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Twenty-two NFL games have been decided in the final minute of regulation or overtime this season — the most all-time through six weeks.

Undefeated and… Underrated?

Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Cardinals remain the only undefeated squad in the NFL — and still might be the most underrated.

Kyler Murray and co. topped Baker Mayfield and the Browns in a showdown between former Sooner quarterbacks to remain perfect on the season.

The question isn’t whether the 6-0 Cards are legit or not, but why they have yet to be considered serious contenders. They only have the sixth-best odds to win the Super Bowl (+1100*) despite leading the NFC West.

  • Their odds are higher than the 5-1 Los Angeles Rams (+800*) even though they handed them a 37-20 loss in Week 4.
  • They’re scoring the fourth-most points in the league (32.3) and allowing the second-fewest points per game (18.2).
  • Arizona’s +85 point differential trails only the Buffalo Bills.
  • Four of six wins have come against teams .500 or better — two against rival NFC West teams.
  • It’s their third 6-0 start in franchise history.

Murray — who currently has the second-best odds to win MVP (+500*) — produced one of his best stat lines of the year, throwing four touchdowns with zero interceptions. It was also his third straight game with no picks.

He signed a four-year, $35.2 million contract in 2019, which makes him the 23rd-highest-paid QB in the NFL. Talk about a bargain.

Arizona will look to win the division — and make the playoffs — for the first time since 2015. Then they’ll try for the franchise’s first Super Bowl. In the meantime, 7-0 looks realistic when they host Houston next Sunday.

Joctober Baseball

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

The Braves keep walking off, and summer investment Joc Pederson keeps paying off in October.

After Austin Riley’s walk-off RBI single beat the Dodgers in Game 1 of the NLCS, Eddie Rosario followed suit on Sunday in Game 2 to put Atlanta two wins away from the World Series.

But the heartbeat of this team is the former Dodger, who’s only a career .232 hitter — a fact that might’ve raised eyebrows when the Braves acquired him at the trade deadline — but who is reliably clutch in the postseason.

  • The legend of “Joctober” began in 2017, when he broke a Dodgers postseason record by notching an extra-base hit in five straight games.
  • During L.A.’s World Series run last year, Pederson recorded a .991 OPS with two home runs and eight RBI in 16 games, only 10 of which he started.
  • In 64 regular-season games as a Brave, he hit .249 with seven HR and 22 RBI.
  • In Atlanta’s first six postseason games, he’s 5-for-14 with three HR and seven RBI.

The 29-year-old hit two pinch-hit homers in the NLDS against Milwaukee and smacked the longest home run of the postseason (454 ft) Sunday.

His playoff heroics haven’t yet secured a long-term stay anywhere.

Pederson signed a series of one-year deals with Los Angeles after his rookie deal expired, then a one-year, $4.5 million pact with the Cubs this offseason before being traded to Atlanta. There’s a $10 million mutual option in his contract for 2022.

Chicago’s Unexpected MVP

Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Chicago Sky’s win on Sunday capped off a season of firsts — for both the team and their breakout player.

The Sky erased a double-digit fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Phoenix Mercury in four games and capture the franchise’s first WNBA title.

Kahleah Copper — not Candace Parker, Courtney Vandersloot, or Allie Quigley — was named Finals MVP, punctuating her first All-Star campaign since being drafted No. 7 overall in 2016 by Washington.

  • Copper averaged 17 points and 5.5 rebounds in the Finals.
  • She had high expectations coming out of Rutgers in a class alongside players like Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones — but was shipped to Chicago as part of the blockbuster Elena Delle Donne trade.
  • Copper primarily came off the bench from 2016-19 — and started only 12 of her first 101 games with the Sky.
  • She has now started every game since last season, a string of 54 consecutive starts.

The Sky went 16-16 in the regular season and became the lowest seed (No. 6) to win the title since the league moved to its current postseason format in 2016.

In 2020, Copper inked a two-year, $330,000 contract. Not a bad time to be an unrestricted free agent.

Making Headlines

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NBA: Over the weekend, Phoenix Suns forward Mikal Bridges signed a four-year, $90 million deal. On Monday, the Memphis Grizzlies came to an agreement with forward Jaren Jackson Jr. worth up to $105 million over four years. The extension deadline for the class of 2018 is tonight at 6:00 p.m. ET.

NCAAF: LSU announced that head coach Ed Orgeron will leave the program following the 2021 season. The university will pay his full $16.9 million buyout over 18 installments. Orgeron won the 2019 National Championship with the Tigers.

MLB: Major League Baseball teams will provide housing for minor league players beginning in 2022, per Jeff Passan.

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