Happy Wednesday, everyone. Ready for more playoff football? Good, because it's only three days away. John Breech has once again enlisted me, Cody Benjamin, to deliver today's news. As long as the Bengals keep on fighting, he swears he's required to take at least one midweek vacation day to order and frame Joe Burrow jerseys. I think he's up to about 12 now.
Anyway, this is the Pick Six Newsletter. Let's get to it. (And please, do yourself a favor and make sure you're signed up to receive this newsletter every day! You don't want to miss our daily offerings of everything you need to know around the NFL.)
- Today's show: Should Cowboys dump Mike McCarthy for Dan Quinn?
Brady Quinn joined Will Brinson on Wednesday's "Pick Six NFL Podcast" to run through hot topics around the league, few more pressing than the Cowboys' head coaching situation. CEO Stephen Jones has already endorsed Mike McCarthy's return for a third season atop the staff, but CBS Sports insider Jason La Canfora previously reported owner Jerry Jones was considering a move to offensive coordinator Kellen Moore or defensive coordinator Dan Quinn in the event of an early playoff exit.
Both Quinn and Brinson, for what it's worth, believe Dallas should do more than consider a swap.
"If it's me, I'm firing Mike McCarthy and giving the job to Dan Quinn," Brinson said. "If you're the Cowboys and you know that Dan Quinn is going to take a job this offseason -- his stock hasn't been this high since the first two quarters of the Super Bowl (with Atlanta) -- I think if you're the Joneses and Dan Quinn says, 'I'm taking the Broncos' job,' what is your defense going to be?"
Quinn agreed: "If you feel like the biggest improvement on your team is the defense with Dan Quinn, do you let Dan Quinn walk out the door, saying, 'Are we letting maybe the best head coach on this roster walk out the door?'"
Catch the entire episode (and subscribe for all kinds of daily NFL talk) right here.
Pete Prisco went a perfect 6-0 making straight-up picks on Super Wild Card Weekend. Now, he's back with predictions for the Divisional Round, chock-full of intriguing matchups:
- Titans 27, Bengals 20: The Titans had last week off and they should have Derrick Henry back running the football. That will be a challenge for the Bengals run defense, which allowed 4.4 per rush this season and has several key players banged up.
- Packers 29, 49ers 21: The 49ers impressed going on the road and beating Dallas. But this will be a third straight road game. That's tough. The Packers are coming off a bye and will be getting injured guys back. Aaron Rodgers will be the difference.
- Rams 30, Buccaneers 28: Three of the Bucs' linemen could miss this week's game, which would not be a good thing against the Rams front and Aaron Donald. This Rams team is loaded with stars, and I think this is when they will show up.
- Bills 34, Chiefs 33: The Chiefs love to blitz, which will leave Josh Allen free to run and make throws on the run. I think that will be the difference here. The Bills behind Allen will win a fun shootout for the ages.
3. Ranking Divisional Round games: Bills vs. Chiefs is must-see TV
Tyler Sullivan ranked all four of the Divisional Round matchups in his playoff viewing guide, and he likes a rematch of the 2020 AFC Championship as the most anticipated showdown of the weekend. Here's his full ranking, plus a few words on Bills-Chiefs:
4. Bengals at Titans
3. 49ers at Packers
2. Rams at Buccaneers
1. Bills at Chiefs
While all of these games should be a fun watch, Bills-Chiefs seems to be a hair above the rest. ... In the previous round, both the Chiefs and Bills torched their opponents and received stellar play from their quarterbacks. Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdowns to go along with 404 yards, while Josh Allen also had five scores as his Bills found the end zone on every single meaningful drive they played against New England. With those two MVP-caliber quarterbacks playing at this high of a level, this is appointment viewing for football fans.
4. Insider notes: More hires coming from Reid, Shanahan coaching trees
A literal quarter of the NFL is currently in the process of pursuing a new head coach. And CBS Sports insider Jason La Canfora is fairly confident some of the hires, whether this year or next, will stem from the vast and/or growing coaching trees of stalwarts like Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan, who once worked alongside Matt LaFleur and Sean McVay under his dad, Mike, in Washington:
It makes me wonder if, of the cluster of young offensive assistants making the rounds, Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, 42, ends up getting one of these jobs having spent the last three years with LaFleur. ... (Zac) Taylor's offensive coordinator, Brian Callahan, is starting to get his first requests to interview for head coaching jobs, and if something does not come together this cycle, you can expect him to be among the hottest names this time next year. ... Teams have been sniffing around on Shanahan's chief run game guru, Mike McDaniel, for a few years now, and the Dolphins have him on their interview list. More will likely follow.
(Bruce) Arians' staff in Tampa is getting lots of attention among those looking for a head coach, and rightfully so. It's worth noting that Bucs defensive coordinator Todd Bowles was with Reid in 2012, his final year in Philly. There is a growing sense that 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is a head coach in the making; he played under Reid in the coach's final season in Philly.
5. Playoff projections: Packers edge Chiefs in Super Bowl
Jordan Dajani isn't just predicting the Divisional Round; he's forecasting the entire remainder of the playoff bracket! He's got the Packers topping the Rams in the NFC Championship, and the Chiefs edging the Titans in the AFC. Then, in Super Bowl LVI?
This is the Super Bowl we have been eyeing for the past two years. These two teams were supposed to face off in the regular season in 2021, but Rodgers tested positive for COVID-19. Mahomes was set to face Rodgers in 2019 as well, but dislocated his kneecap the week before. The football gods have actively tried to stop a matchup between these two signal-calling deities from occurring, but they won't be able to this year ... Rodgers hoists the Lombardi Trophy again, and he remains with the Packers for the rest of his career. Prediction: Packers 30, Chiefs 28
6. Rapid-fire roundup: Seahawks fire DC, Aikman rips Cowboys
Hungry for more headlines? Good, because we've got a few right here:
- Seahawks fire defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.: The shakeup in Seattle has officially commenced
- Baker Mayfield to undergo shoulder surgery: After an underwhelming and injury-riddled 2021
- Troy Aikman rips Cowboys for CeeDee Lamb role: Dallas needed to get him the ball more, the legend argues
- Ranking the eight remaining playoff teams: Jeff Kerr has an affinity for the AFC's top dogs
- Chris Trapasso's 2022 mock draft: The Giants make a big splash at QB in the top five
- How Eagles should use three first-rounders: First up, explore all options at QB