Of the teams playing on “Thursday Night Football” tonight, both enter Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season winless, but one might be a little more desperate than the other.
The Browns entered the season with reasonable expectations to compete in the AFC North and push for a playoff berth. But their clunker against the Ravens to open the season has them in danger of falling into the dreaded 0-2 hole. Their opponent Thursday night, the Bengals, aren’t playing with the same amount of pressure despite having the same record.
Cleveland’s relative desperation is part of the reason the home team is a solid favorite Thursday night based on the odds. However, if rookie quarterback Joe Burrow can build on his solid debut for Cincinnati last week, the Bengals are more than capable of knocking off their division rivals on the road.
Below is more about the Week 2 “Thursday Night Football” matchup and how to watch it.
Who plays on Thursday night football tonight?
- Matchup: Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns
- Location: FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio
This is technically the first “Thursday Night Football” game of the 2020 season since last week’s NFL season-opener was presented on NBC with the network’s Sunday night crew. Starting with Browns vs. Bengals and for the next few weeks, NFL Network will be the exclusive home for Thursday night games.
Cleveland lost its season-opener in Baltimore last week in embarrassing fashion, but it gets a chance to redeem itself with another AFC North game. This is Cincinnati’s first division game of the season; the Bengals lost a heartbreaker at home against the Chargers last week when kicker Randy Bullock missed what would have been a game-tying field goal as the clock expired.
What time is the NFL game tonight?
- Date: Thursday, Sept. 17
- Kickoff time: 8:20 p.m. ET
All Thursday night games throughout the 2020 NFL season will start at 8:20 p.m. ET, though the TV viewing options (more on those below) will change in a few weeks.
This is the first of two primetime games on the Browns’ schedule, as Cleveland also will host Baltimore on a Monday night in Week 14.
Likewise, the Bengals also have a pair of primetime games on their schedule. In addition to Thursday night’s game in Cleveland, Cincinnati will host Pittsburgh on a Monday night in Week 15.
What channel is “Thursday Night Football on tonight?
For now, NFL Network is the exclusive TV home of “Thursday Night Football” and the only channel that will show Browns vs. Bengals. That will be the case for all Thursday night games through Week 4.
Beginning in Week 5, all “Thursday Night Football” games will broadcast live on cable network Fox in addition to NFL Network. That simulcast setup will be in place through Week 16.
NFL Network is available via most cable providers in the United States. It also is available via satellite provider DirecTV (channels 212 and 1212) and IPTV providers Verizon FiOS (channels 88 and 588) and Google Fiber (channel 2019).
NFL live stream for Thursday night game
Because Thursday night’s game in Cleveland will be shown exclusively by NFL Network, the live stream options are limited. More will become available for “Thursday Night Football” in Week 5, when the games will start being simulcast on Fox.
Below are all of the live streaming options for “Thursday Night Football” in 2020.
NFL Week 2 schedule
Browns vs. Bengals on Thursday night kicks off a complete week of 16 NFL games, with Saints vs. Raiders on Monday night bookending Week 2.
The game of the week is the Sunday night matchup between the Patriots and the Seahawks in Seattle, with other notable matchups being Falcons vs. Cowboys, Rams vs. Eagles and Ravens vs. Texans, to name a few.
Below is the complete schedule for Week 2 of the 2020 NFL season.
|Game||Kickoff time||TV channel|
|Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns||8:20 p.m. ET||NFLN|
|Game||Kickoff time||TV channel|
|New York Giants at Chicago Bears||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers||1 p.m. ET||FOX|
|Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans||1 p.m. ET||CBS|
|Washington Redskins at Arizona Cardinals||4:05 p.m. ET||FOX|
|Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers||4:25 p.m. ET||CBS|
|New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks||8:20 p.m. ET||NBC|
|Game||Kickoff time||TV channel|
|New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders||8:15 p.m. ET||ESPN|
Rangers buying out Henrik Lundqvist in bittersweet end of an era
The day is tinged with melancholy and bittersweet regret.
Wednesday, Henrik Lundqvist will no longer be a Ranger.
Once unthinkable, but essentially inevitable for the last six months, The Post has learned that the Blueshirts are expected to announce the buyout of the King, thus ending one of the most storied and celebrated careers in franchise history.
Fifteen seasons, 11 trips to the postseason the first 12 years, 11 playoff series victories, a trip to the Cup final in 2014 folded into three trips to the Eastern Conference finals within four years during the halcyon days of the last decade, franchise records with 459 victories, 64 shutouts, 61 postseason victories, the 2011-12 Vezina Trophy and a first-All-Star team berth that same Black-and-Blueshirt season.
All of it.
All of it except a Stanley Cup championship and a ride up the Canyon of Heroes for this New York hockey hero who will have his No. 30 retired and raised to a place of honor at the Garden’s pinwheel ceiling just about the moment he himself decides to retire.
Which is not now, for as the Rangers go forward with an Igor Shesterkin-Alex Georgiev tandem in nets, Lundqvist will sift through the free agency market and determine whether there is a team for whom he might be a match.
That probably would be a contender interested in Lundqvist as a backup on a cost-conscious, over-35 one-year deal that could include significant performance bonuses.
If there is a match, Lundqvist — who famously declared himself all-in for the rebuild when asked if he wanted out in advance of the 2018 trade deadline when the organization went into its course correction and issued The Letter — could continue his career elsewhere.
If not, Lundqvist could conceivably retire as the sixth winningest goaltender in NHL history with a 459-310-96 record, a 2.43 GAA and a .918 save pct.
The buyout of the final season of his seven-year, $59.5 million deal that commenced in 2014-15, orchestrated in concert with Lundqvist, has created an additional $3 million of 2020-21 cap space for the Blueshirts, who are awash with just over $23 million of it in the aftermath of Marc Staal’s trade to the Red Wings. The buyout will add $1.5 million in dead space for 2021-22.
Lundqvist started only one of the team’s final 19 games with the hierarchy — and that includes president John Davidson, general manager Jeff Gorton, head coach David Quinn and goaltending coach Benoit Allaire — opting instead to go with Shesterkin and Georgiev down the stretch in which the club went 18-10-1. The Rangers played a better brand of hockey in front of the young goaltenders.
Bringing back the icon to be a backup for this coming season was never a serious option for either party. It would be one thing for Lundqvist to back up somewhere else, quite another for him to be relegated to that assignment here. The months following Shesterkin’s Jan. 6 promotion created a series of uncomfortable moments when the Man of the Hour for 15 years became little more than an afterthought and an object of curiosity. It was not easy.
The Rangers and the goaltender handled the situation with class, and Lundqvist was sharp enough in the summer camp preceding the Cup tournament that he earned the nod for Games 1 and 2 against Carolina in the qualifying round when Shesterkin was sidelined with a groin issue.
Lundqvist played capably in the first two — Game 1 was better — but not well enough to prevent a three-game sweep of his overwhelmed team that ended with him as Shesterkin’s backup for Game 3.
That marked the end of Lundqvist’s streak of 129 consecutive postseason starts dating back to Game 3 of the 2006 first round against the Devils. That marked the end of Lundqvist’s career as a Ranger, all but solidified as such when the goaltender chatted with Davidson immediately upon the team’s charter touching down following the flight home.
There was no fairy tale ending for one of the greatest players in franchise history. There was no fairy tale ending for this athlete who constructed one of the most respected careers in New York pro sports history.
Only an ending.
But it is one that will be followed by a new beginning for both parties. The future beckons. For the first time since 2005-06 when the netminder from Sweden ascended to the throne, the Rangers’ future no longer includes Lundqvist. Neither does the present.
Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly traces team’s coronavirus outbreak to pregame meal, player vomiting
Notre Dame football on Monday announced 18 positive coronavirus tests out of 273 administered from Sept. 22-27, including seven who were already in quarantine due to contact tracing. The Irish currently have 25 players in isolation and another 14 in quarantine due to contact tracing.
Irish coach Brian Kelly on Tuesday said team doctors determined two causes of that outbreak, both of which stemmed from the team’s Sept. 19 game against South Florida and which caused the postponement of the following week’s contest against Wake Forest.
The first of those, Kelly said, was a pregame meal the team ate together; prior to that, all team meals had been socially distanced to mitigate the risk of spreading the disease.
“Throughout our entire time together, we had not had one meal where we sat down together,” Kelly said (via ESPN). “Everything was grab and go. We get into our game situation where we have pregame meal together, and that cost us. Big. We had somebody who was asymptomatic, and it spread like wildfire throughout our meeting area where we were eating and then it got guys in contact tracing.”
MORE: Why was Notre Dame vs. Wake Forest postponed? COVID-19 cases alter Fighting Irish’s football schedule
The second event, Kelly said, is a player who vomited on the sidelines during the team’s game against the Bulls. Because the player didn’t have a concussion or any other injuries, he was treated for dehydration. Two days later, he tested positive for COVID-19.
“In trying to discern the difference between somebody who may be dehydrated in a game and having the effects of COVID on the sideline, (it) becomes very tricky,” Kelly said. “Just being vigilant and understanding that this thing can hide in so many different areas make it a tricky proposition, even if you’re doing all of the right things.”
Despite having 25 players in isolation, the team on Monday was cleared to return to practice on Wednesday. Kelly said he expects 90 percent of his team will be able to practice by Saturday. Moreover, he said the team learned lessons from their mistakes: Players will now eat pregame meals at a convention center, where they can easily eat 6 feet apart and avoid face-to-face contact. The team will also have rapid antigen tests available on the sideline.
Notre Dame, ranked No. 5 in the latest AP Top 25 poll after a 2-0 start, has not played since that Sept. 19 game against South Florida. The Irish have a bye on Saturday before returning to play a home game against Florida State on Oct. 10. That game, if it’s not canceled, will be Notre Dame’s first in 22 days.
Brett Gardner over Clint Frazier in Game 1
When Clint Frazier was sizzling at the plate in the middle of this month and playing solid defense in the outfield, it wasn’t hard to envision a struggling Brett Gardner being relegated to a bench role in the postseason.
Yet, Aaron Boone predicted a time was coming when Gardner would be counted on to contribute.
During a seven-game stretch from Sept. 12-19 Frazier went 11-for-25 (.440) with three homers, eight RBIs and posted an obscene 1.451 OPS. The hot streak boosted Frazier’s average from .276 to .306 and he was a big reason the Yankees went 7-0 in that stretch.
Frazier’s tear followed a rough five-game period for Gardner in which he went hitless in 14 at-bats, had a .125 on-base percentage and the Yankees lost four of five from Sept. 4-9.
Maybe Boone was simply being himself, a guy who can find something positive in situations that others would believe are dire. Or Boone was seeing something from the 37-year-old Gardner not showing up to the untrained eye.
Either way, when Boone made out the Yankees’ lineup card for Game 1 of the Wild Card Series against likely AL Cy Young winner Shane Bieber and the Indians at Progressive Field on Tuesday night, Gardner and a hot bat were in left field batting eighth and Frazier, whose wood went cold, was on the bench.
“Something we discussed a lot and thought about here a lot the last couple of days which way I wanted to go. Really feel good either way I would have gone. I just feel like the way Gardy has started to swing the last few weeks and what he brings defensively in this ballpark,’’ Boone said when asked why he chose Gardner over Frazier. “And just to get a different look in there, with all our (right-handed hitters) against Bieber you get at least a second lefty in there little bit of a different look that was the way ultimately I wanted to go.’’
The only other lefty bat belonged to switch-hitter Aaron Hicks.
Gardner, whom the Yankees have a $10 million on option on for next year that has a $2 million buyout attached, finished with a subpar .223 batting average. However, he hit .385 (10-for-26) with a .500 on-base percentage in his last nine games.
Conversely, Frazier cooled off in his final six games, hitting .050 (1-for-20) and whiffed 11 times. He ended a solid season hitting .267 with eight homers and 26 RBIs in his final six games.
With the Indians planning to start right-handers Carlos Carrasco in Game 2 and Zach Plesac if there is a Game 3, Gardner could start in left for all three.
While Frazier has vastly improved in the outfield over last year, Boone said Gardner’s defense is always a factor when it comes to choosing the veteran.
“Anytime I am considering Gardy as an option or considering him in a matchup the defense always factors always into that decision because he is an elite defender,’’ Boone said. “As far as (Progressive Field) there is a big wall out there, a big left-center field as it moves toward center field. It is a little unique in how it is set up. It wasn’t an overwhelming factor in this. This was something that was very close to me and anytime I am considering Gardy the defense factors in.’’
Progressive Field’s left-field wall is 19 feet high (10 feet higher than the walls in center and right) and can cause some weird angles of balls hitting high off it. Obviously, Gardner has more experience playing the wall than Frazier.
What Frazier and Gardner didn’t have was experience against Bieber. Frazier had a single in one at-bat and Gardner was 1-for-3 with a homer.
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