Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!
I'm not sure what you guys are doing four months from now, but you might want to go ahead and clear your calendar for January 17. Seeing that I don't plan anything more than three days in advance, clearing that date was pretty easy on my end. Anyway, the reason you need to clear your calendar is because that's going to be the day of the NFL's first-ever Monday playoff game.
I haven't decided how I feel about a Monday playoff game, but right now, I think I like it and we'll be talking more about it in today's newsletter. One thing I don't like is injuries and we saw a few serious ones during Carolina's 24-9 win over Houston on Thursday night, including one to Christian McCaffrey. We'll be covering the injuries, plus we'll even be giving you some Week 3 picks in today's newsletter, so let's get to the rundown.
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1. Today's show: Recapping Carolina's win over Houston
Although last night's game ended up being a blowout, it was actually pretty close through the first three quarters. As a matter of fact, it was a one score game (17-9) with FIVE minutes left in the fourth quarter. Basically, I was expecting this game to be a total snoozer that would allow me to fall asleep by halftime, but the Texans actually made things interesting, which definitely added some spice to our postgame podcast.
If you missed the game, here's a quick rehash of what happened and what we talked about on the podcast:
- Sam Darnold is no longer seeing ghosts. After an ugly start to his career in New York that involved seeing ghosts and being coached by Adam Gase, Darnold looks completely revitalized in Carolina. With McCaffrey out, the Panthers QB carried the offense in Houston. Not only did Darnold throw for 304 yards, but he also rushed for two touchdowns. The game marked the second straight week that he threw for 300 or more yards, which is notable, because he NEVER threw for 300 yards in consecutive games while in New York (He also never rushed for multiple TDs in a game while with the Jets). Darnold already seems to have good chemistry with D.J. Moore, who caught eight passes for 126 yards.
- The Panthers defense is scary. The Panthers went into this game with the best defense in football that's likely not going to change after every team gets a chance to play in Week 3. The Panthers surrendered less than 200 yards of offense, marking the second time this year they've pulled that off. The team recorded four sacks, including one that came from Brian Burns, who is looking like an early candidate for Defensive Player of the Year. The most impressive part of Carolina's defensive showing might have been its ability to stop the run: The Texans averaged just 2.47 yards per carry with 42 yards on 17 runs.
- Panthers dealing with major injuries. Although they won, the Panthers probably weren't too happy when they left Houston and that's because they're dealing with two major injuries. The first one happened in the second quarter when McCaffrey went down with a hamstring injury and when it happened, he was almost immediately ruled out of the game. It now appears the Panthers are going to miss their star back for at least a few weeks, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Defensively, the Panthers lost cornerback Jaycee Horn. The rookie broke his foot in the second half on a non-contact play. There's a possibility that this won't be a season-ending injury for Horn, but his recovery time is expected to be two to three months, according to NFL.com, so he won't be back until late November at the earliest with December looking much more likely.
To listen/watch today's episode on YouTube, be sure to click here (Seriously, you can WATCH the podcast). You can also check out our takeaways from the game by clicking here.
2. Today's show Part II: Best bets for Week 3
The best part about Friday -- besides the fact that it's Friday -- is that you get two episodes of the podcast in your feed. After the recap of the Thursday game, Brinson politely asked me and Ryan Wilson to leave so that he could bring in Pete Prisco and R.J. White for a discussion about their best bets for Week 2.
Actually, Brinson didn't politely ask us to leave, he muted our microphones so that we couldn't participate. Classic Brinson.
Anyway, the guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game being played in Week 3 and we're going to cover three from each guy below.
The three guys also have a parlay they like that pays out +595 and that parlay is:
- Patriots (-3) to cover against the Saints
- Titans (-5) to cover against Colts
- Washington at Buffalo UNDER 45.5
That parlay will pay out $595 on a $100 bet.
To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 3 -- and there are quite a few -- be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast.
3. NFL making one big change to wild card round
The NFL playoffs have been undergoing a lot of changes over the past 12 months and it looks like we can now add one more change to the list: The league announced on Friday that Super Wild Card Weekend is going to be getting even more Super this year with the addition of a MONDAY playoff game.
That is not a typo: There will be a "Monday Night Football" game in the postseason and the first one will be coming to us on Jan. 17, which also happens to be Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Here's what we know about the new game:
- Monday game is on Super Wild Card Weekend. There will only be a Monday game added to the wild card round, which means we won't be seeing a Monday game in the divisional or championship rounds.
- Three days of games for Super Wild Card Weekend. The addition of the Monday game means the Super Wild Card Weekend schedule will now look like this: Two wild card games on Saturday (4:35 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. ET), three on Sunday (1:05 p.m., 4:40 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. ET), and one on Monday (8:15 p.m. ET).
- The Monday game will be on one of four networks. Although ESPN carries "Monday Night Football" during the regular season, that doesn't necessarily mean they'll be getting the new Monday game. According to the NFL, no decision has been made about who will get the game this year. CBS and NBC will both broadcast two games this year while Fox and ESPN/ABC will each have one, so it could go to any one of those four networks.
- NFL wanted to do this last year. When the league expanded the playoffs to 14 teams last season, the plan was to add a Monday game, but the plan got scrapped last year because the Monday game would have fallen on the same night as the national championship game in college football and the NFL didn't want that. With the 17-game season now adding an extra week to the schedule, the NFL doesn't have to worry about that conflict anymore.
The Monday game does seem to create a competitive disadvantage for the two teams that get forced to play that night, but if those two teams complain, I'm sure the league will just tell them that everyone who plays on Super Wild Card Weekend is basically at a competitive disadvantage because the playoffs are designed to reward the teams that earn a bye.
4. NFL Week 3 picks
This is the final newsletter of the week, which means I feel morally obligated to cram as many picks as possible into this space. I once crammed 71 beers into a mini refrigerator back in college so I know I'm good at cramming.
With that in mind, we've got some Week 3 picks coming your way and those will be coming from Will Brinson, Tom Fornelli and CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones along with CBSSports.com writers Jordan Dajani and Tyler Sullivan.
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.
- Will Brinson: Falcons (+3) 31-28 over Giants. "These defenses are bad enough we could see some surprising scoring here. If that's the case, give me the points with the team not coordinated by Jason Garrett." For the rest of Brinson's Week 3 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jonathan Jones: Chiefs over Chargers. "Ever since I saw the Chargers last month at camp I knew this would be a team to compete with the Chiefs. Unfortunately for L.A., it's facing a Chiefs team coming off its first September loss in the Mahomes Era that was easily avoidable. Kansas City will seek to clean up its play and make a statement in this game." For the rest of Jones' Week 3 picks plus his insider notebook, be sure to click here.
- Tom Fornelli: Patriots 21-20 over Saints (+3). "I'm just not ready to trust Mac Jones as a favorite yet. The Patriots failed to cover as favorites against Miami in Week 1, and while they did cover as favorites against the Jets last week, it was the Jets." For the rest of Fornelli's Week 3 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jordan Dajani: Buccaneers (-1.5) 31-27 over Rams. "This could be a preview of the NFC Championship Game, which of course means Tom Brady is probably going to ball out." For the rest of Dajani's Week 3 picks, be sure to click here.
- Tyler Sullivan: Steelers 24-23 over Bengals (+3.5). Sullivan likes the Bengals to cover, but the Steelers to win. "With all those injuries in Pittsburgh, I'm leaning toward the Bengals and the points. Cincinnati is looking to rebound after a loss to the Bears and has historically done well in that department. Over their last eight games following a straight-up loss, the Bengals are 6-2 ATS." For the rest of Sullivan's Week 3 picks, be sure to click here.
5. Tom Brady's trainer explains why Bill Belichick was to blame for QB's split from New England
With Tom Brady's return to New England coming up in just 10 days, you're probably going to hear a lot of the QB's breakup with the Patriots over the next week and a half. One thing that has become clear this week is that Brady's camp definitely blame's Bill Belichick for the breakup.
Earlier this week, Brady's dad (Tom Brady Sr.) said a big reason his son left New England is because Belichick wanted him "out the door." Brady's trainer, Alex Guerrero, also talked about the situation and he made it sound like Brady wanted out because Belichick kept treating him like a rookie.
"It was like Bill never really ... I think his emotions or feelings never evolved with age," Guerrero said during an interview with the Boston Herald this week. "As Tom got into his late 30s or early 40s, I think Bill was still trying to treat him like that 20-year-old kid that he drafted. And all the players, I think, realized Tom was different. He's older, so he should be treated differently. And all the players, none of them would have cared that he was treated differently."
One thing about the "Patriot Way" is that everyone is treated equally, but you have to draw the line somewhere. Maybe after 10 or 15 years with the team, Belichick could have sucked it up and said, "Alright, this guy can be treated a little differently." Imagine treating your 40-year-old son like he's 20. I'm guessing it wouldn't go over well.
"He's older, so he should be treated differently," Guerrero said. "And all the players, none of them would have cared that he was treated differently. I think that was such a Bill thing. He never evolved. So you can't treat someone who's in his 40s like they're 20. It doesn't work."
Just when I thought next week's showdown at Gillette Stadium couldn't get any bigger, I'm starting to feel like it's gotten bigger.
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.
- Carson Wentz returns to practice. The Colts QB, who had missed every practice this week due to both his ankles being injured, finally returned to practice on Friday, which means there's a chance he could be on the field for the Colts' AFC South showdown with the Titans on Sunday.
- Lamar Jackson misses Thursday practice. The Ravens QB wasn't at practice on Thursday, which led to some speculation that he might be injured. However, it appears that's not the case. Jackson missed practice due to a non-COVID illness and is expected to play on Sunday against Detroit.
- Odell set to make 2021 debut on Sunday. We mentioned earlier this week that Odell Beckham would probably be playing on Sunday, but now, it's a done deal. Browns coach Kevin Stefanski said Beckham took every rep this week with no limitations and is set to face the Bears.
- Patrick Mahomes responds to brother's water-throwing video. The Chiefs QB was asked this week about the situation involving his brother Jackson, who poured water on some Ravens fans after Kansas City's loss on Sunday. Mahomes didn't condone his brother's actions, but he did insinuate that the Ravens hecklers said some inappropriate things to his brother. For more on the situation, be sure to click here.
- NFL is hoping Apple ends up with Sunday Ticket. For the first time since 1994, the Sunday Ticket package is likely going to be changing hands after DirecTV's contract expires following the 2022 season. Although there will be a lot of potential suitors, it seems that the NFL is hoping that Apple comes up with the winning bid, according to the Athletic. The NFL already has a close partnership with two of the other interested companies -- Amazon and ESPN -- and the thought is that a deal with Apple would diversify the league's partnerships and align the NFL with one of the top technology companies in the world.