If you are reading this right now, you picked one heck of a day to tune in to the Pick Six Newsletter. Not only because you're getting a midweek break from John Breech -- that's right, it's your friendly neighborhood replacement, Cody Benjamin, running the show -- but because we've got some early Christmas gifts for you. Seriously. This is not a joke. Just call me Santa Claus, because I've got a bag full of goodies just waiting to be opened.
In addition to a full rundown of what's going on around the NFL, today's newsletter offers you a chance to take home a special prize pack thanks to our Holiday Wishes Sweepstakes. We've got 10 different packages, all with 10 different cutting-edge Westinghouse products, that you can enter to win for free. It's that easy. Just click here for more info on how to enter, and get yourself in the mix for some extra holiday cheer.
And don't forget to keep reading, either, because we've got a bunch of important news in today's roundup. (Please also 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.)
We've got Week 15 predictions, playoff projections and so much more:
- Today's show: Forecasting the playoff picture; who can beat the Chiefs?
Do you know what's nearly as fun as getting a chance to win one of 10 holiday prize packs? Looking ahead to the playoffs, which are right around the corner! On Wednesday's Pick Six Podcast (listen and subscribe right here!), Brady Quinn joined Will Brinson to do just that. One of their chief discussions centered on which team, if any, can upset the defending champion Chiefs.
Quinn thought the rival Raiders would make sense considering how well Vegas has matched up with Kansas City this year, but he doesn't foresee the Raiders even making the playoffs at this point. His alternatives: The Bills and Steelers.
"I think (Buffalo) could maybe go blow for blow with them," he explained. "I'd like to say Pittsburgh, but I don't know that that's necessarily fair, either ... They can't run the football, (and) I don't think (Ben Roethlisberger) wants to get hit."
Brinson had a third suggestion for a potential Chiefs challenger: The Colts.
Quinn, however, wasn't buying it, attributing Brinson's pick to an absurd allegiance to Philip Rivers: "This is past being a homer. It's like a long-lost lover. You're just like this little kid with your Colts flag waving, saying, 'Let's go, Philip!'"
Tune in to the show to see how that friendly conversation ended.
Remember the days when everyone trashed the NFC East, joking about the division's ineptitude to the point it literally was not funny anymore? Or maybe I was personally just sick of hearing the jokes? Like, you don't have anything better to talk about than how bad these couple of teams are? You can't come up with your own one-liners? Anyway, I digress. Pete Prisco, it turns out, loves the NFC East in Week 15. He's not so sure the Jalen Hurts hype is going to lead the Eagles over the Cardinals, but boy does he like him some surprise victories this weekend. Among his Week 15 predictions are upsets by both New York and Washington:
Browns (-4) at Giants
The Browns are playing on a short week and lost a heartbreaker to the Ravens Monday night. The Giants were bad last week against the Cardinals, but this is a chance to bounce back on a team with less rest and also playing on the road. I think the Giants defense will play well against the Cleveland offense and this will be a low-scoring game. Giants take it.
Pick: Giants 22, Browns 20
Seahawks (-5.5) at Washington
This will be a real proving ground for the Washington defense. They have been outstanding the past few weeks, and the front is talented and menacing. Russell Wilson will present a big problem for them, but the Giants did a good job on him two weeks ago with their front. Look for Washington to play well in this one and pull off the upset.
Pick: Washington 23, Seahawks 20
3. Insider notes: Big Ben just might be serious about retirement
Ben Roethlisberger recycled his signature "pondering retirement" line this week as a way of admitting he hasn't been up to par for the Steelers of late. But CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora doesn't think we should take Big Ben's suggestions lightly this time. The Steelers may very well opt to run it back with their current QB room in 2021, regardless of how they finish, but La Canfora opines we may have already seen the best of the longtime QB, whose circumstances could dictate hanging up the cleats in the near future.
One's football mortality is never all that far behind in a sport this brutal by nature, and Big Ben's seems to be closer than ever. Having watched this team closely all season and talked to several opposing coaches or scouts who have faced them, and hearing voices from within the building, too, it is fair to ask a question all the greats faced at one point or another.
4. QB Power Rankings: Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson on the rise
Speaking of Big Ben, he slid all the way out of the top 10 in our latest edition of QB Power Rankings. His AFC North counterparts, however, saw quite a boost, with Lamar Jackson creeping toward the top five after a gutsy Monday night win and Baker Mayfield making a big leap into the top 15 thanks to an impressive stretch as the manager of Cleveland's underrated attack. Here's the latest top 10 in the Week 15 rankings:
- Patrick Mahomes
- Aaron Rodgers
- Russell Wilson (+1)
- Josh Allen (+1)
- Deshaun Watson (-2)
- Kyler Murray
- Lamar Jackson (+2)
- Ryan Tannehill
- Tom Brady (+1)
- Justin Herbert (+1)
If you want a chance to win one of 10 special holiday prize packs, all you have to do is enter here. If you want a chance to win some money on this week's NFL games, all you have to do is listen to betting expert R.J. White, who's identified five different teaser picks for this week's action. One of his top gambles: The Packers, who will be up against a slumping Carolina team at home.
The last time the Packers didn't win by at least a field goal at home in a non-divisional game? All the way back in September 2019 when the Eagles got their number in a Thursday night matchup. I can't see the Panthers defense slowing down this prolific offense, especially with the Packers needing to keep winning to sew up the one and only bye as a No. 1 seed.
6. Playoff projections: Browns, Ravens are AFC wild card favorites
Let's talk playoffs again! Playoffs, playoffs, playoffs! They're almost here, can you believe it? That's why John Breech rounded up all kinds of juicy data from SportsLine to project every single NFL team's chances at making the postseason. Maybe the most notable takeaway from the numbers: Both the Browns and the Ravens are heavy favorites to earn an AFC wild card, as both clubs are given at least an 80 percent chance of making the postseason following their Monday night tussle. Here's a look at how the full seeding would look as of today:
AFC: Chiefs (1), Steelers (2), Bills (3), Titans (4), Colts (5), Browns (6), Ravens (7)