Good morning to everyone but especially to...
- Turnover on downs
- Punt (muffed)
- Field goal
Those were the final seven drives of Monday night's game that Dustin Hopkins mercifully ended with a 39-yard field goal that gave the Chargers a 19-16 overtime win over the Broncos.
- The play of the night was made by... Ja'Sir Taylor, who pushed Broncos blocker P.J. Locke into returner Montrell Washington, who then muffed the punt. Four plays later, Hopkins -- battling a hamstring injury -- nailed his fourth field goal of the night for the win.
- Neither quarterback played well: Justin Herbert went 37 for 57 for 238 yards and an interception. Russell Wilson -- after going 10 for 10 for 116 yards and a touchdown in the first quarter -- finished just 15 for 28 for 188 yards overall and took four sacks.
- Austin Ekeler had 83 yards from scrimmage and the Chargers' lone touchdown.
- The Broncos became the first team to lose consecutive games, both in overtime, since 2017. They had 10 penalties for 151 yards.
This game was close, ugly and low-scoring. But guess what? That's the NFL this year. There have been 57 one-score games -- most in any season through six weeks -- and teams are averaging 21.6 points per game, on pace to be the fewest since 2009.
You have to win close games. On Monday, the Chargers did.
- Dak Prescott is expected to be cleared for practice this week.
- Robbie Anderson got traded to the Cardinals.
- The Titans are on their way to getting a new stadium.
- De'Andre Hunter got a four-year, $95-million extension. Kevin Porter Jr., meanwhile, got four years and $82.5 million.
And not such a good morning for...
THE NEW YORK YANKEES AND THE CLEVELAND GUARDIANS
For the second time in five days, the Yankees and Guardians were postponed due to rain. The decisive Game 5 is today at 4:07 p.m. This one was particularly frustrating as the game, scheduled to start at 7:07 p.m., wasn't officially postponed until after 9:30 p.m.
The good news is that the weather for tomorrow looks clear, and both teams should both have more pitching flexibility. In fact, the Yankees have already announced Game 2 starter Nestor Cortes will start today. That's where the good news ends, though.
- Whoever wins today won't have any time to celebrate, because Game 1 of the ALCS against the Astros is tomorrow.
- Houston will be coming off three days of rest
Obviously, credit the Astros for sweeping the Mariners to guarantee themselves extra rest, but now they'll get the added benefit of playing a team that will be coming in on zero rest.
Not so honorable mentions
- Carson Wentz will be out several weeks with a broken finger.
- Marquise Brown will also miss several weeks with a foot injury. Here's our injury roundup.
- Cam Akers seems to be on his way out of Los Angeles. Here's where he could land.
- Fernando Tatis Jr. had another wrist surgery.
- The Texans fired vice president of football operations Jack Easterby.
Welcome back, NBA! Predictions and more as season tips off tonight 🏀
Rejoice! The NBA is back, which makes me happy and should make you happy, too. Whether your favorite team is going for a title, tanking for Victor Wembanyama or somewhere in between, we have previews for all 30 teams and so, so much more for what will surely be (and already has been) an entertaining season.
Let's start with some Power Rankings, because that's one thing everyone can agree on, right? Just like the end of last season, the Warriors are on top, writes NBA expert Colin Ward-Henninger.
- Ward-Henninger: "You win the title, you get the crown. The Warriors enter 2022-23 at No. 1 in the Power Rankings thanks to the return of their entire core, a few savvy signings and the potential emergence of some of their young prospects. Sure, the specter of Draymond Green's punch will linger around this team for a while, but winning tends to resolve such things, and the Warriors should do plenty of that to start the season. With Green, Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and a healthier Klay Thompson, the Warriors enter the season as the well-deserved team to beat."
We'll see how Green's punch impacts the Warriors as a whole, but there's no doubt Green was one of the biggest losers of the preseason. Here's the top five of the Power Rankings:
- 1. Warriors
- 2. Clippers
- 3. Celtics
- 4. 76ers
- 5. Suns
We also have NBA title picks from our experts, and there are five different choices among the eight predictions. Our experts also gave their predictions for all of the individual awards as well, and here's who they chose for MVP.
- Joel Embiid (2 votes)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (2 votes)
- Luka Doncic (2 votes)
- Stephen Curry (1 vote)
- Jayson Tatum (1 vote)
You'll notice there's a distinct lack of Lakers in the previous paragraphs, and I can't say I blame our NBA writers. After a disastrous last season, Russell Westbrook is still in Los Angeles (though our Westbrook trade guide should come in handy), and LeBron James and Anthony Davis haven't been consistently healthy since their 2020 title run. James Herbert took an excellent look at the state of the franchise in his latest "From Deep" column.
- Herbert: "For a LeBron team, there are not particularly high expectations. The roster feels cobbled together because it has been, and it feels incomplete because it almost certainly is. Westbrook's $47 million expiring contract is hanging over everything, and the Lakers' 2027 and 2029 unprotected first-round picks are available if the right deal comes along. The moment that they part with them, though, this strange in-between phase will be over and they'll be all-in with whatever comes back in return."
These pieces have been terrific all preseason, so I'll plug the rest here:
Golden State | Atlanta | Dallas | New Orleans | Los Angeles (Clippers) | Memphis | Milwaukee | Denver | Philadelphia | Boston | Brooklyn | Toronto | Minnesota | Cleveland
As for everything else to know:
- NBA player League Pass rankings
- LeBron record watch
- Celtics honor Bill Russell with City Edition uniform
Previewing the Phillies-Padres NLCS with World Series trip on the line ⚾
The NLCS starts tonight, and while it doesn't feature the teams you probably expected, the Phillies and Padres don't care. They have a trip to the World Series on their minds after upsetting the Braves and Dodgers, respectively.
- It'll be Zack Wheeler vs. Yu Darvish for the pitching matchup. Wheeler pitched seven shutout innings in his lone start against San Diego this season. Darvish, meanwhile, went 1-0 with a 2.08 ERA in two starts against Philadelphia. Here's our game preview.
- The Phillies won the season series, 4-3.
- The Phillies are looking for their first World Series trip since 2009. The Padres are looking for their first since 1998.
The NLCS appearances are years in the making for these teams' big-name 2019 offseason signees. Both Manny Machado and Bryce Harper signed huge deals with their respective clubs three seasons ago, and both are coming through in a big way, writes MLB expert Matt Snyder.
- Snyder: "Machado is coming off an MVP-caliber season and -- given how poorly Paul Goldschmidt finished the season -- there's an argument to be made that when he finishes second he'll have been shortchanged. ... So far in the playoffs, in which the Phillies had the worst record coming in and still haven't faced elimination, Harper is hitting .435/.480/.957 with three doubles, three home runs, six RBI and six runs."
North Carolina tops men's basketball AP Top 25 🏀
Coming off a national runner-up finish and returning four starters, the North Carolina Tar Heels are atop the preseason men's basketball AP Top 25. Here's the top 10, with first-place votes in parentheses:
- 1. North Carolina (47)
- 2. Gonzaga (12)
- 3. Houston (1)
- 4. Kentucky (2)
- T5. Baylor
- T5. Kansas
- 7. Duke
- 8. UCLA
- 9. Creighton
- 10. Arkansas
Our college basketball expert Kyle Boone is a bit skeptical of UNC being at the top.
- Boone: "North Carolina is a very good basketball team and easily ranks top-10 for me next season. Just not No. 1. Like UCLA last year, the magical NCAA Tournament run it is coming off of has skewed the reality of what it really was last season: which was a just-OK team that got really hot end of year. Remember: UNC at one point last season didn't even look like it'd be a tourney team. It had to catch fire down the stretch and eventually got in as a No. 8 seed."
You can see the entire preseason poll here and Kyle's overrated and underrated squads here.
What we're watching Tuesday 📺
⚾ Guardians at Yankees, 4:07 p.m. on TBS
🏒 Flyers at Lightning, 7 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 76ers at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. on TNT
⚾ Phillies at Padres, 8:03 p.m. on FS1
🏒 Kings at Predators, 9:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Lakers at Warriors, 10 p.m. on TNT