There’s more parity than ever across the NFL, plus the NHL made the right decision about the Olympics

Good morning sports fans, it’s Wajih AlBaroudi again here with your essentials this beautiful Thursday. Today we’re going to take a look at the growing parity in the NFL, which I think is making these late-season games even more interesting to watch weekly. We’ll also cover how the NHL came to its conclusion to withdraw from the Olympics, as well as much more.

But first, some quick housekeeping. This will be the last HQ AM newsletter sent out until Monday, as we are taking a short break for the holidays.

OK, now let’s end the short week!

Good morning to everyone but especially…


Are from lowly Detroit Lion stomping The Arizona Cardinals arrive New Orleans Saints beat the reigning Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in 2021 NFL unpredictable season, to say the least. That’s especially true at the so-called top of the league.

The Green Bay Packers to be the only team to hold the top four in Pete Prisco’s Weekly NFL Power Rankings, and they even converted to two points from the loss led by Tyler Huntley Baltimore Raven. The Cardinals, Buccaneers and New England Patriots all fall out of the top four after losing two plus points over the weekend.

At the end of this season, it’s nice to see more of this movement happening at the top of the league.

Prisco’s biggest risk of the week is Los Angeles Rams. They strangled Seahawks on Tuesday, limited Seattle to just 214 yards – the lowest total since 2017 – in a 20-10 home win. Los Angeles’ roster is top heavyweight, but their stars played true to their history against Seattle.

This is why Prisco moved the Rams down to 4th place in this week’s power rankings, which is a five place improvement for them.

  • Prisco: “It wasn’t easy against the Seahawks, but they found a way. The defense did a great job in that game. Maybe. Cooper Kupp stopped? “

The Rams’ NFC West rival had a far worse weekend. The Cardinals put together an inexplicably horrible performance against the Lions, losing 30-12 to fall to 10-4. Kyler Murray, a favorite MVP during the start of Arizona’s 7-0 season, delivered a season low of 6.27 yards per attempt. Jared Goffmeanwhile, the three-timer hit the ground and recorded a season-high 139.7 precious rating.

Prisco took Arizona down from 4th to 8th in its power rankings, and here’s why:

  • Prisco: “In two weeks, they went from top seed in NFC to a team looking for answers. Losing to the Lions the way they did is not a good look for a playoff team.”

Here are some other big risks and losers on Prisco’s power rankings:

Honor mention:

And not a good morning for…

beautiful pictures


The NHL Yes postpone 50 matches and suspending their season due to concerns about COVID-19, and for that reason it will not send players to the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. Citing severe disruption to its schedule, the NHL implemented an Olympic opt-out clause to avoid the Games taking place in February without financial penalties.

Instead of sending players to the Olympics, NHL will use the planned break from February 6-22 to reschedule postponed matches. Refusal is not an easy decision for NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman:

  • Bettman: “We have waited as long as possible to make this decision while exploring every option available to allow our Players to participate in the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Unfortunately, due to scheduling NHL regular season caused by recent COVID related events – 50 games postponed to December 23 – Olympic participation is no longer possible”

With NHL players skipping the 2022 Olympics, they are now missing two Olympics in a row. The NHL did not send the players to the 2018 Olympics in South Korea because of a disagreement over the schedule.

Opting out of the Olympics is the latest of many moves the NHL has taken to combat its COVID-19 crisis. During the past week, the tournament featured:

  • Introduce stricter COVID protocols (December 18)
  • Paused its season until Christmas Day (December 20)
  • Opted out of the Olympics (December 22)

More than 65 players are still using the NHL’s COVID protocols even though all but one of the league’s players – Tyler Bertuzzi of the Detroit Red Wings – have been vaccinated.

Not too honorable mention:

How COVID-19 Could Affect Colleges Knockout Matches


After a relatively quiet season, COVID-19 could have a dramatic impact on college football post-season. The virus has begun to spread rapidly across sports, forcing Texas A&M to withdraw from the Gator Bowl and send the whole Team Miami (Fla.) Perform Protocols Before Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl, among other cases.

In response to the spread of the virus, The College Football Match Management Committee has announced the following COVID-19 contingencies:

  • Semi-finals – both are scheduled for New Year’s Eve – will not be rescheduled if one team doesn’t have enough players available, allow the other team to advance to the College Football Knockout National Championship
  • If both teams in the semi-finals are unable to play, Another semi-final winner will be awarded the national title
  • if only a semi-final team there are enough players available, it will be declared the national champion
  • The National Championship is currently scheduled for Monday, January 10th, but it can reschedule the latest is Friday, January 14
  • If the championship is not played by that January 14 deadline, it will be left blank

On the same day, the CFB Regulatory Commission announced the contingencies, Alabama – one of four CFP semi-finalists – announced Offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien and offensive team coach Doug Marrone have tested positive for COVID-19. Alabama’s semifinal opponent, Cincinnati, there are no known COVID cases.

Michigan, is expected to play Georgia in the semi-finals, also no known COVID cases and there will be a round of team-wide reinforcements on Wednesday. Georgia quarterback JT Daniels and recipient George Pickens are believed to be in COVID protocol.

Here’s CFP executive Bill Hancock’s reasoning for the unusual circumstances:

  • Hancock: “We certainly wish we weren’t in this position, but it’s our sole responsibility to take whatever action we can reasonably take to better protect our players and coaching staff. game.”

Here’s hoping all the teams are healthy and ready to play as planned.

A look back at the top five college basketball teams

Just started a 37-point win over Alcorn State, Baylor Bears Still Topping Gary Parrish’s Daily College Basketball Rankings, 25 And 1. The defending national champions have won their first 11 games and do so by double digits in all but two contests.

Here are the teams that made it to Parrish’s top five, starting with Duke and freshman star Paolo Banchero:

  • Duke No. 2
  • UCLA No. 3
  • No. 4 Purdue
  • No. 5 Gonzaga

The four teams behind Baylor had one loss, but the Bruins played only nine games as COVID-19 forced them to pause the season. Duke (86.1) and Purdue (85.8) had the best number of fouls in the group, winning the fifth and ninth most points, respectively, among Division 1 teams.

Villanova was Parrish’s biggest bulls, climbing four places to 20th after Tuesday’s 71-58 win over Xavier. The Wildcats are allowing 62.7 points per game, their best scoring defense since 2016-17.

Alabama fell 15 places on Parrish’s list, from ninth to 24th, after losing by one point to Davidson on Tuesday. Memphis had lost to Alabama by 14 points a week earlier.

Here are some of Parrish’s other notable rankings:

  • Number 7 Kansas, unchanged
  • No. 10 USC, +1
  • No. 11 Iowa State +1

Keep an eye on one Big update for these charts later today from 19 Tennessee’s nasty win over 6 Arizona last night.

What we’re watching on Thursday

🏈Gasparilla Bowl: UCF vs. Florida (-7), 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏈49 people at Titans (+3), 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network There’s more parity than ever across the NFL, plus the NHL made the right decision about the Olympics

Curtis Crabtree

Curtis Crabtree is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Curtis Crabtree joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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