This Week in Sports Talk (TWIST) is our weekly report on the big sports news headlines and major events, plus a preview of what’s up next. For September 10, 2023, here’s the news to know from the past week and what to keep an eye on in the days ahead, in the NFL, MLB, tennis and more.
weekly top 10 sports news headlines: September 10, 2023
Here’s what you need to know heading into a new week:
1. NFL Week 1: Notable Games Today
Week 1 means that arguably any game could end up being noteworthy. But according to the experts at USA Today Sports, here are the most watchable games of the week in the NFL:
- Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns. Joe Burrow just signed a huge deal, but how healthy is he at the moment? The Bengals are a Super Bowl favorite – let’s see how they do out of the gate in this divisional game.
- San Francisco 49ers at Pittsburgh Steelers. Two evenly-matched teams, both with good offenses, should make for an entertaining (and high scoring) game.
- Miami Dolphins at Los Angeles Chargers. Another game with great offense on both sides.
- Buffalo Bills at New York Jets. The most-anticipated game in New York, for sure, and possibly the most significant NFL game of the week (now that Thursday night is over). Are the Bills true Super Bowl contenders this year? Is Aaron Rodgers still a top quarterback, and is he the force that Jets fans are praying for? Tune in and find out.
- Tom Brady fans might want to tune into the Pats-Eagles game, where New England will pay tribute to their legendary quarterback.
2. Thursday Night Football: Lions score an upset
If there were any doubts about the lasting popularity of the NFL, rest assured. It’s still the dominant professional sport in American by a landslide. Our Sports Desk notes that 23 million people watched the Thursday night game. We can report that we were in an airport lounge in San Francisco waiting to catch the redeye back to New York, and all eyes were on the game.
And what a great one it turned out to be for fans of the underdog! The Detroit Lions – our hometown team – defeated the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs in an upset, 21-20.
What happened? Well, our Sports Desk notes that “all-pro TE Travis Kelce was on the sidelines with an injury, and DE holdout Chris Jones was in the stands.” The “Chiefs played a very sloppy game – one of the receivers dropped 4 passes in the game. The record for a season for drops for the Chiefs (held by Kelce) is 16, so this guy is well on his way to setting a record at this point.”
But for beleaguered Lions fans, a win is an win. And this one felt great.
3. Burrow signs a new record-breaking contract with the Bengals
Thursday night, the Cincinnati Bengals announced that their quarterback, Joe Burrow, had signed a 5-year, $275 million contract – with $219 million guaranteed. Making him the highest-paid player in NFL history.
4. College Football week 2: is it still Prime Time? Oh, yes.
As our college football preview noted, the face of college football at the moment isn’t a player. It’s a coach. Colorado coach Deion “Prime Time” Sanders. He has transformed the Buffaloes into one of the biggest stories in American sports with a stunning upset win in his first week as head coach.
CBS Sports notes that Colorado’s Week 1 upset win against last year’s national runner-up TCU, 45-42, was thanks not just to Sanders, but also to a fearsome on-field trio: quarterback Shedeur Sanders (who is the coach’s son), two-way star Travis Hunter and running back Dylan Edwards.
SI reminds us that the Buffaloes went 1–11 last season, while the TCU Horned Frogs won the Fiesta Bowl and played for the national title. Sports writers responded by voting Colorado into this week’s AP Top 25 at No. 22.
How long will it be Prime Time, though? Sanders made his coaching debut at Folsom Field yesterday when the No. 22 Colorado Buffaloes (1-0) hosted the Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-1). Colorado was the 2.5 point favorite. In end, it wasn’t even close. The Buffs thumped the Cornhuskers, 36-14. Quarterback Sanders scored three touchdowns. And crowd went wild . . .
5. Week 2 college football highlights: Texas beats ‘Bama
No. 10 Texas at No. 3 Alabama was the marquee matchup of the weekend. Former ‘Bama coordinator Steve Sarkisian faced his mentor Nick Saban. And in a shocker, the Longhorns beat the Crimson Tide, 34-24, ending Alabama’s 21-game home winning streak.
The chatter continues around the status of Texas backup quarterback Arch Manning (yes, he’s the scion of the famous football family). Despite being named the No. 1 recruit in the country, so far, Manning has been on the sidelines while starter Quinn Ewers takes the field. He threw three touchdowns with no interceptions in yesterday’s win. The Texas bench also includes the robustly talented redshirt freshman Maalik Murphy. It’s an embarrassment of riches that may see Manning remain as backup all season. Of course, some fans are already saying he should transfer to another program. We’ll see.
6. Other notable college games in week 2
Iowa at Iowa State was a classic rivalry game for the the Cy-Hawk Trophy. The Hawkeyes won, 20-13. No. 11 Notre Dame at North Carolina State was the first road game of the season for the Fighting Irish and a chance to show they’re for real. Which they did, with a dominant 45-24 victory. No. 20 Mississippi at No. 22 Tulane saw two evenly-matched teams in the SEC West face off. Ole Miss defeated the Green Wave, 37-20.
7. US Open Women’s Final: Gauff wins her first Grand Slam
Saturday night’s women’s final saw the young phenom Coco Gauff play for the history books. Gauff, 19, is the first American teenager to reach the singles final in New York since Serena Williams in 2001. It was Gauff’s second Grand Slam final (the first was in 2022, when she lost the French Open to Iga Swiatek). Fun fact: the New York Times reports that post-match, Gauff unwinds by watching anime, in particular “My Hero Academia.”
Gauff’s finals opponent, Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus, spoiled the prospect of an all-American final when she defeated Madison Keys in the semifinal. She entered the championship match as the No. 2 seed. Yesterday was her first US Open final appearance, in what’s been a strong year – Sabalenka won her first Grand Slam earlier this year, at the Australian Open.
Until yesterday, Sabalenka and Gauff had played against each other five times, and Gauff won three of those matches. As of yesterday evening, make it four. In front of a rapturous crowd, Gauff fought her way back from a first game deficit and captured her first Grand Slam title, winning the U.S. Open singles final, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.
It’s hard to remember now, but Gauff achieved this milestone while coming off one of the low points in her career, following a first-round exit at Wimbledon this year. She hired a new team with an eye to 2024 – and yet just a few key adjustments seemed to have powered her all the way to the top.
In her graceful acceptance speech, Gauff thanked her opponent, parents, behind-the-scenes workers at the stadium, Billie Jean King – and those who doubted her. “To those who thought [they] were putting water on my fire, you were really adding gas to it, and now I’m really burning so bright.”
8. US Open Men’s Final later today
Daniil Medvedev, 27, scored a stunning upset against 20-year old reigning champion Carlos Alcaraz in their semifinal match on Friday. Hopes to see a final between the charismatic Alcaraz and either of the players in the other semi were dashed. Just think of it: we could have seen an Alcaraz-Djokovic rematch. Or an Alcaraz-Shelton final (we would pay huge cash money to see that). Maybe next time.
Meanwhile, Novak Djokovic, 36, defeated crowd favorite, and object of our massive crush, 20-year old American Ben Shelton to advance to the finals. Shelton, like Alcaraz, is a joy to watch – the future of tennis is looking fantastic. But for now, we have a rematch of the 2021 US Open final – which Medvedev won in three sets, denying Djokovic his 4th Grand Slam title in a single calendar year. We concede that Medvedev is a great player – and he’s also a recurring skunk at the garden party.
9. MLB NL Standings: Atlanta on top
In the NL East, the Atlanta Braves have a laughably comfortable lead, with the second-place Phillies 14 games back. The Mets, for the record, are 28 games back. Man, that hurts.
The LA Dodgers are similarly dominant in the NL West, 12 ahead of the second-place Diamondbacks.
The only tight race is in the NL Central, where the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs are 4 games apart – the Brewers are currently in first place.
The situation is so static that our Sports Desk has a plaintive plea: “It’s time for the regular season to be over, let’s get on with playoffs!”
10. MLB AL Standings: Orioles lead
Our Sports Desk has decreed that the Baltimore Orioles are in charge of the AL East. But the once-hot Tampa Bay Rays are hanging around the hoop, now 4 games back. We here in Gotham prefer not to discuss the New York Yankees, who have been winning lately, but remain cellar dwellers. In the latest blow, Yankees ace Luis Severino is out for the season. Meanwhile, Toronto and Boston are struggling mightily just to keep their heads above the .500 mark.
The Minnesota Twins have a comfortable lead in the AL Central, 7.5 ahead of the Gaurdians.
In the AL West, though, there’s still a bit of a race. The Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers are within 3 games of each other.
Weekly Top sports news headlines and major events to know: September 10, 2023
That’s our take on the big sports news headlines and major events, and a preview of the week ahead, including what to know about football, tennis, baseball and more to join the talk with the avid fans in your life this week. Have a great week, dear reader. See you next Sunday.