A double dose of Monday Night Football kicks off this sports week, which features more of the chase for a playoff spot in Major League Baseball and the start of the postseason in the WNBA. Additionally, Team USA is in action on the pitch and on the court, with the latter squad three wins away from a world championship.
Must Watch: Monday Night Football
Week 1 in the NFL concludes with a doubleheader on ESPN, beginning with the Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints at 7:10 p.m. ET, followed by the Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders at 10:20 p.m.
The quarterback matchup in New Orleans will be a treat with Deshaun Watson and Drew Brees going head-to-head to start their seasons. And they both have plenty of weapons, led by the Texans' DeAndre Hopkins and Saints' Alvin Kamara. Expect a fun one in the Bayou.
The second game of the night will feature the now-former team of Antonio Brown, whom the Raiders released over the weekend and signed with the New England Patriots. That finally brought an end to one of the most bizarre tenures a player has had on a team without ever playing in a game. Head coach Jon Gruden will have his work cut out to have his team completely ready to play after all the distractions of the last few weeks.
Thursday Night Football
Three days later, two NFC South teams who both lost at home on Sunday face a quick turnaround in what becomes an important early division matchup. Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Charlotte, North Carolina, to face Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers at 8:20 p.m. on NFL Network. Before we get to the football part of the matchup, let's do a fit check on Cam in Week 1:
We know he'll come with something special again for the only game of the night on Thursday. He'll also need to come with some scoring production, as he didn't throw or run for a touchdown but did throw an interception in Carolina's loss to the Los Angeles Rams.
Winston had an even more forgettable start to the season, throwing three picks and only one touchdown in a loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Keep your eyes glued to the Panthers' Christian McCaffrey, who had 29 touches for 209 total yards and a touchdown Sunday.
NFC Championship Game Rematch
The pass-interference flags and reviews will be ready as the Saints and Rams run it back after last season's NFC title game (Sunday at 4:25 p.m. on Fox). A missed PI call helped the Rams come back and win to reach the Super Bowl and prompted the NFL to make such penalty calls challengeable this season.
Other games to watch on Sunday include:
- Minnesota Vikings at Green Bay Packers, 1 p.m. on Fox
- New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins, 1 p.m. on CBS
- Seattle Seahawks at Pittsburgh Steelers, 1 p.m. on Fox
- Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys, 1 p.m. on Fox
- Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders, 4:05 p.m. on CBS
- Chicago Bears at Denver Broncos, 4:35 p.m. on Fox
Watch This: MLB Postseason Races
September playoff races in Major League Baseball continue to bring significant matchups this week, as division leaders and wild-card contenders battle in the season's final month.
The Atlanta Braves lead the Washington Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies in the National League East, both of whom are still very alive in the wild-card race. So are the Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets, who play each other this week. In the American League, the Houston Astros continue to fight for the best record. The Oakland Athletics occupy one of the wild-card spots, and the Minnesota Twins narrowly lead the AL Central. Take a look at the latest standings here. But even playoff intensity can't take away the childlike fun that is baseball.
Here's the schedule for those teams this week (all times ET, with all MLB.TV games also televised locally):
Braves at Phillies, four games, Monday-Thursday
- Mike Foltynewicz (ATL) vs. Aaron Nola (PHI), 7:05 p.m. on MLB.TV
- Max Fried vs. Jason Vargas, 7:05 p.m. on MLB Network
- Dallas Keuchel vs. Zach Eflin, 7 p.m. on ESPN
- Julio Teheran vs. Drew Smyly, 7:15 p.m. on Fox
Diamondbacks at Mets, four games, Monday-Thursday
- Merrill Kelly (ARI) vs. Jacob deGrom (NYM), 7:10 p.m. on MLB.TV
- Zac Gallen vs. Zach Wheeler, 7:10 p.m. on MLB.TV
- Robbie Ray vs. Steven Matz, 7:p.m. on MLB.TV and ESPN+
- Alex Young vs. Marcus Stroman, 1:10 p.m. on MLB.TV
Nationals at Twins, three games, Tuesday-Thursday
- Anibal Sanchez (WAS) vs. Jose Berrios (MIN), 7:40 p.m. on MLB.TV
- Stephen Strasburg vs. Martin Perez, 7:40 p.m. on MLB.TV
- Patrick Corbin vs. Kyle Gibson, 7:40 p.m. on MLB.TV
A's at Astros, four games, Monday-Thursday
- Mike Fiers (OAK) vs. Zack Greinke (HOU), 8:10 p.m. on MLB.TV
- Tanner Roark vs. Wade Miley, 8:10 p.m. on MLB.TV
- Brett Anderson vs. Frambler Valdez, 8:10 p.m. on MLB.TV
- Homer Bailey vs. Justin Verlander, 8:10 p.m. on MLB.TV
More To Watch
1. College Football Saturday
There are no games between ranked teams this week, but that doesn't mean we're short of any storylines in entering the third week of college football, especially with a rivalry game and as more conference matchups begin. ESPN's College GameDay will be in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday for the first time ever, previewing No. 19 Iowa at Iowa State (4 p.m. on FS1) in what is bound to be an electric atmosphere.
Other notable things to watch around the country this week are:
- No. 21 Maryland at Temple, 12 p.m. on CBSSN: How many points will the Terps score this week after tallying 142 points in their first two games?
- Chattanooga at Tennessee, 12 p.m. on SEC Network: The Vols started their season with back-to-back home losses to Georgia State and BYU. They can't possibly hit the trifecta with another one against a team from their own state...can they?
- No. 9 Florida at Kentucky, 7 p.m. on ESPN: A very important early test for two teams hoping to contend in the SEC East this season.
- No. 1 Clemson at Syracuse, 7:30 p.m. on ABC: The Orange were one of the teams Maryland absolutely boat-raced (63-20), so this one may get out of hand against Trevor Lawrence and Co. But last time the Tigers went to the Carrier Dome in 2017, they lost. And they nearly fell at home to Cuse last year. So, on the other hand, this one may not get out of hand.
2. FIBA World Cup Quarterfinals
Team USA defeated Brazil 89-73 Monday morning to finish second-round play undefeated and enter the quarterfinals just three wins away from a World Cup title. Kemba Walker and Myles Turner paced the Americans with 16 points each. Jaylen Brown added 11, punctuated by this monster dunk in the fourth quarter.
The U.S. will play its quarterfinal on Wednesday against France at 7 a.m. ET from Dongguan Basketball Center in China. With a win, the American squad will face the winner of the second quarterfinal that morning, which matches up Australia and Czech Republic and tips off at 9. The other two quarterfinals will be played on Tuesday, with Argentina vs. Serbia at 7 a.m. and Spain vs. Poland at 9 a.m. You can watch every FIBA World Cup quarterfinal on ESPN+.
3. International Break Rolls On
The U.S. men's national team looks to bounce back from a rout against Mexico on Friday in its second of two friendlies during this window against Uruguay at 8 p.m. Tuesday on FS1. The American squad will look to end on a positive note with a good performance in St. Louis against one of the best teams in all of the Americas.
Speaking of the Americas, there is another big-time friendly Tuesday, featuring two of top teams on this side of the globe.
Mexico faces Argentina in San Antonio (10 p.m. on Univision/TUDN USA). The match will be the first time Mexico manager Tata Martino has faced Argentina, the team he used to coach, in his new position. A matchup to watch could be between Serie A counterparts with Mexico and Napoli forward Hirving Lozano going for goal on one side and Argentina and Juventus midfielder Paulo Dybala on the other.
Euro 2020 Qualifying
For a little bit more meaningful soccer this week, turn your attention to qualifying for next summer's Euro 2020 on Tuesday as teams work to solidify their standings at the top of their groups.
- England vs. Kosovo, 2:45 p.m. on ESPN2
- France vs. Andorra, 2:45 p.m. on ESPN+
- Lithuania vs. Portugal, 2:45 p.m. on ESPN+
4. WNBA Playoffs Begin
The WNBA does not waste any time raising the stakes as two elimination games start the playoffs this Wednesday. Four teams play win-or-go-home games in the first round this week, with the two winners advancing to play another set of single-elimination games this weekend against teams that had byes into the second round. Those winners advance to the best-of-five WNBA semifinals. Learn more about the playoff format here.
Both games Wednesday night will be on ESPN2:
- Phoenix Mercury at Chicago Sky, 8 p.m.: Since the new playoff format went into effect in 2016, the Mercury have not lost an elimination game (6-0), reaching the semifinals each season.
- Minnesota Lynx at Seattle Storm, 10 p.m.: A matchup of the last two WNBA champions (the Storm in 2018 and Lynx in 2017).
1. U.S. Open Champions
Two weeks in Flushing Meadows, New York, culminated with two epic U.S. Open finals over the weekend. On Saturday, 19-year-old Bianca Andreescu overcame Serena Williams and her loud home-crowd support to win the title in straight sets, making tennis history.
On Sunday, Rafael Nadal needed nearly five hours and five grueling sets to put away Daniil Medvedev, who showed his enormous potential and fighting spirit against one of sport's best ever. The title is Nadal's fourth at the U.S. Open and 19th Grand Slam major all-time, leaving him only one behind Roger Federer at the top of the list.
2. NFL is back
After a crazy few days of the AB news cycle, the NFL finally got back to football on Sunday, and here are some of the top highlights and moments from Week 1:
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