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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

8 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

8 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 9 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."