09.02.19: Five things for the week ahead based on unscientific evidence of guaranteed importance

NUMBER 1Without 2020 foresight, we’ve got no strong guess as to who will live it up in Super Bowl LIV this February in Miami. A Rams-Patriots rematch would be one thing. A Rams-Chargers strategy meeting prior to sharing a new stadium in Inglewood would be quite a Hollywood ending.
Then we have our friend, Norman Chad, declaring the Jacksonville Jags his “2019 Team of Destiny,” if only for the basic logic is that’s where Nick Foles is these days. The one-time Rams backup QB is taking over a team once led by Blake Bortles, now the current Rams’ backup to Jarred Goff. The Rams don’t face Jacksonville in the regular season, so there is no awkwardness to deal with. But honest to goodness, we didn’t even know the Jags were in the AFC South with Tennessee, Indianapolis and Houston until we just looked it up.
The Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs are actually the co 6-to-1 favorites to win the Super Bowl according to VegasInsider.com, with the Rams among four teams at 12-to-1 (with Chicago, New Orleans and Philadelphia.) The Chargers come in at 18-to-1. The Jags? The 13th favorite at 25-to-1.

Indianapolis, which just saw starting QB Andrew Luck shut it down, are now 60-to-1 coming into the season opener at the Dignity Health Park Center in Carson to meet up with the Chargers (Sunday, 1:05 p.m., Channel 2).
The Carolina Panthers, who are concerned about QB Cam Newton’s foot sprain, are 50-to-1 when they meet up with the Rams (Sunday, 10 a.m., Channel 11).
Does all this increase the odds of hearing more about betting lines and all those things as legalized sports gambling spreads more into different states? At CBS’ preseason thing the other day, Sean McManus hinted he might be willing to loosen up about their attitude talking about betting during coverage. NBC’s Al Michaels said last week: “I don’t know how this is going to turn out in the long run, because to me this is the great unknown. How to incorporate not only the gambling into the telecast, but how this whole thing will work as it probably gets [passed] in almost every state in the country. We will probably see the day when fans are going to sit in the stands with their mobile devices and bet whether we get a run or pass on third down. Maybe we’re going there. I don’t know. I think most people who have bet on the game don’t have to be told what the points spread is. … To me, the game is the thing. We’re there to report on the game. Maybe there will be a special side door gambling telecast. To me, football is great, sports are great because of the competition and the drama and the excitement. If you get overwhelmed about all this craziness about betting on a run or pass on third down, to me you’re just losing the essence of why you’re playing these games in the first place.”

Also in NFL Week 1:
Thursday:
* Green Bay at Chicago, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Sunday:
* N.Y. Giants at Dallas, 1:25 p.m., Channel 11
* Pittsburgh at New England, 5:20 p.m., Channel 4
Via NFL Sunday Ticket in L.A.:
In the 10 a.m. window:
* Tennessee at Cleveland; Baltimore at Miami; Buffalo at N.Y. Jets; Kansas City at Jacksonville; Atlanta at Minnesota
In the 1:05 p.m. window:
* Cincinnati at Seattle; Detroit at Arizona; San Francisco at Tampa Bay

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NUMBER 2Week 2 of the college football season – USC and Stanford are already in backup QB mode starting the Pac-12 schedule with a meeting at the Coliseum (Saturday at 7:30 p.m., ESPN) that is supposed to a ways into figuring out just how powerful the conference is or isn’t (depending on your narrative). By some flawed logic, this is the sixth straight seson and seventh in the last eight that the Trojans and Cardinal open league play against each other. Stanford is USC’s oldest rival, by the way, going back to 1905. This is also a match up of the St. Brown brothers — USC’s Amon-Rai St. Brown and Stanford’s Osirius St. Brown — are on the field together.
Earlier in the day, UCLA tries to get on track against visiting San Diego State at the Rose Bowl (Saturday at 1:15 p.m., Pac 12 Network)
Also this week in the Pac 12:
Conference games:
* Cal at Washington, Saturday at 7:30 p.m., FS1
Non-conference games:
* Sacramento State at Arizona State, Friday at 7 p.m., Pac 12 Net
* Northern Illinois at Utah, 10 a.m., Pac 12 Net
* Northern Colorado at Washington State, 2 p.m., Pac 12 Net
* Nebraska at Colorado, Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Channel 11
* Nevada at Oregon, Saturday at 4:30 p.m., Pac 12 Net
* Northern Arizona at Arizona, Saturday at 7:45 p.m., Pac 12 Net
* Oregon State at Hawaii, Saturday at 9 p.m.
Games of national interest:
Monday:
* Notre Dame at Louisville, 5 p.m., ESPN
Saturday:
* Cincinnati at Ohio State, 9 a.m., Channel 7
* Army at Michigan, 9 a.m., Channel 11
* New Mexico State at Alabama, 1 p.m., SEC Network
* BYU at Tennessee, 4 p.m., ESPN
* LSU at Texas, 4:30 p.m., Channel 7

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NUMBER 3Serena Williams had a very good day on Sunday, writes David Waldstein in the New York Times. “The weather was perfect, it was her daughter’s second birthday, and some potential traffic in her quest for a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title cleared out in front of her.” Second-seeded Ashleigh Barty and third-seeded Karolina Pliskova, both of whom were in Williams’s half of the draw, lost. Only No. 1 Naomi Osaka and No. 5 Elina Svitolina remain from the top five women’s seeds. So let’s see how this plays out.
More info: www.usopen.org

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NUMBER 4Tommy Lasorda turns 92 on Sept. 22, but the Dodgers have decided to honor him with another bobblehead on Wednesday, even though his birthday will fall on Fan Appreciation Day Sunday. Perhaps Wednesday is the day they officially clinch the NL West title, their seventh in a row, but our math could be way off. Whatever leads to Alanna Rizzo wearing a Dodgers cap, jersey and waving a pennant from her spot next to the dugout.
Meanwhile, the Angels get a day off on Labor Day. How does that happen?

How the week plays out for the Dodgers (with an NL-best 89-50 mark, 18 games up in the NL West, 52-18 at home):
* Vs. Colorado at Dodger Stadium (all on SNLA:
Monday at 5:10 p.m. (Peter Lambert vs. Walker Buehler)
Tuesday at 7:10 p.m. (Chi Chi Gonzalez vs. Kenta Maeda)
Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. (Antonio Senzatela vs. Hyun-Jin Ryu)
* Vs. San Francisco at Dodger Stadium (all on SNLA):
Friday at 7:10 p.m. (Jeff Samardzija vs. Tony Gonsolin)
Saturday at 6:10 p.m. (also on Channel 5) (Tyler Beede vs. Clayton Kershaw)
Sunday at 1:10 p.m. (Dereck Rodriguez vs. Ross Stripling)
How the week plays out for the Angels (65-73 in the AL West, 14 1/2 games back in the wildcard):
* At Oakland (all on FSW)
Tuesday at 7:07 p.m. (Jaime Barria vs. Mike Fiers)
Wednesday at 7:07 p.m. (Patrick Sandoval vs. Tanner Roark)
Thursday at 12:37 p.m. (Jose Suarez vs. Chris Bassitt)
* At Chicago White Sox (all on FSW):
Friday at 5:10 p.m. (Dillon Peters vs. Lucas Giolito)
Saturday at 4:10 p.m. (Andrew Heaney vs. Ross Detwiler)
Sunday at 11:10 a.m. (Jaime Barria vs. Dylan Cease)

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NUMBER 5The WNBA regular season ends Sunday, and the odd-structured playoffs launch right after that based on overall records. The Sparks have the second-best home record in the league at 12-2 if that matters when they play their final three:
How the week ends for the Sparks (19-12, a half-game back of Las Vegas in the Western Conference, with the No. 4 overall spot in the playoffs, four games back of Washington):
* Vs. Atlanta at Staples Center, Tuesday at 7:30 p.m., Spectrum SportsNet
* Vs. Seattle at Staples Center, Thursday at 7 p.m., CBSSN, SSN
* Vs. Minnesota at Staples Center, Sunday at 1 p.m., ESPN2

More
* In the MLS: LAFC at Orlando City SC, Saturday at 4:30 p.m., YouTube TV (as the Galaxy has a bye week)
* Soccer: Argentina vs. Chile friendly, Coliseum, Thursday at 7 p.m.

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