Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays
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This is an article version of the CBS Sports HQ AM Newsletter, the ultimate guide to every day in sports. You can sign up to get it in your inbox every weekday morning here.

🎉 Good morning to everyone but especially ...

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What's long been all-but-official is now officially official: The Braves are NL East champs after a 4-1 victory over the Phillies. Atlanta, which was the first team to clinch a playoff berth, is also the first team to clinch its division.

  • It's the Braves' sixth straight NL East title and their 23rd division title overall, most in MLB history. (The divisional era started in 1969.)
  • Austin Riley blasted his 35th home run of the season, becoming the third Brave to reach that mark (Matt Olson, Ronald Acuña Jr.). That's tied for the most by any team in a single season.
  • Spencer Strider gave up one run over seven innings, striking out nine. He leads MLB with 259 strikeouts this season.

What makes these Braves do good? R.J. Anderson breaks down how they built their roster through identifying, drafting, trading for and signing talent at a magnificent clip.

👍 Honorable mentions

🤕 And not such a good morning for ...

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After spending four-plus months leading the AL West, the Rangers are now clinging onto a wild-card spot. They'll have to survive without one of their biggest names ... who was brought in to help mitigate the loss of another one of their biggest names. Max Scherzer is done for the regular season -- and likely won't pitch for the playoffs, either -- after straining his teres major, a muscle connecting the arm to the shoulder blade. Scherzer will not need surgery, according to GM Chris Young.

  • Scherzer, 39, was through 5 1/3 scoreless innings Tuesday against the Blue Jays before the issue arose and he got pulled from the game.
  • Texas acquired Scherzer from the Mets on July 30 and hoped he would headline the rotation down the stretch and beyond, especially after Jacob deGrom had to undergo Tommy John surgery just six starts into his first year with the club.
  • Scherzer finishes the regular season 13-6 with a 3.77 ERA. He posted a 3.20 ERA over eight starts with the Rangers, and he's under contract with them for next season.

The last few months have been a roller coaster for the Rangers: After acquiring Scherzer, they won 12 of their first 14 games in August before losing 16 of their next 20. They have now won their last five straight. They're one game back of the Astros in the AL West, a ½ game up on the Mariners for the second AL wild-card spot and 1½ games up on the Blue Jays for the third.

👎 Not so honorable mentions

🏀 NBA approves load management rules: Who will it affect?

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The NBA has long tried to battle load management. Wednesday, the league's Board of Governors took another step by approving rules that include fines if teams sit "star players" in certain games.

  • First, the league has defined a "star player" (for this policy) as anyone who has made an All-Star or All-NBA team in the past three seasons. There are 49 players who fit that criteria.
  • The fines apply when (1) a star player sits in a nationally televised game or an in-season tournament game, (2) multiple stars sit in the same game or (3) a star player is shut down for a long stretch of the season. The NBA also can investigate players' absences in these games.
  • There are exceptions regarding back-to-backs for players age 35 or older or players who have played 34,000 regular-season minutes or a combined 1,000 regular-season and playoff games. However, teams must give the NBA advance notice.
  • Teams are fined $100,000 for the first violation, $250,000 for the second violation and then $1 million more than the previous fine for additional violations.

This comes months after the new collective bargaining agreement set a 65-game minimum for players to be eligible for individual awards and honors.

I love the idea of fewer stars resting, but I love the idea of stars being healthy in the playoffs more. How teams, players and the NBA handle this will be fascinating.

🧐 One thing for every NFL team to fix in Week 2


Football is a game of adjustments: snap-to-snap, drive-to-drive, week-to-week. There are always alterations to make, big and small. That goes for the best teams and the worst, too.

Jeff Kerr has one thing for all 32 teams to fix in Week 2, and the Vikings have a lot to fix if they want to avoid starting the season 0-2 heading into "Thursday Night Football" tonight against the Eagles.

  • Kerr: "Figure out a way to run the ball better -- Minnesota had 14 carries for 34 yards from its two running backs (2.4 yards per carry), a product of the interior of its offensive line. The Vikings will have to clean that up against an improved Eagles run defense. They did sign Myles Gaskin to the active roster this week to help out Alexander Mattison."

The Eagles allowed just 76 yards rushing on 22 attempts by the Patriots last week, so it'll be a tall task -- one that I don't think Minnesota will be up to. I'm rolling with Philadelphia tonight, and Cody Benjamin is, too, in his game preview. We also have a betting preview, courtesy of Tyler Sullivan.

I'd say the game of the week, though, is Chiefs-Jaguars, and it's easy to pinpoint what the reigning champs must improve.

  • Kerr: "Better separation from WRs -- This should improve with Travis Kelce potentially returning this week, but the wideouts had their struggles getting open in the second half of their Week 1 loss. Skyy Moore was a non-factor and Kadarius Toney had three drops, one of which led to seven points from the Lions."

The Chiefs' defense will also be under pressure against the Trevor Lawrence-directed Jacksonville offense. Lawrence cracked the top five of Cody's NFL QB Power Rankings entering Week 2.

🏈 College football QB Power Ranking, plus Joe Milton's time to shine?

Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

There's a new sheriff in town in Tom Fornelli's QB Power Rankings. Fresh off Texas' stunner over Alabama, Quinn Ewers has the top spot.

  • Fornelli: "The rules are pretty simple. If you go into Tuscaloosa and hand Alabama its first home loss since 2019, doing so by a margin no other team has done since Nick Saban came to town in 2007, you'll be No. 1 in these rankings. I was already high on Ewers and had been cramming him in here higher than he deserved. After leading Texas to its biggest win since Vince Young sprinted into the end zone at the 2006 Rose Bowl, he's left me no choice."

Ewers was phenomenal: 349 yards passing, three touchdowns and no interceptions or sacks. No one else has done that against Alabama since at least 1995. Oh, and the Longhorns -- fourth in the latest AP Top 25 -- beat an AP top-three team for the first time since 2008.

Here's Tom's top five quarterbacks:

  1. Quinn Ewers, Texas (last week: 5)
  2. Caleb Williams, USC (1)
  3. Sam Hartman, Notre Dame (3)
  4. Shedeur Sanders, Colorado (NR)
  5. Michael Penix Jr., Indiana (6)

Could Joe Milton be the next quarterback to snap a notable streak? No. 11 Tennessee heads to Florida this weekend looking to win in The Swamp for the first time since 2003 (when Milton was 3 years old). Is he ready to lead the charge? Dennis Dodd has a wonderful feature on just that.

  • Dodd: "Suddenly, the Volunteers have the coach (Josh Heupel), the momentum and the roster to make a major move in the SEC ... perhaps even nationally. That is a glimpse of Tennessee's potential. Now, about Milton, do the Vols have the quarterback? ... If they are going to fulfill that next-big-thing label, Milton must take the next step."

📺 What we're watching Thursday

Yankees at Red Sox OR Rays at Orioles, 7:15 p.m. on Fox
🏈 Bethune-Cookman at No. 22 Miami, 7:30 p.m. on ACC Network
🏈 Navy at Memphis, 7:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏈 Vikings at Eagles, 8:15 p.m. on Prime Video