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Actually, Week 1 Does Matter (To Our NFL Playoff Odds)

First this week, we go over the many surprises from the NFL’s first week. While it’s wise not to read too much into Green Bay’s stunning loss to New Orleans — there’s precedent from just last year of the team beaten by the Saints in Week 1 going on to win the Super Bowl — the first week of the season is crucial for predicting teams’ performances going forward. We don’t know yet if we were all a little bit too high on the Bills or if the Jaguars’ Urban Meyer experiment has already exploded, but the information we get from Week 1 is more informative than most weeks in terms of adjusting playoff odds. The good news for the Packers’ now-reduced playoff chances, however, is that the entire NFC North looks awful. Misery (and the Lions) loves company.

Next, we turn to baseball and its latest no-hitter. Corbin Burnes and Josh Hader of the Brewers no-hit the Indians for the ninth no-hitters of the season, breaking a record set all the way back in 1884. However, the Hot Takedown team is more than a little dubious of the inclusion of combined no-hitters. They’re a fun team accomplishment, of course, but in no way require the same level of skill as a single pitcher pitching a no-hitter — it’s not that hard to engineer a team no-hitter with a bullpen throwing their all in the last few innings. Still, as we have previously discussed on the podcast, no-hitters are a fun, relatively rare and very random occurrence. They’re not going to overwhelm the game any time soon. 

Finally, in the Rabbit Hole, Neil looks at Texas’s loss to Arkansas and whether any other college football teams about to switch conferences have made a losing first impression on their new conference colleagues. There are a few, but a lot of those came as the conference system was getting started in the first place. Arkansas is certainly better than it is often given credit for, and Texas is in no danger of losing its promised spot in the SEC because of bad play, but Big 12 fans around the nation can certainly enjoy some schadenfreude in Texas getting hoisted by its own horns. 

What we’re looking at this week: 

Sarah Shachat is Hot Takedown’s producer.

Sara Ziegler is the former sports editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Neil Paine was the acting sports editor at FiveThirtyEight.

Geoff Foster is the former sports editor of FiveThirtyEight.