Buffalo Bills v New York Jets
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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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The WNBA playoffs are here! The eight-team field is set with two best-of-three first round series -- Aces-Sky (preview here) and Sun- Lynx (preview here) -- tipping off tonight.

The defending champions are atop Jack Maloney's playoff Power Rankings after a strong finish.

  • Maloney: "The Aces' late-August slump is officially behind them. They closed the season on a four-game winning streak to secure the No. 1 seed and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. That figures to be a significant edge, as they went 19-1 and boasted an astonishing plus-21.9 net rating in Vegas this summer. The Aces are favorites to win it all, and will begin their quest to become the first team to repeat since the 2001 and 2002 Sparks with what should be an easy matchup against the Sky."

Jack has Las Vegas sweeping Chicago and envisions a sweep in Sun-Lynx, too.

Jack also revealed his official awards ballot, and in a historic MVP race, he explained his decision to vote for Breanna Stewart over A'ja Wilson and Alyssa Thomas. This was a terrific breakdown featuring film, stats, players' thoughts and more. You name it, Jack considered it, as any good voter should do.

There's nothing better than postseason basketball. Buckle up.

👍 Honorable mentions

🤕 And not such a good morning for ...

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Tuesday's MRI confirmed the Jets' worst fears: Aaron Rodgers is done for the season with a complete Achilles tendon tear suffered on just his fourth snap with his new team.

It's just as difficult to believe now as it was when the injury occurred. And given their awful quarterback history, it's worth wondering: Are the Jets cursed? No, we're not kidding. Cody Benjamin examined eight reasons it might be true. Rodgers' one pass attempt this season, by the way, will be the fewest thrown by a Week 1 starting quarterback since at least 1950.

On one hand, there's years of evidence the franchise is cursed. On the other hand, writes Will Brinson, this is the unfortunate risk of wading into the aging superstar quarterback market.

  • Brinson: "Rodgers coming to the Jets was ~the~ storyline of this offseason. Clearly the Jets defense is capable of keeping them in any possible AFC matchup. They beat the Bills without Rodgers. ... The Jets took a massive swing this offseason. It was a no-brainer, shoving all in with a Hall of Fame quarterback to try and win a Super Bowl. ... But there was always a lot more risk in the trade than most people were willing to acknowledge. Unfortunately that risk is now reality."

This is a gut punch not just for this year but for Rodgers' future, too. It's among the most impactful injuries in NFL history, writes Bryan DeArdo, and considering Rodgers turns 40 in December, Garrett Podell reflects on Rodgers' legacy so far. I don't think this is quite the end, but torn Achilles are devastating at any age, and even more so in the Rodgers now finds himself.

Blame it on risks or curses or the turf -- which players called out, forcing the NFL to respond -- or anything else. The cold truth is that it's now Zach Wilson's team -- Robert Saleh said so himself -- and that's a near-impossible pill to swallow, even for the most optimistic fan.

For now, Jeff Kerr writes, the Jets are simply in "survival mode." 

😬 Not so honorable mentions

🏀 NBA Top 100 rankings: LeBron James out of top 10

Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

Everyone loves rankings, and you can find them everywhere.

This one is the best.

Our NBA experts released their top 100 players for the upcoming season. Here's the top five:

  1. Nikola Jokic (last year: 4): "If you run into any time-travelers from the 1980s, you can tell them that the NBA's best player is a cross between Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who makes one-legged, wrong-footed fadeaways."
  2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (1): "The Greek Freak has lost his spot atop this list, but that can be attributed to Nikola Jokic's brilliance and an ill-timed injury rather than any fault of his own."
  3. Stephen Curry (2): "Curry remains at the height of his powers, and if you're sleeping on the Warriors, go take a look at the net rating of their starters last year."
  4. Luka Doncic (5): "At just 24 years old, Doncic already has as many first-team All-NBA selections as Stephen Curry, Chris Paul and recent Hall of Fame inductee Dirk Nowitzki."
  5. Kevin Durant (3): "The man is basically an unstoppable offensive force while simultaneously having a significant defensive impact."

Spoiler alert: Even when you look at the top 10, LeBron James isn't on it. James is 12th on our list, but Bill Reiter won't count out James proving that wrong.

  • Reiter: "This is a sport where success is defined by what you do on the court, and if anyone is capable of turning back time and questioning their placement on a Top 100 list, it's LeBron James. ... We have LeBron James as the 12th best player heading into this NBA season because we think his hold on the game is over. But sports -- and its greatest ever -- often have a way of making such proclamations seem absurdly ahead of schedule."

We also have biggest risers and fallers, and Magic fans, you'll like who's number one.

🏈 NFL Power Rankings: Who's rising, falling after Week 1?

Kim O'Reilly, CBS Sports

One week in the books means Pete Prisco has new NFL Power Rankings ... and a new No. 1.

  • Prisco: "1. 49ers -- The San Francisco 49ers, my pick to win it all, have moved up to the top spot after they blew out the Steelers on the road. The 49ers are the most complete team in the league, and it showed on Sunday. ... The defense looked like it had 13 guys on the field against the Steelers. The offense showed up too. Brock Purdy is just fine."

Check out the rest of Prisco's Power Rankings.

The Bills and Bengals were the biggest fallers, both losing nine spots, while the Rams' impressive Week 1 win over the Seahawks earned them an 11-spot jump. I'm not quite sure I'm ready to have the 2021 champs that high, but it was a great reminder that Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford can still make magic. You can read up on Pete's reasoning for all 32 squads here.

To put a bow on Week 1, we have ...

⚾ Five MLB Wild Card Series we want to see

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MLB's rule changes this season have been widely applauded. Games have been shorter and more action-packed. Who doesn't like that? But with the postseason looming, I realize the league also hit the nail on the head last year expanding from 10 playoff teams to 12. That means more playoff races -- we have thrillers in both leagues -- and more playoff baseball, which is simply the best. Watching a 162-game season being shrunk down to two or three games is incredible; every move is hyper-analyzed, and every win is monumental.

With that in mind, Matt Snyder looked at five wild-card matchups we want to see most, including this potential AL battle:

  • Snyder: "Astros vs. Orioles -- At this point, it's likely this Astros-Orioles series wouldn't happen until the ALDS or, more likely, ALCS. It is still possible to happen in the Wild Card Series, though. ... Orioles architect Mike Elias came from the Astros and followed a very similar blueprint in building the O's in the Astros mold. It's also a team with very, very little playoff experience for a franchise that hasn't been to the playoffs since 2016 taking on a team that hasn't missed the playoffs since 2016 and who has also won four pennants and two World Series titles since."

Youthful exuberance versus grizzled experience is always one of my favorite headlines. The Orioles have arrived early, but they might not know any better. I'd love to see this happen.

📺 What we're watching Wednesday

Rays at Twins, 1:10 p.m. on MLB Network
🏀 Lynx at Sun, 8 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Sky at Aces, 10 p.m. on ESPN