Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!
Expand chart
Data: FiveThirtyEight; Table: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

We're eight weeks into the NFL season and only two undefeated teams remain: The New England Patriots (8-0), who won the Super Bowl last year, and the San Francisco 49ers (7-0), who finished 4-12.

The road to 16-0: The Patriots are favored to win all of their remaining games with the biggest test coming on Sunday night in Baltimore (57% win probability), while the 49ers are favored to win 7 of 9.

Patriots in a nutshell: When the Pats went 16-0 in 2007, the offense rewrote the record books. This time around, it's the defense leading the way.

  • By the numbers: New England's veteran-laden defense has scored more TDs (6) than it has allowed (4) and leads the NFL in virtually every category, including sacks (31) and interceptions (19). For reference, no other team has more than 10 picks.
  • Yes, but: Four of their wins came against the NFL's three worst offenses (Dolphins, Redskins, Jets twice) and their other four came against the 28th-ranked offense in terms of yards (Steelers), the 24th-ranked offense (Giants), the 20th-ranked offense (Browns) and the 19th-ranked offense (Bills).
  • The bottom line: While the Patriots' cupcake schedule shouldn't take away from their impeccable start, any "they haven't played anybody!" gripes are legitimate because, well, they haven't. That'll change in November, though.

49ers in a nutshell: Kyle Shanahan has emerged as this year's Sean McVay — a football guru with a gift for designing plays. Meanwhile, the defense has been lights out and clearly the second-best unit in the league behind New England.

  • Offense: The Niners rely heavily on play-action (34.1% of dropbacks), and Shanahan is a master of misdirection. When Jimmy Garoppolo hands the ball off, there's almost always some kind of motion to confuse the defense (prime example).
  • Defense: The defensive front, led by No. 2 pick Nick Bosa and $85 million free agent addition Dee Ford, has been flat-out dominant. And the secondary — which, like the offense, uses lots of misdirection (i.e. disguised coverages) — has surprised everybody.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

40 mins ago - World

U.S. strikes Iran-backed militia structures in Syria

President Biden at the Pentagon on Feb. 10. Photo: Alex Brandon - Pool/Getty Images

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to an Iran-backed militia group, the Pentagon announced.

The state of play: The strike, approved by President Biden, comes "in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel," Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said in a statement.

Senate parliamentarian rules $15 minimum wage cannot be included in relief package

Photo: Al Drago/Getty Images

The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package.

Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Biden's big Saudi reset

Mohammed bin Salman. Photo: Ryad Kramdi/AFP via Getty

President Biden spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman this evening ahead of the release of a CIA report expected to implicate the king's son, and the kingdom's de facto ruler, in the murder of a U.S.-based journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.

Why it matters: In one month, Biden has ended support for the Saudi war effort in Yemen, frozen a large arms deal and snubbed Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) by declining to speak with him directly.