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Thrilling WWE Extreme Rules moments: WWE Top 10, Sept. 26, 2021

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Thrilling WWE Extreme Rules moments: WWE Top 10, Sept. 26, 2021

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Michigan football game-by-game predictions after Week 4

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Michigan football took down a previously undefeated Rutgers in Week 4 to improve to 4-0, but it wasn’t exactly pretty on Saturday.

The Wolverines jumped out to a 20-3 lead, but had to hold on to win 20-13 after the offense became inept in the second half and the defense bent, but ultimately didn’t break.

The advanced analytics still like the maize and blue, and they actually picked up some percentage points in some upcoming games. ESPN FPI is an outlook-based analytics model, meaning it’s more predictive in nature compared to something like PFF, which strictly grades teams on the past. Last week, FPI noted that Michigan is a likely 9-3 team but is likely to win every game with the exception of Penn State, which was a 50/50 toss-up. Even after the Rutgers game, the Wolverines are sitting at a similar projected won-loss of 9.7-2.6, which is 10th nationally. They are ranked No. 7, have a 3.0% chance of winning out and and 20.9% chance to win the conference.

Here is how FPI predicts each game moving forward.

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Big Ten power rankings after Week 4: More movement after lackluster performances across the board

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Week 5: at Wisconsin Badgers

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(AP Photo/Morry Gash)

Previously: 61.5% Michigan win Now: 69.0% Michigan win

Context

What appeared to be Michigan’s toughest game in the preseason is now one of the Wolverines’ most likely victories. Wisconsin’s run defense is still fierce — it allowed just 2 yards to Notre Dame — but Graham Mertz and the offense are still a mess. Still, Michigan will need to do more to beat the Badgers than it did to win against Rutgers on Saturday.

Week 6: at Nebraska

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Photo: Lansing State Journal

Previously: 71.2% Michigan win Now: 67.9% Michigan win

Context

Nebraska is 2-3, but has shown life every week. The Huskers haven’t lost by more than a score all season long, and are quite close to having a 5-0 record. It’s odd to see that Michigan has a better chance of winning in Madison than Lincoln, but given how tough of an out Nebraska is, perhaps it makes sense.”

Week 8: Northwestern

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Photo: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Previously: 93.6% Michigan win Now: 92.9% Michigan win

Context

This one went down and it makes little-to-no sense. Northwestern won on Saturday against a lesser opponent, but it didn’t exactly look great doing it. Anyway, this is the easiest game left on the schedule.

Week 9: at Michigan State

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Photo: Lansing State Journal

Previously: 55.1% Michigan win Now: 54.6% Michigan win

Context

The Wolverines and Spartans continue to mirror each other and Saturday was no exception. FPI was already giving Nebraska more credit than Rutgers, so by contrast, MSU’s very similar ‘hold on for dear life’ win vs. the Huskers was more impressive in the eyes of the analytics. Still, Michigan is favored, but it very well could be a battle between two 7-0 teams if both handle business from now until then.

Week 10: Indiana Hoosiers

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Sep 11, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers players stop for a picture after defeating the Idaho Vandals at Memorial Stadium. Indiana won 56-14. Photo: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Previously: 88.9% Michigan win Now: 88.0% Michigan win

Context

Indiana nearly lost to Western Kentucky. It’s safe to say that the Hoosiers are not who we thought they were. Still, they almost always play Michigan tough, but this is now the second-most winnable game left on the schedule.

Week 11: at Penn State Nittany Lions

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Photo: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

Previously: 50% Michigan win Now: 53.3% Michigan win

Context

So this is the weird thing: while most of Michigan’s chances moved down this week, the Wolverines’ chances went up from a 50/50 split in what has long been FPI’s most difficult matchup left. Perhaps it has more to do with Penn State than Michigan, but odd, nonetheless. The Nittany Lions were just OK this week in beating an FCS team in Villanova.

Week 12: at Maryland

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Photo: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Previously: 80.3% Michigan win Now: 74.4% Michigan win

Context

Maryland’s offense is still very good and it proved it against Kent State. However, the defense is still not great. I still think this is a big trap game for Michigan, and while the numbers moved in Maryland’s direction, this still appears to be a likely win for the Wolverines.

Week 13: Ohio State Buckeyes

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Photo: The Columbus Dispatch

Previously: 53.7% Michigan win Now: 53.1% Michigan win

Context

Certainly, Ohio State looked like a complete team for the first time all season long. However, it did so against Akron. So ESPN FPI awarded the Buckeyes close to no points here. OSU hasn’t looked good against a team with even the slightest pulse this year, so we’ll know more next week. But for now, this game moves back into the category of the most difficult challenge on the schedule, but by just the slightest of margins.

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In a clash of titans, Robbie Lawler gets what he ‘expected,’ outlasts Nick Diaz in UFC 266 showstopper

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LAS VEGAS — Robbie Lawler came over to a sitting Nick Diaz and grabbed his hands. The two put their foreheads together as a sign of respect.

Lawler and Diaz, two aging fighters revered for their classic MMA fights, went to battle again on Saturday night at UFC 266 at T-Mobile Arena. The two pushed a relentless pace — especially considering they are both closer to 40 years old than 30 — but in the end, Lawler was the victor via TKO at 44 seconds of the third round.

“Thank you for bringing the best out of me,” Lawler said he told Diaz afterward. “I have a lot of respect for you. Hopefully your life is gonna get together and good things are going to happen to you.”

Lawler, the former UFC welterweight champion, landed a combination, culminating with a hard right hand to Diaz’s nose that dropped him. Referee Jason Herzog asked Diaz if he wanted to continue, and Diaz shook his head. Herzog waved the bout off.

“That’s what I expected,” Lawler said in his postfight interview. “I expected him to push the pace and try to break me. And I didn’t let him.”

Diaz, a cult favorite among fans, had not fought since UFC 183 on Jan. 31, 2015, a unanimous decision loss to Anderson Silva that was later overturned to a no contest when Silva tested positive for a steroid and Diaz tested positive for cannabis.

In an interview earlier this week with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Diaz expressed resentment toward the sport of MMA and said he wasn’t really sure why he was fighting. That led to some concerns in the MMA community about whether Diaz should be fighting. But when he was in the Octagon on Saturday, he showed he was game to fight, landing long combinations and his usual volume, though the strikes came slower than usual.

“I’ve always had respect for Diaz,” Lawler said. “He brings it every freakin’ time he gets into the ring. … He came to battle and put on a hell of a show.”

Afterward, Diaz was holding a towel up to his nose, which was bleeding. He had not been finished in a fight since 2007 and was finished only once before in something other than a doctor’s stoppage (2002). When the bout was stopped Saturday, two judges had the score tied at 19-19 and the other had Lawler ahead 20-18.

“I knew I was leaking in here,” Diaz said. “I didn’t want to leave too much of a mess.”

This was a rematch of a 2004 fight in which Diaz knocked out Lawler in the second round at UFC 47. Saturday’s bout took place at middleweight, a switch that took place during fight week at the request of Diaz, and was contracted for five rounds, which is unusual for nontitle, non-main event bouts.

“At least I put on a show,” Diaz said. “I knew I had it coming. There was a lot of stress coming into this one.”

The first two rounds were very competitive. Diaz landed a bunch of combinations in the first round. Lawler countered with the harder shots in the second and third rounds. Diaz actually landed more significant strikes, 150-131, according to UFC Stats. Diaz is only the 12th fighter in UFC history to land 150 significant strikes in a loss — and all the other fights went longer than this one did against Lawler, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

The 150 significant strikes are tied for the fifth-most in a middleweight fight, and the 281 combined significant strikes are tied for the third-most in UFC middleweight history.

Lawler (29-15, 1 NC) had lost four straight coming in and had not won since a unanimous decision over Donald Cerrone at UFC 214 in July 2017. The Florida resident held the UFC welterweight title from 2014 to 2016 with two successful title defenses. Lawler, 39, is also a former Elite Xtreme Combat middleweight champion and has been a pro fighter since 2001.

“He’s a warrior,” Lawler said of Diaz. “That was a rough fight. He was standing right there in the pocket. I throw hard shots, and he was taking them. It was a lot of damage. When you go back and watch the fight, it was a three-round war. I hit pretty hard, and it just wasn’t his night.”

Diaz (26-10, 2 NC) was looking for his first victory since 2011 when he beat BJ Penn at UFC 137. The Stockton, California, native is the former Strikeforce welterweight champion, and he compiled three title defenses before being brought into the UFC for his second run with the promotion. Diaz, 38, is the older brother of fellow UFC star Nate Diaz, also one of the most popular fighters on the roster.

“I spoiled some plans,” Lawler said.


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Antonio Brown injury update: Buccaneers WR out for Week 3 matchup vs. Rams

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Tom Brady will be without one of his top targets Sunday as he and the Buccaneers look to remain undefeated when they face the Rams on the road.

Wide receiver Antonio Brown didn’t make the trip to Los Angeles after testing positive for COVID-19 during the week.

MORE: Week 3 best bets

Brown first tested positive Wednesday. His ability to play this weekend hinged on recording two negative tests 24 hours apart. That didn’t happen, so he will miss Sunday’s game.

Brown, 33, has become a solid secondary receiving option in Tampa behind Chris Godwin and Mike Evans since joining the team last October. He played in both of the team’s first two games (one start) this season and had six catches for 138 yards and a touchdown. He totaled 483 yards and four touchdowns in eight games last year with Tampa Bay.

He signed with the Bucs a week before he was reinstated from an eight-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.  

IYER: Week 3 picks against the spread

SN’s Fantasy Source team projects that tight end Cameron Brate or wide receivers Tyler Johnson and Scotty Miller will most likely be the “next man up” in Brown’s absence.

Brate has one catch for 8 yards through the first two games. Johnson has one reception for 5 yards. Miller, Tampa Bay’s No. 3 receiver last year, has no catches or targets in 2021 and has played just 20 snaps total, according to Pro Football Reference.

MORE: Reports say Josh Gordon reinstated by NFL

Brown made his mark in Pittsburgh as one of the league’s top receivers, garnering seven Pro Bowl and four All-Pro nods with the Steelers. He led the NFL in receiving yards twice.

Tampa Bay (2-0) enters Sunday leading the NFL with 79 points. A win over the Rams would move it into a first-place tie with the 3-0 Panthers in the NFC South.


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