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This Week in Sports: Brady v. Rodgers, Alabama’s huge win and Michigan’s case for the CFP

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New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) sets up to pass against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on January 1, 2017. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald/TNS)

Welcome to another weekly roundup in the world of sports. This week, the Detroit Lions struggled and dropped their second straight game, falling further behind the NFC North standings. Sunday Night Football featured a matchup of two of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game. Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady faced off against each other for just the second time in their storied careers, and this game did not disappoint. In college football, Alabama went into a hostile environment against LSU on Saturday night. Alabama quickly silenced the crowd and picked up their biggest win of the year, padding their College Football Playoff resume in the process. Michigan did the same on Saturday with a huge win over Penn State, improving their chances to make it into the top four teams. Michigan State took advantage of a Maryland team that just fired their head coach and didn’t allow the Terrapins to score a touchdown. And in the NBA, Klay Thompson set another NBA record earlier this week. This time breaking a record held by one of his teammates.

National Football League

The Detroit Lions came into Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings with a record of 3-4. Despite their sub .500 record, they were just one game behind the first place Chicago Bears in the NFC North.

The Lions struggled to get anything going offensively in this game and eventually lost 24-9. Lions’ quarterback Matt Stafford failed to reach 200 yards passing and couldn’t lead the Lions on a single touchdown drive. Kerryon Johnson also struggled for Detroit rushing for just 37 yards on 12 carries.

Despite losing, the Lions actually had possession of the ball for nearly 37 minutes and won the turnover battle 2-1. Neither the Lions nor the Vikings lit it up offensively. The Vikings outgained the Lions in total yards, but both teams failed to reach the 300-total-yard mark in the game.

Vikings’ quarterback Kirk Cousins had just 164 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception. Dalvin Cook of the Vikings added 89 yards rushing on only 10 carries.

The Lions are now 3-5, and with Chicago winning and moving to 5-3, Detroit falls to two games back in the NFC North standings. The Lions will try to stop their two-game skid on Sunday when they  travel to Chicago to take on those first place Bears at 1 p.m. on Fox. The Vikings move to 5-3-1 and will have a bye this week before they take on the Bears in Chicago on Sun., Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. on Fox.

The Green Bay Packers visited the New England Patriots on Sunday night which featured a matchup of arguably the two best quarterbacks in the NFL.

The game’s turning point happened in the third quarter when the game was tied at 17. The Packers were in the midst of a 65-yard drive when Packers’ running back Aaron Jones fumbled the ball giving it back to the Patriots.

Following the turnover, the Patriots had a 10-play, 76-yard drive capped off by a James White touchdown run.

The Packers got the ball back now trailing 24-17 and proceeded to go three-and-out. The Packers punted the ball back to the Patriots and New England never looked back. Almost immediately after the punt, Tom Brady hit Josh Gordon for a 55-yard touchdown on the third play of the drive to build their lead to 31-17.

Aaron Rodgers and the Packers offense never got back into a groove after the fumble and the Patriots held on for the 31-17 win.

Brady finished the game with 294 passing yards and a touchdown. Gordon led the way for the Patriots, picking up 130 receiving yards and touchdown. Rodgers had two touchdown passes with 259 yards through the air.

The Packers fall to 3-4-1 after the loss and currently sit in third place in the NFC North. They will try to get back to the .500 mark when they host the 5-4 Miami Dolphins on Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on CBS. The Patriots improve to 7-2 and further distance themselves from the Dolphins in the AFC East standings. This was the Patriots’ sixth win in a row and they’ll travel to Nashville to face the Tennessee Titans on Sunday at 1 p.m. on CBS and try to make it seven straight.

Week nine of the NFL season will conclude tonight when Dak Prescott and the 3-4 Dallas Cowboys host Marcus Mariota and the 3-4 Tennessee Titans on Monday Night Football at 8:15 p.m. on ESPN.

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

NCAA Football

What was advertised as the biggest game of the year in college football ended up being quite disappointing.

The No. 1 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide visited the No. 3 LSU Tigers on Saturday night. Alabama has been much-maligned this season for not having a quality win over a tough opponent, and having a relatively weak schedule to this point in the season.

Nick Saban’s team put those conversations to rest with an emphatic 29-0 win over the Tigers. Alabama’s defense suffocated the No. 1 ranked rushing attack of LSU. The Tigers came into the game averaging 191 yards per game on the ground. LSU finished the game with just 12 rushing yards.

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa faced one of the top secondaries in all of college football. He threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns in the game, but the LSU defense did manage to do something no team had been able to do against Tagovailoa this year. Tagovailoa threw his first interception of the season. Unfortunately for LSU, that was the only high-point of the game for them.

Damien Harris led the way for the Crimson Tide on the ground with 107 yards rushing and a touchdown. Jerry Jeudy was Tagovailoa’s go-to receiver in the game with eight catches for 103 yards. LSU’s quarterback Joe Burrow struggled in the game with only 184 yards passing, no touchdowns and an interception. LSU’s offense never gained any momentum and was shutout for the first time since 2014.

Alabama is now 9-0 on the season and will surely remain No. 1 in the CFP rankings when they come out tomorrow night. They’ll host the 18th ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. on CBS. They are currently a 26.5 point favorite in the game.

LSU falls to 7-2 with the loss. They’ll drop in the rankings, but with the loss coming to the No. 1 team in the country, they’ll most likely remain in the top 10. LSU will travel to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the struggling 2-7 Razorbacks of Arkansas on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. on the SEC Network.

After losing the season opener to the No. 4 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish, the Michigan Wolverines have won seven straight games.

Michigan has worked their way all the way up to the No. 5 ranked team in the country. On Saturday afternoon, they hosted the 14th ranked Penn State Nittany Lions for a huge Big 10 showdown.

Michigan picked up their biggest win of the season with a 42-7 win over PSU, silencing any doubts that they should be in the conversation for a trip to the CFP.

Karan Higdon dominated Penn State’s defense with 132 yards rushing and a touchdown. Michigan forced three Nittany Lions’ turnovers in the game allowing Shea Patterson to have a quiet performance in the dominant win.

Patterson only completed 11 passes for 144 yards, but threw for two touchdowns and helped Michigan protect the ball in the win. Michigan’s defense held PSU quarterback Trace McSoreley to 83 yards and forced an interception from him as well as PSU backup quarterback Tommy Stevens.

This is Michigan’s eighth straight win, and they are now 8-1 and control their own destiny if they can win out the rest of the way. With LSU losing to Alabama, Michigan will likely move into the top four spots, which if they can finish there, will guarantee a spot in the playoffs. Michigan will hit the road on Saturday to face the 1-8 Rutgers Scarlet Knights at 3:30 p.m. on the Big 10 Network. Penn State, now 6-3, will host the Wisconsin Badgers at noon on Saturday on ABC.

The Michigan State Spartans picked up a 24-3 win on Saturday against the Maryland Terrapins.

Maryland’s head coach DJ Durkin was fired last week leading up to the matchup with the Spartans, and Maryland looked like a team with no identity or leadership.

Both teams’ passing attacks were nonexistent in this game, but MSU’s rushing attack helped secure the victory for the Spartans. Brian Lewerke threw for just 87 yards and had an interception for the Spartans in the win. Not to be outdone, Maryland quarterback Kasim Hill one-upped Lewerke in the bad game department with eight completions for just 74 yards.

Connor Heyward, younger brother of the Pittsburgh Steelers all-pro defensive end Cam Heyward, had 15 carries for 157 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans. Heyward’s rushing helped the Spartans control the clock in this win with the Spartans having possession of the ball for nearly 37 minutes.

Michigan State will put their 6-3 record on the line this coming Saturday when they return to East Lansing to host the 10th ranked, 8-1 Ohio State Buckeyes at noon on Fox. Maryland is now 5-4 and will try to improve on that record when they travel to take on the Indiana Hoosiers on Saturday at noon on the Big 10 Network.

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

National Basketball Association

The NBA season is just about a month in and they’ve already had some fireworks. A few weeks ago, it was the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers getting into fisticuffs. This past Monday however, it was the defending champions making the headlines, specifically Klay Thompson.

Thompson set the new NBA record for most three-pointers made in a game with 14 against the Chicago Bulls. The record was previously held by Thompson’s teammate Stephen Curry. In just 27 minutes played, Thompson scored 52 points, shooting 14-24 from beyond the arc and 18-29 overall.

Thompson isn’t new to breaking records in the NBA. He set the record for most points scored in a single quarter in a 2015 game against the Sacramento Kings with 37 points. Thompson’s newest record helped lift the Warriors to a big 149-124 win over the Bulls. The Warriors are right where most people assumed they would be at this point in the season, sitting atop the Western Conference with a 9-1 record.  

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