The NFC South is still not very good, plus more legal problems for the Commanders

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

THE CAROLINA PANTHERS

It would be easy for the Carolina Panthers to mail it in. Short week. Awful weather. 2-7 record. Coming off a blowout loss. Interim head coach. Wholesale changes coming soon.

Instead, they delivered one of their best performances of the year, beating the Falcons, 25-15, to somehow remain in the NFC South race.

  • D’Onta Foreman continued his strong play with 31 carries for 130 yards and a touchdown. It’s his third game with 100+ rushing yards in the last four weeks.
  • Laviska Shenault ran in a 41-yard touchdown on a backwards toss from P.J. Walker, who performed solidly just four days after being benched at halftime.
  • Marquis Haynes had two sacks late in the fourth quarter to thwart any potential Atlanta comeback. Prior to those plays, he had zero sacks all season.

Now 3-7, the Panthers are only one game back in the win column of the Buccaneers, who lead the woeful NFC South at 4-5. Of course it’s still quite unlikely for Carolina to make the playoffs, but Steve Wilks has done a terrific job keeping the team engaged, especially on a short week after a rough loss. You saw it in how hard Foreman ran and how viciously the pass rush pursued Marcus Mariota, sacking him five times.

Sometimes, in an otherwise turbulent season, going out and playing hard and competently is a win in and of itself. Actually winning the game is a testament to the coaches and players. The Panthers did just that and can head into their mini-bye with their heads held high.

Honorable mentions

And not such a good morning for…


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DAN SNYDER AND THE WASHINGTON COMMANDERS

On Thursday, D.C. attorney general Karl Racine announced his office is filing a consumer protection lawsuit against the Commanders, team owner Dan Snyder, the NFL and league commissioner Roger Goodell.

  • The lawsuit accuses those parties of colluding to deceive and mislead customers about the investigation into the team’s workplace misconduct in order to avoid losing revenue from the fan base.
  • This springs from the NFL not releasing the Beth Wilkinson report to the public. This lawsuit doesn’t necessarily mean those findings will become public, writes NFL insider Jonathan Jones.
  • The lawsuit alleges that the Commanders and the NFL violated the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act with “public misrepresentations, omissions, and ambiguities of material fact.”

Attorneys from the team and NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy released statements regarding this latest lawsuit. It comes about a week after Snyder hired Bank of America for “potential transactions” regarding the team.

The list of Snyder’s and the Commanders’ issues — from sexual harassment to workplace misconduct to financial impropriety — is long and wide-ranging, and the team is currently under investigation by Mary Jo White. Recently, Colts owner Jim Irsay said “there’s merit” to removing Snyder as owner, and on Thursday, even Commanders cornerback Benjamin St. Juste said there’s been a “dark cloud” over the franchise.

Not so honorable mentions

Week 10 NFL picks: What happens in Munich? Will Bills bounce back? 🏈


Icon Sportswire

For the first time ever, the NFL is headed to Germany, with the Seahawks and Buccaneers battling it out in Munich. So far this season, all of the international games have given us close contests.

Will that trend continue this weekend? Here’s what NFL senior writer Pete Prisco says:

  • Prisco: “This is a brutal trip for the Seahawks. It’s a tough one for Tampa Bay, but Seattle really gets the shaft. The Bucs showed something in coming back to beat the Rams last Sunday. Look for Tom Brady to keep that going. The Bucs win it. Pick: Bucs 28, Seahawks 23

Shortly after that one ends, we get an absolute treat between two of the NFL’s best: The 7-1 Vikings travel to Buffalo to take on the 6-2 Bills in a game that features the No. 3 and No. 4 teams in Pete’s latest Power Rankings. While Josh Allen‘s status remains up in the air, this is a huge statement opportunity for both. The Vikings can add by far their most impressive win of the year to an already-strong resume, and the Bills hope to show last week’s loss to the Jets was nothing more than a speed bump.

Here’s NFL expert Will Brinson’s pick:

  • Brinson: Josh Allen‘s status is obviously key here. I’m of the opinion he doesn’t play in this game, based on the flow and timeline of information coming out of Buffalo on the situation. The line moved pretty dramatically — down from Bills -6 to Bills -3.5 — but that probably doesn’t fully reflect what the spread would be if Allen is out. He’s that important. The Pick: Vikings 21, Bills 17

Here are all of our experts’ picks:

Pete Prisco | Will Brinson | John Breech | Tyler Sullivan

MLB offseason updates: Clayton Kershaw returns to Dodgers, qualifying offers go out ⚾


USATSI

It was a busy Thursday around MLB, with the biggest headline being Clayton Kershaw returning to the Dodgers on a one-year deal. The future Hall-of-Famer, 34, went 12-3 with a 2.28 ERA last year and has spent his entire 15-year MLB career in Dodger blue.

As for other big names, qualifying offers went out to 14 players, including Aaron Judge, Jacob deGrom and Trea Turner. Here’s how it works, as explained by our MLB expert Matt Snyder.

  • Snyder: “It is a one-year, $19.65 million deal for the 2023 season to stay put. The players are free to accept the offer and remain with the team for at least another year or decline the offer and hit free agency. … The players… have until Nov. 20 to accept or reject the offer.”

If a player rejects the offer and signs elsewhere, the team losing the player gets compensated with a draft pick, and the team signing the player forfeits picks and/or international bonus money. Exact details are here.

Of course, there was plenty of other news.

Ranking the new NBA City Edition jerseys 🏀


Nike

As I’ve written before, I love alternate jerseys. They’re not always perfect — in fact, they’re not always even good — but I love the idea of spicing things up, and the NBA has done that once again with the City Edition jerseys. We have 29 new ones (the Jazz don’t count because of their new jerseys revealed this summer), and naturally, we have to rank them all.

Atop NBA expert Jasmyn Wimbish’s list is…

  • Wimbish: “The Grizzlies are celebrating the city’s connection to hip-hop and rap culture with their City Edition jerseys. … There isn’t a team in the league as connected to their city as the Grizzlies are to Memphis. … Also, the Grizzlies grill right above the jersey tag needs to be on merchandise going forward because that is just so authentically Memphis.”

Also coming in near the top of the list are the Wizards, whose cherry blossom-inspired uniforms will hopefully be finding a spot in my closet soon. Here’s the top five:

  • 1. Grizzlies
  • 2. Suns
  • 3. Wizards
  • 4. Hawks
  • 5. Trail Blazers

As for teams not doing so well, I wholeheartedly agree with Jasmyn’s last-place jersey, which you can see, along with the rest of the jerseys, here.

What we’re watching this weekend 📺

⚽ We’re watching Serie A all weekend long on Paramount+.

Friday

🏀 Michigan State at No. 2 Gonzaga, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Nuggets at Celtics, 7 p.m. on NBA TV
🏀 Timberwolves at Grizzlies, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 Colorado at No. 8 USC, 9:30 p.m. on FS1

Saturday

🏈 No. 7 LSU at Arkansas, Noon on ESPN
🏈 No. 9 Alabama at No. 11 Ole Miss, 3:30 p.m. on CBS
🏈 No. 1 Georgia at Mississippi State, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 No. 4 TCU at No. 18 Texas, 7:30 p.m. on ABC
🏀 Rockets at Pelicans, 8:30 p.m. on NBA TV

Sunday

🏈 Here’s the NFL Week 10 schedule.
🏀 Colorado at No. 11 Tennessee, 2 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 Capitals at Lightning, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Nets at Lakers, 9:30 p.m. on NBA TV

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