Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I hope everyone watched Titans-Steelers last night and I hope you enjoyed it because next Thursday, we're getting Bears vs. Panthers. And no, I am not talking about actual bears vs. actual panthers, which would probably be more entertaining than what we're going to get.
Speaking of entertaining, last night's game definitely falls into that category. The Steelers' 20-16 win over the Titans wasn't decided until Kwon Alexander picked off Will Levis deep in Pittsburgh territory with just six seconds left to play (You can see the play here). We'll be handing out some grades for that game today, plus we have some bold predictions for Week 9.
Finally, don't forget to mark your calendar: As of today, we are exactly 100 DAYS AWAY from Super Bowl LVIII, which will be airing on CBS, Nickelodeon and Paramount+. If you need a refresher on all our Super Bowl predictions, . My preseason pick was Cowboy-Bengals and I still feel oddly good about that.
As always, here's your daily reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. To get them signed up, all you have to do is click here. Let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Best bets for Week 9
If you're a regular listener of the "Pick Six NFL" podcast or a regular reader of this newsletter, then you know what we do on Fridays: We make picks. And then just when you think we're done making picks, we make more picks.
For today's show, Will Brinson was joined by R.J. White and Alex "PropStarz" Selelnick -- two of our gambling gurus over at SportsLine -- and the three of them offered some of their best bets for Week 9.
The crew spent an entire hour handing out picks, and we're going to go over a few of their best bets here:
As for PropStarz, he handed out a few of his favorite props for the weekend, because when your nickname is PropStarz, that's what the people expect.
- Cowboys at Eagles: D'Andre Swift OVER 56.5 rushing yards
- Bills at Bengals: Tee Higgins OVER 49.5 receiving yards
- Falcons at Titans: Josh Allen OVER 26.5 rushing yards
PropStarz went 3-0 last week and is now 13-11 on the season, including 12-6 over the past six weeks.
To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 9 -- and there are quite a few -- be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast. You can also watch the episode on YouTube here.
2. Thursday night grades after Steelers' 20-16 win over Titans
It's almost impossible for a rookie QB to beat Mike Tomlin in Pittsburgh and Will Levis found that out the hard way on Thursday night. Thanks to the Steelers' 20-16 win, Tomlin is now 14-1 all time at home against rookie quarterbacks. With the win, the Steelers improve to 5-3 on the season while the Titans fall to 3-5.
Here are our grades from the game:
TITANS GRADE: B-
It's only been two games, but Will Levis looks like he might actually be the real deal. He wasn't perfect against the Steelers, but considering he was making his first career road start and doing it with just three days of preparation, it was a solid showing (22 of 39 for 262 yards). Levis did throw a pick on Tennessee's final offensive play, but that only came after he dramatically drove his team 66 yards to Pittsburgh's 19-yard line in the final minute. With Levis running the show, the Titans did struggle on third down (they were just 3 of 13) and in the red zone (they scored just one TD on four trips), but those are numbers that should improve as Levis continues to get more experience. Defensively, the Titans got steamrolled by a Steelers rushing attack that piled up 166 yards and to make things worse, they didn't record a single sack. The Titans now have 10 days until their next game and the big question is whether Levis has done enough to keep the starting QB job once Ryan Tannehill gets healthy.
- We're not in Nashville anymore. Whenever the Titans leave Nashville, disaster seems to strike. Including their game in London, the Titans have now played five games away from home and they've gone 0-5 in those games while averaging just 13.2 point per game in those losses. On the other hand, in the three games they've played at home this year, they're 3-0 while averaging 27.3 point per game.
STEELERS GRADE: B
The Steelers might have finally figured out how to fix their offense: Run the ball early and run the ball often. Pittsburgh topped 325 total yards for just the second time this season and a big reason that happened is because Jaylen Warren (11 carries for 88 yards) and Najee Harris (16 carries for 69 yards) were nearly unstoppable. It's a good thing the Steelers were able to run the ball, because Kenny Pickett only threw for 160 yards. However, he did come up with several big throws, including a TD pass to Diontae Johnson with four minutes left that ended up being the game-winner. On the defensive side of things, the Steelers were nearly perfect on third down, with the Titans converting just 3 of 13 attempts. Alex Highsmith and T.J. Watt combined to record three of Pittsburgh's four sacks. This was a huge win for a Steelers team that somehow finds a way to win every week even though the offense can't move the ball.
- Cardiac kids. The Steelers now have won eight straight one-score games, which is the longest streak in team history and they're winning even though their offense continues to struggle. The Steelers were outgained on Thursday (340-326) and they've now been outgained in all eight of their games this season, which is notable, because that makes them the ONLY TEAM in the Super Bowl era to have a winning record through eight games despite being outgained every single time. This also marked the Steelers' fifth comeback win of the season, which is the most the team has had through eight games since 1997.
3. Midseason All-Rookie: C.J. Stroud leads the way at QB
The start of Week 9 means that we're now officially halfway through the season and because it's the midpoint of the year, we decided to honor the best rookies by creating a midseason All-Rookie team.
This team was put together by Chris Trapasso, who is one of our NFL Draft gurus here at CBS Sports. Here's a look at the team that Traps created for the offensive side of the ball:
QB: C.J. Stroud (Texans)
RB: De'Von Achane (Dolphins)
WR: Puka Nacua (Rams)
WR: Jordan Addison (Vikings)
TE: Sam LaPorta (Lions)
TE: Dalton Kincaid (Bills)
OT: Dawand Jones (Browns)
OT: Anton Harrison (Jaguars)
OG: O'Cyrus Torrence (Bills)
OG: Peter Skoronski (Titans)
OL: Darnell Wright (Bears)
If you're wondering who had the best draft in 2023, the Lions were the only team to land three players on our All-Rookie team. Besides LaPorta, they also had two players make our defensive All-Rookie team. You can.
4. NFL Week 9 picks: Bengals and Ravens roll against strong opponents
I hope you're not tired of reading our picks yet, because we have even more of them coming at you right now. This batch will be coming from NFL senior writer Pete Prisco along with Will Brinson, Jordan Dajani, Tyler Sullivan and myself. After getting off to a hot start this season, the five of us have finally crashed back to earth. After going 16-8-1 through the first five weeks, we've gone 4-11 over the past three weeks, including 2-3 in Week 8.
Heading into Week 9, we still have our head above water with a 20-19-1 record against the spread with our picks that have been featured in the newsletter.
Here's how things are going to work: I'm going to give you one pick from each guy and then direct you to the rest of their picks. That way, if you like their pick, you'll be able to read the rest of them, but if they pick against your favorite team, you can ignore the rest of their picks and move on.
- Pete Prisco: Ravens (-5.5) 27-18 over Seahawks. From Prisco: "The Seattle defense is improving every week, and adding Leonard Williams will help, but this is a long trip for the Seahawks and they're playing a team that can score. Look for Lamar Jackson to play better than he did last week. " For the rest of Prisco's Week 9 picks, .
- Tyler Sullivan: Bengals (-1.5) 33-24 over Bills. From Sullivan: "I find the Bills very hard to trust at the moment. Josh Allen's team is just 1-3 on the road, and it's large in part because of the dramatic drop-off in production from the quarterback, who has six interceptions and six touchdowns while logging an 83.7 passer rating in games not at Highmark Stadium." For the rest of Sullivan's Week 9 picks, .
- Will Brinson: Panthers (+2.5) to cover against the Colts. From Brinson: "Do you believe in miracles? No, OK, fine. Do you believe in Revenge Games? Great, because this is the perfect Revenge Game. Frank Reich was fired midseason last year as Colts coach and he's going to get revenge." For .
- Jordan Dajani: Falcons (-5) 24-13 over Vikings. From Dajani: "The Vikings downgraded at quarterback with the loss of Kirk Cousins while the Falcons upgraded with the benching of Demond Ridder." For the rest of Dajani's Week 9 best bets, .
- John Breech: Raiders (-1.5) 24-17 over Giants. "After the firing of Josh McDaniels, Raiders players actually looked excited to be at practice this week and I'm guessing that attitude is going to carry over into the game. I feel like this is a 'we just fired our coach and we want to prove he was the problem, so we're definitely going to win our next game' situation." For the rest of my Week 9 picks, be .
5. Bold predictions for Week 9: Vikings beat Falcons without Kirk Cousins
Since you're probably tired of picks at this point, we're going to spice things up by giving out some bold predictions, which are like picks, except better. Garrett Podell has five bold predictions for Week 9, and we're going to share three of them below.
Let's see what Garrett has in store for us this week.
Bold predictions for Week 9:
- 1. Vikings win first game without Kirk Cousins. "Jaren Hall will be making his first career start in Week 9 after completing three of four passes for 23 yards in a 24-10 victory over the Packers in Week 8 after Cousins left the game. As long as he can find Jordan Addison, Hall will be OK. Addison has seven receiving touchdowns in his first eight games, tied for the second-most ever in the Super Bowl era. Also, Hall will be facing a Falcons team that just allowed four passing touchdowns to another rookie QB who was making his first career start: Titans QB Will Levis."
- 2. Cowboys end A.J. Brown's historic streak. "Brown has six games in a row with 125 or more receiving yards, giving him the longest such streak of games in NFL history. Fortunately for Dallas, they have the personnel to keep up with him in second-year cornerback DaRon Bland, who recorded his third pick-six of 2023 on Sunday against the Rams, and 2019 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Stephon Gilmore. Bland's 9.6 passer rating allowed as the primary defender in coverage is the lowest in the NFL among 50 players with 40 or more targets thrown their way this season while Gilmore's 46.3 passer rating allowed as the primary defender ranks third in the league."
- 3. Colts finally beat an NFC team. "The Colts have also lost seven in a row against NFC teams dating to 2022, the longest active winless streak against the opposite conference. The good news for the Colts in this game is that Jonathan Taylor, the 2021 rushing champion, is starting to heat up: he totaled a season-high 95 rushing yards on 12 carries in Week 8, an average of 7.9 yards per carry. He also has at least 75 or more yards in each of his last two games. ... The Panthers (1-6) are allowing 139.4 rushing yards per game, the fourth-most in the NFL. Taylor feasts, and the Colts ride him to victory, snapping their NFC losing streak."
Garrett has five bold predictions for Week 9, and.
6. Extra points: Deshaun Watson starting for Browns in Week 9
It's been a busy 24 hours in the NFL, and since it's nearly impossible to keep track of everything that happened, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- Deshaun Watson will play in Week 9. Head coach Kevin Stefanski gave Browns fans some good news on Friday, announcing that Watson will start against the Cardinals in Week 9. Earlier this week, Watson left his status in doubt. Watson took all the first-team reps in the early part of Browns practice on Friday which was the final hurdle for his return.
- Treylon Burks appears to be OK after being carted off the field. The Titans receiver had to be carted off the field Thursday after taking a nasty spill in the fourth quarter. Although there was an ambulance ready to take him to the hospital, Burks didn't end up needing that. According to ESPN, Burks was seen walking out of the locker room on his own power after the game.
- Giants will have a new kicker on Sunday. With Graham Gano set to undergo knee surgery, the Giants are expected to sign Randy Bullock to , according to NFL.com. The team is also planning to sign Cade York off of Tennessee's practice squad, according to the New York Daily News. One of those two will presumably be kicking on Sunday when the Giants face the Raiders.
- Davante Adams thought it was time for some change in Las Vegas. It doesn't seem like the Raiders receiver is going to be missing Josh McDaniels. Adams was asked on Thursday about McDaniels' firing and he said the team needed a change. "We, obviously, think it was time, one way or the other, for some sort of change," Adams said. "Just to bring a little juice in and revitalize the team a little bit." It doesn't sound like he was very fond of McDaniels. You can read .