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Good morning! Maybe don’t motivate your rival today?
While You Were Sleeping: No panic in Philadelphia
For all our bluster yesterday, last night’s 34-28 Eagles win over the Vikings simply felt like two good teams playing each other. We reserve the right to say later on that we predicted Minnesota’s downfall. But for now, despite the 0-2 record, their problems look fixable.
You know what the Eagles fixed last night? A D’Andre Swift problem:
- Swift ran for 175 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries, including a crucial 43-yard sprint late in the fourth quarter. This comes a week after he had one carry for three yards in Philly’s Week 1 win.
- That focal point allowed Jalen Hurts to find DeVonta Smith four times for 131 yards and a long score.
It was a bittersweet night for Vikings wideout Justin Jefferson: He caught 11 passes for 159 yards, tying him with Lance Alworth as the fastest player to reach 5,000 career receiving yards. He also fumbled through the end zone in the second quarter, a brutal mistake that changed the complexion of the game.
In Minnesota, frustration. Alec Lewis takes us inside the Vikings locker room, where they know a minus-3 turnover margin and the lack of a running game held them back.
Beefs: Jay Norvell steps in it
We felt so good about Colorado State yesterday. Brian Hamilton’s story on the most unique roster in college football emanated great vibes. And then Colorado State coach Jay Norvell decided to talk some strange trash.
To be clear, his team did little wrong. The skinny:
- Norvell was already facing an uphill battle. His Rams are three-touchdown underdogs against talented Colorado tomorrow, and it makes total sense. The Buffaloes have outpaced all expectations this year; Colorado State got blown out by Washington State in Week 1.
- On Norvell’s Wednesday night radio show, he said he sat down with ESPN for an interview about the game tomorrow and included this spicy nugget: “I don’t care if they hear it in Boulder. I told them, I took my hat off, and I took my glasses off. I said when I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat off and my glasses off. That’s what my mother taught me.”
The quote spread quickly. And it feels so painfully obtuse. Two reasons:
- If anything, Sanders has proven himself a master motivator. Does Norvell want to lose by 30 now? More? It’s playing directly into Colorado’s hands. I just don’t see an outcome where this works for Norvell. Sanders was already using it at practice yesterday: “Now he messin’ with my mama.”
- Also … it was such a scold. A dad trying to lecture a son. Norvell is 60, just four years older than Sanders. To chide another grown adult like that is supremely weird. You can criticize how he handled his roster, but his sunglasses? Is this church?
It does make the game more interesting, I guess.
News to Know
The Boston Red Sox fired chief baseball officer Chaim Bloom yesterday, a minor shock after his four years on the job. Boston is on pace to miss the playoffs for the third time in those four years though, despite a nice run last month. It’s a deeply weird time for one of baseball’s most iconic franchises. Andy McCullough writes that one trade — the Mookie Betts deal — defined Bloom’s tenure.
NHLPA investigating Blue Jackets
The Mike Babcock tenure is off to a roaring start in Columbus. After news leaked this week about Babcock allegedly rifling through players’ phones, the National Hockey League Players’ Association traveled to Columbus to speak with players yesterday, a source told The Athletic. His hiring was already controversial, too. I thought Ian Mendes and Sean McIndoe explained the situation well on the latest Athletic Hockey Show.
- The Orioles called up top prospect Heston Kjerstad before this weekend’s series. No pressure: It’s against the Rays, who sit just a game back of the O’s in the AL East.
- Dartmouth basketball players filed a petition to unionize, joining multiple other college athletics petitions across the country. The new wrinkle: Dartmouth is a private school and does not offer athletic scholarships. We have a full breakdown here.
- Manchester United has banished Jadon Sancho from training with the team after the young star refused to apologize to manager Erik ten Hag. Messy mess. Read the full backstory here.
The Good Bets: Go Cocks
Look, I’m OK with a 2-2 week. We’re still over .500, and we’re theoretically learning more every game. Surely that means we’ll get better each week, right?
Onto the picks:
- South Carolina (+27.5) vs. Georgia
Hoo. I don’t feel great about this, but I’m seeing it through. I’m counting on the Gamecocks to rebound from a Week 1 drubbing against North Carolina and Georgia to continue starting slow on offense. Just don’t blame me when this is 52-3 in the third.
- Tennessee (-7) vs. Florida
I’m going opposite of one of Austin Mock’s best bets this week, but I’m that down on the Gators. I’ll pick against them until they prove me wrong. The Vols might not be as good as last year, but neither is Florida. This is a two-score game.
Read more: Expert picks | Full projection model
- Raiders at Bills OVER 47
I love rooting for points. Austin’s model has this game at 49, and I think the Bills are going to exorcise some demons from last week. The Raiders aren’t great, but I think they can make 20 points or so. Bills win big.
- Packers (+1.5) at Falcons
I loved Green Bay in Week 1. All in on Jordan Love for now. I do think this is a close one, but give me Love over Desmond Ridder any day, despite how many weapons Ridder has.
Read more: Best bets | Expert picks
Pulse record overall: 5-4
And make sure to sign up for our new college football newsletter, Until Saturday. Those guys are cooking over there.
Christian Kirk was known as the most overpaid wide receiver in football. Now, as Zak Keefer writes, he’s worth every penny to Jacksonville. Worth your time today.
Maybe the saddest part of Aaron Rodgers’ injury? He had already asked to ditch plays with cut blocks. What’s a cut block anyway? Zack Rosenblatt and Dianna Russini fill us in.
Is there a sports arcade game with a bigger impact than NBA Jam? For a certain age group, I’d wager no. I still hear “He’s heating up!” perfectly in my head. Jason Jones caught up with Tim Kitzrow, the voice behind those iconic in-game calls, 30 years after the game’s release. Click.
The Arizona Coyotes finally have good vibes again. It’s been a long time coming.
This week on The Official Visit: Athens, Georgia. Honestly a near-perfect college town.
(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/ Getty Images)