Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to a new era of the Pick Six newsletter. It's going to be a lot like the old era, except that I (John Breech) am now in charge of getting this thing to your inbox every morning.
I'll be honest, I've never actually been in put charge of anything, unless you count the one time I ran my family's "Dancing with the Stars" gambling pool. And you know what, let's count that "Dancing with the Stars" thing because it's gambling and gambling is something we're going to talk about a lot here.
We're also going to talk about a lot of other things, like how the Cowboys might possibly have the worst defense in NFL history, how the Lions somehow keep managing to blow double-digit leads and whether or not Will Brinson wears a toupee. I mean, I've worked with Brinson for nearly a decade and I still don't know the answer, but now that I'm running this newsletter, I'm feeling compelled to finally get to the bottom of it.
You might be wondering why they put me in charge of this and the best I can tell, it's because I'm the only one on staff who likes both news and letters. Pretty much makes me a natural to write a newsletter.
My plan for this newsletter was to personally handwrite it for each subscriber and mail it to them, but my bosses have informed me that probably wouldn't be an effective use of my time. As such, this will be coming to you via email, and if you like reading this, please tell all your friends to subscribe. All you need to do is click here and send them that link.
Alright, let's get this newsletter off the ground with everything you need to know today.
1. Today's Show: Browns might be good, the NFC East is not
It's Monday, which can only mean one thing: I stayed up until 2 a.m. last night recording a podcast with Will Brinson and Ryan Wilson that touched on everything you need to know about Week 4 (And when I say everything, I literally mean everything. Monday's Week 4 podcast was nearly two hours long. I recommend listening to it in chunks. Do one hour before breakfast, tell five friends to listen to it by using this link, then listen to the second hour with lunch).
For our Week 4 podcast, we did something we almost never do, which is talk about the Cleveland Browns. For the most part, the Browns season is usually over by the time we get through Week 4, BUT NOT THIS YEAR. The Browns actually looked like a playoff contender during their 49-38 win over the Cowboys. Odell Beckham scored a total of three touchdowns in Dallas, which I'm only mentioning because that means he scored as many touchdown in one game as the Giants have scored all season.
As for you Browns fans out there, I have a fun fact for you and it pretty much means that Cleveland is destined to go the Super Bowl this year: The Cowboys have only surrendered 49 or more points at home a total of three times in franchise history. The other two teams that did it before Cleveland both went to the Super Bowl (2004 Eagles and 2013 Broncos), so obviously the Browns are going to the Super Bowl.
On the other hand, maybe the Browns only beat the Cowboys because the Cowboys are in the NFC East and every team in that division is horrible. During the podcast, Wilson, Brinson and I debated which team is the best in the division right now and it was like debating whether you'd rather be stung by a murder hornet, eaten by a bear or attacked by a lion. Although we agreed to disagree for the most part, we all agreed that the Giants are the worst.
2. Winners and losers of Week 4
One thing we do every Monday in our podcast is hand out our weekly winners and losers from Sunday's action. For Brinson, the choice was obvious. As one of the top-three most hated people in Chicago, Brinson made the Bears his loser for the week and the choice definitely made sense. The Bears offense looked worse than normal on Sunday, which is saying a lot, because the Bears offense was never that good to begin with.
For Wilson, his loser was the Detroit Lions, who somehow blew a double-digit lead again. If you've lost track of how many times the Lions have done that or just didn't know because you don't pay attention to the Lions, their last six losses have come in games where they blew a double-digit lead, which is an NFL record.
For me, my big loser was the Dallas Cowboys, who surrendered more than 500 yards of offense to the Cleveland Browns. I never thought we'd live in a world where the Browns would put up 500 yards of offense, but it happened and it happened because the Cowboys have possibly the worst defense in the NFL. The Cowboys were my preseason Super Bowl pick in the NFC and I am regretting that more by the day.
To check out who our winners were, be sure to click here and listen to the podcast. If you want to skip straight to us talking about our winners and losers, just head to the one hour and 42-minute mark in the episode.
3. Monday, Part 1: Prepping you for Patriots-Chiefs on CBS and CBS All-Access
The only thing better than one Monday night game is TWO Monday night games and that's exactly what we'll be getting tonight, and the best part is that one of those games is on CBS, AKA the best television network in the universe (One thing you'll notice about these newsletters is that I like to suck up to the bosses at least once a month).
The Patriots and Chiefs were supposed to play on Sunday, but then Cam Newton tested positive for COVID-19, so the game had to be moved to 7:05 p.m. ET Monday. With Newton out, the oddsmakers basically gave up on the Patriots, moving them from a 7-point underdog with Newton to a 10.5-point underdog without Newton. With Cam out, the Patriots will be rolling with Brian Hoyer as their starter. Besides Newton, the Patriots will also be without Sony Michel, who was ruled out on Monday.
This game marks only the fifth time in Bill Belichick's 20-year career with the Patriots that his team has been an underdog of 10 points or more, and um, let's just say you might not want to bet against them. In the previous four games, the Patriots went 4-0 straight-up and against the spread. To see who our CBSSports.com NFL experts are picking to win this game, click here. For a more in-depth look at Patriots-Chiefs, be sure to click here so you can check out Tyler Sullivan's preview.
If you won't be around a television tonight, you can watch this game online if you have CBS All Access. To find out how to stream the game using All Access, be sure to click here.
4. Monday, Part II: Prepping you for Falcons-Packers
The best part of two Monday games is that the Patriots-Chiefs game should be ending just in time for you to turn it over to ESPN to witness the Falcons' weekly meltdown. I mean, if you've seen one Falcons game, you've seen them all. There's a good chance Atlanta will take a 25-point lead in this game only to somehow blow it in the fourth quarter.
The Packers have the highest-scoring offense in the NFL, but they'll be missing one of their biggest weapons tonight in Davante Adams. Even though the Packers can put up points quickly, the Falcons might actually be able to stick with Green Bay if this game turns into a shootout and in his weekly Monday preview, our Jared Dubin explains why. Basically, it comes down to the fact that the Falcons have averaged nearly 30 points and 419 yards per game, and they've done that despite the fact that their best player (Julio Jones) has been hobbled for most of the season.
Another thing working in Atlanta's favor is that the Packers defense might not be all it's cracked up to be. To find out why and to read Dubin's full preview, be sure to click here.
5. Week 4 grades: Cowboys get a D even though they have no D
Every week, I team up with six of my colleagues here at CBSSports.com to hand out grades, and this week, things got ugly for the Dallas Cowboys. Our resident Cowboys guru Patrik Walker was forced to watch Dallas play for all four quarters and let's just say that he was not impressed with what he saw. Walker gave the Cowboys a 'D-,' which isn't quite failing, but it's definitely not a grade you're going to put on the refrigerator.
As for me, I handed out an 'A-' to the Saints this week. Like everyone else, I thought Drew Brees was totally washed up after watching him play through the first three weeks of the season, but apparently, I was wrong. Brees had a huge game against the Lions and was a big reason why New Orleans was able to come back from a 14-0 deficit for a 35-29 win. My new take on Brees is that through the first three weeks of the season, he simply looked like a 41-year-old man who didn't get a preseason. When you're that old, you need all the warm-up time you can get and Brees didn't get that this year due to the pandemic. Not only is Brees starting to look good, but he's going to get Michael Thomas back soon, which will be a boon for that Saints offense.
If you want to check out the grades for EVERY SINGLE TEAM that played on Sunday, be sure to click here.
6. Week 5 early odds: Bears looking to end Tom Brady's crazy Thursday streak
Week 4 isn't even over yet, but that doesn't mean we can't talk about Week 5. In just three days, we're going to get Tom Brady playing in a Thursday game. Normally, I'd say a 43-year-old guy playing on three days rest has no chance of winning, but I'm not betting against Brady for one reason: He's never lost a Thursday game on short rest. Brady's only Thursday loss came in Week 1 of the 2017 season. When you look at the short rest Thursday games only, Brady is 10-0 straight-up and 8-2 against the spread. Brady is also 5-0 in his career against the Bears.
Brady and the Buccaneers have opened as a 5.5-point road favorite against the Bears.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones did a deep dive on Brady and the Bucs following their win over the Chargers on Sunday and basically explained why Tampa is now a scary team. To check out Jones' piece, be sure to click here.
If you want to check out the rest of the early odds for Week 5, you can do that by heading here.
7. The Kicker!
As the special teams guru on the Pick Six podcast, I figured this newsletter needed a special teams touch, so that's exactly what you'll be getting. As such, I'll be ending the newsletter each day with the "The Kicker," which will basically just be me picking out a special teams play or player that impressed me. This week, that award goes to Rodrigo Blankenship, who has outscored the Colts' opponent BY HIMSELF in every game Indy has won this season.
If you watched Sunday's game against the Bears, you may have noticed that the human rec spec outscored Chicago 13-11 (He kicked four field goals and one extra point in the 19-11 win). In Week 2, he outscored the Vikings 14-11, and in Week 3, he outscored the Jets 10-7.
I'm guessing Blankenship's success probably has everything to do with the fact that he's a friend of the podcast. Back in April, I interviewed the former UGA kicker and he let me on a little tidbit: He promised he wouldn't be getting rid of his rec specs in the NFL, and I have to say, after finding that out, I was definitely able to sleep more soundly that night. If you want to listen to that pre-draft interview, feel free to click here.
Props to Rodrigo for outscoring everyone and I'll see you guys tomorrow!