Happy Friday everyone, this is Chris Bengel filling in for Zach Pereles. We’ve got a weekend full of NFL playoff action and some riveting college basketball matchups.
Let’s not waste any time and get right into the news!
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Good morning to everyone but especially to…
We’re one step closer towards finding out what teams will be facing off in Super Bowl LVI. This weekend, we have four very exciting matchups:
Our NFL experts John Breech and Pete Prisco took their shot at forecasting all four of those playoff contests. Something I found somewhat surprising: both Breech and Prisco took the Bills to upset the Chiefs on the road.
Here’s what both had to say about why the Bills can pull off the upset (hint: it’s going to come down to defense):
- Breech: “In a game that’s all about offense, I actually think his one is going to come down to defense. Josh Allen has played so well this year that he’s been overshadowing the fact that the Bills have one of the best defenses in football. The Bills surrendered the fewest yards per game this year AND the fewest points per game. Their biggest weakness is their rushing defense, but the Chiefs don’t really run the ball all that much, so that’s probably not going to be much of an issue.”
- Prisco: “The Bills have the top-ranked defense in the league and built their pass rush in the offseason to beat Mahomes. The Chiefs defense isn’t as good, but it played much better over the course of the second half of the season. The Chiefs love to blitz, which will leave Allen free to run and make throws on the run. I think that will be the difference here. The Bills behind Allen will win a fun shootout for the ages.”
Personally, I’m siding with Breech and Prisco when it comes to the Bills. While the Chiefs appear to have gotten their offense back on track, Josh Allen looked absolutely flawless last week against a very stout Patriots defense.
If Allen ends up carving up the Chiefs defense on Sunday, it won’t come as much of a surprise in my book.
Honorable mentionsAnd not such a good morning for…
THE PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
There was a big upset in the world of college basketball last night with Indiana taking down No. 4 Purdue 68-65. Guards Xavier Johnson and Rob Phinisee led the way for the Hoosiers as the two combined to score 38 points.
Here’s what happened down the stretch:
- Phinisee connected on a go-ahead three with just 17 seconds left to give Indiana the lead
- Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis drilled a pair of free throws with just five seconds remaining that extended the Hoosiers’ lead to three points
- Boilermakers star guard Jaden Ivey threw up a last-second three that would’ve tied the game, but it clanged off the rim to give Indiana their first signature win of the season
It marked the third loss of the 2021-22 season for the Boilermakers, who were coming off of a double-overtime win over Illinois on Monday. Purdue dropped a Big Ten contest to then No. 23 Wisconsin at home and also lost to Rutgers last month.
With this latest loss, it’s quite likely that Purdue will slide out of the top five of the Associated Press poll.
Not so honorable mentionPreviewing a huge weekend of college hoops ?
While a lot of the sports talk this weekend will be centered around the NFL playoffs, there will be a ton of incredible college basketball matchups taking place around the country.
To get you ready for the weekend, CBS Sports college basketball scribe Matt Norlander unveiled his latest edition of power rankings in which he tabbed No. 2 Auburn as the top team in the nation.
- Norlander: “As expected, Auburn ripped through Georgia on Wednesday night to remain flawless in the SEC. Last time Auburn was 6-0 in the SEC, the year was 1959. In order for this team to match that team, it will need to win six more in a row in league play. I doubt that will happen, but it’s still the hottest/best team in college hoops in January. Auburn leads the nation with 152 blocks. A phenomenal matchup at home awaits vs. Kentucky on Saturday on CBS.”
There will be two matchups on Friday and Saturday that will feature two top 15 programs. As Norlander mentioned, the game that the whole country will be watching will be No. 2 Auburn hosting No. 12 Kentucky. Auburn and Kentucky are the two top teams in the SEC with just one conference win separating the two teams.
In addition to Kentucky/Auburn, there are several other big-time games to keep an eye on:
- No. 14 Michigan State at No. 8 Wisconsin (Friday, 9 p.m.)
- No. 12 Kentucky at No. 2 Auburn (Saturday, 1:30 p.m.)
- No. 5 Baylor at Oklahoma (Saturday, 3 p.m.)
- No. 13 LSU at No. 24 Tennessee (Saturday, 6 p.m.)
- Northwestern at No. 4 Purdue (Sunday, 1 p.m.)
- No. 3 Arizona at California (Sunday, 3 p.m.)
It’s crazy to think that we’re less than two months away from March Madness getting underway. With conference play in full swing, there’s a ton at stake this weekend.
The Bucks are still the team to beat in the Eastern Conference ?
The Milwaukee Bucks won their first NBA title in franchise history last season. However, the Bucks haven’t exactly had the stellar start to the season that many envisioned in their title defense. Still, CBS Sports NBA scribe Jack Maloney believes that the Bucks are still the “team to beat” in the Eastern Conference this season.
The Bucks currently hold a 28-19 record, which is good for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. They’re just 3-6 in the last nine games, but had a statement win in a 126-114 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. As Maloney explains, one of the biggest reasons to be confident in the Bucks is the return of veteran point guard Jrue Holiday.
Holiday, 31, has been banged up the majority of the 2021-22 season as he’s dealt with multiple ankle injuries. He’s missed 13 of the team’s 46 games, so seeing him in the lineup hasn’t been far from a given throughout the campaign. Holiday did score just nine points on 2-of-8 shooting, but his presence on the court makes a huge difference.
- Maloney: “With Holiday in the lineup, and Giannis and Khris Middleton also healthy, the Bucks’ big three is once again back together. Due to various injuries and COVID-19-related absences, that trio has played only 20 games together. In those games the Bucks are 17-3, and they have a plus-9.1 net rating with their stars on the floor together.”
During their run to an NBA title, the trio of Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Holiday constantly came up huge. With Holiday back in the lineup, it’s hard not to like where the Bucks could be headed.
What we’re watching this weekend ?Friday
? Clippers at 76ers, 7 p.m. on NBA.TV
? Bulls at Bucks, 8 p.m. on ESPN
? No. 12 Kentucky at No. 2 Auburn, 1:30 p.m. on CBS
? Bengals at Titans, 4:30 p.m. on CBS and Paramount +
? No. 13 LSU at No. 24 Tennessee, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN
? 49ers at Packers, 8:15 p.m. on FOX
? Rams at Buccaneers, 3 p.m. on NBC
? Bills at Chiefs, 6:30 p.m. on CBS and Paramount +
? Jazz at Warriors, 8:30 p.m. on NBA TV