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UEFA chief Ceferin threatens to ban holdout Super League clubs from Champions League

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UEFA chief Ceferin threatens to ban holdout Super League clubs from Champions League

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has threatened to ban the four clubs who haven’t yet left the Super League from the Champions League. 

There were 12 clubs in the Super League when it was announced on Sunday, only for the plan to spectacularly collapse over a 48-hour period as eight clubs pulled out.

However, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and AC Milan have not yet officially left the competition.

What was said?

“It’s crystal clear that the clubs will have to decide if they are Super League or they are a European club,” Ceferin told The Associated Press.

“If they say we are a Super League, then they don’t play Champions League, of course … and if they are ready to do that, they can play in their own competition.

“For me, it’s a very different situation between the clubs that admitted their mistake and said, ‘We will leave the project.’

“The others mainly know I would say that this project is dead, but they don’t want to believe it, probably.”

What are UEFA’s next steps?

Europe’s governing body met on Friday to discuss the possibility of punishing the club officials involved in the Super League planning. 

Ceferin said that UEFA is planning on connecting with national federations and domestic leagues next week to discuss possible sanctions.

In the meantime, UEFA is pushing forward with its plan for a reformatted Champions League starting in 2024.

The tournament will expand from 32 teams to 36, with group-stage games increasing from six to 10.

The Champions League change has also proven unpopular, with Man City star Ilkay Gundogan calling it “the lesser of the two evils” when compared to the Super League.

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Giants schedule 2021: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

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Giants schedule 2021: Dates & times for all 17 games, strength of schedule, final record prediction

The Giants are hoping for a breakout third season with quarterback Daniel Jones in 2021. New York finished second in the NFC East at 6-10 under new coach Joe Judge last season, an improvement from 4-12 the previous season.

With better health, led by running back Saquon Barkley, and upgrades in personnel all around, the Giants are more confident that they can jump into first place in Year 2 with Judge. Here is a complete breakdown of the Giants’ 2021 schedule, including dates, start times and analysis for all 17 games.

NFL OFFSEASON 2021:
Team-by-team draft grades | Latest power rankings

New York Giants schedule 2021

Here is the New York Giants’ complete schedule for 2021.

 

Week Date Opponent Kickoff time TV
1 Sept. 12 vs. Broncos 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
2 Sept. 16 at Washington (Thursday) 8:20 p.m. ET NFLN
3 Sept. 26 vs. Falcons 1 p.m. ET Fox
4 Oct. 3 at Saints 1 p.m. ET Fox
5 Oct. 10 at Cowboys 4:25 p.m. ET Fox
6 Oct. 17 vs. Rams 1 p.m. ET Fox
7 Oct. 24 vs. Panthers 1 p.m. ET Fox
8 Nov. 1 at Chiefs (Monday) 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN
9 Nov. 7 vs. Raiders 1 p.m. ET CBS
10 Nov. 14 Bye
11 Nov. 22 at Buccaneers (Monday) 8:15 p.m. ET ESPN
12 Nov. 28 vs. Eagles 1 p.m. ET Fox
13 Dec. 5 at Dolphins 1 p.m. ET Fox
14 Dec. 12 at Chargers 4:05 p.m. ET Fox
15 Dec. 19 vs. Cowboys 1 p.m. ET Fox
16 Dec. 26 at Eagles 1 p.m. ET Fox
17 Jan. 2 at Bears 1 p.m. ET CBS
18 Jan. 9 vs. Washington 1 p.m. ET Fox

The Giants have an interesting slate beyond their six division games against the Cowboys, Eagles and Washington. The other complete NFC division is the South, while the interconference rotation brings up the AFC West.

As a second-place team, the Giants also get the NFC wild-card Rams and Bears on top of the Super Bowl 55 champion Buccaneers. From the AFC, the Dolphins are the 17th opponent.

MORE: Strength of schedule for all 32 teams in 2021

Giants strength of schedule

The Giants, thanks to their weak division, are tied for the eighth-easiest schedule in the NFL with the Bills and Colts. New York’s 2021 opponents had a combined 2020 record of 128-142-2, a winning percentage of .474.

The two games against Washington lead the contests against returning playoff teams. The Rams, Bears, Chiefs, Saints and Buccaneers make it seven out of 17 games.

Toughest tests: The Giants get the Chiefs, Buccaneers and Saints on the road. The Bears, Chargers and Dolphins round out the nasty non-division away slate. Of the home games, the Rams are easily the toughest foe.

Biggest breaks: The NFC East should be better, but the division still provides their most favorable games. The Falcons, Panthers, Raiders and Broncos are a welcome quartet of contests to soften the blows at home.

Bottom line: Jones has everything around him to be more successful winning games. The Giants’ defense is in the next stage of its rebuild. Should Jones raise his passing and running, New York will have a real chance at an NFC playoff berth, either as East champs or fringe wild card.

Record prediction: 8-9

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Lakers injury updates: Are LeBron James, Anthony Davis playing vs. Rockets?

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Lakers injury updates: Are LeBron James, Anthony Davis playing vs. Rockets?

The Lakers will be short-handed for their Wednesday night game against the Rockets.

Los Angeles confirmed that both LeBron James (ankle) and Anthony Davis (groin) will be unavailable on the second night of a back-to-back following the Lakers’ dramatic overtime win over the Knicks, 

This will mark James’ sixth straight absence due to injury and his 22nd missed game in the team’s last 24 games.

MORE: Where the Lakers stand in the West’s playoff race

That said, James announced via his Twitter account that he is “getting close” to returning to action. James also said that he would attend Wednesday’s game to see the Lakers raise their 2020 NBA championship banner at Staples Center.

As for Davis, the Lakers said that the big man won’t be in action against the Rockets due to left adductor tightness. Davis toughed out the groin injury against the Knicks on Tuesday and then acknowledged after the contest he was “hurting.”

“I’m hurting,” Davis said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Not more so my body, just my groin got tight. . . . I’m not sure about [Wednesday]. I mean, I’m going to get treatment and see how I feel. I want to say I’m going to play, but it was really bothering me [Tuesday]. We’ll see how I feel [Wednesday] and then later on in the day.”

Evidently, Davis didn’t feel well enough to go, and it makes sense that he and the Lakers would play it safe. He spoke about not wanting his injury to linger and make him miss “a couple games.” It appears the Lakers decided to give him an extra day to recover from his latest malady.

Even without James and Davis, the Lakers will still have a chance to beat the Rockets. Houston is an NBA-worst 16-53 on the season and has posted a 1-9 record in its last 10 games. But it has already locked up the top spot in the 2021 NBA Draft lottery, so perhaps it will relish a chance to play spoiler and damage the Lakers’ chances of avoiding the NBA’s play-in tournament.

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Blake Bortles reportedly signs with Packers amid team’s rift with Aaron Rodgers

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Blake Bortles reportedly signs with Packers amid team's rift with Aaron Rodgers

The Packers are a bit shorthanded at the quarterback position at the moment. Because of an ongoing dispute between Aaron Rodgers and the team, Green Bay entered Wednesday with only one quarterback on its roster, Jordan Love, who is set to be at their in-person offseason workouts that begin Monday.

As such, the team is taking a proactive approach and is signing a veteran passer to serve as the third-string quarterback.

That would be Blake Bortles, who, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports, signed a one-year contract with the Packers on Wednesday afternoon.

Bortles, 29, spent the 2020 season bouncing between the Rams and Broncos rosters and practice squads. He didn’t play a snap for either team and hasn’t started a game since 2018, his final season with the Jaguars. During the past two seasons, he has a combined two regular-season pass attempts.

TIMELINE: What led to Aaron Rodgers’ rift with the Packers?

For his career, Bortles sports a 24-49 record and has completed 59.3 percent of his passes for 103 touchdowns and 75 interceptions. He is merely a backup-caliber quarterback at best and will provide experience behind the 22-year-old Love.

Of course, some may be wondering what this means for Rodgers’ future. Does signing Bortles mean that the Packers are ready to consider trading the veteran quarterback? Have the two sides reached an impasse?

Probably not. Even if Rodgers were set to attend offseason workouts, he probably wouldn’t be taking that many early-offseason reps at this point in his career. So, Green Bay would still need another quarterback to come in and take some reps to avoid overworking Love.

If Rodgers were there and happy, maybe the team wouldn’t go after Bortles and would instead go after a younger player with more upside.

But all told, the team signing Bortles won’t have much of an impact on the Rodgers situation.

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