Sep 12, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA;  New England Patriots quarterback Mac Jones (10) throws a pass during the second half against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie quarterback battle looms in Patriots-Jets

Two of the five quarterbacks selected in the first round of this year’s draft collide as No. 2 overall pick Zach Wilson and the New York Jets host No. 15 overall pick Mac Jones and the New England Patriots in an AFC East divisional clash on Sunday afternoon in East Rutherford, N.J.

Neither highly-touted quarterback was victorious in their respective NFL debuts last Sunday.

Wilson threw for 258 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 20-for-37 passing in New York’s 19-14 defeat at Carolina. Meanwhile, Jones finished 29-for-39 with 281 yards and a touchdown in New England’s 17-16 loss against Miami.

Both were victims of poor protection as Wilson was sacked six times while Jones was sacked once, but took a number of bruising hits.

In Wilson, the Patriots will have to prepare for somewhat of an unknown as the promising 22-year-old makes just his second career start. However, New England coach Bill Belichick has seen enough of Wilson already to declare him a capable conductor of the Jets’ offense.

“He’s an explosive player,” Belichick said. “He’s got a great arm. Live arm. Makes all the throws. Athletic. Like any young player, you know, they gain experience and get better every time they go out there.”

Under Belichick, New England has historically fared well against rookie quarterbacks with a 21-6 record against them during his 22 seasons coaching the Patriots. On the road, however, Belichick’s teams are just 8-6 against first-year starters under center.

On the opposing sideline, New York knows full well how difficult Belichick-crafted defenses are to prepare for. Jets tight end Tyler Kroft said the team must be ready to face a mixed bag of coverages throughout the game.

“We know New England will be going to come with its bag of tricks,” Kroft told the team’s Inside The Jets Radio Show. “They’ll give us the whole Rolodex of coverages and fronts, and they’re going to put a lot on Zach’s plate. We have to be locked in and our communication will have to be on point.”

Jets linebacker Jamien Sherwood (ankle) did not practice Wednesday and wide receiver Keelan Cole (knee) was limited. Coach Robert Saleh said that Cole and fellow wideout Jamison Crowder (COVID-19 list) were expected to be available for the game.

Patriots left tackle Trent Brown (calf) and linebacker Kyle Van Noy (throat) did not participate at Wednesday’s practice. Meanwhile, tackle Yodny Cajuste (hamstring) and linebacker Ronnie Perkins (shoulder) were limited. Wideout Nelson Agholor (ankle) and defensive backs Kyle Dugger (wrist) and Jalen Mills (ankle) were listed as full participants.

New York dropped both games against New England a season ago and has lost 10 straight meetings over the last five seasons. The Jets’ last win against the Patriots was a 26-20 overtime victory on Dec. 27, 2015 at home.

It is the Jets’ first home game in front of fans since a Dec. 22, 2019 win over Pittsburgh.

To celebrate the return of Jets football to the New York Metropolitan area, the Empire State Building in New York City will be lit up in the Jets’ Gotham Green on Saturday.

–Field Level Media

Jan 3, 2021; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; The New York Jets logo is seen on a helmet during the first half of their game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Jets bring in Matt Cavanaugh to succeed Greg Knapp

According to multiple reports, the New York Jets have turned to a familiar face to fill their offensive coaching vacancy, hiring Matt Cavanaugh as a senior offensive assistant.

Cavanaugh rejoins the Jets after previously serving as the team’s quarterbacks coach from 2009-12. That tenure enabled him to work with Mark Sanchez under head coach Rex Ryan and reach back-to-back AFC Championship Games following the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

A former backup quarterback for multiple NFL teams, Cavanaugh is also well known for being the offensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens when they won Super Bowl XXXV following the 2000 season.

He most recently coached in various assistant roles in Washington from 2015-2019.

Cavanaugh succeeds Greg Knapp, who died tragically on July 22 after being hit by a car five days earlier. Knapp, a bicycle enthusiast, had been biking at the time of the incident.

–Field Level Media

May 27, 2021; Florham Park, NJ, USA; New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson (2) throws a pass during an OTA at Jets Atlantic Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: John Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Jets reach deal with top pick Zach Wilson

Rookie quarterback Zach Wilson and the New York Jets reached an agreement on a contract, ending the No. 2 overall draft pick’s brief training camp holdout.

The deal is for four years and $35.15 million, with a $22.92 million signing bonus. The base salary grows in subsequent seasons, from $660,000 this year to $5.45 million in Year 4, per Spotrac. The Jets hold the fifth-year option.

Jets training camp opened Tuesday.

Per reporting from NFL Network, the holdout stemmed from offset language and signing bonus timing. The Jets were able to retain the offset language in exchange for a reworked signing bonus schedule. Wilson, who turns 22 next week, will receive the money within 15 days, ESPN reported.

The 6-foot-3 Wilson was the second quarterback selected in the 2021 NFL Draft behind Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, who went No. 1 overall to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

A BYU product, Wilson threw for 3,692 yards and 33 touchdowns in leading the Cougars to an 11-1 record in 2020. For his collegiate career, he threw for 7,652 yards with 56 touchdowns and 15 interceptions.

The Jets are scheduled to open the season Sept. 12 against their former starting quarterback, Sam Darnold, and the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte.

–Field Level Media

Nov 2, 2020; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Golden Tate (15) catches a touchdown pass in front of Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting (23) during the second half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Golden Tate not ready to retire, lists possible landing spots

The NFL hasn’t heard much from Golden Tate following the New York Giants’ release of the veteran wide receiver earlier this year. Despite being a free agent for several months, Tate has yet to find a landing spot. But in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, he revealed that he still wants to play — and where that might be.

“I would love to go back home to Tennessee,” Tate said. “Indy, over with Carson Wentz. Obviously, the L.A. Rams would be fantastic with (Matthew) Stafford. I had my best years with Stafford. I really like the entire NFC West, to be honest.”

Last November, Tate was benched for repeatedly playing to the television cameras in a 25-23 loss to the Buccaneers, demanding more footballs be thrown in his direction.

“If you know me, if you know my game, I play with a lot of emotion. A lot of passion,” Tate said at the time. “I just got caught up in the moment. I was wrong to draw attention to myself. I take full responsibility for that. I handled it the wrong way and, again, brought negative attention to our organization. It was something that won’t happen again.”

Tate had his least productive season in nine years in 2020, recording 35 catches for 388 yards and two touchdowns.

For his career, Tate has totaled 695 receptions for 8,278 yards and 46 touchdowns over 11 seasons with the Seattle Seahawks (2010-13), Detroit Lions (2014-18), Philadelphia Eagles (2018) and Giants.

–Field Level Media

Dec 19, 2020; Denver, Colorado, USA; A general view of the  Buffalo Bills helmet before game against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Cuomo: NY considering limited fans for Bills’ playoff game

New York state officials are evaluating a proposal by the Buffalo Bills that would allow 6,700 fans at their home playoff game next month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday.

The Bills, winners of the AFC East title, will host their first home playoff game since 1995. Bills Stadium has been without fans all season.

Cuomo said a proposal that would require rapid testing for COVID-19, combined with the ability for postgame contact tracing, is being studied. He said it could serve as a model for how large-scale events could be held in the future.

“We would like to do it,” Cuomo said during his COVID-19 briefing from the state capital of Albany. “Nothing is final.”

Fans also would be required to wear masks and be subject to ejection from the stadium if they didn’t.

The Bills haven’t offered details about their proposal, including how the small number of fans would be chosen. The stadium seats approximately 73,000, so 6,700 fans would fill about 9.2 percent of capacity.

“We are continuing to work with the Governor’s Office regarding the details of a plan to possibly host a limited amount of spectators at our home playoff game. Nothing has been finalized at this point,” team spokesman Derek Boyko told The Buffalo News in an email.

Cuomo has made no secret of his desire to attend the game.

“I would like to be at that game — a playoff game — as much as anyone,” he said Sunday. “This has been a long time coming for Buffalo, and there are no fans like Buffalo Bills fans.”

And the fervor of Bills’ fans has state officials worried about the potential spread of COVID-19 through home watch parties and such.

Thousands of fans showed up the meet the team at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport early Sunday morning, hours after the Bills clinched the division title when they beat the Broncos in Denver.

“That’s how disease spreads,” said Dr. Howard Zucker, the state health commissioner.

After Cuomo spoke on Wednesday, Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz said his administration is out of the loop on the potential of hosting fans. He told The Buffalo News that the county doesn’t have the resources for the required COVID-19 testing and contact tracing for an event of this size.

The Bills (11-3) currently are the second seed in the AFC. If the season ended today, they would host the Miami Dolphins in the wild-card round of the playoffs. A win in that game would give them a second home contest in the AFC divisional round.

–Field Level Media

Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting and Sports: PA Launch Has Arrived

The post Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting and Sports: PA Launch Has Arrived appeared first on SportsHandle.

It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad).

Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top stories, and rounding up key stories in sports betting, gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading.

12 Billion Reasons There Is So Much Hype Around Pennsylvania Sports Betting; Launch Pad Readies at Hollywood Penn 

The Hollywood Casino in Pennsylvania will make history on Saturday when it fully opens the first legal sportsbook in PA to the public. More than a year after legalizing sports betting, Pennsylvanians will finally be able to legally place a bet — and the state will begin to reap expected financial gains from sports betting. They already have, actually, in the form of $10 million application fee apiece from the six properties so far to apply for a sports wagering license.

Of the eight states that have legalized sports betting, Pennsylvania is the only that that has just about two of everything — NFL teams, MLB teams and NHL teams. The only pro sport with only one Pennsylvania franchise is the NBA.

 
 

Read more Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting and Sports: PA Launch Has Arrived on SportsHandle.

How November Elections And A Court Ruling Will Impact Legal New York Sports Betting

Tuesday’s election results and a recent New York State Supreme Court ruling are both likely to impact the ability of state residents to soon enter a full-fledged, regulated sports wagering market, according to a New York legislator and a prominent local gaming attorney. 

New Yorkers have a “better than 50 percent chance” to be able to legally bet on sports in 2019, Democratic Assemblyman Member J. Gary Pretlow (89th District), told Sports Handle this week, despite the recent court decision that ruled part of the legislation legalizing Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) was unconstitutional and would require voter approval in a statewide referendum.

Pretlow is the state lawmaker sponsoring a bill to legalize sports betting in the Empire State, and plans to bring it up again in the state’s next legislative session in January.

 

Read more How November Elections And A Court Ruling Will Impact Legal New York Sports Betting  on SportsHandle.

Key Sports Betting Lawmakers: Who Survived the Election, and Who’s Out

The post Key Sports Betting Lawmakers: Who Survived the Election, and Who’s Out appeared first on SportsHandle.

Besides the 36 gubernatorial races decided on Tuesday, the Nov. 6 elections will have an impact on the future of sports betting in some states. Several key lawmakers in states actively considering legalizing sports betting lost their seats or were term-limited out, while others retained their posts and may see their influence elevate.

In Indiana, two key legislators, Ben Smaltz, whose Public Policy Committee held an intensive hearing on sports betting last month, hasn’t filed legislation, but could be a key drive. So could Ron Alting, Smaltz’s Senate counterpart. Both held off Democratic challengers to retain their seats.

In Kentucky, Adam Koenig, who retained his seat with 55 percent of the vote, hasn’t filed a bill yet, but hosted a comprehensive hearinghttps://sportshandle.com/ky-lawmakers-closing-in-on-sports-betting-bill-to-pass-in-19-hone-in-on-final-key-issues/ in October and appears to have taken the point on sports betting in the Bluegrass State. And in Massachusetts, chairman of the Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies Joe Wagner, who ran unopposed, is carrying the torch.

 

 
 

Read more Key Sports Betting Lawmakers: Who Survived the Election, and Who’s Out on SportsHandle.

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 7

Super Bowl 53 Odds: Updated for Week 7

Key takeaways from week 6:

  • Rams, Patriots, and Chiefs remain in top three spots
  • LA Chargers are 4-2, with losses only to the LA Rams, KC Chiefs
  • Biggest jump: New York Jets (+42.9%)
  • Biggest drop: New York Giants (-100.00%)
  • No change: Lions, Vikings (0%)

Super Bowl 53 Odds

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