Welcome to the Tuesday edition of the Pick Six Newsletter!
We usually start things off on Tuesday by recapping the Monday game, but I fell asleep at halftime, so we're not going to do that today. Just kidding, I didn't fall asleep, but I wish I had, because sleeping would have been 104 times better than watching the Giants play football. Also, if I'm going to sleep during a game this week, it's definitely going to be the Bears-Lions game on Thanksgiving.
Speaking of the Bears, there's been a report that Matt Nagy could be let go after that game. Although the reporter (Mark Konkol) doesn't usually cover the NFL, he did win a Pulitzer Prize once, which is one more than I've won, which is why I'm mentioning the rumor. So that will be something to keep your eye on this week.
By the way, the rest of this week is going to be a little different around here. Cody Benjamin will be making his big return to the newsletter tomorrow after taking last Wednesday off to decorate his Christmas tree. Also, we won't have a newsletter on Thanksgiving Day, so the next time you'll hear from me after today will be on Friday. Alright, now that we've got the house cleaning stuff out of the way, let's 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. A Pick Six subscription makes an excellent and also inexpensive holiday gift.
1. Today's show: Recapping Tampa Bay's blowout win over the Giants
After two straight losses, the Buccaneers needed a win in the worst kind of way on Monday and they got it. If you didn't watch Tampa Bay's 30-10 win, let me just tell you that you didn't actually miss anything except the Giants embarrassing themselves on national television, which is a pretty common occurrence at this point. I mean, Daniel Jones is now 0-8 in primetime games in his career.
After the game, Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I recorded a podcast where we tried not to embarrass ourselves, and although I think we succeeded, I can't be sure. Here are three key things from that game that we touched on during the podcast:
- Tom Brady takes over the game. This game turned into the Tom Brady show. Things came so easy for the Buccaneers QB that it almost looked like he was playing against a scout team defense. With the Bucs basically giving up on their run game, the offense completely revolved around Brady, who threw for 307 yards on a night where he attempted 47 passes. Brady definitely seemed to enjoy the return of Rob Gronkowski to the lineup. Gronk finished with 71 yards and was one of four Buccaneers receivers who caught at least six passes. Although Brady still doesn't seem to be completely on the same page as his receivers, this win was a huge step forward for Tampa Bay's offense.
- Giants offense was embarrassingly bad. This game was an all-around embarrassing performance for the Giants, and it was especially embarrassing when you consider New York was coming off a bye. Daniel Jones threw one of the most embarrassing interceptions that's been thrown by any NFL quarterback this year and that wasn't even the worst play of the game. The Giants also had an embarrassing failure on a fourth-and-one, where it looked like no one on the offense had any idea what they were supposed to do. Giants coach Joe Judge sounded upset with the offense after the game, which makes sense, because you would also be upset if you had to watch the Giants offense for four straight quarters.
- Viewers witness NFL history. This game was basically a blowout from start to finish, but viewers who stuck around did get to witness NFL history. The Buccaneers' win became the first game in NFL history where a 300-pound player had a touchdown catch AND a different 300-pound player had an interception in the same game. The TD catch came from New York offensive tackle Andrew Thomas, who scored the Giants' only touchdown of the game. (You can see the clip by clicking here.) The interception came from Tampa Bay's Steve McLendon, who had an interception thrown right to him on a screen pass by Daniel Jones. (You can see a clip of the pick by clicking here.)
Besides those three things, we also spent some serious time debating whether the Giants should clean house. To listen to today's episode -- and to subscribe to the best daily NFL podcast out there -- be sure to click here. You can also watch Monday's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Prisco's Power Rankings heading into Week 12
For the first time all year, we had some major movement in the top five of Pete Prisco's Power Rankings, and by major movement, I mean that we have exactly zero teams in the top five that are in the same place as they were last week. I think this is Pete's way of admitting that no one has any idea what's going on in the NFL this year. The most notable move went to the Cardinals, who are back on top after falling to fourth in Week 11.
With that in mind, here's a look at Prisco's top five teams heading into Week 12:
I'm not going to spoil the rest of the Power Rankings here, but I am going to give you a few nuggets. Here's what has changed since last week:
- The biggest jump this week went to the PHILADELPHIA EAGLES. Due to their win over the Saints on Sunday, Prisco rewarded them by moving them up eight spots this week from 26th to 18th. The Eagles have now won three of four and are right in the thick of the NFC wild card race.
- The biggest tumble this week went to the Bills, who fell EIGHT spots after being destroyed by the Colts. If you give up five touchdowns to a single player, you deserve to fall eight spots. The Bills were in the top five last week and now, they're not even in the top 10 after falling from third to 11th.
- The biggest tumble in the NFC went to the Cowboys and Saints, who both fell seven spots. After only scoring nine points against the Chiefs, Prisco punished the Cowboys by dropping them from fifth to 12th. As for the Saints, they fell from 12th to 19th after getting blown out by the Eagles.
- In news that probably won't surprise you, the Lions are still ranked dead last. Losing by three to the Browns might have been a moral victory, but it wasn't enough to get them out of the cellar because Prisco doesn't reward moral victories. Sorry, Lions.
If you want to know where your favorite team ended up in Prisco's Week 12 Power Rankings, be sure to click here. If you want to argue with Prisco over his rankings, you can do that on Twitter by clicking here. I argue with him all the time about everything.
3. Breech's Week 12 picks
It's Tuesday, and that can only mean one thing: It's time for my weekly picks.
As we head into Week 12, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that it's Thanksgiving week and and we're getting THREE games on Thursday. The bad news is that we're getting three backup quarterbacks in those three games and all six teams playing on Thursday are coming off a loss. That being said, bad football on Thanksgiving is better than no football on Thanksgiving, so I will be ignoring my family and watching every single second of action on Thursday.
With that in mind, here are three of my picks for Week 12. Since Thanksgiving is this week, we're going to focus on the Thanksgiving games.
- Chicago (-3.5) at Detroit: This is the game where you open the first bottle of wine and pay more attention to that than the game. I watched enough of Tim Boyle in Week 11 to know that if he's starting, it's going to be almost impossible for the Lions to win. PICK: Bears 20-16 over Lions.
- Las Vegas (+7) at Dallas: Ezekiel Elliott might get to eat a lot this week and not just because it's Thanksgiving. The Raiders are giving up 132.1 yards per game on the ground this year, which is the fourth-most in the NFL. If the Cowboys are smart, they'll take advantage of that by running the ball roughly 50 times. Basically, they should feed Zeke until he can't eat anymore. PICK: Cowboys 30-23 over Raiders.
- Buffalo (-4.5) at New Orleans: The Saints are 0-3 since Trevor Siemian took over as starting quarterback, and I don't see that changing this week. The Saints are going to need a Thanksgiving miracle to pull off the upset here, but they probably shouldn't count on it since Thanksgiving isn't exactly the holiday known for miracles. That honor belongs to Christmas. PICK: Bills 31-24 over Saints.
4. Taysom Hill lands huge extension from the Saints
Whatever Taysom Hill is doing in New Orleans, he's apparently doing it well, because the team just gave him another huge extension. Less than nine months after landing a four-year extension, Hill is getting another four-year extension.
Here are the details on the deal:
- The four-year extension is worth a total of of $40 million, which includes $20 million in guaranteed money, according to NFL.com. The deal also includes a big raise for Hill if he were to become the Saints starting QB at any point. According to ESPN.com, the deal could be worth as much as $95 million if Hill ends up taking over the QB job. If he doesn't play QB at any point, Hill will make $10 million per year over the next four seasons.
- The new deal replaces the four-year, $140 million extension he signed back in March, which was actually a one-year, $12.159 million contract in disguise. The final three years of the deal were voidable, which means Hill was never going to see anywhere close to $140 million. The only reason the Saints gave Hill the extension in March was so they could free up an extra $7.5 million in cap space.
- If you're wondering why they would do a NEW deal just eight months later, it's pretty simple: The first voidable year in his March extension was 2022, which means the Saints would have taken an $8.9 million dead cap hit as soon as the 2021 season ended, according to Spotrac. To prevent that from happening, they had to give him a new deal.
My theory on Twitter is that the Saints are using Hill's contracts as a laundering scheme to stay under the salary cap and I am going to believe that until I hear otherwise.
5. USFL is returning in 2022
After a 37-year hiatus, the United States Football League is making a comeback. The USFL will be returning in April 2022 with eight teams that were announced on Monday. Fox Sports actually owns the league and the reason they're allowed to call it the USFL is because Fox bought the rights to the old USFL. This means the teams in next year's reboot will have many of the same names that the teams had when the league originally existed from 1983 to 1985.
Here are the eight teams that will take part in the 2022 reboot:
New Jersey Generals
New Orleans Breakers
Tampa Bay Bandits
Since my wife is from Alabama, I'd like to announce myself as the president and inaugural member of the Birmingham Stallions fan club. And let me just say, I already hate our top rival, the Houston Gamblers.
The one confusing twist with this league is that all games are going to be played in a central location, so you can just kind of ignore the fact that each team is "based" in a city. According to multiple reports, all 43 games -- 40 regular-season games, plus two semifinal playoff games and a championship -- will likely be played in Birmingham, but that hasn't been finalized.
Since this is an NFL newsletter, we won't cover the USFL often, but if something crazy happens or if Donald Trump purchases one of the teams like he did the first time around, I'm sure we'll cover that. For more details on the league, be sure to click here.
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.
- David Bakhtiari likely not coming back until December at the earliest. The Packers All-Pro left tackle hasn't played a single game this year as he continues to recover from an ACL tear in 2020, and his recovery has now been pushed into December after he was forced to undergo arthroscopic surgery on his injured knee to clean things up, according to NFL.com.
- Texans cutting Phillip Lindsay. Any playoff contenders looking to add a running back down the stretch will now have a solid option in Lindsay, who was surprisingly cut by Houston on Tuesday. Although Lindsay only has 130 yards rushing this year, he has hit the 1,000-yard mark a total of two times in four NFL seasons.
- Cardinals steal QB from Ravens. With Kyler Murray still dealing with an injury, the Cards raided Baltimore's roster to get a QB. Arizona claimed Trace McSorley off of Baltimore's practice squad. McSorley had actually just served as the Ravens backup QB in Week 11. If the Ravens are letting him go, that clearly means they feel good about the health of Lamar Jackson. The Ravens starter sat out Week 11 due to an illness.
- Jets rookie running back out at least two weeks. In a season of disappointment, Michael Carter has been one of the few bright spots for the Jets this year. Now he's going to be sidelined for the next two to four weeks after suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 11.
- Chargers and Broncos each hit with positive COVID test. The two teams are playing each other this week and they both could be down a player. On the Chargers' end, defensive lineman Linval Joseph has tested positive for COVID. In Denver, the Broncos might be without left tackle Garett Bolles, who also tested positive. If either player is unvaccinated, they will definitely miss Sunday's game. If they're vaccinated, they could play this week, but they'll have to record two negative tests at least 24 hours apart.
- Saints tight end out four to six weeks. The injury hits keep coming for the Saints. According to ESPN.com, tight end Adam Trautman is going to miss four to six weeks after spraining his MCL against the Eagles. The Saints have already lost their starting quarterback for the season, not to mention that Alvin Kamara has also been dealing with an injury. Now, they're also going to be missing their top tight end. Maybe Taysom Hill got that big extension because he's expected to replace all three of these guys.