Will Trevor Lawrence be able to keep up with Joe Burrow? Plus, picking MLB’s MVPs

Happy Thursday newsletter readers. It’s Shanna McCarriston again, ready to talk football, soccer and more.

Week 4 of the NFL regular season begins tonight, which means it is officially the week that the Patriots play Tom Brady and the Buccaneers … which means I am on an emotional rollercoaster. As a New Englander this will be a tough week for me. I’m just hoping for the least amount of drama between the two sides as possible. Never thought I’d see the day where TB12 played at Gillette Stadium in a different uniform, but here we are.

Moving RIGHT along before I get too sad, today we will look at Week 4 picks, more Champions League action, the MLB MVP race and more

Let’s get started.

📰 What you need to know

1. Prisco’s Week 4 picks: Jaguars vs. Bengals will be close tonight 🏈

Remember yesterday when I said NFL weekly rankings are one of my favorite parts of the newsletter? Well, weekly picks are my other favorite part. I love considering each matchup, giving hot takes and comparing my picks to CBS Sports’ NFL expert Pete Prisco’s picks.

Tonight we have a thrilling matchup between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals. OK, it’s not that thrilling, but it’s still the NFL. And the Bengals are a technically a first place team.

Prisco picked the Bengals to win 28-24 and I agree with his pick. This seems like a good opportunity for both teams and a pair of young quarterbacks to show their potential — but there’s a reason the Jaguars are still seeking their first win. They are simply not as complete as the Bengals.

Here are some more of Prisco’s picks that I like, along with the latest odds:

I would love it if the Patriots kept it that close against the Bucs and, while Belichick will bring his A-Game, Brady knows how to dominate in Foxboro better than any other quarterback. Mac Jones might not be able to keep this one interesting.

As far as ones that will be close, I expect the Rams and Cardinals to give us a great game. 

2. Bears take another big step in process to leave Chicago 🏈

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Da Bears might be finding a new home soon. The team has been at Soldier Field since 1971, but now that they have entered a purchase agreement to buy land located 35 miles outside of Chicago, they are one step closer to leaving the spot they’ve been in for decades.

Here’s a look at the land they are in the agreement for and what the situation is:

  • They entered a purchase agreement to buy the Arlington International Racecourse property
  • The land is in Arlington Heights, Illinois, a suburb 35 miles outside of Chicago
  • The land is 326 acres
  • The Bears announced in June they made a bid for the land
  • They are looking into the idea of building a new stadium
  • The Arlington Heights village board already approved a zoning change so a stadium could be built there
  • The land currently has a horse racing track

Something as massive as an NFL franchise moving home cities takes time and the process might not even formally start for another two years. Churchill Downs, the previous owners, expect the $197.2 million sale to be finalized in late 2022 or 2023.

  • Bears president Ted Phillips: “Much work remains to be completed, including working closely with the Village of Arlington Heights and surrounding communities, before we can close on this transaction. Our goal is to chart a path forward that allows our team to thrive on the field, Chicagoland to prosper from this endeavor, and the Bears organization to be ensured a strong future.”

Soldier Field is old. It was built in 1924 and seats 61,500 (an important note is that there’s no way to increase that number by much.) Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot says she is committed to keeping the Bears where they are, but based on everything we know right now, it seems the team’s days at Soldier Field are numbered.

3. Champions League recap: Ronaldo lifts Manchester United in extra time ⚽

Wednesday was another exciting game day for UEFA Champions League action. We saw a bunch of goals, great matchups and solid storylines. Bayern Munich, Benfica, Manchester United and Juventus were some of the major names to win yesterday.

  • Bayern Munich had the most dominant win, defeating Dynamo Kyiv 5-0. Robert Lewandowski was the player of the day, scoring twice
  • In stoppage time, Cristiano Ronaldo had a game winner for Manchester United
  • Fedrico Chiesa had the only goal in Chelsea’s loss to Juve, which was the biggest upset of the day

Here are complete results from Wednesday’s matches:

  • Zenit 4, Malmo FF 0
  • Atalanta 1, Young Boys 0
  • Benfica 3, Barcelona 0
  • Juventus 1, Chelsea 0
  • Bayern Munich 5, Dynamo Kyiv 0
  • Salzbug 2, Lille 1
  • Wolfsburg 1, Sevilla 1
  • Manchester United 2, Villarreal 1

4. Predicting how MLB’s MVP races will end ⚾

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The end of MLB’s regular season doesn’t just mean we get to see who is going to the postseason. We are also starting to see the end of season award races take shape.

CBS Sports MLB scribe Matt Snyder recently gave his final installment of the MVP watch and explained what his ballot would look like. While it is a team sport, he is focusing on individual performance. He is not looking at the team’s success or “predictive” stats. 

Here is a look at the top of Snyder’s ballots for both leagues:

American League ballot

  • No. 1: Shohei Ohtani, Angels
  • No. 2: Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Blue Jays
  • No. 3: Marcus Semien, Blue Jays

National League ballot

  • No. 1: Bryce Harper, Phillies
  • No. 2: Juan Soto, Nationals
  • No. 3. Fernando Tatis, Jr., Padres

Ohtani is not surprising at all. The NL race, on the other hand, has been tight all season. Harper had a slow first half, but really turned it on after the All-Star break — enough to earn the league’s top honors, according to Snyder.

📝 Odds & Ends

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📺 What to watch tonight

⚾ Red Sox vs. Orioles, 7:05 p.m. | BAL +196 | TV: MLB.TV

⚾ Yankees vs. Blue Jays, 7:07 p.m. | TOR -135 | TV: MLB.TV

🏈 Jaguars vs. Bengals, 8:20 p.m. | CIN -7.5 | TV: NFLN

🏅 Best thing I saw on the internet

This season uniforms in the NHL are going to do more than just represent each team. They will also be helping the environment. The league announced that all 32 teams will wear Adidas jerseys made of at least 50% recycled content.

“We know that plastic waste is a mounting problem, and we need to innovate the ways in which we produce our products. The new ADIZERO Primegreen NHL jerseys are an incredible example of how we’re bringing that idea to life,” senior director of Adidas Hockey Dan Near said. 

Teams and leagues have such an opportunity to do good and I love to see when they actually make steps forward.

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