The Stack is here on this Thursday ready to talk some football! Yes the NFL is back on Thursday nights with games every Thursday night on the NFL Network now through week 15. We'll preview Jets-Patriots plus have the other top headlines from Wednesday so let's get right to it and see what made "the stack" for today, Thursday, September 12:
Mark Sanchez could be done for the year
Rex Ryan's decision to put Mark Sanchez in a meaningless fourth quarter of a preseason game will turn out to be a costly one. After visiting Dr. James Andrews, Sanchez has a tear in his shoulder that will likely will result in surgery which would end his season. It will probably end his career as a Jet too. Ryan seemed to want Sanchez to be his starting quarterback this year over rookie Geno Smith. After Smith led the Jets to a comeback win over Tampa Bay on Sunday, the writing was on the wall that this is Smith's team and Sanchez wouldn't be seeing the field even if healthy. ESPN's Chris Mortenson says that an option for Sanchez could be to postpone surgery until the end of the year and try to rehab. In the end, look for the surgery to happen and Sanchez's career to be done in New York. This is Geno Smith's team now. The Jets will still struggle this year.
Balls and strikes
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter's season is done. The Yankees have put him on the DL putting an end to a frustrating season in which Jeter couldn't stay healthy. He had a quad issue then later a calf bugged him. His ankle which put him on the DL at the start of the season following his surgery after breaking it in the playoffs never made him full comfortable all year. The rash of injuries has to be frustrating to Jeter, but by shutting him down early, the Yankees can hopefully get Jeter back healthy for next year...The Pittsburgh Pirates continue to surprise following their 7-5 win over the Texas Rangers yesterday. That win completed a sweep of the stumbling Rangers. The Pirates needed that after being swept by the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend. They've secured a winning season and are almost certain to make the playoffs barring an epic collapse. Watch out for the Pirates in the playoffs...Speaking of teams who have surprised this season and who have stunk in recent years, watch out for the Kansas City Royals. With their 6-2 win yesterday over the Cleveland Indians, the Royals are now just two games back of the wild card and have a big three game series at Detroit this weekend. The Royals may be peaking a little early this year. Most people expect them to take that next step and make the playoffs next year. They are certainly one of the better surprises in baseball this year. Here's hoping they continue their playoff push.
Alex Ovechkin to carry the torch for Russia
The 2014 Winter Olympics are just a few months away now and the host country has determined who they would like to carry the torch after it is lit in the birthplace of the Olympics...Greece. Russia has selected Washington Capitals right wing and NHL star Alex Ovechkin to carry the torch once it is lit September 29th. Ovechkin and the Capitals play two days after that so the logistics are going to be tough, but it is a huge honor for Ovechkin to be asked to do this. He is a star in Russia and it only makes sense that the winter olympics have him carry the torch being a star on the ice in the NHL. Congrats Alex. Only makes me more excited for the Olympics to begin in February.
Tiger-Rory going head to head
Do of golf's greatest are going head-to-head October 28th at Mission Hills' Blackstone Course in Haikou, China. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy will go against one another in the exhibition 18-hole match. This is great for golf. With the majors done with and the playoffs coming to a close, putting two of the best golfers up against each other will get folks to tune in. Woods looked for a while like he would obliterate Jack Nicklaus' records. McIlroy looked like he would be the next Woods. Things haven't gone quite as smoothly for either of them this year, yet they are two favorites on tour. Pitting them against one another will be a lot of fun to watch. The course is challenging and Woods and McIlroy will put on a good show.
New York Jets @ New England Patriots 8:25 PM ET NFL Network
The first Thursday Night Football game of the year on NFL Network is here. YES!!!!!! It starts with a good divisional matchup between the Jets and Patriots. With news that Sanchez is facing surgery to repair a tear in his shoulder, the Jets turn to rookie Geno Smith to lead the team in an upset bid over Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and company. It could happen. The Patriots are banged up. Running back Shane Vareen is on short term IR following a broken bone in his wrist suffered Sunday against Buffalo. The Gronk is likely not going to play. Neither is Danny Amendola. Those are a lot of offensive weapons the Patriots are going without tonight. The Bills put a good scare in them on Sunday and that should benefit the Patriots going forward in this game tonight. Don't want to take the Jets lightly, not after their win last week. Still though, the Patriots are the more talented team and they will find a way to get the job done though this game will be closer than many people are predicting as evidenced by the twelve point spread the Patriots must win by on the money line.
Prediction: Patriots 27 Jets 16
Coming up Friday: NFL Week 2 preview and predictions