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Bills, Eagles look like two of the NFL’s best teams, plus ranking the NBA’s top 100 players

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Bills, Eagles look like two of the NFL’s best teams, plus ranking the NBA’s top 100 players

Happy Tuesday, everyone. Week 2 of the NFL season is now in the books.

Let’s get right to it.

Good morning to everyone but especially to…

THE BUFFALO BILLS…

Be afraid, NFL teams. Be very afraid.

The Bills are coming, and they’re taking no prisoners. After dominating last year’s Super Bowl-champion Rams in Week 1, the Bills demolished last year’s AFC 1-seed Titans 41-7. And it somehow wasn’t even that close: Buffalo pulled its starters in the third quarter.

  • Josh Allen went 26 for 38 with 317 passing yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. Stefon Diggs had 12 catches for 148 yards and three touchdowns.
  • The Bills’ starting offense has punted once this season. That punt, late in the third quarter Monday, was muffed by the Titans rookie Kyle Phillips and recovered by Buffalo.
  • The Titans turned the ball over four times. Ryan Tannehill threw two interceptions, including a pick-six to Matt Milano. It leads to our first regular-season look at Titans rookie quarterback Malik Willis.
  • The Bills did all this without an All-Pro cornerback Tre’Davious Whitewide receiver Gabriel Davis and defensive tackle Ed Oliver. Cornerback Dane Jackson left the game in an ambulance after suffering a neck injury.

The Bills are deep and well-rounded on both sides of the ball. Allen is a nightmare to try to defend, as is Diggs. The defense is absolutely dominant. Proof? The Bills have the highest sack rate in the NFL despite having the second-lowest blitz rate in the NFL.

Buffalo has a +55 point differential through two games this season, tied for third-best by any team since 2000. Allen certainly looks like the MVP favorite — which he is — and the Bills certainly look like Super Bowl favorites — which they are.

… AND ALSO A GOOD MORNING TO THE PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

The Eagles might just be the second most impressive team in the NFL. Philadelphia dominated on both sides of the ball, and Jalen Hurts continued his outstanding start to the season in a 24-7 win over the Vikings.

  • Hurts became the first player in NFL history to throw for at least 300 yards, complete at least 80 percent of his passes and rush for multiple touchdowns in a game.
  • Overall, the Eagles racked up 163 rushing yards and now have 379 this season, second in the NFL.
  • Darius Slay had more interceptions (two) than catches allowed (one) when matched up against Justin Jefferson.
  • Kirk Cousins threw three interceptions as well his historic Monday night struggles — to put it nicely — continued.

When the Eagles’ offense slowed down in the second half, the defense stepped up. Minnesota really only had two chances to get back in the game: after a blocked kick gave them the ball at the Eagles’ 30-yard line and, later, after an interception gave them the ball at the Eagles’ 9-yard line. Both possessions ended in interceptions.

At the risk of overreacting too much, the Eagles remind me a bit of… the Bills. Maybe Bills-lite. If Allen is a nightmare to defend, Hurts is a really bad headache. The Bills defense is dominant, and the Eagles defense is only a few steps below. Both teams have stars all over the field and coaches who know how to take advantage of that. Oh, and one more similarity: Allen is the MVP favorite. After his huge performance, Hurts is up to third.

Honorable mentions

Not so honorable mentions

NBA Top 100, position rankings: Giannis on top, LeBron falls to… 🏀

Keytron Jordan/CBS Sports

It has arrived, and it is glorious. All of our NBA writers have ranked their top 100 NBA playersand all 100 are absolutely correct, and I’m sure no one will disagree with anyone’s ranking.

Just kidding of course, but that’s what makes it such a fun exercise. Our experts did an awesome job. That starts at No. 1, where Giannis Antetokounmpo resides. Here’s NBA reporter Jack Maloney’s take on Giannis:

  • Maloney: “Antetokounmpo, 27, is a generational talent. Perhaps even more impressive than his skills and physical gifts is that he approaches the craft with a unique level of dedication and determination. Even after he has won back-to-back MVP Awards, a title and been crowned by many — including us — as the best player in the world, it would appear that he’s still on the rise.

Meanwhile, LeBron James fell to seventhbut that’s nothing to be ashamed of, writes Sam Quinn.

  • Quinn: “James has lost his spacing, his youth, even his health, and he still came just a few games away from leading the NBA in scoring. What more is there left to say? Father Time’s undefeated record is in serious jeopardy as long as King “James still wants to play basketball.”

A few other things that stood out:

  • The 2022-23 MVP favorite made the top five… barely.
  • Four players who missed all of last season — including Zion Williamson — are inside the top 50.
  • Four of the top six are international players.

Oh, and if the top 100 isn’t enough, our NBA writers also ranked players by position”

Point guard | Shooting guard | Small forward | Power forward | Center

What’s next for 49ers, Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo? 🏈

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Just two games after trying to head in a new direction at quarterback, the 49ers are back to their previous ways, making the future of the position on the team murkier than ever. Trey Lance underwent season-ending surgery to repair his broken ankleputting Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm for the rest of the season.

What happens after that is anyone’s guessNFL expert Jonathan Jones writes in his insider notebook.

  • Jones: “What happens if Garoppolo balls out? … He has a no-tag clause in his contract, so a big year means a big payday in 2023 for the soon-to-be 31-year-old quarterback. The Niners could see Garoppolo walked out the door for nothing more than a mid-round compensatory pick while handing the franchise over to the inexperienced Lance, and whatever insurance policy they get next March wouldn’t be as good as the one they just cashed in Sunday.”

Lance remains an enigma. He played in just one game in 2020 after COVID-19 postponed the FCS season. He has thrown just 102 passes and started just four games in two seasons in the NFL, and he’s going to be coming off significant surgery. But you don’t just trade away three first-round picks for a player and then never give him a chance to establish himself as a starter… right?

Jonathan does an awesome job explaining the conundrum and so much more in hit notebook from Week 2.

MLB Power Rankings: Yankees back in top five with crucial series upcoming ⚾

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We’re just over two weeks away from the end of the regular season, and the Yankees have finally come out of their cold streak, having won nine of their last 13. That puts them back in the top five of MLB experts Matt Snyder’s Power Rankings. Take a guess at who’s powering that hot streak:

  • Snyder: “We’re officially in ‘watch every single.’ Aaron Judge plate appearance’ territory. I mean, you should have been doing it the last few weeks anyway, but now it’s as serious as it gets. Also, in addition to the homers, he’s now slugging .701. No one has slugged over .700 in a full season since Barry Bonds in 2004 (.812, which … lol).”

The Yankees are currently behind Dodgers, Astros, Braves and Mets, the same top four as last week. As for what we’re looking forward to, Matt outlines nine important seriesincluding two that start tonight.

NBA likely to lower draft eligibility age to 18. What does it mean? 👀

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Sweeping changes could be coming to the NBA sooner rather than later. The current collective bargaining agreement currently runs through the 2023-24 season, but both the league and the players association could opt out by Dec. 15 and, ideally, have a new deal in place.

So, what would this CBA include? The biggest thing is that the two sides are expected to agree lowering the draft eligibility age from 19 to 18which would allow high-school players to be draft-eligible.

This change could affect LeBron James and his plans to play with his son(s)and here’s how it could impact the college game.

What we’re watching Tuesday 📺

Mets at Brewers7:40 p.m. on TBS

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