Welcome to the Monday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
I'll be honest, the fact that there's even a newsletter today is kind of a miracle and that's because my original plan for today was to not write this newsletter so that I would have more time to take advantage of Cyber Monday by purchasing a bunch of things I don't need. I'm not sure if you can get a new quarterback for Cyber Monday, but the Browns and Steelers should at least look.
One thing I'll definitely be buying today is a hoodie from the CBS Sports store. Everything in the store is 25% off until midnight tonight, so I'd highly suggest that everyone take advantage of that by purchasing as many things as possible (You can click here to find the store).
Alright, I promise I won't ask you to buy anything else in today's newsletter, but we do have a lot to cover, so 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.
1. Today's show: Week 12 winners and losers, plus full recap
It's Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about Week 12, and let me just say, it's probably for the best that you listen. We covered all 11 games from Sunday and we spent part of the podcast trying to figure out who's going to be the wild-card teams from the NFC and I have to say, my head still hurts from just thinking about it.
One thing we do every week is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday's action. For this week's losers, Wilson and Brinson both went with a team located in the state of Pennsylvania -- I'm not sure what they have against Pennsylvania -- while picked a team out west.
- Winner: Mac Jones. After 12 weeks, not only does Jones look like the best QB from the 2021 NFL Draft, but he's also arguably the front-runner for the rookie of the year award. Bill Belichick is on the verge of starting another dynasty.
- Loser: Steelers. Wilson is our resident Steelers homer here at CBSSports.com and based on his tone from the podcast, it sounds like he's given up on the Steelers for the season.
- Winner: Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers. After a 3-5 start to the season, most people wrote off the 49ers, but not Brinson. He got laughed at for weeks for saying that the Niners were a lock to make the playoffs, but now, no one's laughing at him. The 49ers are on a roll and it's mostly due to the fact that Shanahan decided to tear out the passing portion of his playbook. On their three-game winning streak, the 49ers are averaging more than 40 carries per game.
- Loser: Jalen Hurts and the Eagles. The loss to the Giants is going to "hurts" for awhile. OK, that was a bad joke, but it wasn't as bad as the way Hurts played on Sunday, The Eagles QB threw three interceptions, which ended up being a big reason why Philadelphia didn't win.
- Winner: Tua Tagovailoa. One month ago, the Dolphins were basically trying to give Tua away so they could get Deshaun Watson, but they failed get a deal done, which has turned out to be a good thing. With the distraction of a potential trade out of his way, all Tua has done is go 4-0 since the trade deadline. He's also looking more and more like he might end up being the Dolphins' QB of the future.
- Loser: Chargers. Every time you think the Chargers are about to turn the corner and become a Super Bowl contender, they go out and fall flat on their face. If they had beaten the Broncos on Sunday, they would have been in first place heading into Week 13, but instead, they got embarrassed. I also got embarrassed because I picked them to win.
Not only did we list our winners and losers, but we also recapped every game from Sunday. 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 today's episode on YouTube by clicking here.
2. Week 12 grades: Broncos get an 'A' for steamrolling Chargers
Every week I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week, the Broncos got an 'A' for upsetting the Chargers.
Here's a look at the grades from two notable games that were played Sunday:
Denver 28-13 over Los Angeles (Click here for full recap)
- Broncos takeaway: The Broncos needed a win in the worst kind of way and Patrick Surtain II made sure it happened. The rookie cornerback intercepted two passes against the Chargers, including a fourth-quarter pick-six that basically iced the win for Denver. The Broncos' defense absolutely shut down Justin Herbert and the high-flying Chargers offense. The Broncos' offense wasn't flashy, but it was efficient, especially on third down as Denver went 8 of 11 on third-down conversions. The Broncos also took advantage of the Chargers' putrid rushing defense by totaling 147 yards on the ground. With the win, the Broncos are now tied with the Chargers and Raiders in the AFC West and firmly in the AFC playoff race. Grade: A
- Chargers takeaway: This game was just one disaster after another for the Chargers. Every time it looked like they might be able to get back in it, they would end up shooting themselves in the foot. The most glaring errors came during a second half that included a missed field goal and a pick-six thrown by Justin Herbert, which was one of two interceptions he threw in the game. The Chargers' offensive line was completely overmatched, which led to a long day for Herbert, who was sacked three times. Defensively, the Chargers biggest weakness is that they can't stop the run and that weakness was on full display in Denver. Grade: D
Miami 33-10 over Carolina (Click here for full game stats)
- Dolphins takeaway: The Dolphins have been one of the NFL's best teams during the month of November and they capped off the month with arguably their most impressive performance of the year. This game was a defensive masterpiece for the Dolphins, who picked off three passes while holding the Panthers to just 198 yards of total offense, marking just the second time in the past three years that the Dolphins have held a team under 200 yards. Jaelan Phillips played a big part in Miami's dominating defensive performance with three of the Dolphins' five sacks. Offensively, Tua Tagovailoa was nearly perfect, completing 27 of 31 passes for 230 yards and a TD and most of those passing yards went to Jaylen Waddle, who finished with 137 receiving yards and a TD on nine catches. The Dolphins have slowly worked their way into the playoff conversation, which is kind of crazy for a team that was once 1-7. Grade: A+
- Panthers takeaway: Cam Newton's return to Carolina has gone from feel-good story to disaster. In his second start of the year, Newton looked completely lost against the Dolphins every time he dropped back to pass. The Panthers QB completed just 5 of 21 passes with two interceptions before getting benched in the second half. Of course, you can't pin all the blame for the loss on Newton. Carolina's defense was bad. Their special teams was bad. Everything was bad, which is how they ended up with an "F." Grade: F
3. NFL playoff picture heading into Monday night
With the NFL season heading into December this week, now seems like a good time to take an extensive look at the playoff picture heading into Monday's game between the Seahawks and Washington.
Here's a look at the top seven teams from each conference:
The team that took the biggest tumble this week was arguably the Cleveland Browns. If the Browns had been able to beat the Ravens on Sunday night, they would be currently sitting in the seven-spot. However, the Browns didn't win, and because of that, they dropped all the way down to the 12TH SPOT in the AFC. The Browns don't handle pressure well.
The Monday night game between Seattle and Washington is big for both teams, but it's especially big for the Football Team and that's because they'll vault up into the top seven if they can beat the Seahawks. With a win over Seattle, Washington will improve to 5-6 and if that happens, they'll replace the Vikings as the seventh-seed in the NFC. On the other hand, if the Seahawks win, the top seven will remain unchanged.
4. 10 crazy facts from Week 12
Every Sunday night, I get an email from our research department here at CBS Sports, and every Sunday, that email always includes some amazingly wild facts about the games that were just played.
With that in mind, here are 10 crazy facts about Week 12:
- Gronk on the verge of history. The Buccaneers tight end racked up 123 receiving yards on Sunday, marking the 30th time in his career that he's gone over 100 yards. The number is the second most in NFL history for a tight end and it puts him just one game behind Tony Gonzalez, who did it 31 times.
- Tua taking off. For the second straight week, Tua Tagovailoa had a completion percentage above 80%, making him just the fourth QB in NFL history to hit the 80% mark in consecutive weeks. Tua joins Drew Brees (Weeks 1-2, 2018), Peyton Manning (Weeks 3-4, 2013) and Kyler Murray (Weeks 2-3, 2021).
- Deebo Samuel is unstoppable. It turns out that Samuel might be a better running back than he is a receiver. The 49ers receiver rushed for two touchdowns against Minnesota, giving him five for the season, which is notable, because that's the most rushing touchdowns EVER in a single season by a receiver in the Super Bowl era. The crazy part is that Samuel now has six games to tack on to his record.
- Ravens win despite four interceptions. Lamar Jackson threw four picks during Baltimore's 16-10 win over the Browns, marking the first time since 2013 that a team won when its starting quarterback threw at least four interceptions. In a twist, the Ravens were also involved the last time it happened (The Bengals beat Baltimore despite four interceptions from Andy Dalton). According to Stats, the Ravens were also the first team ever in the Super Bowl era to win a game where they scored fewer than 17 points, had fewer than 325 total yards and threw at least four interceptions. Teams had been 0-275-1 in that exact situation dating back to 1966.
- Mac Jones on fire. The Patriots QB is just third rookie quarterback over the past 15 seasons to win six straight starts. The other two that pulled it off in that time frame -- Dak Prescott and Robert Griffin III -- both ended up winning rookie of the year. Jones is also just the second rookie in NFL history to lead his team to three straight wins by 20 points or more. The only other QB to accomplish that was Russell Wilson in 2012.
- Surprise week from the AFC East. For the first time since 2015, all four AFC East teams won on the same week. The Patriots and Bills have both won a lot of games over the past few years, but with the Dolphins and Jets both struggling, there hadn't been a week where all four teams won since the opening week of 2015.
- Matthew Stafford turning into the pick-six king. With a pick-six against the Packers, Stafford has now thrown one in three straight games, which is the longest streak since 2013 (Matt Schaub). Stafford also now has 26 in his career, which is the sixth-most in NFL history (Brett Favre holds the record with 32).
- Bengals with rare win streak against Steelers. The Bengals picked up their third straight win over the Steelers, which is notable, because before this season, it had been more than 30 years since they beat the Steelers three straight times. The last time it happened came from 1988 to 1990, when they won six in a row.
- Justin Herbert sets Chargers franchise record with his feet. The Chargers didn't win on Sunday, but Herbert did set a franchise record. With 36 rushing yards, Herbert now has 243 for the season, which moves him past Jack Kemp for the team's single-season record. Kemp rushed for 238 yards back in 1960.
- Like father, like son. Broncos corner Patrick Surtain II had two interceptions against the Chargers, including a pick-six. Surtain's father returned two interceptions for touchdowns in his career, making the Surtains one of four father-son combos to record a pick-six. According to NFL.com, the other three combos are: Gil Byrd and his son Jairus Byrd, Dave Grayson and his son David Grayson, and Clay Matthews and his son Clay Matthews.
5. Monday preview: Prepping you for Seahawks at Washington
There's only one team in the NFC that's undefeated during the month of November and that team is Washington and the Football Team can complete an unbeaten month with a win over the Seahawks. However, that won't be easy and that's because Seattle is going to be desperate in this game. If the Seahawks (3-7) lose, that's likely going to all but end their season.
My good buddy Jared Dubin wrote our deep-dive preview for this game here at CBSSports.com, and here's how he sees the game playing out:
- Why the Seahawks can win: If the Seahawks are going to win, they're going to need Russell Wilson to start playing like Russell Wilson, which is something he hasn't been doing since returning from his injury. Over the past two weeks, Wilson's numbers have been abysmal: He's completed just 51.5 percent of his passes for just 368 yards while throwing zero touchdowns and two interceptions to go along with that. If the Seahawks are going to win, Wilson is going to have to drastically improve on every single one of those numbers.
- Why Washington can win: Washington's defense has been on a roll over its past three games, holding three straight opponents to under 300 yards of offense and it should be possible to do that for a fourth straight game since Washington will be going up against a struggling QB in Russell Wilson. Washington could also win if it has a big night running the ball. The Seahawks are surrendering more than 120 yards per game on the ground, so don't be surprised if the Football Team tries to take advantage of that.
You can get a full preview of the game from Dubin by clicking here. This game is currently a pick'em, which basically means no one has any idea who's going to win.
Dubin's pick: Seahawks 23-20 over Washington.
My pick: Washington 25-22 over Seattle.
If you're thinking about betting on the game, Tyler Sullivan put together a full gambling preview.
- ONE PROP TYLER LIKES: Russell Wilson UNDER 243.5 passing yards (-115): "I lean towards the Under on Wilson's passing yards prop of 243.5 (-115). He's yet to go over that number since he's returned from injury and even before that he was well under this prop in his two games before going down. The only times he's topped this total goes back to the start of the season between Week 1 through Week 3. "
- ONE PROP I LIKE: Joey Slye OVER 1.5 field goals (+110): Slye has been with Washington since Week 10 and over that time, Ron Rivera has shown that he loves to use his new kicker. Slye has gone over 1.5 field goals in both of his games with Washington and it won't be surprising if he goes over that number again. The one surprise here is that this prop is plus money.
6. Cowboys dealing with COVID outbreak
The Dallas Cowboys are currently on a two-game losing streak and just when you thought things couldn't get any worse for them, they've gotten worse. According to ESPN.com, the Cowboys are dealing with a possible COVID outbreak.
Here's what we know about the situation:
- Mike McCarthy definitely out this week. The Cowboys coach tested positive for COVID on Monday and with the Cowboys playing on Thursday, it won't be possible for him to coach, which means he won't be on the field for this week's game in New Orleans.
- Cowboys not naming a replacement for McCarthy. According to NFL.com, assistant head coach Rob Davis will be taking on a bigger role this week, but he won't be the "head coach." Instead, the job of filling McCarthy's shoes will be a group effort.
- Multiple players and other coaches also out. Besides McCarthy, the Cowboys will also be missing starting right tackle Terence Steele, three offensive coaches and two of their three strength coaches after all six of them tested positive, according to ESPN.com. Offensive line coach Joe Philbin and assistant line coach Jeff Blasko are both on the COVID list along with tight end Blake Jarwin, who was placed there on Nov. 26.
- There could be even more positive tests. According to ESPN.com, the Cowboys could be dealing with as many as eight positive tests and that "details are still rolling in." Although we know who most of the positive tests belong to -- we've already listed seven players and coaches who won't be available on Thursday -- there could still be more announcements coming. The Cowboys are already going to be shorthanded and things could actually get worse between now and Thursday.
- Amari Cooper expected to return from the COVID list. This is the only bit of good news for Dallas today. The Cowboys receiver tested positive in mid-November and was forced to miss two games. However, his 10-day stint on the COVID list should be ending today, which means he's expected to be available for Thursday's game against the Saints.