Marshawn Lynch Put on IR – Career Over?

marshawn-lynch-raiders-injured-reserveMarshawn Lynch has been one of the NFL’s most talented running backs for over a decade. However, his career might be over after he was placed on injured reserve this week.

NFL.com’s Tom Telissero reports that the Oakland Raiders placed Lynch on IR due to a groin injury. The 32-year-old was originally slated to miss 4-6 weeks with the injury. However, the team later found that the groin injury stems from a core muscle.

Considering how Lynch has already retired once in his career, it’s very possible that he won’t come back after suffering what could be a season-ending injury.

There’s a Possibility that Lynch Returns in Late December

Again, odds are that Marshawn Lynch has played his last game. However, this isn’t completely decided at this point.

Being put on IR means that he must sit a minimum of eight weeks. Therefore, Lynch could technically return on December 24 for the Raiders’ last home game of the season.

Obviously there’s no reason for him to come back from a competitive standpoint. Oakland is currently 1-5 and looking to trade key pieces of their team for draft picks and/or young players. But he may have incentive to return from a personal standpoint.

Lynch is an Oakland native who was excited to come out of retirement in order to play for his hometown team. Furthermore, it’s possible that this may be the Raiders’ last game in Oakland.

Their lease with the Coliseum is up after the season. The Raiders haven’t announced where they’re going to play in 2019 before moving to Las Vegas in 2020. Assuming Lynch heals up quickly, he can play in this final home game and also be available for a Week 17 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Could Lynch Continue Playing Beyond 2018?

marshawn-lynch-raiders-injured-reserve-1No matter if Lynch does or doesn’t return in late December, this will assuredly be his final season in Oakland. He sat out the 2016 campaign after retiring as a Seattle Seahawk. And he only signed with the Raiders in order to play in Oakland. With the hometown aspect no longer in play, it’s highly likely that Lynch will move on.

But this isn’t saying that he’s guaranteed to retire at the end of the season. If Lynch still feels like playing football, he could sign as a free agent somewhere else.

He’s shown that he still has something left in the tank, rushing for 376 yards on 90 carries – good for a 4.2 yards per carry average. He’s also the best running back on Oakland’s roster.

Assuming Lynch wants to continue playing, then it’s likely he can find a backup role on another team. This is especially the case regarding a contender who wants an experienced running back for depth.

Assuming he does retire, though, then he’ll go out with five Pro Bowl appearances, a Super Bowl victory, and more than 10,000 rushing yards.

Who Will Fill Oakland’s No. 1 Running Back Slot?

Doug Martin is poised to take over duties as the starting running back. Martin, who had several good seasons in Tampa Bay, will take over early downs with Lynch injured.

Jalen Richard will also play a big role out of the backfield. Richard has done a fine job as a receiving back, tallying 31 catches for 253 yards. DeAndre Washington may also see some snaps as the season progresses.

By and large, this Oakland team is simply looking to get through the season and acquire young talent through the draft and otherwise. But they still need somebody to fill all of their positions until then, including running back. Look for this role to be filled by a committee, headed by Martin.

Ohio State CFP Hopes in Limbo After Purdue Loss

urban-meyer-fired-osuThe Ohio State Buckeyes looked like the cream of the Big Ten crop this year. But for the second straight season, they went on the road and lost big to an unranked opponent.

Last year, it was the Iowa Hawkeyes who dealt them a 55-24 loss. This season, the Purdue Boilermakers upset the No. 2 Buckeyes by a score of 49-20.

As if the score isn’t shocking enough, Purdue surprised everybody by outplaying and pushing around Ohio State. Hardly anybody saw this outcome coming. But the signs were there for anybody who saw the Buckeyes’ first six victories.

They experienced low points against Indiana, Minnesota, Penn State, and TCU. The linebacking unit has underwhelmed, and the secondary lacks a solid complement to safety Jordan Fuller.

The offense hasn’t been great either, especially with the offensive line’s lack of power making them a one-dimensional team. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw the ball a school record 73 times in a failing comeback attempt.

The good news for the Buckeyes’ is that they’re still mathematically alive to earn a College Football Playoff (CFP) berth. All they have to do is win out the rest of the season in order to take the Big 10 East and land in the conference championship game.

However, the real question is whether they can actually win the rest of their games – especially a home showdown against No. 5 Michigan. I’ll discuss if it’s possible for the Buckeyes to still make the CFP by looking at the Purdue game and discussing other factors.

Purdue Jumped Out on Ohio State and Exposed Them

ohio-state-2018-cfpThe Purdue Boilermakers looked like the elite team when they took the field against the Buckeyes. They outplayed OSU in the first half and went into the locker room with a 14-3 lead. Purdue was especially helped by a successful fake field goal attempt that later turned into a touchdown drive.

The second half started out with more of the same, as Ohio State roughed Purdue’s punter. Rather than having to kick the ball away, the Boilermakers turned this opportunity into another TD drive. This put them up 21-6 in the third quarter. They’d go on to dominate the game after forcing the Buckeyes into constant passing situations.

One huge problem for OSU is their lack of talent in the back seven. Purdue receiver Rondale Moore took full advantage of this by grabbing 12 balls for 173 receiving yards.

Last season’s loss to Iowa looked more like a fluke. This year’s loss to Purdue looks closer to what Ohio State really is – a strong Big 10 team that doesn’t have the raw the talent to take days off.

Again, it’s still very possible that the Buckeyes’ win out the rest of their schedule and end up in the conference championship game. From here, they’d look to beat the Big 10 West representative and earn enough respect from the committee to land a CFP spot.

They did exactly this in 2017, but their ugly loss to Iowa prevented them from getting a playoff bid. I don’t see why this season would be any different, even if they are able to rally and win the conference.

Michigan Steps in as Big Ten’s CFP Favorite

jim-harbaugh-michigan-bears-coltsOdds are that Ohio State doesn’t have a realistic chance of earning one of the four CFP slots. However, their rivals, the Michigan Wolverines, are definitely in the conversation.

Michigan, which entered this Saturday 3-8 against top 15 teams during the Jim Harbaugh era, exercised some demons with a 21-7 victory over Michigan State.

The Wolverines were previously 1-6 in rivalry games against Michigan State, Ohio State, and Notre Dame. It also wasn’t good that the No. 24 Spartans had won eight of the last 10 meetings between the two teams.

But Harbaugh’s squad battled cold, rainy conditions to pull out a convincing victory against their instate rivals. Furthermore, the win makes Michigan look like the best team in the conference. Assuming they played Ohio State next week, they’d likely be a 7-10 point favorite.

Their defense was absolutely suffocating, holding the Spartans to 94 total yards. They also forced Michigan State to fail on all 12 of their third down conversion attempts.

QB Brian Lewerke felt the full brunt of Michigan’s defense as he produced a terrible 5-for-25 passing line – the lowest completion percentage by a Big 10 quarterback in the last 20 years. These five completions only amounted to 66 yards.

Harbaugh’s four-year tenure has been marked by winning games against schools they’re supposed to, only to be dominated by upper tier teams. However, this victory could be the one that catapults Michigan from a good Big 10 team to the conference’s dominant school.

They now have the best chance to make the CFP since losing a double overtime game in Columbus two seasons ago. They may have lost to Notre Dame to open the year, but they’re fully control their destiny and still have a chance to both win the conference and grab a playoff spot.

Eagles Exploring Trade for DaVante Parker

devante-parker-eagles-tradeThe Philadelphia Eagles benefited greatly last year from a midseason trade with the Miami Dolphins that brought in running back Jay Ajayi. The defending Super Bowl champions are now looking at Miami again for a potential season-changing deal.

As reported by the Miami Herald, Philadelphia has contacted Miami about a trade for receiver DeVante Parker. The Dolphins have been willing to trade Parker for quite some time to according to rumors. Now, it seems like a very distinct possibility when considering the Eagles’ interest.

Bringing in Parker won’t immediately help Philadelphia’s need for a running back. But it would give them another strong offensive weapon and provide depth at wide receiver.

Why Is Parker on the Trading Block?

Miami took Parker with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. He was expected to be a game-altering wide receiver for the team. And he showed signs of improvement in 2016, when he tallied career highs of 744 receiving yards and four touchdowns.

However, Parker has never quite materialized into the elite receiver Miami was hoping for. He’s especially played poorly as of late, catching just two passes for 40 yards in two games this season.

One reason why he’s played badly is due to a quadriceps injury. But there have also been plenty of times where he’s been a healthy scratch.

Overall, injuries have plagued Parker throughout his NFL career. He has 141 catches for 1,948 yards and eight touchdowns through three and half seasons.

Why Are the Eagles So Interested in Parker?

As mentioned before, Philly could really use another running back after losing Ajayi for the season. But they could also use another quality receiver to bolster their depth at this position.

Alshon Jeffrey and Nelson Agholor are fine weapons for quarterback Carson Wentz. But the team has struggled mightily to find another consistent receiving weapon. Jordan Mathews was signed this season as a fill-in. However, he’s only managed to catch six balls through four games.

Kamar Aiken had the same amount of catches until he was released Friday. Mike Wallace and Mack Hollins are on injured reserve, with their returns being uncertain. DeAndre Carter and Shelton Gibson are deep on the depth chart and won’t provide any immediate help.

Parker could easily be the third best wide receiver on this roster. He’s an upgrade over Matthews, who’s seen better days. And he’s definitely more talented than Gibson and Carter at this point.

Parker actually has the size and athleticism to become Philadelphia’s top wide receiver. He’s 6’3″, 216 pounds, and runs a 4.45 forty.

Of course, Parker has yet to put these tools to full use. And Philly would no doubt look to renegotiate his $9.38 million salary for 2019 if he chooses to remain with the team. Nevertheless, he could provide immediate help for a team that’s currently struggling just to make the playoffs.

What Would Philadelphia Have to Give Up?

The Miami Herald report doesn’t discuss the exact details of what Philly is offering. Chances are, though, that they’re only willing to part with mid or late-round draft picks in order to land Parker.

Philadelphia still sees themselves as contenders after their dominant run to the postseason last year. Therefore, they won’t give up any key pieces that would hamper their chances of repeating.

It’s worth mentioning that Miami has received calls from other teams on Parker’s availability. But Philadelphia has raised the most eyebrows when considering that they’re in dire straits and need receivers who can make plays.

Anderson Silva Wants Conor McGregor Fight

anderson-silva-conor-mcgregorAnderson Silva hasn’t fared too well in his recent UFC matches. However, the once dominant middleweight is still one of the biggest names in mixed martial arts. And he recently urged UFC President Dana White to set up a high-profile match between him and Conor McGregor.

This would be a catchweight bout, given that Silva normally fights as a middleweight and McGregor fights as a lightweight. McGregor is coming off a loss against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229, where he was trying to reclaim his lightweight belt that was stripped for inactivity.

This fight was marred by a post-fight brawl, which happened due to bad blood that’d been brewing for quite some time between the two camps. McGregor is interested in a rematch with Khabib, but he might not get one immediately.

Can Silva Still Beat the Best?

Silva is undoubtedly one of the best pound for pound fighters in UFC history. At one point, he was consistently at the top of these rankings while holding the middleweight title for seven years from 2006 to 2013.

anderson-silva-mcgregorBut as mentioned before, “The Spider” has fallen off his game in recent years. The 43-year-old is no longer considered an elite title contender. Nevertheless, he hasn’t lost the same confidence he had in his prime.

“I’m just waiting. I accept the challenge of Conor,” he told TMZ. “I think Dana needs to think about this.

“It’s two big guys in this sport, two big names. Two big legends and why not? It’s not about money, Conor. It’s about a martial arts challenge.”

What Would Be the Catchweight?

Silva proposes that 180 pounds would be a good compromise between himself and McGregor. This might work for the latter, who usually comes into his lightweight fights quite a bit heavier than 155 pounds after weigh-ins.

“I think 180 [pounds] for me is good. I think for Conor, too. Because that’s a superfight. It’s not about weight class,” Silva explained.

“I don’t believe Conor would win [against Khabib]. Definitely not. In a rematch, I don’t believe that. I believe Conor needs to fight with me. That’s a good fight.”

Will This Fight Happen?

conor-mcgregor-training-mayweatherDuring the build-up to his bout against Khabib, McGregor said that Silva was a “legend in the game.” This shows that he obviously has great respect for the former middleweight champion.

But can mere respect lead to a fight between the two?

Silva would need to pull off a huge win or two before coming into this conversation. He’s no longer the same draw that he was several years ago and is considered on the downside of his career. However, the Spider is also a very skilled fighter who’s still capable of a big win.

The key issue, though, might come down to money. McGregor has made $100 million and $50 million in his last two fights against Floyd Mayweather (boxing) and Khabib, respectively.

He’s not going to fight somebody just because he thinks they’re a legend. And a Silva-McGregor matchup doesn’t seem like it’d generate the same type of pay-per-views as the Mayweather or Nurmagomedov matches.

Another issue is that a McGregor win over Silva wouldn’t further his career. He likely needs a victory over a high-profile opponent to face Khabib again, assuming he doesn’t get a rematch right away.

Regardless, a fight between Silva and McGregor would be entertaining. It just doesn’t seem likely to happen.

Can Cavs Make Playoffs without LeBron in 2018-19?

kevin-love-knee-injury-impactLeBron James left the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason as predicted. He led the Cavs to four straight NBA Finals appearances before his departure.

That said, Cleveland is unlikely to make a fifth-straight appearance in the post-LeBron days. Most analysts don’t expect them to even reach the playoffs. Assuming these predictions come true, the Cavs will be watching ping pong balls bounce in June for the first time since 2014.

But there is some reason to be excited for this year’s team. They have old holdovers from the LeBron era, including J.R. Smith, Kyle Korver, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. The latter spoke to Cleveland.com on his team’s chances of making the postseason.

“We’re a playoff team. That’s realistic,” said Thompson. “Everyone that says playoffs is overachieving doesn’t know our squad and doesn’t believe in our squad.

“For us, we’re a playoff team. We just have to go out there, be ourself and prove the naysayers wrong, which we will.”

The East Presents a Chance to Make the Playoffs

Every team is obviously going to carry a playoff mindset into the season. But is there any substance to back up Thompson’s words?

The core of the team isn’t bad, especially in the lackluster Eastern Conference. Love should regain the role he played in Minnesota as a No. 1 option. Thompson and Larry Nance will serve a scrappy inside players. Smith, Korver, Rodney Hood, and Jordan Clarkson can supply offense on the perimeter.

jr-smith-clevelandRookie point guard Collin Sexton brings plenty of excitement to the roster. The No. 8 overall pick in last year’s draft should play a big role on this Cleveland team in his first season.

Realistically, though, this squad will need some luck in order to actually make the playoffs. They no longer have LeBron to create floor space and open shots.

Smith hasn’t played well ever since signing a new deal in 2016. Korver is still a great shooter, but he doesn’t create his own shot. Hood didn’t see the floor much until the last two games of the 2018 NBA Finals. Clarkson did see the floor, but he was awful in the postseason. Point guard George Hill looks like he’s already on the downside of his career.

Love is still an All-Star caliber forward who can shoot outside and play in the post. But he’s certainly no LeBron and has never proven capable of putting a weak team on his back. That said, Cleveland will still struggle to earn a playoff berth, even in the dilapidated East.

This could be a Throwaway Season for the Cavs

Many expected the Cavs to make a move in the offseason in order to bring in young talent. After all, they didn’t really figure to have much of a chance to compete for another title without King James.

Love was the obvious trade bait mentioned in the offseason. However, the team shocked everybody by signing him to a long-term deal instead. This signaled a willingness to try and compete despite the odds against them.

kyle-korver-cavsThere’s an obvious reason why Cleveland has chosen to compete rather than overhaul their roster: they don’t have much a choice.

The team is saddle-bagged with aging veterans on big contracts. Smith will be a good trade candidate next season, because the final year of his contract is only guaranteed for $3.8 million in 2019-20. But that doesn’t do Cleveland much good this year.

Nobody is going to trade for Thompson and his $17 million annual salary. Likewise, they’ll have to deal with Hill and his $20 million salary for one more season.

Rather than blow up the team in the offseason and combine rebuilding with disgruntled veterans, the team has simply chosen to compete in the 2018-19 campaign.

Sexton Will Be the Key

Pretty much everything on Cleveland’s roster is a known entity. The only way this changes is if some of the veterans like Smith and Hill play even worse in 2019. However, Sexton is the one unknown variable at this point.

collin-sexton-clevelandIf draft experts are correct, he could provide even more value than his No. 8 selection suggests. The 6’2″ point guard is a tough competitor who plays hard on both ends of the floor.

The problem, though, is that point guard is the toughest position to play as a rookie. Don’t expect Sexton to jump out of the gate and play like an All-Star. This is especially the case when considering that he shot 33% from the three-point line in college.

Nonetheless, he’ll have plenty of chances to learn the game on an under-talented Cleveland team. He’ll also serve as Hill’s understudy for the early part of the season (and potentially beyond).

Assuming Cleveland doesn’t make a serious push for the playoffs and Hill doesn’t do any better than last year, then Sexton might move into a starting role and establish himself as an important future piece.

Final Prediction on Cavs’ 2018-19 Season

Cleveland won 50 games last year and made the NBA Finals with James playing the best basketball of his career. That said, there’s no way Cleveland approaches 50 wins this season with virtually the same roster.

Odds are that they drop off between 15-20 games when compared to last year. They realistically project to win around 33-35 games.

But there’s always a chance that they rally around each other following years of success. Assuming everything goes right, they can compete for the final playoff spot in the East.

More than likely, though, the team is simply looking to get through this year and survive the bad contracts they have until next offseason.

Khabib Nurmagomedov Wants to Fight Floyd Mayweather

khabib-mayweather-1Khabib Nurmagomedov is still riding high on his UFC 229 victory over Conor McGregor. However, he already appears focused on the future and recently called out undefeated and recently unretired boxer Floyd Mayweather.

Nurmagomedov did this while standing ringside with Leonard Ellerbe, CEO of Mayweather Promotions. With his arm around Ellerbe, Khabib challenged Mayweather to a fight.

“Hey, let’s go, Floyd. We have to fight now. 50-0 vs. 27-0. Two guys never lose. Let’s go. Why not?

“Because in the jungle, only one king. Only one king. Of course, I am the king because he cannot drop McGregor but I drop him easily. Let’s go!”

Khabib says it all, because both athletes are undefeated in their respective sports. This alone would make a fight between the two a historic occasion.

Is there Any Possibility of Nurmagomedov vs. Mayweather?

bernard-hopkins-floyd-mayweatherIt’s theoretically possible that Khabib and Mayweather could meet in the future at some point. However, there are some big hurdles to overcome before this happens.

Namely, Khabib is suspended by the Nevada Athletic Commission after his post-match brawl with McGregor’s team at UFC 229. The UFC is also holding his $2 million purse, which caused Nurmagomedov to threaten to break his contract with the world’s biggest mixed martial arts promotion.

It’s unclear whether Khabib would actually leave the organization that’s helped make him a star. However, he might do so when considering the type of money he can earn from boxing against Mayweather.

What would Sell a Khabib vs. Mayweather Fight?

Khabib makes a very interesting opponent for Mayweather for a few reasons. First off, Nurmagomedov would become the second MMA fighter besides McGregor to cross over into boxing in order to face “Money.”

Secondly, Khabib is the first fighter to ever knock down McGregor with a punch in competition. Even Mayweather – who has far more boxing experience than Nurmagomedov – failed to put Mcgregor on the canvas.

Building fights is all about hype. And the fact that Khabib was able to knock down McGregor with a stiff right hand while Mayweather couldn’t would make for some interesting pre-fight theatrics.

Finally, the simple fact that Money is interested in this matchup sells the deal. Mayweather said that he would be willing to face Khabib for the right price.

Ramifications of a Bout between Money and Khabib

khabib-mayweatherThe boxing match between Mayweather and McGregor is the second biggest pay-per-view event of all time. It’s doubtful that Nurmagomedov and Mayweather would match this.

After all, Khabib hasn’t generated quite the same publicity throughout his career as McGregor. But it would definitely be another giant fighting event.

However, it’s worth keeping in mind that Mayweather came out of retirement in order to face Manny Pacquiao at some point in 2019. Therefore, he needs to dispatch Pacquiao – something he did in 2015 – in order to keep the bout with Khabib attractive.

It’s definitely conceivable that he can once again beat Pacquiao and keep his perfect 50-0 record untarnished. That would set up another big payday with Khabib if everything falls into place.