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With The Julio Jones Trade, Did Both Atlanta And Tennessee Get Better?

First, we discuss the big news out of the NFL: Julio Jones is no longer a Falcon, and however weird that might be to fans in Atlanta, it was a long time coming. FiveThirtyEight NFL analyst Josh Hermsmeyer helps us break down the trade that sent Jones to the Tennessee Titans in exchange for a 2022 second-round draft pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick. It actually looks like it will help boost both teams enough to keep them competitive, although not enough to make them title contenders. The Titans likely won’t rocket to the top of the AFC just with the addition of Jones, given their porous defense, but he does fill key offensive needs for them. And after getting so much out of Ryan Tannehill as offensive coordinator in Tennessee, it’s not crazy for new Falcons coach Arthur Smith to think he can work wonders with Matt Ryan and Atlanta’s shiny new tight end, Kyle Pitts. But the Falcons’ other problems will likely keep them in the middle of the pack in the NFC.

Next, we take a look at the NBA playoffs. The Hawks haven’t completely shaken the Sixers, but they put on a wild Game 1. Philadelphia can’t take anything for granted, even furious comebacks. It’s a fiery counterpoint to the Nets-Bucks series that has seemed like the hypothetical unstoppable force not so much colliding with an immovable object but with a wet paper bag. Yes, there’s a lot of room for people who hate super teams (Neil) to dislike how Brooklyn is running away with this series, but credit to Steve Nash and his ability to bring out the best from the Nets’ bench as well. We haven’t seen James Harden on the floor for more than a minute, and this team is still terrifying. Out West, the Suns deserve a lot of credit for their win over the Nuggets — and by the Suns we don’t just mean Chris Paul but all of the Suns showing how versatile they can be. And as the Clippers get set to face the Jazz, Kawhi is getting in the kind of form that will let him take L.A. as far as he wants — or as far as any curses that may or may not exist allow. 

Finally, in the Rabbit Hole, Sara lets us know that the kids are all right, especially in women’s golf, where, over the weekend, Yuka Saso tied Inbee Park to the day as the youngest U.S. Women’s Open winner, at 19 years, 11 months and 17 days. Additionally, 17-year-old amateur Megha Ganne was co-leader after the first day, and 14-year-old Chloe Kovelesky led the field in driving distance after the first round at an unreal 301.3 yards. Her average of 290 off the tee would put her in about middle of the pack on the men’s PGA Tour. Hopefully this means we are on the cusp of another generation of women’s golf greats, because they are starting young

What we’re looking at this week: 

  • Josh’s piece about how much Julio Jones can still contribute to an NFL offense.
  • Ben Simmons and Trae Young couldn’t be more different. 
  • No one can shut down the paint like the Jazz, but the Clippers may not need to go there.  

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.

Josh Hermsmeyer was a football writer and analyst.