Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Thursday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!
My calendar says there's a game on the NFL schedule tonight, but don't get too excited, because I definitely can't guarantee the game is going to happen because I'm only about 40% sure the Browns are going to have enough players to field a team. Just kidding, it's going to happen, but you might need to keep an updated Browns roster handy to identify the players on the field.
If you haven't been paying attention to the Browns, they had 20 PLAYERS on their injury report heading into tonight's game against Denver. I would list them all, but we don't have enough space in the newsletter.
Besides the game, we'll also be talking about the latest trade rumors involving Deshaun Watson, who could be on the move by the end of the week. We'll also be taking a look at the Packers new uniforms for Sunday, so I think now is the time where I should stop yapping so we can get to the rundown.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the Pick Six newsletter. To get your friends to sign up, all you have to do is click here and then share this link with them. Alright, let's get to the rundown.
1. Today's show: Broncos-Browns betting preview
If you're planning on betting any money on tonight's game, then you're going to want to make sure to listen to today's episode of the podcast before you place any bets. For today's show, Will Brinson brought on CBSSports writer Tyler Sullivan, and the two went into full gambling mode.
Here are several props they like for the game:
- Melvin Gordon OVER 39.5 rushing yards (-110). The Broncos running back has gone over this total in three of Denver's past four games. Also, with Teddy Bridgewater (foot/quad) expected to be hobbled tonight, there's a good chance the Broncos will turn to their ground game to take some pressure off him.
- Noah Fant OVER 3.5 receptions (-150). Even if the Broncos don't throw the ball a lot against the Browns, this still feels like a number Fant should be able to hit. Fant is averaging six catches per game over the past three weeks, so you have to feel good about him getting four catches tonight, which is all he needs for this prop to hit.
- Case Keenum UNDER 31.5 passing attempts (-115). With Baker Mayfield out, Browns coach Kevin Stefanski is likely going to do his best to not put too much pressure on Keenum, who will be making his first NFL start since 2019. This means it won't be surprising if the Browns go with a run-first game plan. Also, Baker Mayfield has gone under this number four times in six games and you have to think Stefanski would also like to keep Keenum under it.
- Long shot prop: Noah Fant to score the first TD of the game (+1000). With so many injuries in this game, there aren't a lot of great options for this prop, but Fant certainly feels like the best one. He's caught three TD passes in six games, and if the Broncos get down to the red zone early, he'll likely be the guy Bridgewater targets.
For more props and their actual predictions for tonight's game, be sure to click here so you can listen to today's episode. If you'd rather watch today's show, you can now do that on YouTube!
2. Thursday night preview: Prepping you for Broncos at Browns
If you're watching the game tonight, you might want to keep an updated roster handy, because that's likely the only way you're going to be able to identify every player on the field for the Browns. Cleveland had 20 PLAYERS on its injury report this week, and out of that total, multiple key players have already been ruled out, including Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb.
If both teams were healthy, Cleveland would definitely seem like the better bet tonight, but with the Browns roster decimated due to injuries, that should open the door for a possible Broncos upset. Despite the injuries, the Browns are still favored by two points.
My good buddy Jared Dubin put together our deep-dive preview for this game at CBSSports, and here's how he sees it playing out:
- Why the Broncos can win: The Browns defense is surrendering just 87 yards per game on the ground this year, which means if the Broncos want to win, they're likely going to have to be able move the ball through the air. If they're going to pull off the upset, the Broncos are likely going to need a big game from their top two receivers (Courtland Sutton, Tim Patrick) along with tight end Noah Fant.
- Why the Browns can win: The Browns have the third-most sacks in the NFL this year and one of the NFL's top rushing defenses, which are both notable because they're going to need a huge game from their defense if they're going to win. The reason the defense has to come up big is because the Browns are going to be missing a lot of personnel on offense, including Mayfield, Chubb and Kareem Hunt. There's also a possibility that Odell Beckham and both starting tackles (Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills) could miss the game, which means the Browns will likely be hard-pressed to score points. If the defense can force multiple turnovers and maybe even come up with a score, the Browns will have a good chance of winning.
Dubin's pick: Broncos 20-10 over Browns
My pick: Broncos 20-17 over Browns.
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Teddy Bridgewater OVER 1.5 TD passes (+120): "One area where there has been a crack in the foundation for Cleveland's defense is allowing passing touchdowns. Entering Week 7, the Browns have allowed 14 passing scores, tied for third-most in the league. Bridgewater has thrown for multiple touchdowns in four of his six games played this year, including three last week against Las Vegas."
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Chase McLaughlin OVER 1.5 field goals (+110): The fact that this prop is plus money is somewhat surprising since McLaughlin has gone over this total in three of the past four games. With the Browns offense banged up, I have to think that Kevin Stefanski will be more inclined to take points whenever he can get them, which should mean multiple field goal attempts for McLaughlin. If that happens, this prop should hit because the Browns kicker hasn't missed a single field goal all year (9 of 9).
3. Baker Mayfield needs surgery but will wait until after the season
It appears Baker Mayfield's shoulder injury was much more serious than originally thought. As we already know, Mayfield has been ruled out for Thursday night's game against the Broncos, but what's not known is if he'll miss any time after that.
Here's what we know about the injury:
- The Browns QB is going to need surgery at some point. According to NFL.com, Mayfield is going to need surgery on his shoulder injury, but the plan is for him to hold off on the operation until after the season. Mayfield's availability for each game going forward is basically going to come down to how much pain he can tolerate.
- Mayfield has been playing injured for more than a month. The original injury took place during a Week 2 win over the Texans. After throwing an interception, Mayfield tried to make a tackle on the defender, but instead ended up injuring his labrum.
- The injury was much more serious than the Browns originally let on. After the injury in Week 2, the team said he had suffered a partially torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, but it was actually worse than that. Mayfield revealed Tuesday that his injury was actually a fully torn labrum.
- Will he finish the season? Although Mayfield is planning to play out the season, there's no guarantee that's going to happen. The Browns quarterback aggravated his injury against the Cardinals on Sunday, and if he aggravates it again down the road, it's possible he could be forced to miss another game. In a worst-case scenario, he gets put in a spot where he has to undergo surgery before the end of the season.
Basically, all eyes in Cleveland are going to be on Mayfield's shoulder. The team is already dealing with injuries to Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt, and if all three are out for any extended period of time -- Hunt is already on injured reserve -- it's going to be tough for Cleveland to return to the playoffs.
4. Deshaun Watson trade rumors: Will Texans QB soon be headed to South Beach?
With the NFL trade deadline less than two weeks away, it appears the Texans and Dolphins are getting more and more serious about possibly pulling off a trade that would involve Deshaun Watson. There's been some speculation that the trade could go down before the end of the week.
Here's what we know about the latest details:
- Talks are getting serious. According to the Houston Chronicle, the two teams are deep in negotiations and ideally, they'd like to get a deal done THIS WEEK. If that can't happen, then the two sides are hoping they can get a deal done before the NFL's trade deadline on Nov. 2. If the deal happens closer to the deadline, it's possible Watson's first game with the Dolphins could be against the Texans. The two teams face each other Nov. 7.
- Why is this happening now? The two sides talked during the offseason, but negotiations clearly didn't go anywhere or a trade would have been made then. According to Texans beat writer Aaron Wilson, one reason things are moving forward now is because of "another team's potential involvement in another potential trade, not involving Deshaun Watson." This is just speculation, but that could mean that the Dolphins have found a potential trade partner for Tua Tagovailoa, which would set the stage for a three-team trade (or maybe they just wanted to find a team that would take Tua before trying to pull off a Watson trade). Multiple teams were rumored to be interested in Tua on Wednesday -- including Denver and Washington -- but most of those reports were shot down.
- Texans' asking price. One thing that hasn't changed in this situation is the Texans' asking price. The team has made it clear that it would like at least three first-round draft picks and two second-round draft picks (or equivalent players) if they're going to make any deal. That might have been too rich for Miami's blood during the offseason, but now that the team is 1-5, it appears the Dolphins are getting desperate and more willing to pay any price.
- Other landing spots for Watson. According to The Athletic, the Texans have also had recent trade discussions with both the Panthers and Eagles, although it's not clear how serious the talks were. In Carolina, it didn't seem like there was any way the Panthers would trade Sam Darnold after the team's 3-0 start, but now that they've lost three in a row, it doesn't seem so far-fetched. That being said, Panthers coach Matt Rhule denied Thursday that his team has any interest in Watson.
- Watson's playing status. One of the biggest questions revolving around Watson is whether he'll be allowed to play with his new team if he's traded. The quarterback is facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct along with multiple criminal complaints that allege the same thing. The NFL hasn't commented on his availability since training camp when it said that there are "no restrictions on Watson's participation" pending further investigation. This means that as of right now, Watson is free to play with his new team.
Of course, the NFL hasn't acted on Watson because it hasn't had to. If he gets traded, that brings his case back into the headlines, which is something the league might not want. If he gets traded, the NFL could place him on the commissioner's exempt list until the league investigation is done. The league could also just do what it's currently doing and let him play.
5. Packers unveiling new green throwback uniform this week
The Packers have finally decided to put the "Green" back in "Green Bay." The Packers will be unveiling a new throwback uniform Sunday that's ALL green. The Packers have worn throwback uniforms before, but surprisingly, this will mark the first time that they've worn a throwback uniform that includes any green.
Over the past 30 years, whenever the Packers have worn throwback uniforms, they've thrown back to their old Acme Packers uniforms, which are are blue and gold.
Here are a few details on this year's throwback:
- The Packers are throwing back to the uniform they wore between 1950 and 1953. However, the team did note that the new look isn't an exact replica of those older uniforms. The new look was inspired by those teams from the early 1950s.
- The biggest change will be the fact that the team is getting green pants. The Packers will be dumping their yellow pants and wearing green ones to match their green jersey tops. Basically, they will be wearing all green, which means this uniform combination could also double as an awesome St. Patrick's Day costume.
- The stripes on the jerseys will also be changing. The Packers usually have two gold stripes on their sleeves with a white striped sandwiched in the middle. For the throwbacks, they'll be dumping the white stripe.
You can see pictures of the new uniform by clicking here, and if you do click over, the first thing you'll probably notice is that it looks like the Packers are borrowing their new uniform from the Oregon Ducks.
Green Bay will definitely be wearing this uniform Sunday against Washington. However, the Packers haven't announced if they'll be wearing the uniform for any other game this year, which means this week might be your only chance to see the new-look throwbacks in action.
6. Rapid-fire roundup
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.
- Packers land Whitney Mercilus. It's not often that you can find good pass-rushing help in the middle of the season, but the Packers did that this week. General manager Brian Gutekunst announced Thursday that the Packers had signed Mercilus, who was cut by the Texans on Tuesday after spending his entire nine-and-a-half-year career in Houston.
- Colts lose starting safety for the season. The Colts defense got hit with a devastating loss this week after Julian Blackmon suffered a season-ending injury. Indy's starting safety is out for the year after tearing his Achilles in practice.
- Seahawks add former Colts QB Jacob Eason. With Russell Wilson still on IR, the Seahawks needed an extra quarterback, so they added one Wednesday in the form of Jacob Eason. The former Colts quarterback was cut this week, which was mildly surprising since he had only been with the team since 2020 when Indy drafted him in the fourth round.
- Washington makes change at kicker. We mentioned yesterday that Washington had decided to move on from Dustin Hopkins, and now they finally have his replacement: Chris Blewitt. Besides having an unfortunate last name for a kicker, the 26-year-old Blewitt has never attempted a kick in a regular season game.
- Panthers signing Ameer Abdullah. With Christian McCaffrey still out, the Panthers decided to bring in some help at running back this week by reportedly signing Ameer Abdullah. The former Viking had been in Minnesota since 2018, but he was cut Wednesday because the Vikings needed the roster space.