The Pulse: NFL weekend watch guide, NBA trade buzz and brats

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Good Morning! Who wants a bratwurst?


Weekend Watch Guide

Sunday > Saturday

It’s Friday. You have a few texts out there, checking in on weekend plans. Maybe your significant other wants to schedule something. Sacrifices — in this case, an NFL playoff game or two — must be made.

Ranking this weekend’s games so you don’t have to fret (plus picks):

1. bengals at bills
Sunday, 3pm ET, CBS
Both teams have the chance to celebrate Damar Hamlin’s recovery after this collapse in the canceled game between these teams two weeks ago. It’s also just a game between two juggernauts that certainly could win the Super Bowl. There is pressure on both sides — Can Buffalo finally make a Super Bowl in the modern era? Can the Bengals afford to waste another good chance at a ring? Someone is going home very, very disappointed.

Pulse pick: Bengals, close.

2. cowboys at 49ers
Sunday, 6:30 p.m., FOX
Dallas looked great last weekend against Tampa Baybut I’m a little skeptical of how that translates to playing a team like san francisco. It’s still a better game than either Saturday contest, and I’m calling it early: Brock Purdy comes down to earth a little bit.

Pulse pick: Niners, by a touchdown.

3. Giants at Eagles
Saturday, 8:15 p.m., FOX
This game has been hyped all week as a possible upset. The Giants, fresh off a road playoff win against the 13-4 Vikings, have some juice. I’m feeling contrarian. The Vikings were frauds, and the Giants will get handled by the NFC’s No. 1 seed in front of a raucous home crowd.

Pulse pick: Eagles by two scores.

4. Jaguars at chiefs
Saturday, 4:30 p.m., NBC
I can’t even pretend to be excited for this one, which probably means it’ll be a surprise banger. But it’s hard to envision Jacksonville staying within two touchdowns here.

Pulse pick: Chiefs by 17.

We don’t have to talk about last weekend’s picks, but if you want to fade all these choices, I’ll respect it.


Trade SZN

The Big Board is here

We talked earlier this week about how Spurs center Jakob Poeltl could be the axis around which the NBA trade deadline spins. But is he the most impactful trade target?

Our trade deadline experts — Sam Vecenie, Seth Partnow and Danny Leroux — argue no, slotting Poeltl at No. 6 on their trade deadline big board, which debuted this morning. Factors:

  • The player’s impact, he should be traded
  • The likelihood of a trade occurring
  • His “asset value” and current contract
  • The likely compensation in return

See the full list here. It’s comprehensive. A quick preview of the top five:

1. Myles Turner
2.JohnCollins
3. Bojan Bogdanovic
4. Kyle Kuzma
5. Immanuel Quickley

Turner and Collins have been walking trade rumors for the last year, which overshadows their contributions on the floor. That’s part of the NBA experience today. Let’s hope, for their sanity, they find good homes in the next three weeks.


briefs

NFL staff cleanouts
Brandon Staley and Todd Bowles get to say they made playoff appearances this season, but that’s about it. Both are Hot Seat Guys now, keeping their jobs but making significant staff changes. Staley’s Chargers fired offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi and passing game coordinator Shane Day, just a year after producing a top-five offense. Bowles’ Bucs followed suit by canning OC Byron Leftwichwho produced good offenses each of his first three seasons before cratering this year.

Also: It will be fascinating to see where Leftwich, who was getting head coach interviews just last offseason, goes from here.

‘I’m looking forward to a bratwurst’
the bills, TitansJaguars, Chiefs and Patriots wants all play in Europe next year, the NFL announced yesterday. Kansas City coach Andy Reid is focused on the right aspect of his team playing in Germany: the brats.


Things, ranked

Just look at the cool goalie masks

It’s rare when an athlete can showcase individual art as part of a uniform. The NFL has made a living of punishing such expressions. In the NHLthough, there is a unique canvas on which players can express themselves: the goalie mask.

The Athletic’s NHL staff took on the serious journalistic endeavor of ranking goalie masks for each primary starting goalie. The content we need.

my favourites? Jacob Markstrom’s fire zombie, Philipp Grubauer’s street-art kraken and Karel Vejmelka’s Kachina-themed mask. Go see the full list here.

PS Bonus content: Ranking the NBA’s best and worst City Edition jerseys.


Pulse picks

Joe Burrow other Sam Hubbard became friends over all you can eat hibachi. Now they’re responsible for some of the most memorable moments in Bengals history.

Tbe Flyers are in turmoil after Ivan Provorov’s Pride Night snub. Charlie O’Connor spoke to team sources about the organizational fallout.

Paris cures all? The Bulls hope their week-long jaunt across the pond — which included a proposal — can kickstart a playoff push.

On the losing end in Paris: The Pistons, whose No. 1 hope, Victor Wembanyama, caused a stir courtside.

Bruce Feldman investigates a fascinating premise: NFL defenses are full of former four- and five-star recruits. On offense, it’s a star mishmash.

Ravens coach John Harbaugh reiterated Lamar Jackson “is our quarterback,” adding the pending free agent will even have input on the new offensive coordinator hire.

Bill O’Brien is interviewing to be New England’s new OC. Makes sense.

Deion Sanders is working. Cormani McClain, a five-star cornerback, flipped his commitment from Miami to Colorado last night. Massive, massive win for Sanders.

Notre Dame basketball coach Mike Brey is officially retiring after the season. Could Penn State’s Micah Shrewsberry be his successor? maybe

(Photo: Joseph Maiorana / USA Today)

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