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This Week in Sports: MLB teams clinching, the Lions’ big win and more

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Atlanta Braves' Tyler Flowers gets five from Dansby Swanson after hitting a solo home run to give the Braves a 7-3 lead over the St. Louis Cardinals during the eighth inning on Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018 in Atlanta, Ga. (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS)

Welcome to another weekly roundup in the world of sports. This week, the MLB regular season is a week from its conclusion. More teams are clinching playoff spots, while others are in a battle that may end up coming down to the last day of the season. See which teams have clinched and which teams still have work to do. In the NFL, the Detroit Lions defeated the New England Patriots last night on Sunday Night Football. The win was the first for the Lions this year, and they did something last night that they haven’t done in four and a half years. In college football, both Michigan and Michigan State won and check out which top 15 team was upset on Saturday.

Major League Baseball

Another week closer to season’s end, and another three teams clinched a playoff spot. The Atlanta Braves clinched the National League East, while the defending World Series champion Houston Astros clinched an American League playoff spot. Lastly, the New York Yankees clinched a spot in the American League Wild Card game.

The Astros have yet to clinch their division as the Oakland A’s are still in contention, but with three more wins or three more Oakland losses, the Astros will clinch the AL West for the second straight year.

Last week, the Boston Red Sox clinched a playoff spot. This week, the Red Sox clinched the AL East against their hated rival New York Yankees. With the Red Sox officially clinching the East, the Yankees are now locked in as one of the two wild card teams. They’ll try to hold off the A’s to host the game at Yankee Stadium instead of traveling to the Oakland Coliseum.

Only one spot remains in the American League for the playoffs and the A’s can clinch that spot with just one win. Meanwhile in the National League, only one playoff spot has been clinched. The NL East and West are both tight at the top and teams from these divisions will battle for the division in the final week of the regular season.

(**GB=Games Back / X=Clinched Playoff Spot / Y=Clinched Division / W=Clinched Wild Card / E#=Elimination Number)

NL Division Leaders

East — Atlanta Braves Y (88-68)

Central — Chicago Cubs (91-64)

West — Los Angeles Dodgers (87-69)

NL Wild Card Leaders

Milwaukee Brewers (89-67) +2

St. Louis Cardinals (87-69) —

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Colorado Rockies (85-70) 1.5 GB E# 6

AL Division Leaders

East — Boston Red Sox Y (105-51)

Central — Cleveland Indians Y (87-68)

West — Houston Astros X (98-57)

AL Wild Card Leaders

New York Yankees W (95-60) +1.5

Oakland A’s (94-62) —

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Tampa Bay Rays (87-68) 6.5 GB E# 1

ESPN’s top five power rankings

  1. Houston Astros (98-57)
  2. Boston Red Sox (105-51)
  3. New York Yankees (95-60)
  4. Oakland A’s (94-62)
  5. Cleveland Indians (87-68)

The Collegiate’s top five power rankings

  1. Boston Red Sox (105-51)
  2. Houston Astros (98-57)
  3. New York Yankees (95-60)
  4. Oakland A’s (94-62)
  5. Chicago Cubs (91-64)

National Football League

Week three in the NFL got underway on Thursday night with a matchup between Sam Darnold and the New York Jets, and Tyrod Taylor and the Cleveland Browns.

This game was significant for two reasons, the first being the Baker Mayfield era began for Cleveland due to an injury to Tyrod Taylor. When Taylor went down, the Browns were losing 14-0. When Mayfield jogged out on the field for Cleveland just before the end of the first half, the home crowd went crazy and the atmosphere was electric.

After Mayfield entered the game, the Jets didn’t score again while the Browns scored all 21 of their points with him under center. Mayfield threw for 201 yards on 17-of-23 passing. So the second reason this game was significant…the Browns won for the first time in 635 days. The Browns are now 1-1-1 and will hope to string together two wins when they visit the Oakland Raiders on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 4:05 p.m.

The red hot Kansas City Chiefs hosted the San Francisco 49ers yesterday afternoon, and two things of note happened in the game.

Patrick Mahomes is quickly becoming one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. After setting a record last week for most touchdowns in NFL history through two weeks, he added another three yesterday to make his total 13 in three weeks. He had 314 yards on 24-of-38 passing to help the Chiefs win the game 38-27 and move to 3-0 on the year.

For the 49ers, they may have lost more than just the game. Their starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo left the game late in the fourth quarter with a left knee injury. Nothing has been made official yet, but 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game, “We fear an ACL. We’ll find out for sure tomorrow.”

The 49ers are now 1-2 and if their quarterback is out for an extended amount of time, this promising season could be over before it began.

On Sunday Night Football, Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions hosted his old mentor and team when Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots came to town.

Patricia seemed to know all the strings to pull against his old team as the Lions stunned Tom Brady and the Patriots. Brady had one of the worst games of his career last night and Patricia’s defense is to be thanked. Brady threw for a touchdown and an interception on 14-of-26 passing for a lowly total of 133 yards.

Matt Stafford had a solid game throwing two touchdowns and an interception on 27-of-36 passing for 262 yards. The real story from the Lions’ offense was the rookie running back Kerryon Johnson. He rushed for 101 yards on the night which doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, however, this was the first rusher to hit 100 yards for the Lions in four and a half years. That’s 70 games played without a 100-yard rusher since Thanksgiving of 2013.

The Lions ended up winning the game handily by a score of 26-10. It was the Lions’ first win on the year and both teams moved to 1-2. The Lions will look to improve to 2-2 when they travel to Dallas to take on the Cowboys on Sunday, Sept. 30 at 1 p.m. on FOX.

Week three concludes tonight when 0-1-1 Pittsburgh Steelers visit the surprising 2-0 Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday Night Football. Kickoff is at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN.

For a list of all NFL matchups, gameday finals, stats and standings, click here.

NCAA Football

The 19th ranked Michigan Wolverines hosted the winless Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday as Nebraska’s new head coach Scott Frost tried to avoid the program’s first 0-3 start since 1945.

Michigan jumped all over the Cornhuskers and at halftime, the game was all but over with a score of 39-0. Karan Higdon led the way on the ground for Michigan with 12 carries for 136 yards and a score. Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson had a modest game with 120 yards on 15-of-22 passing.

Nebraska’s offense was terrible in this game and couldn’t move the ball at all. The Cornhuskers only managed to put up 132 yards of total offense, and most of that came when Michigan was already up 46-0 and had pulled their starters. Michigan ended up winning by a final score of 56-10 and are now 3-1. They travel to Evanston, Illinois to play the Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday, Sept. 29 at 4:30 p.m.

Michigan State had two weeks to think about the loss they suffered to Arizona State after a bye week last Saturday. This weekend, they traveled to take on the Hoosiers of Indiana. The Spartans had now fallen to No. 24 in the rankings and were hoping to improve.

The Spartans played a strong first half as they jumped out to a 21-7 lead at halftime. MSU quarterback Brian Lewerke threw two touchdowns in the first half, but his play would fall off in the second half.

The Spartans scored the only touchdown in the third quarter to take a 28-7 lead. In the fourth quarter though, Indiana quarterback Peyton Ramsey helped the Hoosiers chip away at the Spartans’ lead. A couple of field goals, a touchdown and a two-point conversion later, and the Hoosiers were within seven points with three and a half minutes left.

The Spartans put a stop to the comeback and scored the back-breaking touchdown on the ensuing kickoff with a 75-yard, Jalen Nailor return. MSU improved to 2-1 with the 35-21 win. They’ll host the 1-3 Central Michigan Chips on Saturday, Sept. 29 at noon.

The upset of the day came from the Big 12 Conference where the unranked Texas Tech Red Raiders beat the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Tech shutdown the high-flying Cowboys’ offense while making sure their offense exceeded what the Cowboys’ defense could handle.

The Red Raiders led at halftime 24-17. Amazingly, the Cowboys didn’t score any second half points and ended up losing the game 41-17. Red Raiders’ quarterback Alan Bowman was three yards shy of throwing for 400 yards. He had two touchdowns and two interceptions. Demarcus Felton ran all over OSU’s defense on limited touches. He had two scores and 121 yards on 12 carries. Oklahoma State will likely drop out of the top 25 after the loss.

The premier game on Saturday was a PAC 12 matchup between two ranked teams. The No. 7 Stanford Cardinals visited the No. 20 Oregon Ducks. Oregon led at halftime 24-7 and it appeared their home crowd was going to help them to a victory over a top 10 team.

But the second half was another story. Stanford quieted the home crowd by scoring 14 in the third quarter to make it a 24-21 game. The Ducks responded with a touchdown with just over four and a half minutes to go to make it a 10-point game. The Cardinals were resilient through the entire game though. Down by 10, they scored a touchdown with three minutes to go, and then kicked a game tying field goal as time expired.

Tied at 31, the two teams went to overtime, but only one team would score. Stanford’s Colby Parkinson caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from K.J. Costello. This score would end up permanently silencing the Oregon crowd and give the Cardinals the 38-31 win.

For a list of all other games, scores, news and rankings, click here.  

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