Welcome to the New Year's Eve edition of the Pick Six newsletter!
The new year hasn't even started yet and I can already tell that 2022 is going to be a rocky one for Vikings fans, although every year seems to be rocky for them, so maybe 2022 isn't actually going to be that different. The Vikings have placed Kirk Cousins on the COVID list, which means Minnesota's playoff hopes are now on life support. If you're a Vikings fan, I'm thinking your New Year's resolution should be to find a new team to cheer for in 2022 or maybe just find an entirely new sports league to follow. That might be easier.
My New Year's resolution is to spend less money at Starbucks. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, maybe I just need to talk to someone about my peppermint mocha addiction. That might make more sense.
Anyway, in just hours, we'll be kicking 2021 out the door to welcome in 2022 and it's a good thing we don't do weekend newsletters, because I'm going to need at least 48 hours to get accustomed to living in a year that's not 2021. Alright, let's get to the final rundown of the year.
As always, here's your weekly reminder to tell all your friends to sign up for the newsletter. All you have to do is click here and then share the link. If your pet has an email address, feel free to sign them up, too. I've heard that cats love me.
1. Today's show: Best bets for Week 17
Friday is usually the one day of the week where you get two podcasts -- a picks show and a recap of the Thursday night game -- but it's New Year's Eve and no one has time to listen to two podcasts today, so you're only getting one and that one will be the picks podcast with Will Brinson, R.J. White and Pete Prisco.
The three guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game in Week 17 and we're going to cover three picks from each person below.
Pete Prisco (1-2 last week in picks featured here)
- Patriots (-15.5) to cover against the Jaguars
- Ravens (+3.5) to cover against the Rams
- Lions (+7) to cover against the Seahawks
Will Brinson (2-1 last week in picks featured here)
- Bengals (+5) to cover against the Chiefs
- Eagles (-3) to cover against Washington
- Vikings at Packers OVER 47.5 points
R.J. White (1-2 last week in picks featured here)
- Cardinals (+5.5) to cover against the Cowboys
- Vikings (+6.5) to cover against the Packers
- Texans (+12.5) to cover against the 49ers
The guys also have a parlay they like that pays out at +595.
- Bengals (+5) to cover against the Chiefs
- Steelers (+3) to cover against the Browns
- Eagles (-3) to cover against Washington
If it hits, that parlay would win $595 on a $100 bet.
To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 17 -- 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.
2. NFL Week 17 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. It's also the final newsletter of 2021, so hopefully all of these picks are right and we end the year with a bang.
The picks below will be coming from Will Brinson, Tyler Sullivan and Jordan Dajani, along with CBS Sports NFL insider Jonathan Jones.
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: Bengals 35-31 over Chiefs (Cincinnati covers +4.5). "We might be sleeping on Joe Burrow's breakout second season, one in which he's coming off a torn ACL. Dude just threw for 525 passing yards during a late December AFC North game. Travis Kelce is back and maybe the moment is too big for the Bengals, but the moment isn't too big for Joe Burrow. " For the rest of Brinson's Week 17 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jonathan Jones: Titans over Dolphins (Cincinnati -170 moneyline). "I think the Dolphins' defense is pretty good — not elite — and the offense is good enough if Tua doesn't turn it over. But this win streak hasn't involved any decent team outside of Baltimore." For the rest of Jones' Week 17 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jordan Dajani: Cowboys 35-26 over Cardinals (Dallas covers +5.5). "The Cowboys couldn't be more confident after a 56-14 beatdown of the Washington Football Team. I don't think the Cowboys are a legitimate Super Bowl contender, but I will definitely jump on them covering six points against a deflated Cardinals team in Dallas." For the rest of Dajani's Week 17 picks, be sure to click here.
- Tyler Sullivan: Packers 30-21 over Vikings (Green Bay covers -6.5). "Entering Week 17, Green Bay is 11-4 against the spread (second-best in the NFL) and 6-1 ATS at home (best in the NFL). With the No. 1 seed still up for grabs, the Packers won't be going on cruise control en route to the postseason anytime soon." For the rest of Sullivan's Week 17 picks, be sure to click here.
3. Pro Football Hall of Fame finalists revealed
The Pro Football Hall of Fame has officially taken one giant step closer toward revealing its next class. The finalists for the class of 2022 were announced on Thursday night.
Here's a look at the 15 finalists who are now just one step away from induction:
• Jared Allen, DE: 2004-07 Kansas City Chiefs, 2008-2013 Minnesota Vikings, 2014-15 Chicago Bears, 2015 Carolina Panthers
• Willie Anderson, OT: 1996-2007 Cincinnati Bengals, 2008 Baltimore Ravens
• Ronde Barber, DB: 1997-2012 Tampa Bay Buccaneers
• Tony Boselli, OT: 1995-2001 Jacksonville Jaguars, 2002 Houston Texans (injured reserve)
• LeRoy Butler, S: 1990-2001 Green Bay Packers
• Devin Hester, PR/KR/WR: 2006-2013 Chicago Bears, 2014-15 Atlanta Falcons, 2016 Baltimore Ravens
• Torry Holt, WR: 1999-2008 St. Louis Rams, 2009 Jacksonville Jaguars
• Andre Johnson, WR: 2003-2014 Houston Texans, 2015 Indianapolis Colts, 2016 Tennessee Titans
• Sam Mills, LB: 1986-1994 New Orleans Saints, 1995-97 Carolina Panthers
• Richard Seymour, DL: 2001-08 New England Patriots, 2009-2012 Oakland Raiders
• Zach Thomas, LB: 1996-2007 Miami Dolphins, 2008 Dallas Cowboys
• DeMarcus Ware, LB/DE: 2005-2013 Dallas Cowboys, 2014-16 Denver Broncos
• Reggie Wayne, WR: 2001-2014 Indianapolis Colts
• Patrick Willis, LB: 2007-2014 San Francisco 49ers
• Bryant Young, DL: 1994-2007 San Francisco 49ers
To be inducted, a finalist needs to receive at least 80% support from the 48-person selection committee and the committee is only allowed to induct up to five modern-era finalists per year, so 10 of these guys definitely won't be getting in this year. There are also three other finalists with one each coming from the coach, contributor and senior categories. Those finalists are Dick Vermeil, Art McNally and Cliff Branch. Those three will have their own separate vote from the committee with each guy needing at least 80% support to get in.
As for the 15 modern-era finalists, Devin Hester, Andre Johnson, DeMarcus Ware are finalists for the first time, which is impressive, because they're all in their first-year of eligibility. On the other hand, Willie Anderson is also a finalist for the first time, but he's in his ninth-year of eligibility. Also, of the players on this list, Tony Boselli has been a finalist the most times (6), which means he's gotten one step away from induction on FIVE different occasions without getting in. And let's not forget about Sam Mills, who is in his 20th year of eligibility. This is just the third time he's been a finalist over that period.
The next step in the process will come in February when the HOF selection committee actually holds its vote to determine who gets in. That vote will come during the the week of Super Bowl LVI and the official class will be announced at the NFL Honors ceremony on Feb. 10.
4. NFL QB notes: Russell Wilson vague about his future in Seattle, Kirk Cousins out Sunday
The 2022 offseason could be a crazy one and that's because it's starting to feel like we could see multiple longtime quarterbacks leaving their current team. Over the past 24 hours alone, both Ben Roethlisberger (retirement) and Aaron Rodgers have hinted that they might not be returning to their current team next year, and now, Russell Wilson is doing the same thing.
Wilson sounded like he wanted out last season, but all his drama was overshadowed by the situation involving Aaron Rodgers. With the Seahawks getting set to play their final home game of the season on Sunday, Wilson brought up his future and the interesting part is that he did it unprompted. No one asked him if this might be his last game in Seattle, but he brought up the subject anyway.
"I hope it's not my last game, but at the same time, I know it won't be my last game in the NFL," Wilson said. "So I'm just focused on today and getting better today."
Translation: I know I'll be playing in the NFL next year, I just don't know if it will be in Seattle.
During the same press conference, Wilson revealed that he wants to win three more Super Bowls, so he's likely going to want to go to an organization that can make that happen. It's really starting to sound like that 2022 offseason could be biggest game of QB musical chairs that the NFL has ever seen.
In other QB news:
- Kirk Cousins is out on Sunday. The Vikings QB has tested positive for COVID and because he's unvaccinated, there's no way he'll be able to play in Sunday's game against the Packers. With Cousins out, the Vikings will either be forced to start Sean Mannion, Kellen Mond or Kyle Sloter. Mond and Sloter have never started an NFL game before, so the Vikings will likely roll with Mannion. However, even that decision comes with some risk. Mannion missed practice all week due to the fact that he was on the COVID list. Mannion was placed on the list Sunday and then activated today.
- Jared Goff likely out Sunday. The Lions will likely have Tim Boyle under center for the second straight week and that's because Goff is dealing with a knee injury. On Friday, Coach Dan Campbell said the injury will most likely keep Goff sidelined for Detroit's game in Seattle.
- Lamar Jackson misses Friday practice. After practicing on Wednesday, the Ravens QB wasn't on the field Thursday or Friday, which doesn't bode well for his chances of playing on Sunday against the Rams. During Wednesday's session, Jackson was hobbling around and it was pretty clear that he was nowhere near 100%. If Jackson can't go, then Tyler Huntley will likely be the starter.
- Jimmy Garoppolo misses Thursday practice. The 49ers QB missed both Wednesday and Thursday's practice and it's starting to seem more likely that he won't be the team's starter for Sunday's game against the Texans. If Garoppolo can't play, then the 49ers will be turning to rookie Trey Lance.
5. Super Bowl odds: Packers narrowly favored over Chiefs to win it all
After watching the Packers lose two straight NFC title games, it appears that the oddsmakers feel like this is going to be the season where the Packers finally get over the hump. In the latest Super Bowl odds from Caesars Sportsbook, the Packers are the favorites to win it all, just barely edging out the Chiefs.
Here are the odds for the 10 teams with the best chance to win it all, according to Caesars.
1. Packers +375
2. Chiefs +400
3. Buccaneers +650
T-4. Rams +900
T-4. Bills +900
6. Cowboys +1000
7. Patriots +1500
8. Colts +1800
9. Titans +2000
10. Cardinals +2500
Worst odds: Washington Football Team (+75000: bet $100 to win $75,000)
Best value: Cowboys
If you need one stat to help you pick a Super Bowl winner, you should probably go with point differential. The last five Super Bowl winners -- and seven of the last eight -- finished in the top five of regular-season point differential. The top five right now are the Bills, Cowboys, Buccaneers, Patriots and Chiefs.
If I had to bet my money on the team with the best value right now, I'd probably go with the Cowboys. Getting 10-1 odds is a great value for multiple reasons. For one, they're already guaranteed at least one home game in the playoffs. Also, they still have a shot earning the top seed, which would give them a bye. Also, the Cowboys are 9-1 against other NFC teams this year and they have the second-best point differential. One other interesting bet would be the Bengals. Their odds are +2800 right now, which is the best value you can get for a team that's currently leading its division.
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, especially when it comes to COVID, I went ahead and put together a roundup for you.
- Roger Goodell to be a guest on the next "ManningCast". The Mannings have scored a huge guest for the final Monday of the regular season and that guest is Goodell, who will join Peyton and Eli at some point during Monday's game between the Browns and Steelers.
- Patriots running back reveals he was diagnosed with cancer after Super Bowl loss to Eagles. Brandon Bolden revealed that he thought his NFL career was going to be over after he was diagnosed with cancer in early 2018. For more on his story, be sure to click here.
- Steelers place two starters on COVID list. There's a chance the Steelers could be down two defensive starters on Monday against the Browns after LB Joe Schobert and DL Chris Wormley were both placed on the COVID list.
- Panthers roster being ravaged by COVID. For the sixth straight day, the Panthers have placed at least one player on the COVID list. On Thursday, Carolina added safety Kenny Robinson, defensive end Darryl Johnson, and practice squad running back Reggie Bonnafon to the list. The Panthers could be down more than five defensive players for Sunday's game against the Saints. As of Thursday, the Panthers had 13 players on the list, including Shaq Thompson, Brian Burns and Haason Reddick.
- Antonio Gibson placed on COVID list. The Football Team likely won't have their leading rusher this Sunday against the Eagles after Gibson was placed on the COVID list. The running back leads the team with 891 yards this season in a year where no one else on the roster even has 300 rushing yards. Starting offensive lineman Ereck Flowers has also been placed on the COVID list for Washington.
- Randall Cobb returns to practice. The Packers receiver, who has been out for just over a month, returned to practice this week, which is good news for Aaron Rodgers. With Cobb back at practice, that means he could return during the regular season and even if he can't do that, he'll almost be certainly be back on the field for the playoffs.