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Why Astros are taking a chance on Justin Verlander, plus you may recognize the top HS football recruit of 2023

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Week 11 of the NFL season kicks off tonight with the red-hot Patriots (6-4) in Atlanta to face the Falcons (4-5)

*insert your favorite 28-3 joke here*

New England has won six straight against Atlanta, including that infamous Super Bowl LI. Or, to put it another way, the last time the Patriots lost in this matchup was November of 1998, when current Patriots starting quarterback Mac Jones was two months old. And if that doesn’t make you feel old, just wait until you see who the new top high school football recruit in the Class of 2023 is!

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Let’s get to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

JUSTIN VERLANDER

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After a few weeks of suspense, Justin Verlander is staying in Houston. The two-time Cy Young Award winner signed a one-year deal with a player option for a second year to stay with the Astros on Wednesday. He has not pitched since Opening Day of 2020 due to an elbow injury that eventually led to Tommy John surgery.

MLB writer R.J. Anderson ranked Verlander the No. 17 free agent on the market. This new deal is a a significant contract for someone approaching 40 who hasn’t pitched in well over a year, writes our MLB expert Mike Axisa:

  • Axisa: “By all accounts his rehab has gone well and Verlander will be ready to pitch come spring training. The Astros know Verlander’s medicals better than anyone and obviously they felt comfortable re-signing him … Verlander is a future Hall of Famer and could return to that level right away in 2022, though Tommy John surgery comes with risk, especially at age 39.”

Honorable mentions:

  • Speaking of Cy Young Award winners, there were two first-time winners last night: the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes (NL) and the Blue Jays’ Robbie Ray (AL). Burnes just barely beat out the PhilliesZack Wheeler to become Milwaukee’s third-ever Cy Young winner. It wasn’t nearly as close for Ray, who took home 29 of the 30 first-place votes. It’s the fifth time the award has gone to a Blue Jay.
  • Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a season-high 47 points on 18-23 shooting as the Bucks beat the Lakers, 109-102. It was just the third time ever a Bucks player has scored at least 45 points on 75% shooting and Giannis is now responsible for two of those three (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is responsible for the other one.)
  • New Jersey sportsbooks set a new United States record, with $1.3 billion (yes, BILLION) of wagers taken in during the month of October. That’s a 62% increase, year-over-year, from October 2020.

And not such a good morning for…


USATSI

MATTHEW STAFFORD AND KELLY STAFFORD

On Monday, Matthew Stafford wasn’t the only Stafford flinging throws wildly at Levi’s Stadium. On a night where the Rams’ quarterback threw two interceptions, his wife, Kelly, threw a pretzel at a 49ers fan.

She has since apologized on Instagram, posting in part, “I’m an idiot!” and, “I knew I was wrong.”

It couldn’t have been easy to watch the 49ers dominate en route to a 31-10 win, but come on! Throwing a pretzel?! And it’s not as if Kelly Stafford hasn’t been subject to some bad football before: Her husband played for the Lions for a dozen years. I’ve been to Levi’s Stadium before, and those pretzels are pretty tasty, too. What a waste of a perfectly good (not to mention an absolute classic) mid-game snack!

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Eventually security stepped in and ushered Mrs. Stafford and her friends to other seats. Luckily for both Staffords, the Rams have a much-needed bye week ahead. Hopefully they both improve their decision making.

The top football recruit of 2023 is … Arch Manning! 🥇


247Sports

Well, 247Sports has updated its 2023 class rankings and a familiar name (or last name, at least) is the top dog. That’s right, Arch Manning — son of Cooper, nephew of Peyton and Eli, grandson of Archie — is officially atop the recruiting rankings.

Arch Manning is a quarterback at Isidore Newman School in New Orleans, the same high school that produced not only Cooper, Peyton and Eli, but also Odell Beckham Jr. His all-around skillset was a big reason for the jump, writes 247Sports recruiting analyst Gabe Brooks:

  • Brooks: Manning owns physical traits that give him a high physical ceiling that accompanies perhaps the highest floor of the quarterback group. … Manning’s awareness and instincts are exceptional, and his singular quarterback pedigree means the best is yet to come for the latest Manning quarterback to arrive on the national scene.”

Despite the top ranking, Manning has not committed to where he is going to play college football yet.

Make sure you’re 100% ready for Week 11 🏈

It’s the last week of a normal NFL schedule before we hit Thanksgiving week, and we’ve got you covered with everything you could possible want to know — and more.

First, let’s take a look at the playoff picture. SportsLine’s Stephen Oh crunched the numbers, and the computer projects the Titans and the Packers to earn the 1 seed in the AFC and NFC, respectively.

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It’s who’s projected to sneak in as the seventh seed in the NFC that’s a big surprise, writes NFL expert John Breech:

  • Breech: “Wild Card 3: 49ers: The biggest winner of Week 10 was definitely the 49ers. Last week, they were projected to finish in the ninth spot in the NFC, but after their upset win over the Rams, the computer now likes them to steal the final playoff spot in the conference. San Francisco’s playoff chances are sitting at just 42.2% and although that’s not incredibly high, it’s still higher than the other contenders for this spot, including the Vikings (35.8%), Eagles (23.9%) and Panthers (21.7%).”

The playoff race isn’t the only race that’s really close through 10 weeks. How about MVP? It seems like each week a frontrunner or two falls flat: take Tom Brady and Lamar Jackson last week and Josh Allen the week before that. Our team of NFL experts did their own voting, and here’s how they see it:

  • 1. Tom Brady
  • 2. Kyler Murray
  • T-3. Dak Prescott and Lamar Jackson

And lastly, no more pulling your hair out while setting your fantasy lineups: we have Start ‘Em & Sit ‘Em for every position up and down your roster. As for fantasy expert Jamey Eisenberg’s Start of the Week, turn your eyes to a guy who hasn’t even started since Week 8:

  • Eisenberg: “I’m buying that (Tua) Tagovailoa will have a big game against the Jets. We’ve already seen him thrive in favorable matchups this season against the Jaguars in Week 6 and the Falcons in Week 7, and he scored at least 25 Fantasy points in each outing.”

What we’re watching Thursday 📺

🏈Patriots at Falcons (+6.5), 8:20 p.m. on FOX/NFL Network | Mac Jones looks to lead New England to its fifth straight win.
🏀76ers at Nuggets (-7.5), 9 p.m. on NBA TV | Nikola Jokic is off to a great start this season, and he’ll get a 76ers team that doesn’t have Joel Embiid (COVID-19).





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Is Phil Mickelson Left-Handed? (Explained)

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(Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

 

Phil Mickelson is one of the greatest golfers of all time.

If you were not a fan of Tiger Woods when he was in his prime, chances are you were rooting for Mickelson to beat him.

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Although Phil was not able to rack up nearly as many wins as Tiger, he has done some great things through the years.

Phil says it like it is and often brings attention to himself, but he has certainly earned his spot in golf history and is still known for being one of the most impressive players of all time.

One of the things that make Phil Mickelson stand out is that he plays golf left-handed.

However, this often brings up the question of whether he is a left-handed person.

 

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Is Phil Mickelson Left-Handed?

Phil Mickelson of the United States reacts
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

 

Phil Mickelson is a right-handed person who plays golf “lefty.”

Pretty much everything else that Phil does in his life is done with his right hand; he simply plays golf left-handed.

This started for Phil when he was a very young golfer and was learning the game from his father.

Phil saw his dad practicing in the backyard and came out to see what he was doing.

After watching for a few minutes, he grabbed a club and started to copy what his dad was doing.

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As most kids would do, he stood across from his father and took swings as if it was a mirror image.

Phil Mickelson learned that he was quite good at golf this way, and he never really considered becoming a right-handed golfer.

Mickelson’s dad never intended to teach him to shoot left-handed, but his dad did have a good swing for Phil to emulate.

The story is interesting, and it helps us see more into the life and history of one of the greatest, most extraordinary left-handed golf professionals.

The question for some golf experts and enthusiast becomes whether or not this is a good idea.

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Should a right-handed person play golf left-handed?

 

Should Right-Handed Golfers Play Left-Handed?

Driving Range Golf

 

Phil Mickelson learned how to play left-handed golf at a very early age, so it is second nature to him.

However, for a golfer to switch from playing the game left-handed to right-handed or vice versa is a big decision.

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Before making the switch to left-handed golf, it’s worth mentioning that this is not always a good thing and can cause issues in the golf swing.

As amazing as Phil has played through the years, we have seen him struggle with his fair share of issues in his game.

Of course, with the game of golf, these could be caused by the mental side of the sport, but there could be some physical issues here as well.

Here are some things to consider before deciding to play left-handed.

 

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1. Dominant Hand Golf Swing

smiling Man playing golf

 

When you are playing golf as a left-handed player with right-hand dominance, you can struggle with some issues in your swing.

Having right-hand dominance can make it harder for players to release the golf club.

The result when you cannot release the golf club well is a shot that travels from left to right in sort of an uncontrolled matter.

The dominant hand issue must be considered when deciding to bring up a youth golfer as a lefty if they are right-handed.

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Most experts would agree that there is no set advantage to bringing up a golfer to swing in a way that is anything but natural.

We all know how difficult this game of golf is, and it seems as though the right- and left-hand dominance issue can bring about swing flaws for years to come.

 

2. Equipment Access

golf player choosing the golf club from the bag

 

Although access to equipment for left-handed golfers is getting better, it is still nowhere near what it could be.

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Equipment access can be difficult because of the number of people in the market for gear combined with the fact that companies make clubs mostly for right-handed golfers.

Unfortunately, everything about a right-handed golf club is different than a left-handed golf club.

This means that the manufacturing process is different.

Some manufacturers will make six or seven sets of irons, but they will only make about two or three in a left-handed version.

The lack of access to quality equipment is even more reason to skip switching a right-handed golfer to a left-handed one.

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3. Natural Feel/Ability

Golfer hitting golf shot with club

 

Most people who are even somewhat familiar with golf understand how difficult the game is.

However, every player has a natural strength in their game.

These natural strengths that help improve feel and ability will make it much easier when the game is tough or you are just in a rough place with your golf swing.

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The problem here, however, is that when you switch a person from left-handed to right-handed or vice versa, they lose some of their natural feel and ability.

Of course, in the case of Phil Mickelson, this was done at the very beginning of his golf career, and that certainly helped.

This is one of those situations where Phil did not know any other way, so it became incredibly easy for him to pick up the game like this.

In addition, the left-handed or right-handed decision does not affect children who are learning very young.

Kids start to show their hand dominance as they get a bit older and exit the toddler years.

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Since they have been using both of their hands to function for several years, they are likely less bothered by swinging with a club that is not set up for their hand dominance.

It does not feel as unnatural.

 

4. Experience In Golf

Golf player

 

Last but probably the most important thing worth mentioning is a player’s experience with the game.

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If you have a young child who has been playing righty for several years and you decide you are going to switch them to lefty because of Phil, that is a mistake.

The ability to learn the game over again and start back at the beginning can be a major issue.

Take the time and effort you have put in during the first few years and keep investing it in the swing your child already has.

In the case of an adult, the same holds true.

Even after your worst day on the golf course, if you were to suddenly decide to become a left-handed golfer, the process would be incredibly difficult.

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Instead, work on practicing your current game, take some lessons, and figure out the main issues.

Don’t start from square one if you don’t have to; the learning curve in the game of golf is much too long.

 

Why Does Phil Mickelson Swing Left-Handed?

Phil Mickelson of the United States plays a shot on the driving range
(Photo by Andrew Redington/Getty Images)

 

Phil Mickelson would likely not have started swinging left-handed had he not been trying to mirror what his dad was doing.

Most kids like to watch what their parents are doing and take part in activities that their parents do.

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Phil simply saw his dad standing across from him practicing his short game and decided he would do the same.

Something very interesting is the fact that Phil Mickelson is known for being one of the best short game experts in the game of golf.

If you look at footage of Mickelson through the years, he knows how to quickly get the ball up in the air and stop it on the green.

Phil Mickelson does not struggle to hit the green from almost anywhere on the course.

Many of us have wondered if this has to do with his right-hand dominance while swinging left-handed.

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One thing we know for sure is that it’s obvious Phil Mickelson is talented as a left-handed golfer, but he can also do lots of things right-handed.

Therefore, he sets the example that having some ability with both hands helps to ensure you have control and feel in the short game that others may not have.

 

Are Any Pro Golfers Left-Handed?

Left Hand Golfer Tee Off with Driver

 

Even though Phil Mickelson will likely be considered the best left-handed golfer of all time, his not actually being left-handed may make him seem less impressive to some.

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However, there have been other professional golfers on the PGA Tour who are left-handed.

Players like Mike Weir and Bubba Watson were both left-handed and learned how to play the game righty.

Typically speaking, it can be seen as a disadvantage to try and make the PGA Tour as a left-handed golfer.

The one thing we can say for sure is that left-handed pro golfers certainly get a lot of attention.

There are unique characteristics of professional golfers that should be considered, and the left-handed/right-handed factor is one of the biggest.

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Who Is The #1 Left-Handed Golfer In The World?

Phil Mickelson of the United States tees off
(Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

 

Phil Mickelson is the best left-handed golfer in the world.

For a few years, it seemed as if Phil’s career was on hold as he wasn’t playing in as many events and certainly not winning like he once did.

Then he came back and won the PGA Championship at Kiawah, and it certainly helped us all look at Phil in a completely different light.

Recently, Phil left the PGA Tour and joined LIV Golf.

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He was very outspoken about his feelings regarding how the PGA Tour is running its events, and he was ready for a change.

There has not been much information released as to how he is playing with LIV Golf, but speculation is that he was paid a large sum of money to move to another tour.

 

Is Jordan Spieth A Natural Left-Hander?

Jordan Spieth of The United States tees off
(Photo by Warren Little/Getty Images)

 

Jordan Speith is another very famous golfer who is often mentioned when discussing the right-handed/left-handed issue in the game.

Jordan plays golf as a righty, but he plays many other sports as a right-handed player.

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This is not necessarily rare because some athletes are dominant with both their left and right hands.

Jordan Spieth has been playing golf as a righty his entire career, and he has done very well with it.

However, if you play baseball with him, expect him to bat lefty.

The great thing about the game of golf is that there are no set rules for a golfer like this.

If Spieth had wanted to, he could have easily learned how to play the game of golf left-handed.

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Spieth still writes with his right hand, which may play into why it was decided he would be a right-handed player.

 

Is Golf As A Lefty Harder?

Male Golfer Lining Up Tee Shot On Golf Course

 

We know that Phil Mickelson made his way to professional golf and became the greatest lefty to play the game, but was his journey to the top harder.

Is golf harder as a lefty?

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Many people would argue that it is, and here are a few reasons why.

 

1. Golf Course Design

When golf course architects create a golf course, they typically design it for right-handed players.

Most of the time, the architects know that most of the golfers that play the course will be right-handed, so the design is set up for them.

This can be both an advantage and a disadvantage for a left-handed golfer.

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Sometimes traps and obstacles are put in places where right-handed players are likely to hit the ball, and this can help with a lefty as they will likely hit it away from the trouble.

However, there are also times when holes are made easier for a righty to help keep the course more manageable, but the lefties are ignored and often struggle to get the ball in the right spot.

Most great golf courses will work regardless of which side of the ball you stand on.

Of course, there could be a few tricky shots that come up here and there, but for the most part, the playability is not anything that a lefty golfer can’t handle.

 

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2. Equipment

Equipment issues are another problem.

Yet, there are times that a lefty golfer will end up getting a great deal on leftover equipment.

However, the better you get as a lefty, the harder it is to find great golf clubs to suit your game.

Very few manufacturers make all their clubs in a left-handed model.

This seems to apply particularly to clubs like blade irons.

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If you hope that top companies like Miura and Mizuno will produce more blade-style left-handed irons, you may be disappointed.

Although they offer a few choices, it is generally not enough to keep everyone happy and meet the needs of all left-handed players.

 

3. Teaching Professionals

Some teaching professionals struggle to teach left-handed players.

The game is different from a mechanics standpoint, and many right-handed teaching professionals can struggle to get a lefty swing straightened out.

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Of course, this is just a matter of finding the right match for your game, but it could take some time and some work to get there.

Teaching professionals with several years of experience should be able to help.

 

4. Golf Writing And Instruction

Last but certainly not least is that left-handed golfers are going to have to constantly transpose everything they read about the game of golf.

If you are reading an article about a grip, chances are it was written for a right-handed player.

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This requires carefully changing this information in your head and making sure that you are not reading the tips backward.

If this is not done correctly, expect that you will be making some incorrect motions in your golf game.

Golf writing and instructions are not always geared toward left-handed players simply because there are not as many of them.

If more lefties begin to play the game, there would be more great resources for them to use.

The post Is Phil Mickelson Left-Handed? (Explained) appeared first on The Cold Wire.

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Serena Williams to retire after U.S. Open

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Williams, 40, wrote that she is ready to step away from the sport to focus on her family and career.



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NFL Super Bowl odds 2023: Predictions, expert picks, teams to target from football insiders

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The Los Angeles Chargers haven’t won their division since 2009 and have finished third in the AFC West the last two seasons. Prognosticators feel differently about them this year, as quarterback Justin Herbert enters his third season and other stars on both sides of the ball like Austin Ekeler, Keenan Allen and Derwin James return with their sights set on a deep playoff run. The Chargers are 15-1 in the early 2023 Super Bowl odds at Caesars Sportsbook, just behind the defending champions and roommates at SoFi Stadium, the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams head into the season with 12-1 odds to repeat and are close behind other Super Bowl 57 contenders like the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs, who are both 11-1 in preseason NFL futures. Buffalo enters the season as 6-1 favorites to win the title this season, but the Bills have been bounced by the Chiefs in the playoffs the last two years. Before you make any 2023 Super Bowl picks, be sure to check out the Super Bowl 57 predictions from SportsLine NFL handicappers R.J. White, Alex Selesnick and Brett Anderson.

White consistently crushes the NFL as SportsLine’s No. 1 NFL expert in picks against the spread, and went 445-378-24 on his ATS NFL picks from 2017-21, which returned $2,542 to $100 players. He’s also well-known for cashing out big in the Westgate Las Vegas SuperContest twice since 2015. Anderson is coming off a dominant 2021 NFL season in which he went 23-9, returning $1,315 to $100 players, and was a perfect 4-0 in the playoffs. Selesnick (aka PropStarz) specializes in MLB, NFL and NBA prop betting, where he implements a combination of research, statistical analysis and mathematical modeling to deliver profitable long-term results.

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Now, with sportsbooks updating 2023 Super Bowl odds as the preseason gets underway, SportsLine’s experts have scoured the wagering menu, analyzed all 32 teams, and released their top Super Bowl 57 picks. Head to SportsLine now to see them.

Top 2023 Super Bowl picks

White is fading the Rams, even though they are the defending champs and 12-1 to repeat this season. Winning back-to-back championships is extremely difficult and hasn’t been done since the New England Patriots did it in 2004 and 2005. Quarterback Tom Brady was in just his fourth and fifth seasons and had already won his first championship in 2002. This year, Rams QB Matthew Stafford will be in his 13th season and he enters with concerns of an elbow issue in his throwing arm.

Although Brady proved to be an exception after Drew Bledsoe was injured in 2001, teams that lose their starting quarterbacks don’t typically go on to win Super Bowls. While most expect Stafford to be ready to go in Week 1, there is concern that someone with his injury history has a higher likelihood of breaking down as the season wears on. Besides Stafford, White has concerns about the overall depth of the Rams’ roster and what it would mean if other star players start picking up injuries.

“While most teams won’t survive the loss of the starting quarterback, the Rams are one of the most top-heavy rosters in the league by design,” White told SportsLine. “So any loss of a star player is going to be more difficult to overcome.” 

How to make Super Bowl 57 picks

SportsLine’s experts are also eyeing an under-the-radar team that missed the playoffs last season. This massive long shot loaded up with a new head coach and plenty of playmakers in the offseason, and anyone who backs this underdog could hit it big. You can only see who it is at SportsLine.

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Who are SportsLine’s experts backing to win the Super Bowl 2023? And which massive long shot can go all the way? Check out the 2023 Super Bowl odds below, then visit SportsLine to see all of the 2023 Super Bowl best bets, from the team of expert that have generated thousands of dollars in profit for followers over the past few seasons.

2023 Super Bowl odds to win

Buffalo Bills 6-1
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 15-2
Green Bay Packers 11-1
Kansas City Chiefs 11-1
Los Angeles Rams 12-1
Los Angeles Chargers 15-1
San Francisco 49ers 16-1
Denver Broncos 16-1
Dallas Cowboys 20-1
Cincinnati Bengals 22-1
Baltimore Ravens 22-1
Cleveland Browns 25-1
Indianapolis Colts 25-1
Philadelphia Eagles 25-1
Las Vegas Raiders 30-1
Arizona Cardinals 35-1
Tennessee Titans 35-1
New England Patriots 40-1
New Orleans Saints 40-1
Minnesota Vikings 40-1
Miami Dolphins 40-1
Washington Commanders 80-1
Pittsburgh Steelers 80-1
New York Giants 100-1
Carolina Panthers 125-1
Detroit Lions 125-1
Jacksonville Jaguars 125-1
New York Jets 125-1
Chicago Bears 150-1
Seattle Seahawks 150-1
Atlanta Falcons 250-1
Houston Texans 300-1



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