do have…wait for it…Hisashi Iwakuma! The 34-year-old is actually pretty good, having compiled a 9-5 record and a 3.54 ERA with Seattle in 2015.
J. James, LeBron
. LeBron took matters into his own hands on Tuesday to end Cleveland's three-game losing streak. After sitting out last Saturday's loss to Miami, LeBron
torched Portland for 33 points on 14-of-24 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds, three blocks, and two steals. You'd probably feel unstoppable, too, if
you just signed a lifetime deal with Nike.
K. Kristaps Porzingis . "Kristaps. Porzingis. Kristaps. Porzingis…." The ESPN promo for last week's Knicks-Nets game was simple yet extremely effective-and extremely awesome-in incorporating the Latvian rap song made in honor of New York's No. 4 draft pick. Porzingis responded with 19 points and 10 rebounds in a 108-91 win. The Knicks are +3 underdogs at Utah on Wednesday, per GT Bets.
L. L.J. Scott . Michigan State reached the College Football Playoff thanks to a reach by its freshman running back. The Spartans trailed Iowa 13-9 in the fourth quarter before going on a 22-play, 82-yard drive capped off by a Scott touchdown run with 27 seconds remaining. One yard away on third down, Scott started to get pushed backward before powering his way past the goal line. MSU handed the Hawkeyes their first loss of the season while punching its own ticket to the four-team tournament. The Spartans are +10 underdogs against Alabama, as indicated by BookMaker.
M. Manchester City . Stoke City? Really? Really? Man City had a golden opportunity to stay atop the English Premier League standings by facing an opponent that was outside the top 10 of the table last Sunday. But the Sky Blues gave up two goals in the first 15 minutes and that score held up en route to a 2-0 victory for Stoke.
N. No name . Kim Kardashian and Kanye West welcomed another baby into the world last Saturday, and for two days he was without a name. That was until they christened him as "Saint" on Tuesday. At least they didn't name him South, East, or West, but that's still a substantial face-palm.
O. Onside kick . It's impossible to say if the Tar Heels would have come back and won the ACC Championship. They probably wouldn't have, given that they still needed a touchdown and two-point conversion just to force overtime. But the offsides call on their recovered onside kick against Clemson was nothing short of an officiating travesty. In both the NFL and college, officiating has reached an absolute low point-and that's saying a lot. WagerWeb has UNC has a +3 underdog against Baylor in the Russell Athletic Bowl.
P. Panthers . Who will lose first: Curry's Warriors, or Curry's favorite football team? Curry says it will be his own team, and he's probably right. Not only does 12-0 Carolina play just once a week, but it's remaining regular-season opponents are the Falcons (twice!), Giants, and Bucs. The Panthers are +180 at MyBookie.ag to go 16-0.
Q. Quenneville, Joel . The Blackhawks' head coach admitted that for the first time in Patrick Kane's point streak, the team deliberately tried to help him out. Whether his teammates did or did not, Kane assisted on an empty-net goal in a 3-1 win over Winnipeg on Sunday. He then scored an empty-net goal in Tuesday's 4-1 defeat of Nashville, extending the streak to 23 games.
R. Ryan, Matt . In the words of legendary head coach Vince Lombardi, "What the Hell's going on out here?" What's happened-or what's happening-to Ryan right now is tough to explain. The three-time Pro Bowler threw six touchdowns and just two interceptions in the first four games (all wins) of the season. He has been picked off 11 times in his last eight outings and the Falcons have lost six of their last seven-including five in a row. GT Bets has Atlanta as a +7 underdog at Carolina in Week 14.
S. Samardzija, Jeff . Samardzija "led" the American League this past season in runs allowed, hits allowed, and homers allowed. He was rewarded for his efforts with the White Sox by signing a five-year, $90 million contract with San Francisco earlier this week. Free-agent pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (5.95 ERA in 2015), responded by posting on Twitter: "Perfect, looks like I'm all set after last season."
T. Thompson, Craig . Thompson, the Mountain West Conference commissioner, is not happy about an all-MWC bowl game. Not at all. He called it a "travesty" that Colorado State and Nevada have been "forced" to go head-to-head in the inaugural NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29. Of course, if you're bad enough to play in a game called the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, you should probably be happy about just going to any kind of postseason…. And so should your commissioner.
U. Utley, Chase . The Dodgers came to terms to bring the veteran second baseman back to Los Angeles for one more season. Management reportedly likes the intangibles that Utley brings to the table-you know, like injuring opposing shortstops and making them unable to play in the postseason.
V. Vancouver Canucks . The Canucks won an actual hockey game on Monday night. They had lost five in a row for the NHL's longest current losing before getting the best of Buffalo 5-2. Vancouver is a +112 home underdog against the Rangers on Wednesday, according to BetOnline Spotsbook.
W. Watson, Bubba . Golf may be in its proverbial offseason, but a strong field took to the Bahamas last weekend and Bubba won Tiger Woods' Hero World Challenge at 25-under par. Bubba said afterward that he will retire immediately if he ever reaches No. 1 in the world. Unfortunately for all those players who supposedly hate Bubba, guys like Jordan Spieth and Jason Day may not even be in their prime yet-so Bubba's not going anywhere. BookMaker has him at +1622 to win the Masters.
X. Xavier Rhodes . Rhodes is in the midst of a fine season with Vikings, but he got football's version of posterized in last week's humbling 38-7 home loss to Seattle. Rookie running back Thomas Rawls ran over Rhodes and dragged him into the endzone for a five-yard touchdown run. At least it probably wasn't as painful as if Marshawn Lynch had been the ball-carrier. Minnesota is a +8 underdog at Arizona on Thursday night, per Bovada Sportsbook.
Y. Young, Thaddeus . Young could not lead Brooklyn over the Warriors last Sunday, but who has? No one. Young has done everything else for the Nets while being an absolute double-double machine. He has four consecutive double-doubles and nine in his last 12 games after going for 20 points and 12 rebounds in a Tuesday night win over Houston.
Z. Zack Greinke . Greinke finalized a six-year, $206.5 million deal with the Diamondbacks on Tuesday. For those counting, that means Greinke will be making more than $30 million in his 38-year-old season. Of course, $30 million will probably seem like Major League Baseball chump change by the time the right-hander is 38.
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