Welcome to the Friday edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
Let me start things off here by saying that if you have a personal chef and you owe him $10,000, you definitely don't want to stiff him over on that because if you do, he might go public and tell the world that you went out and bought a fake vaccine card. Although that sounds like a made-up situation from a bad comedy movie, it is actually what happened to Antonio Brown.
In today's newsletter, we'll take a look at why Brown's punishment was way worse than the punishment given to Aaron Rodgers. We'll also be taking a look at what the Lions have to do to make the playoffs. Sure, they're 0-10-1, but they can STILL GET IN, so I'm telling you there's a chance Lions fans! Alright, let's get to the rundown.
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If I learned one thing from the Cowboys' 27-17 win over the Saints, it's that Taysom Hill probably isn't the quarterback of the future for New Orleans. That was one of many subjects that Ryan Wilson, Will Brinson and I talked about during our postgame podcast following Dallas' win.
Here are a few key aspects of the game that we touched on:
- CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard carried the Cowboys' offense. After struggling for several weeks, the Cowboys' offense still doesn't look quite back to normal, but it did do enough to win the game on Thursday and that was mostly thanks to CeeDee Lamb and Tony Pollard. On Pollard's end, he came up with arguably the biggest play of the game and that came in the third quarter. With the Cowboys clinging to a 13-10 lead, Pollard broke free for a 58-yard TD run to give Dallas some breathing room. As for Lamb, he came up with a big play whenever the Cowboys needed it. Not only did he catch seven passes for 89 yards, but he also added 33 rushing yards. On a night where Dak Prescott was slightly off his mark and where the Cowboys couldn't convert a third down (2 of 13), those two came up big.
- Taysom Hill has ugly game at QB, but it wasn't completely his fault. If you're wondering how ugly the Saints' QB situation is, just consider this: Hill injured the middle finger on his throwing hand in the first quarter and despite the fact that he had to wear a SPLINT for the rest of the game, Sean Payton still decided to keep him in, which turned out to be a horrible idea. With a splint on his throwing hand, Hill ended up throwing four interceptions, including a fourth-quarter pick-six to Cowboys defensive tackle Carlos Watkins that iced the win for Dallas. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport is reporting that Hill is believed to have suffered a torn tendon that could require surgery. Although Hill did some serious damage on the ground with 101 yards on 11 carries, his inability to throw the ball ended up costing the Saints. If a QB wearing a splint is your best option at quarterback, then you have no quarterbacks. The Cowboys' defense played well, but that felt like it had more to do with the fact that it was playing against a QB who could barely throw the ball forward.
- Saints now in uncharted territory. The loss to the Cowboys was the fifth straight for New Orleans, which is notable, because it marks the first time that Payton has ever lost five games in a row since taking over as Saints coach in 2006. At 5-7, the Saints are now firmly on the outside looking in of the NFC playoff picture and they're going to need some serious help if they want to extend their streak of making the postseason to five consecutive years. As for the Cowboys, who are now 8-4, they're now firmly in the driver's seat to win the NFC East.
2. Today's show Part II: Best bets for Week 13
The best part about Friday -- besides the fact it's Friday -- is that you get two episodes of the podcast in your feed. After the recap of the Thanksgiving games, Brinson politely asked me and Ryan Wilson to leave so that he could bring on R.J. White and Pete Prisco for a discussion about their best bets for Week 13.
The best part is that Prisco actually showed up this week after skipping out on last week's show because he decided he doesn't work on the week of Thanksgiving anymore.
Anyway, the three guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game, and we're going to cover three of their picks below.
Pete Prisco (2-1 last week in picks featured here)
- Steelers (+4.5) to cover against the Ravens
- Jets (+6.5) to cover against the Eagles
- Washington at Raiders OVER 49.5
Will Brinson (2-1 last week in picks featured here)
- Bengals (-3) to cover against the Chargers
- Patriots (+2.5) to cover against the Bills
- Lions (+7) to cover against the Vikings
R.J. White (1-2 last week in picks featured here)
- Broncos (+10) to cover against the Chiefs
- Bears (+8) to cover against the Cardinals
- Seahawks score UNDER 21.5 points
The guys also have a parlay they like that pays out +595.
- Bears (+8) to cover against the Cardinals
- Rams (-13) to cover against the Jaguars
- Buccaneers at Falcons OVER 50.5 points.
If it hits, that parlay would win $595 on a $100 bet.
To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 13 -- and there are quite a few -- be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast. You can also watch the trio give out their picks on YouTube by clicking here.
3. Antonio Brown suspended for three games
After the Antonio Brown's three-game suspension was handed down by the NFL on Thursday, a lot of people on the internet started wondering why the Buccaneers receiver got such a stiff punishment compared to Aaron Rodgers.
We're going to go over the big difference between the two players, plus take a look at a few key details from Brown's situation
- Antonio Brown lied to the Buccaneers and the NFL. When it comes down to it, Brown was suspended for "misrepresenting his vaccination status." Basically, Brown told everyone he was vaccinated and then used a fake vaccine card to prove it. Because of this, the Buccaneers and the NFL were both under the assumption that he was vaccinated, even though he wasn't. Lying to the NFL will get you in trouble and that's what Brown did.
- Aaron Rodgers misled the media, but didn't lie to the league. Although Aaron Rodgers misled the media into thinking he was vaccinated, he didn't do the same with the NFL or the Packers. Both the league and the team KNEW that Rodgers was unvaccinated and because of that, he was following all the protocols that an unvaccinated player has to follow. On the other hand, Brown should have been following these protocols, but he wasn't. Rodgers eventually got fined for violating two separate COVID protocols: He wasn't wearing a mask to his weekly press conferences and he attended a Halloween party with multiple players, which is a no-no for an unvaccinated player. Basically, if you lie to the NFL like Brown did, you're going to get in trouble, but Rodgers didn't lie to the NFL.
- Brown actually got off easy. The Buccaneers receiver wasn't going to play in at least the next two games due to an injury, so a three-game suspension is really only potentially knocking him out for one game. In that sense, Brown got off easy, because he wasn't going to be playing anyway. The receiver is eligible to return to the field Tampa Bay's Week 16 game against the Panthers on Dec. 26.
- Brown could have avoided all of this if he just paid his chef. This entire situation started because Brown allegedly stiffed his personal chef on a $10,000 invoice. After Brown went months without paying it, the chef, Steven Ruiz, decided to go public with his story that Brown tried to purchase a fake vaccine card through him. Brown is now going to be out $587,000 in salary for his three missed games and he could have avoided that if he had just paid his chef.
- The receiver is apparently now vaccinated. One thing that was unclear when the suspension got handed out was Brown's vaccination status. According to ESPN.com, Brown actually got vaccinated at some point during training camp. Apparently, someone in Tampa Bay told Brown that he could get in trouble for having a fake vaccination card, so he decided to get vaccinated.
- Brown was on the COVID list this year. The irony in all of this is that Brown actually went on the COVID list this year. The receiver was placed on the list back on Sept. 22 and then missed eight days before returning. Any player who has tested positive for COVID doesn't have to be tested for 90 days, so Brown likely hasn't had to deal with any testing since coming off the list on Sept. 30.
- Mike Edwards also suspended. Although Brown's name garnered all the headlines, the loss of Edwards might be even bigger for the Buccaneers. The defensive back, who actually leads the team in interceptions, has been playing both safety and nickel back this year.
The Buccaneers' next three games are against the Falcons, Bills and Saints. With Brown and Edwards now suspended, the Buccaneers signed receiver Breshad Perriman to fill one of the newly opened roster sports, according to ESPN.com.
4. NFL Week 13 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 crammed eight slices of leftover pumpkin pie into my body this week, so I know I'm good at cramming.
With that in mind, we've got some Week 13 picks coming your way and those will be coming from Will Brinson, Tom Fornelli and Jonathan Jones along with CBSSports.com writers Jordan Dajani and Tyler Sullivan. CBS Sports NFL insider Jason La Canfora will also be offering his picks this week.
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: Texans 17-14 over Colts (Houston covers +10). "No one thinks this Texans team is good, but they're trying every week and the Colts are coming off the emotional letdown of being stabbed in the side with a Tom Brady sword. I think Indy is a good football team, but this is a big test of how they can respond." For the rest of Brinson's Week 13 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jonathan Jones: Patriots over Bills (New England +120 moneyline). "I want so badly to pick Buffalo here. But I've seen too much inconsistent play from Josh Allen the last four weeks to say the Bills win this one. Mac Jones has been the more consistent QB, and the Patriots' defense is better than the Bills' defense now that Tre'Davious White is done for the season." For the rest of Jones' Week 13 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jason La Canfora: Bengals over Chargers (Cincinnati covers -3). "Cincinnati is balanced and confident and playing at home. The Chargers ain't ready for this. The Bengals' studly short passing game is built to mitigate Joey Bosa, they get a ton of YAC and they will run for 200 yards on the Chargers' sorry defense." For the rest of La Canfora's Week 13 picks, be sure to click here.
- Tom Fornelli: Buccaneers 31-17 over Falcons (Tampa Bay covers -11). "The Falcons are 5-6 and IN THE PLAYOFF HUNT, but they aren't a good team. Their five wins have come against the Giants, Jets, Dolphins, Saints and Jaguars, who are a combined 19-37 this season. Their six losses have come by an average of 20.7 points each, including a 25-point loss to these same Buccaneers. Any time the Falcons have played a Super Bowl contender this season, they've been blasted, and I don't see the situation changing this weekend." For the rest of Fornelli's Week 13 best bets, be sure to click here.
- Jordan Dajani: Cardinals 31-16 over Bears (Arizona covers -8). "It appears the Cardinals will return both Kyler Murray and DeAndre Hopkins to the starting lineup this week. As if that's not enough, let's not forget that Arizona is 6-0 on the road this season, having won each of those games by double digits. The Cardinals are averaging 32.8 points per game on the road. I'm taking the Cardinals." For the rest of Dajani's Week 13 picks, be sure to click here.
- Tyler Sullivan: Vikings 27-21 over Lions (Detroit covers +7). "You have to give the Lions credit -- they hang around! Despite being 0-10-1 entering this matchup, they are 7-4 ATS on the season, which is the fourth-best mark in the entire NFL. That's pretty hard to ignore when they are set to go against a Vikings team that will likely be without Dalvin Cook, Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter, and Patrick Peterson." For the rest of Sullivan's Week 13 picks, be sure to click here.
5. Winless Lions can still make the playoffs
As we head into Week 13 of the NFL season, the most fascinating tidbit about the playoff race this year is that all 32 teams are still mathematically alive, which means the DETROIT LIONS can still get to the postseason.
Since it doesn't sound believable that the Lions are still alive, our social team decided to map out Detroit's path to the playoffs and let me just say, this might be the most complicated thing I've ever seen, except maybe the astrophysics final I took during my junior year in college, but even that might not beat this.
Heading into Week 13, a total of 45 things have to happen for Detroit to make the playoffs and guess what Lions fans? ONE OF THEM HAS ALREADY HAPPENED (Cowboys beat the Saints), so let's go ahead and check that one off the list.
I'm not going to cover all 45 things here, but here's a list of things that have to happen in Week 13 for the Lions' route to the playoffs to stay alive.
Week 13 results that the Lions need to keep their playoff hopes alive
- Cowboys beat Saints (CHECK)
- Lions beat Vikings
- Dolphins beat Giants
- Buccaneers beat Falcons
- Jets beat Eagles
- Cardinals beat Bears
- Raiders beat Washington
- Seahawks beat 49ers
Ironically enough, I feel like the most unrealistic result is the Lions winning their game. Making things even more difficult for the Lions this week is the fact that D'Andre Swift won't be playing. If you want to see the full list of things that need to happen for the Lions to make the playoffs, then 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.
- Daniel Jones out for Sunday. Although Jones was hoping he might be able to play, Giants coach Joe Judge announced that his QB hasn't been cleared for contact, which means he'll miss Sunday's game against the Dolphins. With Jones officially out, that means Mike Glennon will be getting the start.
- Potential sale of Broncos takes a step forward. The Broncos are looking for a sell-side banker and have interviewed at least four different groups over the past month, according to Sportico.com. Once the banker is in place, that will potentially set the stage for the team to put itself up for sale early next year.
- Adrian Peterson's dad not happy with Vikings. Adrian Peterson's dad is not happy that the Vikings didn't reach out to try and sign his son. With Dalvin Cook out due to an injury, the elder Peterson felt it would have made sense for Minnesota to call and he's "disappointed" that they didn't try to contact his son.
- Mac Jones seeking to trademark MJ10. Forget TB12, the Patriots now have MJ10. Well, that's not Mac Jones' official nickname yet, but it could be soon. According to multiple reports, Jones is trying to trademark that name. In a twist, we actually almost got TB10 because Tom Brady wanted to be No. 10 when he was drafted by the Patriots. If you want to know why he didn't get it, you can check out my story from over the summer by clicking here.
- Patriots place Kyle Dugger on COVID list The Patriots will be missing a key member of their secondary when they travel to Buffalo on Monday after Dugger tested positive for COVID. Although he's a safety, he generally plays anywhere on the field that the Patriots need him, which is why he's going to be difficult to replace.