Another NFC team clinched, we feature another NBA rising star, and the Yankees are officially stacked (if they weren’t already). It’s the holiday watch-list primer, and bowl season begins today.
Programming: The Sportsletter will not be sent between December 17 to January 2 with the exception of three individual editions. Our Bowl Primer will be sent today at Noon ET.
Purdy Good: 49ers Clinch
QB Brock Purdy Proves He’s the Real Deal as 49ers Clinch NFC West With Win Over Seahawks (21-13)
Plenty of haters called the 49ers dead in the water after losing QB Jimmy Garoppolo, but Brock Purdy is making everyone eat their words. The Niners’ third-string quarterback did it again on Thursday Night Football with a solid performance that lifted San Francisco over Seattle and locked up the division with three games to play. Purdy tossed two touchdowns to TE George Kittle while RB Christian McCaffrey carved up the Seahawks. The Niners’ defense held Seattle to just six points before a late, garbage-time touchdown.
The Purdy Party: Since Purdy took over for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo — who took over for the injured Trey Lance — the 49ers are 3-0 with wins over the Dolphins, Bucs and Seahawks. Since Thanksgiving, Brock Purdy is undefeated (3-0) with 612 yards, 6 TDs and 1 INT.
QB B. Purdy (SF): 17/26, 217 yards, 2 TDs
QB G. Smith (SEA): 31/44, 238 yards, 1 TD
RB C. McCaffrey (SF): 32 touches, 138 yards, 1 TD
TE G. Kittle (SF): 4 receptions, 93 yards, 2 TDs
NFC West Standings
Tyler Herro (41 Points) Hits 10 3s in Heat’s 3rd Straight Win (111-108)
Today’s NBA feature team/player is the red-hot Heat and their 3-point marksman, Tyler Herro. Herro has caught fire in the last two games of Miami’s three-game win streak. He cashed in 10 triples (10-for-15) for a career-high 41 points in last night’s win over the Rockets (111-108), following up a 35-point performance with nine 3s the night before. His 76 points on 19 3s in the last 72 hours set back-to-back career-highs in 3-pointers made. Herro’s deep threat has sparked Miami’s resurgence, and the Heat (15-15) are now back to .500 for the first time since Thanksgiving.
Other NBA Highlights
Ja, Grizz Win 7th Straight: A clash of the No. 2 team in each conference — Bucks, and Grizzlies — was lopsided on Thursday night as Ja Morant (25-10-10) tallied his third triple-double of the season to lead a 41-point Memphis blowout (142-101).
Suns Snap Skid: Phoenix entered Thursday on a five-game slide, but the Suns blew out the Clippers to regain their composure in the West (111-95) behind Mikal Bridges’ 27-6-5 night and Chris Paul’s near triple-double (15-13-7).
Jazz Halt Pelicans Streak: New Orleans’ win streak came to an end Thursday night thanks to an overtime battle with the Jazz (132-129, OT). Zion Williamson (31) and C.J. McCollum (28) both shot the lights out, but Utah’s combo of Lauri Markkanen (31) and Jordan Clarkson (39) got the last laugh.
Yankees Add Rodón
New York Signs Pitcher Carlos Rodón to 6-Year, $162 Million Deal
The Yankees add another one! Prized left-hander Carlos Rodón is heading to New York on a six-year, $162 million deal that gives the Bronx one of the best starting rotations in 2023. The 30-year-old ace joins Gerrit Cole in the rotation, and the retention of Aaron Judge makes New York a heavy American League favorite. Both Rodón ($162 million) and Judge ($360 million) have garnered more than $520 million of the Yankees’ $573 million spent in free agency — the most of any time this offseason. In 2022, Rodón pitched a career-high 178 innings with a 2.88 ERA, 1.03 WHIP and 237 Ks. He had a record of 14-8.
Top Free-Agent Spenders
1. Yankees: 4 Players ($573.5 Million)
2. Giants: 4 Players ($443.5 Million)
3. Phillies: 3 Players ($387 Million)
4. Mets: 5 Players ($386.6 Million)
5. Padres: 2 Players ($326 Million)
Jalen Hurts MVP campaign… Justin Jefferson chasing 2,000 yards… Here are the players, coaches and teams with the most to gain in the next four weeks. (Sports Illustrated)
This is how it had to be. For Lionel Messi to have it all — the win, the story, the fairytale, the ultimate stamp of immortality — this is the one. (FOX Sports)
Who could be on the move? Which teams could be sellers? And what will the Lakers do? Here’s what to watch as the trade market takes shape. (The Ringer)
The Must-Watch List
The Sportsletter is heading out for the holidays. We’ll return to your inbox on January 2. Until then, here’s a lengthy list of the top sports we’ll be watching over the break. (Check your inbox later today for the College Football Bowl Primer with a complete schedule of all 43 bowl games). Enjoy!
World Cup Final
France vs. Argentina (Sun. 10:00 am)
College Football Bowl Schedule
(Coming Later Today)
NFL Week 15
Dolphins at Bills (Sat. Dec. 17, 8:15 pm)
Titans at Chargers (Sun. Dec. 18, 4:25 pm)
Bengals at Buccaneers (Sun. Dec. 18, 4:25 pm)
Giants at Commanders (Sun. Dec, 18, 8:20 pm)
NFL Week 16
Seahawks at Chiefs (Sat. Dec. 24, 1:00 pm)
Eagles at Cowboys (Sat. Dec 24, 4:25 pm)
NFL Week 17
Cowboys at Titans (Thurs. Dec. 29, 8:15 pm)
Dolphins at Patriots (Sun. Jan. 1, 1:00 pm)
Vikings at Packers (Sun. Jan. 1, 4:25 pm)
M: #14 Indiana at #8 Kansas (Sat. Dec. 17, Noon)
M: #4 Alabama at #15 Gonzaga (Sat. Dec. 17, 1:00 pm)
M: #5 Houston at #2 Virginia (Sat. Dec. 17, 2:00 pm)
M: North Carolina at #23 Ohio State (Sat. Dec. 17, 3:00 pm)
M: #16 UCLA at #13 Kentucky (Sat. Dec. 17, 5:15 pm)
M: #6 Tennessee at #9 Arizona (Sat. Dec. 17, 10:30 pm)
W: #5 Notre Dame at #6 Virginia Tech (Sun. Dec. 18, 4:00 pm)
W: #19 Michigan at #7 North Carolina (Tues. Dec. 20, 7:00 pm)
*All Times ET