The Pulse: Sites of the NFL Playoffs, NBA Scoring Boom, and the Kentucky Blues
Start each morning with The Pulse in your inbox. sign up here.
Hello! To form a snowball with your friends today.
While you were Sleeping
Did you have the Jaguars as AFC South champions on your preseason bingo card? we certainly didn’t. From September 2020 to October 2022, the Jags won six games in 25 months.
Now, after a 7-2 final sprint, Doug Pederson’s Masterpiece He is heading to the postseason. They beat a Trevor Lawrence meh game last night and won on the team’s most vital defensive play of the season: A scoop and score of 37 yards. That’s a good sign.
He @jaguares take the iniciative! #DUUUVAL
📺: #TENvsJAX on ESPN/ABC
📱: Stream on NFL+ https://t.co/7G4GCGiaVR pic.twitter.com/9veHZEkNth
—NFL (@NFL) January 8, 2023
He titans The seven-game losing streak not only cost them a playoff berth, but sends them into the offseason with some big questions. This team was the No. 1 seed in the AFC this past January. Phew.
Two playoff spots are up for grabs today. Other games are still important for planting. A primer:
- AFC Wild Card: The patriots they’re in with a win in Buffalo either miami Y pittsburgh losses. The Dolphins need to beat the Jets and New England to lose or tie. The Steelers need even more help, besides winning clevelandthey need Miami and New England to not win.
- Wildcard NFC: The packers, lions Y Seahawks They are in contention for the final position. Green Bay is in with a win over Detroit. The Lions need a win and a Seattle loss/tie. The Seahawks need a win and a Green Bay loss/tie.
- AFC North: The bengalis have clinched the division, but they must beat the ravens to clinch a home playoff game next week. If Baltimore wins and the teams play each other in the wild card round, the home field will be decided. for a coin toss.
- NFC Seed No. 1: If the Eagles Beat the giantsthey earn a bye. He 49ers he needs a win and a Philadelphia loss to win the top-seed playoff. He Cowboys they need to win and both the Eagles and 49ers lose. Good luck Dallas.
Hamlin keeps getting better
damar hamlinrecovering from your medical emergency Monday night took more positive turns in recent days. On Friday, he removed the rookie safety’s breathing tube and spoke with teammates via video call during a team meeting.
Yesterday, posted on social media for the first time, writing “the love has been overwhelming” shortly after doctors said he was “still breathing on his own” and described his neurological function as “excellent”. When the NFL returned to action last night, players and teams from both games honored Hamlin with pre-game cheer moments, helmet decals and crowds filled with fan support signs.
Putting love out into the world comes back 3 times over…grateful for everyone who reached out and prayed. This will make me stronger on the road to recovery, keep praying for me! 🏾3️⃣
— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) January 7, 2023
Some must-reads from the past few days:
First in 101?
nbaScoring explosion, explained
Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game has always felt like an untouchable record, right up there with Joe DiMaggio’s hitting streak and Wayne Gretzky’s scoring mark. Only one player in the last 60 years has surpassed 80, and Kobe Bryant was still 19 points under.
But this NBA season is starting to change that. And it’s not just Donovan Mitchell’s 71-point outburst on Monday. The average NBA team is scoring at its highest rate in league history.
- There are 44 players averaging 20+ points per game, 13 more than any other season. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (30.9 ppg) might be the least talked about 30-point scorer.
- Just this week, Mitchell scored 71, the Thunder scored 150 over the East-leading Celtics(!), Pulse favorite Lauri Markkanen lost 49, and the Hornets, a team vying for the No. 1 pick, racked up an NBA record 51 in the first quarter. points against the title-chasing Bucks. Phew.
- There are a number of factors contributing to the scoring increase, but the biggest one might be that the talent in the league is better than ever.
Twelve different players have already passed 50 in a game this season. A hundo might be a different story, but our NBA experts don’t think it’s impossible: “I’ll go ahead and forecast a player to top Kobe’s 81 sometime in calendar year 2023, and I’m betting 101 will happen in the next decade,” Mike Prada writes.
Dodgers release Trevor Bauer
He The Los Angeles Dodgers released Trevor Bauer on Fridayending his affiliation with the pitcher after he served the longest suspension in baseball history Major League BaseballJoint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse Policy.
Bauer, 31, had his suspension reduced for violating the 324 to 194 games by one referee policy. The Dodgers’ decision shouldn’t have been difficult at all.writes Ken Rosenthal.
Kentucky in bubble territory
A season that promised so much on paper is turning into a disaster for Kentucky. Alabama fans serenaded the Wildcats with “NIT! NIT!” sings Saturday as the No. 7 Crimson Tide completed a 78-52 rout, sending the UK to 1-2 in SEC play and still without a signature win this season. Kentucky was No. 4 in the preseason and now it is a bubble team. Worse than that – wildcats sucksays Kyle Tucker.
broncos can you interview payton
He Saints granted Broncos permission to interview Sean Payton for his head coaching vacancy, ESPN reported. Denver is likely looking for an experienced head coach after three consecutive first-time head coaches failed to make the playoffs. However, if it’s Payton, the Broncos will have to pay: he has a contract with New Orleans until 2024, so the teams (or players) could go the way of the Saints.
(Top photo: Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images)