I'll be honest with you guys, the only reason I watched the Falcons-Panthers game on Thursday was because I wanted to personally witness the Falcons blowing a fourth quarter lead, and I have to say, I was kind of let down when it didn't happen.
I mean, the Falcons tried to blow the game in the fourth quarter, but the Panthers wouldn't let them. It was really a sight to behold. Also, I'm 80% sure that Todd Gurley isn't even listening in the huddle anymore, at least in the fourth quarter, because that's the only way to explain why he ran out of bounds with three minutes left when he should have stayed in bounds to force the Panthers to use a timeout. And this came four days after he scored the most disastrous touchdown in NFL history.
If you're looking for a scary Halloween costume, you should be fourth quarter Todd Gurley, and I can assure you, that will scare any Falcons fans you know. You could also dress up as the Panthers defense, because they are scary bad.
Alright, we've got a lot of ground to cover in today's newsletter, so let's get to the rundown. Oh and if you want to share this newsletter with your neighbors instead of giving them candy for Halloween, just click here to grab the link so you can send it their way.
1. Today's Show: Falcons don't blow fourth quarter lead
In what has to be the biggest shock of the 2020 NFL season: The Atlanta Falcons didn't blow a fourth quarter lead. Somehow, they managed to hang on for a 25-17 win over the Panthers and that was the main thing Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson and I talked about on Friday's podcast.
If you're wondering why the Falcons won, there were three reasons:
- Julio Jones went off. Jones didn't play the last time these two teams met in Week 5 and apparently, the Panthers forgot he was on the team, because they didn't bother covering him. The Falcons receiver caught seven passes for 137 yards and was borderline unstoppable.
- The Panthers defense was horrible. The Panthers didn't force a single punt in Week 7 against the Saints and they almost pulled off the same feat on Thursday night. The Falcons moved the ball up and down the field and didn't punt for the first time until there were just three minutes left to play. If you can't force the other team to punt, you're probably not going to win.
- Younghoe Koo is the man. Although Koo did miss a late extra point, he more than made up for that by hitting four field goals, which wasn't easy to do considering how bad the weather was in Charlotte for this game (It was raining cats and dinosaurs).
With Halloween right around the corner, we compared this game to certain types of candy and we also debated about whether or not Raheem Morris deserves a chance to coach the Falcons after this season.
To listen to today's episode -- and subscribe to the podcast -- be sure to click here.
2. Today's show Part II: Picking Week 8 games
The best part about Friday -- besides the fact that it's Friday -- is that you get two episodes of the podcast in your feed. After the recap of the Thursday game, Brinson kicked me and Wilson to the curb so that he could bring in Pete Prisco, R.J. White and Kenny White for a discussion about their best bets and picks for Week 8.
Normally, I don't like being kicked to the curb, but these guys have been so hot with their picks that I actually offered to kick myself to the curb so that I could hear what they had to day. On the picks podcast for Week 7, they made 24 picks and they went 20-2-2, which is absolutely insane.
The guys spent nearly 60 minutes going over the best bets for every single game being played in Week 8 and we're going to cover three from each guy below.
The group also has a three-team parlay that involves betting the Under (42.5) in the Patriots-Bills game along with the Under (43.5) in the Saints-Bears game and for the 49ers (+2.5) to cover against the Seahawks. The parlay has hit four times in seven weeks, which is a high hit rate for a parlay. To hear what the rest of the best bets are for Week 8, be sure to click here so you can listen to the entire episode of the podcast.
What picks can you make with confidence in Week 8? And which Super Bowl contender goes down hard? Visit SportsLine here to see which NFL teams are winning more than 50 percent of simulations, all from the model that is up over $7,800 on its top-rated picks.
3. Broncos and Vikings dealing with positive COVID tests
The NFL hasn't had to postpone any games this weekend, but that might be something you want to keep an eye on over the next 48 hours and that's because a few more positive COVID tests have popped up around the NFL.
On Thursday, it was the Chargers and Giants who reported positive tests. For Friday, we have two new teams with Minnesota and Denver both reporting positive tests.
- Broncos: Right guard Graham Glasgow has tested positive, which could potentially be a more serious issue if it's found that he got it from offensive line coach Mike Munchak. Munchak has been isolated and following COVID protocols since Monday -- the team hasn't said whether he tested positive or if he was around someone who tested positive -- but if Munchak does have it and he spread it to others on the team's offensive line, that could put the Broncos in a bind for Sunday's game against the Chargers.
- Vikings: In Minnesota, linebacker Todd Davis has tested positive, which is mildly concerning for the Vikings, because it's the second COVID situation they've had to deal with this week. Cornerback Cameron Dantzler was placed on the COVID list Wednesday, although the team didn't specify whether he tested positive or if he was around someone who tested positive. The Vikings are scheduled to play the Packers on Sunday.
It's unlikely the NFL will make any schedule changes based on two positive tests, but if either team gets hit with any more positive tests over the next 24 hours, that might force the league's hand to make a schedule change.
4. NFL Week 8 picks
In case you haven't noticed, we love to make picks here at CBS Sports, and since this is the final newsletter you'll be reading before all the action kicks off on Sunday, we've decided to load it up with even more picks.
Today, you'll be getting a best bet from CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora, along with picks from Will Brinson and 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: Patriots 21-13 over Bills. At first, I thought Brinson made this pick because he's been brainwashed by watching way too many Bill Belichick Subway commercials, but then I remembered that Bills coach Sean McDermott is 0-6 all-time against New England, so this pick isn't that crazy. For the rest of Brinson's Week 8 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jonathan Jones: Raiders over Browns. Jones is 0-6 picking Thursday games this season, but he's 69-28-1 picking all other games and guess what? This game isn't being played on a Thursday, so you can actually trust his pick. For the rest of Jones' Week 8 picks, be sure to click here.
- Jason La Canfora: Eagles (-7.5) cover against the Cowboys. The Cowboys are so bad that this seems like an easy Eagles win, but nothing comes easy in the NFC East, so I'm not going to pretend to know how this game is going to turn out, but I'm with La Canfora on this one. For the rest of La Canfora's Week 8 best bets, be sure to click here.
5. NFL Trade deadline rumors
My favorite part of the trade deadline is definitely all the rumors. It's like being in high school all over again. Between now and Tuesday, there are going to be dozens of leaks, reports, rumors and smokescreens and the good news here is that we are going to sift through all of this together.
With that in mind, let's take a look at a few rumors that have popped up this week
- Packers interested in Texans WR Will Fuller (Story). This is a rumor I absolutely believe. The Packers could definitely use some receiving help and the Texans have proven they're willing to trade anyone, so I won't be shocked if this happens.
- Patriots are willing to trade anyone for the right price (Story). If the Patriots have a fire sale, I don't think it would happen until after Sunday's game, and even then, I think it would only happen if they lose. With a win over the Bills, they'd still be in the thick of the AFC East race and there would be no reason to hold a fire sale.
- Falcons likely to trade Takk McKinley (Source). The former first-round pick is apparently on his way out of Atlanta as many around the league feel the Falcons will definitely ship him off before Tuesday's deadline.
If you want to keep tabs on every trade that gets made between now and Tuesday, be sure to bookmark our trades tracker, which you can find by clicking here.
6. Antonio Brown full contract details
If you're like me and you've been having sleepless nights this week because you've been wondering how much money the Buccaneers will be paying Antonio Brown, those sleepless nights are now over, and that's because we now have the answer! As you probably heard, Brown signed a one-year deal with the team that will pay him the $1.41 million in base salary (a number that will actually be just $750,000 since his base salary is pro-rated). Besides the base, Brown can also earn up to $1.75 million in incentives, which means he can earn a total of $2.5 million from the Bucs this season.
- Active roster bonus ($250,000): Brown will be eligible to play in a total of eight regular season games with Tampa and he'll be getting a $31,250 every time he's on the active roster. If he's on the roster for all eight games, that's a total of $250,000.
- Touchdown bonus ($250,000): If Brown catches six touchdown passes and the Buccaneers make the playoffs, he'll pocket another $250,000 in bonus money.
- Receptions bonus ($250,000): If Brown can rack up 45 receptions in eight games and the Buccaneers make the playoffs, then he's going to get another bonus worth a quarter of a million dollars.
- Yardage bonus ($250,000): This one is tied to the amount of receiving yards Brown has this year. If he can hit the 650-yard mark, then he'll get another $250,000 in bonus money.
- Playing time bonus plus Super Bowl bonus ($750,000): This is the biggest bonus Brown can earn this year, but it's not going to be easy to get. For Brown to earn this one, not only will the Buccaneers have to win the Super Bowl, but he also has to be on the field for 35% of the offensive snaps this season. That basically means he's going to have to be on the field a lot once he's eligible to play starting in Week 9.
There you have it. If Antonio Brown can manage to stay healthy, not get into trouble and not torpedo the team's chemistry, then he has a chance to make up to $2.5 million this year. Let's be honest though, the chances of him doing all three of those things are probably the same as me finding $2.5 million on the ground this weekend.
7. The Kicker!
I don't think we've ever talked about name pronunciations in the newsletter before, but we're going to do that right now. During Friday's podcast, Brinson mispronounced Younghoe Koo's name and I cried, because everyone should know how to pronounce every kicker's name. That being said, mispronouncing Koo's name is actually very common (Ask 10 friends to pronounce it and you'll probably get 10 different answers).
After his huge game against the Panthers (4-for-4 on field goals), we need to get everyone on the same page. His first name is: YOUNG-hweh. That's basically YOUNG plus WAY with a slight 'H' sound between the two words. HIs last name is easy, it's just Koo (rhymes with too).
On the other hand, my name is very easy to pronounce (John Breech), but you can practice it anyway over the weekend. See you guys Monday!