Drew’s Domino Effect

02/19/2020

QUOTE OF THE DAY
Drew Brees

“I look forward to the grind and the journey, for the reward at the end will be worth it. Love you #WhoDatNation. Let’s make another run at it!”

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NFL

The Drew Brees Domino Falls

Photo: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images

How the Return of the ‘Touchdown King’ Impacts the Rest of Free Agency

Not done yet. After three straight heartbreaking playoff exits, NFL ‘Touchdown King’ Drew Brees is returning for another run at the title. With unfinished business in New Orleans, No. 9’s decision impacts the rest of the free-agent QB market. But first, here’s a look at the Saints’ last three playoff losses (and why Brees has something left to prove).

Saints’ Playoff Heartbreak
2017: Vikings Walk-Off TD (29-24)
2018: Rams Pass Interference (26-23)
2019: Vikings OT Walk-Off TD (26-20)

The Drew Domino…
With Brees returning in 2020, his backups Teddy Bridgewater and Taysom Hill (both free agents) will be coveted targets this offseason. Bridgewater proved himself in Brees’ absence last season. He went 5-1 in six games with 9 TDs and 2 INTs. Hill shows signs of Lamar Jackson’s run-pass dynamic play style that teams will certainly keep an eye on.

With the biggest quarterback carousel in NFL free-agent history fast approaching, Drew just flicked the first domino. Next up? Tom Brady…

Additional Reads
B/R: Brees’ Instagram Announcement: ‘Let’s Make Another Run At It!’
NBC Sports: How Brees’ Return Impacts Brady and NFL Free Agency

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CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

A Rare Loss for Liverpool

Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Getty Images

Round of 16: Atletico Madrid Stuns English Giants (1-0)

Liverpool’s magical run through European soccer got its first big test on Tuesday. The Reds are still alive heading into Leg 2 of their Champions League duel with Atletico Madrid, but their unbeaten streak in European competition finally has some drama. Atletico Madrid’s only goal of a fiery match came inside four minutes off the boot of Saul Niguez, and the Spanish side held Mo Salah and Liverpool scoreless for a 1-0 defeat. Watch Highlights (B/R)

Round of 16 (Tuesday)
Dortmund def. PSG (2-1): Borussia Dortmund youngster Erling Haaland played superhero with a pair of goals to upstage Neymar in Leg 1.

Round of 16 (Wednesday)
Atalanta vs. Valencia (3:00 pm ET)
Tottenham vs. RB Leipzig (3:00 pm ET)

In Play Next Week: Chelsea, Bayern, Napoli, Barcelona, Lyon, Juventus, Real Madrid, and Manchester City

Additional Reads
ESPN: Atletico’s Vintage Simeone Display Makes Liverpool’s Supermen Look Like Clark Kents

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NBA

The NBA Mid-Season Awards

Photo: Harry How / Getty Images

Predicting the Rest of 2019-20 NBA Season

We get a little break from the NBA this week, but the best part is still to come. Roughly 100 days stand between now and the NBA Finals. Based on research from seven different NBA analysts and websites, these are the consensus leaders for the 2019-20 season awards. It appears the Greek Freak is on his way to a second-straight MVP with the Bucks at 46-8 atop the NBA standings.

NBA Mid-Season Awards
MVP: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks)
Defensive POY: Rudy Gobert (Jazz)
Rookie of the Year: Ja Morant (Grizzlies)
Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra (Heat)
Sixth Man: Dennis Shroder (Thunder)
Most Improved: Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)

Your Predictions
We asked Sportsletter readers your NBA season predictions back in October. Here’s who we thought was going to the Finals:

Eastern Conference Winner
Bucks (37 percent), 76ers (37 percent), Celtics (22 percent)

Western Conference Winner
Clippers (48 percent), Lakers (22 percent), Rockets (16 percent)

Additional Reads
FTW: Ranking Every NBA Team From Title Favorite to ‘When’s the Lottery?’

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READ OF THE DAY

Mikaela Shiffrin’s View From the Top

No athlete in the world dominates their sport—or grapples with success—like Shiffrin, whose season of “transition” became even more challenging with the death of her father.

Read Story (Greg Bishop, Sports Illustrated)

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THE HIGHLIGHTS

🏒 NHL: Crosby Puts Pens in 1st
Sidney Crosby had one goal and three assists to lead the Penguins past the Maple Leafs (5-2) in Tuesday’s marquee NHL matchup. Pittsburgh reclaimed first place in the Metropolitan Division. (SportsNet)

🏀 NCAAB: Illinois Upsets #9 PSU
The Big Ten bracket-busters strike again. Illinois went into newly-anointed Top-10 Penn State last night and walked out with a win (62-56). Ayo Dosunmu netted 24 points. (BTN)

🏀 NCAAW: Mulkey Gets Historic #600
Both Baylor basketball teams went on the road to defend their #1 and #2 rankings last night, but women’s head coach Kim Mulkey became the fastest Division I men’s or women’s coach to reach 600 career wins. (ESPN)

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 📰 THE HEADLINES

Braves’ OF Nick Markakis Says Every Astros Player ‘Needs a Beating’
(Sports Illustrated)

President Trump Pardons Former 49ers Owner Convicted in Gambling Scandal
(ESPN)

FC Cincinnati Coach Ron Jans Resigns Amid Investigation Into Racial Slur
(USA Today)

Former Panthers TE Greg Olsen Signs 1-Year Deal With Seahawks
(Yahoo! Sports)

China Forfeits Davis Cup Match Due to Coronavirus Travel Restrictions
(NBC Sports)

Cavaliers and Head Coach John Beilein Part Ways; JB Bickerstaff Promoted
(Bleacher Report)

Ryan Newman ‘Awake and Speaking’ After Disaster Daytona 500 Crash
(CBS Sports)

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