Things That Caught My Eye
The Philadelphia Eagles will play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52, and New England is the slight favorite: Our Elo model gives them a 58 percent chance of winning the game and Tom Brady winning a sixth ring. The Patriots had an 18 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl at the start of the season, a figure which rose to 31 percent by the start of the playoffs. [FiveThirtyEight, ESPN]
Larry Nassar, who pleaded guilty to multiple counts of criminal sexual conduct and federal child pornography charges related to his capacity as the U.S. Gymnastics team doctor, has heard pre-sentencing from over 100 of his victims speaking out about the impact his molestation had on their lives. Still, with other topics dominating headlines, major cable networks haven’t been devoting time to the explosive story of the serial molester who worked inside the U.S. Gymnastics team for years. [Media Matters]
Prior to the Minnesota Vikings game against Philadelphia, Kyle Wagner wrote that the Vikings had historically always been doomed by that which was their perceived strength. Incidentally, the all-time third down defense which allowed third downs to be converted to first downs only 25.2 percent of the time — league best since 1991 — choked in the match against Philly, with the Eagles converting 10 of 14 thirds into firsts. [FiveThirtyEight]
Try out our interactive, Which World Cup Team Should You Root For?
Russia was banned from the Pyeongchang games, but Olympic Athletes from Russia were not, though they will compete under a neutral banner. An IOC panel has excluded 111 of 500 Russian athletes put forward, but of the 389 remaining competitors the neutral squad could be up to 200 Olympians, which is only a few less than the 214 who competed for Russia at Sochi. [Inside The Games]
In the second half of his win against national sweethearts the Minnesota Vikings, Nick Foles had a perfect passer rating of 158.3 and a perfect QBR of 99.9. Certainly he can replicate that feat reliably to pull off the win against New England in two weeks. [Bill Barnwell]
Make sure to try your hand at our fun NFL game: Can you beat the FiveThirtyEight predictions?
That’s how many points LeBron James has scored in his career, and with only seven points to go until 30,000 and a game against the Spurs Tuesday, he’s nearly a lock to become the fastest NBA player to score 30,000. LeBron has scored 10 or more points in his past 836 games, so I’d say it’s likelier than not, you know? [ESPN]
Leaks from Slack, Sunday Night:
Super Bowl 52 may go down as the worst ever.
Line? Pats -8.5?
hahaha no one is going to like this super bowl