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The Morning Hustle

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The Morning Hustle

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Can the Browns win without Baker Mayfield? Plus, the Braves are nearing their first pennant since 1999

Written by on October 21, 2021

Hello everyone, it’s Shanna McCarriston one last time for this week before my colleague Chris Bengel takes over on Friday. 

The Celtics and Red Sox played last night, so it was a busy one for my hometown. Sadly for Boston fans, neither team won, but the Patriots play the Jets on Sunday, so that should be at least one guaranteed victory this week.

We have a lot to get to today, from Thursday Night Football to MLB playoffs (and more!) Let’s get to it.

📰 What you need to know

1. MLB playoff roundup: Red Sox, Dodgers on brink of elimination ⚾

Wednesday was another night featuring the Red Sox host the Astros and the Dodgers take on the Braves. This time the first game of the evening was at Fenway Park … and it was not a fun one for the hometown fans.

Here’s a look at how each game played out:

Red Sox vs. Astros

  • It was a similar story to Tuesday’s game, with the Red Sox losing by many, many runs. This time it was a 9-1 loss. The Astros are now one win away from a World Series appearance
  • One of the main stories of the night was Astros pitcher Framber Valdez, who had a perfect game through four innings. Starters have struggled this series, but last night Valdez had eight very solid innings, helping set up a win
  • Game 6 will be on Friday in Houston

Dodgers vs. Braves

  • The Braves defeated the Dodgers 9-2 to go up in the series 3-1. The Braves are now one win away from heading to the World Series for the first time since 1999
  • Braves pitcher Huascar Ynoa was scheduled to make the start but was scratched due to a shoulder injury. The team was able to rely on the bullpen, which had a fantastic night
  • This was another Braves win in which the offense was paced by Eddie Rosario. He came into Game 4 with a slash of line of .500/.571/.500 and proceeded to nearly hit for the cycle with a single, triple and two homers with four RBI
  • Game 5 is taking place tonight in Los Angeles

2. Thursday Night Football: How will Browns do without Baker Mayfield? 🏈


Tonight the Cleveland Browns are hosting the Denver Broncos at FirstEnergy Stadium. Both teams are 3-3 heading into the matchup. The Browns are coming off a 37-14 loss to the Arizona Cardinals while the Broncos are coming off a 34-24 loss to the Raiders.

Unfortunately for Cleveland, Case Keenum is starting in place of an injured Baker Mayfield. Coach Kevin Stefanski announced that Mayfield is out to deal with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder. That’s not all. Cleveland’s Nick Chubb will be out for the second straight week due to a calf injury.

Pete Prisco gave us his weekly picks and predicts a close game, with a Broncos win.

  • Prisco: “The Browns are so banged up as they head into this game on a short week, which makes it tough to pick this one … The Broncos haven’t played as well as expected on defense, but I think in prime time they show up here. It’s close, with Denver pulling off a small upset.”
  • Prisco’s pick: Broncos 24, Browns 23
  • Latest odds: Browns -2

I’m going to pick the Browns on this one, but I’m agreeing that it will be close. 

3. Latest College Football Playoff predictions 🏈

Getty Images

This college football season has not gone as predicted. We are seven weeks in and there have been 48 games lost by teams ranked in the AP Top 25. It’s been chaotic, but that sometimes adds to the fun of it all.

Cincinnati is headed to a College Football Playoff bid, Georgia is the clear No. 1 team, Clemson has fallen off and the only unbeaten ACC team is Wake Forest. And those are just a few of the surprising storylines.

CBS Sports began the 2021 season by having our experts predict the College Football Playoff, national champion, Coach of the Year and Heisman Trophy winner. Since some of the original picks are now a bit off, let’s give them another chance now that we have some weeks of play to look at.

Here are some of the predictions:

  • 2021 National championship: Georgia (Barrett Sallee, Jerry Palm, David Cobb, Shehan Jeyarajah), Ohio State (Chip Patterson, Dennis Dodd, Tom Fornelli)
  • Best team to miss CFP: Alabama (Palm, Dodd, Patterson, Sallee, Jeyarajah), Ohio State (Cobb), Cincinnati (Fornelli)
  • Midseason Coach of the Year: Mel Tucker, Michigan State (Dodd, Fornelli, Cobb), Kirby Smart, Georgia (Palm, Sallee), Dave Clawson, Wake Forest (Patterson)

For more on our experts’ latest predictions, click here.

4. Tom Brady congratulates Aaron Rodgers on ‘owning Bears,’ makes fun of Jets 🏈

Last week, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers got around the no taunting rule by yelling towards opposing fans rather than opposing players. In a TD celebration, Rodgers turned towards the Bears crowd and screamed “I still own you!”

Everyone has been talking about that moment, including Tom Brady.

  • Brady, via SiriusXM NFL Radio: “I wanted to say congrats to Aaron Rodgers. Obviously I know he’s a great quarterback, but I guess he’s now a shareholder of the Bears … I saw a clip of him really enthusiastically telling the crowd how happy he is to own Soldier Field. And that’s really great stuff. He owns the Bucks now. Part owner of Soldier Field. So he’s got a great career beyond football.”

Brady was then asked if he owns any of the other teams in the league. When asked about the Bills he said he does “not yet” own them, but then threw some shade when asked about another New York football team: the Jets.

  • With some playful disgust, Brady, who is 30-8 against the Jets, said: “Oh, no. I’ll just take the color green. I don’t need the Jets. I’ll just own the color green. I think that’s a little bit better.”

Brady is one of the few quarterbacks to defeat all 32 teams and he has more rings on his own than any franchise has in total, so it’s safe to say he owns a few teams.

📝 Odds & Ends


📺 What to watch tonight

Getty Images

⚾ Braves vs. Dodgers, 8:08 p.m. | TV: TBS

🏈 Broncos vs. Browns, 8:30 p.m. | CLE -2 | TV: FOX

🏀 Clippers vs. Warriors, 10 p.m. | GSW -4 | TV: TNT

🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet

The Red Sox lost last night, but at least one Boston fan in the crowd had a great night. This four month old has been a regular at games this series and is now a fan favorite, showing up on the jumbotron and getting almost as much love as the team. The baby was held up while chugging their bottle and fans roared “chug, chug, chug, chug!” Who needs a babysitter when you can just bring your baby to sit in the bleachers and teach them to love baseball?


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